As a matter of fact, it was unlike Hiiro to hand over his food so easily but there were some reasons for why he did.
First, if he was full then he wouldn’t be able to able to eat delicious food cooked from the exquisite ingredients they were going to obtain.
Second, the dried meat wasn’t tasty.
Third, Winka didn’t seem like a malicious person, it felt unkind to treat her, who was like a pure child, like this.
It wasn’t pleasant to be stared at and it wasn’t a difficult choice to make when Hiiro knew that he would be released from the stare.
Winka stared at Hiiro after she finished eating.
Wi: “It was tasty. Thanks, Hiiro.”
When she saw Hiiro standing up, Winka tilted her head and asked,
“… Where are you going?”
“It has nothing to do with you, right?”
It was a typical thing for Hiiro to say but,
Wi: “Tell me?”
Wi resembled Hiiro and was also stubborn. Hiiro shot a look to Arnold as if telling him to do something about this situation but it was Muir who answered,
“Ah, well ~… We are going further ahead, but Wi-san travels alone, right?”
Wi: “Yeah… I’m looking for someone. I came here because I heard rumours that he was here.”
Muir: “A person? It is alright if I ask you, who you are looking for?”
Winka immediately stood up, raised her spear and showed it to everyone. The spear should have been quite heavy but this little girl was able to lift it up with one hand. So it was strange.
Wi: “The person who made this.”
Muir: “If you look at it closely, it certainly is a splendid spear.”
The length of the spear looked about 180 cm.
There were red and black spots on the handle and the blade was wrapped in a cloth so it was hard to see the shape but the spear itself looked as if it was forged by an incredible person.
At the base of the spear there was a chain about 20 cm long with what appeared to be a weight on it.
Wi: “It’s called 《Bone Maiden of Victory》.”
Muir: “Bone Maiden of Victory… Isn’t that a strange name for a spear?”
Wi: “… Really?”
Muir: “But isn’t it difficult to carry around such a long spear? It’s also pretty heavy.”
“Wi is strong, so it’s okay. Also… It gets smaller.”
Wi said as she pulled on the chain at the base of the spear. The handle clinked and shortened, however, the chain also accordingly became longer.
It seemed that the inside had become hollow and was made up of three parts. Finally the handle was about 50 cm.
Muir said in amazement.
They heard, however, that the weight of the spear didn’t change. The chains rattled and when it was being carried the chains had to be wrapped around the handle so it was heavy.
Muir: “What kind of person made that spear?”
Muir had become interested in the person who had made such a special spear.
Winka placed the spear down on the ground and spread her hands out before putting them on her head.
*BOING BOING… BOING BOING…*
Wi: “He looked like this.”
The three froze. Nevertheless Winka flopped her hands on top of her head again.
Muir: “I-is that person… a beastman…?”
Wi: “Yeah… This kind of person.”
Apparently the person she was looking for was a beastman but it was strange that she couldn’t explain it in words so everyone tilted their heads. It seemed that the three couldn’t understand Wi’s world.
Muir: “In other words, Wi-san, the person you are looking for is the man who made that spear, who is also a beastman?”
Wi: “Yeah… That’s it.”
Arnold and Muir, however, looked grim. Muir began to panic so instead Arnold said with a serious look,
“Why are you looking for him?”
Since Arnold didn’t know what her intentions were for finding the beastman, he asked her. Perhaps she might even be someone that wanted to something bad to the beastman. Search and kill. Arnold had met many people who had done such things. Hiiro also recognised the existence of such people. But Winka remained expressionless and her words left Arnold dumbfounded.
“Because he’s… My pops.”
Hiiro who was also listening to the story didn’t expect that kind of answer but unlike Arnold, he remained quiet. Hiiro opened his eyes wide and stared at Winka.
(Pops? That’s means her father… Right? So that means the person she’s looking for is her father and her father is a beastman? So that means this Antenna Girl is also a beastman? But she doesn’t have animal ears… No, there’s a high probability that they’re not connected by blood.)
Hiiro met a father and child like that recently. A few days ago when Muir had been kidnapped by 《Beast Cage》, a beastman mother and daughter were also caught.
Hiio managed to save them and that was when the girl’s father appeared. He was from the 『Human Race』and fell in love at first sight after being saved by the mother and daughter.
Therefore they had gotten married and become a family. The daughter was not connected to the man by blood. Hiiro had remembered this and thought that Winka was also the same. Arnold also thought the same and questioned her.
“Hey Wi, is your dad related to you by blood?”
Wi: “…? Why are you asking something like that?”
Wi had a blank expression on her face. It was certainly a strange question for Winka.
Arnold: “Ah, my bad. I was just curious.”
Wi: “… It’s fine. We’re connected by blood…? Since Wi is ma and pop’s child.”
The impact of those words were amazing. Hiiro and Arnold were both thinking that Wi was the daughter brought into the marriage from the mother’s side. But when they heard she wasn’t, they thought there was something strange about it. The lack of animal ears and tail perplexed them.
“You don’t look like a beastman.”
All caution was blown away at Hiiro’s careless remark. Arnold looked at him with a look that said, “What’re you going to do if she has a dark past?”
“Yeah… Because Wi looks like her mum.”
Wi easily answered. Arnold seemed like he was dodging the answer, put his hands to his chin and asked Winka,
“Wi, are you half-bred…?”
Wi: “Ham… What’s that? Is it tasty?”
Wi had heard the word ham and thought it was food. Her eyes were somewhat sparkling. What a misunderstanding…
Arnold: “N-no… It seems that I worded the question wrong. Let’s see, Wi is your mother a human?”
Wi easily answered.
(I see. A human and beastman half-breed.)
Hiiro nodded as if he was agreeing with himself.
Arnold: “So it’s like that. In short, you’re the type of half with beastman blood but your human blood is stronger, right Wi?”
Arnold had said that for confirmation but Winka didn’t understand what he meant and tilted her head.
“Hey, Old Man, does the half-breed’s appearance only lean a certain way?”
Arnold firmly answered Hiiro’s question.
A half-breed is exactly that, a half-breed. In other words the parents were from different races.
In Winka’s case, her mother was from the human race while her father was a beastman. The appearance of the child born inclined to one race. Like Winka, there were children who looked like humans but there were also humans who looked like beastman.
When a child takes after the beastman, unlike Arnold and Muir who looked human with attached animal ears and tail, there were a lot of cases where their body hair and features will become close to that of an animal.
For example if they were a wolf, they wouldn’t have just animal tail and ears but their whole body would be like that of a wolf, a werewolf.
The existence of half-breeds in 【Edea】was taboo. The reason for this was that half-breeds couldn’t use magic like the『Human Race』or『Demon-kin』. They also couldn’t use 《Trick Art》devised by 『Beastman』.
Arnold: “Ah? You don’t know, Hiiro? Beastman can’t use magic. So, in exchange for vigour they can use something called 《Trick Art》.”
Hearing that Hiiro recalled the time he’d confirmed Arnold’s 《Status》, the magic column was changed to 《Trick Art》. Hiiro was certain that it was another name for magic but it seems that it’s an Art that could only be used by beastman.
Arnold: “Beastman half-breeds can’t use 《Trick Art》like regular beastman. In other words, half-breeds can’t use magic or Trick Art that normal humans or beastman could. That’s why they’re treated as a heretical existence and are taboo.”
“I see. So this Antenna Girl can’t use magic and even if she has beastman blood she can’t use 《Trick Art》either.”
Arnold: “That’s right.”
Hiiro looked at Winka again, he had thought that her attitude would change because of the current conversation but she looked indifferent to it.
Arnold: “But, I’d never thought that I would meet someone with beastman blood here, right Muir?”
Muir: “Y-yes. It’s a surprise.”
Muir also knew that Winka was someone who had beastman blood so she won’t hurt other beastman. The frightening feeling she felt before had now disappeared.
Winka looked around at the three’s expressions. Arnold felt that her actions were unnatural.
“…You’re not scared…?”
Winka asked, her eyes a little lonely.
Arnold: “Hah? Of what?”
Wi: “When I talk to other people about my beastman blood, they get scared of me… They call me taboo and a monster.”
A shadow was casted upon Winka’s expression. It was an expression that showed just what kind of treatment she had received until now. Even if they talked about it now, she might immediately decide to leave. She seemed to be used to it since she didn’t hold back while talking about it. It was sad to see that she had grown accustomed to it. Then Arnold patted her, put his hands on her shoulder and while grinning showed her his butt.
In that moment her eyes widened because a tail had suddenly popped out from Arnold’s butt. To be more exact it popped out from between the gaps of his pants.
Arnold: “That’s right. Muir and I are both beastmans.”
Arnold: “So we’re not scared of you at all. Besides, what’s taboo? It just means that you can’t use magic or 《Trick Art》, right? Moreover, you don’t look like a monster.”
Muir: “Y-yah! Wi-san isn’t a taboo or a monster!”
Wi felt comfortable and her heart warmed upon hearing the two’s desperate words. A relieved expression was seen on her face and she glanced at Hiiro.
“Mhm? What is it?”
Winka was staring at Hiiro as if she was waiting for him to say something. But she couldn’t tell what he was thinking because he had a mysterious expression on his face.
“A-ah, this guy’s the same as well… Or rather, he’s more frank than us.”
Arnold spoke for Hiiro since he decided that Hiiro didn’t feel like answering.
Arnold: “What do you think he said when he found out we were beastman?”
“Do you wanna hear it?”
“You wanna hear it, right?”
Hiiro interrupted Arnold many times but was completely ignored. It certainly wasn’t something to be troubled over.
Wi: “Yeah, I want to hear it.”
A sense of embarrassment passed through Hiiro as he saw Winka’s eyes sparkle in anticipation.
Arnold told Winka about the time he’d met Hiiro. Especially the part when Hiiro said, “Instead of caring about every little thing, it’s more productive to do other things, like reading books”, Arnold couldn’t stop laughing while saying that. Winka glanced at Hiiro many times with a look of respect.
“Hah, who cares about such a story? More importantly, how long are we going to stand here for?”
Hiiro wanted to quickly free himself from the topic and act in order to satisfy his stomach. Winka heard Hiiro’s words and looked around at the three.
Wi: “Hiiro and co, what are you going to do now?”
She seemed interested in their actions.
“We intend to go to the summit. There seems to be delicious ingredients there.”
Muir answered and the antenna on top of Winka’s head sprung up. It was quivering around as if it received something. It was as if it was an animal’s tail.
Wi: “… Food?”
Arnold was the one who answered that question. “Oh yeah. There’s a spring at the summit, it was made when rain water accumulated for many years. But we’re here to hunt the Cow Crabs that inhabit the spring.”
Wi: “Cow crab… Is it tasty?”
Arnold: “It’s superb! It has a huge body like a cow. When you eat a mouthful, the subtle and rich crab flavour spreads all throughout your mouth! The shell can be used to make good soup stock… Drool, Oi!”
Drool flowed out of Winka’s mouth like a waterfall.
Wi: “I want to eat it…”
Arnold: “Eh? A-ah really? Well if you hunt the Cow Crab, I don’t mind preparing Wi’s portion as well…”
Winka held her spear and pointed straight at the summit.
Wi: “… Let’s go!”
Her eyes showed no hesitation, instead they shone with a look of genuine appetite for food. Moreover ―――
“Oi, what’re you doing, let’s go, Pervert.”
By the time Arnold had noticed, Hiiro was already walking towards the summit.
Arnold: “Hey, don’t call me a pervert! Your change in attitude is honestly, argh!”
Wi: “Arnold is a pervert…?”
Arnold: “See! Now Wi’s got the wrong idea!”
“Calm down, Uncle!”
A panicked Muir tried to calm down Arnold. Then Hiiro delivered the final blow,
“Whatever let’s go, Lolicon.”
Wi: “… Do you like little girls?”
Arnold: “Argh, stop it alreeeeadyy!”
Arnold’s heart squeezed upon seeing Winka’s naïve eyes. Muir merely breathed, shocked at the sight in front of her.
There was a large spring at the summit just like Arnold had said. The summit was shaped exactly like a volcano crater and there was a big dent at the centre. That was where the rainwater had gathered and turned into a spring.
There were many rocks and stones scattered around and more trees and grass grew than Hiiro had expected. The area was naturally rich in nature. When Hiiro looked around the spring, he felt his spirits clear up. The spring was so transparent that he could see the bottom. Many fish and creatures that looked like crustaceans lived in the spring.
The size of the spring, which looked like a circle was roughly measured by Hiiro’s eyes. It was surely around 100 m in radius. It was a rather large pool of water.
“How do you catch the Cow Crab, Old Man?”
Hiiro couldn’t see anything that looked like a monster, so he thought that it was either at the bottom of the spring or more in the centre. He was concerned about how to catch it so he asked Arnold.
Arnold: Mhm ~ actually, Cow Crabs are very timid creatures. They rarely emerge and break the surface of the water.”
“Hah? Then what do we do? Don’t tell me we have to dive in to catch it.”
If that’s the case, then Arnold should go and catch it. But Arnold shook his head.
Arnold: “Cow Crabs are good at camouflaging. I’m not even a professional fisherman, it’s doubtful that I could catch them.”
“Then what are we going to do?”
Arnold: “That’s where you come in, Hiiro…!”
Hiiro was taken aback when Arnold suddenly pointed his finger at him.
Arnold: “Use your 《Word Magic》to find and catch them! I know you can do this much, right? How’s my brilliant plan? Ahahahahaha!”
Hiiro stared at Arnold and a vein popped up on his forehead.
Arnold: “Ahaha… Eh? Oi, oi, what’s wrong? Why are you coming up behind me, huh?”
Hiiro kicked Arnold’s back with all his might.
The water made a magnificent sound as Arnold dived face first into the spring.
Arnold lifted his face from the water and coughed violently, he had swallowed quite a bit of water.
“Argh, uogh, argh!? Wh-what are you doing, Hiiro!?”
Arnold hurled to Hiiro with a cold gaze.
“This was certainly my request fee, was it not, Old Man?”
Arnold: “Eh… Ah, that’s right but…”
Arnold understood what Hiiro was trying to say and was embarrassed.
“And yet, I’m the one who has to catch the prey? I’m the only one who has to work? Do you think that’s compensation?”
Arnold could see a black aura coming out from behind Hiiro.
Wi: “Hiiro… Scary.”
Winka and Muir distanced themselves when they saw Hiiro’s appearance.
“W-well, it’ll be faster that way and it’s more reliable. You can catch it in the blink of an eye with your magic, right?”
Certainly Hiiro was able to easily catch the prey with his 《Word Magic》just like Arnold had said. Hiiro still hadn’t told them everything about his magic but Arnold had concluded correctly from watching Hiiro use it.
It was inevitable since Hiiro also wanted to eat delicious things but he didn’t like Arnold’s attitude. So he thought it was natural to punish Arnold a bit and sent him flying into the spring.
“Whatever, just hurry up and bring them here.”
Arnold: “Well, like I said earlier, I can’t see through their camouflage…”
“Manage with your fighting spirit.”
Arnold: “Th-that’s absurd…”
“Or else what? Do you intent to eat something that I caught with my magic, alone? I’ll say it again, this is my request fee, right?”
“Guh… Argh… Fine! I get it! I’ll catch a lot of them so wait!”
Arnold shouted in a partially frustrated voice and then he swam to the centre of the spring.
Muir: “D-do your best! Uncle ~!”
Wi: “You can do it ~.”
Arnold was sent off with encouragements from Muir and Wi.
Hiiro had free time so he decided to check his 《Status》. On the way here he had fought against many monsters and used magic so he thought it was better to confirm his current physical strength and magic power.
|ATK: 198 (259)
DEF: 150 (165)
AGI: 280 (282)
HIT: 149 (157)
INT: 249 (253)
|《 Magic Attribute》 None
《Magic》Word Magic (Single Chain Release・Air Writing Release・Parallel Chain Writing)
《 Titles》 Innocent Bystander・Otherworlder・Word Master・Awakened One・Ripper・The Imaginator・Monster Killer・Gourmet Bastard・Go My Own Way
His titles also increased slightly and he found a word that he was bothered by. That word was 《Parallel Chain Writing》.(Well, with this amount I can even beat a Cow Crab… Mhm?)
(A new ability…?)
Hiiro clicked it with his fingers to see the explanation.
|《Parallel Chain Writing》MP Cost: 50
More than one character can be written. Originally when a character with a continuous effect is activated, another new character could not be written until the effect ran out. However it is now possible to write another character without waiting for the effects of the previous one to expire. Furthermore it is now possible to write the same letter consecutively and depending on the character various synergistic effects may occur. However once activated, it is impossible to freely cancel the effects of characters.
(I see. In other words, after I wrote and activated a character it was impossible for me to write a new character without waiting a minute but now I can consecutively write characters without waiting.)
This was a convenient release ability. It was necessary for him to try various experiments with this. This release ability was more pleasant than he’d thought so it was only natural that he smiled.