I pierced through the forehead of a ghoul, then two more came at me from both of my sides. The one to the left was closer, so I dodged it, then I slashed it and kick it to open some distance between us. The one to the right reached me next, so I cut off its arms, then cut it to buy some time.
“If I were to follow Schieber-san’s advice…” [Ryouma]
I stepped right between the two ghouls, then I turned to face the one to the left. With this, we were a straight line. There was a ghoul in front of me and one behind me. I wielded my katana on my shoulder and shot the ghoul behind me by casting Lightshot from the tip of my blade, then I cut down the ghoul in front of me, severing it in half as i tore through it from its crown.
It was a combination attack consisting of a spell followed by a physical attack to another enemy. This time the combination went smoothly.
“Well done! Cover for the openings of your weapon with your magic, and in the same way, cover for the openings of your magic with your weapon! That’s one way for a magic sword to fight!” [Schieber]
I continued to fight so as to not forget that feeling just now. My dazzling blade mowed down the enemies close by, while those that were further away were shot down by my spells. As I continued to repeat the loop of sword and magic, the awkwardness in my movements slowly but surely disappeared.
With the ghouls as my opponents, the fighting style that combined martial arts and magic was slowly polished, and then Schieber-san advised me again, so I immediately put it into action. Since when was it that I was able to fight like this last? It felt like only some dozen minutes passed, and before I knew it, we were already at the bottom of the execution grounds, not a single undead left in sight.
“…Is it over?” [Ryouma]
“Yes, it’s over. That was some good concentration you showed there. If it’s just skill we’re talking about, then you’re already good enough for me to write you a recommendation letter for the knight order.” [Schieber]
I’m grateful for his praise, but had there been more enemies, I might have been able to improve some more. Well, I’ll give myself passing marks, I suppose. The combination of magic and sword goes quite deep. I guess I’ll be keeping at it for awhile then…
“Oh, there’s a lot.” [Remilie]
At the bottom of the Execution Ground of Hunger and Thirst was a ground covered in moss upon which grew clusters of lusterless black grass. Those were none other than the Everlasting Darkness (Herb) Remilie-san and I were looking for.
“There’s a lot more than expected.” [Remilie]
“There aren’t a lot of people who’d go all the way down here just to get some, after all. And with how many undead there were too, most likely, no one’s been here for awhile.” [Schieber]
“How’s the quality, though? Could the miasma have had some effect on them?” [Reinbach]
I examined one nearby and was able to tell that it was almost at the highest possible quality.
“They’re pretty good. They’ll do plenty for my own purposes.” [Ryouma]
“They’ll do fine for mine too. The Everlasting Darkness (Herb) is highly resistant to miasma, and it also has a weak ability to repel miasma. However, I’d prefer to get one that hasn’t been stepped on by the undead.” [Remilie]
“There’s so many. I’m sure we’ll find one if we search.” [Sebasu]
Sebasu-san took the lead to search for an Everlasting Darkness (Herb) that has not been trampled. We too followed suit, but then I suddenly felt something strange. It was a feeling that was both out of place and yet somewhat nostalgic…
“What’s the matter?” [Schieber]
“It’s nothing… It might have just been my imagination.” [Ryouma]
I didn’t know how to put that strange feeling into words, and I also wasn’t sure if I really felt it.
“If you say so. But if you’re feeling anything strange, be sure to say it.” [Reinbach]
I’m not particularly feeling strange, so I’m sure it must have just been my imagination. As such, I continued along my way to look for those herbs. And before long, the mysterious sensation was gone, and I filled my fifth pouch with Everlasting Darkness (Herb). It was then that I could suddenly feel that strange sensation a lot clearer than before.
“Um, guys.” [Ryouma]
“Did something happen? You appear to have had something on your mind since awhile ago.” [Reinbach]
Everyone responded to my mutterings, and Reinbach-sama asked that question.
“I can’t give a clear answer, but… Don’t you feel anything?” [Ryouma]
“That’s a rather vague question… I don’t feel anything strange in particular.” [Remilie]
“I don’t see any undead either.” [Sebasu]
No one else could feel anything, but they trusted me and searched the last floor of the execution ground nonetheless. Of course, I also helped. As a result…
“It’s around here. This is where that strange sensation is coming from.” [Ryouma]
It was a place some ways away from the spiral staircase. Just another normal empty ground somewhat closer to the edge. Nothing in particular stood out. But there was no doubt about it, it was definitely coming from here.
I didn’t know why either, but it felt disgusting. As such…
“Do you mind if I dig around a little?” [Ryouma]
“It’s not a problem legally.” [Sebasu]
“This place is well built, so a little shouldn’t be a problem. Do be careful, though.” [Remilie]
I commanded my steel slime, which I was currently using as my katana, to turn into a big shovel, then I covered it in mana and enchanted it with the Earth Magic, Break Rock. After that I started digging… As I did, the feeling gradually became stronger.
Seriously, what is going on? It doesn’t feel particularly bad, but it doesn’t feel good either. It’s not the presence of a living creature either. As the mysterious sensation continued to grow stronger, I dug and dug. As I found my whole body descending into the hole, and the hole was about 4 meters deep, a voice called to me from above.
“Ryouma-kun, are you alright?” [Reinbach]
“You’ve dug quite a bit. Found anything?” [Remilie-san]
Reinbach-sama and Remilie-san said.
“I’m getting closer. I’m sure it’s just right—!? I felt something!” [Ryouma]
As soon as I said that, I looked at the end of my shovel and saw…
“A magic stone?” [Ryouma]