Level up with swords (122)
“I didn’t do much this time.”
After successfully defeating the mithril slime, Group 8 sat around a small light.
Karen spoke first with a sullen expression.
From the first attack, she had to keep dodging with Hazel, so she didn’t even have a chance to get involved in this fight. The Mithril Slime’s attack range was large enough to capture four people at the same time, so if Karen had let go, Hazel would have died soon after.
“Miss Karen, you saved my life, right? “Defeating monsters is not the only way to be active.”
Hazel also knew this, so she comforted Karen, who was depressed, in a more gentle manner.
Defeating the enemy.
Protecting your colleagues.
It is a role that cannot be argued as superior to any other, and for a high-ranking wizard like Hazel, its importance was extremely high.
“It’s just as Miss Hazel said. A high-ranking wizard is an irreplaceable member, so he or she should always be protected as the number one member of the team. So don’t blame yourself so much for not being able to fight on the front lines.”
“Hmph, I didn’t blame myself.”
Karen, puffing out her cheeks with a pouty look, grumbled.
“I don’t know who was able to land the final blow, but I also wanted to land a big blow.”
“So, did you think that just because you shaved your beard, you would look like your older brother?”
When Garlond staggered after being stabbed by the horse’s dagger, Hazel comforted him with a gentle smile.
“Next time, I will assist Karen so that she can be more active.”
“…It should have more impact than mithril slime.”
“I’m just talking to myself. don’t mind.”
There was no way Hazel could have guessed.
Karen’s real purpose was not to radiate power or perform well.
The only purpose was to create material that could be used for an autobiography. A rare monster like Mithril Slime would have been a pretty good opponent, but it was a waste to just watch it from the background.
‘It is not very likely that another S-rank monster will appear…’
It was the result of doing her best according to her position, but as Karen, who has a strong desire for honor, it was a little disappointing.
Only Leon read what was going on and giggled secretly.
‘If you’re that enthusiastic, it looks rather admirable. is not it?’
[It’s commendable that you don’t lie even though you’re blinded by fame. It is not easy to keep the line.]
El Cid also agreed, saying.
[As long as you are born as a mortal, desire is inseparable. A person who desires but restrains himself is more noble than a person who
is merely lustless.] It was only natural for someone who did not desire anything to neglect wealth and fame. It was the same for those who did not desire life to risk their lives.
Non-humans cannot be examples.
So the saints should not just be selfless.
I had to be able to feel sexual desire for an attractive person of the opposite sex, but not give in to that temptation, and to feel an appetite after seeing delicious food, but to give priority to the hungry.
Leon, who was convinced by those words, nodded once and looked around at the group members.
“Now let’s get moving. “If we go a little further, there is a stopover where we can talk to Group 14, so let’s rest there.”
No one objected to his instructions.
The four people started moving through the tunnel again and soon arrived at an open crossroads.
It was a transit point connected to the M13-5 tunnel.
Someone’s used sleeping bag or pot proves that this is a place that people often use. Leon also planned to have a quick meal at this location, but an unexpected contact ruined those plans.
《Article 8! Can you hear me?”
The urgent voice of Team 14 leader Berger was heard.
Leon immediately responded to the call by touching the communication port.
《We have just arrived at the stopover. What’s going on in Group 14? 》
Group 14 is a mercenary group where all members are A-rank.
Tension permeated the faces of the group members who read the atmosphere, to the point where people who had experienced all kinds of hardships were in a panic.
《There was definitely one wizard in Group 8, right? Please help us quickly! There’s nothing I can do about this!》
《What on earth are you dealing with?!》
《I don’t have time to explain in detail! Hurry up!”
With those last words, communication was cut off.
There was too little information to make a bold move, but it was also impossible to let Team 14 die.
Leon ultimately decided to support Article 14.
“Karen! “Take care of Miss Hazel!”
“yes? Suddenly something happened again… Wow!”
As Garlond and Leon continued to run, Karen, carrying Hazel on her back, ran quickly behind them.
Every time you blink your eyes, dozens or hundreds of meters pass by. Article 14 was not that far away. Just five minutes after starting to run, an earth-shaking tremor was felt and I knew they were engaged.
Eventually, when the four members of Group 8 arrived at the combat zone, they shouted,
“Woooooo!” “Run away!”
“You damned stone snake!”
“How much does this cost?”
There, the ugly faces of the 14 groups of screaming mercenaries were laid out in plain sight.
As a rule of thumb, is the body length about 20 meters?
There was a stone snake with a long, thick body plated in silver-white color, chasing four fleeing mercenaries. The speed was quite fast for its weight, but it was not enough to catch an A-rank mercenary.
Leon, who was looking at the situation for a moment, expressed his doubts.
I came here after receiving a request for assistance, but it wasn’t in danger at all.
Even if the skin was plated with mithril, it would be possible for four A-rank mercenaries to break it with just force. But you just run away without fighting back?
However, Garlond and Hazel seemed to understand.
“Hmm, Rock Eater. “After all, that monster….”
“I can finally understand why he came looking for the wizard.”
Just as Leon was about to ask them, El Cid spoke.
[This is Rock Eater, the reaper of the mine.]
‘Rock Eater? I think I’ve heard of it….’
When nothing came to mind after thinking about it, Leon spoke again.
‘Anyway, the nickname ‘Reaper of the Mines’ is quite a grand one. ‘You don’t look that strong?’
Hazel, who saw Leon’s expression at that time, began to explain.
“Rock Eater is an earthworm-like monster that eats rock. “They prey on ores without distinguishing between them, and secrete the ingredients onto the body surface to surround their bodies like plating.”
“It’s a monster that specializes in defense.”
“Yes, but that’s not what Rock Eater is truly afraid of. Oh, that’s good. “Look at the shield over there.”
Leon followed her slender fingers into the middle of the mercenaries and soon found the target.
The shield was tattered as if it had been eaten by caterpillars.
The tower shield made of mithril alloy had been turned into scrap.
Leon, who soon realized the culprit, was shocked.
“You can’t believe it…!?”
“That’s exactly it. Rock Eater is a monster that can eat and digest all ores. Therefore, its saliva and gastric juices can dissolve any metal.”
In addition, the Rock Eater that consumed mithril had an extremely weak skin, so its only weak point was inside its mouth.
That mouth full of horrible saliva.
‘I guess that’s why I was running away like crazy.’
Leon pulled out his sword with a shocked expression.
He too would have hesitated to fight if it weren’t for the holy sword. If you were an A-rank mercenary, you would have invested a lot in your main weapon, so you would not have wanted to exchange your favorite weapon, which would cost hundreds of gold, for something like a Rock Eater.
Without having to go far, Garlond was also hesitating.
He had lost his money with a magic sword and even used his gold plate as collateral to purchase the sword, and was standing on the edge of a cliff.
It was then.
Karen took a step forward with a confident expression and said.
“Do you think I can handle that myself?”
“The new daggers I bought aren’t made of metal, so even if I throw them into that stone snake’s mouth, they’ll be fine.”
Only then did Leon understand.
The dagger and armor made from the by-products of defeating Drake are not damaged by Rock Eater’s solution.
With Karen’s skills, there’s no way she would lose 1-1.
“Okay, get rid of it quickly.”
As soon as he gave permission, Karen grinned and jumped into the fight without even leaving an afterimage.
It was an extremely unfortunate encounter for Rock Eater.
* * *
“Gahahaha! “I survived thanks to you guys, Article 8!”
Berger laughed and expressed his gratitude.
After Rock Eater was defeated by Karen, Team 14 sat down to catch their breath and check their equipment. If even a few drops of Rock Eater’s saliva had splashed, it would have been a disaster.
Fortunately, all equipment except the tower shield was safe.
The mercenary who lost his shield was in tears.
“I never thought I would meet that piece of shit. “I feel like I’ve done some trick!”
“I’m glad there were no injuries.”
“Are you afraid of getting hurt by something like Rock Eater? “Hey, even though one of the shields is gone, where is the hair still attached?”
Berger said as he came to Leon’s side and roughly patted his depressed colleague on the back.
“I found one unusual thing in Chapter 8.”
“What is it?”
Leon became serious at those words and lowered his voice.
Berger did not talk too loudly on this topic, but carefully laid out what he had seen and his guesses.
“You know that Crag Mutants imitate shapes based on creatures they frequently see, right?”
“But we saw a spider-shaped Crag Mutant. “Not once or twice, but four times.”
Spider-type monsters were rare in the mining area.
This is because, except for Steel Ants, there are no insect-type monsters that can be used as food, and there is no source of fiber for weaving spider webs.
Nevertheless, a spider-shaped Crag Mutant appeared? It was truly a strange thing. Because it meant that there was someone who had built a nest not on the outskirts of the mine, but deep inside the mine.
“Well, it’s not a problem that can be answered just by worrying about it.”
“I think so too. “There are too few clues.”
It was a question worth considering only after reaching the operational area and sharing information with other groups.
The two briefly talked about what they had experienced and then walked away with their respective group members.
Leon and his party returned to the M13-2 mine and discussed with the information given by Berger. It was about why the spider monster entered the mine, where it was staying, and how dangerous and powerful it was.
“There is no point in discussing it like this.”
“If it lives in an area where Mithril Slime or Rock Eater appears, it is at least an A+ rank, but other than Arachne or Mag Spider, the only possibility left is that it is a mutant.”
“Isn’t it possible that it’s one of the two?”
Karen’s red hair swayed from side to side at her question.
“Arachne is a monster that needs to consume large amounts of fiber, and in the case of the Mag Spider, there is a volcanic area around its habitat.”
“None of these apply.”
“yes. So, it may be a mutation or a species that has not yet been reported to academia, but it is impossible to identify it in advance. “I have no choice but to try to hit it with as much strength as possible.”
It was a correct opinion.
Leon and the others agreed to the answer and proceeded through the tunnel while being more cautious in all directions.
Several kilometers ahead.
Beyond that was the final stopover where the three groups had decided to gather.
They wipe out a group of Krag Mutants and
pew pew pew pew!
By easily defeating dozens of Steel Ants, we cleared the path with such ease that our previous vigilance seemed to be in vain.
Guys like Mithril Slime and Rock Eater did not appear.
We covered the M13-2 tunnel in just one hour, leaving just a few steps left for the final stop. Apparently, this was the first and last time I saw the spider-shaped Crag Mutant in the 14th group, and I have not been able to receive any further contact since then.
And when they reached the final stop, Leon found Team 11, who had arrived one step ahead of them.
Geoff also recognized him and bowed politely.
Three Holy Iron Knights and a Spiritist.
It was a combination with almost no vulnerabilities.
Geoff, who stood up as the representative of Group 11, spoke.
“I’m glad all four of you are okay.”
Leon shook hands with him and looked at the faces of Group 11.
They look relaxed with no injuries.
Not only the Holy Iron Knights, but also a person who appeared to be a spiritist had summoned a gnome to play with them.
It was probably no coincidence that among the three groups, they arrived the fastest.
‘Everyone else is like that, but Sir Geoff is especially strong. Even though he is disarmed, he can’t see any gaps….’
A skilled person who maintains the power of the sword even while holding a lead sword.
I was even convinced that I couldn’t win if I fought within four steps. Although Seongcheolsaegi Knights are trained to overcome all situations, they do have at least one specialty.
Geoff is probably a strong person in close quarters combat.
It was that moment.
Geoff and Karen looked away almost simultaneously, and Leon also reacted about half a beat later. The rest of the party was next.
The sound of four people walking.
The road ahead and the three forks in the back.
On the road where neither the 8th nor the 11th group had appeared, a dim shadow walked toward the two groups.
It was Berger’s Article 14.
“what! We’re in last place! “Ah, you’ve got your form all figured out, but you’ve just lost face!”
Just like before, the voice is still very loud.
Although he didn’t shout in particular, it was so loud that it echoed lightly throughout the tunnel.
A voice I’ve heard several times.
Aspects that we have looked at several times.
Leon muttered unconsciously after seeing Article 14, which should have been familiar.
A strong sense of discomfort gripped him.
An intuition close to precognition that I should not just let things go like this made me move my eyes using the <eye method>.
Berger and the mercenary followed him again.
It wasn’t enough to look at the four people in order, so I looked them up and down.
If Leon noticed his gaze, the search was so persistent that he would inevitably feel uncomfortable.
Then he found it.
The shield that was melted by the spit of the rock eater that shouldn’t have been there. The tower shield hanging on the back of the mercenary who clearly left in tears.
Immediately after that, El Cid spoke.
[Good find. If you still didn’t know, I was going to teach you.]
[well. Even if we don’t know all the circumstances, one thing is clear.]
Leon and El Cid’s eyes were focused on Group 14 and the face of Berger, who was talking loudly.
[Those guys aren’t real. Although they are acting the same as the guys we saw earlier, they are ‘something’ imitating a human.]
As soon as Leon heard that confirmation, he infused aura into his eyes.
Eyes burning with golden light.
‘The Stigmata of the Watcher’ looks through the 14 mimetic beings.
It was a mimicry that even Geoff and Karen did not notice. Neither Aurors nor magic, but only a force outside the laws of this world could have made it possible.
The power of monsters from an outer dimension, power not permitted by the Goddess.
The four stigmata that discovered the target of annihilation become hot as if they were seared.
The moment Leon’s hand grasped the sword hilt, he saw.
The illusion of a disgustingly hideous tangled web wrapped around the surface of the thing imitating Berger.