46 Rock Golem
「It doesn’t look like we can get away without a fight…」
In return to Meavis’ words Rena mumbled weakly.
As the other had been intending to fight the Rock Golems from the start they were puzzled why Rena was being this meek, but as Rena was the most experienced of their party they thought that Rena had some reason for her actions and were prepared to obey her commands.
As for Mile, while she had seen pictures of them before, she was now studying the first actual Rock Golems she could lay eyes on in detail.
A giant height of about four meters, a body made entirely of rocks, a tiny head, and ball joints.
Yes, ball joints.
To tell the truth, Mile was about to remember the time she went to a 『Ball joint puppet shop』 with her mother and sister in her previous life, but what she really did remember was the time she accompanied her father deep into the night for a 「Nostalgic Anime Special」 where a giant robot with ball joints was featured.
「….their weak point is probably the joints, right….」
She was certain that this matched with what she had learned in the School.
「No choice then, we’ll fight! Our goals is not to defeat them but to open an escape path!
Everyone, prioritise not getting hurt over damaging them!」
After she had resolved herself, Rena fired of swift orders which the other 3 readily acknowledged.
And her orders continued on.
「Pauline, keep the Golem in the front back! Maevis and Mile, you aim for the legs of the Golem behind us. That should give us enough of a gap to slip by its sides!」
This time there was no reply, only a slight nod before Pauline began chanting and Maevis and Mile readied their swords. Rena also started chanting at rear side Golem in their escape path.
And Mile thought.
(As I thought, the joints….)
She had been doubtful from the moment she had learned about Golems in School.
Goblins, Kobolds, Orcs, and Ogres?
Hmm, well, there might be lifeforms like that. It’s a fantasy world anyway.
Wyverns, Wyrms, and Ancient Dragons?
Yeah, well, it wouldn’t be strange for them to be around…
Rock Golems? Iron Golems?
What are they? Living beings? Silicon based life-forms? Do they have a consciousness?
Isn’t that a bit to hard to believe in this environment crawling with carbon-based life? Did God drop the fruit of life here or something?
But, no matter how she thought about it, those were only speculations.
If she asked the nanomachines they might be able to answer her question, but where was the fun in that?
Mysteries are something you need to solve yourself. Getting every question answered without any effort is no good.
Thinking this, Mile would let the mystery stay a mystery, but….
(Ahh, I want to dissect it~……
Mile was of the natural science type and driven by curiosity.
「….. Green Mist!」
Pauline called forth mist with Water Magic to obstruct the Golem’s view.
(Rather than mist you should use fog…) thought Mile, but inhabitants of this world wouldn’t understand her point.
Following after Pauline, Rena also released her Magic.
Belonging to the family of Fire Magic, Flame Bullet explodes upon contact. It was a step above the Fire Ball which simply hit something with flames. But as the inhabitants of this world were unfamiliar with what a true 『Explosion』 looks like the explosion was more or less a small burst without much power. The main damage dealt by this magic is due to the swirl of flames after contact. It is therefore not very effective against Golem-type monsters.
But when used to blind the enemy, it fulfilled that role more than well enough.
At Maevis signal, she and Mile sprang forth.
While 4 meters might not sound like much it is more than 2.5 times Mile’s height. A truly looming enemy whose head even Maevis couldn’t hope to reach.
Against its sturdy body and limbs sword slashes would be of little use and a normal sword would simply break. In the end, the only place only the joints seemed like a reasonable place to attack.
(If I remember it correctly, the ball inside the joint is terribly hard but the surrounding material is thinner to be able to hold the ball in place, so if you attack that the ball won’t be able to move smoothly anymore….)
While mulling about what she had learned in the Training School, Mile cut at the Golem’s left knee.
At the same time Meavis stabbed towards its right knee.
Aiming for the hips would limit its movements very much, but they were too high to effectively cut them. And they looked more durable than the knees.
Well, since damaging the knees a little would be enough to allow them to slip past it it didn’t matter.
Mile and Maevis’ voices overlapped.
With its left knee blown away and its right knee shattered the balls fell from their bearings and the Rock Golem fell forward with a loud noise.
After being stunned for a moment at how easy the Rock Golem had collapsed, Maevis and Mile jumped onto the fallen Rock Golem, hacking and stabbing away at its hip and shoulder joints from its backside.
With more and more of its joints destroyed, the Rock Golem gradually became unable to move.
When Rena noticed that she had looked at the spectacle in a daze for a while, she quickly shot of several new commands.
「Change in plan! The retreat is cancelled, we’ll beat the other one too! Pauline, cast Fire Magic at its face! Mile, Maevis, that one’s fine already, so attack the other one!」
Saying this, Rena was busy keeping the other Rock Golem in check with shortened incantation Fire Balls.
And shortly after that Pauline stole its sight with a Fire Wall.
Finally Mile and Meavis charged again at the blinded Rock Golem’s feet and swung their swords.
Again, a Rock Golem with shattered knees easily fell over. After exchanging a wordless gaze, Maevis and Mile went on to dismember the remaining joints.
When they stabbed into its head, the Rock Golem stopped moving. They decided to do the same to the other one too.
That they could do something like 『stabbing its head』 easily was thanks to their swords as, of course, normal swords wouldn’t have had the slightest change of penetrating and would have broken. Due to this it is common sense to aim for the soft joints in range instead of the hard and difficult to attack head.
「Can it be, that we’re, strong….」
「If Rock Golems are not considered weak, that should be correct…」
Mile and Meavis were unsure what to think of this.
Similarly, Rena and Pauline scrunched their faces in thought.
「A-Anyway, let’s get their valuable materials. I think we’be hunted enough, so let’S return to our camp site…」
Everybody silently nodded and followed Rena’s somewhat listless orders.
Each of them seemed to have a lot to think about.
By the way, the most valuable part of a Rock Golem are the balls inside their joints.
When Mile had doubtfully asked what use they were Rena told her that you could make some sort of tool out of them.
(Well, there is no point in carrying back its body either. You can’t eat it, it’s too big and misshapen to use as building material, and it’s not all that robust…)
In contrast, the ball was quite big and heavy. Furthermore there were quite a number of them inside their bodies. Carrying all of those back would be impossible without Storage Magic.
Well, they wouldn’t rot away, so if you have a cart or something bringing them back leisurely is also an option…
Mile secretly hoped that, maybe, the balls might sell for quite a bit, but didn’t really expect them to.
The members of 『Red Oath』 returned to their camp site and started preparing dinner.
They might have unexpectedly stopped hunting quite early, but since they had hunted enough this was no problem.
Their meal consisted of the first, roasted, Rock Lizard as the main dish with a side helping of fruits bought in the capital and soup. For camping it was quite the luxurious meal. It was to celebrate their quest completion and victory over the Rock Golems, or rather because they didn’t have anything else in particular to eat.
Since the burned Rock Lizard would only be bought cheaply they could just as well eat it themselves. But no matter how much they would try, they could only hope to eat a small portion of it, so selling the rest cheaply to the inn would be fine too. They also had many more Rock Lizards in pristine condition…
Shortly after they had finished cooking and started eating Meavis bluntly asked a question.
「….so, in the end, are we strong? Are we weak?」
「… I can’t say anything other than that it depends.」
Mile and Pauline also followed Maevis and Rena’s conversation.
「Attack power with swords is lower B Rank. Magic without limitation is high C Rank, if it’s somewhere like in a forest where we can’t use Fire Magic, we’re mid C Rank. We’re leaving our defense up to magic, so attacks that can’t be blocked with a sword are our weak point…」
The obvious flaw of their party was that, due to all members being young women, they would have no trusty tank….. if there wasn’t Mile.
But as Mile had only shared a small amount of her knowledge and hadn’t shown them any real magic, Rena and the others believed Mile to be 『on the level of a court magician in terms of knowledge and skill wise about two steps above Rena』. With regards to the sword, Mile had strongly imprinted on them that 『Guren-san had only played along』 with her, so they saw her as about to enter B Rank.
「In addition we have Mile’s Storage Magic, so all things, our weaknesses and our experience considered, I’d say, well, about the middle of C Rank.
Leaps and bounds beyond the normal beginners, but average compared with all Hunter. Something like that.」
「But we easily beat a Rock Golem with only 4 people?」
「That’s only because our setup was good against them. Rock Golems are known for being slow but very hard, so didn’t you two, who are both fast and powerful, simply pummel it to death with your cheat swords?
What about a Wyvern attacking from the sky, outside of your reach? What about an Iron Golem against which your sword won’t do much? What about small but fast Venom Rats? What other strong points do you have beside the brute strength of your sword?」
Showered by Rena’s words, Meavis struggled to find an answer.
「…..so that’s how it is…..」
「Yes, that’s how it is.」
Meavis looked like she had come to agree with Rena’s point of view, but said Rena continued on.
「And our also has another weak point….」
「Hmm? What is it?」
In reply to Meavis question, Rena looked at her friends and asked a question of her own.
「So, everybody, has any of you killed a person before?」
「Doesn’t look like it, as expected.
If you can’t kill without hesitation when push comes to shove, you yourselves are going to die. Taking your comrades with you…..」
While saying this, Rena didn’t look at the others, but rather at her own hand holding the branch on which her meat was skewered.
At night there was small figure leaving the camp ground.
It was Mile.
There was something that didn’t stop bothering her, so she went to the place where they had fought against the Rock Golems.
After arriving there, she got close to the remains of one of the Rock Golems, brandished her sword, and severed its head.
If this was any other monster this would have been a quite gory affair, but thankfully Golem type monsters were not like normal life forms, so it wasn’t a problem.
Four eyes which are facing each cardinal direction, eliminating the need to move the head, allowing for it to be fixed to the torso.
She took apart the head further by cutting it into four pieces, investigated the insides, and plucked out the eyes…
「Hmm hmm….. the head is only there as a sensor. There should be no reason for it to stop moving just because its head has been destroyed…」
「What are you doing?」
When she was suddenly called out from the darkness, Mile reflexively let out a cry.
Then Rena, Maevis, and Pauline appeared from behind a tree.
「W-Why are you here…」
「Since you sneaked out at night, we decided to follow you to make sure you aren’t attacked by a monster.」
「Eh, didn’t you say that we were coming here to look what Mile is doing…」
「So, what are you doing out here?」
Pauline’s words were cut off by Rena.
「Eh, um, that is, I just, needed to water the flowers a little…」
「Huh, water the flowers you say…」
Rena was staring at the eye Mile had gouged out of the Golem’s head.
「I can see the seed already. Maybe soon it will grow leaves and its petals will open?」
Pfft, the laughter spilled from Meavis’ lips.