Its color was faded, and like a fish that had lost its freshness, it was blotchy and dull. However, it wasn’t dead. It made a big jolt every time they heard a strong mana pulse. It seemed like this ‘thing’ was providing mana to the meat pieces that covered the ruin.
“…What is that?” Leona asked with disgust. Almost everyone thought the same thing.
Zich asked, “Did you hear about something like that from the stories of an ancient empire?”
“No. Of course, I don’t remember everything the adults told me, but they never told me about such a thing.”
There was no way she’d forget if she heard such a monstrous thing. On the other hand, Lyla grabbed her head as she looked at it with complicated feelings.
“Is that the thing you were sensing?”
At Zich’s question, Lyla nodded. “Probably.”
“Can you guess what its existence is?”
“Not at all.”
‘I bet.’ Even Zich had heard about all sorts of strange things before he regressed, but he had never seen something like that.
“What are you going to do now?” Hans asked from behind Zich. Meanwhile, he kept a tight grip on Estellade and didn’t take his eyes off the thing. His movements were polished from Zich’s thorough training.
“Let me see,” Zich said and thought about whether he should try striking it or observe the situation a bit more. It was at that moment—
It moved, and everyone tensed up. The flower bud formed by meat pieces—it was the phrase the group had thought of as soon as their eyes landed on it, and it seemed more like it as it moved.
Like a blooming flower bud, its petals began to part one by one. Petal after petal, the disgusting meat petals lowered down its body on the squirming floor. After thirteen meat pieces fell, the existence inside it came into view.
“Uhhh!” Snoc shuddered; Nowem had already climbed down from his back and was hanging onto his shoulder with his face slightly poking out. Yet, their responses weren’t exaggerated—everyone expressed their disgust in varying degrees.
It was a monster — this was enough to describe the existence that appeared between the meat petals. Its complete form was like that of a long piece of meat, and the reddish-black muscles underneath its skin looked like somebody had taken them out and clumped them together on top. That alone was already grotesque, but between these meat pieces, there were human body parts stuck in them and made it look even more terrifying. Arms and legs stuck out like chestnut needles.
Although it hung down powerlessly, it squirmed from time to time, making it more terrifying. However, that wasn’t the end. There were eyes, nose, ears, and long fur-like hair sporadically hanging between the arms and legs.
“…What is that?” Leona reiterated again, but they were filled with great disgust this time.
The monster opened its eyes. Its bloodshot eyes rolled around and fixed onto them.
Except for Zich, everyone took a step backward. They all instinctively felt a sense of resistance as more than a dozen disgusting eyes turned towards them. Arms and legs that squirmed occasionally as they loosely hung onto the body began to limp. Without saying anything, its lips simply puckered like a carp out of water. However, that lasted for only a short while.
The monster cried with different voices, dozens of lips shouting in harmony. It wasn’t a beautiful harmony but a clear and terrifying sound.
Zich straightened Windur. “Be ready. I don’t think it’s screaming at us to play.”
“Even if it’s asking us to play, it would be difficult,” Leona said and readied her bow at the monster.
Hans stepped forward to stand right next to Zich and lifted Estellade up. He planned to focus his efforts on protecting his juniors, Lyla and Leona this time. Of course, if he got the opportunity, he planned to swing Estellade without hesitation.
Snoc took out some mithril and looked around his surroundings. Perhaps, there were lasting effects from the ruin, or the meat pieces were blocking the area, but it was impossible for him to move the earth. Snoc was relieved that he had taken some mithril with him, and while the rest of the group prepared for battle, Lyla grabbed her head with one hand and scowled.
Zich turned to look at her. “Are you not feeling well?”
“…Yeah, a bit.” It seemed like the monster’s movements affected her.
“You should stay back.”
“It’s fine. It’s just that I feel terrible. I’m not at a level where I can’t use magic.”
“Is that so?” Zich didn’t try to dissuade her anymore since he had considerable trust in her battle abilities. Lyla was skilled in many areas, but after receiving Zich’s hellish training, her abilities were much greater than before.
‘At the least, she won’t hinder us.’
“Fine. Then, I will strike a big blow fir—” Zich was cut off. The meat lumps that covered the ruin began to wobble.
“Uh, do we have to fight those things off too?” Snoc muttered, and Nowem slapped his cheeks. Koo! It was as if Nowem was telling Snoc, ‘Don’t say such a terrifying thing.’ Unfortunately for Nowem, such ominous words often became reality.
The arms and legs attached to the monster began to move like crazy. It moved like it was trying to rip and stamp on anything in its path into pieces. The eyes burrowed into its skin, and its lips, noses, and ears twitched like individual beings.
The ‘eyes’ hidden beneath the piles of flesh opened, and the ‘mouth,’ ‘nose,’ and ‘ears’ twitched continuously.
“Ugh…!” Leona quickly moved away.
An ‘arm’ near her had tried to grab her leg. The area that Leona jumped to had a ‘mouth.’ Aiming to bite Leona’s leg as soon as it moved closer, the mouth’s sharp teeth clattered towards Leona.
Zich pierced a ‘nose’ that was sniffling next to him.
All the ‘mouths’ near the ‘nose’ that Zich pierced screamed. All the ‘eyes’ near the ‘nose’ also all glared at Zich.
‘Tender-hearted humans will probably immediately collapse at this sight.’
That was how much the sight in front of them was gross and bizarre. Zich stared at the monster’s main body; it was still letting out screams. It also continued to glare with its bloodshot eyes.
‘Huh? Wait a minute.’ Zich grabbed Lyla’s sleeve and moved her to the side.
“…What are you doing?” Even while she was confused, Lyla still followed Zich’s movement. When they were a certain distance away from the others, Zich also moved a bit away from Lyla.
“That…!” Hans and Snoc were shocked. Leona also opened her eyes wide. Lyla was also a bit surprised that all the monster’s eyes were looking at her.
“As I expected, you’re popular. I guess even monsters like pretty faces?”
“This really is horrifying, so shut your mouth.” Lyla glared at Zich and lifted her staff. A powerful mana force could be felt from her staff.
“Well, I’m going to give him a good shot!”
“Yeah, send him a good one!”
Zich encouraged her, and Lyla finished her spell. A powerful fire came out at the end of her staff.
“This magic is the best way to burn pieces of meat!”
Condensed flames shot out from the end of her staff. With their long red tails, they shot right at the center of the monster’s body.
The flame exploded. It was so powerful that the whole ruin shook.
All the ‘mouths’ in the ruin screamed, and the ‘arms’ and ‘legs’ began to move like crazy. The monster looked as if it was in great pain.
‘No way. Do we have to destroy every single one of these pieces to kill it?’
Even Zich did not want to have to go through such intense labor. After the explosion faded, the monster’s main body came into view—the meat pieces were horribly burnt. The burnt ‘arms’ and ‘legs’ fell off, and all the ‘eyes’ were closed while letting out streams of tears.
However, the monster was still alive.
But by that time, Lyla had already completed her second magic.
“It’s still not dead.” Lyla clicked her tongue in annoyance and shot out her second magic spell.
It was another flame magic, but this time, the flames were shaped into pillars. It seemed as if the flame pillars would finish off the heavily burnt monster.
“What?” Lyla was shocked; her magic had been blocked. The ferocious fire pillars were stopped by a semi-transparent wall.
“…Magic?” Leona murmured this to herself.
Shockingly, what stopped Lyla’s magic was another magic spell. The monster turned its main body. Unlike the front, the monster’s back was not burnt and it still had many body parts still attached to it. Two of the ‘arms’ on its body were waving in the air, and two of its ‘mouths’ were muttering something.
“Aren’t they muttering a spell?”
“Yeah.” As soon as Lyla replied to Zich’s question, fire and wind swirled around two of its ‘arms.’
“Watch out!” Zich carried Lyla on his side and moved back to where the others were. Then he held up Windur and aimed it towards the monster. Next to him, Hans also adjusted his grip on Estellade.
Two different types of magic shot at them, a combination of fire and wind. A powerful storm of flames bombarded Zich and his companions.
The ‘mouths’ swept by the flames screamed out loud, and the ‘arms’ and ‘legs’ floundered desperately. The ‘eyes’ let out tears, but the monster’s main body paid no attention to the pain of its other body parts. The flames mercilessly swept everything in their path.
The flames disappeared. Fortunately, Zich’s group did not suffer any damage as Zich had offset most of the magic from the front.
“Are you guys alright?”
At Zich’s question, everyone replied that they were alright. Zich looked back; no one seemed to have sustained any injuries.
Then Zich looked back at the monster’s main body. “I thought you couldn’t do anything from where you were, but you were hiding such a cute skill!”
Zich never imagined that the monster which looked like a failed life form would be able to do magic. However, the monster’s first attack was only the beginning of an arduous battle. While the big lump of meat in the middle was the monster’s main body, all the meat pieces scattered around the ruin were also part of the monster. All the ‘arms’ scattered around the ruins raised their hands and all the ‘mouths’ began muttering spells.
“…Wow, this guy is incredible.” Even Zich was surprised by the monster’s ability.
Even in this chaotic situation, Zich did not miss that all the eyes were staring at Lyla. Between their spells, a couple of ‘mouths’ were muttering:
<<It’s all because of you!>>
<<I curse you!>>
<<Become the same as us!>>
They cursed at her.Previous Chapter Next Chapter