Chapter 19 – The Hero will help a bit 3
The day has finally turned to night.
At this time of day, a remote farming village with a poor lifestyle that matched the sun should be engulfed in darkness, with only the sounds of the billowing wind and the cries of insects to be heard, but within the capital’s main street are bars situated all over here and there with their lights on.
Unlike during the daytime when the people were normally bustling about in the streets, the bars were now filled with noise from adventurers that were out hunting until dusk almost night and merchants striking deals. Waiting for an hour or two would be the best time to fade into the darkness.
And so, we headed a little to the east from the north gate to the other side of the slums near the walls. Now that we were in a place completely devoid of people, the two of us who had put on the black robes we’d bought at the rag shop so we wouldn’t stand out, finally poked our faces out of the hoods.
「Alright, we are here.」
The night wind was gently grazing the rampart, robbing it of heat with its chilling cold. While being white just like marble, its surface was instead coarse, due to the glittering sand-like materials under the brilliant shine of the moonlight.
The glittering like sand was said to be of starlight stone, which had the property of absorbing mana from the air which was then used to maintain the various spells warding the rampart.
「Master? I don’t see anything resembling a hole…」
Minnalis seemed confused while examining the wall; because from her point of view, it didn’t even look worn out, let alone bearing a hole in it.
「No no, you can’t see the hole right away, we will make it. I said so, right? We will destroy the wall.」
「Destroy the wall… that, I’m sorry but that is…」
For knowledgeable people, it was common sense that the town’s ramparts were absolutely sturdy.
There was a common folk story that was told to children regarding the ramparts of the capital, it goes like this: Even the tackle of an Earth Dragon, an A class dragon which was unable to fly but instead has powerful charging capabilities wouldn’t be able to make so much as a dent on those sturdy walls. There also remain records of attacks from rare encounters with powerful monsters that attacked the wall to no significant or visible impact.
The general idea is that there was no way that that could be done, much less by a single person.
The rampart being destroyed by a single individual, is the kind of thing that doesn’t appear even in the stories of drunken adventurers in the bars of any town.
Saying that such walls would fall is an earth-shattering event for human beings who live in the city, precisely because they thought that such a thing is impossible. This is the reason why people can sleep soundly even when they have knowledge that outside the walls are forests, grasslands, mountains, and snowy fields riddled with monsters.
If there was an existence able to do such a thing by itself, it would most likely be treated as an existence from fairy tales.
…he would be treated as a legend, or maybe a monster, I’m not sure, but I was treated as the latter.
「Minnalis, walls are basically only stacked up stones; so why do you think it can withstand the assault of upper-level monsters?」
「As for that, numerous spells had been applied to the walls…」
「Right. In the walls of any town 『Self-restoration』, 『Anti-degradation』, 『Strength Reinforcement』 are used. At the capital 『Shock Absorption』 and 『Magic Damping』 are added on top of those in normal towns. Because those magic spells are imbued with a large amount of mana, it maintains the highest level of strength. What provides that mana, are these particles of light; it’s the mana that these starlight stones absorb from the surrounding atmosphere.」
Of course, those details are only known to the people in the so-called privileged class.
Rather, for the townspeople, it was only known as “the amazing wall that won’t be destroyed even if attacked by monsters or an enemy country.”
「In other words, if the mana is insufficient, then the strength of this wall will also be reduced. This thing will just become a stone wall and if it is just a stone wall then it wouldn’t be indestructible, right? Besides…」
I said so with a faint laughter, instead of an ability, the Holy Sword of Beginning can be strengthened by imbuing it with mana.
「Because this guy isn’t the only thing that eats mana, you see.」
Although, I knew that it would become fragile, the wall collapsed easier than I thought.
The stone that had separated from the wall fell to the ground, and mixed between the tattered rubble, red, brown, green, transparent and multicolored little maggots were lurking.
Wriggling covered in a transparent mucus, they were twisting themselves on the ground with the sparkling moonlight reflected on them.
Then, from the collapsed walls…
…….. almost covering the stone, were hundreds and thousands of maggots.
Unlike the common texture of the wall’s surface, the mucus excreted by the maggots changed the texture of stone walls giving it the feel of a wall of meat made from a living creature.
The stone that was afflicted by the mucus lost its whiteness, changing into the reddish-brown color of the ground.
「By eat, did you mean this?」
「Yeah, it’s a D-class subspecies of the magic eating demons called “Magic Eater” aka “Wall Eater.” They breed and eat mana by dissolving magic minerals with a special mucus, once the food is exhausted they turn back to sand. Since it is a new species, they still don’t have a name, at least it shouldn’t.」
The insides of the stone rampart were already in a tattered state. The maggots were eating the stone, filling it with holes like a sponge.
At an indiscernible rate, little by little over time, the strongest wall would transform into a wall of sand that crumbles when touched.
「It will become more fragile than a regular stone wall when that happens. So much so that making a hole becomes easy even in the hardest of surfaces.」
I said so while I lightly pierced the soul sword towards the wall, the stone along with the Wall Eaters crumbled.
The deeper the hole was, the larger the density of Wall Eaters became. It was basically impossible to perceive whether it was a wall of stone, or of maggots.
While looking at it, Minnalis fell silent.
Even for a man like me, seeing the marble-like structure painted with red and green patterns, was as if looking through the insides of a gut-like organ with tens of thousands of maggots wriggling around; it is something I would refrain from experiencing again. Let alone a woman like Minnalis, she would definitely dislike a spectacle like this…
「Milord, don’t you think that pushing someone down into a hole filled with these maggots would be a good method of revenge?」
Minnalis said so while looking this way with an earnest face.
……somehow, my evaluation of Minnalis seemed to have gone up again, just how far will this accomplice of mine intend to raise her value?
It made me laugh with glee.
「Well, that’s also good but don’t you feel that it’s lackluster to just drop them in? How about putting the Wall Eaters inside the body to breed and eat them from the inside?」
「As expected from milord, that way, it is even better as they will experience the feeling of being eaten from the inside!」
「Better yet, I think we should let them be eaten from the outside as well? Ah, no. That would be boring, how about gradually corroding the flesh?」
「If they are to breed in someone’s internal organs, they can be forced to experience having to scrape out the seeping maggots from within themselves. When I killed earlier today, I wasn’t able to use the poison well and they immediately lost their minds. I would like to try if I can maintain their thoughts without driving them to madness.」
「Even if they die, we could turn them into undead like zombies and it will be possible to transfer the insect’s mouth to mouth! Although it is a problem that the parasites die too soon and would be a waste if we don’t make some adjustments…」
Suddenly, both of us were in high spirits discussing the topic of torture.
Two people pondering on a plan is really better than thinking alone. Pondering whether each other’s point of view is a good or bad thing is a good stimulus.
While having a harmonious but dangerous conversation, the hole was widened large enough for a horse to fit through, through the use of the soul sword.
The Wall Eaters that were separated from the ground were trampled underfoot, mixing together with the stone that was practically no different from sand now turning pulpy.
「Perhaps, these bugs are your doing, milord?」
「Unfortunately, that isn’t correct. I have only heard of it from others and haven’t seen the real deal before. Look, it’s the outside!」
My mood was as if excavating tunnel under a mountain of sand at a park’s sandbox. And after I exited the hole in the wall, what greeted me was a vast expansive forest.
Somewhere in the forest sparsely shined by moonlight, I could feel something ominous and hair-raising.
「Well, we’re finally out.」
I instinctively muttered. Somewhere I felt relief from making it out of the town.
I also doubted it, but in this one year, the thought that the inside of the city was more dangerous than outside seems to have been instilled in the bottom of my consciousness. I wonder if this is what it’s like to have a criminal’s mental state.
「Ah, my bad, I almost forgot. Please wait a moment.」
Saying so, I went back through the hole again, and hid the hole with adequate leftover stone.
「Milord, let me help. We’re going to hide the entrance with scraps, right?」
「Hm? Ah, you’re a lifesaver. Seems like the humans here haven’t woken up yet as it is so quiet.」
The collapse of this place should take at least a few weeks later. If it is found out now, the impact would be too weak.
Besides, I knew exactly what would happen due to my first run-through in this world. So it would be a waste if I do not make it more interesting for the second time.
「We can move those scraps here, but how long can you hide the hole with illusion techniques?」
「…I’m very sorry, I am just a beastman. I can keep it on myself as much as you wish, but I think that if I move away the illusion will fade in about a day even if I use my full strength. Although, I may be able to keep it up if you can bring me here several times a day…」
「No, I cannot afford to let you stay here all the time, there is no problem with only this scrap wood anyway.」
With an overwhelming feeling of disgust, I sneered at those slumbering residents.
The residents living around that area are people on the verge of falling into the slums. Even if they were to notice that the pile of scrap had moved, it’s not like they are going to bother as they still have their everyday lives to go about.
So long as they have a reason to justify themselves, as well as food and money to make their life easier, they wouldn’t hesitate even to sell out their benefactor easily. They are the type of people whose only concern is to not fall into the slums.
The corrosion of the wall was different from the timing during the first run-through, if they didn’t see the scrap material, then they wouldn’t have noticed it until it deteriorated considerably.
「Well, we killed hundreds of them just to pass through. Don’t you think that it kinda can’t be helped? That we should “help” them by giving them some time to consume the wall?」
「That’s true. I think it’s just as what milord says. I think that these maggots are a lot better as living beings than those pieces of trash who spout empty words of gratitude. They made me feel like immediately strangling them to death on the spot if I could.」
「If we make a racket here, we won’t have time to kill. So we have no choice but to leave it as is for now. Thanks to these guys, those people will somewhat suffer and die, now it wouldn’t leave as bad of a taste.」
While in the middle of the discussion, we covertly hid the hole with scrap material, there shouldn’t be anyone who would purposefully investigate the scraps and expose the hole.
「Ah, right! After this, let’s pick these up.」
Suddenly recalling the Wall Eaters, we collected a few samples in empty bottles.
Afterwards, we picked up branches and leaves from the many trees outside to hide the hole.
「Now then, we should start heading into the forest a bit. There is an abandoned cabin that was used by hunters a little further in. I have gone there once.」
During the first run-through, I often hid in this forest surrounding the royal capital so I have in my mind a rough outline of the terrain. Without hesitation, I took a step towards our destination.
「Once we’re at the cabin, we will need to prepare many things. But first of all, We need you to recover from your weakening. Your status being halved is no joke, especially your beauty would go to waste.」
Either being cute or beautiful would be convenient for many things, these elements work very advantageously for both combat and negotiations alike.
I even threw my pride away, cross-dressing as a woman, or perhaps better to say I transformed into a woman with the power of the soul sword. And if I can, I want to forget that memory.
But apart from that, even now Minnalis is still beautiful. Once she took proper rest and nutrition and returned to perfect health, her former beauty would definitely return.
「N-no matter how many times you flatter me, nothing will come of it. Even if you talk like that I’m already your slave so…」
「No, I’m not trying to woo you. Don’t make people out to be a playboy.」
「Playboy? What do you mean by a playboy?」
The slightly red Minnalis, made a face as if in wonder. I remembered for a moment the time when she was drunk with mana, perhaps she couldn’t handle flatteries like being called cute, or beautiful.
Well, enough of that, I should answer Minnalis’ question for now.
「Eh, ah-… how do I explain, a playboy is… Perhaps I should first explain what flirting is…? Anyway, for the time being…」
While thinking in what manner to answer, we pushed through the moonlit forest in the night.