Sword of Dawnbreaker - Chapter 140
Chapter 140: Byron Takes a Big Risk And a New Guest
Ancient ruins hibernated in the darkness.
A thousand years’ time could not erode the sturdy man-made construction materials, but it ate away the human auras that had once existed here.
A cold yet humid air was entrenched in these corridors and rooms that had seen much of the changes in human life.
There was neither vitality nor lifelessness in the air.
Such an atmosphere had lasted for such a long time until outsiders broke it.
Magic crystals illuminated the way ahead with the bright light they emitted.
The fully armored Cecil combat squad trod in the depths of the corridor.
They were cautious and intent as if standing ready to respond to the monsters that would lunge out from the darkness — despite the biggest living creatures that they had seen since entering the ruins being a few mice.
Sir Byron walked right at the front of the squad, while a soldier behind him held an oil lamp — in the situation where there were bright magic crystals, the oil lamp wasn’t of much use for illumination.
Its main function was to raise an early warning when there was an oxygen deficit in the surroundings as well as to react when dark shadows and unclean things appeared around them.
According to Gawain’s orders, they had gone deep into these ancient ruins in the mountains.
It was already their second day moving about the ruins.
There still wasn’t much change to the things they’d seen along the way; there were nothing but neatly planned and astonishingly spacious corridors and empty rooms.
This constructed structure in the mountains seemed to be very complicated at first, but after exploring for a period of time, one would be able to grasp the regularity — this facility clearly wasn’t designed to make a person lose his way.
But regardless of how uninteresting the things they’d seen on the way were, Byron carried out the drawing of the map and labeling of the rooms with due diligence.
The radiance of the magic crystal shone into a dark room.
Byron and company arrived at the end of the corridor temporarily labeled as ‘Third Long Corridor’.
The soldiers advanced in an alert formation.
After confirming the safety of the room, they set up sentry at the entrance, preparing to take a break here.
Exploring in the dark ancient ruins was something that consumed effort considerably.
The physical exertion when walking was nothing, but groping about in the dark was quite a test of a person’s spirit.
The soldiers here this time were experienced veterans with excellent will, but they still needed timely rest in order to continue on.
After inspecting all danger factors, the soldiers encamped in the empty space in a corner of the room.
They placed the magic crystals around them to provide illumination and then brought out their respective field rations and drinking water, making the best use of the time to eat and replenish their strength.
Meanwhile, Byron sat beside a piece of magic crystal, looking at the map in his hands by the light.
The areas that had been explored up to now were labeled on this hand-drawn map.
As the corridors and rooms were arranged very regularly, the map was very clear and easy to understand.
Though the three-dimensional interior of the facility caused a certain inconvenience to the map drawing, the problem could be solved by drawing a two-dimensional view of each level alone on the paper.
Byron who was once a mercenary was well-versed in that.
“Your Excellency, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything on this level,” a veteran reported beside him.
“Everything of use has been cleared out.
” “Things of value are often in places that are even deeper,” Byron replied and pointed to a spot on the map.
“According to the prior regular pattern, this should be the big staircase that leads to the next level.
We’ll head this way later.
” Byron placed his attention back on the map and casually swept a glance at the oil lamp that just had its lampshade opened up.
The bright flame was still burning well and quivered slightly because of the gentle wind.
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COM Hold on… Wind? Why would there be wind in a ruin in the mountains that was completely enclosed? The vent holes wouldn’t create such a big air current, would they? The vigilance cultivated in him during his time as a mercenary made Byron hold onto this detail.
He immediately closed the map and then wet his finger with saliva for a proper feel — there really was wind.
“There are air currents here,” he immediately alerted.
“Light a few more lamps and split up to look around.
There should be more than one exit in this room.
” The soldiers immediately took action and started to search for secret doors and gears in the room.
Soon, they discovered an anomaly.
At the end of the room, there was an obvious depressed rectangle on a wall that resembled a door, and beside the sunken spot was a heap of decayed junk piled up — they were wooden shelves and scrap steel that had gone through a thousand years of weathering.
Previously, the room had been dimly-lit.
Moreover, similar pits in the walls and piles of junks could be seen everywhere in this ruin — most were scraps left over after the equipment was dismantled; thus, the soldiers hadn’t paid attention to them at all.
However, there were air currents blowing out from this spot.
Evidently, it was connected to the outside.
Byron ordered soldiers to clear the pile of junk.
As a result, a metal piece that was half-buried in the wall was uncovered.
It was a cylinder with a diameter of less than half a meter.
It stood perpendicular to the ground, with half of it buried in the wall, while complicated patterns covered the exposed portion.
Its upper part was even a surface sloping downwards — clearly, it couldn’t be used as a tabletop to shelve items.
“What is this?” A soldier stared curiously at that metal cylinder, a nervous look on his face.
“Don’t tell me it’s a trap…” “No,” Byron shook his head while, at the same time, recalling some general knowledge that Gawain had explained to him, “according to the Duke, articles with such outer appearances are usually used this way…” As he spoke, he placed his hand on the slanted surface on the top of the metal object, but the latter did not react at all.
There wasn’t the least bit of embarrassment on Byron’s face.
“Of course, the majority of the things here are unusable.
After all, they would spoil with the passage of time.
This is common sense.
” A soldier reminded thoughtlessly.
“Your Excellency, remove your glove and give it a try?” Byron’s old face wasn’t red at all.
He even glared at this brainless soldier.
“Then you come and try it!” The other party proved himself to be a soldier trained by Byron; he wasn’t modest at all.
Pulling off his glove, he placed his hand on the slanted surface like Byron had done earlier.
In the next second, the complicated patterns on the surface of the metal object began to shimmer.
At the same time, minor quaking came from somewhere.
As a stunned look appeared on that soldier’s face, Byron heard a slightly distorted and unusually stiff voice from the metal object.
“Checking… Sample examiner… Stabilization period… Entry permitted… Opening isolation door…” Then, accompanied by the creaking sound of ancient machinery operating, the sunken area on the wall really shrunk inwards and revealed a passageway that was previously hidden! Everyone stared at one another, gaping.
“I—I didn’t do anything.
” The soldier hastily retracted his hand, looking nervous and helpless.
“All of you were watching.
” Byron looked at the dark passageway behind the door.
He suddenly pulled off his glove and also put his hand on the metal slanted surface.
The metal device lit up similarly and an old-fashioned, distorted voice quickly came from it.
“Checking… Sample examiner… Stabilization period… Entry permitted… Isolation door is already open.
” “Me too?” Byron was dumbfounded; then he frowned and casually picked a soldier.
“You, come and give it a try!” This soldier followed suit in resting his hand on the device.
Then, what happened next was exactly the same: The metal device lit up, and a sound came from it, informing that he was allowed to enter.
Could it be that as long as it was a human putting his hand on it, he would be able to pass the test? “It’s most likely damaged…” After testing another two soldiers in a row, Byron heaved a light sigh of relief.
“It’s something so ancient after all.
” A soldier asked cautiously.
“Your Excellency, the inside, do we still…?” “Go in and take a look.
” Byron still wore a prudent look, but he was already jumping for joy at heart.
As an ex-mercenary who’d wandered through remnants of all sizes in the southern borders and had yet to fail, he seemed to have sensed the smell of good stuff.
“After searching for so long, there’s finally some findings!” …… While Byron and company continued to tread deeper into the remnants in the mountains, a new guest also stepped onto the Cecil clan’s new territory.
This was a young woman with a lithe figure.
She wore a thin gauze dress that didn’t look to be of Anzu style; long hair hung loosely behind her.
A lilac veil covered her face, only leaving a pair of bright and lively eyes outside.
She walked with poise into the Cecil territory just like that: past the sentries, past the camp’s (actually, it was now a small town) gates, weaving through the neat wooden huts.
The residents of the Cecil territory walked back and forth and busied around her, but every person paid no heed to her.
The woman wearing a veil walked so naturally, observing with curious eyes this town that theoretically only had a few months of history.
Those orderly wooden huts could already be considered qualified town constructions in other places — after all, in most places in this era, the housing conditions of civilians might not even be able to compare with these huts.
Yet in reality, these huts were still obviously ‘transitional buildings’.
On both sides of the town’s main road, houses were undergoing demolition and reconstruction everywhere.
Those houses had a compacted foundation and were built using bricks, evidently the next-generation housing in this small town.
An odd noise came from a distance.
The woman wearing a mask looked over following the noise and found that it was coming from a workshop where smoke and dust were rising from.
She walked over curiously and pushed open the door.
She was stunned by the sight.
It turned out that this was a place for baking bricks, but two strange-looking machines were placed under the rain canopy in the middle of the yard.
One of them had an obvious magic response.
It spun under the drive of some magical mechanism and used a powerful rotation shaft to spur on another machine connected to it, and that machine was continuously compressing the mixture of mud and silt into well-defined and firm bricks.
Not only was the efficiency of these two machines astonishing, they clearly did not require complex controls — just two civilians dressed in denim clothing watched from the side, whereas more people were busy carrying those bricks that were swiftly taking form onto carts and pushing them to the rows of furnace kilns, which were much bigger than the average brick kilns, neatly lined up on the other side of the yard.
Those two large-scale magic equipment… What were they? Magical mechanism? But where was the mage controlling them? Who was infusing magical power into them? Who was regulating their flow of magical power? Who was controlling their speed and start or stop? It couldn’t be those two laymen with not one bit of magical power on them, could it? At the mention of that… it seemed like magical power could be pervasively sensed here.
That was really odd.
Was this entire territory constructed on a magic focal point? The veiled woman knitted her good-looking brows.
She was really tempted to disassemble those two machines for a look.
However, if she were to do something so out of line, no level of stealth or mental-nudge spells would help.
Thus, she could only shake her head regrettably, leave the courtyard, and close the door.
And just then, a seemingly familiar voice that was full of vigor suddenly came from behind her.
“Ah! Who are you?!”