We managed to successfully take back the base.
In order to leave this place, we had to take back one more base.
However, I wasn’t in a hurry to do it and decided to take my time coming up with a plan.
After taking back two bases, the Elves were discouraged.
Even though a couple of days passed, there were a couple of small battles.
The reason why they avoided an all-out war was because their nation became afraid because of the strong warriors.
The Orcs needed time to reorganize so they weren’t planning on participating in a large battle.
Because of it, I was able to get a break.
At dawn, as I greeted the clear sky, I rode a grey-colored wolf and headed out.
Master Kalax was beside me.
“How are you feeling?”
Kalax carefully asked how I was feeling, but his expression looked gloomier than mine.
The brave Orcs must’ve been shocked by what they saw before because they all stared at me.
Before going to war, all the Orcs looked at me with respect, but after taking back the last base, they were filled with fear.
After that day, the Orcs that approached me to shake my hand no longer came.
“Are you asking because I killed my own kind?”
When I asked calmly, Master Kalax hid his shocked expression by turning his head.
“We call this place a stage. The stage is split up into many levels and isn’t restricted to just this place. Below here, there are at least four stages.”
“It’s the first time I’m hearing this.”
I’m sure I’m not the first person to support the Orcs, but Master Kalax looked like she was hearing it for the first time.
“It’s up to the person whether they want to enter the stage or not. No one forces them.”
There were several cases where people were first sucked in, but it was now different.
People that have listened to the survivors’ experiences would enter instead of someone forcing them into it.
However, there was a big difference between the stage and the games and novels that people are familiar with.
“I believe that the people that come to this place are determined. That includes their life as well.”
“I’ve seen humans kill other humans before. However, I thought that what you experienced was on a different level.”
It seemed like he was speaking calmly, but his voice was shaking.
I was suspicious about whether he really was the head of the strong Orcs, but I decided not to question him.
“I see it.”
Even though we left early in the morning, the sun was up high by the time we arrived to our destination.
When we arrived at the temple that Master Kalax promised to take me, I stepped off of the saddle that I was sitting on.
The temple was as white as snow and it was created by a master, so it was beautifully designed. It was definitely something that couldn’t be seen in the real world.
It was such an artistic building and I was so mesmerized by it that I touched the smooth surface for a long time.
“I didn’t know the Orcs had such refined skills.”
It could’ve sounded like an insult, but Master Kalax didn’t answer and looked as if he agreed.
Click, clack, click, clack.
Orcs that were wearing a white robe appeared at the entrance while holding a lance that was bigger than them.
“We heard you were coming!!”
They greeted him by kneeling down and showing respect.
Even though I was standing next to him, they kept their guard up.
“He’s a guest. Please treat him with respect.”
“Back to your stations.”
Since he was the head of the Orcs, they had to get rid of their doubts even if they didn’t want to.
While walking through the entrance, I saw them keep their heads down and wondered if this was what it was like to have power.
“It seems like everyone is uncomfortable around you.”
“It comes with the territory.”
He was carrying a lot on his shoulders and it was a position that I couldn’t understand.
Since I never had the chance to lead, I couldn’t sympathize either.
“Isn’t it burdening? I don’t really like those types of position.”
“Ha ha ha.”
Master Kalax had a serious expression, but a smile appeared.
“There were times where I wanted to hand over this position to someone else, but it’s worthwhile despite of the hard work. It can get fun too.”
“…May I ask you something?”
“In the world before this one, I met an old magician and he told me that I would become a hero. But, I’m not really interested in those things. In other words, I don’t really want to risk my life for the world.”
Master Kalax stopped walking and sat on the fountain that was inside the temple.
He grabbed his chin and looked as if he were thinking deeply about something.
“I was also an ordinary clan leader like Hocrim and Orkhar. However, the previous head passed away and we had to choose a successor and by following the tradition, the clan leaders fought amongst themselves and chose a head. I won and my clan celebrated for an entire week. As an Orc, I thought this was the highest honor. However, it was very different.”
I was fascinated by his story, so I ended up sitting next to him.
“My plate was too small to control the other clans. I’ve gotten used to it since time passed, but I still regret it. I shouldn’t have done it. I should’ve purposely lost that day.”
What would happen if the other clan leaders heard this?
Some of the leaders might volunteer to take his place with open arms.
No one cared for the mental stress that Master Kalax had.
“Cruel events happen without any warning. Those moments are what you call reality. I’ve become the head, but it can’t be considered the right thing. In the end, I’m regretting it. Did that help?”
“It helped a lot.”
The Great Spirit and the Oracle told me that reality will come to an end.
I didn’t want to think about it, but those words stayed in my mind and made me miserable.
I wanted to tell someone about how I felt and I thought it was a good choice to talk about it with Master Kalax.
“Let’s go in.”
We made our way inside the temple again.
Inside the temple, there were many believers that looked at me, but no one tried to talk to me.
“This is the God that we serve.”
The sunlight that shined through the stained-glass window shined on the statue vibrantly.
A thick robe was covering its body, so I couldn’t see its face.
All I could do was assume that it was an angel because there was a pair of wings attached to its back.
“It’s not an Orc, huh?”
“That’s right. This is Krosus and they’re the creator of this world.”
“…Master Kalax, do you know about the existence of Managers?”
This was a stage.
All the stages were worlds created by a Manager and I thought maybe that statue was one of the Managers.
“Managers? Never heard of it.”
Master Kalax shook his head.
It seemed like he really didn’t know.
I was more interested in the Managers that created these stages than the enemies that will invade several years from now.
The stage was created so that the humans will compete against each other.
It was as if they were trying to pick the strongest one.
They didn’t treat the humans kindly.
“It was just once, but I have met them.”
I was so surprised that my mouth opened wide.
“You’ve met them? I see.”
“Once you become the head, you’re allowed to meet them once.”
“What were they like?”
Master Kalax looked around and checked to make sure no one was around.
Even after he checked, he didn’t speak for a while and a frown appeared on his face.
It was as if he was worried about Krosus overhearing their conversation.
“It’s nothing. Please forget what I said earlier.”
Just from his expression, I could tell their meeting wasn’t that great, so I didn’t force him to answer.
Despite of their title as the creator, they probably didn’t behave like one.
The 13th Manager that he met was the same as well.
“Is there anything else I need to see?”
“No. If you’ve seen this statue within the temple, you’ve explored 90% of the temple.”
He thought he would obtain some information regarding the Manager, but it ended up being fruitless.
He let out a sigh of disappointment.
“I apologize. I dragged you out here for no reason.”
“It’s fine. It’s what I wanted.”
“Shall we go back?”
“Looking at the map, it looks like Ericsson isn’t that far from here. I would like to meet Azera there.”
“Is it to meet the spirits?”
I nodded my head.
“Then, there’s a better method than meeting with Azera.”
“Not too far from here, there’s a place they call the Spirit’s Plateau. The Great Spirit is there. It’s also the homeland of all the magicians. If you go there, you’ll be able to meet the magicians that are currently training.”
The amount of mana was great, but I was still lacking the skill to control it.
As of right now, I had two skills that required me to use my mana.
If I learned magic, then I’ll be able to use a variety of skills, which made me have high expectations.
“I really want to go. Could you take me there?”
With an excited expression, I followed behind the wolf he was riding on.
<Stage Five #3> End.