Side Story 4: Paldi’s Exciting Nightmarish Dungeon Exploration Journal! Part 2
The flag… It’s coming…
The border between the Eld Desert and the Eld Mine is widely known as the Boundary of Death.
The boundary between the desolate wilderness of death and the mines where humans mine for magic stones is easily visible.
「Ah, I can see the surveillance fortress.」
Paldi sees a small fortress in front of her.
A fortress built solely to monitor the Accurate Crow.
The same place that reported the sighting of Killer Ants.
Paldi raises her glasses.
「I’ve already got permission, let’s go through it.」
It was Rail who asked the question.
「It’s fine. The soldiers around here don’t have a very good impression of us (working for royal palace) in the first place. It’s better for us to quickly get through it. 」
Is that so, muttered Rail.
And nothing in particular happened as they set foot in the Eld Desert.
「Thank goodness, we’re safe.」
「What are you talking about? The real thing is just about to get started. Here, take this. Everyone else too.」
With that said, Paldi hands a magic stone about the size of a fist to each member of Silver Crow.
「What is this?」
「It is a magic stone called the Repel Magic Stone that can keep the monster away. If you enter a magic pattern of a particular monster, it will continue to produce a wavelength that the monster hates. Enter the Accurate Crow’s magic wavelength into it.」
Its effect lasts for about a day, she adds.
「Oh, it’s really convenient. I didn’t know there was such a thing.」
Rail was surprised by it.
The same goes for the rest of the members.
If there is such a convenient magic stone, all adventurers will come to buy it.
And if it was used to defend the border, the damage from Accurate Crow might be able to be reduced more.
I know, Paldi rebuked.
「It’s still a prototype. It was created by the researchers in the Magic City based on the research materials of the sage, Elibel, which existed about two hundred years ago. It has a small range of effects, disposable, costly, and difficult to mass-produce. That’s why Mr Eclair donated some of the prototypes to me.」
The investigation was also done to verify the data, she adds.
「Is that so.」
Rail puts the magic stone in his tool bag.
「Oh, I know about Elibel too.」
It was Lele, the only magician in the party, who raised her voice.
She is a pretty brown-haired girl.
Wearing a light green robe, waist-length hair tied together, and holding a twisted cane, the word magician fits perfectly on her.
「I was told that she’s a rare freak who created the basics of modern magic.」
「Yes, but at the same time, she was said to be a genius. The record at that time shows that she went missing after that.」
「That’s true. Oh, how I wished I was born 200 years earlier. That way, the sage would have taught me a lot. I really envy you, Paldi.」
「Hey…… I’m telling you, my job is just office work. Did you think I have the time to ask Mr Eclair something like that? And it’s not like we’re blood related.」
「But I want you to teach me.」
Lele says as if she’s a spoiled child.
「What. Do you want to learn how to make your jugs bigger? 」
Said Ranger Basak, jokingly.
And the next moment he was turned into ashes.
About an hour passed since they entered Eld Desert.
「I don’t see any Killer Ants.」
「True. We got attacked by earthworms twice, but that’s it.」
「We’ve already walked this far, ya know? Are you sure there’s a Killer Ant? I’ve only seen the White Wyvern, see?」
Said the Silver Crow members.
Paldi also thought the same.
By the way, this was her first time seeing a White Wyvern.
They were actually quite scared, but they tried their best not to show it.
Just like how the rumor went, the monster is docile and flies passed over them.
「….Okay, how about this. Let’s explore a bit more and if we still can’t find them, then we go back. Agree? 」
It’s decided then.
When they thought they’re going to check the other side another time, someone raised his voice.
「Hey, I think I found it.」
It was Baldroy, the party tank.
He points to a rocky area on the west side.
The other members look at it.
There were two Killer Ants.
「What are they carrying?」
「It’s their prey, right? Wait, that’s weird. Was there a monster here weak enough for Killer Ants?」
「It doesn’t look like prey, is it? It seems to be some kind of skin.」
It was Basak.
His eyesight is much better than anyone else.
Thanks to it, he can clearly see the thing the ants are carrying.
「There’s a lot of them. They’re much bigger than a normal one and I’ve never seen that kind of skin before. Could be from a White Wyvern, maybe?」
「That’s not possible. 」
It was Paldi who immediately denied it.
「White Wyvern is a type of dragon that doesn’t molt. The old skin gets absorbed into the new skin as nutrients as it grows. 」
「Oh, is that so.」
I didn’t know, says Basak.
「So, what kind of skin is it? It’s likely to be from the crow, isn’t it? Because an earthworm skin is more deformed and gross looking…」
Paldi said nothing.
However, she already knew.
That’s because she herself uses a weapon based on that material.
She unconsciously moves her hand towards the sword on her waist.
The Earth Dragon Sword.
A super class product made from the scale of a rare earth dragon.
What those killer ants are carrying is very similar to it….
And that material is too new.
It’s too fresh.
But Paldi shakes her head.
The dragon has been extinct for more than a hundred years.
There is no way it still exists.
The material used for this sword is a valuable item that has been kept in the guild since forever.
But as if to deny her logic, the Killer Ants are carrying it.
「Let’s go after them…」
Everyone whispered silently.
And slowly followed the creature without being noticed.
And shortly afterwards, they stood in front of a hole.
There was a hole the size of three melds.
「……… This is the nest, isn’t it? 」
「Pretty sure it is. 」
「What should we do now? Do we go in?」
「It’s a Killer Ant nest, so it’s fine, right?」
Says Lele and Basak.
Rail looks at Paldi.
「What’s next, Paldi? We’ll follow your instructions.」
Likely because of the thing ahead that Mr Eclair wary of.
And whatever that might be that’ll come after her.
After a slow, deep breath, Paldi opened her mouth.
「………. Let’s go in.」
「Fumu, shall we go then?」
All of them were in favor of it.
Everyone goes into the nest.
But right before they’re about to enter the place, Paldi was grabbed by Rail.
「What’s the matter, Rail?」
「Actually, there’s something I need to tell you. I… nothing.」
Paldi raises her eyebrow as Rail is acting strange.
「….It’s nothing. When we get back, would you like to go for a drink?」
「Eh? Okay, but what’s with you all of a sudden?」
「…… Actually, I want to tell you… No, it’s nothing. I just thought that it’s been a while since we had a drink together.」
「Pu- you’re so funny.」
You’re right, says Rail while laughing.
The other members who fixedly staring at them are now convinced.
「That’s why you’ll always stay a virgin.」
「Shut up! You’re ruining the mood!」
Everyone started to laugh.
After they’re done, Rail continued.
「Save it for another day. For now, get a move on!」
They then entered the nest.
Surely, step by step.
――――And they slowly set foot into a nightmare.
A dungeon nightmare that they’ll never wake up from again.
Antling A: Your Majesty, I’ve picked up Jiryuu-sama skin.
Ann: Oh, good job. Here’s a magic stone as your reward.
Antling A: Yay!
Antling B: Your Majesty―
Ann: What’s the matter?
Antling B: The intruders are here.
Ann: Is that so. Well then, let’s welcome them. *grin*
Jiryuu: Zzz….. No…. Don’t…. You can’t eat fishnet tights…. Don’t do it…. Zzz….