“There seems to be something beneath us,” Orthylss whispered to Brendel about her findings after surveying the area for a moment. There was some kind of corrosive mana that was surging up from the ground, like water being reflected back upon impact with the floor underground. The Wind Elves were naturally sensitive towards mana. If they were not, they would not have devised all those miraculous Sword Arts. Brendel nodded in agreement. In front of them, Ina was leading the way as they went out of the tunnel as they dwelled deeper into the area.
Upon walking for some distance, the walls turned a dark red hue. Looking closer, Brendel realized that it was due to some type of red quartz that coated the surface, causing it to gleam under the light. Brendel squeezed a sample in his hands, only to find it crumbling into dust.
"What’s going on?" He asked.
"It had always been like this even since the beginning of the construction,” Ina picked up some of the debris and continued, “But it seems like the crystallization is picking up in intensity recently. The corruption did not reach here the last time."
Something is definitely wrong here.
"Do you recognize what these are?" He bent down to pick up a piece of the rock, and silently asked Orthylss. She stared at it and searched her mind for a while, “It sort of looks like he Magical Quartz found within the Dark Forest. Have you heard about it?”
The magical quartz are usually found in places corrupted by magic, like the sides of the Dark Forest's river streams. These types of quartz are usually low in quality, travelers who encounter them can usually earn a small fortune, but it is unprofitable for the big organizations to mine them.
Brendel had indeed heard of them. He picked up the rock, "We will know if they are the same thing in a second."
Mana detection was basic homework for all Spellcaster, and it was not a hard task even for an amateur Elementalist like him to do it. He raised the rock with his left hand and directed his right hand's thumb, index and middle finger on the rock, and read out a Rune Word. And the rock glowed faintly.
"It was indeed a Magical Quartz.”
“Yep.” Orthylss nodded. “But it seemed to be of lower quality than the normal ones.”
It was impure and did not even have the value to be mined, totally a hassle for anyone to bring home.
"The magical corruption in this place is really severe." The youth surveyed his surroundings.
"But this place should still be within Mother Marsha’s sanction."
"That’s why this place is suspicious" Brendel tossed the rock away, looking up to see Ina stopped in her tracks.
She was on all fours and upon confirming her position, she called out, "Brat, we’re reaching our destination. It’s a dead-end at the back. Do you still want to venture further?."
Brendel moved two steps forward, trying to see just what laid inside the tunnel passage before him. But just as he did so, the space within ten yards rippled in a golden ring. A needle that resembled that of the clock hand was floating in the middle, like the whole thing was an elaborate Magical Formation. He initially wanted Ina to lead the way deeper inside, but just looking at the brilliant light show made him change his mind.
"Let's turn back."
Both the people present were surprised at Brendel’s choice. The two had initially thought that he would agree. Ina stiffened a little, as if she thought of something she forgot to add, "This Formation is set by my Master, it doesn’t mean that we cannot venture inside. It’ll be fine so long as I come with you."
Brendel shook his head, and said with determination, "No need. There’s probably nothing worth looking inside anyway. To seal something this tightly, it’s best for it to not be opened frequently.”
"That’s a good point." Ina nodded, but she eyed Brendel with dubious eyes. She had traveled with Kelsie for years, and her experience told her that Brendel was hiding the truth about his reluctance to venture further. However, she did not question his choices and went along with it.
On the other hand, Orthylss was also curious about Brendel’s decision. But unlike Ina, she was more straightforward and asked,
"What’s going on, Brendel?"
"Nothing much. My instincts are telling me that it’s dangerous." Brendel shook his head.
Orthylss knew Brendel was the type that believed in his guts really much. But that judgment of his was rare among the youths of his age- No, he was an exception even from that group. His awareness is so accurate that it could even rival a thousand-year-old monster like her.
On another hand, his reason for not venturing further was simple. The seal was the same as the one he saw earlier, and that stuff indicated the dungeon’s level. The one outside was known as the Murky Walls, and is used to seal a level 30~40 dungeon. When I removed it, a random Crystal Wight appeared, causing the cave to collapse and almost took my life! But this seal here, The Indicator of Age, can be seen in dungeons that were above level 300. It will be highly dangerous inside and I would not want to throw this life away!
(Note: Brendel was a level 130 Warrior, but in reality, most players back in the game have more than one Jobs that made them stronger than players with only one Job. That’s why in the game, a level 40 dungeon was meant for players around level 30, and a level 300 dungeon was for those pros above level 150.)
Although he was really curious as to what was inside, he deemed his life more important. Brendel immediately stalled his plan to check the place out for now and decide to return sometime in the future when he had the time or strength.
"So you’re planning on returning to the surface?"Ina’s sudden voice snapped him out of his daze. "However, I could not do it with my abilities and you will have to wait for your comrades back on the surface.
"That’s fine," Brendel replied with a carefree smile, "Coincidentally, I have some questions regarding the Planeswalker anyways."
"Then let us return to the hall.” Ina nodded, her eyes gazing into the abyss at the back of the long and deep tunnel they were supposed to go. “Truth is, I didn’t really like being there anyways.”
"Same,” Brendel said as he nodded at one last glance at the level 300 Magical Formation.
Time underground seemed to move like a snail relative to time on the surface: Romaine had obtained a new ability; Ciel and his men worked like workaholics for what seemed like days. Finally, Medissa and Morpheus came to their aid. They had spent four hours to reconcile, and another four hours to get to where Brendel was.
And by then, Brendel had already gotten all the answers he needed.
"One last question."
The information he got from Ina was vastly different from what Tuman had said. To be precise, it was more detailed and easy to understand. It was not until then when Brendel learned that Planeswalker had been in this world since the first natives to battle the Twilight Dragon, becoming the leader of the land.
To Brendel’s surprise, the Dragon of Darkness, Odin was actually a Planeswalker. It made sense but he never really saw the news coming. And amongst his armies, there was a high chance it included his summons. It was just that, the records must have been lost.
But what made Brendel puzzled the most was the fact that Odin did not mention anything about his Planeswalker's powers, or if it had anything to do with him not obtaining the complete inheritance.
"Lady Ina, you said before that I was the last Planeswalker to reach here. So may I know how many of us are left?"
Ina looked as if she was anticipating this question to come and breathed out a weary sigh, “From the earliest piece of history that regarded them, when the Earth Sage Slate was still within Tower of Babel, when the traitor of the Gods’ Walter had yet stolen it. There was a council of forty-three Planeswalkers. And then when Ragnarok descended, most of them fell in battle. Amongst them, only thirteen remain, including my master’s. According to my knowledge, along the passage of three thousand years, only six remained. None of them seemed to be passed on successfully. If I’m not wrong, the only new Planeswalker in this era would be you."
"So you’re saying I’m the only one left?" Brendel did not believe that the population of powerful existences like the Planeswalkers would dwindle to such a degree.
"Not necessarily. There may still be some undying old geezers still around. But it is the current truth that the successors of the Planeswalkers’ Legacies are getting lesser. I don’t know the reason, but the requirements to become an actual Planeswalker is abnormally difficult. Most can’t even invoke the Laws of the Cards! And amongst the very few who managed to do so, most should have remained as apprentices."
Apprentice? Brendel tightened his brows. He still had not graduated from being an apprentice yet after all. But just as he was about to speak, Ina put her finger to her lips, “Shh!”
Brendel turned and his gaze matched his gaze with Ina’s onto a single spot. Not far above him, there were digging sounds that reverberated in the cavern.
"Your companions are here," Ina whispered. "So, let’s end our discussion here. I don’t want anyone to see me."
Brendel was confused at her remark and said, "You’re not coming with me, Lady Ina?"
The deer woman merely gave him a faint smile. She moved two steps backward into the darkness, leaving her eyes to tell the answer to his question.
Brendel once saw determination in those eyes, but now, the very same eyes tell of hope and warmth. And at that moment, he knew she was hell bend on saying farewell to him.