Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
A New Means of Transportation
Hikaru sensed the mana within the serpent gradually weakening. Mana Detection sent information directly to his brain, but while he could perceive an object or living creature’s shape, he couldn’t tell how big it was exactly. A small rock containing a huge amount of mana would appear to him as a huge boulder. Conversely, a giant having little mana would seem like a midget.
He felt the serpent’s mana clearly when it was moving, but now that it was still, the feedback was getting weaker. If Hikaru were to step on its body again, it might start to move, but its reaction would not be very fast. It would take time for the huge body to fall to the ground.
All right. Here goes nothing.
Hikaru held his wakizashi in an underhand grip like a javelin thrower, pointing the tip at the serpent’s head.
The weapon swished through the air and hit the serpent on its head, its blade sinking in without any resistance. The weapon’s guard prevented it from going any deeper. Gently, the serpent’s head swayed.
That’s ten points on Throwing and three points on Snipe for you.
「Is it dead?」
As the head fell, Hikaru switched to Life Detection, and learned that the serpent was really dead. He then went for his next move. Strength left the dead creature’s body that filled the fort, causing it to fall to the ground. Light spilled into the fort, allowing him to see clearly.
Fixing his gaze on the corpse falling from above, Hikaru ran sideways, looking for an opening. He found a spot a few meters from the wall big enough for his body to fit through, and then leaped.
He jumped incredibly high. His muscles screamed in pain, however. Hikaru managed to slip through the serpent’s body and cling to the wall. The earth rumbled as the corpse hit the ground. Caught in the collapse, the dragon stone was split in half, exposing a glowing stone.
Hikaru needed to search for even the smallest opening and jump quickly, so he put points on Power Burst, but it might’ve been unnecessary to tweak his stats. Still he gained a point from killing the serpent.
Clouds of dust rose. The pain on Hikaru’s hand returned, forcing him to jump back down. Stepping on the serpent’s corpse felt disturbing, but there was no other foothold.
Hikaru quickly loaded the revolver with healing magic and shot at his wound, healing both his thumb and torn muscles.
He stood on top of the fort and surveyed his surroundings. With no roof, it was nothing more than a towering wall. He hadn’t dealt yet with both the dragon stone and the serpent’s corpse.
His now-healed left hand held the map, while he checked the direction with a compass. Since he would be away from the city for a while, he stocked up on five Flame Gospels, two Flame Lasers, and three Healing Magic. And good thing he did as he got injured already.
Hikaru checked the location of the next Root. It was blocked by a mountain that was about seven to eight kilometers away.
「It’s the perfect opportunity.」
Hikaru took out his new equipment from his backpack. It was a bit dangerous as there was only about a meter of width on top of the fort. Still it was enough space to unpack his stuff.
His new equipment was shaped like an arrowhead made with robust cloth and a skeletal frame. He asked Duinkler to build it in a hurry. A hang glider.
Hikaru didn’t have any experience with hang gliders in Japan. When he found out that the dragon stones were located inside tall structures, the idea came to mind of using one for travel. If it didn’t work, he could just throw it away.
「Light and sturdy… Looks good to me.」
He had tested it from on top of their house in Dream Maker. It could support his weight just fine. No one should’ve spotted him as he had his Stealth on when experimenting.
Hikaru would practically be doing this without prior rehearsal, but he didn’t care if it failed. He had the Gravity Balancer to bail him out.
「Hmm… I just spent my points, but whatever.」
Hikaru point a point on Balance.
Age: 16 Rank: 50
….【Life Obfuscation】5 (MAX)
….【Mana Obfuscation】5 (MAX)
……【Group Obfuscation】5 (MAX)
……【Detection Expansion】3 (MAX)
My stats are quite skewed towards Agility… Hikaru gave a strained laugh.
「Time to go, then.」
Hikaru loaded the revolver with a Flame Gospel, shot behind him, and returned it back to the holster.
He kicked off the wall and let the hang glider do its work. As his body glided, a huge explosion occurred behind. The fire spell blew the dragon stone up. Flames rose from the fort like a chimney. The blast pushed Hikaru forward, though the messed-up air current caused his body to rotate.
「It’s a lot powerful than I expected!」
Hikaru expected to be engulfed in the updraft, but the scale of the explosion was much bigger than he anticipated. Was it because the Root was much more developed?
With the one point on Balance, Hikaru grasped what was going on with his body, even though the hang glider was spinning in the air. He pulled on the glider’s frame and fixed his posture. Before he knew it, he had put a lot of distance between him and the fort.
He’d deviated a bit off-course, but he could fix that while in the air.
「Good. This is a lot more comfortable than expected.」
Below him was the forest, reaching far and wide. No animal noticed him with his Stealth on. If he couldn’t find a place to land, he could just use the Gravity Balancer to slow his descent. For something he expected to be disposable after a single use, it flew farther than he thought. Hikaru landed on a meadow near the towering mountain. The next tower was close.
「This might be quite the invention.」
The fort was now far away in just ten minutes of flying. I’ll make good use of this glider, he thought.
Dream Maker was a closed city with limited land. A few days was enough to walk through all the streets in town. But there were paths that couldn’t be found by taking the main streets. You had to pass through a number of houses to get to a few restaurants that operated in secret, only known to related personnel.
One of these restaurants stood partially on the grounds of a garden mansion. The dense forest outside the window was a rare sight in Dream Maker.
The elderly who were gathered around wore serious looks—or perhaps that was now their default face after constantly wearing the same expression.
『Hmm…So Grucel departed on an expedition.』
『He said he’d bring with him people who adored the King. I hope he didn’t run into any problems in selecting them.』
『Apparently not. Grucel took our opinion into consideration before taking action. Even if he thought about deceiving us, nothing would come of it since they’re out of the city. No one can stop our plans.』
『Now’s a great opportunity, then.』
『But doesn’t it seem too sudden? Sure, it had been five years since Grucel joined us. But think about it. A bunch of people arrived from Primeval, the King was healed, and now they’re talking about destroying Roots. I think causing a disturbance when things are moving too fast is not a good idea.』
『You’re not scared, are you? Now’s our chance. We can depose the King and the nine clans will take turns in governing the nation. I’m sure they’d believe us if we said that the King wasn’t healed after all.』
『They might not buy it.』
『No, they just might. No one’s heard of a treatment by slicing a stomach open.』
『But that masked fellow’s been healing seriously-wounded people left and right.』
『Apparently though, they can’t heal an illness.』
『Hmm… If only the King passed away then. That would’ve made things a lot easier.』
『Let’s take a vote, then. There’s five of us here. Grucel said he’ll leave the decision-making to us. Let us decide, then: should we make a move or not?』
『I’m against the idea.』
『I’m in favor.』
『Hmm… I will abstain from voting.』
『So that’s two against one.』
『What about you, Mr. Chairman?』
『Me? Uhm, I’ll refrain from voting as well.』
『If you abstain, your turn to rule the nation will come last. Will that be all right?』
『What? Those are two different matters. Grucel’s clan will be the last.』
『You can’t be serious. Grucel has already taken action, while you two are being passive by not casting your vote.』
『Ungh… Fine. I’m in favor.』
『I’m not changing my mind. I’ll sit this one out. See you.』
One man left the room.
『Must be scared.』
『He’s the youngest one after Grucel. One could say he’s awfully cautious for his age. But the truth is, he’s simply lived this long without making tough decisions.』
『Then we will make our move.』
『Yes. Finally I can kick that Duinkler’s butt. Ah, I’m getting excited.』
『Do not bring your personal grudges into this. We’re doing this to preserve our beloved nation. We have no other choice.』
『Exactly. So when do we do it?』
The discussion went on.