497 – To the Earthen Brave
I follow Umukahime as she heads towards the centre of the fog.
…Still, I never thought there’d be a stone monument with information on God’s Voice here.
I know God’s Voice has been manipulating me and pushing me towards certain actions, but I have no idea what their end goal might be, nor what it might mean for me. I’m a little worried that as soon as I know how to begin to properly resist, God’s Voice will immediately become completely hostile to me, but… Even though I don’t know their ultimate objective, I know just how rotten a personality God’s Voice has.
Without any information, there’s no telling what I might be forced into. If there’s something here that could help me guess as to God’s Voice’s intent, then it’s worth betting on.
Besides… God’s Voice is probably going to try something in the showdown with Lilixira. If God’s Voice’s objective is to bring about a scramble for the four divine skills through confict between humans and monsters, then… It’s possible I might inadvertently do as they want.
Umukahime stops and turns to face us.
『Wh-what is it? Are we there?』
I ask, and Umukahime shakes her head.
“No. Only one of you should proceed from here. I will also wait behind.”
O-one of us…? So Volk and the others will also be waiting here…?
As I ponder the matter, Aro jumps down, her right arm clad in soil. Sh-she’s ready for combat!
“….Why do you only want dragon-god-sama to go? Every word you’ve said is fishy.”
S-stop, Aro! Let’s be peaceful! Peaceful!
“It was the last will of my master. Would you mind playing along? Your master there seems to have an interest in God’s Voice too, so… Isn’t it okay?”
…Aro and the others don’t know much about God’s Voice. They heard the term when the topic came up in conversation with Lilixira on the giant tree island, and then when Volk asked during the following journey, I explained that I have a strange voice following me around and telling me to do things. As they don’t know the details, Umagahime’s words must have sounded highly suspicious to Aro and the others.
“If you try to force your way through, I won’t show any mercy. Although that’s not how I would like things to go…”
Umakahime thins her eyes. She looks just like a kimono-clad beauty, but her bearing is far from human. I sense a strong killing intent emanating from her.
“…I’m confident I’ll be able to do a fair amount of damage. If I narrow my goal and abandon thought of winning… Let’s see… One, two… I guess I could kill two. Do you want to try?”
Umakahime points a finger at Aro, and then at treant-san. Treant-san shivers, then turns away to hide and pretend to be a tree…. Hey, treant-san, do you really think that’ll work now?
『Aro, please stand down.』
It’s true that if we do as she wants, we’ll be dividing our forces. But if she was going to lie to us, I don’t think she’d do it in such a roundabout way. Besides, bearing in mind what the shub-niggurath said, it seems likely that she’s telling the truth. Most of all… I want the information on God’s Voice.
『She’s probably not lying. I’ll have to confront God’s Voice in some form one day, anyway.』
Aro nods, then steps back. Umakahime’s expression smooths back to that of a human.
“Then, climb straight up the mountain. The stone monument is at the peak.”
I glance back at Aro and the rest, then nod and pass by Umakahime to push on through the dense fog.
Along the way, I spot a giant head floating in the fog… Ah, it’s another clay guardian. There are three of them evenly spaced along the path. They’re completely motionless, so I wonder for a moment if they might just be statues, but upon checking I see that they are indeed clay guardians with [Direct Burst].
…Well, if they’re not going to attack, then I’ll hold back for now too.
As I reach the summit, the barren earth gives way to a grassy plateau. At the end of the path is a stone slab, about three metres tall and surrounded by colourful flowers. The visibility is poor because of the fog, but it’s a beautiful and fantastical sight.
…That stone slab should contain secrets on God’s Voice, left behind by the Demon Lord of a bygone era who was Umakahime’s master.
I spot a dark red suit of armour lying in the shadow of the stone slab. No, it’s not just a suit of armour. Something is inside it. Umakahime called this a test, so that suit of armour might the tester.
I’ll keep my distance and see what I can find out for now.
【[Clay Brave]: A+ rank monster】
【Five hundred years ago, the cursed alchemist Alchimia who obtained the power of the Demon Lord despite having a human body, created this golem as half of herself.】
【Some have said that it was created as the symbol of her folly and regret, while others claim it was created simply as a way of using up unused weapons.】
A-as I thought, it’s a monster! I thought there was something inside, but it seems it’s a humanoid monster made from solid clay.
Still… This makes it clear. The creator of this clay brave and the clay guardians was probably the same person who made the clay bears. If they lived five hundred years ago, that should have been the same time that Eldia was serving his Demon Lord, but Eldia’s extreme hatred towards humanity makes me doubt he would ever serve a human, even if they had the power of a Demon Lord.
The shub-niggurath’s and Umakagime’s master was most likely the alchemist Alchimia, who defeated Eldia’s Demon Lord and somehow took [Asura Realm].
…In other words, this armour must be the overseer of the last test. It probably isn’t about to casually show me the stone slab. A light glints in the clay brave’s eye sockets as it rises to its feet and places a hand on the hilt of its sword.