Volume 4 Chapter 14
Some groups were advancing deep into the forest like they were used to it and some were just wandering languidly. Furthermore, even though the percentage was low but, I could also spot some people who were beginners just like us.
“Let’s not go too deep into the forest.”
“Yep, that’s the plan. The monsters deep inside are quite strong and move in packs so I am not even sure we would be able to safely leave if we go that deep. In these outer regions of the forest, we could even make a run towards the wall if things get rough.”
“I wonder if the group which went deep inside the forest were looking for the wanted monsters.”
“They were equipped with excellent weapons so I wouldn’t be surprised if they were. Either that or they know where you can earn the most in the forest. Because it seems like there’s kind of a rule to where the monsters will be born.”
“Hoho, that, I didn’t know.”
“I am not that knowledgeable about it myself since these were not listed on the books available in the school. It is probably based on their experience and that is why it’s not so widely known.”
The fact that you know of that itself makes you quite the knowledgeable person.
To be honest, to me, who is a complete amateur in this field, you look really reliable.
“By the way, how was the market price for the mob?”
“Hmm, honestly, it’s a miss this season. In spring, the goblins increase by a huge margin so the market price for it rises quite a lot but, there are no monsters with that good of a market price at the moment.”
“It looks like the monsters also like to rest in the winter, huh?”
“It sure does. So I chose one with moderate risk but reasonably good pay. For this time, I decided our target should be the Kobold.”
This time?! You plan on going again, don’t you?!
“Speaking of kobolds…. I don’t really know much about them but they walk on two feet, right? Also, I think they carry weapons?”
“That’s pretty much right. Their face is similar to dogs and they are about 2 metres tall. They don’t really move in packs so I think the risk is probably low.”
“Yep. I am okay with that.”
I would like to respect Iris’ thoughts rather than think of something off the mark.
She naturally has a lot of wisdom so she’s a girl who can do react really well when in a crisis. To the point that even in fields I am more knowledgeable in, there are times when it is better to rely on her.
“Most of the kobolds live near the south side of the forest. But, we will be aiming for the ones living at the east side. These ones are mostly the ones who have been driven out from the pack and are of poor physique. Although their gems are cheaper but, this is our first time so I think it will be pretty appropriate.”
Eh? It might be just my imagination but, did Iris just emphasize the ‘first-time’?
Eh? She really plans on doing it. She definitely plans on coming again!
Well, even still, I was getting a little excited following Iris but, she was definitely more excited than I was.
“I think we’ll be fine considering our skills. Besides, I don’t really have an alternate plan so I will just follow you.”
“Yep. I am counting on you too.”
The east side of the forest was closer to the wall, the place from where everyone enters the forest.
Towards the south-east side of the forest, it is a little deep but the risk isn’t as high.
There seem to be places deep in where even sunlight does not reach but, the area in which we arrived had quite a few thin rays of sunlight flowing in.
“It seems like visibility won’t be a problem.”
“Yep. Kobolds have sharp noses so we can’t do surprise attacks. And so, generally, the fights are face-to-face. But the kobolds in this area seem to run away a lot so we also need to be careful to not let them go.”
“Alright. But let’s not chase too deep if they make a run for it. If reinforcements arrive, it will turn into quite the mess too. Ah…”
As I was walking alongside Iris, I spotted a kobold-like figure in front of us, our target for the day.
There was still a gap of about 100 metres between the kobold and us. But I could see just a bit of it from the openings through the trees.
However, it looks like they were already aware of us, being in complete fighting stance.
With a sword-like weapon on one hand, it was walking towards us. Looks like it is pretty pumped up.
“It looks like they are pretty fast at noticing. It’s alone so, we are going to do it, right?”
“Yep. It seems to be about 180 cm. Exactly like my info, it looks like they are smaller than the south side ones.”
Iris and I drew our swords.
It looked like Iris was being quite happy with the sword when she was drawing it. I just hope she doesn’t hold back while fighting but, from the looks of it, I am a little worried.
Worst-case scenario, she might even use her body to protect the sword.
“Iris, I will be on the front. Assist me with magic from behind.”
“But your sword is short. I should be on the front.”
“If we get used to it, we can alternate but, I will be on the front now.”
As I stood in front, Iris erased her existence and closely watched the kobold from behind.
The kobold was now as close as 10 metres and it could come slashing any moment.
It’s face was like a dog – no, more like a fierce wolf.
It was drooling so it must be quite hungry.
It had a fat sabre on it’s hand and it’s body was covered with bristle. It looked bluish as a whole.
It did not seem to have any fear. As expected, they have quite the belligerent nature.
The kobold made a long jump and came lunging in with his sabre over his head. I could see his movements clearly.
I did land a counter-blow but, certainly received the sabre.
The shock ran through my hand but it was not of a level which could cause any problem.
I did not flick off his sword. It felt like I could win in a contest of strength but considering our ultimate goal today, it might be better to not use too much strength now. Besides, I also have an ally.
Before I even noticed, Iris circled around to the back of the kobold and after exchanging glances, invocated flame magic from both of her hands.
Sharp pointed spear shaped flame flew towards it.
The kobold hadn’t noticed at all until the spear completely pierced through it.
The spear, which had pierced through the back and came out in front had barely reached me too before disappearing.
The kobold was defeated and its body turned into mist leaving a rugged bluish monster gem.
Fuu, that’s done.
Even though I also barely escaped getting pierced.
While I picked up the gem, Iris came rushing over and said,
“Did I do well?”
“You did great. I didn’t even realize when you circled around. Also, the magic was amazing too.”
To the point it had almost burned me to death.
“Really? I am glad I was useful.”
“Iris, how does this gem look? Does it look like it will be worth much?”
I handed the gem over to Iris and she stared fixedly at it, making her judgement.
That sure doesn’t look like something a beginner can do…. Even that expression of closing one eye and staring at it with the other, what are you, a person with decades of experience?!
“Yep, it would fall into the good price range.”
“That’s a good sign!”
We also received the evaluation from the professional monster gem appraiser Iris-san too, so I guess we could call this a great start.
We also don’t have any injuries and we are not even tired.
“Let’s go, let’s go.”
After walking for just a few minutes, we encountered another kobold.
This time they were a pair of two and as expected in fighting position since they noticed us just like the one before.
They have a good nose so it’s pretty much certain that they will notice us first and a surprise attack will not be possible but as of now, they all seem very belligerent. I wonder why. The info even says they run away quite a lot.
I wonder if we appear weak to them.
Surely, we would if you compare us to the usual hunters who come here.
Judging by one’s appearance, the height of folly. You will have a painful time.
“We will do it like before. I will hold both of them so you deal the final blow from behind. If I can, I will do it myself.”
It was also like this before but, Iris really is impressive when she concentrates.
She had really went around the kobold before I realized.
Although the kobold was focusing on me, to escape that extraordinary sense of smell such that they can’t even perceive your existence.
I can probably count on her this time as well.
The two kobold increased their speed and came straight towards me.
Iris had already hidden herself so even I couldn’t tell where she was.
Both of the kobold came attacking together but one of them hesitated a bit which created a slight gap in between the attacks.
It was a very slight gap but, with this I could parry each of them one by one.
They did cut off the tip of my hair a bit but, I did pretty well parrying them, even if I do say so myself.
Their attacks continued after that. Their coordination was bad but both of them were stronger than the previous one. Now that I look at them properly, they do seem bigger as well.
I felt like I could get hit if I forced a counter so I made an effort to maintain this situation.
I repelled their swords but didn’t go for the pursuit attack.
I just waited for Iris.
And just as I expected, a flaming spear came flying in.
The kobold who had hesitated at first had its head pierced through the bones.
As a proof of its death, it left the gem after turning into mist.
With that, it’s a one-on-one now.
That makes it quite simple.
Iris was trying to land another hit but the kobold was already aware of her presence.
The possibility of it dodging was pretty high.
I could kill it myself but, Iris was preparing for one more attack so I waited for it.
And then, again, a spear came flying.
As expected, the kobold had noticed her and splendidly dodged it.
But as it was completely defenseless mid-air, I immediately closed in the gap to attack with my sword but then, another flaming spear came flying. It seems like Iris had prepared two from the start, using the first one as a bait and the second to kill it off.
As we had both aimed for the defenseless kobold, our coordination was completely off.
Moreover, as she sent two in a row, it lacked accuracy and of all things, lined up parallel to my vision.
I used my sword as a shield in a hurry and my sword won, not letting the spear pierce.
But the magic in it split and spread covering my body with flames.
As the kobold landed, it ran away as it saw me in flames. It probably sensed it couldn’t win 2 to 1.
That is fine and everything but, first, I needed to get rid of this flame covering me.
Even though I was covered with flames, I didn’t feel any pain. Conversely, that was what was scary.
I rolled all over the ground but the flames didn’t go out.
Iris’ magic is too strong!
Next thing I knew, Iris came rushing over and used water magic.
The impact from the flowing in water was dreadful.
Cold-! My body felt cold…. Hmm? This is strange.
The fire was still not vanishing.
In fact, my statically cold body became pleasantly warm from the water.
And what is this? From some time ago, I feel like I am overflowing with strength.
“I-Iris! That’s enought of the magic! It feels somewhat strange.”
Hearing my voice, Iris stopped using her water magic.
The water which was hitting me made sizzling noises and evaporated.
The water radically changed to water vapour, shrouding the surrounding area in mist.
Iris was too surprised to even continue.
I was also surprised, of course. Why? Because my body has been on fire for quite a while now.
The flames were thunderously rumbling thunderously and didn’t try to leave my body.
The flaming spear I had received to the cheek from Iris, which was supposed to have spread and covered me, was now strangely feeling like a part of me. It won’t be an exaggeration if I were to say it was a part of me.
I didn’t feel any pain. When I looked closely, there were no wounds anywhere on my body so of course, there wouldn’t be any pain.
“I, somehow feel really good. This is a weird feeling. I am aware that I have a somewhat optimistic personality but, now, I feel like I can obtain anything I want. No, like, I can see the whole world. Anyhow, I just feel weird.”
“I also learned healing magic recently but, do you need it?”
“Doesn’t look like it. What is this, really…. Or rather, when is this going to disappear?”
“Sorry. It’s all because I did not sent it flying accurately enough.”
“No, it’s okay. We weren’t coordinating well. It isn’t either of our mistake.”
It actually is not.
This is our first hunt and two really good magic users teaming up like this is probably quite rare so I think this mistake won’t happen normally.
Our coordination will get better as we work together more.
In the first place, there’s not a bug that wouldn’t arise in this sudden cheat-like fighting method.
On the other hand, the flame is not disappearing in the slightest.
I have red hair so I can’t even say if my hair is on fire or not.
“Ah! Perhaps, because I use fire magic everyday while smithing so I got a weird disease or something.”
“This is definitely not related to smithing! If that was the case, the world would be filled with weird people!”
It seems like Iris was feeling more uneasy than me.
I have gotten quite used to it but, I guess it would look quite bad to others.
I guess it’s that ‘the anxiety that comes from doing nothing is worse than any danger you might face.’ thing.
Well, I guess Iris would be anxious since I am burning after all.
It’s starting to spark. Is it spreading to the trees?
“Potatoes…. I wonder if we can roast some potatoes in it.”
“You’re quite carefree, aren’t you now?! Well, I guess it’s fine if you’re fine. What shall we do? Shall we return once? Or rather, is it even okay to return like this?”
Certainly, this is bad from a common perspective.
“No, but we haven’t yet earned the inn charge.”
“I don’t think we are in any position to think about that, though?!”
“We will definitely earn the inn charge! No matter what happens!”
“I am grateful! I am grateful but, you’re burning! Ahh, this is bad. I have been surprised a lot by you till now but I think my head might just burst this time!”
Iris sat down looking all tensed.
Ah, what do I do? This is bad.
I am sure she will probably calm down if the fire just goes out.
“Ah, it might disappear if you hit me with the spear again.”
“You want me to burn you even while you’re still burning?!”
Ah, I can’t really put anymore burden on Iris.
Imagination is important in magic so I wonder if I can do something about it with my imagination.
I feel my blood really boiling now. It might just be me but, I feel like the fire has increased its vigour.
I took a deep breath.
And the flames calmed down a bit. As I expected, that is what it is.
So I sat down and calmed my heart.
While I tried to block off all thought and feelings, before I knew, my heart had been calmed down.
And also, the flame covering me.
“Whew, clearing complete!”
“So optimistic! You’re too optimistic! You were burning just a while ago, you know?!”
“Now, now, calm down, Iris. It doesn’t seem like I sustained any damage. As you see, I am doing fine and I also feel like my skin has gotten more silky smooth.”
“It has a skin beautifying effect?!!”
“Ah, it also looks like I am sweating a lot. Feels like all the bad stuff are flowing out of my body.”
“Detox effect too?!”
Looks like that made Iris a little jealous since she is a girl so her agitated feeling had also changed into curiosity.
“How can you do stuff like that? I don’t really think smithing or your hair color has anything to do with it.”
“Maybe your magic had a weird effect?”
“Then that should have also applied to the monsters. And also, I used a lighter version of it on neko-sensei in school too. But it only burned some fur.”
You used it on someone?!
So that was what happened when neko-sensei’s whiskers were curled that one day.
“Then I guess the problem is on my part.”
“Does anything come to mind?”
It isn’t like anything does not come to mind.
To be honest, something does come to mind.
That weird magic book at our home.
Thanks to that, I learned magic differently from your normal magician.
It had the suspicious vibe all over it but the contents were pretty good, now that I think about it.
It was quite easy to understand and all the main points were listed.
Uwah, it is definitely that. I can’t think of anything other than that book I got from old man Moran.
“It does but, I am not sure. There wasn’t anything like this written there.”
“So that means it is a book? Hee~ there are quite a lot of strange things in the world, huh?”
“It’s one I have been reading since I was a child. I didn’t finish it yet since the difficulty level also increased and I didn’t make much progress.”
“Since you were a child. You are strange because you have been reading that then, huh?”
Oi, your true opinion is leaking.
You are completely saying strange, you know.
“Ah, no! I see, I see. I can agree to why you are so first-class now. Yep.”
I already heard it!
I already heard you saying strange!
I was kinda feeling it since I suppressed the flames inside my body but, there’s no doubt now, my senses feel more sharp.
“There are 5 kobolds coming this way from south, 200 metre away. They are about 2 metre tall. Undoubtedly stronger than these ones.”
“Uwaah, you became a person from another world!! Or rather, you were a person from another world!”
What do mean were!?
Ah, do you mean the difference between commoners and nobles? Then I guess it’s fine.
“I feel like my senses have gotten really sharp. I can even hear your heartbeat clearly.”
Blushing, Iris put her hands on her chest.
Eh? Did I say something weird?
“Ah, no. Sorry, actually, I can’t hear it.”
“It’s okay. It was also weird of me to feel weird. It’s just that, it was the first time someone heard my heartbeat.”
Ah, did I just steal away her first beat? What even is a first beat?!
“Iris, it looks like they also noticed us. It seems like they can smell us from about 200 metres away.”
She looks somewhat doubtful.
I guess she would be, huh? Being all sage mode on her all of a sudden.
If the prince was like this before me, I would have probably gone home. Yep, would have definitely gone home.
“Is it okay if I kill them?”
“What do you mean?”
“The flames have calmed down but, I still feel overflowing power from within. I feel like emitting it with some magic.”
“If that’s so, then I guess it’s okay…..”
Iris looked up at anxiously.
However, when the kobolds actually appeared from the south, Iris’ anxiousness started to turn into surprise.
I concentrated on my right hand and focused magic on it.
The same fire magic Iris had used.
There are a few of them so I will pass on the fire spear.
Instead I will go with fire sphere to annihilate them.
As I concentrated my power, the fire sphere was complete at once.
“Wa-wait, Kururi! It’s big! It’s big, too big, too big!! The forest will completely burn down!!!”
An enormous fire sphere appeared before my right hand.