After we had advanced for a while, the point of my spear bumped into a boulder. It was a jagged piece of rock that stuck out of the mountain like a thorn.
As I had been nervous about what we’d end up hitting, I sighed in relief. Now we just needed to follow the slope and go up.
And so I put the spear away and started to climb. Daniela continued to hold onto me tightly.
“Can’t you walk now?”
“What? Did you hate carrying me so much?”
“No. But it’s distracting.”
It was hard to stay on your guard too.
A pale woman on a blizzard mountain… Was she some kind of snow fairy?
“We need to take this seriously. Are you even using Presence Detection now?”
“Damn it, Asagi. You cannot even take a joke. Do not worry. I have been using it this whole time.”
I never should have doubted her. Even in a situation like this, she had her guard up.
“There is a monster about two kilometers above us.”
I was so surprised that I nearly dropped her. That was enough to scare even Daniela, and her knuckles turned white as she clutched onto me.
“Y-you… Even if I can probably manage to protect myself with magic… It does not mean you can drop me…”
“S-sorry. I panicked…”
“I am the one who panicked… Asagi! It has noticed us!”
Daniela said as she looked up. So, the monster that was two kilometers above knew that we were here. I moved to take out the spear again, but Daniela stopped me.
“No. This is not the place. We should run.”
“But I can’t even see anything…!”
“Do you not have Eyes of the God Wolf!”
Then it hit me. That’s right, I could barely see anything through this blizzard, but if I knew what was on the other side, I could still move forward. It would be hard, and I would have to partially rely on my honed instincts, but it wasn’t impossible.
I spread Presence Detection out above me, and saw that the monster was rushing down towards us at a tremendous speed. It was either flying, sliding or falling. And it was huge.
“Let’s move away from here for now. It won’t be able to attack us if we’re far away from the mountain’s surface.”
And with that, we flew away from the mountain. It didn’t feel great to move away after we had only just arrived. And now our vision was covered in white once again.
“…Alright. I think… No, we’re not! What’s happening!?”
The monster was still headed right towards us. I kept flying back and away from the mountain, and yet it was only getting closer.
“Asagi, get away. Fall back!”
I frantically raised my speed even more, but the monster was now very close to us.
It was so unexpected that I couldn’t react immediately. I didn’t know if Daniela was clicking her tongue at the monster or me. Regardless, she created a Wind Arrow and prepared to attack.
And, a gaping jaw shot out from the cloud of snow and stopped right in front of our eyes.
“This…saved by a hair’s breadth…?”
The inside of the mouth was familiar to me. It was indeed a snake. A huge, vertical tear and the wide lower jaw. The two fangs protruding from the top and the rows of sharp little teeth inside.
As I watched, too stunned to move, its mouth slowly closed as it hissed. What then appeared before us, was a beautiful, white snake. However, it was no ordinary snake. It was a monster with eyes that were transparent like ice.
“I suppose this is as far as it can reach… It should not be able to get any closer to us.”
“And there is no need to antagonize it. We should just go.”
My voice shook from its overwhelming presence, but I also couldn’t take my eyes off of it.
At the same time, the snake stared back at me with its glassy eyes. And then it slowly disappeared back into the storm of snow.
“…Ah… I thought we were going to die…”
“Yes. We were like frogs being stared at by a snake.”
“And who could blame us? Anyone would turn into a frog after being chased by that thing…”
Now that it was done, Daniela sounded light-hearted again. Still, I was curious as to how the snake was able to come out so far. And so I used Eyes of the God Wolf to check the spot that we had been in.
“Woah, no way…”
“No… Well, I once heard that snakes were all muscle. And I realized that it was true.”
The thorn-like boulder that was sticking out of the mountain. The snake’s tail was wrapped around it. But that meant that the rest of its body was straight, as it stretched out towards us. What kind of muscles would it take to support its entire body like that…
“Hah… We should go.”
“I want to get out of this snow.”
“It seems like the wind is not blowing as much a short distance from here. We should get away from the mountain first.”
I didn’t want to get attacked by that snake again…
Once I was sure that Daniela was holding on tightly, I slowly started to move away from the mountain while circling it.
It took us about an hour to get out of the blizzard.
□ □ □ □
We didn’t see the snake anywhere once we were out. I scanned the area for a while, but could not see or sense it anywhere. Perhaps it was no longer within range.
“Snakes can see temperature, so you have to be careful.”
“Is that so?”
I wasn’t a snake professor, so I didn’t know the details, but snakes could find their targets through seeing their body temperature. And this one could do it while two kilometers away. Perhaps it could still see us now… It would be best if we kept moving.
“Let’s keep going.”
“But what about the mountain peak? Perhaps there are more monsters up there.”
“Hmm… Huh? What the…”
Suddenly, I noticed that there was something below us that hadn’t been there before. It was hard to see, but it looked like a cave.
A hole in the side of the mountain.
“A cave… It is most likely a monster nest.”
“However, we can’t just stay here. And to be honest, I’m getting really tired.”
I had traveled all the way up and then frantically ran away while carrying Daniela.
“Fine. We can take a look. I will block the entrance once we are inside.”
It was a good thing that Daniela could use earth magic. It would mean we couldn’t escape, but that sounded better than letting the snake come inside.
I used Presence Detection one more time and made sure that it wasn’t nearby. And then we slid down into the cave.