Rei and Ara kept quiet. Set merely closed his eyes and let Rei rest against him.
In the center of the magic formation before the two people and the single animal, Elena appeared as she was just sleeping until she woke up as the sand in the hourglass emptied for the fifth time……that is, about ten hours.
The voice of Elena, who had fallen unconscious at the center of the magic formation, quietly echoed through the silence around the Altar of Inheritance.
Ara reacted to that voice by immediately calling out to her. However, Rei grasped Ara’s hand to stop her again.
「Calm down! Take a look at the surroundings!」
Ara tried to shout at him to let go, but gathered herself at Rei’s unyielding voice.
Ara looked around at Rei’s words.
As Ara looked, the words stopped in her mouth as she saw what was happening before her.
The reason was the Altar of Inheritance, the altar next to Elena. The altar where Vel had broken the magic stone of the Ancient Dragon began to look hazy, as if it had never been there before.
The Altar of Inheritance and the three magic formations that surrounded it. ……And the magic formation that Elena had collapsed on. They all changed into a hazy form……and the next moment, they were all sucked into Elena’s body.
「Ara, is this a normal event for the Inheritance Ceremony?」
「N-no. I’m sorry, I’m not too familiar with the Inheritance Ceremony so……」
「Really. It’s worrying if we don’t know if this is a normal event.」
When Rei muttered that.
「Don’t worry. As I said before the ceremony, you can only do this once per Altar of Inheritance. This is why.」
At the former location of the magic formations, where not a single trace of them remained, Elena spoke out as she lifted herself off the stone floor.
Ara hugged Elena with tears in her eyes.
While watching them, Rei also walked towards Elena.
「How much do you remember?」
「……Vel, was it.」
「Up until the point that he destroyed the magic stone on the altar.」
Muttering, she looked around……and stopped at the object covered by a cloth.
「……Is it, Kuust?」
「Ah. He protected you from Vel’s Golem.」
「I see. ……It was my mistake as a commander to not have noticed Vel’s betrayal.」
Lifting the cloth covering Kuust’s face, she closed her eyes for a few seconds to pray for his soul before turning her eyes to Rei.
「Rei, please put Kuust’s body into the item box. At the very least, I want to deliver his body to his family.」
Giving a small nod at Elena’s request, he stored the body into the Misty Ring.
「……So, what happened to the Inheritance Ceremony in the end? The magic stone that you were meant to absorb was destroyed by Vel part way through.」
「Wait a moment.」
She replied before closing her eyes to check her body’s condition.
「……Although it can’t be said that I’ve completely inherited the power of the Ancient Dragon, but I have received about 70%.」
「About 70%. I don’t know if that’s a lot or a little.」
「It’s not a bad result considering the ceremony was interrupted half way. The worst case would have been if the Altar of Inheritance had been destroyed, the magic stone of the Ancient Dragon would also have been destroyed and I wouldn’t have gotten anything out of it. Even taking that into consideration, Kuust still died. Vel’s failure was in destroying the magic stone and not the altar. In the Inheritance Ceremony, the altar is more important than the magic stone. ……Vel Sails. I will definitely pay you back for this.」
Elena only the murmured the last part. Her eyes showed a strong determination and, at the same time, a look of a hunter aiming at their prey.
「Elena-sama, after you inherited the power of the Ancient Dragon……what has changed specifically? At the very least, Elena-sama still looks the same.」
At Ara’s timid question, Elena stroked her head as she smiled, erasing the the ferocious atmosphere she had just a few seconds ago.
「That’s right. If the ritual had failed due to Vel’s interference, I cannot reject the possibility that I would have lost my human appearance and turned into a Dragon. However, you don’t need to worry. Fortunately, it seems I have acquired the physical strength and magical power of the Ancient Dragon while retaining my human form. ……It’s impossible right now, but it may be possible for me to use some basic Dragon Language magic as well.」
When she clenched her right hand, Elena unconsciously radiated magic power into the surroundings.
The amount of magic power was clearly greater than what Elena had before the ceremony. Even Rei, who didn’t have the ability to see magic power, could understand the difference.
「……That’s enough about me. Rei, can you explain in detail what happened after I fainted?」
Elena erased the magic power she had released and turned to look at Rei. Receiving her gaze, Rei nodded and described the events in more detail than when he had told Ara.
「I see. So Kuust died peacefully.」
「Ah. There was no doubt I disliked him, but he still died protecting what he had to protect as a knight.」
「……I see. Then I will have live up to being the person he died satisfied for.」
Elena nodded with a light smile as Ara looked at her anxiously. Her mood then changed as she turned to look to the exit of the room.
Rei spoke up as he watched Elena.
「Now that the ceremony is over, we have to get out of the dungeon……three people, is it. Thinking about the time we came down, this might be a little tough.」
At Rei’s mutterings, Elena shook her head with a smile.
「Without Vel and Kuust, it definitely is a problem. However, my current strength is much greater than before. The Silver Lion protecting the dungeon nucleus would be impossible, but if it’s an A rank monster, I can probably deal with it on my own.」
Elena muttered as she grasped the handle of her sword whip.
Elena certainly felt more powerful than before the ceremony. With her beauty that seemed to draw in observers, Rei had the impression that she had become a greater existence.
「If Elena says so then it’s fine. If we go back right now, there’s a possibility the sixth level hadn’t re-summoned a boss monster yet.」
「Alright, let’s go. Regarding the formation, Rei and Set will take the vanguard. Ara will take the rear guard with me. We will leave this dungeon as soon as possible, I have to inform my father about Vel’s betrayal. ……I also want to return Kuust’s body to his family.」
「Wherever Elena-sama goes, I will accompany you!」
Ara declared that and Set gave a cry in agreement as they left the Altar of Inheritance.
A group of 3 Emerald Wolves appeared as soon as they entered the sixth level. The monsters attacked Rei as soon as they saw him and Set immediately used King’s Awe to slow them down.
The Emerald Wolves with dulled movements were sitting ducks for Rei and Elena. Before Ara could move, Set crushed the skull of one of the wolves with his forefeet……all the enemies were killed literally 30 seconds after they attacked.
「Hm, I haven’t familiarised myself to my body yet.」
Elena muttered as she swung her sword whip to flick off the blood after she had cut the neck of an Emerald Wolf as she dodged its attack.
From her displeased look, you could tell that she was dissatisfied that she couldn’t fully utilise her new power.
「But Elena-sama, that was amazing. Your reaction speed to enemy attacks and the power when you swung your sword whip as well.」
Elena shook her head with a smile at Ara’s words.
「No,I have the impression that I can’t fully control the power I have gained yet. I will have to train from the beginning after I leave the dungeon. Time is precious right now. Let’s continue.」
「I see, should I say fortunately or unfortunately, the traps released by Vel haven’t been restored yet. Whether this is the work of the dungeon nucleus or other monsters, I don’t know. But either way, I want to get as far as we can before they are restored.」
While replying to Elena’s words, Rei quickly stored the bodies of the 3 Emerald Wolves into the Misty Ring.
「Alright, let’s go!」
Nodding at Rei’s words, the party started to run. They matched their speed to Ara’s, who was the slowest compared to Set, who was a Griffon, Rei, whose physical ability was outside the norm and Elena, who had inherited the power of an Ancient Dragon. However, their speed was still faster than that of an ordinary person.
In addition, although the sixth floor had been filled with traps when they had first arrived, as Rei had said, the traps released by Vel hadn’t been restored yet. It was a big help and allowed them to run right through.
The few monster that appeared along the way were slashed, burned and crushed to pieces by Rei, Set and Elena as they went through the dungeon.
「I see the stairs!」
Ara gave a sigh of relief as she said that when the stairs to the fifth floor came into sight. However, they then had a depressed expression as they remembered what kind of place the fifth level was.
「……This is, hard……」
Elena muttered as she climbed up to the fifth level.
Not only were Elena’s physical abilities strengthened, her five senses had been strengthened as well. The stench that spread around the fifth floor hit her like it hit Rei and Set.
「You’ll get used to it, that’s all I can say.」
As Rei frowned at the putrid odour, he said it with a look of resignation. Set gave a cry as if in agreement.
The one with the sharpest senses in the party was Set, so the damage he took from the smell was considerable as well.
「Well, I don’t think it smells that bad.」
Ara, who was the only person with the five senses of an ordinary human, tilted her head slightly and muttered.
「There’s no helping the smell, the issue is how to get through this level..」
Despite saying that, Elena frowned her eyes as if she couldn’t bear the smell as she spoke up.
「What’s the matter, what happened?」
Ara asked Elena, not understanding what she was trying to say. Rei spoke up with a bitter smile.
「When we came down to the sixth floor, we went through the back space where the owner of the voice used his power to link the staircase. In other words, unlike the sixth and seventh levels, we didn’t go through this level by ourselves, so I have no idea where the stairs to the fourth level are.」
Thinking about Rei’s words for a moment, Ara gave a cry as she realised what he was saying.
「T-Then what do we do!?」
「There’s nothing we can do, wait, be quiet for a bit……no, maybe?」
At the same time, Rei remembered the pair of orbs, the magic item he had received from Grimm.
If he could contact Grimm and ask him to use spatial magic, it might be possible for them to be sent to the surface.
Using the pair of orbs would would mean revealing his relationship with Grimm.
Ara called out to Rei.
Shaking his head as if was nothing……he remembered that aside from himself, there were three others here, Set, Elena and Ara.
Yes. In other words, Vel, the traitor, and Kuust, who disliked him, weren’t here. The only people left were Elena and Ara, who would unconditionally follow Elena because of her respect of Elena.
(In that case, could I just keep them quiet about it with 『Seed of Contract』? Anyhow, with the matter of Vel and Kuust, I wasn’t able to use 『Seed of Contract』 at the Altar of Inheritance.)
「Set, watch the surroundings. Elena, I need to talk with you.」
Rei asked Set to watch the surroundings before calling Elena.
Elena came closer while tilting her head at the sudden call.
「What’s wrong? I don’t want to waste too much time as I want to return to the surface as soon as possible.」
「It’s about that. If it goes well, we might be able to return to the surface immediately……there may be such a method.」
「However, to use that method, I need to show various things that I want to hide. ……Do you remember the 『Seed of Contract』 we talked about on the fourth floor?」
「Ah. That reminds me, due to various circumstances we still haven’t received that magic. It was a very painful mistake that I let Vel escape before you could use that magic. ……Do you want to use it now?」
Rei gave a small nod at Elena’s words.
Seeing that, she understood that it was a serious issue. Elena waited for Rei to continue.
「I will change what will activate the magic from any information about Set to saying anything that would be disadvantageous to me or Set, I think with this you can get out of the dungeon much faster than normal. ……What will you do?」
Saying up to there, Rei stayed silent to let her decide.
(Though it certainly is bad that I couldn’t use 『Seed of Contract』 on Vel, it’s fortunate that the Magic Beast Art’s ability to absorb magic stones wasn’t revealed. It’s also good that knowledge on Griffons is rare.)
Muttering in his mind, he waited for Elena’s reply.
Holding her chin with her hand and thinking for about 10 seconds as she looked at Rei……Elena spoke up.