046 Exploring the Demon Woods 3 p.2

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Joel jumped back, dodging the lethal venom.

The demon smiled mockingly at him again after he dodged.

“How sad! How sad, huh? That was your only chance...!”


The monster slowly moved its tail forward.

The tip of its tail was pointed at the fallen Rosalie.


“Hostage! Hostages!”

The manticore shook the tip of his tail ever so slightly. The spilling venom scorching the ground was just ten centimetres next to Rosalie's face.

Joel’s chance at victory was earlier, when tail and sword were locked together. He had to defeat the manticore right there and then, because his party members were all lying on the ground. If not, his friends would immediately become hostages.

This monster was familiar with the nature of its prey. There were two kinds of humans. One was the kind who would run away or who would abandon his comrades and attack him together with them. The other kind would foolishly sacrifice his own life to save his fellow man. Joel was by all accounts the latter. For such fools who could not overlook their bonds with others despite being in a critical moment, taking hostages should have an immediate effect.




What a surprise. That the hostage, of all people, had struck the manticore with magic.

Rosalie, stood up with her staff and released fire magic.

“Who's the hostage! No way I would be a burden…!”

“Rosalie! You got up!?”

“Of course I did. I'm a mage after all. As long as we have magic, we will always be stronger than swordsmen.”

Rosalie forced a smile. Her mental state had been foggy and even now, she could collapse anytime but fortunately, Joel had given her some time to recover. It seemed that Joel’s previous attack wasn’t completely in vain after all.

The manticore cried out in anger having eaten Rosalie’s fireball.

“Gaaaaaaah! Die, sacrifice! Let me eat you…!”

“Too bad―”

As if he couldn’t resist the urge to interrupt the manticore.

“―My God proclaims...Struggle until the end. ...Wide Heal!”

A sacred light surrounded the area.

When the manticore finally realised what had happened, Mariano had already gotten up and casted his healing magic on the party.

“Mr. Mariano!”

“Hey! You should have healed us if you could already stand!”

“Hahaha…… Well, I regained consciousness when Joel was fighting at a critical moment. So I took the chance to chant the healing magic. I sped things up when you were being used as a hostage.”

The priest, who had acted carefully, scratched his head.

It wasn’t that difficult to imagine how this all happened. Mariano was second to Rosalie in magic potency and thus, was second to her in terms of resistance. He had also used sacred magic to reduce the damage taken during the manticore’s magic attack. In addition, he had been wearing a powerful, albeit somewhat damaged, armour. It wouldn’t be strange to think Mariano had the most amount of stamina left amongst them.

“Damn…! Damn you all…! Then, one more time―”

Grating on its fangs, the manticore prepared to launch another attack.

It shall use the same magic that had nearly wiped out the enemy. Even if they had survived the first attack and used recovery magic, the damage couldn’t be entirely erased. This time round, some of them would be completely unable to stand again. The monster predicted as such.


“―Wh! What!?”

The manticore felt a sudden wave of numbness across its entire body, especially a cramp in its tongue, rendering it unable to chant further. As long as chanting was disrupting, no matter the magic, it would not activate. The only magic that could have activated were if they had been chantless magic from the very start. Naturally, the manticore’s spell was cancelled and the magic required to cast the spell was expended.

“...It’s finally taking effect. ...It was a slow-acting one though.”

Sheeran had somehow recovered. The half-elf girl casted a cold glance at the bewildered manticore.

“My arrows were coated with a paralysing poison. Even a little graze would be sufficient for it to enter the veins and travel into your body.”


The Manticore was driven further into confusion by her claims.

The arrows were not lethal, but they were nonetheless poisonous. Yet, she fired her arrows at her allies earlier.

“Joel's strategy is always appalling. What would you have done if you'd been paralyzed by the poison first?”

“I was going to take the antidote before the paralysing effect begins. But it looks like Sheeran made me drink the antidote.”

Joel was talking about how Sheeran was protecting him while giving him the antidote. She was quick in her actions. It was the instincts and technique she acquired when she was a pickpocket.

“But then again, how could the poison be effective against the manticore?”

“Even venomous monsters are susceptible to other kinds of poison. It is also said that some monsters die from their own poison if their poison gland breaks.”

The manticore could not help but feel shame as Mariano carefreely explained the situation.


With the force of its will, the manticore tried to tense up its paralysed muscles.

To think it could have been made fun of to this extent, by those who it had deemed as mere sacrifices or food.

It was humiliating. For a monster hunting living people, it was a complete disgrace.

Hence, the manticore had to throw away any pride it had or any urge to have fun.

Kill. The only option was to kill them. Who cares about leaving edible parts to eat or killing them in an entertaining manner. These prey don’t deserve to live even for another second. Killing them was the only way for it to regain its pride as a monster.

Wounded in the right foreleg? Heh, why does that matter when there were 3 other legs.

Magic sealed? Didn’t matter since it still had its claws, fangs, tail and poison needles.

Paralysed by the poison? Regardless, even if the numbing sensation was considered, the manticore believed that its current physical ability was superior to theirs.


A sharp scream came from the manticore, who had lost full control of its mouth thanks to the poison.

The air crackled and the manticore’s bloodlust swirled like a whirlwind.

“Stay focused! We don't know what's going to happen yet!”

The party which had been feeling too relaxed after turning the tables re-heightened their senses upon Joel’s command.

That's right, manticores were ranked B+. Usually, such a monster would not be so easily done by a C-ranked party.

Taking it easy now would lead to grave injuries later. They had poisoned the manticore with the use of their unconventional strategy. It was four against one. The party should be rather evenly matched since they had Joel, who was well beyond the realm of a C-ranker, and the magic sword as their trump card...no, their actual chances were probably 4 in 10 or perhaps even worse, 3 in 10.

“Even if you didn’t tell us!”

“Of course!”

“...Not about to be careless here!”

Rosalie readied her staff, Mariano gripped his mace, and Sheeran nocked an arrow.

And then Joel swung his sword, which was still burning in flames.

“Let's go! We must defeat this monster and return!”

The adventurer party "Guardian of Balance" against the evil monster, manticore.

Their final all-out battle was about to begin.

As mentioned previously, even with all of their advantages in play, the monster was still stronger. Still, Joel and his team believed strongly in their victory.

Suddenly, the first move was made.


A gust of wind struck the manticore.


The manticore shrieked in astonishment as it was flung inwards into the forest.


Who could have made the ‘huh’ in a stupefied tone at this situation? Perhaps it was all four of them. After all, they had cornered a powerful enemy that they would normally be no match against, and just before the final decisive strike, the ladder was pulled beneath them. It was inevitable for their minds to be blank while seeing that.
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