After a not-very-satisfying sleep, they had a similarly, not-very-satisfying breakfast, after which the party closed in on the vicinity of the ruin . Their carriage was well-hidden .
The sight made Loren feel sick .
Rather than being built on the mountain, the ruin was carved into the mountain itself . The enormous entrance appeared as if it was stuck to the mountain surface, and could be seen from a distance, giving it quite an unnatural look . Loren wondered why such a construction hadn’t been discovered until now . But according to Tizona’s story, this area was originally covered with tall trees, so maybe it wasn’t visible from afar back then .
So, the reason why this ruin became noticeable now was the changes in its surrounding .
“It’s been turned into a splendid fortress . ”
They hadn’t just cleared out the trees, there was a rather large fort-like building, and a number of smaller buildings around . They were surrounded by a tall fence, which in turn was surrounded by a deep moat . There were also some watchtowers, and human figures could be seen both atop and below them . The fence gate was admirably thick, and was also manned by several gatekeepers . Moreover, archers could be seen everywhere, and there were even large catapults installed on the ground . Lapis hadn’t exaggerated saying it had been turned into a fortress .
“The difficulty level of attacking this place would be comparable to attacking a castle, right?”
Lapis asked Loren and Tizona, the professional soldiers . Loren groaned with a gloomy look on his face, while Tizona scratched at her own cheek with a troubled expression . The depot they attacked last time was also rather large in scale, but in comparison to this fort, there was still a very big difference in numbers and armament .
This was far beyond the scale that mere for four people could handle . Even if asked, Loren and Tizona couldn’t give any estimation about their chances .
“If it’s just bows, I’m confident I can use <> to burn them, but… Targeting something as big as a catapult is a different matter . <> might work, but I need to concentrate to aim . With such numbers, I might not be able to burn them all . ”
(Xem: Some details for Nerds
<> – can provide Tizona with a stable s.h.i.+elding against all incoming projectiles of a small scale, arrows and axe alike . However, the payload of catapults is too ma.s.sive to be incinerated by <> on contact and to counter that she has to use <>, which in turn requires careful aiming . With increasing number of incoming fire, the task to focus and burn each payload becomes more and more challenging and there is a risk that some of those would penetrate her defenses . )
“The moat is a nuisance . If they lift the bridge, we won’t be able to cross . ”
Hiding in the forest surrounding the bandits’ HQ, Loren looked at the moat around it with worry . It was probably too deep to wade through, and too wide to jump over . With no equipment used in castle attacks, they had no means to cross it . Of course, there was a bridge – the bandits also needed to go in and out – but it was the kind of bridge that could be pulled up by ropes . In times of emergency, the bandits could pull the bridge up to prevent anyone from crossing the moat . Swimming across was possible, but if one really did have the chance to do so, they would just become easy targets for the archers .
“I’m asking this just in case, but can you use your skills underwater, Tizona?”
“What a bad joke, Loren . ”
Loren had thought that if Tizona could use her skills underwater, maybe she could pull some stunt like burning the coming arrows while swimming . But it seemed like her skills were not at the level of absurdity to allow fire to burn underwater .
“The ruin is behind that fence . To get to it, we must go past the bandits’ base, which is very well-defended . ”
“Gula, do you have any plan?”
Lapis asked . Gula hadn’t joined in their conversation at all . She was staring intently at the ruin inside the bandits’ HQ, and looked to be thinking hard about something . After hearing Lapis’ question, she finally realized that everyone was looking at her and blinked .
“Eh? Ah… Plan? Can’t we just charge in from’der front?”
“Haven’t you listened to us talking?”
“Eh? We can’t? Then wat about climbing the mounti’n at the back of the ruin and getting down frum der?”
The fence didn’t form a full circle, it stopped at the mountain where the ruin was carved into . In short, the fence was U-shaped and attached to the mountain at the back . What Gula proposed was to ignore the bandits’ base completely and get to the ruin via the mountain instead .
Loren eyed the mountain . It was quite steep and rocky, rather difficult to climb or descend . But at least, it looked possible to scale up and down to his untrained eyes .
“It’s our last resort, I guess . ”
If all else failed, they would try it out .
Gula didn’t seem keen on pus.h.i.+ng her plan, instead she just turned her eyes back to the ruin . Bothered by her gaze and expression, Loren glanced at Lapis to send a silent signal .
“Tizona, let’s get a bit closer . I want to look closer at their equipment and skills . ”
“Yes, please . Gula is bad at such things, and both Loren’s weapon and stature are large, so he has more chance to be spotted . ”
“Is that so? I see . Loren, is it alright for me to go?”
“Yes, please . ”
At Loren’s nod, Tizona and Lapis slowly drew closer to the base while hiding under the trees’ shadows .
Loren watched them go . Once they seemed to get far away enough, he whispered to Gula, who still hadn’t taken her eyes off the ruin .
“What is it?”
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“Probably… Someone is in there . Someone of my kind . ”
If the Evil G.o.d turned out to be different from the image Loren had instilled in his head beforehand, the shock might be quite big . Gula was of the opinion that in case the difference was severe enough to be fatal, it was better to not have too much information . And Loren did agree .
“Rather than that, about a plan to attack that base . How about I use a bit of my power to drink up the moat and eat the fence?”
Loren looked at the bandits’ base again . Water filled the moat to the brim with water; it was not a normal amount . And the fence behind the moat was tall and st.u.r.dy . Loren wondered where the h.e.l.l Gula’s stomach was and how big it must be to be able to store such things .
“It’s a nice idea, but only if Tizona is not with us . ”
“Then, how about telling Tizona-chan to sneak into the ruin by herself?”
“We’ll cause a distraction at the front while Tizona-chan uses the opportunity to cross the moat and secretly enter the ruin . ”
“What do we do then?”
“After Tizona-chan has gotten in, we’ll go at them in one go . ”
Gula said that once they met up, they could just lie to Tizona about how they had broken through the defense .
“The enemies are bandits, so it won’t be strange if the damage is a bit more severe and all of them are obliterated, right? In that case, I’ll stuff the runaways into my stomach too . Won’t make much of a difference . ”
Some bandits on their way back to base might flee once they saw the defense broken . With this proposal, they wouldn’t be a problem .
This plan might be a bit too aggressive, but if there were no survivors, even if Tizona doubted their explanation, she wouldn’t be able to confirm what had actually happened when she wasn’t present . Therefore, they wouldn’t need to worry about being exposed or so was what Gula’s plan .
“Tizona will say that she should come out if it’s a group battle, won’t she?”
“When it comes to fighting alone, Tizona-chan is the most powerful, isn’t she? If she causes disturbance within the ruin, the bandits’ attention will be split between us and her, right? Isn’t that a good reason to split up?”
Loren believed that this was not a bad plan . The only problem remained, if there could be one, was how Tizona was going to cross the moat without a bridge . But if she could swim, she could swim across while their group caused a big uproar .
“Let’s propose it to them then . ”
If there were no other good plans, they might just follow through with this .
For now, they would wait for Lapis and Tizona to return . If they had no good ideas, Loren and Gula would propose this plan .
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