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Esther is now confronting Rock Worms in the woods. Rock Worms are giant caterpillars that are over a meter tall.
Its body is covered with rock-hard carapace, so it’s difficult for Esther’s sword to pierce it.
It might look like a caterpillar, but Rock Worms are carnivorous. Even if it is against a human, she’s still considered prey.
It was a very ferocious and annoying monster.
Esther didn’t even think that the Rock Worms would also be breeding, although she entered the forest due to a guild request.
She was just expecting Silver Wolves had multiplied too much.
It was naïve of her.
“…I’m in quite the mess” (Esther)
In order to defeat a Rock Worm, an adventurer should have at least D-rank ability. So Esther ran away at the exact moment she saw the army of Rock Worms.
Esther will soon reach D-rank but she’s still just E-rank. It is an opponent she can fight and has a chance to win against.
However, that is only if she’s fighting with one Rock Worm.
But Esther saw an army of at least 10 Rock Worms. There is no of her winning if she clashes with the group.
Therefore, Esther escaped like a rabbit.
It was the correct choice in that situation.
However, she should have remained calm during her escape.
As Esther escaped for her life and desperately ran away, she lost sight of her way out of the forest.
She went often to Finlis Forest to carry out guild commissions. But today is the first time she’s been to the deeper part of the forest.
The forest of Finlis is large and labyrinthine. There is no guarantee that a person will be able to return safely if they lose their way.
Still, Esther didn’t despair and tried to escape from the forest, relying on her senses and memory.
Frightened by the shadows of Rock Worms and other demons, Esther desperately aimed for a way outside the forest all day and night.
It was the third day after she got lost in the forest.
When Esther discovered a square clearing that suddenly appeared in the forest.
It was arranged in the shape of a square, and it was a large area where four houses could be built.
At the end of the clearing was a pile of huge lumber that could have been knocked down when the place was cleared.
All the trees were trimmed into an even height about 10 cm from the ground.
The tops of the stumps are surprisingly smooth. The surface felt like they were cut by an extremely sharp sword.
However, it is not possible to cut a large tree with a sword.
“What is this…”
Who made this clearing within Finlis Forest?
What does this clearing mean?
(Why is there a huge pile of lumber, do they plan on building anything here in the future? But who……) (Esther)
Esther stood in front of the unusual scene.
But It was at that time.
The sound of a twig breaking echoed within the forest. Esther reacted quickly and pulled out her sword. There she saw the one who made the sound.
“Chi…!” (Rock Worms)
Countless Rock Worms were surrounding her. And a Rock Worm is already aiming at Esther. Some are ready to pounce and some are lifting their heads. There is no sign of a gap she can escape through.
Esther could outrun them.
Rock Worms are relatively sluggish.
Once Esther used [Muscle Enhancement] on herself she may be able to escape.
But she still didn’t know in which direction she could escape getting out of the forest.
If she escapes without thinking, she might look like she escaped from the Rock Worms.
But instead, she could head further, deep into the forest.
–what will she do?
During this short period, Esther lost her chance to escape.
Surrounded by Rock Worms.
Since there are no trees around, the monsters can move better.
Esther immediately readies herself for battle. She hesitates to attack the Rock Worm first and slashes to counter the attacks.
“Kuu… It’s tough!” (Esther)
Her hands felt numb. It was as if she had tried to cut solid rock.
The sword she uses is one of the few good swords in Finlis. Its kind can be seen and bought at a moderate price in any weapon and armor store within Finlis.
Still, the toughness of these worms is above par. And no matter how hard the monster was hacked, its carapace was neither chipped nor bent.
The sword is her reliable companion that has never given up on her.
However, it is unreliable against an unbreakable opponent.
(…No, it’s me who is unreliable) (Esther)
A master can use any sword.
What she lacks is not sharpness. It is Esther’s skill.
(If only I’m a little stronger…) (Esther)
Esther bit back a scream of frustration.
Fortunately, Rock Worms are slow. Esther is confident that she wouldn’t be fatally injured if she worked hard on evading.
She plans on devoting her strength on evading and planning an escape route.
At the same time, she still kept trying to attack the Rock Worm.
The battle was at a stalemate.
But that condition will end in a matter of time.
Suddenly Esther’s knee buckled.
As she continued to strengthen her muscles, she is now experiencing a shortage of mana in her body.
Noticing the lack of magic within Esther the worms surrounding her suddenly changed tactics. The Rock Worms all lifted their heads and went towards Esther.
The tip of their mouth began opening like ripe chestnuts.
(This is not good.) (Esther)
(I will die here.) (Esther)
(My life as an adventurer ends here.) (Esther)
(What did I do wrong…) (Esther)
Esther collapsed like a puppet whose strings are cut once she was certain of her death.
This is deep in the forest.
Even if she called for help, it was unlikely for anyone to come to her aid.
But still, Esther called for his name.
It wasn’t her parents’ faces nor her friends’ faces flashed in Esther’s desperate mind. But the face of the boy who had somehow easily annihilated a goblin army, saving her.
Then at that moment.
“–Just in time” (Toru)
The wind smashed the Rock Worm in front of Esther.
At the moment Toru found Esther, she was about to be eaten by a caterpillar, Toru used magic with [Chant-less Casting].
He sent 10 [Air Cutter] and shot at the caterpillar.
The head of the caterpillar that was trying to swallow Esther flew away as if it had been hit with a huge hammer.
Forcing the magic to be activated multiple times made the shape of the wind blade quite dull. The sharpness that was supposed to exist was not there. And it became a mere air bullet.
But Esther’s life was saved none the less.
“—Just in time” (Toru)
Toru stood between Esther and the caterpillar, and relief filled Toru’s heart.
“Yeah, Esther, are you okay?” (Toru)
“Ah, but why…” (Esther)
“Please listen to what kind of request you will take next time before taking them… Okay.” (Esther)
(I came because I was worried.) (Toru)
Those words were pushed into the back of Toru’s throat due to his embarrassment.
Hiding his embarrassment, Toru raised his [Magic Sword] and slashed towards the caterpillars.
The caterpillars in the front are now dead. However, the caterpillars in the back row were still alive.
Toru wished he could properly activate Air Cutter, then caterpillars in the back row would have also been killed, but for now, he can’t help it.
Toru is still not accustomed to magic or combat. He can only handle magic correctly during surprise attacks.
He focuses his mind and slashed the caterpillars.
The caterpillars were wary of the sudden appearance of Toru. However, Toru killed the caterpillars without them getting the chance to open their mouths.
As Toru killed all the caterpillars, Esther muttered behind him while staring at him.
“Is this kind of caterpillar lurking all over the forest…” (Toru)
These caterpillars were the same type of creatures that he found in the cave where he first revived.
Was it a survivor of the collapse, or was it from another group?
“I can’t beat a Rock Worm that easily. Toru is amazing…” (Esther)
“It’s not that hard. I mean, this is called a Rock Worm. Is it considered a monster?” (Toru)
“That’s right.” (Esther)
“Is it normal for this kind of creature to accumulate?” (Toru)
“That’s right.” (Esther)
Toru, who had imagined that the Rock Worm was just a normal bug in this world, felt relieved his heart after being told the truth.
(Good. This is not a world where huge insects spread…) (Toru)
“You can cut off the hands or feet even with the hardness of the Rock Worm’s carapace.” (Esther)
“That’s right, but I think I could only defeat it because my sword is so sharp.” (Toru)
“I see.” (Esther)
“Then Esther can almost beat the Rock Worms.” (Toru)
“What is your reasoning?” (Esther)
Did their laughter cut the tense atmosphere? Esther can’t help but sit down.
“Are you okay, Esther?” (Toru)
Toru quickly approached Ester and took out a water bag from his [inventory]. But Esther shook her head gently.
“I’m not thirsty. I’m just a little tired.” (Esther)
“But Esther wandered through the woods for days, right? Are you sure you aren’t thirsty?” (Toru)
“Oh no problem, I just have enough water and food with me.” (Esther)
“That’s right. Oh, but I can’t find your luggage.” (Toru)
“Here it is.” (Esther)
Esther smiled sagely and put her hand inside her breastplate. When she pulled it out, she had a water bag in hand.
“Oh, what?” (Toru)
“Actually, I have “inventory” the same as Toru.” (Esther)
“……Oh I see” (Toru)
“I can only hold a certain amount of luggage though.” (Esther)
Esther’s explanation finally clarified a few misunderstandings.
Esther used to take out hemp bags with money and her guild card from her breastplate to conceal her ability to use [inventory].
“But that’s why anyone who sees misunderstands…” (Toru)
“Oh, what?” (Esther)
“Because you’re obviously putting things that don’t fit in the breastplate.” (Toru)
Looking at Esther who leaned her head towards him, Toru smiled thinking, “Is this what the guard was talking about?”
It seems that they are dealing with it, but there is a hole in the logic.
“He’s skilled” (Toru)
That guard was pretending not to notice even though Esther was using “inventory.”
“What are you laughing at?” (Esther)
“No, whatever. Then Esther, let us head back to Finlis…?!” (Toru)
Let us head back? The words stopped in the back of Toru’s throat.
Deeper into the forest, Toru felt a bad premonition. Reacting his feelings, the hairs behind his neck stood up.
Toru immediately raises his [Magic Sword] and stares deep into the forest.
(This feeling. Maybe…) (Toru)
A mysterious space that suddenly appeared within the forest.
(What is happening here) (Toru)
(Who or what is it) (Toru)