Chapter 73 – Glasses boy feels troubled
There is a saying that I heard from my master, who heard from his master, who heard it from their own master.
Hunting is not just about the prey. A hunt isn’t over until you return.
Hunting the prey is just the first step. Being able to bring the hunt home is equally important. A hunt isn’t truly over until you get back to the place you were supposed to return to.
That’s the first thing I was taught once I became an apprentice.
It’s a very simple concept, so I was able to memorize it immediately.
However, I have also tasted the meaning, weight, depth and bitter irony of this simple and easy-to-remember concept many times over.
“How about it, Eil!?” Lisse proudly exclaimed.
I don’t want to hunt with someone who doesn’t understand this basic concept.
I don’t think it’s wrong for Lisse to feel proud of her achievement when she literally killed the Chalk Chicken in an instant, but… It’s too early to be proud. This is a serious problem, and we need to act fast.
The hunt isn’t over yet. It only ends once we return.
I watched Lisse’s movements for a short while, then started moving.
I covered the cut-off leg of the Chalk Chicken in a waterproof bag and tied it tightly with a rope.
Then, I spread the powder of my stink bag on the blood that was sprayed on the ground, making a terrible odor permeate the air.
Alright, this is enough for now.
I hurriedly joined Lisse with the Chalk Chicken’s leg on my shoulder, which went all the way below my waist.
“Hurry up and cut off the magic core and whatever other parts you wish to bring with you.” I told Lisse.
“Eh?” She seemed to be a bit confused.
“The smell of blood will attract other Demon Beasts.” I told her.
I didn’t expect to hunt with such flashy splashes of blood, so it’s impossible to properly hide the smell anymore.
I managed to handle the leg somehow, but there is no way to completely cover up the blood that splattered from the head and body.
Demon Beasts will soon come to eat the Chalk Chicken. We can’t stay here for long.
That’s why we fought on the highway.
And well, this isn’t a highway where peddlers and travelers move through, as this mountain is way too dangerous, so at least they won’t be troubled by the incoming Demon Beasts.
“I’ll wrap up the head. Get started on doing your part.” I told her.
“W-well…” Lisse murmured.
I ignored Lisse and her confusion, then rushed over to the Chalk Chicken’s head, which had been flashily cut off, then stuck it in a large leather bag that I brought with me.
… This is already too much weight. I can’t carry anything else.
Then, I sprinkled more powder from the stink bag on the blood pool and that was the end of my part.
It’s not like I can cover everything up, so the stinky powder will only buy us a bit of time, but it’s better than nothing. Especially because it takes almost no time at all to sprinkle the powder on.
Now, let’s retreat and… “What are you doing? Hurry up!” I asked Lisse, who was sitting beside the headless bird with her sword in hand.
“It’s just… How do I…?” Lisse looked back at me with an apologetic face.
“… Eh? You can’t do it?” I asked in disbelief.
The forest has been noisy since a while ago, and my heart has been beating extremely fast too.
I’m way too upset at Lisse today. Her actions have left an even bigger impression than her shiny sword did.
The surrounding Demon Beasts have already smelled the blood of the Chalk Chicken.
They are still a bit far, but they’re coming our way.
“Well, I haven’t done any serious Demon Beast subjugation yet, so… I have yet to study how to properly dismantle them…” Lisse muttered.
“…. I have way too many things I want to say, but this is not the time.” I pushed Lisse aside, who had become quite meek, and began dismantling the Chalk Chicken.
Though this isn’t actual dismantling. We’re running out of time, so all that I can do is retrieve the Magic Core.
It’s the first time I have fought this Demon Beast, the first time I’ve dismantled it, yet I have to find its Magic Core while being this pressed for time…
I don’t want to ever hunt with someone who doesn’t have a proper plan again. Having only one life isn’t enough for taking this kind of risk.
Fortunately, like many other Demon Beasts, the Chalk Chicken’s magic core was located near its heart.
The internal organs were placed in a similar arrangement to normal chickens, so, while dying both my hands red, I forcibly cut out the heart and other surrounding organs, and put them in a leather bag together with the Magic Core.
The amount of space this all took was amazing due to how big this Demon Beast was-
This is bad. Demon Beasts are coming.
“Retreat! Hurry!” I shouted as I handed the bag with organs and Magic Core to Lisse.
“W-whoa! H-hold on! Wait!” Lisse exclaimed as she held the bag, but I didn’t wait for her.
I was already running at full speed towards the city.
I’m not sure if this day has been fortunate, or incredibly regrettable…
Due to how rushed the dismantling work was, the result ended up being too sloppy, and now, both my hands and clothes were reddened with blood that hasn’t dried yet.
The gatekeeper was taken aback by my appearance, but once I showed him the parts of the Chalk Chicken, and told him we were hunting Demon Beasts, he let us inside the city right away.
It may be early in the morning, but it’s been a small while since the sun rose, so Haidiga is already crowded.
Well, this is a town filled with adventurers, so this much is expected.
A guy bringing monsters parts while being covered in blood isn’t that uncommon here.
And now that we were back in the city, the hunt was finally over.
“Where do you want to exchange this for money?” I asked Lisse.
“Ah, at the adventurers’ guild… Please.” Lisse meekly replied.
So, I decided to help her carry things to the adventurers’ guild. That’s where my work ends.
I literally want to take this load off my shoulders, so that I can go wash away all this blood and change my clothes.
… Though I might need to throw this outfit away. It’s not too hard to wash small blood stains until they come off, but… There is way too much blood in here. I doubt it’s possible to clean this.
“Uhn… Are you angry?” Lisse asked me. She was being quite meek for some reason.
“Not particularly.” I replied.
I don’t think this will ever happen again, so it’s fine.
I thought I’d say something to her once I calmed down, but there is no point in complaining about something that won’t ever bother me again. It’s just too much trouble to do that.
When we arrived at the adventurers’ guild, I was finally able to take this weight off my shoulders.
This wasn’t a good hunt, but it has ended now.
Good grief, I’m tired… This hunt really was way too rough. A really bad hunt.
“Goodbye.” I told Lisse.
“Ah… T-thank you for your hard work!” Lisse, for some reason, bowed deeply to me.
Should I go home now? Or maybe I should go to the bath instead… It will probably be faster to wash my whole body instead of washing just my hands on the well.