DAR Vol. 2 Chapter 6 Part 1

Chapter 6 – Conclusion in the Forest

Deep inside Norfar valley, moonlight and tranquility reigned.

My body feels hot…

And yet, so cold.

The female cleric opened her eyes. A burning sensation filled her body. Deep inside it, however, she felt a terrible chill. She slowly opened her eyes fully, but her field of view was blurred, twisted.

There was some sort of wreckage in front of her and she recalled what happened until then. Her party, Crack of Dawn, was rebelled against by the gryphon they used to tame and was forced to fight against a silver golem without proper preparation.

They were punched, kicked, almost killed by the golems. The gryphon abandoned them and flew off somewhere…

The wreckage before her was the contents of their magic bag, spat out after the golem broke it. It contained their important foodstuffs, magic potions, equipment reserves, stomped and crushed by the golems. She was lying next to it, like a corpse.

After remembering everything, her brain probably returned to functioning properly: the burning sensation turned into pain. Only then did she notice the wounds covering her body.

“He…gah!”

A jolt of pain struck deep into her throat. She tried casting recovery magic, but spat out a clot of blood and could not finish the incantation. Because of the failed chant, the spell was not performed, but the magic power meant for the spell still poured into her body.

At the same time, she felt sick, as if her brain was being shaken, and she felt colder.

Magic stupor.

She understood instinctively.

She had fallen into a state of magic stupor. Her body reached the limit of the magic power it could accept.

Bonne continued using healing magic on her wounded body. In her state of confusion, she used abbreviated chanting, so there was barely any effect, doing nothing to even alleviate the pain, but even so she continued casting.

Because of this, despite the lack of discernible effects, the vicious cycle of accumulating magic power continued.

It hurts….stop….

“He….he…l…”

She tried chanting with all her might, but her voice wouldn’t come out. She couldn’t form full words…

I should have learned to cast spells without chanting…

Meaningless regrets welled up inside Bonne. 

Casting magic using long incantations was the simplest way. The next method was to use abbreviated chanting, reciting only the keywords required for the spell. Finally, the most difficult method was to cast spells without chanting the incantation.

Bonne had studied abbreviated chanting, but she couldn’t cast spells without chanting. She had the resources to learn, but disliked the effort needed to do so.

Her role was recovery and long-range offense, not to put herself in danger. Because of this, she couldn’t imagine a situation where not even abbreviated chanting was possible and considered it useless to practice any further.

It hurts…

Thinking that, if she could at least get rid of whatever was clogging her throat, she could chant, Bonne tried raising her body to go look for water.

A sharp pain jolted through her, from her legs to her back. She couldn’t scream. All she could do was bear with it and clench her teeth.

Bonne opened her tear-filled eyes again and the view became clear: the tears probably washed away the dirt covering her eyes. She could see many corpses of silver-colored golems around her. They reflected the moonlight, giving a dull glow.

Is there anyone that I can use…?

She looked around, bearing through the pain. The golems were not moving, but nothing else moved either.

What happened to Crack of Dawn’s members…?

She finally spotted two of them. The first was Olun, the tank. His large armor and body stood out. He was beaten and battered, collapsed on the ground, but his hands moved slightly when Bonne noticed him, so he should still be alive.

However, he didn’t look like he would be of much help to Bonne in the current situation. He looked just like a corpse.

The second figure she spotted was the leader, Stefan. His arms and legs were twisted, partly severed. It surely did not look like there was any chance he was alive…

And I’m here, injured, in so much pain…you’re all useless!!

She looked down at those two “things”. They might be called Hero Party, but in the end they were just a bunch of low-born humans. If they weren’t any use to her, there was no point in their existence.

Bonne quickly discarded any thoughts about them and looked around again. She could clearly see some wreckage and water-like liquid pooling under it.

Magic potions…

Bonne realized what the pooling liquid actually was: the magic potions stored in the magic bag. They had flown out their shattered glass containers.

If only I could drink that…

She tried raising her body again. Despite the severe pain, she managed to move her upper body, but her legs wouldn’t budge. She started crawling on her arms. She could advance just a little, but it felt like an immeasurable distance.

She managed to reach the pool, somehow, and put her lips to the muddy remains of the recovery potions. If she possessed correct knowledge about magic potions, she would have known that what she was doing was extremely dangerous.

Her brain shook. She felt strong nausea coming up. All the symptoms of Magic Stupor struck.

She bore through them and continued sipping the muddy water. Then Bonne, overtaken by a Magic Stupor so strong that she felt like she was going crazy, lost consciousness again.

𑁋

In the Aldon forest, Dietrich came to and found very unique scenery before his eyes. Cornelia, in light gear after removing her armor, was hugging Bernhart from behind, for whatever reason. There was no intimate atmosphere at all, however: both of them were staring at the ground before them, with very grave expressions on their faces.

Kristoff was sitting on the ground, with his eyes closed and legs crossed. He had a block of mithril on his lap and his hands over it, as if they were looking for something. The block of mithril probably came from the golem, but it was not glowing anymore.

“…what’s going on?”

“Oh, you’re awake.”

The voice came from the side. Dietrich turned and saw Roa sitting next to a small folding table, using pots, mortars and glass containers to concoct magic potions. It was a pretty strange sight, considering they were in a magic beast forest. The twin wolves were at Roa’s sides, watching him work.

I remember I prostrated, and…what happened next?

Dietrich looked through his memories, but they were cut off halfway. He recalled that right before losing consciousness he felt a sharp pain, then it felt like he was doused in chilling water and a multitude of worms crawled all over his body; he realized that was the reason why he lost consciousness.

Did the gryphon do something to me?

Scratching his bedhead, Dietrich instinctively found the right answer. He had suffered through all sorts of unpleasant and painful sensations, but now he felt completely recovered. His body brimmed with strength.

“Would you like some water?”

“…yeah, sorry for the trouble.”

Dietrich drank the water Roa gave him, then looked around again.

He saw Grandpa Gry, on top of the remains of the mithril golem. It looked extremely proud, like a king atop a throne. When their eyes met, the gryphon deftly twisted its beak into a grin.

<You’re finally awake, sleepyhead!>

“…..”

I was “crybaby” and now I’m “sleepyhead”…

Dietrich wanted to protest that they were both humiliating names, but he swallowed his words. If he said anything thoughtless they might end up arguing again.

<Good! Time for you to start training too!>

“Grandpa Gry, he needs to eat first.”

Grandpa Gry wanted to start the training immediately, but Roa interrupted. Dietrich recalled that they had continued fighting without eating anything for dinner and felt that his hunger was reaching its limits.

<He has more magic power now, he can fill his stomach with that! Skipping meals shouldn’t be a problem!>

“You said that something like that was possible if you became a great wizard or a sage, right? And you also said that if they go without meals for too long, magic users can become Liches, right?”

<Hmm? …that’s just your imagination.>

Grandpa Gry replied, but avoided Roa’s eyes.

“It’s not, that’s why you explained it like that to the other three…Grandpa Gry, why are you especially strict to Dietrich?”

<….I dislike that man…>

“You’re saying that again? Sheesh…and it’s disrespectful to talk from a high place like that, come down.”

Grandpa Gry begrudgingly obeyed and descended from its mithril throne. Roa didn’t think Grandpa Gry really hated Dietrich: he knew it was just acting difficult. If it really hated him, it would do much worse.

Grandpa Gry acted like that because it saw Dietrich as a rival. On the other hand, for some reason the twin magic wolves seemed to have taken a liking to Dietrich. They were currently kicking his legs around, inviting him to play now that he was awake. He didn’t know what they meant and thought they didn’t like him either, though.

“Here, please eat this.”

“Oh, thanks.”

Dietrich took the bowl he was suddenly given. Steaming soup filled it.

“…is it safe to eat?”

The soup was filled with lots of meat and colorful vegetables.

“Grandpa Gry says it is. I made the soup with Wild Boar meat and Whiteroot herbs.”

“I see…”

Dietrich wasn’t worried about the flavor of the soup, but whether it was safe to make soup in the middle of a magic beast forest. In magic beast forests or their surroundings, the smell of food would attract the magic beasts, so it was common sense for adventurers not to cook meat or make soup.

Roa understood the meaning of the question and answered that it was all right.

<Most magic beasts were scared off by the slugs and ran away. The only ones remaining are small magic beasts holed up deep in their lairs and the one turning into a mithril golem. Make soup, cook meat, nothing will happen. Besides, I am here, am I not? What is there to fear? For the fear of magic beasts to win over delicious food…small fries are truly sad!>

“….”

Dietrich glanced at Grandpa Gry, who joined in the conversation, then drank the soup, which filled his empty stomach with warmth.

<Sleepyhead! Are you not ignoring my words since you woke up!?>

Grandpa Gry shouted in protest, but Dietrich ignored that too and continued drinking.

“Delicious…by the way, I forgot to ask since so many things happened, but what happened to Crack of Dawn?”

Dietrich suddenly asked a question to Grandpa Gry.

Surprises, new fears, shouting, so many things happened that he couldn’t ask before, but the question never left his mind. If the gryphon was here, something must have happened to Crack of Dawn, the party it used to belong to. Something surely not pleasant.

The mass creation of golems that almost caused Nostalgia’s death was surely tied to Crack of Dawn. Dietrich was naturally concerned about it.

<……..>

Grandpa Gry did not reply. It did not change its expression and looked straight at Dietrich, a heavy pressure in its eyes.

“….he won’t tell us. Something like, if we learn something we aren’t supposed to know, we will seem suspicious when they interrogate us about what happened.”

<Even if you say you learned it from me, no human will believe you. They will suspect that you are either insane or lying. Not knowing anything from the beginning is better than risking to say weak lies. We escaped, you found and rescued us. That’s all you need to say.>

Aah, they’ve been annihilated then…

Dietrich reached a conclusion. He had half predicted it, since Crack of Dawn’s servant beasts appeared without their subjugation collars. They were likely killed by the silver golem horde. With a word like “interrogation” being mentioned, something as grave as that surely happened.

And the gryphon was hiding something. Dietrich didn’t want to think that it led the annihilation of the party itself, but, at the very least it abandoned them to their deaths.

Roa probably realized such a possibility existed, but he did not seem worried about Crack of Dawn, nor happy about their demise. He too was probably hiding a complicated state of mind…

“…I see, yeah I get it. It’s true that it might be better for us not to know right now.”

“Anyway, what are you doing there?”

Dietrich felt he was going to think of something he didn’t want to, so he changed the topic. With “there”, he meant Cornelia hugging Bernhart and Kristoff holding his hands over the block of mithril.

“Cornelia and Bernhart are practicing to share magic power and cast spells together. They will use their combined magic power to use Cornelia’s earth magic and stop the golem from moving. Kristoff is training to inspect the contents of mithril, a modified version of his sonar magic. He will be able to detect where the golem’s core is.”

<To share magic power through contact is relatively easy, but it is necessary to have magic of similar quality. Those two shouldn’t have trouble. The playboy used interesting detection magic, so modifying it a little he should be easily able to detect the contents of even mithril. Lastly, you’re going to use this.>

Grandpa Gry nimbly used its front paws to hand a thin stick to Dietrich. It was as long as a broadsword, but very thin, thinner than even a finger, resembling a needle more than a stick.

Dietrich noticed it glowed in a familiar light and his brow furrowed.

“A mithril stick?”

What am I supposed to do with this?

<This is your new sword!>

Dietrich glared at the cackling Grandpa Gry.

“Are you making fun of me?”

A needle that not even children play-fighting would use? Everyone would think so, especially a swordsman like Dietrich.

“Well, you see.”

Roa interrupted.

“It’s the base used to infuse magic power and create a sword.”

<I carved it myself! Eliminating needless magic power, as not to burden your body too much and release holy light! Use it with confidence!>

Grandpa Gry boasted, again.

“I should infuse magic in this?”

“As Grandpa Gry taught me, after being bathed by holy power, mithril can be infused with magic power. Apparently emitting holy light changes its structure and makes it easier for magic power to flow through it. In normal swords, however, the mithril content is too high, so a normal person’s magic power would be completely absorbed, so it won’t work. The solution is that stick.”

When Roa discussed what to do with the servant beasts, his first question was about mithril. Not knowing the characteristics of the enemy’s body made it impossible to come up with countermeasures.

Roa himself knew about mithril, albeit very little, but it was all from books. Since Grandpa Gry knew so much about magic, he would probably know much more, so Roa asked about mithril.

As a result, he gained new knowledge. After coming into contact with large amounts of magic power, silver turned into mithril. If magic flows into mithril, it emits holy light. Roa already knew that much.

He didn’t know, however, how mithril changed after emitting holy light. He thought mithril did not conduct magic power, but that was wrong. Mithril accumulated magic power and controlled it…in other words, it absorbed magic spells.

When it absorbed magic power beyond its capacity, it turned into a core and magic manifested around it. This was not known because the magic power of an average person would be completely absorbed by the amount of mithril needed for a core, making it seem inert to magic.

Even a mere mithril knife could absorb a spellcaster’s entire magic power. A whole sword’s worth of mithril would eat up even a legendary wizard’s magic power. Because of this, Roa and Grandpa Gry crafted a needle that looked like it did not have any practical use.

<Sleepyhead, you can use basic wind magic, can you not? Do not try to hide it, I can tell. You probably either can’t control it or it flies off where you don’t mean to, so it’s not really useful. It happens often to beginners.>

Grandpa Gry’s grin from above irritated Dietrich, but he held it back and kept silent.

<However, if you envelop mithril with magic and attack, there is no need for targeting. You simply need to shroud the needle with Wind Cutter. If you can, I will teach you how to damage mithril with my Wind Cutter. If it’s only about swordsmanship, you have remarkable skills, after all. It does look like proper knight skill, I’ll give you that much.>

“Wind Cutter…”

Dietrich recalled how Grandpa Gry cut through mithril with Wind Cutter. If he could use that magic on his sword, he could probably defeat the mithril golem.

“Cornelia and Bernhart will use earth magic together to stop the golem, then Kristoff will find the location of its core. Finally, Dietrich will cut it down. That’s “our” plan. You have to pour in all your magic power, or it might fail. So you have to succeed on the first try. It’s a pretty huge gamble.”

The plan Roa explained was pretty simple. The role of Nostalgia’s members was not too different from the usual. The problem was whether they could do what they were told to.

<Do not be anxious, if you fail, I will come to your aid.>

Dietrich looked at Grandpa Gry’s very eager expression and felt irritation well up within.

This damn bird expects us to fail, huh….

If Nostalgia failed, it would save them, then surely taunt them mercilessly. It could be Dietrich overthinking it, but it was pretty likely. He wanted to avoid that at all costs.

“You can practice until dawn…about six hours. If the mithril golem comes up early, Grandpa Gry will keep it at bay, I made it promise that. Please do your best.”

Grandpa Gry was supposed to be the one to tell them how to defeat the golem, but, for some reason Roa, explained it all. Dietrich found it quite puzzling, but also more reliable than Grandpa Gry taking command.

Dietrich was convinced and decided to first down the soup Roa made for him.

𑁋

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