Suddenly Cale’s mind became calm.
The enemy that the former owners of the ancient powers had to fight. Cale had asked about that person, but nobody had answered him yet.
He could hear the wind that was outside the temple.
On the other hand, the corridor inside the temple was completely silent. It was also dark without any source of light.
‘Friend, there are no traps in that temple. You just have to follow the dark corridor down. I will give you a fire orb magic scroll, so use that.’
‘Human! You don’t need the Mercenary King’s scroll! I will make you one! Use the great and mighty Raon’ Miru’s orb!’
‘Ignore the little kid and use mine.’
Just thinking about it made Cale smirk even during this serious moment. He took out a magic scroll from his spatial pocket bag.
A fire orb appeared in the air as he ripped the scroll.
‘Goldie gramps! The human needs to use mine!’
‘Aigoo, my poor life.’
Raon Miru was the winner in the end.
Cale looked toward the fire orb shining above his head. He then flinched.
‘My drinking buddy, there is a painting on the ceiling of the temple’s corridor, but you can just ignore that.’
‘Ignore this? Ignore this painting on the ceiling?’
However, Cale had no choice but to pay attention.
The first image on the spot on the ceiling closest to him.
It was too similar to the Western continent’s Jungle.
It was at that moment.
– In the past.
In ancient times.
– There was a human who wished to become a god.
The thief started to speak again.
“Someone who wished to become a god?”
The thief resumed speaking after Cale asked the question.
– No. He wasn’t trying to become a god.
Cale looked at the ceiling.
There was a temple located in the area that looked similar to the Jungle.
– He wished to become nature itself.
Cale started to walk.
– And there was a group of people who followed behind him.
The followers of the person who wished to become nature itself.
Cale started to speak.
“…The Forest of Darkness?”
He thought about what the glutton priestess of the Indestructible Shield said in the past.
‘I was born in the Jungle.’
‘The Jungle was dark back then. The trees were all black. That was why it was called the Forest of Darkness as well.’
– You are right. The name of the followers was, ‘The Forest of Darkness.’
She continued to speak.
– The glutton was one of the people who were captured as priestess candidates.
Cale recalled something else the glutton priestess had said.
‘The Forest of Darkness bastards never gave me anything delicious while saying that they were people who served a god.’
‘Of course, I was kicked out of there.’
Cale could see new images as he continued to walk.
The Jungle that had turned black.
Land that had turned black.
Large golems and monsters with unique appearances that were standing on the black ground.
Cale started to speak.
“The Forest of Darkness. They were black mages?”
Cale couldn’t help but scoff.
Mercenary King Bud Illis.
The images that Bud had told him to ignore.
Technically, he was not wrong. For Bud and the majority of people in the world today, they would not have been able to understand what these images were saying.
– Correct. They were black mages.
The Forest of Darkness group was made of black mages.
Cale thought about the Fire of Destruction cheapskate.
The Super Rock had said something about the cheapskate who lit the northern part of the Western continent on fire.
‘The cheapskate is the one who destroyed the most black despair and golems on the Western continent. That is why he was a hero, at least to us.’
That meant that the Fire of Destruction ended up fighting against this group called the Forest of Darkness as well.
Cale’s frown became even worse as he continued to walk deeper down the path.
The majority of the image was black.
Many of the continents were turning black.
However, there was an area that was also turning greener and more beautiful. The two parts created a very visible contrast.
Cale started to speak.
“Who was it that wanted to become nature?”
– That person-
Cale added on before the thief could answer.
“Was it someone with the sky attribute?”
The person that these voices kept saying that Cale needed to stop.
The person that the Sky Eating Water said that she would defend against this time. Was it that person?
The thief started to speak again.
Her calm voice continued on.
– That person could control the sky as he had the sky attribute. That was why he was able to control the rain, wind, and even the sunlight by using clouds.
Cale could see an image of a field full of crops and trees with delicious looking fruits. He could also see happy people underneath the trees.
– Thanks to that, the land he selected became more fertile and plentiful as time went on. Crops grew endlessly, while the fruits that were grown in such an environment where the sunlight and rain were controlled were extremely sweet and delicious.
Cale started to frown again.
– That was how that bastard made the people he chose and the land he chose to be plentiful and happy.
He opened his mouth to speak.
“What a completely crazy bastard.”
What the thief had said was correct.
He was someone who tried to become nature. The person who had the sky attribute tried to become nature and rule over the people of the Western continent.
However, Cale still had a question.
Cale stopped walking.
“Why did the black mages follow the person with the sky attribute?”
Black mages were people who controlled dead mana.
This person was someone who controlled the sky.
At first glance, the two existences seemed to clash with each other.
‘I guess the White Star did have a master-servant relationship with the Alchemists’ Bell Tower as well.’
Bernard, the Tower Master of the Alchemists’ Bell Tower. He had shown complete loyalty toward the White Star.
The Alchemists’ Bell Tower was like the Forest of Darkness of ancient times.
Cale waited for the thief to respond.
He felt as if he needed an answer to this question in order to put together the puzzle pieces in his mind.
She soon gave a response.
– The person with the sky attribute periodically absorbed dead mana.
The Forest of Darkness bastards in ancient times created dead mana to offer to the bastard with the sky attribute.
Cale looked up at the ceiling again. He started to walk again.
– The dead mana storage facility on Wind Island was a sacrifice for him as well.
Cale let out a sigh.
“Why did the person with the sky attribute need dead mana?”
He could not understand at all.
Cale had many ancient powers, but none of them needed dead mana.
– I do not know the reason behind that. I tried to find out many times, but I failed.
Cale thought about the White Star.
He was a reincarnator, but not someone who learned black magic nor did he have the scent of dead mana around him. The ancient Dragon and Raon would have noticed right away if he had learned black magic or smelled like dead mana.
Cale suddenly thought about a conversation he had with Adin.
It was what Imperial Prince had said while looking at the containers of dead mana underneath the Alchemists’ Bell Tower.
‘You think that this dead mana is for me?’
Cale had asked him after hearing that.
‘Then is it for the black mages? Is it for the Tower Master?’
‘Ha! No, these are sacrifices. These are sacrifices that the royal family and the Tower Master need to offer up.’
Adin had said that they were sacrifices while laughing in disbelief.
Cale had asked once more after hearing that response.
‘The White Star?’
Adin had looked at Cale as if he was asking why Cale was saying such an obvious question.
The Empire had sworn loyalty to the White Star for a long time and worked with the Alchemists’ Bell Tower in order to periodically offer dead mana to the White Star.
And the White Star was someone with the sky attribute ancient power.
The pieces of the puzzle were slowly coming together.
Cale started to speak.
“I need to find out why the person with the sky attribute needs dead mana.”
‘My list of things to do has grown again.’
Cale lifted his head up.
He was now at a spot where the image ended and restarted with the same image of the Jungle from the entrance.
The final image was a map of the Western continent of ancient times.
He looked at all of the images on the ceiling.
‘…Why is it like this?’
Cale had a question after looking at these images.
That was why he was about to ask about it.
However, he could not finish his question.
Boom. Boom. Boom.
His heart started to run wild again.
Cale took a deep breath. His palm landed on the wall of the corridor. His heart settled down for a bit before running wild again.
Cale clenched the spot above his heart.
His heart, no, his entire body was reacting sensitively the farther he went into the temple.
He could hear the Fire of Destruction’s cold voice.
– Dead mana has been stored here for too long.
This was a dead mana storage facility that had not been touched since ancient times.
– We need to purify it as quickly as possible.
Cale moved his hand away from the wall and stood up straight once more.
He remembered what Bud had told him. It would take a while to get past this corridor.
‘I need to save the questions for later.’
‘Three days if it takes you a long time.’
That was what Bud had said, however, Cale needed to hurry. He had to think about the group that was waiting for him, as well as Eruhaben whose life was coming to an end.
The Sound of the Wind gathered at the tip of Cale’s feet again.
– My top’s whip is with the ancient artifact.
Cale’s body quickly shot forward.
Cale was moving without any hesitation as if he was being sucked into the dark corridor. The fire orb that Raon made for him was above his head lighting up the area.
* * *
After less than a day.
Cale reached the end of the dark corridor.
The corridor did not continue in a straight line.
It went at a diagonal at points, there were stairs, and it even went up and back down.
“Beacrox really does make delicious food.”
Cale didn’t need to sleep thanks to the Indestructible Shield and the Vitality of the Heart.
That was why he was able to reach the end of the corridor faster than the Mercenary King.
– …Looks delicious.
Cale ignored the glutton priestess and put a whole blueberry pie in his mouth.
He then walked out of the corridor.
‘Friend, the area with the altar will appear once you walk out of the corridor.’
Cale started to frown.
He could see the black altar.
He could see the jar with a crack on it on top of it.
‘Bring out the cracked jar. That is the ancient artifact.’
Cale had asked Bud a question after that.
‘Is it fine to just bring that jar out? Isn’t it an ancient artifact?’
The Mercenary King then continued in a serious tone.
‘You just need to return it within three days.’
Returning it was not the issue.
The problem was that this ancient artifact was an item with limited usage.
Needing to return it meant that it could not be destroyed.
‘…Does that mean Eruhaben-nim can’t break it when he uses it?’
Bud Illis had looked down.
‘The curse of the wind blades around Wind Island will chase after the person who took the artifact and destroyed it.’
One of the gatekeepers in the Mercenary King’s household had tried to steal the ancient artifact and run.
However, that gatekeeper was killed like the other corpses of Wind Island three days later. Even the gatekeeper’s family members were all killed except one person to continue the line. They were killed even though they were not at Wind Island.
The wind was said to have chased after them no matter where they were. As for the ancient artifact, it was swept up by a whirlwind and returned to its proper spot.
‘Nobody dared to desire that ancient artifact after that. Many gatekeepers never even went into the temple because they were afraid of the curse.’
They were worried that they might get greedy and try to run with the ancient artifact. They were also worried that they would use it to heal someone and the jar would reach its limit.
Many different fears prevented the gatekeepers from taking it.
‘But you were a gatekeeper who went in and used it?’
‘You’re right. I am a bit brave. Thanks to that, I was able to determine the approximate number of remaining times it could be used, as well as its limits. What do you think? Friend, don’t you think you’re going to lose this drinking bet?’
Cale erased the Mercenary King’s nonsense from his mind and reached out.
His hand landed on the cold black altar.
Cale then grabbed the jar with his other hand.
It was only the size of a small alcohol bottle.
Cale heard the thief’s voice at that moment.
– 3 Days, plus one day.
Cale picked up the jar.
There was a crack on the outside, but it was still fine.
– That is how long the dead mana that fills this black mountain can stand without exploding without the artifact.
Cale flinched at this story that he was hearing for the first time.
The reason they needed to return the artifact within three days was to prevent this black mountain from exploding like an erupting volcano.
It was the time they had to prevent dead mana from flowing out of this exploding black mountain.
– This ancient artifact is an artifact for healing, as well as to calm the dead mana.
Cale had a single response once the thief finished speaking.
“Son of a bitch.”
‘Why am I so unlucky?’
However, the corners of Cale’s lips were moving up.
He was not trying to heal a person, he was trying to restore a Dragon’s strength and extend his lifespan. It was bound to force the ancient artifact to use up a lot of strength.
– Create a fire over the ocean! Create a true sea of fire!
He ignored the excited comment of the cheapskate.
The hand on the altar started to move.
A large stone spear slammed into the black altar.
Dust filled the area along with the explosion.
The altar was destroyed.
There was no longer a place to put the jar.
The wind was roaring wildly outside the temple, but Cale did not know about it.
He just deactivated the silver shield that protected him from the debris before heading back toward the black altar.
– My top’s whip!
The thief’s excited voice could be heard.
The top’s whip was located at the center of the destroyed black altar.
This top’s whip was glowing gold.
He just needed to take this as well.
Cale looked at the top’s whip before starting to speak.
“By the way…”
He now had time to ask something he had been curious about.
“On the image located on the ceiling…”
The image on the ceiling had repeated itself many times as if to brainwash the person walking through.
One of the images had been a map of the Western continent. It was quite similar to the present day Western continent even though it was of ancient times.
Each of the areas on the map were expressed as different images.
The Jungle that had became the black ground, the North, and the fertile lands that were chosen by the person with the sky attribute.
Although it was ancient times, all of the images of the Western continent were displayed on it.
Cale had thought about something while looking at that.
“Why is the Roan Kingdom not there?”
The Northeast region of the Western continent was drawn on that map.
That was the current location of the Roan Kingdom.
However, there were no images of it on the ceiling.
Everything else, such as the Jungle and the North that were ignored by the person with the sky attribute, as well as the land that was chosen by him, were all depicted.
However, the Roan Kingdom was not marked by anything.