“I will be guiding you to the room where the ring is. Please follow me.”
The place we arrived at after being told this with a serious face by Shizun-san was a room that has a fancier door than all other rooms.
“Elm-san, good work keeping watch.” (Shizun)
“I am honored by your words.” (Elm)
Shizun-san spoke to the man in front of the door, took out a key from his pocket, opened the exaggerated lock, and went in.
“Now, go ahead everyone.” (Shizun)
We enter the room.
When everyone entered, the big door closed with a very loud sound.
The door is apparently made in a way so that someone has to hold the door or it will automatically close on its own.
The floor, walls, ceiling; that place, where everything was furnished with pure white tiles, didn’t have a single piece of furniture.
The only things decorating this room were…
Pillars that stretch at both sides in the middle of the room.
“Hooh, this is…” (Mitsuki)
Seeing this, Ina raised her voice in admiration and Mitsuki narrowed her eyes.
At the center of the room, there were thin pillars of the same shape.
No, the two pillars aren’t exactly the same. I guess it would be easier to describe as one of the pillars being cut right at the center and having an opening of several centimeters in size.
But what’s different is what comes after that.
In between the two pillars that normally shouldn’t have anything, there’s a rainbow film.
And then, there’s 4 colorful crystals floating before it as if protecting that rainbow curtain.
Also, if you strain your eyes really well…those red, blue, yellow, and green crystals have sparkly light particles floating around, and they are gathering into the openings between pillar and pillar, creating the rainbow wall.
Within this atmosphere where everyone was looking at the pillars in the center and the crystals as if they had their voices taken away, Shizun-san said proudly.
“These pillars and crystals test the qualifications of the family head: the Oath Barrier. Within that rainbow curtain lies the ring that’s said is going to be stolen, the Immortal Oath.” (Shizun)
—The first head of the Aken family and hero, Lord Aken, was also known as the Impenetrable Fortress.
He mastered the essence of barrier magic and obtained the invincible defense.
That barrier could take any physical or magical attack without flinching, and he traveled through many battlefields with that absolute defense, and returned unwounded from all of them.
But this barrier that was thought to be absolute had a single fault.
Even as someone who had an impregnable defense, he didn’t have perfect resistance against status ailments like poison and paralysis.
There’s rare cases where monsters with high intelligence would show up.
One of those had noticed this weak point.
Under the orders of the monster that had intelligence, attacks that caused poison, paralysis, confusion, sleep, and petrification rained down on him.
But he endured it.
Even when hit by poison and feeling dizzy; even when hit by paralysis and feeling numb; even when hit by confusion and having his senses fail him; even when he was hit by sleep and fell asleep while standing up; even when he was petrified and couldn’t move his body; that strong will of his to continue enduring the attacks didn’t falter.
But, at the end, he finally fell on his knees after being hit by a certain status ailment.
Even he couldn’t endure this no matter how much of an iron will he had.
No matter how great of a warrior you are, no matter the hero you are, there’s no path other than falling when your life is ripped out of you.
It was most regrettable.
If only he had resistance to death, he wouldn’t have been one-upped by guys like these.
If only he had resistance to death, he wouldn’t have fallen at a place like that.
If only he had resistance to death…
That strong desire of his created a miracle.
A few seconds before that body reached death completely…in that brief amount of time, he poured his own mana into a ring of his.
That ring shone dark, and even after his body collapsed to the ground and disappeared, the ring still remained there without a single scratch.
That ring was sent to his wife and children, and it is still being protected by his descendants as the living proof of a great hero.
“That’s the story passed down in our family of the ring that holds absolute resistance to death: the Immortal Oath.” (Shizun)
After finishing his long story, my comrades let out an impressed ‘hooh’.
Now that I listen properly to it, I feel like there’s a whole ton of things to retort to, but you could say it works as an epic.
Also, there’s a descendant right in front of us and the ring spoken of is there, so it amplifies the weight of that story.
“We understand the ‘Immortal Oath’ now. However, what’s this about the Oath Barrier that was spoken of before?” (Mitsuki)
When Mitsuki, who was the only one that didn’t lift a single brow at the story of Shizun-san just now, asked this, he nodded deeply.
“Those crystals and the light curtain are there, but it would be faster to actually test it out.
I don’t care what method you use, can you please try to destroy that barrier right now and take the ring?” (Shizun)
Mitsuki’s cat ears twitched, and she looked at Shizun-san with cold eyes.
“‘I don’t care what method you use’, no taking back those words?” (Mitsuki)
“Of course, I won’t.” (Shizun)
Just when that response from Shizun-san was about to finish…
Mitsuki suddenly took out her sword without any preliminary motions.
There was still a bit of distance between her and the pillars, but that’s nothing for Mitsuki.
With a glare of her favored weapon, Tsukikage, she rushed to the rainbow protection and…
“…I see.” (Mitsuki)
It was easily stopped.
Ina, who knows the most about how fearsome Mitsuki is, raised her voice in surprise.
But Mitsuki herself wasn’t shaken at all.
Understanding that she couldn’t break that defense after just one attack, she changed targets.
That next target was not the barrier, but the crystals that are most likely creating that barrier.
Mitsuki’s next slash certainly hit the target, but…
It made a hard *kan* sound and stopped in place.
Even when Mitsuki swung her sword, the crystals floating in the air were unscathed and didn’t flinch.
She then cut the pillars as if it were a passing thought, and after confirming she dealt no damage, she sheathed her katana.
“Do you get it now?” (Shizun)
Seeing this, Shizun-san approached Mitsuki with a somewhat proud look.
Mitsuki’s cat ears trembled for a moment as if displeased by this, but she didn’t show that at all in her face and answered calmly.
“Yeah, it is quite impressive. Looks like this barrier cannot be broken with normal means.” (Mitsuki)
There’s no mistake in the words of Mitsuki.
Mitsuki’s attack power is number one within NPCs.
Depending on how I do it, I could achieve even higher power but, even if I did, that wouldn’t make a difference here.
The devices here are all Indestructible.
They can’t be broken.
“That’s right. You have to use barrier magic in order to undo this barrier.” (Shizun)
Saying this, Shizun-san went to the front as if switching with Mitsuki and held his hand aloft the crystal.
He let out a powerful voice. Blue light flew out from his palm and hit the red crystal directly.
The crystal was basked in the blue light, lost its light, and changed to black.
“The logic is simple. You just have to bask the respective crystal with the opposite element of barrier magic.” (Shizun)
Shizun-san sent red light to the blue crystal at the side as he said this.
The moment the light reached the blue crystal, it lost its light again, and at the same time as it did…
“Ah, the barrier…!!” (Ina)
The rainbow barrier disappeared.
“If 2 of the 4 crystals are turned off, the barrier will disappear in this way. With this, it should now be possible to take the ring.” (Shizun)
Hearing this, everyone’s attention was directed at the space between the pillars.
In between those two pillars, there’s a pedestal that extends from below, and there’s certainly a pitch black ring on top of it.
“So t-this is that Immortal Oath.” (Ina)
The closest one there, Ina, grabbed the ring.
Ina was looking at that ring as if in admiration, so I warned her teasingly.
“Make sure not to drop it. That would apparently go for as much as 3 million E if you were to sell it.” (Souma)
“T-Three m-million!!” (Ina)
The hand of Ina holding the ring was trembling from how nervous she was.
…Looks like it would be better to not tell her that we got 80 million from the subjugation contest.
“But this is the proof of the family head, right? Is it really okay for you to not be wearing it?” (Sazan)
On the other hand, Sazan, who doesn’t seem to be that hung up on money, asked this without showing much agitation.
Shizun answered as if nothing at the decent question you wouldn’t expect came from Sazan.
“Yeah, it doesn’t matter. Or more like, it must not be worn. Because…once you wear it, you won’t be able to take it off.” (Shizun)
The moment Ina heard this, she jumped and went ‘hiiih!’ and was close to dropping the ring.
It seems like Sazan couldn’t ignore this.
“H-Hey, isn’t that cursed?” (Sazan)
He looked in the direction of Ina as if finding this creepy and asked.
But Shizun-san shook his head, unfazed.
“No, there’s no way. It is simply the consideration of my ancestors so that the ring doesn’t get lost once it is equipped. Also, you can properly take it off if you pay money to the church.” (Shizun)
“That’s totally cursed!!” (Sazan)
It is a rare instance of Sazan retorting.
“S-Souma-san, w-what should I do with t-this…?!” (Ina)
Ina asked for help with teary eyes.
What to do, you ask. You can just return it. It seems like she can’t think of it because of how panicked she is.
Or maybe she thinks she can’t just decide because it is a valuable item.
Shizun-san said with a laugh at the panicking Ina.
“There’s no need to be so scared. Let’s say it is cursed. Even if that were the case, it is simply that you can’t take it off once you wear it. There’s no other bad thing it would do.” (Shizun)
Ina reacted as if she had seen the light in hell at the follow-up of Shizun-san and agreed vehemently.
“R-Right?!! Y-You could even say it is relieving since you would have resistance to instant death!!” (Ina)
“That’s right… Well, you will be turned powerless to other status ailments aside from instant death though.” (Shizun)
The blood was drained from Ina’s face at the foreboding words that were said casually.
“You heard the story, right? Lord Aken-sama could endure the other status ailments, so in exchange for gaining complete resistance to instant death, the resistances to other ailments must have been thrown away. What a man of fortitude.” (Shizun)
The face of Ina grew paler in contrast to Shizun-san who was laughing heartily.
“Speaking of which, there was a record of a family head a long time ago that accidentally touched a poisonous mushroom while wearing that ring. The poison was not that strong, and yet, it easily circulated in his body, and no matter what they tried, he couldn’t recover. It was apparently pretty hectic.” (Shizun)
And Ina trembles profusely.
“S-So, what happened to that person?” (Sazan)
Sazan asked instead of Ina who couldn’t speak because of how much she was trembling.
Shizun-san smiled gently at that.
“Fortunately, the panic of the poison was only for a little while.” (Shizun)
“Meaning that it was cured soon aft—” (Ina)
Seeing hope, Ina turned cheerful, but Shizun-san answered her with a nice smile.
“No, he apparently went to heaven soon after.” (Shizun)
After that, I somehow soothed Ina who was trembling like a Stray Slime that had 1 HP remaining, and returned to the ring on top of the pedestal.
When I took the ring from Ina’s hand, Ina looked at me with eyes as if a notification dropped, telling me: ‘affection drastically increased!!’.
“Souma-san, you really are my savior!” (Ina)
She shouted this and showed just how easy of a heroine she is, but leaving that aside…
“Now then, I will be closing the barrier.” (Shizun)
After confirming that the ring was returned, Shizun-san approached the crystals.
“In order to activate the barrier, you do the opposite of what I did before. You pour mana of the same element as the crystal.” (Shizun)
Shizun-san sends red mana to the red crystal and blue mana for the blue crystal.
When he did, the crystals regained their light.
“Ah, the barrier…” (Ina)
The rainbow curtain unfolded in between the pillars again.
The pitch black ring couldn’t be seen anymore.
“I think you understand now with this, but you need to be able to use barrier magic of two elements at the very least to open this Oath Barrier. That’s why, obtaining the ring that’s deep in this barrier is proof that you are a skilled user of barrier magic. In other words, the proof that you are the head of the family.” (Shizun)
Seeing that we nodded at his words, Shizun-san announces austerely.
“And…my four children can’t undo this barrier yet. My oldest son is fire, my oldest daughter is water, my second son is earth, and my second daughter is wind.
They all have an element they are good at, but it also means they can only use that one element satisfactorily.” (Shizun)
That’s when the face of Shizun-san warped in pain.
“At this rate, the first one who can use two elements will become the next family head. My children are desperately polishing their skills for the sake of that, but because of that, you can’t really say they get along well. To the point that it wouldn’t be strange even if there’s someone who would think about stealing the ring before any other sibling were to become the family head…” (Shizun)
Shaky family circumstances were suddenly revealed.
Shizun-san made a sudden action while we were listening, dumbfounded at this.
“This is the second reason why I suspect the culprit is from the inside. You can’t obtain the Immortal Oath unless you use barrier magic. And the only ones who can use barrier magic are me and my 4 children. That’s why, please…” (Shizun)
Shizun-san goes down on both hands and knees, and with head on the ground, he shouted.
“Please protect this ring!! And please save my children from a foul sin!!” (Shizun)
Was this a serious event?