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Raga of the Dry Branch 35: Questionable Character (11)

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    Ari
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    Arcani
    Editor

It was said that the party, which was attacked by the beast boy after descending into the underground, hid in here as they barely managed to escape after being wounded.

And then they ended up meeting the woman and then the party split into two and Sir Hilder with Dame Mino lured that thing.

“Strangely it aimed only for me. So this one here ended up like this for my sake, and he doesn’t seem to be doing well. And my leg is hurt so moving is out of the question, I knew where they were but I couldn’t move and that made me feel like I would die from frustration.”

“What happened to your leg?”

“That one threw Hilder’s sword at me. More than that, this one here is badly hurt. He needs to be treated right away…”

There were three slashes under the uniform of Sir Hilder as if he was scratched by it. And as the bleeding was taking a toll on his body, Sir Hilder’s face was pale, and lips were turning blue, he reminded me of a critically ill patient. He hadn’t lost consciousness yet, but it seemed like he was holding on with sheer mental power.

What should I do? I used up all the healing magic…

The shield and healing magic is over and now, except for the attack magic, there was just one teleportation magic.

And Dame Mino’s leg had a sword stuck in it and that too had to be treated right away. And apart from that, Sir Hilder’s condition wasn’t as good, it was as if something could go wrong anytime now.

I opened my mouth as I looked at the woman who was watching us.

“We saved the last one too, so we can head back to the office. I have one teleportation magic left. We can go.”

“Really?”

Shuzlin, looking at Sir Hilder with a severe face turned back to me and smiled, and Dame Mino too seemed relieved.

“Then I will be indebted to you. If that thing comes in now, the only one who can stop it is Shuzlin. Sir Alkeris would be busy trying to take care of us here, and that woman will be defenseless, let alone Sir Hilder who is just a burden in this situation. Our current situation isn’t good.”

“Right. We’ll prepare properly and come back.” When Shuzlin said that bravely, Dame Mino who was next to him slapped him on the head.

“This kid, you have been doing but whining since we entered here and now you talk all strong!”

“Normally, anything unknown is scary, but it is less scary once you know what is within it. And I might not know what the monster’s identity is, but since we have a rough idea as to what lies within this place, I don’t feel scared anymore. Well, that isn’t even a ghost.”

“Aigoo! A ghost should have come?”

Seeing the party once again like this a smile formed on my lips. There were a lot of people injured, but for now, being together and alive was enough, and it was reassuring seeing them like this.

“Let’s head back.”

I too wanted to head back and see my family. A lot actually.

“I…”

As I approached the party and tried to start the word for the magic, someone pulled my sleeve.

When I turned around, it was the middle-aged woman Shuzlin had saved.

“I… I can’t.”

“It is okay, we can all have our back.”

When I said that she no longer has to be confined here, she violently shook her head.

“No, no I need to find it.”

“Are you looking for something?”

The woman looked around and then hurriedly tried to run for the door. It was as if she was wary of us.

“What to do?”

In shock, I looked at Dame Mino and she looked between Sir Hilder and the woman in fear. Seeing the woman struggling, I tried to comfort her.

But it wasn’t an easy task.

“Ah, I really don’t know what that thing is, but we will surely find it. We will come back here again and get it.”

“… no, I need to find it no…”

Her voice was so soft, like a baby cooing. After somehow not convincing her, Shuzlin mumbled as he patted himself.

“Ahh! I am going crazy with all this!”

I let out a sigh. I wanted to go back home and it seemed like we finally could.

But hey, life never happens the way you plan it. I watched Dame Mino who was troubled and pale Sir Hilder before saying.

“It can’t happen. I’ll send you three first.”

“What!?”

“No!!”

I pointed to Sir Hilder at their screams and informed them that it wasn’t the time for them to be acting like this. The two were speechless, so they didn’t say anything but they seemed angry.

Dame Mino kicked the floor with her injured leg while Shuzlin had punched the wall, but the wall seemed too hard.

… what were they doing? Do they think there are heroes or something?

“Then I will stay here too.”

“… well, we can’t help it.”

Shuzlin, me, and the woman were left behind and the two were moved back to the office. When the two disappeared right away, probably in disappointment that things didn’t go as planned, we stared at the spot they were in.

“I wish we could have just gone ahead…. Ackkk!!!”

What!?

Surprised by terrified Shuzlin screaming, I walked closer to him and saw a skeleton.

… it’s a big deal, but since we kept seeing such things.

I was surprised anymore

“I wouldn’t be too shocked if this place ends up being a tomb.”

As I put the skeletons and the other things piecing them together with a blank face, Shuzlin looked at me with a shaky face, turned away, and then screamed again.

Ah, now! What now? Was he really a man?

“Woaaaaah! A-A-Alkeris!”

“Yes, what now?”

When I turned my head to see, I saw Sir Shuzlin crouching on the floor looking at something. I thought he called out because he was scared, but he had a serious face contrary to that.

“Seems like it has been dead for a while…”

“No, another body?”

As I approached what looked like a barrel, I could smell the strong stench of rotting corpses. Despite not smelling something like this until today, I knew what it was.

“Why are we smelling this only no…”

“Because I opened the lid.”

Inside the iron barrel, a woman’s body was rotting away. The woman, with her eyes pulled out and her tongue hanging out, was a half-naked corpse like the one I saw before.

“It looks like this hides the smell? I have seen a few like this as we walked around… should we check all of them?”

“For now we find out what the woman is looking for and then we go back to headquarters. After that, a search crew will handle this.”

“Right. Maybe that is better?”

But this looked like a corpse dead less than a week back. Was this all the work of the beast boy? Suddenly the question popped in.

I wanted to find what the woman is looking for and head back.

Everyone in the missing list was found, two injured people were sent back to the headquarters, so this much is fine. The burden on my heart was relieved, and I was able to find a bit more stability than before maybe because I was with Sir Shuzlin.

Still, I was scared of the beast boy. Disgust and fear attacked me each time I thought of him. And I asked the woman.

“What are you looking for?”

The woman, crouching, was holding the necklace hanging from her neck and looked around distracted when she suddenly turned her head towards me.

It wasn’t the gaze of a terrified woman, now it was more of a passionate gaze.

And her voice, which seemed like that of a baby's, was now cold.

“Her head.”

“… head?”

“You haven’t found the head yet?”

What was this? I could feel a chill run down my spine for no reason at all! I had no way to know what this woman was talking about!

And this didn’t give me good feelings. Without realizing it, I held my breath and looked at Shuzlin.

He too seemed to have gone stiff at her words. Meanwhile, a sound began to ring.

Thud

Thud

Thud

And was getting closer and closer.

No way… again…?

Kwang! Bang-!

“Alkeris?”

Shuzlin shouted my name like a scream right away and reflexively grabbed the woman’s hand and ran. What the woman spoke right now was creepy as hell, but now I wanted to avoid that thing out there.

And as I opened the door, another room appeared. Shuzlin came there with the woman, and I followed. We did the same thing for another 3 to 4 doors. The sound of that thing chasing us constantly, at this rate, I was sure it would catch up.

What about the remaining attack magic?

Wind and water one left and…. Suddenly. I remembered the warning Mahoren gave me.

‘Wind and water aren’t so tough, but when you plan on using fire, be careful about it. Since it is a range magic, you need to be careful about your surroundings. And… it would be better to not use summoning magic if possible. I put it in as a caution, but if needs to be used, then call me first, Al’

‘But Ren can’t hear me now!’

I ran and thought.

Kwang!

Along breaking the door, the beast boy appeared.

“Damn it, we are done!”

Lowering the woman in the corner of the room, Shuzlin pulled out his sword. Ren’s warning and two magic attacks can be used. I hadn't decided on what to use, so I pulled out my sword.

“Kyaaaak!”


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