Reborn: Evolving From Nothing / Reborn: Evolving From Nothing Chapter 183 Stairs
The rest of the group was actually waiting in the main entrance hall of the castle.
The first room one came into was a large stone hall, with arching pillars supporting a high ceiling and a checkered stone floor. Faintly glowing crystals were set on the walls, giving the mostly desolate stone a more cheerful look.
The first thing Dorian’s army did when they entered, after setting up a temporary base while they waited for the scouts to report back, caused him to pause…
“Where’s the salt!”
“Is there more of that Warping Turkey? That stuff is delicious!”
They set up a buffet.
“Cheers! To a glorious battle!”
A long table had been constructed from what several Shades had carried in their Spatial Rings. On that table was a long line of delicious foods. Cooked Warping Turkey legs, fried Plum Lizard tails, Crystal Water, Melon Bread…
Dorian’s mouth was watering as he stared at the feast.
“Holy Highlord! Please, come join us! We’ll need to keep our strength high for when we face the forces of evil!” Fabian saw that Dorian had held himself back and waved over at him, pointing with a stick of chicken. Besides Fabian were the other two Captains, digging in.
Dorian glanced to the left.
Even Mello was eating, chomping on a ripe Bannon Berry fruit.
‘Aren’t we in enemy territory, in an enemy castle?…’ The Shades didn’t seem to be particularly worried, though several guards had been set up, rotating out as others ate their fill, watching the several hallways that led off from the throne room.
Dorian felt his stomach rumble. Far too often he depended on his Growth Points to make up for his hunger, focusing on meditation and strength instead of enjoying the taste of food.
‘I might as well make a brief exception.’ He walked forward.
“Praise the Great Hero, Lord Inigo!”
Several minutes passed by as all the Shades ate their fill, including Dorian. The delicious taste of buttered turkey legs, soft and cool fruit, sweet and tangy meat… It was a feast that was magical.
In that time, several of the injured Shades had managed to recover from their injuries, the medicines they brought with them healing them. A few had brought energy restoring medicines, though they weren’t too effective when it came down to using Law Energy.
It was around then, as the Shades were cleaning up, saving some leftovers for the scouts, that the Shades that were sent off returned.
There were five pathways that led out of this entrance room. Four of them were small, side passages that were placed off near the corners, while one was a large, open and arched stone passage, towering near the back.
The scouts reported to Fabian in quick order. Fabian then came over and relayed everything to Dorian. The other two Captains and Mello had all joined him, waiting patiently.
“Four of the paths lead to various chambers that are Magically sealed. Some of them appear to have rare or precious objects, like Natural Treasures, powerful looking Artifacts, and more locked away, while others are empty.” There weren’t any traps or guards on anything, which seemed rather suspicious.
Dorian’s eyes flashed when he heard this.
‘Rare treasures! Excellent! Just what I’m looking for!’ He had been told that great treasure could be found on Moria presently, and had been found before in the past, but until he directly heard about it from the scouts, he had felt subtly uneasy.
With the reassurance that they had found stuff, one worry in his heart was settled. He would likely be able to afford any of the healing medicine he wanted for Helena now.
“Oh? And the fifth path?” Dorian broke off his thoughts as he saw Fabian looking at him expectantly, tossing out a response.
“That is the main path. Down it is a large red carpet that leads to what looks like a throne room. A long set of stairs lead up to the platform that holds the throne. The scouts found that, no matter what they tried, it was impossible to fly or reach the throne through any other way except by the stairs…” Fabian paused and the continued,
“However, none of them successfully managed to climb the stairs. Powerful pressure crashes into the soul, pressure that is far too much for any of them to bear.”
“Hmm?” Dorian frowned slightly as he heard this.
The ominous Aura that he could sense all seemed to be coming from the main path…
‘Even if the side paths have enough treasure, I should still check this out. The real ‘Lord Inigo’ would too.’ He made up his mind.
“Have the men split off and gather the treasures in the side paths. However, do two paths at a time, and I want Captain Horbold and Captain Ayra to be on one team each, in case a resurgence of the Demonic remnants happens.” Dorian made his will known, his voice commanding.
“Yes, Holy Highlord.”
“Yes, Great Hero!”
The two Captains bowed and then began to walk over to their own respective troops, organizing them.
“As for the rest, including Mello’s men, let’s all head to the throne room and see this in person.” Dorian’s eyes flashed.
Fabian nodded and bowed. He then turned to face the Shades. They were currently in the process of picking up and putting up the tables they’d spread out.
“Ready up, Shades! We’re about to move out!”
A few minutes after that, they found themselves moving down a long stone hallway. Every step Dorian took, the ominous but familiar Aura grew stronger and stronger. He felt a sort of nervous tension build in his heart.
In what felt like no time at all, they arrived in the room the scouts had described.
A grand, large and towering room unfolded before him. The floor was made of cool, blue-tiled stone. Several large, crystal pillars supported the high, arching ceiling and provided a cool, relaxing light.
At the back and center of the room, Dorian could see the long, towering stairs that Fabian had mentioned, one with 100 separate steps on it.
They were black and sleek, cut sharply. Just by stepping into the room, Dorian could feel the might of this stone edifice. They contained a type of special strength or power. Just by looking at them, he felt oppressed.
At the same time, another feeling, the ominous Aura, became overpowering. He could sense this Aura coming from directly atop the stone stairs. The Shades seemed to unconsciously sense this, tensing up.
‘What on earth is it from?!’
“This is the room, Great Hero!” Fabian’s voice boomed out, ignoring the stately authority the room was filled with. As he spoke, all the watching Shades seemed to relax, feeling at ease.
‘He does have the talent for commanding.’ Dorian noted.
“So these stairs are ones that are hard to climb, huh?” He walked towards the center of the room, a small frown on his face.
“Allow me to test it first, Great Hero!” Fabian would have none of that, hurriedly rushing ahead to check the stairs for any traps.
The other Shades, in the meanwhile, all moved forward as well, watching the scene unfold before them. Mello stayed in the background, his eyes scanning everywhere as if he was looking for someone.
Dorian raised his hands in the air as he waited, his senses tingling.
‘The air here is odd. It’s obviously been affected by something.’ He moved his arm back and forth. It moved normally, but it still felt subtly off. Instinctively, Dorian knew that if he tried to jump, his body would only be able to move about a meter off the ground before slowing.
There was no way to go up in this room except by the stairs in front of them.
‘I wonder if you can climb in through the roof?’ He looked up and then shook his head. He got the feeling that a countermeasure of some sort was in place to stop that.
“Hup!” Fabian took a single step onto the staircase.
Immediately he froze, his entire body trembling for a second.
He took a step back, off the staircase.
“Incredible!” He stepped back on it and froze yet again. After a moment’s pause he took a second step, and then a third.
“Great Hero, it is as the scouts say! The stairs are magical, they force you down as you try to go up them. It is as if a great boulder has settled upon my shoulders, slowing my steps.” Fabian’s voice echoed as he took several more steps.
A heavy, King Class Aura of Might burst out of him as he drew upon his strength, taking several more steps in a flurry.
Dorian watched this all. He could see Fabian’s shoulders shake as he moved, his legs shivering.
“Woo! Captain Fabian!”
The Shades were still having a great time, enjoying this as if it was a show. Several of them even clapped, making Dorian inwardly shake his head.
After climbing about halfway up the grand staircase, Fabian’s movements greatly slowed. A sheen of sweat could be seen soaking his forward and his every step fell to a crawl. The Shade was visibly struggling, his chest heaving from exertion.
He was just a bit past the halfway point when he completely came to a standstill. Muscles bulged in his arms and legs as he pulled on every iota of willpower he had, trying to move one more step.
“Ahh, hup!” Finally, with a look of defeat, Fabian jumped backwards, his body hurtling down as he left the staircase. Oddly enough, instead of a large outward jump, his jump took him all the way down the stairs, as if he was on a zip line. There seemed to be some type of barrier not allowing him to jump freely.
“He climbed 56 steps!” As Fabian landed, one of the onlooking Shades remarked.
“Did you see how much effort he put in?”
“King Class is truly King Class. I probably wouldn’t make it up even a dozen steps.”
Murmurs broke out, ones that Fabian ignored but still smiled, his face flushed.
“It should be safe, Great Hero! Merely, the pressure it puts on you is truly incredible. It seems to increase every 10 steps by a large amount. I was barely able to move past the 50th step.” Fabian took several heaving breaths, patting himself on the chest.
‘Wow. If even the King Class Might user couldn’t make it, what chance do I have, even if I use the Law of Valor and my Perfect Body Ability?’ Dorian mused quietly. He was quite strong, but in his Shade form, he highly doubted he would be able to compare to Fabian with his King Class Law of Might.
All the Shades turned to look at Dorian expectantly. Their eyes were full of hope and spirit, trembling as they looked upon their mighty hero.
He internally sighed.
‘Whelp. I’ve really boxed myself in now. At least I’m still only Lord Class, it would only be normal for me to fail too.’ A seed of worry planted itself in his heart, however, as he considered the image he needed to maintain.
Without hesitating, Dorian walked up to the stairs and put a single foot on the first step.
For a brief instant, he felt a large amount of pressure settle onto him. That pressure was colossal, like a boulder crashing down on his back, just like Fabian had said.
However, as that pressure settled upon his shoulders, it seemed to waver briefly. His soul shivered, a small amount of energy drifting out of it. He felt as if his soul was interacting not only with this pressure, but also with the stairs themselves.
If he had to describe the interaction, he would say it felt faintly… demonic in nature, as if some of the more demonic Laws that he studied were activating something.
And, just as easily as that pressure had settled upon him, it washed off, leaving him completely free and unobstructed.