Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Starfall Year 835, the 21st of April, dawn at the Moldavia liege’s residence.
The underground vault.
At the edge of the dark, underground corridor and under the illumination of dull pyroxene lights was a pair of concealed and cumbersome steel doors. Behind those doors was the Radcliffe Family’s underground vault that, contrary to most adventurers’ imagination, the vault that was rumored to be piled with gold, gems and a variety of glinting rare magical equipment was not as wide as the dragon nest. To a certain sense it was rather narrow—only twenty meters long, fifteen meters wide and was a standard three meters and two feet in height. A dragon could only bend itself into a coil in there, a rather ill-fit to its master’s title that spread shockwaves across the continent.
Miscellaneous objects were clustered around that vault that could not be described as small either—metal containers carved with the sacred crest of the Seven God’s Church, scrolls marked with the badge of the Far Southern Kingdom, little boxes that were clearly elven craft and holding royal court brand as well as a sort of gifts and rewards from various powerful factions. However, these precious objects were placed together with wooden buckets, wooden boxes and many cluttered packages. Even if the most skilled of robbers did enter this place, they would have a hard time searching for their desired target from the mess.
But now, a petite silver-haired girl was sorting and tidying the cluster of objects laboriously, placing everything according to its type.
It was not an easy task—be it the metal containers that looked extraordinarily heavy or the alloy dwarven sculpture that was over two meters tall appeared not to be things she could move. Even with five or six burly man might not be able to shift them for an inch.
However, the truth was always unexpected. The girl easily lifted those objects that were measured in tons, and simply moved them where she wanted without a single pant.
Not quite as heavy as Miss 03—save from this statue.
Soon, having finished straightening out the vault, Ying wiped away a pinch of nonexistent sweat and smiled in satisfaction after having worked for some time. Staring at the now orderly underground room, she could not help but feel a sense of accomplishment.
It’s done, Ying thought, having used a night to finally finish sprucing up the corridor and underground vault that had been left in shambles from the metallic body that the Artificial Intelligence controlled, with Ling’s carrying things messily around being an issue. It was not easy even with the divine armament’s human form that held strength surpassing normal people, and it was also fortunate that a simple mending charm could handle all the damaged floor tiles. However, the charm was useless against the gifts from various nations that contained great magic, and so the physical method was required.
Precisely thanks to that, 03 had simply bolted after she finished arranging those purple crystals, saying that she had to carry out her night patrol duties to watch out for any existing cultist or adventurers who were raising a ruckus, before briskly leaving alone in the underground vault that was in complete shambles.
Who are you fooling? The silver-haired girl thought rather grumpily. It was already Starfall Year 835—where would there be adventurers who had eaten a dragon heart and become bold enough to cause problems in the domain of a Legendary warrior? Not to mention cultists—according to reliable intelligence, the entire North had become a forbidden zone for the nefarious of the Mycroft Continent. The hundred-percent recognition rate caused lingering fear on the hearts of many demonic cultists and Evil God worshippers that they would not even dare traverse the Ural Mountains, so where would they find the courage to find their deaths in the heart of the forbidden zone?
Right now, 03 must be at the liege’s residence mana circuit hub and using the purple crystals to add plug-in circles for her true body. Ying could not help envying her at the thought. Since her true form had ascended after being baptized in pure Holy Light in the Holy Mountain a long time ago, the warrior had not oiled her.
Being indestructible is not a good thing all the time. Feeling that she was being ignored in that respect, the divine armament girl sighed lightly and lifting her eyes towards the merchandise that were arranged immaculately, she sighed subconsciously.
“We’ve really bought a lot.”
There were at least tons of sophisticated crystals that Miss 03 could probably use for years and two buckets of dwarven Gwell Fine Wine that Master probably bought to serve guests. at least dozens of different little items properly placed within little boxes and packages that also contained ornaments and clothes bought for her, 03 and even Ling that they would not be able to use most of the time.
Master had always been generous—or lavish in his spending.
Looking at the items, Ying imitated the warrior and touched her own smooth chin while adding inwardly— he doesn’t even know how much money there is, or what merchant guilds and property belongs to him.
Luckily, it’s thanks to myself and Ling who help Master manage it all, Ying thought contentedly, her lips curling up.
Meanwhile, perhaps thanks to a link in the siblings’ hearts, when the silver-hair girl was about to look for some gifts for Ling, a set of rhythmic footsteps echoed from the nearby corridor.
Ying turned when she heard the voice to see her little brother—whose hair was jumbled—opening the heavy doors of the underground vault. “Master’s not with you?” he asked without greeting his elder politely.
Furthermore, though the youth was inquiring, his tone was assured as if it was a statement.
“Of course, can’t you tell with one glance?” Ying had thought it was something important and it turned out to something trivial. “Master hasn’t returned since he came back to ask for that grimoire midnight yesterday,” she said unhappily, her mouth twitching. “We have the sensory ability, and you still ran here to ask…”
“Then, did you notice, sister,” Ling cut her complaints short with a calm voice that sounded rather familiar to the silver-haired girl, “the fact that Black had also suddenly vanished midnight yesterday too?”
Blinking, Ying shook her head, puzzled. After she grabbed the Abyssal Grimoire for Joshua yesterday, she had come downstairs with 03 and began to sort out all the items. Where would she have the time to notice the black dragon girl’s whereabouts? Furthermore, Black’s presence was not that great in the first place.
“Ah, sister of mine.” Ling could not stop himself shaking his head in disappointment since Ying still did not quite reflect on the matter. “Even if Master doesn’t need to sleep, there’s no way he wouldn’t return to his residence, right?” he said, his speech at filled with inquiry and assurance.
“That’s why there might be the possibility that Master has left.”
There was a rather ingenious tone when the black-haired youth uttered the word ‘left’, for it at once contained self-assurance, certainty, and confidence that completely allowed no retort.
Ying, on the other hand, remained in a perplexed state and not quite reacting even as Ling continued.
“Look,” he said. “Black suddenly left town midnight yesterday, and who could order her to do so apart from Master? Also…”
The black-haired youth then proceeded to talk long-windedly, speaking about many evidences which all, without exception, proved the fact that the warrior had left yesterday midnight for something, but without bringing them along.
Despite her slow response, even Ying could now understand what her brother was talking about. Thus, the girl became frantic, and instantly darted before the boy, grabbed his shoulders and shook it.
“We’re Master’s weapons, right? He would take us anywhere he went! How is it possible that he would bring Black and not us!”
“Didn’t he go to the Anos Abyss with Unit-01, Black and without us?” The boy calmly pointed out—the price of which was being shaken even more violently—and merely shook his head at Ying, who was increasingly frantic out of envy. “By the way, you’re becoming more and more human, sister.”
“So is Miss 03.”
Upon hearing those words, the silver-haired girl stopped shaking her brother and snorted.
“To be frank, brother,” she said softly afterward. “Being able to talk about wonderings such as that, it means you’re the same.”
Meanwhile, in the subterranean dwarven settlement in Moldavia.
This place was a colossal, long and narrow rift valley of unfathomable length and depth. It was located almost a thousand meters below ground, with the busy tectonic activity around the Great Ajax Volcano causing the ground to rise and fall intermittently. Though the dwarves had ways to stabilize the earth around their settlements, they could not control every corner of their lengthy subterranean domain.
Its bottom glowing with the red light of magma, the monumental rift valley was located at the edge of the dwarves’ eastern mining zones. Two days before, there had been a small-scale earthquake that tore a huge fissure below ground that was almost two-hundred meters in length that devoured three dwarf miners’ lives the moment it appeared, and isolating another thirty on the other end of the rift.
To make matters worse, it was until after the dwarven settlement had sorted various matters that they remembered the existence of the mining team who never reported in. When the rescue team finally arrived, the malnourished miners no longer had the strength to respond to their help.
Dwarven bodies did not have much water and were certainly like stone compared to most living things. Be that as it may, water remains an important part of their circulatory system, which was why they could not endure after going two days without food or water in the hot underground mining zone—even if they were dwarves.
Still, a two-hundred meters fissure was nothing to these master craftsmen. They usually had ways to cross such seemingly insurmountable barrier, but the tremors had also distorted the underground mana. Many spells could not be used, and at least a day is needed for engineering applications. Even so, what they needed was time and not methods—if they do not hurry and save those dwarven miners who were mostly fainting, they might soon return to dust.
Logically speaking, these dwarves who had a fiery temper should now be vexed and loudly mouthing curses since time was definitely not on their side. It was an extraordinary torture that their acute hearing was picking up their kin’s weakening breaths and heartbeats.
But in truth, not one dwarf was anxious. They merely stood their ground calmly, as if waiting for something to come.
And soon, in the company of leaden and reverberating footsteps, a gigantic and ferocious steel god came from the distance and arrived at the edge of the fissure.
Its appearance resembles a giant human armor, its body that was almost thirty meters long seemingly larger than dragons. Those beasts, however, looked huge only with their wings and tails, while the steel giant was double their ‘lithe’ size—a single glance would allow one to tell that they were in different weight categories.
Every step the giant took required one or two seconds, making it appear to be slow when in fact each stride was extremely long and was therefore supremely agile. On its joints were obvious signs of augmentation that were clearly common dwarven craft.
“Unit-01! We’re counting on you!” A dwarven engineer with a face full of beard laughed loudly with his bold voice when the steel giant reached the fissure. “I can’t wait to experience that spectacle again!”
“That’s right!” The other workers and engineers cried sonorously. “Let us experience!”
“Bzzt bzzt, bzzt bzzt bzzt.” The steel giant emitted dull and metallic electrical sounds beneath its dragon-head helmet that covered its head as if replying something. It did not keep speaking though, as it simply stood at the other end of the fissure as its body began to transform drastically.
Then, the astonishing spectacle happened. Amidst sharp metallic scraping noises, the steel giant turned into a glob of formless silver metal just like latex. Then, as if it was alive, it simply reached out to the end of the fissure and formed a thin but sturdy steel bridge!
The dwarven rescue team and engineers did not dally. The latter swiftly strengthened the bridge edges while dozens of rescue personnel quickly ran to the miners who were about to faint or fall into shock and performed emergency aid.
After some time, all the miners were rescued. The dwarves thus retreated to the other end of the fissure while the steel bridge reverted to it steel giant form amidst another wave of loud scraping metallic noises. It then stood where it was, receiving the dwarves’ praise and admiration.
Even as Unit-01 listened to the earnest yet raucous thanks around its, streaks of agitated electrical flowing across its mental core that was made from metal. Somehow, it did not have the thought to mind those praises, and subconsciously lifted its head and ‘looked’ towards the distant South.
With neither reason nor evidence, the steel giant somehow knew that its own creator and ‘Father’ was there.”
At the moment, he was heading to another abyss, one different from this abyssal valley.