Harol suspected that the basement was used as a prison and as a dwelling for the slaves.
Cale’s group did not say much as they headed down the stone staircase and into the basement. There was only one thing on all of their minds right now.
“A dead mana bomb?”
Rosalyn let out a sigh.
Cale stopped on the last step to go down into the basement.
“Miss Rosalyn, please shine some light into the basement.”
Rosalyn created some light orbs and sent them floating into different areas of the basement. The orbs soon lit up the entire area.
“It seems to be a prison.”
Cale nodded his head at Choi Han’s comment.
The area was full of iron cages. Although there were many paths available to take, they all seemed to lead to cages. Choi Han looked at the simple yet complicated layout and started to speak.
“It looks like a maze. Cale-nim, should I go down first?”
“Do you want to die?”
“… Excuse me?”
Choi Han could see that Cale was smiling.
Cale motioned for Choi Han to stay still before looking to his side.
Raon was still sniffing. Although he did not look like a majestic Dragon as he did that, Cale just continued to let Raon do his thing.
Raon made eye contact with Cale after sniffing for a bit longer. Raon stopped sniffing and tilted his head in confusion after seeing Cale’s warm gaze.
At that moment, Cale pointed to the basement and started to speak to Raon.
Raon, who blankly blinked his eyes a few times, finally nodded his head.
“Alright, human! Just follow me!”
Raon started to sniff again.
It was difficult to detect dead mana unless you had the darkness attribute. The only reason that Raon was able to do so was because the dead mana was the dead Dragon’s mana, something that Raon was used to.
Raon looked behind him only to see that Cale was not following him.
Cale was leaning on the wall of the staircase with his arms crossed.
“Let me know when you find them all.”
Raon nodded his head at Cale’s shooing motion and started to move. Choi Han watched this while fidgeting. At that moment, Rosalyn used levitation magic to lift herself slightly off the ground.
“Young master Cale, I can follow behind Raon-nim if I do this, right?”
“Yes. Enjoy your trip.”
Rosalyn smiled before chasing behind Raon. She was using small mana orbs to verify the route that Raon took in order to make sure that it was okay.
Choi Han, who watched this for a moment, finally started to speak.
“Cale-nim, are you worried that Raon might miss a bomb and we might get hurt? Is that why you are making me stay here?”
Cale did not respond as he continued to observe the area that was continuing to light up with Rosalyn’s mana orbs. Choi Han started to smile and stood next to Cale as if he was a guard.
‘His tone is rude but he’s always looking out for everyone.’
As Choi Han was thinking that, Cale had a different thought in his head.
‘Not doing anything while making others work is really the best.’
Rosalyn and Raon were working while he got to rest here. However, that moment of rest did not last very long.
“I found it!”
The center of the basement, the location that all of these winding paths connected to, was where Raon was shouting from.
“You can follow me.”
Rosalyn, who had walked all the way back from the center of the basement, guided them to Raon. Cale could see Raon pointing to the ground with his front paw when he entered this factory-like section.
“This is where it is coming from! It is very strong!”
Cale looked down at the ground.
Contrary to the cages that were made of iron, the ground of this area was made of stone slates. He started to speak.
“It looks like we need to lift these slates up.”
Cale turned his head. Choi Han, who was looking down at the slates, turned his head as well. Cale, Rosalyn, and Raon were all looking at him.
Choi Han took out the sword at his side and pulled up both of his sleeves.
“I will lift it up.”
Choi Han said that as he reached toward the slates. At that moment, Raon started to speak.
“But I can do it faster.”
Black mana headed toward the large slates.
A total of four slates were covered by the black mana.
The slates slowly lifted up. Choi Han flinched.
Cale watched as the four slates moved without any issues before he then started to speak.
“You really are great and mighty.”
Raon chuckled and looked toward Choi Han. Choi Han sighed before looking toward Rosalyn.
“Rosalyn, it looks like we need to lift the dirt up a bit as well.”
“Ah, I’ll do that.”
Cale stepped in between Choi Han and Rosalyn. He activated a weak version of the Sound of the Wind.
A light wind brushed by where the slates used to rest. A bit of the dirt was moved aside in a simple manner.
Choi Han turned his gaze to the side. Cale started to frown after seeing Choi Han’s gaze.
“Why are you looking at me like that?”
“…It is nothing.”
Choi Han slowly walked over and picked up his sword. Rosalyn chuckled quietly before helping Cale.
Although it was only moving a small amount of dirt at a time, it was not difficult. It was just boring. Cale continued to move the dirt little by little as he started to think.
‘Why did the Super Rock do that?’
Cale recalled what the Scary Giant Cobblestone had said a moment earlier.
‘Are you trying to sacrifice yourself?’
That statement made Cale start to worry.
It was because he sensed some urging in the profound voice of the Super Rock.
Cale was not a masochist. Hearing the Super Rock telling him to sacrifice himself gave Cale the chills.
‘I really can’t get a grasp of how the Super Rock power works.’
He had never used this power since he got it.
He also had no plans to use it.
Even that ancient book that described the Super Rock did not describe the power.
All it said was…
‘The Super Rock was strong.’
‘He put his own body in front to protect everyone.’
Information like that was all that the book had.
Cale thought for a moment before coming to a decision.
‘Just ignore it.’
He just had to ignore the voice as crazy ramblings.
‘Why should I?’
Cale had no thoughts about doing that.
Raon called out to Cale at that moment.
Cale immediately deactivated the Sound of the Wind.
The item he had been waiting for was finally visible.
He also started to hear a noise.
Tick tock. Tick tock.
It was the sound of a ticking clock.
Raon started to shout.
“This is it! This is definitely where the scent is coming from!”
Rosalyn crouched down and started to investigate the item.
It was an orb made of thin glass.
She saw a lot of foreign devices surrounding the orb. However, the liquid inside of the glass orb was what caught her attention.
The orb was full of a black liquid.
“… This is weird.”
She gulped as she started to speak.
“… She is right. It is weird. What is this liquid?”
Raon, who had landed next to Rosalyn, looked inside the pit and started to frown.
He could see about ten bombs with the black liquid at the center.
Next to that was a magic bomb that he had never seen before along with an orb that was full of a purple liquid.
What was this purple liquid?
Rosalyn and Raon both looked toward the purple liquid. Raon was the first to speak.
“This does not seem to be something natural. I will need to break the orb and take a closer look to figure out what it is.”
“You’re right. Raon-nim, we definitely need to research this.”
However, contrary to what they were saying, the mage and the Dragon seemed to have an idea about what it was. The two looked at each other before looking up at Cale.
Cale, who made eye contact with them, started to speak.
“It must be fire.”
The mage and the Dragon did not disagree. Rosalyn started to speak.
“The Empire created the pillar of fire but in the end, their goal seemed to have been to pull Toonka and the Whipper Kingdom into the castle.”
“She’s right! Even my great and mighty self thinks that the Empire was planning on using this dead mana bomb and the pillar of fire to blow this purple liquid up and kill everyone!”
“It makes sense. The fire would burn everything black, thus making it easy to hide the evidence of their use of dead mana bombs.”
“It’s true! After not finding anything in the castle, Harol would have no reason not to enter. Once he does, this castle will go Boom!”
Raon drew a large circle with his front paw.
“They’ll blow up and die!”
“You’re right. Even if they do not all die, the Empire will have succeeded if some people end up being poisoned by the dead mana. As for Toonka’s side that is deemed to not have any mages, they would need to escape from the pillar of fire while poisoned.”
“That is difficult for anybody else other than that idiot, Toonka!”
Raon stopped there and looked up at Cale.
Raon lightly tapped on Cale’s leg with his paw. Cale caressed Raon’s round head.
Hehe. Raon snickered and looked proud.
“I really am great and intelligent! I am great even if my first growth phase is slow!”
Cale played along. The sound continued on even at that moment.
Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock.
Cale’s gaze headed toward the magic bomb.
This was not your average magic bomb.
A new device was hanging on top of the magic bomb. This device had the orb of raging mana hanging on it. The time was slowly going down.
Rosalyn started to speak.
“I think that the Alchemists and the mages developed this magic bomb together. It seems to be a way to store the mage’s mana in advance in order to set the magic bomb to go off at a predetermined time.”
Magic bombs had the issue of needing a mage to set them off.
“They put a very faint amount of mana in the orb so that only a high-grade mage would be able to notice it.”
Although the mana was raging inside of the orb, there was only a small amount.
“Of course, based on the amount of mana in the orb, the strength of the magic bomb seems to be pretty weak. It seems to be only strong enough to break a boulder the size of an adult’s head.”
However, this new magic bomb in front of them did not need to be any stronger than that.
“No matter what, it will have enough strength to set off the dead mana bomb.”
Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock.
Rosalyn, Raon, and Choi Han looked toward Cale.
Cale was smiling with a happy expression on his face.
“Let’s pack them all up for now.”
Raon quickly started to put them into his alternate dimension as if he had expected Cale’s response. Rosalyn lifted up the orb with the purple liquid before she handed it to Raon.
Rosalyn flinched before she grabbed the magic bomb and asked Cale a question.
“What do we do about this timer? The magic bomb might go off if we remove the timer.”
Cale spoke with a smile still on his face.
“Then let it go off.”
Cale clapped once to get their attention.
“I’m going to cause a typhoon, so it is not hard to set a bomb off with it.”
“He’s right! Let’s set it off! Then we can take the timer device!”
Raon smiled brightly in joy. Cale patted Raon, who had the same thought as he did, on the head as he gave the order.
“Choi Han, Miss Rosalyn. Let’s get started.”
It was now time to put out the fire.
* * *
“Yaaaawn, standing guard at night is the hardest thing to do.”
“But isn’t it better than fighting?”
“That is true.”
Of the soldiers who were standing guard around the pillar of fire surrounding the Maple Castle, the ones facing the Whipper Kingdom’s base on the East were chatting with each other in order to stay awake.
One of the soldiers looked toward the still brightly lit patient tent and started to speak.
“They are really good people.”
“They are. Did they say they know the Commander-nim?”
“Yes. That seems to be the case. They said that they stopped by while they were traveling the continent to heal our injured.”
The people that the soldiers were talking about were the five priests.
“They are taking turns healing the patients starting tonight?”
“Yeah. It must have been hard for all of them to pull all-nighters last night.”
“That makes sense. I’m really thankful for them. They’re not getting anything out of this.”
The soldier nodded his head at his friend’s comment before looking back at the pillar of fire. The fire made it difficult to breathe if you approached it.
“Now, it would be great if we could do something about this fire- huh?”
The soldier looking at the pillar of fire flinched. There was a different noise in addition to his voice.
It was the sound of fire burning. There was also a different noise.
It was the noise you heard before a thunderbolt would strike.
The soldier raised his head.
It was the night of the new moon. However, the sky that used to still have the bright stars had changed.
The sky was now covered in a black cloud, making them unable to see the stars.
The sound you hear before a thunderbolt strikes echoed in the soldier’s ear again.
And then, in the night sky…
There were flashes of light as an explosion occurred.
“W, what the!”
It was not a thunderbolt.
The soldier could see two people wearing black masks and black outfits getting surrounded by a red light.
One of the two people who were standing above the pillar of fire started to shoot fireballs toward the sky.
The fireballs ran into each other and started to make noise.
They then heard loud laughter.
The soldier started to speak to his friend.
“H, hey, hurry up and go report this!”
“I got it!”
The other soldier rushed toward the base. However, there was no need to do that.
Multiple tents started to turn bright. Then the chiefs and the soldiers started to come out of their tents. The soldier clenched onto his spear as he saw them coming out.
The night sky started to rage. Small sparks started to appear from the black clouds.
A storm, no, a typhoon seemed to be brewing.
The masked individuals continued to laugh as they shot magic into the air.
Magic was a source of fear and anger for the Whipper Kingdom. Both anger and fear filled the eyes of the soldiers who were seeing magic again.
There was another person looking at the two people shooting magic into the air.
Cale, who was standing on top of the Maple Castle while observing the pillar of fire that was even taller, looked toward Rosalyn and Choi Han.
“Wow, Miss Rosalyn is doing well as expected. Choi Han is doing well too.”
Rosalyn was shooting magic while Choi Han was laughing as loudly as possible.
They looked like stereotypical villains.
Cale looked up at the sky.
The rain cloud was only over Maple Castle.
It seemed like a storm would start at any moment.
The strong wind started to blow even stronger.
“Raon is amazing as well.”
Cale finished his short assessment and opened his hand.
A blue light started to form from the necklace around Cale’s neck.
It was the Dominating Water.
This water was making its appearance again.
One drop. Two drop.
Multiple drops of water started to appear in the black cloud. Cale increased the number of water drops as he started to speak.
“Let’s get started.”
– I got it.
Raon removed the timer.
Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock-!
The timer stopped. Raon then threw the magic bomb higher than where Rosalyn and Choi Han were standing.
A moment later.
A loud explosion echoed in the sky.
The magic bomb went off in an area with no people.
At the same time, Cale opened his eyes.
It started to rain one drop at a time.
The rain soon limited everyone’s vision.
The Dominating Water started to pour down upon Maple Castle.
A strong rainstorm surrounded Maple Castle.