< Strange Omen in the Land of Sorcery (Part 1) >
The land around the Heavenly Power castle was raised high up in the sky in a cylinder shape. The castle was about three hundred yards from ground level. It was not going to be easy to climb up to the castle.
“Such a weird terrain,” Ramphil thought aloud as he looked at the high wall. The way the castle was high up in the sky seemed supernatural.
“There is a reason why the castle is called ‘Heavenly Power’ castle.”
Leona looked up at the castle in amazement. The name of castle seemed to indicate how great the castle was, but Leona didn’t know the meaning of the castle’s name.
The castle looked formidable because the whole ground around the castle was raised high up.
“I am amazed how a land could be shaped like this.” Ramphil wondered how a castle could exist on a weird terrain like this. Ramphil and Leona knew that there were many strange thing that could not be explained, and they thought that this castle was out of this world.
“Yes, this is something unusual, and that’s because the environment was created with sorcery,” Zin told them.
“What?! Something like this is possible with sorcery?”
Ramphil and Leona were questioning the possibility. Leona had witnessed the power of sorcery, and Ramphil thought that sorcery was performed as part of shamanistic ceremony by people in the wilderness. They knew that the power of the sorcery existed through Zin, but they couldn’t believe that someone could change the terrain by performing sorcery.
But Zin talked as if it was not a big deal. “The land was raised by a high-level sorcerer, this is not a hard job for that sorcerer.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“I am referring to a sorcerer who has reached the highest level.”
“Why did he create such an environment?” Ramphil wondered why a sorcerer would need to do this.
“This is a place where the Immortal is sealed, and it would not be good to be easily accessible by people.”
The Heavenly Power castle was set up to be a place people could not easily attack. Ramphil thought that such work would be impossible for Wargrave to pull off.
“The world… is full of strong people.” Ramphil was amazed that a single sorcerer could pull this off. Wargrave was an organization that didn’t care much about what was going on in the world. Ramphil wondered if Wargrave should be more aware of what was going on.
Leona brought up a question, “So, how are we getting up there?”
“… Hmm, good question.”
The vehicle would not be able to climb up, and there were no stairs leading up to the castle. Zin pointed at the wall without hesitation.
“We are going to climb up. We’ll leave the vehicle down here.”
“It’s not that hard, you know?”
“Well, I don’t think it’s a matter of easy or hard…”
Leona was terrified, and Ramphil was astonished at Zin’s suggestion.
“The castle was built so that it is not easily accessible. It would be stupid to expect a gate to be there.”
A couple of minutes ago, the team was marveling at the scene of the castle, and now they were dreading about the thought of climbing up the wall.
They were not able to take the vehicle with them. Leona was worried, and she looked at the vehicle.
“Can you put the vehicle inside the void storage?”
“You are not making any sense.”
“What if someone steals the vehicle?”
“There is a password lock. Someone could smash the vehicle, but they cannot drive away with it.”
However, it meant that if someone smashed the vehicle, the team would lose their means of transportation.
“The main purpose of the vehicle was to take us to this castle. If we lose it, so be it.”
Zin tapped his hands as he walked towards the cliff. He did not any equipment for rock climbing, but it was not going to be too difficult for Ramphil or Zin to climb up the cliff. Zin put most of his items into the void storage, and wrapped his black coat around his body.
Leona and Ramphil were surprised at what Zin was doing.
“I don’t like doing this either. Now get on my back.”
Leona piggybacked on Zin and held on to him. Ramphil and Zin were able to climb the cliff, but Leona was not able to. So, one of them had to carry Leona. Zin was wearing a coat that could be used as a strap, and Leona was dangling on the back of Zin like a baby.
Leona seemed to be in good mood, and laughed, “Wow, this is so convenient!”
“You will regret what you have just said. Let’s go.”
As soon as Zin and Ramphil grabbed the rocks, they started to climb up the cliff. Leona laughed for about a minute while hanging on the back of Zin, and then she became astonished when she looked down below.
“This is crazy…”
They were moving further away from the ground. Leona grabbed the neck of Zin and murmured, “M-Mister. This is toooo scary!”
Leona was terrified. She was being carried by Zin, who was climbing up the cliff without any safety equipment. As Zin continued to climb up the cliff like a spider, Leona felt like she was going to faint.
“Can you go slower?!” Leona was screaming in fear, but Zin and Ramphil continued to move up. After about five minutes, Leona closed her eyes and held tight to Zin. She couldn’t even speak anymore.
“Damn… Crazy… Son of a bitch…” With her eyes closed, Leona was spitting out all the curse words that she knew.
It took about an hour for them to climb up the cliff. Zin and Ramphil were dusting off their clothes as if they had done routine exercise.
Leona fell down on the ground as soon as Zin unstrapped his coat. She couldn’t stand up for a while.
Leona slowly talked as she was out of breath. “Ah… I think I peed my pants…”
“!” Zin was surprised and touched his back. His back was warm but it not wet. “Eh, it’s just sweat.”
Zin sighed with a relief. Carrying someone on his back was not easy, but being carried by someone was not easy, either. Leona crawled away from the cliff, and could barely stand up. She was having a hard time walking, as she seemed to be out of it.
“Wow… the castle looks very different up here.”
From the top, the castle was in a basin area. There were several wooden houses lined up on the grass area.
The village looked very peaceful and calm. The people seemed to be without fear or sadness as they walked around the fields. Nobody seemed to be armed.
To be exact, it seemed to be a point rather than a castle. The people seemed to be living in a point where there were no outside threats. Leona was amazed at the scene.
The wooden houses were not built in a straight line, but they were looked beautiful with the plants in the background. There were many plants growing, and people did not seem to have any issue growing food. Zin started walking ahead.
“So there are no guards or gates here?”
“I don’t think they would need them.”
“I think they will be on guard.”
“We just need to explain our situation. Follow me.”
Zin led the way, and Ramphil and Leona followed behind. The people of the Heavenly Power castle did not seem to realize that some outsiders had arrived. In the forests that surrounded the basin area, there were even animals. There was nothing special about the basin, but there were squirrels, cats, pigeons, and other small animals in the area.
“Something… feels odd.”
Leona felt strange that the area was well maintained. Although the place was vast, nobody could get into the place or get out of the place. She was amazed that such an ecosystem was preserved. She figured that all of the area was man-made.
After they passed the forests, there were many farmlands where people were growing food. Many plants were growing in the fields: bean, barley, rice, potato, and many other plants.
And as the three went through the forests, they came across a woman. It wouldn’t be strange to see the woman get scared of outsiders, but she smiled and greeted them.
“Hello, visitors. It looks like you have climbed up the wall to visit us. The Heavenly god must have protected you.”
Ramphil and Leona were taken aback by the way the woman spoke, and stood still. Zin started to walk towards the woman.
“The way of the Heavenly Power seems to be in full force. I thank the Heavenly god. And please pardon my rudeness for disrupting the peace of the castle that touches the sky.”
“It is rare indeed to see a visitor who knows the way of the Heavenly Power. What brings you here?” The woman was smiling all the time. Even though she wore clothes that were old, her posture and language suggested that she was not an ordinary woman.
“I would like to ask the lord about the seal.”
When Zin mentioned seal, the woman became serious. It looked like she did not have the authority to talk about the matter. The woman bowed and said, “I will not be able to assist you on that subject. The lord is in the great temple right now.”
After finishing talking, the woman went back to the fields to work. Zin signaled Ramphil and Leona to get going. The three carefully walked past the fields without stepping on the crops, and headed towards the center of the Heavenly Power castle.
“What did you two talk about?”
“I don’t understand, something feels funny about this place.”
“They are people who don’t panic in any circumstances. The woman we met is a trained person.”
“I don’t understand what you are saying. What kind of place is this?” Leona was surprised to see that all the people were too calm even though they were seeing Leona, Zin and Ramphil for the first time.
“Hmm… you could think of them as monks who are training in the temple.”
“Are these religious people?” Ramphil couldn’t think of a better way to describe them. Religions still existed around the world.
“It’s similar to a religion. Their main goal is to train their inner soul.”
“It sounds like they don’t care about living?” Zin laughed at the way Leona described the people. The people of the Heavenly Power castle passed them, and simply greeted the team with a smile.
However, Leona and Ramphil still felt uneasy about the way the people acted. Ramphil was especially uneasy about the atmosphere.
“Hmm… well, they are not weird people. They don’t only train their minds and souls.”
“What do you mean?”
“We refer to them with a different name.” Leona and Ramphil stared at Zin as they wondered what the name was, and Zin sighed, “Sorcerer.”
“What?!” Zin was saying that all the people of the Heavenly Power castle were sorcerers?! Leona was astonished, she couldn’t believe it.
“If you think about it, this land was lifted up into the sky by a high-level sorcerer. Wouldn’t it be strange for ordinary people to be living here? Wouldn’t you expect sorcerers to live here?”
“I mean, yeah that makes sense…” Leona wasn’t surprised that all the people in the castle were sorcerers. It was just that expected sorcerers to wear skeleton necklaces and walk around with staves decorated with strange ornaments. However, the people that Leona that met all looked ordinary.
“This is pretty amazing.” As Leona talked, Ramphil nodded in agreement. “What a crazy place.”
Ramphil and Leona were learning that there were many strange things in the world.
Most of the buildings in the castle were made out of wood. The people drank rainwater and ate the crops that they farmed.
“It is peaceful in a different way than the fortress.”
“That’s because the standard for abundance is different.”
Fortresses had an abundant amount of resources, and there were many facilities to improve the quality of life. Life in the fortress was very comfortable. Life in the Heavenly Power castle was perfect in a different way.
Leona thought that while the fortress had all the necessities, people in the Heavenly Power castle seemed to be content with what they possessed.
There was no abundance of resources, yet there was no shortage of resources. People looks relaxed with peace of mind, and Leona thought that this was a good place where people were mindful enough to act nice towards strangers.
In that sense, the Heavenly Power castle seemed to be a good place compared to the fortress.
Leona thought that even if the world was a crazy place, there were still places where people were nice.
“Now that I think about it, I see things that are related to sorcery!”
“… I have no idea about that,” Ramphil said.
“Look! Look at those things over there.” Leona was able to figure out that there were items related to sorcery around the castle. However, Ramphil who didn’t know anything about sorcery, didn’t understand what Leona was saying.
There were golden chains around the doors, and there were items shaped like lions around the door knobs. They were objects that were related to sorcery.
“I don’t get how those items mean anything…” Ramphil shook his head as he didn’t recognize how the signs and items were related to sorcery. Zin was amazed that Leona was able to spot objects that were used for sorcery.
“I never taught you about sorcery in detail, how did you pick it up?”
It was possible that Leona was sensing energy from those objects because she was a witch.
Leona laughed and said, “They look so out of place. So it probably means that they are there for a reason.”
“… That’s an interesting point of view. I suppose you are right!”
Zin laughed, amazed at how Leona came to that conclusion.