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Vol 5: Chapter 29

I stopped worrying about what the Flame Dragon said and rushed into the control room of the “Labyrinth of Fear” and stopped the energy supply to the Red Gate.

I encountered a research team in front of the control room. They were probably trying to stop the operation of the labyrinth. However, the actual method to stop it is quite complicated, and I had to use the power of【World Ruler】.

I left the stunned researchers alone and returned to the outside. Black smoke was rising from the location of the other labyrinths. The dragons were probably attacking from the outside. I took【World Alliance】back into my body, and saw the energy supplied to the Red Gate gradually subside and then completely stop.

「Fuu…」

What a relief. Only the mediator is left, but hopefully the dragons will take care of that problem.

The overall battle should come to an end now–.

「…?」

I was confused. Even though the energy supply to the Red Gate had stopped, the Red Gate had not closed.

The dragons gathered at the Red Gate after destroying the labyrinths. They, too, curiously looked up at the Red Gate, but when Lost Jewel shot its light beam from the other side of the Gate, the dragons spread. Then they continued to circle around in the sky.

「What are the dragons doing?」

A huge magic circle appeared in the center of the Gate. It was something I had never seen before. It gradually grew in size, and covered the entirety of the Red Gate.

「Argh!!!」

A high-pitched noise suddenly pierced my eardrums, causing severe headache and nausea. I fell down to my knees on the spot. Many of the soldiers lost consciousness and collapsed at the same moment.

The magic circle interfered with the Red Gate and created a new rift in space. The new rift overlapped perfectly with the Red Gate.

Lost Jewel shot its light beam again, but it did not reach this side of the Gate and only shook the atmosphere in the “Back World”.

Two of the dragons fell from the sky as if they had lost their balance, but they managed to steady themselves and flew away from the place. They must have used up a lot of their power.

The other dragons followed suit, and only the Flame Dragon flew towards me.

《……We have been deceived.》

The Flame Dragon said something I couldn’t understand.

「What do you mean!? With the energy supply cut off, shouldn’t the Red Gate close!?」

《Can you not see?》

「Huh?」

《Your eyes can see the Pledgers, right? It is that type of skill orb.》

「What on earth are you saying–」

Certainly, I can see the current pledgers with【World Alliance】. And that’s when I realised.

The pledger of the underground humans in the “Back World” had changed.

It was not surprising that the pledger had changed. Because, if the current pledger, the person called the “staff officer”, came to the “Front World” — Knock-san and the others should have reached Border Earl Mule’s territory with Asha by now — then it makes sense that another underground human in the “Back World” will take over as the pledger.

In other words, one of the people who chose to remain in the collapsed underground city became the next pledger. It was an old man. But the situation was strange.

I saw him sitting in a daze with hollow eyes through【World Alliance】.

《The labyrinths here succeeded in transforming human emotions into energy and connected the worlds. It is interesting that they focused on human emotions. Certainly, human emotions can sometimes produce a strong power.》

If that is possible… then is the pledger of the underground humans–

《To look at it from another perspective, you can suck out energy as long as you gather enough people.》

「Did the mediator capture them?」

The thought sent shivers down my spine.

Just as there was a crack over here, there was also a crack in the “Back World” too. So if enough energy was supplied, the crack can be maintained from the other side.

The mediator has most likely captured the underground humans and was sucking out energy from them, using them like a battery.

《Probably so.》

I felt burning anger at the unconcerned answer from the Flame Dragon.

「Why!? The mediator should not interfere with the world, right!?」

《Yes. But they can interfere with the pledgers.》

「That’s the same thing! The result is that they are inferring with the world!! In the first place, what does it mean to offer the blood of a “pure person”?! Isn’t that itself interfering with the world?!」

《————》

At that time, the Flame Dragon’s eyes opened wide, as if startled.

「…What happened?」

《Right… There was that method too.》

「Huh?」

《Child of Disaster. We value “noble birth” more than you understand. And in turn, “noble birth” holds power.》

The Flame Dragon flapped its wings, and its body lifted off the ground.

「W-Wait!! I am not done talking.」

《You can rest assured. That crack is temporarily sealed by our power. Even if you leave it alone, it won’t break for hundreds of years.》

「Hundreds of years? That means the underground humans will perish first!」

《The Vision Ogre is not stupid. While protecting the underground humans, it will demand for a sacrifice. It will wait for the next sacrifice while maintaining the crack.》

「Next!? By “sacrifice” do you mean the “noble birth”—」

The dragon was already high in the sky.

《Prepare yourself.》

My voice probably doesn’t reach the dragon, but I could hear its voice clearly.

《The effect of the crack will appear from now on. I will lend you wisdom if it is related to the continuance of the world— We will rest for a while.》

Then the dragon flew away.

「What does that mean?」

I thought I could finally get some answers by talking to the dragon, but I was left with even more questions.

「What the hell, man!」

The hazardous miasma in the surroundings had disappeared. The air gradually became purer. And above all, monsters were no longer falling from the sky.

However, a red, frozen crack remained in the sky.