Chapter 137 – Muspelheim Was Frozen

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Author: Firehead Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: TpstT English Source: Two More Free Thoughts
Editor(s): Vecna, Keii

It must have been approximately three hours since we had started flying over the Dark Continent.

After being told, “We can almost see Muspelheim,” I went up onto the deck of the ship.

Looking around, I saw that many other people on our journey had also gathered already and that they were surprised by the state of Muspelheim which they saw in front of them.

Muspelheim, one of the locations where an “Ouroboros” was sealed.

It was said that Muspelheim was a place with a strange phenomenon where fire did not revert back to mana. Thereby it was said to be surrounded by flames which never disappeared.

Its temperature was said to be around a thousand degrees Celsius, thus it was an uninhabitable environment for living organisms.

In one legend, it was discussed that it might have been the result of a divine artifact’s influence.

Well, all of that was second-hand information provided by Libra.

But… it seems hearsay really can’t be relied upon.

When I was supplied with the aforementioned explanation, I had pictured in my head that Muspelheim was a land enclosed by flames, but my predictions turned out to be significantly different from reality.

Or more like, this is…

“It’s frozen.”

“Yeah… It’s frozen.”

Looking down onto the land below from the Argo, I saw a scene which was the complete opposite of what I had imagined it to be.

Even though it was called a scorching land, of all things, it was actually an extremely cold land encased in ice.

In the middle of all of this, there was a palace made out of ice. Furthermore, houses that were also built out of ice were lined up around the palace, making it look like a castle town.

The ground was covered in snow and just by looking at the place, one could feel chills running through their body.

Looking at it from a distance, it looked mystical, however, it was a location which one would not have wanted to live personally.

“It’s probably the work of Aquarius. It is my conjecture that, using its own mana, Aquarius must have overwritten this land’s climate.”

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“Is that so (hou)? The whole of Muspelheim?”

“If it is her, it is not impossible.”

“Out of curiosity, Libra. Do you know what the surface area of Muspelheim is?”

“It is 83 500 km2.”

83 500 km2… so… it approximately had the same surface area as the island of Hokkaido, huh?

Considering the large surface area and the fact that it was originally a land where the average temperature was over a thousand degrees Celsius, for her to freeze up the whole area, she must have possessed tremendous power.

When it came to Water attribute users, the first one that came to my mind was Dina, but notwithstanding that they both used the same element, the way they used it was substantially different.

If anything, rather than Water, this is more like an Ice attribute.

Though, since an Ice attribute doesn’t exist in this world, it’d be categorised as the Water attribute.

“So, Ruphas-sama, we’ll get going now.”

Aries jumped onto the railings of the ship first, followed by Scorpius, Karkinos, Phoenix and Hydrus.

They were going to directly jump down into the city.

With their physical abilities, it was not particularly a problem, but I wondered if they would not feel cold looking like that.

Aries’s limbs were exposed to the environment and one did not need to even mention Scorpius.

Even Karkinos, who was wearing the most clothes out of the bunch, could not be said to be wearing winter clothing.

Well, if it was them, there would not be any problems. But I decided to give them something just in case.

“Hm, wait a moment. Going off looking like that is that, you know. So take these.”

Saying this, using X-Gate, I took out three sets of thick coats from Mafahl Tower.

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It was defensive equipment called [The Coat of Aurgelmir] that I had crafted in the past for times where I would have to battle against a Water attribute boss.

Overall, it dropped the wearer’s status a little, nevertheless, it was a piece of defensive equipment which was strong against Water and Fire attribute enemies as it reduced the damage inflicted by those two elemental attributes by 70%.

I digress, but my current overcoat reduced the damage I suffered from all attributes by 50%, therefore, taking into consideration only Water and Fire attributes, it was superior to my equipment.

In terms of design, there were white, black and red colours available, therefore it would be fine to give them their own individual colours.

… Scorpius… did not look much different in the end though.

“And, this is a farewell gift.”

As a bonus, I gave the three of them weapons that I had crafted to pass the time.

Originally, in X-Gate Online, perhaps in consideration of game balance, it was set so that magical beasts could not equip equipment, but that was not so in this world.

Castor, Taurus and Sagittarius had equipment and weapons as if it was the most common thing in the world. If you thought about the fact that they had two empty hands, then of course it was only natural that they would be able to carry equipment around.

What I gave Aries was a pair of gloves with a holes cut where the fingers were, otherwise known as the so-called open finger glove.

At the roots of both hands, in other words at the third joint of each hand, there were four protrusions. When the hand was clenched into a fist and used to punch something, that part would be slammed into the enemy.

The gloves increased the STR of the wearer by 1200 and came with the special effect of being able to “penetrate the enemy’s elemental defence”.

With it, even if the enemy was strong against the Fire attribute, Aries would be able to deal percent damage without any worries.

What I gave Scorpius was a chain sickle of some sort.

At a fundamental level, it was a chain sickle, however, the end of the weapon was not a sickle but a scorpion’s pincer. When the weapon was swung at an enemy, the pincer would automatically pinch at and capture the enemy.

The weapon simply increased the attack power of the user by 2000 and nothing more. Nevertheless, it was clear that it was a strong weapon just by looking at it.

Although the chain sickle did not have any special abilities, because it had a long range, it was proportionately easy to use.

The one who gave me the most to think about was Karkinos.

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If someone were to ask me what the problem was, it would be that he already had a weapon.

That scissor blade that he always whipped out from who-knows-where was apparently a genuine weapon of his.

Scorpius’s scissors were created from mana, but Karkinos’s scissor was a weapon that he had made himself by shaving away at his own shell.

As such, for Karkinos, I decided to just upgrade the weapon which he already had.

Originally, his weapon provided him with an increased attack power of 800. After the modification, his attack power would increase by 1000 and gain the effect of being able to attack twice. Furthermore, when thrown, the scissor would return back to the location of its owner like a boomerang, thus he was now technically able to use long-range attacks.

… But, yeah. Even if I provide them with weapons, it’s a bit awkward.

Unlike these three, the aforementioned individuals, Sagittarius, Castor and Taurus, did not change much when they transformed into their magical beast forms.

Castor in particular was already in his base appearance and even when Sagittarius reverted back to his true appearance, only his lower body changed. Taurus would probably only grow bigger.

However, when Aries, Scorpius and Karkinos became serious, the three of them would revert back to their enormous magical beast forms.

When that happened, the weapons provided by me would naturally become unusable.

Thinking in that way, perhaps they just had an innate compatibility problem with equipment.

Well, it’s probably still better than nothing. Probably.

“Ru, Ruphas-sama gave me a piece of equipment… I’ll cherish it for my whole life! I’ll store it carefully and turn it into a family heirloom and marvel at it for generations!”

“No, don’t store it. Use it. What do you think the equipment is even for?”

In any event, I managed to increase their base stats.

Even if something were to happen, as long as it was not something extraordinary, they should be able to deal with it somehow.

Because of the lack of time, I had not finished crafting equipment for the other members, but I planned to make them some in due time.

“Thank you very much, Ruphas-sama.”

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“Mm. I’ll leave Aquarius to you guys.”

“Understood!”

I lightly patted Aries’s head and sent them out.

What happened from now on depended on them.

Needless to say, I believed in them. If it was the three of them, they would be able to bring Aquarius back without fail.

After hearing my words, Aries seemed to have become energised and, this time for sure, jumped off the Argo.

Following him, Karkinos, Phoenix and Hydrus also jumped down.

Currently, the Argo was at an altitude of 10 000 metres, but if it was Aries and the rest, it was not a height at which there would be any problem.

Something like a parachute was also unnecessary.

Watching their figures as they left, I noticed that Scorpius had yet to jump off.

“……”

“……”

Looking at the face of Scorpius who seemed to be expecting something, I also gave her a head pat.

When I did, Scorpius’s enthusiasm immediately shot up and she jumped off whilst screaming, “Hyaaaaa”.

Today, she was operating normally as usual.

*

Aries and the rest who descended from the height of 10 000 metres landed in a position which was slightly away from the city.

Right before he landed, Aries brought out his flames whilst Scorpius and Karkinos both kicked towards the ground and used the resulting shockwave to soften the landing impact.

There was not much to say about Phoenix and Hydrus who could both fly in the first place.

They landed in a place slightly behind Aries and the other two so that they would not get ahead of them.

Like this, the five of them who landed in the extremely cold region of Muspelheim were made to experience once again how different the place was from the Muspelheim that they remembered in their memories.

“No matter how much I look at it again from this close up, it really doesn’t feel like Muspelheim. With the way things are, it’s more like the North Pole.”

“You can say that again. It used to be such a nice place with nice heating, what a waste.”

“Indeed. I don’t mean to blame Aquarius-sama, but honestly, seeing Muspelheim, which is supposed to be a paradise of flames, be frozen over this magnificently, I feel a little conflicted.”

For the three Fire attribute individuals, Aries, Scorpius and Phoenix, the original Muspelheim was the location where they felt most comfortable in.

And in reality, even Ruphas decided on the current members after taking into consideration Muspelheim’s extreme heat, therefore, it could be said that the current situation was out of the calculation.

Nonetheless, if one were to ask whether they could change members at this point or not, the answer was no.

Even if they were to include Aigokeros into this group, there was no member that they could take out.

If Aries was to be removed, it would mean that there would be a double troublemaker combination of Aigokeros and Scorpius left. If Scorpius was to be removed, it would mean that Scorpius and Libra would be in the same group, thus there would be infighting in that group.

However, Karkinos absolutely could not be removed because he was there to be the countermeasure against Aquarius in case the one-in-a-million chance they entered into a battle with her.

In other words, although the situation was different from what they had originally planned for, the current personnel could not be swapped out.

“For now, let’s enter the city. First, we need to try and understand what kind of city this is.”

“It’s just as Karkinos-sama says. There’s nothing that we can achieve even if we remain here.”

Karkinos suggested that they enter the city and Hydrus responded in agreement.

Practically speaking, what he was saying was right on point. Even if they continued to stand around, the situation would not change.

The others did not have any objections to this suggestion and silently nodded in agreement.

Step by step, they left their footprints behind in the snow and then stepped foot into the city.

When they did, what filled their vision was a world of silver.

All of the buildings, which were lined up, were made out of ice and snow and took the shape of hemispheres.

The houses were adorned with their own decorations and were all lined up fantastically.

Even the trees that decorated the side of the road were all made out of ice, making them wonder how such a thing was possible.

The various pieces of ice which were shaped like trees protruded out of the ground in a straight line. From them, snow blossomed out of the ice as if they were leaves.

Phoenix casually snapped a branch off of one of the trees and observed it by rubbing and scraping it with his fingertip.

At the very end, he heated up his palm and tried to see how it would react, but only ended up narrowing his eyes.

“It’s a strange type of ice… it doesn’t melt even when heated up. Are all of the buildings which constitute this city also made out of the same kind of ice?”

“How beautiful. Rather than ice, you could call them crystals at this point… is this a city of crystals?”

In contrast to Phoenix who was making a conflicted face, Hydrus was absentmindedly looking around the silvery city.

The glister of this silver world… what a beautiful thing, it is.

Hydrus was inappropriately wondering in his heart whether this whole city was one big piece of art or not.

“Stop getting mesmerised, octopus. What ‘city of crystals’? You’re so snobby.”

“You’re noisy, yakitori. Looking at this city and not feeling anything, aren’t your senses rotten, huh?”

“Huh?”

“Huh?”

Ignoring Phoenix and Hydrus who became inharmonious and grabbed each other’s collars, Aries and the rest proceeded to move forward.

As those two were always like that with each other even 200 years ago, this was just their normal state, thus it was not something they had to pay attention to this late in time.

Although they seemed like they had a bad relationship, those two could be called comrades in arms with each other and were actually good buddies.

As such, even if they were to slam a cross-counter on each other’s face, there was nothing the others had to worry about.

If left alone, they would catch up with Aries and the rest inside of the city eventually.

“So, what do we do first?”

“Hmm, I guess the first place to visit to gather information is always the tavern. Let’s look for a building that looks like that first.”

If one wanted to gather information, then they needed to go to a place where a lot of people gathered.

That was a conclusion anyone who had any sort of experience of being an adventurer would immediately be able to reach.

In the past, there was a period of time where Ruphas herself had gathered information at taverns. Karkinos himself had also opened taverns with the purpose of gathering information.

Where people gathered, information would consolidate.

Even if it was just a small rumour, there was a high possibility that the shopkeeper or the regulars might have heard about it before.

“Ehh… that’s so troublesome. It’ll be the end of it all if we just head straight to the palace and pick Aquarius up. It’s not like we’re not acquainted with each other.”

“That’s true. Is there some reason we shouldn’t just go ahead and do that?”

“That’s what we’re going to find out. Just what exactly is this city like? Why did Aquarius make a city like this when she should have been sealing the ouroboros? Without knowing those things, if we just charge right in, it could cause unnecessary trouble.”

“Aren’t you prudent?”

“After all, this is a mission in which failure cannot be permitted.”

Even Scorpius, who was looking hassled, could do nothing but agree with Karkinos’s words of “failure cannot be permitted” and swallow her objections.

Exactly, failure was absolutely not permitted. This was an order entrusted to them by their master.

If they were to do something unnecessary and cause Aquarius to be weighed down such that she could no longer leave, they would not be able to show their faces in front of Ruphas anymore.

“…… Fine, fine. But we can’t take up too much time. This mistress wants to quickly finish the job and get back to doing lewd things with Ruphas-sama.”

In that way, Scorpius ended up reluctantly approving Karkinos’s suggestion.



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