Ch. 85: Rushing into Abnormality
The next morning, Loren and Lapis cleaned up the camp and were finally ready to head into the Black Forest.
Loren gathered the bodies of the forest wolves that attacked them into one large pile, and Lapis used the magic <<Fire Storm>> to turn everything to ashes.
They had gathered as much of the splattered pieces of flesh and wiped the blood and burned those as well, but the rusty iron smell of blood and intestines still drifted in the air, so the two of them weren’t able to spend a good night.
They had considered moving, but after the attack, both didn’t have the will to take everything down and set it up again, so they decided to put up with it and stay there.
“Are you two alright?”
It wasn’t surprising that Feuille was worried about them.
Although Loren and Lapis had taken turns keeping watch, when it was their turn to sleep, they couldn’t sleep at all due to the smell.
Not sleeping for one night wasn’t a problem for both, but the lack of sleep still showed on their faces.
For Feuille, after he had been thrown into the tent, burrowed into a sleeping bag to wait the attack out, but he fell asleep in there until morning, so he had gotten enough sleep.
“It’ll probably work out somehow.”
“After we reach Feuille’s village, I’d like to borrow a bed.”
Even if it didn’t affect their actions, it didn’t mean that the bad mood from lack of sleep went away as well, so as Lapis said so with a sullen look, Feuilled nodded quickly.
“Please rest as much as you want. I’m sure everyone will welcome you.”
“I hope so. I guess that’ll be something to look forward to.”
To be honest, Loren wanted to turn around and head back.
That was how creepy last night’s attack was.
He could say that the attack itself was because they camped near the forest wolves’ habitat.
But the way they attacked, ignoring the survival instinct that animals and beasts should have, indicated that there was something wrong with the forest, and along with the stories of elves not showing up in the city anymore and the people who went to investigate not coming back, he couldn’t help but see the Black Forest in a creepier way.
“How long would it take to get to your village Feuille?”
Lapis, who was walking behind Loren, who slowly stepped into the forest with caution, asked Feuille, who was walking beside her.
Feuille looked at the situation around him and said after thinking for a while.
“I think it would take around two hours to get there.”
“That’s quite far.”
Elves were also familiar with how to walk in the forest.
Although how to move efficiently and choosing easy paths within the forest was common knowledge for them, it wasn’t so for humans, and if one were to ask if humans could walk the same paths as elves, the answer was a no.
Elves could easily go through places that were blocked by undergrowth and vines, as well as paths that would cause humans to trip.
Lapis whispered to Loren that it was why they shouldn’t take an elf’s sense of travel time in the forest as it is.
Without even nodding, Loren, who was stepping through shrubbery to make a path, suddenly swept his hand through the air.
As Lapis braced herself and Feuille looked at him with a surprised face, Loren pulled what he had snatched in midair up to his eyes, and wrapped around his right hand was a snake, which had its neck gripped tightly by him.
The snake which wrapped itself almost up to Loren’s elbow, seemed to have jumped down from the tree above to bite one of them, but it wasn’t large enough to eat any of them.
But the snake still opened and closed its mouth and twisted its body to somehow try to bite Loren’s hand.
“This smells bad Lapis. Careful.”
After saying a warning, Loren crushed the snake’s neck in a heartbeat.
After seeing it losing its strength and dangling from his arm, he threw the body into a thicket.
As soon as it landed inside, the thicket started moving, and a ripping sound started sounding from inside, which soon became a gnawing sound, and Feuille went pale.
“What kind of hellish place is this?”
Lapis said in a tired voice, knowing immediately that something was ripping apart and eating the snake’s body.
They quickly moved along, as they didn’t want to know what was inside the thicket eating the snake.
“How do you elves live in such a dangerous place?”
“It’s not usually like this…”
A mouse that scurried beneath their feet caught some sort of insect and started nibbling on it.
The mouse was suddenly pierced by a vine that attacked it from above, losing its life, and the vine started sucking its body fluids with great speed.
When they looked up, there were a few bodies of some animals hanging from pointed branches, and an animal that looked like a monkey was eating them single mindedly.
As Loren wondered if there was a bird that did something like that, a giant bird came up from behind the monkey-like animal, snatched it in its claws, and flew off into the sky.
“Hey, what kind of place did we come to? Is the Black Forest supposed to be this bloody?”
A different monkey that looked like the one that the bird carried off attacked them from above.
As Loren saw it and punched it away, making a fist sized dent in its face, it flew through the trees, crashing into branches, and when it landed, rustling sounds and sounds of it shrieking rang out, as if something had attacked it, causing Feuille to jump.
“What was it?”
“I believe it was a forest ape…but it’s strange. They are indeed omnivores, but they usually eat fruits and nuts, and rarely attack other animals…”
“I’m don’t know, but I guess there are days where it wants to eat meat.”
Even as he said so, Loren knew that it wasn’t something like that.”
But he couldn’t help but feel that if they didn’t joke around and lighten the mood, they wouldn’t be able to go any farther.
“Lapis, anything you know or found out?”
Loren decided that this was a time to rely on the priestess of the Knowledge god and asked her, but Lapis was looking in the direction the forest ape flew off with a difficult look on her face.
As Loren guessed that she saw something that they couldn’t, Lapis shook her head and said quietly.
“I thought they might’ve become atrocious, but it doesn’t seem right. Their actions are too trackless for someone to be controlling them either.”
As soon as she said that, something wrapped around Feuille’s body.
He started getting pulled upwards by it before he could even scream, but Loren, who was right beside him, held onto his body with his right hand, and when he ripped what was wrapped around his body with his left hand, a cry rang out from above a nearby tree.
When he looked up, there was a giant frog over a meter long, hanging upside down from a tree.
What raised Feuille up seemed to be its tongue, and although the frog was indeed large, it was slightly too small to swallow Feuille whole. Loren kicked the tree, shaking it, and when the frog dropped down, he crushed its head with his foot.
“This is ridiculous.”
Small bugs immediately swarmed the dead frog’s body.
Disgusted at seeing it immediately being taken apart and eaten, Loren pulled the tongue off Feuille, who on the brink of fainting, and lightly hit him on the back.
“Things will keep on coming if you stand still. I don’t know what’s happening, but if we don’t hurry and reach your village, it’ll get more troublesome.”
Belatedly realizing that he almost got eaten, Feuille’s body shook from fear, but seemed to understand that if he stopped something else could come for him, as he nodded and started walking again.
“Loren, I don’t think it would be safe to go on like this without any countermeasures.”
They started walking through the shrubbery in the direction Feuille was pointing, but Lapis immediately said to Loren.
“If some sort of bugs attacks us, there would be nothing my divine arts and your sword can do about them.”
No matter how skilled Loren was with the great sword, there was nothing he could do against a swarm of bugs.
There weren’t any signs of something like that attacking them now, but with the current state of the forest, it was only a matter of time for bugs to see them as prey and attack them.
“But what could we do about it?”
“I’d like to borrow Shayna’s power.”
At Lapis’ words, Shayna appeared within Loren’s sight.
Lapis and Feuille couldn’t see her, but Lapis continued to talk to Loren.
“I think it would be good to have her unfold her energy drain lightly and use it as a shield. That would kill small bugs and animals with little life energy, and slightly larger animals will run off.”
“Won’t the bugs and small animals become zombies?”
“We can only ask Shayna to adjust her powers.”
As Lapis continued, telling him that she wasn’t sure if it was possible or not, Loren asked Shayna if she could do it.
Shayna thought for a moment, but eventually put her fist on her chest.
‘I’ll try. Leave it to me Onii-san.’
As soon as Shayna said that, the shrubbery in front of them started turning from green to brown.
Bugs around it started dropping to the ground as well, and small animals that came to eat them soon flipped onto their backs and stopped moving.
‘I have my power expanded thinly, loosely, and widely.’
“I guess we won’t need insect repellant in the summer.”
On the ground, which was easier to see among the shriveled grass, were only bugs and small animals.
Larger animals ran away from Shayna’s power that started sucking up their life force, and there didn’t seem to be any changes in the trees above, which most likely had more life on it.
“It’s easier to walk as well.”
The shrubbery wilted so there was nothing in the way of their feet.
The trees were still a nuisance, but there were still far away enough from each other to walk between them, so their travelling speed became significantly faster.
“Huh? What? What’s going on?”
Feuille had already been confused at what was going on with the forest, but this time, his mind couldn’t keep up with the fact that the grass started wilting for no reason.
He looked towards Loren and Lapis, who seemed to know what was going on, but they couldn’t tell him what was going on, so Lapis looked away, while Loren gave a troubled laugh.
“It’s a secret. Adventurers always have a few cards up their sleeves. Remember that.”
Thinking that there wouldn’t be any other adventurers with a card like his, Loren encouraged Feuille, who looked like he understood and didn’t at the same time, to move forward, and they continued deeper into the forest.
Hey guys Kaoto here.
Got another chapter for you guys.
Hope you enjoy and I’ll see you guys in the next chapter!