Tuesday, June 11, 2024 @

Volume 6 Chapter 3 vs Cursed Equipment

Volume 6 Chapter 3 Vs Cursed Equipment

 I checked the map multiple times, but it still said Torch Marina should be here.

 However, what was actually here was just a massive crater.

 The road was cut off midway, and all that was left was a giant hole that could swallow an entire town. There was no grassland, no road, no buildings, no people... nothing. Only the dull color of the earth remained.

 A huge "nothing" had opened up in the middle of the grassland.

 "What is this...?"

 It was absurd not to be amazed by this sight.

 It was that bizarre.

 'This is an incredible hole, Sir Noroa. Is this our destination, then?'

 "I don't know... Ah, yeah. Show me the location of Torch Marina."

 I tried giving a command to my Compass Eye (Ra Shingan), but there was no response. The needle in my left eye just kept spinning. That meant the thing I was searching for didn't exist.

 "Torch Marina... doesn't exist in this world anymore..."


 That's right. This is indeed annihilation. There's no other way to put it. The word "annihilation" is being used correctly. However, it's a bit difficult to imagine this scene just from the word "annihilation".

 Even in the Town of Mahariji, which was destroyed by Bloodsucker Blade, there were at least some rubble left. But here, there's nothing. There's no sign that anything ever existed here. It's as if a massive monster had gobbled up the entire city.

 "What do we do... in a situation like this?"

 'But, isn't this view amazing? It's like we've hit the jackpot! Let's enjoy our lunch while gazing at this hole!'

 "Yay, a picnic! " "...it's a rare treat"

 'Hey, Noroa! Help me spread out the sheet!'

 "Ugh, we didn't come here for a picnic"

 Even in a situation like this, Juju and the others are still so carefree... or rather, so dense. But thanks to their obliviousness, the tension has eased up a bit. At least, my whole body has stopped shaking.

 "Juju, let's find the cursed equipment before we eat"

 'Huh? What's that, impossible? We climbed all the way up the mountain and now you're telling me to eat lunch at the foot of the mountain?'

 "Buu buu" "...My lord, that's so uncool.

 "I know, I know, but if we leave the cursed equipment alone, we can't even eat in peace. We don't know when we'll be attacked."

 'Muu...but it's true, someone might take our lunch.'

 "That's okay if it's just the lunch."

 If the creator of this scenery is the cursed equipment, we don't know what kind of unreasonable attack it might launch. It's better to be cautious.

 "Then, let's search around the crater first."

 And so, we began our search for the cursed equipment.

* * *

 When we arrived at the Torch Marina ruins, we immediately started searching for the cursed equipment.

 We had Cirrul fly low in the air and inspect the surroundings. Searching from the air is efficient, and we don't have to worry about being ambushed. We're up against cursed equipment that can destroy an entire city, after all. No matter how much we're on guard, it's not enough.

 What we're looking for is, of course, the Compass Eye (Ra Shingan).

 "Show me any 'unequipped cursed equipment' within a 1km (0.62mil) radius."

 I gave the usual instructions to the Compass Eye (Ra Shingan).

 In the vision of my left eye, the pattern of the compass glowed, and the needle appeared――.


 The needle didn't move at all. No reaction.

 That means the thing I instructed it to find doesn't exist.

 Even when I expanded the search range, the result was the same.

 "Maybe it's not around here anymore?"

 'But can it really be that far away? You've already expanded the search range, haven't you?'

 'Hmm, maybe the problem is with the "unequipped" part, Sir Noroa? Maybe someone mistakenly equipped it...or maybe it was equipped from the start.'

 It's been equipped from the start. That's why I can understand various things. I don't think an unequipped weapon would suddenly go berserk on its own. Even Juju and the twins couldn't move properly before they were equipped.

 "But if it's been equipped from the start...can't it not move away from the equipping person?"

 'No, if the equipment's range limit is loose, it's okay.'

 "Is that even possible?"

 Normally, equipment has a range limit. In most cases, if one is more than 10 to 20 meters away, the equipment will automatically unequip. I don't know the principle behind it, but it's said that the connection between the equipment and the soul gets cut off. On the other hand, cursed equipment will become unable to move if you try to move away from it, like hitting a wall.

 'There are equipment with loose range limits, though they're extremely rare. Like boomerang-type projectiles that can retrieve themselves, some have long range limits. And then there are "automatons" like me and the twins, which have pretty loose limits since we're designed to move on our own away from the equipping person.'

 "I didn't know there was an 'automaton' type like that, even as a loyal reader of 'Monthly Equipment Mania'."

 'Either way, it's better to search under the assumption that it's already equipped.'

 So I decided to change the instructions for Compass Eye (Ra Shingan). Instead of searching for "unequipped cursed equipment," I'd search for "cursed equipment that I'm not equipped with."

 The result was a bingo.

 "Ah, there's a reaction!"

 This time, the needle in my left eye moved steadily. That means it's definitely equipped, after all.

 The direction the needle was pointing was towards the crater in the remains of Torch Marina.

 It seems it's still not far from here.

 I had Cirrul fly around the crater for about 5 minutes, searching for the direction the needle was pointing.

 Suddenly, Juju pointed to the ground.

 'Noroa, there's something there!'


 "Ah, it's there!" "...and Sui found it too!"

 "There really is something there, isn't it?"

 'Well, then it's Noroa's penalty game!'

 "No, we weren't competing or anything..."

 I was looking at the direction Juju was pointing, and I noticed something moving behind the rocks. It was hard to see because it blended in with the earthy color, but once I saw it, I couldn't take my eyes off it.

 "...what's that?"

 I quickly realized it was a cursed equipment. It didn't look like a monster at all, but rather something man-made.

 My first impression was that it looked like an inflated skin bag.

 But it wasn't just a skin bag ―― it had a mouth with teeth stitched on, and it wouldn't just stay still on the ground, gobbling up the earth...

 "...what is that?"

 When I saw its appearance, I felt a shock run through my entire body.

 I've never seen equipment like this before. Is it okay for something like this to exist...?


 'What's with the 'c'?'

 "...it's too cute!"

 'What's cute about it?'

 I was muttering unconsciously.

 'Uh, what's too cute about it? Is it me?'

 'No, isn't it me, Sir Noroa?'

 'It's ridiculous to say that a reptile is cute...'

 'If you say that, then a doll is also...'

 "No, no, you two. It's definitely that cursed equipment."

 'Huh?' 'Yes?'

 "Look, it's small and round, with lots of teeth, and a tongue that's sticking out... isn't it cute?"

 '...I'm a bit troubled if you ask me to agree, Noroa...'

 'Ram thinks it's cute too!' '...it's disgustingly cute, that's what it is'

 'I... I think it's cute too...'

 "I guess it's normal to think it's cute, after all"

 Only the last one, Cirrul's voice was strained for some reason.

 'Wait, am I the weird one? Is my judgment wrong this time?'

 "Well, Juju's sense of aesthetics is a bit unusual, so it can't be helped..."

 'I didn't want to hear that from you...'

 Juju looked dejected for some reason.

 And for now, I'm more concerned about the cursed equipment right in front of me.

 That monster, no matter what kind of cursed equipment it is, can't be left alone. If it can't be destroyed, someone needs to equip it and control it. If the current wielder can't do it....

 "...I'm the only one who can equip it."

 The monster stopped eating and turned towards us. It must have reacted to our footsteps and voices. Its eyes and ears are invisible, but it might have sensory organs.

 The monster looked at us and started licking its lips.

 It seems to have recognized us as prey.

 The monster shrunk its round body and....



 Before I knew it, the monster had opened its massive mouth right in front of Cirrul.

 It had covered a distance of several dozen meters in an instant.

 The monster spat out an even bigger mouth from its own mouth, like it was turning its insides out. Even Cirrul, in its dragon form, looked like it could be swallowed whole.

 If this keeps up, we'll be eaten...!


 I thought flying through the air would be safe, but that was a naive idea. In reality, we can't move freely in mid-air.

 I quickly grabbed Sui's hand.

 "Sui!" "Yes!"

 Sui's body inflated like a balloon, creating a blue wall in front of Cirrul. It was a Defense 2000 wall, one that even an S-Rank monster couldn't scratch.

 Or so it should have been.


 The sound of teeth biting down echoed.

 With that sound, most of the wall disappeared.

 The monster broke through the blue wall and jumped out. The remains of Sui's wall, which had lost its hardness, fell to the ground with a splat.


 Cirrul's body shook greatly from the monster's charge.

 However, fortunately, it only shook and didn't take any damage. The impact didn't have much power.

 But more importantly, what about Sui now?

 "Cirrul, get down to the ground!"


 I hurriedly descended to the ground, where I found the remains of Sui, now a puddle of slime.


 Ram rushed over with a tearful face.

 Could it be that Sui was destroyed? For equipment, destruction is equivalent to death. If that's the case, Sui is...

 Just as I was about to give up hope...


 The slime that fell to the ground began to swell and returned to its original shape as Sui.

 "Sui!? Are you okay!? "

 "...Yeah, I'm fine. I wasn't eaten or anything...I just got a bit startled and lost my balance, that's all."

 "Okay, good to hear that..."

 But our relief was short-lived.

 'Noroa, it's coming!'

 The monster charged at us.

 As expected, it was fast. Before I knew it, its massive jaws were right in front of me.

 Those jaws could swallow a whole city in one bite. If it bit us, it would be instant death.

 "Damn it, Ram!"

 I reflexively transformed Ram into a sword to counterattack the monster.

 The Slime Sword clashed with the monster's fangs――and easily won.

 The monster was blown away, and I thought to myself, "As expected, Attack 2000's weapon is unbeatable."

 But just counterattacking wasn't enough. The problem was...

 'Sir Noroa, it's coming again!'

 Along with Cirrul's voice, the monster began to shrink its body, preparing to charge again. The moment I saw its movement, I swung my Slime Sword.

 With my Agility, I could definitely dodge its attack, but Cirrul wouldn't be able to avoid it. She was right behind me, after all.

 So, I decided to counterattack.

 The monster's attacks were always linear, so if I could read its movements, it would be easy to deal with.

 And besides, my strength was superior to the monster's.

 I used my Slime Sword to deflect the charging monster.

 Somehow, it seemed like I could handle its attacks.

 Every time I attacked, I could feel my heart wearing down, but I could endure it.

 However, just counterattacking wasn't enough.

 'If we keep this up, we'll just get exhausted...'

 "Yeah, you're right, Juju..."

 I could counterattack, but I couldn't guarantee a 100% success rate.

 And the biggest problem was...the enemy was a piece of equipment. It didn't have HP or stamina, so if this became a long battle, we would be at a disadvantage.

 To deal with this monster, I had to equip myself.

 '...Noroa, let's take it away quickly!'

 "I know."

 This monster is equipped. We can only steal it with Juju's ability.

 However, the problem lies in the opponent's Agility. If I use Juju's ability, my senses will go haywire, and I'll be unable to move for a while. If I get attacked at that timing, it's all over.

 First... somehow, we need to immobilize the monster's movements.

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