1.  Dimensionless Space (1)

Maliotus wasn’t wrong.  An entrance to the cave was visible at the top of the highest peak of the mountain.  Was it because the location was such that it was impossible for any ordinary life form to climb up to?

There was absolutely no sign of attempting to hide or even camouflage the entrance at all.

“It’s true, it is easily visible.”

(It certainly is.  There doesn’t appear to be any other entrance, either)

Even though he had heard about it, Ian couldn’t hide his surprise at how open it was.  Going beyond audacity, it felt like a trap.

“Seer detection.”

At last, Ian used seer detection spell.  It was understandable how the Dragonian father and son were entrapped without any resistance.  No Gargoyle activity was felt from any place in the mountain range.  It was the after-effect of petrification.  Only one gargoyle’s presence could be detected.

‘Maybe, it’s the king of the gargoyles.’

That bastard alone did not petrify. The ambience of the opened entrance and masquerading as a lone warrior was felt. It looked as a trap, no matter who was looking at it.

‘If it is truly a trap, who is it for?’

There were only a handful of entities that could fall into such a special trap.  First of all, the entity must be able to fly freely, and must be capable of incanting very high level of seer detection spell.  Based purely on Ian’s logic alone, there would only be the dragonians and Ian, himself.

‘…… Right now, the only focus is on catching the bastard.’

Ian cleared his head.  He has decided to think simply.  Everything could be attained from the entity that was inside the cave, the king of the Gargoyles, the ancient monster that has reappeared after a long hiatus.

“Before the monster senses it.”

Ian spoke as he looked on everyone.

“I’ll go first.”

Ian landed quickly. Other members soon followed. The cave’s entrance had been roughly dug. The opening was of great width.

“There are no changes in the plan.  Everyone except the queen will remain here and fight off the gargoyles.  We will return in no time.  And this…..”

Ian put several magic spells on everyone. It was the magic to strengthen their bodies and minds.

“This is complimentary.  Please be strong, everyone.”

Ian commented in an attempt to put everyone at ease. He went deep into the cave.

(Don’t anyone get killed.  I shall return soon.)

The fairy queen also instructed her troops. Of course, she did not speak in terms of giving commands. Her devotion towards her own kind was felt.

(Please be careful.  Your highness.)

(I will.)

Ian and the fairy queen charged into the cave in earnest.  As the peak of the mountain was high, the cave, too, was deep and wide.  It was definitely a cave that penetrated entire mountain range.

“Do you know why only you, the queen, are accompanying me?”

It was an out of the blue question. The fairy queen replied.

(Because I am the strongest among us all?)

“It is close, but not quite.”

(I do not know.   Do speak.)

“It is because, you are the queen.”

(Speak in easier terms.)

“Our adversary is a king, isn’t he?”

The conversation took more on a tangent trajectory as it went on. The fairy queen spoke in a little annoyed tone.

(What does that got to do with this?)

“To figure out who is the ruler among royalty…..”

(Krrrrrrrr…..!)

As Ian’s silly joke was continuing. A clicking sound of tongue was heard from inside the cave.

“…. Wanted to see who that would be.”

(You’ve become quite a joker.  Are you nervous?)

She was not wrong. Unlike the usual self, Ian was nervous. Was it because he was about to come face to face with a strong adversary? No, it wasn’t because of such reasons.

“I think so.”

(Huh!  I guess you are just a useless human after all.)

If the strength of his adversary was the reason for being nervous then he should have felt the same way before the dragon as well.  However, that wasn’t the case.  It was the same with the king of the gargoyles.

‘There isn’t a whole lot of difference from the dragon.’

Unless it was an entity that parallels the true dragon or the first sorcerer inside the black art’s realm, it was near impossible to cause Ian to become nervous on account of strength alone.  However,

‘This could be the key to everything.’

As it was said by the spirit of Reeses Rajendu. The cause behind the disappearance of the dragon race from this world. The possible relationship between the first sorcerer and the cause of that. The nexus to Ian Page, himself. Certainly, there were many entangled issues.

(Krrrrrr…..!)

The strange cries, mimicking metals grating sound, wings and body that were many folds bigger than that of an ordinary gargoyle, large turned-up nose, and dry purple lips and vividly yellow canines…  All these characteristics, mingling together with gray hide, what appeared ahead were truly a grotesque creation.

(Krr! Krrrrr!)

‘The king of the gargoyle’ spit out something that was in his mouth. Shockingly, it was a ‘body of one of his kind’. It was falling apart as it has been mauled half way.

(Unbelievable that that thing is the king.  The gargoyle bastards don’t have any luck.)

“I agree.”

What a king.  Killing his own kind wasn’t good enough and he eats them, too.

Thank you for reading

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