Ardis spread his mana and confirmed Kyrill’s position. Although it wasn’t long since Kyrill left, there’s already a demonic being presence is around him.
「It’s a Whips huh. 」
If it’s demonic beings of the Corsas Forest, then Whips is one of the most famous species. Although they are in the category of demonic beings that are less hostile, but they still wouldn’t show mercy to anyone who ventures in its territory. A young boy like Kyrill, he would lose his life way before he could even take a single breath.
Ardis hastened his pace and chased after Kyrill. Although the dense trees of the forest are obstructing Ardis’s path, it’s no match for Ardis who is running seriously. Ardis caught up within a single minute.
「Wait, Kyrill. 」
Fortunately, Ardis caught up with Kyrill before he had encountered the Whips.
「Ardis-san? Why? 」
「If I left you just like that, it’ll cause me nightmares. Since I was coincidentally trying these guys out, I will tag along until we return to the capital. 」
While explaining so, Ardis drew 『Moon’s Blizzard』 and threw it into the shrubberies. Just as the moment Kyrill had doubts about what Ardis was doing, an ear shattering sound resounded.
It was the ends of a Whips.
Although it’s a little difficult to control his short swords at somewhere he can’t see, there’s not much problem because of the size of a Whips’ body. Ardis had no need to be precise as he just roughly sliced up the large torso. After all, Ardis had confirmed that there’s no human-sized mana nearby.
「W-What was that!? 」
Kyrill was scared at the abnormal sound.
「Since there was a demonic being trying to approach. I dealt the first blow. 」
「Eh? Demonic being!? 」
The young boy’s shoulder spiked, and he looked around anxiously.
「Don’t worry. It’s already dealt with. 」
「Eh? Dealt with……? 」
「Don’t mind it. Let’s go. 」
「Eh? Ehh? Eeeh? 」
While leaving behind unrealistic words, Ardis continued into the forest.
「You know where the ruins is at right? Let’s go quickly, take the sword and return. It isn’t good to stay here long. 」
As if agreeing to Ardis’s words, the sounds of beasts arrived at the young boy after being carried by the winds.
「Hii―! W-Wait please! 」
Kyrill’s shoulders started to tremble as he chased after Ardis panickily.
Three hours of wandering in the forest after that. The both finally arrived at the destination ruins.
「There it is! It’s here, Ardis-san! 」
Kyrill’s voice was filled with joy.
What was in front of Ardis and Kyrill was a building reminiscing of an old church. It was about the size of a small two-story inn. The stone walls of the building, was it weathered by the passage of time and collapsed, or destroyed by the hands of people, more than half of the walls had turned into rubble of different sizes.
Even the building is covered with vines, and the huge roots of the trees were as if squeezing the walls.
「It was as I heard it. The sword is in the ruins……」
At Kyrill’s words from his smiling face that don’t have a sliver of his fatigue of walking just now, Ardis furrowed his brows and muttered.
Certainly, they are currently deep in the Corsas Forest. The danger zone of Whips’ territory. It’s a place where normal mercenaries would die within a single hour after stepping inside.
But, it was a place definitely possible for experienced mercenaries to investigate while avoiding encounters with enemies.
Of course it’s the case with Ted and the entire party of 『Bright Stars of White Night』, but it seems that Clente and the others, the escorts of the peddler Michelle had the ability to do so as well.
Of course, it’s under the presumptions that they had prepared meticulously and proceeded carefully, but it’s definitely not impossible.
Considering the location, the building was completely out of place. Also, Ardis couldn’t rule out the possibility that other mercenaries or treasure hunter had discovered this place before.
「Well, it’ll be clear once we enter. 」
Certainly, this place is different than other places. Ardis had felt that in his guts.
Along the way, they have been chased by demonic beings countless times. Although it might not be obvious to Kyrill since the demonic beings were all dealt with before he ever sees them, Ardis had finished off more than twenty demonic beings.
But, the closer they got to the ruins, it became evident that less demonic beings appeared. Now that they’ve reached the ruins, there wasn’t even a single demonic being in Ardis’s detection range. There’s probably some kind of reason that demonic beings are specifically avoiding this spot.
「There’s no knowing what kind of danger there is here. Don’t ever go in front unless I say so. 」
「Eh? Ah, yes. 」
「Follow exactly my steps behind. There might be traps after all. 」
Ideally, Ardis should check the ruins for any dangerous elements first but, it’s not like he can leave Kyrill here in the dangerous Corsas Forest by himself as he does that. Even if there’s nothing as far as his detection reaches, he couldn’t leave Kyrill behind where his sight doesn’t reach.
Ardis carefully threaded into the building. Although it seemed like there was a door here before, now it’s just a huge gaping hole. The arch that remained seemed to emphasize the existence of a huge door that stood in its place in the past.
Although he had warned Kyrill about the possibilities of traps, it’s not like having traps here have any meaning after all. Even if there were indeed traps around, it’s doubtful that if they even work anymore in this state.
There were no signs of partitions inside the building. The roof is high, and there were no signs of any walls that separates the rooms. The whole building is just a large room.
It seems like directly opposite of the entrance, its floor slowly raises as it goes deeper. And a pedestal-looking chunk of rock is at the middle. There wasn’t anything from the entrance till the pedestal rock. There were only rubble left and right and a straight path to the pedestal from the entrance.
「A church? Could it have been that? 」
Behind Ardis’s back, Kyrill muttered as if he realized something.
「……Might be. 」
Just like what Kyrill said, the style of the building is similar to the churches in the town. But at the same time, the location of the windows and the pedestal are different.
It could be that churches in the past had such an interior. And styles of churches had undergone changes in the passage of time, one things that’s sure is that the style here is not of any country’s in this time.
Ardis kept his guard up as he continued walking forward slowly while Kyrill followed behind.
「This……, there’s nothing though? 」
Ardis turned the sceneries he saw into words. From what he can see, there are only countless rubble and the half-collapsed walls and roof. There wasn’t signs of anything valuable.
「Eh? T-thats not supposed……」
Although Kyrill seemed to deny Ardis’s words at first, his voice faded off into nothingness. Since the only thing that was reflected in Kyrill eyes are rubble after all, it was unimaginable for any treasure to be here.
「Are you really sure it’s here? 」
「Yes, there’s no way it’s wrong. Even the appearance of the building, it’s just as I heard. 」
Regarding that, Kyrill said with confidence.
「So? Where’s the sword at? 」
「I don’t know」
Ardis’s eyes became round.
「Wait a minute. Didn’t you say you came here to retrieve the sword? 」
「Yes, that’s the case. 」
「But, you’re saying that you don’t know where the most important sword in question is at? 」
「Uuu……, I-I mean, Marrieda-san said that 『You’ll know when you see it』……」
It seems that this Marrieda is the one who told Kyrill about the sword. Being told you’ll know when you see it, and coming here all the way without even knowing where it’s at, it’s quite a reckless story.
But, it couldn’t be helped considering Kyrill’s position. For Kyrill, it’s his last hope to save his sister. Even if the requestor’s story is suspicious, he couldn’t have rejected the helping hand.
「You’ll know if you see, huh……」
Ardis had a troubled expression as he looked across the entire room once again.
「If it has any mana in it, then it should have a reaction right? 」
It’s a sword specifically wanted by a merchant, it should be something valuable that has mana residing in it. Thus, Ardis used mana detection to search the surrounding.
There was an unnatural feeling as if mana was leaking out from something suppressing it. If Ardis didn’t pay attention to it, it would’ve gone unnoticeable, it was really a tiny amount of leakage.
「……There’s something? Aah, there’s an underground space below. 」
The mana reaction came from below their feet.
「The problem is……, where’s the entrance to that. 」
Ardis said so after looking around at the piles of rubble on the ground.
「Well, there’s no choice but to search the entire place for it huh. 」
As such, Ardis and Kyrill started the search for the entrance to the underground.
By the time they found the entrance to underground under a pile of heavy rubble, even Ardis had a fatigued face. Of all places, the entrance was under the largest pile of rubble.
Kyrill tried to help out by clearing out the rubble but, he couldn’t lift anything since he’s still a young child. If it’s just clearing out the rubble, then Ardis has numerous ways to deal with it but, it’ll just ruin everything if his methods destroyed the entrance. In the end, Ardis could only take the roundabout way of moving the rubble slowly.
「So there was an underground passage in this place……」
Looking at the entrance to the underground passage, Kyrill spoke his thoughts.
「I would’ve never realized if I was here by myself. Even if I knew, I couldn’t have done anything about the rubble. 」
It was really great to have met Ardis by chance, as Kyrill smiled brightly.
On the other hand, Ardis had a strange expression looking at the entrance. That’s not because that the entrance is sealed with a strong steel hatch, nor the hatch was locked up. It was because that the keyholes of the hatch seemed like they were just put on forcibly after the hatch is constructed.
On top of that, the numbers of keyhole aren’t normal. From just a glance, there’s eight different keyholes on the hatch. Even if they intended to lock it securely, surely there’s a better way than doing it like that.
If they are going to stop people going into it, then wouldn’t it be better to conceal the hatch better in the first place. With this kind of locks, it seemed like its purpose was to only extend the time needed to unlock it.
Contrary to Kyrill’s happy face, Ardis continued to break off the locks on the hatch one by one expressionlessly. Thanks to their age, the locks crumbled after receiving an impact from Ardis.
Breaking the locks, as Ardis opened the metal hatch, there was a staircase down just wide enough for a single person to pass through. The stair looked to be quite deep, as Ardis’s illumination magic wasn’t able to reach the end.
「There’s sure to be the sword here! 」
Looking at the staircase that continued underground, Kyrill’s excited voice echoed inside. On the other hand, Ardis’s eyes were on the walls of the passage after the hatch. The walls that looked to be pure black in soot, and the broken handle of the hatch. Rather than being broken, it looked more like someone tried to forcibly pry it open.
「Ardis-san, let’s go! 」
Without showing his complicated expression, Ardis nodded at Kyrill. Together with Kyrill who seemed like he would rush down in excitement, Ardis took the first step into the staircase.