Chapter 116 – Lured In!?
“Look, Joshua. There are traces of them being cut.”
Ecleshia said as she looked at the plants around us.
While most of them were taller than a human, some of them had been cut at the root.
But they weren’t cut by a sharp blade.
You could see that they must have been cut slowly, with stones and claws.
And considering there were no footprints, perhaps they had dove into the swamp?
Or perhaps it has been quite some time since they were here.
However, the cuts on the plants looked quite new, and there were stalks lying around. Perhaps those were the ones that couldn’t be used for anything.
And so it seemed very likely that they had been here a few days ago.
However, even Melk could not detect them with her nose.
After all, she was following the scent of the reeds, and this place was full of them.
On top of that, since it was a swampland, there was a strong, fish-like smell filling the place.
Melk looked rather sick, which was unusual for her.
“Melk does not like this smell. We should return to the sea quickly.”
“I feel the same. It smells like something is rotten here.”
Iria said with a nod.
Even as a human, I understood what she meant.
The smell of garbage in a back alley, the smell of a battlefield… A detestable smell.
Just then, Asuha descended from the sky.
“Up ahead. There is a small island where large flowers bloom. It smells rather nice, and we could possibly rest there.”
“Huh. Then let’s head over to this place. If it is different from everywhere else, then we might be able to find a clue.”
And so I continued to lay down the plant carpets as we headed to the small island that Asuha told us about.
“It’s true…the smell is nicer.”
Melk said with a dreamy expression.
After some time, a small island with flowers appeared in front of us.
An island with flowers that was in the middle of a swamp. It reminded me of an oasis.
However, Ecleshia immediately noticed that something was wrong.
“Wait… This scent… It is not natural.”
“Aye. It is much too thick. As if it is attracting people deliberately.”
Monica also muttered in realization.
“There are so many flowers, and yet no insects are drinking their nectar, and I see no birds. Normally, such a place would be a good hunting ground for animals.”
And then Asuha answered.
“Ah. Indeed, birds seemed to be avoiding it when flying above. Birds are good at remembering places that are dangerous…”
“In other words, there is a trap of some kind on that island?”
Iria asked, and Ecleshia nodded.
“I have heard stories about such monsters… If they have power that is similar to us Ents, then they may have surrounded us already.”
The tall plants now seemed to loom over us ominously.
Indeed, it seemed as if the flowers on the island were filled with magic energy.
As Ecleshia said, there were a lot of monsters in nature that could disguise themselves.
“And we fell right into their trap then. However, that makes me think even more that there is some hint to be found on that island.”
I didn’t want to think about it, but perhaps the people we were searching for have been eaten by that island.
My guess was that the flowers were mouths, and the body was hidden in the mud.
So even if we burned all of the plants, we would not be able to defeat it, as the body was protected.
Besides, the people we were searching for could be inside of the flowers…
“Brute force won’t work here. And we don’t have any bombs anyway… No, wait a minute…”
I thought about the kraken corpse.
There had been something like ink in the body. This was the kraken’s poison.
“Alright, I’ll use this. Monica, take this arrow…and be careful to not touch the arrowhead.”
I gave Monica an arrow that had been coated with kraken poison.
“Unleash this into that big flower. The flowers should be its mouth, so shoot the stem.”
I didn’t know if it had a stomach, but it was possible that there was someone inside.
And I didn’t want them to be poisoned, so it would be better to hit the body directly.
Monica nocked the arrow and unleashed it towards the large stem below the petals.
And then, just as expected, the flower opened up and tried to swallow the arrow.
However, the arrow of Monica the elf could not be avoided so easily.
And it pierced into the stem.
Immediately after, the plants around it started to squirm, and the stalks and roots began to thrash around towards us like whips.
And so I cast Magic Shield in order to protect us.
It was a useless attack in front of Iria’s blade.
And so the stalks and roots were just shredded.
On the other hand, Ecleshia said,
“I’m sorry, Joshua. My power was not enough to control the plants here. It seems that they only obey the island as their lord… What!?”
Before she finished, Ecleshia suddenly raised her voice.
It was because the island in front of us had started to rise out of the mud.
The island body that rose was a living creature enveloped in mud.
And it was about the size of a house.
“A mud slime!?”
They were known to cover their bodies in mud and plants in order to hide themselves in the environment. And like that, they would prey on anyone who came near.
They were wild monsters that could occasionally be seen near human settlements.
As they were covered in mud, it was difficult to defeat them with ordinary weapons, and so sorcerers were needed when hunting them.
However, normally, they were supposed to be the size of a pig. I had no idea that they could become this large.
I decided to try and use water magic to wash away the mud first, and then have Iria cut it with her blade.
However, it seemed that my first plan paid off.
Because the plants around us had stopped attacking.
Not only that, but the mud slime, who had jumped out so wildly, was starting to lose its shape and crumble.
And after the mud and plants peeled off, a semi-transparent, brown substance appeared.
But even that, came apart as if turning into water.
Apparently, the kraken poison had been effective.
Melk said in a stunned voice.
And then as the remains of the slime washed away, it revealed a girl who was curled up into a ball.