The elemental stopped moving and started to point.
I could see a large stone structure in the distance. It was about 500m away. It felt like it was an Inca pyramid that was hidden in the mountains.
“Why did we stop here?”
< It is difficult to approach from here because the fairy-nim’s powers are clashing against the Demon King’s strength. Right now, the Demon King’s strength is getting stronger, so we cannot approach unless we break through this barrier. >
I could not understand it.
This was the Peria Mountains, the land of the fairies. So how could there be a spot that was controlled by the Demonic influence?
And a barrier created by the Demon King? Where is it? I couldn’t see it.
There was no such thing visible in front of me. However, I could feel the barrier that the elemental was talking about when I walked forward a few more steps.
I could not move any farther. It was as if a large and invisible balloon was pushing me back.
It didn’t matter how hard I tried. Since the strength of the barrier at the starting point was this strong, it was probably much much stronger closer to the altar.
I could lose my life if I just try to force my way in.
“How can we break through this barrier?”
< The source of the power supporting the Demon King’s barrier is the Demonic Relic. You must enter the Demon Cave over there and destroy the relic. >
I looked once again to where the elemental was pointing.
I could see the Demon Cave entrance. It was small, but I was certain that it would be full of high leveled monsters.
“Wouldn’t it be possible to clear the Demon Cave if the Peria worked with the elves? Why have you not done so yet?”
<We have tried to clear this Demon Cave many times. However, all of it ended up in failure because our strength weakens significantly once we enter the Demon Cave.
It made sense since a Demon Cave was completely different than the outside world.
It was pretty similar to divine power. Priests who were strong because of divine power were just baggage once they entered the Demon Cave where divine power was useless.
This Demon Cave seemed to restrict both divine power and the fairy power.
<Furthermore, anyone with the fairy’s bloodline is no longer allowed to enter. I believe they have captured the fairies who tried to clear it and used their powers to strengthen the barrier even further.
That is why the only thing we can do right now is to make sure that the barrier on the fairy’s side does not break when the demons attack. But even that fails quite often. >
Just how strong were the monsters inside this cave? Based on the elemental’s story, it sounded like I needed to clear this Demon Cave to approach the Altar of the Sun. However, it sounded almost impossible to do.
But the elemental suddenly offered an unexpected proposition.
< Please help us take the demonic relic and destroy it. Then the fairy-nim as well as all of the existence who share her bloodline will consider Kang Hwi Ram-nim to be their friend. >
That was followed by a voice in my head.
< Peria Mountain’s Demon Cave Clearing Quest.
Please enter the Demon Cave and find the Demonic Relic.
If you successfully deliver the Demonic Relic to the fairy, your friendliness with the fairies will increase by 500. >
Friendliness with the fairies increasing by 500!
It might not seem like much, but if you think about it deeply, it was an amazing reward. It was because Jewel Alchemy automatically increased in level when my friendliness with the fairies went up.
I quickly opened my skill window.
[Jewel Alchemy: Intermediate level 8, 85%]
‘I knew it!’
IT was already at an amazing level probably because I freed the elemental spirits.
If my friendliness raises by another 500, my Jewel Alchemy should be very close to reaching the advanced level.
Advanced Jewel Alchemy.
The benefits of reaching that level was more than just combining jewels very well.
It will allow me to use Jewels of Fortification to add some fairy power into my equipment. Once I do that, I will be able to communicate with the fairy power inside the equipment.
So, if I could communicate with the fairy power I imbue into a sword?
That would mean reaching ‘One with the Sword.’ It is step one in the things I want to achieve in Royal Roader I guess.
But the question was whether it was possible. If I get greedy without having the skills to back it up, I could easily die in the Demon Cave.
“Do I need to go in alone?”
< Yes. However, if you go into the Demon Cave, you will be able to gather some of the elves to help you out. They are all currently imprisoned inside. >
In other words, rescue the elves inside the Demon Cave and have them help me out.
But it will not be easy since the fairy power is not very strong inside the Demon Cave.
That was why I was hesitating so much.
The elemental must have read my mind because she cupped her hands like she was trying to gather rainwater, closed her eyes, and started to gather energy from our surroundings.
The elemental’s prayer ended in about 5 minutes. The elemental then handed a ball of light to me.
< Please take it. It will help you out inside the Demon Cave. >
The information popped up once I received the ball of light.
The source of life for the elves and the elementals.
I feel like I received an amazing gift.
“How do I use this?”
< Elemental Energy is not very useful inside the Demon Cave, but Natural Power is not affected. If you put some of the natural power into the Stone Elves that were created by nature, they will be able to help you out.
Please use this Natural Power to awaken the sleeping Stone Elves.>
Ah! Stone Elves!
You could call them the Stone Golem of the Elves. They are smaller and weaker than Stone Golems, but they are much faster and tougher, so they should be able to help me out.
< You can also retreat if the situation does not look good. However, you will need to sacrifice the elementals or elves you free in order to do that. >
I didn’t really care about whether I sacrificed them or not.
But it swayed me that retreating was an option. I would get a large reward if I succeeded, and I could at least save my own life if I failed.
In addition, I also had the Unicorn’s Horn Flute as well.
I want to save it as a hidden ace if possible, but this was too good of an opportunity to let go.
I finally made up my mind after debating it for a while.
“I understand. I can’t just go back after coming all the way here to the Peria Mountains. I will go into the Demon Cave and destroy the Demonic Relic.”
Four days into the Demon Cave.
The beginning stages were easy as I expected. I only found monsters around level 150. There were some monsters close to level 300 every so often, but I didn’t have any issues so far.
In fact, it felt a bit too easy.
At least for now.
I killed another group of monsters and walked farther into the Demon Cave. It was pitch dark without even a magic light, but it was as bright as day for me.
After I walked another 30 minutes, I felt an ominous feeling coming from in front of me.
It was the sound of stones grinding against each other, kind of like a millstone.
I thought of something as soon as I heard the noise.
I lowered my presence and continued to walk. They should not be able to see me even if I walk quickly because I was using Stealthy Approach.
After walking another 50m, I was able to see the cause of the noise as soon as I turned a corner that was made of a large boulder.
It was definitely Stone Elves.
They seemed to be about 2m in height, so not very tall.
However, they seemed tough and durable, as if they were made of granite.
Stone Elves were created with Spirit Energy [Natural Power], so they were more like the fairy and elementals’ weapon than a living existence. (TL: Author put Spirit Energy, but I think it should be Natural Power (as mentioned earlier), so I will be putting Natural Power instead of Spirit Energy from here on.)
There seemed to be about 30 of them.
These Stone Elves were lined up by the wall and seemed to be flinching. I thought they were all going to be stiff like statues, but that did not seem to be the case.
However, they were unable to move as they pleased. It looked like their movement was restricted by a strong force. Either that, or they were lacking in energy and could only move their arm or their wrist.
‘I just need to put some Natural Power in them.’
But I needed to get close to do that. I needed to directly touch the ball of light onto the Stone Elves for the Natural Power to be transferred.
‘Are they the guards?’
There were two guards walking back and forth and keeping watch on the Stone Elves.
On first glance, they seemed to be human. They were about the same size and figure.
The only difference was that their faces looked a bit different. They had streaks going either vertical or horizontal on their faces as if they were wearing face paint.
I had seen some of them in the game.
Thy seemed small and weak, but they were all at least level 450. Some Dark Elves were even over level 500.
They were also very experienced with fighting that they could easily take on a human of the same level. Even Dwarves would probably find it difficult to hunt a Dark Elf of the same level.
Long story short, I could not take this lightly.
‘What to do about them.’
I might have a chance if there were monsters nearby to use as fodder for combo, but a 1:1 battle was a bad idea.
I might win, but the important thing was that the chances of losing was much higher.
I only had one option.
I needed to lure the Dark Elves elsewhere before quickly reviving the Stone Elves. I would be able to suppress them with the help of the Stone Elves.
I started to calculate my movements.
‘Alright. Let’s go!’
I first used Stealthy Approach to get closer. If I succeeded, I would be able to kill one of them without even luring them away.
“What is that?”
Unbelievable. There was still about 20m left and I was using Stealthy Approach in pitch darkness, which made it multiple times stronger.
How were they able to spot me so easily?
The following situation was not very good either. I needed both of them to approach me to find an opportunity to reach the Stone Elves, but one of them remained in place while the other one stepped forward.
“I will get him!”
The Dark Elf seemed to lightly kick off the ground but instantly closed the 20m distance and ended up right in front of me.
I had no choice but to be shocked. It was moving much faster than I expected.
It also looked very strong that I definitely felt like I could not win a 1:1 fight.
Thankfully, my speed was slightly faster. The Dark Elf’s weapon was also a pretty large and heavy longsword, affecting its speed.
I could at least keep myself safe by forgetting about attacking and just focusing on dodging
Each swing of the Dark Elf’s longsword cut through the air with a loud noise.
And every time the elf swung, I dodged it like an eel.
The Dark Elf became shocked at my movement.
“This bastard is quick!”
“Change your weapon!”
That was the other elf’s suggestion. The one that was attacking me threw its longsword to the side and took out a blade from its side.
It was a pretty small and light falchion.
Its attack became much sharper. It could attack at least a half step quicker than it could with the longsword.
At the same time, the strength of the attack was about the same. Dark Elves were very strong that even a single attack could put me in serious danger.
However, the situation did not change. It was because there was quite the gap between the Dark Elf and my agility. Although the Dark Elf’s attack was a half-step quicker than before, my dodging was still a half step quicker than this attack.
“You stupid eel-like bastard. All you know how to do is dodge. Hey! Hurry up and help me!”
That was exactly what I wanted. I would use the opening to wake the Stone Elves.
However, the Dark Elves were not that stupid.
“Then the Stone Elves will become dangerous. Use a different method.”
Maybe this one was dumb while that one was smart. That one seemed to be the one dictating their strategy.
I really wanted to shut that one up but this one’s attack was so dangerous that I could not approach the other one.
This allowed the other elf to share its plan.
But that plan actually seemed to be one that would benefit me.
“Call the monsters as reinforcement. You will win if you can restrict his movement.”
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Translator : Miraclerifle
Proofreader :Borderline Masochist