A deep tunnel in Hallmenta.
A monster stretched out its long, huge mouth like a cylinder to the ground. Hundreds of eyes lodged in its body fluttered and looked around.
Birds flying around it chirped loudly, as if speaking a word.
The monster, which evolved rapidly over several decades and became intelligent, noticed the presence of intruders killing its subordinates.
Four very tiny little bugs.
The monster knew what they were. Unpredictable creatures that occasionally entered this place from the outside.
Some were too weak for their size, while others had an enormous power that could not be ignored.
In particular, the red bug that swept this land recently was a disaster.
The only thing the monster could do against the red bug was to hide and hold its breath in this haven. Waiting for the bug to slaughter its subordinates to their heart’s content and then leave.
They were just the right prey for it to vent its anger.
A giant figure raised from the ground. It emitted a low and heavy roar, calling out all the subordinates in the area.
Before long, black and huge waves rushed from the horizon on all sides.
“Are you okay?”
“Yes, I’m fine.”
Even after waking up, Asher was stunned for a while, as if her sense of reality had not returned.
But after a few minutes, she was completely back to normal, as if nothing had happened.
“I’m sorry. It’s really embarrassing.”
“It’s fine. Just be careful in the future.”
I glanced at the dead horses entangled on one side of the plant stem.
The monster took them away together with Asher and died.
I was glad she’s alive, but the horses had been together with us for quite some time. So, I briefly prayed for their repose.
The two, who had lost consciousness and fell to the ground, also came to their senses.
The woman stood up with a blank face, looked around and found us.
“···What happened? When did we faint?”
I pointed to the droopy plant stem.
She sighed as if she understood the situation. Then, when she found Asher standing next to me, she smiled brightly and said,
“Did you save your colleague safely? I’m glad.”
The man looked at himself as if to check the condition of his body with a not very good expression on his face, then he got up.
If I fainted without realizing why, that would also be my reaction. The woman was a bit weird in that regard.
Asher looked at the two with puzzled eyes.
“I met them by chance. They said they were adventurers.”
I told them.
“Thanks for your help. Tell me about the monster you’re looking for. If I know anything, I’ll let you know.”
They must have been chasing me so they could ask for help.
Anyway, thanks to the two of them, I got information about the monster that took Asher and their help also significantly shortened the time to pursue it. So, I was willing to help them.
Of course, I didn’t know if I would be helpful at all, but if I knew of the monster they’re looking for, I would tell them its hunting area if I remembered it.
At that time, the birds flying in the sky spun around and roared loudly.
I glanced up at the sky.
Come to think of it, it seemed like those birds had been wandering around since a while ago. I wondered why.
“Yeah, what we’re looking for is a monster that looks like a toad…”
She explained about the monster they were looking for.
As soon as I heard the word toad, something immediately came to my mind.
A gigantic poisonous toad with a black body and a three-pronged tongue. The level was probably close to 70?
Speaking of toad-type monsters in Hallmenta, the only thing that came to mind was that monster.
“···The whole body was black, and the tongue was forked. Uh, and also poisonous…”
“I think you know what kind of monster it is.”
The man reacted more violently to my words than the woman did.
He opened his eyes wide and asked with a look of urgency.
“Am I right?”
I looked at the two of them and asked.
“Before I answer that, can I ask why you’re looking for that monster?”
There were two reasons for asking why.
One was just curiosity, the other was concern for them.
Devil Toad was one of the weakest monsters among the named bosses in Hallmenta, but it was still a boss.
Even in the game, most of the users’ poison resistance was negligible against it.
No matter how high the level of the two were, they would die quickly if they were careless while dealing with it.
The man stared at me and then spoke calmly.
“There’s no particular reason. We just want to kill it.”
“Because it killed my brother.”
Ah… was it for revenge?
It was a very simple and clear reason.
But what was the younger brother doing here in the demonic land, dying like that?
The woman’s words that followed solved the question.
“He was my colleague.”
“Yes. Him, three more others, and I explored every corner of the continent, which included this demonic land. After he died, we separated and disbanded our group.”
Come to think of it, it was weird to find them wandering around the demonic land like this.
The woman’s level was lower than that of the man, but her level was not low at all if compared to other mages.
At level 59, she had skills that even a large aristocratic family would want to employ. Not to mention, it was more than enough to be an adventurer.
But it’s not like she wandering around the demonic land recklessly again.
The woman smiled shyly as she read the puzzled look in my eyes.
“We all got along so well, so even if we encountered a strong monster, we could defeat it somehow if we worked together…”
I could tell the story behind it without even having her say it.
After encountering the Devil Toad, he died and only the rest survived.
She took a deep breath and looked at the man.
“It’s been half a year, and suddenly this person came to me, claiming to be his older brother. He was trying to get revenge for his younger brother, so he asked for information about Hallmenta. And somehow, we ended up coming here together.”
I turned my gaze to the man.
To be honest, I was more curious about his identity.
He didn’t seem like an adventurer like the woman, and he probably wasn’t an ordinary person either.
“Oh, and this guy was a ranger from Barcato.”
- ··Barcato?The woman revealed the man’s identity instead. I was a little surprised inside.
If it’s Barcato, wasn’t it the most elite force of the ranger group that protected the southern border of Santea? No wonder he had a high level.
As if the woman’s arbitrariness dissatisfied him, he glanced at the woman once, and said as if urging me.
“Now, tell me what information you know about that monster.”
Well, it’s revenge. There’s nothing I could do about it.
It’s not my place to persuade them not to do it.
“I know the terrain or environment it would most likely to appear.”
“But it’s just a guess, not a completely exact thing. I don’t know if that’s okay with you two.”
“It doesn’t matter. Let me know.”
I pointed out to him the characteristics of places where the Devil Toad lived and even pointed out a few places directly.
I wanted to tell them about the attack patterns I remembered, but I was not sure how different the game would be from reality. I decided not to tell them about it because I was afraid it would only have the opposite effect.
After hearing all the explanations, the man asked with a curious expression.
“How do you know so much?”
What I said was not a common knowledge, so it’s no wonder that it would puzzle him.
“You are free to believe it or not.”
Explaining further would just be too troublesome, so I just left it at that.
The man was silent for a moment before nodding his head.
“…Anyway, thank you.”
With this, it was the end of this encounter.
We had to get out of the forest, so we accompanied them until then.
All the baggage originally carried by the horses was now carried by Asher.
While walking in the forest, the woman suddenly opened her mouth.
“By the way, we don’t even know each other’s names yet. My name is Chercy.”
When she looked away, the man said his name too.
We’re going to separate soon anyway, but they suddenly wanted to exchange names.
“I’m Ron. This is Asher.”
Chercy asked again.
“Umm, Sir Ron. I’m just asking out of curiosity, but can you please tell me who you are?”
“I said I’m an adventurer.”
She looked at me with a puzzled look.
“···No matter how I see it, it’s not like your real identity. And if we look at the person walking beside you, she’s not just a colleague, but an escort knight instead.”
When she didn’t get an answer, she asked no more, but asked other questions instead.
“Then can you tell me how you killed that bear from before?”
Because she was an adventurer, she was a curious woman. She asked all the things she wanted to ask while looking at me.
It was difficult to answer all of them, so I just ignored them moderately.
She licked her lips in regret and just changed the subject.
“By the way, it seems like birds have been spinning over our heads since earlier. Is there some kind of reason behind it?”
That still bothered me, so I gently raised my head.
Birds hovering above us while roaming around since a while ago. Just why?
They were almost out of the forest.
I could feel a faint presence with my super sensory.
No, that faintness was just because of the distance.
It was a very large group of monsters pouring in from afar.
Soon, even the vibrations of the ground were felt minutely, and the other three also recognized the strangeness.
“Uh… what is it? The ground is shaking?”
And when we finally came out of the forest, everyone could see.
A huge black line stretching along the horizon to the land ahead.
It was a large army made up of many monsters in the demonic land of Hallmenta.
For a moment, I thought of something.
I looked at the scene with bewildered eyes. No, really, what was that?
“…Is this a dream?”
Chercy patted her cheek with a puzzled look.
Next to them, Asher and Kellip, had a hardened expression on their face.
I looked at the horde of monsters again.
Upon closer inspection, there was one that stood out among the monsters.
It’s very huge, and had long, thick tentacles in the middle of its body… Aside from its odd appearance.
The most impressive thing was it level.
A monster equal to the warrior and one level higher than Bellevagorah, which I had met in the Rutus Mountains before.
- ··AhI only realized it after checking its level.
That it was that guy.
The fact that we often encountered hordes of monsters with weird combinations that were difficult to understand while wandering around, the birds that were bothering us from above, and the group of monsters unfolding before our eyes were all its actions.
The ability to dominate other monsters and treat them like their own slaves.
At the present time, there was a named boss with domination-type ability in Hallmenta.
Anyway, what kind of crazy number is that?
It wriggled its gigantic tentacles and stretched out toward this side.
Light soon gathered from the tip of the tentacle, and it created a huge purple photosphere.
I frowned at the eerie, magical energy I felt and took a step forward. Then I spread the floating veil as wide as possible.
The light completely engulfed my vision.
The mana cannon fired from it completely covered the veil.
When the light faded, and my vision returned, I saw the ruined surroundings. Behind me, the sound of falling trees echoed.
Only the blocked part of the veil was intact, and the middle of the forest was open as if it had been erased.
“···What — crazy.”
Kellip, who understood the situation, muttered in a muffled voice.
Chercy, who had been lost in thought, suddenly came to her senses.
“Bah, did you just stop it?”
I stared intently at the monster in the distance without answering.
The last blow must have been a signal for an all-out-attack.
The monsters seemed to burst into roars all at once, and then they started flocking towards us like a tidal wave. The distance quickly drew closer.
“Go, run away! Hurry!”
Chercy turned white and shouted. Kellip looked at me as if asking why I was just standing still.
Asher rarely called my name with a sign of urgency.
A large army of monsters numbering more than a thousand. If you bump into it head-on, it would be difficult to leave a single bone fragment.
But there was no need to run away.
It was a situation I had never imagined at all, so I was a little embarrassed, but that was all.
All I could see was a swarm of fire moths running around to death.
I slowly raised my hand forward.
Blood from the palms rose high into the sky and clumped to form a sphere.
Without stopping, he continued to spread and draw blood.
The red blood, which was getting bigger and bigger, soon became as huge as my body.
After compressing it as much as possible, I blasted it forward with full force.
Countless drops of blood that burst out of the air poured down like a torrential rain towards the monsters that covered the ground.