Volume 2 Chapter 44 – An Unexpected Incident (2)
[Translator – Koko didn’t sleep last night… I’m so tired]
[Proofreader – yuki doesn’t know what sleep is… want some coffee]
‘What the fu—!’
Jin abruptly turned around and unsheathed his dagger.
The unconscious mercenaries were regaining control over their body.
‘Their eyes are red’
Moreover, the two of them were growling like beasts and breathing heavily inconsistently.
It sounded almost like the breathing pattern of an orc or a troll.
Jin had no time to ask himself how this had happened.
The steel armours of these ex-human mercenaries were inflating.
The rapidly swelling muscles on the inside were tearing the metal apart.
The moment the armour tore apart, Jin reflexively cast a spell.
A gust of mana instantly engulfed the inside of the warehouse and formed a thin hemispherical layer.
It was a 4-star spell that reduced all noises in a radius of 15 meters.
Jin had decided not to use magic earlier as he didn’t want to risk getting detected by the magicians in the area, but the situation had changed.
He couldn’t avoid fighting the mercenaries who had transformed into monsters.
They were already reaching their hands out towards Jin.
Their fingers had grown sharp and long claws, just like those of the Red Tiger Tribe.
‘I can only hope the magicians out there don’t notice us.’
His two enemies were already pouncing towards him simultaneously.
Jin didn’t even have time to unsheathe Bradamante.
The monsters were swinging their arms one after another, taking turns so that their target had no time to breathe.
The claws sharply tore the air as they drew arcs.
Jin narrowly dodged the attacks by crouching down, and stabbed one of the monsters in the ribs with his dagger.
He had aimed at the heart, but the monster had barely managed to avoid getting killed by twisting its body.
However, Jin definitely felt the sensation of flesh being torn and bones breaking.
The monster let out a horrible shriek.
It didn’t appear to be a fatal injury.
The monster didn’t bother removing the dagger in its torso and continued swinging its claws.
Fortunately, Jin made use of this short breather to create some distance between them and unsheathed Bradamante.
As he hurriedly enveloped the blade in aura, the dark warehouse was brightened up a little.
The monsters seemed to have sensed that aura was a dangerous power.
As Jin adjusted the distance between them while keeping his sword straight, the black fur covering the monsters’ bodies stood on end.
The wounded monster belatedly removed the dagger in its chest.
Seeing what happened afterwards, Jin couldn’t help but let his face show his shock.
‘They can even regenerate’
The monster’s deep gash in its chest was rapidly healing and closing.
The dark red blood quickly stopped gushing out after a couple of seconds.
This sort of high-speed regeneration could only be seen in high-ranking and powerful monsters.
However, Jin’s opponents weren’t your typical, naturally born monsters.
These enemies were undoubtedly humans even a minute ago.
With every passing second, all sorts of thoughts and hypotheses passed through Jin’s mind.
However, he didn’t have the necessary knowledge to understand exactly how this mysterious and freaky incident had happened.
He had never seen anything like this in his total 43 years of life.
Fortunately, while he couldn’t understand how it had happened, Jin could somewhat grasp the fundamentals behind it, thanks to his life as a magician in his past life.
‘It’s highly likely these are living golems created through forbidden magic.
Those Zipfel bastards… Are they using the Kollon Ruins as an experimental facility for forbidden magic’
The monsters resumed their flurry of attacks.
Jin could only narrowly evade the attacks earlier as he was taken by surprise, but now that he had regained his calm, his enemies’ movements appeared clumsy.
They had the strength and speed of low-leveled 4-star fighters.
However, there was a vast difference between a trained 4-star knight and monsters that only had 4-star physical abilities.
Jin easily parried and dodged the monsters’ claws and counterattacked.
‘It’s not too difficult facing them.’
Whenever Jin made a feint or moved irregularly, the monsters fell for it each time.
He could see their feet getting tangled up, resulting in the monsters losing their balance.
‘There are three places the core could be located: the heart, head, or lower abdomen.’
When it comes to these magical weapons called golems, they never stop moving no matter how much they get wrecked.
In fact, Jin had sliced one of the monsters’ wrist and shoulder, yet there was no change in its behaviour.
On the other hand, if their cores get destroyed, it’s over for them.
This was the case even for these living golems that were made with forbidden magic.
Jin backstepped and changed his attack pattern, easily piercing one in the head.
The aura surrounding his sword was spinning rapidly, so there was a large hole the size of a fist in the monster’s head.
‘So it’s not the head.’
Had Jin fought like he was facing humans, he would’ve been in a predicament just now.
After inflicting a deadly blow to one of the enemies, most fighters would have shifted their focus on the remaining foe.
However, the golem with a hole in its head continued swiping its claws.
Its speed and power hadn’t been affected a single bit.
Rather, it became more violent and aggressive.
Jin spun around to dodge the attacks and thrust his sword again, this time in the lower abdomen.
But this time, he raised his arm with the blade until he reached the heart.
This sort of attack would’ve been nigh-impossible for ordinary people.
It was at times like this when Jin was grateful for his Runcandel bloodline for giving him a blessed body with superhuman strength.
The disgusting sound of the monster’s flesh ripping apart and its rib cage shattering echoed.
Once he retracted his blade, Jin realized that the core was located at the heart.
Instead of an actual beating heart, there was a ball of blue mana at the center of the chest.
However, it was a completely different-looking core than what Jin was familiar with.
Instead of mana, it almost looked like a big glass marble filled with some blue liquid.
Moreover, it was incomparably harder than what a normal human’s heart was supposed to be.
Through the recoil Jin felt when cutting the core apart, he realized that he had barely managed to break it despite the 5-star aura covering his sword.
The solid-looking ball of mana burst and a terrible stench spread in the air.
The dead monster was now slowly… slowly transforming back into a human.
It couldn’t turn back into its previous form perfectly, as the swollen skin and ripped muscles were irreversible.
Nevertheless, the shrivelled up corpse on the ground was undoubtedly that of a human.
As soon as he saw that, a complicated sentiment grew within Jin, and rage suddenly began boiling in his heart.
‘How dare they do something like this to a fellow human being…’
Rage towards the Zipfels.
The remaining monster pounced on Jin as if in response to the boy’s anger.
Jin had yet to fix his posture after finishing off the first foe.
Its claws slammed and scratched against Bradamante, creating an unpleasant sound.
Jin placed his right foot back and pushed with all his strength to stand his ground.
His foe’s claws weren’t as tough as Bradamante’s blade.
While it seemed stronger than ordinary steel, it couldn’t compare to the blade of a powerful, ancient sword from thousands of years ago.
As the two opponents clashed, five claws broke away, disrupting the power balance.
The monster lost its footing and fell face-first to the floor.
Jin stamped on the back of its head and stabbed it in the heart from above.
He felt the solid ball of mana break at the tip of his sword.
The fallen monster’s body trembled, and soon enough, it returned to its human form as well.
Only then could Jin finally sigh and relax.
He looked at his surroundings and saw that the floor was drenched in the monsters’ dark red blood.
The Silent Wind spell he had cast earlier was still present.
Fortunately, it seemed the magicians in the area hadn’t sensed the usage of magic.
Jin suddenly heard a voice.
It came from the fallen monster… no, from the human writhing on the floor.
He hurriedly crouched down and examined the second victim.
Surprisingly, he was still breathing.
Barely, but breathing.
However, he still had a somewhat inhuman appearance.
It was obvious their entire bodies had swollen and torn beyond their limits.
Jin soon came to the conclusion that he couldn’t be saved.
He had countless questions to ask.
How and why had they become living golems, who was behind this, how they had become the Zipfels’ experimental subjects.
However, the mercenary had no strength left to speak.
All Jin could do was liberate him from the pain and agony.
Jin pierced the man in his disturbingly skinny neck, and the victim closed his eyes peacefully.
Jin also closed his eyes for a moment and lifted his head.
He did not know of their circumstances, but no human in the world wished to become a living golem willingly.
Especially if they were made to transform into monsters and were treated as expendables.
A flame burned in Jin’s eyes as he ground his teeth.
But this wasn’t the moment to lose his cool.
An unexpected incident had occurred, through which Jin witnessed the horrible acts committed by the Zipfels behind the scenes.
And now, Jin was suspicious of his elder sisters, wondering if they were aware of this truth when sending him on this mission.
However, he still had a task to complete.
He couldn’t just go back home and tell his siblings ‘I couldn’t finish the mission because a monster attacked me’.
Otherwise, his entire clan would mock him.
And even if the Runcandels decided to bear the disgrace and publicized the details of this mission—about the horrible experiments being secretly performed in the Zipfel Clan—nothing would change.
The Runcandels could demand the Vermont Empire to perform an official investigation of the Zipfels, but the clan of magicians would never admit to having used forbidden magic.
Creating living golems was a terrible crime.
Simply finding signs of living golems was more than enough to pressure the empire to do a formal investigation.
However, the Zipfels could just feign innocence even if conclusive evidence were to be found.
In that case, no one would be able to hold them responsible for this crime.
That was how much power and authority the Zipfels wielded.
‘First, I should take some broken shards of the ball of mana and quickly finish my mission.’
After a while, Jin regained his composure and picked up a few pieces of the lump of mana.
He then walked to the warehouse entrance and checked the situation outside.
‘…The magicians aren’t making any moves.
In other words, most of the magicians here don’t know of these living golems and were just told that the warehouse was just an ordinary one.’
If the magicians knew that living golems were placed as guards outside this building, the security here wouldn’t be so lax.
There would be at least twenty 7-star magicians constantly keeping an eye on this place.
In other words, not every personnel stationed at the Kollon Ruins were involved with the use of forbidden magic in the clan.
‘I just need to steal the relics and escape as originally planned.’
Jin carefully dispelled the Silent Wind spell he had cast and searched around the warehouse.
Finding three slabs of stone was a piece of cake.
They were all stored away on the first floor of the warehouse.
He also found the bronze bowl very quickly.
(TL/N: Final reminder to people living in countries where you have a ‘ground floor’: Korea calls the lowest floor the ‘first floor’ like the USA.
Keep it in mind when you see another “X floor” in the future in this novel.)
However, unlike the slabs of stone, the bronze bowl was protected by a complex spell.
It was set to activate when the bowl was removed from its display case.
This entire protective spell was the reason why the mission’s difficulty was so high.
‘The standard procedure would be to spend several hours trying to dispel the magic like untying a string knot, but…’
Jin sheathed his sword and gathered mana in both his hands.
‘I’ll steal it using a more extreme method.
Since there are already two living golems lying here as corpses, no matter what crazy thing I do in this building today…’
The mana in his hands gained a fire attribute.
But Jin then infused the mana with spiritual energy.
The flame mixed with darkness projected large shadows in the room.
‘The Zipfels will have no choice but to sweep it under the rug.’
The ancient relics he had to steal were merely stone slabs and one bronze bowl.
Even if those were stolen, the Zipfels had nothing to worry about.
Nevertheless, the Zipfels would normally do their utmost when trying to find the culprit as the clan’s dignity was on the line.
However, the situation was different if you added living golems created with forbidden magic into the equation.
They would have to conceal the incident and let no rumours spread at all costs.
Therefore, causing a commotion would actually benefit Jin when escaping.
He planned on lighting a fire that engulfed the entire building and escaping while hiding his body inside the flames.
The burning balls of mana in his hands floated in the air.
They glowed bright scarlet as spiritual energy had amplified them.
Once the preparations were done, the two balls of mana exploded.
The inside of the warehouse was engulfed in flames in mere instants, and the ceiling collapsed due to the explosion.
The protection spells cast on all the items and relics’ display cases activated simultaneously.
The shrilling noises resounded everywhere in the warehouse.
However, Jin ignored the spells and simply grabbed the bronze bowl and quickly left the front door.
The Zipfels were probably going to disguise this incident as an accidental fire outbreak.