Having heard Ian yelling, Riley gave up on the street vendor’s foods as if he was yielding. He blocked his ears and looked at the direction that Peruda was walking toward.
‘Wait a minute. That direction is?’
Peruda and others from the Magic Tower were headed to the number one place that nobody should set foot on, towards Lower Solia.
“He is headed to Lower Solia?”
“Judging from the direction he is walking toward, I think he must be.”
Ian said it with a serious face. Riley sighed again and started to walk first.
“We are going to just watch from the back, all right?”
Riley thought that running into Rebethra would not be good, and running into Peruda from Magic Tower would not be good either. Riley mumbled while trying to stay unnoticed. Ian nodded.
Peruda was tumbling through his walk. As Riley and Ian anticipated, Peruda and the others from the Magic Tower were headed to the pathway that lead to Lower Solia.
“We are from the Magic Tower. Please step aside. Excuse me. We will be passing through for a moment. Please open the path.”
As if there was an urgent matter, through the Main Plaza’s incredibly hectic crowds, Peruda had been pushing people in order to walk forward. It seemed he concluded he could not allow any further delay. He bit his lips and put forth his hand.
“Everyone. I am sorry. I have to get through.”
From his raised hand, green vines that looked thin like strings came out and made their ways through gaps between people.
“What is this?”
The green vines got through the gaps around people’s waists or arm pits. When Peruda made another hand gesture, they slowly moved to the side.
“What is this?”
Pushed by the green vines that made their ways around people, the people that tightly filled the Main Plaza were pushed aside to left and right.
“I am sorry. We will pass through.”
A pathway where a person could barely go through was made. Peruda started to walk through the path in a hurry as he apologized to the people.
“Uh? That man is?”
Peruda and the others from the Magic Tower ran through the pathway in a single pile. The people who were pushed aside started to mumble with their eyes wide.
“That’s Peruda, isn’t it?”
“That newbie Head of the Magic Tower?”
“Huk. It really is him.”
Instead of getting past people, Riley had been following Peruda by going from roof to roof. As if he was surprised, Riley wiggled his eyebrows as he looked at the situation from above.
“… That is?”
As for Ian, as if running on the roof felt awkward, Ian uncomfortably stood behind Riley. Wiping off the sweat on his forehead, Ian responded to the question that Riley had.
“That is a plant type magic. I have seen it just once before, so I know about it.”
“Yes. From what I know, only those who were born with that as the innate type can use it… I didn’t know Peruda had that innate type.”
Riley brushed his chin as if he was thinking he just learned something. He jumped to another building’s roof, and Ian, surprised, tumbled and followed suit by throwing his body to the next roof.
“E… Excuse me, Young Master… This is something only assassins would do…”
“Ian, please. It is not like we are going to become assassins by doing this. Anyway, if we went down, it will be just more bothersome because we will bump into people. We might lose sight of Peruda?”
“Now that the path is open, they are definitely moving fast. We need to stay close. Follow me.”
Having noticed Peruda and others were running at a faster pace, Riley made another leap and threw himself to the next roof.
“Ian? You said we should follow him.”
“I… I understand, Young Master.”
Perhaps Ian suddenly felt motion sickness. He felt dizzy looking at the ground far below. He gritted his teeth and followed Riley.
“Excuse me. Please move out of the way.”
Leading the people of the Magic Tower, Peruda arrived at the entrance that connected the Main Plaza to the Lower Solia. He then had the people gathered there to move out of the way.
“Is it starting from here?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
The entrance leading to the Lower Solia had stairs.
It lead to the basement. The place beyond the stairs was dark. The place was hard to see, and horrible stench was coming from below.
Sewer, trash, homeless, excrement, and dead bodies that are not mentioned with ease… All sorts of dirty things of Solia were gathered there. It was obvious why it reeked.
“Starting from here, huh.”
Peruda had the people from the Magic Tower to stand beside him left and right in a row, blocking the entrance. Standing in the middle, he narrowed his eyes and glared down the stairway.
While he was staring down the dark area below the stairs, a scream could be heard from beyond the darkness.
“W… What was that just now?”
“Illen, move people back.”
There were people behind the men from the Magic Tower who were watching. Peruda ordered his men to have the people move back further. He had the uncertain look on his face as usual and pulled his chin.
‘As expected. They say the occasion makes the man.’
Riley was hiding on the roof. Riley peeked a smile after seeing Peruda exuding an atmosphere that was pretty different from when Riley met him in person.
As Riley thought about the old saying and also thought hard about the successorship, a suspicious scream could be heard again.
The scream was coming from down below the stairs where Peruda was glaring at.
A horrid stench could be felt from below. Peruda, who was glaring toward beyond the darkness, cringed.
Along with the stench, something jumped out from beyond the darkness.
It was a person.
The problem was that…
“W… What in the world? What is that?”
The entire body was full of stab wounds. It looked like a rag. The body was also missing two legs. The body was using the arms to support itself to crawl up the stairs.
“Move them back. Back further.”
Peruda waved his left arm and spread a few petals of flower. It was rare, but it was ‘flower scent’ magic that mages with plant innate type used relatively often.
It was used for smelly rooms or dishes that got prepared without eliminating odors. However… It could be also used in a situation like this.
“To the back. Please, everyone. Move to the back.”
The flower petals that Peruda spread was successful in subduing the stench from the Lower Solia to some extent. However… It seemed that was not the problem here.
‘That is not a human being?’
Peruda looked at the person who was crawling up the stairs without legs. In disbelief, Peruda furrowed his brows.
“S… Smell of corpses!”
“That person is a corpse, a corpse!!”
Of the people who were watching from the back, someone yelled that. Peruda rapidly turned his head and had his gaze met with a homeless. Still in disbelief, Peruda stared at the existence that was crawling up the stairs.
Peruda looked at its eyes. They were pitch black as if the eyes were spread with ink. Peruda opened his mouth vacantly in disbelief.
“… Hu…. Uuuuu. Kuuuuaaaak!!”
One of the people from the Magic Tower made a light above his hand and was about to lean it toward the front. However, having heard the scream, he panicked.
“M… Mr. Peruda! There’s another one!”
Unlike the first one, which didn’t have legs and was crawling, this one was a corpse with the legs intact.
It was unknown as to how, but it was missing an arm. Just like the one that was crawling, this one had pitch-black eyes and was charging while drooling. It was certain these things should not be left to roam free.
‘As I thought…’
The dark eyed corpses were charging in order to cut and bite living beings. Looking at the corpses, Riley was narrowing his eyes like Peruda.
“Y… Young Master… T… That?”
Ian panicked after seeing animated corpses. Standing behind Riley, Ian had his jaw dropped.
Before long, the corpses climbed the stairs all the way up. They charged in to bite Peruda. Peruda, who was cringing, raised his right arm toward the front.
“Ku.. Ah… Ug.”
Unlike the last time, the vines were definitely thick. Peruda poured out vines from his sleeves and tightly tied up the corpse that charged at him. This time, Peruda raised his right leg.
When Peruda slammed the floor loudly with his foot, making a ‘bam!’ sound, the floor around the tied up corpse started to twitch as if moles were passing through the ground. Plant vines surged out of the floor and started to tangle up.
Peruda’s vines successfully stopped the two corpses. He then waved his arms across each other.
‘This cannot be helped.’
Peruda concluded that these two corpses could not be all of them in Lower Solia. As if this could not be helped, Peruda mumbled.
“… I’ll seal this place.”
When Peruda waved his arms, the walls and the ceiling of entrance to Lower Solia started to twitch like earlier.
* * *
It was at the Lower Solia.
Near a sewer where excrements were flowing, three men were meeting in secret and having a conversation.
“Um… Good! This body is?”
Of the three men, two of them were old men. One of the old men was looking around his own body and was having the tip of his mouth tilt up in satisfaction.
“How ungrateful. Now I became similar age as you, but still.”
With a shady look on his face, the old man looked at the other old man in priest getup. The old man shook his head as if he was fine with it and said,
“Left Hand, it would do you good this time to not lose your body so easily. The Right Leg was furious for a really long time. So stop running around.”
“Yes. Yes. I understand. I can’t be ungrateful and die for the third time. That’s right.”
Noticing the two old men continuing their conversation, the young man, who was standing next to them and watching, carefully asked the two,
“You will keep the promise, right?”
The young man was a homeless.
The filthy getup that he wore showed that he was a veteran who had been living in the Lower Solia for a pretty long time.
The young man’s eyes were burning in flames.
It was none of the above.
His eyes were not burning from such a warm emotion.
Looking at young man’s eyes, the two old man responded.
“Ah, of course.”
“We don’t do ungrateful things.”
The homeless young man was burning his eyes in full flames in the darkness. The old men turned to look at the young man and added with smiles as if they were trying to tell him he had nothing to worry about.
“Look forward to it, Hamil.”
“Um! This is a great body. It is a really great body. With this much, it is enough to get you your revenge.”
It was the name of a homeless young man. It could not be said that he was old. However, he had been living in Lower Solia since birth.
“You better not betray me. If you do… I will tell everyone your true identity, Archbishop.”
With a deadly look on his eyes, Hamil looked at the old man in priest getup and threatened him. The old man nodded as if he understood and then said,
“Ah, ah. I understand.”
When the old man in priest getup nodded, the other old man put up a shady smile and put forth his hand toward the sewer next to him.
“Just wait, all right? That Young Master that killed your lover, and that ungrateful lass that betrayed your expectation and ran off… All of them…”
As if it was responding to the old man’s hand, a completely black, rotten hand twitched inside the sewer’s dirty water. A corpse with pitch-black eyes struggled its way out of the dirty water.
“As your proxy…”
The old man who raised the dead.
The old man who was exuding pitch-black aura…
“I, The Great One’s Left Hand, Hurial will exact revenge for you.”
It was the Grand Mage of the Magic Tower who died in Lower Solia last spring from having his chest pierced. It was Astroa.