I continued to travel through the 【Great Forest of Demonic Haunts】 for a while.
Mmh~, they are nowhere to be found.
It’s nothing but lesser demons and grizbells.
Ignoring those guys, I repeatedly move like Tarzan.
After a few hours, I discovered the target monsters while at the same time sensing their magic sources.
Reqmogues are ratmen.
… I peek at their appearance from above a large tree’s branch.
The number of reqmogues is five.
Below their feet, a crowd of young rats is squirming as if covering the moss all over.
They repeatedly move as if gliding on the wave of rats, while placing their thin legs on top of the young rats as if surfing.
Stopping their movement, moving their hairy heads that make it seem as if they are wearing a hat, they survey their surroundings restlessly.
On this occasion I stared at the reqmogues’ faces.
They have eyes curving upwards and drooping at the red small outer corners of the eyes and red noses like proboscis monkeys.
Long and thin whiskers are growing on their upper lips. Sharp front teeth protruded out from their mouths telling everyone “I’m a ratman, best regards.”
“… We will hunt those rats. As I will start attacking from their back first, Rollo, assist me as the opportunity arises, okay?” (Shuuya)
Rollo purred as if saying 『Roger nya.』 and jumped off the branch.
She swoops down in the rear of the rat army while rotating her small body after twining her tail around a long, young branch.
I placed my hands on the large tree, and peeked at the state of the reqmogues at the front.
The small young rats were squirming with a momentum that pulverizes the bushes, but it would be bad if they shared their senses with the scouts… Well, I’m overthinking it, am I not?
『Your Excellency?』 (Helme)
The deformed figure of Helme enters my sight.
『You want to have a go as well, Helme?』 (Shuuya)
『Understood, come out.』 (Shuuya)
Helme, who transformed into a woman’s body, appears on the branch while kneeling on one knee after being released from my left eye.
“Helme, you will freely assist me just like Rollo.” (Shuuya)
“As you wish.” (Helme)
Helme immediately converts into a squiggled liquid and falls towards the ground while rotating in a spiral with enough force to hurl sheets of spray at her surroundings.
While feeling the pleasant spray on my face, I spread my overcoat, and make the Magic Halberd appear after stretching my right arm to the side.
The Magic Halberd’s tip, the red spear, burned a branch right next to the thick branch, but I use <Hide> without minding it.
Just like that, I take a step forward as if diving into a mysterious, rotten sea.
While creating footholds in midair by using <Magic Hand guided by Thought>, I got down on the ground that was filled with moist air.
I approach the reqmogues, who are leading the young rats, in a forward-bent posture from their back.
And then, in the instant when I set foot into the range of the small rats, the reqmogues at the front turned around to me at the same time, while causing a fuss in order to sound an alarm.
— Uwaah, they have noticed me after seeing through <Hide>.
Just as I feared, they apparently shared their senses with the young rats.
My bad premonition has come true, the young rats help in searching for enemies I guess.
The reqmogues shout “Gya gya” and point at me with their claws that are glittering with a black lustre as their red eyes shine.
Once they did so, the small rat army, crawling on the ground seemingly having received an order, approached my feet by creeping on the earth at an abnormal speed.
— These damn rats!
Driving them away by swinging the Magic Halberd down, the approaching rats get repelled by being burned by the red axe.
However, on top of them being small, their numbers are large.
At the moment I hesitated whether to try the chain or the light spears,
“Your Excellency!” (Helme)
At the same time as Helme’s voice reached my ears, I took distance with a back step.
A black mist alongside a darkness magic circle emerges from the area of the ground where I stood, and countless black, sharp stakes sprout out from the ground as if bamboo’s growing once the magic circle vanishes with a *poof*.
The small rats of the rat army are stabbed by the dark, sharp stakes, get hoisted into mid air and turn into skewers.
Due to the screams of the army’s small rats being released close-by, the rest took a distance as if running away.
“Thank you, Helme.” (Shuuya)
“Yes! It was too impertinent in front of Your Excellency, but I ended up moving on reflex.” (Helme)
She says while crushing one remaining young rat underfoot.
“— No, don’t mind it. Slaughter the remaining rats.” (Shuuya)
Creating a sheet of spray from below her feet, Helme leaps up high making it seem as if she’s flying.
While twisting her body in mid air, she let’s loose mists of ice and darkness from both hands which she spread out to the left and right.
She smiles, even as her body becomes upside down, and shoots darkness and ice spells from her left and right palms.
Black mist covers the heads of several reqmogues. Their heads get pierced by ice pebbles.
Helme, who landed magnificently, speedily closes in on a confused reqmogue, wields an ice sword diagonally downwards and slays it by cleaving it from the collar to the chest with the ice sword.
The welling-up blood spurt out like a shower and clashed with a sheet of spray released by Helme’s body.
Having stolen their eyesight, the reqmogues are deeply cut apart by the sharp, glistening sword, as one after the other collapses after sustaining great, cruel injuries.
Rollodeen swoops down on a reqmogue who was the last one remaining that hasn’t been attacked by magic.
Her movements are similar to the final steps of a hunt.
After stopping the reqmogue’s movement by stabbing its feet with her tentacle bone swords, she leaps upon it, pushes the reqmogue down, and gnaws through its neck with a 「Gaouuuul」. While releasing a beastly growl for the first time in a long time, she killed the reqmogue by devouring its throat.
It’s strange, since it looks slightly pitiful even though reqmogues are monsters.
You might say that it was a far worse nightmare than being finished off by me… Amen.
Seemingly being sad after having lost their parents when all reqmogues were defeated, the young rats vanish alongside grieving sounds into the shadows, passing through the underground with squeaking sounds.
Well then, let’s collect them?
If I remember correctly, their loot items are the claws.
… Once I draw near the corpses, a nasty stench hangs in the air.
I look at the fingers of the smelling ratman’s arm.
Huge black claws grew at the tips of the three filthy fingers which might be regarded as having an unique shape.
Although they are dirty and crooked, the somewhat small three fingers are cute for some reason.
While harbouring such impression… I lob off the claws with an Ancient Dragon Dagger.
It was also mentioned that they would buy the meat, but I wonder what part of the body…
Is it the throat part which Rollo ate?
I give up since I didn’t know. Will the request be finished with just the claws?
In addition to the share of three ratmen for the request, I collect the share of the other 2 as well.
“Helme, recover the blood from the dead reqmogues.” (Shuuya)
Despite its stench, blood is blood.
After being instructed, Helme turns into liquid and covers a corpse of the reqmogues.
It was apparent from the corpse’s surface that it lost its colour as well as it’s lustre after drying up due to having lost all its blood and moisture in one go.
The eyeballs remaining in the eye sockets shrivel away, cracks like those of the surface of bark forms on the thinly-remaining facial skin and the face turns into that of a dried-up, wrinkled corpse.
“— It’s done. Do you want me to transfer it now?” (Helme)
“No, we have to hurry for now. It will be fine if you can release a bit of blood after returning into my eye. Stock the rest.” (Shuuya)
Helme, who was in a liquid state, draws a parabola and gets absorbed into my eye.
I could sense blood slowly spreading within my eye.
Just like before, the bodily sensation is strange. There’s no flavour either.
『As I have still blood saved up, please tell me anytime.』 (Helme)
The deformed Helme had an appearance of holding a syringe in one hand for some reason.
『What’s up with you appearance?』 (Shuuya)
『It’s just a projection of the appearance desired by Your Excellency.』 (Helme)
Mu, which reminds me, I have a fondness for nurses.
『So, just how much blood can you stockpile?』 (Shuuya)
『I don’t know. Just, that it’s a lot.』 (Helme)
Although it’s ambiguous, it can’t be helped, huh? She’s a spirit after all.
Helme swings around the syringe in a lovely manner while smiling.
However, the close-up in my field of view blocks my sight.
『Got it. You can already disappear from my field of view.』 (Shuuya)
Helme vanishes while looking disappointed.
“Rollo, the requests for 【Sole Fortress】 have been completed. We will return.” (Shuuya)
Rollo was licking up the blood from the reqmogue corpses scattered on the ground.
Rollo reacts to my voice.
While releasing a throaty voice after stopping to lick the blood up, she returns in a run.
Just like that, she jumped on my shoulder and dove into the hood.
Well, okay, let’s depart.
As usual I drive a <Chain> into a tall tree, make the chain contract and move at high-speed alongside the trees while using <Magic Hand guided by Thought> as well.
I head in a straight line towards northwest.
I plan to advance without defeating any further monsters.
Therefore I should return faster than coming to the southeastern Forest of Sadeyula.
I travel smoothly through the 【Great Forest of Demonic Haunts】.
At the time when three days passed while travelling, there’s a reaction of a group of magic sources.
Since it piqued my curiosity, I land on the branch of a large tree after stopping moving.
I tried to peek down below from there.
It was a corps-scaled group of demons led by a reddish brown monkey demon.
Amazing, those numbers… the demon soldiers continue in a long line like a string of ants.
Are the adventurers including the crusaders going to fight against these forces…?
Oh well, it’s not related to me. I resumed my travel.
I’m moving at high speed on top of large trees for a while now, but as it doesn’t seem like the demon forces on the ground can detect me, I wasn’t exposed.
At such time, nuoh?
There was an especially large magic source among their forces.
I land on a branch once again. It’s a location distant from the demon showing such a response.
Concentrating mana on my eyes, I look at the distant demon who’s probably possessing an abundance of mana by focussing to the degree that I could shoot someone to death with just my eyes.
Large moose like horns are growing left and right on the head of the demon.
Its face is flat? Mmh, no, it’s slightly different? Although its mouth has a mysterious mark drawn on it, it’s bursting upper half body has human shape with long, vertical and thick bones.
In addition, it has four extremely long arms and it also has six long legs that might be called similar to those of a horse-like deer at its lower body.
A subspecies close to grizbells?
It’s reigning like a boss among the clamouring demons numbering in the thousands.
It seems to be strong. As far as such a boss-like existence is concerned, the cross punitive forces of the 【Holy Kingdom】 and the 【Religious State】 will be easily annihilated.
However it’s strange. Although it such spectaculous large army of demons, they feel small inside this great forest.
Stopping being a spectator at this point, I resume my movement.
Since I don’t want to fight against the boss class demon, I completely ignore the group of demons.
I earnestly headed towards the 【Sole Fortress】 by moving along the tall trees.
I travel in such manner for seven days.
While mixing in breaks, I advance northwest in the 【Great Forest of Demonic Haunts】.
As I did so, there were responses in my Grasping Perception different from usual.
Going by its size and movement, humans? Moreover, they are jumbled together in a group.
Since they are blended by a gathering of a great number of demonic magic sources, I was able to guess that they are fighting.
Due to the fact that there are humans present, I’m gradually getting closer to the 【Sole Fortress】.
For the time being it’s not a close fight for the adventurers, is it? Let’s go check just for caution’s sake.
I hurry to the place where I discovered the responses.
I could see the place after leaving the trees. They seem to be in the middle of a battle after all.
The light of offensive magic flies about in the air. Magic light sources are brightly illuminating the surroundings inside the dark woods.
Come to think of it, even at the time when I went to 【Sole Fortress】 for the first time, it was during a fierce battle.
The number of demons is high. The adventurers appear to be at a disadvantage.
The demons are mostly monsters such as lesser demons, grizbells and reqmogues.
And, there was a rhesus monkey like macguire which is unleashing flame spells from its arms and which might be considered the commander.
It released a powerful magic source, but there’s no flat faced boss demon that possesses moose-like horns.
Oh, there was a face I recognised among the adventurers.
It’s the dark-skinned, macho-like man, who previously stood next to the princess, possessing a large sword.
The macho man rushes out in front. He freely brandishes his broadsword.
His unrivaled physical strength lets him smoothly handle the large sword by moving his angular shoulders.
The techniques applying the magic combat style are smooth as well. I realize that he has terrific skills.
He alone stood out on the battlefield.
There was also a magician with a skinny physique behind the dark-skinned warrior.
I have no doubt that it’s the guy who was on the princess’ side just like the macho warrior.
Once the magician with his lean figure shouted spell words, wind magic was created right away.
He chops up the lesser demons and grizbells, who tried to counterattack the dark-skinned warrior, with that wind spell.
Is it cover fire for the warrior who has rushed forth?
I turn around my gaze restlessly.
— There she is.
It’s the woman who was called war princess.
Her name is Swane and she has pink hair with ringlets.
She wears a silver mantle, a silver chain mail and a silver plate mail.
Her handling of the two longswords that she grasped in her left and right hand is skillful.
After mowing down, she butchers a lesser demon by slashing a sword diagonally from her shoulder. Next she makes a different lesser demon float by cutting it with an upward-swing, as if scooping it up from below to the top, and then slices her longsword in a sideway flash.
The lesser demon’s body is split apart in a cross-shape while in the air.
It was brought down as if getting torn apart.
Scary! It’s a way of killing similar to mincing meat…
Well, I can’t talk about someone else’s circumstances though.
Do I help out too, seeing that the fortress is very near?
Judging the surroundings of that princess’ group to be all right, the area with large losses is…
I survey the battlefield from a high branch growing on a tall tree with a bird eye’s view.
I search for a location where the adventurers are getting pushed back.
Found it. It’s the commanding red monkey after all, eh?
Yet another person was burned by the flame magic of the red monkey.
The adventurers have been forced into a hard fight by that guy alone.
Flame magic from its left arm that’s similar to a snake is released and burns the adventurers to death.
Furthermore, with its swift movement which is close to Magic Steps, it moves so that the adventurers can’t grasp the fighting distance.
Skilfully handling the longsword held in its right hand, it killed one adventurer after the other by slashing and stabbing them.
That red monkey demon. It’s really similar to Sun Wukong.
It uses quite the swift movements.
At the time when I defeated the macguire during the fight near the【Holy City】, sealing its feet at the beginning with a chain was the right move.
“Rollo, we will go in. Helme, you have to endure.” (Shuuya)
Since it’s an assault this time, its feet aren’t sealed.
Making the Magic Halberd appear in my right hand, I jump off the high branch.
Using <Magic Hand guided by Thought> and <Chain>, I fly through the air aiming for the rhesus monkey.
Once I reduce the distance, I cancel in the air and swoop down from overhead the macguire that’s releasing flame magic from its left hand.
— I assault it.
“Burn! Buuuurrn!! Hya—”
The red axe blade drove into the crown of the head of the rhesus monkey who’s attacking an adventurer while shouting and laughing.
Unable to oppose gravity, the Magic Halberd splits the rhesus monkey lengthwise apart into two parts from its head.
At the same time as I land on the ground, blood gushes out of the bisected body.
Once the commander was defeated, the movements of the enemies and allies stopped on the spot.
It seems they were surprised by the sudden intruder.
Rollo rushes out in that slight gap.
Rollo, who jumped off my shoulder, leaps while changing her appearance into a small black panther with the sound of billowing.
From her posture in mid air, she extended her tentacles to the left and right simultaneously.
Her tentacle bone swords deeply pierce a grizbell on the left and a lesser demon on the right. Moreover, she contracted the tentacles which were stuck in the bodies.
The grizbell and lesser demon are drawn in one go towards Rollo who is in midair and then the grizbell and lesser demon collide in front of Rollo.
Each of them stabbed the other with the weapons they held and both of them died.
Even after slaughtering two demons at the same time, Rollo doesn’t show any openings. Landing by bending her cat-mode-like limbs she rolls over and leaps at another prey.
The grizbells and lesser demons in the vicinity are one after the other thrown down, cut, bitten and pierced by her claws, fangs and tentacle bone swords.
I survey the surroundings as I don’t want to lose out either.
I discover a grizbell who’s nocking an arrow onto its bow.
Kicking the ground with Magic Steps, I head towards the target archer grizbell.
Stabbing the spear of the Magic Halberd into the ground, I jump by using it as a pole vault. Without releasing the hands which are grasping the Magic Halberd, I stretch both my legs towards the target and let it eat a dropkick.
I imprint the footprints of the Ancient Dragon Greaves into the chest of the archer grizbell with the dropkick and the grizbell’s torso gets bent backwards. With the spine getting crushed and torn apart, a lump of meat, that was its upper body, is blown away.
A part of the spine with blood and entrails sticking to it was left behind. The grizbell that had just its lower body part remaining, collapsed powerlessly.
There are already no enemies in the vicinity.
While standing up after landing by adopting an ukemi stance, I examine the surroundings and return the Magic Halberd into a seigan stance.
With the decrease of monsters, the flow of the battle had completely changed.
The adventurers are doing their very best, too.
It changed into a battlefield with the adventurers roaring angrily back and forth as if each of them was called a mighty warrior.
Before long, as the flow of the battle was decided, it becomes quiet.
An one-horned grizbell, that fought persistently to the bitter end without running away, gets defeated by a brawny adventurer and victory shouts were raised by the adventurers who were in the vicinity.
All right. it seems like the adventurers won.
Countless demon corpses are scattered about.
“Rollo, let’s go.” (Shuuya)
Rollo tried to brag with the prey she killed, but once she heard my words, she retracted her tentacles right away, abandoned her prey and returned on my shoulder.
Let’s return to the 【Fortress】.
I tried to leave while turning my back on the adventurers who are happy as they raise cries of triumph.
Mmh? I was called out at a place slightly away from the adventurers.
“What’s wrong?” (Shuuya)
Judging by her appearance, she’s a female adventurer?
She has the appearance of a warrior.
“Thank you very much for just now. You saved me when I was about to get burned by the macguire.”
Aah, which remind me, it looked like I helped her, didn’t it?
It was at the moment when she was about to directly receive the flame magic.
However, since it was the moment when she was about to receive that spell, I was able to kill the macguire easily.
“From that time, huh? You aren’t injured, are you?” (Shuuya)
“No, I suffered slight burning injuries, but it’s all right.”
Once I properly looked at the female warrior, I could see wounds on her hands and feet.
Let’s pass her some medicine?
I take out a potion from my item box.
“You will be able to treat your injuries with this.” (Shuuya)
After giving her the potion by throwing it, I leave right away.
“Ah— please wait.”
Receiving the potion, the female warrior called me to halt.
“That’s right. — The spear user over there!”
Mmh, before I became aware of her, the voice of that war princess could be heard.
I look behind.
“Where are you going to?” (Swane)
The pink-haired princess was there after all.
Pushing the injured female adventurer aside, she approaches.
“Well, I’m about to return to the 【Fortress】 to receive my reward though?” (Shuuya)
“… I see. Shuuya-dono, I’d like you to wait for a bit. I saw what you did just now. You defeated the macguire.” (Swane)
So she saw it, eh?
“Certainly, I finished it off.” (Shuuya)
“It was a meteor-like entry, wasn’t it…? But, putting that aside, you have my thanks as well. Thank you for killing the dangerous macguire. The injured Conee who’s behind me, is from a different clan, but she’s an acquaintance of mine.” (Swane)
“It’s great that I could save her. So, that’s all, right?” (Shuuya)
“Wait, wait. It will be fine even if you don’t hurry that much, won’t it?” (Swane)
“I want to quickly go to the guild though…” (Shuuya)
“Please wait a moment. I’d like to speak with you, Shuuya-dono…” (Swane)
The princess looks at me as if imploring.
Uuhh, if a beauty makes such an expression, that’s a bit… guess I will listen to her for a bit?
“Got it. So?” (Shuuya)
I listen while having a lewd look on my face.
“Then, umm… I’m sorry for inviting you that often, but I’d like you to enter my clan. I will hire you at your asking price, Shuuya-dono. If there’s something dissatisfying, I won’t hesitate to obey either.” (Swane)
Once again an invitation, huh?
Thereupon, I could see the dark-skinned macho warrior and the magician wearing a white robe approaching together towards this place from behind the war princess.
“Princess! Giving such a promise arbitrarily is troublesome.”
It seems that the white-robed magician heard her invitation.
“Talyad, shut up. If Shuuya-dono enters our clan, it will allow us to whittle down as many demonic haunts as we like.” (Swane)
“Princess, I’m sorry, but since I don’t have any intention to join a clan, well then…” (Shuuya)
The magician called Talyad and the princess begin to quarrel. Seeing it as my chance now, I turn on my heels after giving some parting words.
I leave the spot at a quick pace.
The voice of the princess is audible from behind, but I ignore it.
A beauty’s request is truly unfair.
Although I wanted to agree, I endure.
Someday I might come to cooperate in the whittling down of the demonic haunts, but…
No, that’s impossible, isn’t it? I want to go to Pelneet, too.
For now I will give priority to my objective.
What kind of fate awaits the Holy Kingdom? I have a gloomy feeling, but suddenly the image of that remarkable adventurer, who handled that great sword, pops up in my mind.
I’m certain, if it’s that brilliant fighter, he will protect the princess. An image of him likely continuing to actively slaughter the demons in these demonic haunts appears.
While having such wild delusions, I continue to run through the forest for a few hours.
Then I was able to escape the 【Great Forest of Demonic Haunts】 by exiting from the grove of the huge trees.
I can see the 【Sole Fortress】, which is illuminated by the lights of bonfires.
I’m released from the gloomy atmosphere that’s peculiar to forests. At last I have arrived.
I guess I will swiftly settle things in the adventurer’s guild.
Holker— is calling for me.