When I finally came to it, I opened my eyes and saw my body had been completely crushed, tiny pieces of my bones littering the cave floor. In the middle of it all lay the Tyrant of the Tombs, motionless.
‘Did I succeed…?’
If I had not managed to use Fire Shock at the last second perhaps he would have survived and taken the rest of my limbs. I wondered if I would be able to cast magic without having a left arm, but to be honest It was something I would rather not have to find out first hand.
Just like the first time, I was embedded into the wall from the collision and struggled to wiggle myself out. With my HP at rock bottom my movements were sluggish and I struggled to gather my bone pieces scattered on the floor like a mosaic. This time around it took me 200 ~ 230 hours to collect all my pieces because my condition was much worse. Perhaps it was because compared to the first time, when the Tyrant was just fooling around, it was in a berserk state with its life threatened.
‘Ah right, did I gain some experience and level up?’
I opened my Status page just as I finished reattaching my left arm.
Type: Skeleton/ Undead
✧ Unique Skills
[Resurrection Lv 1] [Night Vision Lv 1] [Falling resistance Lv1] [Magic Chanting Max] [Fire Shock Max]
[Rat Trapper] [Hit-and-Run]
Surprisingly my level had dropped despite having killed a named monster. Could it be a death penalty? Looking closer I even noticed my stats had dropped slightly.
‘Hmm… can dying be such a big loss? Well… oh, wait a minute.’
I quickly checked my Status page to confirm something.
Unfortunately there was no way to verify my hypothesis at the moment so I simply put it to the back of my skull and began to cut apart the giant rodent’s body. I was searching for my missing right arm, expecting to find it half digested in its stomach but all I found were pieces of moss and the bodies of tomb rats.
‘Where did this guy put my right arm?’
Trying my hand at tracking, I retraced its steps and searched several times along its usual roaming routes until I came across a side path I hadn’t noticed previously.
‘It’s my first time seeing this right?’
Following the new path carefully, I was led to a dead end cave with a mountain of glittering jewels, shiny gold, equipment, and my right arm holding a dagger.
‘Is this the Tyrant’s hideout? Is this all of its spoils? Where did all these jewels come from?’
I reattached my right arm and started rummaging through the mountain of spoils looking for something useful. Perhaps I was being too enthusiastic because the pile of jewels and gold collapsed
I noticed that there was a hole that was previously hidden from sight behind the mountain of treasure. Looking past I noticed it led up to a familiar place with marble walls. The Tyrant had most probably collected all these things from across this hole and brought them back to his hideout.
By holding an item in my hands I could check its properties by simply clicking on the blinking light in the Status page. After going through all the equipment I decided on a red robe, a magically enchanted dagger with an embedded jewel in the hilt and a sturdy round shield with glittering gems.
It seemed like the Tomb Tyrant was very fond of shiny objects. I looked a bit like a hip-hop artist with all this bling but it felt good. I was ready for the new adventure beyond the hole.
‘Should I get started?’
I crawled through the hole and ended up in a dark cave in which only the moss emitted a faint light, illuminating the space somewhat allowing me to see some rough silhouettes. When my eyes finally adjusted, I was able to see clearly thanks to the Night Vision skill.
It had a different vibe compared to the previous place. For one it was a much bigger space and the marble walls were a dull, dark black. The only things I was able to make out in the darkness were a few stone statues and pillars but that alone was enough to stimulate my sense of adventure.
‘Should I go take a look around?’
Maybe since I had become a skeleton my concept of danger had changed somewhat. Or is it possible that because I’m living an adventure then I naturally become braver? In my former world, I would never consider roaming through such a dark and scary place.
I began walking around but even after some time, I hadn’t seen any signs of life or movement for that matter. Unlike the previous cave and tunnel system, this area was incredibly vast so I decided to think of it as Catacombs. After some exploring I did find two places that could possibly lead me to other floors but they were both blocked by large iron doors.
I began searching nearby, hoping to find a key or some mechanism to unlock the doors but it was all for naught. There was this one room that had a pile of treasure inside but despite looking carefully I didn’t find any keys or useful items.
‘If I take all these treasures could I enjoy a luxurious lifestyle?’
Just as the thought crossed my mind I realised the folly of it and became depressed.
If people were too see a rich skeleton walking around with jewels I would definitely be beaten down and robbed of all my valuables. To top it off, I’m also a good source of experience points,so I’ll definitely be killed.
‘Damn it, why am I a skeleton? Even if I were a gremlin or goblin, I would at least be able to enjoy these jewels.’
My head hung low, dejected by my current situation.
‘Well, there’s nothing I can do about it. Perhaps these treasure might be useful later so let’s just take them.’
Finding two expensive looking pouches nearby I filled them to the brim with jewels, gems and any shiny items before carefully placing them within my robe, out of sight from greedy eyes.
While rummaging through the pile of treasure, I seemed to have knocked a transparent bottle to the floor but fortunately it didn’t break. A light within it began to shine.
Huh… What’s that, a firefly?
Looking closely I noticed a bright, shining fairy-like creature the size of my index finger.
It seemed to be grumbling and malcontent about being stuck in a bottle, but I couldn’t make out what it was saying.
I stared at it in the bottle a while longer. It had pointy ears, rich golden hair and the perfect face of a cute Western child from a fantasy game.
However, it appeared very angry at the moment, showing its teeth and seemingly screaming at the top of its lungs but the bottle was well sealed and very little sound was heard.
‘Should I set it free?’
I could empathize somewhat with its situation because although I wasn’t stuck in a bottle I did feel trapped within these Catacombs.
The sound of the sealed lid being opened was quite loud because it had been closed for a long time. The little fairy inside seemed dazed by the change in atmospheric pressure. I reached out to carefully grab it and placed it on my bony hand. It was strange to see it laying on my hand but be unable to feel it. It was somewhat out of place seeing such a beautiful creature on my ugly skeleton hand.
“You didn’t have to open it so forcefully!”
Grumbled the fairy as it stood up and rubbing its ear to check its hearing.
I tried to ask if it was ok, but only the clacking of my teeth could be heard
“You aren’t just any skeleton right? Interesting, have I been stuck in a bottle for too long and the world has changed? Do skeletons have intelligence now?”
The fairy took to the air with its little wings, flying around inspecting me with an incredulous look on her face. I felt somewhat uncomfortable by her rude actions, but it was my first time meeting another being that could speak so I simply accepted it.
‘Should I ask her to follow me?’
I stretched out my index finger pointing to the fairy.
“Huh? What are you doing?”
I point at her, myself and then used two fingers to do an impression of walking.
“Uh … what does that mean? Do you want me to follow you?”
I nodded my head.
“Wait, why? Why do I need to go around with a scary looking skeleton like you?”
I pointed to the opened glass bottle on the floor.
Hmm… so because you set me free I should go together with you?”
I nodded again.
“Sorry, thanks for opening the bottle but I don’t want to follow you around.”
My shoulders dropped as I was disappointed by her response.
“Instead, I’ll simply ride on top of you! HeHe!”
She flitted her wings and landed atop my helmet.
“I’m caled Gwyn. I’ll be riding you from now on, Giddy up Giddy up!”
I seem to have become a fairy’s mount but I didn’t really mind. It wasn’t so bad to have a somewhat noisy friend tagging along. Although I wasn’t able to join in and start a conversation just hearing Gwyn’s voice brought joy to my heart.
“So one day I was playing in the woods, when suddenly a rogue wizard locked me up in that bottle. If it had just been a normal bottle I could have easily gotten out but it must have been sealed through magic so I was stuck.”
I would have preferred for Gwyn to speak more slowly or even sometimes stay quiet, but it was just my wishful thinking. I didn’t have any way to communicate with her my desires and even if she knew, I somehow doubted she would listen.
While carrying Gwyn on my head, I searched all the nearby rooms carefully but there wasn’t any way out.
“Hey you, do you have a name?”
The fairy hovered in front of my face questioningly. It was such a small and pretty doll like face. Despite her clothes green and tattered, her skin was soft and had a healthy pearl glow giving her a mysterious look. However, when she starts talking I get the impression that she is quite mischievous.
I shook my my head
“Oh really? Then I’ll give you one.”
Gwyn frowned, appearing deep in thought so she didn’t notice me trying to wave her off with my hand, it was already too late.
“Chompy! How about Chompy?”
As expected, such a ridiculous name from the impish fairy.
[Name ‘Chompy’ has been selected]
[Status for your friend Pixie Gwyn is now available]
A message appeared before me.
‘Oh a friend… Are you a pixie? I thought you were some kind of fairy.’
I first focused on the second message about Gwyn because it was my first friend in this world. Despite her giving me a funny sounding name I patted her head in acknowledgement.
“So are you happy I named you? Hehehe… I came up with it because it’s the sound you make when you try to talk Chomp! Chomp! It’s perfect right? From now on you’re Chompy!”
Rushing back to her place atop my head she yelled.
I purposely chomped down with my teeth and began to run around halls making more chomping sounds. Listening to Gwyn’s voice I felt such excitement that I ran too much and overdid it.
Despite running for so long I didn’t feel any fatigue but I noticed that my HP had dropped.
“It’s enough… I’m getting dizzy!”
Luckily the little passenger was also getting tired so we just sat down in the corner to rest. After a little while, we heard the sound of something approaching in the distance.
“Chompy what are those sounds?”
Gwyn fluttered her wings and hovered before my face with a curious expression but I shook my head
“Well? Don’t you want to find out? Let’s go see what’s going on.”
“Come on Chompy, faster!”
Gwyn go back on my helmet and I hurry along toward the sounds.
“Chompy slow down, I can hear some people.”
I could hear the sound of footsteps and two people talking approaching from a distance so I decided to hide behind a few stone statues.
“Is here ok?” asked Gwyn
I pointed my finger at her and then to my empty eye sockets, it was the only way to hide the light she was emitting.
“Is it ok? Wouldn’t it hurt you?”
It would probably be fine since my eyes sockets were empty. Oh right, without any eyes how was I able to see what’s in front of me. The mystery of how my skeleton body worked was truly beyond me.
Gwyn went into my eyes, a glow escaped adding a certain life to them. I listened to the footsteps and covered my eyes with my shield.
As they got closer I could make out their conversation more clearly.
“Gillian is it true that there are heaps of treasure here?”
“Yes, when I came about four months ago I wasn’t able to explore too deeply because of the number of skeletons but I’m sure there’s a bunch of treasure.”
“My subclass is Historian and I can guarantee that what Gillian said was true.”
“Sigh… Pirate, I already regret coming to these old and smelly Catacombs, You better be right about all that treasure because if you’ve tricked me, I’ll tell your wife that you cheated on her with Lyllian last year.”
“Oh no, please don’t Azelin will kill me!”
“So quickly show me where that treasure is, do you have any idea how much it costs to hire a priest these days? It’s not an amount that some small fries like you can afford to pay.”
Listening to their conversation I realized they were most likely the same group of people who attacked my group of skeletons with a fireball causing me to fall down into the pit.
‘Seems like this time they brought along a priest. Wait, has it already been four months?’
Between the training and monster hunting I had no clue how much time had passed down in the caves but after hearing their conversation it must have been four months.
Crrrrack! Crrack! Crack!
As their footsteps approached two of the statues around me seemed to gain a life of their own.
‘What, they weren’t normal statues?’
The demon shaped winged statues began to slowly move, shaking off the dust.