Volume 3 Chapter 19
The next day.
Today, we’re hunting treants again. But because I’ve gotten used to it already, the fighting’s been going smoother compared to the first day.
If everything goes as planned, we’ll be finishing the hunt by tomorrow, and then we can go home to Gimuru. This morning we filled up Raypin-san's 'Dimension Home', so we've been using my 'Dimension Home' to store the treant lumbers.
I swung my sword down, cutting a treant's face from its forehead down to its chin in one stroke. Then with another swing, I cut another treant's face that was on its right, diagonally up, cutting it into two parts. At that moment, a different treant's branch whipped towards me. Quickly, I dodged to the left, and then I lopped its face off from the side.
No matter how many times I do this, I can’t help but think of its face as a mask every time it falls off like this.
While thinking of useless thoughts like that, I killed another three treants. Then after looking around me, I confirmed that there were no more treants left.
"Looks like Ryouma's gotten used to fighting treants already." [Wereanna]
"Ryouma has trained his body well in the way of the sword. That training also reflects in how fast he can learn new methods to defeat new opponents, de gozaru.” [Asagi]
“There are no wastes in your movements, nyaa.” [Miya]
"Thank you very much. My martial techniques were thoroughly beaten into me by my grandfather. I'm quite confident in it." [Ryouma]
The area we're in right now might be a bit dangerous, but we at least have the luxury to talk like this. Of course, letting our guard down too much is bad, but being too tense is just as bad. Something on this level is just right.
But then when we went deeper into the forest, the atmosphere suddenly changed. Using 'Magic Detection', I detected a great number of treants, almost uncountable.
"I know. There’s a lot of them… Unfortunately, it’s not possible to know exactly how many, de aru. Asagi.” [Raypin]
"There's most likely an elder treant ahead. Let's proceed while keeping our escape route open. In the worst case, we'll have to retreat and just return to the guild with the information we’ve gathered, de gozaru." [Asagi]
And so, we proceeded with our guards up.
"Ha!” [Asagi & Ryouma]
"Wind Cutter!" [Raypin]
Before us were the forests of treants. They creeped slowly, and they came whipping their branches at us. But with our efforts combined, we managed to subjugate them.
The women attacked the treants' faces with their axes and hatchets. Asagi-san slashed with his long sword, striking towards an area beneath the treants' faces, killing them. Raypin-san supported us with his magic, while I killed all those behind to keep them from surrounding us.
We struggled like this, killing one treant after another, but the treants kept pouring in from deep the forest. Fortunately, the treants weren't that strong. Moreover, because the treants are walking and are uprooted, when we kill them, they just fall over, keeping our field of vision clear of obstruction.
"We’re killing them just fine, but there's no end to them!" [Syria]
No one replied to Syria's remark, but deep inside, everyone agreed.
"According to 'Magic Detection', all the trees here are treants! Cut them all, de aru!" [Raypin]
"Don't push yourselves too much, alright? Remember, there’s no shame in retreat!" [Asagi]
"I know!" [Wereanna]
"Life's more important!" [Mizelia]
Although everyone was saying that, they weren’t really serious. They were just saying it to remind everyone. And after that, they all went to welcome the flooding forest of treants. As expected of A ranks and B ranks, something of this level can't even faze them.
I should also focus on my work. The treants headed here have also increased.
I put my sword away, and instead I ordered the sheath that was a big metal slime to separate. In the next moment, 100 metal slimes appeared at my feet. I took two from those, lifted them up, and ordered them to transform.
What the two slimes transformed into were throwing axes. Then I strengthened my body with ki, and motioning my body in full, I threw the axes.
The two axes flew through the air, drawing a beautiful arc in its trajectory. Two nearing treants tried to get me into their range, but the two axes flew into their foreheads, striking them dead. The two axes had successfully shot down the two treants.
After that I immediately took another metal slime, had it transform into an axe and threw it. Then i took another one, and another one, throwing the axes one after another towards the endless wave of treants.
After fighting with the treants all this time, I’ve finally come to understand that there’s a deviation in the distribution of magic power within the treants’ bodies. The distribution is generally equal, but there is one place that has a greater concentration of magic power compared to the rest of its body. And that place is its weakness, its face.
Apparently, within the physiology of treants, the face serves as an important cornerstone for the circulation of magic power. In terms of human physiology, it would be the heart as it gathers magic power for the treants. Hurting the treant’s face, causes that gathered magic power to leak out, thereby causing its death. If one takes the face of a treant as the heart, and its magic power as blood, then it’s really not that much different from humans.
However, blood is still different from magic power. Because magic power can be located with ‘Magic Detection’. That’s why as long as one knows how to use ‘Magic Detection’, it’s easy to spot its weak point. And just like now, one would be able to easily kill the treants. And at times when the face isn’t visible, using ‘Magic Detention’ to locate it would easily take care of it.
That’s why with all things considered, treants are easy to defeat. While I still think it’s not good to let my guard down, the truth is that I’m really not being pressured much in this battle.
I’m also not using magic power, so I won’t suffer the symptoms of magic exhaustion. Moreover, I’ve strengthened my body with Ki, making it hard for me to get tired. Now, if I was using normal throwing axes, then I wouldn’t be able to attack once I run out of axes, but since I’m using metal slimes for throwing axes, the slimes can just come back on their own after being thrown. Which goes to say that I will never run out of ammo. In fact, I don’t even have to pick them up.
On top of that, I know the position of their faces, so I can easily kill them in one throw. Moreover, when the slimes come back, the treants try to attack them. But at that moment, because their slow legs come to a halt, they become easy pickings. And I can then defeat them before they can get me into their attacking range. Honestly speaking, this is more work rather than actual fighting.
By the way, all the metal slimes that were attacked are all fine. They are basically lumps of metals, so the treant’s branches’ attacks, which are of course wood, have no effect on them.
Like this I one-sidedly subjugated all the treants that tried to surround us from behind. While the others, on the other hand, completely trampled on the treants in front.
In the blink of an eye, the treants’ numbers had been greatly decreased, and the surrounding forest has been turned into nothing but a vast field of scattered fallen treants. The only thing left growing, were the few, normal trees.
“For the meantime, it looks like we’ve mostly cut them all done… Still, though, it’s quite weird, de aru.” [Raypin]
“What is?” [Ryouma]
At Raypin-san’s mutterings, I asked him why.
“First of all, there’re way too many treants. In fact, I’ve never seen this many treants yet. Second, although treants are trees that become magical beasts from the influence of magic power, it’s my first time seeing such a wide scope of mutation into treants. Lastly, is that one.” [Raypin]
To the direction Raypin-san had pointed in was nothing but a big tree from a distance. But as I could feel a large amount of magic power from that tree, it’s most likely…
“Is that an elder treant?” [Ryouma]
“I think so, but… It’s my first time seeing such a big elder treant with that much magic power. But on top that, I’m concerned why it’s not attacking us, de aru.” [Raypin]
Right after Raypin-san spoke, Miya-san came back at just the right time, and she asked Raypin-san a question.
“Isn’t it possible that it just hasn’t noticed us yet, nyaa?” [Miya]
“We’ve killed so much of its fellow treants, so no. It could also simply be afraid of us, thinking it can’t win. But then in that case, it’s strange that it’s not running away, and is instead just remaining there.” [Raypin]
Then in that case…
“I suppose there must be something there to explain why it’s not moving.” [Ryouma]
“That way of thinking is correct, de aru, but there’s no precedent. At the very least, I’ve never heard of a situation where an elder treant neither runs nor attacks.” [Raypin]
“It’s a bit dangerous to leave it alone like this… So we should subjugate it, or if not, at least bring back information to the guild… Raypin, Ryouma, how’s your magic power?” [Asagi]
“No problem, de aru.” [Raypin]
“Same here; I mean to begin with, I didn’t even really use all that much magic power.” [Ryouma]
“Now that you mention it, that certainly seems to be the case, de gozaru. Who would’ve thought that slimes could actually be turned into axes and thrown… Well since that’s how it is, let’s keep our guards up, and rest for a bit before we go and hunt the elder treant, de gozaru.” [Asagi]
With us hunting the elder treant having been decided, we confirmed the special characteristics of the magical beast again, and kept it in our minds to take care of its wood attribute magic. And then we took a short break.
During break, everyone seemed to show interest with my slime axe throwing. Especially Syria-san, who generally uses the bow.
But then just as our break was about to end and we were to head over to the elder treant, while still some place away from it, the metal slime acted weird.
“Please wait a moment.” [Ryouma]
“What’s wrong?” [Asagi]
“The metal slime seems to be… afraid? …It’s started to panic.” [Ryouma]
I can tell its status because of the contract’s effect, but it’s actually scared enough to want to run away at this very instant. This is the first time something like this has happened.
“Is it alright, nyaa?” [Miya]
“My apologies, but my metal slime won’t be able to fight in this state.” [Ryouma]
“I think it’d be best not to force it, de aru.” [Raypin]
So since the metal slimes weren’t in any state to fight, I stored them inside my ‘Dimension Home’. But it’s curious… the metal slimes have never been scared in this way before. For a moment, I thought their natural enemy might be around, but after looking around, there wasn’t anything around here but a single elder treant. And I’ve never heard of elder treants being the natural enemy of slimes.
Moreover, the only ones afraid are the metal slimes. The iron slimes seemed to be completely fine. So what exactly is wrong with the metal slimes? … Well, in any case, I’m happy that the iron slimes can fight. I do have some weapons I’ve prepared in my ‘Item Box’, but the iron slimes’ blade is still better.
After that, we walked nearer towards the elder treant while paying attention to our surroundings.
“The left tree!” [Raypin]
We were heading towards the elder treant, and we walked over one of the trees from the sparsely scattered trees. According to my ‘Magic Detection’, that tree was nothing but a normal tree.
And Raypin-san most likely thought the same thing, but as soon as we stepped over that tree, the treant suddenly gained magic power, and attacked us. But then, Raypin-san quickly reacted, and Miya-san was able to kill it…
“What’s the meaning of this?” [Raypin]
“This tree wasn’t a treant just a moment ago, de aru. But just now, it suddenly became a treant. Something like this should be impossible, de aru.” [Raypin]
While treants are magical beasts that become so after being influence by magic power, this is not something that happens instantaneously. It’s something that normally happens only after some period of time.
But while that may be so, I felt some of the trees around gain magic power again.
“The treants are being born one after another.” [Raypin]
“Well this was unexpected…” [Wereanna]
“Being caught unprepared with a situation like this is really out of our hands.” [Asagi]
Well it’s less than a while ago, so it won’t be a problem, but still… this strange phenomenon is quite concerning. While thinking that, I focused on my ‘Magic Detection’ in order to subjugate the treants. But while doing so, I suddenly felt the presence ofmagic power in the ground.
At the end of that magic power’s flow was the tree that had just turned into a treant. Seeing that, I focused once more, and this time, just as it did for the previous tree, I felt the flow creep in near my feet. Is this the source?
“There’s something inside the soil! ‘Break Rock’ Breeze’ !” [Ryouma]
I used ‘Break Rock’ to tear down the area I felt magic power, and using the wind magic, ‘Breeze’, I used a strong wind to blow away the fallen earth, revealing roots from which I could feel magic power flowing within!
Raypin-san, having noticed the same thing, yelled.
“It’s the root of an elder treant! …Could it be that the elder treant is using its roots to inject magic power into the trees, transforming them into treants, de aru? Come to think of it, it’s said that treants greatly increase in numbers when an elder treant is spotted. This is a discovery worthy of surprise, de aru!” [Raypin]
“Subjugate first! Research later!” [Syria]
“In any case, does this mean there’s no other way to resolve this situation other than to subjugate the elder treant?” [Mizelia]
“The possibility for that is quite high, de aru. If we leave this one alone, the treants will most likely increase even more, de aru.” [Raypin]
“The elder treant is approximately 500m from here… I will close in to it in an instant, and finish it, de gozaru. Ryouma, please watch the back. We’ll take care of the elder treant, so please stop all the treants from behind, de gozaru!” [Asagi]
At my response, we immediately moved. Wereanna-san, Miya-san, Mizelia-san, and Asagi all went forward, deforesting the forest of treants that flooded from in front. Following that was me, Raypin-san, and Syria-san as we all continued towards elder treant.
Fortunately, the treants moved slowly, and we didn’t receive any difficulty from the treants. But then the elder treant finally made its moved, and it started directly attacking.
We’re still too far to get hit by its branches, so it instead pulled its roots from under the ground, and attacked us. Moreover, it was able to use wood magic just as mentioned in the info. It’s roots extended, and it tried to catch us with it.
Raypin-san used ‘Wind Cutter’, and I along with everyone else used our weapons to cut the opponents down, but there’s just too many of them, especially the ones coming from my feet. Dodging this isn’t easy… If it’s going to be like this, then!
“ ‘Pavement’ !” [Ryouma]
Using the same ‘Pavement’ I did when creating my store, I pressed together the ground, and turned it into pavement. The treants’ growth might be able to break through that, but I’m just using it to buy time. And just as expected, I was able to stop the treants from attacking me at my feet.
“I’ll cover you!” [Ryouma]
Like this we charged towards the elder treant.