Translator and editor: SaltyTank
Hilde did not bring a map with her, for she was far too familiar with how to get to the destination. After all, in the past, Andre would always visit the Tunin ruins on their way back every time they left the base for lengthy journeys, and Hilde naturally followed along. He had been visiting it less often these two years, though he would still gaze in that direction on a small hill near the base; he most likely could not see anything given how thick the smog was.
‘Mhm, it’s got to be somewhere around here.’
The smog near the ruins was even thicker. Hilde had to spend a bit more effort to get there despite knowing the way already.
The moment she entered the trashed city, she activated her magic and blended into the smog. Traversing through the two-decade-old rubble and passing by piles of bones, Hilde continued her way to the city centre. She passed by the house which Andre used to live in on the way and spared a few seconds to look at it before moving on.
On the way, she had already encountered four gods. They couldn’t see her so they didn’t attack, nor was Hilde foolish enough to initiate an attack on the group. After observing for a while, she realised that they were patrolling the city. It was nothing like the gods they used to know; the monsters that only knew how to attack randomly and slaughter everything in sight were actually functioning as an organisation.
Hilde continued on her way a bit further, then hid inside a tattered house and unveiled herself. Having walked so far while using magic was exhausting. After taking a break, she popped a brain core into her mouth to replenish magic power and peeked out from a crack in the walls.
The smog was flowing in a pattern; she couldn’t feel any wind, so why was the smog drifting steadily towards the city centre?
‘What’s going on…?’
She left the temporary hideout, walked right into the torrent of smog and blended into it. Dark silhouettes could be seen not far away, and she knew that she was encountering more gods again. However, after getting closer, the gods’ outfits shocked her.
Armour, weapons, accessories—things that had never been found on them were now appearing all at once. Greatly different from armour that humans wore, their protective equipment focused on protecting joints, especially the neck. She couldn’t see what they were made out of, but it was apparent that they were tougher than the cloth that gods usually wore. The weapons were mostly sharp pointy rods that resembled spears, probably made by sharpening some sort of rock. It was no good news at all.
Although Hilde really wanted to bring at least one of the items back, she was not about to break her promise and start fighting unnecessarily. With uneasy steps, she dashed through roads and alleys and finally arrived at the centre of the city.
There, she saw something extremely odd.
She was startled. Finding out that the gods were patrolling the place was shocking enough, and discovering that gods actually had equipment only added to her worries. Still, the two added together were not as staggering as the thing currently in front of her eyes.
Hilde felt a little light-headed; everything she had believed in had been a scam all along.
The item she was staring at looked like a massive urn around her height and had a few openings on the top that contracted and expanded rhythmically. Furthermore, the openings were spewing out a certain substance—smog. It was not sucking in nearby smog and expelling them, but instead producing more and more of the murky chemical.
This urn, it was the source of all changes that had occurred in the world for the past decades. Since when did it appear here? Smog was supposed to be a natural phenomenon, a component that constituted mother nature.
Regardless, Hilde was now undoubtedly the first human to witness the creation of ‘artificially produced’ smog.
‘The smog and those monsters…’
Hilde knew she was no thinker, and she wouldn’t know anything no matter how hard she thought about it, which was why she decided to take the risk to collect more intel for her companions.
She inspected her surroundings. After confirming that there weren’t any gods around, she slid her way to the urn and mustered the courage to touch it—it was a familiar sensation. It felt just like the gods’ skin and the surface was slightly twitching like it was alive.
Hilde opened a vial of blood and sprinkled a few drops onto the urn. A small cavity immediately appeared on the surface, though new tissues quickly filled the space as if nothing had ever happened.
She even took out her daggers.
‘Haaa…’ Hilde took in a deep breath and let it out to get into the mood.
The blood-soaked dagger was on its way into the urn. It slowly sunk into the squishy substance, but the blade was stuck with half the weapon still sticking out. Not only could it progress no further, the newly regenerated tissues were forcing the blade out.
Still, Hilde was not the type to give up so easily. This time, she stabbed both her weapons into the urn and tried to wrench open the wound. Despite failing again, she had a rough idea of what was happening.
The cheeky rogue couldn’t help but grin. So the reason why the tissues can regenerate is—
A massive pillar of blue light came flying from afar and swallowed Hilde in no time.