Chapter 103 – Glasses boy finds the second one and hears angry words again
There is something I need to confirm first and foremost.
“Let me ask you a question. Do you have any idea where the first and second Obsidian Wolves switched places? Do you think it might have happened while you were chasing it perchance?” I asked.
If it happened at a random point during the chase, then it’s quite possible that their target isn’t near this mountain at all.
Or rather, it might not even be in the Nastiara Kingdom. It’s even possible that they went in the opposite direction that their prey went to.
“No, I don’t think the switch happened during the chase… Though well, after looking at the results of this hunt, it might be possible.” Luheintz replied.
So, even though they have been chasing this Demon Beast for a while, they do not know of any moment where they might have switched places?
Or rather, until they met the first Obsidian Wolf, the one we just subdued, they were convinced that this one was the prey that they have been chasing.
“I can’t think of anything that would create the possibility of a switch. We haven’t been able to find traces of the blood of the Obsidian Wolf, so we came here relying only on sightings.
“But if we believe the reports of the eyewitnesses, there is just no point where the Obsidian Wolves may have been replaced.
“Humans might be able to pull this kind of trick to mess with their pursuers, but the Obsidian Wolf isn’t smart enough to do that. I don’t think it’s possible.” Luheintz explained.
That makes sense… The Obsidian Wolf may be smart, but it’s still a Demon Beast. It isn’t wise enough to carefully create a situation where it could trick human pursuers.
“Aroro, do you have any opinions? Anything that you can think of is fine.” Luheintz asked her.
The tanned woman wasn’t participating in the discussion so far, and was instead just following his order of paying attention to the surroundings, but now that he asked her directly, she replied, “I’m of the same opinion as lord Luheintz. From what I have seen, there is just no place where the Obsidian Wolves could have been switched.
“It doesn’t even seem possible that there was another Obsidian Wolf in the route that we were following.
“… To be honest, I still have a hard time believing what is right in front of my eyes.
“Why is this Obsidian Wolf not the one we were chasing? What kind of coincidence could even lead to this happen?
“… It’s so absurd that I’m starting to wonder if it even was a coincidence. Perhaps there is a reason behind this happening? The result of this was just too bizarre.”
Mmm… Perhaps not a coincidence?
I think I can understand that line of thought. Rather than assuming they were replaced by chance, it would be more natural if they were replaced with a clear reason.
After all, Obsidian Wolves are extremely rare Demon Beasts. It’s strange to think that two of them just happened to be near each other.
Instead of that, wouldn’t everything make much more sense if there was an explanation about why the two Obsidian Wolves were so close to one another?
A replacement that was not a coincidence… But then, what would the reason be?
Just as I started thinking about it, I had to do an emergency side-step.
“Is there a problem?” Luheintz asked the incoming threat.
The fair-skinned woman had just tried to naturally hug me, and I was barely able to avoid it.
The tanned woman clicked her tongue and glared at the fair-skinned woman… Please don’t do anything while I’m near you two, alright?
“What’s wrong, Seriara? Did something happen?” Luheintz asked again.
“Everyone is waiting for your order to leave, lord Luheintz. Some of the adventurers have been on watch for days and really want to return to town.
“They’re saying that, if the hunt is over already, then they want to leave and go home.” Seriara replied.
“I see. What about the dismantling? Is it done yet?” Luheintz asked her.
From what I can see, they’ve made a lot of progress, but the torso and head of the Obsidian Wolf are still intact.
… But oh? Is that the Obsidian Wolf’s magic core? It’s big… It’s about as big as my head. This would surely sell for a very high price.
“Well, tell them that they can return once they have enough materials to carry with them.” Luheintz told Seriara.
“Alright. I’ll tell them that.” She replied.
Wait, hold on.
“Is there anyone who hasn’t been home for days?” I asked her.
“Eh? Yes, there are some. It seems like the adventurers who have been investigating the movements of the Obsidian Wolf have also been standing watch, so as to make sure no Demon Beasts who live in this area leak out to the city.” She explained.
“… Do you know exactly how many days ago they have been here?” I asked next.
“The person that I was talking to said that he has been here for three days. He said he would get a lot of money from this, so he asked me out to drink with him once he got home.” Seriara giggled.
Ah, do as you like. You don’t need to tell me about those things or give out these strange giggles.
“How about it? Don’t you want to come with me too?” Seriara asked me.
I immediately started hearing a fast sequence of loud tongue clicks coming from behind me.
“… I guess that’s no good, so I’ll refrain from inviting you.” Seriara said.
Aroro really seemed to be angered by Seriara’s words, yet they seemed to be on good terms with one another when we first met… I don’t get the relationship between those two.
“Oh, right. I was also told that the watch itself started seven days ago, which was when they were told to keep all information about the Obsidian Wolf hidden.” Seriara added.
Seven days ago? That’s quite a while back.
“How far behind were you when compared to the Obsidian Wolf that you were chasing? In terms of time.” I asked Luheintz.
“We had a bit of a delay when we entered this country, but we were only two or three days behind it at most.” He replied.
Luheintz sent Seriara off to deliver his message to the adventurers, while I started thinking about this new information.
Seven days ago, the watch over the Obsidian Wolf started.
After two or three days, the knights resumed their pursuit, and after following the reports of eyewitnesses, they arrived at Haidiga yesterday.
And judging from what they heard from the eyewitnesses, there was no time when the first and second wolves were switched.
… Yeah, there is something off about this.
“When thinking about this from the perspective of time, the Obsidian Wolf has been in this mountain since seven days ago.
“However, the eyewitness reports said the Obsidian Wolf you were chasing have entered the mountain two or three days ago.” I commented.
“Wait, you mean… The Obsidian Wolf we just fought might have been at this mountain from the beginning!?” Luheintz said.
Yes, I think the possibility is high.
Since the adventurers have been on lookout for seven days already, then I don’t think they would have missed the Obsidian Wolf leaving the mountain.
And well, Demon Beasts have been fleeing the mountain itself due to the presence of the Obsidian Wolf, so they have been paying attention to the movements of the Demon Beasts.
“But if the second Obsidian Wolf came to the mountain while the adventurers were already keeping watch, wouldn’t they see it entering?” Aroro asked.
I don’t think that’s necessarily true.
“The wolf was injured, right? An injury that was serious enough that made it lose a leg, even.
“In this state, I think the Obsidian Wolf would naturally try avoiding humans, as it had been wounded by humans previously.
“At the very minimum, it would try to avoid getting any more wounds until it had recovered.
“With this in mind, I don’t think it’s impossible for the Obsidian Wolf to have secretly invaded the mountain while avoiding the lookouts.” I explained my thought process.
If we think of it like this, then the coincidence of having two Obsidian Wolves in the same location becomes an inevitability instead.
“The injured Obsidian Wolf may have come here because it knew that there was a companion in the area. It was searching for help, so that might be why there were two Obsidian Wolves here.” I told the knights.
There might be some holes on the theory though. I’m forcibly drawing a conclusion by gathering circumstantial evidence.
However, when putting together everything we know, I don’t think this is an unlikely conclusion.
Besides, if the reports of the eyewitnesses are incorrect, then we don’t have anything to work with here. We won’t even be able to speculate where the second Obsidian Wolf might be. We just have to work with the assumption that the information we have is right.
Also, there is one thing that we do know for sure.
The second Obsidian Wolf suddenly disappeared.
Moreover, if it did enter the mountain, it’s unlikely that it left.
After all, the adventurers keeping watch were primarily paying attention to the Demon Beasts that were trying to leave the mountain. Even if they missed an Obsidian Wolf entering it, it’s unlikely that they’d miss one leaving.
“… I’ll try finding some traces of it.” I told the knights.
Since I now had an idea of what might have happened, I decided that it was time to try looking for direct evidence for this theory.
The tanned woman accompanied me, but I didn’t mind it too much and instead tried to focus on imagining what was the path that the second Obsidian Wolf took.
There is a chance that this area is already close to its bedding.
If the injured Obsidian Wolf asked its companion for help, then they were most likely resting at nearby locations.
We may not fully understand the ecology of Obsidian Wolves, but we do know that wolves live in packs.
They’re different species, but they’re still similar. I don’t think their habits are that different.
We also have some information about the children of Obsidian Wolves spending their time with their parents, so they do have some sense of group… Though well, we still can’t be certain of their exact behaviors.
Nonetheless, when taking this into account, I don’t think an Obsidian Wolf would turn its back to an injured comrade.
And yet, with my Body Heat Vision, I still can’t see any red light that would indicate an Obsidian Wolf.
But if the injured Obsidian Wolf still hasn’t left this mountain, then…
I set Blue Map on my Glasses.
It’s a Gift that lets me search for something specific in my surroundings. I have to specify exactly what I’m looking for.
Due to the Boing accident, I can assume that there are more detailed restrictions on how this Gift works, but for now, let’s try using it just like how it is described in books.
What I’m looking for is a magic core. The magic core of an Obsidian Wolf, just like the one I saw earlier.
… I see it.
I can see blue light below the ground.
I cannot see it with Body Heat Vision, but the Magic Core is still within the mountain.
The answer to this contradiction… Is probably that the injured Obsidian Wolf is already dead.
It has lost a leg. On top of the heavy bleeding, it also needed to constantly keep on moving to flee from its pursuers. It couldn’t rest properly to recover, so the injuries would have only gotten worse.
It mustered all its strength to come this far, but it wasn’t enough.
It’s certainly not impossible that this is the case.
I tied a rope to myself, then used it to help me descend a cliff near the blue light.
By doing this, I found a cave buried within the forest. One that I couldn’t see from above.
“It smells of blood…” The tanned woman commented.
She came down together with me and immediately noticed how strong the stench of blood was.
I can’t see the depths of the cave from here, but I’m sure that there is a large corpse in this place.
“It’s probably inside.” I told her.
“Inside…? The Obsidian Wolf?” She asked.
“Yes.” I nodded.
Body Heat Vision cannot see it. But Blue Map can see the Magic Core.
It probably ran out of strength here.
“… I’m going. Stay here, boy.” She said that, then left without even waiting for a reply.
She came back soon.
In her hand, she was carrying a bloodied Magic Core that was as big as my head.
“It’s here. That’s the one we were chasing.” She told me.
That’s nice to hear. It would be embarrassing if all the thinking I did amounted to nothing.
“That was quite something. You really got everything right.” She said.
“If I wasn’t right with this theory, I would have given up. There was nothing else that I could do.” I told her honestly.
Or rather, it was precisely because the knights were so confident that the Obsidian Wolf that they were chasing was in this mountain, that I was able to come to this conclusion.
If they didn’t have this kind of confidence, I don’t think I would have even been able to think this far.
They said that they were following the sightings of eyewitnesses. The knights were in a hurry, yet they made sure to gather as much information as they could, in order to make sure that they didn’t lose their prey.
Those knights aren’t just strong. They’re also incredibly talented.
“By the way, boy.” The tanned woman called out to me as she put the Magic Core in a leather bag.
It seems like they’ll only be bringing the Magic Core with them, as proof of the subjugation of the Obsidian Wolf.
Everything else will be handed out to Haidiga. Apparently, that was the agreement that they made with the guild master.
“Yes? You ready to go? Let’s go back then.” I told her.
“No… I mean, I haven’t said it yet, so I think I’ll just say it now.
“Thank you. Thank you for helping me. You are truly a lifesaver.” She said.
“I just did everything that I could, just like everyone else was doing, so don’t worry about… I mean, I’d actually prefer if you didn’t think about it much.” I told her honestly.
I don’t want to remember much about that matter… I messed up, and Glock got angry at me.
“Then, let’s go back.” I said.
I feel uncomfortable with people that I don’t know well.
Moreover, this is a beautiful woman who has poison and thorns on her. I don’t want to get too close.
“Eh? I mean, isn’t it too early…? Why don’t we walk around for a bit first…?” She said.
I giggled, “That’s a funny joke alright. Let’s go back.”
No matter how few Demon Beasts are in this region, it is still a very dangerous place.
Though to be able to take a walk in this kind of place… Knights are truly amazing, aren’t they?
But well, I can’t do that.
Moreover, since we found the second Obsidian Wolf, we need to report about it so that people can start dismantling it too.
So, we must go back quickly, report about it, then withdraw. Yep, that’s a good plan.
“Ah! Uhn… Well, I just, I wanted to thank you again! Can’t we meet up once we return to the city?” She asked.
“I’m sorry, but I’m planning on leaving Haidiga soon, so I don’t really know my future schedule. I can’t make any promises.” I replied.
Roda didn’t give me any specific instructions, but I did tell him that I wanted to return to the assassins’ village.
So, I really can’t make any promises. I don’t know what will happen once I get back.
Well, no matter what, I will at least make time to say hello to the members of Black Swan of Dawn. They’re people that my sister is indebted to, so I can’t ever neglect them. Never.
“Then what about tonight!? We can eat together!?” She asked.
“I’m planning on eating a tongue of an Ironhead with a relative today, so I’m a bit busy.” I replied.
“What is wrong with you, boy!? Just when are you free!?” She suddenly exclaimed.
Eh? Eh…? I mean, it’s true that I refused her many times, but I don’t think it’s right to get angry at this…
“What’s more, all of it was answered immediately! At least be hesitant or worried before refusing! But you answered it all instantly! Instantly! And the excuses were all smooth too! You didn’t even stagger!” She complained.
Eh…? Even if you say that…