Chapter 51. Hermes (6)
It was only after about two hours that the situation changed. At that time, father and I were roasting some pork belly over a hot grill. Although the soldiers on the battlefield looked and acted like humans, after we realized they were monsters created by the dungeon, we stopped caring whether they killed or partied with each other.
"Father, why do you have pork belly in your inventory? Nom, nom."
"Gulp. Don't you know? If you put meat in your inventory, it'll be fresher than if you stored it in the most high-tech refrigerator! You can store it right after you cut it for maximum freshness!"
"Ah, I've tested that before too!"
I used the same principle when I bought Yua a hamburger. I see, so that's why father carried around meat in his inventory! Although I frequently ate my meals in the dungeon, I had never thought to bring meat. As expected of a dungeon explorer of 27 years! So he didn't just hunt orcs for 20 years!
"Here, have a drink."
"Oh, I should really be the one to fill your glass."
After exchanging some soju, we joked around as we talked. Suddenly, however, I felt a gaze on me.
"Father, did you notice that?"
"Eh? Notice what?"
I've thought this for a while, but father really did have weaker senses than me. I asked Peika who was sitting on my head drinking drops of alcohol from her mini elemental-sized cup.
"Peika, can you go survey the area?"
[Hmnya? Master, what's a sumvay?]
'That's not even a word...' I realized Peika was immobilized. I didn't know that elementals were weak to alcohol. It was my mistake. I had fallen for Peika's cute plea of asking me for a juice she'd never seen before!
While I was distracted by Peika's drunk appearance, the gaze watching us had disappeared. It seemed father had finally noticed something as he was looking around, but it was too late.
"Hm, was it the zombie?"
"Maybe it was an wild animal that wanted some meat."
[Masteeeer! What's a sumvay!?]
Of course, I didn't think it was nothing. Even so, there was nothing we could do now except continue eating meat. As such, I decided to just let things be. Also, Peika, sumvay isn't a word!
The twilight had passed and night time approached.
Father was the first to sleep, and I stood guard. After three hours, father got up and I slept. When I got up after three hours of sleep, it was still middle of the night. Under the dark, starless night sky, only a pale moon was lighting up the world.
It seemed the soldiers didn't want to fight at night, as both sides had returned to their camps. However, the corpses of the dead soldiers were still on the battlefield. The nose-piercing stench of blood had permeated the battlefield and was even reaching where I was.
"It looks like those corpses will rise."
"Of course. Where else would zombies come from?"
Keeping our eyes on the cruel battlefield, we snacked on some instant ramen. I realized that partying with father kept making me eat things. Usually, people ate less as they aged, but father always had something in his mouth, saying that a martial artist must eat well. With this habit following him into the dungeon, his inventory was most likely filled with food.
Once I started focusing on the dungeon, I didn't like to eat anything before I cleared a floor. As such, it was a bit hard to match father's style. Peika, on the other hand, seemed to like ramen noodles, as she happily ate the ramen one noodle strand at a time.
[This is yummy. It doesn't exist in the Spirit Realm.]
[Master, I love you!]
When I patted Peika on the head as she slurped more ramen noodles, father interrupted.
"What have you been talking to since a while ago?"
"I told you, I became an Elementalist."
"Can I adopt one too?"
"Elementals aren't pets."
"Ah, three got up."
"Don't count elementals like... what?"
"Three got up."
I turned to face the battlefield. Under the moonlight, the once dead were rising. We could notice because of our heightened senses from level ups. It would take a while before each camp found out.
Father asked, "What do you want to do?"
"Hunt them, of course. I hate being backstabbed... so!" Answering father, I threw my spear into the darkness. I didn't have enough time to use Spirit Aura, but Heroic Strike was still activated. With its radiant white light, it flew through the air like lightning. It was much faster than before. I was surprised as I did not know the 15 percent speed increase applied to thrown weapons.
[You obtained 1,500 gold.]
"Those guys found out!"
"Kill them before they kill us!"
Immediately afterwards, I pointed my hands toward where the voices came from and ordered Peika.
"It's already too late! Peika!"
After gulping down the ramen noodle in her mouth, Peika shouted as she shone with a golden light. A bolt of lightning as thick as my arm shot out from her body, lighting up the darkness.
"Kuk, the shield magic got broken!"
"An elemental? Who are they!?"
Immediately after I called Peika, I grabbed the Silver Spear from my inventory and charged forward. Thanks to Dash, my running speed was incomparably faster than before. My aim was the crowd in the distance whom I suspected were the ones responsible for making the zombies.
Father and I had both noticed them at the same time we noticed the zombies. There were five... no, four of them, since one of them had already died. They all had black hoods draped over their heads and were carrying small wooden staves. They were the extremely small kind that magicians would carry around to hide their identity. With all the clues in front of me, I figured they were black magicians.
"S-Shield isn't enough to stop him!"
"Damn it, r-run!"
"We should have been under stealth magic!"
They might have been able to deal with us if they immediately used magic, but instead, they panicked and hesitated. It could just be that their chants were too long or that they didn't have the materials needed to cast magic. However, that was none of my business.
"W-Wait! Even if you kill us, you can't stop what's happening!"
One of them shouted in a high-pitched voice. It was a woman. However, since I had already decided to kill them, their sex did not matter. They were monsters. They were monsters.
Right. They were monsters.
"If we don't kill you, what are you going to do to us?"
"Of course we'd kill-"
[Kukuku, owner of a strong power calls me.]
[Destruction. Flowing blood amidst ear-splitting screams. That is what I want.]
[He tore apart the black magicians. He's just my type!]
Because of the place I was in, the elementals coming to assist me were all dark. Hopefully, they wouldn't be weaker because of it. My spear was shining with black light from the elementals. I thrust forward, and a storm swept through the entire area.
"Darkness Arrow! Kuaaaak!"
Elemental Tempest was a skill that gravely injured even the Floor Masters. Some random magicians couldn't possibly block it. Three of the black magicians failed in their attempts to block Elemental Tempest and were instantly torn to shreds. Although it was only for a moment, my eyes caught sight of a rather gruesome scene.
Damn it. I had used Elemental Tempest to kill them quickly, but I ended up seeing something unsightly. It was a good thing that the monsters that died in the dungeon disappeared into thin air, only leaving behind their loot and not their remains.
"Kuhak! Haa, haa... damn it, so strong...!"
Coincidentally, the black magician, who had talked to briefly, was the only one who managed to escape the range of Elemental Tempest. It seemed she gave up trying to block it with magic and instead gave her all in using her legs to run. Even so, she could not completely dodge it. Her hood was ripped apart and her back was severely injured. Coughing up a mouthful of blood, she opened her mouth with great difficulty.
"Cough, Odd Winged Ravens' dream won't end in a place like this...!"
"Odd Winged Ravens?"
"T-That's right. From this war, we will make the world know of our exist..."
"Ah, okay. Well, goodbye."
I cut off her head with my spear. I just had to beat the Event Dungeon. I didn't really care about the detailed lore. As if to prove she was a monster created by the dungeon, she became particles of light and scattered into the air.
[You obtained 2,000 gold.]
[You obtained Odd Winged Ravens' Journal.]
[You succeeded in sweeping the mastermind! Points will be added to your final clear score.]
I picked up my Black Earthen Spear as I spit on the ground. Nauseating things were nauseating no matter what I told myself.
"I feel disgusted."
"That's normal. They talked like humans too."
"But they're monsters, right?"
"Yes, they're monsters. So don't worry about it, son."
I felt much better with father's reassurance. Although I didn't expect much from him before entering the dungeon, I was thankful now that he was here. He truly was reliable.
I didn't say my thoughts out loud. Between a father and son, it wasn't necessary.
I had also realized something important. Event Dungeons were cleared when their boss monsters were killed. However, we received a message saying that points were added to our final clear score. In other words, the Event Dungeons' clearing process was also important.
I wondered if it would have been even higher if we went wild in the battlefield. However, I stopped thinking about it, as it was too late.
Instead, I opened Odd Winged Ravens' Journal. It showed how much they hated their countries, the things they had done and what they planned to do in the future. I skimmed through most of the information and looked for the part that helped explain the current situation. With luck, I thought I might find a way to further increase the final clear score.
Yes, it was there.
"There's only one thing left to do then. Huk!"
At the same time I tried to change the subject to alleviate the morbid mood, I turned my head to the battlefield and couldn't help but gasp seeing the zombies getting up one by one. Both armies had realized what was happening, but the number of zombies was increasing too quickly for them to properly respond. In the end, the commanding officers of both armies had led their soldiers into a night battle.
"Those bastards used black magic on our comrades in arm!'
"Kill them! Let our comrades rest in peace!"
"Oh no, it's too late."
The magicians swept the zombies with a large-scale magic, and the foot soldiers began to fight afterwards. What were they thinking? Unless they were like me or father, they would become zombies the moment zombies even scratched them! The commanding generals who would send their soldiers out to battle in a situation like this couldn't be sane.
It turned out, the commanding officers really weren't sane.
After reading the journal a bit more, I found out that the black magicians had not used black magic on just the corpses. They had already made their moves on the commanding generals. Being able to affect the higher ups of both countries meant there were spies infiltrating both governments. Surprisingly, this Odd Winged Ravens might be a pretty large organization.
Of course, I didn't really care about all this. I simply wondered if stopping their plans would net me more final clear score, but it seemed it was too late.
The soldiers were fighting each other, and zombies interrupted and bit them. Slowly, the number of zombies on the battlefield was growing. I trembled as I watched what was taking place on the battlefield. What I was witnessing was surely worthy of making me feel fear. However, a fear-shattering voice then reached my ears.
"When is the giant zombie going to appear?"
"Father, I really respect this side of you."
Father was stretching his legs like he was unhappy he missed the chance to fight the black magicians. He was almost like a puppy waiting for someone to say 'catch!' My tension died along with it.
"Wow, what are they, cockroaches? They sure are multiplying fast."
"They're seriously creepy. I feel like there are bugs crawling all over me."
In the blink of an eye, the zombies were overwhelming the humans. The knights who knew how to wield mana and the magicians seemed to have noticed something was wrong, as they had long since escaped the battlefield or had returned to complain to the higher-ups. However, the zombies were rising from their camps as well.
Realizing that the commanding officers became zombies who could only make groaning noises, the knights and magicians blasted their mana and slaughtered the zombies. The problem was that there were just too many zombies. In the end, most of them ran away after realizing the situation they were in. Now, only ordinary soldiers were left on the battlefield. They were simply food for the zombies. By now, there were more than 100,000 of them. When I was feeling nervous about the sheer number of zombies, father spoke up.
"Let's see. Every two or so drop an average of 70 gold, so that's 35 gold per zombie. Since there's two of us, I divide that by two... which means 17 gold per zombie. So if I kill them all, that's 1.7 million gold. That's 340 million won! That's an expensive necklace for wife and even solves Yua's marriage fund. Ooooh, son! This place is a gold mine!"
"That's what you're thinking of in this situation, father!?"
I cancel what I said about him being reliable! This person didn't have a moral dilemma in the first place!