Blacksmith of the Apocalypse

Chapter 441: Offering Home

Chapter 440: Senior White

The slimes taking care of the undead finally gave Seth a calm moment to think and recover with some potions. They had called him a bard and it seemed they had come looking for him specifically. This meant not only that there was someone out for him.

That person also got information on him and probably the others from somewhere. Did they catch one of their team…? No, that seemed unlikely. They were all together until the attack.

Right, the attack. Maybe that person was responsible for their crash. The question was how they got information. There was not supposed to be any communication between the teams and the outside.

“Seth, I found you.” he suddenly heard an airy voice from the left.

“Pheles, is that you?” the blacksmith whispered.

“Yes. I can talk to you, using the environment.”

“Oh, is this mist also the doing of another one of your brethren?” the blacksmith secretly convened with their hidden ace. The answer came in a wispy voice.

“No this is no demonic magic. Despite what it looks, it seems to be a blessing.” the mist demon asserted.

Seth looked at the hordes of undead and the city that was decomposing form the constant moistures.

“The mist did not turn these people. It only blocks the sun. Most likely the doing of a local deity.”

This made sense. It was probably the person aiming for his life, that had also slaughtered the people here. They had killed and resurrected a full city to capture them? If this wasnt a sign of madness, what was?

Though, Seth had already seen too much over the past year and a half to be overly shaken by this realization.

“Can you locate the rest of the party?”

“Not without rematerializing.” the demon denied.

Seth nodded and checked his map. At least, he and Ellie were together. They would find a way to deal with the situation. The others couldnt be that far away. If they didnt find the rest of the party, they were all aiming for the same goal anyway.

“Hey, Ellie, do you have any way to find the others?”

“I could send out the slimes to search the city,” she said after pondering for a moment.

The Slimes had already wiped out the undead in the vicinity. Watching the slimes now run off to explore the city, Seth noticed Golmini hanging on Ellies shoulder.

“By the way, why did you take out Golmini?”

“…Promise not to laugh.” she suddenly became shy and took the little golem into her embrace.

“Errm, okay?” he was a little confused but agreed as the girl seemed serious.

“Im not good with mist or fog. Its creepy not to see. Its like a horror movie. I brought out Golmini and Humbold to comfort me.” she confessed with an unsure smile.

Seth was stunned. He had not expected the usually upbeat and confident Ellie to have this kind of weakness. It would probably be better if they never told her about the foggy mirror dimension of Urth. It wasnt a fond memory he wanted to talk about either way.

~I like this place. Can I come out, mom? ~

The blacksmith thought about it for a moment. Usually, the Imugi was free to do whatever it wanted at Minas Mar. It spent most of its time playing with the children. It had shown a great amount of constraint not to whine over the last two weeks.

That Tatzel asked to come out now meant he had a reason. Seth nodded and the next moment the snakelet was draped around his shoulders like a stola. The imugi had also grown over the last months, but he still looked like a chubby snakelet. Which meant he featured quite a weight.

As the mist touched his dark scales, the Imugi made a unique sound in relish. It resembled a cats purr. It was the first time he experienced Tatzel do this.

“Aww, Tatzel is cute when he purrs.” Ellie commented

~ Mom, this feels really good. It feels weirdly calming and connected. I think I could- ~

The fog around them suddenly distorted into whirls and a dome-shaped area was cleared of mist. It was still visibly whirling at the edges of the dome.

“Oh, you learn something new again, Tatzel. But I thought you liked it, why did you push it back?”

~Ellie mentioned she was uncomfortable with it right?~

“Y-yes. Thank you, Tatzel,” she said, blushing a little.

“Tatzel, do you think you could find the rest of the group?”

Seeing the imugi exert power over the fog gave him an idea, that he might be able to find the others.

~S-Sorry, Mom. I cant. I can control here, but its not my mist. I cant do more without permission.”

“Permission?”

~Yes, the mist belongs to somebody. ~

“Can you find the owner?”

“Why would you want to look for the owner?” Ellie asked.

Seth explained to her about the things a spoke about with Misto, without mentioning the demon. If the mist belonged to a local deity, it might be helpful if they met with it. Seth had some experience with deities. He met a local deity once and got the impression that they tended to be helpful, usually.

His second encounter with a deity was a little less comfortable but turned out to be a gain in the end.

The demon said the mist was a kind of blessing, it meant this deity intended to help the people living here. If they were lucky, it would not blame them for ending their state of undeath and could help them find the rest of the team.

After he explained his thoughts to the team, the Imugi affirmed that he could track the source of the mist. Of course, Ellies slimes were still scouting the city. They wouldnt rely on just one method.

Tatzel led the way and they followed it through the streets of the devastated city. From the once busy city center, they came out to small houses with small fields. The imugi led them to a thick bamboo forest.

The bamboo was violet, and Seth wondered about the triangular wooden gates that lined the stone stairs leading up to the bamboo-covered mountain.

At about half the way up, Ellie suddenly called out.

“One of my slimes found Brock. It seemed he also was caught up in a fight with the undead.”

“Do you think you can lead him here?” Seth asked unsurely.

“Maybe? The slimes can try, but nothing guarantees he will follow.”

“Thats will be good enough, I guess. If this doesnt work, we can at least meet up with him.”

Following Tatzels guidance, they climbed all way up the mountain. Seth had to admit, that the place was beautiful. The mist-covered bamboo forest gave off a fresh smell and serene scenery. The sound of bamboo swaying in the wind had a calming effect on him.

The blacksmith half expected a temple at the top of the path; however, it was “just” a lake. It was a small natural lake with crystal clear water. The diffused light that fell through the mist and reflected from the surface created the illusion of vastness as if the lake was much greater than it could be.

“Is this the place?” Seth whispered to the Imugi on his shoulders.

~No need to whisper, Mom. The owner already knows of our presence. ~ Tatzel answered excitedly as if it was looking forward to meeting this supposed local deity.

The smooth surface of the water was disturbed, and a white silhouette appeared at the shore of the lake.

~Hello, little friends. ~ they heard with an overwhelming volume in their minds. It sounded almost excited.

A huge white snake with barbels like a mustache surfaced from the lake. It was not as oversized as the Titanoboas that Tatzel descended from, but still bigger than any normal snake he ever saw. It elegantly raised its head, facing Seth and Tatzel at eye level.

~Ah, Im sorry. What brings you to my humble dwelling? ~

The voice had toned down a little but kept the friendliness. It was an attractive female voice, that fit the clear beautiful eyes of the snake.

~H-Hello! ~ Tatzel greeted the white snake.

~Oh, what a cute little junior. ~ she said. The snake got close to Seths face and nuzzled the little imugi on his shoulders.

“This is Tatzel. This is Ellie and I am Seth.” the blacksmith introduced their group. He deliberately did not mention Puffles or Misto. Although the Ivicer felt indignant about going unmentioned, he understood it as being the trump card.

“Hmm, i welcome you once again. People call me the White Mistress. Just call me White. What brought you to my humble abode?”

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