𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟑𝟕: 𝐒𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐬 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐠
It takes twelve days on foot from the city of Gaillia to the ruins of Piran.
It’s farther than going to the royal capital.
Well, that’s just how vast the Gaillia region is. Count Doros, in other words, is a Margrave.
He plays a crucial role in guarding the border with the demon race country, the Masrur Kingdom.
Although he’s a Count, in terms of power, he can compete with Dukes and Marquises.
That’s what a Margrave is.
Well, that’s why the city of Gaillia, under the jurisdiction of Count Doros, is thriving enough to be called a trading city.
“It’ll be a journey along the highway to the Milt inn, and from there, about two days heading west.”
I explain while showing the hand-drawn map to the four girls.
It’s something I made over ten years during the [Gold-lined Butterflies] era. It’s a bit of a treasure, you know? It not only contains information about highways and inns, but also about the ruins we’ve conquered.
As part of her reading and writing studies, I’m having Meg copy it now.
Eventually, she, the scout, will be the one to plan [Hope]’s actions.
I’m looking forward to that day.
“Camping for two days! That’s less than I thought! Good!”
Asuka is delighted.
I understand how she feels.
Not many adventurers love camping. No matter how shabby, they prefer to sleep indoors.
“I will enjoy the specialties of each inn!”
Meisha, the foodie, says something cheerful. It’s not a sightseeing trip, though.
The ones guarding the clan house while we’re away are the white cat, Lion King, and his wife.
They seem more like the owners than us, who can’t return for a while once we leave.
Lion King, who saw us off from the roof of the house, meowed.
It seemed like he was wishing us good luck, and everyone smiled a little.
And so, we continued our journey for ten days.
『”𝘼𝙬𝙚𝙗𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙨.𝙘𝙤𝙢” – 𝘿𝙞𝙨𝙘𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙧 𝙖 𝙘𝙖𝙥𝙩𝙞𝙫𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙬𝙤𝙧𝙡𝙙 𝙤𝙛 𝙡𝙤𝙫𝙚, 𝙥𝙖𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙖𝙙𝙫𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙪𝙧𝙚, 𝙬𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙘𝙖𝙣 𝙞𝙣𝙙𝙪𝙡𝙜𝙚 𝙞𝙣 𝙖 𝙘𝙤𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙧𝙖𝙣𝙨𝙡𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙣o𝙫𝙚𝙡𝙨 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 “𝙙𝙖𝙞𝙡𝙮 𝙪𝙥𝙙𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙨” 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙚𝙭𝙘𝙡𝙪𝙨𝙞𝙫𝙚 𝙖𝙘𝙘𝙚𝙨𝙨 𝙩𝙤 “𝙖𝙙𝙫𝙖𝙣𝙘𝙚𝙙 𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙥𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙨”.』
It was the last night we could stay at an inn.
Feeling a faint presence, I picked up the broadsword that was leaning against the bedside.
The voice in response was Meg’s.
She seemed to have sneaked in from the women’s room.
“If it’s a night crawl, you’re just in time.”
Jokingly, I sit up.
At this point, I was physically fully activated. When you’re an adventurer, you tend to wake up very quickly.
After all, there are too many situations where you have to act the moment you wake up.
Like a night raid.
“I feel a strange presence.”
Meg, who doesn’t seem to have the luxury of joking around, immediately starts explaining the situation.
She says she feels a presence, not hostile or malicious, but as if she’s being watched.
It’s a bit of an elusive story.
“Did you check outside the window, Meg?”
“That’s it, the fog is so thick I can’t see anything.”
Then it’s confirmed.
“Wake up Asuka and the others. Get ready for battle and gather in this room. It’s the enemy.”
Meg, standing in the corner of the room, holds her breath.
For that matter, it would be better to talk a little closer.
Won’t they attack?
“I’m getting impatient here.”
“Nothing. More importantly, what do you mean by enemy?”
“In the middle of the night, the presence of someone, a thick fog. With all these, it’s undoubtedly a lich.”
“A lich?! The king of the undead?!”
She’s freaking out.
Well, undead monsters are troublesome. Especially a Lich, it’s a high-ranking undead, on par with vampires.
But if we know it’s approaching, there’s a way to deal with it.
Isn’t Meg, who sensed the presence, the hero of the day?
I approach the former thief girl and pat her chestnut-colored hair. Just like I do with the three girls.
“Ugh! I’ll go call everyone!”
For some reason, she let out a mysterious intimidating sound and dashed out of the door.
Did I treat her too much like a child?
She will turn eighteen (seventeen full years) next year. She’s joining the ranks of adults.
Being patted on the head might be humiliating.
I might need to treat her more like a lady.
I go outside with Asuka, Miliaria, Meisha, and Meg, who are ready for battle.
I tell the people at the inn not to go outside under any circumstances.
The zombies led by the lich don’t have the restriction of not being able to enter a house uninvited like vampires.
However, they lack the intelligence to open doors or break windows, so it’s relatively safe inside a building.
As long as we’re outside, they’ll be targeting us.
“Now, it’s time to show up.”
Footsteps are approaching steadily from beyond the fog.
The king of the undead, leading dozens of the dead.
“What is this presence… I would understand if it was hostility or malice…”
Meg, holding oil bottles in both hands, mutters.
“It’s just resentment. The dead are envious of the living and can’t help it. That’s why they try to pull us in. Into the dark, cold swamp.”
The one who answered is Meisha.
She makes a holy sign, as befits a cleric.
Meg, shrugging her shoulders, puts a tinder made of rope in her mouth.
Her red eyes spoke of not wanting to be killed by such incomprehensible resentment.
“Besides, I hate zombies! They’re dirty and smelly, and you don’t get a core even if you defeat them!”
Asuka says something that doesn’t seem to have a shred of piety, but as an opinion of adventurers as a whole, this is probably closer to the truth.
They are nothing more than corpses controlled by the lich, so they don’t have a core inside them.
Even if they did, it would be hard to muster the will to butcher the corpse and extract it.
“May I launch a preemptive attack from a distance? Mother Nel.”
“Then I’ll shoot. Spear of Flame!”
A spear of flame born from Miliaria’s staff flies.
Like an arrow announcing the start of the battle.