I received the keys to the two rooms and entered one of them.
Aries and I were in Room 202, while Dina's room was Room 204. The room in between, Room 203, was occupied by the adventurers from before, so we were somewhat separated from Dina.
The room itself was…well, not bad. The wooden room was fairly wide, and the beds were solidly built. There was a bathroom too. There was nothing for me to pick on. No. Actually, it was not uncommon to find inns without baths in this world. This was only natural in the game world. I was impressed by the advancements made in the last two hundred years.
The cost of lodging was also cheap, merely thirty ell. Ninety ell for three persons was such a reasonable price. Dina had a good eye for selecting this inn with just a glance.
"Well, let's wait for Dina."
"Yes, Lady Ruphas!"
Although we waited for Dina, the latter probably wouldn't have much opportunity for action. Everyone other than me would die when facing Libra.
Although Aries was one of the Twelve Heavenly Stars like Libra, their compatibility was the worst. Aries specialized in endurance battle using his abundant skills, but Libra specialized in annihilating the target with maximum penetrating damage upon initial contact. Therefore, unless his HP exceeded 100,000, he would die instantly without question.
After the target took on that attack, Libra had no way to heal herself, so she was the easiest to defeat among the Twelve Heavenly Stars. However, that attack was simply too violent. I finally recruited Aries, but unfortunately, he had to stay behind when fighting Libra.
"Aries. Do you know what the other Twelve Heavenly Stars are doing?"
"Well, yes…I was concentrating on destroying Svalinn, so I'm not sure about the details. But…I was invited by Aigokeros the Goat to go with him to the demons' lair, so Aigokeros should be supporting the demons."
Aigokeros…His race was lord demon—what was this?—that appeared like the devil.
Goat and sheep…He was completely unlike Aries. He had the body of a man and the head of a goat. Bat wings sprouted from his back. This was the classic image of the devil.
Well, frankly speaking…He was someone who had no discomfort consorting with the demons. Or rather, he was more demonic than the demons themselves.
"Who else…I'm sorry. I don't know."
"I see, so the Twelve Heavenly Stars are not completely aware of each other's movements."
I thought I could find the others after finding one comrade, but it seemed to be impossible. For now, I could only depend on Dina's information. Until she returned, I could just relax.
—As I thought so, there was a knock on the door.
"Ah, I can open it, right?"
Aries took the initiative and opened the door. It wasn't Dina standing there, but the four adventurers who were arguing with the innkeeper earlier. Today was definitely the first time we met them, so what could they want? They did not seem hostile. Since Aries was at a loss for words, I came over to the door.
"I remember you are the four people who argued with the innkeeper earlier. What is it?"
"Ah, we just want to thank you. Thanks to you, we do not have camp outside."
The reply was made by a brown-haired man, who probably was the leader. Short, trimmed hair stood on ends. One could tell with a glance that this was a man who trained his body well. His sharp eyes were reminiscent of a carnivorous beast and were filled with brimming confidence.
"Oh, is that all? I don't mind such things. You are really one who sticks to the rules."
"Even if you do not mind, we do. We will return our gratitude. This is our way."
His thug-like appearance did not match his sincere, honest personality. Considering the increasing number of modern people who would not even give thanks, anyone would wish a young man like him to stay this way. By the way, I should emulate that too.
"We will be staying in this village for some time. Please rely on us for anything you need. Well, then."
The adventurers left after saying this. It seemed they really came to thank us. Dina showed up to replace them and entered the room.
"Oh, you are back. How is it?"
"Success. I got the permit to explore the royal tomb. By the way, who are those adventurers I just passed by?"
"Just some rule-abiding adventurers."
Dina's return signified we could openly enter the tomb in the name of exploration. Exploring your own tomb should be a valuable experience. Let us relax for today, and plunge into things tomorrow.
The second day, we stalled in front of the tomb. A lot of people were crowding at the gate, so it was impossible to move forward. They were arguing about something, while blocking the entrance. Honestly, this was very annoying.
"Ah, I'm sorry. Did something happen?"
Dina came close to a man and asked. Brown hair that stood on ends, and a muscular body…Oh. This guy was the adventurer from yesterday?
He confirmed our appearances, and said, "Oh."
"You are also here to investigate the ruins? Ah, this blue-haired sister is the companion you mentioned yesterday?"
"Yes. I'm the traveling merchant, Dina. So what happened here?"
The adventurers considered her question and frowned. It seemed to be bad news.
"Ah. A special investigation team was dispatched from Lævateinn two months ago. However, today's regular contact has not been made. They were near the top floor yesterday. Everyone is happy about the progress, but…"
"Maybe they are just a little late?"
"At first, everyone thought that too, but it has been five hours. It's too strange that they did not send any communication magic after so long."
Hearing the adventurer's reply, Dina looked over to Aries and I. We nodded silently and moved away from the crowd into the nearby shadows.
"What do you think, Lady Ruphas?"
"They probably got hit by Libra. She's definitely on the top floor."
"I think so too. They probably got hit by Brachium upon reaching the top floor."
The investigation team that lost contact must have consisted of talented individuals. I did not know the difficulty level of the tomb, but it should not be too easy by today's standards. However, it was unfortunate that they were skillful enough to get to the top floor. An encounter with Libra meant inevitable death for people of this era. I was sorry to say that their efforts were in vain, but as long as Libra guarded the top floor, there was no chance of victory.
But there was a weakness.
Brachium could not be fired in rapid succession. If they sacrificed someone at the start to waste the shot, the remaining members could challenge her with Brachium sealed off.
But they did not know this. If they were all wiped out at the start, nobody would discover this weakness of not being able to fire repeatedly. If they survived all the way to the top floor, it was only natural to challenge Libra, the last guardian, with all their strength. Dead men tell no tales—They could not pass on any information since they were all dead.
This weakness was known only to Mizar and I. Nobody else knew about it. I only came to this world a few days ago, while Mizar had already passed on. The Twelve Heavenly Stars might know this too, but they would not pass this information on to the humanoids.
Thus, nobody knew about Libra's weakness, and the mountain of sacrificial victims built up until today. But even if they knew about it, I would still say "NO" to their chances of victory.
Indeed, Libra had no means of healing herself and could not raise her base statuses. However, her Level 910 was the highest among the Twelve Heavenly Stars, so she was very strong even without Brachium. Therefore, it would be impossible to challenge her, except for the Twelve Heavenly Stars, the Seven Heroes, and the Demon King.
…No. Only about half of the Twelve Heavenly Stars had HP above 100,000. Since the Seven Heroes were weakened, they probably could not make it. Given the shortage of manpower, it would be impossible to challenge Libra.
"The number of victims would increase if we don't recover her soon."
It was fortunate that she did not aggressively attack countries like Aries. It would be troubling if the number of capable adventurers continued to decrease. The humanoids' combat power was already low and could not afford to be reduced further.
I must recover Libra before anyone else ventured to the top floor.
"Okay. Let's go, the two of you."
"I can't handle Libra, but please leave the small fries to me!"
Bringing Dina and Aries along, I pushed my way through the crowd to the entrance of the royal tomb. I elegantly ignored the voices of people trying to stop us. However, just as I was about to enter, someone caught my shoulder.
"Wa—Wait, older sister! Are you really going in!? You heard what I said earlier! It's too reckless! The investigation team consists of fifty veterans recognized by the country. It was impossible even for them!"
He must be a nice guy. From his perspective, I must be an air-headed woman who was trying to enter the tomb without understanding the dangers. He could have just ignored us, but he went out of his way to stop us instead. Therefore, he must be a good person.
However, I was entering with the full awareness of the dangers involved. Or rather, nobody else in this world knew Libra better than me.
"Thank you for your concern, but it is unnecessary. Please let go."
The hand on my shoulder reluctantly lifted, and I entered the royal tomb.
As expected, the interior was a passage made out of bricks. The surroundings were dim, and it faded into darkness further it was from the entrance. Even so, this was not a problem as long as there was light. Aries held out his palm and created a flame in his hand, illuminating the area.
Deeper and deeper, we pushed forward. As expected of the first floor, all the traps were already triggered. Without any obstacles, we easily found the stairs to the next floor.
After proceeding to the next floor, a silhouette appeared before us. It was a simple golem constructed out of solid rock. Checking with Observing Eye skill revealed that it was Level 150, despite looking like this.
This was just a small fry to me, but it might be different for other people.
"Oh, a golem?"
"Yes. This was something mass-produced by Lady Ruphas for the final battle with the Seven Heroes."
"Oh, I see. It is my golem. No wonder its level is high despite the crude construction."
When I was fighting the Seven Heroes, I mass-produced these golems to make up for inadequate fighting strength. However, multiple golems normally could not be produced at the same time. It was limited to one golem per person. Even if several bodies were made, only the golem at the top of the item list would appear. All the others remained inert.
Furthermore, if the golem was destroyed, the next golem appeared only after the battle. Thus, the mass use of golems was prohibited. In addition, the highest AI level for golems was set at 5. Golems with high AI level required a long production time, thereby making it impossible to mass-produce high-performance golems.
But many loopholes could be found in the game.
If high-AI golems could not be continuously produced, then it implied that low-AI, shoddy golems could be mass-produced. After mass-producing such golems, I could simply distribute one golem to each member of my faction, allowing me to utilize them all.
I exploited this and suddenly boosted my fighting strength by letting the low-level faction members use a low-AI golem. Well, even so, they were just small fries before a high-level player. It seemed a large amount of those shoddy golems from back then were left behind to wander about in this tomb.
"Hmm. Although it is something I made, I could sense its hostility."
"It's because the golem's thought routine is to indiscriminately attack any creature within detection range, except for living creatures belonging to Zodiac and golems. Since Lady Ruphas' country is no more, we would be attacked too."
"…Oh. These golems are idiots that always attack the nearest target first."
A low-AI golem was less intelligent than a monkey. It was simply a shoddy golem that indiscriminately and repeatedly direct normal attacks against the nearest target. Even if it had skills, it would not use them due to its low AI. It wouldn't consider the conditions of allies as well.
At AI Level 2, the golem would use skills, chosen at random, without considering the situation. Thus, it was common sense that a minimum of AI Level 3 was required for actual warfare. From a certain viewpoint, my golem mass production tactic was contrary to common sense.
…The result was staggering. Common sense was important.
Oh, by the way, Zodiac was the name of the country I built.
"Well, I suppose we should just destroy it."
I cracked my finger joints and aimed at the golem. If the shoddy golems I made were causing inconvenience after two hundred years, it was my responsibility to dispose of them.
But just as I was about to collide with the golem, someone came between us and blocked the golem's sword-fist.
"Oops! I won't let you! A man who never forgets kindness shown to him, Jean the adventurer! And the other three members of adventurer's party—Hawkeye! In the name of righteousness, let me help you, older sister!"
An adventurer with brown hair and three other men suddenly interrupted…
—Honestly, this was unwanted help.
※ Author’s Notes: Some SettingsQ: Why didn't Megrez mass-produce golems?
A: I did, but Aries destroyed them all.
Q: Instead of raiding the royal tomb, why didn't Megrez create weapons?
A: Actually, I did, but Mars raided them when I tried to export them to other countries. So they were kept in domestic circulation. Once the soldiers were equipped…whether they work or not is as stated in this volume. Since the meddling of Mars ceased, these weapons and armors will be on sale for a while. Perhaps the wealthy people will buy them for self-defense or other reasons.
After all, it is money.
※ Foot NotesEll (エル) is the currency used in the world. I can find no equivalent among real-world currency. The closest approximation is ell, a unit of length measurement from one's elbow to the tip of the middle finger. This translation will use the same word "ell", but remember it is a currency unit instead.
Aigokeros (アイゴケロス), meaning "Goat-Horned", is the Greek name for the astrological sign of Capricorn. His description closely resembles that of Baphomet. His race is given as ロード・デーモン (lord demon), which I was tempted to translated as "demon lord". But I refrained from doing so to avoid confusion with the Demon King (魔神王).
Lævateinn (レーヴァテイン) is a weapon that could kill the rooster Víðópnir in Norse mythology. It is sometimes identified with either the sword of Surtr or the sword of Frey. In this novel, the name is given to the city where Ruphas was first accidentally summoned in Chapter 1.
A WILD LAST BOSS APPEARED!
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