A Sudden Development in the Forest
“Mm? Ah, good morning, Daniela.”
What happened? She seemed kind of absent-minded this morning. At least she seemed to have drunk her soup.
I throw the deer onto the ground. I had already drained it of blood and dug out all of its guts, but I still had to skin and dismember it. It was a doe given the lack of antlers. A large animal, something that would make a worthy meal.
It was just as I pulled had out and twirled my short sword, ready to cut into the meat, that Daniela called me. I looked back and saw that she was standing behind me and looking very uncomfortable. It was rare to see her so timid looking…
“About yesterday, I was wrong! It was a misunderstanding!”
She quickly bowed her head. That was all it took for me to understand. She was talking about what happened last night. Ah, I see now. So she figured it out. But it didn’t change the fact that I had created the reason for it.
“I’m the one who should be sorry. I didn’t know you dressed like that when you sleep.”
“I do not!”
She points a finger straight at me. It was like she meant to refute some important argument.
“That was the work of the ale I took from the kitchens to help me sleep! It became hot while I slept and so the clothes came off. I hereby declare that I do not normally sleep in that manner!”
While slightly red, she fired off very passionately. I see. So that was why. It made sense.
“If that’s the case, then I guess there’s no reason for me to sleep up in the tree anymore.”
“Yesterday, I had already realized it when you had gone to collect the vines. But your skills with ropemaking were so captivating that I lost my timing to bring it up.”
Yes, yes. My vine-rope making skills are second to none. There was nothing you could do once someone was under my spell.
Anyway, it seemed that we could at least return to a more lighthearted relationship. I guess there was no real need for the deer then. Not that we wouldn’t eat it. It looked delicious.
“I hunted this deer here to make amends for angering you. But I guess it wasn’t needed. Let’s eat it together.”
“Aye, it’s a good one.”
She smiled happily. Being able to see that was enough for me.
□ □ □ □
We went even deeper into the forest that day. We would set up camp and go out hunting the forest wolves. Once we had them, their fangs would come out. Rinse and repeat. The bodies would evaporate if left alone. This was apparently due to the magical energy being degraded by the air. But any materials carved off before then would remain. I didn’t understand how it worked. Such things could be left to the scholars. I just wanted to hunt.
The venison we had for dinner was exceptional. The meat was juicier than wolf but not too soft and just felt plain good to eat. It was still too much for us to eat alone, so we smoked the rest and decided to bring it back to the Spring Wind inn as a gift.
Hunting went well the following day as well. We found ourselves moving deeper again into the forest, becoming hunters.
But there was one thing that I noticed. The numbers of forest wolves were decreasing. Perhaps we had killed too many of them. There were very clearly less than the first and second days now. I worried that they were going extinct, but according to Daniela, this was not a problem. She said that monsters were just naturally born in nature. In places that had a high concentration of magic, or a normal wolf would suddenly transform. Hearing that was a great relief.
“Asagi, you worry too much.”
“Do I? Well, it’s better than not worrying at all.”
“I suppose so.”
There was dried meat, vegetables and yesterday’s venison boiling in the pot in front of us. We would eat this, sleep and return to the town, first thing in the morning. The three days had gone by so quickly, but I amassed quite a bit of experience points and as far as knowledge went, Daniela had taught me a lot as well. I took out my status card.