There were people holding their breath while watching the checkpoint in the thick, dense forest nearby. Those people were Hiiro and co.
“Hey, are they arguing?”
Arnold questioned the current situation before his eyes and Tenny answered.
“《Beast Cage》probably picked a fight with the guards.”
“The armed forces would never allow beastman hunts here.”
“That makes sense. If 《Beast Cage》and beastman rampaged here then they could possibly attract some ferocious monsters.”
Up until now there had been no problems unless someone instigated it but if a monster was drawn by the commotion then something unbelievable would happen.
In the worst case scenario the check point would be destroyed. So although the armed forces tolerated the existence of 《Beast Cage》, they would never allow their activities at the checkpoint.
“Security is tough, especially on days when unique monsters appear.”
Hiiro was interested when Tenny said, “Unique monster”, but before he could say anything Arnold said:
“But what should we do? If there’s a commotion here then we can’t pass through the checkpoint.”
Certainly, if the guards and 《Beast Cage》were to seriously clash, they’d probably block the checkpoint for an hour, making it difficult to stealthily pass through it. That’s a problem.
The barrier was made out of stone and looked rough. It was a robust wall that was more than 30 metres high. In the centre was a door. People with permission can freely enter and leave from the door.
Other places also allowed one to cross into the beast kingdom, but they were dangerous. One had to go pass the ocean to reach the beast kingdom.
It was difficult for Hiiro and co to cross through the ocean. There are multiple whirlpools as if to block intruders, the waves are high and the current was fast. Most importantly, the monsters inhabiting the oceans were on a totally different level compared to the ones in the human world.
The ocean was crawling with monsters so strong that even a high level adventurer wouldn’t go face them on their own. Moreover they were opponents that one would be crazy to fight while their movements were restricted by water.
(Is it best to make a hole in the check point after all?)
No matter how thick the check point was, he could pass through it if he used 『Hole 穴』. But there were soldiers constantly patrolling around there so he needed to find a chance to use it.
(Should I take advantage of the commotion and quickly make a hole? No, if force is applied to the check point during the commotion then that’ll be dangerous… Tsk, that Top Knot always causing trouble.)
He glared at Folse in irritation but he didn’t notice and continued to argue with the soldiers.
While everyone was thinking about what was the best thing to do, Tenny quietly raised his hand. Everyone turned towards him.
“Mhm, does everyone know that person?”
He was referring to Folse so Arnold explained their connection to Folse.
“I see. In short, that person holds a grudge against everyone, well against Hiiro-kun.”
“Well, anyone would hold a grudge if they were made to suffer like that.”
Arnold looked off into the distance, recalling something. Hiiro certainly defeated Folse. He had used 『Sticky 粘』to glue Folse’s body to the ground before shooting fire throughout his body.
Moreover Folse who had fallen face down on the ground was badly burnt. It was still alright up until that point but then his clothes completely burnt off and he was as naked as the day he was born. He had shown his ass to everyone there. It couldn’t be helped that he resented Hiiro.
(Oh, now that I think about it, his burns look healed. They healed too quickly, even if he used potions. As expected of a fire magic user, they must have a high healing rate against fire wounds.)
Hiiro had evil thoughts, he’ll burn well if I burn him this time as well, that Top Knot.
“In other words, you came here in order to cross the bridge, but along the way you quarrelled with《Beast Cage》. And they’ve been chasing you ever since like a stalker.”
Arnold, who had heard Tenny’s summary, nodded in return.
“So you want to pass the checkpoint but it’s troublesome for that person to rampage here… I see ~.”
Tenny nodded his head many times while saying, “Mhm, mhmm”, and then he raised his finger.
“Well ~, I’ve come up with a good plan. Can you hear me out?”
“Plan? In this situation?”
Hiiro looked suspiciously at Tenny but the smile never left his face. Tenny took out a sketchbook, basket and something that looked like a palette from his bag. By the way, even if he’d said sketchbook, it was just paper stuck to a board.
“Hey Tenny, you’re not going to tell me that you want to paint at a time like this, right?”
“Eh? That’s what I was going to do.”
Arnold said jokingly but Tenny looked serious so he was dumbfounded. Tenny hummed while pouring green and black liquid onto the palette.
“Wh-what’re you saying, Tenny?”
“Well, just watch.”
Tenny began painting on the paper.
Hiiro felt magic coming from the brush Tenny was holding and was dubious. Arnold and the others didn’t question anything when Tenny started to paint with magic. No, perhaps they didn’t even notice it.
Meanwhile Tenny fluidly moved his brush and drew a bird in the blink of an eye.
“What’s this supposed to mean?”
Arnold scowled as he looked at the bird on the paper and then surprisingly a small bird flew out of the paper.
Arnold shouted and the small bird landed on the top of his head.
“Eh? Ah… Eh? Wh-what’s this?!”
“Be quiet, Old Man. They’ll notice us.”
“Ah, sorry. My bad.”
Arnold apologized for his outburst but Hiiro could understand why he would be surprised. No one else raised their voice, but they were all taken aback.
“Ahaha, you know. This is actually a 《Magic Brush》.”
When Arnold repeated his words, he smiled and nodded.
“When I paint with this, the things I paint materialise. It has another special feature.”
“Yes. I’m going to use that to get you guys across.”
“Yo-you can do something like that?”
“Well, if everything goes according to my plan, then you can easily cross over. I won’t cause an uproar in front of the checkpoint.”
Everyone other than Tenny looked at each other dubiously and as their representative, Arnold asked Tenny:
“Hey Tenny, why would you go that far for us? Is it because Muir and I are fellow beastmans?”
Tenny, who was silent for a while, immediately smiled and answered.
“Simple. I just think it’s normal for people to help each other when they’re in need.”
Hiiro stared at his smiling face. He didn’t feel the same discomfort he did from a while ago. He knew that those were Tenny’s true feelings.
But that still wasn’t enough for Hiiro to trust him. Hiiro looked at him sternly and asked:
“So, tell us your plan.”
“… Alright, Hiiro-kun.”
He told them his strategy and everyone looked startled.
“That’s enough! If you keep making such impossible demands then we will use our authority as border security guards to arrest you all!”
The soldier who was facing Folse declared with hostility. A vein popped from Folse’s forehead who angrily said.
“Hoh, a mere security guard, arrest me? How amusing, by all means, try…?!”
Folse suddenly froze and he opened his villainous narrow eyes as wide as he could. The soldiers and the men in white robes couldn’t hide their surprise at the Folse, who stood there frozen.
“H-hey, what’s wrong?”
The soldier said at the frozen Folse.
Folse started laughing wickedly all of a sudden. It was a loud laughter which sounded as if he was descending into madness.
No one could keep up with the change in Folse and they were all bewildered. He glared at a spot behind the soldiers and unlike the time with the soldiers, he mixed it with killing intent.
“I found you… Kukuku, I finally found you Red Roooooobeeeeee!”
Before his eyes was Hiiro, a boy wearing a red robe with black hair. Folse found him as he was going to cross the border.
“This is for last time! Crimson Spear!”
Folse shot a crimson arrow from his right hand at Hiiro.
The soldiers jumped out of the way at Folse’s sudden attack. Naturally he wasn’t targeting the soldiers but Hiiro who was in the vicinity.
Hiiro easily dodged and put a provocative smile on his face. Folse’s attack only scorched the ground.
He thought Hiiro was making fun of him and his face distorted in anger. Hiiro looked indifferent, pushed up his glasses and left the checkpoint.
“I won’t let you get away, Red Robe!”
Folse recklessly shot magic at Hiiro forgetting his own men. The men in white robe chased after Folse in a hurry.
The soldiers who remained didn’t know what was going on and remained in a trance.
“Wait, Red Robe!”
Folse pursed Hiiro continuing to shoot magic at him. He was using the previous flame spear but Hiiro’s complexion didn’t change as he nimbly dodged the flames and quickly made his way away from the checkpoint.
They played the game of tag for a while and then Hiiro suddenly stopped. Naturally, 《Beast Cage》who was chasing him, also stopped. They crowded around and blocked Hiiro’s escape route.
“Kukuku, you have nowhere to run, Red Robe!”
Folse removed his eyepatch and exposed his hidden eye. His right eye looked like the compound eye of an insect. According to Folse, a beastman had implanted the eye in him. The pain and regret of that time shaped Folse into who he was today.
The special trait of the compound eye was that its observation powers were outstanding and it had the strength to see through all of the opponent’s actions. Previously when Hiiro slightly moved his finger to use magic, Folse had sensed it and stopped him.
On a closer look there were burn marks around the compound eye.
“Look here! I didn’t heal this burn on purpose. Do you know why?”
Hiiro stared at him silently.
“This wound is my disgrace. My punishment. I won’t heal it until I torment and kill you!”
Folse was more hot-headed than he appeared.
“You guys, don’t let him get away! But, don’t lay a hand on him! Stop him only if he tries to escape!”
Folse said to his subordinates and they replied in acknowledgement. Folse slowly drew the sword on his waist and smiled fearlessly.
“I will definitely kill you, Red Robe! Flame Blade!”
A mass of flame shot out from Folse’s hands which Hiiro barely managed to dodge. The smell of burnt hair drifted in the air.
“Hahahahaha! Your magic is strange! I won’t approach you!”
Folse attacked from a distance to wait and see. He shot a numerous amount of flames at Hiiro.
Hiiro continued to avoid the fireballs and before he’d noticed, he had approached Folse’s subordinates who swung their swords around because they were told to wait.
Hiiro collapsed from the sudden attack. He had managed to avoid it and distance himself but a fireball flew towards him as if it were timed.
Hiiro put all his power in his left food and jumped. But then ———
Hiiro saw several red bullets were aimed at him.
“Die! Red Robe!”
Folse’s subordinates were behind him and the fireballs were blocking his path ahead. If he remained like this then he would definitely receive a huge amount of damage from the attack.
Folse laughed as if he believed that Hiiro would die. However Hiiro opened his eyes in rage and looked for an opening in the flames before barely dodging.
The fireballs missed their target and opened a hole in the ground.
It wasn’t just Folse who had thought that Hiiro wouldn’t make it to safety, his subordinates thought the same thing and they were all stunned.
“Th-then I’ll get rid of you with this! Blazing Mist!”
Folse spread out both his hands, a red mist-like thing shot out from his palms and covered the area. It began to drift around Hiiro and Folse laughed eerily.
Folse shot a fireball at the mist which ignited it causing an explosion. It was so powerful that it even blew away Folse’s subordinates who were nearby.
The mist was highly combustible. Folse thought ——— that Hiiro who was in the vortex of the attack would directly receive it but Hiiro narrowly escaped.
His clothes were burnt but he didn’t receive much damage. However, Folse was standing with his sword in the place that Hiiro had escaped to.
Hiiro was surprised at Folse, who had shown that he was thoroughly prepared, and froze for a second.
Everyone thought that Hiiro would be killed by the attack. The timing was just too perfect and Hiiro had collapsed. There was no way for him to avoid it. With this it was over ———
However in reality Folse felt something kick his stomach and was tumbling around on the ground. Everyone except Hiiro didn’t know what had occurred and was frozen.
Even Folse, who had received the blow, didn’t know what had happened and was puzzled over his stomach pain.
“Y-you… Used magic?!”
Folse concluded that Hiiro once again used magic that he knew nothing about but that wasn’t it.
Hiiro had only kicked Folse before his sword sung down. Only his speed was extraordinary, that was all.
No one could follow Hiiro with their eyes which meant that Hiiro’s speed was different from his status.
Hiiro faintly smiled as he gazed at the distant checkpoint. Folse, who was watching him, thought that Hiiro was laughing at him and blood rushed to his head.
He stood up using his sword for support and headed towards Hiiro in full spirit. Hiiro avoided the attack without it grazing him.
“Dammit! Dammit! Dammitt! Red Robbbeee!”
The sword clanked on the ground. Folse was enraged at Hiiro, who didn’t seem out of breath, and prepared himself for damage before firing a fireball at the ground.
The ground exploded sending out a shockwave which hit Hiiro and Folse who were nearby. Folse was blown away and tumbled on the ground. There were a lot of scratches on his body.
He desperately tried to remain awake even though his body was like that and glared in the cloud of dust, searching for Hiiro. Something astonishing appeared from within the smoke.
It was a group of giant green monsters. Moreover they looked like cartoon mascots with a head and body. They each looked like a cute character with a pointy hat on their heads.
There were six of them in total, charging from the smoke.
Moreover they had one eye closed and their tongue stuck out as if provoking beast cage.
In addition they were holding a frying pan in one hand and a ladle in the other, one couldn’t help but think it was strange.
They scattered in all directions and attacked 《Beast Cage》. Folse and his subordinates couldn’t understand what the heck was happening.
The monsters rushed towards the men in white robes, who shrieked and ran in all directions to escape.
They attacked by running their tongues all over, messing around and beating the men in white robes with their frying pans and ladles. However the fact that they were quite powerfully blasting everything was a nightmare.
“Wh-what is… This… I don’t understand what this means…”
Everyone must have felt the same as Folse. The smoke cleared and there was another weird thing in the smoke. This time Hiiro was riding on the back of a charming pig that looked like a big stuffed animal. Even though it was a pig, it had small wings growing on its back.
It didn’t look like it had the potential to float with its big body.
“Ah, Red Robe! Is this your doing?!”
Hiiro’s red robe was pretty tattered from Folse’s previous suicide bomb attack but his skin was flawless. Hiiro looked down on Folse and smiled.
“Wow ~, you were more than I expected. I was a little surprised.”
“… Eh? Y-you…”
Folse frowned as he looked up at Hiiro because Hiiro was smiling innocently while sticking his tongue out. He didn’t think that Hiiro was the type of person to do something like that.
Folse tried to speak to Hiiro again, wanting to ask why the pig Hiiro was riding had small wings when it couldn’t fly.
But the pig didn’t stop and continued to run away from the scene, leaving Folse frozen in confusion.