“Yeah, Judom Larkers. He was an adventurer known as the《Impact King》.”
It was a nickname but Hiiro frowned upon hearing it.
“Sounds like someone with chuunibyou (Middle school 2nd year syndrome – act like a know-it all adult or believe that they have special powers unlike others)…”
“Really? Well, anyway remember his name. He’s a great man, too good to be from the 『Human Race』.”
“Hoh, I wouldn’t expect that from someone who’s lost in status and prestige.”
“Hey, he’s not like that! He took care of me once, although it was quite some time ago.”
Arnold looked into the distance as he reminisced.
“Well, I couldn’t care less about that guy, but at this rate I won’t be able to pass the checkpoint, right?”
“You couldn’t care less… Hah, yeah. It takes quite some time to pass through there.”
As Hiiro thought about a plan to overcome this situation. It would work out somehow with time but the visa already took a week to process in 【Victorias】, so it’d take even longer here. He wasn’t patient enough for that.
When Hiiro was thinking about a plan to overcome his situation, Arnold called out to Winka, who was playing with Winger.
“What’re you going to do from now on? Will you cross the border with us?”
Although they were travelling together with Winka through strange circumstances, she had her own goal, which was to find her father.
Winka liked Hiiro and decided that he would be her King. Arnold wanted to ask if she would still go with them even with the way things were heading.
“… I can’t?”
She tilted her head to the side with the same emotionless expression as Hiiro.
“W-well, you can, but is that alright? You might find your father in the human world, you know?”
There were three continents in 【Edea】and they were connected to each other by bridges. The continent that the 『Human Race』lived in was the human world. The 『Beastman』lived in the beast kingdom and the 『Demon-kin』lived in the underworld.
Arnold was suggesting that she should exhaust all her options in the human world because if she found out that her father was in the human world after crossing into the beast kingdom, she’d have to return.
But Winka shook her head.
“My pops isn’t in the human world.”
“… Wi thinks.”
Arnold’s sharp rebuke resounded inside of the room. However, Winka continued.
“Wi has good intuition.”
“Well, even if you say that… Wait, is it really okay to rely on your intuition for this?”
“Yup… Besides Wi wants to be with you all.”
Arnold suddenly covered his chest in agony as if something had pierced through his heart. Then he said in a whisper, “Those eyes are foul-play, Wi… It’s a foul-play amongst the foul-plays… Hehe”.
“… Old Man, you okay?”
Hiiro was disgusted and gazed at Muir.
“Mh-mhm… He’s the same as always… I think?”
Muir had developed firm resistance against this kind of Arnold so she wasn’t panicking. Although she was pulling away from him.
Winka’s upturned eyes had exceptional power on a lolicon (only Hiiro thought so) like Arnold.
(He’ll definitely go down in history if he dies in that kind of anguish.)
Hiiro decided to tell future generations about the great man who died in an extremely hilarious manner. Arnold, who was in agony said, “That was dangerous”, and wiped the sweat off his forehead.
“An-anyway, you’re coming with us, right? Wi.”
Winka agreed while lifting Winger up. Winger also barked in an approving manner.
“Now, Hiiro’s checkpoint problem… Does anyone have any ideas?”
“Well, it’s not like I don’t have any options.”
If Hiiro was inclined, then one way or another, he could just use 《Word Magic》to turn any situation to his favour.
“For example, I could fly over the border.”
“… You can fly…? That’s not even fair ~.”
Hiiro could practice flying. However if he flew across the sky to bypass the checkpoint then there’s a high possibility that he would be too conspicuous. He didn’t want to be seen as a suspicious person and shot down by magic.
It was necessary for him to think of a more inconspicuous way to cross the checkpoint. For example it would be good if he could find a way to fly pass the checkpoint without standing out, but he still had another concern.
“I don’t think they’re here, but don’t you think they’ve been informed of our actions?”
Arnold and Muir’s faces stiffened upon Hiiro’s words.
“… 《Beast Cage》, right?”
Winka faintly narrowed her eyes at Arnold’s whisper.
《Beast Cage》was an organisation in the human world that loathed beastman and whose purpose was the control and elimination of beastman.
They showed no mercy to the beastman that they turned their blades toward. They took the lives of beastman who disturbed the peace in places like towns and considered them their worst enemies.
Hiiro and his party recently battled with them. Muir had been kidnapped by them and they had struggled to get her back.
Folse, who commanded 《Beast Cage》, was defeated by Hiiro’s magic but he swore that he would definitely kill them.
Hiiro and his party also ended up at the monster test site, 【Buscador】which probably had some connection to 《Beast Cage》. They had went there a few days ago to rescue Winger’s family, who were being held captive at the site.
They had met Winka around that time as well and she decided to travel with them.
The result was that they were only able to rescue Winger. 【Buscador】had been destroyed but if Folse knew that Hiiro and co were still alive then he would definitely pursue them.
It was also possible that beast cage had already prepared an ambush at the border.
“We have to be careful for the time being.”
Everyone nodded their heads at Arnold’s heavy words. It would be best if Hiiro could cross the border without a hitch.
There was a knock at the door when the conversation settled down. Since this was the staff resting room, someone probably came in here to take a nap. Everyone turned to face the door.
They saw a man wearing a dirty robe and a turban wrapped around his head when the door slowly opened.
“… Tenny Kwes?”
Arnold repeated the name that the man, who’d entered the resting room, had given him. The man named Tenny smiled kindly and nodded.
According to him, he was also a traveller and tried to stay at an inn in this town but there were no vacant rooms. He had heard about the resting rooms at the guild, like Hiiro and co had and headed this way.
His green unkempt hair peeped out from his turban. He was carrying something that looked like a big backpack, so it was clear that he was travelling.
Arnold introduced everyone. Hiiro had thought that Arnold had wilfully told Tenny his name but what’s done is done, so he remained quiet.
“Wow ~. I thought I was gonna be all alone here, I’m glad I have good company!”
Tenny, who was smiling broadly, looked like a very innocent young man. He suddenly took off the turban and put it onto the bed.
His behaviour in itself was not surprising. However everyone was stunned because they had noticed a certain something on his head.
He had animal ears on his head, something humans didn’t have.
“Yo-you’re a beastman?”
Arnold asked while staring at his ears with wide opened eyes.
“Yup. Huh? Do you not like being around beastman?”
Tenny asked awkwardly but Arnold looked more relieved than he did earlier and smiled.
“Wh-what the, haha. No, no, we welcome beastman! This girl and I are also beastman.”
Arnold said as he placed a hand on Muir’s head.
“Oh, yeah…? Huh? But where are your… I’m sorry, I spoke out of turn.”
Tenny probably judged from the mood and didn’t question Arnold any further.
Arnold had lived as a slave in the past and his owner at that time had ripped out his ears. The human ears he had now were artificial.
“Well, don’t worry about it. If you’ve lived in the human world then you know that shit happens, right?”
“… That’s right.”
“Let’s talk about something less gloomy. What’re you doing in this town, Tenny?”
“Yeah, we came here to cross the border.”
“Eh? Cross the border? … Those people over there too? Aren’t they from the human race?”
Tenny turned to look at Hiiro and Winka.
“Well yeah. Hiiro is a tourist and Wi is our companion of sorts. A tourist at this time in the world, isn’t that a joke?”
“Are you picking a fight with me, Old Man?”
Hiiro glared at Arnold.
“I’ve said this before but with the way things are now, people would laugh at the idea of a human going sightseeing in the beast kingdom.”
Indeed, the current relationship between the three races that existed in 【Edea】, the『Human Race』, the『Beastman』and the『Demon-kin』were extremely strained.
A war would break out as soon as a chance arises and that war would engulf the whole world.
It was unsurprising that people would think that Hiiro was strange for travelling under the pretence of sightseeing in the midst of it all.
Hiiro had an objective, he had decided that he would enjoy life in this different world and he couldn’t hesitate for reasons such as being scared of the current state of things.
“I am who I am. If anything gets in my way, I’ll force my way through.”
Hiiro wasn’t from this world. He had been summoned here by the royal family of the 【Human Country・Victorias】.
In addition to that, he wasn’t even the one they had desired to summon. Hiiro was summoned along with four other people.
The four were summoned to be heroes. Hiiro just happened to be close by while they were being summoned and was unreasonably dragged along.
Hiiro however, thought that it was a godsend. He didn’t have any friends in Japan nor did he have any parents. Hiiro whose hobbies were reading and eating, didn’t hold anything valuable in Japan.
Therefore when he was summoned to another world and blessed with magic, he thought that he would enjoy himself and explore this different world with all his might.
There were also many rare books and delicious food in this world. He would attain those things and enjoy his other world life to his heart’s content. That was Hiiro’s goal.
Hiiro had thought that it was dangerous to have his movements restricted by working together with the heroes so he set out on his own journey where he met Arnold and co. He thought that he could utilise the valuable information Arnold had on the beast kingdom and travelled with him.
Hiiro liked to be alone but he was a realist who operated on a profit and loss system. As a result, he thought that it would be more convenient to travel with them and thus, here he was now.
Arnold shrugged his shoulders at Hiiro’s way of speaking but for some reason, Tenny had an amused smile on his face.
“You’re a weird guy, Hiiro-kun.”
“You’re quite weird yourself.”
“Oh? Am I?”
“Who else is with you?”
“… I’m by myself, is that weird?”
Tenny seriously didn’t know what Arnold was asking and pressed for answers but Arnold also didn’t understand and tilted his head.
“Well, didn’t you think that there was a possibility that we’d be from a fraction that hated beastman?”
If they were from such a fraction then Tenny’s actions when he took off his turban and revealed that he was a beastman were too rash. Arnold and Muir realised the meaning behind Hiiro’s words and gasped.
“I don’t know what kind of journey you’re on but if you’re a beastman then you should know about the existence of 《Beast Cage》, right? What would you have done if we were part of that group?”
Upon hearing Hiiro’s words, Tenny blanked out for a bit and then smiled again.
“That wouldn’t have been a problem.”
“I may not look it, but I’m confident in my ability to see people for who they are!”
Tenny had a smug look on his face. Hiiro had anticipated something more reasonable and was dumbfounded.
Everyone was frozen and stared at Tenny as if they were looking at an eccentric person.
“Ah, huh? Are you all still here?”
He pinched their faces and Arnold puffed.
“Ahahahaha! Tenny, you’re a funny guy!”
“Really? I get that a lot.”
The two laughed, wholeheartedly.
“I-it seems as if there are two Uncles…”
Muir wasn’t wrong. Hiiro felt that Tenny was similar to Arnold in terms of how simple their thoughts were and how optimistic they were.
(Are all beastman men like this…?)
Hiiro inadvertently sighed and thought.
(I don’t know if what he says is true or not but going on a journey through the human world by himself meant that he has the skills to survive.)
Hiiro guessed that he had some kind of ability to protect himself since he was able to survive amidst the current situation.
However, Hiiro’s thoughts solidified with what Winka said next. Winka approached Tenny and stared at his face.
“… Hey, weren’t you on the hill… A while ago?”
Hiiro confirmed that Tenny’s smile froze.
(On the hill…?)
Winka suddenly asked Tenny that question and Hiiro recalled what had happened and frowned.
Arnold and Muir stood there gaping, unable to comprehend what was happening.
It wasn’t just Winka who had felt the stare on the hill when they had entered town, Hiiro also felt it.
Hiiro felt that Tenny was suspicious because he didn’t know what he was thinking and put up his guard so that he could move at a moment’s notice.
It was obvious that he had hidden himself at that time so that he wouldn’t get caught by them. Hiiro wondered why he done such a thing.
At times like these people usually feign ignorance and replied with, “What are you talking about?” There were also those who acted differently. Hiiro’s thoughts spun in his head as he thought of ways to discern one from the other.
However, Hiiro was taken aback by Tenny’s unexpected reply.
“Yeah, I was there and I was observing you guys. I’m surprised you noticed me.”
Tenny surprisingly admitted it without batting an eye. Even Hiiro blinked repeatedly and looked at him doubting his sanity.
“… Yup, Wi sensed a similar presence at that time.”
Winka’s sharp senses were astounding but Hiiro was more concerned about Tenny. Hiiro wondered why he had admitted to it so readily.
“Ah, so Wi sensed something because Tenny was watching us?”
Arnold said harmlessly.
“Why were you observing us?”
He easily asked for the answer. Hiiro was also interested in Tenny’s answer.
“The reason why I was observing you?”
Tenny rummaged around his bag and pulled out a big board. There was paper stuck on that board and Arnold who saw that said:
“Are you perhaps a painter?”
“Yup. I was painting the mountains that could be seen from that slightly elevated hill.”
“Eh, you’re pretty good at painting.”
It’s no wonder that Arnold would admire him. Even Hiiro, who didn’t have any artistic taste, understood that that painting was good.
The painting was three-dimensional and looked as if it would pop out at any second. It was a well done piece that could snatch people’s hearts. But ———.
“Wait a minute, that doesn’t explain why you were observing us.”
Arnold said, “Ah, that’s right” and turned to look at Tenny. Arnold was completely relaxed because Tenny was also a beastman.
Hiiro understood how he felt but he still didn’t know if Tenny was someone he could relax his guard around. So Hiiro maintained a fixed distance between them and remained vigilant.
“That’s because I’m actually a fan of 《Moonlight》-san.”
“… Huh? Moonlight? Fan?
Hiiro inadvertently asked in return.
“Huh? You mean you don’t know? That girl Winka Jio, her nickname is《Moonlight》.”
Hiiro recalled the time he had seen Winka’s 《Status》. She certainly had a title called 《Moonlight》.
He also recalled that a subordinate of 《Beast Cage》had called Winka by that name.
“Hey wait, is Wi that famous?”
“Yo-you’re amazing, Wi-san!”
Arnold was amazed and Muir looked at Winka as if she was looking at an idol.
Although she was being stared at with such eyes, Winka tilted her head as if she didn’t know what Tenny was talking about.
“Hiiro also mentioned them before, but the name 《Moonlight》is well-known among the 《Beast Cage》and veteran adventurers alike. Her name is especially famous amongst the beastman adventurers.”
“She’s that famous and you don’t even know, Old Man?”
“Uoh… Nope, I’m not connected to the adventurer’s network.”
When they had met the adventurer Raab, Arnold had said that he felt as if he’d heard of that name somewhere before.
Raab was also quite a famous adventurer and Hiiro didn’t know why, but there were times when he’d get angry at Arnold.
“Well, I did quests by myself so there weren’t many chances for me to get involved with other adventurers. And after I met Muir, it’s just been the two of us.”
Hiiro understood the reason for this. The two were hiding the fact that they were beastman and if a situation was mishandled, they feared that they would be found out.
Not all humans despise beastman but Arnold judged that it would be better to hide who they were.
“You can call me Wi…”
“Eh? Ah, yes. Then can I call you Wi-chan?”
Winka nodded in acceptance.
“Even though she looks like that, Wi-chan is an S rank adventurer.”
“Re-really Wi?! That’s amazing!”
It was natural for Arnold to be surprised. Wi proudly made a peace sign.
The adventurer ranks starting from the lowest: F・E・D・C・B・A・S・SS・SSS. S rank was the third highest ranking.
SS and SSS rank was applied for at the Guild and needed special approval. Since it was an exceptional rank given only to a limited number of people, S rank adventurers were said to be practically the best.
It wasn’t an easy position to obtain. It was obtained by doing numerous quests at the Guild and reaching a reasonable level.
It was a steep process and it was a rank that most adventurers yearned for. By the way, Hiiro was currently ———.
· Weapon: Sword・Piercer
· Guard: Red Robe
His rank on the guild card was D. In short, his rank was a lot lower than Winka’s. To Hiiro, Guilds were only a source of his money and information so he didn’t mind that it was low.
But now he would rather think about why Tenny was looking this way than about his rank.
If he was Winka’s fan then he would swoon over her but instead he hid himself when Winka looked at him.
When Hiiro enquired about it, Tenny smiled and said:
“Oh, well it’s pretty embarrassing, isn’t it? It’s the person I admire, you know? If I meet her all of a sudden, I might panic and tumble down the hill.”
Arnold and co laughed seeing him use his whole body to overreact but Hiiro felt as if he was diverting the conversation.
(Then why is he here now? And he seems unusually calm.)
That was what he was concerned about. If he was watching them then he could tell that they were travellers and since the day was ending, it wouldn’t have been difficult for him to predict that they would stay in this town overnight.
In other words he could guess that Hiiro and co were probably going to stay here because he was probably refused at the inn too and came here.
He should have noticed that Winka, the person he admired, would be staying in the Guild’s resting room.
(If he gets embarrassed just by meeting her then he wouldn’t have chosen to come here. Even if he wanted to briefly come in contact with her as a fan, his attitude doesn’t feel like that of a fan’s…)
Even while looking at Winka, Tenny was able to speak clearly like a normal person.
Wouldn’t people normally be shy and flustered when they meet someone they admire?
(This guy… something about him is fishy.)
Hiiro saw a strange look on Tenny’s face as he talked to Arnold and Muir. Then someone tugged at Hiiro’s clothes.
“It’s okay, Hiiro.”
“… What is?”
The person who had tugged his clothes was Winka. She talked with the usual expressionless look on her face.
“Wi doesn’t feel any malice from him…”
She had sensed something from Tenny from the moment they’d met. But she didn’t feel any hostility or ill intents from Tenny.
She had been travelling for many years so her intuition was reliable.
However Hiiro, who didn’t rely on the words of others in the first place, wanted to check Tenny’s 《Status》with『Peek 覗』. He concentrated magic power into his index finger and ———
“Is something the matter?”
Tenny suddenly spoke to Hiiro. He stopped concentrating his magic without letting it show on his face.
“Mhm? Is something wrong, Hiiro?”
Arnold turned to face Hiiro. His face showed ———, no Muir’s face also showed that they weren’t on guard around Tenny.
“Really? Ah, don’t tell me you’re still holding a grudge because of what happened at the inn? It couldn’t be helped, right? You should appreciate that you even get to sleep in a bed at all.”
“That’s right ~. You should appreciate being able to sleep on a bed after travelling.”
“Oh, we’re kindred souls! You know what you’re talking about! Muir?”
“Yup, you must be thankful!”
It seemed that Arnold and Muir trusted him because he was a beastman just like they were. Hiiro had heard from Arnold that beastmans weren’t like the other races because they honoured the bonds they have.
A race that doesn’t betray. They acted the way they did because they believed that Tenny was a beastman. But that piece of information meant nothing to Hiiro.
(Anyone can betray people for their own agenda.)
Everyone has emotions, whether they be negative ones like: inferiority, jealousy, resentment or hatred; beastman were no exception.
Even if no beastman had never betrayed before, there was no guarantee that it wouldn’t happen in the future.
(Even if the Old Man, Chibi and Antenna Girl trust him, I can only trust people based on what I see with my own eyes.)
Those feelings grew stronger when Tenny had called out to him with impeccable timing.
Because of that, he couldn’t use his magic. He could probably check Tenny’s status by force but if he handled it poorly and Tenny just happens to have unimaginable strength then it would be troublesome to rampage here.
(… How annoying.)
Tenny was still talking with Arnold and co but Hiiro felt as if he was being watched. He couldn’t carelessly use his magic…
(… I just hope that this doesn’t become a problem for us.)
Hiiro decided that he would peek at Tenny’s status somehow while looking at him and laid down on the bed.