Chapter 372: The Cradle
”What do you mean, you are not coming along? ” Seth asked in surprise.
”I mean, that I am not coming along. I will work stay here and work on those books the old man gave you. ”
”You mean Master Mountain? ”
”But we need you! ” Seth pleaded desperately.
What about his easy bus? Al had finally evolved into a permanent summon only to tell him, that she would not follow him anymore! Seth had looked forward to watching the sorceress slaughter mobs and reaping the experience from behind!
But he couldn ’t force her. In his heart of hearts, he knew that he could not force her to be his shuttle. She had already fulfilled her duty by building him one. It was not the same kind of shuttle, but he had to live with it.
Once again, he would have to rely on Puffles for the hard work.
~ Don ’t degrade the great me like this! ~
”I ’m joking, I ’m joking. ”
~Maybe I should stay, too. Then Mom would have some opportunity to spend time with his child. ~ the ivicer teased.
Seth felt hurt. Not only did Puffles not want to be his bus, he even wanted him to be the bus for someone else. However, he wasn ’t wrong. During the journey, Seth lacked the peace of mind to really care for the little Imugi.
The blacksmith also wasn ’t really the type to go on journeys without a good reason. Maybe this was a chance for him and his new pet to bond and have it gain some strength.
”Fine, I won ’t rely too much on you, Puffle. But you have to come along, in case stuff goes wrong. This isn ’t a day trip after all. This is serious business.
~ I shall only come out when I deem it necessary. I ’m still digesting after all. ~
Seth waited for a moment when he realized that there would be no snarky comment from Al. She wasn ’t in his headspace anymore.
”Lazy Worm, ” Al said out loud. Seth looked at her surprised.
”Pff, I can still hijack your telepathy. Better than before even. Don ’t worry so much and just leave. The bus is fully fueled and there should be no problems getting there and back. ”
”Okay then, we are off. ”
The sorceress had explained the controls to Duhu and a few members of the Oathguard that would come along on this trip. When they turned the key, the bus started hovering gently above the ground.
The passengers watched the cavern and the main entrance of Minas Mar pass by as the vehicles gently levitated outside. Once the surrounding was clear of obstacle, the speed picked up quickly.
Compared to their height and the speed of the landscape changing below, Seth was surprised by how comfortable their flight was. It was no different from driving in a normal bus. The only difference was that they were watching the mountain range flow past below them, instead of a road.
Like he had predicted; Jess and James had soon fallen asleep.
Seeing the performance, Seth was sure these things would sell like hot cakes if their energy consumption wasn ’t this abysmal.
That ’s right, the bus was using the mana crystals Minas Mar fabricated and sold to the government. And not a little number. This made it unprofitable for anybody except Minas Mar, who could produce them in bulk.
Even then, they had to justify the production to the Chrona Empire, so they wouldn ’t be able to use the bus for fun rides.
”Duhu, are you okay? ”
The Tigerman had been staring out of the window with a forlorn gaze.
”Hmm, oh, yeah. I ’m okay. ”
”Don ’t worry too much. I ’m sure they are okay. ” Seth tried to comfort the mountain of muscle and fur.
”You are probably right. Let ’s hope you are. ” Duhu answered and rubbed something in his hand.
Only now did Seth notice the letter in the big man ’s hand. It was Lani ’s letter. Had he kept reading it the whole time? He patted his shoulder but said no more.
”What are those? ”
”Are those… eagles? ”
”The eagles! ” someone quoted, but it was a bad joke!
Just outside the vicinity of Delta, they faced a pair of giant eagles that suddenly attacked their flying bus.
They had not been traveling through the skies for long before the first flying monsters appeared. It was to be expected as they had chosen the direct route to Beta instead of secure trails explored by the few travelers and messengers that traveled between the districts.
The mountains were filled with strong and highly territorial monsters, many of them flying. This made them very annoying for one simple reason: The moment they realized they could not win the fight; they would use their aerial advantage to flee.
Without the Chrona Empire ’s protection, Delta District would have long been overrun by Demons or Monsters like these.
As mentioned, the moment the eagles were struck by several of Archer ’s Arrows, they let off and fled from the fight. Had they tried to chase the eagles, they would have probably been unable to catch up.
It did not matter, though. They had a more important mission, so nobody had any interest in hunting them. Except for one. A pair of big, dark eyes kept following the eagles in the distance.
~ B-but they looked delicious! Why can ’t we hunt them? ~
”We don ’t have the time. IF you want delicious things, I can give you some of the food Link has prepared. You like his meals, right? ”
~Can i? Yay! ~
Although the little imugi happily inhaled the food Seth gave him, through their connection he could feel its reluctance of letting the eagles go. For him to feel it, it had to be more than some suddenly fancy or curiosity.
Was it because the imugi was technically a snake? Some inborn enmity with eagles, maybe? Seth also vaguely remembered that there were other legendary creatures like a Roc or a Pheonix who were known as the hereditary enemies of snakes.
Seth let his thoughts drift while looking at the changing landscape below. He remembered that there were certain conditions that had to be met for an imugi to turn into a dragon.
At first, the blacksmith had thought that it may only need a lot of levels to turn it into a dragon. He remembered some novels, where monsters would evolve after reaching a certain level.
But what if the imugi was like Puffles and needed to meet specific conditions to evolve. The ivicer needed to consume special ores or energies to grow.
Was the imugi the same? Maybe its compulsive appetite for some things was a hint to that? At least it seemed more likely than needed a dragon ’s blessing or essence to evolve like in the legends he knew.
As they continued their flight, they kept chasing off monsters in a similar manner. There were many kinds of giant birds but also weird stuff like Ice Bats.
Seth would have loved to see something cool and classy, like a real griffin or a Pegasus. Then he could have asked Ethan if they could try and tame one of those. But he was thoroughly disappointed.
Except for the birds who were split into beasts that evolved from the mana and some that had come here through the pathworks, there were only ugly things like the Ice Bats and demonic beasts. They also spotted some undead.
The mountains were not peaceful. They avoided many fights because a lot of the creatures here were already locked in combat with each other. The mountain range outside the districts was in a constant war for survival.
Just having some semi-safe trails between the districts was already a blessing, if one saw what was going on here. Seth suddenly felt very lucky, that the worst they had faced were the ice trolls.
”Beta is finished… ” Seth heard someone mumble in the back. It was Jess and James whispering with each other as they stared out the window. They had woken up at some point and were constantly staring outside.
”What do you mean? ” the blacksmith asked.
”Oh! Errm… i.: ” James who had mumbled it tried to formulate his thoughts.
”What he means is, that currently beta is being invaded from the sea and the leadership has already been overrun. Now all the people are brainlessly running in the opposite direction of the enemy army. In which are the mountains. ”
Everyone knew about the secure trails but only a few actually knew those paths. This meant all the civilians running for their lives would fall back to common knowledge. They would use either highways or try their luck with the maglev rails.
The problem was that of those were safe. All streets and rails in the open field would crawl with monsters, while the extensive subterranean tunnels that connected the districts were confirmed to have turned into giant dungeons.
Those people were stuck between a rock and a hard place.
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