Blacksmith of the Apocalypse

Chapter 414: Catacombs

Chapter 413: 413.Homestuck

—–Chrona—-

Mina, Fin, and the other guests from Minas Mar were all assembled in the living room of their mansion. Wearing casual wear or still in pajamas they were laying on the couches or carpets of the room, fixedly staring at the screen.

Anyone in the Chrona, who had a TV, was watching the official broadcast and Seth ’s friends were no exceptions. They were already stuck in this situation for almost two days, ever since the official broadcast started.

Dirty dishes were everywhere, and crumps of snacks covered the ground. A certain smell was already filling the room, but nobody bothered to leave except to use the toilet or get more food.

This was the kind of fascination that spawned from reality TV in a reality where death was a real option. It was not just because they wanted to see how Seth was doing.

The empire ’s official broadcast was a balanced report of all teams, while different channels focused and certain groups or individuals depending on the rights they managed to negotiate with the royalty.

Every hour the official broadcast would restart with an intro to the world. A land cursed by their own god of light. People are forced to live in the shadows or become abominable monsters in the light of the Blood Sun and roam the land as brainless murder machines.

despite the goal of this evaluation ’s quest being constantly censored; it did not take anything away from the tension. Seth and his group had actually landed in one of the most stable locations. An expansive wasteland or dried-up meadows and hills.

Being the most stable, also made their journey the most boring. Except for encounters with some disgusting mutations left by the Blood Sun, they had no problems while trudging along under the hateful sun.

The only hook of their situation was whether they could find shelter before the next Blood Sun, as they had not met any signs of civilization after spending two days walking.

In stark contrast, other groups were having much greater action and problems.

”Noo! Not Hannigan! ” Fin exclaimed in dismay as a hunter who had left his group for scouting was noticed by a group of abominations and almost brutally mauled to death before he could use .

Hannigan ’s group was one of the luckiest and unluckiest ones at the same time. They had appeared in the cellar of a house in the big city. Although they did not meet any people, it meant they had a good chance to find out more about the world and improve their evaluation.

That was the lucky part. They were unlucky because most of the city ’s population had turned into abominations and had long killed the rest. These abominations were nothing to scoff at. Looking like desiccated corpses with black skin like coal, they were extremely nimble, fast, and strong.

Mina was probably the most agile of their group and even she was not sure whether she would be able to do more than run away. The hunter had been unlucky, to get surrounded in the narrow alley of the big city.

As tragic as his disqualification was, it made that group ’s further story even more interesting. The hunter had gone missing while scouting. How would they react?

The truly cursed quality of the evaluation ’s broadcast was that all groups were similarly strong and interesting, and people were hard-pressed to keep up with everything. Anybody who could, would suddenly start living in front of the TV and spend as much time as possible watching the broadcasts, similar to Mina and the others.

After showing Hannigan ’s demise, the broadcast cut to Seth ’s group

—- Keväti Kuinen —-

Except for Seth, the Hero, the merchant, and the demon also had the skill. Despite it only giving them the rough outline of the continent they had landed on, it was enough to decide their next steps.

They were currently situated on an elongated continent that ran diagonally from northwest to southeast. Most settlements were at rivers or shores. The citadel was supposed to be located at the shore.

To reach the shore and find a settlement, it was decided to go east and follow the foothills of a short mountain range. Judging by the distance and their speed, it would only take four days to reach the shore.

Seth enjoyed the role of the Bard; he simply walked along and sang hiking songs that slightly helped with their stamina but were more to alleviate the boredom.

”M-Maybe we should rest over there. It seems to be a cave at the cliff over there… ” Rich said fatigued.

He lacked the power of the hero and had no equipment, so he was suffering the most under the sun. The saintess was kind enough to bless him periodically, but that could only help so much. At least there were few monsters in this terrible environment.

The only bigger thing they had encountered so far was a desert Kraken. Since they usually lived below ground, it was not bothered in the least by the sun ’s wrath. It could have had a long life if it had not decided to attack a stressed hero.

Using the sword given by the imperial prince, Ben easily cut the Kraken into bite-sized chunks. This world was in a situation similar to Urth, and the monsters were tremendously strengthened. Despite that, they stood no chance against the cheat existence that was the Hero.

One could argue that all members of their team were special with one or two cheats. It was the same for any other team sent here. Still, a hero was the most broken out of all of them, when it came to individual combat strength.

While Seth made sure to relax in the back, the Hero was leading in the front wearing thick and heavy armor while enduring the sun ’s bombardment. The blacksmith had to admit, that Ben Harker ’s equipment was not bad.

The hero was decked out in epic and unique items from dungeons. Although it could not compare to a well-thought-out epic set-up from Seth, it was probably the best one could get by dungeon diving alone.

”We could rest there for the day and continue walking during the night. ” the demon suggested.

Aside from the demon, Misto Pheles, Yvette the Saintess, Hubert the Merchant, and Elza agreed with his idea. Especially Rich was looking forward to a break.

Unlike Seth who had distributed his stats evenly or the vanguards, they were all casters who focused on attributes like intelligence and willpower. Although they did not suffer from the sun, as Rich did, they had a hard time keeping up with the physical strain of their travel.

”If you guys accepted Rich ’s contract, we would be faster, and you would have fewer problems. ” the hero complained.

”We already had that topic! I ’m not gonna become someone ’s slave! Even if it ’s just temporary. ” Ellie shouted agitated. Although nobody else spoke up, Elza, Yvette, and Brock nodded in silent agreement.

The contract may have been just a formality without any strings attached, but especially these four were fundamentally against the idea. Others like Seth also preferred not to do it and rather stood on the sidelines.

Really in favor of the idea were only Ben and Rich. Which ended the whole conversation in: Not unless there was no other choice. Rich could still use his support skills on them, they were just weakened.

”…Fine, let ’s take a rest in the cave and continue in the night. ”

Everyone let out a sigh of relief as they escaped the burning sun and entered the cool shadows of the cave. Seth frowned a little since he lost a lot of buffs from his sky silk clothes indoors, but he didn ’t complain.

Ellie suddenly ran into the cave as if she noticed something. Her excited call echoed back to them.

”Hey! It ’s a dungeon! ”

They followed the quirky slime rancher. On the way in Seth noticed tracks of something beeing dragged out. looking at the other, he was not the only one to notice.

At the back of the tube-shaped cave was a big gate. The rough natural rock wall ended in a brick wall made of big yellowish sandstone blocks. Rows of columns lined the wall, and two big braziers illuminated the mysterious door.

The area in front of the gate was strewn with leftovers from camps. Burned down fires, dilapidated and broken tents, old bags, and garbage. Everything was covered in a layer of fine dust and sand. In this type of climate, they had no idea for how long the area had been abandoned.

”Seeing that there are traces of human presence, it could mean that there might be a settlement in the area. ” the merchant pondered.

”Should we enter? ” Marcel asked.

The entrance to the dungeon indicated that it was not small at all. Most of the party members were in the early to mid-60s while the Dungeon looked like it could easily go up to level 80 or even up to 100. It was not impossible, but it was not necessarily part of their mission and would take time.

However, a dungeon could be a great resource for the Chrona Empire and bring bonus points for the evaluation. The hero looked around the group.

”We will rest first and then take a look.. Let ’s decide afterward. ”

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