A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special - Chapter 233

 

A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special Novel


Chapter 233. A Subsurface War (10)



[-Warning. Less than 10% mana remaining. Defensive capabilities are significantly reduced.]




The warning tone of the Clothes Line rang out amidst the unpleasant heat.




Desir grimaced in pain.




His whole body ached. The worst of the pain came from his right arm, which had been mangled by Crow Mask’s spell. Various other side effects from fighting beyond his limit had started to manifest all over his body. His limbs, which had been reinforced with mana, were swollen red with ruptured muscle fibers. His mana circles throbbed painfully, threatening to break apart. The stab wounds left by Pierrot Mask were also not something that could be ignored.




‘It’s not over yet… ’




Desir looked around desperately. Flames continued to burn all over the place. They danced casting flickering shadows on his


surroundings.




He still had work to do.




They were underground. More specifically, they were in the place that Swan had revealed by sacrificing herself. He had to get some information from here before returning.




Desir felt as if he had entered the interior of a giant creature. Unidentifiable pipes ran the length of the room like an intricate network of blood vessels. There was a small tube at the end of the room where all of the other pipes terminated. Thousands of coffins were all filled with material that shed blue light. Mechanical equipment lined the walls and connected to both the pipelines as well as the coffins. Their structure cast ominous shadows. In comparison to what Desir had seen in Zod’s personal lab, he could only guess that this technology was centuries more advanced.




He squinted his eyes.




Mana seemed to gather in the smaller blue-colored tube at the end of the room.


‘Looks like a magic stone… ’




Magic Stones.




A byproduct from clearing a Shadow World. It was the only material able to store mana, and was also able to accumulate mana by itself. It was no exaggeration to say that magic stones were the root of modern magic civilization.




Desir looked around. Now that he had a chance to study his surroundings more closely, the number of magic stones he could see was unimaginable.




There were dozens of level two magic stones alone. Stones of this rarity would normally be treated as national treasures. There was even a level one magic stone, the likes of which were so rare, there were only five known to exist.




Considering the total amount of mana in these mana stones, if a spell were to be cast using all of it, it would be well beyond the Seventh-Circle.




Besides, this was not the only tower constructed in the


Kingdom of Divide. Recalling the intelligence he was handed from the Side Guard, there were several more towers like this one.




A chill ran down Desir’s spine.




‘I’ve forgotten something incredibly important.’




The most fundamental objective of the organization known as the Outsiders was to collect magic stones. The kingdoms had not been too bothered with the Outsiders stealing the occasional Shadow World and claiming the odd magic stone, as they figured they only did so to later sell them or power their magical tools.




This fundamental behavior of theirs had been the same in his previous life. It had also been brought to his attention as one of the first lectures he attended after returning. The Outsiders were always competing to collect magic stones.




Even Desir had written this behaviour off due to them being a valuable item to trade. But after seeing this room, he began to think that probably wasn’t the case.


If they were collecting magic stones for a purpose other than their value, this may be the reason behind Skull Mask joining the Outsiders. He must need a vast amount of magic stones for some nefarious purpose.




As the cogs turned in Desir’s pain-addled brain, he had another epiphany. He suddenly understood the strange distribution of magic stones he had seen recently within the Kingdom of Divide.




Skull Mask was not only using the Outsiders to collect magic stones, he had deployed the might of an entire kingdom into collecting them too.




‘It makes sense now. I wouldn’t have expected the Outsiders could have collected this many magic stones alone.’




The question was now about just what they were planning to use the magic stones on.




Magic stones were just a material for storing mana, like a battery.


‘But it’s strange that they did this simply to collect a massive amount of mana.’




Desir was quick to look through the facility for further clues.




Strangely enough, the surrounding scenery was familiar to him.




Desir soon realized why.




‘It’s laid out like that homunculus lab.’




Homunculi. Monsters that possess the ability to manipulate cause and effect.




They derived their monstrous power using an internal mana storage system like a human’s system of circles. However, the one key difference is that their bodies use a powerful mana stone at their core, aiding in the collection of mana and kick starting their circle creation.




Desir’s face creased into a frown.





‘There’s no way they’re producing this many homunculi, but what else could… ’




“The look on your face makes me think you’ve figured something out!”




Shortly after a somewhat relaxed voice interrupted his thoughts, swords crossed and sparks splashed everywhere.




Adjest blocked Pierrot Mask’s dagger, before stepping forward to push it back. Falling back without resistance, Pierrot Mask retreated. Though, it felt like a deliberate retreat more than a result of Adjest besting him.




As he landed lightly, he lifted the blade of his dagger revealing its sleekness. It was shiny with blood.




*Hahhhh*




Adjest took a deep breath. There were cuts all over her body.


Pierrot Mask spoke in a casual manner.




“As much as I love seeing blood, I hate having to damage such a valuable tool. It’d be a lot easier for both of us if you all put your weapons down and did what I asked!”




“That’s not gonna happen.”




“Well, I figured that would be the case. But soon enough you’ll be struggling and will gladly tell me everything you know.”




Pierrot Mask licked the blood on his blade with his tongue.




“Assassins specialize in torture. Good assassins can get information out of anyone.”




“That won’t be necessary.”




Someone strode out of the darkness.


The atmosphere sank incredibly heavily.




He wore a skull mask.




Desir had a stunned look on his face. The life in his eyes instantly dimmed, as if bemoaning the great tragedy that was about to unfold before him.




‘He showed up at a time like this… ’




Skull Mask’s red bloodshot eyes appeared to look down on everything before him. It was as if he could only see a collection of mere ants that had gathered before him.




The intimidating aura emanating from the Skull Mask in front of Desir was far greater than the one he had encountered in the Shadow World.




This Skull Mask’s voice was firm and his body was far larger. The previous Skull Mask had an aura of death lingering around him, like that of a dying tree. Desir could now feel the overwhelming vitality coming from him. He had a distinct presence about him that he just couldn’t place.





“… I didn’t know you’d come all the way here.”




Pierrot Mask had been talking leisurely so far, but he had clearly lost his nonchalant attitude in front of this other Outsider.




Skull Mask answered him without the courtesy of looking at him.




“There’s no reason not to come. I have uninvited guests running amok on the stage I’m preparing, so it seems I have to come myself to kick them out.”




He lifted a crow mask that had been laying on the floor. A piece of the half-broken mask fell down. Black debris scattered in the wind and landed at Desir’s feet. His eyes fell on the crumpled body of Icarus Quirgo.




“… Why haven’t you killed him, Desir Arman?”




“Because I have a lot to ask him.”




Desir responded as Skull Mask looked at the figure, which was barely recognizable as a body, joyfully.




“A fruitless endeavor. He doesn’t know anything important. You’d rather gain more useful information. At last, you’ve finally met me in person.”




Skull Mask spoke as if he were on familiar terms with Desir.




“Desir Arman, I have been keeping an eye on which Shadow Worlds you have cleared so far. I found several connected with me, both big and small. I will pay my due respect to you, who has come this far in pursuit of the traces I left in the past.”




‘Where did he get such information?’




These were matters only known by important figures within the Empire.




The intelligence of Skull Mask was a shock, even if Desir should not be surprised at the deep tendrils Skull Mask had


planted over the centuries he had been alive.




“There have been many beings like you, Desir. Countless beings have stood up to me over many hundreds of years. Most of them were not a threat to me, but there was someone who dealt me a major blow. He wielded that weapon over there.”




Skull Mask’s gaze turned to the sword held by Adjest.




The Center of Ice.




A sword left behind by a mysterious man as a countermeasure for a great disaster that would come one day.




“But in the end, no one has managed to stop my plan.”




Behind him, a dimensional tear appeared and a silvery object flew out.




It was the S-Tier artifact ‘Brionac’. A spear that could divide and was able to shoot beams of light at the wielder’s enemy.



“That is because the great Goddess Artemis is with me.”




“What?”




Desir had no choice but to panic.




Goddess Artemis. The deity of the Church of Artemis, a religion that is spread across the continent, and consequently a being worshipped by more than half of the population.




‘Why is that name coming out now?’




“Everyone has his or her ideals. Crow Mask, whom you knocked down, had one and so do I. Countless ideals exist in this world.”




He spoke fanatically, as if captivated by his own words and voice.




“But not all of them go down the right path. That’s how history goes after all. The world is filled with uncertainty, filled


with incredibly intense malice and confusion.”




Skull Mask talked as if he had personally witnessed the entirety of human history.




Desir was rooted to the spot, momentarily overwhelmed with an emotion akin to panic. That was because the one thought he couldn’t push out of his mind was that maybe Skull Mask really had witnessed it all.




They already knew that the Skull Mask in front of them had lived for hundreds of years, so it was certainly possible that he had existed for an even longer period of time.




“A true ideal was condemned and suppressed. A better solution to a problem was put to death. A better history existed. For example, Crow Mask in front of you might have been the right direction for humankind. I, and the Goddess, call that the ‘appropriate future’.”




Desir murmured ever so softly.




“A great possibility that might have been.”





It was a message Desir had once heard after clearing a Shadow World.




Desir was confused and thought it might have meant that the Shadow World was showing a ‘possibility’.




The light diffused from Brionac and swept towards them. Taking a stand against him, Adjest lifted her Center of Ice in retaliation. She challenged both his attack and his words.




“Who’s going to decide that ‘appropriate future’ for us? Are you saying you’re the one judging us?”




“Don’t you know yet, stupid bitch?”




Skull Mask looked up at the sky.




“Tell me, have you ever considered the nature of the Shadow Worlds? All this time, you’ve been following their commands, changing those worlds to have a different future. You’ve been ‘righting the wrongs’ of the past, have you not? Have you ever


wondered what determined the ‘correct course of action’ in these world-changing events? Why do humans have to reach the ‘correct future’ in these worlds?”




“No way… !”




“The Shadow Worlds are a cross-section of a truly correct world, one that follows the appropriate future. They are the result of Goddess Artemis’s divine judgement.”






==========================
==========================
Previous Post Next Post