Brendel opened the stone coffin.
At that moment, a sharp drop in the temperature of the tomb could be felt. A layer of frost had started to gather on the walls of the tomb. From within the shadows, a faint tapping sound could be heard. Jana, who was standing with the others at the entrance, was startled by the noise. She turned around, trying to locate the source of the noise. She noticed that the merchant lady’s complexion was pale, body shivering and teeth chattering in the cold.
“Are you okay?” Curiosity flashed across the mercenary commander’s face, wondering why the little lady insisted to remain standing despite the cold. However, Jana knew that amongst the people gathered there, she was the most fragile. “Would you like me to escort you out first?” Jana offered. Romane wrapped her arms around her torso, still shivering from the cold, yet she stubbornly shook her head and answered shakily, “N-n-no thanks…… I-I w-would l-like to s-see B-B-Brendel open the c-coffin. I w-want to s-see what’s inside.”
“But are you not cold?” Jana could clearly see that Romane was nearly freezing to death.
“Of c-course I a-am……”
“Let’s head out then?”
“N-n-no!” Romane’s curiosity had evidently overwhelmed her rationality. She would willingly become a frozen statue if it meant she could find out what laid within the stone coffin. This display of curiosity, was really alike Brendel.
Jana did not understand the lengths Romane was willing to go to sate her curiosity and was struck speechless by the perplexing lady. Little did she know that a year ago, Brendel had wondered how similar he and the girl were when he saw the dauntless expression she had on the face during the night Aouine was attacked.
While Jana was still at a loss for words, Brendel managed to pry open the coffin lid with Ciel’s help. The huge coffin had a trapezoidal shape, similar to those found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs. This proved that it had different origins from the Kirrlutz people whose coffins were either rectangular or hexagonal, similar to those used by vampires. The Aouine people and Kirrlutz people’s culture were nearly identical. The Highlanders usually did not bury themselves in graves, but rather in catacombs.
Therefore, Brendel concluded that the tomb had been built a long time ago, even earlier than the era of the mountain people.
Prioritising safety, Brendel only pried the lid slightly open, only to be stunned. Light shone through the small crevice to reveal… nothing. There was no trace of the corpse or mummy, but rather a huge sum of treasure.
“The BOSS is not inside?” Suspicion flashed through Brendel as he carefully signaled to Ciel. Both of them pushed the heavy lid off to check the contents of the coffin. Between the rusted gold and silver tools, instead of a corpse at the center of the coffin, there laid a pile of shattered crystals.
Looking at the crystal pieces, Brendel felt a shiver run up his spine.
The crystal pieces were laid upon a cloth, arranged into the silhouette of a man. Four limbs and a torso, yet the head was missing.
“Holy… Please don’t scare me senior.” Brendel let the comment slip out for only himself to hear. However, no matter how he looked at it, he could not make out what race was the corpse.
“What the hell is this?” Ciel was shocked as he looked into the coffin. Normally, burial rites in most places involved mummifying the deceased. Mummification was a complex process. However, turning a body into crystals was unheard of. The absence of a head made it even more perplexing.
Brendel thoroughly checked the contents of the coffin. Other than the crystals, nothing else bore the slightest resemblance to a corpse. If he guessed correctly, then that was the owner of the tomb. As for the objects in the coffin, Brendel immediately identified them as magical equipment, which would usually be the reward for eliminating the boss.
Could this be the boss? Brendel couldn’t help but take another glance at the crystal pieces. That can’t be. Even though my Willpower stat was high, I don’t think it was capable of one-shotting the boss.
It was not only Brendel, but Ciel too who thought that the man-shaped pile of crystals seemed familiar.
Uncertainly, he sent a mental transmission, “I think…… it’s the same thing as before, My Lord.” Brendel nodded his head silently. From within the pile of items, one of them caught his eye. Within the gold and silver objects was a dark grey piece of stone the size of a palm. It was dull and appeared to have broken off from a part of the coffin lid. If Brendel weren’t so vigilant and repeatedly scanned the coffin for abnormalities, he might have actually missed this seemingly plain stone.
Brendel picked up the stone. Suddenly, he was struck with a sense of familiarity. After some slight hesitation, he reached into his pocket and took out something.
It was another stone piece, dull and grey. Other than the fact that this one was the size of a thumb, it was indistinguishable from the stone he held in his other hand. He had obtained the thumb-sized stone at Xavier Mountain Pass, when he was escaping death with Romane and Freya. It was an inheritance of Viscount Nelson when they were at the Magical Golden Tree in the Forbidden Garden. In other words, it was an inheritance of Amandina’s father.
He still remembered that among all of Amandina’s father’s inheritance, the stone was the only object he couldn’t recognize. At first, he thought that it was an alchemy material. After all, there were many materials for The Amber Sword, it was normal if he couldn’t recognize a few of them. He was a battle oriented player and not a sub-class player.
However, according to the knowledge of the Alchemist Tharma, the stone was not a mineral, nor any kind of alchemy material. It did not react to magic, making it seem even more like an ordinary stone. Brendel had thought of getting rid of it, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. After all, it was obtained under special circumstances, it might be an event-based object, if he threw it away it would never come back.
Never could he have imagined that in a nameless tomb in Trentheim, there could be something similar to this stone.
What exactly is it?
The appearance of the stone in the pile of battle spoils meant that it had its own value, at least the tomb owner thought so. As for the rest of the spoils, even though they might not be worth a lot, most of them were magic items, and the rest were gold, silver or porcelain.
This stone had appeared in the hands of Amandina’s father, and now it was found in a tomb from centuries ago, hundreds of miles away. Secrets from two different eras intertwined with each other only caused more confusion on Brendel’s part.
After thinking for a long time, the best conclusion he could come up with was that the stone was a special type of burial treasure. Perhaps it held a special meaning back in that era, and Amandina’s father was just another collector. However, doing so was slightly disrespectful to the dead, and they had no evidence that Amandina’s father was a grave robber.
Furthermore, Amandina’s always carried the stone with him, and him sending the stone to Amandina along with his letter meant that it meant a lot to him. Brendel couldn’t understand the value of the stone, and it wasn’t as if it was a flint spear tip from the Stone Age.
“Oh? There’s also a Card of Fate.”
Brendel heard Ciel exclaim with awe through the mental transmission. Turning around, he saw his aide pick out something, from within the coffin, with his finger. From the layers of cobwebs a black object, like a box, with an equilateral triangle, within the triangle was a runic circle, both pictures forming a unique symbol, surrounded by carvings of rising flames.
Brendel’s eyes flashed, and he saw a flash of silver from beneath the box, it was a silver string nearly undetectable by the naked eye. Looking at the string, his expression paled, and yelled with a shaky voice, “Put it down, quick!” Unfortunately, it was too late, Ciel had already grabbed the box, and turned back to look at his master.
In that instance, the entire tom started to quake, the tiles started to tremble, dust started to fall from the ceiling, pillars all around started to shake violently, letting out creaking sounds. Everyone knew what was happening, that some sort of trap had activated.
“Ah!” Ciel started, “Master, it was an accident!”
It was an accident to him indeed, his Card of Fate explained that he was like mage who grew up reading books in an ivory tower. Unlike adventurers, NPC mages spent nearly their entire lives in a sea of books, not having any knowledge of adventures, and certainly not knowing about underground traps.
However, Ciel’s ability had made him and Brendel overlook this fact.
Furthermore, Brendel had forgotten an even more important fact: Ciel was from the world, and not some gamer Wizard.
“Oh shit!” Brendel panicked slightly, and said, “Who cares if it was an accident, run, the tomb is going to collapse!” Most tombs in the game had been built with a self-destruct mechanism, only more experienced players would be able to avoid being tricked. He could tell that Ciel was really nervous.
Both of them looked at each other, then turned around.