The Strange Adventure of a Broke Mercenary

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Chapter 180

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Chapter 180, From Entry to Discovery

Loren thought that the Great Tunnel must be quite large due to its name. But then, considering the dwarves’ stature, their tunnels should be a bit of a tight squeeze for him. Either way, he would know once they were there.

But the actual sight of the tunnel made him gape. He was at a loss for words for a while, and could only watch.

“You look like you didn’t expect this at all.”

Lapis didn’t need to voice that – it was indeed way beyond Loren’s expectation. ‘Big’ couldn’t even begin to describe it. Loren was fairly tall for a human, but he still had to look up to see the ceiling. The light from the dwarves’ lanterns couldn’t even reach it. It was also wide enough for multiple people with Loren’s build to fight comfortably.

“What’s with the dumb face?”

Dig asked Loren, who had unthinkingly stopped at the entrance. He finally snapped out of it and hurriedly rushed to Lapis’ side.

“It’s huge. Isn’t it too huge?”

Even though the tunnel was currently shut down, there was no door to barricade set up at its entrance. It was hard to imagine a door big enough to cover such a huge hole, and it would be very easy to jump over a barricade to get in or out.

“It’s used to mine ores, so there’s no problem if it’s a little big.”

“You really dig well for that height.”

“Don’t underestimate us. We can do almost anything for ores.”

Dig didn’t sound boastful, but he looked proud. Somehow Loren wanted to make a quip, but maybe it was normal for dwarves to think like that, and he chose to stay silent instead of making a poor retort and risked making the dwarves angry.

In any case, the wide tunnel made it advantageous for someone who used a large weapon like Loren. In a tunnel where no one had ever come out from, being able to fight to his full potential was something to be grateful for.

Normally, the air inside a cave system was cooler than outside, but the air in this dwarven tunnel was warmer.

“Is there a furnace inside this tunnel?”

Unrefined ores were very bulky, but refined metal lost some of its weight, making it easier to transport. That was why Loren thought there might be a furnace inside the tunnel used to refine ores, but Dig snorted at his question:

“Don’t be stupid. You can’t properly refine ores with a furnace inside a tunnel.”

“Then why is it so warm here?”

“Dunno. Seems like there’s a heat source somewhere inside. I don’t think we’ve dug deep enough to hit the geothermal energy, but we do dig up some warm water from time to time.”

Dig added that even though they didn’t know the exact reason for this warmth, it was definitely better than the cold that made people huddle. It was certainly much easier to move. If the dwarves, experts in this field, didn’t even know the cause of this warm atmosphere, a human like Loren never would, so he stopped thinking about it.

As the tunnel was supposed to be shut down, there wasn’t anyone else inside except for their group. They walked with the sound of their shoes on the hard stone floor resounding in the tunnel. And as there seemed to be nothing in here, they naturally became bored.

“How long does it take to get to the other side?”

In a labyrinth such as this, they normally would have to be cautious about traps or bandits, but since this tunnel was originally the dwarves’ workplace, there was no need to. Instead, the chance for cave-ins or sinkholes to happen was high. Dig, who was most familiar with this tunnel, walked in the lead of their group. He was followed by Jack, who continuously checked their surroundings. The rest of them trailed behind the two.

“About half a day. Didn’t I tell you?”

“You did, just that there’s nothing else to talk about.”

With the guiding entrusted to Dig and guarding entrusted to Jack and Nim (elves had excellent hearing), there was nothing else for the rest of them to do except walking.

“Shut up and walk. If nothing happens, we’ll arrive soon.”

“If nothing happens, you say.”

There were no other sounds aside from their footsteps and no other movements aside from those of their own. But this was a place where no one entered had ever come out from, so there was no way nothing would happen.

[‘Onii-chan, can you ask something? There’s something I want to ask the dwarf uncle walking in the lead.’]

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The voice that suddenly came to Loren’s mind was of Shayna, the Undead King who was now residing inside his soul. He turned his focus towards Shayna to see what she wanted to confirm, rephrased it in his own words and asked Dig:

For a moment, Loren didn’t know how to answer her question.

If there were only Lapis and Gula here, he could just tell them what he was told and how he was feeling. But Ritz party and Dig were also here, and he had no idea what kind of ruckus they would make if they knew about Shayna’s existence. It was a fact he tended to forget, but Shayna was the King of Death, a being who was quite capable of destroying a country by herself. There was no one who could still keep their composure after being told that such a being was existing inside him.

On the other hand, if he didn’t tell them about Shayna, there was no way he could explain about the thousands of creatures she was sensing. He could only use ‘intuition’ as an excuse at best, but there was a limit to the persuasive power of something coming from intuition.

“Loren?”

Receiving no answer, Lapis looked at him quizzically and asked again. Noticing something had happened, the others had also stopped walking. Loren began to think about a way to answer, but his effort soon became unnecessary.

“You sense something, don’t you? That’s the mercenaries’ intuition for you.”

Gula said, and Ritz party visibly tensed at her words. They readied their weapons and looked around grimly as Ritz asked Loren:

“What do you sense?”

“But it’s really just a hunch. I’m not certain at all.”

“Doesn’t matter. It’s fine if there’s nothing, but if there’s really something, at least we won’t be unprepared.”

Ritz answered, and Loren asked Shayna if she could somehow relay what she was sensing. Shayna’s response was immediate.

The link used to convey Loren’s sight and sensation to Shayna could also be used to share what she was sensing to him. In this case, it could be used to reflect these thousands of life forces Shayna was sensing on Loren’s senses. As soon as she began synchronizing with him, a sight that he shouldn’t have been able to see became visible to him.

Only

“This…”

Loren unthinkingly muttered. The human-sized life forces were projected into his vision field as spots of light, and all he could see was a bright s.h.i.+ne persisting throughout the bedrock of the tunnel and burying his sight in a myriad of light.

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