Ardis’s mana detection had caught several reactions. There were more than ten spots. Although their strength didn’t seem much from their mana, it’s rare for something to come so near before Ardis notices.
「Demonic beings……, not that huh. 」
Amidst the darkness, the figures that surrounded Ardis and Kyrill were finally in sight.
They were crimson humanoids. They look similarly sized as a normal person. They looked like human shadows dyed in red and materialized.
Ardis didn’t feel any hostility from the creatures. In the first place, considering them as living beings is a little skeptical.
They were strange humanoid monsters that had weak mana in them, they only stood unstably on the ground in silent. In the ruins that was surrounded by silence, only the peaceful breathing of Kyrill who is still asleep is heard.
An undetermined time had passed as Ardis stared, the humanoids were only shaking around, but suddenly their movements became violent. Some started hugging their heads, some curled on the ground, and some looked up to the heavens with their hands together. Even when each of them had their own sets of incomprehensible movements, the humanoids slowly made their way to Ardis.
At the same time, the humanoids started letting out anguished cries. Although they didn’t seemed to have mouths, their voices had certainly reached Ardis’s ears.
With the loud cries, it’s no surprise that Kyrill was startled awake. Kyrill who sat up looked around, as he saw the red humanoid-shaped creatures drawing closer to themselves and realized that the sound before came from them, Kyrill’s body suddenly spiked.
「Eh……? Eeeeh!? What!? What are those!? 」
「Don’t do anything extra. Just stay put. 」
Without losing composure, Ardis warned Kyrill while still taking a stance with 『Skies of Myriad Colors』. Even during that, the red mysterious creatures were still closing the distance slowly.
(Well then, how to handle this)
Ardis thought in his mind.
There still isn’t any hostility felt from the creatures. But, getting surrounded by some unknown creatures, on top of that, they are slowly closing the distance, it didn’t look good to Ardis in any way. Regardless of the opponents’ intentions, or if they even had consciousness in the first place, there’s no way Ardis would let them continue come closer.
「Stop there. I will strike if you advance any further」
Ardis gave his warning. Inside the ruins that had a high roof, his voice reverberated.
But it was another incomprehensible anguished cry as a reply. It didn’t seem like communication is possible.
「No choice. 」
Giving up trying to get through to the creatures, Ardis let loose 『Springtime Mist』 and 『Moon’s Blizzard』.
While still taking a stance with 『Skies of Myriad Colors』 beside Kyrill, Ardis had released both his short swords to the humanoid creatures. One of them went straight for the humanoid creature directly in front of him, while the other circled around the top and attacked the others from the back.
The two short swords cut through the air and sliced at the humanoid creatures. The creatures didn’t even try to dodge the swords. The next moment, the swords severed the humanoid’s body as they were commanded.
Describing as a normal person, then it’ll be about their abdomen that they were sliced into half horizontally, the humanoid creatures turned into mist and faded. It didn’t seem like there was any resistance at all but, the moment when one of their kinds got attacked, the other creatures turned violent again.
It was cries that was louder than any before reverberated in the surroundings. The humanoids who seemed to be at a crawling speed just a moment ago suddenly rushed at Ardis furiously.
As Ardis clicked his tongue, he continued bisecting the remaining creatures with 『Springtime Mist』 and 『Moon’s Blizzard』. Using wind magic at the same time, he stopped all of them from ever reaching him.
「Pale white of judgement that severs the sins of the far emptiness ―― Stee ・ Grol ・ Elmet ! 」(Blades of Fierce Strike)
Inside the ruins separated from the outside by a wall, a strong wind manifested. The furious typhoon that manifested in an instant with a loud roar caught the red humanoids and blew them away. Small rubbles crumbled under the intense air pressure, ash and dust accumulated for many years filled the air.
Receiving such wind blades, the humanoids body ruptured and became in pieces.
Another ear-splitting cry resounded.
The humanoids were carried by the intense winds to the roof, and fell to the floor with momentum. Before their bodies impacted the ground, they disappeared unnaturally after getting sucked into one single point.
Where the humanoids disappeared into, was the sword that they’ve retrieved from the ruins. By the time Ardis and Kyrill noticed that, the sword that no one had touched till now was drawn from its scabbard. The shiny blade that they saw for the first time was glowing red.
「C-Could it be that the sword was cursed after all……? 」
「……That might be the case. 」
Inside the ruins dimly illuminated by Ardis’s spell, a painful silence returned.
「So how is it? Would it be better if we leave the sword behind? 」
A long silence after Ardis’s question, Kyrill shook his head.
「I won’t give up after coming so far. I want to take it back since we’ve got it――. No, I must bring it back no matter what. But……」
Kyrill’s words clouded at the end.
Well, it couldn’t be helped. If Ardis were to not accompany him, he could never breakthrough the forest on his own no matter what. Even more so if he had to carry that unknown cursed sword.
If Ardis chooses to back off now, Kyrill had no choice but to leave the sword behind. It can’t be blamed that Kyrill is feeling down. Ardis sighed lightly and smiled bitterly.
「It’s a ship I’ve boarded. I won’t abandon ship now. Just like what I said before, I will bring you back to the capital properly. 」
Saying that, Ardis controlled the glowing red sword and kept it back in its scabbard.
「Now then……, it’s still a little too early to depart. Let’s sleep for a little longer」
「Eh? Eeeeh!? After that kind of things……!? 」
「Sleep when you can. It’s the basics of mercenaries……wait, you’re not a mercenary in the first place huh. Well, if any comes up again then I’ll just deal with them again. So, good night――」
Talking in a tone as if it wasn’t anything significant, Ardis curled up in his coat and lied down again. Although Kyrill seemed to have something to say but, he gave up eventually, before lying down like Ardis to take his second sleep.
The next morning. In the end, the strange humanoids didn’t appear again.
Although both Ardis and Kyrill didn’t have the chance to fully rest well, it’s not like they can be complaining about that. Swiftly finishing their preparation, they left the ruins along with the dawn.
「Those monsters, will they come again? 」
「Probably, though it’ll be better if they don’t. 」
Albeit they aren’t threatening for Ardis, having some mysterious monsters that might come at him at any time is just stressful.
Having known the sword has indeed some special traits, holding it directly will be too risky, thus Ardis is still carrying it with his sword magic. Although it’ll cost him mana to maintain it like that, they have no choice since it will be safer.
The place where the ruins was, it was about two days of walk from the entrance of the forest. Although Ardis by himself could’ve saved a lot of time with 『Floating Strides』, he couldn’t do that with Kyrill accompanying. Having no choice but to match Kyrill’s physical stamina, in the end, they took three days before exiting the forest.
Other than the usual beasts and demonic beings that came at them in the forest, there wasn’t any significant events. For Ardis, dealing with the monsters in the Corsas Forest, it’s a piece of cake even if it means that he’s carrying the cursed sword and the young boy in tow.
The problem is the strange humanoids that always appears every night. In the end, the two nights they’ve spent in the forest, the red humanoids appeared every night.
Of course, dealing with them is an easy feat for Ardis. But, without knowing the root of the problem, they will just appear again when night comes. Although it’s not much of a problem till they arrive in the capital, the problem comes after. Returning to the capital, handing over the sword to Kyrill’s requestor, that’s too reckless in Ardis’s opinion.
「It’ll be good if we find some way to dispel the curse in capital……」
Kyrill seems to understand that himself as well. He didn’t show a happy expression even when they’ve got the sword he was looking for.
With that slightly awkward atmosphere around, Ardis and Kyrill finally made it through the forest. Bathing in the warm sunshine that they’ve both had since a while, Kyrill narrowed his eyes.
「There’s still a little more to go. 」
After making through the forest, it’ll take a day to arrive at the capital. Although there’s still a problem regarding the sword’s curse, it’ll be better of a plan that they leave it after they return to the capital.
Now that they had gotten through the forest, there isn’t much life-threatening elements around. But of course, that’s only true when comparing to the monsters residing in Corsas Forest. Albeit the grasslands, there’re still monsters appearing.
Or, it might be not monsters that attack them. Merchants who don’t hire escorts, or mercenaries who looks like runaway brats are good targets.
「Ou, you lots! Hand over all your items! 」
Those who aim for the weak, it’s none other than another human. One side is a young boy, and the other is a young man who looks to be a magician in his fifteens. As their preys, they seemed too attractive.
「If you listen to our demands properly, then you’ll be spared. 」
A few minutes since they left the forest. Numerous shadows encircled Ardis and Kyrill.
Other than the red humanoid creatures, they were the normal humanoids that Ardis and Kyrill finally meet since a while. They had a face, and wearing clothes, it was the appearance of bandits who can talk normally.