As Rei was about to leave the laboratory of the mysterious existence that was without a doubt stronger than them, a voice sounded in Rei’s mind, freezing Elena and the others.
『The person with the Griffon. There’s something I want to hear from you.』
「……What did you do to the others?」
Watching Vel, who had stopped moving forward with one leg stuck in the air, Rei judged that it had affected all four of them excluding Set and himself and asked the voice.
『What, I did that mainly so that can’t hear what I want to know. Be at ease, I didn’t paralyze them or anything, I just stopped time for them.』
TLN: ZA WARUDO!
At those words, Rei asked involuntarily.
As he could see, their current location was a space made on the reverse side of the dungeon’s space. The voice had also showed that he could use magic to manipulate the undead. On top of that, after showing that he could use space-time magic, as expected, Rei, who could only use fire magic, was stunned.
『It’s nothing difficult. Well then, I want to hear about the Griffon that you are taking around.』
「An adventurer who can take a Griffon around is surely rare……」
As soon as he answered, laughter echoed in Rei’s mind.
『Hahaha~. There’s nothing to hide. That Griffon, it isn’t an ordinary monster is it?』
「……What are you talking about?」
As expected, he took a moment to reply. That was enough for the voice.
『Hmm. ……Zepairu, are you familiar with that name?』
To the voice’s question, in which he had given Zepairu’s name respectfully, Rei made up his mind.
Zepairu. It wasn’t that he hadn’t heard the name. On the contrary, it was because he knew it too well.
Yes. That was the name of the man that had drawn his soul to this world and given Rei this body when he died in Japan.
And if the contents of the book he read in the library was true, it was also the name of the world’s greatest magician who had lived thousands of years ago.
Why did the owner of the voice ask that. Rei spoke up while thinking of that.
「Why do you know that name?」
『Kuku-, as expected……ah. No, no, indeed, to see the Magic Beast Art in this era. No, it’s excitingly thrilling. The girl from a while ago, she’s a nice leader. Today is a day when exciting events have overlapped.』
(Do I know the Magic Beast Art, is it?)
In front of Rei’s eyes, he could see Set trembling next to the wall.
Having the ability to make even Set scared and knowing the name of the Magic Beast Art as well. Facing that reality, Rei spoke out without thinking.
『Hmm, that’s right. As long as you tell me who are, I won’t be stingy with answering your questions. ……What will you do?』
As the voice echoed in his head, Rei thought about it.
(My true identity, should I reveal my origin to get information from the owner of this voice? For someone who built their laboratory in a dungeon, there’s also the possibility of turning me into a experimental specimen……isn’t there? No, when I think about it, when he spoke Zepairu’s name, he seemed to say it with a sense of respect and reverence. In that case, maybe there won’t be any problems. Even if I have to fight the owner of this voice, I want to at least find out some information about him.)
Rei wanted to know more about Zepairu and himself, he also wanted to know as much information as he could about the other party that knew the name of the Magic Beast Art, which had disappeared in a single generation. It was partially for his own defense, but also out of pure curiosity.
「All right. Because I’ll say it, please answer properly as well.」
『Hmm, that is fine.』
Hearing the voice acknowledge his words, Rei spoke up. After coming to this world, it was the first time he had spoken about his identity.
「I was originally not born in this world. Unlike here, I was an ordinary person who was born and grew up in a world where there was no magic, dungeons or monsters. However, I died due to an accident. My soul should have normally disappeared, but I was drawn here by Zepairu.」
『……When did that happen?』
「Less than several months ago.」
『What. Does that mean he has lived and survived for thousands of years?』
At the stunned voice, Rei shook his head.
「Not exactly, it’s slightly different. Zepairu’s own body seems to have decayed long ago. He had become a kind of spirit entity and had been looking for a soul with a wavelength matching his at the boundary of worlds. I was caught by him. So, as you know, the Magic Beast Art was lost after Zepairu’s generation and he greatly regretted it. It is the reason he gave me this new body to be reborn in this world. And Set, the Griffon here, is a type of artificial life form created by the Magic Beast Art, as you speculated.」
To be exact, both Set and the Death Scythe were created by the Magic Beast Art. However, Rei judged that if the other party didn’t notice anything, it wasn’t necessary to lose this advantage and didn’t mention it.
『Hmm, I see. Even his worthiness cannot live across thousands of years.』
To the owner of the muttering voice, Rei asked a question.
「Well then, I’ve told you about myself. I want you to tell me what you know next. What do you know about Zepairu who is known as a Majin?」
Rei asked so, but he already had his own expectations after talking with the owner of the voice so far. And the owner of the voice confirmed his predictions.
『Yes, a promise is a promise. First of all, the simple story is that I myself knew Zepairu-dono. I simply knew Zepairu-dono while he was still alive.』
Listening to those words, why wasn’t he still convinced? The question came up in Rei’s mind.
Rei had inherited Zepairu’s knowledge, but he didn’t recognise the the owner of this voice.
He looked at Rei’s state and wondered what he was thinking about. The voice gave a quiet laugh.
『I knew Zepairu-dono, but Zepairu-dono probably didn’t know me. I was merely someone from the same era, I just knew Zepairu-dono as he was decidedly the best mage in the world.』
(Indeed, it’s like the one sided knowledge of an idol you see on TV.)
He nodded at the words of the voice and urged him to continue.
『In those days when Zepairu-dono was alive, there were more geniuses than you could imagine today. There is no doubt that if even one mage from that time was in this era, he would have the talent to be considered as an unprecedented great genius now. Thinking about it now, that era shone as the golden age for mages.』
「……I see. You were one of those geniuses weren’t you?」
『That’s right. In this age, I would have had the talent to be considered a great genius as I had said earlier. But thinking about then, I was in the upper middle of the rest at best. Even though I knew Zepairu-dono’s name, Zepairu-dono didn’t know mine. Zepairu’s group was formed from the geniuses out of geniuses, I was not talented to that degree.』
Though the voice muttered as if despising himself, the voice that echoed in Rei’s head had a sense of nostalgia.
「So, you are still alive after living for thousands of years……」
『Hmm, you’ve already guessed haven’t you?』
Rei nodded at the voices words. He had talked with Elena and Vel about the possibility of such an existence in this dungeon.
『That is correct. As expected of the one chosen by Zepairu-dono, you’re sharp. Yes, as I said earlier, I was a genius necromancer at the upper middle compared to the rest. I conducted a ceremony to reincarnate myself as a Lich.』
「……A Lich that has survived thousands of years. At that stage, rather than calling you a Lich, you should be called a Lich Lord.」
『Hahaha~. A Lich Lord, that is nice. Shall I introduce myself next?』
Although laughter echoed in Rei’s mind, actually surviving thousands of years while studying magic all the way. With his ability, he deserved to be called a Lich Lord without a doubt.
(No, rather than lord, he should be called the king of the dead, or even emperor. Lich King or Lich Emperor maybe more appropriate.)
While he thought of that, from nowhere, a crystal ball the size of a large fist softly floated in the air and into Rei’s hands.
『It’s a small present for the successor and inheritor of Zepairu-dono. It’s a magic item in the form of a pair of orbs. If you speak into it, you are able to freely contact someone at the other orb.』
(Can I think of it as something like a cellphone? Any how, the fact that they don’t exist was quite a problem.)
「If you give one to me, I won’t refuse……but why are you so kind?」
『As I said earlier, Zepairu-dono was someone so far ahead that his back couldn’t even be seen by those following him. To be honest, even after studying for several thousands of years, I don’t think I have caught up with him. Since I came across the successor to Zepairu-dono, I’d like to cherish that relationship.』
「A once in a lifetime’s chance, is it」
「It’s a saying from my world. It means that an encounter is something that would only happen once in a lifetime, and should be cherished as such.」
『I see, those words match your and my situation exactly. ……A once in a lifetime’s chance. Now let me see, it would be a discourtesy to not show you my appearance after so long, I will appear now so don’t you lose yourself.』
The owner of the voice gave a warning and then appeared in the air in front of Rei. And the moment the figure appeared in his sight, a large amount of cold sweat came from Rei’s back.
Because he had been guaranteed by Zepairu, he had the confidence to say that his magic power was one of the best. But the moment he saw the being in front of him, Rei understood that he would lose consciousness if he relaxed himself for even an instant. Set had been scared as soon as he had heard the voice. It seemed to Rei that Set had instinctively known the existence before them.
He had the form of a simple Lich. A Skeleton wearing a robe with a magic wand grasped in his hand. His skull was covered with something like a crown. That was it. However, the moment he saw that figure, Rei only felt the concept of 『Death』.
『Mm? I’m sorry, maybe the stimulation was a bit too strong. ……How about this?』
After the Lich murmured, the sense of oppression felt from the existence before Rei’s eyes gradually disappeared. And a few seconds later, Rei was at a level where he could move again.
『Hou~, you can move this much already. As expected of Zepairu-dono’s successor.』
A praising voice sounded in Rei’s mind, but Rei just smiled bitterly at that praise.
(Set is an A rank Griffon. ……So if you apply the monster rank to this Lich, would he be S rank? No, he wouldn’t fit in that level. ……As expected of a Lich who has survived thousands of years.
『Let me greet you once more. I am the Lich you have been talking to since before……no, I am Grimm, the Lich Lord. Thank you, you who have inherited Zepairu-dono’s will.』
「I’m Rei. ……Although I am still learning, someday, I want to acquire the power that is appropriate for succeeding Zepairu’s will.」
『Well then, don’t forget to continue training from now on.』
From the Lich floating in front of him, Rei strangely couldn’t feel any hostility towards him at all. No, rather it gave off an atmosphere that made him feel familiar. That could be understood by the admiration that the Lich, who introduced himself as Grimm, toward Zepairu.
And then, Grimm turned to look at Set, who was frightened but still anxiously watched Rei from the corner of the wall.
While trembling with fear as soon as he was looked at, Set still took one step forward to protect Rei, his favourite partner.
『Hou~, even though you’re still young, you still confront me? It’s splendid. Rei, as it was produced from your magic power, it’s potential seems to be endless. ……However, even now, it’s still a magic beast. In order to demonstrate it’s real strength as a magic beast you will need to devote yourself to training for a while. ……If you continue growing as you are now, like the magic beast that Zepairu-dono produced from the Magic Beast Art, there will be a possibility of it growing into a magic beast that is capable of overwhelming the army of a single country by itself. The Magic Beast Art’s greatest strength is the skills that can be acquired with growth. How strong will you be at our next meeting……I am looking forward to it. Now then, I’m sorry for being rude but I’m actually busy with various things.』
Saying that, his body started to gradually fade……and after a couple of second, the figure of Grimm could no longer be seen.
『Rei, Set and the girl I mentioned earlier. Today was full of good encounters. I will see you again if there is a chance. ……No, if anything happens you can contact me with the pair of orbs.』
He left with those words.
And the next moment after Grimm disappeared, Elena and the others, whose movements had stopped, resumed again.
「Rei, what is it? Elena-sama has told us all to go down to the next floor.」
Vel called out to Rei, who was staring at the place where Grimm had disappeared.
Rei pulled himself back together at that voice and stored the orb into the Misty Ring so that the others couldn’t find it before hurrying to the stairs with Set.
……And Elena, who was seriously pondering over something.