I noticed something was in the area with 【Sense Presence】. Even though it was 2 hours after midnight I still had plenty of energy.
【Sense Presence】's area of effect has grown considerably recently. I always activate it before going to sleep just in case, but it randomly wakes me up at times. It's very annoying.
I set it so only [Sense Enemy] will trigger it so it wouldn't wake me up at night. Now that I actually take a look there are a lot of enemies showing up, too many even for this hour of night.
For a moment I thought the humans had come to attack, but I realized that's unlikely.
At night the forest belongs to the monsters.
If the humans were to attack us now, they would be at a huge disadvantage.
While I was trying to figure out it was, I was able to confirm it wasn't the humans.
The species name coming up after using my abilities [Mental Map] and [Sense Presence] together was Kobold. I thought they might after revenge, but… that might be wrong.
I could tell there were 53 Kobolds by the number of red dots showing up on my [Mental Map]. There were also 38 blue dots that appeared to be chasing the Kobolds. At the very edge there was a rather large gray dot. Individuals of the same species show up as the same color, so that means there are three different species.
I didn't know what the blue and gray dots were. From what I could tell when the red dots made contact with the blue dots the red dots were disappearing.
It appears the Kobolds were under attack.
Stuff like this happens all the time which is why I usually ignore it.
I’d rather not have anything to do with this, but they were getting closer and closer. I decided to wake up everyone in order to prepare for the possible intrusion.
I could easily kill the Kobolds so the real threat was the blue and gray dots.
The Kobolds ran as fast as they could toward our cave. They'd been reduce to 36 members. There weren't just males. The group included females, elderly, and children.
In the rear was a line of armed male Kobolds trying to hold off the blue dots. The blue dots were bleached white Skeletons armed with swords, shields, and armor. The Kobolds were desperately trying to slow the Skeletons down.
I was at loss for words.
When I was inside Returner's dungeon, I didn’t get to see a Skeleton. This is the first time I’ve seen the real thing. Aren’t these Skeletons the same magical creatures that were guarding Velvet's Dungeon?
Why are they here?… Ah, a Kobold got killed. It looks like I don't have that much time to think about it.
I gave out orders using the cuffs and told them to attack the Skeleton group with crossbows to start.
Getting a good hit on them is incredibly difficult. Even if they got hit head on, the bolt simply snaps. That’s how tough they were.
In all likelihood, there was an ability of some kind at work here.
Seeing that the crossbows were ineffective, I pulled «Regret», our long-range force, back. «Pleasure», our logistical support corps, led the escaping Kobolds to the prison cells. I had Gobuji-kun administer first aid to anybody that needed it in the Kobold group.
I wanted them under surveillance and they'd only be in the way if they stayed here.
Seeing that long range attacks were ineffective, I ordered the main combat corps «Anger» and light armed corps «Hatred» to engage the skeletons. The black wolves also helped.
However, cutting through bone with just a sword is hard. It was a tough fight in the beginning.
I relayed that information to the everyone using the cuffs. Then, as if the tough time we were having was just a bad dream, we took out the Skeletons in no time.
Now that we knew their weakness, they were no longer a problem.
With his huge battle axe and tower shield, Gobukichi-kun was mowing through them like nothing.
The sight of that huge bellowing figure going through the Skeletons and turning them into dust was refreshing.
Gobue-chan was equipped with her usual pickaxe. It’s not an exaggeration to say that she already has a certain kill swing. She was swinging downwards crushing the skull in one hit making it all down the way down to their sacrum without stopping. It was a terrible blow. The Skeletons were simply dug out.
T/N: Sacrum - Triangular bone at the base of the spine, between the hip bones.
Gobumi-chan, using the Failnaught's [Certain Hit] skill to hit them in the skull, wasn't very effective. She was able to work around that; not just with the amount of rapid-fired shots able to hit their mark, but also by changing the arrowhead which resulted in an increase of penetrating power.
The Skeletons did not have a way to defend against the rapid-fire shots that came at them like a wave.
Hobusei-san burned and scattered the Skeletons by using her fire magic. Of course, she didn't use her wide-area destructive magic because there were allies around her. Due to her ranking up, her magic effectiveness had increased. She didn't have much of a handicap against the skeletons.
As for me, well, I definitely wouldn't have any problems.
I didn't think I was going to get a turn this time. Something seemed off though, the Skeleton's numbers weren't decreasing.
Despite the Skeletons inside the cave being crushed until they were nothing but a heap of bones, they kept coming and coming. There was no end to them.
While thinking about where they came from, I remembered what Returner told us about them.
In addition, by absorbing the Mana from the surrounding darkness, the number of Skeletons the Greater Skeletons could produce during the night seemed to be near infinite. It was something you'd expect from Velvet-sama. It was worth boasting about.
“Ah, so that’s how,” I figured it out, “I should just go crush the Greater Skeleton.”
However, I changed my mind after considering how much EXP we could gain by killing the Skeletons over and over.
“This is a good time for a level up!” I thought.
I let everyone know what I was thinking. Even though it was past midnight, the EXP festival began!
At the beginning everyone was wondering, “Has anyone been killed?”, but after a little while, everyone seemed to get used to fighting them so we got by with almost no injuries.
There was the possibility that something could happen due to fatigue. I had them attack in shifts to make sure nothing happened.
Even the long-range and logistical support corps could destroy them with blunt objects relatively easily while my bear made sure no Skeletons got away.
I munched on a pile of bones while I watched. Redhead came over to take a break during the fight to eat with me.
Apparently the bones were indeed used as an ingredient. Not only are they high quality, but also pretty rare. That is why I saved some and stored them in my item box. You can also sell them for a decent amount of gold. I hope I can find someone to be a good source of gold to sell the bones to.
They had a lot of good information for me as you'd expect from peddlers.
When it comes to trading they are reliable.
Ability learned: 【Slashing Resistance】
Ability learned: 【Piercing Resistance】
Ability learned: 【Weakness to Sunlight】
Ability learned: 【Weakness to Crushing】
Ability learned: 【Nullify Critical Hits】
Ability learned: 【Tireless】
Ability learned: 【Bone Union】
Ability learned: 【Joint Magic】
Ability learned: 【Equipment Materialization】
Ability learned: 【Evil Miasma of Life】
Ability learned: 【Absorb Magic】
Ability learned: 【Nullify Negative Status Effects】
Ability learned: 【Cold Attack Nullification】
Ability learned: 【Thunder Attack Nullification】
Ability learned: 【Acid Attack Resistance】
Ability learned: 【Weakness to Light Damage】
Ability learned: 【Weakness to Holy Damage】
Ability learned: 【Weakness to Fire Damage】
Ability learned: 【Anaerobic】
I ate a ton of them, so I have secured quite a few abilities. There were a lot of useless abilities, but they won’t be a problem since I won’t activate them.
It’s been around 4 hours since we started fighting. It’s almost time for dawn to arrive. Everyone has gained a good amount of experience and leveled up a bunch, so I guess it’s time for me to end this festival.
More like, I wanna sleep.
Yeah, I’ve decided, I’m putting an end to this festival. I charged towards the entrance tearing the hordes of Skeletons asunder with my silver arm and red spear until I made it outside.
Right when I got a black long sword was swung at my head. I saw it coming though, so I parried it with the red spear and thrust my silver hand’s fingers at the enemy.
The “Greater Skeleton” was twice as large as the others and wielded an imposing sword. My silver arm smashed through its chest and brought this festival to an end.
His skull made a nasty grinding and rattling sound as I ate it. Of course, I'm still going to devour every last bit of it down to the last bone.
As expected of a higher species, you can gain a lot of experience by destroying it. The taste wasn’t bad either.
It hadn't occurred to me that bones would be this appetizing.
The high-grade bone had a nice consistency. Yeah, tasty.
Ability learned: 【Lesser Summoning: Undead】
Ability learned: 【Greater Equipment Materialization】
Ability learned: 【Negative Energy】
Ability learned: 【Lesser Damage Reduction】
Ability learned: 【Lesser Magic Damage Reduction】
At first I thought, “How dare these Kobolds bring us trouble,” but now I see them as dogs that brought us a gift.
It would've been troublesome if they attacked us while we were sleeping.
We were extremely worn out because of the festival so we all went to sleep.
Evening finally arrived.
I was able to establish the following:
The Kobolds lived in a cave just like us (though they were a little air-headed, they didn’t do any expanding).
→ They lived by hunting in the forest and the mountain. Everything changed for them when they killed an Orc and obtained an iron pick axe.
→ The female Kobolds worked on expanding their home by digging while the males hunted for food.
→ Like this they were able to improve their living area. They were happy they were able to expand.
→ While they were expanding they came across Velvet's Dungeon.
→ The Kobolds didn't understand what the dungeon was at first. They decided that the male Kobolds would investigate the dungeon during the day. As they were covering up the hole a large mob of Skeletons appeared as it was night time.
→ They were forced to flee.
→ Fatigue, something a Skeleton doesn't have to deal with, soon overtook the Kobolds that were trying to fight them and they were mercilessly killed. It didn't matter if a warrior, old, young, male, or female, none were spared.
→ They were aware they might just be killed by the Ogre.
→ Their leader declared “Either way… we’ll all be finished at this rate if we don't do something… So let's at least try”
→ You know the rest.
… What the hell?
Uh, hmm… nevermind… as long as everything worked out in the end it's okay.
Once they finished their story I fiddled with my horn as I tried to sort all the details in my head. The Warrior and Footman Kobolds made a line kneeling before me.
“We eat our own kind all the time. The strong inevitably feed on the weak. We kill and eat each other fueled by the ambition of one day becoming “Lord”.”
That’s right, Lord.
A life saved is a life worth giving up in return was what they believed. That’s all there is to it.
If one of them betrayed me, their lord, the Kobold Leader would gladly execute him or her.
That's what he declared.
Well, nobody would believe him completely with just that, but looking at his eyes I believe he's telling the truth. Honest eyes shouldn't be ignored.
I decided to prepare something just in case they tried anything.
I opened my item box, took out the magic items I was looking for, and ate them all.
Ability learned: 【Enslave】
The items I ate were called the “Collar of Slavery”, which belonged to the adventurers that died in “Velvet's Dungeon”
It's obvious what they were for. Evidently, it was something you could put on your guards if you didn't trust them.
It's an incredibly useful ability. I was trying to remember why I've never used them before.
I remember now, I tried eating one as an experiment before. It tasted awful and was unpalatable.
I didn’t feel any texture from it. The surface was sticky and its contents were awfully hard. The more I chewed, the more I was overcome by a feeling of nausea.
It also tasted bitter, sour, and spicy. Should I say the taste from that triple threat was indescribably bad?
It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten something this horrible. I kept these for convenience instead. I came this far though.
That is what you'd call “a moment of need”. You put up with what you have to because you need to.
There you have it, now I have the ability [Enslave]. It's an ability that prevents treason. This ability won’t do anything just by possessing it though. To do something with it, I should probably start manufacturing cuff-type communication devices that have this ability.
Eh? What will I do with the Kobolds you ask? I’ll think about it in the morning. For now they can use the cells.
The Kobolds are surprisingly obedient. I feel like I shouldn’t be too hard on them. What a dilemma… Do I kill them or do I let them join our ranks?