The next day.
I thought I’d gotten past the marsh already, but after an hour of walking, another marsh greeted me. What I’d thought to be land turned out to be a mudflat. It kind of feels like going upstream the Amazon River in South America, not that I have, mind you.
Either way, exploring the jungle meant either moving or fighting monsters, so I just silently continued along my way, and after another two hours of boating, it seems I finally got through the wetlands.
Upon disembarking, I tried to put away the boat, but something felt off, and I leaped backwards. As the leaves rustled, something fell from the top of a tree.
“That’s my luck for you.” [Ryouma]
Mud splashed as that thing fell, and a body akin to a log could be seen wriggling on the boat. It was a giant green snake monster that looked like big enough to swallow several people whole.
There were many snakes in the Great Forest, but the only monster I knew at this size was the A-rank “Immortal Snake.”
However, the habitat of the Immortal Snake should still be far.
About a week’s walk toward the central area in fact, but of course, now that it was here, that didn’t matter anymore.
“Let’s just blame it on my bad luck.” [Ryouma]
The Immortal Snake seemed to react to my muttering, and it abandoned the boat and went straight for me. Lifting its head, it shot out like a bullet. It was even faster than the Galmos Alligator, but I can handle this attack just fine.
The only problem is its defensive strength and regenerative ability. I dodged and slashed at its body with my sword, but I failed to penetrate is as deep as I’d like. Its skin was just too tough.
The Immortal Snake didn’t seem particularly bothered by my attempt too, and now it was trying to coil around me and constrict me, so I used my ki-reinforced legs to jump out, then upon landing, delivered a powerful sword strike. This time, the blade sank deeper than before. I should have inflicted a reasonably deep wound, but it just retaliated with its tail.
Moreover, in the brief moment it took to evade and create some distance, the wound began healing rapidly. It’s not impossible to fight it, but it’s proving to be a handful.
“‘Tornado Cutter’” [Ryouma]
I cleared the surrounding grass to secure the battlefield, then to make sure I didn’t get lost, I marked a nearby tree.
“Shaa!!” [Immortal Snake]
With a hiss, the creature began to move again. Its attack method remained the same as before, lunging towards me.
I’ve already seen that attack once, so I skillfully dodged it and slashed out with a sword imbued with ice magic.
“KishaAAAA!?” [Immortal Snake]
The efficacy of that chilling attack became evident quickly. The wound I’d inflicted was shallower this time, but the Immortal Snake was clearly cautious and angry. Looks like I’ve been promoted from a prey to an enemy.
“ShaAAA!” [Immortal Snake]
I seem to have touched a nerve, as its attacks became relentless. It lunged and bit at me with more ferocity than before, incorporating coiling attacks while taking advantage of the surrounding trees to move unpredictably.
The terrain here clearly favored the snake. While dodging its attacks, I continued to slash at the Immortal Snake with a sword imbued with the cold, but no matter how persistently I fought, I failed to land a fatal blow.
At best, I was able to slow down its regeneration. It seemed futile to just keep slashing at its body, so…
“Shi!?” [Immortal Snake]
I aimed for that moment when it transitioned from biting to coiling. I raised the sword overhead then swung it down with all my might at the approaching snake’s head.
I felt a slight resistance in my hands, but by using my ki, I forcefully completed the swing and successfully lopped off the head of the snake.
However, even with that, the Immortal Snake did not breathe its last.
“Shaa!? ShaAAA!!!” [Immortal Snake]
Surprisingly, the severed head was still alive and kicking. The detached body thrashed around wildly like worm on concrete.
I had planned to crush the head immediately, but I had to distance myself to avoid being caught up in the erratic movements of its body.
“…What’s wrong with its body?” [Ryouma]
Upon closer inspection, the freshly severed head begun regenerating its body from the cut surface. I wouldn’t have been so surprised if it just didn’t die right away, but this much regenerative prowess is enough to make me suspect it to actually be a planarian?
Monsters can vary significantly in strength according to rank, and I’ve heard that the difference is particularly pronounced for those ranks C and above.
Yet, whether it’s the Immortal Snake or Reinbach-sama’s Ignis Dragon, these A-rank monsters are all proving to be terrifying creatures.
Meanwhile, the head regenerated its body to approximately the same size as the original.
Fortunately, the regeneration was centered around the head, and no new head grew on its original body.
At this rate, this battle will never end.
Unable to make much headway with the sword, I reluctantly sheathed it and called forth a silver-colored short spear through dimension magic. It shone in silver and was about 1.4 meters long. It was none other than the special iron slime spear I had kept on standby in my Dimension Home.
It was my trump card, a lethal spear specifically designed for the creatures of this world.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t play with you for long.” [Ryouma]
Instinctively sensing danger, the Immortal Snake came to a halt. It spoke no words, but its level of alertness and hostility was clearly the highest so far.
However, it refused to turn around. Instead, it lifted its head several times and swayed from side to side before finally unleashing its final attack.
It shot out like an arrow, but I dodged it then thrust out with my spear as it passed by. I let go of the spear.
The Immortal Snake seemed uncertain about how to react to me losing my weapon. It glanced in my direction for a moment, but then it collapsed to the ground and began convulsing.
That proved my trump card was effective, but my caution remained.
It wasn’t until I was sure that it was dead that I retrieved my spear.
“Good job.” [Ryouma]
I spoke to the spear, and it broke form and reverted to that familiar iron slime. Blood poured out of the wound that the spear had opened, then the bloody slime appeared. I’d loaded the hollow core of the spear with the bloody slime, and upon thrusting the spear into the enemy, the bloody slime would treat itself to an eat-all-you-can buffet. What a nasty way to use these slimes if I say so myself.
As long as they have blood coursing through their veins, there’s probably no living creature in this world that can’t be killed by this technique.
But as powerful as it is, it’s crucial to handle it with care due to the danger.
Moreover, relying on it too much might dull my skills.
“I’ll use this spear only when the time calls for it.” [Ryouma]
I’m still lacking in a straight up battle against A-ranks. I thought I’d improved my combat magic in preparation for the jungle, but it seems I need more training.
Reflecting briefly, I loaded the bloody slime back into the iron slime spear.
Just as I was about to collect the corpse of the Immortal Snake before more monsters arrived, I sensed something approaching from the depths of the jungle.
I readied myself for another battle, but…
“! You’re…” [Ryouma]
“Oh? Aren’t you that guy from before?” [???]
What appeared from the jungle was not a monster but a familiar giant of a man.