Loud rumbles echoed the place as the chamber continued to shake wildly. Whereas, soon enough the three of them were greeted with more loud noises around–
A thunderous explosion was heard, forcing Serein to close her ears while Pam shrieked in distress as he could only curl around and hide his own ears from the booming sound.
All the while Cherry groaned in pain as she was flung away from the force of the opened door. The mage was thrown so far that she nearly fell to the pit where the current gushed into a waterfall. She could not see the end as the darkness went on and on endlessly down below.
Her eyes widened, full of dread, and desperately held onto the edge she was hanging onto for dear life.
“Pink human! Wait! I will save you!”
Pam yelled out as he was about to go to the young princess, when–
Another faint tick floated towards the tense ears of the party. Slowly, those two pairs of eyes trailed under the wyrm’s body.
The feared sound rang even in their hearts, and to Serein’s utmost dread, the tiles under her had sunk as well. She could almost hear the sound of her heart falling into the pits of her stomach.
Just as she yelled out, the tile that she was stepping on also sank, which alerted the three of them enough. They were expecting something to happen, but no. With bated breaths, they stayed stock still; even Cherry didn’t dare to use her flying magic to save herself yet despite literally still dangling near her ultimate doom.
Nothing really happened during a couple of seconds they were waiting for their despicable end with racing hearts–
“Uh… nothing happens? Just shaky shake?”
Pam tilted his head as he turned to Serein in confirmation.
“Hmm… I think so. Maybe.”
That adventurer was not so sure, however, as she realized that Cherry was slipping further while very likely drenched like a stray with all the water flowing over her head.
“Well, if it’s really okay, can you lend me a hand now??”
Unlike Pam who didn’t know that Cherry could cast a spell to fly, Serein, on the other hand, was wondering if the pink-haired mage realized something which made her unable to save herself using magic.
Gasping, she brushed her wet hair away from blocking her vision and thanked her guide with a soft voice before then looking around to see all the things that she might have missed aside from the now open doors.
“So, um… are we safe now?”
There was fear evident in the magenta eyes as the owner of those beautiful orbs asked in dread. All the while, contrasting that, mischief slowly returned to the pair of emeralds owned by the young hatchling as he laughed.
“Safe! Yes yes! Haha! That did not scare me at all! Nope nope~!”
Pam bragged as if the two did not just witness him frozen on his spot, wide-eyed in panic before the explosion occurred.
Having his tail swaying around as he hummed proudly, the greenish-blue wyrm looked rather smug when he chirped.
“Fear not, little humans! I will protect you from any ha– EEP!!”
Just as Pam was about to finish his words, a chunk of the ceiling crumbled and crashed to the ground next to him, making the pure soul jump away, fearing for his own safety as he immediately slithered up and attached himself to Serein’s arm once more while dust and pebbles began to fly all around with the speed of bullets as they returned to their original place.
It turned into a dangerously beautiful display of magic that Serein could not help but stare at, unblinking despite the risk of accidentally having shrapnel injure her eyes. The debris soon gathered, defying all laws of physics, and formed into–
Cherry’s exclaim snapped the adventurer’s attention toward the said artifact that now could be seen as a lady with long hair, looking like a deity with how elegantly she held onto an hourglass that was almost filled up.
‘That’s the statue of the goddess of time…?’
With Serein wondering if that was the case, the three of them grew alert as the statue moved as if it was possessed, similar to how a straw scarecrow was moved in a horror movie. She raised one of her hands as she held the hourglass fondly, and soon enough, they were surrounded by twelve soldiers which Serein noticed as part of the zodiac signs of the modern era.
Ranging from Aries the Lamb until Pisces the Fish, their humanoid forms were each aiming a stone weapon at the three of them, seemingly ready to move according to her command– whereas, her one command was to eliminate the intruder…
Realizing the situation with rounded eyes, Cherry cast a protective barrier and grabbed Serein’s hand as she took the lead to run into one of the three– now opened– doors.
“Which one is it!?”
Amidst the panic, the pink-haired princess could only yell out as rains of stone arrows began to hit her barrier.
It was basically Ancient magic against her imperfect knowledge of modern spells. Neither of the humans was surprised by the awaiting result.
– Crack! Crack!
Breaking from the impact, they were certain that the shield would soon shatter. The longer they waited for nothing, the slimmer their chance of surviving, especially with the fact that half of the zodiac soldiers were charging at them, not simply just these stone arrows.
‘What to do? Which way to go?’
Questions flooded Seirin’s mind as she tried to connect the facts that they had acquired when Pam’s loud chirp could once again be heard.
“The middle one! Let’s go to the middle door!”
He sounded confident with what he had said. In fact, the urgency in his tone was rushing them to go the way he wanted it to be, and cornered between the choices of how likely they might die, neither Serein nor Cherry inquired as to how the young hatchling could reach such a conclusion.
They merely noticed how his eyes seemed to glow for a bit while they made a run from the soldiers towards the appointed door.
To which, just as soon as they entered past the door line, the heavy wooden plank ended up slamming itself shut with loud sounds of the stone soldiers seemingly trying to force open their ways for a second or two.
-BAM BAM BAM BABAM!
Afterward, they could hear nothing but their own ragged breathing…
Suddenly everything turned silent and peaceful once more. Or at least, that was until they heard a giggle coming from their youngest member.
“Hehe~ I did it again~”
The greenish-blue wyrm wagged his tail happily despite the darkness that was caving in.
“You saved our lives, Pam-min~ Thank you!”
Serein praised the young wyrm whose eyes were the only thing they could see clearly in this pitch-black darkness they were currently doused in.
“Though, if you don’t mind sharing, how did you know that this place is the safest one out of three?” she asked with a voice laced with curiosity.
After all, putting aside her personal bias, Serein felt the need to find out about all the things that might be useful in the future, even if it was only a mere stroke of words.
Well, who would have figured that she was quite on the money about that?
“Ceva-chi always said that I bring good luck!”
Looking rather complacent as his tail kept wagging happily despite being unseen, that young hatchling soon added.
“When we go hunting or do dangerous things, I always warn Ceva-chi if there is a good catch! While Sammy went to alert Ceva-chi on where not to go!”
Serein hummed as she nodded while pulling a conclusion right at that moment that the siblings might have a somewhat unnatural power to bring if not guessing which one would bring them good luck or bad luck.
In a matter of fact, perhaps that’s exactly why Pam was brought along by the mixed-blood dragon.
It was so he could have more good luck while fighting with Aidou.
‘Then, maybe he told Pam-min to go with us instead so that we’ll be more successful in our quest somehow?’
Well, she wouldn’t know yet. All of these were simply speculations at the end of the day.
Maybe she’ll ask Cevahir sometime later to fulfill her curiosity. Of course, once all of these shenanigans are over. The monochromatic-haired adventurer was even considering asking them to join her out of this forest.
It would be handy to have the three of them around if ever the choice of her returning as Min Suhyun was something akin to impossible after all. Serein would do anything to increase her survival rate.
“Well, given that we’re not dead yet, it seems like we’re at a safe point until we move on for another one?”
That adventurer nodded toward the pink-haired lady before realizing that Cherry might be unable to see her, therefore she asked.
“Do you think it’s safe enough to use magic here?” she paused for a moment and then continued. “Can you use one of those luminous magic again so we can see?”
Whereas taking that as a positive answer to her own question, Cherry hummed as she felt the mana surrounding them first. Checking whether it was safe to use magic or should they somehow light a fire so they could have some light to see around.
“I think it’s safe.”
That pink-haired mage finally decided before then casting a luminescent magic and lit up the room for them to be able to see better.
Well, she had never thought in a million dreams that she would see what came next…
– shwik shwik shwik
The whole room lit up in the most grandiose way as if what she did was turn on a light switch instead of using a spell.
There were orbs of light above them. Floating as if greeting them, it acted as a guide along the halls, its soft light illuminating their path like moonlight.
Completely awed by the beautiful view. Suddenly, instead of a cave, this place looked like a part of the castle Princess Cerise and her family had been living in back in her own kingdom.
The interior design and the patterned walls; the place looked like it was a part of one of their oldest castles reserved for the heir of the Amaranth Kingdom, and it was the one where the Queen was currently battling her illness, Stiriacrus. Although, it had been long since she was promised to reside in the said palace once she owned the crown.
“You said that we’re heading toward my ancestor’s last resting place, aren’t we–?” Cherry mumbled as she looked around where she saw more details of the hallway.
The ivory pillars were big and tall, giving off an impression of a giant’s monstrous height. It was very tall that Serein could only faintly see the ceiling amongst the darkness that the lamplights could not illuminate. The marble floors also complemented the colors of the light and stone statues hanging on the pillars.
The statues were visibly made with fine and intricate detail, each line containing the history of the creator’s efforts and appreciation towards art. The hallway itself was truly grand.
That was not all. What had caught Serein’s eye the most were the tapestries hung on each space between the pillars. Its colors were vivid, and she could almost feel the scene depicted in each artwork.
However, it all contained the same people. The actions and events may have varied, but the characters that were shown on the silk and wool threads laden with mana, all of them involved the same thirteen children.
Varied in races they might be, but all of them were wearing a familiar robe in one of the pictures. A robe that Cherry recognized almost immediately as her own alma mater, though in a considerably older fashion.
Watching the resemblance and sensing the familiarity of this area, that pink-haired princess soon confirmed something that Serein had been inquiring about internally.
“The Great Sage’s place… we seem to have found it.”
They have finally arrived at their destination.
Author Note: Heyya folks! Anemic Bunnicula here~! Here goes another update for the week. Hope you all would enjoy it, and I’ll see you again in the next chapter, Chao~!