Chapter 409 – The Hill For Enlightenment (3)
Sarah looked at the back of Rata, who was leading the way without a word.
His drooped shoulders and big eyes, which sometimes glanced at her, were cute.
If she were an ordinary girl, Sarah would have been teasing him by now.
Sarah had grown up now, but when she was young, she had many teddy bears that were much bigger than him, so he didn’t look too odd to her.
He even looked like he would feel really soft if she held him in her arms.
‘What am I even thinking?’
Unknowingly, she had a strange thought.
Maybe it was instinct, but seeing this cute thing naturally made her think like that.
If she doesn’t concentrate, she might fall for his cuteness.
‘There is no other way.’
Sarah tugged on the rope for no reason.
“Tch. You just want to fight.”
Rata’s cheeks had puffed up, and he grumbled.
The two walked forward without hesitation.
No matter how deep they went, it seemed like there was no end to it.
Drops of sap fell from the ceiling one at a time, and when they fell on their heads, it was a mess.
“Ack! Avoid that!!!!”
Right before the drops of sap would fall, the two would immediately run.
However, as the sap hit the ground, it splashed in all directions.
“Euk. So sticky.”
Just like those words, being covered with those sticky saps felt so uncomfortable.
Fortunately, Sarah had a self-cleaning artifact, so anything that fell on her would dry off right away.
Rata, however, looked like a drenched mouse.
The problem was that it wasn’t water, so it stuck to his fur.
His fur continued to get tangled, and if left as is, it would harden, and Rata would turn into a wax figure.
But Sarah just watched him, and Rata looked puzzled.
“You have that? Help me a little, then.
Wash this out!”
Even though he was a captive, didn’t captives have basic rights too?
Sarah just looked at him with disapproval and then used the cleaning artifact.
And Rata’s face turned normal and bright in an instant.
“Wow! Look at this! I feel so refreshed.
I used to hate washing.”
“And that is why you smell.”
I don’t think I smell so bad.”
“… are you cursing?”
Take the lead again.”
Rata cleared his throat for no reason, dipped a finger at the sap, and then sucked on it.
“Sweet, so sweet.”
Rata hummed as if it made him feel better.
Sarah frowned while looking at him and tugged on the rope as she warned,
“Don’t try to make this a big deal when it is nothing.
I have no intention of accepting your drama.”
Isn’t this about time you believed me or something? I am a simple squirrel with no power.”
“You are a squirrel with fur hard enough to block my sword.
Doesn’t that mean that your statement about having no power is invalid?”
Rata broke out in a sweat.
Let’s go! I will lead the way!”
And the two moved again.
After that, there were several times they almost got hit by the drops of sap, but fortunately, Sarah was able to avoid them with her quick reaction speed.
Rata, however, collapsed on the ground.
“I cannot do it.
I just cannot.
Well, I cannot live up to my name.
Just kill me.”
When Sarah turned a part of the rope into a blade and moved it to slit his throat, Rata exclaimed urgently,
“It is a joke! A joke~ Don’t you know what a joke is?”
“I don’t know.”
“AHHHHH! Calm down!”
When Sarah swung her sword, Rata dodged it by throwing his body back.
He didn’t think Sarah could wield such a sword.
Rata rubbed his neck and shouted,
“You are insane! What if you had cut me?”
“As I thought, you are hiding so many things.”
“I just seriously attacked you with the intent to kill.”
Seeing Sarah say that without changing her expression, Rata felt his fur rise.
“Even if I face a swordmaster, I can still land a hit, even if it isn’t a fatal one.
However, you dodged it too easily.”
“It wasn’t that easy.”
“Tell me honestly, are you really being held captive now? It is easy for you to escape if you really want to.”
Sarah had never taken her eyes off Rata since she had caught him.
At first, she was almost dazzled by his cuteness, but after the drops of sap began to fall, she observed him carefully and felt something strange.
So she tested it out, and it worked.
“When you ran away from the sap, you tried to look like you were flustered and wanted me to help you, but you can’t fool me.
You made it look awkward, but you have skills.
If I hadn’t saved you, you would have been able to evade it on your own.
Am I wrong?”
“What nonsense is that? I almost died back then.
I would have been crushed by that enormous sticky drop!”
Just like now! You wouldn’t have been able to avoid my sword that easily, and I am confident about it.”
“Which is why it wasn’t easy for me.
I avoided it on instinct.
Don’t you know that animals are naturally good at detecting danger?”
“Is that so? Then I will come at you seriously this time.
You should also do your best to run.”
Sarah took her stance, and the rope turned into a sword.
After being free, Rata’s expression was a bit happy, but he went stiff again, knowing that the sword would aim for him right away.
“I will let you speak of your motive for following me here!”
Sarah seriously raised her aura.
Armed with all the artifacts, she sped towards Rata with the intent to kill.
She predicted that the squirrel would dodge the attack, and if he didn’t, he would die.
‘If you die, you die.’
It was a creature she had been suspicious of from the start and was following her around.
Besides, she was out here to carry out an important task, and its outcome determined the fate of the world.
So being stuck with one squirrel wasn’t what she should waste her time on.
Even if this creature approached her with goodwill, she had to be wary of him, especially when it pretended to know nothing, so Sarah couldn’t trust him anymore.
If she couldn’t believe in him, then killing him was the best move.
Sarah’s eyes shone.
She didn’t know where the vital points of a squirrel were, but unless it was an undead, just one cut to his throat should kill him.
The sword became longer and slightly hit Rata’s neck.
But his neck wasn’t cut.
Rata was looking at Sarah from afar.
Rubbing his nose, he said,
“I can’t believe that your hands move that quickly.”
Rata laughed out loud as if he was genuinely embarrassed.
“I tried to act as much as I could, but habits are hard to break.”
Sarah held her sword tighter.
The moment she swung her sword, she briefly missed Rata’s movements.
She didn’t miss him completely, so if he had counterattacked, she could have responded well, but it would have been an unfavorable fight.
She lowered her stance and sharply raised her aura to fight.
It would be different from fighting those bugs.
Sarah was prepared to attack again as she began to move.
But it was then….
“Phew. Calm down.
Haven’t I already told you that I didn’t mean any harm when I came up to you? Why do you not believe me?”
Was he trying to distract her?
Sarah slowly drew a circle, closing in on the distance.
Seeing that, Rata sighed.
It seemed like she had no intention of stopping.
“If this is the case, I have no choice but to act…”
At that moment…
The ceiling collapsed.
Both of them raised their heads at the sudden situation.
They thought it was the sap again.
But they never heard the sap fall with that kind of sound.
It was like the tree was being destroyed.
An unpleasant groan resounded as if its vocal cords were being scratched.
Something fell between the two.
It was hard to see its shape because of the thick dust that surrounded it, but the shadow seemed so huge.
“What is that now…”
With a troubled face, he told Sarah,
Should we form an alliance for a while?”
“I know you don’t like me, but isn’t that thing our opponent? And we cannot win if we fight it alone.
It’s not as much as me, but he has been living here for a long time.”
It had no name.
It was just a monster that lived in the World Tree for a long time.
It was something that had never left its designated territory, so the reason it was here was unknown.
Rata looked around as if he remembered something, and then the hair on his body stood up.
His large eyes narrowed as he was looking at something, and about three seconds passed like that.
And then Rata looked normal again and clicked his tongue.
“This used to be its territory.
However, Nidhog came here, so it moved away, and now it has returned.”
What he said was right.
But, of course, being right didn’t solve a thing.
This monster despised anyone who trespassed its territory, and it would undoubtedly annihilate the target in front of its eyes.
One could argue that this monster was only motivated by survival instincts.
“Are you fine with it? A temporary truce?”
Sarah had no choice but to agree.
She could see the monster now that the smoke had lessened, and it seemed to be unlike any monster.
‘I might get killed.’
That was how overwhelming this monster felt.
It seemed that if the Ran warriors were serious about killing something, they would give off such a feeling.
It was a hopeless situation if she was alone.
‘But can he be trusted?’
Sarah looked at Rata.
The fur on his body also rose as he was looking at the monster.
This isn’t the time to fight amongst ourselves.’
The monster was a threat to Rata too.
In such a situation, if he turned hostile, it would be a three-way fight, and the result was obvious.
‘The squirrel and I would die for sure.’
She still had no idea how strong Rata was, but judging from his reaction, he couldn’t overpower the monster either.
It didn’t take long for her to make a choice.
“It would be better than dying.”
“You choose to listen to me now, of all times?”
Instead of responding, Sarah prepared to attack the monster right away.
“I’m better at defense than offense, so you move to attack.
I will back you up.”
“How can I believe you? If you focus on defense, you stand in front.
I will put an end to it while you block it.”
“… do whatever you want.”
Rata sighed, knowing Sarah wouldn’t back down.
Eventually, Rata’s hair turned round like a ball.
“Here I go!”
Rata rushed at the monster, and seeing that, Sarah thought,
He was cute, with only his squirrel head sticking out of the fur ball.
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