Chapter 118: Ecology of Ants
Until now, we could defeat the individuals we’ve been fighting with just a single blow. However, we have no idea about the durability of the higher species. For that reason, I thought of judging it with Lionel’s single blow but it failed to function as the evaluating criteria.
” … A single blow.”
The ants looked like they held antagonistic sentiment toward the foreign body that suddenly entered. However, Lionel readied his large shield and when he plunged his flaming greatsword clearly into their ranks, the higher species’ body was cleaved and sent flying and they did not make any other moves.
Or rather, the ants certainly began moving but Cathy and Kefin annihilated them such that they did not interfere with Lionel.
“I can’t quite determine the strength of this specimen.” (Kefin)
“Let’s do what we can here.” (Luciel)
“You’re right.” (Kefin)
As I talked with Kefin, we ran toward the ant corpses that had piled high and I steadily collected them.
Even I was able to defeat the approaching ant monsters with a single blow. The retrieval of the monsters wasn’t that unreasonable a job.
However, the higher species left to Kefin weren’t so easily defeated. Although he could subdue them, he could not kill them instantly.
“Kefin, are you alright?”
“Their endurance sure is high. They indirectly also firmly defend themselves … Luciel-sama, I’ll create a gap so could I trouble you to cut them down with that sword?”
As might be expected, I was slightly puzzled but I still immediately agreed.
” … Please teach me the timing.”
“Understood. Then, please follow my timing when I hit them.”
I matched Kefin’s timing.
When Kefin hit the higher species, I slashed at it when I peaked an opportunity and I was able to easily slice through it while feeling just a slight bit of resistance.
“As expected, Luciel-sama’s equipment is slightly over-the-top.”
“I think so too. Well then, I’ll collect the monster corpses until another higher species come attacking.”
Kefin and I cleared the mountain pile in order, one pile at a time.
” … There isn’t much meaning for us to be here.” (Estia)
” … Thanks to them moving violently over there, none of the monsters are coming to attack us.” (Rockwell)
“At any rate, aren’t they way too strong?” (Estia)
Swinging his flaming greatsword, Lionel sent all of them flying altogether, regardless of ordinary species or higher species.
Cathy was using a hit and run technique, maintaining a constant distance as if doing a dance while sequentially guiding the monsters during intervals between Lionel’s attacks, making it such that not that much time was spent.
After that, while I was still retrieving the corpses of the ants into my magic bag, I begin wondering what this place was.
Without any subsequent passages opened, there weren’t any other entrances or exits apart from the one we entered by.
” … Perhaps, we took the wrong passage?” (Luciel)
“It might be reasonable to think of this place as a food storage.” (Lionel)
“It’s a little too short nya.” (Cathy)
Lionel and Cathy came closer to me to protect me as I was thinking.
“I was certain that a good direction would definitely be pointed to by trying my luck using the falling cane method.” (Luciel)
At that spot, I once again stood the Illusionary Cane and released my hand.
Please guide our way.
” … What’s the meaning of this?” (Luciel)
The Illusionary Cane remaining standing without falling over.
“Amazing nya. Perhaps the main culprit is right below us nya.” (Cathy)
“It might not be a bad idea to bet on Luciel-sama’s luck.” (Lionel)
Cathy and Lionel’s words opened my eyes.
“King Rockwell … please open a cave downward.” (Luciel)
” … Alright. Distance yourselves a little.” (Rockwell)
While looking at me with quizzical eyes, King Rockwell who has sworn allegiance to me, placed his hand on the surface and a circular cave was made in the center of the room.
Then, Estia approached and shined the light down, reflecting on wriggling figures of ants not further than 3 meters away.
“I’ll go this time.”
King Rockwell said so and leaped into the cave.
None of us, me, thinking to plan our strategy before going in, Lionel, and the others, had the time to stop him.
We chased King Rockwell’s movement forward with our eyes, the ants didn’t make any other movements other than wriggling and he quickly stood up with a single step on the membrane.
The next instant, he looked at us and announced.
“This is the place where the ant monsters are born.”
I want to go back right now.
Is it a luxury to have that thought right now?
As I asked myself that, I gave out instructions.
“Proceed with the mind that it’s a labyrinth’s boss room. Before that, think of that as the queen ant’s abdomen so to be safe, I’ll apply 「Aura Coat」 and 「Area Barrier」.”
After I finished casting my magic, Kefin spoke.
“I’ll go in first. After confirming the situation, it may depend on the situation but I can grab that dwarf and retreat while in your field of view.”
“I leave it to you.”
“Confirm the width of the place and the number of enemies too nya.”
Kefin descended and in an instant, came back.
“What’s wrong? Did something happen?”
I was shocked at why he returned instantly and Kefin immediately replied with the situation below.
” … It is without a doubt the spawning site of the ants. Rather than that, the place King Rockwell is currently on is the back of the queen ant. The cave is narrow and it can’t move but there’s no mistake that tons of monsters are being born.”
A single queen ant can give birth to these many monsters? Apart from that threat, it doesn’t seem dangerous.
Assuming that is where countless ants are endlessly being born … if we leave it unattended now, mankind will be exposed to danger.
Thinking back, because of Sir Rainstar’s action making it such that a labyrinth would not form, it swayed the outcome to this. However, he wouldn’t have been able to imagine that the good intentions he executed would turn into danger 300 years in the future. (TL: I’m super lost about this part. I’m guessing that Rainstar constructed Rockford and made a pact with the Earth Spirits to make it such that a labyrinth would not form to keep the town safe. May be the reason why there is an Earth Dragon but no labyrinth.)
” … I’ll assume that is the queen. We don’t know if they evolve via cannibalism but if we do not defeat it today, the world would be overrun by ant monsters.”
“Shall we puncture the abdomen at one go? Or do we aim for the head or its nucleus the magic stone?”
“We’ll divide it. The monsters might appear if we rush over to the head. I’ll leave the current location to King Rockwell, Kefin and I will aim for the magic stone while I leave the head portion to the 2 of you. Estia will be the flashlight personnel and pair with King Rockwell.”
It’s too dangerous as I can’t trust King Rockwell and I have absolutely no idea on Estia’s capability.
I’ll have to get Kefin and the others to investigate that later.
Those thoughts passed through my mind. However, there wasn’t much time so we quickly began our operation.
After a deep breath and leaping down, the ant’s back was a lot softer than I imagined.
… I could immediately verify the ant’s size, I calculated that its total length exceeded 25 meters.
It felt wider than a 25-meter pool when I descended onto its back.
“Is it even possible to defeat this?” (Luciel)
“Everything is possible if you set your sights to it, but various monsters will be hatching forth so we have no choice but to defeat it in one shot and continue defeating the others.” (Lionel)
“We have no choice but to do it nya.” (Cathy)
“Let’s go.” (Kefin)
“Ha~. Alright, good luck.” (Luciel)
Thus, we began running forward.
Incidentally, I left it to Estia to explain everything to King Rockwell.
I channeled magical power into my Illusionary Sword and under Kefin’s guidance, moved toward the location where the ant’s magic stones are located and deeply pierced it with my Holy Dragon Spear.
If this was a labyrinth, this queen ant would have raised its death throes and finally transformed into a magic stone.
But, reality is not so kind after all.
The ants within the queen ant’s body began eating from the inside and others from the caves leading into this room began flocking toward the queen ant’s corpse.
Although the queen ant is dead, possibly because there were ants inside, I could not store it inside the magic bag.
“Even though I’ve collected the core magic stone, I don’t know how many specimens would transform into higher species after eating the queen ant. King Rockwell will blockage the room by caving the passages in, Lionel, chop the queen ant up. The others will be supports.”
I ran toward Lionel’s direction without listening to the replies.
The next instant, Lionel beheaded the queen ant.
I sliced the incoming ant monsters as I collected the head.
Even if I’m surrounded, as long as I chant 「High Heal」, I won’t die unless it’s an instantaneous death.
I collected the corpses during the time between Lionel’s circular slices while Cathy, Kefin, and I continued to defeat the monsters at the places where they were becoming active.
If their equipment was complete, would we have finished much more easily?
Even though that crossed my mind, the only thing we could do now was to do our best and I finally collected the whole body of the queen ant into my magic bag. It took roughly about 30 minutes?
After that, we continued cutting up the endless ant monsters but other than Kefin getting to the verge of death due to his weapon breaking countless times, nobody else was injured.
In addition, I heightened my vigilance toward Estia who had combat strength that surpassed Kefin.
Thank you for reading.