DAR Vol. 2 Chapter 7 Part 6

<Hmm, it’s weakened enough. I’ll reduce the Wind Wall’s area a bit. Twins, any problems with your magic power?>

Grandpa Gry asked the question while looking down at the slime from above, and the twins replied with an energetic “woof!”.

They were rapidly firing magic that would use up an average human’s magic power after a single spell, but there was no sign that the twins were running out of magic power.

This was because of their original talents and the magic modification Grandpa Gry had used on them since they were small puppies. They had long exceeded the growth limits of normal magic wolves and could already rival high-rank magic beasts. Moreover, they still continued growing, apparently without limits.

In regards to magic, other than the instinctive control unique to magic beasts they were also taught on the same level of human spellcasters: the magic they could use was limited, but within that sphere their control was almost perfect.

“Woof woof♪”

The twin wolves ran merrily, but under their paws there was nothing but hell. The slime formed tentacles to try to catch or pierce the twins, but all tentacles were either frozen or burned, failing to reach their targets.

<Don’t push yourselves too much. If I can reduce my Wind Wall all the way here, I will be able to use other magic.>

“Woof.”

“Woof.”

The Wind Wall whirling in the surroundings had grown smaller in radius and now circled the slime’s body closely. The slime continued to attack the wolves running on top of its body, but shuddered because of the Wind Wall’s movements.

“….Grandpa Gry, how much longer will it take?”

Roa, still riding on the wolf twins, was starting to show signs of exhaustion. Simply bearing with their quick movements and vibrations required physical strength.

<Another third, I wager. The core will appear soon. And then it will be your turn, brat.>

“Got it.”

Grandpa Gry and Roa could talk from a distance thanks to the contract they formed. They talked subconsciously, but the distance between them would make it impossible for humans to talk.

As Grandpa Gry said, the slime had decreased to about one-third of its original size.

The slime’s surface was frozen and burned, so its spread out body withdrew towards the core. It tried to maintain the same height to keep the magic beasts away from the core, but this only created new targets to attack. If it didn’t do so, however, the twins would quickly open a large hole and destroy its core.

The Wind Wall cut off any escape routes: the slime was literally stuck.

Grandpa Gry would seal all escape routes, the wolf twins shave away its body to expose the core. Finally, Roa would destroy the core with all his might. This was the whole strategy.

Judging from Grandpa Gry’s overwhelming power, one would think it could eliminate the slime by itself. In fact, Roa asked persistently about this point. Grandpa Gry, however, completely denied such a possibility. It said that making advanced spells to prevent the slime from fleeing was all it could do. And that the twins’ magic could not affect the slime’s core, protected by mithril.

Because of that, Roa’s participation was crucial.

Mithril absorbed magic. Magic “power”, however, could easily pass through it. Kristoff was able to scan the mithril golem’s core because of that. His detection magic spread magic power to scan the surroundings, so rather than magic, it was closer to pure magic power. Because of that, it could reach the core without being absorbed by the mithril.

While Nostalgia’s members trained in the forest to defeat the mithril golem, Roa practiced various usages of the same detection magic, while making magic potions and holy water.

The spell involved sending magic power waves towards items and heating them. Its range was very small, but it could work to destroy the mithril protecting the core. 

The magic power would penetrate beyond the mithril, heating up and destroying the insides from within. Roa could not perform something like that before, but thanks to sharing magic power with Grandpa Gry, if he used his full power he could even destroy the giant slime’s core.

Roa had practiced using magic almost playing, but Grandpa Gry had noticed it. The gryphon, while looking always aloof and self-absorbed, actually paid close attention to its surroundings.

If it found anything worth using, it would never forget it. Skills worthy of the “cheating magic beast” name, maybe…

“Waaaoooff!!!”

“What’s wrong!?”

The blue magic wolf, which Roa was riding on, suddenly barked in a strange way. It abruptly changed directions and twisted its body as if jumping away. The wolf then emitted a low-pitched growl.

Roa noticed that the wolf was wary of something and looked in that direction. From the slime’s body, a sort of white smoke was rising. At the same time, a very pungent smell attacked Roa’s nostrils.

“Gas!!”

Smell just like rotting eggs. It was probably lethal gas.

Roa had smelled it before in caves and dungeons, it was a very dangerous odor. It was often found in volcanic areas, so it was called volcanic gas.

“Let’s run!!”

“Owoo!!”

The wolf howled and ran away.

This is bad…

Roa looked around. The gas was rising from several spots, its smell growing stronger and stronger, causing the wolf’s eyes to water. In the distance, Roa saw the red wolf running while avoiding the gas.

“Grandpa Gry!! Gas!!”

<What!?>

The gryphon answered in a surprised and worried tone.

No one had ever heard that slimes had the ability to emit gas. Even for Grandpa Gry, it was probably completely unexpected.

<Kh..! ….aer…..wi….i….o…..n.>

Grandpa Gry whispered something, in a tone too faint to be heard. At the same time, Roa felt a warm breeze.

<Good thing I have some leeway now…>

Roa heard the gryphon’s relieved words and he felt his body float upwards. Now completely out of the gas’ range, Roa breathed a sigh of relief. The slime tentacles approached, but Grandpa Gry’s wind magic repelled them all.

<If I didn’t have leftover magic power, I would have been forced to cancel the spells to protect you…>

Cancelling the spells would have meant letting the slime escape and the gas spread to the surroundings. The gas would certainly cause massive damage to the surrounding environment and the slime could attack people or towns in the vicinity.

For Grandpa Gry, however, Roa and the twins were far more important than all that. Towns could be destroyed, but its priorities would not change. Grandpa Gry only cared about humans because of Roa; as long as Roa didn’t see anything, the gryphon would crush any humans without a second thought. Comparing the two was meaningless.

“Are you okay!?”

The twins probably couldn’t resist the smell anymore and held their noses with their front paws. The gas had a smell so horrible that even Roa realized it had to be noxious, so for the twins’ strong sense of smell it had to be torture.

When Grandpa Gry’s wind magic pulled Roa upwards he took recovery potions from his magic bag, so he poured them lightly on the twins’ noses and them drink the potions.

“Woof…”

“Woof…”

Their noses healed of the gas’ nasty effects, the twins barked softly. Roa checked their condition and drank a recovery potion himself. He didn’t feel any particular changes, but he didn’t know how the toxic gas could operate, so he decided to take the safest option.

“Phew…at least it wasn’t odorless gas.”

Roa swallowed the recovery potion and whispered to himself. Some toxic gases were odorless and transparent. If the slime had used something like that, Roa would have probably died before realizing anything. If Roa collapsed Grandpa Gry would have surely come to help him, but that was a possibility nonetheless.

<A slime using gas…it broke out of the golem shell after all, so I guess it can do something like this too…I thought only its body changed, though.>

Golems changed the materials they absorbed and built their bodies with them. If they absorbed rocks they became Rock Golems, if they absorbed silver they became Silver Golems.

Based on this, it was safe to assume that they could expel anything they absorbed once. 

Underground there were spots where toxic gases formed. The giant slime probably absorbed such gases as it moved through the earth and used it to attack and defend itself against the enemies that threatened it.

<This is quite a pain…>

Grandpa Gry’s throat emitted an annoyed sound.

<Brat!! What will you do? Shall we give up and go live in a faraway town?>

“…why do you say something like that, out of the blue…?”

<If we go far enough that huge slime will forget about us, right? This country isn’t interesting anyway, why don’t we go another?>

The proposal was, in other words, to unload the slime’s annoyance in that country and flee to another.

“What a joke to say at a time like this….wait, you’re serious?”

Roa looked at Grandpa Gry’s face and had a realization. The gryphon was completely serious. Very unusually…serious.

“Do you mean that…we might have to seriously consider something like that?”

<Indeed, we are stuck. That gas is truly troublesome.>

Grandpa Gry turned towards the slime under them. It was still spewing gas, while also trying to attack them with its tentacles. If Grandpa Gry’s wind magic didn’t repel the tentacle attacks, they couldn’t talk normally like this.

<First of all, there is no way for me to kill that thing while also sealing its movements. It might be possible if I cancel the Wind Wall or the earth magic…but I cannot be absolutely certain. The probability that it will escape is high.>

Grandpa Gry had already explained this before the battle began.

<You don’t want that gas to spread, do you brat? Those fumes are very heavy: they tend to concentrate into one location. There are few people in these surroundings, but if the Wind Wall is gone, people and animals will surely die, until it turns innocuous.>

It mattered little to Grandpa Gry, but it gauged Roa’s reactions as it talked. Roa nodded, a grave look on his face.

<If we want to keep the gas from spreading, we have no means to attack. Not you, of course, nor the twins have any long-range attacks that could work on that giant body. Going too close would mean inhaling the gas.>

“…couldn’t we try leaving the gas like that and fighting as you protect us?”

<I couldn’t keep up with the twins. Their movements are too fast.>

Multiple magic…and very advanced spells at that. If Grandpa Gry wasn’t controlling such spells at the same time, it could probably easily deal with the slime. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible now.

“Grandpa Gry, what about purification magic?”

Purification magic, a branch of recovery magic, could purify poison and toxins.

<I can’t use it.>

“Right, of course….”

<Hmm? Do you mean to say that I do not look like a user of healing magic? Someone overflowing in kindness and piety such as I?>

Healing magic is said to be easier to use for compassionate, kindhearted humans. Roa’s quick acceptance of Grandpa Gry’s inability to use it invited the gryphon’s indignation, but there was no time to talk about that. Roa nonchalantly ignored it. 

Moreover, Roa did not have the slightest impression that recovery magic users were compassionate or kindhearted. On the contrary, he had a completely opposite opinion.

“What about you two?”

The twins, naturally, shook their heads.

“…I have some magic potions, but not nearly enough…wait, magic potions…? Ah!!”

Roa seemed to have come up with something and started looking through his magic bag. He then took out a few bottles filled with transparent liquid.

“Holy Water can purify it, right?”

What Roa took out was the holy water he had concocted in the forest. He had only heard rumors about its effects, but if holy light had healing and purifying properties, they could expect similar effects from holy water as well. He had made a lot of it too, so there were no issues of quantity.

“Let’s try and see what happens!”

<Hmm, indeed.>

Roa then threw one of the bottles. Once the bottle left the radius of the wind magic that kept them afloat, it fell straight down on one of the slime’s tentacles and shattered. At the same time, the gas cloud around the tentacle cleared for a moment.

“Looks like it’s effective…but…”

On the surface of the slime’s body where the gas cleared, something changed. The spot where the holy water fell grew larger and its tentacles became more active.

“…it healed too…as expected it, I guess…”

<Naturally. That water is like a concentration of magic power. Such a result is indeed obvious.>

Together, they sighed heavily.

<Besides, even if we can purify the gas already exhaled, things would be the same once new gas is released…if the slime would also be healed in the process, it would all be meaningless, wouldn’t it?>

“Right…more than meaningless, it would even help the slime…”

The twins nodded decisively as well.

<We cannot leave things like this either, though. My magic is activated through the magic essence in the air, but it is not infinite. Sooner or later, it will run out.>

They were cornered on all sides.

<We should escape, after all. You like the sleepyhead and his little group, don’t you brat? Why not go to their country? A seaside country would have a completely different atmosphere, I’m sure it will be interesting. You haven’t even seen the sea yet, have you brat? You would also find all sorts of marine ingredients you can’t obtain around here. The food is great too.>

“Hmm…..”

Running away would be easier, that’s for sure. Leaving such a massive monster alone, however, would surely cause a disaster. Roa could not bring himself to do something like that.

In Roa’s mind, an “adventurer” would never allow something like that. It’s a risky gamble, but maybe we could cancel the Wind Wall, though it means the slime might flee, and have Grandpa Gry attack it while we purify the gas with Holy Water…?

As Roa was starting to consider this option…

An idea flashed in his head.

“….hey, Grandpa Gry.”

<What is it now?>

“You *really* have no way of dealing with the slime on your own?”

Roa felt that something was off ever since Grandpa Gry started saying that Roa and the twins’ help was necessary in order to defeat the slime. He couldn’t help but feel suspicious: was their help truly necessary? He felt like they had fallen into another one of Grandpa Gry’s schemes.

Roa looked at Grandpa Gry’s face, straight into its eyes.

<Wha…what are you implying!?! Why would you doubt that!? I’ll have you know that even I have limits!!>

“Hmmm…you do…? Hmm….”

Roa grinned.

“Grandpa Gry?”

<….what?>

“Isn’t it time to chant magic?”

<…haah?>

Grandpa Gry, surprised by Roa’s words, stood there, its beak wide open.

There were several ways to cast magic spells: “Spell Chanting” consisted of reciting a fixed phrase, forming a clear formula, and activating the spell. “Abbreviated Chanting” consisted of stating only the formula’s name, forming it mentally to cast the spell.

Creating the formula completely in one’s mind, without uttering a single word, to build the formula and cast the spell was called “No Chanting”.

What Grandpa Gry normally used was the “No Chanting” method.

Most magic beasts did not use words and used No Chanting instinctively, so Roa did not suspect anything…until now.

“You used it before, right? Spell Chanting.”

<Gh….>

When Grandpa Gry used wind magic to lift Roa and the twins in the air, to protect them from the slime’s toxic gas, it had whispered a chant.

<Khh….blast it all…you heard that? I failed…>

Roa hadn’t heard the chant itself, just that Grandpa Gry was whispering something. He had just a few suspicions, which the gryphon was tricked into revealing were all true.

The greatest difference between Spell Chanting and No Chanting was the speed at which magic would be cast. No Chanting did not require any words, so it was obviously faster. It also prevented the enemy to know what kind of magic one was casting. Thanks to the lack of reciting spell formulae, No Chanting was much more convenient.

The No Chanting method would thus look completely superior to the others, but Spell Chanting was better in a very important category: the spell’s offensive power.

In terms of basic magic…or rather, magic that regular human spellcasters used, there wouldn’t be much difference between Spell Chanting and No Chanting. When it came to advanced magic, however, the difference became large.

The reason was that most spells labeled as “advanced magic” involved a combination of multiple formulae. Spell Chanting made it easy to combine the formulae by actually materializing them, so it was possible to use more of them at the same time.

“If you use Spell Chanting, you can finish it off, right?”

<I messed up…messed up…really bad…>

Even if they were floating in midair, the gryphon scratched its head with its front claws, finally squirming and hiding its head behind its wings. Grandpa Gry was extremely ashamed: Roa wasn’t aware, but his words had dealt a powerful blow to the gryphon’s sense of shame.

Suddenly, Roa’s body started falling.

“Ah!!”

Roa, feeling the ground disappear from under his feet, shrieked.

<Agh! Sorry.>

His body was supported immediately and brought back to its former position. Grandpa Gry’s shock probably disrupted its magic control, as it heavily depended on the caster’s mental state. The disrupted magic was not Wind Wall, but the wind magic supporting Roa and the twins, fortunately. If Wind Wall had been disrupted, everything would have been for naught.

“Bow-wow!!”

“Bow-wow!!”

The twins, who risked falling alongside Roa, protested loudly too.

<…sorry…>

Grandpa Gry lowered its head to the twins.

…Grandpa Gry apologized so honestly…?….what is it planning this time…?

Roa was shocked by Grandpa Gry’s earnest apology and started doubting again, but quickly changed his mind. It probably did not have enough leeway to make excuses or change the topic as usual.

“Anyway, if you use Spell Chanting you could do something about it, right?”

<….it’s not impossible, but…>

Grandpa Gry was hesitating, half of its face still hidden. The wings made it hard to see, but it looked like it was blushing.

Grandpa Gry glanced at Roa, but in a different way than when it was put on the spot.

<To cast more magic on Wind Wall would be very complicated…>

“……”

<The magic would be less precise and could not destroy that mithril-protected core…>

“…..”

<The slime surely stores magic power inside the core, so even if the mithril cover is destroyed, it will surely try to restore its body…>

“……”

<Besides, a magic spell powerful enough to destroy that slug and expose its core could mean that I can’t use magic for a while later…>

“…….”

<I do not think I can use magic capable of destroying it immediately…>

Grandpa Gry’s tone was very different from the usual boasting, it was timid and embarrassed. Roa and the twins were perplexed: the gryphon’s glances from behind its wings and its hesitant words only annoyed them more and more. Grandpa Gry had somehow become even more of a pain than usual to deal with.

“In other words, we just need to destroy the core after you used magic, right?”

The plan would not be much different from the initial one. Originally the twins would expose the core with their attacks and Roa would deal the final blow.

<I cannot get rid of the gas, you know?>

“If you use powerful magic, we can use Holy Water first, can’t we?”

<….it might resurrect and flee…>

“We won’t know unless we try, right?”

<However…>

Grandpa Gry’s tone was still awkward. It was clear that it hoped for Roa to say “you don’t have to do it”. The gryphon’s whole aura was imploring Roa to somehow understand it. Roa didn’t know what troubled Grandpa Gry so much about using the Spell Chanting method, but decided to ignore it.

There was no other way out, so they had to do it.

“Okay then, use Spell Chanting and knock it out!”

Roa used a casual tone on purpose and Grandpa Gry glared at him.

<Kah! You wish to humiliate me even more!?>

The gryphon shouted. Its face was wine red, it was clear even through the wings. It looked like an embarrassed maiden.

What is this magic beast grandpa saying…? 

Roa and the twins looked at each other, speechless.

<I am a magic beast!?! It is nothing but shame for magic beasts to chant spells!!! My pride will be…stained, corrupted..!!!>

What a pain….

Roa and the twins thought the very same thing. Even compared with the usual prideful, haughty, selfish, mischievous, always-trying-to-prank-you Grandpa Gry, this timid Grandpa Gry was much more annoying to deal with.

“You hate that so much?”

<I am a magic beast!! Magic beasts do not use Spell Chanting!! Humans do!! To imitate human behavior is the epitome of shame!!>

“Is it really?”

Roa turned towards the twins, which cocked their heads in adorable puzzlement. They had been with Roa and Grandpa Gry since they were born, after all, so they did not know magic beast society.

Roa could not understand a magic beast’s sense of shame, but looking at how Grandpa Gry acted embarrassed, it seemed very *human-like* to him. Grandpa Gry normally was, after all: Roa already viewed it as such, so nothing would change within him even if it used Spell Chanting.

“There’s only us here now, so what’s the problem? Besides I’m a human, so I don’t get what’s so shameful about it….”

<…brat, if I said that being naked is not shameful for me, would you dance naked, here and now?>

In other words, what Grandpa Gry whispered before was something as shameful as dancing naked, but it did it for Roa and the twins’ sake? 

Roa thought so and improved a little his opinion of Grandpa Gry. It had protected him and the twins until the end, at the cost of doing something so embarrassing.

“For that….”

I’m very grateful, is what Roa wanted to say.

<That was!! Like you having a sudden urge to pee and being found out while peeing on the side of the road!! It was an accident!! Accidents aren’t embarrassing!! But do it on my own will is…>

Grandpa Gry interrupted Roa and started fussing.

What a horrible example…

Roa wanted to honestly thank Grandpa Gry, but the gryphon’s nasty example made him lose all will to do so: it had stepped on a landmine. Grandpa Gry itself probably wasn’t aware of how its bad habit of not listening to what other people said always came back to bite it. It wouldn’t listen, after all.

“….understood.”

<You do!? Excellent! Let us flee!!>

“It’ll be embarrassing if you’re heard, right? We’re going to plug our ears then.”

<You monster! Do you have an ounce of humanity within you!?>

Grandpa Gry spread its wings wide and clamored.

“If you want to escape, then do it. I’m going to stay.”

“Bow-wow!”

“Bow-wow!!”

“Kaahhhh…! Twins, you’re on the brat’s side too!?”

The magic wolf twins agreed with Roa, so Grandpa Gry shouted, frustrated.

<You and the twins will get killed, though? Is that what you want?>

“No, I don’t think that will happen, though.”

<What?>

“Because the slime is probably going to chase after you.”

<Hnngh…>

If the magic cage created by Grandpa Gry in the surroundings disappeared, the slime will probably flee at first, but then it will surely look for Grandpa Gry again. Roa couldn’t say it would definitely happen, but it was highly likely. 

The important thing was not whether that prediction was likely or not, anyway: even if it was a lie, the important thing was to convince Grandpa Gry.

“So this is goodbye, Grandpa Gry. We’ll feel so lonely…”

“Woof…”

“Woof…”

The twins too whined sadly, but it kind of seemed like an act. They were just following Roa’s lead, of course.

<Kh…>

Grandpa Gry was well aware that Roa’s words were just an act meant to negotiate with it, but it also knew that if Grandpa Gry actually fled, Roa and the twins would choose to stay back.

The reason was because Roa admired adventurers, and aspired to become one: he would never flee to save himself. Grandpa Gry knew it well.

<…you will plug your ears?>

“Of course!”

<You absolutely must not listen!! Absolutely!!>

Grandpa Gry insisted, while blushing all the while.

“Thank you, Grandpa Gry!!”

Roa’s words of gratitude made Grandpa Gry get even redder, so it looked away.

𑁋

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