She showered the castle walls in magic while the slimes and the rimel birds would lure the enemies’ attention, letting the two dragons roast them black.
Rheinbach and his two ignis dragons knew where Ryouma’s group and the surviving adventurers were, so they could fight as they pleased without fear of friendly fire.
Remiri would’ve joined them as well, but she had her hands full protecting the emperor grave slime from the lich’s mind control. Not to mention, she also needed to conserve her magic to heal the captive adventurers later.
As she watched the emperor grave slime that was shaped like a plate, the ghost house in the backdrop caught her attention, and she became thoughtful.
(How can we defeat this ghost house? My attacks don’t really seem to be working. Does it have a nucleus after all? But if so, how are we supposed to find something like that?… Hmm?)
While deep in thought, she noted the roof by the edge of her vision, and all of the sudden, a lich came flying out of the castle walls.
” ‘Light Shot’ !!” [Remiri]
” KAHI!?” [Lich]
Immediately, Remiri fired off her magic which prioritized speed and accuracy over raw power, but the lich already knew from their previous battles that she would be waiting for it.
Twisting its bones, the lich jumped right into the onslaught of light magic, but it could not come out unscathed from the flurry of light magic, and as the light magic crashed into a part of its ribs, the lich came out several bones short.
Remiri wasn’t done yet, but just as she was about to cast another spell, something else approached the lich.
The lich was almost near enough to touch the ground when that something stopped over the lich’s head, bringing with it the cold of the wind to blow over the lich’s head. That something was none other than a tentacle of the emperor grave slime.
When the lich passed through the wall beside the door Ryouma’s group entered, it just so happened that the emperor grave slime was right there, on the other side of that wall, spread thin to create a path just as Ryouma had ordered it. And with the lich within its attacking range, the emperor grave slime attacked.
Dodging one and then another, the lich had no time to rest, as five tentacles now chased after it.
It was curious whether the emperor grave slime attacked because of Ryouma’s order or simply because it saw the lich as food no different from the rest of its bony delights, but regardless, the slime relentlessly pursued the lich. And when it managed to catch a part of the lich, it mercilessly took away the femur bones its tentacles managed to latch onto, leaving the lich with no lower body as it flew away to the sky.
But as fortune would have it, there would be no rest for the lich for the girl on dragon-back had been patiently waiting for its inevitable return to the skies.
“You’re full of holes. ‘Beam’ !” [Remiri]
A vast amount of magic power gathered at the tip of Remiri’s wand before she set it loose upon the undead as a destructive force of light.
By leaving the lich to be attacked by something else, Remiri was able to take the lich by surprise and seal it within a pillar of light.
The lich tried to run away, but it couldn’t move its body; the most it could do was languidly move its arms. Gradually, its arms began to melt, and smoke began to rise from its body just as its strength quickly waned.
Having resigned itself to its fate, the lich turned its head to look straight at Remiri. There were no traces of pain or peace or sorrow or pleasure on the lich’s face. There were no emotions at all on that skull face of it. It looked at her, and that was all it did as it welcomed death. And then like a puppet whose strings had been cut, the lich’s head fell over, and the lich was no more.
After that Ryouma and the others were able to safely rendezvous with the aerial group. After they exchanged information and healed the captive adventurers, they rested in the safe zone secured by the emperor grave slime.
They finally managed to rescue the adventurers, but their countenance remained grim. That was not only because of the fatigue built up, but more so because of the horrible condition of the captive adventurers.
“Ryouma-sama, please have some.” [Sebasu]
“Thank you very much.” [Ryouma]
“Can I have some too?” [Remiri]
“Of course.” [Sebasu]
Ryouma and Remiri treated themselves to a cup of black tea with plenty of sugar. They had put up a field hospital of sorts with the use of all the matting they had, over which they laid down the captive adventurers, where they then removed their curses and treated their wounds.
There were 16 adventurers all-in-all that they had rescued. Half of those had wounds that would heal with enough rest, though they would have to overcome their fever and fatigue first. As for the other half, six of them would have to retire, and the remaining two breathed their last the moment they undid their curse.
With the three adventurers they had rescued earlier, they were able to save seventeen adventurers all-in-all. They didn’t beat themselves up or anything with some thought like ‘if only we came earlier!’, but they did feel down. Though given the circumstances, feeling down was to be expected.
Ryouma looked around him as he drank the black tea, starting with the ever blue sky unfit their current situation, then to the slave demons, and then to his emperor grave slime.
He watched as the emperor grave slime would release an undead through one of its tentacles to slam into another undead, ten the slime would take the surviving undead into its body and repeat the process, slamming undead against undead one after another to kill them all.
(I never taught it that… Did it learn from the ghost house?)
As Ryouma’s melancholic countenance cheered up at that thought, Rheinbach spoke.
“What next? Are we going back already? Or are we going to try and beat this ghost house?” [Rheinbach]
“Wouldn’t it be best to return first to let the captive adventurers recuperate?” [Sebasu]
“Ryouma-chan and I healed them lots. They’ll be fine as long as we leave them in the Dimension Home.” [Remiri]
“It would be best if we got some info first though. This thing isn’t something we can beat with just numbers. And there should be plenty of information if we just report to the guild.” [Shiva]
After hearing Shiva, Remiri suddenly remembered something.
“Speaking of which, while you guys were still inside, there was something that caught my attention when I saw the burning ghost house’s roof… What was it again?” [Remiri]
“You forgot?” [Rheinbach]
“Well, the lich came out right as it came to mind, so…” [Remiri]
“May I propose setting a time limit until which we would be gathering information then?” [Sebasu]
No one had any complaints to Sebasu’s proposal, so we decided to come back for the time being. To be honest, even if we go beyond the time limit, it won’t really matter if we still don’t have a plan.
Five minutes later, everyone was on dragon-back high up the sky, looking down the ghost house from above.
“Remiri, it was the roof that caught your attention, right?” [Rheinbach]
“Yes, there are burn marks on it from the dragons’ flames.” [Remiri]
“Hmm… Might as well, I suppose. Let’s try burning it down.” [Rheinbach]
With the captive adventurers now saved, there was no chance of accidentally hurting someone, so Rheinbach went ahead and ordered the five ignis dragons to line up, and then breathe out a powerful flame toward the center of the ghost house. The heat emanating from the dragons’ flames was so great that a shimmer in the air appeared, and when that great heat descended upon the ghost house, it was not just roasted black, but some parts of it were even melted.
“I guess it’s not very good with fire.” [Rheinbach]
The ghost house regenerated itself again after the fire, but something seemed to have caught Remiri’s attention, as she inclined her head and said.
“…Isn’t there something off?” [Remiri]
Remiri felt that odd sense of malaise once more, and as she pointed it out, Ryouma and Sebasu agreed with her.
“Now that you mention it, it does seem odd…” [Sebasu]
“How about trying it again?” [Ryouma]
After several tries of burning the castle and it regenerating, Shiva added.
“…Rheinbach, this time try separating the dragons into two groups, and then burning the castle walls and the roof at the same time. The ghost house just might regenerate slower.” [Shiva]
At that, the gears in Ryouma’s head suddenly clicked together.
(When I attacked the lich to keep it from running, I noticed the undead came out faster than when we tried attacking by the castle walls, but I thought I was just imagining it since I was caught in the middle of a fight, but… Maybe they really did appear faster.)
Ryouma looked closely as he compared the tenement houses and the castle walls being burnt.
The two structures were exactly the same at first, but as they regenerated, a difference could gradually be seen. And then 15 seconds later, the tenement houses could clearly be seen regenerating faster than the castle walls.
They tried this again several times, but no matter how much they repeated it, the tenement houses always regenerated first. They even went as far as to compare the regeneration speed of the other walls and even the ground with the tenement houses, and it seemed that the farther something was from the tenement houses, the slower it regenerated.
At this point, it wasn’t hard to arrive at the conclusion that the place that regenerated the fastest was either the nucleus itself, or if not, then at the very least, it was something very close to it.
With that new revelation, Ryouma and the others all used their magic, focusing fire on the tenement houses. As they did, they found out that their target was located in the room to the right of the room Ryouma’s group had earlier charged in.
“The weak point seems to be inside the room.” [Ryouma]
“Well, it’s obviously not affected by our attacks from outside, so attacking from inside would be our best bet.” [Remiri]
“Looks like we’ll have to charge into that castle again.” [Shiva]
Although they reached that conclusion steadily, they all still felt like they’d taken the long way around.
(This magical beast is seriously a pain… I’m so tired already… mentally speaking.)
Ryouma didn’t say that out loud, but if he did, the other four would have surely agreed with him.
Then Ryouma thought of something.
“Remiri-neesan, we’ve already defeated the lich, right?” [Ryouma]
“Hmm? Oh, yes. I properly confirmed it was gone before your group came out. Is something the matter?” [Remiri]
“Well, since there’s no lich and no captive adventurers to save, I thought we could just have the emperor grave slime charge into the room.” [Rymoua]
The other four all nodded when Ryouma said that.
With no lich around, there was nothing to threaten the slimes. And with no captive adventurers to save, there was no chance of the slimes accidentally hurting someone they shouldn’t.
“Then the next problem would be how to get them in.” [Rheinbach]
“It should be fine, as the tenement houses are mostly empty. If that still doesn’t work, then we can have the slime spit out some of the undead it’s swallowed until it fits in.” [Ryouma]
And so Ryouma and the others charged into the ghost house once more.
After the charge…
Everyone was on the back of the dragons again, but this time they were either wryly smiling or sighing.
“Too quick…” [Shiva]
Ryouma inadvertently apologized at Shiva’s grumbling. Not one of them was feeling down because they failed to hunt the ghos house. Rather, the problem was that the hunt went too well.
Everything went exactly as it did last time after they broke through the gate, except this time Ryouma didn’t clear the room with light magic, and instead ordered the emperor grave slime slime to ‘swallow all the undead while spreading its body to every inch of the room’.
Ryouma had only intended to have the slime clear the room of undead, but the slime ate everything in the room, including the pillars that supported the place.
It turned out, however, that one of those pillars was the very nucleus they’d been looking for. But it was only after the slime had swallowed the pillar, and the undead stopped spawning that they realized that.
The ghost house that had been pushing them all this time was actually such a weak magical beast.
Ryouma and the others made their way back home after an anti-climatic ending.
“Ryouma-chan’s not at fault, you know. And besides, it’s good that we managed to beat it so easily, Shiva-chan.” [Remiri]
“Ah, I’m not blaming him. It was anti-climatic, sure, but at least we’re all safe. Nothing’s more important than that.” [Shiva]
“That aside, what do you guys want to eat? I’m sure you’re all tired, so we should all have a hearty meal with Elia and the others after we hand all these injured children to the guild.” [Remiri]
With the danger gone, the atmosphere between Ryouma and the others gradually turned warm. And after an hour of flying in the reddish sky, they arrived at the city gates.
The gatekeepers and the adventurers who saw the dragons went alert for a moment, but when one of the gatekeepers saw that there were people riding them, he waved his hands to signal and lead Rheinbach to the landing zone. Then the party entered the town after going through the usual procedures.
“Huh? Michelle?” [Ryouma]
Waiting by the gate was a girl dressed in man’s clothing. It was Michelle, and when she passed through the gate, she called out to Ryouma.
“I’m back… What’s wrong?” [Ryouma]
Ryouma thought she was just out to pick them up, so he was about to say ‘I’m back’, but then he noticed Michelle’s grim countenance, not to mention the fact that the others weren’t with her, so he asked out ‘what’s wrong’ instead.
And then Michelle said back.
“Elia… is gone.” [Michelle]
Those words clearly resounded despite all the ruckus in town, and when Ryouma and the others heard it, their faces all stiffened. Trouble had come.
Tl Note: There’ll be another chapter this week. Also, KMF 03-09 is out. CLICK HERE TO READ KMF 03-09