SSS-Class Suicide Hunter – Chapter 160: The Great Snail Empire. (3)

The Great Snail Empire (3)

SSS-Class Suicide Hunter – Chapter 160: The Great Snail Empire. (3)

The others, like the Venomous Snake and the Black Dragon Master all began to frown slightly one after the other. They must have received a quest as well.

It wasn’t too difficult to guess the contents.

‘I bet it’s about helping the races they are in charge of, escape.’

It was around this time that Heretic Questioner also smiled.

“Hoh?”

He’d probably received a [quest] as well.

It wasn’t too difficult to guess what that was about either.

“I just received a mission. It is to protect my empire by preventing your races from breaking free!”

The exact opposite of ours.

Defend the empire.

“You were probably tasked with rescuing your respective races from the Slime Empire. Hmm, how interesting. Our quest objectives conflict with each other.”

“……”

A strange silence fell upon the group. Woooo… Woo!! For a while, the screams from the colosseum beneath us were the only things we could hear.

The Heretic Questioner rubbed his chin.

“I got it. Everyone. Please give in to me.”

“…What?”

The Black Dragon Master furrowed her brows when she heard that. Nevertheless, the Heretic Questioner’s expression didn’t change. He smiled and spoke as if he had said the most logical thing.

“I know you might be confused by your emotions right now! Even though it’s only been a few weeks, you devoted your time and affection to your various races. It’s natural that you wouldn’t be able to accept them being reduced to slaves. But this is the fastest method!”

Fast.

“If I hadn’t interfered, the people of this world would have been wandering aimlessly for thousands of years! However, due to my intervention, they were able to enter the ancient era after only 200 years. It was that fast!”

“Heretic Questioner. Even if you’re right, using religion and slavery like this is….”

“I’m not saying my method is perfect. Black Dragon Master! Imagine just how many lives would have been sacrificed in the thousands of years that would have passed. Even if my civilization uses and overworks hundreds of thousands of slaves, it has only been a ‘few’ hundred years!”

“……”

“I will accelerate history even further.”

As the Heretic Questioner said this, the light of the many torches in the underground city seemed to shine down upon him. The huge dog statue cast its shadow on us.

“From the ancient era to the middle ages. From the middle ages to the modern era. And finally from the modern era to the present era! I can avoid all the mistakes, misunderstandings and slaughter that humanity experienced!”

There was a hint of certainty in the Heretic Questionner’s voice.

He also tried to convey his determination through his sad gaze.

It was as though he was saying ‘I can do it’.

“So everyone. Please surrender. I will stay in this world and guide them. 400 years. No, in just 360 years, I will raise them to the same level our civilization has reached!”

“You intend to stay here for another 360 years…?”

“Yes!”

Under the pillar which depicted the history of a single civilization, the Heretic Questioner smiled broadly.

“Trust me, everyone, and leave!”

4.

We had a meeting, but there wasn’t any real conclusion. Some of our colleagues believed that we should entrust this stage to the Heretic Questioner, while others strongly opposed it.

In the end, we discussed for more than two hours but we weren’t able to reach a consensus.

“Let’s take a look at how our races are doing first. Everyone is gradually becoming more agitated.”

I made a suggestion.

“If this continues it’ll just become an emotional argument… So let’s go see how those kids are living. Then we’ll each make our own decision. Let’s meet back here tomorrow. Okay?”

My companions all nodded at my words. We all held back our groans and sighs as we scattered to search for the areas where our races were staying.

Naturally, I headed to the place where the goblins were staying.

Most of the goblins lived in the salt mines.

-That’s it for today’s daytime work! Rime! Everyone, go home!

-Except for the supervisors, you molds can’t move around outside!

-Line up! In an orderly manner!

The snails swung their tentacles. Flinching, the goblins drew back and entered pits that were dug right beside the mines.

These ‘pits’ were the only accommodation given to the goblins.

“……”

I was at a loss for words.

I was so speechless that something like a moan escaped from my lips.

“This doesn’t make sense… This is a pit. I know how much these kids like mud. How can they live in this place that has nothing but a salty smell? At the very least, they’d prefer to live in a damp place.”

-Yeah.

Bae Hu-ryeong muttered from behind me.

-They’re even scavenging for water, too. Hey.

One of two goblins came out from the hundreds of pits. These goblins had red bands around their necks and water jars at their waists.

Supervisors.

The leaders of each pit had to come out and get water on their own.

-Kerr.

The supervisors were generally older females.

I understood right away why these older females were chosen as the supervisors.

-Why are these two not in the dorm?!

-Kerk, when we’re not with them, the children start to cry. Look, ker…

-Tch!

The snail overseers had ordered that [No Goblin apart from the supervisor was allowed to wander around outside]. However, that didn’t stop the older females from bringing their young with them. If an older female was chosen as the supervisor, then they could bring up to two children with them, which meant that two more jars of water could be filled.

-Gorrk!

-Water! Ke, water!

The young goblins jumped into the spring water in the cave with a splash. Splash, splash! While the children swam, the females drew the water.

They were using unfired clay jars. These jars were so weak that they would immediately shatter if they were dropped. But for the goblins living in these hellish conditions, they were priceless treasures. So the supervisors were careful to prevent them from breaking.

“……”

I became more and more speechless.

The time to draw spring water was the only free time allocated to the goblins. During this rare break, the older female goblins mimicked the feel of mud by mixing dirt with the water, then they drew tattoos on the young goblins skin with this rough mud.

-Gorr!

-Gork, gork!

The children enjoyed it very much.

Some of the children also picked up dirt and rubbed it on the females’ skins. These were more like squiggles than tattoos.

Nevertheless, the older females didn’t erase the children’s drawings.

-It’s time for nighttime work! Rime!

The days’ work continued.

-Don’t slack off, you molds!

The snail overseer urged them. The snails called the goblins [Molds]. It was a slur. In the snail language, the word for mold was [ork] which was similar to the sounds goblins made, so they gave them this name.

-Get out of the dorm!

-Don’t waste my time! You lazy orks.

I was speechless at the cruelty of calling a race such a name simply because it was ‘fun to say’.

Goblins weren’t the only ones called by slurs.

The sprites were [stubby horns]. The vampires were [leeches]. And when it came to the ocean race, it was simply [fish]. Under the oppression of the snails, the other tribes’ special traits had become points of ridicule.

-Get to work!

-Get to work on your night shift!

Clang!

Wielding stone hammers, the goblins pounded on the rock salt. The rock salt obtained from the mines was very large and hard. It was the goblins’ duty at night to break these rocks into sizes that were easy to eat.

-Kerr…

-Kerrk. Kerr.

The rock salt had a heavy smell as it was broken. It smelled similar to rotten eggs. Clang! Clang! Clang! The goblins continued to pound rock salt for one hour, two hours, three hours. All while having to endure that horrid stench.

-Kerrr…

From a distance, the goblins looked like they were swinging laundry sticks. However, if you looked closely, you’d just see that it was the goblins’ hammers that had worn out.

As the rock salt broke, so did their fingernails.

Blood flowed from their wrinkled fingers, and the dust from the rock salt settled on wounds. But the goblins simply groaned every now and then without stopping as though they were used to it.

-Rime.

The snail overseer looked up.

There was a single hole in the ceiling of the underground cavern. Through it, sunlight poured in during the day, and moonlight at night. Now, stars were visible in the night sky.

-That’s all!

-That’s all for tonight, Rime!

-Miners return to your lodgings! Put all the hammers back in place. There were about 50 molds who had hammers! Don’t forget! 50 molds had hammers!

The goblins returned to their pits with their heads down.

-Kerr… Gor.

Two water jars were waiting for the goblins when they returned to the pit. As well as a few fish that looked like carp.

These were fish that had been caught by the mermaid fishermen.

Slaves who lived in the water caught fish to feed the slaves living in the caves.

“……”

Smoke from the grilling fish rose up from every pit. One, two, three, four, several hundred fires were lit at the same time.

The young goblins kept reaching for the fish before it was done. Tiring from mining stone salt all day, their mothers simply tapped the children on the back with touches weaker than a fly.

Nevertheless, the children were hungry. Eventually, the first few pieces of fish were given to the children, who ate them hurriedly.

-They always burn the things they intend to eat, Rime.

The snails who watched over the night shift chuckled among themselves.

-That’s because their digestive system isn’t as developed as ours.

-They are just a bunch of savages. How could you burn your food?

-By the way, we have to send a new candidate to the colosseum soon…

It was night.

The goblins gradually fell asleep. And the snails that watched over them from watchtowers also fell asleep. Apart from the drunken people in the distance who could be heard every now and then, the underground city descended into silence.

“Mm.”

At this point, I had already made up my mind.

“It seems I’ll have to apologize to Raviel.”

I muttered softly.

Bae Hu-ryeong crossed his mind as he realised what I was thinking.

-You intend to go back?

“Yeah. If I go back and talk to the Heretic Questioner, I should be able to create a new future.”

-What if talking to him doesn’t work?

“Then I’ll just have to talk to him some more. In any case, I’ll have 200 years to do it, won’t I?”

Bae Hu-ryeong wrinkled his nose.

-I don’t think you should.

“Why? Do you agree with what the Heretic Questioner said?”

-No, it’s not like that… Hmm. How do I explain it so a bastard like you can understand?

Bae Hu-ryeong scratched his head.

-Hey. For example, let’s say I’m your child.

“Huhh?”

-It’s an example, an example! Don’t look at me with that stupid expression. Anyways, pretend that I’m your child, and I went to school, but when I got home, you found out I got beat up. Would you go back a day to get rid of the fact that I got beaten up?

“…What are you talking about?”

-Think about it from my perspective.

Bae Huryeong looked me in the eye.

-Let’s say I had an accident. Or I died somehow. Then it’s natural for you to return. No, you wouldn’t even hesitate to return. You’ll die once and save my life. Understand?

“No, what are you talking about now…”

-But what if you go back a day because something happened and then you found out it was unnecessary. Don’t you think that would be a bit messed up? I’m the one who has a problem, so why are you the one freaking out and regressing? I’m sure you wouldn’t even give me a chance.

“What chance?”

-A chance to beat the bastards that beat me up. This is something you should be familiar with. You experienced a similar situation just a few months ago.

“But…”

-Trust them.

“Who?”

-Yourself.

Bae Hu-ryeong responded calmly.

-And the little ones you raised.

As I pondered, the rats in the cave squeaked.

Then, after a long while had passed.

-Huh?

Bae Hu-ryeong suddenly spoke up.

-Hey, Zombie. Look at that.

“Huh?”

-There. The goblins.

I turned my head in the direction he was pointing.

-What are they doing when they should be asleep?

I was surprised.

Goblins were sneaking out of their pits. There were about one to two goblins per pit. After confirming that their overseers were asleep in their watchtowers, the goblins slowly and carefully walked in a certain direction.

-Oh my. Are they headed back to that cave?

The goblins walked into the salt mine.

The inside of the mine had been intricately carved like an ant nest. The snail overseers, who were relatively vulnerable to salt, only commanded the slaves from outside the mine. They never came this deep

-Kerr…

-Kerk, Ker.

The goblins kept their voice low as they walked. The deeper they went, the narrower the passage became, and the lower the ceiling. However, the goblins continued to walk along this path as though they had done it many times before.

‘Huh?’

The corners of Bae Huryeong’s lips curled up slightly.

-See that?

“……”

-They built a secret passage under the noses of their oppressors.

2nd underground floor. 3rd underground floor. 4th underground floor.

The goblins descended into the depths of the mine. There were hundreds of intersections connected to the passage. If someone came down here without knowing the way, it was possible that they would get stuck here for the rest of their life.

-Kerr.

Finally, after travelling for about an hour, they reached their destination.

-Kerrk, ker.

-Kerrrrr…

In the dark cavern, the flame of a torch flickered every now and then. The figures of the goblins were barely discernible in the light

-Hoh.

Bae Hu-ryeong was surprised.

-Would you look at that? I was right, wasn’t I? They are also people. They won’t just wait for someone to come save them!

Perhaps it was responding to Bae Hu-ryeong’s words.

But the Tower’s voice sounded in my ear at that moment.

[The Goblin Race has created a secret assembly.]


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