Chapter 13 – The Battle.

The Battle.

We advanced in silence, slowly and cautiously.

Passing a statue of unknown meaning, we entered a white building and were greeted by a pure white hallway. But the hallway was shrouded in darkness, and as soon as Carmen lighted the torch she had brought with her, a blue glow illuminated the hallway as if to mock her.

Carmen looked back at us and smiled awkwardly.

“Let’s go inside, since we’re not even going to bother shutting them off, you never know when they’re going to go out, just like those lights came out of nowhere.”

I held out my hand toward Carmen.

“I’ll carry the torch, then, since I have a free hand, and my weapons are all one-handed anyway.”

The bow was the only one of Carmen’s weapons that required two hands to wield, so it made sense for me to carry the torch.

Carmen bowed slightly to show her appreciation and handed the torch to me. We walked down a stark white hallway, bathed in blue light, and were greeted by a massive door. In the center of the door was an intricate inscription. There were a lot of different modifiers, but in short, it meant something very simple.

– Prove that you have imperial blood running through your veins.

This was a relic of ancient imperial blood, and if I could prove it, I could take it all for free.

It was no secret that I could read ancient languages, so Tonissa stepped forward, her eyes scanning the words on the door, then turned to Carmen.

“Blood. Without the blood of the ancient imperial family, I think we’ll have to prepare for battle.”

There were only four of us, and there was a chance we might be overwhelmed by the number of enemies that would emerge from such well-preserved ruins. We all looked at Carmen.

She was the leader and employer of this party, and it was entirely within her power to decide whether to back out and get more people, or to push on for now.

Carmen stared at the door in silence, then slowly spoke.

“It doesn’t say any other way, does it?”

“No. But personally, I think you should try it, since you’ll be able to get away with the ‘key’ when you leave.”

Tonissa, whose silence up to this point was simply because she didn’t have to say it, spoke in a very un-mage-like manner, and Sukus, who was standing next to her, nodded in agreement.

“I think so, too.”

When Sukus finished, Carmen’s gaze shifted to me. She was asking for my opinion. I smiled quietly and replied.

“Since I’m here, I might as well take a look.”

Carmen smirked at us.

“After all, we’re all here for something, so let’s be as careful as we can. After all, treasures and big-hearted women belong to the brave, Sucus. Open the door, and I’ll cover you.”


As Sukus, the most heavily armored of us, pushed the door open, Carmen drew the bow from her back and nocked an arrow in protest. The bowstring pulled stiffly, ready to release an arrow at any moment.


It snapped.

Sukus pushed, and the massive doors slowly slid open. I drew my frost steel sword from my belt and stood behind Sukus.


The giant doors finally swung open, lighting up the darkened plaza with an ominous red glow. Sukus quickly picked up his shield and axe from where he’d dropped them, ready for battle.

We stood still, waiting for something to leap out at us, but nothing appeared in the large red light-filled square.

Quickly scanning the area, Carmen returned her bowstring to its original position and gestured with one hand. Let’s go inside. With Sukus leading the way, we moved slowly forward.

Our footsteps echoed in the stifling silence.

There were only two ways into the great square: the door we had entered through, and the black gate at the far end of the square.

The change occurred when we reached the center of the square. Carmen, who had sensed the change, spoke up.

“Tonissa. Prepare to use the ‘key’ just in case.”


The door we’d come through slammed shut on its own. The black door on the other side slowly rose, revealing the guardians of these ruins.

Saccharine leather-clad bodies, and pure white metallic armor covering them. The Guardians were bipedal monsters about the size of humans, halfway between life and machine.

There were about ten of them, maybe eleven.

Fortunately, they were all armed with swords and shields, and none appeared to be ranged.

“Tonissa! Spell!”

Carmen shouted, firing an arrow, which flew at high speed, pierced through the black leather and lodged in the Guardian’s neck. As one guardian fell, it signaled the others, who began to run toward us in unison.

With a muttered curse from Tonissa, a huge boulder shot out of the ground and slammed into another Guardian. Its arm crushed, it flew like a sheet of paper, scattering across the floor. Nine remained.

It was dangerous to be surrounded in the open plaza, so we kept falling back to keep the oncoming Guardians at bay.

But when the number of remaining Guardians reached seven, we had no choice but to allow them to approach.

Now it was my turn to step up. I threw the torch I held in my left hand. Just as the red trajectory struck the head of an approaching Guardian, I followed it and swung my frost steel sword.

Another head flew through the air. Now six.

“Sukus, I need you behind me!”

“Leave him alone!”

The Guardian swung his sword at me, its honest trajectory coming at me, and I reacted as I had been taught. My sword, raised at an angle, met the Guardian’s, and his arm, pushed back by the force, bounced back.

The guardian calmly held his shield out toward me. I waited, then kicked the shield away, sending the guardian stumbling backwards, unable to withstand my strength. I lunged in for the final blow.


With my mother’s warning, another Guardian swung his sword at my empty side.

I’d better get another one here.

As I turned to retreat, a flying arrow pierced the Guardian’s neck. I glanced back and Carmen smirked and nodded. I pounced on the fallen guardian and cut off its breath.

Four Guardians remained. Or three, since Sukus had just split the skull of one of them with his axe.

Tonissa, standing behind Sukus, waved her hand lightly with a spell, and a boulder rose from the ground and struck another Guardian. The bouncing guardian flew toward me. I calmly swung my sword, slicing the flying guardian in half. No blood spattered.

Of the two remaining, Carmen killed one with two arrows. The other one Sukus took care of by splitting its head open with his axe.

Finally, all the Guardians were on the ground.

And as if on cue, eight new Guardians appeared. This time, among the enemies were two Guardians with bows. Carmen stiffened her face and called out.

“Priest Marnak, would you mind charging in and holding off the archers first?”

“I’ll give it a shot!”

My class should have been a Priest of Corruption, but since I couldn’t use my abilities in public, I ended up acting more like a Swordsman or Warrior.

Seriously, melee classes are compensated for this kind of thing.

Grumbling, I continued to stomp my foot and charged toward the guardians.


My senses sharpened with my mother’s warning, and two arrows caught me. One was aimed at my body, the other at my head. I gripped my frost steel sword tighter and swung calmly.


I parried the one aimed at my body. The arrow aimed for my head was easily dodged with a quick tilt of my head.

Now I could get close enough to them before they nocked the next arrow.

As I approached the archer, the other Guardians stopped me.

“Priest Marnak, keep running!”

Arrows from behind and protruding rocks held the Guardians back. I darted through the gap and swung my sword sideways.

The head of one archer flew through the air and fell to the ground. Not content to rest on my laurels, I quickly lowered my stance and launched my next attack.

The frost steel sword dug into the archer’s waist, separating his upper and lower body for good.


Sukus rushed forward and knocked one of the guardians back with his shield. From then on, it was one-sided. The Guardians were unable to reach Carmen and Tonissa, and all of them were killed.

However, in the meantime, the bodies of the Guardians that were deflected by Tonissa’s spell kept flying towards me. Of course, I capitalized on the situation and ended their lives each time, but that didn’t mean anything to Sukus, who frowned and growled at Tonissa as soon as the battle was over.

“Why do you keep pushing enemies into allies’ territory? You almost got me or Marnak hurt!”

“I wanted to get them all, I didn’t want you to waste your time, and it was the fastest way to deal with them.”

“What?! You ratty, hornless bitch!!! Say it again right now—.”

I stopped Sukus, who was about to lunge, and Carmen stepped in between them.

“That’s enough. Sucus. Tonissa.”

Sukus gritted his teeth, glared at Tonissa, and sat back in his seat to examine his gear.

“By the way, Priest Marnak. That was truly a performance worthy of the Demon Slayer.”

I smiled quietly at Carmen, who spoke in a more cheerful voice, if only to change the mood.

“I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’m not exactly a priestly figure.”

“Actually, it looked a little like that to me.”

“You’re a pretty good archer, by the way.”

Carmen smirked.

“My bow has been my friend since I was a little girl, so I practiced really hard.”

While Carmen checked the bow’s condition and collected the arrows, I checked the Frost Steel Sword’s condition on my own.

As if to say, “Don’t look down on me,” the frost steel sword showed off its unbroken edge.

“Precious things are certainly worth their weight in gold.”


I patted my breast pocket in response to my mother’s exclamation that the sword was all mine.

After we sat for a moment to catch our breath, Tonissa spoke up.

“When do you think we’ll be leaving? I’m fine right now, and I have plenty of mana left.”

Before Carmen could respond, Sukus frowned.

“I don’t know about you, muttering incantations behind the scenes, but I and Marnak need a little more rest after our direct action.”

Tonissa glanced at Sukus and then back to Carmen, a clear dismissal. Sukus’s face slowly heated up. Carmen saw it and acted quickly.

“That’s enough, Tonissa. We’re going to rest a little longer and then we’re going to leave. Please be patient.”

At Carmen’s firm words, Tonissa glanced at me and Sukus’ faces and replied.

“I’m sure you don’t mind if we get back on the road right away, but the three of us, minus Sukus, are still in good shape, and I’d rather see the end of the ruins sooner than stay here stuck together. And frankly, I’m tired of hearing him whine like that.”

I smirked at the self-righteous mage’s words.

But then again, most wizards I’ve met are like that. Extremely self-centered and one-sided. In fact, he was rather polite for a mage.

Before Sukus could flush again, Carmen spoke quickly.

“I’m going to get some more rest. I won’t take any more arguments.”

We eventually set off again after a rest in an uncomfortable atmosphere, with the added bonus of me sitting next to Sukus and comforting him.

We walked slowly and approached the black door, and it closed as if it had been waiting for us.

Yes, the enemy was too weak for the ruins.

Trapped in the square, we quickly scanned our surroundings, and at that moment, something huge fell from the ceiling.


The heavy crash and vibration shook us.

A pure white metal fleshless body, a blue jewel embedded in its forehead. The true guardian of these ruins had revealed itself.


The metal giant began to stomp toward us. As Sukus stood dumbfounded, Tonissa pushed past him and stepped forward.

“Get out of the way.”

With a harsh mutter, Tonissa waved her hand, and with a surge of magic power, countless rocks shot out of the ground and shot toward the giant.

The giant reacted with a speed completely unbefitting its size.

The blue gem embedded in the center of its forehead glowed, and the flying rocks lost all power and fell to the ground, while the giant leapt forward and crushed Tonissa in its fist.

Flesh and blood spattered.

Shit. This is so wrong.

The giant didn’t stop. It swung its fist, still covered in Tonissa’s flesh, and smashed into Sukus. He didn’t even get a chance to scream, and he died instantly.

I quickly turned to Carmen, who was standing there in disbelief.

“Do you want to live?”


“Do you want to live!”

Carmen nodded her head urgently.

“Yes, yes!”

“Then give me your chin!”


I punched Carmen right in the jaw as she looked on in confusion. I shouted at the metal giant, who quickly picked up Carmen’s stunned body and pumped his fist in the air.

“I happen to have a giant on my side as well, Mother, it’s urgent, I don’t have time to pray, you have to let me go now!”


A bang!

The air was torn apart as the Corruption Giant leaped out and slammed the metal giant’s head. The metal giant’s body tilted and slammed into the wall.

– Aaahhhhhhhh!!!

The Corruption Giant let out a terrifying roar, and the metal giant slowly began to rise.

I smirked at the overwhelming sight.

“What a magnificent fellow you are. Mother thinks so too, doesn’t it?”