I sat down in the back of the tent on a cushion, and the soldiers gathered around me and sat down in a circle, cross-legged in western style. We left the tent flaps half open, so that the air wouldn’t get too stuffy. I stirred the cup of water that Claudia sitting next to me offered.
Across from Claudia was Gunther, and next to him was the soldier named Agil, and they had tense expressions on their faces.
By Claudia’s side were some men and women in dirty clothes, looking at us nervously with extremely unsettled expressions. They seem to be the leaders of Cyril village’s militia. There’s not enough men in this domain, even women have to be part of the militia.
Sitting down in the innermost part of the tent was Cyril village’s mayor, he was looking at me with a frightened expression. Due to the incident in this village before with the orphan girl, I see that the fear instilled in him for having him and his daughter flogged in front of the other villagers hasn’t faded.
Sitting down in a place farthest from the center, was the boy novice soldier from before, looking around in puzzlement. It seems that his name is Paulo, and after being ordered by Claudia to collect information, he’s returned really quickly.
“Paulo, report on the monster that the villagers saw.”
As expected, he wasn’t used to these sorts of gatherings, and Paulo replied with a high-pitched voice filled with nervousness. He met Gunther’s sharp gaze and squeaked a little, then swallowed his saliva several times to collect himself.
“According to the villagers, while patrolling to guard against the fire moths, in the forest just north of the village, they seem to have seen a large creature they’ve never seen before that look similar to a gigantic rizer earth lizard. Because it seems to prey on sheep, it could be damaging to the village if we just leave it alone.”
A carnivorous gigantic lizard, eh. ……Indeed, it doesn’t sound like we can just let it be. It’s been discovered too close to the village. It’s right next to the patrol route for guarding against the fire moths.
And if it really turns out to be magical beasts, I’ll take measures against it described in the book on magical beasts.
“Do you have a more detailed description of the monster?”
“Yes. It’s different from the earth lizard, instead of scales, it seems to be covered in some sort of crystal resembling rock and ice.”
Then he went on to describe the more detailed features, and all I could imagine was a true monster. Since it snows year round at the Amon Nor Mountains close to here, there’s many monsters with ice magic, so it’s quite likely that it’s some sort of gigantic ice lizard. Once again, I was faced with the fact that there were actual monsters within my domain.
“It’s probably an ice lizard known as a Radoshishiruka. It’s a type of magical beast with the magic to freeze anything it touches with its claws.”
“Mmm, it’ll be nice if we can catch one and preserve its meat for summer supplies.”
Gunther made a joke, but unfortunately it didn’t go over too well.
“No, we can’t. Ice lizard claws contain poison, which will also attack whatever they freeze. We’ll have to get rid of it before it attacks the village.”
I concluded that the monster sighted in the forest was an ice lizard, and the village’s militia was to surround the forest with torches of fire. Ice lizards are weak against fire, and hate the heat. It’s very strange that such a creature would come down from the snowy mountains during the summer, but after all it’s difficult to understand the abnormal monster behavior during their active periods.
“Claudia and I will remain outside the forest. Don’t forget to heat your weapons up with fire before attacking them.”
After our preparations were finished, we headed for the forest. Five soldiers carried buckets of red hot charcoal, for the sake of another ten weapon wielding soldiers.
Even if they get injured against the ice lizard and are no longer able to go to Fort Jugfena, this number can be replaced by people from the village.
Gunther led them with spear in hand, and the soldiers entered the forest in droves. The trees gradually hid them from sight, and soon I couldn’t even see their shadows anymore.
“It’ll be good if they can finish this safely……”
Paulo standing behind me muttered that under his breath. He hadn’t entered the forest, and he had probably picked up on the anxiety of the villagers surrounding the forest with torches.
“If you’re someone that believes in the path of military arts, then proudly believe in your companions, and wait for them without getting flustered.”
When Claudia chimed in with a calmer voice than usual, Paulo hurriedly straightened his back and turned to face the forest again. The silence caused the feeling of tension in the air to spread.
Then – the yelling of the soldiers could be heard from within the forest.
Everyone couldn’t help but stare at the forest. A sense of urgency was transmitted along with their cries. Someone beside me audibly gulped.
Mixed in with the soldiers’ screams, the sound of Gunther roaring resounded through the air. I could tell that they were struggling, and I clenched my sleeves tightly.
“……Hey, isn’t it getting colder?”
I wonder who it was that mentioned it first.
Imperceptibly, the air around us had begun to chill, and people were beginning to rub their arms as they detected the cold. Since it’s summer, everyone was wearing short sleeves, and they were trying to warm themselves up as the air had now gotten noticeably colder.
At this moment, a mysterious sound came from the forest.
It was a small sound that sounded like the cracking of a whip. When the sound began to repeat itself over and over again, the soldiers in the forest could be heard raising their voices in anger and confusion. Along with their screams, it sounded like hard objects were clashing with each other.
Something strange is happening in there. It was completely silent outside the forest. Including me, everyone’s eyes were glued to the forest.
“L, look at that! The forest is freezing over!”
One of the villagers shouted that in panic. A commotion immediately began spreading.
When I looked at the direction the person who had shouted was pointing at, the trees were really freezing over, encased in ice. Slowly but surely, the area of ice was spreading. The area being frozen over just kept increasing. Finally, from the forest’s direction, a voice could be heard saying the same thing.
“Enough magic to freeze over the entire forest, eh……”
The cold air from earlier must have been caused by this. Whether Gunther and the others were still alright, I was quite anxious. Everything must be frozen solid around the ice lizard.
The fact that they had leather armor instead of metal armor has actually helped out for once. If they had been wearing metal armor on top of their light summer clothing, they probably would have taken much more damage due to frostbite.
Even if screams were coming from the forest, all I could do was listen to them.
Then, Claudia suddenly jumped in front of me.
Before I could even ask why, a gigantic lizard that was knocking down the trees in its path appeared in front of Claudia. The ice lizard had arrows stuck all over its body, and silver blood was flowing out of its injuries at a fast rate.
“Wah! It appeared!”
Behind us, the villagers were all screaming.
“Paulo-dono, get back!!”
At the same time that Paulo grabbed me and started retreating, prompted by Claudia’s voice, Claudia pulled out her sword from her waist. Her sword wasn’t very long, but she threw it with an amazing amount of force for such a slender wrist at the ice lizard.
Thud, the sword made a sound as it pierced the ice lizard’s head. However, the gigantic lizard still didn’t perish. It opened its huge mouth and revealed a set of fiendishly sharp teeth, and eyed the obstacle in front of it, Claudia.
I couldn’t help but shout out her name.
Claudia’s long golden hair was beautifully spreading in the air. Its beauty seemed terribly out of place here, as I watched Claudia gracefully jumping and dodging. She escaped the jaws of the ice lizard, and with both hands, she stabbed her spear into the ice lizard’s neck.
A larger, duller sound rang out than when the sword had struck the ice lizard. Claudia had used her own weight and momentum to be able to pierce through the ice lizard entirely.
I snatched a torch from a villager standing close to me.
Despite the danger, Claudia grabbed the torch I threw at her with one hand. She heated up her spear stuck in the ice lizard with the torch.
The ice lizard was wriggling violently. From where the heated spear pierced it, it was spouting white smoke that seemed very much like water vapor.
“Keep going just like that!”
Gunther suddenly appeared from the forest, and swung down his broadsword in his right hand at the ice lizard’s neck.
Following him, more soldiers also appeared, surrounded the ice lizard, and swung their swords.
A pool of silver blood spread quickly around their feet.
Before long, the ice lizard finally stopped moving, and the soldiers finally collapsed down onto the ground.
The corpse of this ice lizard that was covered in a spear, arrows, swords, and its own blood, was quite a sublime sight to behold.