96. One Difficulty After Another.
TLN: So I just realized that I had a bit of a translation inconsistency. I was going back and forth between Raidos and Reidos because they sounded the same in my head and my fingers would just do whatever. It’s all been standardized as Reidos now. I also retranslated Hardened Skin to Vulcanization because it sounds better and its more applicable to things without skin that way.
Salrut glared at Fran with eyes filled with hatred as Urushi held him down in front of her.
「The Godblade should belong to my country!」
So he really was after the Godblade. Well, it was a super weapon that was strong enough to throw off the balance of power held between nations. Reidos seemed kind of scummy, so it would only make sense for them to want it.
We weren’t able to extract any other information out of him. He let loose the fact that Reidos wanted the Godblade, but refused to say anything else thereafter. I guess it can’t be helped. Spies were tight lipped after all.
We probably could’ve gotten him to spill the beans if we tortured him, but there were children around, so yeah….
Besides, interrogating him was Serid’s job, not ours. If we went ahead and pried the information out of him, we might’ve ended up getting stuck in an international conflict. We were pretty much leg deep in it already, so I didn’t want us to get even more involved.
「I can’t believe he was deceiving us this whole time.」
The twins were still in shock. Apparently, he acted as their guard for over five whole years.
Salrut had claimed to have abandoned the Kingdom of Reidos about eight years ago. He then spent his days wandering around until he ended up somewhere in the Fyrias Kingdom. He happened to stumble upon the Queen as she was being attacked by insurgents, so he protected her, and thus, she decided to grant him a position of knighthood. He had worked as hard as he could for several years on end, and sp, he was eventually given the honor of guarding members of the royal family.
Okay, that’s pretty shady. So basically, he showed up at the same time as a bunch of insurgents and drove them off without taking even the slightest scratch despite being just one dude with a horse? Yeah, seems just a bit more than a bit fishy to me.
Wasn’t the queen like, a little too unwary of this sort of thing? I mean, I know he saved her life and all, but she literally placed a Reidosian knight in a position that allowed him direct contact with the royal family.
That thought led to a sneaking suspicion, so I decided to check Salrut’s equipment over just to figure out the effects of all the magic items he had on hand.
Name: Ring of Bonds
Effect: Makes it easier for the wearer to bond with other people. This item becomes more effective the longer one stays in contact with the wearer.
Honestly, I hadn’t paid it too much mind at first, but that was only because I didn’t think its effect to be too significant. It turned out that I was wrong. The ring’s effect was much more than I’d been expecting. I used the Eye of Empyria alongside Magical Perception and Sorcery in order to further investigate the item only to find that it’d been imbued with a very significant amount of magical power.
It wasn’t strong enough to brainwash people or anything like that, but was more than enough to make one throw almost all their wariness out the window.
「What are you doing!? Stop tha-geh!」
It looked like something really important, as Salrut started to struggle the moment we tried to take it from him, but Urushi immediately applied more force to his front paw and crushed all the dark knight’s resistance.
Apparently, he was having a lot of fun grinding Salrut into the ground with his paws. He’d even occasionally switch between his two front paws just so he could squish him a bit with each in turn. Every time he did, Salrut would let out a funny sounding groan, which only entertained the large, black wolf all the more.
「What is it, Fran?」
「Nn. Ring. Suspicious.」
Fran handed Salrut’s ring over to Serid after forcibly ripping it off his finger. Taking the ring away from him had seemed to be the right choice given the impatient tone the act had elicited in response.
Immediately following that, we decided to go around questioning all the knights. Normally, spotting one cockroach meant that there were actually around ten others roaming about, and spies were pretty much cockroaches in their own right. Through that act, we managed to weed out two more traitors.
And that was pretty much it. We did all we could for them so I returned to my usual form and returned to the sheath hanging off Fran’s back.
The next thing we decided to do was to head to Barbra, or least it was until we realized that the pirates still had treasure hidden away at their base. More importantly was the fact that that said base was on route. Apparently, it was hidden away amongst a bunch of islands.
It sounded like they had a bunch, so I was really looking forward to raiding the place. We ended up doing a tonne, so we totally needed a plentiful reward, right?
Captain Rengil asked the pirate captain an interesting question as we had the latter guide us over to his hideout.
「Attacking a ship and murdering the royalty on it really isn’t a pirate-like thing to do, is it?」
Wait, really? It sounded perfectly pirate-like to me.
Apparently Fran was wondering the same thing, so she immediately asked the captain for his reasoning.
「Well, pirates may be ruffians through and through, but, they don’t normally kill people who don’t fight back. They almost never harm anyone that chooses to surrender.」
「Really. Attacking ships the way they do is something that naturally incurs a lot of risk. Most ships tend to be guarded by mercenaries or adventurers, and they don’t even know what’s on the ship until after they take it over.」
Oh, I get it. So there’s a pretty good chance they’ll lose more than they gain.
「That’s why they normally choose to take hostages and demand ransom payments in exchange for their safety. It’s far more profitable for them that way. It’s kind of weird to put it like this, but the piracy business is built on trust. People wouldn’t pay ransom if they didn’t trust the pirates not to harm their hostages, after all.」
「Murdering members of the royal family is pretty much completely out of the pirates’ realm of operation. If their deeds were discovered, then whatever country the royals belonged to would likely send a subjugation force. Moreover, the public would lose trust in them and effectively force them to terminate their business.」
「Then, Serid’s suggestion, surrendering. Correct decision?」
「Under normal circumstances, yes. Surrendering would have been the best possible decision by far.」
Ohhhh, that’s how it is. Whoops. Sorry Serid, I really shouldn’t have started suspecting you because of that. I blame Salrut, it’s all his fault.
「We decided to accept the request because we really needed the money. Thought it’d work out because there wouldn’t be any proof.」
Apparently, Salrut had actually started probing them out about a week ago. That was probably right around when he started getting ready to have the prince and princess murdered.
The pirates had figured out that everything would go well so long as they followed Salrut’s instructions. They likely would have succeeded had we not been here. To Salrut, hiring Fran was akin to digging his own grave.
Well, technically, I guess he wasn’t the one that dug it out. The twins were responsible for the suggestion. The three of them got along pretty well, so they must’ve wanted to spend more time with her.
Either way, as far as Salrut was concerned, hiring Fran was akin to throwing another factor into the mix. He probably allowed it because the lack of an escort ship meant that they didn’t really have that many people to fend off any incoming magic beasts, and he himself wasn’t exactly planning to die at sea. The issue lay with the fact that he had no idea that she was strong enough to sink the entire pirate fleet with ease.
「Needed money? Why?」
「You remember the condition our ships were in?」
It looked like they’d just been through some sort of battle. Some of them even had holes in their decks.
「We needed money so we could have them repaired.」
「Why so damaged?」
「It all happened seven days ago…」
The pirate seemed to go straight down memory lane.
「We did the usual. We left our hideout in search of prey.」
His eyes seemed kind of hazy, as if he was looking at something far off in the distance. Come on, I really don’t care about all the this sentimental stuff. Just sum it up for us or something.
Apparently, they left their base as usual, one thing led to another, and they eventually ended up running into a gigantic magic beast. The magic beast instantly sank four of their ships, left two heavily damaged, and the rest in the state in which we first saw them.
「Yeah, it was a gigantic monster the likes of which I’d never seen before. If I had to guess, I’d say it was most likely some type of sea serpent.」
「I couldn’t see the whole thing, but, its girth was about the same as my ship’s.」
Woah, that’s big. If it was as wide as a ship, then it was most likely about a hundred odd meters long.
It was probably the magic beast that we’d heard about back in Dharz, the one that was seen hanging around the coastal area.
I don’t know if we’ll end up running into it, but I guess we should be extra careful just in case seeing as how we didn’t know the extent of its strength.
Wait, I feel like I might’ve just jinxed it. Nah… no way, right…?
「We’ve spotted a massive shadow in the ocean. It’s right in front of us.」
Okay, yeah, I definitely just jinxed it.
『Yeah, I know. Let’s go, Urushi!』
The magic beast we were about to challenge was one strong enough to completely demolish the pirate’s fleet with ease. This little ship of ours would probably be screwed if we just sat around and didn’t do anything.
「It’s right over there, Fran!」
We looked in the direction the captain was pointing, and surely enough, we saw something massive wriggling around beneath the water’s surface despite the fact that we were still over a hundred meters away from it.
「It looks like it’s heading right for us.」
「Can’t get away?」
「I doubt it. It’s a bit too quick for us.」
Well, I guess that means we’re going to have to fight. Wait, Fran, why are your eyes sparkling like that? We’re in a pretty bad spot here, you know?
「Victory goes to first to attack.」
『Hah…. Alright, I guess it can’t be helped. Let’s hit it with everything we’ve got.』
The only thing I was worried about was the fact that our attacks might not land given that the giant sea serpent was still underwater.
『Hey Urushi, could you try provoking it a bit so it surfaces?』
「Bark bark bark!」
Wow, they both seem like they really want to go at it. I mean, that’s good and all, but they’re almost kind of like warmongers at this point.
Alright, I guess Fran and I will get ready to attack while Urushi does his thing. The enemy’s body was so big that we had no choice but to go all out.
『I’m going to use my Telekinetic Catapult. Could you throw me while using wind magic and some sort of Elemental Blade to power it up?』
The first thing I did was transform and optimize my body in order to draw out as much power as possible. The image I had in mind was something like a bullet. I purged all my spare parts and carved a spiral like groove into my body.
My resulting form was one that I felt like I’d seen before. Ah, right, I very closely resembled a certain Archer’s rendition of Caladbolg, which was fine seeing as how I’d gained a lot more penetrating power.
I then proceeded to activate Flame Blade, wind magic, Vibration Fang, and Vulcanization simultaneously. Parallel Processing allowed it all to happen without a hitch.
『You ready, Fran?』
（Nn. Ready whenever.）
I began getting ready to use Telekinesis.
And then, our chance came.
「Urushi. Good job.」
Urushi had been firing potshots at the creature from above. It didn’t take him long to annoy it enough for it to finally surface. It’s giant head emerged from the sea as it attempted to chase him down. It was so big that it looked like it could probably swallow an entire blue whale with ease.
It didn’t look like a snake though. Instead, it moreso resembled an earthworm. Its mouth looked like that of a sea anemone in that it was lined with gigantic fangs.
『Yeah, let’s do this!』
Fran threw me with everything she had. Her throw alone was so powerful that it had enough kinetic energy to send me flying through anything on or below the level of a lesser wyvern.
I released all of the telekinetic force I’d been saving up and accelerated myself even further.
A massive impact force assaulted the magic beast the moment I made contact; a crater ten meters in diameter suddenly appeared where I assumed the creature’s neck was.
The impact was so powerful that it sent me flying off in some direction immediately afterwards. A good chunk of my blade had been destroyed, and the rest had cracks running through it. It looked like using Overboost really did put way too much strain on my body.
But I didn’t have any time to lament over the amount of damage my suicide attack had done to me.
『Holy crap! What the hell is this thing!?』
Appraising the magic beast had left me in a state of shock and awe.
Species Name: Midgard Wyrm (Sea serpent)
Absorption: Lv 2
Regeneration: Lv 2
Description: An ocean parasite said to have the ability to grow infinitely. It’s not very smart and does nothing but follow its instincts. It’ll even attempt to eat anything that moves. It lacks any sort of unique abilities, the only thing special about it is its size. However, it is precisely its size that causes its enemies the most trouble. Legends have said that these creatures have even swallowed entire islands in the past. It is extremely difficult to kill, and is considered an A level threat. Its magic stone is located in its heart.
Seriously? It’s got over 30k HP!? The attack we just used didn’t even chunk 10% of its total health. To make matters worse, it was an A level threat.
It didn’t have that many skills, and if you only looked at its skills, you’d probably think that it was really weak. Its only selling point was that it was big. Seriously though, it was way too big for anyone’s good…
『Tsk. What a pain.』
 I’m honestly not sure how to best represent this sound effect in English, so I kinda just let it be. I know it’s some sort of screech mixed with a roar, but I can’t put it into English words without it sounding stupid.