After seeing Oslo’s group off, we had breakfast, and then we began training.
After some light warmup and sparring, I took out 20 big grave slimes and 8 Rimel birds from my Dimension Home, and then I took out my guitar from my Item Box. Sitting myself in front of our camp, I strung the guitar once.
“Is everyone ready?” [Ryouma]
“We’re ready!” [Elia and the other girls]
Seeing the girls ready to fight, I looked to the four adults who were also sitting on a chair for confirmation, and then I strung the guitar.
Dark magic erupted as I played the Cursed Song, and the undead began to gather in troves toward us.
Today’s training is to have the girls fight to exhaustion. We don’t need to move anymore, and our base here is plenty secured, so an injury or two won’t be an issue. Today, neither me nor the four adults will be joining the fray. This one’s all on them. Of course, we’ll save them if things turn for the worse.
As I played the Cursed Song, the girls’ long battle began.
20 minutes later…
“Just where did these things come crawling out of? I’ve come here loads of times with fresh recruits, and I’ve never seen these many in one place.” [Shiva]
The number of undead shocked Shiva-san and Rheinbach-sama. I just played a few songs, and there’s already over 200 of them, so it’s not surprising.
Realizing that they won’t be able to handle these many without a plan, the girls created a barricade with earth wall and earth needle, slowing down the undead, then they took turns suppressing them.
A good decision. Being surrounded in an open area like this with that number would be fatal.
Riera and Kanan are fighting the zombies and skeletons, while the other three are taking care of the monsters immune to physical attacks like the wraith or flying magical beasts like the Harris crows, but the enemy just keeps on coming. Well, it’s partly also because I’m calling them, but this is certainly a bit much. Even I’m surprised.
“…Now what?” [Michelle]
“Nothing. Just keep it up.” [Miyabi]
“If we leave this barricade we’ll end up surrounded.” [Riera]
“That’s true. I could use my fire storm to clean them up, but…” [Elia]
“Don’t bother. They’ll just come again.” [Kanan]
Even if they clean one group up, another one will come to take its place. The most important thing in this training is to endure for a long time, so it’s best to conserve stamina and magic power.
If one runs out of steam during a long battle, the odds of one falling into a bad situation greatly increases. The purpose of this training is to train their body to get used to this pace.
While I was thinking that, I sent the Rimel bird to scout our surrounds to make sure no passerby gets caught.
3 hours passed since then, and the undead just kept coming endlessly. The mental strain and fatigue on the five girls gradually built up.
“ ‘Earth Needle’ !” [Michelle]
After being surrounded by the undead, one of the barricades in front broke, and an undead slipped in. Riera instantly killed that one while Michelle shot out another Earth Needle, penetrating several zombies at the same time like some dumplings on a stick, effectively fixing the broken barricade.
“You ok, Riera?” [Michelle]
“Yeah, you saved me.” [Riera]
“Not really… Look.” [Michelle]
The two girls turned toward the Earth Needles she’d just shot out, and small cracks could be seen on them.
It wasn’t any worse than the earth needle before it, but behind the zombie they killed was a zombie, and behind that was another zombie, and behind that was a skeleton… With such a huge horde of undead crowding onto them, the earth needles can’t last long. And it’s not just the barricade, Riera’s sword is starting to dull after having cut so many too. In fact, she’s even started punching the undead with her gauntlets from time to time.
“Then, in that case, I’ll–––“ [Elia]
“Elia, you should rest a bit more.” [Miyabi]
Elia wanted to cut down on the undead’s number again, but she was visibly tired, so Miyabi told her to stop as she took her place, and casted her own fire magic. Elia has a lot of magic power, so she’s been casting advanced magic one after another to clear the undead, but after all that, she’s almost out of juice.
I asked the adults.
“Isn’t it about time?” [Ryouma]
Shiva-san immediately agreed.
The grave slimes are ready to go anytime. I was thinking of waiting another 30 minutes before intervening, but…
“Uwa!? Let go!” [Kanan]
The undead crowding the barricade tripped over themselves, and the skeletons behind used them as scaffold to cross the barricade. The fatigue must’ve caught up to the girls as they noticed it too late.
The skeletons fell down the barricade and were damaged, but they were able to surround Kanan, and throw themselves at her. The three magicians hit the skeletons with their staves in a panicked attempt to save Kanan, but by doing so, they left the barricade wide open, and their defense completely fell apart.
The undead poured in, pushing Riera down to the ground, and–––
“That’s enough! ‘Sanctuary’!” [Remiri]
“’Holy Flame Carpet’” [Ryouma]
Remiri-neesan casted the advanced light magic ‘Sanctuary’, extinguishing the undead inside the barricade.
‘Sanctuary’ is like a strengthened version of ‘Holy Space’. Zombies and skeletons that enter its affected region will instantly be extinguished.
After Remiri-neesan saved the girls, I took care of the nearby undead while I left the ones further away to the grave slimes.
“Good work.” [Ryouma]
When I said that, the girls lost all of their strength, and they sunk to the ground. As expected, they’re really exhausted. But as long as it’s just fatigue, then it’s still alright. We did help them, so there shouldn’t be any major injuries. At most, there’ll be some light wounds. A little rubbing medicine, and they’ll be fit as a fiddle.
After the girls took a bath with the cleaner slimes, we talked about their performance while they ate. After resting for a bit, they fought with the undead again. This time though, they didn’t need my Cursed Song and the grave slimes. They just walked around, and normally hunted the undead. Shiva-san was supervising, and it was similar to what the knights did when they trained.
In the morning, they fought by the camp. In the afternoon, they fought while patrolling. When you think about it like that, it’s a pretty balanced menu.
I’m not needed anymore since they’re just patrolling, so I set off to mine those magic jewels. The grave slimes are really useful. Not only can they easily take care of the undead, I can even leave my back to them so I can focus on mining.
Come to think of it, if I leave the grave slimes here, won’t they be able to wipe out the undead? I won’t do it though, since they’ll probably end up getting hunted by other adventurers without me around.
“We’re here. Although, it’s just a random place I chose that’s near the designated location on my map. I gave a lot of food to Oslo’s group, so I’ll have to go back to get more supplies in a week or two. Maybe I should have the girls go then?” [Ryouma]
Going to the camp from town means having to face more undead when you’re tired, while going back means facing less undead when you’re tired since you’re getting closer to the town.
There’s some time before we need to replenish our supplies, so they can get stronger in the meantime. Then when the time comes, we’ll leave them on their own to replenish supplies. If they make it without me and the adults interfering, then we can bring their training up another level.
“Yeah, let’s do that.” [Ryouma]
I opened my Item Box, and took out a mask for mining and a pair of protective goggles (Made with the sticky slime’s hardening liquid). Then I started digging out the cliff in front of me with my ki-infused pickaxe. The cliff was relatively soft, and I was able to steadily dig.
I couldn’t dig out any magic jewels even after I dug out nearly half of it, and instead, some odd translucent stone came out. I used identify on it.
“Barium Sulfate?” [Ryouma]
The rocks around here all have various kinds of metals mixed in them. It’s probably because a child of god used this place for magic practice that the topography of the place has completely changed. Anyway, as far as metals go, I know of aluminum, chromium, nickel, quartz, crystals, titanium, silica, limestone, etc., but I’ve never heard of barium.
“Barium Sulfate… Ah, it’s that. That thing they make people drink to prevent illness.” [Ryouma]
I remember now. Barium sulfate is also that mineral known as barite, so it shouldn’t be poisonous. It’s mainly used for preventive medicine and paint, and… Was there anything else?
“There’s no point mining this thing. Did I make a mistake? There’s no point drinking it, and I don’t want to drink it anyway…” [Ryouma]
It doesn’t really taste good, so…
“…There’s no point mining something I have no use for, so yeah. I should just leave this spot alone.” [Ryouma]
I hardened the soil I’ve dug out so far with earth magic, preserving it as a sample for later use. I’ll come again when I can think of a use for it. I took out my map, and looked for that spot written on it again. Suddenly–––
It was just for a moment, but it felt like I was being watched. I’m pretty sure there’s nothing around me though. I had the grave slimes use its ability to call the undead, but only normal undead came.
“…Was I imagining it?” [Ryouma]
Something was off, but I pulled myself together anyway, and walked through this rocky road.
TL Note: This is the chapter for this week. Last chapter was for last week. Also, the title presence is 気配 kehai, which usually pertains to the presence of a living being, and by living being that means something that moves and stuff… you know. Anyway, something like that. I thought I’d clarify that since presence alone doesn’t really seem to give the same feeling as kehai.