Canobis Mountain Range. It is the largest mountain range located in the middle of the Rovres Continent. Excluding Elmenia Empire and the island kingdom, Alburn, all other countries are situated around it.
Not only its harsh terrain, it is also one of the demonic realms where many dangerous demonic beings live in, making it difficult for humans to ever live in. Till now, there still isn’t any country claiming that land for themselves.
In the end, it became a natural country border blocking anyone’s access.
「Is there a need to walk on foot on a land like this? 」
She was displeased. It was not more than a question in Nere’s mind. Ardis and his party are now walking north along the foot of the Canobis Mountains.
Albeit only the foot, it is still a place infested with dangerous demonic beings, a place where normal people wouldn’t ever enter. Only reckless mercenaries or explorers blinded by greed would probably ever come here.
「Since Marrieda is saying it purposefully, there must be something there. Well, leaving that aside, the land around here is certainly a suitable quiet place to stay in. 」
Even the church’s people would give up finding a hideout within the wide mountain range.
Even if Ardis is designated a heretic, it’s unlikely to think that the church would be willing to venture into the Canobis Mountain Range that is even further out than the territory of Nagras Kingdom and the Coalition to find him. It’ll only be an act of sending their own people to death.
「The problem is going into a town would be even more tedious huh. 」
When they were living in the Corsas Forest before, it’s possible for a round trip to the capital to be within a day. Certainly it was convenient for them to live in the outskirts of the forest, but on the other hand, it was also one of the reasons why the church found their hideout.
In any case, if they’re choosing to live in this land, there will be another problem to face.
「My master. 」
「Yeah. Seriously……. This number. 」
Ardis had a tired face replying to Nere’s warning. It was because of a big mana signature that was in his detection range.
After they’ve entered the Canobis Mountain Range, they had already encountered demonic beings many times. The frequency was fit for its name as a demonic realm, they would get attacked twice or thrice every hour.
Certainly, with that often, even experienced mercenaries would think twice before setting foot into the mountain range. On top of that, the opponents attacking them are not just beasts or weak demonic beings like Despairs.
They are demonic beings that could easily annihilate an army on their own.
「Two……, are they fighting each other? 」
A little ways above where they are, there were two demonic beings fighting each other.
「They could be fighting for preys. 」
「And the preys, it couldn’t be us right? 」
「I shall not deny the possibility. 」
One of them is a demonic being that Ardis is familiar with. Its upper body covered with feathers, and having buffalo-like horns growing on its head. Having four horse-like legs, excluding that, it also had another two limbs with viscous claws.
It’s a Grinder. The other one was something Ardis didn’t see before.
The arthropod-like appearance had a slender impression, and there was a bulge at its end, probably its stomach. Horrifying eyes are on its unbalanced proportioned head, glaring at the surroundings.
A pair of wings growing out of its neck were busy flapping to keep it in the air.
「It is a 『Hell Mantis』. 」
Ardis heard of it before. Similar to Grinders, they are demonic beings that even experienced mercenaries must resolve themselves to die if encountered.
While they were commentating, the two demonic beings started to battle for real.
The Grinder’s surroundings distorted. Winds rivaling the power of the upper grade magic 『Stee ・ Grol ・ Elmet (Blades of Fierce Strike)』 assaulted the Hell Mantis.
The yellowish brown colored body suffered various grazes, as the Hell Mantis swayed for a little. If one of them is already a dangerous demonic being, the other side must be a terrifying foe as well.
The Hell Mantis regained its balance, and as a counter attack, it spat out something towards the Grinder. The Grinder’s wings that was soaked in it turned white quickly.
It seems like it is some kind of cryogenic liquid. The movements of the Grinder’s wings became dull, and forced it to land onto the ground.
Although it isn’t a wound fatal enough to kill it immediately, it probably can’t put up a good fight if it can’t move its wings satisfactorily.
Eventually, one of the mana signatures disappeared, and the victor of the battle headed towards Ardis and the party.
「It seems like what Nere said was correct. 」
The Hell Mantis must’ve thought they were good preys. It began a nose dive high up in the sky and headed straight towards them.
Ardis took out few sword across the 『Gate』, and one of them was sent towards the Hell Mantis. Despite its nose dive, the Hell Mantis was able to avoid the flying sword that had speed capable tearing the air apart.
However, the projectile that Ardis shot isn’t something that has a simple trajectory like an arrow. Controlled with mana, it is a swordplay without a swordsman, sword magic.
The flying sword that missed the Hell Mantis turned around, and stabbed into its abdomen from the back. The yellowish brown body spasmed suddenly. Then following on, another three flying swords assaulted the Hell Mantis from the front.
It probably didn’t know what happened to itself. Even while its terrifying gaze was still fixated on the party, its head was separated from its body. With that, the Hell Mantis nose dived and crashed into the ground.
「Having them attack this many times will be troublesome. 」
Even if they aren’t considerable opponents for both Ardis and Nere, getting attacked constantly would warrant them no rest. Although a perfect place that no other people would visit, it’s impossible to live here if attacks are so frequent.
「And for living around here……, it’s better to not huh. 」
「If so, master. Shall we hurry to cross the mountain range and head north? 」
Although he didn’t know what Marrieda’s intentions was, even Ardis thought that living here would be difficult.
「I will take a look from above. Wait for a bit. 」
「I can do that though. 」
「It’s fine. It’s nothing difficult anyways. 」
Refusing Rona’s suggestion, Ardis floated up into the sky. Only the one who didn’t see that image before, Sharu, had a complicated expression looking at Ardis.
A few days ago, her eyes widened seeing Ardis flying in the sky for the first time. It’s natural for her to be surprised at something not conforming to common sense.
Ardis flew up into the sky, and looked over the surroundings. With mountains past the forest on the left side, the other directions are all covered in forest.
If he got higher, he could probably see the Coalition behind.
「Nn? What’s that? 」
Between the woods that seemed to stretch forever, there was an unnatural open place. As for distance, they would reach it about half a day of walking without changing their angle.
「I can’t see it properly but……, that’s a building? 」
As expected, he could only see a blur at this distance but, the open land seemed like there was a man-made structure there.
Telling the others as he got back down, Rona as well got up into the skies after saying 「Are you sleepy or something? 」
「It’s real. There’s a house-like building there. But it might just be a ruin. 」
Rona who had better vision than Ardis probably saw it clearly. He said so after getting back down.
「Could it? I do not recall any countries ever established around here…… 」
「Is there a town? Yes――, let’s go there! 」
「Did you hear properly, Fillia? Rona said it might be a ruin right. 」
The four females had different response each.
「Although I never heard there’s someone living in the mountain ranges but, there’s no knowing unless we visited in person. 」
Deep in the demonic realm that even first-rate mercenaries can’t easily set foot in, there might be someone living in seclusion like themselves.
Certainly, it might only be a ruin at this point, but it’s still an intriguing place. Since they’re heading towards that direction in the first place, they decided to make a stop there.
「Hey Al. 」
「What is it? 」
「The demonic beings stopped attacking after that though. 」
「Come to think of it, that’s right……」
Few hours had passed since they started walking towards the open area.
As if the common attacks in the beginning was a lie, they encountered less dangerous demonic beings the closer they got to their destination, and they could only see fierce carnivorous beasts rather than demonic beings now.
Just as Ardis thought he would go up in the air once again to verify their destination, a human-sized signature entered his range.
「I know. It’s a rather weak response, a human? 」
「Even so, it’s too weak? It’s like an amateur mercenary’s. 」
Just as Rona said, Ardis as well felt mana that was only a little stronger than normal people. It’s only on the level of amateur mercenaries that had barely received combat training.
He didn’t think it was possible for someone like that to survive in this land where many powerful demonic beings exists.
Although an unknown entity, Ardis and the party continued their path sensing that it probably isn’t a dangerous opponent.
Eventually, when they made it closer, there was a human voice suddenly from the trees.
「Eh? Angel-sama!? 」