Chapter 407 – The Hill For Enlightenment (1)
Sarah stood in front of the massive World Tree, the end of which was unknown.
Even from a distance, it seemed like it was right in front of her, but she was close enough to see the wrinkles on its bark.
The huge wall surrounding the city of the Rans seemed like a joke now.
It was so tall that she wondered if the end even existed.
And the same went for its horizontal width.
A normal tree is round, so it should be curved, but if it were this huge, it just felt like a line.
It would be accurate to say that it felt like looking at the sea.
“And I have to climb… this?”
Nidhog popped out at exactly 9,000 meters from the ground.
The monster was huge, so she could see where it came from, but if it had been the same size as a human, she wouldn’t have been able to find the hole.
But now, Sarah had to climb up.
It would be nice if the High Elves used magic to send her up, but…
‘We do not use magic in front of the World Tree.
Not unless we are protecting it.
That’s how we respect the World Tree.’
‘Aren’t we doing this to protect the World Tree…?’
There was a slight chance that she could save the dying World Tree if she climbed up there.
If so, she thought that it was like protecting it, but could she speak against them?
“Phew. Let’s try.”
It was so high, and she had never climbed up a tree this high since she was a child.
She had never even found such trees before!
Currently, Sarah’s body surely feels light due to the artifacts that the High Elves have given her, and she has also received the special pills of the Rans.
The pill could help her release her fatigue and recover from exhaustion, so she doesn’t get tired when climbing.
Sarah used mana on her hands and feet to cling to the tree’s bark.
There were wrinkles and cracks on the tree.
It was big enough for her to easily make small movements.
And considering the size of the World Tree, it was natural.
Sarah started to earnestly climb up.
“Will she be fine?”
“I hope she will be.”
At Mero’s worried tone, Gen answered back in a slightly timid voice.
He wondered if it was right to entrust such a burden to a child who was still so young.
He was the first to hear about her dream and took her to Hasyath, but it was just because her dream was odd.
He only wanted to talk about it and figure it out together, not put the entire burden on Sarah.
“Lack of a strong voice is a problem at such times.”
Gen was strong among the warriors, but he wasn’t strong enough to tackle the decision made by the leaders of the two races.
Of course, he told Hasyath how unfair it was, but when the word ‘fate’ was mentioned, he couldn’t say anything.
And that was why he had no choice but to stay silent and watch it unfold.
“Since she is the only child, let’s believe she can do it.”
“Because she is stubborn.”
After the two talked, they internally cheered for Sarah.
Climbing the World Tree wasn’t so difficult.
She initially thought it was too high and steep, but the tree was so large that the higher she went, the more cracks appeared on its bark.
Of course, it was still uphill, but it was better than a cliff with nothing to hang on, so Sarah was climbing it easily.
The only problem was that the path was hard to find.
“Where am I now?”
Even with a compass, she still had a hard time finding the direction.
It was because the compass kept pointing up and didn’t give her specific directions.
That wasn’t the only problem.
The tree was full of bugs, and the World Tree was the largest tree in the world.
There were not only one or two bugs that settled in the tree, but their size was comparable to monsters.
No, it would be better to just think of them as monsters.
Sarah changed her stick to a sword and used aura.
At the start, she didn’t consider fighting these bugs since they looked horrible, but after climbing for about four hours, she got used to their appearance.
‘The problem is that it takes too much time.’
Just like their appearance, the bugs were very strong.
Their hard outer shell was difficult to pierce even when she had wrapped her sword with aura, and their physical strength easily surpassed that of Sara’s, even though she had raised her aura to the maximum.
If it weren’t for the artifacts, this place could have been her tomb.
Sarah threw herself at a bug that looked like an ant.
It was hard to crack its outer skin with aura but she was a Welton.
The blade moved as if it were bending and distorting.
Sarah brushed past the insect at the speed of light.
The space-cutting sword cut through its hard shell like it was a piece of paper, and green body fluid leaked out of it.
It was like a dam had just burst.
The bug screamed in pain, but it didn’t die even from that attack.
The size of the bug was so huge that a single hit wasn’t enough to take it down.
Sarah turned around again as if she were used to it and swung her sword, aiming for the weakest part of the bug.
Each attack from the bug was scary, but it was slower than expected, while Sarah was quick.
Even so, after about five minutes, the giant bug that resembled an ant collapsed.
The green liquid that was on her sword evaporated as if it were being burned from her aura.
“I took it down faster than before.”
At first, it took her about twenty minutes.
There were bugs she was afraid of, and there were bugs that she didn’t know how to deal with since it was hard to find their weaknesses.
But still, after numerous tries, she was able to grasp their characteristics and significantly reduce the time it took to take them down.
‘But it’s too early to be careless.’
Every single bug that she had taken down was of the same species.
And there was no way that there was only one type of bug living inside the World Tree.
She must have been lucky to find the same species and hadn’t run into others, or she must not have seen the other bugs since this was their territory.
If she went further, other species of bugs would surely appear.
So she couldn’t be careless.
Sarah cheered herself up and continued to climb.
She continued to kill bugs along the way, and after climbing a little more, she saw a huge wasp heading her way and realized her life was in danger.
One wrong step, and she would fall down.
She barely had any survival training, and she was already feeling mentally drained.
The sun went down.
And she found a place to rest.
‘I shouldn’t use fire.’
She couldn’t light a fire because there was a risk of burning the tree, and she was also afraid that the bugs would come for her once they saw the fire.
It was a bit cold, but it was bearable, so she took out a blanket from the subspace and wrapped it around her body.
‘For the meantime, my body seems fine.’
Even her injuries didn’t seem real.
She hadn’t even taken the pills the Rans had given her because she was still fine.
Even though her energy level dropped, her body returned to normal after a short break.
But because she knew that the situation wasn’t good, it was difficult for Sarah to be happy.
‘I should get some sleep.’
She thought that since she could already feel the fatigue on her body, if she didn’t sleep, she would be in more danger later on.
Fatigue caused by moving and fatigue caused by a lack of sleep are two different things.
Even more so if both occurred at the same time.
“Activate Illusion Guardian.”
Sarah activated the third bracelet on her right arm.
It was an artifact for defense.
Something resembling a blue ghost materialized in the air and transformed into Sarah’s image.
It was said to project the image of the caster.
Sarah didn’t know if it had the same abilities as her, but it could wake her up in a dangerous situation.
‘It looks so much like me.’
The more she saw the magic, the more curious she became.
It was a pity that she didn’t have a talent for it.
‘My brother is a genius in magic.’
They were siblings, so why weren’t they born with the same talent for magic? Despite the complicated situations they had to go through, Sarah couldn’t find an answer.
‘But if I cannot use magic, then how am I using this artifact?’
Artifacts were tools of magic.
In other words, to use an artifact, she had to use magic.
It was ironic that, while magic was forbidden at the World Tree, using this artifact was permitted.
It wasn’t something she wanted to argue with, so she let it go.
“Wake me up if anything happens.”
The illusion nodded, saying yes.
Sarah opened her eyes.
Her eyes felt heavy, but she wasn’t feeling sleepy anymore.
Normally, she would have tossed and turned, but today, she got up fast.
She blinked and looked out.
It seemed that the darkness of the night had gone and the warm sunlight of the morning was entering the cave where she was staying.
It wasn’t real sunlight but an imitation of sunlight created by the spheres of light.
However, that alone made her feel nice.
“How many hours was I asleep?”
“You slept for eight hours.”
The answer came from beside her.
It was the Illusion Guardian.
She stayed in the same spot all night to see if any enemies would come or not, and answered like a machine when asked.
So nothing happened?’
“I felt a presence outside the fourth point, but it didn’t come near here.”
Then you can head back now.”
The Illusion Guardian’s image faded and was soon sucked into the bracelet.
“Thanks to you, I was able to sleep well.
Sarah smiled softly and tapped the bracelet with her finger.
And as if answering, the bracelet vibrated weakly.
Sarah packed up again.
The only thing she had to do with her luggage was put it into the subspace.
Meals of bread were already stored inside the subspace.
When she was young, she wouldn’t even eat something tasteless, but three years of living in a village made her able to live on minimal meals.
Even if it was tasteless, it would be able to fill her stomach, so even dry bread was a nice source of energy for her.
Let’s leave now.”
After eating, Sarah began to climb up again.
Several days passed like that.
She encountered more bugs and went through a lot of tough situations, but she managed to overcome all of them.
She did the same things every day and every night inside the World Tree.
And now the second hand of the compass was moving more.
It was a sign that her destination wasn’t too far away.
Sarah was a bit tired, but her physical condition hadn’t changed much from when she first climbed the World Tree.
She looked up with one leg raised on a slope.
It was hard to see from where she was, and the wind was blowing like it would pull her away.
This was evidence that there was a large hole around.
She moved faster now.
Her primary destination was to enter the hole that Nidhog dug.
And if she went inside, she would be in less danger than she is now.
She thought so and started climbing again.
Someone was watching her.
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