V2 Chapter 43: A Night Encounter

On top of Clau Soras’s saddle, Katia let out a voice that was neither admiration nor astonishment. In front of her eyes, a sandstorm that raged over a wide area was reflected.

The sand dust that rose high into the sky looked literally like a “wall”, and it spread over a scale that reminded one of the horizon. If such a sandstorm hit directly, even the city of Berka would be swallowed by the sand in an instant.

There should still be quite a distance between them and the sandstorm, but they felt a sense of oppression as if it was approaching them right in front of their eyes.

It was a sight that made one think of the end of the world.

“That “Wall of Sand” frequently occurs in the unexplored area. It’s the biggest reason why the unexplored area remains unexplored, as I heard from Captain Arow before.”

Katia’s words made sense. Indeed, if they encountered such a storm while walking on the ground, there would be nothing they could do. The only thing they could do was to pitch a tent and wait quietly until the sandstorm passed by – no, that wouldn’t work either, they would end up being swallowed by the sand along with the tent.

In that case, they would have to wait for a time when the sandstorm was not happening, quickly step in, conduct an investigation in the shortest possible time, and quickly retreat. Or they could use magic or something to create a base that could withstand the sandstorm. Well, I don’t know if that’s really possible.

We were lucky in that respect. Clau Soras could create a barrier of wind, so we wouldn’t be blown away even if we entered the sandstorm. That was proven when we cut through the tornado caused by the mythical creature Hydra.

The only difference from before was that there was no clear goal beyond the storm. At that time, we had the conviction that Hydra was in the center of the tornado, and we could roughly estimate the size of the tornado.

But we didn’t have that for the “Wall of Sand”. If the depth of the sandstorm was as wide as its width, it would be difficult to cut through it even with the indigo winged beast Wyvern. And in that thick sand smoke, we couldn’t even confirm our direction properly. Of course, it was impossible to search for the king of beasts Behemoth or the “Silver Star”.

It would be better to wait for a day when the sandstorm was not happening and enter the unexplored area from the sky, and observe the situation from above. If we could find some clues, that would be good. If not, we would have to try again from another place on another day.

When the sandstorm was happening, we could explore other places than the unexplored area. I didn’t come here to uncover the mystery of the unexplored area. What I should look for are the king of beasts Behemoth and the “Silver Star”. Thinking that, I asked Katia a question.

“Just to confirm, the White Knight was trying to cross that wall, right?”

“Yes. As I just said, the “Wall of Sand” occurs in the unexplored area. It’s unnatural for a natural sandstorm to happen so frequently. The captain speculated that it might be something like a barrier.”

If it was a barrier, then it was obvious that someone had set it up. If the “Wall of Sand” was not a natural phenomenon but an artificial obstacle, then there should be a way to break it or get through it – that was what White Knight Arow thought.

I see, Arow’s exploration of the unexplored area was, in the end, a way to find that method.

…But I still felt uneasy about him continuing to challenge the dangerous desert based on the speculation that it might be something like a barrier. From what I heard about Arow’s achievements in the “Silver Star”, he seemed to be a person with excellent personality and judgment. I found it hard to believe that such a person would risk his life on a mere guess.

As I looked at the “Wall of Sand” from afar, I felt that feeling even stronger. He must have had some basis for challenging it. A clear basis that could risk not only his own life, but also his comrades’.

Maybe his father had left something behind, or maybe Arow himself had found something while following his father’s shadow.

――I suddenly thought. Maybe it would be easier to find clues by searching for Arow’s house or the headquarters of the “Silver Star” than by exploring the unexplored area.

Well, I’m sure someone has already done what I’m thinking of.

While thinking about such things, I continued to explore the desert. But to put it bluntly, I didn’t get any results from this day’s exploration.

There are many oases scattered throughout the Catalan Desert. They are lifelines for adventurers who work in the desert, and some of them have shops and facilities that cater to adventurers, and are more lively than some cities.

We spent the night at one of those oases, and headed for the unexplored area again the next day, but the “Wall of Sand” was still happening, and we ended up with no results from our exploration.

The difference in temperature between morning and evening peculiar to the desert. The scorching sunlight that pours down. The dry air. The sandy wind that constantly jumps into my eyes and mouth.

I was fed up with the climate of the Catalan Desert, and decided to go back to Berka for a while. It was a decision based on the judgment that there was no need to spend three or four nights in the desert in the current situation, unless it was an emergency. I could tell that Suzume, of course, and Lunamaria, who was a forest fairy, were also having trouble with the desert climate.

Among my companions, only Katia looked like she wanted to say something, but – Iria was staying behind in Berka because she was over the capacity – she either knew her place or didn’t object to my decision.


That night – I mean the night I came back from the Catalan Desert, I secretly left the Temple of Law and headed for the city of Berka.

The sun had already set completely, and most of the shops would be closed.

But in a city as big as Berka, there were places that became lively at night. The so-called entertainment district.

…Let me make it clear, I didn’t want to go out with women. I just wanted to see the city of Berka with my own eyes.

Since I came to this city, most of the information I have seen and heard has been through the Law God Church. The Temple of Law was outstanding in terms of the quality and quantity of information it possessed, and its authority as an organization was high. That’s why I also took refuge in the temple, but on the other hand, I couldn’t avoid having a bias in the information I got.

Tonight, I left the temple to correct that bias.

I wore a hooded robe so that I wouldn’t be recognized as a dragon slayer. The night in Berka – or rather, the night in the desert – was cold compared to the daytime heat, so the thick robe was also a countermeasure for that.

So I stepped into the entertainment district, and like a country bumpkin, I looked around slowly as I walked along the street. I thought I would go into any decent bar or restaurant, but most of the shops that were open at this time were ones where women served drinks. Just walking along the street, I could hear coquettish voices from everywhere.

I didn’t mind going into those kinds of shops, but I couldn’t go out with women before my tongue dried up after saying I didn’t want to. Dragon slayers don’t lie.

Well, it was also interesting to wander around the night city aimlessly.

I thought that while strolling around the night Berka. It would be more interesting if someone thought I was a sucker and approached me, but no one like that got in my way.

“To be honest, I thought it would be more chaotic, but maybe the security is not so bad?”

The security of the entertainment district is one of the indicators of the current situation of the city. It’s commendable that an uninformed stranger can walk along the street without being harassed for an hour or so.

I decided to keep it in the back of my mind that Berka might be a good candidate.

That’s because I’m planning to set up a base for the “Blood Spraying Sword” somewhere other than Ishka. It was a necessary precaution, since the Mitsurugi family had found out where I was.

Ciel and Miroslav, who didn’t accompany me to Berka this time, were working on that. By the way, when I say a new base, I don’t mean to move from Ishka, but to secure a place where the remaining members can live safely when I go on a long trip. That’s the main point of the plan.

In that respect, Berka was too far away from Ishka, and I heard that there were also attacks by desert monsters, so it wasn’t a strong candidate. But because it was so far away, the chances of being found by the Mitsurugi family were low, so it was worth considering.

“I would make an instant decision if there was a property with a cypress bath, but I guess that’s too much to ask for near the desert.”

As I muttered something pointless, I smelled roasted meat and spices, and turned my attention to them.

The source of the smell was a shop with the sign “Sand and Lizard Inn”, which had a bar and restaurant on the first floor and an inn on the second floor. It was a common structure for this kind of shop.

It looked clean inside, and there were no women. I decided to go in, since it would be boring to go back to the temple right away.

As soon as the bell on the door announced the arrival of a customer, the owner came out of the kitchen with a big smile and approached me.

He led me to a seat and I ordered the skewers that he recommended.

What was brought to me soon was a dish of meat and vegetables skewered alternately, coated with sauce and grilled. The meat used was sand lizard, he said.

Sand lizard is, as the name suggests, a lizard that lives in the sand.

But it’s not a small type that scurries around on the ground, but a monster that can eat livestock or even humans when it grows up. It might be more accurate to call it a sand crocodile.

This sand lizard usually hides in the sand and attacks prey that comes close, but when it gets hungry, it crawls out of the sand and actively looks for prey. Also, reptiles are weak to temperature changes, but sand lizards move around actively at night thanks to their thick skin.

It was a monster that even a novice adventurer could hunt if they were well prepared, but it would be troublesome if they were attacked during the night camp. It was a monster that adventurers who challenged the desert had to learn the name and habits of first.

And as for that monster, as I mentioned before, its skin was thick and not edible at all. On the other hand, the meat under the skin was soft and juicy, and as soon as I bit into it, the meat juice overflowed in my mouth. It was a high-quality ingredient. And when it was coated with the secret sauce of this shop, the meat’s flavor exploded on my tongue, and at the same time, the moderate spiciness stimulated my appetite – in short, it was super delicious.

The taste was generally strong, but it was just right for my body that was lacking salt after returning from the desert. The food at the temple was generally bland, so it was even more so.

As I ate the savory skewers, I felt like drinking a gulp of ale, but I couldn’t go back to the temple with a boozy breath, so I refrained from alcohol. Instead, I ordered a second helping and filled my stomach.

After a while, I finished all the skewers, including the second helping, and let out a satisfied sigh.

I might have found an unexpected gem of a shop. I thought I had to buy some souvenirs for Suzume and the others, but that would reveal that I had sneaked out at night. Well, it wouldn’t be a problem if they found out, but it would be awkward to let them know that I went to the entertainment district.

Okay, I’ll make it up to Suzume and the others by taking them to some sweet shop next time.

I thought that as I paid the bill and left the shop. I stretched myself and headed back to the temple. I could do the information gathering some other time.

And then, when I came back to the entrance of the entertainment district.


There was a crowd of people. It wasn’t there when I entered the entertainment district.

I looked into it with curiosity and saw several armed men and a person in a black robe facing each other in the center of the crowd.

I recognized the men’s weapons. I didn’t need to search my memory, they were from the “Desert Hawks”. And by the way, I also recognized the men’s faces. They were the ones who had messed with me at the city gate on the first day.

In that case, the person in the robe was probably a victim who had been harassed by the “Desert Hawks”.

I sent a gaze of observation to that person.

I couldn’t tell their face or age because they were wearing a hood deep. But when I lowered my eyes slightly, I could see the bulge that pushed up the robe from the inside. In other words, they were female. And when I lowered my eyes further, I saw the long sword at their waist.

Their posture was dignified and flawless, and I could tell that they were quite skilled just by looking at them. If I had to compare them, well.

――They were so skilled that I wouldn’t be surprised if they were said to be a Green Woods Flag Knight.

The reason why I judged so was simple. They had an exceptional amount of soul. They were comparable to a Green Woods Flag Knight, or rather, a Soul equipment user.

Could it be that the person in the robe was a watcher sent by the Mitsurugi family, and that all my actions had been watched closely until now? That suspicion crossed my mind.

But I quickly denied my own thought and said, “That’s not possible.”

There might be a possibility that among the Green Woods Eight Flags, there was someone who could hide their presence so well that I couldn’t sense them. But there was no way that such a master would be stopped by the “Desert Hawks”. And it was impossible that they would stand still without doing anything while a crowd formed.

There was also a possibility that they were a flag knight of the four flags that mainly operated outside the island, but if they were from the four flags, they would be even less likely to do something that would attract attention from the “Desert Hawks”. In other words, that person had nothing to do with the Mitsurugi family. That was my conclusion.

I thought so and looked at them again, and their soul was indeed huge, but also very unstable. It was a precariousness that I had never felt in any of the soul equipment user I had met before.

As I thought that, the angry voice of the “Desert Hawks” echoed in the place.

“I’ve told you over and over again! If you have nothing to be ashamed of, take off your robe and show your face!”

“…I’ve also told you over and over again. I have no reason to obey you who are not officers.”

The voice that responded to the arrogant demand was cool and pleasant to the ear, and I didn’t feel any trace of precariousness or instability.

In response to the woman’s voice, there were also voices like “That’s right, that’s right!”, “Don’t get cocky, Hawk!”, “That’s outrageous!”, “Just pay your bill and get out of here!”. It seemed like a situation where people who had a grudge against the “Desert Hawks” were cheering for the woman who acted resolutely against them.

I had expected it from the incident at the city gate, but it seemed that the reputation of the “Desert Hawks” in Berka was very bad.

“Are you trying to go against the Desert Hawks?!”

They were being thrown words of defiance from the surroundings, and the group of hawks turned red in the face. Some of them had their hands on their hilts, and they looked like they could draw their swords at any moment.

But even looking at them, the woman in the robe didn’t seem to be disturbed. That was reasonable, because even if all the “Desert Hawks” attacked her, she would easily subdue them.

However, she didn’t seem to have any intention of provoking the “Desert Hawks” on purpose, and she sent a puzzled look at the crowd that was stirring them up.

――And then, her gaze caught me, who was in the crowd.

As I mentioned before, I also wore a hood to avoid being recognized as a dragon slayer when I headed to the entertainment district. That hasn’t changed. So she shouldn’t have seen my face either.

I was just one of the many onlookers. There was no reason to notice me, and I thought her gaze would soon move away.

But that didn’t happen.

The woman who saw me shuddered so much that I could tell. Amber eyes widened in astonishment peeked out from the gap in the hood.

The next reaction she took was drastic. She quickly turned to face me and put her hand on the sword at her waist.

Immediately after, a strong fighting spirit blew at me like a gust of wind.

I didn’t know why I was hit with such a fighting spirit just by catching a glimpse of her eyes, but anyway, I had no reason not to take the fight she offered.

As I put my hand on the black sword at my waist, I saw her lower her upper body slightly.

Probably, if this confrontation had continued for a few more seconds, the woman and I would have crossed swords. But the clash was prevented by someone who moved faster than us.

It was the “Desert Hawks”.

For them, the woman’s movement just now was nothing but an insult to them. After all, they had shouted at her loudly, and she suddenly turned in a different direction. It was as if she was mocking them for not being in her sight.

The man who had raised his voice earlier was now livid, his face red with fury, as he drew his sword with a resounding sound. Then, without a moment’s hesitation, he swung it towards the woman.

Until a moment ago, the woman would have easily dodged his strike. However, the fact that she was confronting me caused her reaction to be delayed by a split second.

As a result, the tip of the “Desert Hawk” didn’t reach her body, but it did reach what she was wearing. In other words, it slashed through the hood she had been wearing over her face.

The torn fragments of the hood were carried off by the wind, soaring into the sky. And the face of the woman, which had been hidden by the hood until now, was revealed.

Brown skin, silver hair, amber eyes.

And long ears, reminiscent of bamboo leaves, were now visible to me.

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