Seran, Ulza, and Lize each said something before they were at a loss of words.
Once they tore through the outer layer of metal, they were in a large warehouse filled with treasure. The place was as big as 10 homes put together.
The mountain of treasure included rings, necklaces, and statues. There were also tapestries and crystals and gems of all sorts.
Most of these things cannot be replicated with today’s technology. Merchants and aristocrats aren’t the only ones who would pay for these treasures. Royalties would also pay a significant amount to buy this stuff.
There were also coins from the ancient times. Hundreds of thousands of coins were scattered everywhere. It was literally a mountain of treasure.
There were rubies, diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, topaz, opal, pearls, and other minerals.
Herbs were also in the pile. These herbs were used as ingredients to make magic medicine. Other ingredients like unicorn horns and dragon skin were also neatly stacked.
The items had the Preservation spell cast upon them; even after a thousand years, everything looked fresh.
In the corner was an ingot of mithril. Mithril is a light and durable element that has the ability to increase resistance to magic. It’s used in weapons and defense items, but it’s so rare that select dwarf races are the only one to mine this.
It’s dozens of times more valuable than gold and it’s something that you can’t just buy with money.
This amount of treasure would be enough to buy several countries.
Though the amount is impressive, it was an appropriate amount. The magic kingdom, Zares, spread across half of the entire landmass when it was at its peak. This meant it controlled ¾ of the entire human population. It was believed that with such power, the humans could defeat the demons.
The king during that time, Sildonia Zares, was the one that left all this treasure. It’s no surprise that he left so much considering his status.
Regardless of how humble an individual was, that person will definitely be struck with awe. In a sense, it was a dangerous charm.
Lize and Ulza were both speechless. They absentmindedly stood there and looked around.
Only Kyle, who knew this place, was calm.
Lize and Ulza slowly made their way to the treasure when Kyle softly but firmly reminded them: “Don’t get carried away.”
The two were in a state of shock; they shivered before looking back at Kyle.
“Listen. The reason I’m here is because I need money to achieve my goals. Money is nothing more than a tool. It’s definitely better to have some, and it’s good to handle it effectively. But be careful not to be thrown around by money.”
It sounds a bit harsh but someone had to say it because there are countless people who lead miserable lives from their wealth.
“To show you what I’m talking about…take a look over there!”
“Hyahaaaa!! It’s money!!! I can finally live a luxurious life!!”
Seran threw himself onto the pile of coins and rolled around.
“….that is an example of what happens when you let money control you.”
Seran scooped up coins and started throwing it, pretending it was raining coins.
“You’re right. That doesn’t look too pretty.”
“I definitely don’t want to end up like that.”
The two looked at Seran with pity. They shook their heads in disproval.
Watching Seran helped them calm down, and they began to calmly look around the stacks of treasure. (Thank you Seran…Thanks to you, I’m sure these two won’t be controlled by money. It sounds trivial, but I’m starting to think that bringing you along wasn’t a mistake after all.)
Kyle looked at Seran, who was still rolling around in coins, with a gentle look.
The last time Kyle came here was two months ago, from his previous life.
That time, the economy was already in shambles, and even with all of this treasure, it wouldn’t mean much. Moreover, at that time, bread was more important than gold, silver, and gems.
The dwarf craftsmen were able to create weapons and shields using the mithril, and the alchemists were able to stir up some magic medicine.
Without those items, the last battle would have been lost.
While the three were distracted by the treasures, Kyle silently headed towards the back.
The ginormous statues and mountains of jewelry covered him from sight.
There was a big sword on the pedestal. It was a bastard sword; one that could be carried with one hand or both.
The blade of the sword was polished, and there were letters written in ancient magic language.
On the hilt was a red gem. Clearly, it had some strong magical powers.
The sword was probably made of mithril. It was well balanced, and one look would be enough for anyone to know it was a legendary sword.
It was a beautiful sword. One could keep staring at it. It was so peculiar that it would make people feel like they were being sucked in.
Kyle took a deep breath rather quickly, and stepped forward. At that moment, the sword emitted a light. The particles of light gather in front of the sword and created an image of a little girl.
From the look of it, the girl looks around 12 or 13. She had white hair and was dressed in a loose robe. She had her eyes closed.
Slowly, she opened her eyes.
She spoke in a clear and stern voice.
“Well done for surviving the long ordeal. I must congratulate you for survi….whaaa?”
She couldn’t finish. Kyle held her mouth shut and carried her to the corner of the room.
“Don’t talk too loudly! They’ll hear us!”
Kyle peeked at the two, and made sure they didn’t notice.
The little girl tried to break free and spoke in an angry voice.
“You inconsiderate person! Who do you think I am?!”
“I told you to not speak loudly! I know who you are. You’re Sildonia Zares. The Magic King.”
Actually it’s a replica, Kyle whispered.
“The real one is in the gem on the sword. That gem has part of Sildonia’s personality and his knowledge embedded within. You were a shadow made of magic. Right?”
“H…how do you know? The original Sildonia and myself are the only ones who should know this!”
Sildonia panicked, but she replied in a soft voice.
“Also, I know the questions you’re about to ask, as well as the answers to all of them, so can we just skip all of that please?”
“But…that’s my time to show off…and isn’t that why you’re here?...wait….how do you know all of this?!”
Obviously, Kyle knew the questions and their answers from their previous encounter.
“Fine fine…The answers are…a dragon to the east of the second layer, a wolf to the west of the third layer, demons to the north of the fifth layer, and a large painting of the human race on the south of the sixth layer….not very nice of you to ask questions regarding rooms that I didn’t even have to go through.”
“Wow! So you went through all of them!! Wait..why do you know the answers!?”
“Well, to be honest, I took a shortcut this time, so I didn’t go through any of them.”
“We dug a hole on the opposite side directly to this treasure.”
“Why did you do that!? You know this is also part of Sildonia’s grave?!”
“Special circumstances. Let me do the final test. You’ll understand. I’m gonna grab the sword now.”
“…so you know about that too??”
“Yeah. I think if I do this, you’ll understand.”
Kyle grabbed the sword that was on the pedestal.
Sildonia was even more surprised.
“What!? Who are you!?”
“Hurry up and read it! If this’ll convince you, you won’t have to use the final trap right?”
“?!.....fine fine, take it out!!”
Sildonia’s body became a bunch of light particles once again, and were sucked into the sword’s gem. At the same time, Kyle removed the sword.
Just as the particles of light were engulfing Kyle, they disappeared as well.
Sildonia’s shadow appeared once again, but she had a very troubled look on her face.
“………Time travel…..is this real……?”
“*Perfect Reading* reveals everything right? Then it must be. I also have the Heart of Shinryu with me.”
Perfect Reading is a special class of magic that is lost today. It reveals all of the target’s experiences and memories and personalities.
The user practically knows everything about the target’s life and deceit is futile. Even things that the target has forgotten will be revealed. The last time Kyle encountered Sildonia, she explained this to him.
The spell is activated by gripping the sword. Sildonia tested those who were able to make it this far to determine if they were worthy of keeping the treasure. It was the final test.
“…Such a convenient magic doesn’t exist. I mean, certainly, you could read parts of the person’s memory, but it’s just a bluff.”
“Oi! It was a bluff?!”
“Either way, you cant’ lie and you know some things that only I would know. Most importantly, your soul is proof of this.”
“….Your….Your magic level has increased since the last time you came here. Am I right?”
“You know why?”
Kyle asked out of curiosity.
Until now, he just let it be.
“Hmph, so the hypothesis that I made earlier proved to be true. But I didn’t think that I’d actually meet you in person.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Explaining will take some time…anyways, how many people are with you? Are they your friends?”
“Oh snap….they’ll notice soon for sure. Here’s the deal. They know nothing. So let’s get our story straight.”
“So you haven’t told anyone about this yet?”
“It’d be a confusing matter…but I knew you’d figure it out anyways…”
“I suppose you’re right. I had no choice though, since the fate of the human race was at stake.”
Sildonia had to cooperate. She let out a sigh.
“Ok here we go… Oh wow!! A talking sword!!! And it’s name is Sildonia Zares!?!?”
“That was a bit too fake…”
“Sorry about that, I briefly lost control of myself after looking at all the treasure.”
Seran pretended to be normal, but neither Ulza nor Lize were paying any attention.
Since there was an important figure right in front of them, it would make sense that the two ignored Seran.
Lize didn’t have any words to say as she stared at the King from over a thousand years ago who looked just like a kid.
They decided to take a break inside the treasure room. Sildonia deliciously ate the baked goods that Lize had brought with her.
“Hpmh, this actually tastes quite good. The food during this age isn’t that bad after all. Did you make this?”
“Ah, yes. I used a lot of juice and honey in it…anyways, are you really the Magic King?”
“Actually, I’m only a part of it. I’m based off of part of the Magic King who is stored inside the gem on the sword. I’m Sildonia Zares, but at the same time, I am my own independent self.”
Sildonia was talking about herself, but spoke as if she was talking about someone else.
Magical beings like the one in front of them are oftentimes synthetic chimeras or some sort. They are made by alchemists. In the ancient magic kingdoms, they were made quite often, but over time, the methods of making it were lost and because of the difficulty and high level of magic it requires, it’s seldom researched today.
“Everything I eat and drink is converted into magical power, so nothing goes to waste….hmm…it’s been approximately a thousand years since I last ate….not bad..”
She says it as if it were no big deal, but converting food to magical power would be unthinkable with today’s alchemy methods. It was too difficult.
One could sense at the high level of alchemy that existed in ancient times.
“But why are you in the form of a child?”
“This is the original form of Sildonia you know? She used magic to stop aging when she was the strongest. She remained like this until her death.”
“I see~ But I’ve never heard of that story before.”
Since Sildonia is a legend, there are many stories about her. But they’ve never heard of her being in the form of a little girl.
“It’s been over a thousand years. Those stories evolve over time into something tremendously far from the truth. She didn’t really show her face in front of people to begin with…”
She said that that was probably one of the reasons why.
She seemed uninterested throughout.
“But why would she preserve her form?”
Ulza asked the question that everyone was asking about.
“There is a reason. It’s regarding the inheritance of all of this treasure. It’s not state property or anything. It’s all private property.”
“All of this is private property? You’ve gotta be kidding me. No wonder people have been fighting over it.”
Seran spoke while looking around.
It wouldn’t be surprising if a war broke out over who would control the treasures.
“She had no heirs to pass along the property, so when she died, so she sealed the treasure when she died. She would only give the treasure to those who pass all the traps and things placed in the labyrinth.”
“So that’s why all these traps are here…”
Just looking at the map gave an idea of how many traps there were scattered across the area.
“That’s just a hobby. It’s quite effective.”
“Very few were able to even get to the labyrinth. I wasn’t expecting anyone to actually make it through..”
Sildonia shook her head.
“The plan was to place a final test. Those who pass would get the treasure. Those who didn’t would suffer the last trap.”
“The last trap?”
“The caving in of the entire place. I can do that in an instant. I would bury everyone who made it here alive.”
Again, she said it as if it were no big deal, but everyone except Kyle turned blue.
“But if you do that, even you’ll be buried alive!”
“I’m a sword now. It doesn't matter if I’m buried alive. All I have to do is sleep for a thousand years or maybe two thousand years. The next person who finds this place….well…it’s not any use to think of that right now is it..”
She kept calm throughout, but the three were panicking. They looked at the ceiling, thinking it would collapse on them at any moment.
“Normally, those who cheat their way through the labyrinth by digging a hole directly to here would make me want to activate the last trap without any exception…but…”
Sildonia looked at Kyle, but he was busy drinking his tea.
“You’re a quite interesting group of people so you can relax. But there is one condition. I need to watch you guys so you have to take me with you wherever you’re going.”
Sildonia wanted to take a look at the outside world for the first time in a thousand years. Of course, the three were nodding away.
Saying ‘no’ here would mean everyone would be buried in an instant. That would be a total waste of all the effort.
“…So why are you a sword again? If you’re a Magic King, couldn’t you have been something more magical?”
Seran looked at the sword in front of Kyle’s hands. As a swordsman himself, Seran was very curious.
“To be honest, the original Sildonia never told me. It could be just a coincidence. Without her, I’ll never know.”
Sildonia looked at the distance.
“Anyways, as long as I’m a sword, I’ll have to be used as a sword. I have to choose a user, but I think Kyle would be good.”
“I also request that.”
“I will be of great use.”
Kyle knew that her words were nothing but the truth. She was very confident.
Kyle knew her for only a month, but she was very useful. Even during the last battle.
“Until the person wielding the sword dies, I’ll have to stick to the very end.”
After saying that during the final battle, she was able to allow Kyle to win against the demon king.
But at the same time, it meant that Sildonia would be destroyed.
In essence, it was a reunion of those who were never supposed to meet again.
Sildonia was still munching on the food. Kyle was looking at her. In his mind, he thanked her for everything.
“Hey hey! I’m also a swordsman. How about choosing me over Kyle?”
Seran smiled at Sildonia.
Sildonia looked at Seran as if she were putting a price on him.
She quickly shook her head and said: “…Nope…it’s psychologically impossible.”
“You always get rejected like that. I suppose even a thousand years ago people couldn’t stand you.”
“I can’t disagree. I suppose those things don’t change over time.”
“Don't worry. The world is spacious. There’ll be someone who’ll accept you.”
Kyle tapped Seran’s shoulders and consoled him.
“Damn….I feel like crying…”