Chapter 69 – Blood Relatives (2)

Chapter 69 – Blood Relatives (2)

After hearing the report, Aiyen frowned.

” ……You mean she’s still out there?”

For the past two years, Morg Camus had been steadily searching all over the surface of the water.

In the name of exterminating barbarians and searching for lands, no one knows what her true purpose is.

Except for one person. Aiyen.


I didn’t have to ask, I could relate to her purpose.

She’s looking for a man who disappeared two years ago.


Aiyen remembered the first time he’d met Vikir.

The little boy who had saved her from dying in a cage. She hadn’t forgotten his face since then.

But when she saw him again, he had another woman in his arms.

The woman in his arms was Camus, and she had not forgotten the boy and had come back to this dreadful watery place.

He was determined to find him alive, or at least to retrieve his corpse.

She searches for Vikir with a strand of hope, an expectation she can’t let go of, and an unfulfilled lament.

Her persistence and determination over the course of two years is something that makes Aiyen’s tongue curl.

“If you came for the rubies, you should go back for the rubies. You’re a pain in the ass.”

Aiyen crossed his arms and was silent for a moment.

He was trying to decide if he should tell Vikir this story or not.

* * *

In the jungle. Aiyen retraced Vikir’s steps.

She soon found him ahead of her, stalking his prey.

Aiyen rode up to Vikir on the back of the wolf Bakira.

Bikir was measuring the depth of the muddy marks.

“Mushuhushu, the water snake. It’s a very old and large one. If we catch it, it will feed the entire village for at least three days.”

Vikir knew his prey’s size, weight, direction of travel, location, age, health, and even its current mood.

All of this he had learned from the hunters of Balak.


Aiyen stared at Vikir in disbelief.

Vikir had changed a lot in the past two years.

He still had his cute face, but his aura was much more commanding.

Two years ago, he could still pretend to do anything by himself, but now he was more experienced than ever.

As such, the boy was definitely becoming a man.

‘Indeed, the woman of Morg is unforgettable. What a man he is.

Aiyen nodded.

As the next leader of the hostile faction, but a woman before that, she could sympathize with her sentiments.

Aiyen opened her mouth to speak.

She didn’t know why, but there was a slight tremor at the end of her voice.

“…… Look, slave.”

She hadn’t stopped calling Vikir that even after he’d been shaved.

Vikir didn’t particularly care, so he answered without looking back.


Aiyen asked, after a slight hesitation.

“What was it like where you came from?”


Vikir was silent for a moment at Aiyen’s question.

Where I used to live.

Did he mean Baskerville, or the world before the regression?

Vikir answered by blurring the two places together.


Aiyen scratched her head at that answer.

Then she asked what she really wanted to ask.

“Do you want to go back to where you came from?”


At that, Vikir paused and looked back.

At this point, Bikir did a small flinch.

“Why do you ask that, and with such a strange look on your face?”

Aiyen felt a little embarrassed, not knowing what expression she was making.

In fact, even at this moment, she was hesitating.

Should she tell the story or not? Should she tell him that the Morgans were looking for Vikir?

She hesitated, then closed her eyes tightly.

She swallowed hard and said.

“I don’t want to lie or hide anything.”


“‘She’ is looking for you.”

I said it, finally.

Aiyen balled her fists into tight knots.

Hiding things, lying, and being watched were usually her least favorite things.

And even more so, she didn’t want to do it to Vikir.

As she spoke the words out loud, Aiyen felt a mixture of relief and frustration.

What if Vikir told her he was going to leave her? Should he do it by the tribe’s laws? Was it even possible?

Thoughts raced through his mind.


Vikir’s answer came back.

“I’m not going back.”

A short answer. With those words, Aiyen felt the power that had been so tightly woven into his body suddenly loosen.

A warm glow filled every inch of his body as the energy drained away.

“……You, really?”


Vikir nodded.

Why would he go back?

If he went back, he would have fully regained his former powers.

At the very least, it would have to be when he could hide his powers perfectly from Hugo’s notice.

“……And who is she?

Vikir frowned for a moment.

Was he referring to Morg’s Camus?

If so, he should be grateful. She still remembers the grace that saved her life.

‘She’s more loyal than I thought. Or is this some sort of diplomatic gesture?’

Vikir closed his eyes and thought about it.

If the Morg were looking for her, it meant they were still within Baskerville’s territory.

If the Baskervilles were willing to allow Morg’s search party to enter the depths, it would mean that he had not yet been forgotten by his current family.

Furthermore, the alliance between Morg and Baskerville would have been strengthened.

Perhaps that’s why they have an annual event where they find themselves, formally or otherwise.

He could sense that the situation outside was complicated and tense.

Sooner or later, Vikir thought, he would have to sneak out of the depths.

Just then, Aiyen spoke up, her voice sounding much lighter.

“Oh, by the way. I have something else for you.”

She pulled an object from her bosom.

It was the dagger left behind by the mysterious intruders mentioned in the last report.

“Do you know anything about this sigil?”

It was a dagger with a sigil, large snake on it.

Bikir’s eyes narrowed at the sight of it.

“I know of it. It’s a famous mark.”

It was the emblem of a certain family in the Empire.

“Leviathan, the Extremist.”

One of the seven great houses of the Empire, alongside the Ironblades of Baskerville, the Mages of Morg, the Quavadis of Faith, the Bourgeois of Tycoon, and others.

But why would it be found here in the depths at this time of year?

Vikir’s head began to spin rapidly.

“Do you mind if I keep this?”

“Well, do as you please.”

Aiyen nodded readily.

Vikir took the dagger with the snake on it.

Just then.

[gurgling…… gurgling!]

An unpleasant cry came from somewhere.

Vikir and Aiyen turned to find themselves in a muddy mangrove forest.

A large mass was crawling through the gnarled roots.

A lungfish, a fish that breathed with two lungs.

It crawled through the mud, its smooth, scale-free body oozing sticky mucus.

It was a fish that wasn’t even considered food because of its enormous size, over eight meters long, unpleasant appearance, and cries.

Aiyen frowned in disgust.

“It’s definitely the rainy season, with all those things running around.”

“If there are big ones around, it must mean…… that this rainy season is long.”

Vikir nodded in agreement.

The muddy ground bore the unmistakable tracks of giant lungfish.

Aiyen pointed to a rotting, fallen tree.

Dozens of meters up in the air, the tree’s rungs hung with dried aquatic vegetation.

“Last year, during the rainy season, the water was up there.”

“It might be higher this time.”

When it rains, the water rises unimaginably fast.

The lungfish know this and crawl out from under the mud in advance.

The moment.


The eagle-eyed Aiyen had spotted something.

He could see something sticking out of the body of the giant lungfish he had just crawled over.

It was a harpoon.

“‘Look at that?”

Aiyen moved immediately.

She shot an arrow through its head, killing it, and then drew a knife and sliced open its stomach.

A half-digested human figure emerged from its stomach.

Aiyen’s expression hardened.

“They’re Rococo.”

Brave men who live on the blood and milk of bears.

They were rivals to the Balak and the second most powerful tribe on the depths.

They had a cannibalistic culture, and every tribe in the jungle feared them.

Except for the Balak.

Bikir spoke bluntly.

“Does the fact that they have entered Balak’s territory mean…… war?”

“Well, I don’t think so.”

Aiyen glanced at the harpoon embedded in the lungfish’s body.

The harpoon hadn’t been driven in from the outside, but had protruded from the inside out.

In other words, the Rococo hunter wasn’t trying to hunt the lungfish, but the lungfish was trying to hunt the rococo hunter.

As it swallowed the hunter, the harpoon the hunter was holding pierced the lungfish’s stomach wall and protruded outside its body.

But one question remains.

Lungfish are big, but they’re also skinny and slow, so they couldn’t have eaten Rococo’s seasoned hunter.

Moreover, the condition of the skeleton suggested that the hunter was a young man, perhaps just entering his twenties.

Aiyen set her jaw.

“I wonder, why was this guy eaten by a lungfish? Lungfish are basically stupid beasts that pick up dead things and eat them.”

“He must have been weak enough to be eaten by a lungfish.”

“What kind of creature goes out hunting when it’s that weak?”

Aiyen’s questions were valid.

Vikir had a short answer.

“Only if the tribe’s situation is so bad that a man that weak needs to go hunting.”

It could be a stretch.

It could be that the hunter was simply weakened by external factors at the wrong time.

But the skeleton didn’t show any signs of trauma.

Nail scratches on the inside of its esophagus and stomach wall suggest that it had struggled, but with very little force.

“I don’t feel right.”

Aiyen instinctively sensed something was wrong.

Vikir and Aiyen began to search the area.

Given the extent to which the body had been digested, and the speed at which lungfish travel, there should still be traces of it around.

Soon, they began to find traces of the hunter’s life.

When he was alive, he had moved around with an unsteady step.

He had no idea that this was Balak’s territory, only that he was moving about in a frenzy of activity.

There were signs that he was searching for a small, weak beast, or perhaps a tree fruit.

This was a stark contrast to the normally valiant Rococo hunters, who usually hunted large beasts.

What could have turned the Rococo’s belligerent hunters into this?

Vikir and Aiyen continued to retrace their steps.

Eventually, they approached Rokoko’s territory.


They both spotted something.

Several of Rokoko’s hunters were gathered in a simple campsite.

With ancient dark elf blood in their veins, every member of their tribe is known for their beauty.

They are skilled in black magic, witchcraft, curses, and command, and their uncanny beauty gives them a unique and sinister aura.

As a result, they were an unusually vulnerable tribe to slave hunting.

But it wasn’t their appearance or aura that struck Vikir and Aiyen.

……It was the fact that all of the Rococo hunters were dead.