Chapter 179 Strongest Sage, Goes Deeper Into the Prairie
"...More incoming monsters."
"Looks... like it!"
Alma shot an arrow at a boar monster coming from afar while saying that.
The arrow accurately pierced the monster's heart, killing it instantly.
Burrowing snakes aren't the only monster that pop up here.
There are of course flying and ground monsters around, and all of them have turned gigantic without exceptions.
Against these powered monsters, even Alma's arrow that usually pierced five monsters in one shot could only manage to kill one with an exact vital shot.
Since arrows don't work well against burrowing monsters, Alma is mostly in charge of flying and on-ground monsters.
"Umm... Over there!"
On the other hands, Ruli is beating these monsters with magic tools.
Normally Ruli would be in charge of creating arrows for Alma most of the time, but since a high powered arrow can't manage to beat two monsters at once this time around, they're acting independently now.
Ruli's strategy is similar to the strategy I used on that snake earlier on.
Whenever snake monsters come out of the ground, she hardens the soil to stop their movements.
One thing that's different is my strategy has myself as the decoy, while Ruli is using magic tools for both roles.
Thus, it's not as efficient as my way, but it enables her to safely beat monsters from a distance.
Even though she'd need to stock magic stones for this tactic, such is one of the strong points of Glory Crest.
Even the past me used a variety of schemes to fight monsters.
"Don't tell me, I'm the only one who can't locate monsters here?"
The examiner asked me in the heat of battle.
Indeed, this fight has us fully making use of Passive Detection.
Especially for monsters below the ground, you can't rely on most of your senses against them.
However... it's not like all of us can do it.
"I don't think Iris knows when underground monsters are going to attack either.... Well, not like there's any need to be on guard in Iris case though."
Iris got blown away while I was speaking.
The snake monster powered up by the parasite monster made a surprise attack on Iris from below.
Due to the damage on her magic circuit, Iris's mana control and detection are unreliable.
She can roughly know the location of monsters above grounds, but those under are just too much for the current Iris.
"Alright, got another one!"
However, Iris doesn't seem fazed at all by the ambush.
Rather, it feel more like 『Prey found!』 to her.
And she's not mistaken.
In fact, she didn't even have a scratch on her from the burrowing snake monster's ambush.
So long as Iris is impervious to its fang, the snake's mana-powered neurotoxin is useless against her, and even if the fang did go through her defense, mana-powered toxin would dilute itself inside Iris's enormous mana pool, it probably won't have any effect.
There's too large of a gap between a dragon and a snake, regardless of how powered it is.
While still being blown away, Iris readied her spear mid-air and threw it at the snake monster.
It's just a simple throw without magically enhanced strength or anything... but with Iris's brute strength, the thrown spear had practically turned into an iron stake for the snake.
The snake didn't get staked, it got torn asunder, crushed by the spear.
"What is that? Some kinda ace buff magician or something? I haven't seen her chanting even once though..."
"Nope, Iris is just awfully sturdy, she can't use magic."
Iris killed another monster while we were conversing.
Although it may not compare to [Enforced Detection], her simply moving around would flaunt her mana around to act as a bait to the surrounding monsters.
As a result, Iris beat the most monsters after me.
"...Can't use magic? Yer' kidddin' me?"
"It's true. ...Also, you don't need chanting to use magic. The reason why monsters have been appearing in front of me since awhile ago is thanks to a chantless spell too."
I took a half step back as I said that.
And then, a snake came out of the ground I was standing on, so I made use of its momentum to cut it in half with my sword.
I'm not using magic to converse my mana.
I only draw monsters here with [Passive Detection], and then kill them with the lowest amount of effort.
"Are there nothing but monsters in this party...."
<TLN: If you're reading this novel at any other site than Sousetsuka .com you might be reading an unedited, uncorrected version of the novel.>
We got close to the center of the prairie as we battled on.
The incessant monster attacks suddenly stopped midway through.
"They're not attacking anymore."
"I don't detect mana reactions either, think it's finished?"
"...You really did it. Those monsters were ridiculous, but Mathias's party is beyond even them..."
Iris, Alma and the examiner spoke.
Indeed, there's no easy-to-detect mana reaction from monsters in the vicinity.
"Normally you'd think so... but I feel something odd in the surrounding mana... And that boss Mathias-san mentioned didn't come out either."
However, Ruli objected to the opinion that the subjugation was over.
Unfortunately enough for the examiner who looks really eager to go home... she's right.
"Ruli is correct, the boss hasn't shown itself up yet... Well then, which way do you think it is?"
"Unn, judging from the state of mana... Over there?"
Ruli pointed right.
Hmm, she managed to notice the oddness in the mana reaction, but I guess she still cannot grasp the mechanism behind it yet.
Well, just the fact that she could see through this camouflage without prior knowledge means that she's got quite the talent in mana detection.
It took the past me around 30 years to even notice it after all.
"Close but no cigar. The correct answer is over there."
I pointed left.
The exact opposite of Ruli's guess.
"It's not close at all! It's totally the opposite direction!"
"Nah, don't sell yourself short... How does the mana reaction over there feel to you?"
I pointed at the direction Ruli pointed at first.
"Unn, I don't see mana reaction that feels like of monsters... There's some really really small reactions though, but I think that's just bugs or something like that."
"Then how about over there?"
I pointed at the place where the boss is.
Ruli looked over there... and seemingly noticed the camouflage.
"Ah, there's a place without a single reaction, not even from bug!"
"That's the area where the boss monster lurks. It has set up a kind of barrier to stop its mana from leaking to the surroundings."
Some parasite type monsters remake the environment around them to suit themselves better.
The camouflage that prevents mana from leaking is a part of that.
For those monsters, the reason is probably not to prevent their mana from leaking, but simply because a place with dense mana is more comfortable to them.
"A mere monster constructing barrier...."
"Their barrier differs from the barrier we create with magic though."
We're heading to the barrier the monster put up.
Suddenly someone said halt.
"Hold it, you guys have already passed the test. There's no need for you to defeat that thing."
The examiner stopped us.
Looks like we've passed the Rank B Qualification Test.
It's nice that we were able to pass it easily, but...
"Didn't the quest I took ask for Testra Prairie Subjugation? It won't count as one if we don't defeat that."
I point at the barrier.
The barrier seems to be covered in grass and soil, it only looks like a mound from over here, but judging from the mana reaction, it's apparently a dome-shaped barrier.
Monsters that are shutting themselves inside the barrier are harmless, but in reality, those monsters probably dug underground where the barrier didn't reach and went outside the prairie.
"You're right, the quest is about Testra Prairie Subjugation... but the content was [Subjugating monsters, especially those that could become a threat, in the outbreak at Testra Prairie.]. The quest should be considered as complete even without you defeating monsters that shut themselves inside a barrier."
At the time being, that might be right.
Not like the monster inside is going to come out anytime soon after all.
Personally, I'd like to raise our rank as fast as possible, so it's easier if we don't have to beat that.
Ordinarily I would have gone to beat the monster regardless of quests or such, but I'd be wasting time to recover my mana then.
...However, since we've taken up on this quest, I can't exactly do that.
"If we leave that alone, that thing would break out of the barrier and attack towns. Time left until that happens... about two weeks I reckon."
Hearing that, the face of the examiner who looked like he was going back turned serious.
To the point that I doubted he was the same person.
"...Are you telling the truth?"
"...Is Frejia included in those towns?"
"It's really hard to believe... But if Mathias says so, it's practically guaranteed..."
Saying that, the examiner ponders.
Afterward, he bowed deeply toward me.
"I ask you. Could you please defeat that monster? I don't wanna expose that town to danger. Of course, I'm gonna fight too."
He'd like to avoid endangering himself, but he'll fight for real if the town is in danger huh.
Looks like this examiner isn't just a coward.
Well, I guess an adventurer that would run away at the prospect of going to a dangerous location wouldn't be entrusted to be a rank up test examiner.
"Got it. ...Are you fine with that, you three?"
That's always been my intention since we took this quest.
And I couldn't possibly forsake a territory friendly to Eis Kingdom.
It was one of the reasons we could took this quest so quickly after all.
...It might stand to reason if it were a hostile territory though.
"Of course! That's what we come here for!"
"Yes! ...I'm a bit curious about that monster-made barrier too!"
"I'm not really sure, but I just need to beat up monsters right?"
Looks like the three are in agreement.
Let's get on to the kill... is what I'd like to say, but I have something to ask them first.
Our moves would slightly change depending on the answers.