Chapter 0283 The Six …
It was the third day since the Kingdom’s delegation had begun to advance along the ‘Pitch-Black Forest’ road.
There were no signs, so accuracy might be a little off, but they had reached the halfway point to the small country of ‘Ayteke-Bo’.
The delegation was in high spirits, having had a good night’s rest on both the first and second nights.
Both were probably since they were able to sleep under the protection of a huge wall of ice.
Seeing this, the leader of the mission, a former A-rank adventurer and Adventurers’ Guild Grand Master, said,
“Well, this certainly changes the whole concept of camping outside.”
He muttered to himself.
It was certainly nice to be able to sleep peacefully at night.
“Are all water-attribute magicians this extraordinary?”
“Nah, it’s just Ryo that’s out of the ordinary.”
Harold, the swordsman of ‘Room 11’, muttered, and Etho, the priest of ‘Room 10’, refuted it with a wry smile.
Probably because Zeke, the priest of ‘Room 11’, often talks to Etho.
Harold, the swordsman of ‘Room 11’, and Gowan, the dual swordsman of ‘Room 11’, both seem to be comfortable talking to Etho.
“You’ll do well not to think that all water-attribute magicians are like that.”
“But I remember Ryo’s disciples building ice walls too…”
Etho asked Harold to correct his perception, but Niels the swordsman muttered, recalling a scene he once saw.
It was a scene he had seen in the garden of the Gecko Trading Company.
“Mr. Ryo’s disciples…? They must be very powerful adventurers.”
Harold was immensely surprised by what he just heard from Etho.
Merchants who are more powerful than adventurers…. Maybe a plot line in some RPG world….
But the leisurely movement of the mission was interrupted by the urgent news of the scouts.
The mission, of course, was moving forward while leaving the scouts to probe for problems ahead.
And the one overseeing that task was Lasrino, the scout from the B-rank party ‘Coffee Maker’.
With him at the center, the scouts of each party took turns reporting.
“Grand Master, the road ahead is being swept away by the rising river.”
“Rising river? Swept away? What the hell are you talking about? The map provided by the Empire doesn’t show a river running across the road.”
“Maybe something happened that changed the flow of the river. The rising river is about 300 meters to the opposite bank…”
“Dammit. Stuff like this is why I never wanted us to be in the lead. Fuck it, let’s see if we can find a place upstream where we can cross. Since we’ll be going through the forest, we’re bound to run into some monsters. Scouts, get some rest. I’ll send adventurers who are combat-ready instead.”
Based on Lasrino’s report, Hugh decided to look for a place where they could bypass the cut-off road.
The mission took a short break.
Ryo served coffee to the scouts, and when he returned to his previous location, the three guys of Room 10 and the three of Room 11 were gone.
What were the odds of all six of them vanishing?
Just then, the members of the C-rank party ‘Tenzan’ passed by.
‘Tenzan’ was the adventurer party walking in front of Room 10 in the formation, so they also recognized Ryo.
“Um, have you seen my boys…”
Ryo asked, as if he were inquiring about the whereabouts of a lost child.
“Oh, Ryo. Niels and the others have gone to find a detour route under the direction of the Grand Master.”
Ryo tilted his head.
Since there was no point in asking further, he went to ask Hugh directly.
“Mr. Hugh, I heard you asked Niels and the others to find a detour?”
“Oh, Ryo. That’s right. I had Rooms 10 and 11 go looking for any suitable point upstream we could cross.”
“Um… if it’s all the same, we could just cross an ice bridge…”
At that moment, Hugh realized his blunder.
That’s right. There’s someone in their midst who could build such a gigantic wall of ice.
He should have thought… that he could just as easily build an ice bridge.
But the words that came out of his mouth were….
“Ryo, you should have mentioned this a little sooner.”
“Uh…. How’s that my fault…?”
It seems that in any world, unreasonable words from superiors are as old as civilization itself.
It may be inevitable that even a superior as competent as Hugh would just let it slip out of his mouth….
For now, Ryo used passive sonar to probe the six people who left to find a detour route.
(400 meters away, on the move with no problems.)
But the moment he confirmed that… the six stopped moving.
Then, five of those reactions went completely still. As if they had passed out and collapsed on the spot.
“Mr. Hugh, I’m going to go check on those six for a bit.”
Without waiting for Hugh’s reply, Ryo took off.
The 400-meter dash was an anaerobic exercise.
He ran through it in less than a minute without breathing.
Of course, while running, Ryo gathered more information.
<Passive Sonar> reads movement and changes in information transmitted through water vapor in the air.
Therefore, it cannot read information about objects that have existed before the sonar is activated or are not moving.
<Active Sonar>, on the other hand, transmits water vapor in the air in the same way, but it emits a ‘stimulus’ from Ryo and reads the information reflected from the object, making it effective even for immobile objects.
Five people were crumpled on the ground.
The only one left…priest Zeke was barely standing…?
There was a foreign substance in the air around them….
“Is that, a paralyzing poison?”
A sense of déjà vu that Ryo… had felt in the past.
“I’ve come across this thing while using sonar once before…. But when? A paralyzing poison? But the target is unknown?”
Then it finally occurred to him.
“It was when I sent Abel back from Rondo Forest!”
Ryo arrived at the six at that very moment.
As he had discovered with sonar, only Zeke was barely standing with his staff as a support, while the other five had completely collapsed to the ground.
All five were conscious, but were paralyzed.
First, the paralyzing poison floating in the air was cleared away by a shower.
Then, he looked closely behind them.
“There they are!”
At first glance, nothing appeared to be there, but the space seemed to be ‘swaying’ just slightly.
“<Ice Coffin 5>.”
And then, perhaps because of a change in refractive index caused by being frozen in ice.
There were five frozen plant monsters that looked exactly like Rafflesia.