[To you left! 2 meters. Mandible!] Sugarette mentally yelled. Eliot quickly jumped forward to dodge the incoming Centinewt’s attack. He then ducked and rolled over to the side as the monster whipped out with its tail.
It cut through the air and hit the ground. The Earth cracked like an eggshell.
[The injured one is getting back up!] Eliot kept his concentration on the uninjured Centinewt as he slowly moved his free hand to his belt. An old but sturdy looking knife was strapped there. As he pulled it out silently the silvery white gleam of the edge caught the monster’s attention.
The moment the Centinewt charged at him he dodged again.
A loud sound echoed. Eliot had positioned himself in front of a section of the wall. So, the Monster bashed its head right into it.
Eliot took that chance. He Jumped high up using the dizzy monster as a support and poured Earth elemental mana into the knife. The knife which looked old yet sharp before, suddenly had a new feel to it.
The other Centinewt was still struggling to stand up. This one had completely had the shape of a newt. But except its head which looked slimy and gooey, the body was covered in hard insectoid chitin.
Eliot had injured its 2 rear legs at the start of the battle, and he wasn’t about to waste this chance. He put all his strength into his arms and threw the knife at the injured Centinewt. The knife went through the Newt like head, instantly killing it.
By that time, the other Centinewt had already come to its senses. This one had a body of a Centipede. But part of it also looked like a wet lizard.
It screamed out in rage as it watched its partner die. Out for revenge, it turned around to continue its train like charge. Its insectoid segmented eyes were bloodshot. Its slightly damaged mandibles gleamed a dangerous pale blue light.
[M-Master, it’s reinforcing its mandibles! Dodge it!] Sugarette also noticed the change. She cried out in alarm, but her peridot eyes still had faith in her master.
Hearing Sugarette’s warning just on the nick of time, Eliot ducked below and pushed his sword up at the same time. He didn’t have enough time to reinforce his sword with mana but it should still be sharp enough to cut. Though the absence of mana meant the sword would not come out of the collision undamaged.
Like a raging stampede of beasts, the Centinewt passed right above Eliot’s head. But alas, it missed. Its own momentum and the sword’s sharp edge caused its softer underbelly to split open.
The dim corridor suddenly boomed with a pained screech. Injured, but not dead, the Centinewt slowly tried to turn around. Glowing ichor poured out of its wound. The pain was intense, but not enough to make it retread. It watched its mate die right in front of it, and it wanted revenge.
However, the injury on its belly was too severe for it to slither on the cave ground. It was effectively handicapped, as it could no longer perform its charging attack.
Not wanting to give it enough time to recover, Eliot started chanting a spell. Sugarette was also not idle, as the glowing green orb constantly sent Eliot mental reports about the injured monster.
“<<Lesser Earth Spike>>!”, Eliot yelled out loud. The mana gathered around his hand which was covered in monster blood. The mana had a pale brown glow. Eliot suddenly bent his knees as he punched the ground around his foot hard.
The mana was discharged, the spell a success. Immediately a single spike made out of Stone pierced the Centinewt’s wound from under it.
Taken by surprise at the sudden feat of magic, the monster reacted poorly. It tried to move as it screeched loudly, but the spike prevented it from doing so. All its thrashing around pushed the spike even further up its innards.
Eliot knew the spike wouldn’t hold it for long so he dashed towards it with his mana pouring into his sword. His eyes gleamed with a sparkle of victory as he scanned for any weakness he could exploit.
This time, he used raw mana rather than its elemental counterpart. The heat generated caused the ichor on his hand to evaporate. The same with the sword.
Reaching up to its front, Eliot heavily swung his sword at a joint connecting the thrashing Centinewt’s head to its segmented body.
A sound of metal hitting something hard resounded.
‘Tsk, this is why I hate insect types!’, Eliot begrudgingly complained. But he didn’t relent. A few more hits on the joint and he would win. It would have been better if he could use earth mana but he knew his cheap sword wouldn’t be able to endure the stress.
It was difficult as he also had to avoid the flailing tail. But with Sugarette’s timely cautioning he was able to do so without getting hit.
Finally, after 2-3 more precise chops, he was able to separate the head from the body. Blue blood spilled out like a fountain. The body was still thrashing, albeit not as fiercely, even though the brain was no longer connected to it.
[Quickly get the cores! The screeching was too loud other monsters might come! Master, we can’t harvest the carapace!] Sugarette warned.
Of course, Eliot knew that. So, he quickly went and harvested the 2 cores from the Centinewt corpses. Normally it would take a while to figure out where the cores were located because even for the same type of monster, they varied in location. But Sugarette simply passed through the bodies of the monsters once like a ghost and sent a mental image of the core’s location to Eliot. The rest was easy.
After also picking up the throwing knife, he quickly made a run for it.
By the time he was far enough, he could already hear the creeping sounds of clattering insect legs rapidly tapping the cave floors and the slimy squelching noise of a newt’s feet moving on the wall like suction cups.
[I-I think we’re safe. Phew! Master that was a tough fight! The assassins could’ve ambushed you if you didn’t finish it quickly.] Sugarette had a worried look on her face. But what she was saying was utter nonsense.
‘What’s *huff* assassins. She’s still on that? *huff*’, Eliot was annoyed.
But he was thankful to Sugarette nonetheless. She was like a cheat that the reincarnators in all those fantasy novels he used to read back on Earth had. Albeit an annoying and squeaky one.
Thanks to the fact that enemies couldn’t see her and she could communicate with him mentally, it almost seemed like he had eyes on the back of his head, hands, feet, shoulders and a few of them floating around independently like the haunted fairy Sugarette was.
She could always warn him of the enemy’s sneak attacks and movements in general. They even thought out quick and efficient ways to do this like code-words. And if the battle was too intense, she could instead send him visual images of what was happening from above. But they still needed more practice on this as Eliot tended to get headaches if the volume of mentally sent thoughts were too much.
Right now, Eliot and Sugarette were in the Centinewt’s pit, on their way to the hidden cavern for their daily check. But unluckily they ran into a duo of Centinewts in the middle of… doing stuff.
Interrupted, the Centinewts were naturally incensed so a fight inevitable broke out. The weird thing was, the Centinewts didn’t make any … noise. Silent as an assassin, they did their deeds. And because Sugarette was in the middle of fantasizing about a novel her master read to her the previous night, the dumb goddess actually forgot to scout out ahead. So began the unfortunate string of events.
[Sugarette! You lousy goddess! I almost died back there. CONCENTRATE damnit.], Eliot complained. Still panting a bit, but otherwise he could continue moving.
[I-It’s not my fault! T-They were way to silent a-and I helped you fight, didn’t I?] Sugarette replied timidly. She knew she did something wrong. She used her tiny hands to cover her gradually blushing face as it made her remember the start of the whole situation.
[No! Enough is enough. I am tired of you messing up. It’s punishment time!], Eliot said deviously as he sent her a mental image of uglier but cost-effective golem he thought of.
[Eeeek! A-anything but that! P-please! Sugarette won’t be naughty anymore, she promises!] Sugarette’s face paled into a shade of blue. She seemed truly disgusted at even the thought of possessing one of the golems as a vassal. Her anxiousness made her speak in third person. Eliot was still unsure if that was on purpose or something she did when she was nervous.
Eliot refused to budge and mentally sent even more ugly and disturbing golem designs.
Just like this as he teased the gullible goddess, they made their way to the cavern.
After some time of sneaking around as quietly but as quickly as they could, they finally reached the section of the dungeon which held the secret room.
Eliot stopped there. He silently checked the area for signs of human or monster presence. He had set up some hard to detect threads along the corridor. Some of them were snapped, some still in place.
Eliot knew he couldn’t be careless. He wanted to check on the status of the secret room and get out of there as soon as possible. But using magic to remove the blocked entrance and then afterwards magically blocking it again would take too much time. So, he left this task up to his companion.
Sugarette was for better or worse, very similar to a ghost. In other words, she could pass through stuff. It was truly a task perfect for her.
So as Eliot was resetting the threads, she quickly phased through the walls to reach the room.
[Wow! Master the weird berry tree has new berries! A-and the Violet Mother’s Joy has a tumor!] Sugarette suddenly shouted out in their mental link.
Flabbergasted by her sudden outburst, Eliot hurriedly sent for a mental image. And she obliged. He concentrated on the image and quickly spotted the anomaly.
At the base of the Violet Mother’s Joy there was a tumor like outgrowth. Eliot quickly recognized what it was and cried out in delight,
[You silly goddess. That isn’t a tumor, that’s a-] But he was cut off as a loud rumbling sounded out in the caves.
[W-What was that?] Sugarette asked nervously. But Eliot didn’t know the answer to that question. The rumble sounded out again followed by a loud screech.
[Is that a Centinewt. It seems to be coming from. Hmm… on the other side of the secret room? Sugarette quickly check if there is a passage on the other side!] Eliot was hit by a sudden realization.
‘Of course, if this side of the room has a passage, the same goes for the other side too.’ Eliot prayed to the only goddess he personally knew. The noises sounded like a Centinewt, but considering the volume of the screech, it was probably a rank or two above the ones Eliot just fought. There was a chance that whatever was happening on that side would open up an entrance to the secret room. Then all he was doing would be for naught.
[O-okay. I-if Sugarette doesn’t return, please remember me~] Sugarette said nervously as she phased through the opposite wall as quietly as she could, even thought nobody else could hear her as long as she didn’t wish for it.
A few quiet moments passed, but that was quickly broken by a sudden stream of images Sugarette send over.
There was a giant Centinewt lying dead on a puddle of its own ichor. It was at-least 3 times bigger than the ones Eliot fought. A group of 5 people surrounded the corpse, vigilantly scanning their surroundings, as 2 others quickly harvested it for anything of value.
[Master! They are adventurers!] Sugarette cried out.
[Adventurers! And a full party by the looks of it!] Eliot said simultaneously.
Yes, a group of adventurers had just finished battling a monster on the other side of the secret room.