Puff. Puff. Puff.
The process repeated with everyone falling onto the cotton and getting back up. They all had the same reaction as they got up.
They couldn’t help but be in awe of this underground city. They had imagined a dark and gloomy place, but the city in front of their eyes was shining brightly.
There were many shiny lights roaming the high ceiling, with a creek to one side and fields filled with grains on both sides. There were also tall trees forming forests in some areas.
“How could such a place…”
Rosalyn seemed to be in disbelief. She didn’t have any bias against the Dark Elves, however, she still had some negative feelings when she was told that a hidden city was in the Land of Death. Knowing that the Dark Elves gain their power from the dead, someone like Rosalyn, who uses mana from nature, couldn’t help but have negative feelings about them.
At that moment, Cage mumbled next to her.
“Death is a part of nature as well.”
She looked toward Cage, who seemed to find this sight to be normal. It was also normal to Cale.
Cale looked toward Tasha.
“The power of nature.”
She meant that it was the Elementals.
Although they derived their strength from dead mana, Dark Elves were still creatures of nature. As both creatures of the dark and part of the Elf race, they were able to handle Elementals while still using dead mana.
Tasha opened her arms as she saw some Dark Elves approaching them.
“Long time no see!”
The three Dark Elves started to run after hearing her voice.
“You didn’t send us a single letter for five years and then you just pop up with a, ‘long time no see?’
Two of them berated Tasha, while the third respectfully greeted Cale.
“Nice to meet you. I will first guide you to your residence.”
“Shawn, long time no see!”
“Please follow me.”
Tasha came and greeted Shawn, who just ignored her.
“Aww, come on Shawn. Are you mad at me?”
“Do you have any luggage? If you do, we will transport it for you.”
He flat out ignored her. Cale smiled before responding to Shawn.
“We do not have any luggage. Please lead the way.”
Shawn quietly observed Cale, who was smiling gently.
“…I heard you were a noble, please feel free to speak informally.”
“Sure. I’ll do that.”
Cale was not one to reject such an offer.
Cale’s group and the three Dark Elves entered the Dark Elves’ stronghold, otherwise known as the City of Death.
They could see more clearly once they entered into the city. There were even more reasons for them to be shocked.
“Isn’t it more developed than most cities?”
Tasha asked Cale’s group with a proud expression on her face.
The city was pretty developed, such that it was at the level of most large cities in the Roan Kingdom.
However, Cale did not respond to her statement. He was busy looking at something else.
“There are people here too.”
Tasha continued to smile.
They saw other Dark Elves as soon as they entered the city as expected, but there was approximately 1 human for every 10 Dark Elves.
The Land of Death was one of the 5 Forbidden Regions. It was said that nobody who went into the Land of Death made it back alive. Their deaths were said to have made the sand as red as it was. Some people even thought that the curse of the necromancers led people to die in the Land of Death.
Cale started to speak.
“There was a reason the people who ran away into the desert never came back.”
The Dark Elves who were with them started to smile. Tasha shrugged her shoulders as she responded.
“We couldn’t let them just die, especially since the Dark Elves have a similar history of running away.”
As people who have had to run for their lives, they understood the people who ran away to this desert known as the Land of Death. They were so desperate that they ran away, even though they knew it would mean their death. They had felt the same way before.
Cale was really in awe now.
It really was amazing. Although they had never harmed humans, Dark Elves were chased out by people because the places they lived were associated with death.
But even after receiving such treatment, they were able to accept people within their midst.
It was very different compared to the Elves, who hated getting involved with humans.
But this was probably why nature, and the elementals, did not choose to leave them.
“I understand why nature loves the Dark Elves.”
Nature did not shun the Dark Elves, instead, it created a space in its arms for the Dark Elves. Cale did not miss the fact that the expressions on the faces of the humans in this city were bright.
“Well, it is all thanks to the unique nature of this land.”
Cale looked toward the Dark Elf named Shawn, who pushed up his glasses and continued to speak. His gaze landed on Rosalyn for a moment before moving away.
“This is the Land of Death. We do not know the reason behind it, but an aura of death resides in this desert. We noticed that a phenomenon occurs twice a year where a small amount of dead mana rises up from the sand.”
Cale motioned with his eyes to Cage, who nodded her head.
“This desert is full of the aura of death. However, it is not evil. The aura of death follows the laws of nature and simply resides here for a moment before dissipating.”
“You must be a priestess-nim of the Church of the God of Death.”
“I have been excommunicated.”
Shawn flinched at Cage’s response.
On the other hand, Cale nodded at her words and shared his sentiments.
“Maybe this is a land granted by the God of Death. Just because you need dead mana as a creature of darkness does not mean that you are evil.”
Cale continued to speak to the Dark Elves who were looking at him.
“There are many humans who are crazy or evil. Wouldn’t it be the same thing?”
“You are right, young master-nim.”
Ron agreed with Cale. Shawn peeked toward Ron before putting on an awkward smile as Ron smiled at him. Tasha looked at everyone before finishing it with a beautiful conclusion.
“Anyways, it is a good place to live.”
That was the correct answer.
Cale arrived at their residence, which was a pretty decent inn.
“This is the first time we have had guests here.”
Shawn nodded his head.
“We built this inn for visitors in case we find any other Dark Elf Villages, however, we have not managed to find one yet. Furthermore, people who come here are not really in a state to stay at an inn.”
“What kind of state are they usually in?”
Shawn had no problem answering Choi Han’s question.
“They are malnourished or close to death. Some of them are even in a state of fear after coming to the Land of Death and meeting Dark Elves like us. That is why we immediately move them to the hospital ward.”
Shawn approached the innkeeper.
“You have your first guests.”
“Oh, hyung-nim. I finally get to have guests!”
The innkeeper was human. The old man, who seemed to be in his seventies, clapped as he welcomed Cale’s group.
“Aigoo, welcome esteemed guests. I may not look like it, but among the humans, I have spent the longest time in this city. I know the layout as well as the Dark Elf hyung-nims!”
Tasha whispered to the group.
“For your reference, Shawn and I are the same age.”
Cale shook hands with the innkeeper.
“Owner, take good care of us while we are here.”
“Of course. Welcome to the City of Life.”
“City of Life?”
The old man smiled brightly after hearing Cale’s confusion.
“Yes sir. That is what we call it.”
“That name is more fitting.”
Cale answered before turning toward Shawn in order to ask a question.
“Now that we know where we are staying, I want to go shopping right away.”
“They are already waiting for you.”
The market was in a three-story building.
Only Tasha and Shawn led Cale and Choi Han there. The rest of the group was waiting for them at the inn. Of course, the invisible Raon was with them as well.
“This is the building for the city’s administrators.”
They were definitely different compared to the Elves, who lived like hermits in the wild. The Dark Elves seemed to have a similar economic structure to humans.
There were many young humans who were working in administration with the Dark Elves as well.
Tasha noticed what Cale was looking at.
“The majority of the humans who come here do not know how to read or write. Most of them wanted to learn technical skills or farming. However, all of the children that are born in this city are given the same education as the young Dark Elves.”
Cale had wondered in the past about which part of the Western Continent would be most similar to Earth.
‘This is probably it.’
This underground city was the closest to Earth.
It might be because it was a place where people who ran away from tyrants gathered together.
“This is the mayor’s office.”
They could see a simple wooden door. Shawn pointed at the door and started to speak.
“Our city is usually managed by the eldest Dark Elf. The current mayor-nim is 521 years old.”
It was at that moment.
Click click click.
They heard the doorknob urgently turning.
And finally, bang!
The door to the mayor’s room burst open.
An old Dark Elf who had a white beard and white hair that was a steep contrast to his dark skin appeared.
However, the well-dressed and tidy Dark Elf’s face was completely pale.
“T, this feeling!”
Shawn became anxious. He peeked toward Cale’s group before rushing over to the mayor.
“Mayor-nim, what is going on?”
Tasha rushed over as well. Her attitude was a bit different than Shawn’s.
“Grandpa, what is wrong?”
That word made Cale flinch. Was she calling him grandpa because she was close to the mayor? Or was she actually related to the mayor?
If they were family, he would finally understand why this Dark Elf City seemed to have a deep relationship with the crown prince.
“Your granddaughter is here for the first time in a while! Why do you look so surprised?”
Tasha really was related to the mayor.
‘…I knew someone like the crown prince would have a pretty noble background.’
Crown prince Alberu seemed to have a pretty hefty background. Cale looked toward Tasha and the mayor with a shocked expression. At that moment, Cale and the mayor made eye contact.
The mayor seemed to have only been staring at Cale the whole time.
The mayor started to speak.
His voice was shaking.
Cale had a bad feeling about this.
The old Dark Elf took out a handkerchief with his shaking hand and wiped his forehead before taking a deep breath.
“Sir, I heard that you had a dragon’s dead mana on you.”
‘Something is weird.’
Although Cale was a noble, he was not at the level for someone like the mayor to speak respectfully toward him.
“Young master-nim, are you perhaps a dragon-.”
Shawn and Tasha both froze up, while Choi Han’s pupils started to shake.
Cale was very stern.
“I am not a dragon.”
Shawn and Tasha looked relieved after hearing Cale’s response. However, the mayor was different.
“I definitely feel a Dragon-nim’s aura around you, young master-nim! It is coming from your vicinity, sir. The power that presides over nature is coming from you!”
Raon, who was floating behind Cale while still invisible, was amused. Cale did not care as he was honestly answering the mayor.
“I am not a dragon.”
“…That is very odd.”
The Dark Elf finally calmed down a bit. He continued to wipe away his sweat as he mumbled.
“I have met a Dragon-nim in the past and felt the same feeling that I am feeling now. My Elemental, which met that Dragon-nim with me, says it is similar as well.”
This time, it was Cale’s turn to flinch.
‘What did he say he saw? And his Elemental saw it with him? The Elementals were the most difficult beings to scam.’
Raon seemed to be very interested as well.
At 521 years old, the mayor definitely lived long enough to have seen a dragon at least once.
It was at that moment.
“Mayor-nim, I am here as you requested.”
Cale thought it was a GPS speaking at that moment. The calm yet robotic woman’s voice continued to speak.
“Shall I wait here?”
Cale turned around only to see a person who was covered from head to toe with a black robe.
At that moment, he heard Raon’s voice in his head.
‘I knew it.’
There were only a few ways for a human to obtain the darkness attribute.
His intuition had been right.
However, there was something he needed to take care of first.
“Are you really, really not a Dragon-nim?”
“Yes, Mr. Mayor.”
Cale let out a sigh after seeing that the mayor was still having a hard time believing him. Cale entered the office and his group followed him inside. Cale looked toward Choi Han, who understood what Cale wanted, and quickly closed the door.
Cale started to speak inside the quiet office.