Chapter 7 - Nyara, Goddess of Tricks
After resting for a few hours in that dark room, Abium woke up and began to move downstairs while holding the lamp in his right hand. After walking for a few steps, he noticed the staircase was leading to some circular tunnel-like path. Soon, he saw it was some underground tunnel which was engulfed by complete darkness and got stunned.
'Tunnel? Who built a tunnel here?' He was confused.
It's a three-meter tall circular tunnel. Abium moved the magic lamp and walked forward stealthily. The way curled away coldly into an infinite dark, the light that showed the rough walls dwindling as it snaked away. Slowly, Abium began to feel the air inside this tunnel seems polluted and making it hard for him to breathe. Moreover, he found it more challenging for his body to move further. But he didn't mind that and continued.
'Hmm, this tunnel should end in four to five miles.' Abium thought this Tunnel wouldn't go across over five miles because of the Borderland. Soon, he walked ahead to see where it was connecting and slowly started to felt uneasy. Because, even after hours of walking, he found there was no exit appeared ahead.
'What's going on here?' He narrowed his eyes.
'Am I walking in a circle?' He thought in puzzlement but shook his head firmly. He definitely wasn't walking in a circle because he kept drawing some marks on the tunnel's wall from time to time. He thought for a moment and decided to see what was up ahead.
But suddenly, a wave of invisible energy crushed his body to the ground. It was so sudden, which made Abium caught off guard. He fell down and then noticed heavy pressure appeared on his body. A second later, he noticed that he could be able to walk, but slowly. He felt the gravity inside the tunnel became so high and got confused.
'Did I enter into the borderland?' A thought crossed his mind as he was walking.
After he continuously walked for nearly a day, Abium's skin shuddered, and he could feel his brain starting to defocus, searching for a way out. Only his walking footsteps echoed inside that abandoned tunnel. The tunnel appeared to be so long, which caused Abium to groan due to mental pain.
'Where is it lead to?' He felt like wandering inside that underground tunnel there for days inside but no end at all.
He considered many times to change his plan and go back. But something else inside his mind was telling him to move forward. If he went back now, then he would lose something precious. He let out a heavy sigh and advanced continuously. After another few hours of walking, Abium finally felt his body came back to normal, and the gravity like invisible force began to disappear.
And by the end of that following day, he finally saw faint light appeared up ahead.
A rare smile crept on his weary face!
He ran ahead, hastily towards that light. At the same time, he started to hear some splashing sounds from that direction and became more excited.
'Finally!' His mind almost went crazy by this tunnel, and he peered at what was in front of him. But, his expression froze into shock as he saw waves of water flew a vertical direction!
Now, he was genuinely amazed. It seems this tunnel's exit opened right underneath a waterfall! He took a few steps forward and moved towards the edge to get a clear view outside.
It was not the gentle sort of waterfall you might see in a stately palace garden.
It was the kind where torrents of water poured over rocks hard enough to crack anyone's skull and mash their brains on the way down!
Then swirl in a plunge pool below deep enough to drown!
It was awe-inspiring from the bottom, but from the top, it might appear brutal and terrifying!
Towards the opposite side, he saw an ancient-looking tower surrounded by twelve meters tall walls even though it was already night.
'So, the light came from that tower, huh!' He muttered to himself in a stunning face.
As he saw that ancient tower, Abium guessed that he already entered into the 'Forgotten land.' That was the only possible explanation! Who would believe there was a large magic tower still standing in the Southern Mainland? Well, at least he hadn't seen anything like that in the past life.
In the past, there was a time when he and other adventurers attempted to enter this Forgotten Land. Some assumed this land might connect to the abyss, so they were sent here by the Adventure's guild to investigate the Forgotten Land.
However, after everyone arrived near the Borderland, they were continuously attacked by the monsters. So the adventurers' team had no choice but to retreat due to heavy casualties.
Barely 40 remained out of 100 members' team by the end of that exploration.
After that, the Peral kingdom's army soldiers and adventurers tried to investigate and explore the Borderland land multiple times.
They reached their goal successfully after many battles against monsters. Finally, when the army soldiers thought they reached the edge of the Mainland, they met with another obstacle. They noticed it was impossible to cross due to a mystical land obstructed their path. So eventually, they gave up.
'Well, the monsters would appear near the Borderlands only after the 'Order of the dead' members' breaks those seals. I think I don't have to worry about those things for now.' He returned his gaze towards the outside.
He heard many myths about this land; some peoples even stated these lands were home to mythological dragons, unicorns, centaurs, etc.
Myths? He knew there was no such thing as dragons or unicorns in this world for now. If they did exist, then why didn't they come out from these lands to the Mainland?
Abium shifted his eyes to a plain rock in the sides. He quickly jumped from the edge to that safe position and slowly climbed up to the top.
'I need to know how far I walked deep into this land.' He tried to guess the exact location of this place. But, once he reached the top, he deeply frowned. Except for that tower, he couldn't see anything at all due to the darkness.
'So dark! Well, there is no choice now. I will wait till dawn inside that Tunnel.'
He climbed down from the top, went back to the underground Tunnel, and waited for the sun to show its warmth.
After a few minutes, Abium got bored and decided to take a small nap. His wearied body made him fell into the dream world quickly.
In the darkness, he heard a dripping sound and slowly opened his eyes. Abium soon noticed he was standing inside a forest, and a large mountain appeared up ahead. A few dew drops fell on his face and gave a cold feeling.
'Hm? Where am I?' He couldn't remember where he was now and how he got here. He searched his memories where he was a few minutes ago but couldn't find the answer. It's like memories were clouded by something. He shook those thoughts and walked towards the tall red smoky mountain. There was no memory of that mountain in his mind. It stood there like a giant almost touched the clouds. The next instant, Abium found himself on the top of that hill.
'What the-?' He was perplexed by the sudden scene.
A few sparks appeared in front of his vision, making him realize that he was standing on a volcanic mountain! He stood only a few steps away from the mouth of that active volcano. He noticed a large number of lavas were roaring from that mouth and sending heat waves everywhere. Immediately he walked a few steps back with a confused expression.
But he didn't have any moment to think further, as the earth started to shake, and a massive ball of lava appeared out from the volcano towards his face.
Lava!? Abium felt both panic and fright!
The following instant, he saw a ball of fire smashed onto his face and devoured his whole face. He tried to wipe that lava using his hand and screamed both in the dream and the real world. Suddenly, he woke up from that strange dream and rubbed his face to see everything was alright.
"What the hell was that?!" His loud shout echoed inside the tunnel.
He was terrified because it felt so real!
The sunlight pierced those waterfalls, and directly reflected on his face, still gave a little burning feeling. He sighed; it was just a dream. He quickly got up and ready to continue, but a growling sound echoed from his stomach. Well, due to the falling sounds of waters, even he couldn't be able to hear it. He quickly took out those foods from the spatial ring, ate a few dried pieces of bread, and then moved out.
First, he climbed up to the top of the waterfall and got awed by the beauty. He saw many mountains were stood behind the river and easily guessed that the mountain range must be the origin of this river. Finally, he turned his head towards the front and soon got captivated by the beauty of greenery. To his right side, beautiful white cloud-like river water began to retreat upstream and soon fell. After staring at that waterfall for a moment, he shifted his attention to the tower walls, surrounded by dense woods. He also saw some transparent barrier cloaked that tower and became more curious and excited.
'Wandering in this land without any prior knowledge is dangerous. Maybe I can find some help in that tower.' Abium thought to himself and stealthily climbed downward.
After he climbed down from the top, he noticed the surroundings were only filled with abundant greenery nearby. The river had a strength that reflected in the trees.
It flowed on with confidence, taking the form of the river bed, billions of drops moving together.
The community of trees stood tall; trunks reached into the blue above, light filtering through leaves like perfect stained glass.
He also saw the ancient tower, except now it resembled more majestic and ancient. He began to walk towards the ancient tower cautiously. If he didn't see the large tower from time to time, Abium thought he might lose his direction inside those trees.
'Who built this tower in this forgotten land?' Suddenly, a question appeared in his mind.
He moved cautiously towards that tower direction and finally arrived in front of the tall tower wall after walking for an hour. But what made his expression to freeze in shock was that he saw a statue of the goddess placed at the entrance.
It resembled so real, and that gave him an eerie feeling. He felt that the figure appeared vaguely familiar. Soon, his eyes widened as he guessed the identity of that goddess!
He never imagined that he would meet this goddess statue in the Forgotten Land!
'Nyara, Goddess of Tricks! How the hell did her statue appeared here?' To meet the most bothersome Goddess here gave him chills. Unlike other Gods, she always likes to prank on people, and her pranks fooled even some Gods.
Some say she would always act like a spoiled kid. Furthermore, in some tales, she added a powerful paralyzed potion into Myxenta's food to test how powerful her luck was when she attended a banquet.
Myxenta, the poor goddess of luck, had that food; and was fooled by this goddess. Nyara remained on the opposite table laughing while Myxenta faces full of embarrassment.
So meeting the mere statue gave him a feeling that something was off; still, he ought to take a bet and walked forward. But unknown to him, some mysterious letters on that goddess statue's necklace started to flicker. The next instant, the closed eyes slowly opened and gazed towards his direction!
Without knowing that a creepy statue was staring at him, Abium proceeded towards the entrance leisurely. The gate was closed, but when he touched it with his hand, a magical thing happened.
The gate suddenly opened and appeared to be inviting him to enter inside that tower.
'Why do I feel something is off here?' He muttered to himself.
But he didn't ponder too much about it and quickly stepped ahead inside. Once Abium entered the tower, a light flickered once again, and he discovered himself standing in front of a large entrance. He quickly walked inside cautiously and soon confirmed this place was an abandoned city gate.
At first, he felt like he was in some demi-plane or a different pocket dimension he heard in stories. But when he looked upwards, Abium confirmed that he was still inside the large tower. Black walls surrounded the whole city, and above the abandoned city appeared an ample magical light.
The city holds nothing besides broken buildings and one massive palace in the center encircling by huge pillars.
Four massive, round pillars dominated that large castle and remained connected by high, vast walls.
Clean windows were scattered generously across the walls in an asymmetric pattern and symmetric crenulations for archers.
A sizable gate with thick wooden doors, a natural bridge, and a moat offer a warm haven within this cold, isolated land.
Large boulders scattered the fields outside the castle, routes to and from the castle snake around them.
Farm fields were small and spread all around. This castle must have stood around for at least a thousand years, and it doesn't appear like it might collapse any time soon.
The castle was bold. It stood there as if conjured from the storybook of a child. It was perfect. Every stone was even and square.
Those who built were on perfection, and they loved what they made. The walls were constructed to protect a community, echo with laughter, and be the shelter they needed for the millennia to come. But it now stood with empty silence.
He opened that castle gate slowly and moved inside. At first, he was startled a little due to the emptiness but braced himself to step ahead. He must walk inside the castle to find out the answers and even get some treasures if he was lucky.
Inside the castle, he explored everywhere, but he didn't discover any hints. There were many swords and armors, but once he picked it up, all crumbled into powder.
He then opened the castle library and examined it. Most of the books were already beyond restoration, but some books looked alright, written in some mystic letters.
'Hm? What is this book? Letters look so familiar?'
When he searched for clues, a book piqued his interest, and he saw those characters inscribed in some ancient language. He didn't grasp any words, but he knew somehow it resembles modern Elven language.
In the past, Abium once traveled to the Elven Kingdom, which was far away from the Peral Kingdom, and studied the Elven language. Of course, the one who taught this Elven language was his only Elven friend, Navarre. So now he guessed this book must have some relation to those elves.
'Ha! I wonder what those two are doing now.' He shook that thought away from his mind and concentrated on the current situation.
After he searched everything, Abium guessed on his own. His opinion on this tower was it must be related to some ancient elves.
'Still, the problem lies in why did they abandoned everything and disappeared without a trace?' He got puzzled and thought exploring other areas might give him some clues.
He also discovered a book that gave a mysterious vibe, and several times he attempted to open it, but it didn't budge an inch.
The book was old and heavy, and the leather felt soft and delicate as he ran his fingers over the faded blue bindings. As he saw the outer appearance, he somehow guessed this book had some relation to Light and Darkness and got more curious.
So he immediately took the book and stored it inside the spatial ring because it looked something mysterious. If he wanted to see what holds inside in it, his only hope was to discover something in the future.
Who knows? It might present him with some benefits. In the past, he overheard about a legendary tier artifact that was related to knowledge.
Abium had heard that Count Henricus obtained a knowledge related artifact and later joined the magic institute.
Within six years after he found the knowledge artifact, he became 2nd tier mage, which caused many mages perplexed. Nevertheless, after he became 2nd tier mage, he betrayed the Peral kingdom and became duke of Wadel kingdom.
If Abium gets that artifact, he thought there might be some chance he could decipher these words.