Chapter 11 – A Big Splash From The Horde of Monsters
Two days after walking through the forest, Lusha and I arrived at the spring.
Because it was a place with a lot of magic, there was a high possibility of apricot grass growing there.
「Phew, looks like we will be camping here today.」
「Sure does, but first, I hope we’ll find some apricot grass here…」
There was a small open area with no trees around the spring. The spring itself was about five meters in diameter, and the water was very clear and cold. A pale yellow-green bud grew at the edge of the spring, next to a small white flower. There was a stump in the vicinity, with more buds growing on it, and it somehow looked even more comfortable than a chair.
Lusha and I looked high and low, but couldn’t find any plants with orange fruit.
「Mmm… it doesn’t seem like there are any around the spring.」
「There are plenty of herbs growing here, but none of them are anything like apricot grass.」
I sighed in disappointment. However, it was too early to give up. There were still several more places we could look.
I put down my bag next to the spring and prepared a tent to sleep in. At the same time, I collected some water from the spring and purified it with a magic stones. This magic stone was also prepared by the old dwarf, and it really is quite useful for traveling.
「Hiroki, please draw my share of water, too!」
Lusha was apparently getting the food ready, so her hands were full. She also had a small pot, so I was guessing she planned to make soup with the water from the spring. While she stirred it briskly, she slowly added the water from the spring, along with some recovery grass that had grown nearby.
「Lusha, is that also an ingredient…?」
As expected, that’s too extreme even for manly food… and for a moment, her face revealed her true thoughts. She quickly disguised it by shaking her head with an indignant “No!”
「It’s a waste to just leave them alone, plus if I add recovery grass to the soup, it can relieve our fatigue on top of filling our bellies.」
「I’m still an elf, you know, so I’m pretty familiar with plants!」
「You’re so reliable.」
She smiled back as I praised her. We added dried meat and other ingredients to the soup, and had a leisurely dinner and rest.
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We proceeded further through the forest and reached a point where we were nearing the cave. It had been four days since we entered the forest. Considering the conditions of our food supply, and that there’d be a carriage coming to pick us up, we could only go a little further before having to turn back.
「Ugh… two demon orcs. Moreover, one’s a vanguard-type with a spear, while the other’s a rearguard-type with a cane. Lusha, are you ready?」
「Yeah, leave it to me.」
Focused on the demon orcs that came out through the trees, Lusha readied her arrows. The first target was the demon orc which uses magic skills, located in the rearguard. It had prepared to shoot fire magic my way.
We’d verified beforehand that I could avoid magic skills, and since I knew one was incoming, the fireball that flew over to me—
「At this level, it’s easy.」
「It’s amazing that you can even avoid magic.」
Lusha commented on my skills while firing at the demon orc, taking it down in three shots. She quickly switched targets to the demon orc vanguard-type that was using a spear. As usual, I just wait for Lusha to kill it while avoiding attacks from both her and the demon orc.
It includes my predictions, but I think the ability to avoid magic skills is largely related to the magnitude of the evasion stat. When I got hit by the feather slime’s magic skill before, I was still at level 1 and my evasion was 51, but now I’m level 19, and my evasion has gone up to 86.
Maybe there’s a minimum threshold for evasion to become effective on magic skills. The evidence was that I could now avoid simple magic like the demon orc’s fire magic, but I’m pretty sure I couldn’t avoid a skill much stronger than that one. It would seem my goal of being a perfect evasion healer is still a long way off.
「Waah! Hiroki! It’s a horde of demon goblins!」
When Lusha knocked down the demon orc that was attacking me, she pointed forward and called it out quietly but urgently. I immediately spotted a dark green little demon walking with a bundle of straw. One, two, three, ten, twenty… about thirty of them, based on a rough estimate.
…Isn’t that way too many?
It would probably be impossible to avoid all of them at once, although I’m pretty sure I could manage it easily if there were only a few. I’d tried it in the slime cave before, but I still couldn’t avoid that many attacks at once.
The demon goblins hadn’t seemed to notice our exact location yet, they just looked around suspiciously while walking in our general direction.
「Lusha, keep quiet. Let’s leave slowly.」
「Still, it’s the first time I’ve seen them, but there’s just too many.」
If we were overwhelmed there, we’d have nowhere to run. I stepped gingerly so as not to make a noise, and when I turned around, I heard a crisp, dry snap―from my feet.
「Uh-oh, did they―」
Did they notice?
I glanced at the horde of demon goblins, and our eyes met.
Oh, this is bad.
「【Create Arrow】! Eat this!!」
「Lusha, let’s run!」
Lusha immediately released a large number of arrows and killed a few of them. However, there were still almost thirty of them. I started running in a hurry, using 【Shield】 and 【Regeneration】 just in case.
I wish I had a good place to shake them off or hide somehow!
I ran hard while surveying our surroundings.
「Tch, they’re still after us. Lusha, those demon goblins are kinda slow, so can you attack them when you’ve gotten some distance?」
「Yeah, I’ll try!」
After a minute of running and opening the gap between us, Lusha stopped and shot several arrows at the horde, picking up speed again without checking for the result. Even with her lousy accuracy, she was probably able to take out a few of them because she shot a whole cluster of arrows at a time.
The proof was that several of the demon goblins had fallen down, and the number following us had been reduced a little more.
「Good! If we can somehow keep this up, we can win!」
「I’ll shoot again ― Hiroki! Ahead…」
Seriously, a new horde? There’s a dozen more standing up ahead, are you kidding me with this?
「Did we run into their nest or something!? We’re dealing with shit from both sides now!」
Before I could ask what she meant, Lusha yanked my arm and turned us to the right. We’d changed directions to get away, but it was entirely possible we’d run into demon goblins this way as well.
If that happened, we’d be completely cornered!
I thought it would be better to cut down the number of demon goblins here than keep trying to run, but Lusha apparently had a better idea. Her voice reached my ear.
「Take a deep breath!」
With a big splash, Lusha and I jumped into the river. More accurately, Lusha jumped in herself and dragged me in with her. She must have noticed there was a river over here and changed course to intercept it. Sure, the demon goblins might not be able to follow us in the water, but there’s a chance that our clothes will be weighed down by the water and we’ll drown.
I closed my mouth before drinking too much of the river water after getting suddenly dunked. When I managed to open my eyes a little, I saw Lusha gripping my arm while looking straight forward. She’d said she used to hunt around mountains and streams, so she was good at swimming in a river. I had no choice but to leave our fates to her…