Sorry I wasn’t able to post a chapter last week since I caught the flu. Like I said in the MaouMuji chapter, I don’t really want to post small updates like this on the site so if you want to stay updated, you can join our discord server. If you don’t like discord or don’t want to make an account just to get updates, you can also join our twitter. You can click the twitter icon on the top bar.
Chapter 34: Go Ahead, Enjoy! But Then, They Became Enraged!
After coming out of the dense forest, they were greeted by a riverbed that’s illuminated by the moonlight.
The moon’s pale blue light was being covered by the clouds but even so, it was still too bright for their eyes that have already gotten used to the darkness.
The zombie-like adventurers who had lost their minds have only just regained their senses.
「……how long till we get there……?」
The greatsword wielding leader asked the ranger who was in charge of navigation when they’ll arrive at their destination.
「……a bit longer. At this rate, we’ll get there by sunrise……」
After spitting out his saliva to relieve his exhaustion, the ranger replied.
The device they borrowed from the guild was giving off a strong reaction.
That should certify that their destination is close.
The leader sluggishly turned around.
The priest who has poor stamina to begin with and the spear user who was tasked as a rearguard were stuck behind like wooden dolls who couldn’t do anything but groan.
They were at the peak of exhaustion.
They aren’t aware of the conditions of the place they’re supposed to investigate so
it would be pretty dangerous for them to advance in their current state.
「……let’s rest here for the time being. We won’t be able to conduct a proper investigation at this rate……」
The gazes they’ve been feeling for the entire trip has just vanished as well.
Because of that, they’ll now be able to rest a bit.
They still have no idea what was the reason for those stares.
Was that just to torment them? In the end, they weren’t able to confirm where those gazes came from.
「As for who’ll stand watch…… I guess it doesn’t matter. There’s no point in doing that especially when we’re all tired… Feel free to take a break in whichever way you want……」
If they wanted them dead, they would have probably done it a long time ago.
It no use for them to start struggling at this point in time.
They should just focus on recovering their strength and stamina as much as possible and get themselves prepared for the investigation.
All of them laid stretched out on the riverbed.
They just threw their luggage and roughly fell to their backsides to take a short rest.
It’s disgraceful behavior for A-rank adventurers but nobody had the spare energy to point that out at that moment.
「Boss…… What do you think that thing is……?」
The first one to notice something unusual was the ranger.
Steam was rising up at a slight distance away from where they currently were.
「What? That is……?」
They already stood up so although it was annoying, they couldn’t just overlook it.
With their leader heading towards the place where the steam was rising from, the rest of the members followed suit.
「What in the world is this……?」
What they found was a fountain.
It doesn’t seem to be naturally made with how precisely it was built.
The Ranger removed his glove and dipped his hand in the fountain.
「It’s warm. There’s also a faint sulfur-like smell coming off of it. This is most likely a hot spring」
「A hot spring? Here?」
There was a huge boulder sticking out of the center of the hot spring with a hole in the center where the hot water was vigorously gushing out.
If this was a naturally made hot spring then you would be able to see the hot water gushing out from several places.
However, this one was man-made no matter how you looked at it.
「Was there someone living in this area?」
「No way. I’ve heard that this place is regarded as a sacred forest so no one is living here. That’s why were asked to come here and investigate the magic disaster after all」
「Then what the hell is this?」
「If I had to guess then it must have been made by the ones who were observing us」
「If that’s the case then we’re in a pretty hopeless situation, aren’t we……?」
The thought that the beings they thought of as just ordinary strong monsters had been greatly overturned.
The stone has been carefully laid down.
The large boulder has been gouged out in order to make a tool to replenish the supply of hot water.
And if you look closely, you can see that a water channel had been dug in order for the excess water to flow back to the river.
An intelligent being capable of making such artifacts was lurking inside the forest.
What they thought was already a desperate situation just got even worse.
「B-boss, do you see that……?」
The spear user pointed at a willow basket that was left there.
Bread, cheese, and all sorts of food were inside.
Without thinking, all of them swallowed their saliva.
They’ve only had those clay-like portable rations these past few days so as far as they’re concerned, it was the greatest feast they’ve seen.
「This isn’t an illusion, right……?」
「H…HAHAHA. A hot spring inside the forest and a feast? What kind of joke is this?」
The ranger hit his own forehead and raised a dry laugh.
It would probably have been easier to take in if those things were just an illusion.
It was already beyond anything they could imagine.
The ranger’s cry-like laughter resounded in the dark forest.
However, that laughter suddenly stopped.
「……everyone, don’t move」
He warned his party in a low voice.
Then, everyone glanced at the same direction where the Ranger was looking.
It was an ordinary forest bush.
What in the world was there that would suddenly cause the ranger to become vigilant, they wondered.
At that moment, the clouds covering the moon cleared up and they saw countless number of eyes gazing at them.1
Since when have they been there?
Because of their tiredness, they weren’t able to notice even at such a close distance.
At the same time, they were able to understand how powerful the other party that’s hiding in the bushes.
It was as if the king of dragons that was a stuff of legends was looking straight at them. They could feel such a terrifying presence.
The average adventurer probably wouldn’t have noticed it however, for them who are high ranking adventurers in the guild, they are able to grasp the strength of the opposing party.
They have determined that they wouldn’t be able to win against whatever is hiding behind those bushes no matter what they do.
Those countless number of eyes looking at them were not showing them any hostility.
However, that just made the situation eerier.
「……what the hell is this……」
Their leader wasn’t able to gather his thoughts because of fear.
Thinking about what happened to them up until now,
There were that constant gaze and bloodlust they felt inside the forest,
Then, they also made a hot spring bath as if to tell them to wash their bodies.
There’s even that basket full of food.
What do those signs mean?
「…… Ah, I see……」
Then, their leader was only able to come up with one answer to that question.
「Yes, I see now. I’ve already figured what you hidden monsters are up to. I’ve already unveiled your plans」
While the leader was gritting his teeth, he glared at the bushes.
「You’re actually planning to eat us, aren’t you?」2
Observing them nonstop was just their way of cornering them with fear and fatigue in a place that’s far from civilization in order to prepare their food.
They’ve heard of Vampires, which are a type of monsters with intelligence, purposefully torment their prey with fear in order to make their blood tastier after all.
Because of that, they’ve come to the conclusion that the constant gazes and bloodlust they felt until they arrived was just a way of preparing their food.
As for the final preparations, they make their prey take a bath in the hotspring so that they’re clean and let them eat plenty of food to fatten them up.
As if to respond to the conclusion that the leader has derived, the countless number of eyes started glimmering.
「Food……? Food, you say……?」
「Damn it…… So we’ve been dancing at those guys palms this entire time……」
Their bodies had been frozen by fear.
It’s already too late even if they try to turn back here.
There’s no reason for them to be able to return alive now that they know the truth.
The monsters that were hidden behind the bushes were just eagerly waiting for their preparations to end.
They would die going forward but they’ll also die going back.
Being cornered like that, the adventurers started to shout.
「Who…… Just who do you think will go along according to your plans!」
「Do you expect us to just quietly get eaten up……!」
「We are the proud adventurer party 『Sword of Daybreak』! We won’t let ourselves get eaten like a pig!」
「Let’s go, everyone. We must complete this investigation at all costs. Let’s go to the site of the mana disaster and bring back the results of our investigation to the guild! It’ll be our victory if even a single one of us can bring back the crucial information we’ve gathered!」
With them revitalized due to their anger, the adventurers ignored the hot spring and food then started running towards the waterfall further north.
AN: There will be another update at 7 PM (´・ω・｀)
TL: I’d like to do the same but it’s longer than usual so I’ll just leave it until next week :3 Also, plot twist! LOL