Chapter 71 – Glasses boy confirms it for the last time
As we ran under the sky that was gradually brightened, Lisse kept on talking to me.
Apparently, Roda, the representative of Haidiga’s assassin’s guild, took Lisse with him to subjugate Demon Beasts a few times in the past.
“So, you two are officially acquainted?” I asked.
Roda clearly told me that I was supposed to pretend we didn’t know each other, even if met on the streets perchance, so this was unexpected.
But coming to think of it, I haven’t seen neither Roda nor that ghostly woman since our first meeting. Even if I still meet that filthy old man, Zant, every day.
“No, because he secretly took me.” Lisse replied.
Oh, I see.
“I’m a bit jealous.” I told her honestly.
To get firsthand experience watching the strong hunt Demon Beast? That’s a great opportunity that doesn’t come up often. I’m envious of that.
In response to my words though, Lisse gave me a smug grin.
Why is she looking so triumphant and proud though? You can’t become stronger just by looking at what the strong do. If it was this easy, then nobody would need to put any effort.
“I think there is a big difference between simply watching, and being able to take the experience in, digest it properly, then apply it to your own hunts.” I commented.
“Don’t try being condescending.” Lisse replied.
I guess I won’t. It would certainly be a problem if I tried acting proud just from seeing others hunt.
And in the first place, this is not the place to act arrogant. We’re hunting in a high-risk area. Arrogance is deadly here.
Especially because I’m not confident on Lisse’s abilities, so I really can’t let my guard down here. Not on this hunting ground.
“By the way, are you familiar with these hunting grounds?” I asked Lisse.
“Well… I’ve been here two or three times, so I guess I’m moderately familiar?” Lisse replied.
This level of naivety. To think she can say she is moderately familiar after coming here two or three times… That’s an absurd lack of self-awareness. Two or three times is enough to find the hunting ground’s entrance. What do you mean moderately familiar? Apologize to the people who are actually moderately familiar.
“I guess that is what it is.” I muttered.
I don’t like this, and I can’t trust her. That’s why I didn’t want to go on this hunt. I don’t wanna hunt with someone that is this naïve.
“… What?” Lisse asked.
And what’s most troublesome is that she doesn’t even realize she is conceited. Complacent adventurers who come to this kind of hunting grounds are the first to be killed. And you’re even involving your comrades in this. Apologize to your comrades.
… The anxiety that I forced myself to swallow yesterday, was now coming back in full force.
Is this really going to be alright?
I couldn’t help feeling anxious about it, but it was about time.
The road continued into the mountains, but we were already surrounded by trees on both our left and right sides. If we walk a few dozen more steps, we won’t even be able to see the road anymore.
I’ve started feeling the presence of Demon Beasts here and there, and also the presences of adventurers, who likely came to hunt early in the morning, just like us.
Our destination was the forest at the foot of the mountain, so this area is good enough… Though there are really a lot of Demon Beasts here. It’s honestly amazing that they can coexist. Don’t they fight over territory or anything?
“It’s fine around here, isn’t it?” Lisse suggested, probably thinking the same as me.
Then, she started quickly moving around as she explored our surroundings.
The sky was getting brighter and brighter, and I could faintly see the city of Haidiga from here.
It’s a good time to start an early morning hunt.
“So, can you feel the presence of the Chalk Chicken?” Lisse asked me.
I pondered for a bit before answering, “I can sense the presence of some Demon Beasts, but I don’t know which one is the one we’re looking for.”
Chalk Chicken. It’s a Demon Beast I never met before, so it’s natural to not be able to find it through presence alone.
“I think it should still be active now, but not for long. It’s a nocturnal Demon Beast, so it should be going to rest soon.” I told her.
Which is why we need to act quick.
“I… Can vaguely notice the presences. I know something is there, but I’m not even sure if it’s a Demon Beast or not.” Lisse said as she strained her eyes and looked around.
She seemed to finally start to understand what things on the forest were like as she concentrated.
But well, that’s why I’m here. Lisse asked me to help her find the Demon Beast.
I held my bow with my left hand, then looked at Lisse in the eye, “I’m just gonna ask one last time. Are you sure this is alright? I really can’t do anything other than finding this Demon Beast.”
“Yeah, do it.” Lisse nodded.
I figured that asking the question again wouldn’t change the answer, but I couldn’t help asking it anyways.
If we were to turn back, this was the final chance.
… Though well, I guess she wouldn’t come all the way here and give up.
It can’t be helped.
I swallowed my anxiety, changed my glasses to night vision, then started looking at the vaguely glowing red silhouettes.
Well… I need to find something that is bird-shaped.
Let’s see… Oh dear, this is bad.
“Stay here. I’ll bring it to you.” I told Lisse, and without waiting for her reply, I plunged into the forest to my left.
A huge bird-shaped Demon Beast, and the lights of five humans surrounding it.
They were probably adventurers that were trying to hunt it.
And now, the bird came into contact with one of the humans.
The human was instantly knocked away. They must have been hit by a direct attack. Perhaps rammed.
If that adventurer isn’t dead yet, then there is a risk that the next blow would be fatal.
It would be nice if someone moved-in quickly to cover their comrade, but it seems like that single hit was enough to create confusion and cause panic to the adventurers.
That made me hurry up.
Roots crawling over the ground, uneven terrain, stones that are hidden by the grass… There are too many hindrances to my running, so I quickly climbed a tree and continued my sprint by moving through tree branches. Moving through the roadless forest road.
This was the result of the special training in ‘the road’. I could now instantly see where my next foothold would be, and could fly through the trees like a wild animal. Covering the distance at the same speed that I would when running at the ground.
“Kyaaa!” One adventurer screamed.
“S-someone get its attention!” Another adventurer shouted.
“Let’s run away! This is too much!” A third adventurer exclaimed.
I got close enough to hear their panicked voices, and now I finally saw the Demon Beast.
Yes, this should be the Chalk Chicken. A huge bird covered with white plumage.
And it was… Definitely a chicken-like Demon Beast. The book from the assassins’ village said it was parrot-like, but this is definitely a chicken.
A huge chicken. Bigger than an adult man.
And this Demon Beast was chasing the fleeing adventurers as it bumped into the nearby trees… Wow, this is scarier than an angry wild boar. There’s no way I can manage this kind of Demon Beast.
And no matter how I look at it, the adventurers have lost their will to fight. They threw down their weapons and are simply running at full speed.
They won’t complain if I interfere here.
They haven’t even injured this Demon Beast in the first place. They just got themselves injured.
And so, as I had the Demon Beast in my sights, I held my bow tightly, and quickly shot an arrow towards it.
The Chalk Chicken made a chicken-like shout as my arrow pierced its neck… However, just as I expected, the arrow didn’t pierce deeply.
Or rather, no damage was dealt at all. I only tingled it at most.
I aimed at a location that would deliver a fatal wound if it pierced deep enough, but… My firepower is truly lacking.
However, even as I thought of such things, I didn’t stop moving.
I doubt they’ll be able to help much, but I switched to the heavier iron arrows, as they can pierce deeper.
Then, I shot, two, three, four arrows in quick succession.
… Only one of them hit.
The first shot at the neck, and another near the eye. All others were avoided… How can this Demon Beast move so fast while having such a big body?
… As expected of a Demon Beast with the number ‘1’ above its head.
But I drew its attention anyways.
I shot all arrows at its head. Aiming at the eyes, making it impossible for the Chalk Chicken to ignore me, even if it was in an enraged state.
Because it’s difficult for living creatures to control their reflexive defensive reactions, that are triggered when something comes close to one’s eyes.
But now, the Demon Beast noticed where I was hiding. It accurately turned its head towards me, even if it shouldn’t be able to see me while I hid amidst the foliage.
This was bad. The dark eyes of the Chalk Chicken looked at me and-
It jumped. The Demon Beast jumped while making a chicken-like roar.
In an instant, the comfortable distance that I had from my prey, was covered by a single jump of that humongous chicken.