From the mountain summit, the sun could be seen rising from the eastern sky.
Illuminated by the sun, the result of the death fight from the surprise attack……became clear.
Almost no plants grew around the cave at the summit of the mountain. Something like a burnt, black sand was scattered around the area.
A large number of fireballs were thrown into the cave but more than 20 Harpies had escaped somehow. Rei used the large scale magic『Dancing Fire Snakes』to attack the Harpies which targeted him in their confusion and anger due to the surprise attack. As a result, their corpses were turned into charcoal and shattered from the impact of falling to the ground.
Originally, they were D rank monsters, so their combat power fell below that of Crushing Warriors, who were a C rank party. It was the same for Rei and Set, who were outside the norm, and the result was spread before their eyes.
「……It’s getting brighter.」
Freon muttered as the surroundings started to become easier to see due to the morning sun.
「Mm. ……First of all, let’s strip of the materials then go to sleep. I would like to sleep right away, but monsters will be attracted by the smell of blood and would eat all the Harpies and their materials.」
While sighing, Brazos muttered to himself as he looked at a Harpy that had been smashed by his Earthshaker Hammer.
The night time surprise attack had succeeded with little difficulty. But as the surroundings were still wrapped in darkness, they had to stay on guard and watch out for attacks by monsters attracted by the smell of Harpy blood drifting around.
At the same time, while the chance was small, there could also be surviving Harpies hidden somewhere. Basically, they were not high ranking monsters and weren’t much of a threat unless in a flock. Still, it wasn’t a bad thing to stay on guard as Harpies had the big advantage of being able to fly in the sky.
It would be stupid if they were to be caught in an surprise attack after conducting one themselves.
「……I want to drink some alcohol soon.」
Seeing Brazos look around with a tired expression, Rei spoke up as he placed the Death Scythe on his shoulder.
「In that case, how about we keep the Harpy corpses in the Misty Ring for now? We can strip the materials, proofs of subjugation and magic stones after taking a rest.」
At Rei’s words, Brazos’ bearded face turned cheerful. Although Freon had also rested yesterday afternoon, it was probably tough for her as well after staying up all night. She spoke up with a smile.
「That’s right. If we had to strip materials while tired, it wouldn’t be good if we were attacked by monsters at the same time. I agree with Rei’s opinion.」
「Of course, I have no complaints either.」
In the end, they decided on that. Rei gathered and stored the three Harpies they killed in the initial surprise attack, the ones that escaped from the cave and the ones that had been burnt up by his magic into the Misty Ring.
It was fortunate that some time had passed since the fight had ended. In the meantime, most of the blood had drained and Rei didn’t get too dirty as he stored them away.
When he finally finished storing the 10 intact Harpy corpses into the Misty Ring, the three of them finally gave a sigh of relief.
As Set watched the three of them, he stretched like a cat.
「Well then, let’s get away from here first. As for the condition of the cave, it will be fine.」
「……Are you sure?」
Should we check the cave before taking a break? Although Rei asked with that meaning implied, Brazos nodded that there was no problems as he carried the Eathshaker Hammer to his shoulder.
「In the first place, you used fire magic. The survivors from the nest have already attacked us. If they were really lucky, there may be some Harpies who survived somehow and chose not to attack us……if they were that lucky, there would only be a few of them at most.」
「I guess. At the very least, I don’t think they could survive such flames.」
At Brazos’ words, Freon agreed with a nod.
「No, well, this request was something Crushing Warriors took, I’m only a temporary member so I don’t mind the decision.……」
「That’s it. Well, let’s leave here as soon as possible. If the monsters get drunk on the smell of blood, they’ll come out even if Set is here.」
Pulling Rei’s arm, Brazos headed towards the bushes where they had been hiding earlier.
Freon and Set chased after them and they finally arrived at a clearing.
「Well then, let’s take a break. We’ll be busy after we get up so rest as much as you can. As for the watch, can we leave it to Set?」
On the way here, Brazos had heard stories about Set. When he saw Rei nod, he leaned against the trunk of a tree that grew nearby, closed his eyes and fell asleep.
Rei was stunned at the short time it had taken him to fall asleep. Freon seemed to be used to it already and also leaned against a nearby tree.
「Sleeping is also part of an adventurer’s work. Brazos’ ability to fall asleep in a few seconds is also a skill. We’ll definitely be busy after we wake up so you should also sleep quickly to restore your stamina.」
Saying that, Freon also fell asleep a few minutes after closing her eyes.
Still, both Brazos and Freon were adventurers and slept while holding on to their weapons. In case they sensed danger, they could respond immediately.
「……That’s right, I should also sleep. Set, we’ll leave the watch to you.」
Set basically didn’t have to take time to sleep like humans did, making him the ideal watch for situations like this. While Set often slept in the city while waiting for Rei, or in the stables of the Dusk Wheat inn, sleep was just a kind of enjoyment for him. For Set, just a few hours of sleep each day was enough.
Stroking Set’s head, Rei gave him a few extra pieces of bread from the Misty Ring as a bonus, which he had received when he had bought the stew in Gimuru before starting this request. Rei then closed his eyes after leaning against a tree trunk like Freon and Brazos.
Making sure he was holding onto the Death Scythe, to deal with the enemy in case they were attacked……he naturally fell asleep after about 10 minutes.
Looking at Rei, Set lay down on the ground while eating the bread so as to not disturb his favourite partner and closed his eyes.
Among monsters, some could use optical camouflage like the mantis they had encountered on the way to the dungeon. In addition, while not flawless as some insects, there were also monsters that could mimic that. Where trees grew thick in the mountains and visibility was low, Set had realised that hearing, small and instinct was more effective than sight. And……
He leapt up without a sound. Set swung his claw down at the head of a Goblin who was watching Rei from the bushes.
Gokya-, the sound of a Goblin’s head bursting could be heard. After making sure that Rei hadn’t woken up from the sound, Set left the corpse of the Goblin where it was and went back to his original position before lying down and closing his eyes,
His kind partner who always petted him. It was fine to expose himself to any danger to protect Rei. Like that, lying down on the mountainside with his eyes closed, Set looked out for signs of monsters coming nearby with sense of hearing and smell.
Fortunately, aside from the first Goblin he killed, no other monsters came close. Most monsters avoided them after sensing Set. After about 3 hours, they started to wake up.
Rei’s consciousness quickly awakened. Rei opened his eyes and saw Brazos tending to the campfire nearby.
「Mm? Did you wake up? You woke up at a good time. Could you get something out of the item box for me? Some alcohol if possible……」
As Brazos was saying that with a smile, a tree branch flew out from the trees and hit him in the back of the head.
The speed of the tree branch and Brazos’ unique hard head. as a result of the two colliding, the branch broke in two.
「Don’t be stupid. Seriously, just when I take my eyes off you for a moment. I wont’ say that after we get back to the city, but please wait until we leave the mountains at least.」
Needless to say, the person who appeared from the bushes was Brazos’ fellow party member. It was Freon, the other member of Crushing Warriors.
「Here, wipe your face with it.」
As she said that, she threw a wet cloth to Rei. Rei raised his eyebrows when he felt its coldness.
Because it was already autumn, the surrounding temperature was surprisingly colder than when he had gone to the dungeon. It could be related to the fact that they were near the top of a mountain, but the water was still colder than expected.
(Speaking of that, I’ve slept for several hours in this cold weather……and I haven’t caught a cold. I should thank Zepairu for making this high performance body.)
Thinking to himself, he looked towards Brazos. Perhaps he was more robust than ordinary Humans because he was a Dwarf. Rei had that feeling.
Next, he looked at Freon.
It was true that she was tall for a woman and had a physique stronger than most other warriors. However, she was still a Human and Rei didn’t think that she didn’t care about the cold at all……
(Well, it’s a different world, maybe resistance against viruses is higher.)
Rei moved to the campfire after wiping his face with the wet cloth Freon had passed him.
「Ahh, Rei. Do you have a small bucket or something? There’s a river a bit further away and I want to get some water to boil to warm us up……」
Freon said that but Rei immediately shook his head.
That was because he had silently take a pot out. In addition, it was a pot with plenty of fresh vegetable soup instead of hot water that Freon had been thinking of.
Although it was different from the stew they had eaten last night, the sweet smell particular to vegetable soup drifted into the surroundings and stirred up their appetites.
「Hm? What’s wrong Freon? Here, it’s cold in the mountains in autumn, drink some to warm up.」
A feature of the item box was that the flow of time was stopped for whatever was stored inside. The vegetable soup in the cup he presented was hot and steaming.
Freon received the cup and spoon with a wry smile.
Like that, she scooped up a spoonful of vegetables and brought it to her mouth.
「Mm. I wish I had liquor to go with this, but this is quite good. Especially the sweetness of the vegetables and the salted bacon……」
With a smile on his bearded face, Brazos also tasted the delicious soup, bringing the vegetables and bacon to his mouth.
「Even so, when I think about how convenient Rei’s item box is, after this request, would you like to form a party with me and Brazos?」
「Once you get used to convenient things, it’s said that it’s hard to go back to what you used to have.」
「Well, I have no problem working together occasionally like this. I can lend a hand if you ever have some difficulty with a request.」
「……That means, you don’t plan to join Crushing Warriors?」
At Rei’s words, Brazos stopped his hand that he was using to drink the vegetable soup, and turned to Rei.
Seeing that, Rei also stopped drinking his vegetable soup and gave a small nod.
「Ah. I thought it in various ways, but going solo is still best for me. ……I don’t think that I can’t keep going without a party, but I would like to stay solo until then. In addition……」
Stroking Set’s back, who was happily shoving his beak into a large serving of vegetable soup, Rei spoke up.
「Although I’ve said this a few times, even though I’m solo, I still have Set. Brazos, you also realise how strong he is.」
「Mm. That is……I guess.」
Brazos nodded at Rei’s words.
Even if it was just several hours, being able to sleep well while leaving the watch to someone else was very reassuring. One of the difficulties of working solo was that you couldn’t take turns to sleep and keep watch like in a party. However, there was no such worries with Set around. ……On the contrary, he had better peace of mind leaving it to Set than if he formed a party with incompetent people.
In this Harpy subjugation request, Brazos had seen Rei and Set’s capabilities and had no choice but to agree.
「I see. That’s unfortunate. However, that’s fine. If anything happens, tell us. It’s sad that young people with skill like you are decreasing in number.」
「Heh, you just want to have it easier when we take requests.」
At Brazos’ words, Freon retorted to his unreasonable hopes. Looking at the two of them, Rei brought the vegetable soup to his mouth again with a smile.