Chapter 204 – Similar!?
The dwarf surrendered to us.
And so we were now making the royals and nobles of Arancia breath in the powdered leaves of the World Tree. And in this half-hypnotized state, we brought them back to the surface. It was quite effective, and they did not attack when they saw us. However…we still had to separate the men and women.
“Do you know of Sheorl?”
I asked the dwarf, while keeping an eye on the people coming out from the underground.
“The ancient empire… Yes, I’ve heard of it. A great country that was once the most prosperous… But in order to escape the end of the world, they created a city within a mountain. However, in the end, a meteorite struck them. And now the only thing that remains is a reef in the sea.”
There were similarities with what he said, and Shiel’s stories about the empire, as well as the reef that was known in the kingdom.
However, the ancient empire was not called Sheorl, but Veluar. And the people of the Barleon continent called the reef ‘Sheorl,’ and so it must have spread as the name of the country.
On the other hand, the people of the Barleon continent had not known that the place had been an ancient empire.
“…Was that story passed on as some kind of myth?”
“Yes. In the Zenrada Foundation History. Our ancestors are dwarves who chose independence, and were not part of that empire.”
In other words, they are dwarves who chose a different path from the dwarves in the Sheorl underground who had lost their bodies.
So Mappa was the descendant of the dwarves who were not part of that empire.
That explained why the slimes, who had the souls of the underground dwarves, did not know Mappa.
Huh? But then why was Mappa in Sheorl? And the slimes with dwarf souls had also still recognized him as being from the royal family.
And so I asked the dwarf.
“Mappa had died in Sheorl…no, he was there. But when the remaining dwarves of the empire saw the axe that Mappa made, they said that he was a surviving member of the royal family.”
“Wa-wait? There are other dwarves that survived?”
“Well…uh, their consciousness…has. And they have bodies that they can somehow move, I suppose. But to put it more accurately, their souls are inside of slimes.”
“I see… We use a similar technique. So the people of the empire also did that in order to survive.”
The dwarf said with a satisfied expression.
“The dwarven royal family split into two sides. Our ancestors, and those who joined the empire. When that happened, the techniques that only the royal family knew were also split. The axe must have been part of it, and something that only someone from either of the royal families could make.”
Indeed, an especially great bolt of thunder had struck…
In any case, we now know that it was no mistake that the Sheorl dwarves had recognized Mappa as a royal.
As for these techniques that were only passed down through the royal line… The things that Mappa had made, such as the railroad, had all been things that seemed like they were from another world.
“However, why was Mappa in Sheorl… No, more importantly. Are you from that nearby dwarven city?”
“Mmm. That is Zenralion. It was once our capital in Zenrada. But…”
The dwarf’s face darkened.
“While an ancient meteorite was being investigated, a black mist began to leak out… And most of the city’s population died.”
“A black mist? Could it be…”
“The black mist that covered the sky around this area until recently… You could also call it miasma. But eventually, there were fewer monsters, and the sky brightened.”
There were fewer monsters because we had been defeating them. As for the sky clearing, it was because of Mel’s efforts in purification, and the return of the World Tree.
But before I told him all of that, I wanted to know about the miasma.
“This miasma. It came out of the meteorite?”
“Mmm. Because it was a meteorite from the age that Sheorl had fallen… The black insects inside unleashed the miasma, and within the blink of an eye, it swallowed up our city.”
“And you and the others were able to escape from the miasma?”
“Mmm. We managed to survive because we happened to be close to the World Tree. That’s why we built the holy place here, in order to escape from the spreading mist.”
“I see. But then the humans came and took the place for themselves.”
I said, and the dwarf nodded with anger.
“They took everything from us. And once the black mist was gone, and they had abandoned the holy place, they then went and burned the World Tree… Humans really are barbaric.”
“I won’t deny that. Regarding what you have said, I will make sure that the royals of this country learn of it.”
“It’s too late. Nothing can be returned now… And after we overcame it again. What a waste.”
The dwarf grumbled sadly. And so I asked him.
“Again… So you all knew that the black miasma would return?”
“Aye. While the holy place would be safe, the black mist hadn’t actually disappeared. We knew that it would return.”
“And that would be the end of the world?”
“Mmm. But that’s just what they call any calamity that is related to the meteorites.”
I had assumed that the power of the gods was involved. But it seemed that I was completely wrong.
A meteorite would fall and destroy the world…that’s what the end of the world was.
My father, the king of Sanfaris, as well as Elto, had talked about a prophecy of the world ending. Perhaps this was how they had originated.
If you were underground…it would be easier to escape from the meteorite. And you could also hide from the black miasma. That’s what it was.
While we still needed to study the black miasma more, I was a little relieved that the enemy wasn’t something that we couldn’t see.
Well, I suppose it was still possible that something was making the meteorites fall…
The dwarf then continued.
“In any case, we knew that if the black mist returned, that the humans would have no choice but to rely on this holy place… And so we decided to use their increasing numbers so that we could be revived.”
As for that, I could not blame them.
That being said, I could not allow them to kill either.
And so I said,
“I want to try and think of some other way… And so, will you not wait for a short while?”
“…You don’t need to worry about us anymore. Besides, His Highness is alive. The black mist is retreating. Even if we have no descendants, our techniques will be passed on.”
The dwarf said while looking at Mappa with an anxious expression. Perhaps he felt that Mappa would have trouble getting married…due to his lack of clothing.
“No. The black mist is not gone. We are just removing some of it, that’s all… But it’s not just here. It is spreading all over the world.”
“And so we are fighting in order to overcome it. If you have information about this mist, then please help us.”
The dwarf looked very conflicted.
“Well…if His Highness is here, then there is not much else that we can do.”
“But Mappa…wasn’t there when Zenralion fell, yes?”
“As for that, it is true, but…”
“In the first place, wasn’t he exiled? I think you said that he saved humans.”
The dwarf nodded.
“He took in a human child who had an incurable illness. It was because Prince Mappana befriended this child that…”
“He was exiled.”
“Yes. However, I have heard that this was just the official story. And that he had headed to Sheorl in order to heal the child’s illness, as well as to see great technology there. Perhaps he thought there would be some hint in the ruins…”
“So that’s the reason…”
Without thinking, Fule and I turned to look at Mappa, who was busily carrying something.
So he must have died while exploring Sheorl… It was such a sad story.
Tears fell from Fule’s eyes.
“Our Mappa had such a tragic past…!”
“Mmm… In spite of his casual appearance, he was a very very righteous and benevolent person.”
Ashton had been listening from the side, and also seemed to be quite moved.
Even Haines was crying as he said,
“That Mappa… His buttocks is still blue, but… Wait a minute. But the gate inside of the World Tree…”
“We made that in order to meet Prince Mappana, who we thought was still alive. We had heard that there were several teleportation gates in the Sheorl underground. And so we connected to them.”
And then I answered the dwarf.
“I had heard that they were supposed to be locked…was it you that…”
“We broke them. It was when we broke them and were about to go that the humans attacked…”
“In other words, you have the technology to connect the teleportation gates.”
“If we had the broken relics, then it would be possible.”
I wonder if there was also a gate that connected to the Elto continent?
Or Barleon and the other continents.
“Would you teach us how to do it?”
“I told you already, Prince Mappana should know. You have no need for us.”
The dwarf declared. He had the expression of someone who had done everything that he could.
And it would not be good to force them into cooperating. He was right to feel hatred towards humans.
However, just then, Mappa came towards us while carrying a barrel.
“What is that…?”
The dwarf asked. And then Mappa turned the barrel over and spilled the golden liquid onto the ground.
I muttered, and Mappa nodded.
“The metal that can freely change shape… I see.”
I had used this metal while making the humanoid golems.
Humans and other living creatures could also cover themselves in it and change their shape.
However, the dwarf did not recognize it.
“Is it some kind of precious metal?”
“It was hidden in the Sheorl underground… When you touch it, you can freely alter its shape, color and texture. With this, you can mimic and recreate the form you had while still alive. And you can even move around like that.”
“In other words, if you put the stones with our souls inside…”
Mappa nodded eagerly and gestured with his hands for the dwarf to hurry.
So there must be stones that contained the souls of the dwarves.
The dwarf crumbled to the ground.
“Through our anger, we could think of nothing but making them pay the price… We did not look for another technique… We had lost our pride as dwarves.”
It would have likely been very difficult to find Ryukin…but it was still possible.
If they were able to manipulate the royals, then they should have had ways of searching for other materials and technology.
But hatred had narrowed their vision…
The dwarf bowed to Mappa.
“We are a people who search and pursue… As long as I can move, and have life within me, I want to improve my craft. Please allow me to serve you, Your Highness.”
Upon hearing this, Mappa turned to look at me. Is that all right? He seemed to ask.
I then looked at Fule, Ashton and Haines.
And like this, the Zenrada dwarves would join Sheorl.