Chapter 48 – The Twilight Forest
The moment we dove into the gate, the world changed. The current air was one unique to that of a forest.
It was unusually dark out. I wouldn’t say that it was fine to use Night Vision Magic though.
If one used Night Vision Magic, they would see a faint haze drifting around the forest, which would reduce their vision. That was why you couldn’t ensure your vision with magic once you reached the Twilight Forest.
There were Spells one should cast which took priority over that, like the Spell ‘Psycho Field’ to counter the Whispermush, which could cast sleeping Spells on you.
(TN: Wisparmush -> Whispermush, slight change in name)
“What’s that glowing flower over there?”
Sheila asked as she carefully watched our surroundings. A clear, rich light that was green or violet…appeared to be shining dimly. From their point of view, it was probably a magical scene.
“That is Fairy Light. If you pick it up and carry it with you, it will become your light source. However, if you use fire as a light source, you will be simultaneously attacked by the surrounding plants, so please be careful.”
After I answered her, Sheila surveyed her surrounding and raised her eyebrows. Correct, it was something magical, but this place was unsafe.
The haze drifting around in this Forest…was also the Fairy Light’s pollen.
The Twilight Forest was a place with unique plants that didn’t need sunlight to grow. Naturally, its ecosystem was also unusual.
Plant swarms that attacked you because of fire weren’t treated as Monsters.
With that said, it would be better to chop down plants that became obstacles one by one. The Labyrinth would turn them into walls if too many showed up, causing them to obstruct you, since the trees here were treated as the Labyrinth’s walls.
It seemed that we couldn’t take any shortcuts, such as phasing through walls or the floor.
There were even those who were sent back due to dying from being buried alive in BFO.
After Sheila picked up one of the Fairy Lights, she confirmed it by lighting the area around her feet.
“…A lot of people’s tracks are here.”
It was probably because there were too many diverging points. Even their tracks would disappear if the Labyrinth’s structure changed.
“Let’s catch up with the Sword Boar if we discover its tracks.”
In terms of which order to do things, it was better to search for the Guardian before eliminating it.
Guardians were territorial, and their top priority was to remove invaders.
There were many cases where people blocked the stairs and stone steles so that it wouldn’t retreat to the lower floors.
In regards to this floor, it couldn’t go back with the stone stele, so if it occupied the stairs, then the invaders wouldn’t be able to flee.
That was why I had decided to approach the Sword Boar as we continued heading towards the stairs. I understood that the Adventurers could only keep moving forward, so I looked for a chance to attack the Sword Boar.
Everyone proceeded on the path that led inside of the Forest while holding up the Fairy Light. I wanted to continue forward while watching to see if there were any reactions from humans from Life Detection, but–
“–They’re coming! There’s a lot of them, so I can’t give any specifics!”
As I reacted to Sheila’s words, Life Detection was interrupted.
Nothing was picked up by my Life Detection Magic. What I was trying to find, along with the response from humans, were enemies that consisted mostly of Plant Monsters. An enemy’s response would fade into the background. If the magic was interrupted, then you had to cancel their responses individually and start over.
Murderous plants, called Killer Plants, rushed at us as a large tremor propagated from the bushes. They were Monsters that walked with their roots and attacked with their branches.
I felt that Evil Weeds would probably turn out like this if they ever grew gigantic and became violent.
I repelled the attacks from their tree lumps and crushed them head-on with the Dragon Staff.
“You’re in the way!”
The Killer Plants that headed towards Grace were cut in half.
“We won’t have the spare time to fight them one by one. Let’s move forward as we eliminate them.”
In order to ensure the rescue and prevent the number of victims from increasing, the subjugation took priority. Naturally, we didn’t have the time to strip them of their materials, and fighting them was probably a waste of time.
During this period, low, whispering voices could be heard here and there. They were Spells the Whispermush used as they lurked inside the bushes. Unfortunately for them, they wouldn’t succeed, since I had used magic to counter them, but allowing them to freely cast their Spells wasn’t really something to feel happy about.
After I shot a fireball into those bushes, burning Whispermush rushed out and ran in all four directions, surrounding the tree lumps. Umu.
“I smell human blood.”
Just as we came to a forked road, Grace stopped and raised her eyebrows.
“Which way does it lead?”
“I’m sorry, I don’t really know. The air is becoming stagnant.”
Wind didn’t blow in the Twilight Forest. It seemed that we couldn’t follow it through her sense of smell alone, since the air was becoming stagnant. Sheila stopped listening to Grace and surveyed the surroundings while paying strong attention to the ground.
“…There are bloodstains, over there.”
Sheila ran in the direction she indicated.
Shortly afterwards, we discovered some collapsed Adventurers.
Whether or not Grace was aware of the smell of blood that was drifting around, she lightly shook her head.
Altogether, it was three people. It was an awful sight.
One was laying in a pool of blood, and another was thrown on top of a bush. The last one was stuck in a tree’s trunk.
There were wounds all over their bodies. We could see traces of the rampaging Sword Boar. The ground around us was caved in and large trees were broken.
“The two over there are still alive.”
The people marked by Life Detection were the ones thrown on top of the bush and stuck in the tree’s trunk. Unfortunately, the other remaining person had already taken his last breath. As we reached the two people who were still alive, the light that displayed their Life Response was weakening. We had to treat them immediately, or else it would be dangerous.
“Please hang in there!”
Ashley proceeded to use Healing Magic immediately after laying them down on the ground. Although their wounds closed, it was impossible to return the blood that was flowing out of their bodies. Even casting a stamina enhancing Spell would probably only recover half of it. One of the men, who was as white as a sheet, let out a groan.
“Ugh, y-you guys are…”
“We came to save you, please hang in there.”
“We’re s-saved, huh? Pl…ease. That damned thing went after our companions.”
The man pointed into the Forest as he said that.
Was he saying that his friends became a decoy so that he wouldn’t be killed?
Perhaps it placed a priority on eliminating the others just as he was incapacitated.
“Are you able to use a Red Dimension Stone? How many of your remaining companions are left?”
“Ah, of course. Please save them for me. There are two people…left.”
I handed the man a Red Dimension Stone that I had been holding.
One flaw of the Red Dimension Stone was that it took a bit of time to use, up until the transfer gate fully expanded. That was why it was necessary to use it after creating the safest possible situation. As the man hugged onto the corpse of his companion, he threw the Red Dimension Stone onto the ground. After that, a magic circle expanded out from the center of the area where the stone shattered, and finally, a pillar of light rose into the air. The man vanished inside of it, along with his companions.
Held items could be brought outside the Labyrinth with the Red Dimension Stone. In other words…the companion’s corpse. This time, those guys would probably be transferred to the Shrine at the Labyrinth’s entrance.
“I’ve somewhat figured out the Sword Boar’s tracks. Let’s give chase immediately.”
When we chased after the Sword Boar’s trail, we heard a war cry from further inside the forest. We were close enough to it that we could hear that, but–
At that moment, it became noisy inside the Forest. Rustling leaves resounded from the bushes.
“What was that just now?”
“…The Guardian is calling over the Monsters on this floor.”
I didn’t know why…but it seemed to have gathered some companions.
After we rushed towards the voice, the area opened up. Two humans, marked by the Life Detection, could be seen huddling shoulder to shoulder on top of a tree.
I stopped everyone with my hand and looked at the situation they were in from the tree’s shadow.
The Sword Boar was over there. It had a rather large body. Its restlessness didn’t fit its image and it was moving around, unable to calm down.
It was persistently sniffing its surroundings, and it appeared to be smashing into many trees and uprooting them, as if taking out its irritation on them. The Adventurers on the tree had apparently used a Spell to blind it, but it was likely that they couldn’t deceive all of that thing’s senses. It also hadn’t found me yet because they were somewhat blocking both its sense of smell and hearing with Wind Magic.
The Sword Boar was a Demihuman that had a hard, steel-like body and sharp fangs. It wasn’t a pig, but a wild boar. It was a superior variant of an Orc.
Its name originated from the sharpness of its body. Even if you held onto it, it would tear you to shreds. This was the basis of its defense. Its claws and fangs were also unusually sturdy.
Basically, it was a Monster that used brute force to attack. Although I said that it used the brute force approach, since it concealed strong, Guardian-class Mana inside of its body, its Magic Resistance was also high. Its stored Mana was the basis of its defense against magic.
In short, it wouldn’t allow itself to be tied down like a normal large Orc.
The Sword Boar looked like it was going to find the hiding Adventurers by rampaging.
The Adventurers on the tree seemed to be feeling nervous about when it would come up to them.
Now then, it was possible that the Spell I wanted to show off for blowing that thing away would engulf those two as the Sword Boar approached them. Having said that, as long as it rallied Monsters together, I didn’t really have the time to leisurely think about things. It was the same as not being able to cast powerful Spells when a battle turned chaotic.
“I’ll go aggro it, so can you do what you did when we fought the Killer Ants?”
“The same thing you say…the method of using the Defense Field to endure it?”
I see. As long as I avoided a chaotic battle, I had a way to round the adventurers up in one swoop. It was also possible to flee with the Red Dimension Stone if one could suppress an approaching enemy.
For that reason, I had to maintain a Spell that would allow them to enter a barrier. Grace would draw the Sword Boar’s aggro, and we would head towards those people?
However, for her to be a decoy…
Did she understand my worries? After our gazes met, Grace gave me a weak smile, as if she was a bit troubled by something.
“If I could speak truthfully, it’s painful right now, since the smell of human blood from earlier was too thick. Because of that, I want to let off some steam and go on a rampage. Won’t you leave that thing to me?”
“I’ll provide some backup if I find it dangerous, alright?”
She smiled at me sweetly and then laughed happily.