Chapter 198 – He Changed His Mind!?
The holy place was abnormally quiet.
I wanted to go inside and confirm the situation immediately, but the holy place had some kind of defense mechanism.
And I would probably be attacked if I tried to enter on ground or sky.
Of course, blocking such attacks with magic and destroying holy place’s gates and walls in order to get inside…was possible.
However, I wasn’t sure what kind of effect such a thing would have on the whole place.
And so we decided to go through the underground.
I would dig a hole with my pickaxe and dig until we were right underneath the holy place.
“Things are going smoothly. If anything, the soil is softer here than in Alanberc.”
“Lord Heal! Just a little farther and you’ll be underneath the fences!”
I heard Fule’s voice from the entrance of the hole. She was comparing my position with the surface to see where I was.
“Got it! I’ll be careful and continue on!”
I answered. And then I cast Shield and swung the pickaxe.
There may be defense mechanisms underground as well…
Fule’s voice immediately rang once again.
“Ah! You’re under the holy place now!”
“Got it! I’ll dig up in a random spot so I can get out!”
I answered. And then I dug in a gradual upwards slope.
After digging for some time, the rocks fell away in front of me and the light from outside poured in.
When I got out of the hole, a vast, neatly kept field of grass spread out around me. It looked like some kind of palace garden.
“It has a very manmade feel to it, but it’s still very pretty. Perhaps it’s been affected by the World Tree as well. I feel good… Oh, Fule! I’m fine over here!”
I said to Fule and the others, who were on the other side of the fence.
So far, the holy place had not shown any signs of attacking us. Shiel was also wandering around and checking to see if anything was wrong.
Upon hearing my voice, Taran and Fule brought Rulat as they came towards me.
“H-how were you able to dig such a hole?”
He didn’t seem the least bit concerned that there was no one else in the area.
“I have a power that allows me to do it. It’s not flashy, but it’s useful… Now tell me, Rulat. What do you think about this current situation?”
I asked, and Rulat frowned.
“I don’t know… Would you allow me to investigate it freely?”
“Now why would we do that, when we’re here to negotiate? …Judging by your reaction, I think you do have an idea where the others have gone.”
“I-I really don’t…”
“I don’t actually mind setting you free. Because we can follow your magic energy. Perhaps you’ll take us there.”
But Rulat would not open his mouth again.
“I suppose I have no choice then… I didn’t want to use this thing that old Mappa made, but I’ll have to now.”
Said Fule. and then she took out something that looked like a toy for cats. Taran was also holding one with her two front legs.
“…Do you mean to tickle me with that?”
“Look, Rulate. We didn’t come here to torment you and your people. Even now, if you are willing to cooperate, Sheorl will welcome you.”
Perhaps his pride was getting in the way.
He couldn’t get along with someone who he looked down on.
However, surely he could at least tell us where the others had gone.
The reason he would not tell us must be because it was a place where all the residents here did not want us to know about.
Rulat had looked a little surprised when he realized that there was no one else around.
However, it could not have been much of a surprise, as he had so quickly regained his calm. Normally, you would be a lot more distressed if everyone you knew had suddenly disappeared.
That meant this was something that he only had to think about a little to get an understanding of what it meant.
And from what he said before, it was probably…
“…Earlier, you said something about an underground king, didn’t you? Is it related to that?”
“It-it is not related to that.”
The people of the holy places clearly thought of this underground king as their last hope.
The undead had now reached the holy place. While they had somehow been able to fight them off, there was no guarantee that they would be able to the next time.
The water in the lake was drying up, and while the World Tree in Alanberc had been revived, they could hardly cooperate with Alanberc after treating them so badly up until now.
And so they would have been in a desperate situation.
Which is why they are clinging to this underground king…
Was it an object, a type of magic? Perhaps it was a message they received from the gods.
In any case, I did not want them to do anything rash…
“Rulat. I don’t know what kind of end you and the Arancian nobles wish to meet. However, Alanberc is being restored as we speak. One day, they may recover all the lands within their borders. Don’t you want to see Arancia as a rich kingdom once again?”
Rulat was silent.
As he had been made to work in the mushroom farms in Alanberc, he would have been able to eat the fish from Sheorl.
And he would have witnessed the giant Mado Armors driving the enemy back.
And so somewhere in his heart, he would know that what I was saying was not impossible.
However, Rulat would still not talk.
Fule crossed her arms and opened her mouth.
“…Lord Heal. This is a waste of time. Let’s search for them ourselves. We can leave him here or let him go… Besides, I’m sure the others will be just as uncooperative as him.”
As Fule said, maybe it was futile to try and negotiate.
We had taken Rulat as a hostage so that they wouldn’t attack us. But the holy place no longer had the strength to do that anyway. We had easily dug a hole into their territory. The holy place was no longer a threat.
“Very well…Rulat. We’re leaving. You can do as you like.”
I said, and then I untied the ropes that bound Rulat’s hands.
“I can go…?”
“You do understand that we never meant to act with hostility?”
We had to fight them a few times, but we had not killed anyone.
“Yes, I see…”
Rulat had a conflicted expression. And then he turned away and walked off somewhere.
“So, what should we do, Lord Heal?”
Rulat was already quite far away. But still close enough to follow his magic energy…
But then, Rulat slowly stopped walking.
And then after looking down for a while, he walked back towards us.
As he got closer, I saw that he was sweating profusely.
“…I…am anxious. You have to come with me… I do not want to die yet.”
Upon hearing this, I turned to Shiel and the others.
They all looked a little pleased as they nodded at Rulat’s words.