598 – Carrier Hell and Blind Spot
From then on, the hunting goes unexpectedly smoothly. I fly up, then treant releases his [Tree Spiritisation] and aims for a death carry with [Meteor Stamp]. Aro and I then do our best to keep the rest at bay with [Gale] and [Dimension Claw], while I swoop down to pick him up.
With this procedure, we succeed in killing another three death carriers.
I pick up the treant from the swamp and fly up. At the start this was a little dangerous, but I’ve gotten used to it. I’m able to pick him up without letting any death carriers get close.
『…I-I thought this time was no good.』
In my forefoot, the treant trembles… I-it is scary, after all. I guess that does make sense.
While flying up, I also check his level. He’s risen from【Lv: 71/85】to【Lv: 78/85】.
S-seven whole levels already!? As A- ranks, the death carriers are higher ranks than him. On top of that [Demon Lord’s Favour] is doubling his experience gain.
A-at this rate he might reach maximum level surprisingly easily. It seems like there are still many more death carriers hidden in the swamp.
『Treant! You’ve gone up seven levels!』
『I-is that true, master-dono? O-okay then, please keep dropping me!』
Treant happily flaps his wings.
I toss him towards the swamp. He releases his [Tree Spiritisation] and falls with [Meteor Stamp].
I immediately dive down, chasing the falling treant while holding the death carriers in place with [Gravity].
They’ve learned our attack pattern by now. It’s entirely possible that they could dodge him if I didn’t hold them still.
Another death carrier is hit directly. Blood spurts from its mouth, and it floats on the surface of the swamp. Aro’s [Gale] blows away the death carriers that have gather to try to eat the treant.
『Great, great, let’s keep this up and level up even more!』
It occurs just as I swoop down above the swamp and reach out to collect the treant. The water level in the area seems to swell up, and then a pillar of muddy water shoots up to bind my rear leg. I swing my leg hard to break it, but then additional pillars of mud shoot up one after the other.
Wh-what is this!? Is it the death carriers’ [Clay]!? But the number of attacks and scale seem way too much.
A swarm of snakes surface simultaneously. Th-there’s nearly twenty of them. There were this many A- monsters hiding here!?
It seems that while I was leisurely dropping the treant, they were gathering stealthily. Each set of three eyes glare at me, open wide.
It seems that even though they have [God of Madness], they still have a minimal amount of planning ability. I was too naive. Of course they’d develop a counter strategy if we just repeated the same thing again and again.
B-but, it would have been near impossible to raise the treant’s level without relying on this one-shot attack. [Meteor Stamp] is his only way to securely deal damage to a higher rank opponent.
『Anyway, we need to escape upwards…!』
The death carriers all open their mouths. Balls of purple flames shoot towards me from all directions. This must be their [Cursed Flame Sphere].
I use [Mirage] as I lunge to the side. One of the spheres bursts against my leg, but this much isn’t a problem. Attacks like these probably won’t hurt no matter how many I take.
Distracted by my illusion, the death carriers fire off [Cursed Flame Spheres] in the wrong direction. Great, this should be the end of the difficulty. They surprised me a bit, but I’m glad to see nearly twenty new targets. Aro and I will have to step up our assistance to keep treant from getting eaten though.
It happens just as I’m flying up away from the swamp. Something shines from the water.
Before I can realise what I’ve seen, the swamp surface breaks and an object shoots towards me. It’s far faster than a death carrier. It was hidden perfectly, and my attention was distracted by the death carriers, so my reaction comes far too late.
The thing shooting towards me looks like a magenta human. It has white eyes and its entire body is covered in slime.
Creepiest of all are its complete lack of arms and its unbelievable length. It’s stretches out in a straight line from the swamp.
It clings to my chest and bites through my flesh. A sudden wave of nausea and vertigo assaults me. It got past my status condition resistance…?
I fling it away from me with my free foreleg. It twists through the air to try and sneak behind me.
Flying backwards, I swing my arm to cut it off. Knocked away by my claws, it shoots down back into the swamp, even faster than it came.
Wh-what was that…? There’s no doubt that it’s stronger than a death carrier. But its appearance is far too strange.
“Dr-dragon-god-sama, what was…?”
Aro fearfully asks me.
『I don’t know… A snake, I guess? Be careful, it might aim for you next time.』
I scoop out some of the flesh around where it bit, and then heal with [Autoregeneration]. The flesh around the bite had started to rot. Not only did it do serious damage to me, but it inflicted some status conditions on me. It’s an incredibly powerful poison.
『…It’s probably the master of this swamp. I guess it’s also probably responsible for the death carriers’ sudden coordination.』
While that thing’s around, it’s too dangerous to keep throwing the treant into the swamp. I’m only grateful that it chose to target me, and not treant this time. Depending on the timing, it could easily decide to eat him first.
『A-are we going to…stop?』
Treant looks up at me uneasily. He’s probably thinking that if this opportunity goes to waste, he won’t ever be able to evolve.
I shake my head.
『We need to accept some level of danger. In the first place, we don’t have much time. It would be great if there as a safe and efficient way to conquer this Forest of Ngai, but this place isn’t so easy.』
『Then… Let’s do this!』
『Yeah! Let’s take out that slithery thing and get back to hunting death carriers!』