Chapter 03 – A Sudden Encounter
The 【Torchu Mountain Range】was a monster’s nest. Hiiro Okamura had to pass through here to get to 【Surge】and thus was…
… Running away with all his might. The reason for this was because a great variety of monsters were chasing after him.
“Da-Damn! Who would’ve thought that it was a 《Torchu Disaster Plant》!?”
He quickly slipped into a gap in the rock letting the monsters pass him.
What had happened was this, he had finally arrived at the mountain range but noticed that his food was running out.
While he strolled around looking for something edible he found a plant growing on the side of the road. The plant bore fruits and emitted a sweet fragrance that smelt like strawberries. Furthermore, the fruits were quite large so he pulled out the plant thinking that it was edible.
However instead of roots, it had something shaped like a creepy wooden doll. It suddenly started screaming and his heart nearly flew out of his chest.
Hiiro then remembered that before he came here, the receptionist at the Guild had taught him about the monster called 《Torchu Disaster Plant》. Once it was pulled out, it let out a shrilling scream that attracted any nearby monsters.
Not knowing that it was a《Torchu Disaster Plant》 he froze up on the spot not comprehending his situation. As he stood there, frozen, a swarm of monsters were advancing on him.
(Oh man, this is truly an interesting world)
He held his breath and checked the surroundings. It looked like the monsters were gone.
(Fuh, I probably could’ve been able to take them down, but suddenly coming at me like that in such great number, bewildered me…)
“Still, I’m hungry.”
Even more so since he ran excessively. He restlessly looked around for something edible and smelt a savoury aroma wafting in from somewhere. He immediately began to walk towards its source.
After walking for a while, he came across a small clear stream and nearby were some fishes being grilled on a bonfire. The delicious smell coming from the grilled fish stirred his hunger.
He gulped down his saliva and surveyed the area to find the person responsible for the fish; as far as he could see no one was around.
No one was around and the grilled fish in front of him looked so delicious. He was hungry. He checked around and still no one was around.
“… Bon appetite.”
He couldn’t hold himself back. The moment he tried to take the fish,
A terrible bellow of rage and killing intent leaked out from behind him so he made a giant leap away from his location. At the place where Hiiro was at before stood a man thrusting a wooden pole into the ground.
“Get away! I won’t give you any! That’s my food!” The man said while pointing the pole at Hiiro. The man had short ruffled blue hair, a goatee and looked like he was in his 30s.
Even with armour covering his body, it was clear that he had a very muscular build. He carried a great sword on his back, which lead Hiiro to think that things would become troublesome if the man drew it.
Glancing at the fish, Hiiro’s stomach growled again.
“Hey boy! Name yourself! Snatching food from the great Arnold is inexcusable! Name yourself!”
Hiiro looked at the hot-headed man with drowsy eyes. It seems that the man’s name was Arnold.
Arnold: “I’ve nothing to give you! Name yourself and be gone!”
It looked like Hiiro had to state his name no matter what so he considered what to do.
“… Mm, hear me out first.”
Arnold: “Why’re you acting all composed for, you thief! I won’t be tricked! This is my food! After all, I caught it!”
“… Those fishes are yours?”
Arnold: “Yeah! What about it?!”
“Okay, give it to me.”
Arnold: “Screw you!”
“I’m starving, so can you give it to me.”
Arnold: “G-grrrrrr. Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme. Just how’d your parents raise you, you damn Brat!”
“Who cares about that, just give it to me, you hot-headed Old Man.”
Arnold: “Say what!? Who’re you calling hot-blooded?!”
Arnold became so furious, that one would think he’d explode if angered further. Just when Hiiro thought Arnold would actually transform, someone came out from the rustling bushes.
It was a girl around the age of ten. She had shoulder length silver hair and wore a cute knitted hat as if to conceal her hair. She had big eyes with sky-blue pupils but right now those eyes were filled with anxiety. Her small body was slightly trembling. She was staring at Hiiro fearfully.
Arnold: “O-oh ~ Muir! Gimme a moment ~! I’m gonna beat some sense into this scoundrel, with my fist of love!”
The man seemed to be running his mouth off. Hiiro glanced at the little girl and she hid herself, startled. He didn’t know why she was so frightened.
“… Hah, I understand.”
Arnold: “Mm? What’d you understand, Boy?”
“I won’t ask for it all, so share a bit with me.”
Arnold: “Were you never taught about how to ask for favours, Rascal!?”
“What? I won’t compromise any further.”
Arnold: “You aren’t in any position to say that, dammit!”
Arnold tightly grasped his pole and regarded Hiiro with hostility. He then leaped at Hiiro with incredible speed. Hiiro moved away from his spot and dodged the pole attack from Arnold.
(So fast… And he’s not even serious yet.)
While dodging, Hiiro measured his opponent’s strength by observing him. His opponent was also doing the same thing.
(Mhm, this Brat’s quick on his feet!)
Arnold was just testing him, Hiiro had easily evaded Arnold’s attack even though he had never seen it before and so Arnold concluded that Hiiro was quite capable. After putting some distance between them, the two glared at each other.
Hiiro grabbed the hilt of his 『Piercer』. Arnold threw the wooden pole away and also grabbed the hilt of the great sword on his back. There was tension in the air and in that moment of silence…
“KYAAAAAAAAAAAH!” A sudden scream was heard. It came from the girl called Muir.
Three Barbarous Bears, a monster the size of two bears, had appeared behind Muir and were ready to attack her.
Arnold’s face stiffened as he drew his great sword and headed straight towards the Barbarous Bear. Compared to earlier, his speed was now on a completely different level. The monsters were startled by his speed.
Arnold succeeded in cutting off the arm of the monster that had tried to seize Muir by applying force to his sword.
The monster’s arm dropped to the ground with a thud. While the Barbarous Bear was in agony, it swung its other arm at Arnold and sprayed blood around. Arnold parried it with his sword and desperately protected Muir, who was behind him.
“It’s okay! Leave this to me and get away from—.” Arnold tried to tell her to get away from here but another Barbarous Bear appeared from behind him.
At this rate Muir would be in danger. But right now Arnold had his hands full with the three monsters in front of him. If he was to engage the monster behind him, the three in front would be free to attack.
(Damn! What should I do? Shall I use it…? No, Muir will also be caught up in it if I use it now…!)
He was at a lost. Then he heard a voice from the distant.
“Hey ~ can I eat the fish now?”
Hiiro stared at the fish in front of him as if he was out of place.
Arnold: “Hey, wait! How can you talk about fish at a time like this?! You surprised me! Read the mood, dammit!”
“Say what you will. Looks like you’re having trouble, huh.”
Arnold: “I-if you can see that, help out!”
“I refuse. Why do I have to work for free? Ridiculous.”
Arnold: “Say what!”
Arnold dealt with the monster’s attack while his eyes became bloodshot. Then without delay he repelled the attacks and spun his body around and stood in front of Muir. The four Barbarous Bear’s surrounded Arnold and Muir. Muir could receive damage with just a single careless move from Arnold.
Hiiro remained composed even while watching them get cornered. His hunger had won him over and he was becoming increasingly irritated at the sound of his growling stomach.
(So, what should I do…? My stomach is growling annoyingly… Should I secretly eat it? Nah, he’ll notice…)
As he was staring at the savoury fish, a knife was thrown at his feet. Taken aback by the knife stuck into the ground, he glared at the person who threw it.
“Hey, what’re you trying to do, Old Man.”
Yes, Arnold had thrown that knife.
Arnold: “Ookay ~ listen carefully, you fool! I, I’ll give you the fish! So help me out! It’s a deal! If you wanna eat, listen to me!”
Arnold didn’t think that Hiiro would refuse at this point.
“Right now, I can just snatch the fish and run away!”
Arnold: “Are you the devil!?”
“You can’t take a joke? Old Man.”
Arnold: “Don’t ask for the impossible in a situation like this!”
Hiiro truly handled things at his own pace. If he stayed here any longer, he’d just get hungrier. He wanted to stop the unpleasant sounds his stomach was making first.
(Oh well, let’s work a bit for the fish…)
Just as he thought that, Arnold cut off a monster’s arm. The arm flew through the air and landed splendidly on top of the bonfire.
Arnold: “Huh? N-n-no waaaaaaay?!”
The fishes were cruelly crushed by the arm and was coated with sand and peddles, making it inedible. Arnold let out a terrible scream. Hiiro lost all motivation upon seeing the fish.
“… Well, I’ll be leaving now.”
Hiiro started to walk away from the scene.
Arnold: “Oi, oi, oi, oi, oi, oi, oi, oi, oi. Hold it!”
“… What? Since my pay has turned out like this, I’ve lost all motivation.”
If it had been Hiiro’s fault, Arnold could’ve forced Hiiro to take responsibility but Hiiro hadn’t agreed yet. Although an accidental, it was Arnold’s fault that the negotiations in the form of fish had failed.
If he couldn’t get Hiiro’s cooperation he would have to face the ferocious monsters while protecting Muir. He would have had no trouble facing them on his own but since he had to protect Muir, it was difficult. If possible, he wanted Hiiro’s help.
(Dammit, how do I get him to help…?)
He was unsatisfied, there seemed to be no other way to protect Muir. He could slightly grasp Hiiro’s abilities. While he was thinking of how to convince Hiiro to help, an idea came to him.
Arnold: “O-okay! Listen, Boy!”
Without knowing how Arnold was feeling, Hiiro ignored him and started moving.
Arnold: “Sheesh! If it’s gonna be like this, then I’ll have to use my last resort! I, I’ll share a bit of my 『Aqua Hound Meat』with you, so help me oouutt!”
Hiiro’s ears perked up and he stopped moving. It seems that Hiiro became slightly interested after hearing the word, meat.
“… What’s that?”
Arnold: “You don’t knooww?! It’s a first-grade meat! Eating it grilled will make it melt on your tongue and you’ll get addicted!”
Arnold saw Hiiro’s eyes sparkling with interest.
(Addicted, huh…) Hearing that word reminded him of the 『Addictive Seafood Noodles』that he had eaten before. It had been delicious; so incredibly delicious. He really wanted to eat it again.
Hiiro loved eating and always jumped at the opportunity to eat something delicious. So he was especially receptive when he heard Arnold say “delicious”.
“Hey, you’re telling the truth, right?”
Arnold: “Huh? Of course! You think I’d be lying right now?! But don’t misunderstand, okay?! You won’t be getting it all to yourself, you hear! Woah, dangerous!”
Arnold narrowly dodged the claw of a Barbarous Bear.
Arnold: “Dammit! Listen, Boy! I can guarantee that it’s super delicious! But I’m only giving you a portion!”
Arnold was too focused on convincing Hiiro that he neglected to protect Muir. Taking advantage of the chance, a Barbarous Bear grabbed Muir with its big hand and was about to eat her.
Arnold: “Oh shit!”
Just when Arnold had thought that Muir was done for; the bear was felled with a single slash.
The girl fell from its hand towards the ground. Muir tightly shut her eyes and braced herself for the impact. Arnold saw that and shouted. Then…
Muir: “… Eh?”
She had braced herself but felt no pain. Hiiro had caught her and was carrying her gently.
“… Can you stand?”
Muir: “Eh, ah… Yes.”
“Then stand up; you’re in the way of the fight. Go hide in the back.”
Muir gazed at Hiiro blushing. Arnold sighed with relief when he saw that she was safe. Hiiro was bothered by their attitude and frowned.
“Hey, hurry up and hide, Chibi.”
“Ah, yes…” She responded with a small nod and distanced herself while looking like she had something she wanted to say.
“Old Man, stop spacing out and fight.”
“Sh-shut up! Right back at you, don’t blame me if you die!”
“Ridiculous. As if these guys could kill me.”
Hiiro readied himself to attack and aimed his killing intend towards the enemy. He intended to completely slaughter them. This was his way of dealing with the monsters that were attacking.
Devoid of any other emotions, his hostility turned into blood-lust and dominated the surrounding area. Even the Barbarous Bear reacted to the blood-lust and all four focused their attention on Hiiro.
“It’s too troublesome to deal with them one at a time. Hey, Old Man, line them up.”
Arnold: “Huh? Say what?”
“Just do it. Save your questions for later.”
Arnold: “You… Fine!”
Arnold let out a sigh in resignation and sharply glared at the scattered Barbarous Bear while licking his lips.
Arnold: “I’ll do it. If you don’t wanna get caught up in it, then stand back!”
While complaining Hiiro took a big step backwards, curious about what Arnold would do. Arnold held his great sword with a backhand grip,
Arnold put power into the hand holding the sword. Suddenly the wind started gusting, even though there wasn’t so much as a breeze earlier. Hiiro felt the wind brush against his cheeks.
The wind gradually grew stronger and surprisingly coiled around Arnold’s sword.
Hiiro thought that Arnold would inhale but instead he leaped into the air spinning with his sword.
Arnold: “《Explosive Wind Claw》!”
Suddenly an enormous blast exploded upwards from the ground, no, from around Arnold. It was like a tornado. Even Hiiro, who was standing away from the blast, thought that he would get swept up into it.
The monsters were lifted up into the air without any resistance.
“Hoh, that’s quite good.”
Seeing that Hiiro gasped in admiration. Arnold could’ve sent the monsters flying at any time but didn’t do so as Muir had been close by.
“I didn’t feel any magic from that… Was that not magic?”
While Hiiro was in the middle of thinking, the Barbarous Bears were swirling up in the air while countless vacuum blades cut up their bodies. Before long, they fell in a line just as Hiiro had requested.
Arnold: “Hmph. You fine with them being in the air?”
“Yeah. It’s perfect.” Hiiro answered then aimed at the Barbarous Bear falling before his sword.
Arnold: “Hey, what are you…?”
“Shut up and watch.”
He cut short Arnold’s question and disregarded it. Arnold became sullen but watch attentively like he was told.
“Extend, 《Word Magic》!”
The blade with the character 『Extend (伸) 』written on it quickly stretched and pierced through the body of the falling Barbarous Bear.
The blade easily pierced through the flesh of the Barbarous Bears. Hiiro wasn’t sure if gravity had assisted or whether it was due to the sharpness of 『Piercer』.
Arnold had stood there with his mouth agape at the scene. Completely oblivious to this, Hiiro slowly dropped his sword in front of him after he’d confirmed that all four Barbarous Bears were pierced.
The ground shook greatly from the impact of the four falling Barbarous Bears hitting the ground. The four bodies didn’t drop scattered as they were still tied together by the extended 『Piercer』.
Hiiro muttered as he felt the Barbarous Bears gradually dying while groaning.
“One skewer of Barbarous Bear coming right up.”
Those words marked the end of the battle.