A sad song echoed from far away.
On the walls and ceiling, it was a galaxy of crystals that shone blue.
At our foot, the sea of black water that seeped out of the megalith was far exceeding the volume of the megalith.
The sound of waves, the scent of the tide, the moist winds, the homesickness were stealthily and smoothly entered my mind, trying to make the illusion that this was not the underground but the sea with starry sky.
They tried to make me feel the illusion that it was the nostalgic ocean of the Visitor’s Clan.
I shook my head to shake off the delusions that had entered.
I had to be firm.
I had never travelled by a ship, and even before my incarnation I had not taken a boat ride for more than five hours in total.
So there was nothing like a nostalgic ocean!
“Klaus-sama! Ann-sama! It’s kind of dangerous, escape now…”
In retrospect, the Harvan siblings were struggling and suffering on the black sea.
Eh!? This had become a serious matter!?
“Sad, sad, sad……Aah, Onii-sama, Erica-sama……please help……my head…”
“Kuh……Keep your mind firmly, Ann……! Concentrate on the circulation of magical power, keep up your Magic Resist!”
Ann was trembling with a pale face while muttering incoherently.
Klaus hugged her, and protected themselves by wrapping themselves in the barrier of Protective Circle.
He pushed a magical recovery potion into Ann’s mouth and forced her to drink it.
Klaus also drank a bottle of the potion, it seemed that he cast some spells and the barriers for defense were piling up.
“Both of you! Are you okay?”
“Erica, you weren’t affected!?”
“Eh, yeah……Rather, I want you to tell me what happened……”
“Ah–…I see, Aurelia was dense against such magic.”
Well, surely Aurelia was dense against a kind of magic.
Besides, I was dubbed by Otou-sama as someone particularly dense even among Aurelia’s people.
Right now it was useful, so wasn’t that good?
“I received a tremendously strong mental interference. It pushed back nostalgia and loneliness, and finally it seemed like it was going to capture my soul itself.”
“I thought that my heart will be hijacked and I will disappear…”
“That was really dangerous.”
“You’re really dense……I didn’t think the day would come when I would feel envious of Aurelia.”
Somehow, it didn’t feel like I was being praised.
Just to be sure, I moved inside Klaus’ Protective Circle.
Looking towards the megalith, its changes were advancing further.
The lump of star crystals melted and became smaller as if it had been eroded over a long period of time.
The carcasses of the monsters that had been scattered around in the cathedral were also affected by the erosion by black water.
From the soft parts such as meat and internal organs, they were melted along with their skins, scales, and bones……
“Huh? Klaus-sama, if we are in this liquid as we are right now, aren’t we also in danger?”
“Don’t panic. It seems like a kind of magical effect that doesn’t work for intelligent creatures.”
“It would have been dangerous if my mind was destroyed with the mental interference ability just now.”
The Harvan’s siblings explained the information obtained by using Glam Sight.
Well, I was jealous of the Harvan people like this.
But, I felt like I understand it.
Originally, Ann should have encountered the collapse of the eighth layer alone.
Of course, she didn’t have the Wand of Feather Falling or even Klaus’ Protective Circle.
Ann would expend defense magic by consuming the majority of her magical power, but she also couldn’t completely prevent injury, and then she would arrive at the cathedral in that condition.
What awaited her was the destructive mental intervention magic and black water that melted and took in what it touches.
If so, this water—
As if to affirm my answer, the black water that had spread throughout the room was beginning to move.
Before long it dissolved completely, the black water was gathering in the place where the star crystal megalith was, which had become the size of the little finger.
The black water raised while swirling and it condensed.
“Eeeh–? Well, after all, is this the evil spirit—-!?”
“Evil spirit? Isn’t that the altar of a god? But, is there even a liquid evil spirit? Onii-sama, Erica-sama?”
“I have never heard of it either. It is true that it’s similar to a kind of spirit body – similar to the magical structure of a wraith……”
Oops. I said it out loud.
Anyways, a wraith, that was an even more ridiculous talk.
He should be the spirit of an alchemist who was killed by his compatriots because he made the Philosopher’s Stone.
Then, wasn’t that a ghost?
The mass of black water repeatedly expanded and contracted, and gradually formed a shape.
The body that was liquid changed, with hard scales covered the surface of its body.
Two twisted horns resembling a sheep or a goat.
Thick limbs that looked like logs with claws.
A large mountain-like body covered with shells and protrusions.
It was similar to a dragon.
It was similar to a turtle.
A monster that had never been seen nor heard before in the present world.
I wanted to say…I wanted to say even if I couldn’t communicate it to anyone……
In that game where you trained monsters while trying to collect a lot of them, if you painted black the combination of Lapras and Sandslash, it will be like this1.
The roar of the monster echoed in the cathedral.
The very loud voice that about to shatter our eardrums was enough to make our legs that were about to escape frozen in fear.
“What the heck is that!? You said it was an evil spirit, I can’t judge whether that is alive or dead, but it’s a dragon or another monster.”
“It was supposed to be an evil spirit…He was the legendary alchemist named Zarathan who created the Philosopher’s Stone, who led the Visitor’s Clan to this continent and found the gold lodes.”
“Why is such great man became an evil spirit?”
“That was a human – however, because he was betrayed by my ancestors, that grudge…”
I knew that if you had grudges you would become an evil spirit. But would it become such an appearance only because of a grudge?
I felt that the black monster looked at me, distorted its lips and laughed.
No, it wasn’t my imagination.
The growls of the monster gradually changed to something akin to human voice.
『This me……this, me, a human? An alchemist? Kukukuku……everything is wrong……You……』
The monster’s massive build was trembling.
Was he crazy?
—No, this time it was different.
He was angry. He was angry, trembling with excitement that couldn’t be suppressed.
『Did you forget, Aurelia!
I always remember……There have never been any forgotten even after hundreds years of being frozen…!
Your smell and the pain you gave to me!!』
“Pain……? Then, after all, you are…”
『Oh, how nostalgic……
That face, that golden hair, those green eyes……
—But yet, you……about me…after just a few hundred years, did you forget!
……You guys killed, this me!!!』
My whole body was shocked as if it was struck by a hard object, my sight was instantly distorted.
The air was forcibly pushed out from my lungs, and I was confused due to my brain whose supply oxygen was cut off, as if I was dragged into the pool for playful attacks.
When I noticed it, I was pressed against the stone floor by the front leg of the black monstrous monster.
『Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha–!
This is just by stroking gently…this is how weak creature humans are!
It seems that this has not changed even after as long as hundreds of years has passed.』
“Guh……, tsu……, kah, haah……”
『Kukukukuku, don’t worry, golden madness.
This degree won’t kill you……I won’t kill you, this easily……!
I will have you dead after letting you taste it……My pain, my regret, my loneliness, my, my……
I believed in you guys! I thought you were my true friends!
Well……well, you betrayed me!!』
Black droplets dribbled down from the empty eye sockets looking into me.
Oh, no doubt about it.
It was different from the legend and game settings, but he certainly was betrayed by Aurelia’s ancestors.
Until the fire of your life disappears, just carve it in that soul……Praise the devilish golden madness!
Zarathan is not my name.
As you are a human race, I am a race called Zarathan.
I am the only one Zarathan.
The rich Zarathan.
I am the one who lost the opportunity to carve my name in the future for eternity……by you, the Aurelia traitors!!!』
It was a monologue full of anger, yet full of suffering like tearing out himself.
I nodded a little while being caught.
The emotion of his grudge had gently entered my mind somehow, rather than the mental interference ability that appealed for nostalgia and sorrow.
The moment my heart shook, a small explosion broke out in front of me.
Because he was pressured by the impact, the restraint of Zarathan relaxed.
At that moment, something wrapped around my body and I was pulled with great power.
“I don’t know……I don’t know anything, Monster. Ignore us, and don’t make up a story without permission.”
Before the exit of the inner sanctum, there were the Harvan siblings.
Klaus set the Wand of Fire Bolt and pierced the black monster with his staff, while Ann was grasping the opposite of the magical rope wrapped around me.
That’s right, my bag……when I was pressed down by Zarathan, it was falling down.
“Erica-sama! Do you have an injury!?”
“Nn……I’m alright. Thank you for your help, Ann-sama, Klaus-sama.”
“I’m not okay.”
“Y-yes? What’s wrong, Klaus-sama?”
“If you die as you please, I’m not okay. Carve it deep into your soul more than the words of that monster. Harvan’s men will protect women in front of anything! So, don’t make a gaze as if resigning yourself to such a thing!”
I had not. I had not made such an ominous gaze.
—I hadn’t done it, right?
It didn’t matter, and I was thankful that you would help me, but this was a tough one.
“Onii-sama……Be more honest……”
“Ann! Don’t give unnecessary retort! Untie the rope as soon as possible!”
Ann untied the rope while sighing, and she returned my bag and wands to me.
Klaus’ sister was having trouble with him.
I wanted you to live firmly.
Ann had a bunch of spell cards and a staff, she stood diagonally behind Klaus.
I also came to my senses and stood up, having the wand handed to me by Ann at the ready.
Too late, Zarathan had recovered his stance and was walking slowly towards us.
A burnt-like smell still remained in the air, but the monster’s body didn’t even show traces of flame injuries.
Was it been hindered by the hard scales or did he already regenerated?
『Nostalgic……I miss everything……
I remember. The magic of a crafty alchemist.
I was surprised because it was a long time ago, but such magic tricks will never pass.』
“I see. If that’s the case, next time you will be surprise by Harvan’s exquisite skills. Don’t think that you will have the opportunity to live and see my magic twice.”
『Ha–! What a proud little boy!
You do not seem to be an Aurelia. The smell is different.
Were you lured by a small sum of money, or have you been misled by the girl’s charm–
It is not something I knew either way, but in the end you will be betrayed by Aurelia just like me.
I reject it. I have no grudge nor interest in you.』
“Are you going to retreat? Move aside, Monster. Sooner or later, if I don’t bring along this showy lady and my sister, you will receive a good scolding from my father who is 100 times more frightening than you.”
Klaus continued to look after us as he stood in an imposing stance, he dismissed the huge monster he was facing in a grand gesture.
Even though deep down he had to feel terribly frightened.
His strong point was his sense of responsibility, that didn’t change even when he was very young.
I glanced fleetingly at the wand that was handed to me by Ann.
The stick head was rock salt. The shaft was cherry tree.
There was a skin of boar wrapped around the handle.
Core material……the leg of a pig which was preserved.
Yes, this was the Wand of Grease.
I believed that it was an instruction from Klaus, but…what did he want me to do with this wand?
The monster and Klaus was still glaring at each other in a tense atmosphere.
In this situation of conflict, my confusion was deepened.
1 I don’t think I need to say this, but this is referring to Pokemon. And seeing the cover of this series, Zarathan does seem like a combination of Lapras and Sandslash. Something like this but paint it black, and all four legs have claws:
Also, I tried making Zarathan more menacing by bolding his speech and giving the sense of hurt by making some of the words in italic. What do you think?
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