Ch . 63: Unable to Decide After Being Attacked
Something was lying on the floor down the corridor, where the light from the lantern didn’t reach .
Miraculously, there were no slimes in that area .
It had leather armor around it with long brown hair sprawled all over, and to Loren, it looked like a person .
“It’s one of the girls from Parme’s party . ”
Cloud, who had slowly walked up towards it, quickened his steps as he saw what it was .
It wasn’t certain if the girl was conscious or not, but she didn’t react to the footsteps nearing her and continued lying face down on the ground .
Cloud called out with fear in his voice, but the girl still didn’t move .
Cloud turned back to his companions, but none of them had an answer .
There was no way for them to know how long the girl had been lying there .
But with so many slimes in the area, it would be weird if she had fallen unconscious somehow and managed to be okay .
Then it would be normal to a . s . sume that she was dead, but Ain and Cloud couldn’t tell if the girl lying before them was dead or alive .
“What do we do?”
“Um, let’s see . ”
Ain, who didn’t know how to deal with this, poked the girl with the tip of his sword .
The girl didn’t react to it .
As Ain and his party looked at each other, deciding that she was indeed dead, the girl’s body suddenly started twitching .
As Ain and Cloud took a few steps back, the girl’s twitching body somehow rolled face up .
One of two let out a cry of surprise .
In any case, they had seen the girl’s face .
What they saw was a mask-like face, like a bad craftsman had made it .
Her eyes were half open, but instead of her eyeb . a . l . l . s, they could only see black voids under her eyelids .
Her mouth was open as well, but they couldn’t see her teeth or tongue .
Since she had a pretty face, the hollow holes that her eyes and mouth had become gave a strange air about her, and even after she rolled face up, her body was still twitching and didn’t show any signs of stopping .
“W-what is this!?”
Cloud lashed out in disgust .
As if responding to Cloud’s voice, something started gus.h.i.+ng out of the girl’s eyes, nose, and mouth .
“Is this a slime?”
Ain said in a shaky voice as he saw what had come out of the girl’s body .
It was indeed as a slime, as Ain had said .
It seemed to have attacked the girl in some way and killed her, then invaded her body through any places it could find and trampled through her insides .
Cloud paled as he realized that the body in front of him was nothing but skin .
It meant that nothing that should be inside a body was left inside, and that was inside was the slime .
Although it wasn’t reading Cloud’s mental state, the girl’s body erupted from the inside and splattered .
The slime that had eaten her insides had jumped out from inside .
Its body, which was usually transparent, was bright red, as if it hadn’t been long since it ate all the girl’s flesh and blood, and inside its translucent body, they could see the parts that hadn’t been digested yet floating around .
Cloud’s reaction slowed at the sight before him .
There was no way a slime would look past an opportunity that its prey stopped moving .
“Cloud, watch out!”
Ain’s response was quicker since he didn’t everything that Cloud saw .
He blocked the slime’s body with his s.h.i.+eld and pushed Cloud back, but the slime started to reach for Ain’s body, along with the s.h.i.+eld .
Ain tried to shake the slime off by swinging his s.h.i.+eld, but there was no way it was going to fly off so easily .
He was so focused on his s.h.i.+eld, he didn’t see the rest of the slime that were in the girl’s body crawling and reaching towards him .
By the time he realized, one of them caught his right foot and the one on his s.h.i.+eld started reaching for his hand, and he fell into utter fear .
‘Ain! d . a . m . n it! Let go of him!”
Cloud got back to his senses as he heard Ain’s call for help, and he thrusted his estoc into the slime that was grabbing Ain’s foot, but to a slime that could only be killed if its core was destroyed, a thrusting weapon such as an estoc wasn’t effective at all .
The slime, unfazed at the strikes, covered up to Ain’s ankle, and his boot started to change color as it started dissolving .
“Ow!? d . a . m . n it! My hand is burning!?”
In the case of the girl, they killed her somehow and then proceeded to enter her body and ate it away from the inside, but this time, since Ain was struggling or since it grabbed onto a bad location, it started eating away at Ain before killing him .
Ain’s hand and the part of his arm that the slime was covering started melting and inflaming and started turning red and black, as if acid had been poured on there, and Ain screamed as he tried to peel it off .
“Al! Do something!”
Cloud’s estoc didn’t even make the slime flinch, and there was no way he could grab it bare handed, so he asked Al for help, but he didn’t have a way to peel the slime off either .
“Um, the way to deal with slimes is…”
While Ain and the others were shouting about, Feim was reaching all over her robe, trying to look for something to deal with the situation .
Her gaze repeatedly went towards Loren, and Loren was aware of it, but he didn’t say anything since she didn’t ask him anything, so he silently watched Ain, with Cloud and Al pacing around him, but after a while he sighed, looked at Feim, and pointed to the torch that he was holding over his head .
Feim pondered about what that meant, but eventually she seemed to have thought of something, as she took a small bottle out of her robe, ran past Ain and the others, and poured the thick contents onto the dead girl’s body as well as here and there in the area .
“Ain! Hold your breath!”
After shouting a warning, Feim smashed the lantern next to the body .
The pieces of the lantern flew about, and the fire that was burning inside it spread onto the body and turned into a large flame .
“Feim!? What are you doing!?”
“We learned in cla . s . s that the only way to get rid of slimes wrapped around a body is to burn them!”
Burning slimes was known as one of the most effective methods against them .
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Sometimes it wasn’t depending on the species, but most slimes hated fire since most of their bodies were made up of water .
As Cloud drew closer to Feim with a grim face, she looked around at the others with an awkward look on her face .
“We don’t have any spare lanterns?”
“I have one . It’s okay Cloud, we’re fine . ”
Al took some fire from the flames erupting from the girl’s body along with a bad stench and lit the spare that he had brought .
The party seemed relieved as they regained their source of light, but then their attention went to the burning body .
“One of them dropped out here . ”
“The problem is whether they headed back or kept going…Judging from Parme’s personality, I think they probably moved ahead . ”
“Klaus is with them, but then again, he’s only a proctor . If he didn’t say anything, I’m sure Parme would’ve continued ahead . ”
“What should we do?”
At Cloud’s question, Ain thought for a moment while rubbing his injured arm, and eventually declared strongly .
“We go forward . We can’t go back only this much . ”
“Let’s all hold oil and kindling for the slimes . And even if we see Parme’s group or Klaus, don’t go near them . ”
“There’s a good one burning right now, so let’s get the fire from there . ”
The slime that had attacked them was being burned along with the body, was writhing on the floor with its movements getting slower and slower .
Ain and the party decided that it was okay to leave it like that and started getting fire from the flames burning its body .
“I’ll hold the lantern this time . If this one breaks, we’re done for, so keep that in mind . ”
“Burn it if you think you’re in danger . Got it . Ain, if it hurts, I’ll lend a shoulder?”
“I’m fine . ”
Ain decided to throw away his s.h.i.+eld, since it had been dissolved here and there by the slime, and had been burnt by the flames on top of that .
They would’ve taken equipment from the dead girl’s body, but Feim had already burned everything, leaving nothing useful for them to take .
“Feim, mark this area on the map, just in case . Other slimes will probably eat everything after the fire dies, but we still have to report it when we get back to the surface . ”
“Okay . ”
“Alright, let’s go . ”
The party started moving forward at Ain’s call .
As Loren started following them, he realized that Lapis, who was still clinging onto him, was pulling his sleeve, so he looked towards her .
“Loren, I’ll leave finding the opportunity to you . ”
“Opportunity? What opportunity?”
“This and that . Breaking away from this party, for example . ”
Lapis suggested abandoning the job without any hesitation and looked at the backs of Ain and the others who were walking ahead of them .
“You’re not planning on dying with them, aren’t you?”
“Well, yeah…but without them we won’t be able to get to our destination, right?”
“It’ll work out . Just leave it to me, Loren . ”
Lapis said with confidence .
Lapis had said there was a way, so she certainly had something up her sleeve, but using that meant that they would be leave Ain and his party and going off on their own .
Loren sighed at the fact that Lapis had given him the responsibility of finding the opportunity, and started thinking .
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