By the time the whole Ant Queen body had been carved down, the work on the other Killer Ants was mostly finished as well.
The materials were carried in wagons back to the town. And before the last trip was made, the main group was prepared to leave.
Some were relieved that the battle had ended. Some were just happy to have fulfilled their role. Regardless, the trip back had a fairly cheerful atmosphere. And at night, the town celebrated as if during a festival.
The taverns were packed with soldiers and Adventurers, who had just filled their pockets with money. And their partying continued well into the night.
“Mr. Ajifu. Aren’t you going to go out and drink?”
Asked the innkeeper, as I ate in the dining hall.
“I just have this feeling, that I shouldn’t go out drinking tonight.”
I had been invited, but since I had a bad feeling, I made up some excuse and slipped away.
“Might be for the best. It’s always when you want it least, that trouble comes and finds you.”
In fact, a few fights between the soldiers, mercenaries and Adventurers had already erupted. It wasn’t that these people disliked each other, but they were a rowdy bunch, and things were bound to happen once they started drinking. And so the town guards would have their hands full tonight.
“That’s how it is. Hey, old man. Why don’t you sit down and keep me company?”
“Very well. I have to stay awake anyway. Until those drunkards come back.”
It was already quite late. And as the noise continued outside, we drank and talked of trifling things.
“Hey, Ajifu. How are you?”
“As if anything ever changes in the village. But how are things in Suelbur?”
“Well, many merchants have been quick to come here to buy the Killer Ants. So things are going well.”
The Adventurer said with a boisterous laugh.
After the Killer Ant hunt, I became familiar with a lot more people at the guild, and they would talk to me. While it had been hard in some ways, now that the quest was over, I felt like I had participated in a local festival. There was a nice sense of unity. It was a quest that helped the town’s economy while also raising the fighting force of the guild.
“Ah, it’s Mr. Ajifu.”
“Mr. Ajife, look at this! I bought a new sword! See!”
Rowar and Nenreko had found me. A short sword that did not look new was hanging on his belt. He must have bought various things with the reward money. Some of his other equipment was different as well.
“That’s great. But don’t get carried away and take on any strong monsters.”
“I know! We’ll take our time and go through the F-Rank quests.”
“Good. Especially with Killer Ants. They sometimes appear on the roads if you stray too far from the town.”
Normally, strong monsters stayed deep in the forest. But Killer Ants wandered in order to find food. One of the reasons these territories weren’t more developed was that a lot of E-Rank monsters appeared. It was a blessing and a curse. Things were never too easy.
I left the guild and finished some shopping before returning to the inn. I could reach Nanaze Village from Suelbur in a day if I went by horse. However, only if I started first thing in the morning. And so I decided to stay in Suelbur one night.
The next morning, I waited for the gates to open, and then departed.
And just before midday, when I had passed one of the villages that were on the way, the sky started to grow cloudy.
“It might rain.”
I muttered to myself as I pulled out a cape from my bag. Sure enough, large droplets of water began to fall shortly after. It grew stronger until the whole area was covered in rain.
If it was too bad, I could escape into the forest. And though it did not seem like it would stop soon, it was still light, and so I just pulled my hood lower and urged Mulze to continue on. I did not like to travel in the rain, but there was no weather forecast, and sometimes it could not be avoided.
It wasn’t just about getting wet. The rain could be dangerous. The sound of rain made it harder to detect monsters, and it would be easy to lose your balance when fighting.
There were also other reasons to want to avoid the rain. Some monsters only appeared when it rained. And those tended to be strong. And since this road went along the river, when it rained, the river monsters became more active. Even up ahead, I could see some crawling purple slugs now.
They were F-Rank monsters that looked like giant slugs, at around a meter in length. While they were poisonous, they were also very slow.
I kicked Mulze’s sides, using the speed of a horse to avoid them. As the slugs were short, I would not be able to reach them with my sword while mounted. And they were too troublesome to go out of my way to fight.
I heard the groan-like sounds echo around me. There were quite a lot of them. I pulled on Mulze’s reins, and jumped off of the saddle. Then I took of my cape and left it with Mulze as I unsheathed my sword.
Before I could even tell what they were, masses of water the size of my head suddenly leapt at me. I swung my sword, cutting them down. And then I saw what had caused it. Frog that were about half the height of a human.
Their fleshy, brown skin was poisonous, and the poison flew when they attacked. However, they were most known for their long range water attacks. They were Rank-E.
And though they usually did not appear on sunny days, as far as monsters that appeared on the road went, they were right behind Killer Ants.
One alone was not too bad, but there were three here.
It was dangerous when they targeted you from afar.
I held my sword up at the mid level and swung at the water missile, causing it to erupt with a splash. While it would probably hurt if you got hit, it would not do much damage. I then approached the closest one. It reacted by hopping back.
Next, I approached the one on the opposite side. As the ground was wet, I would just trip over with my prosthetic leg. While the toad jumped away, the net around me had broadened.
And so I used it to dodge water and rush into the forest. The trees would be my shield as I waited for my chance.
After realizing that their attacks were ineffective, the toads let out an ominous croak.
One of them seemed to lose patience, as it crossed the road and made its way towards me. And so I stepped out of the forest to meet it, just as it jumped.
I lowered my sword and then slashed upwards at the toad. The blade moved easily through the soft flesh, cutting open its throat and head. If there was poison on its back, then you just had to attack the stomach.
The toad flipped over and died. And so I stepped back behind the trees. The second one came, and I killed it in the same way. And by then, the third one had run off.
While I had been able to deal with the toads, I had been hit by their water attacks several times, and I was soaking wet. What made things worse, was that it was strangely sticky.
Giant Toad meat was quite popular, and their skin was also a valuable material. Some Adventurers even went out of their way to hunt them. However, it was incredibly uncomfortable being wet, and I did not like the idea of carving them in the rain. Besides, more of them may come.
There was not that much distance left to Nanaze village, and so I decided to leave them there.
I put my cape back on and continued on my way. It continued to rain up until the evening, when I finally arrived. And I was chilled to the bone.
I returned to my hut, which really felt like a home now, and quickly changed my clothes.
While I would have to maintain my gear, I did not want to catch a cold. And so I made a fire and some hot water to wash myself and warm up my body.