When the party was in full swing, a concerning topic came out.
“There’s a monster on the highway?” [Ryouma]
“Yes. We came here through the southern plains, but before leaving Kereban, we heard sightings of an ‘ant’ in the plains. Because of that we were on alert the entire trip. It was really exhausting.” [Prenence]
Ant is the universal term for all ant-type monsters. There are all sorts, but in general, they all possess a hard carapace that protects their whole body, as well as an inclination to swarm their enemies. How dangerous an ant actually is. however, depends on the variant.
“Could it be a murder ant?” [Ryouma]
Murder Ants possess a hard carapace and a sturdy pair of jaws. They are carnivorous and they love to fight other living creatures. A swarm of such ants is undoubtedly a threat. Depending on the size of the nest, the Adventurers Guild would rank an extermination job for them as Rank C or above.
“Oh, no. If that were the case, we would’ve surely chosen a different route. It should be a tunnel ant.” [Prenence]
“Hmm… Sorry. Can you tell me more about that variant?” [Ryouma]
“Let’s see… First of all it has the same hard carapace that ants are known for, but their jaws, claws, and overall strength is weaker compared to the other ants variants. They also don’t have any venom. Overall, their attacking power is low, but they’re also more gentle compared to the other ants and won’t attack other monsters or people.
They specialize in digging soft ground and are known to expand their nest proactively. The problem is that if you accidentally pass over one of their nests without knowing, their nests will cave and your carriage will fall with it.” [Prenence]
The tunnel ant nests are reinforced by their bodily liquids, so it won’t cave in if it’s just a Peron walking over it, but a carriage filled with luggage plus passengers is simply too heavy.
Tunnel ants aren’t very dangerous, but they’re considered to be annoying pests for people traveling on carriages.
“They must be a headache to the transportation industry.” [Ryouma]
“Hopefully it doesn’t affect the number of customers and the preparations for the festival…” [Serge]
Serge-san, who was quietly listening beside us, seemed to be concerned as well.
…In that case, why don’t I pay them a visit tomorrow?
“You, Ryouma-dono?” [Prenence]
Prenence-san made an odd face when I said that, so I explained to him that I was an adventurer. I also told him that I was planning to go to the Great Forest of Shurus.
“I see. So, that’s why you asked if it was a murder ant.” [Prenence]
In the great forest, other than the murder ants, there are also other ant-type monsters, so seeing those tunnel ants should prove to be good reference.
“They might affect the flow of goods too, so I’m thinking of checking them out just in case.” [Ryouma]
“That would put me at ease.” [Serge]
“It would be a great help to us too.” [Prenence]
Not just Serge-san but Prenence-san too?
“We can’t afford to show a poorly practiced show to the audience, so I was thinking of using the plains near Gimuru as a practice area.” [Prenence]
Itinerant entertainers like themselves have to travel from one town to another, so oftentimes they do not have a designated practice area. Moreover, their performances are the products that they sell. They cannot afford to show them when still unrehearsed, so they can’t practice in a place where other people can see them.
Unfortunately, tunnel ants have recently been sighted in the plains. Although there’s only a chance that they might happen into one, that’s still enough to make them want to avoid it. That’s probably why it would be a great help to them if I could do something about the tunnel ants.
“…In that case, why don’t you use my place for your practice?” [Ryouma]
If they just need a place away from the public, then the Abandoned Mine should be good enough. The duke’s family did tell me to use the place as I saw fit, so I’m sure they wouldn’t mind if I lent it to some people to use for their rehearsal. There also won’t be any dangerous monsters there. And in the rare case that a monster does appear, it will be weak enough that Soldio-san can deal with it himself. He looks strong, after all.
“Are you sure? The rumors about itinerant entertainers like ourselves aren’t exactly flattering. Many of them say that we steal from other people and kidnap children. Of course, we don’t do such thing nor plan to, but…” [Prenence]
“Ah, don’t worry about it. It’s not like I have anything worthwhile in my house.” [Ryouma]
Most of my stuff are inside my Item Box, so it really doesn’t matter if I lend the place. Besides, it’s actually more dangerous for them if they try to enter my house. There are plenty of stuff there that could cause a person a world of pain if handled poorly. All the more so if there are still some uncured soap or caustic soda left.
“It’s fine. Really.” [Ryouma]
“In that case, thank you.” [Prenence]
“When will you be starting?” [Ryouma]
“If you’re alright with it, we’d like to start as soon as tomorrow morning.” [Prenence]
I’m pretty sure they just arrived. Are they really alright with that?
“Alright. I’ll be waiting for you tomorrow morning then. The place is straight from the northern exit of Gimuru. I don’t think you’ll miss it.” [Ryouma]
Like this we made plans for tomorrow and concluded the social gathering.