Sorry this took so long to finish. I had problems last week and lost most of my work.
A hard lesson has been learnt and I’ll make sure not to repeat that mistake.
As for this week I plan to get two chapters of TnK done before starting the next MoM chapter. Hopefully I’ll have an MoM chapter for next weekend but it might take me longer as MoM is quite long.
Also a big thanks to Echo who edited this chapter for me. I hope you all enjoy it.
05. Signs of Ominous Clouds
Outline of the previous story:
A lonely girl made a friend.
The Fire Fang snarls, bounding through the deep forest.
It weaves between the trees as it runs, crushing shrubs as it tries to go around behind us.
It is so fast that I can barely follow it with my eyes.
However it was not as agile as the white spider.
It cries out in fright
A white figure stands in the way of the wolf
“Thou shalt not pass”
In an instant, the white spider that should have been next to me stood in front of the wolf and laughed with a girlish smile
and with a single blow.
The white spider or rather Gerbera hit the snout of the Fire Fang barehanded.
Even simply pushing out her hand with pure strength was enough to cause a fatal wound.
A few fangs broke off and the giant wolf over 2 metres in length was blown off in the opposite direction.
As expected of a monster, even though the bones in its neck appear to be broken, the Fire Fang stood up with a dripping nosebleed.
It let out a restrained groan and turned around.
The Fire Fang realized it was at a disadvantage and turns tail to run away.
Of course, there’s no reason to let it go quietly.
Gerbera returns to me quickly and hands me the large shield. I put it on my back as usual when moving around.
And then she lifted me up with her slender arms.
Up to this point, it was the usual routine.
All of Gerbera’s movements were quick and precise. So much that I was fascinated.
After all she is a god-sent child who shines in battle.
…The previous everyday feelings of misfortune feel like a lie.
Well, it wasn’t all bad, there were some lovely points in them.
“Take care to not bite thy tongue”
“I wish you’d have said that when I met you.”
“…Thee promised not to speak of that.”
Gerbera gave my poor joke a dirty look, but I want her to forgive this much.
Anyway, at present I’m being held in the so called ‘Princess carry’.
I feel so pathetic that I could cry.
I would have rather been piggy backed, but she rejected it because there is a problem with safety when running through the forest.
“Here we go.”
She called out to me and then began to run like an arrow released from a bow.
The trees of the forest drift by rapidly.
The speed is unbelievable. Though if it were present day Japan I’d be accustomed to it from riding in cars, this is a forest with many obstacles. I believe if I were to run at the same speed I would definitely hit a tree before I even travel 5 metres. Our reflexes are undoubtedly different.
Furthermore I figured out that she is being considerate of the vibrations as she carries me.
If I was to ride on Gerbera’s back that would be impossible to do. The only way was to hold me in her arms.
As she runs, my eyes gradually got used to it.
I confirm the back of the fleeing Fire Fang. It also ran through the forest at a tremendous speed.
But Gerbera was even faster.
We continue keeping a constant distance without reaching it or losing it. For the one being pursued it was unbearable.
We encountered the Fire Fang while Gerbera was guiding me to the nearby water source.
It attacked and we countered, leading to now.
This Fire Fang appears to have come alone to the spring for a drink of water. However this type of monster usually travels in a pack.
In this area there are leftover strays caused by the scouting group. This kind of situation is unusual. Normally they would move in a group.
Is that a howl or a scream?
A few seconds after the wounded Fire Fang’s howl, the howls of wolves responded from various directions.
“The strategy was a success.”
When I muttered Gerbera nodded.
“I’d say it was from five or six places.”
Wolves jumped out of the forest from both the left and right as I finished speaking.
Red flames spew from the wolf’s mouth and licks the forest, scorching the towering trees and incinerating a shrub in an instant.
Gerbera jumps up to avoid being injured by the flame and lands onto one of the trees.
There is a rustling sound as I brush through the leaves. It is painful, but I grit my teeth without complaining.
Gerbera relocates to another tree immediately. The tree we were on a moment ago was surrounded by several streaks of flame and flared up like a candle.
“I give my utmost apology, there doth not appear to beast that is worthy enough of being a fellow mistress.”
At Gerbera’s words I also look down at the figures of the six wolves which look up at us and howl.
I also confirm it and nod.
“Looks that way.”
“Very well, then there is no reason to hesitate.”
Thread flies from Gerbera’s hand.
Half of them manage to evade this, but the remainder are caught without being able to successfully escape. Gerbera easily fished up the three wolves, and releases them…without hesitation she bashes them head first into the ground.
“I guess it’s over.”
It did not take Gerbera long to annihilate the wolves.
After everything had ended we held a strategy meeting.
By the way, even though we killed six Fire Fangs, because it is difficult to take everything back, after we appropriately dismantled them, the majority will be left behind.
Although the entire pelt we skinned from the boss is good, the rest aren’t pretty.
“Firstly, was this a success?”
Gerbera nods to my words.
“Tis so. However, not finding any familiars is an issue.”
“That cannot be helped. To begin with I’m pleased that instead of the trial and error which took us three days before only took us less than half a day this way.”
We went and searched the area around the spring Gerbera told me about.。
As Gerbera had said, a lot of monsters definitely appeared in the vicinity and we encountered three monsters in succession.
The last one was the Fire Fang just now.
It’s most efficient to look for groups of monsters to meet as many as possible. With the combat prowess of the white Arachne there is no trouble routing enemies.
Though it is quickest to encounter a group from the beginning, just like a little while ago sometimes they may move independently.
Monsters 『Don’t have individual will.』However the world we are in there is『Intelligence at the level of wild animals.』
In that case, if I wait for it to call its companions I can search more efficiently.
Those were the details of the battle a little while ago.
The strategy I came up with beforehand played out splendidly and I was able to encounter eight monsters in only a few hours.
“If we don’t return soon the sun will set.”
It was not a bad situation.
On the other hand, there was not much time left.
Lily recovers steadily and Rose will replace the lost equipment.
I need to speed things up…
While heading home, I focused on thinking of ideas.
When we returned to Arachne’s nest, I was met by Lily whose whole face was smiling.
“Welcome back, master!”
She says so while embracing my arm without any visible fatigue.
“I’m back…Are you alright not lying down?”
“I’m already fine. I only got up a few minutes ago. Also, welcome home Gerbera.”
“I-indeed. I has’t returned.”
That reminds me, this is the first time in several days that Lily has embraced my arm this way.
Is it possible that because she had stored pent-up desire that she seems so happy now?
I’m glad that I can touch her while she is happy like this.
This is slightly embarrassing and at the same time I’m happy.
This is because it’s obvious that Lily who has become healthy can join us in our search.
However, searching with only Gerbera and I was a little more convenient. What should I do?
I receive a dinner full of love that was prepared by Lily while I think about of how to persuade her.
Because Lily has recovered this is the first time all the members assemble since the night of that fierce battle.
The meal is the usual meat of the Fire Fang. As I thought, it’s still disgusting. Unfortunately, even Lily’s love cannot overturn the failure of the material.
I remember the burgers that I previously ate in Japan; they were artificially made with cheap meat. I never realized how blessed I was…until I arrived here.
“I will go with you tomorrow.”
“I suggest you rest for another day at least.”
“Even when I recovered I was careful for a day.”
When I persuaded her, Lily looked dissatisfied.
I pretended not to notice her expression and continued eating.
It is a poor way of buying time. Quite frankly my expectations are low on whether or not I will see any results in just one day. However, the chance was better than nothing.
“That’s right. That reminds me I needed to speak with you.”
I changed the topic a little forcibly to cut off any arguments from Lily.
Besides it was true that I needed to talk to her. There was something I understood as a result of having the opportunity to speak with Gerbera at the spring in the beginning of the day.
It was something regarding that spring I intended to talk about–or not.
I just decided to have the conversion that I had with Gerbera from several hours ago regarding『Not putting a burden on Lily』and『Not being able to talk to Rose』.
However, it’s not like it was necessary to hide the existence of the spring.
……However, since Gerbera talks poorly, she might make a careless remark about a careless place, in order to hide this I change the topic.
“Gerbera tells me that she is able to escape from this forest.”
When Lily turned her eyes, Gerbera nodded with a firm expression.
There is still a bad atmosphere between them.
Although Lily’s posture is nature, Gerbera seemed to feel indebted one-sidedly.
It was Lily who was forced to recuperate until today because she received the most damage amongst us on the day we fought. So it might be something inevitable.
I interrupted in order to follow up.
“Has Gerbera been to the edge of the forest before?”
Gerbera nods and begins to speak with difficulty.
“Lily and Rose wouldn’t know of it because twas long ago, but there was many times when humans came into the forest in most wondrous numbers, it hath occurred three times in this one’s lifetime. Apart from mine lord, those art the only times this one hath encountered humans. ”
At that moment Lily uttered a cry as she had noticed something.
“There were other humans who transferred to this world with master, weren’t there?”
I was having the same thought as Lily shared her thoughts.
We have not met with any human beings from this other world.
It is because we transferred so deep within the forest and because Gerbera has only seen humans three other times in her long lifetime, it was unlikely that Lily had ever seen a human before.
“Once we found that cabin, I had the thought that there are probably other people.”
“Hmm, I see. That reminds me there was that.”
The cabin where we came across Kato at now ruined.
I thought there were humans in this world when I found that.
However there was the possibility that the world I transferred to was dominated by monkeys or the worst case scenario of it being ruled by slugs that stand upright. Since there were monsters it was a serious concern that I could never laugh off.
Hearing that Gerbera had witnessed human beings was a valuable piece of information for me.
Gerbera continues telling an old story.
“Naturally, if many human beings enter the forest, signs of it will arise. We monsters should notice it. They closed in like surging waves. In those days I wast on mine own. Chasing after a human who escaped, I noticed I had driven it to the edge of the forest.”
“I think Gerbera probably fought against a human army.”
According to Gerbera’s story the group were identically equipped. However they had already fallen into chaos when Gerbera arrived and the army was at a disadvantage.
Armor which protects the upper body, a helmet, a sword and shield in each hand…From what I’ve heard I wonder if it is possibly soldiers belonging to some country of this world? It doesn’t seem like she saw any kind of firearms.
I think the reason the main weapon was a sword rather than a spear is to cut down obstacles in the forest.
“It seems that the most direct path out of the forest is to go straight north from here.”
“For now it’s rejected just in case because it’s from long ago. There is also a possibility that the boundary of the forest is different now.”
“Nevertheless, isn’t this far more progress than when we understood nothing!”
Lily claps her hands together and smiles at Gerbera with a laugh.
As I thought, she does not seem to have anything against Gerbera either. Rather her smile is not affected by Gerbera in anyway, it seemed to show her compromising attitude clearly.
In my current state where I was over thinking things, seeing her act this way has relieved some of my anxiety.
Lily’s eyes became round as she realized something.
“But…If I am not mistaken wasn’t 『East』the direction that the first expedition headed?”
“Yes. It seems the first expedition didn’t have any luck.”
We who followed them cannot be called lucky either.
Of course, they may have noticed along the way and changed course. In that case, they would have left information for Kato and Miho Mizushima’s childhood friend Jun Takaya who were in pursuit of the first expedition corps, but they never caught up.
“Although we would pass through the forest eventually even if we go east.”
Even this forest couldn’t possibly spread out for ever. Actually the forest seems to come to an end on the north side.
“Well then, are we going north from here on?”
“…That is, to tell you the truth, I’m a little hesitant.”
If I go east it’s possible that I may eventually join the first expedition.
This is the best option for Kato’s protection. On the other hand, getting out of the forest will take longer.
I must leave this forest sometime soon. It’s because the living environment in this forest is too bad for me. The safety situation has considerably improved now that Gerbera has joined us, but for example the food problem doesn’t become better with more physical strength.
Surely I should leave the forest now. There is also the possibility of finding a human village in the future. Rather, the chances are quite good. If there is an army, there might also be a nation, because an army can’t be organized without a society.
If I visit a village I can obtain necessary supplies.
The problem is whether or not I can find a safe place for Kato but…
“…Well, it’s not necessary to make a decision immediately.”
I concluded as such. I could make a mistake if I rush. It isn’t necessary to decide right now either. I should only act after carefully thinking about it.
“Speaking of which.”
The one who interrupted was Kato who had been listening to our conversation.
When I heard her voice, I stopped my hand which was grabbing a skewer of Fire Fang meat unconsciously.
“…Is something wrong Kato?”
I replied and took a bite of the meet skewer I had grabbed once more.
Because I resumed movement immediately, Lily probably noticed my odd action and snuggled up near me. She was staring at the side of my face questioningly.
“No. It’s just that Gerbera said she has only seen human beings three times other than us.”
“That should be the case…right?”
When I prompted her with a glance, Gerbera nodded like a small child. Kato, being aware of Gerbera’s weak point continues.
“School uniform…have you met a human wearing clothes like us?”
“Those like mine lord who transferred hither or those with cheat abilities? No, this one hath not met any like that.”
“In that case…senpai?”
Because Kato was drawing it out I looked up from my meat skewer.
These days the unrest has settled down.
Still when our eyes met there was a strange beat in my heart.
“Haven’t you found a dismembered corpse before? If it’s true that Gerbera didn’t meet those who transferred, even if it wasn’t her doing, the fact that they were killed won’t go away.”
“…come to think of it that did happen.”
We had found the dismembered corpses of five people including a cheat ability user before.
Despite being a『Warrior』with only high physical and magical ability, cheat ability users are not often killed by monsters. With their unfair battle ability, if it wasn’t a high rank monster they wouldn’t be killed. It would be difficult even for Lily.
Originally we were afraid of meeting this high monster we had found evidence of and it was suggested that we move from the cave we rested in.
Afterwards we were ambushed by a white Arachne who is a high monster.
So surely I unconciously thought ‘was it her doing?’ — rather I almost fogot about it for various reasons I did not think about it too much — if you think about it calmly it is a little odd.
That corpse was bitten to death by a beast.
However, even if white Arachne is a high monster it’s not a large carnivore type of monster.
“Dismembered body? What is that?”
As I thought, Gerbera doesn’t know about it.
In that case, other than her, is there an exceptional monster nearby?
Otherwise it wouldn’t make sense, however if that was the case, there are some problems.
It isn’t that two great monsters…cannot coexist; it is just that in order to become a high monster they need to live for a long time and not coming across each other in that time would be difficult.
The monsters do not come near the Arachne nest we are in now. That’s because the monsters which approach here have been eliminated for a long time.
Monsters are not only hostile to humans, but other monsters except for their own kind. In some respects computer RPGs are good. Monsters of various kinds are equals and do not attack each other.
We are five days travel by foot from where we saw the dismembered corpse. It’s possible a monster could do it in less.
I’m overwhelmed by the length of Gerbera’s life. Something feels out of place with two powerful monsters coexisting in such close proximity for such a long period.
Well, there are things like this I guess…?
Since there isn’t any evidence to deny it, I could only accept it.
“Anyway, it never hurts to keep in mind”
“That’s right, isn’t it?”
Still, Kato is excellent.
I realize that I did not properly notice it.
An able person…if I had to say it feels like it’s slightly off the mark. Kato makes good points. Even if you subtract the bad points, in my eyes she is a clever and wise character.
It feels like she often pulls the short straw by comparison… this is only because she herself causes it by hesitating.
What makes her do so?
When I think about it it’s a mystery.
…What do you think about and how?
It was suspicious when I thought about it.
I grit my teeth and swallowed a bitter thought.
I am disgusted with myself for thinking this way about my saviour
Since I have finally become conscious of her and can think about it normally…there is no longer an excuse for thinking this way. The fact that she is indeed my benefactor and life saviour cannot be ignored.
In any case.
The only thing that is certain is that she has the ability to cover for a part that I’m lacking in.
I told Gerbera that if she needed to consult someone she should speak with Kato.
After all I have to do something about her relations with the others soon.
While confirming that it’s not possible to do so now, I had already fallen asleep in preparation for tomorrow which is the last valuable opportunity with Gerbera.
…Realizing that this was a failure, it would become something for a little later.