Chapter 78 Cunning Unique Monster・Before

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 The next day.
 <Running Wolves> departed in the morning to take down the unique monster, but they suddenly ran into trouble.
 The priest who had been scheduled to meet them at the temporary base was not there.
"...That's strange"
"That's right. The temporary base is ready, so something must have happened during the scouting"
 This time, since the temple had requested it, all the preliminary preparations, such as scouting, had been done by people belonging to the temple.
 They were supposed to meet up with the person who had been monitoring the unique monster here, but there is no one to meet up with. A bad feeling came over to them.
"I guess it's no use staying here, let's move on"
"If something happened during the scouting, we should find him quickly..."
"Don't panic, let's move quickly"
 Renka restrained the enthusiastic Alvin and Milis.
 With Renka in the lead, Alvin and his team left the temporary base and ventured deeper into the desert.
 It is happened when they walked and explored the desert for a while.
 When Milis raised her voice, she found a person lying face down on the deserted ground. Milis could tell from a distance that he was a priest, as he was dressed in vestments, though in tatters.
"Let's help him, Mil!"
 Alvin and Milis ran out. Renka and Shinji followed, keeping an eye on their surroundings.
"Are you okay? ...Aah!!"
 Alvin rushed to the fallen priest and turned him over to treat him... The man had been slashed in a straight line from his mouth to his belly button, and he had died. Milis gasped.
" The enemy's presence in all directions! They're coming!"
 Renka shouted.
 When Shinji looked around, he saw that a swarm of <Rock Lizards> had risen from the sand piles in the desert and surrounded Alvin and the others around the corpse.
 They roared and rushed at them all at once. Alvin swung his great sword at the rock lizard, which had a body twice the size of a human and hard scales as weapons.
"<Magic Blade>!"
 There is a flashing on the side of his great sword. The magic blade stretches out and cuts the rock lizards together. He released it once again, eradicating the swarm of rock lizards approaching from the north and west.
"<Swamp>... Flair <Scorching Rays>"
"Penetrate <Holy Sword>!"
 Shinji's <Swamp> succeeds in taking away the mobility of the swarm approaching from the east. Milis's magic and Renka's arrows rained down on the rock lizard swarm one after the other, knocking them all down.
 As for the remaining swarm from the south, Shinji asks Flair for help.
 A small red magic circle unfolds in Shinji's hand. A crimson beam of heat shot out from the center of it horizontally across the ground like a wave.
 The scorching rays effortlessly burned through the rock lizard's hard scales, turning it into a lumpy wreck.

    When they were in bed last night, he asked Flair about this and that, and was surprised at how many things she could tell him, as a high-ranking spirit.
 For example, the magic circle he just used was made by Flair beforehand and brought out by summoning spirit.
 The magic circle would only last about half a day after it was created, but its power and magic consumption depended on the Flair who created it. It became possible to use powerful magic just by pouring a little magic power into the formation to activate the magic just before using it.
 If someone is a contracted spirit, the magic power is shared, so it only takes extra power to summon magic, but if one borrows powerful magic from a non-contracted spirit like Flair, it has the advantage of consuming less magic power.
(An application of <Summoning Spirits>... or should I call it <Summoning Spirit Magic>?
 In this way, a surprise attack by rock lizards from all directions was quickly subdued. There was no damage to the party, though.
"The rock lizard ambushed us... using a decoy strategy"
"I don't think they're that intelligent"
 Alvin and Renka's voices were stiff as they released their fighting stance.
"To make us see the priest wound, they've gone to the trouble of turning it over and hiding it. And... the priest rank is Silver Three. They can kill a priest equivalent to an upper-intermediate rank. It's very likely that this is the work of a unique monster"
 Milis, who is also a priest, finds the priest's card on the corpse and keeps it.
 There are different ranks of priests in the temple.
 Gold, silver, and bronze are the high, medium, and low ranks of adventurers, while 1, 2, and 3 are the low, medium, and high ranks.
 The one Milis kept was silver and had three symbols engraved on it, so Shinji called it the silver three.
"From now on, we'll be more careful than usual. By the way, did you just say Flair?"
"Oh, she was introduced to me by the Miko-sama. She's fire spirit and she was Minato's contracted spirit, but apparently the contract was revoked. She' s like a full-time companion, so don't worry"
"Shinji-san, you look more like a spirit user than a wizard"
 Shinji smiled bitterly as Milis, who was holding her hands over the corpse, stood up and said, "You're not a magician, you're a spirit user"
 It's not like Shinji himself has any special power to attract spirits.
 As for his senses, he thinks it's more accurate to say that he's being helped by spirits rather than using them.
"It's because of the oracle that Flair is helping me. I can't say I'm a spirit user. We'll talk about Flair another time, but for now, let's keep exploring"
"Right.... For now, let's move on"
 Renka's eyes seemed to be saying, "Tell me about it later, okay?" Shinji nodded silently as if to say, "I'll tell you later"
 He was unsure of how much to tell Renka about not only Flair, but also the three elf sisters and his appointment as an apostle.
 As they continued their search, Renka found the footprints of rock lizards.
 They seemed to be a swarm and there were quite a few footprints. They concluded that if it was a clever unique monster, it could be leading a pack, and they started tracking it.
"It's so obvious..."
"Yeah, but we have to go"
 The footprints led to a dried canyon.
 The path was wide enough for two people to walk side by side. The further the path goes, the more it slopes downward, and the further they go, the more they are blocked on both sides by high walls of earth.
 This path, which can only be traversed backwards and forwards, would be perfect for an ambush.
 Shinji and Alvin looked blatantly uncomfortable, but they made up their minds and decided to continue on.
"Freri, please help me detect the monster"
[...Leave it to me]
"I'll be on the lookout for traps"
 Freri, who had been summoned, used her detection magic as she walked away, followed by Renka. Alvin, Shinji, and Milis followed suit.
 As they proceeded, the cliffs on either side of them became deeper and deeper... the sunlight was getting harder and harder to reach, and it was getting dimmer and dimmer.
   They all stopped to avoid the darkness, and Shinji and Renka lit the torches.
 It was then that the torches began to light up the dim surroundings.
"Look up!!"
 Freri shouted.
 Judging that the situation was so urgent, Shinji was the first to look up. Alvin and the others immediately looked up as well.
 A rock lizard was jumping from the cliff right above Alvin and his team.
 The rock lizard does not have the ability to fly.
 So, a lump of rock, twice the size of a human, was falling on them.
  • There was trouble. 
  • Can they handle the unexpected death of their guide who had been cooperating with them?
  • The unique monster is very smart! 
  • They're in a pinch.

Edited by Kanaa-senpai
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