The tornado in front of Rei’s eyes disappeared.
A tornado clad in lightning, based on its power, there were no issues with calling it an advanced wind magic.
What was more surprising was that Elena still had strength remaining despite using such a magic.
Judging from Rei’s eyes, Elena was still holding the sword whip, ready for battle in the event of an unexpected situation.
(As expected of the General Princess.)
While raising a voice of admiration in his mind, Rei also readied his Death Scythe in case of an sudden event.
Further away, Vel was wary of the enemy and drew his bow to its full extent while Kuust pulled his magic spear out of the ground.
While watching the tornado disappear, Elena spoke to Rei.
「Rei, do you know what that monster is?」
「No, it’s the first time I’ve seen this monster. However, because my adventurer knowledge isn’t that great, there’s a possibility I just don’t know. What about Elena-sama?」
「No, it’s also the first time I’ve seen this monster. But it’s a monster with a great amount of strength. Rumors should have spread.」
「As we saw at the beginning, it has the ability to blend in with the surroundings. The ordinary adventurer wouldn’t notice anything and would literally become prey in an ambush. So it might not have spread? The monster was already strong enough even when fought normally.」
「That’s true. What do you think?」
「At the very least, it was like my fight against the Orc King……I think is a good comparison.」
「An Orc King is a B rank monster. Certainly, the impression I got was that this monster was stronger than B rank but weaker than A rank.」
And as they talked like that while being cautious of any sudden events, the lightning tornado soon completely disappeared.
As for what was left, all that remained was the the corpse of the giant mantis that had been cut into pieces by the tornado and burnt by lightning at the same time.
「We did it somehow, it seems.」
Elena gave a sigh of relief. Next to her, Rei lowered his Death Scythe. Kuust and Vel also lowered their weapons.
Immediately after the battle, in the relieved atmosphere, Elena gave instructions to everyone.
「Kuust, treat Ara with healing magic. Vel, take the mantis’ magic stone……」
However, Elena wasn’t able to finish her sentence.
Kuust’s shocked voice echoed through the surroundings.
The three people instantly turned to look at Kuust before turning to face what he was looking at.
Rei involuntarily leaked a voice.
Originally, the corpse of the mantis that was killed by Elena’s magic should have been lying there.
……No, the corpse was still there. But it was only 『still』 there for now.
「What, it’s melting? 」
Yes, as Rei murmured, the corpse of the huge 4m long mantis rapidly disintegrated as it produced a fine foam from various areas.
It’s speed wasn’t fast enough to be in an instant, but it wasn’t slow enough that something could be done about it.
At the same time, a pungent odour from the melting mantis pierced their noses. The liquid flowing from the corpse of the mantis changed to a brown colour as it flowed onto the grass growing on the ground, dissolving it.
「This……what on earth is happening?」
Elena said in a stunned voice. However, no one here could answer that question.
Meanwhile, Kuust approached Elena after walking around the corpse of the mantis.
「Elena-sama. Though I don’t know what’s going on right now, I don’t think the smell drifting from there is good for the body. We should immediately leave this place.」
「Umu~, that is certainly so. I wanted to examine what kind of monster it was and take a part of it if it had been possible……」
To Elena’s regret, every piece of the mantis’ flesh had already disappeared before her eyes, even the liquid that had dissolved the grass was gone. All that remained was the pungent smell that assailed the nose. And even that would be scattered by the wind before long.
Just a few minutes ago, they had been fighting the monster. Elena frowned her eyebrows involuntarily as what they had fought had already completely vanished.
Discomfort. Yes, all that remained was a strong sense of discomfort in her chest.
However, the corpse of the mantis was already gone and they couldn’t check it to try to find their sense of discomfort. Staying here would do nothing more than to waste time.
「Let’s depart. Kuust, take Ara to the carriage.」
「Leave it to me.」
Following Elena’s instructions, Kuust carried Ara, who had fainted next to the carriage.
「Vel, please check the carriage to see if there are any problems.」
「Leave that to me.」
Replying in his usual light tone, Vel examined the carriage and the driver’s seat.
「Rei, please watch the area along with Set just in case. That mantis may not have been the only one.」
Rei nodded and moved a bit further away from the carriage with Set as he concentrated on the signs and sounds of the surroundings.
Set similarly searched the surroundings as he stayed beside Rei.
Meanwhile, while straining his ears, Rei thought in his heart while readying his Death Scythe to fight against an enemy at any time.
(That mantis, at the very least, it can’t be called a monster)
In the first place, monsters wouldn’t disappear even if they committed suicide and the moment of defeat. Demons, monsters, magical beasts. Though there were various names, they were all living creatures in the broad sense of the term.
(The mantis was able to completely hide it’s own existence……wait. Just now, what did I think of? Completely hiding its existence? In other words, it wanted to hide the fact it existed?)
While thinking like that, he noticed someone approaching from behind and turned around.
Vel raised a hand as he approached.
「Because there are no problems with the carriage, we will be departing soon. Elena-sama told me to call you.」
Maybe because of the fight with the giant mantis, his usual light tone didn’t come out, instead Vel said it in a somewhat tired tone.
Nodding at his words, Rei headed back to the carriage along with Set.
「I wonder, Rei. You’re an adventurer right? That mantis from before, what do you think?」
On the way back to the carriage, Vel asked Rei. Rei shook his head in response to that question.
「That was new. At least, I’ve never know of any monster that would dissolve into the wind as soon as it died.」
「I know right. I’ve experience fighting with several kinds of monsters until now but it’s the first time I’ve seen one dissolve after being defeated.」
「……It’s unknown whether that was even a monster.」
Because those words were only muttered out of his mouth in a whisper, Vel didn’t seem to catch it and asked again. However, Rei pretended not to hear the question and turned to face the carriage.
「You came. Then we will leave immediately. Even if you say there is no evidence, it’s still an abnormal situation no matter how you look at it. If I’m not mistaken, there should be a guild branch office near the dungeon?」
「Yes. It is possible to purchase information there.」
Waking up after fainting previously, Ara answered Elena’s question awkwardly.
「Ah, Rei-dono. ……I’m sorry I dragged you down.」
As soon as she saw Rei, she quickly bowed her head.
Noticing that she seemed to be ashamed for fainting after being hit by the mantis, Rei gave a wry smile.
「Don’t worry about it. The mantis had the ability of a B rank monster at the very least. It can’t be helped if you made a mistake due to having no prior knowledge.」
That was put nicely. Rei gave a wry smile. To put it badly, Ara had made a reckless rush only to get herself knocked out
In fact, as the giant mantis could turn invisible and attack with flying slashes with all four scythes, it was a extraordinary thing even to Rei. It wasn’t possible to laugh at Ara and blame her.
「Isn’t it precisely because Ara let us see its strength by risking her body that no more damage was done?」
Cheer up……to the words that said the facts, Ara turned to Elena.
「Indeed, where is your usual spirit. You are the mood setter for this group, won’t the atmosphere get gloomy if you get gloomy? If you think you made a mistake this time, then you should fix your mistake next time. Am I wrong? At the very least, the usual Ara would look forward and think positively. I feel that such an Ara is much more preferable.」
「Yes, I understand! I will show my usefulness to Elena-sama next time!」
Listening to the encouragement from Elena, whom she idolised, Ara immediately recovered, as if on reflex. While smiling wryly, Elena spoke again.
「Ara, could you brew some tea? For everyone.」
「Yes, at once.」
Nodding at Elena’s words, Ara headed for the kitchen magic item.
Elena watched her go with a soft smile.
「You have a good relationship.」
「Hm? Ahh, it certainly seems to be so. Anyhow, for someone holding the position of a duke’s daughter, I’m considered an oddball for putting myself in battle. I have few female friends. The are many nobles who try to gain my favour, Ara was the only one of them who genuinely admired me. Because of that, Ara is an irreplaceable existence to me. ……Tell me, why would I keep Ara by my side just because of that? You actually know her own strength, don’t you?」
At Elena’s words, he thought back to the time they first met in the city of Gimuru.
Neither the speed and skill of the attack were notable. However, there was strength behind it. It was a killing attack based on physical strength only.
「Certainly, her strength is a considerable advantage when fighting in close combat.」
「Umu~. But although Ara has obtained my trust as a knight, she needs to become stronger. When that happens, I will have no complaints with her recklessly rushing forward.」
As Rei and Elena talked about that, before long, 2 cups of tea were brought to them.
「Thank you for waiting, here’s the tea.」
「Thank you. ……Now then, everyone listen for a moment. About the matter of the mantis. ……What do you think?」
At Elena’s words, the other three people in the carriage, Rei, Ara and Kuust, gave serious expressions.
Surprisingly, the first person to speak was Kuust. After moistening his mouth with tea, he turned to look at his magic spear.
「At the very least, it’s not something I could have fought by myself. No, in fact, thinking back on the fight, I think that I was dragging Elena-sama down.」
「It was the same for me. If I hadn’t been knocked out, I would probably have dragged you down.」
At Kuusts words, Ara replied with a bitter smile.
Considering her depressed mood earlier, her quick recovery was probably due to the fact that she was Ara.
「Combat strength aside, the most troublesome thing was its ability to become invisible. In addition, because it remained completely motionless while waiting for someone to get close, Set and I noticed its existence late. Somehow, Set was even unable to detect it by smell, it would be difficult to deal with if the other party received an attack from its scythes while it was invisible.」
「That’s right, its ability to turn invisible is extremely troublesome as Rei-dono said. In fact, I was caught off guard by its attack. It was mostly due to luck that I was able to block that attack.」
Comparing to her reply to Kuust, Ara agreed with Rei with a somewhat firm tone.
「It wasn’t easy to attack as it’s body was covered in something like a shell, it could also attack by sending out a wind slash, similar to the wind magic that Rei used.」
Kuust murmured while moistening his mouth with tea again.
Though he tried to disregard Rei’s existence as much as possible, it was a different story if it was work.
「And above all was the abnormality after it was defeated. After being defeated, it melted it’s own body and destroyed itself. It isn’t an ordinary monster. ……Rei, weren’t you an apprentice to a magician? Do you have any ideas?」
Hearing Elena’s words, Rei immediately recalled his backstory.
However, in the end, a setting was only a setting and not reality.
「Please wait a moment. I’ll try to see if I can recall anything.」
After saying that to Elena, he drew out Zepairu’s knowledge for the first time in a long while.
After a few seconds, he found the only likely thing in Zepairu’s knowledge.
「Though I’m not certain……how to say it, this method might be able to explain the phenomenon in the case of this mantis……there is one possibility.」
At Rei’s words, everyone including Elena had looks of surprise.
And Elena asked the question which everyone had in their mind.
「What is it?」
「If the mantis was an existence like a sort of artificial life form made by alchemy. In that case, in the process of making the mantis, it is possible to incorporate a device that would destroy any evidence if it were to die to prevent any of the alchemist’s technology being taken from the corpse.」
「……Though I don’t know much about alchemy, is such a thing possible?」
「There is a possibility, that’s all I can say. In the first place, I hardly learned about alchemy from my master. With my current knowledge, I only remembered that I seemed to have heard that from a conversation.」
「Well, any clue is better than none. Once we get to the dungeon, we’ll inform the guild branch office about the mantis.」
After that, more about the mantis was discussed. But because there was no evidence as the corpse had disappeared, any opinions beyond Rei’s idea were vague.
And that evening, the carriage reached the village established at the outskirts of the dungeon.