According to the information Herbert got from the letter, the places where the plant of the [Stone Root] grew wasn’t limited to this place. One trait the locations it could be found had in common was…
“The miasma has gotten thinner all of a sudden here. That must mean we’ve reached our destination.”
That trait was that the miasma in the area has become thinner thanks to the vegetation. Supposedly, [Stone Root] had a property where it could store the miasma in the surroundings.
Given that property, Herbert wondered if [Stone Root] could be used to decrease the amount of miasma all over the world. Upon pondering on it though, he concluded that couldn’t be the case. After all, once [Stone Root] was collected, it must be processed into a compound or else it would begin to release twice as much miasma as it had stored.
At any rate, despite the amount of miasma that could be stored being limited, it was clear that miasma in this place was definitely thinner. Which could only mean…
“Oh, is that it?”
In the direction Marlon was pointing at, a flower with a strange color and shape could be found.
Normally, flowers had flashy colors and scents so that they could gain the attention of insects for pollination purposes. Most flowers could be described as beautiful.
In that sense, one might wonder if the one before Herbert’s group could indeed be called a flower. After all, it had gray petals with some black spots here and there.
The plant grew incredibly thickly to a creepy degree. Moreover, the ground where its roots were had been stained pitch black. It looked eerie, but there was no doubt that this was a [Stone Flower], from which the [Stone Root] could be gotten.
“Yeah, that’s it. Alright, let’s take it right away.”
The three of them approached while keeping their gazes at the [Stone Root].
And then, after analyzing it closely, Herbert stepped forward.
“Let’s see…First, I should cut off the flower, then grab the stem, pull out the root, snip off some of the stem, and then, finally, tie all of the collected plants by the joint of their stems and roots.”
So as to avoid making a mistake, Herbert recited the steps loud enough to ensure that Rodeo and Marlon heard him. Neither of them corrected him, so he assumed he got it right.
And so, Herbert took out a knife and did the steps he just enumerated. Marlon also helped him collecting the plants, whereas Rodeo took on the duty of keeping watch on their surroundings. Lastly, he tied the collected plants by the joint of their stems and roots using a string he brought. Once that was done, he closed his eyes.
Herbert then invoked the intermediate-level spacetime spell Dimension and put the gathered [Stone Root] in a subspace. He repeated doing so until he had stored 4 bundles of [Stone Root]. Like that, they had accomplished their gathering mission.
When Herbert stood up, Rodeo who was keeping watch for enemy presence glanced at Herbert and Marlon, and then nodded.
“Alright, let’s——get down!”
Herbert had worked with Rodeo long enough, while Marlon had participated in many a knight training as a squire, so the both of them had no problem doing what Rodeo, the ranking officer this time, said. Before they even thought about it, they were lying down.
Herbert and Marlon quickly judged that it would be dangerous to remain where they were, so they rolled twice over to the side and then stood back up as soon as they could.
Suddenly, a loud sound of metal clashing against metal could be heard.
In Herbert’s line of sight was…a sword suspended in the air, and Rodeo fighting someone. It seemed to them that there were two enemies.
“Ohh, you’re good enough to trade blows with me?”
The one Rodeo was fighting had a body that was of an eerie tone of black and purple. They also had about ten curving horns growing from their temples. Their clenched teeth were black and many. Their eyes were long and narrow, but what was unusual about it was that it was all white. They had no pupils or irises.
Also, in their hand was a large sword with a black luster.
As for Rodeo, who was on the receiving end of their attacks, his face was contorted into a grimace. This was the first instance Herbert ever saw Rodeo be pushed back this far in a contest of strength.
“Mm…you people have good instincts.”
The other attacker, meanwhile, tilted their head after their thrust missed.
Their body…was transparent. However, thanks perhaps to the refraction of the light, one could tell there was something there if they strained their eyes hard enough. It wasn’t complete invisibility, and more like a high-level camouflage.
The weapon this second attacker held was a rapier that glowed green. And the place where that weapon was thrust just a moment ago was definitely where Marlon’s heart had been as well.
Had Rodeo not told them to get down, Marlon would almost assuredly have lost his life. Marlon’s instincts yelled at him about how much of a danger he was in, but instead of quivering, Marlon drew his sword. And behind him, Herbert quickly formed a mana sphere.
While the two of them were readying for battle, the enemy suddenly vanished from their vision. Right then, Rodeo shouted something to the two boys who lost track of their transparent enemy.
“Young master, they’re demons! I’ll take care of this one soon enough, so try your best to hold out!”
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Well that was surprising, I thought the demons would show up just before they could farm the plant.