Chapter 69: Gatekeeper (Part 2)

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Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 3864 characters
Translator: Nomad English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1941 words
Editor(s): Fire

However, that evasive maneuver had been so unexpected that Gargoyle Keeper had to brake again so the impulse would not make it collide with the ceiling of the floor. That small window, even though it had been shorter than a breath, proved to be fatal for Gargoyle Keeper.

After a bright blue glow, six long pitch black swords manifested, surrounding Gargoyle keeper, and with the speed of thunder they struck it.

It was unable to dodge again, and as it lifted its arm, it received the black swords that seemed coated with destruction itself.

Six shrill metallic clangs resounded, the blades piercing through the black skin and sending it falling down with such a force as if gravity had doubled.

That hit had been incredibly overwhelming, but Gargoyle keeper still attempted to somehow resist the black swords as his arm reached out.

Realizing there was nothing his arm could accomplish, it loosened up and hung down. Its eyes then turned towards Mira, staring at her with annoyance. But that was not a simple bluff, its eyes housed its trump card, namely, its lightning.

All of Gargoyle Keeper’s will converged in its eyes.

But an instant later its body awkwardly rotated to one side and began falling like a bird that exhausted all of its strength.

「Here it comes!」
「Now’s our turn!」

Out of the six swords that had pierced through it before, one had torn apart one of Gargoyle Keeper’s wings.

Gilbert had been watching the fight unfold, and once he noticed Gargoyle Keeper was falling, he ran out to confront it. Heinrich turned his head to both sides to loosen up a bit before he ran as well.

With a low thud, the black lump collided with the ground. That caused damage all over its body, but its eyes still glared upwards, searching for the intruder that had dared throw him to the ground.

The two men running towards it did not register in the Gargoyle Keeper’s eyes. In its mind, there was only the small fist and arm that had created such a violent gale, the black swords that violated its body, and the girl with silver hair that flowed like a waterfall.

Having captured Gargoyle Keeper’s attention to such a degree, Mira allowed Gilbert and Heinrich to release their strongest attacks without concern.

Gilbert took three arrows and held them up, then threw them all at the same time. They flew straight like a ray of light, piercing and completely destroying the arm that held the stone spear.

Receiving the unexpected hit, its posture crumbled again and its knee gave in.

Heinrich made his entrance then, silently holding his sword high in the air looking like an executioner. He steeled his spirit for just an instant before he swung down.

The blade left an afterimage reminiscent of a half-moon and only stopped millimeters away from the ground. But the resistance he had felt on his swing confirmed that he had slain through Gargoyle Keeper’s torso.

Its corpse fell down, multiple white cracks running through it and turning it into a cloud of pure white dust that piled on the floor.

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Its eyes still held that blue glow, but they did not have a focal point anymore, only watching its own demise.

With that, the fight to conquer the boss of the Staircase to the Sky, Gargoyle Keeper, came to an end.

「Where’s Mira?」

After checking the aftermath, Heinrich looked up searching for the person who had been their most valuable asset in that fight, Mira. His eyes met with a pure white angel descending from above.

「Seems you were able to stop it, yes? Good job.」
「It was really easy thanks to your efforts.」

Mira landed without raising a sound, the scent of sweet berries wafting from her. Gilbert came to meet her, his lips in a strained smile seeing Heinrich staring up with an idiotic face.

「The way you soared through the sky, was that a Sage Art?」
「Yes, that is indeed so.」
「Then, what was that shield that appeared out of nowhere?」
「That was simply a summons.」
「…I see. I had heard that the Summoner Wiseman Danbulf also employed some Sage Arts, so I guess his disciple would obviously use both as well.」

Gilbert was deeply knowledgeable about the skills of Spellcasters, so considering it was said she had been taught by Danbulf, he concluded that her skills were also that of the Wiseman. And he was simply astonished that she had such developed skills already, considering she was only the disciple, and her master was known for being the strongest Spellcaster in the entire continent.

After that, Gilbert went and took out the stone spear and blue gems from the pile of white sand.

「This is your share.」

Saying that, he threw the stones, which drew a parabola in the air before accurately landing on Mira’s palm. Inside the gems, something that resembled silent lightning went off from time to time.

Gargoyle Keeper’s eyes were known as lightning orbs, gems that housed the force of strong thunder and could be forged into other items. Something like that was incredibly valuable for Mira.

「Is that truly fine?」
「It’s the just compensation for the work you did. This spear is enough for us.」

As he spoke, he poked at Heinrich with the butt end of the spear, pulling him back to reality. Pretending he had listened to the entire exchange, Heinrich began shaking his head as much as he could, trying to disguise his blush.

「We’re finally at our destination.」

With those words, the three looked up at the heavy and closed gates in front of them.

They reached almost all the way up to the ceiling, and due to the many years it had stood there, the engravings on it had faded, only the rough shape of a person discernible out of it.

But the intimidating aura coming from it was fitting for the gates protecting the Abandoned City in the Sky, an ancient city.

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To the side of the gates, a chunk of metal that resembled a somewhat malformed box was placed. Gilbert walked up to it and thrust the stone spear into the hole in the very center of that box.

At first, a grinding noise like that of a coil resounded from inside the hole, then the entire box began to groan and a tremor like a small earthquake was felt through the floor.

The box housed some sort of mechanism. When the stone spear was used to activate it, multiple streaks of light spread through the wall like a peacock’s tail. Then at one point, it all disappeared as if it had seeped into the wall, and the markings of a person on the gate faded away and instead a wolf looking at the moon appeared.

That moon shone like the true moon would, and then a crack ran vertically through it, and with a dull noise, the gates began opening.

A streak of cold light passed through the gap in the door, shining a thin line of light, sharp like a blade, on the floor. Mira was standing right in the middle, so the sunlight hit her first and she had to narrow her eyes to flee from it.

「Well, let’s get going then.」

Saying that, Gilbert began walking towards the open gates. Heinrich nodded and gave a short reply before following him. Mira went last after them and they exited the dark dungeon and resurfaced under the bright light of the sun.

The Staircase to the Sky’s exit was located on an elevated platform, and there was a long row of stairs leading down from it. Behind them, as if carved out of the rocky mountains, stood the gates, already closing together with the noise of something being dragged on the ground.

Gilbert and Heinrich stood still, taking in the scenery from that elevated place and only able to sigh without uttering any words.

Past the stairs, they could see streets with houses lined on them that resembled a group of fossilized mushrooms continuing as far as they could see. There was no sign of people, or of any living thing for that matter. It was a weird place, devoid of any intervention by sentient beings for a very long time, but the greenery still seemed hesitant to invade it.

「The sun is still out. We arrived earlier than originally planned.」
「Mainly because of Mira’s help in speeding up the final fight.」
「Yeah, I can only be thankful for that.」

With the sun still on the corner of his eye, Gilbert took his map and checked their current location.

(This place still looks exactly the same as it was last time.)

Gazing at the familiar cityscape, Mira slowly shifted her eyes to the furthest parts. Her goal, the Crystal Temple was there.

「We arrived quickly, but we still need to discuss how we’ll go about exploring the place. But first thing first, we should set up a camp for today, then we can check out the surroundings more easily.」
「Yes, that sounds reasonable.」

Gilbert began preparations for later, and began searching through the map for a suitable place for a camp. At one point, he stopped and turned around to look at Mira.

「By the way, what are you going to do now? We’ve arrived at the Abandoned City, so are you going to head straight to the place you wanted to visit?」
「Hmm, let me think.」

Being asked by Gilbert, Mira took some time to ponder over things.

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Her goal was to get to the Crystal Temple, and collect shavings off the roots of the sacred tree Soul Howl had left. That was a task much easier than challenging the Staircase to the Sky. If she headed there with a Pegasus now, it would barely take half an hour. Considering the hardships it took to get there, it almost felt like the reward was nowhere near enough.

On the other hand, for Gilbert and Heinrich this was only the start. They would start investigating that mysterious phenomenon with chunks of forest suddenly vanishing.

「I’m already here, so I want to witness that phenomenon or whatever you will be investigating.」

That was Mira’s answer. That phenomenon was not an in-game event, but an act performed by the real world. She had only arrived to that world not too long before, but she had already encountered acts from the real world many times, so she was interested in this new case as well.

「So you’re curious about Earth Eater as well? That’s awesome. I’ll tell you everything I’ve found out so far then!」

Feeling like he had finally gained a like-minded person, Gilbert’s face lit up as he began talking about the places with confirmed cases and their climates, but he did not go too far before Heinrich interrupted him.

「Now’s not the time to talk like that. We have to find a place for our camp first.」
「Oh right, that’s true. Well then, we can leave our talk for a later date.」
「I wish you would spare me the misfortune of being subject to your lectures again…」

With that, the three began their descent through the stairs, the wind hitting their shoulders as they headed to the streets of the Abandoned City in the Sky that resembled a failed glass sculpture.

The sky blending into their view was of a refreshing and pure blue, the clear and silent atmosphere almost soaking into their bodies.


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