Blacksmith of the Apocalypse

Chapter 374: Everybodys Gone?

Chapter 373: The Cradle (2)

”Simon, didn ’t the System Church have a branch in Beta? ”

Seth asked after pulling out a small orb from his inventory and calling someone. This was a communication crystal. The group of Minas Mar has purchased several for this mission after it became known that phones would not work in Beta.

”hmm? Yes, what about it? ” the old priests answered the question after receiving the video call.

”Do you have any information about the fact that Beta is being overrun? ”

”Let me take a look. Wait a moment. ” the rotund man stood up and left the desk his orb was placed on.

He soon returned with a scroll in his hand.

”Here it is. Yes. The Beta branch was evacuated seven days ago because of the Muir Empires ’ claim on the territory. ”

”You already knew about the state of Beta for seven days? ”

”Not really, I was occupied with your matter, you know. But why did you suddenly call me? ”

Seth explained what they were currently doing and the state of Beta. Somehow, he hoped Simon would know an easy way out. The church was an expert in teleporting people around. He was sure they could have evacuated them or something.

Even with the randomized effect for Ori humas, people would have had a better chance than trying to cross the mountains.

”… Seth, did you forget our principles? Noninterference. Struggle. We are not a charity organization that is scrambling to collect followers for our god like other churches. We won ’t actively help, and we do not interfere in a war within the system. ”

” A war within the system? ”

”Yes, the Muir Empire is part of the system, just like the Chrona Empire. They even have their own iteration of the System Church. ”

”But didn ’t you help with the people of Gamma? ” Seth asked confusedly.

After all, they had founded a Starta Village there, brought provisions, and were intent on bringing all of them back to Delta. How was that noninterference?

”Those are the actions of the Chrona Empire, not the System Church, although we help as members of the empire. ”

Seth fell silent. He did not ask why the empire did not help in beta. After talking with Simon, he could roughly guess the politics behind this. They had come across the refugees of gamma on their pursuit of the Zarkists.

Helping them was almost like collecting free gratitude and roping in a lot of ori humas. All it cost them, were some negotiations with Arget Nore, who had no real interest in them.

Beta on the other hand was actively invaded by the Muir Empire. They were very much interested in making the people of Beta their subjects. It meant that interfering there could lead to a war. Expecting the Chrona Empire to readily intervene like in Gamma was naive.

Seth ’s head was heating up from thinking of such complicated matters. He was already thoroughly overburdened dealing with a few hundred people, which was why he had tried hard to shove any responsibility for the caravan onto others.

Now he was facing the problems of a whole district.

”Seth. I can see the cogs in your head spinning. ” Simon suddenly said.

The blacksmith had just fallen silent without ending the call.

”I think I know what you are thinking about. Can I give you some advice? ”

”S-Sure? ”

”Choose your battles. You cannot save the whole world alone. Solve the problems right in front of you instead of worrying about the world. Concentrate on what is the most important to you. Don ’t you have a mission? Don ’t you have people that need you?

Don ’t burden yourself with the worries of the world and focus on changing what you can. ”

”Change what I can change…? ”

Seth thought about it. He looked to Duhu who was still staring at the letter in his hand. Yes, there were things he needed to do right in front of him, but…

Choose his battles.

Cannot save the world alone.

Change what he can change.

He had an idea.

”You are right. I will concentrate on what I can change. ”

After he ended his call with Simon, he made another.

On the morning of the second day of their journey, the number of monsters drastically lowered when they left the central mountain range and got closer to the territory of Beta.

”Maybe we should land and take a thorough rest before entering the cityscape? ” Duhu proposed.

They had gotten some sleep. They had guarded in shifts and the drivers had taken turns to fly through the night. However, sleeping in a flying bus that was constantly attacked by beasts was not known for comfortable rest.

Still.

”I appreciate your consideration, but don ’t force yourself. We all got some rest and no time to lose to save Drosi and the others. Right? ”

Seth asked in the bus and a choir of approval came back.

”See? They are all energetic. Let ’s get your people home first and then take a long break. ”

”…Thank you, everyone. ” Duhu finally answered, facing the window.

”Aww, are you embarrassed? ” Lydia teased the Tigerman.

”Hmm, it ’s hard to tell, since we can ’t see when he blushes. ” Seth played along with a grin.

It was good to joke a little to lift the mood.

”We are here. ” the driver suddenly said.

Before them rose the tall high risers and skyscrapers of Beta ’s cityscape. The blocky, tall building and their deep, tight canyons, like fractal patterns, reminded of a gigantic and unique geological formation and not of structures built by mankind.

This was a completely new perspective. Especially for Seth and the others who were used to living in these cityscapes. Seeing it in the morning sun, from up high, looking like something almost natural, filled them with awe.

At the edge of the city, they landed and got off the bus. From here, they continued their journey on mounts.

Why?

A flying bus would pull a lot of attention. Even in a normal situation, they would need to expect people trying to attack and steal it from them.

Currently Beta was in a crisis with refugees trying to get away all over the place. They could really go without a whole crow of desperate people wishing to take away their escape vehicle.

Only a short bit of the way remained. The Cradle was situated at one of the satellite cities at the outer rim in the north of district beta. This was not far from the place they landed. It would merely take an hour or two to reach there with the mounts.

Since not everyone could fit on Puffles and Seth did not want to reveal one of their trump cards, the blacksmith would ride together with Duhu on his mount.

The Tigerman called an imposing Giant Polar Bear his mount. It was about three times the size of a regular polar bear and had a set of light blue lightning patterns across its body.

But when Seth tried to stow away the bus in his inventory it didn ’t work. What was the problem? Fortunately, when he tried again, the bus was obediently tucked away in his inventory. It was a little puzzling, but nobody bothered with it any further.

Sitting on the bear behind Duhu, Seth had a good view of their surrounding as they rode through the suburbs made up of mostly apartment buildings. It seemed like the impact of the war in the south had not yet reached this place.

The streets seemed calm and there were no people outside this early in the morning. Seeing the city this empty had something tranquil, but also something eerie.

According to the information brought back by Jess and James, the Cradle was situated in the industrial area. After reaching the city, they just had to cross a small part of the suburbs to reach there.

The Cradle was a completely unassuming office building, which was why they took a while to find it. The name ”Xen Biologies ” was only a small line of text on a sign at the automatic gates of the property.

”Should we enter, or wait for Jonah? ”

”Ah, I will give a signal! ” James belatedly exclaimed.

”A Signal? ” Seth asked.

”Yes, Mr. Felton came up with it. It is a standard way for members of the Oathguard to ask for help and assemble at a location. ”

With that, James lifted a small tube over his head and fired the magic equivalent of a signal flare into the sky. It was a tall, purple pillar of smoke with a bright light at the tip. The signal persisted for several minutes before dissipating.

”And now? ”

”We wait. If Sir Jonah is anywhere close by, he should arrive in a few- Ah, there he is! ”

James joined down the street, where a dark figure with a hunchback was running in their direction. As it got closer, they recognized Jonah with his demonic mask and a person on his back.

”Seth!? ” the vampiric swordsman exclaimed in joy when he reached their group.

The blushing lady came off his back but did not stop hugging his arm.

”Jonah! I am gone for a little and you got yourself a girlfriend! ” he greeted the friend jokingly.

What he did expect was that the man behind the mask suddenly fell silents and awkwardly scratched the back of his head.

”… it can ’t be? ”

”Stuff happened… ” Jonah said vaguely after slightly lifting his mask.

”H-hello! I ’m Laura, a former researcher at Xen Biologies. You must be the tower master Jonah told me about. Please take care of me. ” she spoke to Seth as if he was her father-in-law.

”Ah, yes…hi? ” Seth said in confusion. Both of these people were older than him, why did they act like flirty teenagers?

”Anyway! Let ’s get going. ”

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