5-3. Black Mist
Satou's here. Although we have what we call pending plans, Death March won''t exist in this world if I could just smoothly schedule the minute details beforehand.
"Yiss~ 10 straight victories!"
"It's only Arisa who wins, unfair~ Pochi also wants to win~."
I can hear the little girl's voices from behind. The members beside me have been playing the learning cards for about 2 hours.
Since I couldn't really look away, I don't know the details but it seems that Arisa has continue to childishly won.
"Arisa, here's the commemoration for 10 successive victories."
"What is it? A picture book?"
"If you could win that many, then you should be able to read it right?"
"Nnn~ I could probably do."
"Then read it for Pochi and Tama. If they're only studying the learning cards, they would get bored before they remember the letters."
At first Arisa was reluctant with the picture book I held out, but she finally consented and spread the book open on the floor.
Still, it's amazing that she could learn it in two days.
Pochi and Tama who were complaining since a while ago, quietly sat and perked their ears when the story began.
With nothing but Arisa reading the picture book as a BGM, the wagon continues advancing.
I ask for a change of coachman since I want to search the location for our campsite today on the map.
I wanted to ask Liza at first, but since she's listening to Arisa's story with a serious face, I ask Lulu instead.
"Please handle the wagon for a bit."
I move to the edge of the coachman stand to make space for Lulu. I pass the reins, and want to concentrate on the map but from Lulu's point of view, I'd look like a master who sits beside her in silent... I don't want that.
I migrate to the luggage rack behind and lean my back on the stand.
I immediately look at the map to select the camping ground. Actually, I've thought of a several candidates before we started the journey, but unfortunately the distance we have traveled is shorter than I thought so they're unusable.
There are about 4 hours more before the nightfall.
If we run on this hill for about 3 hours then we'll get closer to the valley between the east and west mountains. According to the book that I've bought from the bookstore back then, [Journey to the Royal Capila], the valley up ahead is a difficult place so I want to make a camp before it.
From what I've seen on the map, there are two locations that could be used for it. The place up ahead has a pond nearby, should I go there?
Something like water spirits or aquatic monsters would usually appear in fantasy setting, but according to the map there are only big frogs there so it should be okay. Big frogs are different from giant frogs from the labyrinth; they're not monsters but just common amphibians.
I wonder where do you draw the line between monsters and normal creatures?
I got called out by Lulu who rarely does it.
Since her voice sounds a bit bewildered, I move the map to the edge of my view.
"What's wrong Lulu?"
"U, um, please look at that."
I put my face beside Lulu and look at the place she's pointing at, black mist is moving from one side of the southeast mountain.
Still, it's quite far. She did well to see them.
"Just a bit ago, birds were flying out from the side of that mountain so I was curious. Then, that black mist appeared."
"I wonder what is that?"
That place is beyond the scope of the map. I look hard there.
The AR indicate that it's [Unidentified Flying Insect Monsters]. The details don't appear because this AR is linked with the map.
Appraisal also doesn't work when I try to use it, it's probably outside of its effective range.
"What what? Is there something~?"
Arisa hangs over me, popping half of her body outside onto the coachman stand. Furthermore, Tama gets on top of Arisa.
I can only imagine this from the presence, but it seems that Pochi also got on them but she fell.
"There's black mist-looking thing over there."
"It's black, so, Bats?"
Pochi is pressing forwards with her nose first on the narrow space between me and the wagon's canopy. I'd like to tell her that she's going in the reverse direction.
Our eyes meet for a while, then I open some space in front of me and fix Pochi's direction.
"Black lumpy is moving nodesu."
Oh, amazing. She could look at these distances?
If they're flying-type monsters then they could probably get here in 10 minutes.
In a moment, I decided that I'm going to move the wagon into hiding and go outside to see the situation.
"Lulu, call me if we get close to that forest you can see from here."
I put Arisa who was riding on my head beside Lulu.
"Arisa, observe the black mist's movement beside Lulu. Since that black mist might be monsters, get ready for battles."
Liza reacts to the word, 'monsters'.
"Pochi, Tama, get ready for battle."
"Aye aye sir~."
Who taught them those words. Nah, I don't even need to hear it, there's only one truth like always.
Even though I said to get ready to battle, it's only for Liza to hold the spear and for Pochi and Tama to arm the swords. Tama passes pebbles for stone-throwing from the bag to Pochi.
I thought that her bag looks heavy, so there were those things inside huh.
Liza puts the stones she receives from the two on a small bag tied to her waist.
I take out a crossbow from the box and prepare it. Although I'm just preparing the bowstring. I haven't set the bolts, since it's dangerous.
After I confirmed that Liza and the girls' preparation is complete, I take out 3 additional crossbows and 200 bolts.
"They're coming, a part of that black mist is moving."
It's still not in the map range. When I look at the mountain over Arisa's head, a part of the black mist on the foot of the mountain is certainly moving.
I change place with Lulu to be the coachman and make Arisa and her go back inside the wagon.
After Liza and the girls said that their preparation is complete, I accelerate the wagon.
Arisa asks me in low voice.
"Master, couldn't you see their level with Menu or something?"
"They're out of range. If I could get as close as 10 Km then I would know."
"I wish permission to use magics if the monsters get close."
I give permissions to use magics beside the uniques or the ones she used on the flea market.
"I want to use monster avoiding space (Dodge Field) too. I'd also like to have permission to use Sleep Wave, Sleep Field, and fatigue space <>."
I give permission after hearing the description of each magics.
"If the enemies are many, then make them sleep with the sleep magic."
"It's ineffective when the opponents are agitated."
Arisa said while smiling wryly. Then isn't there no meaning for that in battle?
"That's why I want to combo it with <>."
"Although you don't use it often, you sure have the knack for it."
"Yep~ But unfortunately, since it doesn't distinguish between friend or foe, it's only for the last resort."
"Don't you have means for direct attack?"
"I could use mind shock bullet (Psycho Ball) and mind shockwave (Shockwave), but at most it could only stun the opponents."
"If you cooperate with Liza, then those two attacks could be quite usable."
I give permissions to use the two magics.
I wonder what those crowds of monsters are chasing?
Monsters emerge from the edge of the map.
"Hexapedal boar (Dash Boar)?"
Rat-men are on the same position as them. The luminous points on the map are moving together. It seems that they're cavalry beasts. Their speed is near 50 Km/H. There are 5 of them.
"What are those?"
"The beasts that the rat-men ride to run away from that black mist."
The dash boars are level 5-6, the rat-men who ride them are level 3-7.
Their positions are bad, if we leave it as it is then they'll come from behind us.
The black mist enters the map range a few minutes late from the cavalries.
"The monsters coming from behind are called Flying Ant, they're only level 2-4 but they're troublesome because of their poison and acid attacks."
"Geh, are the poison and the acid lethal?"
"It seems that the acid burns. The poison is the paralyzing type, so it'd be fine if you're only bitten by one."
That said, if we get carelessly paralyzed, we'd be surrounded to death.
There are already 50 flying ants which have appeared chasing the rat-men.
When our talk is over, the rat cavalries break through the forest 200 meters away from us and cross the highway, missing the hill.
Alright, seems that they won't come here. While apologizing to the horses in my mind, I steel my heart and whip them. Me, Liza and the girls could deal with them, but it'd be dangerous for Lulu and the horses if they catch up.
I can hear loud striking sounds from the other side of the forest. There are 89 in total which chase the rat cavalries.
Let's just let them go past.
My optimistic thought ends when Arisa reports from behind.
"One of them is coming here."