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I amused myself by poking Daniela’s cheeks and watching her giggle in her sleep. Then I noticed that Presence Detection had caught something. It was on a course to run straight through our barrier. I moved away from Daniela’s cheek with much regret and went to see what it was.
I could see the dim light of a lantern leaking from the corner ahead. It was still a good distance away.
When I peered in the direction, I saw that it was several kobolds. They were loud and excited as if they were on some kind of field trip. This was something I could easily deal with alone. But just as I unsheath my sword, I remember the features of my equipment.
“Maybe I’ll try some ice magic…”
I saw the speed of the wind dragon. Now I wanted to test the effects of the ice dragon on ice magic. I quietly put both of my palms on the ground. Waves of magic run through the ground, and I imagine what I want to do.
Jack of all Trades, Master of None plays an image in my brain, and I follow it, sending the right amount of power. Once the power has flowed over to where the kobolds are walking, I add some blue energy and activate the ice magic.
The first kobold realizes the change. His voice is raised, but it was already too late. The chill had gone past his feet and stretched towards those in the rear. And just like that, all of them were frozen up to the waist.
Freezing someone’s legs in an instant was a relatively simple thing to do. But it depended greatly on distance and the amount of magical energy used. It wasn’t likely that I would have been able to do this with normal equipment. So this was the effect of the ice dragon armor…amazing.
I moved my palm to face upwards and created an ice sword. It had intricate designs and was generated at a much faster speed than usual. It even used less magical energy as well. I could make a sword like this with about half as much effort now. It showed that the most important thing with magic was the ability to visualize. And with that, I walk over to the frozen kobolds and lop off their heads. They had no opportunity to let out a final scream.
I deactivate the ice magic after taking their left hands and move them into a single pile. That was it. Either the magic would return them into the soil, or they would become food for other kobolds. They were not very good for materials anyway. We just needed their hands. I began to feel like I was descending into a very apathetic person as I turned on my heels and returned to the camp where Daniela waited.
“Ahh, Asagi… Where were you?”
“Morning, Daniela. I had to take care of some kobolds that visited. Everything’s fine now.”
I sat next to her as she rubbed at her tired eyes. My hand went around her waist.
“Hmm…What is it…?”
And like that, I held her tight and buried my face into her. I felt like her warmth helped me return to feeling human again. I indulged myself in her gentleness as she caressed my head.
Eventually, I dozed off to sleep.
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The next morning…well, I think it was morning. In any case, we were all rested up. And so we packed everything and prepared to leave.
“What do you think? Do we continue?”
“Indeed… We know the way back. I have it memorized and we also left markings. And in an emergency, we could always use earth magic to make a hole to the surface.”
“Wouldn’t that cause the place to collapse?”
“We would to it slowly and at an angle. However, that should be a last resort. As it might affect other humans who might be exploring.”
There was only one path out of here.
“I guess we’ll go then.”
“Yes. It has been a while since I last explored a place like this. I do not want to leave.”
“Ah, the truth is out!”
I chuckled at her ability to enjoy herself even now. And so we decided to go even deeper into the tunnels.
We traveled further for around two hours. Aside from the kobolds, a mole-like monster once emerged from the walls and attacked us. My heart nearly stopped, but I managed to kill it. Looking at the mole now, with its ridiculously long and thick nails, I was reminded of something.
“Isn’t it strange?”
“Is what strange?”
Before coming out here, I had asked the guild worker about these mines.
“Wasn’t this place quickly abandoned due to a lack of resources?”
“Yes, they did say something like that…hmm, wait, do you mean…”
Yes, these mines should not be this deep. It took us a while to realize this, as we held the lantern and fumbled through corners, relying on Presence Detection. But we must be very, very deep inside by now.
And now we were encountering monsters of a different variety.
“Maybe this guy here was digging tunnels?”
“That is a possibility but… It could not have been this one alone.”
So, a bunch of mole monsters turned what should have been a shallow mine into an elaborate dungeon?
“Daniela, I don’t think we can return just yet.”
“Yes… We must do something about the number of monsters here. Or it may lead to a stampede later on.”
There were not many adventurers who actively hunted kobolds. In fact, there were no signs of other humans coming in here. In other words, this place was overflowing with kobolds. There were quite a lot in the upper areas already. Who knew how many lurked in the deeper layers.
There could be a stampede of not just kobolds, but many other types of monsters. Even if they were on the weaker side, their numbers could easily make up for it when it came to violence. And so we decided to go deeper in and hunt as many monsters as possible.
Spiris would be in danger otherwise.