Chapter 149 – It was a Haunted Mansion!?
We were walking down the hallway in the underground palace.
And then the trembling voice of Haines, who was walking behind us, rang in the air.
“…Ma-Master Heal…I’m surprised you can move so effortlessly here!”
“Hmm. I wonder why? Maybe it’s because I spent so much time digging in empty caves… But thinking about it is starting to make me nervous…”
Everyone else talking about how scared they were was starting to make my feet feel heavy.
This time it was Ashton who raised his voice.
Haines looked pale as he turned to him.
“Wh-what is it, brother!?”
“No-nothing…it was just a slime passing by.”
“B-brother…you just took three years off my lifespan with that.”
Even I had been alarmed.
That is, by their loud screaming…
“Re-really! You must be quiet…alriiiiight!?”
Haines turned his head back and his voice rose.
But it was just a Cave Spider who was passing by up on the ceiling.
“Phew… Haines. You are just as guilty as me.”
“Shu-shut up! Never mind that. Let’s keep moving!”
Haines said as he started to march forward. He was still shaking.
Of course, there was a Shield around all of us, so I was sure we’d be fine…
“What-what is that!?”
A black mist had appeared in front of us.
The black mist then took the shape of a skull as it rushed towards us.
Haines, and everyone else raised their voices.
However, as soon as the skull touched the Shield, it vanished.
“Wh-what was that? It was just like that Chimera from earlier…”
Like Haines said, it reminded me of the Chimera from the great hall.
The sudden appearance of weak magic, and then it vanished.
“It disappeared too…”
“I-in any case, we’ll be safe as long as Master Heal is here! Hey, all of you! Let’s go!”
But Ashton, Ril, and Mel did not answer.
Even Taran seemed like she was frightened.
“You can all wait outside if you want? Shiel and I will go look.”
“N-no! Let’s keep going!”
Haines said. And so I started walking again.
“Hey, Shiel… Isn’t it strange?”
Shiel nodded at my voice.
“I feel like we’re being toyed with… That’s what it feels like.”
“Wh-what do you mean?”
Haines asked me.
“I mean, this palace is playing with us like we are toys.”
“I-I see. But who…”
“Besides, there was that shadow earlier… I’m going to try and search for some magic energy.”
It was using some unusual magic.
This person must be decently powerful.
And so I searched the rooms along the hallway for traces of magic.
However, all I could detect were Cave Spiders and slimes.
And though I was curious about these slimes, they all had similar amounts of magic.
“I don’t know… Wait. No, there is something different…”
As soon as I detected the energy, it disappeared.
And then it appeared again.
It was suspicious. Perhaps it was using magic to conceal itself.
“I found something suspicious. It’s two doors ahead.”
I said. And then we reached the door to the room where the signal was coming from.
It was just a plain, wooden door.
However, there was something abnormal behind it.
“Here we are…alright, I’m going to open it carefully.”
“I-I will open it.”
Haines said as he put his hand on the doorknob.
And then he opened it…
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!? Oh, huh?”
Haines screamed. But then we realized that the only ones in the room were a hairy old man and a slime.
“Ma-Mappa… What are you doing here?”
I asked. Mappa scratched the back of his head with an embarrassed expression.
Then he looked at the slime. They seemed to be good friends.
Shiel approached the slime and started using gestures to communicate with it.
After a while, she turned around and made a circle with her body.
“Are you saying that this slime is the child we were looking for?”
“I-I see… So he was conspiring with Mappa. Mappa, all this stuff you made is in rather poor taste, don’t you think?”
However, Mappa did not seem to agree, and he then showed us something that looked like black cloth.
Apparently, it used a Magic Stone, and it allowed him to conceal his magic energy.
“Did Elto teach you how to do that? …I want to learn it too. But…what about that summoning magic?”
Mappa tilted his head in puzzlement.
“…What? You know, like the Chimera and skull. That wasn’t you?”
Mappa shook his head.
“Then what were…”
“AHHH!? Master Heal! Right in front of you!”
Haines shrieked. And then a black mist appeared in front of us again.
This time it was in the shape of a child.
While everyone else raised their voices in horror, Shiel tapped the other slime on the head.
Then she took out the yellow Translation Stone and talked.
“Oh, stop this already… Lord Heal, this child is very gifted with magic. However, he is also known for being a prankster… I think his memories have become foggy and he wanted to play tricks on us.”
“So this magic is from that slime?”
“I believe it is illusion magic. Long ago, there used to be entertainment facilities in this underground city that were called ‘haunted mansions.’”
“Su-such facilities existed? And as entertainment?”
“They were enjoyed by some people. I suppose this child here was one of them.”
“Well, people do enjoy different things…”
Perhaps it would be good to build such a facility once this city was actually safe.
After all, there was less space for children to play on the surface these days.
Ril and Mel had been so frightened earlier, but now they were telling each other that they had had so much fun.
Maybe it wasn’t a bad idea?
However, Shiel continued in a rather unsatisfied voice.
“But children are not taught illusion magic. Though, it’s possible that he learned it from the library… In any case, I will turn him back into a human and ask him about it.”
“Yes, thank you… I see. The library, huh?”
I still hadn’t checked to see what was below the library.
But now that the people of the empire were awake, it was probably a good time to look into that.
Perhaps we could learn magic that people from the continent didn’t know about.
“Regardless, this case is finally solved!”
“Yes! I’m so glad we found him!”
Haines said happily.
Everyone looked truly relieved.
“Now, let’s go back!”
Haines turned around and screamed.
He had seen the giant face of an old man in the doorframe. It was Coppa, the Manticore. He must have come to take us back.
However, Ashton fell to the ground, unconscious.
And so I had to treat Ashton with magic before we returned to the surface.