Develop 224

Chapter 224 Lifeless Herd

Edited by: Kanaa-senpai

 The ten individuals who were assigned to defend the southern side were walking through the settlement towards the south gate.

 ”Sorry about that, I said only those who volunteered, but ended up adding you guys without permission.”

 When Niya leaked such words to those following behind her, one of them responded.

 ”Well, aren’t we sl*ves? I don’t think there’s any hope for us from the start, right? But if we’re going to do it, can we expect some rewards?”

 ”Hahaha! This clueless girl is right! Captain, don’t worry about such trivial matters, just order us to fight and that’s good enough!”

 ”No, you with muscles like a Daruma doll might be fine with that, but I would like a bit more specific orders. Oh, sorry, I mean, you can’t understand more complex strategies beyond a certain point, right, you muscle?”

 ”Haha, you’re quite the talker, twiggy girl. Shall I knock you out in front of the monsters, huh?”

 ”Hey guys! Are you trying to cause trouble? I won’t allow any behavior that bothers the princess――”

 ””Shut up, you stubborn old man!””

 The commotion behind Niya was caused by four sl*ves that had been purchased from a sl*ve trader before.

 However, it was Neil who paid for them, and officially Neil was their master on paper. But Niya led these four and was in charge of managing them, so for convenience, it was understood that Niya was their master.

 From the current exchange, it was clear that handling these sl*ves with their quirks was not easy. However, as Niya patiently and sincerely interacted with them, a bond of trust began to form through fighting together. Despite their bad attitudes, they started to follow Niya’s lead.

 ’Niya-chan, you’re trusted, huh?’

 As Niya heard that voice echoing in her mind, she turned her gaze sideways, only to see Mio looking at her with a smile on her face.

 Mio returned to the settlement with Iko to participate in defense, but while Iko went out for reconnaissance, Mio stayed with Niya to guard the frontier settlement.

 ’It’s fine if you laugh, Mio, even though I told you to forget your roles and live freely, I’m still leading the troops in battle.’

 ’I’m not laughing… because it’s not something given to someone, right? Niya-chan chose it herself… isn’t that right?’

 ’…Thank you, Mio.’

 As the two reunited after a long time communicated their hearts, Ouza and Shaina from the Spear of Shouhyou also exchanged words.

 ”Oh, I knew you weren’t serious, but hiding something like that. Thanks to that, my body is itching like crazy. Ouza, you feel the same, right?”

 ”I’m fine as long as I can fight seriously… but if I say I felt nothing when I saw that scene, it would be a lie.”

 The two have sparred with Momoka many times.

 They knew Momoka was holding back, but since it’s just a friendly match, it can’t be helped.

 Besides, since they haven’t pushed Momoka to go all out yet, they had no right to ask her to do so.

 That’s why their goal wasn’t just to win a match against Momoka, but to make her go all out. Unexpectedly, they saw Momoka’s true strength at a moment they didn’t anticipate. They could only see it through an item box from above, but her sheer power was clearly felt.

 It wasn’t the ground-shaking impact like at the beginning, but the distant rumbling sound from her was making both of them unable to suppress the tingling sensation in their bodies.

 ”Hey, Harmon.”


 ”Stop making that annoying face, you look like you want to say something with that smirk on your face.”

 ”You probably don’t want me to say it out loud, so I’m just expressing it on my face. Or do you want me to say it out loud?”


 In response to Harmon, Kilk turned away without saying a word.

 Soon, when news of a monster attack spreading in the settlement, Harmon and the others were torn between staying to fight in the settlement or fleeing.

 They all liked the settlement, and many who had formed close bonds in the settlement like Narsht and Gaadhir said they would stay here, so emotionally, everyone was against leaving the settlement.

 However, realistically, staying in the settlement posed great danger, and it would be meaningless to prioritize emotions over losing lives. When opinions were starting to lean towards leaving the settlement, someone suddenly spoke up…

 ”I will stay here.”

 Surprisingly, it was Kilk who said that, leaving everyone present speechless with astonishment.

 Because everyone had thought that Kilk would be the first to flee the settlement in this situation.

 They haven’t known each other for long, but while hunting together, they all understood Kilk’s personality. He prioritizes efficiency and safety, and whenever there’s any uncertainty, he often discuss how to proceed with the hunt.

 That’s why when Kilk suggested staying back in this particularly dangerous situation, they were all speechless.

 For Kilk to volunteer for the even riskier defense on the southern side was unbelievable to Harmon and the others. At the same time, they could strongly sense how much Kilk wants to protect the settlement.

 ”If Kilk is doing it, we can’t just run away, right?”

 With various motivations in their hearts, they all ran through the settlement towards the southern gate.

 They arrived at the gate while staying cautious, but they couldn’t see any monsters around.

 ”It seems like the horde hasn’t arrived yet.”

 ”Don’t let your guard down. Considering what the Fourth and Fifth teams encountered on their way back, it wouldn’t be surprising if they suddenly emerged from the forest.”

 ”But it’s so dark that I can hardly see anything in the forest. The only light is from the bonfire next to the south gate, visibility is too poor. Maybe it would be better to extinguish the fire and get used to the darkness with our eyes closed?”

 ”Wait, then I’ll create some light.”

 Saying that, Kilk stepped forward, and multiple fireballs appeared around Kilk.

 The fireballs scattered around, illuminating the space between the south gate and the entrance to the forest.

 ”Hey, you can use fire attribute magic?”

 ”It’s essential for extreme cold Dimash.”

 ”Why didn’t you say anything?”

 ”Because no one asked, and besides, it’s impossible to use fire attribute magic while hunting in the forest. There’s no point in talking about magic that can’t be used, right?”

 Thanks to Kilk’s magic, visibility around them was secured, but the forest was still pitch black. Everyone kept their eyes on the forest, not knowing when monsters might jump out of the darkness.

 ”I hope those who went for reconnaissance are safe.”

 ”We can only pray for their safety… I wonder if Momoka-chan is okay too…”

 ”If it’s Momoka, there shouldn’t be any problems for now.”

 From their perspective, a scene where monsters are sent flying by Momoka as if they were hit by a dump truck is shared.

 Watching Momoka unleash her power as if she has removed the limit of strength that should exist in all objects, Niya thought that at least Momoka wouldn’t have any trouble dealing with the monsters in battle.

 (If there’s a problem, it might come later, what did Momoka do… No, I need to focus on defense for now.)

 Pushing the clinging anxiety deep down inside, Niya switches her focus to dealing with the issue at hand.

 After everyone continued to stare into the darkness of the forest without saying a word for a while, Ouza suddenly speaks.

 ”They’re here.”

 With that single word, everyone who had been on guard raises their vigilance even further and prepares for battle as Ouza starts walking towards the entrance of the forest.

 ”Hey! What are you doing, Ouza!?”

 ”It’s obvious, I’m going to confront the monsters.”

 At the entrance of the forest, at the boundary between darkness, Ouza stopped and prepared himself.

 In this situation, it wouldn’t be surprising if monsters jumped out from the darkness and attacked him. To onlookers, it might seem like a reckless act of suicide.

 Ignoring the gazes of those around him, Ouza pulled back his arm and thrust his fist towards the darkness.

 Almost simultaneously, the bushes rustled loudly and shook violently, and a figure leaped out from the darkness. However, Ouza’s fist, already released, caught the figure and struck back into the darkness.

 As if he could see in the darkness, Ouza punched faster than the monsters could emerge, dispersing them all with his two fists.

 ”So that’s the warrior Ouza. He’s really a monster, just as the rumors said. I wonder if he can handle everything on his own?”

 ”There’s no way that’s possible. The ones coming now are just the fast scouts. The group will come soon…”

 Before Niya could finish saying that, Ouza struck one of the monsters and in that opening, several monsters leaped out.

 As if that was the signal, more and more monsters appeared, rushing towards the southern gate, where everyone worked together to hold them back.

 ”Ugh! What are these things!?”

 ”They charge at the gate as if we’re nothing to them, then suddenly remember us and come jumping at us!”

 ”These monsters are being controlled by the labyrinth! They probably prioritize destroying the settlement, and anyone who interferes is likely ordered to be eliminated!”

 ”I see! So that’s why they suddenly change targets!”

 The behavior of monsters controlled by the labyrinth differs greatly from normal monsters.

 In order to lead monsters that would normally fight each other in the wild as a group, the labyrinth suppresses their instincts. As a result, what appeared before the defense force was a limp group that lacked any vitality.

 They didn’t bare their fangs in front of the enemy, nor did they have the desire to devour enemies to satisfy their hunger.

 They are simply following orders without a hint of will, the monsters couldn’t give their all, lacking brilliance in their movements…

 ”Darn it! This is so frustrating!”

 Many were struggling against monsters who weren’t giving their all.

 Most of the people present here make a living by hunting monsters, like specialists in dealing with them. They knew how to fight monsters, but this time it backfired.

 The monster in front of them wasn’t the usual wild encounter; it was a monster that moved by command, not instinct.

 Because their usual behaviors were ingrained, the delay in response to the monster was due to this gap. Moreover, these monsters, who simply follow orders, lack any sense of intimidation or killing intent, making it hard to know if they are targeting them.

 When faced with a blocking opponent, there are monsters that attack head-on, and there are also monsters that try to slip past and avoid confrontation.

 The line between ‘elimination’ varies depending on the monster, making it impossible to predict their next move.

 ”Ugh… It’s so annoying. It would be much easier if they attacked with open hostility, like, ten times over!”

 ”Yeah, seriously. It feels like we’re dealing with dolls or something.”

 ”But they’re monsters, not dolls. What do you call this situation? Oh, maybe like stuffed animals?”

 ”This is not the time for such nonsense! Hey, Niya! Are these guys really going to be okay!?”

 ”I guarantee their abilities.”

 ”I hope their abilities are not the only thing we can rely on!”

 Shaina barks anxiously as the horde of monsters approaches.

 (Everyone’s abilities are more than enough, but they are quite flustered by the unexpected movements and numbers of the monsters. The ones who remain calm are Ouza and Niya, and also…)

 Shaina was thinking hard when suddenly a monster appeared, slipping through the gaps between those who were trying to intercept it and breaking through the defense line.

 The monster headed straight for the barricade.

 It lunged toward the wooden fence, easily breaking it with its charge. Just when it seemed like there was no way to stop the monster, its body, mid-leap, unnaturally bent at a right angle in mid-air, sliding sideways until it was pulled toward a person’s hand.

 ”I won’t let you through here!”

 That person was Mio. The monster, pulled toward Mio’s hand, was forcefully slammed onto the ground the next moment, as if repelled from her hand, breaking its neck and dying instantly.

 Many were still able to maintain the defense of the southern gate, thanks to Mio manipulating gravity to prevent leaks.

 But even that had its limits.

 (The number of monsters is gradually increasing. No, maybe it’s just that we can’t keep up with handling them. At this rate, it’s only a matter of time before the defense line collapses.)

 Niya calmly analyzes the situation as it gradually worsens.

 If things stay the same, in about ten minutes, but if things change—

 ”Hey! Do you hear that weird sound coming from the forest!?”


 While dealing with the monster in front of her, Niya listens to the surrounding noises.

 Amidst the defenders’ angry shouts at the settlement, monsters bursting out of the bushes, a clearly different sound reaches Niya’s ears.

 It’s not the sound of bushes being rustled, but the sound of something heavy crushing the ground as it approaches.

 (Of all times for this to happen… Damn, will we make it in time?)

 Niya quietly curses the appearance of a major threat at the worst possible moment.

 If the big threat shows up now, the battle will undoubtedly turn heavily against them.

 If they allocate forces to deal with the big threat, they will definitely be overwhelmed elsewhere, risking a breach in their defenses. However, they can’t afford not to address it.

 As Niya is pondering, a sound draws near, and soon a massive figure emerges from the darkness.

 It was a giant goat-like creature with rabbit-like legs, towering at about 3m (9’84ft) tall.

 ”Is that Aliecrus!? Isn’t it a monster we rarely see in the empire! Where did the labyrinth summon such a creature from!?”


 Even if it meant allowing other monsters to invade the settlement, Shaina knew they had to deal with this one quickly. She shouted Ouza’s name and leaped into action, with Ouza aiming directly at Aliecrus at the same time.

 Suddenly, a crimson light flew towards Aliecrus from the eastern sky.

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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
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