Blacksmith of the Apocalypse

Chapter 415: Generals Abode

Chapter 414: Catacombs

——-Chrona——-

In a tiny office filled with stacks of papers, Shawn McLeery looked at the screen in front of him, almost crying in joy. Finally, the group from Urth was doing something!

At his digression as the channel director, they had spent most of their dwindling funds on the exclusive rights for some of the members from Urth. Especially those that had caused a commotion during the banquet.

They lacked the funds to compete for the hero. But they had found out about the guy who kicked the hero and shamed him in public! They paid a fortune only to find out, they bought the right for the Bard! And something like a slime tamer.

To make things worse, they had been going through a boring wasteland for the past two days.

This was their last attempt to get the struggling channel back on track, if this failed, he would have to take responsibility in front of the stakeholders.

He was ready to succumb to his fate when they encountered him. A big one. He prayed to the 9 Divines they would enter the place and his prayer came true.

The director called all the editors and screenwriters, all four that were left, for a joint sighting of the material sent by the imperial broadcast station.

“This Ellie is not bad, her skills are interesting, and her fight is wild. But this bard…”

“Why did we spend a lot of money? Because our informant said he was the one who made the hero kneel.” Shawn answered, also rather unsure about their investment.

“I mean, hes doing his job as a bard, but…”

“Yeah, hes rather ordinary, isnt he? Except for the beginning when he suddenly started handing out rings, he stayed silent.”

The party from Urth slowly made their way through the dungeon hall which resembled a high temple of some evil idol or false god. A pack of disfigured ghouls around level 67 was besieging the party.

Everyone fought valiantly and showed an interesting array of skills, except for the bard. The only thing special about him was the eccentric instrument he used. He sang ordinary songs to buff his allies or hinder the ghouls.

“Sorry, Chief. Looks like that one is a dud.”

“… Hm, maybe. Or hes hiding his skills.”

“What makes you think that? Just because you are desperate, you shouldnt become delusional.” one of the editors joked with a chuckle.

“Answer me this: If he was this ordinary, why would he be recommended for the evaluation?”

“You are right. That is indeed weird…”

“However, you are not wrong. Even if he is hiding his skill, he is unusable until he reveals himself. Maybe we could salvage some of the shots from his perspective and make something interesting centered around the girl?”

“Hes always in the rear, giving a good view of the battle, maybe we could sell some of the shots to other channels, too?”

“Not a bad idea.”

———————

It was true, Seth held back and did the least he had to do, to count as a bard. Singing some common songs, he had learned from Oz.

The ghouls were quite strong and numerous but posed no danger to their kind of overpowered party. There was no need for Seth to show any prowess in this situation. It was similar for Yvette, Elza, and the others in the rearguard.

It was mostly the vanguard getting some action. After defeating the ghouls, they continued deeper into the abyss, all the while being amazed by what they had found. The whole them of the temple seemed to be a temple, or maybe it was an expansive burial structure before the dungeon grew in it?

Past the massive wave of ghouls, the opponents became sparser. Mostly undead like mummified soldiers wearing a sword and armor of great antiquity. They would turn to dust once they were defeated.

From the second floor onward, the dungeon turned into a complicated labyrinth of halls, tunnels, and alcoves.

The next floors of these catacombs were filled with large crates; most of the crates were empty. In the bottom of one of the larger crates lay a humanoid creature: a human soldier, desiccated and rotten. Some of the corpses would rise or break out from the crates when they heard the group approach.

“Hey, take a look at this!” Misto called the group.

Two large pools of bright red liquid decorated the floor around him; was this fresh blood? What was going on? The entrance had no sign of anyone entering recently, so where would the fresh blood come from?

“Its definitely blood.” Cade suddenly commented with absolute certainty. It seemed like had her fair share of experience with this topic.

“I can smell more in that direction,” she added and pointed down one of the many hallways

“Lead the way. Maybe there is a survivor.” the hero said determinedly.

They followed the girl with the hood as she led them through several halls and burial chambers.

She abruptly stopped moving.

“Its-!”

Suddenly they heard the sound of rocks rumbling in the tunnel. They quickly fled to the other side of the room, just as a massive rock slab crashed to the ground and left a gaping hole behind it. Just as they were almost crushed in the falling rock, the group sprinted to the far side of the room to evade it.

Now a giant stone slab blocked their only way in or out, as the chamber was a dead end.

“Shit, old man! Werent you looking out for traps?” Marcel shouted at the dimensional merchant.

The old gentleman had been acting as their thief because his monocle was able to see through traps.

“Language, my young Friend. This stone slab is not a trap, so my monocle could not detect it.”

“Its not a trap?”

“It was him,” the hooded girl said and pointed at a sarcophagus. A thin trail of blood could be seen at the rim.

“W-Who are you people?” a voice asked after the stranger realized that they knew about his presence.

Inside the sarcophagus lay a man, he was badly injured, but alive. Seth determined that this man was around 35 years old and, judging by the code of arms on his weapons and armor, a member of a Knights Order.

The man was breathing deeply and gasped when he spoke to them. “Know that I am a knight of the Knights of the Independent City of Akhaz. I am here under the order of the Lord of Baram, the guardian of this catacomb.”

“Guardian of the Catacomb?” the hero asked perplexed. “That doesnt matter! Why did you lock us up?”

Seth stepped forward and tapped the heros shoulder. Talking should be left to the bard.

“This is not an interrogation; dont you see he is severely wounded? How about Yvette healing him before we keep talking?” he suggested amicably

This was the first person they met, and they were lucky enough that he was not a nobody. As a knight, he should have had information on what was going on, at least in this region.

~You should let me heal him! I am a lot better than her. ~ Tatzel said eagerly from his pet space

~ I know, but I dont want to reveal you yet, leave it to the priestess. ~

Yvette was the saintess of Samhach, God of Repose and Stagnation, healing was not her specialty, however, she still rivaled most high priests. The Imugis disdain said more about its own prowess than that of the saintess.

“How about you leave the talking to the bard?” Seth whispered his suggestion to the hero.

He didnt wait for Bens answer though and approached the man while Yvette was healing him. The hero could only clench his fist, but ultimately let it go.

“Greetings, we are visitors from a foreign world and mean no harm. We entered this cave to seek shelter and stumbled over your …catacomb.”

“Another world?” he looked at the group and contemplated. “its true, you dont look like any kind of people I know of.”

Seth didnt even need to use the to give a good impression and make the knight believe him. The effects of his high personality attribute and the necklace of Persephone were more than enough.

They quickly entered an amicable conversation about the Knight, the territory, and the reason for his presence here. What he told them was quite unfathomable.

This dungeon, or catacomb as they called it, was originally the tomb of an ancient Pharaoh and the last resting place of his army. A few centuries after it was built, the cult site had turned into a dungeon.

Despite being a dungeon, there were no problems. Wazad of Menkaure was a powerful god-king and kept his sanity with the help of ancient magicks and blessings. Even after he rose as an undead dungeon manager, he only wished to protect the descendants of his people.

Even after it became a dungeon, pilgrims would come here to perform the rites and show respect to the great pharaoh. When the sun god cursed their lands, it became almost impossible to live on the surface.

In their desperation, it was the great pharaoh who provided shelter for the populace inside his catacombs.

As for the knight, his name was Ahmad, and he was a messenger between the Lord of Baram who had taken shelter in these catacombs and the City Council of Akhaz. Originally, he was on his way back to Akhaz, when the security measures were suddenly activated.

The catacombs were normally void of monsters and the old soldiers would stay in their slumber unless there were unauthorized intruders. It was a countermeasure against the abominations that roamed the wastelands.

The dungeon creature and soldiers would attack anyone, no matter friend or foe, that was how Ahmad got in the crossfire of their entrance. The party looked a little embarrassed when they realized that it was their fault.

Despite it being their fault, the knight politely thanked the saintess after she was done healing.

“But why did you activate the trap?” the Hero asked peeved.

“How would I know whether you were friend or foe? With your strength, it would have been better to sacrifice my waning life to stop you from advancing and cause harm to the citizens.”

The hero fell silent. Ahmad, who had judged them trustworthy, re-opened the chamber by pressing a secret button at the lower corner of the sarcophagus he had been hiding in.

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