Wilderness Battle


The hard scales reflected the light of the scorching wilderness sun.
They had thick legs that never lost balance while moving over rocky terrain.
And through the water stored in the humps on their backs, they could walk for a week without drinking any water.

They looked like eight-legged dinosaurs, and were called ‘grand lizards.’ However, they were actually animals, and did not have a magic stone inside their body, which was quite surprising.

They would be a strong enemy to go up against.
That’s what I thought, as I sway on top of its long body.

There was no clear border between the Torem City State Federation and Megidos.
I learned it while traveling, but I suppose there was no reason to draw a line through endless wastelands.

I was currently moving from the closest city from the Torem City State Federation, which was Noredom, to the first city in Megidos, which was Rimeton.

My final destination was the mine city of Rokuidor, which was next to Rimeton.
It was only a little farther, but I was facing a problem.

“It’s hot.”

I knew that saying this out loud was not going to make it any cooler, but I couldn’t help it.
The season was already Autumn, and yet the sun blazed after entering Megidos.

Steam rose beneath my leather armor, and sweat dripped from my soaked headband.

“I told you, that equipment is no good here.
You must buy something new in Rimeton.”

Said the captain of the caravan, who rode the grand lizard in front of me.


Up until the wastelands, you could probably ride a carriage on the main roads.
However, you could not use wheels once you entered the desert.
Rimeton was an oasis city, in the middle of the desert.
And so I had no choice but to join a caravan of merchants that moved between the cities.

“I know that.
But I was told that it would take over a week…”

I had already traveled for two months and a half.
I did not want to be delayed any longer.

“Well, that’s quite normal for leather armor, isn’t it? Or is it different in the north?”

“No, it’s the same.”

If it was possible, I wanted to upgrade my equipment at my destination, but perhaps this was the limit.

“Water.”

I created water in my flask and drank it.

“You’ll get tired if you drink water so fast.”

“I know that as well.”

As we talked like this, a cloud of dust suddenly rose on the hills ahead.

“A monster! It’s coming!”

One of the Adventurer guards of the caravan shouted as he dismounted from his grand lizard.
I also got down and unsheathed my sword.
But unless it was necessary, I would probably just watch.
I wanted to see how the locals fought here.


Three clouds of dust rose up ahead.
And they were moving at a great speed.
Every second brought them closer.
Four Adventurers would fight them.
Two wielded war hammers, one a mace, and one had a great shield.
This was a heavy-weight party.

“Three iron slaters! Let’s go!”

Came the shout, and the three weapon-wielders stepped forward.
I guess the shield-wielder would stay in the back.
And then the monsters in the approaching dust came into view! I saw them…but they looked like tires?
At least I thought so, when I saw the rolling black masses.
And they were rotating at a great speed.

One of the Adventurers was right in their path, but he slid to the side and swung his war hammer.

Clang.

It slammed into the mass that shot towards him, and the impact of the attack helped push him away into safety.
The monster lost its momentum after being hit, and it swayed to the side before falling over.

However, while all three had been hit by each Adventurer, one of them continued to move towards the caravan, even after losing speed.
There was no time to shout and alert the others.
I raised my sword to meet it, but then…

The Adventurer with the shield moved between us.

Clang.

The tower shield was big enough to cover him, and he bashed it right into the enemy.
The monster lost all of its momentum this time, and it bounced back in the opposite direction.

But, why!? He hadn’t been there a moment ago…
I see! He had predicted where it would bounce based on the positions of the others, and adjusted his waiting position!


As for the monsters who had been toppled, they now unrolled their body to show their true form.
They had an outer shell that looked like the layered slates of a pillbug.
And though they now tried to run, they were quite slow.
And so each Adventurer quickly put an end to them.

The defeated monsters…I think they were called iron slaters? The magic stones were removed and the rest ignored.
Though, the shells looked like they would be good materials? I should ask about that.

“Ah, what an impressive fight.
Would you mind if I asked you a few questions?”

I approached one of the Adventurers, who then looked at me with suspicion.

“Eh? …Ah, judging by your appearance, you’re an Adventurer from a foreign land.
Very well then.
Since we’re in the same caravan.
But we cannot stay here long.
So we’ll talk while we move.”

Before I knew it, the caravan was ready to depart again, and so the Adventurers all returned to their mounts.
As grand lizards walked on eight legs, there was less movement up and down compared to a horse.
And so it was easier to talk while riding.

“First of all, why don’t you carve it for materials? They looked pretty good to me.”

“Well, you would think that.
There are two reasons.
The first is that their outer shell is practically ‘iron.’ The other is related to their greatest weakness.
Do you know what that is?”

He asked with a grin.
Tsk.
I’m asking you because I don’t know!

“Uhh… That they can’t stop?”

“Unfortunately, that is wrong.
They charge after gaining speed while rolling down the hills.
In other words, they are incredibly weak if you have the high ground.”

“I-I see.
But how is that related to the materials?”

“When the iron slaters die, they unleash a scent that is quite appetizing for other monsters.
They sacrifice themselves so the others can escape.
So if you get carried away and hunt them from high ground, then you might just end up being surrounded by other monsters.
And so it’s best to leave as quickly as possible after killing them.”


“Ahh… So that is why.
Still, it was amazing how you could hit them when they rolled at such a high speed.”

“Well, they roll in a straight line.
So it is actually not that difficult to target them.
Though, there are also some whose shells have changed shape, and so they move unsteadily when rolling.
During such times…”

He twirled the mace in his hand while riding the grand lizard.

“This mace comes in handy.
While it’s not as deadly as a war hammer, it’s easier to hit your target.”

“I see.
But what about when there are a lot of them? Is four the limit when there are only four of you?”

“Iron slaters eat iron.
And so they want the iron that humans use.
If there are too many of them, we change the direction of the caravan in order to narrow the direction of the attack.
That’s when the real fight begins.
A battle that involves the entire caravan.
And so if an outsider moves recklessly, it could ruin the entire strategy.
So you should also be careful.”

“I see.
Very informative.
I’ll be careful.”

Hmm.
These wasteland battles were deeper than I thought.
Everyone had their role, while they worked together and fought as a whole.
As they were specialized for their environment, I could not easily join in, even if I wanted to help.
More than anything, a sword was not a good fit for these monsters.
I had heard that many of the creatures in the desert had hard shells, and so I would have to find a way of dealing with that if I wanted to be of any use in battle.

However, I had no intention of changing my weapon type.
I had made a promise with Jirido.

As I thought of such things, the ground turned into sand.
When I saw the dunes up ahead, I realized that we would really be in the desert now.
However, once I was on top of the dunes, the difference came quicker than I expected.

“See, you can see it already.
That’s the desert oasis, Rimeton.”

Within the vast, endless desert, there was one thing that was man-made in the far distance.
It was the same in every world, it seemed.
The sign of humans challenging the harshness of nature.

Bonus chapter courtesy of Messerjocke.
Thank you so much!!

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