Regarding problems with ads making earthquakes, pretty sure it’s all fixed up now~ If there’s still any problem that you encounter, please do let me know~
The tall standing trees blocked the sunlight, a gloomy and humid air floated in the atmosphere.
The largest forest in Nagras Kingdom, humans are just outsiders for Corsas Forest. Even if you are allowed inside, you will only be standing in the position as a 『Prey』 for the predators.
「Shit! Why is it like this! 」
Hiding from the monsters in the forest continuously, it’s already three days. Their frustration has been piled up so much it couldn’t be suppressed.
「Calm down. There won’t be any good result if you lose your calm. 」
Rebuked by an old lady, the silver-haired boy took his anger out on the wall. The three boys and girls sat in the surrounding shook.
No matter how much the silver-haired boy goes wild, it probably wouldn’t even put a mark on the cave that is carved by the hands of nature. It seems that they are holding onto their fragile mind with little mental shocks like this.
Here is the Corsas Forest. And where they are is in the cave right in the middle of the forest. In where the sunlight doesn’t reach, the swaying flame of the lantern casted shadows of the people.
The people who sat on the wet ground of the cave was seven in total. Five of them were still boys and girls in their tens, then an adult female, and an elderly female merchant.
「Hansrick-san. I think that your attitude towards your benefactor is too rude. 」
The girl with cherry blossom-colored hair tied criticized the silver-haired boy. Unlike the other boy and girls that have fear lingering in their eyes, she was the only one that have kept his calm in this situation.
「So noisy, Solte! Are you judging me!? 」
「Blah blah blah, you are the one noisy! Don’t hit out on others or things just because you are anxious! So pathetic! 」
Seeing the boy who is lashing out at the girl who talked back to him, the one who cut into the conversation was the elderly woman merchant.
She has the looks of almost at the fifties. She has the energy unfit of her age but, the creases and wrinkles around her eyes and mouth can’t be hidden. A small tail is tied on the back of her dark blue hair.
「You bastard! Are you being rude knowing that I’m the second son, Hansrick of the Remshade house!? 」
「Then go out by yourself here quickly. I don’t have the obligation to save you all in the first place. 」
The woman has a sharp glint that can’t be thought from a merchant, Hansrick was forced to behave as he shouted 「Shit! 」and sat on the ground angrily.
Towards the woman merchant who have a cold gaze looking at him, the cherry blossom-colored hair girl drew closer. The girl sat in front of the woman and bowed deeply.
「I’m really sorry. My comrades have been improper. If we were to be chased out of here, we have no ways to protect ourselves. Please forgive us somehow. 」
「You, your name is Solte? I don’t really have intention to chase you out. If the others behave, then I won’t. But, it’s good to keep in mind that I have no obligation to save any of you. 」
「Yes. I will carve that in my mind. 」
Solte lowered her head once again, and returned to where the other boys and girls were. It’s in a narrow cave after all. The conversation with the woman has probably been heard by all her friends too. There’s no need to ask Solte again, the three other than Hansrick thought the same.
The five of them are the students of Mariules Academy in the capital of the Nagras Kingdom. They are the highest year who will graduate this year, and they are amongst the people who are recognized for their ability and have a bright future promised.
Since the leader, Hansrick is the second son of the Remshade house known for their prestigious fighting skills, and he is also the best student of the year. With his combat and literature excellency, the people surrounding have high hopes on him, it can be said that he’s the prided son of the Remshade house.
Solte is an out of the ordinary character of a sister belonging to the church and was permitted to admit to Mariulees Academy. She’s a prodigy that acquired healing skills at mere fifteen, and is expected by the church to be the next Saintess.
And the other three were similarly the elites of the academy, and is expected of their performance after graduation.
Three boys, and two girls, they were good rivals and they have good relationship. Because they were existence outside of the norm of the other students, they have their back against each other and competed.
And naturally, they would normally move together, and to fight in a group, they have formed a party. It’s the creation of the top party of Mariulees Academy.
Opponents that match them, didn’t exist in the academy. They have a track record of all victory no lost in the academy’s trial. It’s a true showing of overwhelming force.
Because that they were superior in the midst of the students, the still young naïve boys and girls became overconfident in their ability. Hansrick and the others have thought to use the last long holiday to have an expedition, rather than after the graduation in half a year time.
The Academy have not restricted students to have expedition. On the contrary, they condone the students to amass live combat experience. But they also thought about the students’ safety, so they have recommended the students to a hunting location befitting of their ability.
A place near the capital that have less dangerous creatures, and a place that is easily reachable if the students need help, and of course, a place without any dangerous demonic beings.
The academy had not restricted the students to head for the recommended location but, if they choose not to do so, they must hire mercenaries with the appropriate ability for their particular chosen location. And Corsas Forest is one such place.
The expedition location that the academy chooses, they are all tailored for the average students. It’s not a training to the excellent students’ ability if they went.
A place with higher difficulty, without having an escort and clearing problems with their own hands, and that will finally help them improve themselves. The others have followed Hansrick who have said so, and so they headed into the forest without hiring an escort.
The only one who insisted to hire an escort was Solte. But in the end, she was laughed off by the other four, 「If it’s a tough fight, then hire one when that happens. 」
As the result, judging that their own abilities are more than enough, they have fallen into a predicament themselves.
The map they’ve got in Thoria have empty spots but, it have a clear route that is safe that they can use. In truth, the entire day after they entered the forest with that route, Hansrick and the others have never met a single beast as they proceeded.
Normally, they would’ve had suspicion by now. If they knew that the reason why the danger rating has been given to Corsas Forest by the Nagras Kingdom, then they would’ve caught on that the situation was weird.
But with their high tension and spirit, they haven’t experienced the fearsomeness of the forest themselves, and they dived deeper and deeper.
When they realized their wrong, it was already the third day――the second day they entered the forest, when the noon has already passed.
Originally, their plan is four days, so they would be on the returning journey by now. But so far that they entered to forest, they have never encountered anything else other than little herbivore animals.
That wouldn’t even be close to training. Saying it’s just a picnic trip wouldn’t be far fetch. It would just be useless effort if they came out so far but didn’t fight a single time.
After having a decision, the conclusion that they have come to, is to proceed in the forest even if the due time passes. And by that time, their caution has loosened, and their attention have also drifted a little.
When the sounds of the birds and small herbivore animals weren’t heard anymore, no one there realized too. The one cutting apart the shrubs and foliage in front as the leader, Hansrick was the one who realized the abnormality first.
「Oi, this is……」
Where Hansrick pointed was a lump of black.
「That’s……a Twin Swords, isn’t it? 」
One of their comrades revealed it with their knowledge.
「It’s just a single one. I guess it’s just enough for a small hunt. 」
Hansrick spoke with seemingly confidence that is spilling over.
「Then I will take the front. Back me up. 」
Hearing the response of his comrades, Hansrick put up a simple strategy of offense.
「Alright, now! Surround it! 」
Hansrick who only had the thought of the winner strikes first extended his longsword towards the Twin Swords. But such attack of his were futile as it was defended against completely by its hard skin, a single cut was not even left behind.
「Kuh! So tough! 」
The Twin Swords who received an attack out of nowhere immediately recognized Hansrick as its enemy, and growled while grinding the two fangs that is the origin of its name.
「Go around and aim for the gaps of its skin! 」
Having his surprise attack fended, Hansrick took a distance and instructed his comrades of a swordsman and axe wielder to attack. Solte and another girl stood a distance away, and readied their stance so that they can support at any time.
From the side, the comrade of the axe weilder swung his axe but, it was blocked by the tough skin again.
「Tough and even slippery, this! 」
Just like what the axe weilder said, the outer skin of a Twin Swords is tough, on top of that, it’s slippery constitution just makes it easy for any blades to be deflected.
No matter how much force you out into the attack, if the angle is even shifted a little, then the resultant effectiveness will be halved.
Hansrick and another swordsman matched their timing and unleashed stabs one after another, but as expected of the tough skin, a single scratch wasn’t even inflicted.
「The tune of rupturing winds played by the pristine shrine maiden ―――― Wind Blade! 」
The other girl along with Solte who is at the back casted wind magic. The wind blade travelled while cutting through the air successfully severed one leg, the leg that the outer skin wasn’t damaged.
It’s not wrong to use magic against the Twin Swords Beast that has a tough skin.
But the affinity of the 『Wind Blade』whose purpose is to cut is very bad with the Twin Swords Beast.
If it was 『Fireball』or 『Ice Block』then it would’ve been more effective, even 『Rock』magic would’ve able to deal more damage.
If the girls didn’t have the affinity of wind magic, then the result might have been different by a lot.
Hansrick’s expression started to show unrest.
「Hans! What now!? 」
With the fight showing an obviously disadvantage, the axe wielder asked his decision. The Twin Swords is definitely tough. The attacks from their side were totally deflected by the outer skin, even the much hoped magic attack did not reverse the situation.
But on the other hand, its movement isn’t very fast. If they tried to run away seriously, it probably doesn’t have enough speed to catch up. Fortunately, it was just a one of them. They didn’t have to worry that another flanking them.
「It’s just one Twin Swords, we can do it! It’s not immortal as well! Losing one of its leg should be eating away at its stamina as well! 」
Hansrick have not chosen to retreat
His feelings were also understood by the other members. Without hiring a mercenary, ignoring the academy’s recommended spot and entering the dangerous forest, running away scared just because of a single fight, their pride won’t allow them to do so.
Even more when the opponent is the Twin Swords said to be the less dangerous out of the all in Corsas Forest. To not be able to do anything against something that isn’t even a demonic being, their assessment as the stars of the academy will fall to the ground.
Those thoughts have clouded their vision, losing them the last chance to retreat. The next moment, behind the Twin Swords, a huge figure leaped out.
That huge figure, against the Twin Swords that Hansrick and the other have had all kinds of trouble with, crushed it along with its black outer skin in just an instant.
While Hansrick and the other stunned on the spot as if something tied down their body, the figure fully revealed itself from the thick foliage.
What appeared forth was a giant purple snake. Its body was as thick as the height of an adult human, even its head portion is a size larger than the Twin Swords Beast. How long was its actual body behind the foliage was unimaginable.
The snake coiled around, and stuck it’s fangs deeply into the body of Twin Swords Beast.
While hearing an eerie sound of flesh grinding resounded, the sight of the body of the Twin Swords crushed in front of them played, chilling the nerves of Hansrick and the others.
Their rationality is screaming at them to run away right now, but their body froze under the intense fear. When the black lump that was once the Twin Swords is slowly swallowed, the giant snake unleashed its hostility at Hansrick and the others.
Against the Twin Swords that Hansrick and the others have no way to deal with, the giant snake who easily hunted it, against such opponent, they couldn’t even begin to imagine how to win.
The only choice they had was to run, but before the predator that had overwhelming strength, their legs have stiffened as if petrified.
The words that the axe weilder squeezed out became the trigger, the giant snake attacked Hansrick and the others.
The first target that giant snake unleashed its fangs towards was the axe weilder. Before the fangs pierced the body of the him who stood on the spot stunned, it was a large shield that stopped that.