「Hmm, it looks like it’s more than we expected.」
Brazos murmured unintentionally at the sight spread before him.
「I couldn’t guess this would happen either.」
Next to him, Freon spoke in amazement.
What’s wrong? Set seemed to say. Set tilted his head and rubbed it against Rei.
Rei was also staring in amazement.
「No, although I had expected it……not to this extent.」
As Rei spoke, he could see the top of the mountain. The cave where the Harpies had nested was visible.
The cave itself had been burnt near the entrance by the many fireballs Rei had thrown and the smell was still drifting around after several hours.
However, that wasn’t the issue. Before Rei’s eyes was something that could only be expressed as a sea of blood.
Around the cave, there where corpses of monsters scattered everywhere in places where barely any plants grew. Almost all the corpses had been eaten, some monsters had became only bones in the several hours that Rei and the others had slept.
「It’s only been a few hours. ……The Harpies’ presence in the mountain must have disrupted the monster ecosystem a lot.」
「In other words, did the monsters on this mountain work together to attack any surviving Harpies?」
Rei thought of that and asked Brazos, but Brazos shook his head.
「No. This wasn’t an organised raid. I dare say it was the blood from the Harpies we killed. The monsters on the mountain gathered here after smelling the scent of blood and ended up killing each other……no, I think they ate up everything instead.」
「……Considering that, it looks like no monsters around.」
「That is certainly possible……probably.」
While replying to Freon’s words, Brazos turned towards Set, who was rubbing his head against Rei.
「Maybe, but I think they noticed signs of Set approaching. ……You can tell by looking at the monsters which haven’t been eaten up yet. Most of them are low rank monsters. Only the stronger ones would be more sensitive.」
Rei and Freon looked towards the corpses of the monsters before them at Brazos’ words.
What Rei saw confirmed what Brazos had said. The dead monsters before them were mostly low rank monsters such as Goblins, Soldier Ants and Fang Wolves. There were also Orcs and Lizardmen among them, but only a few.
It could be said that the winners of this fight were the relatively higher ranking monsters on the mountain.
「Anyway. If we leave these corpses as they are, some strange disease might spread. Even though we took this request to reopen the mine, if the miners got sick, they wouldn’t be able to work. ……Rei, can you do it?」
「Should I burn them up?」
「Ah. We could strip some good material from the corpses of the remaining monsters……but more than anything, even if monsters don’t come near now because they can sense Set, I don’t know when they’ll change their mind. So I’ll ask you do it before they change their mind.」
Rei nodded at Brazos’ words and thought about what magic would be effective for that.
Corpses were scattered everywhere around the wasteland before them, they weren’t gathered in a single location. Because of that, he needed to a magic with a large area of effect……making a rough estimation, he grasped the Death Scythe and took a step forward.
『Flames, use my magic power and burn the dead. Purify regrets with our flames. Regrets, bitterness, envy, hatred. Everything has no meaning before my magic power. Burn even the grudges between us. Therefore, use my magic power and return them to the afterlife.』
As Rei spoke the incantation, his expression changed at the sudden increased consumption of magic power. However, Rei ignored it and continued to pour magic power into the magic.
Before long, a blue, fist sized flame appeared at the handle of the Death Scythe……
『Flames of Mourning.』
At the same time he invoked the magic, he stabbed the handle of the Death Scythe with the blue flame into the ground. The blue flame was dispersed as the handle of the Death Scythe hit the ground and turned into a blue carpet as it spread into the surroundings like water running down a slope. When the flames touched a corpse, it would burn up in a blink of an eye before spreading further. Eventually, after about 10 seconds, the wasteland outside the cave was covered in blue flames. But……
「It’s not hot?」
Freon murmured in astonishment. Yes, she couldn’t feel any heat at all from the blue flames that were burning the monster corpses before her.
Like Freon, Brazos saw that and turned to Rei to speak with him. However, when he turned around, he saw that Rei’s face was covered in beads of perspiration.
Rei waved his hand at Freon, who was rushing over, to tell her it was okay and leaned against Set.
「Sorry, I only have aptitude for fire magic. Since this magic overlaps with holy magic, it consumed a much larger amount of my magic power.」
As he watched the blue flames burning up the corpses on the wasteland, Rei explained the magic he had used just now.
「The magic I used just now, it was a magic to cremate the bodies of monsters and people as mourning. ……Just remember that in the very end, it’s only a mourning. In other words, it’s a magic to prevent dead bodies from turning into undead. It doesn’t have that effect on the monsters or people that are already undead……I can’t say that, but it probably wouldn’t hurt them much. Well, if I was attacked by undead, I would just use fire magic, which I’m good at.」
Rei watched the blue flames burn the corpses as he stroked Set’s smooth fur.
After about 20 minutes, the monster corpses in the wasteland were all burnt up and Rei had restored most of his stamina.
「……I feel refreshed.」
Freon spoke up while looking around. She couldn’t imagine that the place had been littered with a large number of monster corpses just a while ago.
「We won’t have to worry about diseases or undead. Now then, Rei. I think we should check inside the cave, what about you? If you’re still tired, you can rest a bit longer here.」
「No, I’ll go with you.」
Set gave and anxious cry and rubbed his head against Rei. Rei smiled as he stroked Set’s head.
「You don’t have to worry too much. I’m just a bit tired because I suddenly exhausted a large amount of magic power. Rather, Set, keep watch so no monsters attack here.」
Although Set still gave an anxious cry, he still nodded.
Finally, after stroking Set’s head one more time, Rei headed for the cave where the Harpies nested.
「It’s cooler than expected……rather, it’s cold.」
Freon muttered as they felt the cold air as soon as they entered the cave.
「Well, no matter how strong Rei’s magic was, it still can’t burn all night. The hot air has already been blown away by the cold mountain air. ……Even so.」
Muttering, Brazos touched the cave walls with an impressed voice.
The entrance to the cave was narrow, but it widened as they went further in. If they had gone into the cave to subjugate the Harpies, as expected, Rei and Brazos would have struggled to swing their weapons in the narrow passage.
However, the passageway wasn’t the only thing reflected in Brazos eyes. No, he was looking more at the walls than the passageway.
Always laughing cheerfully, drinking and noisy. That was Brazos, the Dwarf that Rei knew. Rei couldn’t help but ask after seeing his serious expression.
However, Freon put her hand on Rei’s shoulder and shook her head as she spoke in exasperation.
「It’s no use. When he ends up like that, he won’t go back to normal for a while.」
Unlike Rei, she had know Brazos for a long time and had seen Brazos in his current state several times.
「I’ve told you before right? Brazos had wanted to become a blacksmith, but he eventually didn’t make it.」
「Ahh, you did tell me that.」
「The biggest reason was his lack of sense as a blacksmith. However, he was still a Dwarf who had aimed to become a blacksmith. As far as examining ores is concerned, the Humans blacksmiths around here can’t even reach his feet. No, that’s not a good analogy, but either way, his eyes have a remarkable ability.」
At those words, Rei turned to Brazos again. Indeed, as if to check something, the Dwarf was lightly tapping the cave walls and stones that had fallen to the ground with his Earthshaker Hammer.
「That is? Does this cave have metal deposits or something?」
「I guess. In addition, I think it’s quite valuable based on Brazos’ reactions.」
Rei and Freon watched Brazos for about 5 minutes. After waiting for that long, Freon gave and sigh and turned to Rei.
「If we stay with Brazos like this, we’ll probably stay overnight on the mountain tonight as well. It can’t be helped, we’ll look further inside.」
「No, but can we leave Brazos alone like this?」
「I’m a little worried……any how, we have a Griffon, Set, to watch him. I’ll head further in with you. There shouldn’t be any monsters that would attack us……even if there is, if it attacks, that idiot will realise it. Hey, let’s just go.」
Freon pulled Rei’s arm, which was wrapped in the Dragon Robe, and went further into the cave.
Then, as they went further in, frowning slightly at the burnt smell, they eventually reached a large space.
The large space was even wider than Bolton’s mansion, which he had visited a few days ago. Many stalactites hung down from the ceiling like icicles.
(Stalactites? Water passing from the summit of mountains goes through limestone caves, dissolving the limestone and forming stalactites like this. I saw it in a special feature of a TV show before……but why are they in a cave at the summit?)
Rei though about it for a moment, but then again, this was a fantasy world with magic and monsters. He decided that cases where stalactites grew in caves on mountain summits were probably not that strange.
「Here, it seems to be the Harpy nest.」
As Rei was staring at the stalactites, Freon’s voice brought him back to reality.
When he looked towards Freon, Rei saw a honeycomb like structure with many opened holes.
「Well. I don’t know why it’s like that, but there’s no doubt since there are burnt corpses of Harpies here.」
It was true that near the wall where the honey comb structure was, there were a large number of bodies burnt to charcoal on the ground that seemed to be Harpies.
And with the place where the honeycomb structure was as the center, there was a hole continuing to the outside, opposite the direction Rei had entered from.
「I see, maybe this was the main entry for the Harpies? So, the way we came in was the back door. ……No wonder more than 20 survived after my magic attack.」
Freon sighed, followed by Rei as well. What remained in this space that could be called a large hall were the corpses of the Harpies that had been here. There were no signs of surviving Harpies. Even if they were lucky enough to survive Rei’s magic, the exit was close enough that they would have escaped from here already. Freon probably guessed that as well. After briefly looking around and confirming that there were no surviving Harpies, she looked relieved and gave a refreshed smile.
「Okay, we’ve completed our request for now. Although we left it all to you this time……」
Giving a wry smile as he was vigorously clapped on the back, Rei turned to look at the honeycomb structures in the wall.
「So, the Harpy subjugation is finished, but why is it like that? Is this really a nest the Harpies made?」
「I wonder. At the very least, I’ve never heard that Harpies would make a nest like this. Maybe, they found this by chance and thought that it was just right for their nests?」
Freon and Rei discussed it, but they soon heard footsteps approaching noisily and they turned to look around.
Then, they saw Brazos running towards them with a huge, pale red ore, his face flushed with excitement.