Chapter 120 – Glasses boy makes a decision
“Here we come, Eil!” Chace exclaimed.
From the tree that I climbed, I could feel the vibrations on the ground. I knew they were coming long before his voice reached me.
Countless footsteps stomping on the ground, rumbling closer and closer to us.
Seems like Chace and Lisse succeeded in driving them here.
“Cherry, activate!” I exclaimed.
Lisse was leading the countless footsteps towards us.
Once I noticed Lisse got close enough, I gave the signal to Cherry, who was waiting on top of a tree opposite to mine.
“Alright! Activating!” Cheery exclaimed.
It was easy to see it happening from above.
In response to Cherry’s powerful voice, the magic circle drawn on the ground started faintly glowing.
It was just in time.
Right in the last second, Lisse ran out of the range of the Magic circle.
And at the same time, grey things started popping out from the depths of the forest.
A pack of Grey Boars.
Demon Beasts that proliferate in spring, then start traveling through the forest during summer in search of food.
They hoard food during summer and autumn in order to prepare for hibernating in winter. Therefore, their most active time is at the end of summer.
Their appetite is voracious and they’re omnivores, but they seem to mostly eat mushrooms and plants.
They rarely attack animals or Demon Beasts, but… They do attack humans.
And the troublesome part about them, is that they always act in herds of around ten boars.
A single Grey Boar is stronger than a normal wild boar, so it’s already naturally troublesome… But when you take into account that they act in packs of ten, then it’s easy to see how they get out of hand easily.
Also, by the time autumn arrives, the cubs of the Grey Boars will be big enough to act on their own, so the threat level of the packs increases considerably.
Moreover, the Grey Boars of this mountain are much stronger than the ones that lived near my village.
I suppose it’s just something that happens with the Demon Beasts of this mountain. They wouldn’t be able to survive here if they weren’t strong.
In any case, these Grey Boars are also bigger than the ones I was used to. These ones were about as tall as me.
Also, these Grey Boars have some truly splendid fangs protruding from their lower jaw. Fangs that seem to be there just to show off the Grey Boar’s strength.
In my village, this would be considered an extra-large Grey Boar. But in this mountain, this is just the normal size. The Demon Beasts here are quite terrifying, alright.
A pack of those Grey Boars would even be able to defeat an Ironhead, so they’re definitely a force to be reckoned with.
They usually fight by ramming their opponents with all their might. They move quite fast, and their weight is high enough to make them truly dangerous to humans. Especially because they hunt together in packs.
And right now, chasing after Lisse, one after another, Grey Boars jumped from the forest and towards our trap.
Five, six, seven…
The Binding magic circle started slowing down the rampaging Demon Beasts. It didn’t stop them though.
“Florentine! Do it!” I exclaimed.
And so, it’s now time for Florentine to do her part.
“Roger!” She exclaimed.
The ground quaked. A loud sound echoed.
Now that Lisse had finished bringing the Grey Boars to us, I gave the signal.
So Florentine, who had been hiding until now, used her superstrength to put a heavy lid on the rampage of the Demon Beasts.
Florentine held a huge log that was heavier than herself, and she dropped it in front of the Grey Boars that were chasing Lisse, blocking out their path.
In front of a log so tall that even the Grey Boars had to look up to see fully, the Grey Boars stopped their chase.
Eight, nine, ten, eleven.
The next Grey Boars quickly came, then clashed into one another. They all stopped in front of the giant log.
Just according to plan. They’re now within our cage.
A cage to trap them, to prevent them from escaping, and to throw them into a disadvantageous situation.
Now, then… “Attack!” I gave the signal.
Lisse, who had run out of the cage before it was fully formed, now jumped over the log and went back inside it.
While she swung her shining dark sword into the body of a Grey Boar, I shot out an arrow at the neck of another Grey Boar that was right next to Lisse.
I used the power of the Shadow Hunter Warrior on my arrow, but I suppressed its light emission before shooting.
“Don’t let any of them escape!” I exclaimed.
And just as I said that, Chace came and attacked a Grey Boar from behind.
These Demon Beasts seemed to be panicking now. Up until a few seconds ago they had been chasing prey, but the tide has already turned in our favor.
From above, from the front, and from behind.
The Grey Boars were attacked from three sides, and in this cramped cage, they could not fully demonstrate their ramming speed. Nor could they run away from us.
The hunt was over in no time.
“That went well.” I muttered.
Truly… Chace’s Gift is really versatile. He can use his Gift in many ways during combat.
Of course, I registered his Gift too, but it’s harder to control than I expected, so I cannot use it in a hunt yet.
“The trap really was way too effective… Amazing…” Chace muttered.
We had prepared the location in advance. We asked Florentine to put two large logs in parallel, creating a corridor.
Then, we had Chace, who is quick on his feet, and Lisse, who is strong in close quarters combat, bring the pack of Grey Boars to our trap.
After that, Florentine just had to put the last log in place, and we created a “u” shaped cage to stop the Grey Boars in place.
However, if we had set it up like that from the start, then the Grey Boars might have been able to jump over our log cage.
They truly have way too much strength in their legs. It’s not something comparable to a normal wild boar.
For as long as they had the momentum, it shouldn’t be impossible for them to jump over the large log that Florentine dropped on them.
Which is why we first had Cherry set up the Binding magic circle to slow the Grey Boars down, then surprised them with the giant log being dropped right in front of them.
With this, it was much more likely that we’d be able to lock the Grey Boars in place.
… That was the plan at least.
And well, it worked out quite nicely.
No one was injured, no Demon Beast escaped. We defeated them all.
If I were to wish for better results than this, then I’d be basically asking for some divine punishment or something.
“Eil, Chace.” Lisse wiped her sword with a provocative smile on her face, “Four heads.”
In response, Chace gave her a thug-like grin, “Five.”
“Eh? You’re lying…!?” Lisse exclaimed.
“You can check. Count the spear wounds on the bodies.” Chace told her.
It was true. Chace did kill five.
Though unlike Lisse, Chace was attacking from behind, so at least one boar was killed with a surprise attack.
“I got two. It’s my loss.” I stated.
After hearing my words, Chace and Lisse glared at me.
“Damn you. You didn’t get serious at all. Again.” Chace accused.
“I was serious in my own way.” I replied vaguely.
This time, it was Lisse who accused me, “I hate this ‘in my own way’ thingy of yours. I always tell you that I wanna beat you when you’re giving it your all, don’t I?”
“Even if you say that…” I muttered.
Those two are frontline fighters who let the fight get too much into their heads, so they don’t take the time to look around before acting.
It would be dangerous to shoot without paying attention to their movements. I could end up hitting them with a stray arrow.
“I’m just no match for you two, I guess.” I gave out a wry laugh.
“Stop making fun of us.” Chace ordered.
“And stop it with this expressionless smile.” Lisse ordered.
So many orders… I always put my all into it, alright?
Besides, this time I was, unexpectedly, entrusted with the task of coordinating the hunt.
I couldn’t get too engrossed into my own shooting, as I had to pay attention to the whole fight.
I could not make a mistake in this situation. If someone got hurt or died, it would be my fault.
… Being responsible for people puts way too much pressure on me. I really don’t like this kind of thing.
My master often took me with him to the hunting grounds, and now I can understand how hard it must have been for him back then.
“Hey, Eil. Can we raise the signal already?” Florentine asked me.
Oh, right. We shouldn’t be wasting time on pointless banter here.
“Yeah, do it. Let’s hurry up and leave this place.” I replied.
We asked Florentine to secure one of the Grey Boar bodies, then we returned to the assassins’ village while leaving the rest of the bodies where they were.
The subjugation of Grey Boars is essentially a pest extermination procedure. One that is done to limit the amount of harm that they can cause to the forest and to the mountain.
It’s something that the adventurers of Haidiga do every summer.
Grey Boars proliferate fast. A single mother boar gives birth to about 10 cubs per gestation.
If the adventurers don’t subjugate enough Grey Boars, then the Grey Boars will quickly proliferate and start eating out all the food that the other Demon Beasts want to eat.
This will cause the other Demon Beasts to leave the mountains in search of food.
In other words, if the population of Grey Boars isn’t regularly kept in check, they’ll start harming the ecosystem of the mountain, leading to the other Demon Beasts moving towards areas populated by humans.
So, Roda, representing Haidiga’s adventurer’s guild, requested us to help out with the subjugation, which led us to this trip.
The people from Haidiga had reported sightings of Grey Boars on the other side of the mountain. A place that very few adventurers could go to.
But well, from our point of view, those Grey Boars were right in front of the assassins’ village, so they were really easy to reach.
So, now that we cleared the Grey Boars out. All that we had to do was to raise a smoke signal to tell the Adventurers that we finished our part of the job.
They, accompanied by Roda, seemed to be waiting nearby with a cage ready, so they’ll take the rest of the Grey Boar bodies with them and leave the mountain.
Oh, and the meat of Grey Boars may be quite tough, but it’s also incredibly tasty. It’s particularly amazing if used in a soup.
That said, we won’t be eating the meat of the Grey Boar that Florentine is carrying all by ourselves. We’ll share it with everyone else in the assassins’ village.
“So, Eil, did you make your decision?” Cherry asked me.
The five of us were walking back home right now. An act that has become commonplace for us by now.
As for what decision Cherry was talking about. I didn’t even need to ask. It can only be that thing.
The subjugation of the Grey Boars was a test to see if we could go to the Tower of Bryne.
The level of difficulty of this hunt was somewhat harder than the Demon Beast slaying that we have done so far.
There was no way we could handle this by improvising our hunt method on the spot, so we decided to plan out a strategy in advance, and lay out a trap that could secure us the victory against our enemies.
Though I didn’t expect to be entrusted with the role of commanding the operation after coming up with the idea of this trap.
This made me realize that I really dislike being in charge of other people.
… In any case, summer is almost over.
I trained, tested out different uses of the Gifts, hunted Demon Beasts…
While doing this kind of thing, summer passed by in the blink of an eye.
And it was more fun than I expected.
For someone like me, who always hunted alone or with my master, the experience of hunting with friends of the same age was fresh, stimulating and fun.
I also learned a lot from it. Watching other people fight is very educational.
Both their successes and failures are lessons that I am learning from.
And those are not assassination techniques. They’re fighting techniques.
The more I learn, the more I can use in my hunts.
If I go to the Tower of Bryne, I’ll meet up with more people and will be able to see a wider variety of fighting styles to learn from.
I’ll be able to see various methods of hunting Demon Beasts.
… I was unsure about what was the right decision up until the very end, but perhaps I might have already come to a conclusion since a long time ago.
“Eh? I’m not forgiving you if you don’t go.” Lisse told me.
“Me neither. When you’re this strong, you just have to go. I have yet to see you get serious.” Chace told me.
The eyes of our two vanguards were scary…
Somehow… I’m starting to feel like I shouldn’t go.
“I’ll take you by force if I need to. If you’re not there, then who will provide me my meat?” Florentine asked.
… I don’t know? Hunt them yourself?
“I have a strong sleeping drug. We can take him while he sleeps.” Cherry casually commented.
“Good idea.” Lisse and Chace said in unison.
… My kidnapping plan was being planned out right in front of me.
If I am to run away, now might be the time.