◈ Episode 372 Cheshire Tiger (1)
The forest was silent.
As if all the sounds I had been hearing subtly from a while ago were hallucinations.
Aside from the sound of the beast, even the softly audible grass insects were holding their breath.
Rudger’s instincts and long experience were letting him know that this was not an ordinary situation.
this is a sign
A sign that something terrible is about to happen.
“Arfa. Can you see something?”
“no. I can’t see anything. From here to a radius of 500m. Everything is gone.”
“At least one or two of them are likely to show their faces, but strangely, there aren’t even those now.”
Rudger naturally held the staff in his hand.
Roina, who still did not understand the situation, was still embarrassed.
From Arfa’s ability to see up to 500m even in this dense forest, to Ludger’s attitude that felt something serious.
It happened so suddenly that it was hard to accept.
“Miss Rudger. Is something about to happen right now?”
“yes. So I took a guess.”
“What… … ?”
“What do wild beasts fear most? An outside group of 300 people? I’m sure I’ll be vigilant, but being afraid of it is another thing. It is strange that it disappears like a mirage like this.”
“So there is something else the beasts fear?”
“yes. And it must be an apex predator that has established its territory on this land since ancient times. Usually, when an apex predator moves, all beasts hold their breath and disappear.”
like right now
Roina’s expression became serious at the same time.
She too had read this strange tension.
Still, there were things I couldn’t quite comprehend.
“But why, all of a sudden… … .”
“Didn’t Mr. Roina tell you? A lot of ‘toxic’ people gathered this time.”
“Well, then… … .”
Rudger nodded his head with a heavy expression to the anxious Roina.
“yes. Rather, it may have been because so many people gathered that the guy who had no reaction until now started moving.”
It would be nice if it wasn’t just a matter of worry.
I’m going to have a good time——!!!
The moment you hear a strange sound mixed with the wind that blows once.
That thought was wiped clean.
“What did you just hear… … .”
The wizards, who had been moving in an orderly manner, stopped all at once.
The cries of the beast had been heard ever since they entered the border of the forest.
This one was oddly different.
I’m not sure exactly what was different, but I instinctively felt some reluctance.
Mostly bewildered wizards were followers of knowledge who came to seek.
Conversely, battle mages with actual combat experience had different reactions.
“Everyone beware! There is something!”
As befits those who came to this dangerous place with a price, they started to be wary of their surroundings without anyone panicking.
Naturally, a circle was formed, and it was the battle mages who stood on the forefront.
Amidst the gentle breeze blowing, the sound of something brushing against the bushes rang in my ears.
There is something.
Stealthy, fast, and very dangerous.
However, even if you tried to follow it with your eyes, you couldn’t see anything because of the densely grown trees.
The stern-looking wizard in the lead shouted.
With a huge scar on his face, he commanded skillfully as if this had happened not once or twice.
“First of all, an earth attribute mage builds a wall! Reinforce it with metal after that! Not an ordinary guy!”
“Explorers spread their magic all around!”
In an instant, the ground rose and a simple wall was created, and iron was added on top.
However, the expressions of the wizards who cast the spell were not very good.
“leader. Those people don’t look good.”
“Because of the environment.”
“An environment with low magical power is not a problem in spreading magic. On the other hand, too much oversaturated magical power is not a very good environment for spreading magic. This forest has at least five times the mana density of the outpost.”
Probably, to spread magic here, you will have to consume much more mental power and mana than usual magic.
It must feel like a person walking on land suddenly running in water.
As if to prove it, the unfolded magic had a rather sloppy part compared to the magician’s skills.
The commander didn’t regret it at all.
Instead, several wizards joined forces to reinforce the barrier.
“Don’t be afraid! Do what you do! After all, as long as there are so many wizards, a mere beast can’t do anything… … !”
The mercenary-turned-mage, who shouted that upon seeing the safely reinforced wall, could not finish his words.
It was because his head, which he had to spit out, had already disappeared.
The wizard, who had heard the command right next to him, was stunned by the sight unfolding before his eyes.
The torso, which had lost its head belatedly, fell helplessly to the floor.
I’m going to go to the middle of the day!
With a deafening noise, a beast appeared on the wall.
It was a beast resembling a tiger. Its eyes were red, its fur black, and its tail long and sharp as a blade.
The most notable thing is the long, tearing smile on his face.
The mouth was long enough to tear almost to the ears, and the teeth were sharp and dense like those of a shark.
Looking at the tiger, Ludger thought of a cat in a story.
The cat that suddenly appears and disappears like a mirage, with a tear-jerking smile.
If you were to name that tiger.
Should be called the Cheshire Tiger.
I’m going to go to the middle of the day!
The tiger’s red mouth was biting something.
It was the head of the wizard who had been commanding until just now.
I set up a barrier before he even came, but he penetrated it so easily and bit the neck of the wizard who was in command.
Although he was caught off guard due to the barrier, it was even more shocking that no wizard reacted to it.
“It’s predator grade!”
“Why did such a guy suddenly appear!”
“Okay, use magic! Kill that guy!”
The wizards all shot magic at the Cheshire Tiger.
Cheshire Tiger’s mouth went up as if he was tearing up even more as he saw various magics flying.
And the appearance of the Cheshire Tiger disappeared like a mirage.
The body became transparent first, followed by only the eyes and mouth, which remained like afterimages in the air and then slowly disappeared.
Right after that, all kinds of magic hit the air and flew over the wall and exploded.
“They suddenly disappeared!”
Roina was stunned by the unbelievable appearance of the Cheshire Tiger.
Instead of reacting to those words, Rudger turned to Arfa.
“Did you see it?”
“How was it?”
“For a moment, the air in the atmosphere was refracted and became invisible. The reason it seemed to disappear was because it moved incredibly fast.”
“Atmospheric refraction. Was it because of the magic of the wind that made it possible?”
It would be unbelievable that a mere beast could handle magic, but it was a common occurrence in the Cassar Basin.
This is because all the animals and plants that live here have their own magical powers.
Of course, it wouldn’t be common to have a specific attribute activated and used for hunting.
“What’s more annoying is… … .”
Rudger’s sharp gaze turned to the other side.
After a while, the wizard’s scream rang out from another place.
“It’s here! It’s here too!”
“It’s over here too! It wasn’t just one!”
The number of Cheshire Tigers has increased to three.
They didn’t work alone.
I’m going to go to the middle of the day!
Weak wizards were terrified by the cry of the Cheshire Tiger that resonated from various directions.
And the Cheshire Tiger did not miss its frightened prey.
“Ouch! help me!”
The young wizard cried out in tears, but the Cheshire Tiger didn’t listen.
It was the moment when the black mass of the Cheshire Tiger was about to devour the wizard.
The shadow formed as the wizard sat down wriggled and moved, and then it rose like countless awls and aimed at the Cheshire Tiger.
Cheshire Tiger looked at the awl and released powerful magic power through his whole body.
An intense whirlpool coiled around the body of the Cheshire Tiger, knocking out all the spike-like thorns.
At that moment, spears made of flame aimed at the Cheshire Tiger.
A powerful attack that cannot be blocked by mere wind.
At that moment, Cheshire Tiger stepped into the air with his front foot.
Surprisingly, Cheshire Tiger’s body soared upward and lightly dodged the flame spear.
“Do you know how to do something like that using wind magic?”
When the long-awaited surprise attack failed, Ludger tutted and clicked his tongue.
The fallen wizard stared at Ludger with trembling eyes.
“Lou, Ludgar Chelsea?”
Rudger glanced at the wizard who called him.
He said he looked familiar somewhere, and it was the young wizard who had been arguing with him.
I thought he ran away in fear when he saw Sempas, but he was involved in the expedition.
I didn’t do it with the intention of saving it, but I thought it would happen like this.
Ludger opened his mouth thinking that the relationship was really strange.
“Get out of the way. Staying here will only get in the way.”
“Bar, interruption… … ?”
The young wizard, who was about to say that he could fight, completely lost his fighting spirit when the Cheshire Tiger tried to attack him again.
The young wizard hurriedly backed away, and with the nuisance gone, Ludgar could focus his full attention on Cheshire Tiger.
The Cheshire Tigers also didn’t rush into it, perhaps instinctively realizing that Rudger was dangerous.
“It’s not a very nice cry to hear.”
There was something about the Cheshire Tiger’s cry, like scratching glass with an iron plate, that shook your mind.
It was because the low frequency that the tiger exhaled became stronger as it absorbed mana.
However, not even the seeds were eaten by Rudger.
The guy lowered his stance even more, perhaps realizing that his cries weren’t being heard.
There was still a torn smile on the corners of his mouth, but the feeling was quite different from hunting his prey a moment ago.
“Should I say thank you or say honor? Even though I am a dumb beast, at least you see me as an equal predator.”
Rudger pointed his cane at the Cheshire Tiger.
The Cheshire Tigers were running rampant in two other places besides here, but there are excellent wizards there too, so it won’t take long to subdue them.
So I just had to focus on the enemy in front of me.
I don’t know if he understands what I’m saying, but I tried provoking him.
I don’t know what he meant, but he must have known that he was making fun of him. A little between Cheshire Tiger’s brows, but his strength went in.
A tiger with a grinning face rushed at it with a terrible cry.
The appearance had a grotesqueness that was difficult to describe in words, one would only see in a nightmare.
Even a strong-minded man would be terrified if he had the Cheshire Tiger right in front of him.
“I’m sorry, but I’ve seen too many things to be afraid of that.”
Rudger stomped his feet lightly as he said that.
Then, the soil suddenly rose to the ground, creating an earthen wall.
Cheshire Tiger lightly jumped up the earthen wall as if laughing at it.
The movement of the Cheshire Tiger with the wind was like flying in the sky.
At that moment, the magic that was waiting beyond the wall was fired.
3rd tier ice elemental magic.
[Exploding Ice Flower]
Petals made of ice scattered and aimed at the Cheshire Tiger from all sides.
Cheshire Tiger, who had jumped over the earth wall, tried to evade several more times using the air as a stepping stone, but Petal persistently pursued Cheshire Tiger.
The Cheshire Tiger, who was concentrating on avoiding in the air, wrapped his body in wind as if he had judged that avoiding was impossible.
As the powerful wind whirled around, the petals of ice fluttered helplessly.
How about this, Cheshire Tiger grinned at Rudger.
But that was the reaction Rudger had been waiting for.
[Coordinate designation formula]
A large fireball was created above the Cheshire Tiger’s head.
Cheshire Tiger belatedly recognized the existence of the fireball and looked back, but it was already too late.
Magic appeared out of nowhere, so there was no time to react.
Before he could evade, red flames engulfed Cheshire Tiger’s body.
“It handles the magic of the wind, but only one skill is used at a time.”
After an explosion occurred in the air, the Cheshire Tiger plummeted to the ground with a trail of black smoke.
“If you wrap yourself in the wind, you cannot fly, and in order to fly, you cannot wrap your body in the wind.”
Cheshire Tiger, who had fallen to the floor, slowly got up.
Smoke was rising from all over his body, but he was still alive.
Beyond simply mana handling, it seemed that his physical abilities had risen to an absurd level.
Both toughness and regeneration.
It is not at a level that can be seen in normal ecosystems.
But it didn’t matter.
“Leave your teeth. I have to give it as a gift.”
Arpa suddenly appeared from behind Cheshire Tiger and grabbed his tail with his bare hands.
The Cheshire Tiger tried to resist with the blade of its tail, but surprisingly, Arpa’s bare hands were unscathed even though he held the blade-like tail.
Arfa grabbed the tail and swung the Cheshire Tiger to the ground.
With a roar, a cloud of dust soared.
With a huge impact, cracks like spider webs flew across the ground, and broken stone fragments lightly scattered in the air.
Arfa immediately stepped on the Cheshire Tiger’s head with his leg.
No matter how great the regenerative powers were, there was no way to survive if the whole head was crushed.
Just before dying at the end, Cheshire Tiger stared at Rudger with a grievous look.
“When did I say I would fight one-on-one with confidence?”
The Cheshire Tiger’s body soon sagged without strength.