Chapter 19:

Something is... Not Right

White Nightmare

Rodan and the others had left the Gantz border and now were heading towards Astur City which would take a day and a half to reach. Rodan and Nono rode their own cart while Ringo rode hers while taking the lead in front of them.Bookmark here

Ruru was taken along this time since Rodan couldn’t allow any strangers or intruders see her. It’s not Ruru’s wellness he’s worried of, but it’s the strangers’. He believed that they wouldn’t be able to leave with their lives freely. Moreover, Rodan’s destination was quite far which obviously going to eat a lot of time, that’s why he couldn’t left her alone in addition of what happened last night.Bookmark here

Now on the road...
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...Rodan knew that battles would be imminent, especially when they had crossed the border. Small fry monsters started tailing them.
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“Increase the speed, Nono,” Rodan commanded.Bookmark here

“Roger, that!” Nono responded.Bookmark here

Rodan climbed to the top of their cart and looked at his surroundings. Behind them, there was a pack of blue-colored warthogs.Bookmark here

“Those pigs... Biruboars...” Rodan noted. As Nono increased the speed of their carriage, they now rode closer to Ringo’s cart. Rodan leapt onto hers and quickly told her about the situation.Bookmark here

“Yo!”Bookmark here

“—Yikes! D-Don’t shock me like that! What is it, monsters?”Bookmark here

“Yup, there’s some hungry Biruboars wanted back there. Either we outrun them, or we beat them. Your call,” Rodan stated.Bookmark here

“Eh, why give me the deciding, Roro?”Bookmark here

“No time for questions. Your answer?”Bookmark here

“Arrgh, fine, I don’t want them pigs be tailing us! Biruboars are tough runners, they’d follow us pretty far and they’re quite fast so KILL THEM!”Bookmark here

“Hmph,” Rodan smiled, though it was not visible to Ringo since he wore a mask. “Then you’ve to increase your speed, Ringo.”Bookmark here

Rodan immediately leapt upwards and jumped back to his cart.Bookmark here

“W-What’s with him? Ah, he always brings some stupid ideas! Well, fine! I’ll do whatever you want Roro! Haiya!” she stated while spurring her horse to run faster.Bookmark here

“Roro, quit stepping on the cart will ya? You’re going to break them apart!” Nono nagged.Bookmark here

“Well, we’ll just fix them later. Lives are more important than these replaceable thingies,” said Rodan smugly while hopping on the cart and got inside.Bookmark here

“Roro... I saw around fifty of them going after us,” Ruru pointed.Bookmark here

“Yeesh, you can actually tell how many of them, huh? Well, that’s good!”Bookmark here

After a moment, some of the warthog monsters managed to get close enough. Rodan watched them as they were becoming so ferocious with their eyes shining in red and their saliva pouring out like waterfall.Bookmark here

“How strange, they can still chase us in this speed? Normally when we outrun Biruboars, they’d stop chasing us and leave immediately. But in this case, they didn’t. In fact, they’re faster. I guess we must use something to slow them down.”Bookmark here

In that moment of thinking, one of them charged directly behind Rodan’s cart. It jumped to assault Rodan who was watching them, but he didn’t flinch and simply kicked the monster boar out of existence.Bookmark here

“Sheesh, let me think.”Bookmark here

“Oi, Roro! Did I just hear a splash of something back there? It sounded really loud!” Nono stated.Bookmark here

“Nothing serious, just some meatballs turning into flattened fruits. Keep your eyes on the road, Nono!” Rodan replied quickly.Bookmark here

“I am!”Bookmark here

“I can’t use any of these equipment we’re taking. They’re essential for the battle ahead. So what we’re going to do is...”Bookmark here

Shortly, Ringo used her magic to fire laser beams upfront. “Heeek! R-Roro, there’s some in front of us!” she stated while managing to kill three monsters at once. There were tens of them rushing from their front.Bookmark here

“What the? Gah, drive off the road, NOW!”Bookmark here

They got off the road and managed to get away from being pinched. Their horses were spurred to their maximum speed while their carts were tested for their durability.Bookmark here

“We need some ranged stuff... magic can do the trick, but the dude’s driving this vehicle. Well, then...”Bookmark here

Rodan hopped on the top of his cart again. This time, he saw like tens of herds were rushing at them. Bookmark here

“What the heck is this?! Why are they all attacking us?” Ringo yelled out loud.Bookmark here

Shortly, Rodan noticed an opening for them to return back to the roadway, so he gave the order. “To the right, back on road!”Bookmark here

“Roger that, red head!”Bookmark here

“What did you just say, Nono?”Bookmark here

“Nothing!”Bookmark here

Eventually, they managed to steer clear off the monsters and managed to outrun some of them, but the rest were literally chasing them down to their last drop of blood.Bookmark here

“Huh... I guess I really should’ve followed Ringo’s words. Time to get out of this mess!”Bookmark here

Ringo’s horses were slowing down, which forced Nono to maneuver their cart to avoid collision. Rodan’s cart was in front now. Ruru, who saw Ringo behind their cart simply gave a smile and waved her hand.Bookmark here

“Geez, now’s not the time to smile, Ruru!” Ringo yelled, though unheard by Ruru. “Come on, come on, why are you two slowing down?” she wondered why her horses were slowing down. “They’re gonna climb on us!”Bookmark here

“Uh-oh, I’ll go defend her cart, Nono. Take the left road!” Rodan stated as he jumped to her slowing cart.Bookmark here

“Gotcha!” Nono acknowledged.Bookmark here

“Lack of vitamins for yer horses, missy?” he teased as he landed on her cart.Bookmark here

“AH, SHUDDAP! Get them off me!” Ringo shouted.Bookmark here

“Aye-yo!” Rodan affirmed while simultaneously drew his bastard sword. There was a ruby stone attached on the edge of his sword handle. That ruby stone was lighting up as he poke a hole to Ringo’s cart.Bookmark here

“Eh, wait, why Nono’s taking the left road? Where is he going? Hey Roro, Nono’s heading to the wrong direction!” said Ringo in confusion.Bookmark here

“Huh? Just your imagination. Let me focus a bit, will ya?” Rodan retorted.Bookmark here

“I summon thee once again into the rising conflict within me. Unleash thy wrath and... huh?” Rodan paused for a moment as he noticed the boars bypassed Ringo’s cart.Bookmark here

“Eeeek! R-Roro! They’re beside us...! No, they’re going after your cart?”Bookmark here

Without delaying anymore further, Rodan activated a magic that centered in his sword’s ruby stone. It created a large red wave of magical energy that killed all of the Biruboars that were chasing them. Those monsters which weren’t affected soon got killed since Rodan’s magic was somehow infectious to monsters in close proximity. It chained from one to another and eventually killed off every last chaser.Bookmark here

Finally, they could continue their ride without being chased.Bookmark here

“Sheesh, took you some time to release that magic, Roro! You’ve made me scared for a moment there!” Ringo yelled.Bookmark here

“...” But Rodan didn’t respond.Bookmark here

“Roro...?”Bookmark here

He was standing still on the top of Ringo’s cart while watching the road behind him as it scrolled in his sights.Bookmark here

“What a strange phenomenon... what are they after?”Bookmark here

“Roro?” Ringo called again while slightly peeking up above the cart.Bookmark here

“Hm? Oh, yeah, sorry. Got sunk in my thinking,” Rodan apologized. “You’re unhurt, right?”Bookmark here

In a concerned face, Ringo gave her reply. “...yeah. I’m fine. What about you?”Bookmark here

“I’m good. Now, then, let’s continue our ride, shall we?”Bookmark here

“...Mm.”Bookmark here

Rodan hopped back to his cart which was quite far upfront. His long jump surprised Ruru.Bookmark here

“Whoa... Roro, amazing!”Bookmark here

“It’s pretty normal for me.”Bookmark here

“Well done, Roro,” Nono complimented from the front of the cart, not knowing that their cart was actually targeted by the monsters. “That magic sure quite come in handy, is it not?”Bookmark here

As Rodan sat down next to Ruru, he proceeded, “I’ve planned to use them later, though...”Bookmark here

“Well, it can’t be helped, right? It’s kinda strange for those monsters to pile up that much just to hunt us down.”Bookmark here

“True. I don’t know what they’re after, though. Not only that. They were strangely tougher than their usual counterparts.”Bookmark here

“I-Is that so...? Well, I hope we don’t have to encounter more of them along the way.”Bookmark here

“Don’t worry. This road we’re using is a shortcut to Astur. This way there will be little to no monsters that will endanger us. It’s a good timing that you got in front of her cart, Nono, or else she’ll be taking us the scenic route.”Bookmark here

“H-Huh...”Bookmark here

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The night came and with that, they decided to set up camp. When they found a good spot, Ringo immediately stopped her horses and rushed to Rodan’s cart on foot. She ranted on how Rodan took a different route that she didn’t even know existed.Bookmark here

Rodan explained that going through the passage they’re going through now, it would be much safer and easier to reach Astur rather than having to cross another field of monsters. It made her unsure even more when she couldn’t find the road on the map she brought. But eventually, she gave up and let Rodan took the lead.Bookmark here

“I don’t want to be responsible if we got lost, okay?” Ringo pointed out.Bookmark here

“Yeah, yeah, but if we’re not lost, will you cut my debt again?” Rodan retorted funnily.Bookmark here

“Nngh! No way, doofus! I can’t let you slip away my 500.000 worth of silver coins.”Bookmark here

“Oi, that’s too much. I thought you agreed on cutting my debt in half,” Rodan retorted again.Bookmark here

“A-Ah, right, t-then, you still owe me 250.000 silver coins, Roro. Don’t forget that!”Bookmark here

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Meanwhile, Nono was sitting in front of the campfire with Ruru wrapped in blanket while sleeping next to him.Bookmark here

“It’s been awhile since we’re going out like this, eh, Roro?” he muttered to himself. “I hope we can go out on adventures like this a lot. It’s fun.”Bookmark here

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The next morning, they continued their ride and just before high noon, they’ve arrived on the border to Astur City. The walled city was already in their sights, but their destination wasn’t in the city. Instead, they went to the outlying fields just south of the city.Bookmark here

And there, they finally arrived on Ringo’s garden.Bookmark here

“How nostalgic... it’s been some time since the last time I visited here...” Rodan wondered in amazement. “Such heavenly look... ah, my paradise.”Bookmark here

“Don’t claim them as yours if you haven’t paid for them, Roro,” Ringo retorted rapidly. “Anyway, let me show you my workplace.”Bookmark here

Ringo escorted them to a large safe house in the middle of the garden.Bookmark here

“Don’t step on them plants, okay? They’re quite hard to grow.”Bookmark here

“Sheesh, how noisy can you be, ah? I get it. I don’t even want to stomp something I loved so much,” Rodan replied.Bookmark here

In the safe house, Ringo introduced her workers, or for this case, her guild members. Some were still recognizable by Rodan since his last visit. But there were a bunch of new members. After finished introducing them, Ringo showed around acres of her apple garden.Bookmark here

“These are the gardens that are near harvest time. Those aren’t yet, but they will surely be good if they can be harvested without disturbance. And here...”Bookmark here

Ringo posed while showing off a garden, “ my own garden!”Bookmark here

“H-Huh... weren’t them all your gardens?” Nono asked. Ruru gave a blaring look in her red eyes as she saw thousands of apples in the garden. She wanted to eat them all.Bookmark here

“Well, technically, but they’re not taken care all by myself, you know? While this garden is mine to handle! It’s still new, so please take care when stepping around here, ‘kay?” Ringo smiled.Bookmark here

“Right... oh, and not to rain on your fun times, Ringo. I hope you didn’t forget why you brought us here.”Bookmark here

“I know. At least some refreshing won’t bother, right? It’s pretty gloomy in here since the last attack. My boys just said there were no Woruvens attacking this place the last two days since I left. They were somehow nested inside one of the caverns not far from here...”Bookmark here

“Is there any high place where I can see things around me clearly?” Rodan asked.Bookmark here

“Well you know the highest place around here is only my safe house. There’s no other place than that.”Bookmark here

“Huh, right... I thought you’ve built a watch tower or something. Oh well, then, let’s see those withered gardens of yours.”Bookmark here

On the top of the roof of the four-story building, Rodan witnessed the gardens in the far distance to the south had been torn apart while the others had not. He took some time into thinking before finally understanding what he had to do.Bookmark here

“All right, then. I get what we have to do next. Ringo, you’ll let me borrow your men, right?”Bookmark here

“Y-Yeah... why did he sound like he’s going to overwork my guild members?Bookmark here

“As expected of a guild master, I’m happy to hear that!” Rodan complimented.Bookmark here

“Well, then, let us get to work!”Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.