A/N: It starts with the viewpoint from the dark guild’s side.
An angry roar reverberated in a certain, extravagant mansion.
The harsh words came from a well-built, handsome man sitting on an armchair.
There was also a man missing one ear bowing his head at that well-built, handsome man from across the desk.
“… It’s a hard blow. This is a heavy loss. With the Holkerbaum branch annihilated… our plan’s have come to nothing. Bill, is that your responsibility?”
This well-built man, who boasts a corpulent double chin, shook his head which had blond hair with shades of grey mixed in. He glared at the face of the one-eared man called Bill with his piercing blue eyes.
“Eribol-sama, excuse me. All is my fault. I feel deeply ashamed that my subordinates are worthless. But even for me this was a bolt out of the blue.” (Bill)
The one-eared man referred to the well-built, handsome man as Eribol.
“Who’s that spear user that was the reason for that? You have been able to catch hold of his whereabouts, haven’t you?” (Eribol)
Eribol tries to return to a calm tone, but the wrath leaking through his words was obvious to anyone.
“… That is, it’s a young male spear wielder and a black beast. However… although it’s certain that the information has been obtained by a thief guild, various false rumours and differing information keep appearing… we weren’t able to pinpoint his whereabouts.” (Bill)
“Those hyenas of the thief guilds haven’t been useful despite charging an exorbitant price. However, if he’s a user at the level of being able to kill those two, he’s an assassin from another dark guild, huh?” (Eribol)
“Yes. The possibility of that is quite high.” (Bill)
The one-eared Bill answers while nodding towards Eribol with a meek expression.
Once Eribol hears his words, he reveals an expression as if he swallowed a bitter pill, clenches his steamed bun-like fist and strikes his desk.
“— I don’t like it. I truly don’t like this. Find the spear user and kill him. Make him take responsibility for the losses he caused me.” (Eribol)
Eribol addresses Bill with a commanding tone.
“But, there are also other things you have to do. About the situation in Holkerbaum… you have to get rid of that obstinate woman to press forward the bridge’s construction.” (Eribol)
“It’s that fussy merchant, right?” (Bill)
Bill nods without dropping his sullen expression.
“Right. Also, make that that stupid feudal lord who approved the construction understands his own position… But, well, now that it has come to this, we have to also consider leaving Holkerbaum alone for a while… I guess for now we got to put priority on the defence of Pelneet.” (Eribol)
Eribol touches the flesh of his double chin while putting on a pondering expression and seems to be enjoying the sensation of his beard.
“Your Excellency, what will you do about the royal capital?” (Bill)
“We will cancel due to human resources. The other dark guilds probably won’t stay silent… Currently just Pelneet’s domain remains as our lifeline. Absolutely defend the sale route of the profitable loot from the black market agreement Ga・Pe to the last.” (Eribol)
The one-eared man Bill once again nods while bowing.
“Yes. We will make our arrangements as well. However, it won’t do if we don’t consider the worst possible development. If the preservation of our turf becomes difficult, it will naturally lead to the black market agreement being broken…?” (Bill)
“Yea… if the agreement falls through, it might result in us having to fight not only this country but also those foreign fishmen. We have taken hold of the fishmen’s weak point, but… rather than that, Bill, you already sent forth the red orders, right?” (Eribol)
Bill turns his sight towards the door next to him.
“Yes. All executives of 【Owl’s Fangs】 have already gathered in the conference room.” (Bill)
“In that case, accomplish your duty as owl’s fangs as usual. I will attend the navy transportation meeting. I have to lay the groundwork together with the nobles to secure our survival from now on. I will also make use of my daughter.” (Eribol)
“… I shall sympathise with you in my heart.” (Bill)
After Bill bows towards Eribol who sits straight, he immediately lifts his head, turns around, opens the door of the conference room that was next to him and enters the room leaving Eribol behind.
A strange line-up was assembled in the conference room.
After looking around slowly as if making sure of the strange members while raising his thin eyelids, he sits down on the chief seat.
He has the face of a warrior with fresh burn marks remaining on his right cheek as if matching his forehead with its deep sword scar.
From an overall perspective, it gave him a solemnity of being a soldier with a long term of service.
That Bill starts to talk.
“As you already know you guys were summoned with a red order. Our master, Eribol Macabyn-sama is angry. This has led to to this emergency meeting of executives.” (Bill)
“President Bill? Is the story that Oze-ani and Jane were killed true? In addition to that, the 【Holkerbaum】branch has been almost completely destroyed?”
It’s a young man with his hair knotted in the back who remarked while being flustered.
There were small wounds at the edges of his mouth.
Bill answers that question with silence.
After waiting a bit, President Bill turns his face towards the eyepatched, long-haired man next to him and raises his chin as if telling him “You explain.”
The eyepatched man starts to talk while leaning his head towards President Bill.
“Beck, it’s just as you say. We got a notification from the spy we had infiltrate Holkerbaum’s feudal lord’s place. He heard stories about survivors and also confirmed the corpses on the battlefield.”
“W-What d-did you say…? Elder brother has…” (Beck)
The man, who was called Beck with small wounds at his mouth, sinks very deeply into his chair with his expression warped.
“— What the hell!”
This deep, loud voice is released from someone from a large built race which entire body is covered in hair.
“… Shut up, okay? However, something like those two and the soldiers getting killed? So, what’s the name of the organization that’s responsible for it?”
The black person sitting next to him asked the eyepatched man with a husky voice while making the motion of plugging up their ears.
Their real face is unknown. The person possessed narrow, sharp eyes that were hidden by an eerie black-coloured hood and the mouth was covered by a black veil.
With only two sword hilts visible from the back, the person’s entire body is wrapped up in black clothes completely like a ninja.
“… It’s still unknown whether it’s an organization. However, we can conclude that 【Scales of Gaia】 which genuinely fought against us was annihilated. Their leaders and soldiers are dead. Although it looks like their boss’, Mia’s, corpse wasn’t found, it can be considered that it was burnt by the fire. It was confirmed that the place which served as their office, became a ruin after burning down. In addition, the remarkable spear user apparently got in touch with the feudal lord. Also, at the site where the battle took place, that spear user and a black beast were present it seems, but… as the news is conflicting, this isn’t definite information.”
“A spear user and a black beast…” (Beck)
Beck muttered with a pondering expression while sitting down on his chair.
“… Serva! It’s too unnatural. If I remember correctly, that 【Scales of Gaia】 should have lost quite a few members because of the agreement-breaking 【Bloody Long Ears】. And you are telling us that Oze and his comrades were done in by such weakened 【Scales of Gaia】?”
A woman called the eyepatched man Serva.
Long, vertical rabbit ears are growing from her head.
And, stretching a long, slender leg on the desk as if bragging about it, she placed her heel on top of the table.
Serva looked at the rabbit woman without pointing out her bad behaviour either, and answered after silently nodding his head up and down.
“… Certainly, you are right. It’s unthinkable for our branch to have been crushed single-handedly by 【Scales of Gaia】. Since it’s a situation where information has been scattered by several thief guilds, there are many ambiguous parts, but according to my conjecture, 【Scales of Gaia】 had a pact with another dark guild or it turned into an all-out-war where those affiliated with them joined in… otherwise it’s the deed of the mysterious masterly spear user and black beast who are assassins from somewhere, I guess?” (Serva)
“I understand the part with the spear user, but as expected, the black beast doesn’t exist, does it? Are you telling me they were done in by something like a magic summoner, beast user, animal trainer or monster tamer?” (Lane)
Alongside her question, Lane hits the table with her heel.
“Lane, remove your foot. We are currently in an executive meeting. Behave properly.” (Beck)
Beck, who sat deeply in his chair, chided the rabbit woman called Lane.
Though she glares at Beck, it causes her rabbit ears to react with a twitch.
“Yes, yes.” (Lane)
While putting on a sour look, she uses the longbow leaning against her foot as a crutch while holding it down with her arm that has white feathers growing out and straightens herself looking bothered.
When she did so, a beautiful copper pendant peeked out from within her chest.
Serva squinted his one eye and addresses Lane.
“… Lane, there’s a report that a black beast was seen. Above all, unnatural fang holes and scars of throats being bitten through existed on the corpses. I think it’s some kind of animal.” (Serva)
Hearing that remark from Serva, not Lane but a largely-built giant that was covered with hair suddenly answered with a roar.
“Buhboraaaaaaaaaa! Whether it’s a beast or whatever else— I will get revenge for Oze and our comrades!”
Swinging down his heavy-looking arms, he strikes the table with a *bam*.
The long table had a sturdy structure, but at the moment it was struck, two fist marks were imprinted onto it.
Since the face of the giant man, who raised his fists overhead, was covered by rampantly growing hair, his expression was completely unknown, but with just his violent behaviour and passionate words, he properly conveyed his feelings to his surroundings.
“… Pili, don’t break the table, okay? Besides, you’ve been annoying since a while ago. Sansibals are after all idiots and above all else simple-minded, I suppose…”
The man, who hid his mouth with a black veil and was sitting next to him, made fun of Pili with his eerie, husky voice.
“Hah!? — Morabi! Shut the fuck up… you gloomy beansprout asshole.” (Pili)
The giant man called Pili sluggishly leant over and brought his face covered with light brown hair close to Morabi whose body is dressed in black.
Pili’s rampantly growing long hair is lifted up by his smelly nasal breathing.
It looked like he would any time now take hostile action as his agitated breathing got rough.
“— That’s how far it goes. Don’t fight over stupid shit. Got it?” (Bill)
Bill remonstrates the two by ordering them with a loud voice.
Pili reseats himself while releasing a smelly breath.
Morabi also showed an unhappy expression, but he abided to his boss’ words without trouble as if it’s a pre-established harmony.
“By the way, president, I’ve expressively come here while leaving my younger sister, who’s my only remaining family, behind in that gun-fire-loving 【Senaapua】? I’d like you to explain things a bit more properly.” (T/N: Each time I read that city’s name it reminds me of the city in Black Lagoon, now that it’s even labelled as gun loving…)
The rabbit woman Lane, who’s donning a dissatisfied expression, urges President Bill to explain while gesturing by stretching her arms.
Bill speaks while staying calm.
“That’s true, I guess. I’d like you, Lane, Beck, Morabi and Pili to properly protect our turf in 【Pelneet】. As you are well aware, plenty of other dark guilds exist in 【Pelneet】. This time the information about us having lost two executives and our 【Holkerbaum】 branch being completely destroyed has probably spread to various places due to the thief guilds. Naturally, it should have also been spread to all the dark guilds residing in 【Pelneet】… Without fail, there will be after-effects due to that. Therefore, you can imagine… what will start from now on, right?” (Bill)
Due to the tone used by Bill in his speech, Serva interrupts in an inquisitive manner.
“Then you are saying that the matter with 【Holkerbaum】 is void?” (Serva)
President Bill immediately answered Serva’s question,
“That’s how it is, but Serva, I’d like to request you to assassinate Phila Elizard as a solo mission. While at it, give a warning to the feudal lord Earl Makfol by telling him “Easily changing your opinion will anger Eribol-sama”, okay? It might become a dangerous mission since you can’t use the branch, but if it’s you Serva, it will probably be alright.” (Bill)
Saying that, Serva nods and bows his head.
He concisely demonstrated his will of acknowledgement.
“Umm, a solo mission with no support? Will that go well? Although she might be a merchant, she should have certainly employed guards after getting threatened by us many times, right?”
Lane widens her light brown pupils and shifted her frail-looking body. She asked while the feathers on her arm swayed.
Seeing Lane’s worried face, Bill laughs a bit and looks at Serva.
“… That’s right. Those are the circumstances, Vice-President Serva. You will pull it off successfully, right?” (Bill)
“Yes. Leave it to me. Even without worrying, I will handle her subordinates. You know my assassination skills as thrifty person, right?” (Serva)
Serva asked Lane after revealing a smile full of composure on his manly face.
“— Oh, yeah. If you say so, Serva, it’s fine.” (Lane)
Lane answers after swinging her arms to the left and right while revealing an expression of comprehension as she looks up at the face of the eyepatched man.
At that timing, Beck suddenly stood up.
“— Please wait a moment.” (Beck)
Creasing his brows, he had an enraged expression that made him glare with a piercing look.
With his expression like that, he moves his scarred mouth.
“I want to find out the truth about 【Holkerbaum】. I think you know already, but me and Oze were sworn brothers. Thus I ain’t able to let the guy, who killed Oze-aniki, go like this. Therefore, me chasing him is the natural course of events, I think?” (Beck)
Even when he received Beck’s sharp, piercing gaze, President Bill nodded quietly and faced Beck with his face that was riddled with scars all over.
Matching his sight with Beck’s composedly, he replies solemnly,
“Yeah, that’s certainly true— But, this time it’s not allowed. You were working in 【Hekatrail】, right? Therefore you should be poorly informed about 【Holkerbaum】. Besides, currently it’s an important time where we have to put priority on our 【Pelneet】 turf. The sales network of the synthetic magic drug absolutely requires our protection.” (Bill)
Even after hearing the majestic words of Bill, Beck runs his scarred mouth without getting agitated.
“— No, that’s a remark I can’t agree with! Umm, the mysterious spear user and black beast, maybe I might know them.” (Beck)
Becks talks with a rough voice in order to appeal to everybody.
“— What was that?”
All the executives present focus on Beck.
“I think all of you know that there was an Evil Dragon King subjugation in 【Hekatrail】 the other day. It’s a story of the adventurers who annihilated the dragons, and the braves of the Gryphon corps. Among them there were adventurers led by a spear user and a black cat. I hear there was quite the competition between the adventurer clans. In addition, I remember it proceeded into various rumours in the underworld.” (Beck)
The one who reacted to Beck’s words the fastest was Lane, the sole female executive at this venue.
While swinging her arms with the soft, fur-looking feathers, she moves her red lips.
“You are saying that the mysterious spear user who finished off our comrades is that adventurer? There’s no way…” (Lane)
President Bill shakes his head vertically as if agreeing with Lane.
“That’s impossible, isn’t it? Such a strong adventurer expressly intervenes in our conflict?” (Bill)
“However, Oze-aniki should have had strength contending for first or second rank among us. He originated from Pelneet, the city of martial arts, and also had competition experience. Aniki took lessons from the Guidance Sorcerer Galekozmar Miranda, the eighth rank of the Eight Sword Gods, at Tandart’s God of Military Arts Temple, and Reeve Kuzegayle the Four Blades, third rank of the Eight Sword Gods. Both of them were excommunicated, but he was that Blue Silver who possessed skills surpassing that of a King class with his Whirlwind Twin Blade Style, wasn’t he?” (Beck)
Beck talks to everyone as if fervently appealing to them, but… the president makes a calm objection.
“Hmm, anticipating his ability, we left that city to those two, but… well, for this reason it’s very likely for it to have been an assassin from another dark guild, I think. We have many enemies… 【Bloody Long Ears】 who went to war with us after violating the agreement. 【Shadow Wing Brigade】 that is causing skirmishes with 【Tandart】 that’s involved in the synthetic magic drug. Shadow Bow, Death God of Fresh Blood and Flash Steps of 【Remains of the Moon】, the troublesome kind in 【Pelneet】. The Mad Knight of 【Eyes of Twilight】, a church wannabe organization. The Massacre Sisters of 【Dance of Supreme Vermilion】 who stole our turf’s 【Pleasure Quarter】.” (Bill)
President Bill makes a break for a moment and then continues to talk.
“… And, although I don’t want to think about it too much since we have an agreement, the 【Sea King Hornet】 guys led by the fishmen of the Sea Light City; I think you understand without me telling you, but it’s the home territory of the synthetic magic drug that hired excellent magic mixing artisans. You can also suspect the possibility of the fishmen embarking in business themselves once they try to secure the continent’s marketplaces. Moreover, there are countless other small-sized to medium-sized dark guilds.” (Bill)
“Other dark guilds, huh…? Certainly.” (Beck)
Beck seemingly agreed with Bill’s words. Nodding his head strongly up and down, he sits down deeply into his seat while muttering.
“It seems Beck understood. President, earlier you said it as well, but it will help if you can explain a bit more in what kind of situation this city is currently so that we can protect our turf.”
Lane reveals a high-handed expression with a manner as if telling him “Explain right away.”
After Bill calmly stared at Lane and Beck, he moved his mouth,
“That’s true, I guess. Let me explain. The annoying dark guilds who are causing a feud over the 【Labyrinth City Pelneet】 interests, are 【Remains of the Moon】, 【Eyes of Twilight】, 【Black Glove】 and 【Dance of Supreme Vermilion】. That’s about it as for the famous ones, I guess? At the present time, all of the prominent territories existing in 【Pelneet】 are occupied by us, 【Owl’s Fangs】. It’s the four districts: 【Gambling Street】, 【Flavour Street】, 【Free Market Street】 and 【Port Warehouses Block】. We have to protect these at all costs.” (Bill)
“So we will defend those four, right?” (Lane)
Bill nods upon Lane’s words in order to consent.
“That’s right. Especially the 【Port Warehouses Block】, where we are storing the stock of the synthetic magic drug, and the 【Gambling Street】, which serves as main sales route, should be given the highest priority, I think.” (Bill)
When Bill talked in such grave tone, Morabi, who’s body is wrapped up in dark garments, spoke up with his husky voice.
“Then I will watch the 【Gambling Street】. I will deploy a darkness barrier over a part of the gambling street. That will allow me to generally know the invasion means used by other dark guilds. However, Mad Knight is scary…” (Morabi)
Since Morabi is hiding his mouth, it’s difficult to judge his expression. However, even when talking like this, the colour of fear could be somewhat seen in Morabi’s eyes.
“Got it. The light attribute is the natural enemy of your darkness attribute. Let’s put Pili against the Mad Knight. I’d like Morabi and Pili to protect the 【Gambling Street】. Lane and Beck, you will give preference to the 【Port Warehouses Block】. It’s fine to keep the 【Free Market Street】 and the 【Flavour Street】 on a back-burner.” (Bill)
Everyone expresses agreement by nodding with a look of comprehension on their faces.
Among them, only Morabi mumbles with his mouth covered by the black veil and asks in his husky voice,
“… We agreed with the protection of the turf. But, what will we do about the expansion towards 【Royal Capital Gromheim】?” (Morabi)
Bill reveals a stern expression looking as if he wants to kill with just his gaze.
“I was told to cease that by Eribol-sama. Originally we wanted to gain control of the royal capital Gromheim as well, but on top of the kingdom’s side being troublesome as that place’s the capital, it’s controlled by 【Bloody Long Ears of the White Whale】.” (Bill)
Due to the mentioning of 【Bloody Long Ears of the White Whale】, Lane starts to talk with a voice loaded with malice.
“Those guys… the survivors of Great Ancient Empire Befaritz who have set up their stronghold in 【Violent Tower City Senapuaa】, the former special forces, a gathering of former soldiers and fucking elves, Bloody Long Ears of the White Whale.” (Lane)
“Right. If those guys didn’t break the agreement, the story would be different, but…” (Beck)
While touching his scarred mouth with his fingers, Beck joined the conversation expressing his agreement with Lane and the President.
“【Bloody Long Ears】 is definitely strong… The ones who threw their weight around in the underworld of 【Hekatrail】 where I worked is 【Bloody Long Ears】. I hear they are excellent to an extent to be recruited for illegal disputes by all nations as underworld war contractors. It’s at the level of them being the rumoured to be the unit doing the actual work behind the scenes of the wars? There are other powers such as 【Remains of the Moon】 and 【Twilight Bell】 if it’s 【Hekatrail】, but the current state is them being overpowered by 【Bloody Long Ears】. And, despite being elves, it’s a peculiarity of theirs to cling to the agency 【Nine White Great Knights】 located in the human’s 【Oseberia Kingdom】.” (Beck)
As it appears that Beck had directly fought against 【Bloody Long Ears】, he spoke with a serious expression.
The rabbit woman Lane speaks up while reacting by spreading both her arms left and right as well as squinting.
“I don’t have any intention of looking down on you, Beck, but we can’t be compared with Hekatrail? In 【Senapuaa】 they continued to make us suffer bitter experiences over and over. If not for my younger sister, I would have died… The leader of Bloody Long Ears, that female elf, is a monster… Compared to that, I never heard any talks about some dark guilds such as 【Remains of the Moon】 or 【Twilight Bell】? They are far too insignificant. Compared to 【Bloody Long Ears of the White Whale】 they are equal to babies.” (Lane)
Bill silently and deeply nodded once due to Lane’s remark while having a sharp gaze.
“… Well, fortunately those traitors from 【Bloody Long Ears】 haven’t expanded towards 【Labyrinth City Pelneet】 which is our stronghold. That’s because Eribol-sama has connections with high-ranking nobles and officials of Oseberia Kingdom such as the Minister of the Navy, the Director of Pelneet’s Administration and White Nine. Just like I said earlier, there are rumours that 【Bloody Long Ears】 have connections with 【Oseberia Kingdom】, right? Well, let’s put the matter about Bloody Long Ears aside for now. I think we should get ready for the attacks from other dark guilds.” (Bill)
Everyone shows expressions filled with determination at the words of their president who spoke with an increasingly threatening tone of voice in order to make all of them consent.
“Yeah, you’re right.”
After President Bill nodded to the words of everyone, he turns his face in the direction of Serva.
“Also, as I said a few times before, I will have you head to 【Holkerbaum】 on a solo mission, Serva. Once you succeed in the assassination of Phila Elizard, find out the truth about Oze and Jane. I don’t mind even if you shake up the thief guilds on-site as long as you don’t overdo it. Oh well, it’s you, the vice-president, we are speaking about here. I will trust you. I will have you show us your skills as thrifty person after a long time.” (Bill)
“Yes, leave it to me.” (Serva)
“Then, everyone understood, right? I don’t mind how much time it will take. We 【Owl’s Fangs】 are Eribol-sama’s fangs. We move for the sake of Eribol-sama. — There’s glory in each of us, we are hungry owls, kill those we can kill.” (Bill)
“”The owls fly if they are hungry.””
All executives say that code-like phrase matching with Bill’s words and leave the meeting room.
In order to search for the Forest of Sadeyula, I earnestly moved eastwards along the trees for ten days.
There are eleven days left until the day of the meeting with the large company.
It’s a suitable number of days for returning.
At the moment I wondered whether I should return to 【Sole Fortress】 once, I finally caught sight of a scenery that seems to be the Forest of Sadeyula.
It really exists.
It’s a totally different terrain compared to that of the 【Great Forest of Demonic Haunts】.
It’s probably all right to say that it’s been detached from the forest. Only in the vicinity of this place, there’s a field without any trees and shrubs. A transparent membrane, just like a barrier dome, covered the field from above.
I realize that it’s a special place completely unrelated to the great forest.
A remarkably huge tree towered over the surroundings on top of a hill that rose up all alone in the centre of the field.
There’s also a small spring at a depression located below the gently-sloping hill.
Counter to the dust in the surroundings, silver dust-like glittering was divinely dancing in the air.
However, can I enter this transparent wall, I wonder…?
I timidly try to touch it.
I stretch a finger— towards the transparent membrane.
Oh? It smoothly passed through it.
From the finger, to the arm and then to the entire body without resistance; all of it penetrates through the transparent membrane.
In the end, even Rollo got through while sitting on my shoulder.
Yes, lucky. The transparent wall doesn’t seem to show any effect towards me and Rollo.
“Nn, nyanya.” (Rollo)
Rollo jumps off my shoulder and runs up to the spring.
“Ah, Rollo, I’m going to the large tree located at the top of that hill. Don’t go too far away~.” (Shuuya)
While watching the retreating figure of the running Rollo, I trot towards the large tree on the hilltop.
Once I approach the large tree after climbing the hill’s gentle slope, I got close enough… allowing me to judge that it was a huge tree.
Isn’t this tree the biggest even among those in the 【Great Forest of Demonic Haunts】?
It has big roots to the extent that one can’t see the ground.
Its height and width are extensive and its spread to the side is amazing as well.
I think the large tree’s main body easily exceeds monkey-bread trees by far and makes Yakushima cedars appear cute.
It certainly gives the impression of being the World Tree.
Each of its gigantic roots felt like a hill.
This roots are surpassing my height… I slip through the huge roots with their Japanese chestnut bark colour and walk towards the large tree’s trunk.
Oh? Suddenly the number of magic sources increased?
“Who’s there— Who is it?”
A mature voice reverberates.
As if suddenly floating up from below the large tree’s trunk, an elderly person with a long goatee and a white skin colour appeared.
Since his ears are long, he’s an elder elf?
He holds a long, wooden cane in his hand and is wearing white, simple clothes consisting of a large piece of cloth with a hole in the middle for the head.
“A hermit elf?” (Shuuya)
While I mutter that, I approach the elderly elf.
“Did you enter this holy ground…?”
The old hermit says.
Holy ground? Is it called like that?
“Holy ground? This place is the Forest of Sadeyula, right? And, I was able to pass through what looks like a transparent wall.” (Shuuya)
“Ooooh, you passed through it after all, huh? It’s the first time since I started to protect this place, moreover it’s not an elf, but a human…”
The elderly elf opens his ashen eyes widely in astonishment.
“The first time?” (Shuuya)
“That’s right. After the great destruction, a barrier was deployed over this soil by the gods. As you say, this place is the holy ground Forest of Sadeyula. You have become the first visitor after the barrier was deployed.”
I’m the first… I feel honoured.
This transparent membrane is a barrier after all, eh?
“I see. So, who are you?” (Shuuya)
“I’m a survivor of the sinful ancient elves. Being punished by the Goddess of Plants Sadeyula and the God of Earth Gaia, I’m a sinner who became the guardian of this soil. Having been strictly ordered to protect this blessed soil for eternity, you know? Look at me!—”
Suddenly the elderly elf shows his nude body below his white cloth.
I don’t have such a hobbbyyy.
What are you doing, you perverted geezer—.
Nuoooh! Eh!? Uwaah, he has no heart.
A huge hole gapes in his chest.
On top of that, his lower body is pine tree wood and he’s missing one leg.
His genitals are a green leaf.
“T-That body is… moreover, you have no heart?” (Shuuya)
“Yea. It’s the result of being punished by having been given treatment to lengthen my life by the Goddess of Plants Sadeyula and the God of Earth Gaia.”
“The gods did something like that?” (Shuuya)
“That’s right. I’m a sinner. A survivor of 【Great Ancient Empire Befaritz】. Bringing about the calamity of great destruction in this great forest, I ended up creating a small tear in this world. I’m the ringleader of the sinful elves who ended up getting in contact with the world of spirits…”
The elderly elf fixed his simple clothes and talked about his past while squinting.
I see. Even gods do quite the nasty stuff, don’t they?
However, this story is unrelated to me.
I have to take this leaf in order to restore the withered large Holkerbaum tree.
“… Was that so? I came here looking for the leaves growing on this large tree. But is it fine for me to take one as well?” (Shuuya)
“You can freely take one.”
Ooh, how easy.
However, I wonder whether it will be good for the old hermit?
“Is it really all right?” (Shuuya)
There’s often something like a confrontation against a gatekeeper in such situations though.
“Yeah, in the first place, someone being able to enter this holy ground serves as proof of them being acknowledged by the gods. If you don’t have the approval by the Goddess of Plants Sadeyula and the God of Earth Gaia, you will be repelled by the barrier. Therefore, don’t mind it. Not even to mention one leaf, it’s fine for you to take several leaves from the large tree, too.”
Hee, then I will take him up on his words…
“Understood. Then—.” (Shuuya)
After bowing to the old hermit, I approach the large tree.
The large tree has many branches that are growing sideways with thick trunks. Once I observe them with Magic Observation, the light of mana was overflowing from the thick trunk that is Sadeyula’s Large Tree.
The number of child spirits is a lot, too.
The singing voices of the bonchichi is resounding and resounding.
Making way through the dancing child spirits with my hands, I choose a big leaf, that’s growing from a long branch and is brimming with vitality and its green colour, and pluck it off.
Even from the plucked-off leaf, the light of mana is released while shining like the sun and overflowing like a geyser.
After picking around 10 leaves with dazzling mana light, I stored them in my item box.
With this I finally gathered all the materials to restore the Large Tree of Holker.
Lastly I will take my farewell from that old hermit and leave from here?
“… I acquired them safely. I will go back now.” (Shuuya)
“I see. You are leaving.”
A light tone with no intonation.
I lightly bowed my head to the elderly elf.
I turn around and descend the hill in a run.
Rollo drank the water as if clinging her muzzle to the spring from the shore.
“Rollo, we are going back—.” (Shuuya)
Rollo, with her wet nose, comes running while her red pupils shine.
Running through the field while getting further away from the spring, we arrive at the spherical transparent membrane.
Stretching my hand into the membrane of the barrier, my whole body passes through.
Slipping through it, we were able to leave the holy ground Forest of Sadeyula.
Well then, I want to quickly use the gate spell to return to 【Holkerbaum】, but…
I still can’t go back since there’s the requests I accepted in 【Sole Fortress】 remaining.
Since I have already defeated the grizbells and collected the subjugation proof, ten lesser demons and five reqmogues are left.
Let’s return to 【Sole Fortress】 while suitably looking for the targets?
From the location of 【Sole Fortress】 to here, Forest of Sadeyula, it’s all the way south-east.
The Mahaheim Mountain Range is extending in the east.
West, where 【Sole Fortress】 is located, is over there, eh?
… I will head northwest.
I fire a <Chain> into a tall tree.
And then I started to move along the trees once more.
… Before long I sense the response of magic sources. Descending to the ground, I confirm it from the shade of a tree.
A flock of lesser demons, who were shouldering tridents, was walking over there.
1, 2, 3… 10 lesser demons?
Let’s assault these guys.
“Rollo, we will get them. You will attack from the back, I will go from the side.” (Shuuya)
“N, nya.” (Rollo)
『— Your Excellency!』 (Helme)
Helme appears in my field of vision while producing a scattering sheet of spray as she rotates her body around.
『Yes! I want to contribute as well.』 (Helme)
『Nah, this time’s fine. Next time again, okay?』 (Shuuya)
『I-I see…』 (Helme)
Helme vanished from my vision looking dispirited.
While thinking “Sorry,” I moved into action.
I will use <Chain Spear of the Ray System>.
I create a light spear in front of me.
The light spear that became a ray line, flies towards the target point.
I realize <Chain Spear of the Ray System> in my mind.
I’m testing whether a continuous barrage is possible.
I shoot one <Chain Spear of the Ray System> after the other.
The torsos and heads of one after the other lesser demon get pierced by light spears.
At the moment a light spear clashed into them, the light spear’s rear part created a light net by splitting up in a spiral. The surroundings that were struck transformed into pieces of meat after suffering mesh wounds.
Oops, five more are left.
Only five times of rapid firing <Chain Spear of the Ray System>, huh?
Moreover, the light spear that I fired as the very last has slightly veered off its target point.
It seems that some misses will be created due to firing them in rapid succession.
But, well, the one that missed was only slightly off.
It doesn’t change the fact that light net wounds were created in the surroundings after the lesser demon’s heads and torsos had holes drilled into them by the ray spears.
It feel like the penetration and acceleration power won’t change much if I fire them one at a time either.
After my attacks, Rollo charged at the lesser demons from behind.
Rollo displays the hunter-like movements she’s used to.
At first she safely uses her tentacle bone swords to restrain the lesser demons.
As if measuring the timing in sequence, Rollo started to move. Dodging the tridents used by the lesser demons with repeatedly swift movements to the left and right by putting strength into her limbs, she cut them with the sharp claws located at both her front paws and furthermore tore up the throat of a lesser demon with her sharp fangs as she jumps at it while drawing an arc with her jumping trajectory after making use of a tree at the end.
She overwhelmed the lesser demons, who have quite the high close combat ability, with her movements.
She jumps at a lesser demon’s neck and feints gnawing through it. She stabs and entangles its feet with her tentacle bone swords. She starts to drag the lesser demon, lifts it up in mid air and tosses its entire body at another lesser demon.
The collided two lesser demons topple on the ground.
Obviously having achieved her aim of destroying their postures, she finished each off by stabbing their heads with her tentacle bone swords.
In the end I only used the skill <Chain Spear of the Ray System>.
All of the remaining lesser demons were annihilated by Rollo.
Let’s collect their horns.
I cut off the horns growing at the heads of the lesser demons at the root with an Ancient Dragon Dagger.
While collecting the horns, I ponder about the skill <Chain Spear of the Ray System>.
I only used the light spear skill five times in succession.
Only the last one of the consecutive shooting slightly lost its tracking ability.
There’s a cooldown time until the firing in rapid succession is available again.
However, it’s absurdly useful.
I can’t expect massive military gains since it doesn’t explode, but if it’s one or a few opponents, it has overwhelming power and speed.
Although I felt a slight decrease in mana as well, it doesn’t consume mana to the degree of magic since it’s a skill.
Oh? At last, something that looks like it’s usable.
The cooldown timer is around 20 ~ 30 seconds?
It would be great if it was the type where you could get rid of the cooldown time the more you use it, but…
It’s more useful than spell types that require chanting?
No, in my case it’s different, isn’t it?
Thanks to the permanent skill <Instant Staff of Water> I learned the other day, I can use water-attribute magic with no chant. Language and crest magic will likely become a powerful weapon from now on.
The ancient magic is still quite at the beginning of the test phase, but I can expect activity at the level of a strategic weapon of it as well.
Either way, it’s a good thing that the variety of projectile weapons increased.
<Throwing>, <Chain> and <Chain Spear of the Ray System>.
If it’s this much, I will be able to deal with various situation in a precise manner.
If I use all three at the same time in a group battle, it will be a quite brutal method.
While pondering about such stuff, I finish the harvesting of the horns from the lesser demons’ corpses and stuff them into the item box.
The last request is just the rat-type monsters with the name reqmogue.
“Rollo, let’s go.” (Shuuya)
After recovering Rollo into my hood, I shoot a <Chain> at a tall tree.
I began to move while searching for reqmogues.
For the time being I head in the north-west direction where 【Sole Fortress】 is located.