Weekly chapters (1/2)
Quite long chapter.
Enjoy and keep safe at home.
Episode 34 ~Heading to the Beastkin Village~
[You guys, can you stop looking at me like you’re seeing a pitiful thing….?]
The beastkins smiled bitterly, shook their head and shrugged their shoulders. I just don’t get it.
I could actually ask Karendil Kingdom to reward me with a vast land for all my contribution during the great flood.
[I have to admit that it sounded like an outrageous story, now that I think about it again.]
[You admit it yourself!?]
[Yeah, I admit it sounds ridiculous. But still, I’m not joking.]
I started pondering after saying so.
Firstly, I believe that I can demand that much as a reward for my meritorious deeds during the great flood.
And they have to comply with my demands in order to keep their face, as well as to prevent the commoners from losing trust to the royal family. After all, I AM their celebrated hero, and Karendil Kingdom needs to uphold their dignity.
And to do that, they need to show to their people that they wouldn’t act stingy and cheap to the hero.
Showing that they won’t hesitate to fork out great reward in exchange for their reliance on me. But first I need to know whether they would publicly announce it or not before demanding something with reasonable price. Requesting a reward such as territory cession might prove to be a little too much.
Then again, it’s not like I want to pick a fight with Karendil kingdom. I intended to ask for a wilderness, specifically the forest with vast ruins where Marl and me were attacked by the assassination team that Flam used to belong in.
Geographically, it’s situated northwest of Crossroad. It’s said that the forest was so dense that the kingdom hadn’t opened a road through there yet, making the merchants from Miscronia Kingdom tend to bypass the forest. But if the forest can be opened, it’ll cut the travel time by half.
Karendil Kingdom had actually planned to open a road through the forest, but unexpectedly always received such harsh resistance that their efforts always ended up in vain.
Well, on my part, opening the forest itself won’t be that difficult. I just have to cast some max level magics here and there to clear up the trees, hahaha.
Ceding territory to me, although unsettling, would be a great concession for the country. It’s after all a good reward for a hero who had made enough achievement for the kingdom.
Unlike war between nations, the Great Flood did not mean that the country would obtain new land and resources. If they plan to give a title and land to me, they’ll have to confiscate the land from another noble. A rebound from the nobles due to conflicting interest might arise.
On the other hand, undeveloped wilderness such as that forest should be easy to be given out since no one would be against it. Probably.
However, when it came to creating the country itself, and the necessities like legislation etc, I actually had no idea how. Maybe it’s better to invite an expert from Karendil or Miscronia? Now that I mentioned it, it’ll be best if I invite someone from Miscronia since I’m about to make a country where beastkin could live.
Because we will be sharing a border with Miscronia, I believe it’s for the best if I consult Miscronia Kingdom about this. Nyeh, I’ll just leave the talking to Marl.
Right about now, Marl should be in the process of negotiating my reward with King Karendil and Sondark.
Marl also mentioned that King Karendil might not be able to decide immediately given the situation, so I guess I still have time if I explain my intention to Marl once I return home.
Anyway I need to get to know Torn and co. a little bit better, try to win their trust a little.
Eh, why do I always leave the negotiation to Marl, you ask? Because my negotiation skills just don’t work! Or maybe because Sondark’s negotiation skill was way higher than mine.
It’s best to delegate the right work for the right person. Un.
[Well, let’s ignore that for now. It wouldn’t be good if you make the decision one sidedly, and I still have a lot of things to prepare anyway. Now, let’s just handle the problem at hand.]
[That would be appreciated… but as I said earlier, we don’t have anything to repay you, you know?]
Torn’s gaze was still colored in suspicion.
Why of course. It’s because I said that I’d provide food and medication without asking for anything in return. That’s too good to be true. No wonder they thought that I’m probably a slave hunter.
[Better hypocrisy than nothing. Do I need a reason to help others?]
Torn looked at me with a still suspicious stare. So I replied without changing my expression.
[I want to marry a woman from a particularly high position, so I want to at least show some results in order to even out our standings. I want to do many things to achieve that, but I’m gonna need more personnel. I’m not particularly fond of the whole slavery stuff. That’s why I want to do business with you guys instead. Although our position won’t be as equals, at least it’ll be a much more beneficial relationship than master-slave.]
Torn folded his arms, tilting his head while slightly twitching his snout, probably urging me to continue.
And continue I shall.
[The most important thing in business is trust. If I want to do business with someone else, I’d show to that person that I’m a trustworthy man first. Providing supplies like this is a part of that effort.]
Torn seemed troubled. After all, there was no guarantee that I’m not a slave hunter.
For the purpose that I mentioned earlier, I could certainly resort to using slave workers. But I didn’t like slavery, and I truly meant it.
I sneaked a glance at each of the beastkins.
The rabbitkin Pamela showed an interest, the bullkin Markus was folding his arms with his eyes closed――he’s not dozing off, isn’t he?
The leopardkin Relix was eyeing the stuff I took out intently, the same goes for the wolfkin Break, who stared at the chunks of dried meat hungrily.
[…Torn, those waiting at the back also need to fill their stomach too.]
Torn showed a bitter face after hearing Relix. Pamela nodded in agreement with Relix, while Markus and Break didn’t seem to be against it in particular.
Actually, I have something that I’ve kept hidden from Torn.
Pet, please allow me to pet you!
I’ve been holding back the urge to pet Torn, to the point that at some point I almost thought to push him down. No no, pushing a man down sounded very wrong.
Of course there are fur sold in the capital, but such a thing cannot heal the urge to pet fluffy fur that emerged from deep within my very soul.
I mean, I haven’t seen even one regular dog or cat since I arrived in this world. I did have a horse though.
For the time being, I’m terribly hungry for my fix of petting fluffy furs, which I hadn’t been able to quench so far. I’m determined to visit the beastkin hidden village, even if I have to use dirty schemes. For fluffy furs!
Marl’s smooth skin and Fram’s plumpness are a healing in their own right, but that’s another story.
[Ha… Ha… let me, let me at them]
[Wait Torn!? What’s with this pervert!? Wha! You freak, don’t you dare to come any closer! Or else I’ll shoot!]
A woman made a fuss as she aimed her bow and arrow at me. Two little figures hid behind her. Move, show me the fluff.
Hiding behind the woman were two young female beastkins.
One was a little girl with golden hair and fluffy fox ears of the same color. Her hair, ears, and tails were all golden fur, but otherwise she looked mostly human. She’s pretty much a fox-eared girl.
The other one was a sheep eared girl who stared at me with drowsy looking eyes.
This child had white hair and small horns on her head. Patches of sheep-like fur covered her arms and legs. Fuhihi, this one certainly looks fluffy.
Both of them were slightly shorter than Mabel. Probably no older than 10 years old? Those two were what I call genuine beast girls.
The woman tried to shoot an arrow at me who’re creeping forward.
[Fu, that’s useless.]
I caught the arrow with two fingers, and flicked it back.
Right, thanks to my awesome DEX and level 5 in throwing, it’s simple for me to replicate the move from a certain assassin fist technique of the end of century. (TL note: Hokuto Shinken of Hokuto no Ken/Fist of North Star).
The arrow swishing back to the shooter, grazing the woman’s cheek.
[…..I’m getting tired of all this. Now he did something ridiculous again.]
[No can do that, Torn. Just accept the reality.]
From the background, I could hear Torn’s exhausted voice and Pamela, who sounded happy for some reason.
Not taking my demonstration of assassin fist technique well, the woman started shouting as she launched one arrow after another at me.
Three consecutive rapid shots. According to my common sense, a regular human should only be able to achieve 2 consecutive rapid shots with a bow at such speed, with three being only possible by firing the arrows simultaneously. I noticed that the third arrow was infused with wind magic, as it caused a spiralling shockwave. But I still flicked back all three arrows just like how I did earlier.
[I, impossible, my bow technique… to be beaten by a pervert like him]
Surrounded by the arrows that I flicked back at her, the woman let her bow loose and dropped to the ground. She seemed greatly distraught.
Worried about her, the fox-eared girl snuggled up to her, while the sheep girl gently stroked her head. It’s a heartwarming sight.
[That was a good exercise. Then, who is she?]
[She’s Melcina, the best archer in our village. Unlike us the beastkin, she’s a forestkin.]
[Forestkin? Ah, you mean an elf.]
Probably thinking that’s what the human normally calls forestkin, Torn merely shrugged his shoulders.
Ignoring Melcina who was still wallowing in her failure, I approached the kids and observed each of them.
[I’m Taichi Mitsuba. Nice to meet you]
The sleepy eyed sheep girl――Karen, casually stepped forward and introduced herself. While the fox-eared girl――Sherry, remained snuggled to the still wallowing Melcina. They seemed fairly healthy.
[It’s alright. I won’t do anything to harm you. Do you want some candies? Can I pet your head?]
[Nn… you won’t bully Mel anymore?]
[I won’t, I won’t.]
[Then sure, I want candy.]
Since Sherry didn’t seem to be willing to approach me anytime soon, Karen casually took the candies from me and shared some with her before returning back to me.
And I stroke her head.
Aaah, this heavenly fluffiness. I also tried to tease the tip of her ears.
Her hair was strangely warm, and her ears twitched around as though what I did was ticklish. What a cute little kid.
[What are you doing, you…]
[Nn? Appreciating the fluffiness?]
[No, that’s not what I mean… Well, nevermind.]
Since my action seemed unfathomable for him, he decided to let it slip.
But now, to me nothing else mattered. This was what’s important.
[Muu… too much stroking]
Probably I went a bit too much there, now the source of the fluffiness ran away.
Kuh, as expected, the development where a girl becomes closer to you after a gentle head stroke was just a work of fiction.
But it’s also good this way. I’ll just find another opportunity to pet her head again later, fuhehe.
[……..fuu, pardon me, but thank you for the treat]
With the exception of Markus who was still standing there with his eyes closed, Pamela and the others laughed heartily after seeing what happened.
Why? Loving fluffiness is the trait that exists in all humans, isn’t it only natural? Love can save the world, you know?
[Torn, who the hell is this pervert?]
[Most likely the Hero.]
Torn gave his guess to Melcina. I guess he had put the two and two together.
Melcina took a look at me, her eyes still dyed in suspicion. From my brief observation, she seemed to have a similar body build with Marl.
[Ihii noooo! Stop doing that!]
[Ah sorry, you just happen to be of the same height as my wife.]
Being stared at in disrespect like that by Melcina, I unconsciously went to pinch her cheeks. Melcina pulled away from me in tears while holding her slightly reddened cheeks.
Her stature might be similar, but Melcina is a different kind of beauty compared to Marl. While Marl is the slightly silly and cheerful kind of beautiful, Melcina is the sleek and tsun kind of beautiful.
Her eyes were sharper looking, with blonde hair that reached down to her waist which is more slender than Marl’s. Now that I think about it, her body was less curvy than Marl’s.
A bonafide tsunderelf there. But of course, Marl is still cuter.
[Oy! Cut it out, you guys! Let’s head out!]
[Gununu… please give a proper explanation later! What’s with all those supplies!?]
[Alright then, let’s go, kids. Fuhahahaha]
I chased after the escaping kids, following Torn who already went ahead. Leaving the tsunderelf Melcina behind.
[Mugugugugu, I don’t know anymore!]
After about an hour long run through the forest.
Even when the other adult beastkins like Torn seemingly didn’t pay attention, the kids and Melcina managed to keep up with us for the entire journey.
During this one hour, all of us had been running through the forest while continuously maintaining the speed of a regular human sprinting. None of us were left behind. This shows the degree of their physical prowess.
It might’ve been the beastkin and elf’s innate characteristic that their physical specifications are considerably higher than normal humans. As I checked earlier, Torn and his posse were around level 20, with the kids around level 11. Melcina was an exception, as she is a level 32 guardian knight.
From her level, I could guess that Melcina may actually be older than she looks. Just like most elves in fiction.
[…..don’t you realize that you’re being rude just now?]
[Are you an esper or something? No, is it because of your age?]
[What it has to do with my age!?]
I returned my focus back to the front as I kept running while ignoring Melcina’s complaining. My detection skill had been sensing the presence of monsters from about five minutes ago.
It’s probably a troll-class monster, in any case their presence felt formidable. There were two of them, but they’re not something I would struggle in defeating.
While I was pondering over what I should do next, Pamela who was running ahead slowed down, then whispered something to Torn. In response, Torn signaled us to stop, while Pamela and Relix kept going on their own.
[Everyone, stop. There is something up ahead. We’ll wait until Pamela and Relix can confirm the situation.]
The group began to prepare their equipment just in case they had to fight. Will the kids also fight? Apparently the little ones simply stopped and took a rest nearby.
So they won’t fight after all? Although their levels are high enough to actually fight.
[I thought you wouldn’t be able to keep up with us.]
[I can still keep up even if we go more than twice as fast. I’m a hero after all.]
I laughed Torn’s question off as I also checked on my equipment.
Throwing spikes made from forged steel――bo-shurikens, 16 of them stashed within a compartment on my armor. Mithril bastard sword hanging on my waist. I had kept the bonded sword and godsilver club within my storage in favor of steel and mithril weapons.
Next time I should try making a disposable thrown weapon that has a crystal to contain magic power in it. The magic contained inside will explode when the weapon impacts something, making it an alternative in how we can use magic.
[That looks like a fine sword.]
The wolfkin Break approached me and eyed my mithril bastard sword with great interest. I noticed that his weapon is also a bastard sword, albeit a size bigger than mine.
When I observed carefully, I found that his sword had scratches and chippings. It’s not bad, but not a particularly good quality sword either. It’s something one could probably find sold in a better weapon shop in the capital Alfen.
[This sword too. But it’s worn out quite a bit.]
[You’ve been overworking it for a while there…]
Break gently stroke his sword as he said so. Apparently the village doesn’t have a blacksmith to perform maintenance or repair their weapon. Or maybe lacking facility to do so.
Meanwhile, Pamela and Relix had returned. They quickly reported their findings.
[There are two trolls. I think we better get rid of them because it’s pretty close to the village.
[Indeed, but two of them, huh…]
Torn fell into thought.
[I can handle one if you want.]
[No… this is our village’s problem. We can’t impose on you for this.]
Everyone except me nodded their heads in agreement to Torn’s words. Even the little ones.
Let’s just stay put for now. I can always interfere if they get in trouble. I’m also curious about their skills, so I’m just going to watch for now.
Torn called off the strategic meeting, and the group swiftly scattered to encircle the trolls.
Their attack plan involved the kids and Melcina to open up with a magic attack. Torn and the others as the frontliners would then go in to strike the confused adversaries and hopefully end it quickly.
The tricky part would be to actually kill the trolls quickly. Their 3 m tall body and fairly thick hide would present some difficulties to attack and require a high amount of strength to cut. Trolls were also known to have a high self regeneration that shallow wounds would just heal very quickly.
However, as long as you have the attack power to break through its hide, the fight shouldn’t be all that difficult. The self healing can be troublesome, so it’s best to kill them as quickly as possible.
Fortunately their weak points are easy to find due to their similarly humanoid form. The most effective way would be to destroy their heads. Beheading would work as well. Or burning them. Ah, they’ll also die from losing excessive amounts of blood.
Troll’s hide becomes brittle if burned with fire, and its self regen property will also disabled. In theory, it can be killed by dealing more damage than it can heal.
The other method was to damage their legs enough to make them fall down, making it easier to destroy their head. If it’s me, I could just cleave them off in two without minding about their defense.
Even with troll’s regeneration, cleaving their body in half would still be too much to survive.
While thinking about all that, I finally saw the trolls. I was sticking with Melcina the tsunderelf (provisional) and the kids Karen and Sherry.
[Why are you here too?]
[I’m following in case of emergency, just that.]
[Let’s start before they notice.]
Sherry nodded to Karen’s suggestion, and Melcina also pulled out an arrow from her quiver.
At the same time Melcina notched the arrow to her bow, Karen and Sherry held their hands together before starting to concentrate to cast their magic.
Sherry was invoking a fire magic, and so did Karen. They’re using the same element, and for some reason their way of using magic is similar to origin magic.
In doing so, several fire balls formed around the kids, which then rushed all at once toward the trolls. At the same time, Melcina jumped out of her hiding and launched consecutive arrow shots.
One of the trolls was doused in fire by the magic that the little one casted, while the other one had an arrow pierced its head.
The burning troll turned frantic as it flailed around screaming. Well, that’s still within expectation.
What’s left was the troll that got its head shot by Melcina.
But the next moment, that troll started to leak blood from its orifices before its head exploded in a bloody mess.
[What was that?]
[Nothing of a big deal. I just put wind magic with a delayed activation inside the arrowhead.]
Melcina said in a shy whispery voice as her long ears twitched around. I really want to caress those ears.
For the time being, let’s put aside my desire for Melcina’s ears and focus back to the battle.
Meanwhile Relix had already attached himself to the remaining frantic troll’s back, and sunk his dagger to its neck and proceeded to slice its throat. Copious amount of black blood spurted out from the wound.
But that wasn’t enough to kill the troll. It tried to reach out to Relix, but the catkin already disengaged before it could touch him.
Using Relix’s diversion, Pamela lunged in and slashed her sword at the troll’s leg. With its achilles tendon cut down, the troll fell to its knee. Torn, Break, and Markus were there to strike simultaneously.
The rest was pretty much a one-sided slaughter. The troll had its belly torn apart by Torn’s sword, its chest pierced by Break’s bastard sword, and to top it off, Markus’ axe cleft its head in half. The fight didn’t even go past one minute.
[You guys are at least as strong as the knights]
[If we can’t do this much, then we won’t survive living inside this forest after all.]
Pamela said as she wiped the blood clotting her sword with a cloth before sheathing it back. I suppose skirmishes with monsters are a regular occurrence on this part.
Anyways, the troll’s meat can be cooked to become food, and its fat is also material used in alchemy. So I put them inside my inventory for the time being. Torn also seemed excited because they managed to procure a good amount of meat.
[Since you are capable of it, have you been hunting monsters for food?]
[Transporting it is the problem, since we can only carry a limited amount. Not to mention the scent of blood will attract other monsters to come.]
Now that he mentioned it, I never had this problem since I could always stuff everything inside my inventory. Certainly, walking around the forest with the scent of blood wafting around is equal to looking for trouble.
There are a lot of monsters with a good sense of smell. It’ll be dangerous if a large number of them started gathering.
After that, we were able to reach the village without a hitch. Nothing else happened despite that I was already decked out for battle.
[Here it is, our village.]
With Torn’s guidance, I finally set my feet on the beastkin village.
[Nera-sama? What’s wrong?]
[I feel like it’s as if my identity has been violated!]
[Today, Nera-sama seems fine, and Stella also looked happy]
[Can you take this a bit more seriously….?]