Black Cat Chapter 99: Struggle

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 The clay pit was about 10 minutes away from the town road on a side road in the middle of the Helio Pass.


 It was about 20 meters wide and looked like it had been cut down a slope along a layer of clay.



 Surrounded by trees, it felt like home to me, having grown up in the mountains of Atsuka.


 There are many trees, but most of them seem to be deciduous, and since it is already time for them to shed their leaves, the visibility is not bad.



 Perhaps in the summer, when the leaves are thick, the visibility would be poor and it would be easier to allow the monsters to approach.


 The people at the workshop seem to be aware of this situation, and they are going to mine the soil from early summer to late fall between now and the beginning of spring.



 The three from Trackers were positioned around the mining area and set up a surveillance system.


 Once at their posts, they all began ringing a bundle of iron rings.



 Clang, clang… Clang, clang…



 The sound of iron clashing with iron has the effect of making monsters and beasts think that there are people with weapons.


 Goblins and kobolds that are not in a pack will avoid the place just by hearing this sound.



 Clang, clang… Clang, clang…



 The three from Trackers, in turn, rhythmically clang the iron rings.


 In this way, they create the illusion that there are more of them in a wider area.



 The three must be a good party, as they are well coordinated.


 No one slacks off, and the sound that echoes in good order must bring peace of mind to the people in the workshop who are working on their job.



 While Trackers separated into three and are guarding the area, I am standing on the top of the carriage, keeping a watchful eye on the surroundings.


 I scatter my detection particles in a circle with a radius of about 200 meters, with the carriage at the center.



 Thanks to the long hours of extensive detection during the recent attack on the Academy, the range and accuracy of my detection have improved.


 After all, it is probably better to use the particle in actual combat rather than just for practice.



 I am also attempting to use this opportunity to improve my visual surveillance, which has been an issue for me according to Shure.


 Instead of staring at a single point, I should try to look at a wide area and pay attention to whether there are any moving foreign objects in my field of vision.



 Using both the visual and detection particles together, I feel like my head is going to explode with information overload, but as I get used to it, I will be able to pick and choose only the information I need.



 The three men from the pottery workshop Keyraft went down to the mining site without shovels or pickaxes.


 I thought they would first examine the condition of the soil to be mined, but they began digging out the soil in an unexpected way.



 The reason they did not bring any tools with them was because they were using earth magic, and when the three put their hands on the slope they were digging, the soil rose up and formed a disk.


 The disks were about the size of a truck tire, and the surface was apparently hardened to prevent it from collapsing.



 When a certain number of disks are formed, they are rolled onto a board that is placed on the back of the wagon and loaded into the wagon.


 The large disks must be quite heavy, but the fact that they roll so easily seems to be a result of their muscles rather than magic.



 The mining scene looks easy enough when watching, but it seems difficult to actually do it.


 I wonder if my brother will be able to handle soil like this.



 It seems that the mining work uses both magic power and physical strength, so the three people in the workshop continued working until noon, taking a break every time they worked for about an hour.



“Hey, let’s have lunch! You guys should take turns resting too!” (Ivor)



 At Ivor’s call, the three from Trackers also returned to the vicinity of the carriage.


 They said they were going to leave one of them on guard duty while the others rest, and I told them to add me to their number, but they refused, saying that this was a request we had received.



 It’s good to be serious, but Fuller and Bellucci, who left Karlot on guard and took a break, seemed a little exhausted.


 They’ve been tense since morning, and I’m worried if they can last half a day with their state.



“Mr. Ivor, how long will it take you to do the work this afternoon?” (Nyango)


“I don’t think it will take more than two hours.” (Ivor)



 The wagon was already half full of dirt, so I guess it would only take a couple of hours to load it, leaving room for people to ride on it.


 During the break, Kobolds appeared, perhaps because the frequency of ringing the iron ring had decreased, Fuller noticed and told the other two.



“Karlot, Bellucci, Kobold!” (Fuller)


“They’re coming!” (Karlot)


“I’m going now!” (Bellucci)



 My detection particles picked up eight presences, which was more than they could handle, but let’s see what they can do first.


 Three of them are carrying shields, spears, and bows on their backs, ringing iron rings in their left hands, and holding pebbles in their right hands.



 In a leather pouch on their right waists, they seem to be carrying spare pebbles.


 Karlot throws a stone at the approaching kobold with a menacing snarl.



“Gyan!” (Kobold)


“Look! If you come closer, I’ll make you eat plenty of stones!” (Karlot)



 The three of them must have been practicing on a regular basis, as the stones they were throwing were quite fast and seemed to be well controlled.


 In this escort request, the monsters must be driven away, not killed.



 If we use weapons that are too lethal, we may accidentally kill them, or if we let them bleed profusely, the smell of their blood may attract other monsters.


 On the other hand, stone gravel will not kill unless it hits them in a bad spot, it is safe because it attacks from a distance, and most importantly, it costs nothing.



 Karlot, in the center, throws stones at the Kobolds to spoil their start, while Fuller and Bellucci skillfully check them to prevent them from coming around from the outside.


 Although the stones were a little smaller than a fist, they seemed to have a big impact on the smaller Kobolds, and they gradually began to show signs of fright.



 The reason why they do not run away easily is because winter is approaching and food supplies in the mountains are dwindling.


 In the village of Atsuka, Mr. Zeol must be leading the village’s old men to crush the goblin’s nest by now.



“Gyan!” (Kobold)


“Kyan!” (Kobold)



 The Kobolds, after receiving a blow, had begun to buckle and move slowly and were beginning to fall prey to further stone-throwing.


 Bellucci, who had looked unsure of himself on the firing range, seemed to be able to handle the situation as calmly as the other two.



 After 15 minutes of confrontation, the Kobolds, realizing they were no match, turned tail and retreated.


 To prevent the Kobolds from coming back, the three from Trackers gave chase for a bit before returning.



“Hmm, Well, that’s quite normal, isn’t it?” (Ivor)



 Wardal and Naebro nodded at Ivor’s words.


 The three men from the pottery workshop must have seen this kind of situation many times.



 The tracker’s response apparently received a high score.


 If this was the case, they would probably be able to accept the next request.



 Naeubro, who had taken his eyes off the three from Trackers, grinned at me.



“It seems that Nyango didn’t have his turn?” (Naebro)


“I’m an observer, so it’s better if I don’t have a turn.” (Nyango)


“Yes. If you’re working, that means we’re in danger, right?” (Naebro)


“Yes, but please rest assured that we will keep everyone out of danger.” (Nyango)


“Please take care of us.” (Naebro)



 When the three from Trackers returned, they were drenched in sweat even though the temperature was a little chilly.



“Thank you for your hard work. Why don’t you take a break and get ready while I ring the iron ring for a little while?” (Nyango)


“Haa, haa… I’m sorry, please do.” (Karlot)



 Even Karlot, who seemed to be physically fit, was breathing hard and wiping sweat on his sleeve.


 Fuller and Bellucci downed the water in their canteens, and it seemed they had finally relaxed.



 Not ten minutes after wiping off the sweat, drinking the water, and replenishing the stones for throwing, Karlot takes the iron ring from me.



“Are you done already?” (Nyango)


“Yeah, that’s right, I can’t rely on Nyango.” (Karlot)


“You’re quite serious…” (Nyango)


“It’s obvious. Adventurers can easily die if they don’t do it seriously.” (Karlot)



 Earnestly and steadily, Karlot and the others seem to be moving forward one step at a time.


 It seems fun to work with like-minded friends, but they must be worried about not being able to receive guidance from veterans like Laius and the others.



 After an hour’s break, the three from the pottery workshop got down to the afternoon’s work.


 Molding, carrying, and loading. …The work itself is monotonous, so they are likely to feel extra tired.



 The three from Trackers got into the same arrangement as in the morning and started ringing the iron rings again.


 However, they seemed to be getting a little tired, and their rhythm occasionally became erratic.



 Clang, clang… Clang… Clang… Clang, clang…



 Still, all three of them are working hard and the soil excavation appears to be over 80% complete.


 Just when I was thinking that if this all went off without a hitch… The ones who I didn’t want to appear showed up.





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