The next day, after refusing her parents’ suggestion of bringing an escort of militiamen along with them, Locke and Irene rode to Phyllis’ territory.
Locke hadn’t seen Shimak and his son ever since the banquet ended last night. They’d most probably left. Now that Locke had fulfilled Irene’s request, they were going to complete their mission.
Irene wasn’t wearing the white dress from yesterday. Instead, she had the same outfit as Locke. She donned armour on the upper half of her body with a longsword hanging on her waist and iron boots.
A Knecht’s physical strength was much stronger than an ordinary person’s. Although Irene was a woman, she had no difficulties wearing chain mail that weighed at least ten kilograms. Her current outlook was way different from the feminine look she had last night.
Locke was already used to seeing how different Laffey was between her two modes, so he wasn’t amazed by Irene’s transformation, much to her disappointment.
Speaking of Laffey, she looked heroic in armour with her longsword but cute in a maid outfit. He would tease her at home sometimes, but he would never make a move on her in front of Glace and Suzanne.
Locke held a piece of fluorite as he walked into the dark cave with Irene wrapped around his arm. He couldn’t figure out why she’d chosen this mission when she was so afraid of the dark.
Since she was hindering their progress, Locke stopped walking and said helplessly, “You can wait for me outside if you’re scared. I’ll go and look for you after I’m done with the investigation.”
Irene’s face lit up. She then looked at the exit, which only had a faint light shining in from the outside, and looked at Locke again. After pondering for a long time, she tightened her grip on his arms and said, “No, I want to be with you!”
He was speechless as he watched her hold onto his arms tightly like a koala. He then walked sideways into the cave slowly, shielding her behind him, causing her to swoon a little.
They continued on, not expecting anything within. In the distance, there were some eerie short trees in the dark cave and water was dripping from the stalactites ahead. Locke touched the leaves and branches on the dwarf trees; he’d never seen such weird patterns on the leaves of a tree before.
Irene was also very curious about the environment in the cave. She observed the surroundings as she followed closely behind him.
Suddenly, Locke pounced on her and covered her mouth with his hand so that she couldn’t make any sound. Before she could react to it, Locke lifted a finger in front of his lips and motioned her to keep quiet. He then turned his head and looked towards the front right, causing her to turn in the same direction.
Faint footsteps could be heard as a 1.3-metre-tall humanoid creature revealed itself by a pool of water. It moved towards the pool with its broad feet and arms hanging low, as if preparing to flee at moment’s notice. Its fingers had sharp, black and spindle-shaped nails on them. If it wasn’t for the sound of its footsteps, nobody would realize its presence.
Droplets of water constantly dripped from the stalactites, forming a pool of water underneath them. The creature approached the pool slowly, and its reflection showed in the water. Its black charcoal eyes took up one-third of the size of its head. It had greyish-green skin, large, pointy ears, and sharp, jagged teeth. It lowered its head slowly and licked the water at the edge of the pool, motioning its ears to listen to its surroundings and looking around from time to time.
Suddenly, it noticed three blades of red grass by the side of the pool. Its eyes sparkled with excitement, but it turned back to stare at the pool for a long time, as if there was something terrifying in it. At last, its greed got the better of its timidity, and it inched towards the pool slowly.
Just as when it was about to pull the grass out, the water from the pool suddenly splashed all over the place and a three-metre-long crocodilian creature burst out of the pool, opened its huge jaws and snapped it towards the humanoid creature., who shrieked and retreated quickly on all fours in a panic. However, the crocodilian creature would never let it escape. It leaned forwards, as if it was about to swallow the humanoid in front of him in the very next moment.
The humanoid roared as it retreated, and a beam of black light appeared in its hands. It then covered the light around its body so that the giant crocodile wouldn’t notice it. Just as when the crocodile was about to snap its head off, it clapped its hands and smacked the crocodile’s jaws.
Caught off guard by the attack, the crocodile let out a loud roar. Nobody would’ve expected that a dwarf, which was only approximately one metre tall, would make a move on the giant beast that was three times its size and even do effective damage. The right side of the crocodile’s bottom jaw was abnormally scorched as if it had been corroded by some kind of strong acid. Though, it wasn’t even affected by this minor injury at all.
Its eyes turned red from rage at the tiny creature that had just hurt it. It then pounced towards the humanoid creature, wanting to tear it into pieces badly.
After interrupting the crocodile’s attack successfully, the dwarven humanoid fled backwards on all fours, circling around the crocodile nimbly, dodging most of the attacks from it.
Locke and Irene watched the ongoing battle from not far away. At this moment, the humanoid creature’s body was covered with scratches and its clothes were ripped and stained with green blood. Although it hadn’t been caught by the crocodile, it would inevitably ram into the crocodile’s scales and sharp stones at the side of the pool as it dodged. Even so, this was way better than being caught by the crocodile and having its small body torn apart and swallowed it in an instant.