To The Crags
The weather was fine, but it was now past midday. Daniela and I chewed on some food we had bought on the way, as we walked to our destination.
The scenery that greeted you once you were out of the eastern gate was, well, the plains. There was a path for travelers to walk through, but the grass that was on both sides was tall enough to reach your knees. You could see them blow in the wind like ocean waves. It was a scene that reminded me of the times I visited my grandmother in the countryside. Though, those were fields of rice.
One step out of this great city and you might as well be in the countryside. There were no houses, and certainly no convenient stores out here. Still, it was all very beautiful.
Once we were out of the plains, a small grove spread out before us. There was a small trodden path that split it right down the middle. It brought back memories of being chased by forest wolves. I walked through with a little trepidation, but the only thing you could hear was the chirping of birds and the rustling of leaves. It was peace itself. There was something that Presence Detection was picking up, but Daniela said it was only a few goblins playing nearby. I almost wanted to go and see, but we were in a hurry, and so we moved on.
It took about an hour after leaving Spiris for us to arrive at the crags. There was no grass or trees here, only rocks. Apparently, there had been a mine here a long time ago, but it did not go very deep, as its resources were thin. It was abandoned quickly. And now what was left of it had become the home of kobolds and all sorts of monsters. In other words, we were going in.
I wouldn’t mind having a helmet now. Those ones with the lights.
“Here we go, Asagi. We should be fine in there if we use this lantern.”
“Finally. But I do wonder…”
“What is it?”
This is a mine. Narrow, with walls on both sides and a low ceiling.
“Is this really the best way to check the capabilities of my armor?”
“You could test the mobility and defensive ability at least?”
“Well, I guess so…”
I would have much preferred to go to an open area, and freely beat monsters into a pulp at lightning speed… But it was a bit late for that. It was also important to experience combat against kobolds. I would just have to bear going into this dark, dark hole.
□ □ □ □
“It’s dark even with the lantern…I can barely see ahead of me.”
“It cannot be helped. This place was abandoned long ago.”
There was no point in complaining. I knew that very well, and yet, it was so dark and cramped. There were sudden corners and those seemed to take you to even dark areas. And who knew what would spring out?
“If you care so much, why do you not use Presence Detection?”
I frantically activated it. Woah, there was quite a lot. Ah…but they weren’t that close either. We had to go a little further.
“You see? There are no monsters near us, so you can move away now. It is quite difficult to walk.”
I had hardly been conscious of the fact that I was leaning against her and clutching her sleeve. I was the scared girlfriend in a haunted mansion for a moment there.
“Though, you can do it all you want while we are walking through the city.”
“Yeah, I’m not sure about that.”
I had not realized how bad this could be without a map until now. And I had no mapping skills. We walked through the winding tunnels for over an hour. Sometimes Presence Detection would show that a kobold was so close that we might encounter it at any moment, and then it would suddenly become far away. It was no longer reliable. The tunnels here were too complex.
“Asagi, it looks like we made it. They are up ahead.”
Daniela hid the light of the lantern under her coat. And then the corner lit up ahead of us. It should have been completely dark, but there was light leaking from somewhere further ahead. Someone else was here with a light. And Presence Detection told me it was a monster.
Daniela and I slowly approached the corner. Judging by the brightness, the light shouldn’t be too close yet. Perhaps at least ten meters. And so I took a look. Ahead of us, there were four monsters who were about as tall as children, and their heads were those of dogs. They were eating something on the ground. So, those must be the kobolds. They at least aligned with my mostly useless knowledge from games.