Translator and editor: SaltyTank
‘You did nothing wrong.’
After they got back to the base, Prommel patted the depressed Jade on her shoulders.
Andre shut himself in his room right after receiving treatment, seemingly dissatisfied that they stopped him from pursuing the fleeing god. Even Hilde was given the cold shoulder.
‘Andre’s overdoing it, we all know.’
Jade’s emotions bursted out from within. Prommel waved his palm as a signal to calm her down before she could continue.
‘I usually try to stop him too, but you know, I’m not a main combatant. Hilde and Marie both have their own ideas, just trust me that none of them will want to send Andre to his death.’
‘It’s… just odd.’ Jade lowered her head in frustration.
She could not comprehend what was going on. It was Andre who had asked her if she wanted to live, yet his current actions were the complete opposite. It was simply contradictory.
‘That’s why we’re all grateful that you stopped him. You’re probably the only sane person here. Still, don’t sneak your way onto the battlefield next time, okay?’
‘Everyone’s doing their best… I don’t want to be the only one hiding.’
‘It doesn’t help in any way, and you could become a burden you know?’
‘I know,’ Jade laughed bitterly. ‘But they saved my life—’
‘No, that’s not really the right way to think about it.’ Prommel interrupted her. ‘Everyone has things that they can do and can’t do, it’s just something that can’t be forced. If you really want to help out… How bout this, they won’t have time to find a new village for you soon anyways, so maybe you can be my assistant for now?’
‘Eh? I’m fine with it…’
‘Great, you can go back on the decision later though, because what we’re about to do… might be unpleasant for you I guess? I’ll prepare the stuff first.’
Jade was visibly confused, though she believed that Prommel was an upright person and wouldn’t do anything to her.
Putting on her cloak, she followed Prommel out of the base with a cart, assuming they were probably going for miscellaneous tasks like bringing back lightstones. It turned out to be collecting the gods’ corpses.
‘Are you up for it?’
‘Mhm, it’s alright.’
Having to touch the disgusting monsters was a bit too much for her, truth be told. She didn’t want to go back on her promise though, nor was she willing to give up on the task before even trying. She withstood the nausea building up within her stomach and reached her arm out.
It was a weird sensation. Hilde had already cut away the cloth, so Jade was directly in contact with the dry, pale skin. It felt like rotted wood that was a bit more rubbery.
Jade had a complicated feeling at the sight of a cart full of dead gods. Prommel, on the other hand, was apparently having a nice day, almost like he found tons of treasure.
‘We don’t get to have fights happen so near the base very often, it’s a waste if we don’t pick them up. I told Andre to bring back at least some parts before, that guy just never did.’
‘Um Prommel… What are you going to do with them?’
‘Do you remember the experiments I mentioned a few days ago? There’s some stuff I wanted to try out for a while now, you should follow me to the lab later to have a look!’
They returned to the base and went to the workshop under the emotionless gaze of Marie. The room had all four of its walls covered in wooden cabinets, each marked with words and numbers. The cabinets were lined up nicely and she could see a piece of metal wrapped in cloth in each one.
Prommel parked the cart to a corner, took an arm out, and went to the desk full of tools and metals.
‘Actually, I’ve always hoped that the rumours were true.’
He pulled a chair for Jade and they sat at the table. Jade couldn’t comprehend what he meant at first but quickly realised what the rumours were referring to.
‘The god slaying sword?’
‘Right, although the rumours were certainly fake, why don’t we try and make a real one?’
‘So everything on the table…’
‘That’s right, they’re all “god slaying swords” I made, failures to be exact.’
Jade looked at the pieces of sharp metals lying all over the table, then scanned over the pile of half-finished weapons. She had no idea how long Prommel had spent on his experiments, still his persistence was surely worthy of praise.
‘These are weapons used against the monsters after all, so we need something to experiment on to make sure they work. I used up the last batch of corpses a while back, this project’s been on hold for some time already.’
Prommel picked a piece of metal from the table and sliced it with the sharpened edge. No matter how hard he tried, it barely made it through the outermost layer of skin.
‘Ugh, I was quite proud of this one, guess it still doesn’t work.’ He shook his head and wrapped the metal with a cloth, marked a symbol on it, then placed it aside.
‘Huh? Um, don’t you smear blood on the weapons when fighting?’
‘It’s no good if it needs blood to work… Blood can only erode their skin and tissue to make them softer, look.’
Prommel took out the portable blood vial and dripped a few drops on the cut. The tissues slowly dissolved upon contact with the blood, creating a small cavity.
‘To make things more simple for you back then, I simply said that we can kill them with weapons smeared with blood, right? Actually, there’s some sort of substance in their bodies that stick to our blades, making it impossible to cut through the tissues. They soften upon contact with blood, but even so, it takes a great deal of strength to actually sever the tissues.’
‘Eh? It’s, it’s a bit complicated…’
‘Haha!’ Prommel chuckled at the sight of the confused Jade. ‘To simply put it, I’m looking for a material that can cut through this substance without using blood. That way, we don’t need to go through the trouble of preparing blood, and possibly defeat them without using magic!’
‘Then that’d be a real god slaying sword!’
‘That’s right! And actually, I have another dream.’ Prommel scratched his head shyly. ‘If one day, all of us can have the strength to fight back, maybe mankind can return to the surface!’
Although Prommel and Hilde both said Andre’s idea of killing every last god was too much of a crazy one, Prommel’s own dream was really on a similar level to his. Influenced by the ideal world he spoke of, Jade felt a sudden surge of motivation.
‘That’s incredible!’ She even stood up in excitement. ‘Okay! Doing experiments on these things are a bit… um, still, I want to help out with the research!’
‘So you’re gonna help me? That’s great!’
‘Then what should we do next?’
‘First, we try out all the blades on the table. After that, we’ll compile a list of materials and ratios that we haven’t tested yet, then get the stuff needed to make the meta pieces…’
‘Let’s do this step by step!’
‘Haha, you’re right, of course.’
It was at that moment Jade finally felt that she had finally started integrating into the group, albeit just a little. As the first step, she decided to start with how she spoke with them.
The two tested out over twenty metal pieces in one go. Some had decent cutting ability, though all of them were too brittle to be used as weapons. No matter what they added into the mix, they couldn’t make a piece of metal which would dissolve the tissues like blood could. They were basically just altering the sharpness of the materials using different compositions.
‘I’ve tried many ways of adding blood during the production procedures but none worked. We still have to smear blood on our weapons to make them work.’
‘What could be the issue…’
It was an experiment that had gone on for a few years without any progress, so Jade knew that her participation was not going to bring any breakthroughs right away.
At that moment, a flurry of footsteps approached the room and two kids came running in.
Lenora and Arnold looked like they were in a race to get to the table, bumping into Jade and almost knocking her chair over.
Jade reflexively held onto the table, though it ended up sending the items on the table everywhere, including the vial of blood. It smashed into the nearby lightstones and splattered blood all over the place.
‘Oh, it broke.’
‘Ah, it broke.’
The two little fellas did not feel guilty in the slightest and looked at the embarrassed Jade with curious eyes. Prommel then slapped the brats in their butts.
‘Hey! Didn’t I tell you not to run around the place? Why are you two still standing there and not helping out? Jade, are you hurt?’
‘I’m fine, I’m fine.’
Prommel quickly picked up the metal pieces on the floor, afraid that the kids might cut themselves. Meanwhile, Jade was cleaning up the glass shards from the shattered vial with a cloth.
‘Hey hey hey!’
Prommel then saw the kids cleaning the lightstones, which was fine in itself, until he realised they were wiping the stones with the god’s arm which he and Jade had been experimenting with. That was how they received their second scolding of the day.
‘Sigh, what are you two even here for?’
‘Mummy sent us here to tell daddy something!’ Arnold dropped the arm onto the floor and raised his hand to answer.
‘Auntie Hilde says there’s something to discuss!’ Lenora pushed her brother away and took his spot.
Even now, they were still fighting to be the first. It was slightly bemusing and troubling to watch. Still, it was probably something important, so Prommel put down his work at hand, leaving the table messy as it was, and hurried back to the common area together with Jade.
Everyone was there already; even Andre finally showed himself.
‘My bad, the kids were causing a bit of trouble back there. What’s the situation now?’
‘The situation, huh? It’s absolutely the same as before.’
‘Which is why it’s strange,’Andre said with his arms crossed, noticeably worried.
‘Marie said they’re grouping together, like they’re protecting something.’
‘What’s more about it is the location. Prommel, come have a look.’
On the round table lay a massive map. It was made using the information they gathered throughout the years, including the terrain and remaining human settlements. Many of the latter were marked with red crosses.
Andre pointed to the centre of the map with his sheath, a place not too far away from the base. Prommel’s look turned sour in the blink of an eye.
‘Why are they gathering at the “Land of Divine Wrath”…’
‘No idea.’ Andre shook his head. ‘Which is why I plan to send Hilde over to have a look.’
‘Hm, her ability is indeed suitable for the task, but isn’t it really dangerous? How many of those monsters are there?’
‘More are gathering, there’s at least twenty of them there now.’
Prommel slammed his palms heavily onto the table, and everyone turned silent. Actually, Jade had no idea what they were talking about, especially the part about the ‘Land of Divine Wrath’.
She sneaked her way over to Geraldine and asked, ‘Mind if I ask what the “Land of Divine Wrath” is…?’
‘Oh, it’s just how the older generations call it, the place where the monsters showed up the first time twenty years ago.’
‘Eh? Isn’t that… the Tunin city?’
The fall of the Tuninese marked the start of this era of tragedy.
The day was supposed to be their annual festival. Everyone gathered to perform their dances and rituals to praise the gods, but the event was met with a tragic end.
The gods descended from above, and they dyed the land blood-red.
Everyone sort of knew about the incident in one way or another, even Jade was no exception. She just hadn’t expected they made their base so close to such a place.
As the location where the gods first showed up, it was now this weird gathering place for the gods, not to mention the abnormally thick smog in recent days. Everything was suggesting that something had to be going on there.
‘We won’t get anywhere like this, I’m heading out kay?’ Hilde took the initiative to break the silence. She chuckled at the sight of everyone’s worried looks. ‘What’s with those faces? It’s not like I’m gonna fight them.’
‘Still… be very careful,’ Prommel said earnestly.
Hilde smiled and nodded. She checked her equipment and items again, then gave everyone a playful salute.
‘I’ma head out, don’t miss me too much kay?’
‘Have a safe trip.’
Hilde waved at Jade and turned to leave the base.