Chapter 50: After a Boss Fight, it’s Like There’s Always a Filler Episode
The crazy man, that is, Helward-san, carefully wiped my nodachi clean, and now he’s looking down its length.
Ah, I get it, I totally understand that craftsman’s obsession.
I don’t really know what to do about meeting this famous smith, especially considering the situation we found him in, so I look towards Ragnall for help.
He’s still crouched on the ground in the same spot, head hanging down with his arms loosely propped up on his knees.
“…Oi, Ragnall. Are you okay?”
He sighed and stood up wearily. He has a nose bleed?
“… Was it that exciting for you?”
Even after I pointed it out Ragnall didn’t get embarrassed or anything and just calmly wipes it away, so, yeah, that’s not a nosebleed from over-stimulation. I thought that wasn’t the case, but I figured there was no harm in asking… maybe.
“Ah … no, that’s from…”
“That kid gets like that whenever he uses magic. Moreover, jou-chan, care to tell me where this sword came from?”
Ragnall shoots Helward-san a glare of disdain.
“Don’t you mean, ‘moreover let me tell you about what happened with the Crystal Python’?”
“Gnununu… that’s true.”
Ragnall, looking really worn out, says,
“At least tell me you weren’t stupid enough to try to hunt this thing. If you were, let me punch you right now.”
“Gahahaha, I may be stupidly reckless, but to do something like that is still beyond stupidly reckless, don’t you think? No, I was in the Mire Mine, looking for a vein of galvorn for a while.”
A while, you say … it’s been 3 months, you know. But the other two act like that’s to be expected, so I guess whatever galvorn is, it’s hard to find.
I decide to let the other two talk things out while I approach the Crystal Python. I don’t really know what’s going on, anyway.
Yeah, this thing is big. Maybe it’s a little smaller around compared to the circumference of a train, but if it is, it’s only by a few meters.
I pick at the scales that were knocked loose by my nodachi.
Nng… I can’t pull the scale off easily… but it’s kind of lighter than I expected.
I see. If the scales were too heavy they might have squashed the snake’s organs and killed it, huh? 200,000 kg sounded really heavy at first, but something this size … would it be more natural for it to be heavier? Under what criteria am I supposed to judge this?
I won’t pretend to understand the biology of animals, let alone monsters. I honestly have no idea why things are the way they are, but I remembered being told that the only reason the heaviest animal on earth was so heavy was because it lived in the ocean, or else its weight would squash its organs.
… I think that’s what I heard. Hmm. If Masaki was here, he would know. He likes those nature shows.
Maybe if it were any heavier it wouldn’t be able to move under its own weight.
Anyway, the thing is still too heavy for people to carry back up to the surface normally. Not that that’s actually a problem for US, though. I don’t know the worth of the parts of the snake, but I’d imagine it to be kind of expensive?
“This thing was tearing up a storm in the mines and I ran right into it.”
Behind me, I hear Helward-san say that while rubbing the back of his head with a bitter smile.
“I see … wait. What? How? A Crystal Python isn’t something normally found on the 4th level, though? And how would it even fit in the mines?”
“Hrm… to be honest, I don’t know either. But a lot of the mine has been widened by quite a bit now.”
“Ah, the Crystal Python’s Earth Magic, huh. You didn’t attack it when you ran into it, right?”
“Gahaha … Ragnall-kun. I may be impulsive, reckless, and get into trouble all the time, but even I know what things you should and shouldn’t do.”
“But it chased you. All the way from the 4th level. That’s unheard of if you left it alone. They’re usually pacifists, you know?”
“Gnnn… I can’t deny that, but all I did was run, and it still chased me all the way up through the 2nd level. That was the first time I attacked it.”
“Ugh, right. You should have known harassing it with slow-buff spells like that would make it use Earth Break.”
“Hn. Of course I did. It was getting too close to 1st level, wasn’t it? It’s best to drop it a level, right?”
“So you were trying to get it to fall through to the 3rd level on purpose … Are you messed up in the head?!”
Earth Break, huh? Is that Earth Magic then?
So that was the cause; right before we broke through the 2nd level floor, the segment of the ground that the Crystal Python was aiming at suddenly glowed.
When it rammed the ground, waves and waves of magic ran from the ground up along the python’s body like a current. All of a sudden, a ring of scales became charged with magic, and just like that the magic current got randomly cut off and something like a magic shockwave, or a pulse or something, occurred.
The shock of all the magic hitting those ring of scales got reflected back towards the ground and crashed into the ground, amplifying the shock from the Crystal Python’s own body striking the ground. There, the two magic powers, the one already in the ground and the other that traveled up and then back down the snake, violently reacted to each other, rippling through and continuing to destroy the area around it as the shockwave-like attack moved outwards.
Of course, I only saw that because of Magic Sensory. Also, because Ragnall picked me up and tried to run away, so all I could do was stare at what was happening. If I was trying to run away by myself, I guarantee I wouldn’t have noticed it. It all happened within a second, after all.
To be honest, because it reminded me of how shockwaves worked I thought it was Air Magic at first, but I wasn’t sure that shockwaves alone could have done that kind of damage. So it was Earth Magic … Eh? Really? Isn’t Earth Magic like moving rocks or something?
Well, whatever. This explains it. Even if the Crystal Python is heavier than the heaviest creature back in my world, there was no way it should have destroyed the ground like that with just its own weight. Or like, if it could have, we’d have fallen all the way to the bottom floor of the Labyrinth.
I don’t know what number floor that would be, though.
But I get it. So Helward-san was spending several months in some mines of the 4th level, then ran into the Crystal Python who shouldn’t be there, and then he got chased to the second floor where he decided that it was too close to the surface, so he attacked it after all.
There’s just one thing that’s bothering me.
“Um … Helward-san?”
“Ooh, jou-chan. Hey, Ragnall, you haven’t introduced me to this spunky lil’ jou-chan yet! You’re pretty amazing, jou-chan!”
“Aaah… thank you. I was just wondering … how long was it since you first saw the Crystal Python in the mines?”
“Hrmph … 2 or 3 days, maybe. Been runnin’ ever since.”
Ragnall, who’s recovered quite a bit now, frowned and looked over.
“What is it, Jun?”
“That’s … Sure the swarming happened within that time, but the Labyrinth’s monsters have been acting strangely since before then, right?”
“Ah, yeah … huh? Hey, Helward, was the Crystal Python frenzied before it started chasing you?”
“Hm … maybe. It was pretty furious, anyway.”
“So that means … even though the immediate threat is gone, we still don’t know what caused it, or whether something like it will happen again?”
I ask, thinking it out loud.
Ragnall stood still for a minute, thinking it over, before he picked up his falchion and sheathed it.
“This isn’t good. We should get back to the Guild with this report immediately.”
“Right, I’m going to head back to the mines-“
“You are going to come back with us right now before Jetsom has grandkids and they inherit the forge.”
Ragnall easily halts Helward-san before he dashes away by grabbing Helward-san’s shirt collar.
“When did you become so strict? Well, fine, if I get a few scales of the snake.”
“HMMMM? What are you saying? Of course you’ll buy the materials properly, right? Since this is Jun-san’s and my kill?”
Oooh… Ragnall’s smiling face kind of looks like a corrupt merchant’s right now.
“Urk. Aren’t the troubles I went through calculated in this? I’ll help transport it-“
Helward-san said that a little too late.
The Crystal Python has disappeared in its entirety. It’s now lodged cleanly in 1 slot; “Crystal Python Corpse x1.”
Ragnall’s standing there, looking amazed. No, well, you knew about my cheat of a storage system already, right?
“Jun … what kind of capacity does your storage have?”
I decide not to tell him that the skeleton parts take up more room in my Inventory than the Crystal Python.
“Fuun… looks like we’ll just have to forge you another one, Ragnall.”
Helward-san looks over Ragnall’s falchion.
It’s really badly cracked. There’s no salvaging it, huh? Even though it was fine being thrown however many stories and buried in rubble, looks like it wasn’t able to withstand the power-play between the Crystal Python and Ragnall.
Turns out Helward-san and Ragnall are on such good terms because it’s an ongoing challenge for Helward-san to try and forge a sword that can withstand Ragnall’s full strength.
“I really don’t like being without a sword … Jun, you wouldn’t happen to have a spare…?”
“… Well, I do, but I guarantee it won’t hold up to how you use a sword.”
Right now, we’re camping on the 3rd level.
What happened to getting back to the Guild as soon as possible?
Well, see, when we first ran into the Crystal Python, it was already after noon. The fight with the python took a while, and we, or rather, Ragnall and Helward, had to spend some time figuring out where we were on the 3rd level.
It turns out the Crystal Python had dropped us into a place that’s difficult to reach normally on the 3rd level; well, before that, the name of the 3rd level is “The Water Maze”.
As you can imagine, being randomly dropped into the middle of that makes navigation difficult.
If we had Kristaf with us we might have been able to figure out where we were faster, but it took us over 3 hours of wandering before Helward-san finally found a familiar-looking ruin.
Anyway, it is now a little less than 12 hours since we first saw the Crystal Python. We’re close to the exit back to the 2nd level, but Helward-san, who had been running from the Crystal Python for 2 or 3 days straight, wasn’t going to be able to keep the pace up. We found a patch of ruin that wasn’t covered in a layer of water and made camp.
Ragnall seemed to need the break too. I don’t know what happens to him when he uses magic, but it really drains his stamina apparently.
Though he was still able to march double-time for at least 5 hours after that fight. A monster.
How am I?
… Well, it appears my MP replenishes faster in the Labyrinth, and I didn’t really overtax my body or get hurt, thanks to Augment Body and Barriers. I’m pretty much back to perfect shape.
I take the first katana I made out of my Inventory just to show Ragnall what I was talking about. He gives up when he sees it.
“Aah … yeah. I guess I’ll just have to make do without.”
“Hm, jou-chan, let me see your swords again.”
Helward-san stops me before I put the katana back in Inventory. I unloose my nodachi from my belt and hand it and the katana over.
“Gahahaha! Really… these are some interesting swords, with some amazing worksmanship. It does my eyes good to see something of this quality! But … it’s good, but the smith is more reckless than me. These swords look like they’d drain away the lives of several smiths to make.”
Ah. Yes, that’s bothering me as well. Or like, you can tell?! And so quickly!
“You were lucky to find both of these swords, jou-chan. Are these legendary swords from your homeland? Did you inherit these?”
“Hm? Jun, I thought you forged those yourself?”
Helward-san froze for a second when he heard Ragnall. Almost like a possessed doll, his head swiveled until he was looking at me.
That’s really creepy.
For some reason I feel like denying it, but,
“Um … yeah.”
I admit it after all.
“… …. fufufu… Kwahahaha … GAHAHAHAHAHA!”
Um … he’s laughing like crazy. What do I do? Ragnall?
Ragnall gives me a look like, ‘What do you want me to do about this?’
After 5 minutes of straight laughter, Helward-san finally calms down. That’s good. Because, you know, we’re still in a Labyrinth, so it’d be good to stay more aware of our surroundings.
“Kukuku … If you live a long time, life gives you interesting things, huh?”
He says, then resheathes the katana with a satisfying clack!
“Ne, jou-chan, come to my forge. You’ve never been properly trained in forging, right?”
Ah. Master smiths really are different. This is the first person who’s realized it, though I’m not really sure how he realized it.
“Helward … she’s already been at your forge. Gustav is letting her use the facilities and materials for free to make up the difference in value for work she did for them, since you were missing.”
Wait. That’s the first time I’ve heard of that arrangement though.
“WHAAAT?! Then why aren’t they helping you train?! What is Jetsom doing?!”
No, that’s not something the master of the forge who disappeared without a word for 3 months can say. And anyway, I’ve only been in this city for a few weeks.
As I take my swords back, stowing the katana in Inventory and returning the nodachi to my belt, Ragnall pokes the fire, causing sparks to fly upwards, and asks,
“Hey, Jun. I was wondering; how did you detect the Crystal Python when it went Stealth?”
“Ah. That. Because it was suppressing its magic, it kind of felt like there was less magic concentrated above us, or something …”
“Damn. And here I had confidence in my ability to sense magic.”
Ragnall looks kind of frustrated. Though he said it kind of with a wry smile.
Sorry, Ragnall. Actually, the correct answer is “instinct”.
Even though it did feel like there was less magic above us, it wasn’t really on the level of something to be worried about. If I had to say, it was like wondering if the water in one spot of the pool is warmer than the rest or if it was just your imagination. And if it wasn’t in the Labyrinth, a place teeming with mana, I doubt that the difference would be noticeable at all. So it really was just moving on a bad feeling.
The tone around our campfire slowly grows quiet.
Helward-san really was tired. Even though he didn’t fall asleep right away, he started mumbling under his breath about forge temperatures and special tools until it sounded like an incantation until he drifted off.
Anyway, this was how the night ended, with me doing the night watch as usual.
<A/n: Even though I thought I wrote a pretty good fight scene last time, everyone was obsessed about the weight of the snake … sulk. Mou, I’ll show them, and come out with the next chapter with all the explanations faster-de yo-! (<- overly flamboyant oujo-sama tone)
… Eh. Waitasec …
Anyway, that’s why there’s one extra Wfb/OVRMMO before Vending Machine this time. Ill-conceived revenge(?).>