I Obtained a mythic Item Chapter 212

I Obtained a Mythic Item

Chapter 211: Nastrond (1)

As I deactivated the external barrier and entered the Mist Garden, I was welcomed by an unexpectedly serene scene which contrasted starkly with the field of ice I had just left behind. It was a verdant garden, and it seemed unthinkable that this place and Niflheim were one and the same.

‘Is this the Mist Garden?’

Around me, an assortment of plants grew in orderly fashion.

However, despite the comforting scenery, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of disquietude, driven by the words of the woman I had encountered earlier.

[What! How is there such a place! Who arrived here so early?!]

“What are you talking about? Why does it matter if I’m early?”

The whole situation was baffling to me.

The owner of the voice seemed to be the person in charge of the third trial, judging from the circumstances.

This meant, in simple terms, that they were someone desperate to hasten their candidate’s growth by even a day…

…At least that’s how it should be.

So, why did the voice seem to rebuke me for coming early to face the trial?

Just as this question became clear in my mind, the voice of Hel interrupted my thoughts.

“……Your lazy disposition remains unchanged. Did I not tell you to abandon the habit of only dealing with matters as they arise? Idun.”

Upon hearing her words, my eyes narrowed.

Idun. It was a name I knew all too well.

I calmly recalled information about her.

‘Idun, the ‘Goddess of Youth.’ Naturally. She’s the very one who grows the golden apples.’

Idun.

A goddess from Norse mythology, the keeper of the golden apples which halted aging and greatly enhanced magical aptitude.

‘I’ve had one of Idun’s golden apples before.’

I remembered receiving an apple from her as a reward after clearing the first fork in a mock dungeon quest.

It hadn’t been as tasty as I’d expected, somewhat of a letdown.

As I reminisced about the past, an irritated voice broke through my thoughts.

“Hel! I’ve told you before; I’m not lazy, just a bit slow to act!”

Hel responded nonchalantly, as if she had grown used to such protests.

“That’s precisely what they call laziness. It’s obvious, isn’t it? By presenting us with this situation, it’s clear that the trial isn’t ready yet, right?”

“Ugh…!”

Stung by Hel’s sharp words, Idun was unable to respond.

Indeed, despite our arrival at the Mist Garden, she had yet to reveal herself.

I realized then why Hel had been so annoyed about dealing with the person in charge of the third trial.

‘…Already at the third trial, and it’s not ready? This is indeed a first.’

I suppressed the rising irritation and addressed the disembodied voice.

“I will wait until the third trial is ready. How long will it take?”

“Umm… about three days?”

Three days.

It wasn’t an unbearable wait, but it was quite lengthy.

Especially since time in desolate Niflheim seemed to pass even slower.

I thought to myself that this problem was undoubtedly due to Idun’s lack of preparation.

I couldn’t just let this slide; I intended to leverage something from her for this mistake.

*Sigh*…

With a deep sigh, I began to act.

“This is the first time I’ve encountered a trial so poorly managed. What a waste of my precious time.”

My voice was laden with annoyance, and I immediately got a reaction.

Idun’s flustered reply came swiftly.

“I-I’m sorry! I didn’t expect you to come so soon…”

In fairness, Idun had reasons to be startled.

Certainly, it was her fault for the delay, but she had expected it would take at least a year for an opponent to arrive here, hadn’t she?

In hindsight, it was because I reached Niflheim far too quickly that things became complicated.

“If you’re sorry, then you should offer compensation suitable for your mistake. Surely you know empty apologies lack sincerity?”

I teased, to which Idun tentatively replied.

“W-Wait just a moment…”

After pausing briefly as if to ponder, Idun then seemed to remember something and clapped her hands.

“That’s right! I’ve heard about it before. Aren’t you using ‘that thing’s’ fang as a weapon?”

“That thing…?”

After contemplating for a moment, an entity crossed my mind.

With a flash of realization, I said,

“Could it be… you’re speaking of Nidhogg?”

Among the weapons I could craft, the only one associated with a ‘fang’ was that one.

Idun emphatically approved.

“Yes, that’s it! Nidhogg! I’ll help you enhance its weapon. I’ll give you a quest for the three days the trial takes to prepare. Strengthen your weapon and come back. I’ll try to get the trial ready as quickly as I can too. How does that sound?”

‘Nidhogg’s Fang is already an exceptional S-grade weapon as it is. If it can be strengthened even further… it surely means ascending to a mythic grade.’

It was a deal with no downsides from my perspective.

I couldn’t take on the trial just yet, so I might as well play along with her plan. If I expressed too much greed, she might decide to cancel the entire offer.

I concealed my satisfaction and nodded.

“Understood.”

“Just… don’t talk behind my back later!”

Idun swiftly declared in a triumphant tone.

Along with her words, a refreshing message appeared before me.

―You have accepted a new quest.

―Sub Quest 《Nidhogg’s Fang (Enhancement)》 has been accepted.

[Sub Quest]

Nidhogg’s Fang (Enhancement)

Earn the recognition of Nidhogg, the dragon residing in Niflheim’s Nastrond.

Requirement: Nidhogg’s Recognition.

Difficulty: S+

Reward: The creation ranking of 《Nidhogg’s Fang》 will be upgraded to mythic.

I smiled upon seeing the quest window. It was a golden opportunity to enhance Nidhogg’s Fang.

There was no reason to not take advantage of it.

“Then, I’ll see you in three days.”

“Y-Yes! Come as slowly as you can!”

Idun called out to me even as I was leaving.

Hel sighed.

Papi seemed puzzled and merely tilted his head in confusion.

* * *

A brief time later, after I had departed from the Mist Garden.

Idun, sitting on the terrace, murmured as she watched the spot I had left from.

“The adversary… turned out to be much scarier than I imagined…”

She recalled my face demanding compensation and wrapped her arms around her shoulders.

Not that it was new for me to look sullen.

Regrettably, the first human Idun had encountered in a while had less-than-noble character traits.

Idun, however, was naive.

Soon, she shook off the unease and smiled innocently.

“Ah, well! What’s good is good, right? After all, Nidhogg wanted to meet the adversary, so it’s all fine!”

Idun reassured herself, not releasing the embrace of her arms, and added,

“But who could have known the adversary would come so quickly… What trick did he use? I’m fortunate that my quick wit saved the day!”

Idun found peace of mind gazing at her garden while contemplating the preparation of the third trial.

Who knew when that obnoxious adversary would reappear and demand compensation?

If she didn’t get ready soon, she might end up losing everything she had!

With that thought, Idun began to stress the preparation of the trial.

In her hand were a few small seeds.

* * *

“I had no idea a door could be hidden in such fog.”

Hours later.

Arriving at a coastline enveloped by dense mist, I emerged from Idun’s garden and headed north to a sight few had beheld. What came into my view was a massive, mist-shrouded archway.

The door, entwined with white bones and eerie engravings of snakes, wolves, and dragons.

I scanned the surroundings and asked,

“Nastrond… seems to be an unfamiliar name. May I inquire what this place is exactly?”

Hel replied, ready with her answer,

“Simply put, it’s a hell. But fundamentally different from Helheim.

Only those deemed the worst offenders come here. Consider it a kind of prison.”

“Prison?”

She nodded affirmatively.

“That’s right. A prison for those who have committed grievous sins, meting out fitting punishments.”

I was stunned to learn of another hell distinct from Helheim within Norse mythology. The concept wasn’t elaborated in common Norse myths.

Even though I’d studied mythology extensively, Nastrond wasn’t a familiar territory for me, only a name I’d heard a few times.

Yet I had no significant concerns.

After all, the woman beside me was a being straight out of those very myths.

Figuring out such problems was unnecessary when accompanied by Hel.

I made a motion with my head,

“Let’s go inside.”

I proceeded to enter the door first, but a voice suddenly echoed from somewhere.

[The adversary of prophecy…is it you?]

“That voice… It must be Nidhogg.”

Hel remarked, gazing towards where the voice originated beyond the door.

I nodded calmly,

“Are you Nidhogg?”

[Yes, I am Nidhogg, the dragon that dwells in the deepest reaches of Nastrond.]

Picking up on Nidhogg’s cue, I got straight to the point,

“Idun gave me a quest to have my weapon enhanced. She said I need to earn your recognition… So what exactly should I do?”

[Reach where I reside first. The deepest part of Nastrond, Hvergelmir.]

Hvergelmir.

I was familiar with the term.

‘The bubbling boiling spring, the source of all water, where Nidhogg resides.’

Even within the mythology, Hvergelmir is depicted in Niflheim, and Nidhogg’s residence matches the lore.

I reacted simply,

“Is that all?”

[Of course not. However, reaching me will not be easy.

You cannot arrive here without passing through three gates.]

Nidhogg added with a chuckle,

[I wish you good fortune.]

Before I could respond, the voice faded like an echo.

Hvergelmir. The deepest reaches beckoned me, leaving only instructions behind.

I frowned,

“A trip that won’t be easy… What does that even mean?”

“Let’s move on and I’ll explain.”

With Hel leading the way, we stepped into the gate.

Creak… As the bone white gate opened, I shuddered involuntarily at the scene inside.

[Ah, stop…please stop…]

There, countless spirits writhed, chained and immobilized.

Above them, a stream of purple liquid relentlessly dripped down.

Sssss…

Alongside the hissing noise, the ghosts’ cries intensified.

Realizing it was poison, I asked,

“What is this place?”

Hel replied grimly,

“The first gate of Nastrond. This is the punishment for adulterers. Day in and day out, they must endure the agony of the corrosive poison dripping down upon them.”

[Please…set us free… I… I…!!]

[Aaahhh…!!]

[Stop…please, no more…]

“Don’t make eye contact. The gaze of a sinner can disquiet the heart.”

Hel walked ahead as she spoke, clearly no stranger to this place.

Nevertheless, despite her warning, the condemned blocked our path.

I was about to reluctantly draw upon my magic, but then Hel lifted her hand towards me.

Then, in an instant, something bewildering happened.

The sinners bowed before Hel, clearing a path for her.

“Hel? What’s happening…?”

I watched in confusion as the condemned prostrated themselves and made way.

Hel smiled and explained,

“It seems they forgot I am an avatar of Hel, the ruler of the dead.”

She gestured forward and prompted us to hurry,

“Let’s go. We need to keep moving if we’re to meet Nidhogg.”



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