TNG Vol. 20 Chapter 1 Part 8

Once back at Bear Point Pavilion, Shin and the others informed the innkeeper they had accepted a request. They left the inn, saying they might be away again for an extended period.

Tsugumi looked disappointed, but she sent them off with a smile at the end.

Behind Bear Point Pavilion, where merchants and some adventurers put their carriages, Shin took out a carriage from his item box.

They planned to ride the carriage to distance themselves from the town and then run together.

Considering their abilities, it would be faster if they ran on their own feet from the start, but it would be extremely conspicuous if they suddenly started running out of the gate.

Not wanting to attract attention, they quietly moved by carriage until they could no longer see the castle walls.

In the same way, they kept their distance from the carriages traveling on the road and used the forest to disappear from sight. 

All the carriages were not paying attention to anything but the front, so unless they were making a lot of noise and not careful about the carriages coming from the rear, it was not difficult to disappear.

After quickly putting away the carriage, the group ran through the road at a speed that could not be compared to traveling by horse-drawn carriage. 

That evening, they arrived at Wraith Plains. After a light meal, they first approached the place where the knights were gathered. It was the base Rionne had mentioned.

The knight seemed to have already been informed, and they handed Shin a palm-sized coin. This was to show that Shin was a collaborator, a kind of identification. The knight explained that even if information had not been conveyed due to miscommunication or personnel turnover, the other party would understand if they were shown this.

“First, let’s head to the restricted area while keeping an eye on the situation. The guy I explained to you while we were moving also appeared there.”

While running along the road, Shin explained to all the members about the Skullface Lord he once fought. 

Shin and Schnee were the only ones in the current party who knew about those days. It might not necessarily appear again this time, but there was no harm in sharing the information with them.

“By the way, were there any other monsters that didn’t exist back in the game?”

Milt, who has heard the story, asked Shin. Milt had been in this world longer than Shin, but she had no idea.

“So far, I’ve only seen the Lord one. The others are just guys I’ve seen or heard of. But the way they move, or rather what they do, is very different from the game. It’s like they are possessed by a player. So you can never be too careful, even if you’ve seen one before.”

As for the Skullface Lord, Shin confirmed not only with Milt but also with the former players, Shadow and the others. But they replied that no one had heard of it.

Shin believed that since it spoke, albeit only slightly, it must not be just another boss monster.

Was it a hidden monster in the game, or did it occur uniquely in this world?

Its level alone was too much for the inhabitants of this world to bear. There was a possibility that it came out of the dungeon in the Wraith Plains, so he would investigate that as well if time permitted.

“The atmosphere here doesn’t seem to have changed.”

Shin and his team proceeded to investigate the situation in Wraith Plains.

There were some monster reactions, but when they checked with 【Far Sight, the monsters were all Skullfaces. Most of them were Pawn class, and occasionally they would see a group of what appeared to be knights or adventurers fighting.

From the knights at the base, they were informed that the Skullfaces outside the restricted area could be left to the patrolling knights and adventurers, so they avoided them and proceeded on their way. The Skullfaces were slow-moving and would not chase them once they were some distance away. 

The restricted area could be accessed using Shin’s guild card. This was also the same as when he came with Wilhelm and the others, a space opened up that several people could pass through, and they entered through it.

“It seems like there are a lot of them because they haven’t been thinned out inside.”

Shibaid, sensing the presence of the approaching monsters, stepped forward with his shield at the ready. Filma, who was next to him and had pulled out her Scarlet Moon, was showing her enthusiasm. 

“It looks like they are welcoming us.”

There were an incomparable number of monster reactions inside the restricted area compared to outside.

Even taking into account the fact that the area had not been thinned out, there were definitely more monsters in the restricted area than when Shin was here before. Furthermore, the level of monsters seemed to have increased. 

A group of Pecker Hollows, which they did not fight last time because Rashia was there, and Gelbones, which looked like slime clinging to human bones. Dragles, bipedal large lizards with skin folds and no eyes. Other undead monsters, which could hardly be described as low-level, were also targeting Shin and his group.

The average level of the monsters that came at them was around 500, but there were a few that exceeded 600 here and there.

Even veteran knights and adventurers who specialize in monster extermination would not think of fighting them head-on.

“Should we have hidden before entering?”

Milt responded to Shin’s murmur.

“But, Shin, you were saying that the Lord absorbed the power of the other undead, right? Shouldn’t we reduce it a bit, just in case?”

“You have a point.”

Last time, there weren’t as many high-level individuals gathered here.

The area that was absorbing the demon essence should have been the entire Wraith Plain, but if its strength was determined by the total amount absorbed, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to reduce the number here. 

“For now, let’s just eliminate the ones that come after us. Apparently Wilhelm also told us not to provoke them carelessly, and I don’t know if the barrier will last if all of them head outside at once.”

It would be a disaster to do something like that on the first day of the investigation.

To check the situation first, Shin moved his arm horizontally to the ground on the spot. As if to follow his movement, a flaming arrow of about 10 cemels appeared in the air.

“It’s troublesome that so many of them have detection abilities that don’t rely on their five senses.”

While muttering this, Sety activated a similar skill.

There were some undead monsters that detect targets using things other than their sense organs, such as sight and smell. For such monsters, the Hidingskill was sometimes less effective or ineffective. 

In the descriptions containing the details of the monsters, some were written to have the ability to detect elements unknown to the player, such as detecting spiritual signs.

Most of the monsters were incorporeal type monsters such as wraiths and ghosts, and their weaknesses were clear, so Shin and his team did not have much difficulty in dealing with them.

“After firing, use Hiding】.”

“Roger that!”

Schnee prepared her skill next to Shin without even needing to call out her name.

With a small signal, Shin released a fire arrow together with Sety.

When the fire arrow pierced the volleyball-sized soul, Pozzet, that had come flying from the sky, it disappeared without a sound.

Divine magic skill 【Divine Bonfire】 – At first glance, it was a smaller version of the flame magic skill 【Fire Arrow】 that shoots out flaming arrows. However, contrary to its appearance, it was not fire attribute magic.

It only had enough power to shock nothing but undead monsters, and its speed was only slightly faster than a regular arrow. It was one of the skills that specialized against incorporeal monsters. High damage could be expected against high-level wraiths and ghost-type monsters.

“Everyone, if you have any ideas or suggestions, please let me know. In any case, we won’t be able to proceed until we find the entrance.”

Shin said as he made his way through the monsters, who had lost sight of their targets due to Schnee’s skill 【Hiding】.

However, as he continued his investigation until the sun came up, using 【Far Sight】and 【Magic Sonar】, he was unable to discover anything.

◆◆◆◆

“It’s already morning.”

“I thought for sure the entrance would be visible by now.”

Milt and Shin conversed in exhausted voices as they watched the undead monsters dive into the ground as the earth was illuminated by the rising sun.

It appeared that low-level Skullface would disappear at dawn, but this did not seem to be the case with the higher level ones.

Shin and the others had walked around all night, but had not found the entrance to the dungeon. Even though there were still some areas that had not been surveyed, they had finished checking the area that was the central part of the restricted area.

The game theory expected the entrance of this kind of dungeon was in the center of the area, but it was not that simple. 

“I wonder if there’s something in the corner of the restricted area?”

“I’ve seen something like that happen before, so I think the possibility is not zero.”

The fact that there was no response to the 【Magic Sonar】 also worried to Shin.

During the game, it was treated as a separate area, so it didn’t matter if there was no reaction from the dungeon under the entrance. However, as far as Shin knew, the dungeon and the entrance were completely connected spatially here. Even if they couldn’t find the entrance, they should be able to find the underground space, but they couldn’t find any response like that.

“By any chance, did something happen before we came here?”

Shin shook his head in reply to Milt’s concern.

“Isn’t it strange if the dungeon itself disappeared? Besides, Hades is half of Origin, right? If anyone is going to do something, it’s probably a demon, but she’ll probably just return the favor.”

Origin was an opponent that Shin, the best player in the game, cornered and managed to push through after using items like hot water. If he had been in a hurry and made the wrong choice of skills in the final moment, Shin might not be standing here. 

In terms of the game, it’s an existence that’s only talked about in lore, so it’s not known if it’s actually possible to fight. However, at the very least, it was supposed to be of a higher rank than the demon, and he couldn’t imagine it being defeated or manipulated.

“Shall we continue our investigation?”

“No, let’s report to the people at the base and get some rest. Finding the dungeon is important, but the real action will come after that.”

Thanks to his high stats, Shin still had plenty of energy left. However, even if his physical strength were fine, he would lose his concentration if he got sleepy. There was a non-zero chance that something could happen before finding the entrance to the dungeon, so Shin decided to be cautious.

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