Synopsis of previous chapter:
(Nymph: I’m posting on behalf of Re:Translation – Solpower couldn’t access the new site so I posted this for him)
I, who was to rest for several more days, in order to effectively use the time to fully recover, was to be provided with the opportunity to discuss our future plans with my companions.
Our next direction… In other words, to stay here or to search for human civilization to the 『North』, or we could aim to join up with the First Expedition Unit to the 『East』.
“Shouldn’t we head towards civilization? Fortunately, with Gerbera’s testimony, we know that humans exist in this world as well as the direction to exit this forest.”
Lily supports the notion of exiting the forest to the north.
“Considering Master’s body, I think that it is better to resupply our goods as soon as we can.”
Up to this point, it is the same as what I thought. However, Lily had a slightly different outlook as well.
“Master has received several severe injuries up till now, hasn’t he? In order to heal, plenty of rest and consumption of nourishing food is required. However, it is hard to get our hands on what we require. I’m worried that one day we’ll not be able to do so.”
Lily pointed out the fact that my body has actually become thinner than before.
Even though I wasn’t aware of it myself—for her who constantly hugs me—it seems that she’s more sensitive to the minute changes of my body more than I am.
Perhaps due to depending on the benefits of recovery magic, it has crept up on me without me noticing it. For now, I can cover it up, but there is a limit to how long I can continue doing so.
I have been slow since I was knocked down. On no accounts would I be baggage to Lily and the others, my real intention was to feign it.
Rose and Gerbera supported her opinion after hearing what Lily pointed out.
What’s left to think about would be the matter regarding Kato-san.
However, the person in question, Kato-san herself asserted that we should set out towards the east.
Even if we head to the east, it is not definite that we will meet up with the Expedition Unit. That was her opinion and it was quite a reasonable point.
Thus we settled on heading towards the north. What’s left is just to decide on when to set off.
Even if I deliberately discussed this with Lily and the others, in the end the job of making the final decision was left to me.
The day to depart is near.
I prepared my mind and body for the coming of that day.
That day’s evening, when the weariness of my body finally faded away.
I took Lily out with me to the exit of the Arachne’s nest.
In that dark and gloomy forest, the vague silhouette of the sunset resembled the dissolving spill of ink to one’s eyes.
In order to ascertain the condition of my body, I rotated my shoulder several times and my line of sight fell on the finger of my left hand.
“Now, let’s start the test. Can you do it, Asarina?”
Answering with a voice like the creaking of several trees, Rifle Vine, or rather, Parasitic Vine―whose name we came up with after discussing with Kato-san, Asarina―extended from top of my finger of my left arm.
The figure looked as if it was a snake rushing out from a burrow. Stretching itself out swiftly, it ascertained its target.
The green snake shot its body out on my command.
5 meters of its front end that was stretched out pierced through a bundle of wood that was right in front of me.
Splinters of tree bark and leaves scattered about simultaneously with a ringing sound, followed by the dull resonance of a hard object sinking into its trunk.
“Guu… Alright, return.”
I made Asarina return, enduring while clenching my teeth as a burden came over and hung from my wrist to shoulder.
Confirming the course of events from beginning to the end, the targeted wood trunk had a 2 cm wide and 3 cm deep hole burrowed in it.
“That’s not bad.”
Satisfied with the results, I nodded and caressed Asarina whose head was waving from side to side while loosely coiled around the armor of my left arm, with the finger of my right hand.
“Goshuu, shu, shu, sama! Sama!”
Asarina cannot utilize bullets like a normal Rifle Vine. This is because she does not possess the organ that makes it possible.
I still don’t know if it is something that would develop as she matures or if this is a sign that she is a new species, a deviant of a Rifle Vine.
It’s a pity that she cannot use the bullets of her kind but in exchange, Asarina had stronger powers of maneuverability compared to Rifle Vines. Her extremely flexible body is capable of movements like that of a whip, to lash out in a straight line with an intense strike like she did just now.
Is it possible to be intercepted or separated from each other…? I was merely worrying about those thoughts, but I already knew that those were needless anxieties.
In fact, before Asarina’s body would get cut into shreds, she would first grow her head out again. It could be said to be the disposition of a plant to have strong vitality.
The apex of the plant looks like the head of a snake but it is not as if the central nervous system is located there. If I had to say where it was, Asarina’s real body would be the root that is affixed on my left arm instead.
Because of that, there is a sense of discomfort when I move my left arm but I will probably get used to it eventually.
And so, Asarina, who has taken root in my hand normally sips at my magic little by little. It’s for sustaining her vitality and for the sake of using it as an energy source when combat breaks out in an emergency.
Now that Asarina is capable of thought, she is different from when she was in germination, she can now control the precise amount of magic she absorbs. For example, when my magic is low, she would absorb a small amount and when I have excess, she would absorb more accordingly.
From another point of view, Asarina’s role can be called something like ‘an external storage for my excess magical power that’s unused’.
On the other hand, I cannot even draw out my own magical power, but she can use my magical power as fuel and aid me as as my fighting strength.
This was something momentous.
Because with this, I have finally received the power to survive a fight on my own―a seed of possibility that’s capable of doing that.
Of course, this is just Asarina’s power. It isn’t mine.
However, as long as we are not torn away from each other, there is no meaning in fighting as two separate people considering our current situation.
It’s miserable to require relying on another’s strength as usual, but it wouldn’t help anyone if I was to be obstinate about it.
I must never be lectured by Lily to the point of tears ever again.
I’ll just do what I can. Those are the honest thoughts of the current me.
“It seems that its power is something that we can hold expectations towards.”
Lily who was watching while seated stood up and approached.
“What’s left is to use the path to see how detailed of an order you can give… How is that faring?”
“Well, it still requires practice.”
It probably wouldn’t be able to make it in time if instructions are voiced out in the midst of a fight. Considerating that, being able to handle Asarina as if we are of one mind is an indispensable skill in combat.
For this purpose, I thought to myself; “Why don’t I use the path?”.
From what I know of the path until now, the closer the distance, the higher the transmission rate. I based this conjuncture from my past experiences; because when there is body contact, an abundant amount of information was exchanged―there shouldn’t be a mistake about it.
In addition to that, if you have the intention of conveying what’s inside you to the other party, we know that the contents of the information can be increased to a certain extent. For example, Lily’s method to repel Gerbera when she was an enemy is an application of that.
Because Asarina has taken root in me, this can be said to be an insurmountable level of direct contact. What’s left is nothing except to practice accurately transmitting instructions.
Of course, when my instructions are not able to make it in time, Asarina should have the judgement to act accordingly. In that sense, she doesn’t just play the role of my weapon, but I expect her to work as a semi-automatic defense system as well.
“It would be good if it went well…”
While playing with Asarina with her finger, Lily spoke.
“It’s a huge advantage to be allowed to be at Master’s side at all times.”
“Well, that’s because it’s physically impossible to be far in the first place.”
Within my Family of Monsters, the combat ability Asarina possesses is in one of the lowest category.
It’s likely that it’s hard to even fight a head-on battle against one of the normal monsters.
But by constantly being with me, her low combat ability can be compensated for into an advantage. It is just as Lily has said.
However, what came out of Lily’s mouth seems to be slightly off from what I thought.
“But… I see. To be always together with Master ah…”
Withdrawing her hand from playing with Asarina, Lily put her hands behind her back.
She, who was looking upwards at me, turned her lips into a slight pout.
“I… might be kind of jealous of that.”
As casually as possible, Lily approached me as though it was nothing special at all.
Nevertheless, to the targeted person himself, it didn’t seem to be enough to fool him.
Well, that’s the way it is for a man and a woman who don’t hold negative feelings towards each other in a relationship.
It’s obvious to want to be together all the time. It’s natural to find excuses just to stick with the other. It’s not as if she’s especially clingy.
…It’s the same even for me. It’s just that I am unable to say it out loud.
“It has gotten dark, huh. Since it seems like dinner would be done soon, shall we return?”
Startled by her cute gestures, I averted my eyes from her adorable sulking and suggested in a half-hearted tone.
“Seems like it. Master’s sickness hasn’t completely healed as well, it would not be good to overexert yourself.”
Lily hugged my right arm tightly.
Even if I don’t voice it out, the feelings of my embarrassment would be known to her. That is definitely not a bad feeling.
When we returned to the nest, the preparations for dinner were done.
There were ingredients threaded on skewers that were hung over an open fire brightly burning in the sunken hearth that Lily made.
Today’s menu is Big Scissors’ meat. This is something that Gerbera hunted and brought back herself.
When I actually tried tasting it, the meat of Big Scissors were plainer in taste as I had expected. Although it’s several times better than Fire Fang’s meat in comparison.
It has only been grilled now but I don’t have the feeling that it wouldn’t be good if it was eaten raw with shoyu. Kato-san thought the same and started talking to Rose, who was still working, during the meal about Japan’s sushi, sashimi and other trifling matters.
Lately, the scene of them chatting could often be seen.
While I was away, the two of them were always together. It could be that they had the opportunity to deepen their relationship.
There were other places where the scene was different from the past.
I gave thanks to Asarina as she stretched out her slender body to bite and retrieve a skewer of meat for me and looked to the person seated on my left, Gerbera.
The dangling short legs of a young fox cub that’s lying on its belly can be seen on Gerbera’s head. This as well, is something that’s commonly seen recently.
“This… Ayame. Why hath Master adorned me so?”
‘Ayame’ is a young Balloon Fox that I named.
Looking up at Ayame on top of its head, Gerbera slightly furrowed her thin eyebrows as though she was troubled. Although it doesn’t seem like Gerbera actually dislikes it. With the physical capabilities of a White Arachne, it should be a simple thing to seize the young Ayame. Since she did not do so, it’s a simple thing to guess at what she’s really thinking.
“I would be troubled if thou crieth as if thou art displeased. I ought to complain instead of thou.”
“… What an irksome fellow.”
It seems that the young Ayame is fond of Gerbera and is more often found with her.
Although she fidgets around a lot and can’t keep still like a kid, by the time she realized it, she climbed Gerbera’s flat spider abdomen and reached the top of her white head.
Gerbera, despite being at a loss regarding Ayame’s actions, did not seem to harbor any negative thoughts towards her new sister’s existence at all.
“Muu. Could you be still for a while?”
While saying similar to that, Gerbera chased after Ayame to properly look after her.
Pleasant and ordinary scenes like that with Ayame as a set were shown to me.
Ayame, as though playing with Gerbera, ran around the inside of the nest.
And lastly, ran over to Rose’s side, who was talking to Kato-san.
“Oh my. What’s wrong, Ayame? That’s dangerous, you know.”
Rose was working as usual, while her right hand holds the knife, her left hand held the sword that she carved out. Folicking around under her arms is dangerous.
Disregarding Rose’s concern, while giving off a ku- ku- sound, Ayame laid down on her hard wooden knee.
“I guess it cannot be helped.”
Rose stopped her work in the middle and left the objects that were in her hands on the floor.
Her hands wavered a little, feeling lost before landing on Ayame’s head to stroke her stiffly.
Then, Gerbera who was chasing Ayame arrived.
“My apologies, Lady Rose. Ayame hath been a bother to thee.”
“No. I don’t really mind it.”
Ayame, whom Gerbera was looking at, laid her body down at the spot while being petted by Rose.
It appears that she wanted to be spoiled by the sister that she usually does not spend time with.
Gerbera stood still with a awkward expression.
Such a Gerbera looked at the expressionless face of Rose who continued to stroke Ayame.
“Cute isn’t she? Ayame.”
Gerbera nods and folded her eight legs.
WIth Ayame in the middle, Gerbera and rose sat next to each other.
Looking alternatively between them, Ayame swings her fluffy tail from side to side.
The two of them completely stiffened up without uttering anything.
Ayame tilted her head while Kato-san breathed a sigh.
“How about talking about something instead of looking at each other?”
Kato-san said with a exasperated tone after staring for a while.
“Look, Ayame. Since your two sisters look like they are going to converse, come over here.”
As Kato-san clicked her tongue, Ayame looked at both Rose and Gerbera before slipping through Rose’s hands and headed to her side.
The two people who were left behind exchanged glances with each other.
Now, it became a situation where neither of them can stand and leave without having a single conversation. Now that it has come to this, there is no choice but to accept it.
Above all, the youngest sister is watching the two of them intently with cute, black round eyes.
Aren’t you going to chat?
Why are you still waiting?
…Such voices could almost be heard from gaze that is staring at them. One cannot help but to say that it’s awkward.
“Did Master say anything about this?”
After several seconds of silence spent searching for a topic, The one who got the ball rolling was Rose, the elder sister.
“Combining my special skill in manufacturing magical tools and your weaving skills to make better armor?”
“I think that it is a good and valuable plan that is worth consideration. What about you?”
“Indeed. It is a good plan, I think so too. …What kind of things are you considering for example, Lady Rose?”
The conversation started flowing.
The two of them are masters at their craft in production. Although they may still be awkward in ordinary conversations, if it’s specially about producing goods, it seems like they would have an inexhaustible topic.
Speaking about Ayame who created this opportunity, she listened to the conversation of the two who sprouted small smiles as she curled up into a ball on Kato-san’s knees and started sleeping with a ‘kuu kuu’ sound.
Although she did everything at her own pace, it was certainly due to Ayame that the atmosphere had calmed down.
The weakest companion out of us is undoubtedly her.
Her mobility is at the level of a puppy, whose fur just started growing out, back in the world we lived in. She also has a monster-like endurance but although she may be possible of spitting out fireballs—a specialty of Balloon Foxes—she wouldn’t be able to survive a battle on her own.
However, Ayame’s existence gave us a certain sort of comfort. With such a rare disposition, she has become another indispensible existence to me.
“Wouldn’t it be great if such days were to continue forever?”
I nodded while feeling a flood of emotions towards Lily’s words, whom was snuggling by my side.
“Aah. That’s right. I really wish so…”
I somehow had a hunch that it was an impossible wish.
By leaving this forest, I would probably be in an environment that is a sudden change from the one I left behind.
If I take a step into the human world, I would be forced to face my fellow race, humans, whether I like it or not.
I am a Master who leads a Family of Monsters like Lily. No matter what happens, we will help each other out and live on—I resolved thus in my heart. <checked>
Leading monsters is my special trait but I still don’t know how the humans of this world would react to it at this point of time.
We would eventually chance upon the people of my race in actuality… I don’t know what kind of connection we may have with strangers that were students.
I have absolutely no need to accept them but I wished that they would at least not have any antagonism.
Nevertheless, if they became hostile… At that time, I would also resolve myself and fight against my fellow race, the humans. In order to protect this sight that is in front of me.
It was several days after that that I set out from the Arachne’s nest.
We are headed towards the north――We stepped forward to the edge of the forest and the human world that stretches beyond it.
◆ This is the first post that was promised.
◆ The name of the parasitic vine is Asarina, the name of the Balloon Fox became Ayame. A Balloon Fox is something like a fox linked to fate, I was wavering between ‘Red Spider Lily’ (Cluster amaryllis) or ‘Fox Face’, but there wasn’t anything that would exactly fit the image of that type of cuteness.
◆ The next update will be on 21/3 (Friday).