|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2111 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1003 words|
“Yeah, we don’t know if fire lizards even breathe that way. Also, we have no way of knowing if there are any other smaller holes leading outside from inside the cave. Also, if the plan fails, the entire place will be heated up from the fire, which will make the fight very unfavorable for us. At that point, we’ll have no choice but to retreat.”
Everything clicked in my mind when they explained that, even though I would have never come up with anything similar on my own. The two were really far smarter than me.
“That’s why I have another plan. I could try using ice magic instead. We don’t need to cover the entire entrance with ice, as long as enough cold air gets inside. Fire lizards…or well, lizards, in general, are very sensitive to cold climates, so they’ll feel weak and try to come outside, or they might even curl up and freeze inside.”
“That one has more chances I’d say. But are you sure you can handle such a spell?”
“I’ll do my best.”
“…I think I get what you’re getting at. What will my role be then?”
Somehow it sounded like we had a working plan, though I felt a bit bothered by the condescending looks they turned my way when I asked that. But essentially, I had to be their sword and shield. As long as I kept the two safe, I had accomplished my role.
“You should finish off any Fire Lizard that manages to come out. Their movements should be sluggish from the cold, but always be careful.”
“I’ll also help with that, though from afar with my arrows. You’ll be alone in the front, so the lizards will probably all focus on you.”
“Alright, I got this!”
“…Alright, it seems you three have decided on a plan, so let’s talk about something more cheerful and have dinner. I’ll get it ready in a moment, so take it easy and rest well for tomorrow.”
Komine’s suggestion sounded good. We thanked him and enjoyed the rest of the day at his house.
The next day, early in the morning, we set out to find those caves the fire lizards were nesting in. Two villagers were accompanying us as guides. They were both hunters, so in case monsters ambushed us they should be able to escape safely.
“What type of hide is that?”
“Boar. It’s quite resistant so it’s really handy.”
As we walked, Diaria got curious about the clothes and bow the hunters had. She had gotten much more chatty since we entered the forest, probably because she felt at home surrounded by trees.
“That’s the place.”
One of the hunters pointed in a direction, where a large rock was visible between the trees. The rock’s surface had many small holes, just like Komine had described it.
“Thanks for bringing us here. We’ll take care of the rest, so you two better return to the village to be safe.”
“Good luck with those lizards.”
The rest was our duty, so we sent the two hunters back to the village since having to protect them would make fighting trickier. We had experience fighting against monsters in the Haunted Lands, but I still felt nervous before any fight. Ciel and Diaria also looked slightly hesitant.
“I’ll use detector magic.”
Ciel held her staff up and focused, sending a wave of magic power around. Smart humans, animals, and monsters, could sometimes notice the pulse of magic, but a dumb lizard would never notice it or try to find its source.
“…This is bad. The rocks disperse the magic pulses a lot and I can’t tell what’s inside the cave. I wish my magic was as powerful as Lapis to do a better job here.”
“You shouldn’t compare yourself to her.”
“Yeah, I swear something’s off with that girl’s head and body sometimes.”
The three of us laughed then. I felt slightly guilty talking about her like that behind her back, but it was all in good fun and we meant no harm or offense to her.
“Anyway, I guess that means we only have a more direct approach left.”
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I stood up from the bushes we were hiding in and slowly walked towards the cave. Whenever we needed eyes on something, I was the scout. Ciel was just a magician and Diaria an archer after all. Apparently, Diaria had some proficiency with the dagger, but against a dangerous monster, it was best if I went ahead.
“Well, I’ll go take a look then.”
As I walked away, Ciel got ready to cast magic if needed, and Diaria held her bow with an arrow loaded. I unsheathed my trusty sword and silently got closer to the rock. As I got closer, the inside of the cave got clearer, but I noticed a weird smell coming from the hole. Something was stinking like a rotten corpse, as well as animal feces. Just a waft of it was enough to make me feel sick.
I did not see any fire lizards near the entrance, so I walked all the way to the rock and peeked inside, a half-eaten animal carcass greeting me inside.
I instinctively jumped back and held my nose shut. I had gotten used to seeing disfigured bodies, but that had been completely unexpected. That was probably something a fire lizard had left half-eaten. In other words, the weird smell I noticed was probably the rotting animals inside the cave mixed with the lizards’ stinky turds.
“That’s awful…I really hope I don’t have to go inside there…”
I knew I would have to go inside there later, so I could not stand complaining. That is what being an adventurer meant. At least I had confirmed it was safe to get closer, so I signaled Ciel and Diaria to get closer with my hand. It was finally time to start our strategy.