Ch. 107: Explanation after Delay
The group had left the campsite, but they still had a day’s worth of walking to reach their destination.
If they moved smoothly, they would reach the ruins at nighttime, but Loren suggested they slow down a bit and spend a night slightly far off from it.
Dia, who wanted to reach the ruins as soon as she could, didn’t like his suggestion and said they reach their destination as quickly as possible, but Loren didn’t listen to her, and forcefully slowed down their speed.
“You’ve realized something, haven’t you?”
Lapis, who didn’t say her opinion, asked Loren.
Near him, Dia glared at him, telling him that if it wasn’t a good reason, she wouldn’t go easy on him, but since he had nothing better to do, Loren explained why he suggested so.
“First of all, it’s to mess up the interferers’ schedule.”
“Yeah. It’s just a guess, but the route we’re using is known to them, right? If it wasn’t, there’s now way they could send such a large amount of undead straight to that particular place last night.”
It was the pack of undead that they couldn’t wipe out completely even with Dia wiping out a portion of them, Lapis cleansing them one after another, and Loren swinging his great sword around all night.
Of course, it was way more than a few dozen, and if such a large number of undead were wandering around that area in plain sight, they would notice them, and since they didn’t, it meant that they came from the opposite way of them so that they reached their campsite in the middle of the night.
To make that possible, there was a need to have a general idea of where they would set up camp.
“Even if we don’t walk on the road, it shouldn’t be surprising if we run into a village or two. But we haven’t, so it means Dia selected a route that far off from them, which would limit the number of routes she could take.”
Villages weren’t always near roads or highways.
Small villages existed here and there, and even if they weren’t following the road, it was strange they hadn’t seen one yet.
“Of course. I want to stay away from meaningless confusion and fighting. There’s the ones who want to interfere, as well as the fact that I’m not a being that would be welcomed at human dwellings.”
Not welcomed, was a very moderate way to put it, but Loren had no intention of pointing that out, so he just nodded.
Dia’s thought of not wanting to involve humans was favorable to him, but he felt that it was a bit too late for that.
He thought so because he was sure that a few villages had become victims and turned into the pack of undead that attacked them the night before.
But Loren didn’t say anything about it, and just prayed that the victims found peace wherever they went.
“I think that whoever is trying to interfere is piecing together our route and the speed we are travelling at, and calculating where we would be at what time, as well as where we would camp, and set a schedule based on that.”
“So, you want to slow down on purpose to mess up their calculations.”
It wouldn’t mean anything if there was someone spying on them, but Loren thought that it was better than not trying anything.
“The second reason is to make sure that the time which we run into such problems is during the day.”
“I don’t care whether it be night or day.”
“Of course, you wouldn’t, but it’s troubling for us. What human would want to jump into the middle of undead in the dead of the night, when they are the strongest?”
The undead were weak against the sunlight.
Of course, when it came to Elders, it wasn’t a fatal weakness any longer, but they were still somewhat weaker during the day.
He wasn’t sure what was waiting for them at the ruins, but if they reached it during the evening and started exploring during the night, trouble was bound to hit them during that time.
“Putting into consideration there’s going to be at least one more attack, it should be better than rus.h.i.+ng in there at night.”
“So, you’re trying to reduce the chances of meeting two attacks, I see.”
“If you didn’t have such a reason, I was about to think that you were just trying to prolong the inevitable, but since you have a legitimate reason, I guess it can’t be helped.”
Dia, who had looked upset, couldn’t seem to bring herself to keep urging to hurry up, so she decided to listen to Loren’s suggestion.
But Loren still had a feeling they would run into a second attack, but then noticed that Dia was looking into empty s.p.a.ce, as if she had noticed something.
Not responding to Loren’s question, a bright smile appeared on her face as she continued staring at a point in s.p.a.ce and started running off.
He wasn’t sure what had gotten into her, and all Loren and Lapis could do was follow Dia with their eyes, and as she stopped in the middle of nothing, she raised her arms and said with a smile.
“Master! What are you doing here!?”
During her words, the s.p.a.ce in front of her warped.
Loren and Lapis stiffened at the sight, but Dia wasn’t alarmed at all, and just stood there with her arms outstretched, and suddenly a hand appeared out of the distorting s.p.a.ce, grabbed it, and widened it.
Eventually, when the distortion was wide enough for a person to go through, a woman with platinum blonde hair, wearing a black dress that was open wide at the chest appeared.
The woman looked around slowly, then confirmed the sight of Dia looking at her with a smile and her arms outstretched, frowned for a moment, and dropped her fist on Dia’s head.
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Putting her hands on her head, Dia tried to argue, but the woman put out an index finger in front of her face and made a scary face, then started scolding her about the importance of security and being cautious.
On top of that, with Dia trying to get on her own, she was the one who had prepared this test, and was the reason that he and Lapis were on this job.
“What kind of business does her former guardian have with us at this time?”
Even if she was related to Dia in the form of her former guardian, Loren couldn’t help but be wary of her, as she had appeared after the attack.
Sierra seemed to understand him, so even though she saw Loren, who still had his hand on his weapon, and Lapis, who had taken a defensive posture, she didn’t seem to be upset at all and proceeded to answer Loren’s question with a calm face.
“I wasn’t planning on interfering at all with the exam. But it seems that someone very troublesome is interfering, so I got worried.”
“Master, you were worried about me…”
Dia didn’t even try to hide her smile when she heard that Sierra had moved for her.
Loren was worried that she was being too careless, but that seemed to be the same with Sierra, as she brought her fist down on Dia’s head again and started scolding her.
“Stop acting like you’re my student forever. I told you that the others considered you ready for being on your own because your skill with magic surpa.s.sed mine, haven’t I? How many times do I have to tell you to watch your actions since you’re finally going to become a proud member of the Elders…?”
“Hey, it’s not like I want to interrupt your pleasant teacher-student time.”
He had no intention of saving a teary-eyed Dia from Sierra’s scolding, but he felt that it would go on for a while, so he interrupted them.
“If you know who is getting in our way, shouldn’t you start by telling us about it?”
“That’s…true. The person who is your opponent is Stoos. She isn’t particularly powerful, but she is still quite troublesome.”
“What do you mean by that?”
As Lapis wondered what she meant by not powerful but still troublesome, Sierra answered her.
“The stronger an Elder is, the less likely it is for it to borrow the strengths of others. On the other hand, the less powerful it is, the more it would try to find p.a.w.ns to put around it.”
“So you’re saying that are opponents are many. That’s indeed troublesome.”
Sierra nodded as Lapis growled, and then her eyes turned back to Dia.
“From my standpoint, I cannot help you. But with your strength, you should be fine, and with the helpers that you have are formidable as well, but don’t let your guard down.”
Sierra reached for Dia’s head, but instead of a fist, this time she patted her on the head with her palm and smiled.
“Don’t make such a face. You’re my student. You will be fine. I’ll be waiting for the day that you will join us as a member of the Elders.”
As she said so while patting Dia on the head, after a while, Dia looked straight at Sierra’s eyes, and nodded.
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