Chapter 17

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The next floor was surprisingly very cold, even the walls were freezing to the touch.

‘Whats going on?’

We had just arrived from what was a tropical-like climate, to now almost being in the Antarctic. The ground was frozen over,and my poor insects were reluctant to even step onto the new floor. Although it wasn’t too bad near the stairs, the further out you went, the colder it would be.

[You have learned Cold resistance Lv1]

‘You guys wait for me here.’

The cold was an insect’s nemesis, and I didn’t want to torture my poor minions too much.

Also, I wanted to scout ahead so as not to get caught in an impossible situation.

‘Lord, we also….’

Just stay here and be prepared for whatever enemy might come. I don’t know what we will be facing, so if I need to make a quick escape, you guys will be my fall back position.

‘…’

They sent no telepathic responses, as they remained quiet, ashamed of their inability to contribute. I walked into the hall, leaving the insects far behind.

After walking for a short time, I came across a peculiar door.

‘This definitely looks like a door a boss monster would be hiding behind.’

At the end of the hall stood a magnificently decorated arched gate. Thick, black iron doors, inlaid with gorgeous silver and golden sculptures, depicting a wide variety of creatures. For a moment, I thought myself to be standing before the gates of Heaven.

‘I can’t seem to use my Status check from outside the door….’

I was careful by nature, so I decided to make an elaborate trap in order to be prepared for any scenario.

‘If I’m going to make a trap, might as well go all out.’

The temperature in the hall remained constantly well below zero. It was a situation where I could finally make use of that useless skill.

“Water Sphere! Water Sphere! …”

[Water Sphere level 1 ➢ 2]

[Water Sphere level 5 ➢ 6]

Spraying water on the ground I was able to make a thick sheet of slippery ice. Also, although it was somewhat time consuming, I could concentrate the spell on a single point to create some ice sculptures. These could be used to confuse the enemy or hide behind to dodge spells if I were ever in a tight spot. I took my time to create as many of these sculptures as possible in the hall.

‘This should help.’

I was forcing myself to think positively, despite the fact that I had gone over the top and made far too many of these sculptures. I had turned the hall into a giant ice maze, well at least it’s better than nothing.

I had spent the better part of a full day creating this giant frozen maze. As I became more proficient in the use of Ice, I was even able to use it to create reflections which could confuse the enemy.

‘Hmm… somehow I feel like I’m ready.’

[Magic Research has been completed]

[Magic Research level 1 ➢ 2]

[You have learned Gravity Control Lv1]

‘Ohh! This is just the kind of spell I needed!’

Every time I fought a large monster, I wished I would have this skill.

‘Magic Research is such a useful skill. Hmm… what should I pick next?’

[Selected Magic Chanting]

‘Wow, Is this going to work?!’

The increase in casting speed had been a crucial part in all my fights, allowing me to spam any spells as long as my mana could keep up. I was looking forward to what new spell I’d receive by focusing the research on my Magic Chanting.

‘So, is it about time to open this door?’

My bony hands were shaking.

‘Behind this door might be an incredibly powerful monster, but if I turn back now, I might regret it in the future.’

Most of the enemies I had fought to date had been out of desperation and not by choice. I was still trying to summon up the courage to open the door. This might be the first life threatening situation I’d deliberately put myself in. I wasn’t counting my previous battle with the spider boss, Bianca, because throughout the fight I was always in complete control. Now, if I were to go past this door, it would be without knowing anything about what kind of enemy I’d face, or what my chances of survival were. Not to mention that judging by the grandiose gate, the guardian behind was bound to be powerful.

‘What is the purpose of these Catacombs…?’

These tombs were definitely strange if you stopped to think about it, from the mountain of bones in which I first rose, to the Gargoyles, Chess pieces, and finally this frozen hall. What could be the reason of its existence?

‘Well, opening these doors might be the only way to find out!’

Keeeeeeiic

The large heavy doors which had been stationary for a long time, opened with but a gentle push.

The area beyond the door looked like an extravagant cathedral. In the middle of the room, there was an extravagant throne upon which sat a monster wearing fancy wizard robes.

“Finally, my old enemy has arrived!”

Chomp Chomp

Surprisingly, it was a Lich. Hundreds of skeletons which had been sitting on the benches, like pious believers kneeling during Sunday mass, they rose from their slumber.

I was able to access the Boss’ Status page, because we shared a similar race. I quickly took a look to see what I was up against.

Name: Soleste
Gender: N/A
Status: Normal
Race: Archlich/ Undead
Class: Wizard
Rank: C+
Level: 634/999
HP: 24170/24170
MP: 125455/125455
Attack: 3233
Defense: 9999
Agility: 724
Intelligence: 10240
✧ Unique Skills
[Night Vision LvMax] [Magic Chanting LvMax] [Identification Lv3] [Flame Mastery Lv4] [Frost Mastery Lv5] [Death Stare LvMax] [Fireball LvMax] [Inferno LvMax] [Meteor LvMax] [Blizzard LvMax] [Ice Wall LvMax] [Absolute Zero LvMax] [Summon Dead Lv7][Grant Life Lv5] [Life Vessel Lv1] [Necromancy LvMax] [Lifesteal LvMax] [MP Regeneration LvMax] [Telepathy Lv1] [Mind Reading Lv1]

✧ Titles
[King of a ruined Country] [Master of the Catacombs]
✧ Identities
[Summoner Lv2] [Archlich Lv3] [Mastery Lv1]

‘What’s this, Archlich? What are those Options supposed to mean?!’

Soleste’s level and skills were simply on a completely different level than an ordinary Lich.

Putting the boss aside for a second, just his minions were incredibly powerful. The 200 or so approaching skeleton were made up of skeleton mages, priests, knights and thieves, each equipped with expensive looking weapons and armor. I wasn’t even confident I could take on these skeletons by themselves.

‘This… I have to run away immediately!’

“Ice Wall!”

Seeming to know my intentions, Soleste easily created a wall of ice to block off the only exit.

“Inferno! Inferno!”

In a panic, I sent out some Infernos, hoping to breach the ice wall and distance myself from the incoming group of skeletons.

‘What, I’ve only managed to melt this much?’

The Max Level Ice Wall had only melted about halfway, despite consecutive Infernos.

Chomp Chomp

Behind me, I could hear the loud rumblings or the ever approaching skeleton army.

‘Damn!’

Looking back, I noticed Soleste wearing the satisfied smile of a winner, looking down at the last futile attempts of a cornered rat.

I turned my attention back towards the army.

“Inferno! Inferno! Inferno!…”

Bathing the frontline in a firestorm, I was able to crush some of their bones, but it was all for naught. The skeleton priests situated in the back simply reformed them with their healing magic.

‘Hm, I can’t do anything to these skeletons.’

I turn back towards the Ice wall.

“Inferno! Inferno! Inferno!…”

“Ice Wall”

With but a simple spell from the Soleste, all my effort and progress disappeared. It was the attitude of a small child torturing an ant, a sadistic situation where you’d give it some hope of escaping before crushing its dreams.

‘Oh…. I see that because our level difference is so large, you enjoy treating me like your toy? Am I the ant, and you the human?

I gnashed my teeth in frustration.

“Gravity Control! Inferno!”

[Gravity Control level 1 ➢ 2]

‘ If I can’t break through it, I’ll go under it.’

Kooooooong

I had influenced the Ice Wall’s center of gravity, causing it to tip towards towards me The Skeletons were getting very close and time was of the essence. I quickly jumped into the small hole I had created under the wall of ice with my Inferno.

“Absolute Zero!”

Soleste sent out incredibly powerful Ice magic as it realised that I was about to escape, but it was just a bit too late. Everything behind me had been frozen solid, but I had narrowly escaped.

‘I survived!’

I went past the door and run back at full speed towards the staircase leading out.

‘Everyone fall back! Fall back!’

We had no chance whatsoever in defeating the Archlich, so retreating was our only option.

‘Lord, we have already joined together to break down the iron door, just in case.’

Arriving to the stairs, I was greeted by a makeshift fortress which the insects had cooperated to build together, as well as the door which had been broken through. I was heartened by the progress they had achieved when compared to their previous performance, but there was no time for praise.

‘Retreat immediately to the Pit!’

‘Yes Lord.’

I was a bit embarrassed to be addressed as their Lord considering that I was fleeing for my life in a pathetic fashion. Still, I knew there was simply nothing to do when faced with such overwhelming power.

Ptuii Tssshh

During our retreat, the arachnids and golden termites set up some traps, intending to slow down any pursuers.

After some time, Arin came up to me and sent me a telepathic message.

‘Lord, I believe no one is following us.’

‘How can you be sure?’

‘I’ve set several traps along the way using my special colored spider webs, but I have yet to feel any vibrations from them.’

Arin’s colored webs were one of her special skills. I slowed down, somewhat reassured.

‘Great, I don’t know why, but it seems we aren’t being followed.’

With the help of my insects, we created some more traps, just in case, as we returned to the Jungle Pit. We had been gone for only to days, but the incredibly dangerous experience made it feel like a lifetime ago.

[Magic Research has been completed]

[Magic Research level 2 ➢ 3]

[You have learned Fire Mastery Lv1]

‘This skill never seems to disappoint.’

‘Alpeon, quickly come and help me block this hole.’

I sent out my telepathic message towards his termite hill. It was convenient that Alpeon had high Psychic awareness, and was able to receive my telepathic messages from further away than most.

‘Yes, my Lord’

We blocked the tunnel at the entrance of the dragon’s lair, and continued to monitor for any movements using Arin’s colored webs. But, even after a few days there had been no signs of activity on the other side.

‘It seemed like Soleste wasn’t terribly interested in me.’

I had never been in such a hopeless situation. Sure, I had been in life and death situations, but I had always found a solution to pull through.

But this time it was on a totally different level, it felt like Soleste was on the level had the power of a Final boss from a game. To date, I had faced off against different bosses, but I had never faced such absolute power.

‘Wait, he said I am an old enemy, what was that supposed to mean? And why is it that he can’t leave that place?’

I had countless questions on my mind, but no way to answer them. The tunnel leading out had already been blocked with the help of the giant termites, and it would take a long time to clear it out.

After returning and checking that Iand, Gwyn and Mallepi were doing well, I headed out to the termite nest to have a chat with Alpeon.

‘Alpeon, do you know anything about the Master of the Catacombs?’

‘Sorry I don’t know much, even the former King was reluctant to talk about the Catacombs.’

He is incredibly closeby, but there isn’t any information….There must be some special reason. After all, who would have such a strong ability to keep a guy like that trapped.

I couldn’t help but assume that Soleste would eventually find a way out. It was just a matter of time, and I hoped our luck would last. I had to find a way to deal with him.

‘Soleste, I’ll definitely repay the humiliation I’ve suffered at your hands.’

I once again decided I’d have to sharpen my teeth, and then my private quarters which boasted an entire pond filled with the World Root’s nectar.


Glossary:

Soleste: Powerful Archlich located in the Catacombs, Rank C+

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