When we got back to the watchtower, Reinbach-sama was already ready to make camp.
“Oh, you came back. What kind of slime did it evolve into this time?” [Reinbach]
Reinbach-sama noticed us while putting up the tent and said that. Apparently, he knew me well enough to understand my behavioral patterns. Of course, I was more than happy to explain about the Grave Slime and the results of Monster Identify and my experiment.
“Grave Slime… Never heard of it before. It’s probably a new variant. Its abilities are interesting.” [Reinbach]
“The ability to attract undead and prey on them, huh. They evolved at a good time.” [Sebasu]
“They’ve been eating a ton since coming here, so that might be why.” [Ryouma]
“We were watching the experiments too, so there’s no doubting their abilities. Personally, I’m more interested in the Miasma Resist. I wonder if they can deal with them too if you make them eat it.” [Remilie]
“If we can determine the amount of miasma that the grave slime can tolerate, we might just be able to deal with the miasma along with the undead. But I’ll have to investigate various things first before we can attempt it.” [Ryouma]
“If it does work out, the Grave Slime will be really valuable.” [Remilie]
Undead and miasma can appear anywhere at anytime as long as it’s in an environment where living beings can die. Moreover, the more deaths there are and the more horrific they are, the higher the probability of undead and miasma spawning.
Of course, there are ways to prevent undeath, such as by burying bodies. And there are ways to deal with them to if they do spawn, so it’s rare for them to spawn where people live. Even if they do, it’s usually dealt with immediately, but of course, nothing with humans is absolute. The prison ruins are one such example where the authorities failed prevent it or respond in time.
Apparently, there aren’t a lot of places that’s this bad, but there’s a lot of places that’s prone to undead and miasma, and the Grave Slime would play a critical role in such places.
“As for me, I’m curious about the Enshrine Remains skill. If it works even on non-undead targets, having at least one grave slime around would be a boon for the army. During monster hunt jobs, we’re allowed to gather the spoils and sell them for ourselves on top of our wages, but when there’s no room left, we have no choice but to just dispose of them. We would make a lot more money if we could just carry more spoils, and that would naturally increase morale. And then there’s also of course… When people die in action.” [Schieber]
“…Of course.” [Ryouma]
When one’s friends die, it’s only human to want to bring as many of them home as possible.
“As a monster tamer, though, I think it could be interesting when combined with an undead contract.” [Reinbach]
They gave their own impressions of the grave slime’s abilities and showed me angles I hadn’t thought of, but Reinbach-sama’s take surprised me.
“You can form a contract with the undead?” [Ryouma]
“Of course, they’re monster beasts too. Tamers don’t really like to use them too much, though. Those that tame human corpses tend to be avoided. Sometimes they can’t stay at inns, and sometimes they can’t even enter cities.
And even if you do consider them, they’re mostly useful for their regenerative ability. When you factor in their weakness during daytime and the hit to your reputation, they’re really more disadvantageous than anything.” [Reinbach]
“I see. That’s definitely a problem, but… Are there even any people that form contracts with them?” [Ryouma]
“I’ve tried it once to check my aptitude as a tamer, but of course, I’ve never thought of actually using it. Tamers that tame them are either researchers, who have to because of their research, or tamers, whose only aptitude are the undead.
Huh, turns out the second most unfortunate researcher after the slime researchers are the undead researchers. I wonder what would happen if they found out about the Grave Slime. Maybe it’s possible to have the undead stored inside the grave slime except for when researching them? I don’t know.
Regardless, that’s something I ought to check later.
“Looks like the Grave Slime have more uses than I thought. The slimes will split after eating enough, so considering what we’ll be doing later, maybe I should take this opportunity to increase their numbers.” [Ryouma]
“Oh, right, we were talking about that before we digressed. But yeah, feel free to increase their numbers.” [Reinbach]
“Either way, we need to reduce the number of undead here anyway.” [Remilie]
“It’s going to be dark soon, though, so let’s leave the extermination for tomorrow. For now, let’s focus on tightening the security of our camp.” [Sebasu]
Now that he mentions it, the distant sky was already turning red. With the Town of Departed Spirits so close, the number of undead in the night should be much more numerous compared to last night.
Anyway, I’ll be working on our defenses again tonight. We made our camp in the open area in front of the watch tower, so I set up the slime stone wall and the barbed wires from yesterday there, then blocked the only staircase leading to the watchtower with the Emperor Scavenger Slime. With the grave slimes positioned right behind too, none of the non-flying monsters should be a threat anymore. Even if a huge horde came pouring in, the Emperor Scavenger Slime could just let them pour into the Grave Slimes to be eaten or throw them down the stairs.
I do wonder if the Grave Slimes could suck in the flying undead too. I know they’re effective against the zombies and skeletons, but I haven’t tested them on the wraiths or wisps yet. If the Grave Slimes can attack flying targets too, they’ll be able to serve as our anti-air defense, but the wraiths don’t have a physical body, and the wisps are basically just balls of flames, so… Well, I guess that’s just something we’ll have to try and find out.
…As the sun set, the number of undead increased. And among them, what stood out in particular were the wraiths and wisps, who passed through the roof of the prison buildings and floated into the sky. From a distance, they looked just like fireflies. It was actually kind of beautiful.
“The radiance of life… Can they be called that too?” [Ryouma]
“Ah, what a poetic expression.” [Sebasu]
“Ah, Sebasu-san.” [Ryouma]
I don’t mind that he heard me, but it’s a bit embarrassing to be described as poetic.
“Those wraiths will approach us as the night grows deeper. I’ve finished warming up our supper, so please come over.” [Sebasu]
“Thank you.” [Ryouma]
As I followed Sebasu into the Holy Space, I could feel a distinct difference in the air between the outside and the inside. I could breathe easier, and the miasma was evidently being exorcised by the holy attribute.
“Remilie-san, this is really effective.” [Ryouma]
“It’s easier to feel the difference when you come in from outside, right? I put more effort than yesterday, so let’s not worry about the undead and enjoy our supper.” [Remilie]
As she said that, she took the lead to pick her Retort Pack from the pot, but as soon as she ripped it open, something unusual happened.
Some of the undead flying above the Town of Departed Spirits near us suddenly flew over as though they were being drawn to us. I checked my Grave Slimes just in case, but they weren’t using Attract Ghosts.
Before long, the flying undead were above us. They couldn’t approach us because of the Holy Space, but they didn’t attack the slimes outside either and just drifted about around us. It was as if they were observing us.
“Ryouma, don’t worry about them so much. It happens a lot.” [Schieber]
“The undead have a tendency to reflect their thoughts and feelings when they were alive. The prisoners here were executed through starvation, so many of the undead here remain hungry and thirsty even in death. No matter what kind of food, as long as it’s something that can be eaten, most of them will approach.” [Schieber]
“I see… It feels unpleasant…” [Ryouma]
“It’s normal to feel that way. There’s not a lot of people that can eat peacefully with a starving audience regardless of their guilt. Those that can have questionable character.” [Reinbach]
“A lot of new recruits lose their appetites too during training. The feeling will just get worse the longer you take, so just hurry up and eat.” [Schieber]
Convinced, I dug in, and inevitably, supper ended early and with less conversation than usual.
“There’s no food left, but they’re still not leaving.” [Ryouma]
“Perhaps they think that we have more food somewhere.” [Sebasu]
…The undead refused to disperse even after finishing our supper. They just wandered around the area as though they wanted something from us.