13-32 On-site Inspection
Right after Gloria had left the village, Heintz Lash advised Lithia.
“Quasi-baron Farheight, I think it is too risky to have Miss Gloria go there alone. Having 2-3 people tag along would be much better. If possible, I would like to accompany her myself.”
Lithia was taken aback.
She decided to have two of the skilled horse riders from the soldiers who were stationed tag along with Heintz.
“Mr. Heintz, please be careful.”
Lithia passed them some dried meat and water bottles.
“I’m greatly thankful for your concern.”
After receiving it, Heintz Lash gave the other two their portion and said,
“We’ll be galloping ‘till we reach Miss Gloria!”
As soon as he finished saying, he whipped his horse and sped out. The other two followed after.
Lithia saw them off with a worried look ‘till they were no longer visible.
Hearing a call from behind, Gloria stopped her horse and glanced back.
She spotted Heintz and two others galloping towards her. And so she stood and waited.
“…Orders from Ms. Farheight. We’re to accompany you.”
“Understood, let’s go together.”
Gloria and Heintz lined up and advanced together. It was already quite bright outside, with white summer clouds drifting in the sky.
Heintz handed some dried meat and a water bottle to Gloria.
“From Ms. Farheight. You won’t be able to perform your best when needed since you skipped breakfast.”
Being knights, they had no problem eating while riding. Even while eating and drinking, they did not slack the reins. The soldiers following also kept up.
“….Well, Mr. Lash, could you tell me more about this monster?”
Gloria asked Lash after finishing eating.
“Yeah… I lost consciousness in the middle of it all so I can’t really speak of it in detail but I think it was at least 50 meters tall. And it had… 4 eyes, if I am not wrong. They shone red.”
“50 meters… eh?”
“Yes. It threw up some sort of liquid from its mouth–and everything that touched, whether it’s some tree or even a boulder, they all started melting, giving off white smoke.”
“T-that sounds terrifying.”
“That’s about all I know. After that, Mr. Machina’s golem guided us to this area which had a silver glow… I don’t remember anything past that. Before I realized, we were in Toka village.”
How did he defeat such a monster? — Gloria could not imagine such a scenario even if she tried.
The path forward was a gentle slope upwards and as they kept advancing, less and less greeneries could be seen. After passing a wasteland full of boulders, they were faced with a sudden uphill.
“We’ll probably reach in about an hour.”
The two of them slowed their pace and proceeded with caution.
“Would it be better to ready ourselves to draw at any time?”
“No, I don’t think we could do anything to it with a sword. I think it would be better to be careful of the surroundings more.”
Heintz answered Gloria’s question with a bitter smile.
And so, another thirty minutes later, the two of them stopped their horses. The soldiers following did the same.
“We should be close to the scene now. Let’s proceed with caution.
Hearing that, the group focused themselves anew and started slowly walking with their horses.
“….There’s a weird smell here.”
Gloria muttered, holding her nose.
“This is the centipede’s liquid’s smell.”
Heintz answered, holding down his nose as well.
The group became even more cautious than before, paying attention to everything around them.
And then, seeing that ahead of the curved path in front of them, the four froze. The horses also stopped in their tracks out of fear.
The thing that was lying there–it was like a scene out of hell.
Countless corpses of enormous centipedes of over 10 meter in length.
“Mr. Lash! This is way more than just five!”
“Y-yes… then, after that, even more of them came crawling out…”
Heintz felt a chill down his spine, seeing more than hundreds of such corpses lying in front of him.
While still on the horse, they went closer to the one noticeably bigger corpse.
Gloria could not help but stare in wonder, seeing the body cleanly cut in two, probably with a huge sword.
“He… he can cut a monster of this size…?”
Gloria tried slashing at its shell as a test.
And with a high pitch sound, the sword’s blade broke off.
“It sure does not feel like it could be cut with a sword.”
The sword she brought with her this time wasn’t the one Jin made, it was one made with the usual steel.
And such a sword’s steel stood no chance against the centipede’s toughness. Gloria realized anew, the fact that although Machina’s strength is very reliable, it is also a threat.
They looked inside the shell to find some sort of a yellow colored liquid. It seems to be the liquid these centipedes released from their mouth. Gloria nonchalantly thrusted her sword into that liquid.
The steel sword gave off a white smoke and melted away just like that.
“Ms. Gloria! I told you about this! The fact that its liquid can dissolve anything. Although, it seems like the liquid does not do anything to itself.”
Looking at her now broken, melted off sword, Gloria muttered,
“….I wonder if Mr. Jin would make me one if I asked……”
“It seems Ms. Gloria, Mr. Heintz and two other soldiers reached the scene.”
Laojun, who was monitoring the Inado mine’s situation using the surveillance system Koushin, muttered.
He could clearly see Gloria’s surprised expression.
“It would be better to clean it up after having them see it, after all.”
The shell would make for great material so Laojun planned on collecting them from the start but to display what went down there, he just took the five 50 meter class ones and left the rest.
He had just witnessed Gloria trying to cut the centipede’s body and try to touch the liquid with her sword.
“It’s the liquid that melted even the Land units a bit. Simple steel would not be able to endure it.”
Laojun does not have a face but if he had, he would definitely be wearing a wry smile right about now. It is possible for the mobile terminal golem Laozi however.
“They are lucky the centipede’s liquid is very volatile.”
It would be extremely dangerous if the whole area had been a sea of such liquid but in about two hours, most of the liquid had evaporated. Only the shells remained.
That too will evaporate in a few more hours. It would prevent anyone from misusing them so Laojun didn’t mind.
After all, they had collected that liquid more than necessary from the four bodies of the 50 meter pedes.
“Hmm, it seems they are going to check the mine too, for what it matters.”
He said as he saw Gloria and her group climb up the mountain.
“…..It’s completely unusable, huh?”
Heintz said, looking at the sorry state of the mine. They couldn’t even tell which was the entrance from all the rumble and the remains of general purpose golems.
“Was it worth sacrificing expensive golems?”
Gloria asked, not really pointing towards anybody.
“No clue. I just followed my superior’s orders.”
To the knight Heintz, disobeying orders was something unthinkable.
“…..Let’s head back.”
Gloria announced with a sigh, turning around her horse.
Heintz and the other two followed after.