The next day.
I’m starting a little later than usual today.
I was able to get a lot of rest last night, so my health should be fine. I doubt those people from the front line base will go this deep into the forest. The path has completely disappeared by this point, and there are plenty of natural barricades here too from overgrown grass and vines. I’ll have no choice but to cut through the jungle to continue. That’s going to slow down my pace a lot and cost me more effort, but the monsters won’t be considerate.
I grew alert as an unfamiliar sound approached from the distance. My Mana Perception picked up on a lone monster beast fast approaching, behind which was a large pack of raptors.
“Geh, don’t tell me――” [Ryouma]
The moment I figured out what monster it was at the lead, a monster resembling an ostrich leaped out from the jungle, swiftly avoiding me without attacking. The raptors giving chase turned their attention to me.
“‘Paralyze Mist’ ‘Spark Ball’” [Ryouma]
Taking the initiative, I cast a mix of poison and lightning spells. One was a spell that unleashed a poison mist that paralyzed instantly and the other was a spell that unleashed electric orbs. Both were spells that covered a wide area and could act as a wall of sort to stop the approaching pack, but they weren’t very effective.
From what my Mana Perception picked up, the Raptors that inhaled the paralysis-inducing mist certainly became sluggish, but it wasn’t enough for them to stop. Regardless, those raptors still couldn’t dodge the succeeding electric attack.
But that’s just 30% of the pack. Spark Ball might be effective against humans, but it’s not strong enough against monsters.
Still, 30% was a significant number. The raptors behind weren’t as eager as the ones in front. They came to a halt after my first attack, then about half of the horde started to flee. Only 20% remained. This won’t be a problem as long as I play my cards properly.
And so, I dealt with the enemy calmly while taking care to minimize the pain I afflicted. When everything was over, all that was left were the corpses and the scent of blood.
“Fuu… Just counting the ones here, that’s about 50. I wonder how many of them there were all in all. Also, that was a Take Ostrich, wasn’t it?” [Ryouma]
The Take Ostrich lives around these dangerous parts despite not having any combat ability. It relies mostly on its robust legs to survive, spreading the pheromones it releases everywhere. Unfortunately, while its pheromones are meant to arouse, it also has the side effect of provoking other monsters.
Which is why it’s known as ‘the weakest yet worst monster in the jungle.’ The reason for that is clear when you see it running through the trees while being chased by a massive pack of raptors.
Anyone that loses their nerve before that is sure to have a bad time.
“It’s a waste, but I’ll have to go ahead without taking any of the spoils this time.” [Ryouma]
The Take Ostrich likes to go back after awhile to scavenge the corpses, and it would be a huge problem if it provoked another horde of Raptors in the process.
After walking until just it was just past noon, a huge rock came to view. Not a slime, by the way.
“There should be a lake southeast of that rock…” [Ryouma]
The directions to the village had been written in Gayn’s letter, so I double-checked it along the way. Before long, the only vegetations left were the heat emitting trees, and my field of vision opened up. This is probably the lake that Gayn and the others mentioned.
“More like a marsh though, no?” [Ryouma]
There were puddles and water plants here and there, but it’s more like a damp marsh than a lake. Of course, that didn’t change the fact that it was hard to walk.
It’s not that deep just yet, but it’s enough to reach up to my ankles. One step wrong and I can say goodbye to my footing. I’ll be stuck too.
There’s no need to force my way here. Let’s use that.
I called out the mud slimes from my Dimension Home and brought out that small boat I used for removing snow last year.
I also got some tools that might be useful here.
“Ready! Let’s go!” [Ryouma]
Manipulating the mud with slime magic, I moved across the muddy swamp by relying on the turbid stream created by the Mud Slimes. The mud was heavier than water, so it wasn’t as fast as what the water slimes could produce, but it was still fast enough.
“I guess the water one is more like a speedboat while this mud variant is more like a regular boat, not that I’m an expert at boat speed or anything, mind you.” [Ryouma]
In any case, this is way faster than any walking I might have done on the marsh. I’ve got plenty of mana recovery medicine with me too, so I might as well push all the way to the opposite bank.
Alas, it soon became clear that I won’t be able to get there easily.
“This trip really isn’t straightforward, is it!” [Ryouma]
Something large was approaching me from in front, so I turned the helm to the left, and in the next moment, a jaw densely packed with teeth as big as human limbs shot out, followed by a head and a torso resembling a rock.
It was a colossal 4-meter-long alligator, a C-rank Galmos Alligator.
With its robust jaws, even a person in armor would be easily torn apart if caught.
“But my preparations are impeccable!” [Ryouma]
“Guafu!?” [Galmos Alligator]
The alligator moved swiftly for me with its giant body, but I dodged it by teleporting the boat away. At the same time, I left behind some Special Sticky Bombs.
“…!?” [Galmos Alligator]
The giant alligator chewed on the sticky bombs a few times before pausing, unable to move its mouth, then it started thrashing about in the mud.
Alligators might have a powerful bite, but they’re not so strong when opening their mouth.
I was worried that the sticky bombs might not be as effective if swallowed or diluted by the saliva, but fortunately, it’s working well.
Seizing the opportunity while it was paused in its confusion, I teleported right at the head of the Galmos Alligator and thrust a blade into its skull.
Its jaws were certainly a threat, but it wasn’t a problem once you’ve squeezed it into a pattern.
I got my spoils for the hunt, and in the end, I was able to exit the marsh in four hours total.
It seemed like a good stopping point, so I decided to end the day there.