Chapter 8: The first battle.
The night Weiss and his party left the village, Roy called Ren into the yard of his house.
Powerful monsters tend to go where the food is. It doesn’t matter if it is a weaker monster or an animal, including livestock.
Roy, who had just returned from the forest, reminded Ren of this.
He added at the end that the difference between a monster and an animal is whether or not it has a magic stone in its body.
After Ren heard this story, he saw a mess of little boa corpses that Roy had brought back with him.
(I wonder if there are many little boas around here.)
“So I’m going to hunt more today.”
“To reduce the amount of food, right?”
“Yes, that’s right. I’ve decided to reduce the number of creatures they can feed on so that they stay away from this area as much as possible.”
Roy said he would continue for the time being until the reinforcements arrived in 20 days.
“But there’s a nasty monster out there …….”
Roy fished into his pocket, opened the parchment Weiss had given him, and looked at it.
Ren was so curious about what kind of monsters were written on it that he stood up on his tiptoes and peeked at it.
Roy held his head back and restrained him.
“You don’t have to look”
“Is it that bad?”
“No. You don’t have to be interested in it.”
Ren, who had hit the bull’s-eye, groaned.
However, he was not planning to try and defeat it in secret, and just hoped he would at least be allowed to look at the parchment.
“How about that! Isn’t it amazing what I’ve accomplished today?”
Roy pointed at the corpse of the monsters and said happily.
It’s true that there are a lot of them. There are twice as many as usual.
But what shocked Ren more than the fact that Roy had hunted them all by himself was the fact that he had returned home alone, carrying the monsters with him.
After that day, Roy’s life changed to an unusual rush.
He woke up earlier than usual and came home later than usual. After a day, then a week, his face began to show signs of fatigue.
“Don’t you think you should take a day off?”
Mireille suggested at the dinner table at night, but Roy did not accept.
Roy laughed, saying that he only needed to endure for thirteen more days.
(If this was going to happen, I should have been trained to enter the forest to fight demons.)
There was no use in regretting it, but Ren couldn’t help but feel that way.
—- And the tenth day after Weiss left.
On this day, as usual, the night began to fall.
The sky was starting to darken, and in just a few minutes it would be completely dark.
Ren was suspicious that his father had not returned home, so he went to the kitchen and called out to Mireille.
“Dad hasn’t come home yet. Isn’t it too late?”
“I wonder if he’s working harder than usual today…….”
Mireille said this at one point, but she too soon became concerned.
“I’m worried about him. I’m going to go check on him.”
“I’ll go then.”
“No, you can’t. It’s already late at night. It’s not safe.”
“But I can fight better than you.”
“Still you can’t. What parent would let their child go alone?”
Unlike usual, Mireille’s voice was very matter-of-fact, but Ren was still not fully convinced. Mireille is in danger as well, especially at night.
“—–Since it has come to this, let me go with you.”
The first thing that came to my mind as soon as I saw this was a compromise.
“If you go alone, I’ll go with you even if I have to hide. If that’s the case, don’t you think it would be safer if we stayed together?”
“Haa…… Ren. How could you be so devious?”
Mireille did not have the speaking skills to rebuke Ren.
That’s exactly what she thought about leaving behind by force, but as Ren said, it would be more dangerous to hide and follow her, so she nodded her head in agreement to Ren accompanying her.
“Okay, but only as far as the forest entrance.”
She then told Ren to put on his training gear. She also told him to carry a knife for cooking, just in case.
Likewise, Mireille also puts on protective gear that she does not normally wear.
However, it is not the right size, perhaps not for her. It probably belongs to Roy.
(It’s the first time since I became Ren that I’ve gone out at night.)
A cool breeze caressed my cheeks as I stepped outside through the earthen floor in the kitchen. The cool weather around here makes it comfortable, even in early summer.
“Ren, give me your hand.”
The two of them began to walk hand in hand.
The scent of grass, flowers, and earth wafting in the wind tickled their nostrils.
The chirping of the insects was also ostentatious. The chorus coming from everywhere made Ren think that it would be better to hear them in normal times.
(Everyone must have gone home by now.)
In the early morning, not a single villager was seen working in the fields.
It was so quiet that it was unnerving to walk along the field road, which was even darker than usual.
“Be careful not to fall down.”
Mireille said and shook the torch.
The only light that seemed to be a light at the moment was this torch. The light from the stars in the sky and the lights of the houses were only a little bit visible.
The light was also barely enough to illuminate my feet.
We could see only a few meters ahead and if we were not careful, we could easily lose our footing.
“…… Mom. Please don’t fall over yourself while you’re telling me not to.”
“Oh…… I’m sorry.”
As Mireille almost fell, she noticed that Ren was holding her hand tightly and wondered when he had grown so much.
Beside her, Ren’s voice leaked out at the sight of the approaching scene.
“………… that is.”
After walking for about 30 minutes after leaving the villa, he saw a path with torches on either side of it.
“It’s the entrance to the forest. The river there separates the village from the forest.”
The path between the torches was a wooden bridge.
Although the bridge did not look like a bridge that would reveal any craftsmanship, its exterior, constructed of thick logs, indicated that it was sturdy.
From the length of the bridge, one can guess that the river is not that wide.
(the water seems to flow fast).
I heard the sound of the water, which is too loud to be called a murmuring stream. That’s what Ren expected.
“Where did he go—-? Could that be…..?”
Next to Ren, who was checking the bridge and the river, Mireille noticed something at the end of the bridge.
Ren followed suit and looked ahead to see something that looked like a person sitting with his back to a tree across the bridge.
They quickly realized that it was Roy.
“Why is he resting there?”
Mireille then started to run across the bridge. She must have thought it was safe if Roy was there and decided to continue on the bridge.
Ren started walking as well, but a strange feeling stirred in his head and wouldn’t leave. He couldn’t help but wonder why Roy hardly reacted to their arrival.
The only reaction he showed was a slight shake of his head and a turn of his head toward me.
He didn’t raise his head to look at us, but instead took large, irregular breaths and let his shoulders move up and down.
“I was worried —- about you. —-“
Something had happened, after all.
Ren hurriedly crossed the bridge and ran to Roy.
No way, I thought.
I had no idea that Roy, who had gone hunting in the morning in good spirits as usual, was bleeding from all over his body and soaking the ground with reddish-bronze-colored fresh blood.
“Don’t talk! I’ll take you to the mansion as soon as I can, so hold still!”
The shaking arms are stretched out.
His arm, wet with fresh blood that was just beginning to dry, gripped Ren’s shoulder.
“The smell of my …… blood…… monsters………..”
Roy said in a faltering voice, and then he stopped moving. But when Ren touched his chest, he could still feel his heartbeat.
It’s all right. He’s not dead yet.
Once he had decided that, he had to leave this place as soon as possible.
“Mom! Hurry up and get dad!”
We were about to return to the bridge when something unusual happened.
An excited snorting could be heard coming from the trees around us
This reminded Ren of Roy’s words.
(The smell of blood brought the monsters —-.)
They came close.
They smelled Roy’s wounded body and came to eat him.
Three little boas appeared.
Their fur, which covered a body the size of a large dog, was stained with mud. They were thick and tough like armor. The fangs peeking out from their mouths were sharp, indicating that you wouldn’t go unscathed if bitten.
In a split second, Ren had no time to think about whether to fight or flee.
A little boa rushed toward Ren.
“Ku —-Mom! Take dad and get back!”
There was no choice but to fight.
Considering Roy’s condition, he couldn’t afford to hesitate even for a second.