A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special - Chapter 203

 

A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special Novel


Chapter 203. Under their Noses (2)



The Starling Party divided themselves by gender, unpacked their belongings into their respective rooms, before gathering on the first floor to have dinner.




“This is rather nice.”




“The food is tasty as well.”




The inn was favorably spoken of. The facilities were quite all right and the meal was rather delicious.




After finishing the meal, they gathered in the men’s room.




“Isn’t it strange that we are the only foreigners to visit in these past few months?”




Romantica voiced the question that was on all of their minds.


The innkeeper said that the Starling Party members were the only foreigners that had visited this territory recently.




However, this was a strange statement.




“Because Count Nordin clearly traded goods with the merchant group of the Kingdom of Divide.”




This was an indisputable fact that Desir had attained through Ayuls Media.




Other than the Starling Party, the merchant groups of the Kingdom of Divide must have entered this territory.




“It’s still too early to make a hasty conclusion. It may be that the innkeeper simply isn’t aware of any other visitors.”




The Nordin Territory was not small by any stretch of the imagination. They could not rule out the possibility that the innkeeper was unaware of happenings outside his limited area of expertise.


The next morning, the Starling Party decided to spread out and gather information.




Desir went alone. This was the most convenient option for him.




‘Taking others with me would make it quite tricky to avoid attracting attention.’




The Starling Party had become the center of attention in the Nordin Territory, a place that rarely encountered foreigners. This posed quite the problem. Since Desir was trying to hide his status as a Royal Guard, attracting unwanted attention could compromise their mission..




Though it would inhibit their progress, the Starling Party had to act as carefully as possible for the time being. They didn’t have any other choice.




Desir decided that, in order to maintain their cover story of monster suppression, it would be best if he gathered information alone while supposedly gathering supplies. The other party members chose tasks of their own, and they all set out to gather whatever information they could.




‘This is quite serious.’




Desir had made a huge mistake when he arrived. He assumed it would be easy to find clues on the large-scale merchant groups that supposedly came through.




Desir was busy all morning moving around. He visited a grocery shop and a herbal shop while pretending to buy food.




Even though he went to different places where a lot of people were likely to come and go, he was not able to find any information regarding the merchant group from the Kingdom of Divide.




All he had to work with was the knowledge that the innkeeper had shared inaccurate information. It was too early to tell whether this was a deliberate action, or whether they were truly ignorant of the events happening here.




Desir’s work wasn’t all for naught. He eventually caught wind of another group of foreigners who had visited recently, but it still wasn’t what he was looking for. There wasn’t anyone who


had seen any merchant groups transporting or trading a large amount of goods.




If the merchant group of the Kingdom of Divide entered this territory, then it should be impossible for none of the public to be aware of something at that scale. The wagons to move the supplies and the labor forces would have been easily noticed.




However, no one knew anything about it.




“Merchant groups? No. If they came, I would’ve known. I mean, foreigners rarely visit this place.”




Desir trudged along with a face that dripped with disappointment from not being able to attain any useful information.




As he wallowed in self-pity, a blacksmith’s shop caught his eye. He decided to make it his last stop and see if he could at least get some form of intel he could work with.




There were different kinds of weapons hanging from the walls of the blacksmith’s shop, but the quality of each piece was


remarkably high. Pondering for a moment, this assortment and level of wares made sense though, seeing as the city was near the border between two of the most war-prone nations on the continent.




The steady, continuous echoing of hammer strikes suddenly stopped and the owner of the shop appeared. He was a very small, elderly man.




He squinted his eyes and looked up towards Desir.




“I see a new face.”




“I came here yesterday after receiving a request for monster suppression.”




Desir automatically gave his pre-prepared answer.




“Monster suppression?”




The old man seemed quite startled.



“I thought the rumor of an unruly monster near the border had reached everywhere, but I guess not everyone is aware.”




Because the Nordin Territory was next to the border, the rumor of a monster appearing nearby had spread far and wide, especially in this town.




And for that reason, no one had doubted the Starling Party who claimed to have come for the monster suppression.




“Ahhh, you were talking about the monster that appeared near the border.”




Desir noticed his strange tone and decided to humor the old craftsman.




“The monster by the border? Does that mean there’s another monster around?”




“Well, yes. That’s why I was surprised. I thought you were here to suppress that monster.”


“What?”




“Haha, it may seem strange to you, but that monster is actually a great help to this territory.”




A monster that was helpful to humans.




This unique story grabbed Desir’s attention.




“Could you tell me more about it?”




“I assume you have passed the cliff while coming here?”




The blacksmith pointed down with his finger.




“Under the cliff, there is a very strong monster. Basically, there’s a monster beneath this city.”




A bottomless cliff. Desir thought about the cliff he passed while riding the wagon.



“Out here in the Western Region, monster attacks are a common occurrence. It’s not abnormal for villages to be attacked and people to be killed. Ever since that monster settled down though, the attacks in this province have nearly stopped.”




“So they’re treating this place as the monster’s territory… ”




“Exactly. No monsters dare to come up here.”




It was understandable that other monsters were unwilling to approach; if a truly powerful monster had settled here, no other monsters would want to anger it.




However, that alone wasn’t reason enough to warrant the monster’s survival. It was still a threat.




“But that strong monster could be rather dangerous, is that not so?”




“That’s the peculiar thing about it. It never comes up the cliff, ever. If we don’t go down the cliff, where it has set up its nest, then it doesn’t really attack us. That’s why we don’t have a


particular need to suppress it.”




Indeed, there was no need for ordinary people to go down such a dangerous cliff. As long as that was the case, it would be more beneficial to have a symbiotic relationship with the monster, which blocked the invasions of the other monsters, than to suppress it.




“Do you know what kind of monster it is, by any chance?”




“I’m not sure. We know of its existence due to its occasional cry when we pass the cliff, but there’s probably no one who has seen it. Especially since any person that got close enough to do so probably died as a result.”




“I see.”




Desir thanked the old man who kindly explained the situation and left the shop.




Before he knew it, the sun was already setting. Desir returned to the inn.



After a moment of waiting in the room, the other party members arrived as well.




When Desir noticed their expressions, which weren’t very bright, he knew that the results of their investigations weren’t great either.




“I’m sorry, brother.”




“No one has seen any merchant groups.”




“As if they’ve disappeared into the ground or the sky, I haven’t been able to find any trace of any traders made.”




All of the members had grim looks on their faces due to their lack of results.




“We’ve only been looking for a single day. Since we don’t have any better ideas for now, let’s just continue investigating while proceeding with the monster suppression.”


Desir attempted to lift their morale before dismissing them after briefly outlining the monster suppression that they would proceed with the next day.




* * *




The monster that the Starling Party had decided to suppress was known as a Basilisk.




It was most recently seen in the heart of a mountain not too far from the Nordin Territory.




The Starling Party, who had to traverse a steep mountain pass, were quickly able to discover traces of a monster.




There was a long, continuous trail of something enormous that had knocked down numerous trees as it swept through.




‘We found the place.’




Seeing the trail of dried up bushes and what seemed like the trail of a snake, Desir was confident that they had found the


right place.




‘The trail was found right after we moved a little away from the Nordin Territory.’




The tail-marks had very clearly kept their distance from the human settlements, or more specifically, where the powerful monster had nested. It seemed like the smith’s story had been true.




“Looking at this trail, I think it’s circling around here. It will return on its own, even if we don’t chase after it.”




Desir’s prediction proved correct. A tumultuous sound soon filled the air as the sound of trees falling down echoed from a place not too far away.




Judging from the sound alone, it wasn’t just one or two monsters approaching.




“The number of monsters approaching here is rapidly increasing.”



Romantica, who had been busy invoking detection spells, hurriedly delivered this information.




There seemed to be more than ten monsters.




Basilisks were an extremely dangerous monster. They were even intelligent. The danger posed by a whole pack of them increased many-fold more than when they were alone. Their intellect allowed them to communicate like humans would, rather than most other animals that attacked wildly.




“Careful, basilisks emit poison that can petrify a body. You’re a goner if it touches you.”




Adjest and Pram unsheathed their swords. Desir, Romantica, and Ronde started to arrange spells.




Desir snuck a look at Ronde.




Ronde was struggling to complete his spell properly. To him, this was the first real battle he had encountered. It was normal to be nervous.




Desir nudged Ronde’s trembling shoulder.




“Ronde.”




“Y-Yes?”




“Don’t be too nervous.”




The Starling Party took up a circle formation, keeping Ronde in the center with his party members around him. With this simple repositioning, the party was giving Ronde a gentle reminder that he wasn’t alone on the battlefield, that his party members would protect him.




Ronde pulled himself together before nodding.




“All right.”




And so the battle began.






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