Chapter 4:

No Room to Swing a Cat

The Society for the Study of Otherworldly Visual Culture

"Let's go over the plan one more time," said Kiiro.

"I'll lead the way, with Kiiro's light elementals illuminating my path, wearing a conjured rock armor to protect myself, at least a little," said Orenji.

"Then, once we spot the first Vampire Bat, I'll use my rope spells to incapacitate it, and Aoi or Kiiro can draw some blood from it," said Aka.

"The rest of us will stand ready to defend us against the rest of the bats," I concluded.

"And what about the spells?" asked Kiiro.

"No quakes or similar spells that could lead to a cave-in," said Orenji.

"And no fire spells either, because we might run out of breathable air or blow ourselves up once we are deeper inside," continued Midoriya.

"My water spells will be our main line of defense; I'll make up for my poor performance from last time," said Murasakino with a hint of confidence.


It took us a couple of hours to find the entrance to a big cave after following a map we had acquired from the library.

The cave was situated near the bottom of a steep cliff.

Before entering, Orenji conjured an armor of stone around himself, and Kiiro summoned several small lesser light elementals to light our path.

After taking the first couple of steps into the cave, we were wading through a muddy substance, and a foul, nauseating smell attacked our noses.

"I did expect some of it down in the heart of the cave, but how is there this much guano at the entrance already?" I complained.

"Well, at least we now know that our targets are here," said Kiiro.

"What's guano?" asked Aoi.

"The stuff we are wading through," I pointed to the muddy substance on the ground.

"It is a word used to describe the accumulated excrement of seabirds or bats... probably," explained Orenji.

"Ew. So we are walking through shit?" Aoi exclaimed with audible disgust that echoed throughout the cave.

Then, faint scratching and rustling noises were audible from further inside the cave.

"Seems like we are getting closer to the source. Orenji, could you take the lead now?" asked Kiiro.

"Know what, I am not that eager to play bait after all. I have an alternate proposal," said Orenji.

"I thought we had agreed on our strategy; why change your mind now?" asked Kiiro.

"You see, I wanted to save my golem scrolls for the Lesser Dragon hunt, but I siphoned off some of our toad money to buy three more scrolls at the market," confessed Orenji. "I think one could be quite useful here."

"Wait, more embezzlement?" asked Kiiro. "Once this is over, someone please remind me to permanently ban Orenji from holding the position of club treasurer."

"More? Did this happen before?" I asked.

"Remember the figurine you stepped on?" asked Kiiro.

"Neon... Strong World... whatever it was again?" I asked.

"Yes, he gave some of our funds to Murasakino to purchase ingredients for the summoning circle without our consent. And it wasn't the first time," sighed Kiiro.

"I put it to good use. It was worth it... probably," defended Orenji. "Murasakino, help me out here."

"Orenji was in the right," said Murasakino. "Just because you all are unable to appreciate figurines doesn't detract from their greatness."

"Aka, Aoi, I gave you some for the tome collection too," said Orenji. "Back me up here, will you?"

Aka and Aoi glanced at Orenji, then at each other, then simply shrugged their shoulders.

"So I am the only one interested in proper bookkeeping, huh?" Kiiro sighed. "Anyway, the damage is done. If you have a scroll, you might as well use it."

"Will do," said Orenji as he pulled out a scroll from his back.

He recited a short phrase.

Then dropped it into the bat droppings covering the ground.

From the excrement below arose a muddy figure.

"Behold, my Guano Golem!" proclaimed Orenji. "I shall call thee 'Poo.'"

"My god, we have a literal shitlord walking among us," said Aoi, while increasing her distance from Orenji, the golem, and the rest of the group.

The rest of us followed her example, including Orenji, whose assigned light elemental now followed the golem and instructed it to continue walking deeper into the cave.


We continued wading through deeper and deeper guano for another five or so minutes.

Then it happened.

Aoi tripped over a rock formation hidden within the sludge.

Her screams were in vain, as she fell headfirst into the muddy substrate below.

Though they had a different effect.

Judging by the noise, at least a dozen Vampire Bats were woken from their slumber and closed in on our position.

"Everyone, get down into the sludge!" commanded Kiiro, while temporarily recalling all light elementals, except that above 'Poo.'

One of the incoming Vampire Bats went straight for the golem, another one for the light elemental, and the others zoomed over our heads before leaving the cave.

Then there was a plunging sound.

Aka had managed to constrain the first Vampire Bat who went after 'Poo' with one of her ropes, and Kiiro quickly drew three vials of blood from the struggling creature before Aka released it, and it retreated back into the safety of the cave.

With our mission objective fulfilled, we decided to turn back too.

All our clothes were pretty much ruined, being drenched to the neck in guano and all.

Before we departed for the cave exit, Aoi took an improvised shower from one of Murasakino's water spells to rid herself of the sludge stuck in her hair and spread all over her face.

We followed suit once we reached the outside world again.


We agreed to meet tomorrow morning in the clubroom and spend the rest of the evening visiting the local bathhouse.

Having acquired the King Toadstool and the Vial of Vampire Bat's Blood, the only major ingredient left to secure was the Horn of a Lesser Dragon.

Unfortunately, none of the local merchants had acquired one in the meantime, and it dawned on us that we had to face a dragon ourselves.

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