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Volume 4: Chapter 268 – The Unexplored Lands of the West (1/3)
In the northernmost area of the territories already explored by humans were the northern ridge mountains. Beyond the volcanic region was a vast land dominated by a cold climate. With some influence from ether, trees that were rooted amidst lava stones grew branches with dark green tips reaching for the sky, and on the land blanketed with volcanic ash, could be found short grass growing.
But because humans had yet to reach this region, there were no roads here, and the goblins had to search for the traces left by beasts to find a path they could take north. According to the map, it should be possible to reach the coastline by heading north, so they decided to use that as a landmark with which to go around the unexplored areas of the west.
Gi Go Amatsuki’s subordinate goblins took turns taking down the trees in their way alongside the Snow Demon Tribe. Believing this to be part of their training, the goblins knocked down the trees one after another with great vigor.
The twisted trees intertwined, and the ivy reinforced them. It was as though they had found themselves back in the great elven forest. Considering that they would have to return someday, it was a good idea to expand the road. Especially since their group consisted not only of the forest-dwelling goblins, but also the Yugushiva Barbarians that hailed from the snowy mountains, and the human, Reshia.
Considering that they might also find themselves in an emergency, expanding the road was indeed wise.
The story might be different had they brought plenty of expert Earth mages with them, such as when the former holy knight, Gowen Ranid, tried to open the forest, but the only ones with them that could use earth magic were the
The druids led by Gi Za Zakuend excelled at handling wind magic, but not earth magic. Using magic of a different attribute from one’s own was an extremely difficult task that required a vast amount of ether.
After about a three days’ walk north of the volcanic region, a vast region and a lake greeted them. They knew it was a lake because they could see the shore far away on the other side.
“…That’s a large lake,” Reshia said.
“It’s frightfully open here too. Almost as if the plants are avoiding this place,” The Goblin King said.
As Reshia opened her eyes wide in surprise, the Goblin King asked a question.
On that land where not even a strand of grass grew peeked out the face of a lake. The Goblin King knitted his brows in suspicion, while Reshia’s nose twitched and she tilted her head.
“It smells a little strange,” Reshia said.
“Really?” The Goblin King asked.
The Goblin King’s nose was almost useless by this point, and even the strange smell that Reshia pointed out was a complete mystery to him. Reshia got off her horse, and approached the lake. Just as the Goblin King wondered what she was up to, she scooped out some water from the lake and licked it.
“…It’s salty,” Reshia said.
“Hmm… I see.”
The Goblin King nodded, while Reshia’s eyes opened wide, and understanding filled her, and then she nodded.
“I’ve got it! This is the—” Reshia said.
“A salt lake, huh,” the Goblin King said.
Gazes looking for an explanation gathered at the Goblin King, and in response, he calmly looked around him, and then said.
“A long time ago, this might’ve been a sea, but due to some reason, it was isolated and became the lake it is today. That’s why it’s shaped like a lake, but the water is salty,” the Goblin King said.
The king pointed to a white lump that had drifted to the shoreline. The salt had likely crystallized because the salt content was too high. With how precious salt was to humans, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that this lake was a treasure trove.
“As for the sea, it is much larger and never ends,” the Goblin King said.
All eyes had gathered on the Goblin King as he concluded his speech, and when Gi Za Zakuend praised his erudition, everyone nodded in agreement.
“Indeed, I have also heard that the sea is supposed to be vast,” Gi Za said.
“As expected of His Majesty,” another agreed.
Despite all the praise pouring onto him, the king calmly ordered the group to continue along their way. As fascinating as the salt lake was, it was more important for them to cover more distance while the sun was still up. They could just pick up any extra baggage on their way back.
“…Is something the matter, Reshia?”
As everyone followed the king’s instructions and began to move forward, the king noticed Reshia kicking Sui, so he tilted his head. Sui made a troubled face upon being kicked, the kind one would make when one being bothered by a mosquito. Be that as it may, he couldn’t exactly flare up at his master’s love, so he just ignored her.
“Nope I’m! Perfectly fine!” Reshia said.
The attacks of the weak saint couldn’t possibly hurt Sui, so she gave up, and got back up on her steed with a face flushed completely red.
“…Could it be? …Did you want to say the answer I gave?” The Goblin King asked.
“Your Majesty, even if you’re aware of it, there are things that you shouldn’t say!” Reshia said.
When the king saw Reshia’s face so flushed in red, his lips lifted into a smile.
“I see. I’ve been enlightened,” the Goblin King said.
“You don’t think so at all, do you!?”
Reshia pulled her horse over and slapped the king’s arm.
“Well… Anyhow, it’d be best if we don’t delay too much.”
Despite still puffing up her cheeks, Reshia lined up her horse and rode beside the king. As strange as it was, With nary a monster beast happening into them, these days passed in peace.