Develop 226

Chapter 226 Serpent from the Depths

Edited by: Kanaa-senpai

 As the defenders desperately try to hold back the monster invasion, the ground suddenly erupts, showering the area with a deluge of water and sediment, as if someone had overturned a bucket.

 ”What’s going on all of a sudden!? Did you hit an underground water vein!?”

 ”What is this!? ――Everyone! Don’t move!”

 ”Huh? Did someone say something just now!?”

 Kilk realizes something and shouts, but due to the overwhelming sound of the pouring water, his voice is not audible even to those standing next to him, and those further away don’t even notice that Kilk shouted.

 In less than ten seconds, the ground eruption stops, but the ground is terribly muddy, making footing extremely treacherous.

 ”This is bad, we can’t fight properly like this――”

 ”Harmon! Don’t move!”


 Kilk shouts to stop Harmon from taking a step forward.

 ”Don’t move recklessly, neither should the others! That’s a Paraguis!”


 ”It’s a gigantic snake-like monster! Normally, it inhabits swamps and weakens the ground by absorbing the moisture from the ground to move around. But when it hunts, like now, it releases the absorbed moisture, turning the ground into a muddy mess! The real problem is that Paraguis can control the moisture and create quicksand in targeted areas!”

 ”So if we move carelessly, we might get swallowed by the quicksand, right?”

 ”Even if you say that, the monsters are still coming towards us without any regard! How are we supposed to fight without moving from this spot!”

 As Jott says, the monsters controlled by the labyrinth continue to advance towards the settlement without paying any attention to the muddy ground that hampers their footing.

 While it’s impossible to ignore the monster invasion, there is a danger of being swallowed by the quicksand if they move recklessly.

 As everyone ponders how to proceed, one of the monsters gets its front leg stuck in the quicksand.

 The controlled monster doesn’t scream or struggle; it simply tries to free its leg from the quicksand in a detached manner. But in the next moment, something jumps out from the quicksand, dragging the monster down into the mud.

 ”What was that just now?”

 ”That’s the Paraguis’ predatory behavior. It can sense the vibrations of creatures walking on the surface and creates quicksand in their path. Then, when the prey gets trapped in the quicksand, it swallows them like that.”

 ”You seem to know a lot about it. Have you fought it before?”

 ”I haven’t fought it, but I was warned about it when I worked in the marshlands before. It’s a troublesome monster.”

 ”Because it senses prey through vibrations, it can’t distinguish between enemies and allies, huh? That’s good. If we stay still, the Paraguis might swallow all the monsters for us, right?”

 ”It doesn’t work like that. As long as we’re standing in the monsters’ path, they will attack us to eliminate us. There’s no way around it――Harmon!”

 When Kilk calls out to Harmon, he turns to face the front, and a monster approaches him.

 ”Heh, the footing is bad for both of us. I’ll take care of you when you come this close to my sword.”

 Harmon, considering the sluggish movement of the muddy monster as insignificant, readies his sword and moves in closer. But just as he is about to thrust his sword, the monster’s leg gets caught in the quicksand.

 ”What the hell!? Don’t get swallowed by the quicksand in a place like this!”

 Realizing that he would be caught in the quicksand too at this distance, Harmon instinctively shifts his weight backward and takes a step back. But even there, within the range of the quicksand, Harmon’s leg also gets caught.

 From the moment a prey is swallowed by the quicksand until the Paraguis goes into its predatory behavior, it takes about 5 seconds. Even if Harmon were to act calmly and try to free his trapped leg, it would undoubtedly take more than 5 seconds.

 (Ah, I’m done for.)

 No matter how much he struggled, Harmon realized that he wouldn’t make it in time and strangely remained calm about his impending death.

 He held the sword in his right hand in reverse grip and pointed the tip towards the ground, shouting,

 ”Come at me! If you’re going to do it, then take this to your face—Hyah!”

 Harmon, who was trying to bravely face his end, was suddenly pulled with tremendous force from behind. Just as Paruguis was about to leap out while squeezing the air out of his lungs, he managed to escape from the quicksand.

 However, in exchange, he ended up rolling dramatically in the mud and got completely covered in it. He quickly jumped up and exclaimed,

 ”Phew! I seriously thought I was a goner! What even happened!?”

 “Well done, Mio.”

 Ignoring the bewildered Harmon, Nia commended Mio.

 It was Mio who saved Harmon from the quicksand by manipulating gravity and pulling him out.

 ”Did the lady pull me out? I owe you big time. I’ll treat you to some drinks later.”

 ”I… I’m not really into alcohol.”

 ”Alright, then how about a meal? I’ll get some good meat next time and treat you.”

 ”Put that aside for now. Kilk, do you know how to deal with Paruguis?”

 ”We can handle it with ice magic. If we freeze the ground, it will prevent the quicksand, and it won’t be able to withstand the cold, forcing it to come out to the surface.”

 ”Ice magic, huh? Can the two of you with Crystal Ice use ice magic?”

 ”I’ll ask, but isn’t it a bit naive to think that just because someone with a Crystal ‘Ice’ spear can use ice magic?”

 ”Oh, busted?”

 ”You, give me a moment later.”

 ”…Sorry for my foolish friends.”

 Despite the situation, where Harmon and Jott were saying lighthearted things, Kilk murmured apologetically.

 ”As for a serious discussion, since nobody is stepping forward, it means there’s no one among us who can use ice magic. What should we do? Should we send Jott to the main camp for reinforcements?”

 ”No, we can’t afford to reduce our forces, even if it’s just one person. Probably, the main camp has less flexibility than us.”

 If the actual number of monsters flowing in from the south was less than what Nia had initially anticipated, and the ones not coming from the south were flowing into the main camp, then the main camp wouldn’t have the flexibility to allocate personnel to them.

 On the other hand, even though they were being attacked by Paruguis, with Mio’s ability, escaping from the quicksand was easy. Moreover, due to the monsters being hindered by the muddy ground, though troublesome, it wasn’t a crisis.

 However, as the situation had changed many times before, this state might not last forever.

 Just as Niya was thinking that they needed to take action before the situation turned worse, Momoka took action once again.

 ”Leave it to me.”

 ”Momoka, but your hair color has already――”

 ”It’s okay, there’s still a little left.”

 Having depleted Crimson to prevent Paruguis’ intrusion, Momoka’s eyes and hair color had returned to normal, but she hadn’t completely used it up. Faint traces of Crimson were still clinging to her clenched right fist.

 ”What are you planning to do?”

 ”I’m going to strike it out from the ground.”

 With that, Momoka drew her right arm to its limit and swung her fist down towards the ground.

 With her ability at full power, her strike expelled moisture from the ground and compacted the muddy surface.

 ”Seriously, she solidified the ground with her fist.”

 ”I knew she was holding back in our sparring matches, but I didn’t expect this.”

 ”Hey, isn’t Paruguis going wild down there!?”

 ”Paruguis is a monster sensitive to vibrations, like a small animal feeling the slightest tremor. It wouldn’t be able to handle such a shock.”

 It was like a bomb exploding next to its ears for a human. Momoka readied her fist once again and struck the ground.


 The moment Momoka slammed her fist into the ground, a slight tingling sensation ran through her right arm, causing her to furrow her brows.

 While she was filled with Crimson, she couldn’t feel any pain or numbness no matter how much she exerted her body, as if she had lost all sensation. But now, the faint Crimson and the tingling sensation spreading through her right arm, which seemed to be fading away, made her briefly consider its meaning… Without hesitation, Momoka clenched her fist.

 ”This should finish it!”

 With her wish in mind, she swung her full-powered fist, piercing the ground and impaling the lurking Parguis underground. Unable to withstand the impact, Parguis broke through the ground and emerged on the surface.

 The Parguis that emerged on the surface was a massive body that must have been around 10m long, with a surface that seemed to be filled with moisture, making it all squishy. Its eyes had regressed, giving it a appearance more similar to a worm than a snake.

 ”It appeared!”

 ”Momoka! Now, go straight for it――!?”

 Those who witnessed Momoka, who had stood up casually, or more accurately, those who saw her right arm, were speechless.

 Despite the fading Crimson, Momoka’s right fist, which she swung down, couldn’t withstand the impact and split open, with bones breaking through the skin up to her elbow.

 ”Mio! Get Momoka out of here!”

 Without even having a chance to respond to Nia’s command, Mio pulled Momoka towards safety and retreated.

 ”Is that okay!?”

 ”For now, concentrate on defeating the enemy in front of us rather than worrying about Momoka! We can’t waste this opportunity she created here!”

 Although Parguis had jumped out onto the surface, it was uncertain when it would burrow back underground.

 If that were to happen, it would be difficult for only those present here to pull Parguis out onto the surface. Therefore, Ouza jumped out first and dived into Parguis’ bosom, raising his fist.

 Ouza’s fist had the power to crush the bones of monsters, but that one strike was absorbed into Parguis’ body and completely nullified.

 ”The strike didn’t work, huh?”

 Realizing this from the lack of response, Ouza took a step back. Parguis raised its head and slammed its entire body towards Ouza, swaying it like a whip.

 Ouza easily avoided the attack, having sensed it from the preparatory movement. However, once Parguis realized that its initial strike had failed, it crawled on the ground and swept its surroundings with its entire body.

 The flexible strike, like a whip, unleashed by the giant body of over ten meters, effortlessly mowed down all the other monsters and trees caught in its path.

 ”It moves more than it looks!”

 ”Perhaps because it’s storing plenty of moisture throughout its body, its strikes are quite heavy. A direct hit would be serious!”

 ”Kilk, do you know any effective attack method against it?”

 ”Freeze its whole body with ice magic and shatter it. Other than that, I haven’t heard of any effective attack methods.”

 ”Even though we have 3 people who can use earth, water, and fire magic, we don’t have anyone who can use ice!”

 ”But we have no choice but to do it. Those who can use magic, focus on Parguis! The others, deal with the smaller ones and attack Parguis when you see an opening!”

 Following Niya’s instructions, Kilk, Shaina, and Jott, who could use magic, focused their attacks on Parguis, while the remaining 7 members attacked the other monsters, taking opportunities to strike at Parguis.

 ”Even though I can use magic, unlike the other 2, I can’t use it without writing on the ground. Besides, is earth magic effective against this opponent!?”

 ”Instead of complaining, try using all the magic you can! I’ve already exhausted my magic power with the previous attack, so I’m honestly at my limit!”

 ”Captain! This thing is invincible! None of my techniques are effective against it!”

 ”Ugh… Despite its unimpressive appearance, it’s incredibly resistant, with punches and blades unable to penetrate it. How mysterious.”

 Amidst voices like that coming from everywhere, Kilk attacked Parguis while thinking.

 (With flexible skin, it absorbs the impact and slides the blade with the secretion that it secretes from its body surface. Fire magic is also ineffective against the secretion. To kill this, we have to do something about the secretion… If that’s the case)

 Kilk prepares his sword and envelops it with flames, repeatedly slashing at Parguis.

 The flames evaporate the secretion, and by cutting the dry parts with the sword, they manage to inflict some wounds.

 (If I could just manage to slightly injure its skin!)

 ”It won’t be able to defend against this!”

 With a faintly formed cut, Kilk thrusts his sword, enveloped in flames, deeply into it.

 The sword, inserted along the cut, pierces deeply into Parguis’ body without slipping, and the flames on the blade burn and scorch Parguis’ flesh and organs.


 Parguis screams in pain as it is burned from the inside.

 ”Amazing, Kilk! The sword went right through!”

 ”I created a wound while removing the secretion with fire, and then I stabbed the sword into it.”

 ”I see, that’s clever.”

 ”By the way, this raw reaction… could it be that the dungeon’s control has been lifted?”

 ”If this guy has regained its sanity, it would be great if it could just go back to its dwelling… but it seems impossible!”

 Seeing the rapidly drying ground and the expanding body of Parguis, everyone realizes that it has no intention for escaping.

 ”Jott! Create a thick earth wall in front of Parguis!”

 ”I don’t really get it, but understood!”

 ”Ouza! Crush the earth wall with all your might!”


 Following Niya’s instructions, Jott creates an earth wall, and Ouza pulverizes it into tiny pieces.

 What was created by the dry ground is not so much a wall of earth as a wall of sand, and the wall that was crushed by Ouza turns into a large number of sand grains, which fall onto Parguis’ entire body, depriving it of moisture and drying up the secretion.

 ”Now the secretion is sealed! Let’s finish it off before it does something!”

 Everyone attacks Parguis, who continues to absorb moisture and grow larger.

 However, from the perspective of its gigantic body that surpasses ten meters, all the attacks are small wounds, far from being fatal, and the situation is changing.

 ”What’s wrong? Suddenly, my throat…”

 ”This is bad! It’s not only absorbing the ground, but also the air and our moisture! If this continues, we’ll dry up and die!”

 ”What a sneaky way to fight!”

 ”No good! Its skin is getting thicker as it absorbs moisture! My sword won’t reach anymore!”

 ”Don’t we just need to retreat!?”

 As Jott urges everyone to retreat, Niya interrupts those words.

 ”Just a little longer! Please endure a little longer! If you do, then――”


 A voice calling Niya’s name can be heard from a distance, and if she turns her face in that direction, she can see a person flying towards here with tremendous force, and landing on top of Parguis.

 ”Direct hit! As expected of Mio, nice control!”

 ”Iko! Can I do it now!?”

 ”Of course! We’re fully prepared to go on a date with the earthworm!”

 ”All right, Ouza! Please hit Parguis with all your might, scooping it up from below!”


 Although there are many questions, now is not the time for Q&A, as Ouza is told to do so, he prepares his fist.

 He tilts his upper body sideways, runs his fist just above the ground, and in the next moment, a sharp blow like an arrow deeply pierces Parguis’ body. Parguis’ body is blown far into the sky.

 Parguis, which had absorbed a large amount of moisture and swelled, is now a huge body that can be called a small mountain, and everyone is amazed to see it easily blown away as if it were a feather.

 Of course, this phenomenon did not occur solely due to Ouza’s power; it was because Mio used her ability to manipulate gravity to eliminate Parguis’ weight.

 In a weightless state due to her ability, Mio and Parguis continue to rise in altitude, piercing through even the clouds.

 ”Well, I guess we’re getting close to the limit, aren’t we?”

 The temperature dropped below freezing, causing Parguis, who was saturated with moisture, to quickly freeze.

 ”Well then, let’s make this the finale of our short aerial date!”

 With that declaration, Mio deactivated her abilities and began to fall alongside Paruguis.

 As they descended, the altitude decreased rapidly, and she could see the ground of the settlement below. Mio kicked off Paruguis to gain some height and then used her own abilities to descend slowly, effectively slowing down their fall.

 ”Goodbye, you big worm.”

 Under Mio’s gaze, the frozen Parguis collided with the ground, shattering into pieces.

 After witnessing Parguis’ demise, Mio looked down upon the settlement from above.

 There were no visible groups left, only scattered monsters heading towards the outskirts. Although there were some troubles at the defensive stronghold, which served as their base, they had already been resolved. In fact, it seemed that the stronghold had gained some extra strength, as Mio could see nearly ten people heading towards the south.

 ”I guess the majority has been settled. For now, we managed to protect the settlement safely…”

 In Mio’s mind, she couldn’t help but think of Momoka. She had explained that her body was weak and unable to fight, but she had caused such a commotion. It wasn’t hard to imagine the barrage of questions she would receive.

 Furthermore, Momoka had achieved an unprecedented individual achievement by single-handedly defeating over 2 hundred invading monsters.

 If people knew that there was someone with that kind of power, there would undoubtedly be those who would try to surround her.

 ”The future is definitely going to be troublesome… But before that, there are things I need to ask Momoka.”

 Why was Momoka able to handle Neil’s Crimson? In the first place, Niya and the others weren’t even aware of the existence of Crimson. To them, it seemed like Momoka had awakened to an unknown power without any warning.

 ”Something feels like it’s going in a bad direction…”

 While being haunted by unpleasant imaginations of something progressing without her knowledge, Mio returned to the defense line to eliminate the remaining monsters.

 And so, the defense of the settlement ended in victory for the defenders, despite a few severe injuries.

 The news spread not only within the empire but also to other countries, about how a force of only 50 managed to defeat a horde of 600 monsters, with 200 of them being annihilated by a single human. The existence of the settlement once again resounded throughout the world.

 Various people flocked to the settlement, bringing even more liveliness than before. However, Neil would only come to know of this 3 nights later, when he regained consciousness.

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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
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