Chapter 0317 Commencement of the Search Quest
Question: How does one go about finding the Demon Lord?
Answer: By asking the people who might know…
That’s the only way.
There is no such thing as ‘seven jewels that will lead you to the Demon Lord if you collect them’.
Nor is there ‘an alchemy tool that will always point you in the direction of the Demon Lord’.
You also can’t ‘barge into the Demon Lord’s castle’. Since there isn’t one to begin with…
If the Demon Lord’s army were running amok now, things would be a whole lot easier, but no such luck.
Since that’s the case, they had no choice but to ask around steadily…
“Though we’re going around the territories of those who were high-ranking executives of the Demon Lord’s Army…those territories aren’t ruled by humans… so this is kinda crazy.”
Etho said, shaking his head.
“I guess…. Even if we ask them nicely, I’m pretty sure they won’t spill…”
“I suppose we’ll just have to ask their bodies nicely then!”
“What do you mean by asking their bodies nicely…?”
Ryo answered Niels’ question.
Hearing this, Niels made a blatantly disgusted face.
“Stuff like that… is a little… you know.”
“So you’re playing the good guy here huh, Niels? Valuable intel doesn’t just drop on your lap, you do know that right?”
“Yeah, I know that, but…”
Niels may look like those bully stereotypes with his build, but he’s not good with torture and stuff like that….
“Well if you’re going to torture anyone, just do it far away from me…”
“Me? I’m not torturing anyone. I don’t do that.”
“What? Didn’t you mention something about asking their bodies nicely just now?”
“Yeah, just saying, but you’ll be the one carrying it out of course!”
“Because you’re a swordsman!”
“Okay, now that’s totally irrelevant…”
It appeared no one wanted to step up to the role.
Well, it would be a little scary if it was right up the alley of any of them.
“Still… do the executives of the Demon Lord’s Army even understand human language?”
Niels and Ryo raised their voices in unison at Amon’s valid concern.
In the northern end of the Western Countries.
The northern border of the Northern Country of Arjeplog.
Although it is the northern end, it is neither a place constantly covered in ice nor a region of heavy snowfall.
However, due to the incredibly steep mountain ranges, the north has never been dominated by humans.
The topography also makes it impossible to mobilize a large army for military operations.
This mountain range has long been known as:
The ‘Demon Lord Mountains’.
The seven members of the search party arrived at Onge, the northernmost town in the northern country of Arjeplog.
Because of the steepness of the Demon Lord Mountains, they could not ride in on the carriage as they had done thus far.
They left their carriage in Onge and challenged themselves to cross the mountains on foot.
Thanks to the ‘Holy Seal’, they were lucky to be allowed to leave the carriage and their luggage at the Onge church.
The horses would be housed separately from the carriage, but the carriage, on the other hand, might not escape the clutches of some unscrupulous people.
Even if they were allowed to leave it at the church, it didn’t mean that church members would always keep watch over it.
They would have to rely on themselves to protect their property.
“Okay, this should do it.”
In front of the group was a carriage that had been completely frozen over.
It reflected the sun’s rays, shimmering amazingly and revealing a beautiful sight….
The water-attribute magician who created it, with a satisfied voice, was tapping the block of ice.
“Hey, Ryo, by doing this, won’t it flood the inside of the carriage?”
“Oh you don’t have to worry about that, Niels. It’s ice magic, so it won’t get wet. Of course, even after it thaws, it will appear completely dry.”
Ryo confidently answered Niels’ question.
He had done that tens of thousands and millions of times before, so it was only natural that he was so confident.
Now, even if the Onge Church were to betray them and try to seize their carriage, they would have nothing to worry about.
Graham said that the Western Church is not monolithic either, and there is always a fierce internal power struggle.
And asked them to be careful since one faction of the church may take radical actions.
On a whole, the church welcomed the group bearing the ‘Holy Seal’ with a smile.
Which was not surprising, since the Holy Seal is like a letter of guarantee issued by the Papacy.
That being the case, the church’s assets ought to be used as effectively as possible.
In this case, as a free luggage storage facility….
Three days after leaving the carriage at the Onge Church, they arrived at the foot of the ‘Demon Lord Mountains’.
There wasn’t even a small village around those parts.
And not because hordes of monsters were attacking from beyond the Demon Lord Mountains…
Just as the human army cannot cross the Demon Lord Mountains, it seems that monsters have never crossed the Mountains to their side… as far as the records show.
The group learned the reason when they stepped into the Demon Lord Mountains.
Cliffs that barely allow a single person to pass through them…deep, gaping grounds impossible to jump over…slopes where one must always be conscious of falling rocks….
And then there are the strange female-looking creatures with wings in these steep mountains….
“<Ice Wall 10-Layer Package>.”
Clang, clang, clang, clang.
An ice wall completely shielded the party, preventing them from taking any damage, but that didn’t make them feel at ease.
“Harpies, boars, bears, rabbits, and even snakes…”
“The diversity of the monsters is quite astonishing.”
Niels was stunned by the number of monsters that appeared, and Ryo expressed it in plain words.
“Who cares about their diversity!”
Niels said in a low voice.
“But thanks to Ryo’s magic, it’s much easier to walk on the cliffs and stuff.”
Ryo’s use of <Ice Bahn> and <Ice Wall> allowed the group to move through the Demon Lord Mountains with virtually no danger.
Even the ground with the gaping maw … although with a bridge of ice on top was a sight that would make one’s knees go weak looking down, but they won’t fall.
As long as Ryo’s ice doesn’t break that is….
“I know, right? This is a good opportunity to experience the grandness of water-attribute magic!”
Ryo said happily.
No one dislikes being praised.
The party’s smooth exploration plunged into crisis on the third day after entering the Demon Lord Mountains.
“<Ice Wall 10-Layer>”
A fireball hit the ice wall that was put up almost reflexively.
“What the hell!?”
The attack had occurred without anyone noticing.
That’s inherently impossible.
After all, ‘Room 10’ is a B-rank party.
Considering that A-rankers are a rarity, it is no exaggeration to say that this is practically the pinnacle of adventurers.
There’s no way that these people would fail to recognize a magic attack until it hit them.
And then, there’s Ryo.
In the mountains, where one never knows when monsters will attack, he has his <Passive Sonar> activated at all times, even on a regular road and in town.
The attack bypassed it and reached them.
Even Niels had to exclaim, “What the hell!?”.
The most surprised was Ryo.
The reason was the power of the fireball.
It was incredibly powerful.
It was so powerful that even Ryo’s current <Ice Wall Layer 10> would probably be broken by two shots.
The only fire-attribute offensive magic he could think of that surpasses it would be that of Akuma Leonor or that guy from the Empire….
An attack like that in the mountains?
“It’s quite a formidable foe.”
Ryo warned in a serious tone of voice.
Understanding that Ryo was not joking at all, the six of them braced themselves.
Then they hear footsteps.
“They don’t sound like human footsteps.”
Niels, the swordsman, muttered.
“It’s coming from a single creature, but… there’s something strange about it.”
Swordsman Amon sensed something strange in the footsteps.
“It’s a quadruped, but it doesn’t sound like it’s putting much force on its paws.”
Priest Zeke guessed the reason for the awkwardness.
“To begin with, there are rarely monsters that use fire-attribute magic, right?”
Priest Etho pointed out the abnormality of the fireballs.
“Usually, monsters on the ground and in the air are of the wind or earth attributes.”
Swordsman Harold affirmed.
“I’ve never fought a monster that uses fire-attribute magic.”
Not only Harold and Zeke, but also Niels, Etho, and Amon nodded at the opinion of twin swordsman Gowan.
Even the three veterans from ‘Room 10’ have not, in fact.
Only Ryo had a grim look on his face.
Wondering whether Akuma Leonor could be considered a monster or not… was far from what was going on in his mind, but rather, it reminded him of the Devils he had fought on the dungeon’s 40th floor.
(But those were fully bipedal.)
Then what the heck is approaching now…?
The sound was getting closer… and the monster that appeared before the group was…
“What the hell is that thing…?”
Amon, Etho, and Niels were speechless after saying just that.