Chapter 29: The Boundary (7)

The rain that had been pouring all night finally stopped at dawn.

I had been worried that the cave might flood, but thankfully, it hadn’t rained that much.

The old campfire had completely consumed the firewood at some point.

I decided to gather more branches to keep the fire going.

When I pulled out a large branch that was buried, a loosely packed wall of dirt collapsed.

Underneath the fallen wall, things I hadn’t noticed before were revealed.

My brows furrowed instinctively.

“Of course. It would be strange if there was nothing in such a nice cave.”

What had been uncovered was a pile of bones.

Most of them were old, not something that could have accumulated overnight.

It seemed like this cave had a long-time resident.

A monster came to mind, but I quickly shook my head.

The cave was too narrow for that giant to fit.

It must have been some other creature.

There were plenty of thick, large bone fragments in the bone pile, indicating that it wouldn’t be an easy fight if it came to that.

Should I leave now?

No. That’s too hasty.

‘It’s too early to leave right now.’

It hadn’t been long since Sirien fell asleep.

Waking her up now would mean she’d struggle with fatigue all day. Besides, it was still dark outside.

I didn’t want to be swinging my sword at nocturnal predators in poor visibility.

If my sword got stuck in a tree during a fight, that would be the end of me.

Navigating this dangerous forest at night was practically a death sentence.

On the other hand, the threat in this cave was still uncertain.

I didn’t know why it was vacant, but perhaps its inhabitant had gone hunting or something.

As long as it didn’t return before we left, we’d be fine.

Let’s just borrow it until sunrise.

* * *

Nothing happened until dawn.

On the contrary, it meant that something did happen when it was time for us to leave.


I struck off its sharp front leg with my sword. A clear and clean sound rang out, causing the hair to flutter slightly.

‘Its body and sword clashed, but it sounded like metal. That must mean its outer shell is incredibly tough.’

The creature we faced this time resembled a spider. Judging by how it scurried around on its eight legs, it didn’t seem like the type to hunt with webs but rather used its legs and jaw strength to catch its prey.

Thinking about it that way, its fangs might be venomous.

I must avoid getting bitten at all costs.

It didn’t seem too difficult a task.

The enemies I faced here always had weapons that could kill me in an instant.

If you get bitten, you die. If you get hit, you die. It’s not a surprising thing.

After all, it’s the same with humans; if you get stabbed with a sword, you die.

I had a close brush with death not long ago.

Actually, calling it luck would be more accurate, as it wasn’t my skill that saved me.

Anyway, the spider’s main attack was striking down with its two front legs.

Its body structure didn’t allow for many attack methods, but this alone was powerful enough.

“Still, it feels a bit too easy.”

I wasn’t weak enough to be taken down by such an attack.

It seemed this opponent would be easy to defeat.

I wasn’t being overconfident, though.

Objectively, this spider was just not as formidable as the monsters I’d fought in the past. Plus, I had grown stronger since then.

The spider had a hard exoskeleton, but it wasn’t thick.

If I stabbed with enough force, I could pierce through it in one go, and a strong blow with the pommel would shatter it easily.

There was even the option of half-swording, where I would grab the blade and use the crossguard like a warhammer.

But I refrained from doing so purely due to lack of practice.

I had tried it before, but that was while wearing armor.

I wasn’t confident I wouldn’t injure my hand by gripping the sharp blade.

‘This creature probably has nothing to do with the cave. We just ran into each other by bad luck.’

The bone fragments in the cave... some of them weren’t prey this spider could have hunted.

The giant spider continued to attack with its hard, sharp front legs, using its superior mass.

Every time its legs struck the ground, the earth dented.

But that was all.

I had been wary of it spewing venom from its mouth, but there was no need to worry about that now.

If it could use venom, it would have done so already.

Before its front legs got cut off, that is.

I swung my sword horizontally in a wide arc, leaving a faint light blue trail against the sky.

- Kiieeek! Kiek!

One of the eight legs was cleanly severed.

It was worth the effort of continuously breaking its exoskeleton.

The spider’s front legs were now cracked, and the results of my efforts were finally showing.

The condition of the other leg wasn’t much different.

It was only a matter of time before I cut off the right leg as well.

A grotesque and painful scream erupted from the spider.

Its remaining legs flailed helplessly, and its multiple eyes flicked around, seemingly assessing the surroundings.

It looked like it had given up fighting and no longer saw me as prey.

‘Could it be trying to escape?’

It seemed ready to flee at the first opportunity. That wouldn’t do.

How could I know if this spider would hold a grudge?

I wasn’t sure if it was just an oversized spider or a spider-like monster.

The important thing was that some monsters had a tendency to seek revenge.

Whatever it was, killing it here would prevent future trouble.

Dead creatures can’t take revenge.

The spider wildly swung its remaining front leg, resembling a panicked novice wielding a sword for the first time.

Its frantic slashes were effective in creating some distance between us.

Even I wasn’t foolish enough to walk into that frenzy.

However, exaggerated movements tend to be predictable, and a weapon swung in panic doesn’t anticipate the next move.

I timed it just right and struck once.

A clean arc of my blade cut through the air. Blueish blood splattered on the ground, and the giant leg fell limply.

Now, the spider was left with no weapons. With its current body structure, a head-on charge was its only option.

The large creature slowly retreated.

I advanced in tandem, keeping our distance constant.

I forced a decision upon it.

Would it continue to fight, even after losing two legs?

Or would it turn and flee?

Either way, I had no intention of letting it live.

With a scraping sound, my sword lightly dragged across the ground. The creature flinched.

Its decision was to flee.

“Yes, that’s the wiser choice.”

It made things easier for both of us.

I didn’t miss the moment it turned around.

I drove my sword into its body and, pulling on the hilt, left a large gash.

Blood gushed out, spilling what should have remained inside.

To avoid getting the spider’s blood on my clothes, I sidestepped and climbed onto its back.

What followed was a one-sided slaughter.

Like a cowboy in a western, I balanced on the thrashing spider, slashing at it.

The creature crashed into trees and cliffs, causing the large trees to shake but not fall, thanks to their deep roots.

Its hard exoskeleton was softer on top.

Eventually, the creature’s thrashing didn’t last more than three minutes.

My sword pierced its neck and head, ending its life.

As its body went limp, I sliced its neck further to ensure it was dead.

Only when it was completely still did I withdraw my blade.

From a distance, Sirien peeked out, likely coming to check after the noise had ceased.

Our eyes met by chance.

“Razen! Is it over?”

“Yes, it’s safe to come out.”

“Good job. I’ve got some jerky ready, want some?”

“Sure. I’m hungry after that. Just a few pieces.”

The meat we’d hunted was finished yesterday, so we had to eat the preserved rations we’d brought.

The jerky was tough and salty, not meant for taste, but there was no avoiding my tongue’s disdain.

“How much jerky do we have left?”

“Not much. We need to ration it.”

“Then I’ll just have this for now.”

As I chewed on the jerky, I reflected on the battle.

The spider had been formidable, but in the end, I had come out on top.

The forest was full of dangers, but each victory made me stronger.

My eyes drifted over to the spider’s corpse. After all, it was still meat, and there are countries even today that eat spiders.

But the thought of eating it was unappealing.

“Eating a spider feels a bit unsettling. Maybe we should just leave it.”

“Ugh! Eating that? No way. I can’t eat that, no matter what.”

“I won’t make you. Besides, I can’t even identify the venom sacs, so it’s not worth the risk.”

“Yeah, good point.”

We continued chewing on the jerky leisurely. It wasn’t long before I heard the sound of heavy footsteps in the distance.

“Sirien, get inside!”


The ground-shaking vibrations were intense.

The increasing intensity of the sound and tremors indicated that whatever was coming was headed our way.

Hidden by the trees for now, I steadied my breathing and gripped my sword.

Soon, the creature emerged from the forest.


Seeing the monster, its purpose became clear. It was almost an exact replica of the spider I had just killed, only much larger.

The grief of a parent who had lost its child enveloped us.

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