69 One who dreams of becoming a hero
<Nothing is gained without challenge. But nothing is lost without challenge. Chance and danger come to you like a flip of a coin. It's not you who can choose which side.>
-Famous Chancellor Rigachev of Usharan
The man was very mysterious. He did not show his face and his body was covered by a mantle. Lamran would've disregarded him under normal circumstances. He knew it was dangerous to interact with mysterious beings as he learned it back when he was working as an adventurer. Yet Lamran could not refuse to talk to him.
Additionally, after he talked, he became mesmerized. Not once had he shared his deepest thoughts to anyone. He was too ashamed of himself to admit that he had failed to achieve his dreams. Moreover, the man knew about it and asked him.
<Do you know who you are?>
Lamran looked at the man, confused.
<So, you don't.>
Then he began telling Lamran something he did not know about himself. After that, he felt something stirring from within. As he became excited, the man explained the path he needed to take.
<Take this map…>
<Find your old friend…>
Lamran was curious at first about who this man was and his purpose, but as he listened more, it became pointless.
What was important was that he now had a way.
And it wasn't hard. It was really close actually, and only he would be able to do it.
That was why the man came to him. It was only something he could do.
A lot of parts were suspicious, but Lamran could not refuse.
It was the last chance to seize his dreams once and for all.
And it was now nearing time.
After checking on it with Lilia, the preparation was almost complete. It only needed two more days. Lamran shivered in excitement.
He was going to be a hero.
"Yes, Miss Stiel?"
Stiel spoke to Sian who was lying on a hill, looking down at Margaran at the bottom.
"Don't you train yourself?"
"I've never seen you train before. That's why."
Ra-Banders were hard to find. Part of it was because they were not interested in society, but a large part of it was because they were only interested in one thing.
To find something challenging.
One of easiest ways was to find someone that was the same.
Ra-Banders loved the idea of challenging themselves from long ago to become stronger. It was good to find another superhuman or Six-Horned Harijan to fight, but it was hard because it was so scarce.
Even Stiel was taking her time because she had Sian who had become her prime interest. When she was back at Lagran, she trained all day long.
"I'm at the limit."
"Limit? How do you know that?"
"You've been a Grand Bander, right?"
"What was it like before becoming a Ra-Bander?"
"That's of course… wait, you?"
"Yeah, that's what I'm talking about."
'Maybe he can really divide the sea…'
Stiel was genuinely surprised. The barrier that stood at the end of the Expert-level from the beginning was close. It only took a bit of an effort for anyone to achieve. The one for Masters was wider than that. But if one became a Master, one would be able to see the Grand Bander barrier with great effort.
At the Grand Bander level, it was extremely large. Even with life-long training, it was rare for Grand Banders to even see the barrier before dying.
But the Ra-Bander barrier?
Even 170 years of training wasn't enough for Stiel. She believed it just didn't exist as she just kept getting stronger and stronger.
"So… that research was true? There's another level after Ra-Bander?"
"The Magical Council once reported some research they found from data from the Empire data. That there's another level after Ra-Bander."
It wasn't sure who recorded it, but it was well protected. But everyone scoffed it off, considering it as foolish research, not knowing the power of a Ra-Bander.
"They are smart to know that."
Sian praised the researchers, but Stiel became curious.
"Don't you want to break that barrier? Is there any way?"
Sian quickly answered it without hesitation.
"There is a way. I know how."
"WHAT! Then why aren't you doing it!"
Stiel shouted in shock and all the grass surrounding them was plucked out by the force, which Sian was covered with.
"Oh… uh, sorry. I'm just curious. Why aren't you doing it then?"
To go beyond that level! Stiel became so curious. It wasn't because she wanted to try it. There was no telling if she would be able to do it.
She just wanted to witness the birth of a <God> that no human in the thousands of years of history had managed to become.
Sian began explaining.
"You need to overcome a near-death experience?"
"…and you've never experienced it in your life?"
Stiel had such talent, but she had countless experiences where she nearly died. It was probably the same for the other Ra-Banders. Such power was not left alone in this world. They were attacked and they tried to stop it before it became too strong.
Sian was very special in this case.
"Haha, who can do that?"
Stiel thought Sian was a bit of a jerk.
"Well, unless I come across such experience without knowing… why would I put myself in such danger?"
He was right but Stiel was disappointed.
"Haha, you look like I should be placed in such danger."
"No, no. Haha… what are you talking about."
Stiel denied it but Sian sighed as he already knew what she was thinking.
"I will probably run away if that happens but… if it really comes that I cannot run and I might die, you should run away."
"Oh, are you worried about me?"
Stiel looked surprised.
"No, you'll stand in my way."
It felt refreshing to be considered in such a way. She was always considered as a disaster or destruction itself. But it made sense.
If there was a time when Sian was in danger, she wouldn't stand a chance.
"So, is it complete?" Lilia asked Lamran. He was standing at the front of a small hill, concentrating.
Lamran seemed too concentrated to respond and a change began happening in front of him. The part of a hill was being lifted. As the crack began to grow in size, it began to tear apart and something jumped out from it toward Lamran.
It was a mole-like animal, but it was the size of a human thigh.
"You dug the ground up by using these animals?" Lilia examined the animal while asking.
"Yeah. These are called <Kukuran>. They live underground."
"They're cute. So… that tunnel is connected to the bottom of the pedestal?" Lilia asked as she watched the animals running away as soon as the magic lifted and turned to the pedestal.
"Yeah. There were enough Kukurans to do the job, so it was quick."
Farmers usually killed these animals since they destroyed the crops. But Margaran did not have many farmlands and thus these animals were left alone.
He needed to reach the back of the pedestal.
The pedestal was heavily guarded as it was a vital piece for the city's growth. It also had all kinds of detection magic and machines that sensed any nearby Bander or Exar movement.
Lamran's power didn't use Exar once the order had been made, so it was easy to dig the tunnel to the back of pedestal.
Lamran let out a breath and turned to Lilia.
The first step was cleared. It was now time to believe in his friend.
"Let's go, Lilia."
"Yeah, it's been a long time."
The two moved into the tunnel and the entrance was covered up by the Kukurans.