Chapter 104: Earthquake, Monsters, and Uneasy feeling
Nothing happened for 2 days after we began travelling on the highway, no particularly strong monsters appeared and we proceeded smoothly.
Then, it happened when we had our guard down at dusk.
『Gogogogogogo』 (TL: SFX for rumbling noises)
At first, I thought I was mistaken but the earth gradually began to shake.
“Is it an earthquake?”
The shaking subsided immediately after I had lowered my body to balance myself … but the earthquake caused one serious problem.
He was beside the fire so I happened to look at him but Dolan was acting strangely.
“Dolan, are you alright?”
I asked Dolan but he was ashen faced and sweating profusely.
“I, I’m alright.”
Even though he said that, Dolan’s eyes were vacant.
After I approached Dolan and applied 「Recover」, his eyes gradually regained their focus and it felt like his state of turmoil subsided.
” … Perhaps the earthquake reminded you of the time you lost your arms?”
” … As expected of the S-rank healer-sama Luciel-sama to see through me … that’s right. I’ve wondered countless times if only the earthquake didn’t happen then.
If that didn’t happen, then I wouldn’t have lost my arms and the workshop wouldn’t have been blown away.”
I wondered if Dolan was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
“I see. However, you protected Paula in exchange for those arms right?”
” … Right. That’s right. Furthermore, my arms are perfectly fine now …”
Dolan was agitated but he forcibly smiled and clenched and relaxed his grip before he regained his composure.
“Dolan, I do not understand your feelings.
But I can apply healing magic on you and you can consult me. It might become easier if you talk about it.
If you feel even the slightest bit unwell, please come to speak to me.”
” … I guess my luck is somehow very good.”
Dolan looked at me and smiled.
Paula looked at Dolan who mostly regained his composure and showed a relieved expression.
I didn’t think that it was fortunate but I’m glad that Paula didn’t show any symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Dolan, I’m quite certain that earthquakes happen quite frequently in Rockford since a couple of years ago? Should we change our course to Meratoni?”
It’s not like … we must go to Rockford.
Actually, I remembered that there’s a dragon there as well so I don’t really want to go there too …
However, Dolan is not the type of person who complains.
“It’s alright. I have the mission to create that and I want to tell their graves that I’ve once again become a blacksmith.”
Dolan showed me his usual expression.
“Alright if that’s the case. Well then, I’ll quickly prepare dinner.” (Luciel)
“It looks like we’ll need to do some monster extermination before that.” (Lionel)
“Nya?! This time, it’s from underground nya. The monsters are some ant-like monsters nya.”
She immediately entered after I turned the Key of the Hermit and ordered her to enter the stables.
“I’ll let you out once the combat is over.”
After saying that, I turned the key and the door disappeared.
“How many are they?” (Luciel)
“About 20 to 30 nya.” (Cathy)
“Ants have strong vitality and attack using bites or fluid that can solidify so evade them.” (Dolan)
Dolan’s voice echoed after Cathy’s voice.
“Are you alright without resting?”
“I’ll precisely strike and crush them and get my hands on earth attribute magic stones.”
Dolan had returned to his usual self.
“That’s reassuring. Even if you lose your arms, as long as you don’t lose your life, I will save you. So send them flying!”
Dolan readied his great hammer.
Beside him was a 3 meter-class golem in a fighting pose attacking the ants.
The ant monsters were … weak.
“Their weak but aren’t their numbers progressively increasing?”
I occasionally forget that the equipment I’m holding have cheat-like performance but the magic-channelled Holy Dragon Spear and Illusionary Sword are both able to split the hard back of the ants in two.
“They’re gradually increasing huh.”
“They’re quite tough nya.”
“If that’s the case, let us finish this in one go, Paula.”
“Got it grandpa.”
The 3 meter-class golem became 5 meter-class and crushed the ants by stepping on them using the sole of its feet.
That’s completely a stomping attack.
The kick attack was a plain toe kick as well … Should I use that as inspiration to construct that? Or maybe the day that I ask them about it is coming. (TL: No idea what’s he talking about. My guess is Luciel wants Dolan to make a Gundam lol)
The combat ended as I was deep in thought.
“That’s probably too strong if it can be used indefinitely.”
“It’s certainly true that if the mechanism is unknown, it doesn’t feel like you can win nya.”
“It looks like a good simulation for anti-giant combat.”
I know that Lionel is a battle maniac so I ignored Lionel’s words.
“It’s dark so we’ll strip the ants tomorrow. However, please remain vigilant and check if they are properly dead.”
After I took out torches from my magic bag and passed it to them, I stored the carcasses in my magic bag and cast purification magic.
“There’re at least 50 ant monsters but is it usual for this area to have so many monsters?” (Luciel)
“The number of monsters increases when the earthquake becomes more active but to be honest, I don’t know much about what’s going on lately.” (Dolan)
” … There aren’t any labyrinths in the area around Rockford right?” (Luciel)
“Yeah. There are several mines scattered about but there aren’t any that have become labyrinths.” (Dolan)
So there’s a possibility that they may become a labyrinth if we’re unlucky?
Or perhaps …
“Is it possible that the mines themselves are labyrinths?” (Luciel)
“The monster bodies remain so they shouldn’t be labyrinths.” (Dolan)
“Today we’ll camp in three shifts.”
After announcing that, I lighted the monster repelling incense I purchased from the Herbalist Guild.
However, I didn’t know how effective it was outdoors so I had us do 3 shifts.
Monsters did not attack until dawn but the ants from yesterday came from underground so there were 50cm-sized holes on the ground.
“They look exactly like pitfalls. Don’t you think that carriages will fall into it if their wheels get stuck?” (Luciel)
“That’s true. Considering how many ant monsters there were, it might be better if we slightly reduce our speed.” (Kefin or Lionel?)
“It’s been going smoothly until now but I guess we should do that.” (Luciel)
While feeling relieved that there are no ant monsters in Ienith, I took out the carriage from my magic bag.
We’ll arrive in another 3 or 4 days so we once again departed for Rockford.
“Yesterday the ant monsters did not fly or spit fluids and they were weak as monsters … do you think they were scout types?” (Luciel)
“I’m not that well-versed in the study of monsters but while monsters have the common variants, there are those with stronger bodies and mutants as well as upper-class monsters so that line of thought might be reasonable.” (Lionel)
“I wonder if there is a peaceful large country somewhere.” (Luciel)
“If it’s the Independent Magic City Nelldal where the Magician Guild’s headquarter is, they apparently get attacked by bizarre bird-type monsters like wyverns and griffons but there are mechanisms to prevent them from entering so it is comparatively safe.” (Lionel)
“I can’t really have a peace of mind with the mention of bizarre bird-type monsters like wyverns and griffons but do they have some barrier set up? And why is it only flying monsters?” (Luciel)
“The Independent Magic City Nelldal is a magical city that floats in the air made hundreds of years ago from the combined effort of the hero, philosopher, and spirit magician. I heard that it is not governed by any country and signed non-aggression pacts with multiple countries.” (Lionel)
” … I didn’t expect there to be pioneers … or rather, there wasn’t any literature about a flying city in the books that I read when I was studying though?” (Luciel)
“That’s because of that right. There are various kinds of constraints regarding Nelldal and since it moves in the air, we don’t even know its current location.” (Lionel)
It couldn’t be drawn onto maps so they did not write about it huh, isn’t that slightly high-handed …
” … Sure sounds good~. Floating city.” (Luciel)
“It’s unrelated to battle so I don’t really like it but now that I think about it, they are at odds with the Healer’s Guild.” (Lionel)
” … Why?” (Luciel)
“If my memory serves me right, it’s due to conflicts because the gods they have faith in are different.” (Lionel)
I knew it anyway.
Life is not so simple …
“So it’s more realistic to create the monster radar as soon as possible huh?” (Luciel)
“We’ll protect you if monsters come so there’s no need to fuss about that so much.” (Lionel)
” … I hope so, thank you.” (Luciel)
It was when we were having that conversation.
When I thought that the horses pulling the carriage were beginning to be agitated, another earthquake happened.
“Ku … Okay, you’re great, Fornoir.”
Even when the earthquake happened, Fornoir didn’t move in the slightest.
Lionel properly controlled his horse so it calmed down.
The earthquake stopped after 30 seconds but I judged that it would be bad to let the agitated horses pull the carriage so I ushered them into the hermit’s stable for them to relax.
“You look better compared to yesterday … 「Recover」.” (Luciel)
“Thanks. This time, I confirmed that I have my hands countless times so I wasn’t in such a disarray but my body was still trembling.” (Dolan)
“That probably can’t be helped.” (Luciel)
Dolan’s complexion was bad but it wasn’t as bad as yesterday and his eyes were properly focused.
He seemed somewhat relieved after I applied 「Recover」on him.
With Dolan’s tenacious spirit, he’ll definitely overcome it so I look forward to it.
Then, Cathy’s voice rang out.
“Same monsters as yesterday are coming again nya.” (Cathy)
“Don’t push yourself.” (Luciel)
“I’d like to see Paula’s delighted expression with magic stones.” (Dolan)
Dolan is still Dolan after all.
Same ant monsters as yesterday suddenly appeared from holes and surged out.
I applied 「Area Barrier」 and we simultaneously ran toward the ants.
“It’s amazing when you properly look at them.”
The surging ant monsters swarmed as they approached but since we could defeat them with a single attack, even I was fine as long as I wasn’t surrounded.
Lionel swung his flaming greatsword as he beat, burned and blew away the ants with amazing vigour.
Thanks to that, although we did not have any cooperation or could not be careless, it didn’t feel like a tough battle.
As we continued to defeat them, I saw an ant with wings spread out come out of the hole but its wings were cut off with flying wind blades and it fell down.
Rician must have been using spirit magic.
“I wasn’t of any use yesterday so I’ll work for my share today.”
She locked eyes with me and said as she once again sent out wind blades to attack another ant monster.
The battle did not last for that long but I was concerned about the greater number of monsters compared to yesterday and the appearance of the upper-class monster as well.
“Are the earthquakes precursors to the appearance of monsters?”
” … It might be safer to assume so.”
“Do you think Rockford is safe?”
“The earthquakes happen frequently but including from underground, there haven’t been any monsters that have entered the city.”
“That’s great if that’s true.”
As I collected the ant carcasses, I prayed that nothing happened to Rockford.
Thus, we received attacks from the ant monsters a couple of times but at noon on the fourth day, we finally arrived at the city of Rockford where craftsmen and engineers gather.
Thank you for reading.