Training the Newcomer
And so we found ourselves in the forest. Everywhere you looked, it was trees, trees, trees. And some bushes. And fallen leaves.
“They tend to hide behind bushes, like the ones you can see over there.”
“I know that much. But I haven’t seen any yet.”
Well, this was his first time out. We wanted to start off with a single target, and so I used Presence Detection to search for a goblin that had separated from its group, and we followed it.
There were apparently three types of monsters that lived in this forest. The first were the goblins which we were about to hunt. They were typical goblins that you could find anywhere else. They attacked you with wooden spears or other blades dropped by humans. And they didn’t seem to take care of them, as the blades were always rusted. But then again, they were a surprisingly great source of extra income if you were a G Ranker. I told all of this to Penrose.
“I see…iron is iron, I suppose.”
“Exactly. The blacksmiths will be happy to take them off of your hands. And they’ll be much more likely to make you good weapons if they like you. So you can’t go wrong.”
Penrose nodded eagerly. I didn’t have anyone to teach me when I started out and suffered a lot for it. It must be nice to have an older Adventurer help you out. I could only hope that Penrose would do the same for someone else once he became a veteran…
Now, as for the second type of monster that lurked in the forest. This was the forest wolf. They were the same type that were in Lambrusen. But there they had lived on the opposite side of the forest to the goblins. This had to do with the mana that Beowulf emitted, but Beowulf was not here. In other words, there was no mana that one liked and the other hated. Goblins and forest wolves coexisted in this forest. Well, that was most forests, I guess. Penrose knew about it already, and it was apparently common knowledge in most countries. I was the only one who was extra careful about it. I had to be wary of the possibility that both would attack at the same time, or I might panic and make mistakes when it did happen.
“I heard from father that it was Beowulf who gave Silvergreen the power of the wind.”
“That’s supposed to be confidential. Don’t tell anyone, alright?”
I was a little exasperated at Bordow’s loose tongue, but perhaps saying that much would prevent any further sniffing around. But I was still pissed off…
“Everyone else thinks it’s just a unique skill.”
The now honest Penrose said.
“By the way, Penrose.”
“What, Miss Daniela?”
“How old are you?”
This was rare. Daniela bringing up age… I’m not sure if it was a hole she really wanted to dig.
“I will be twelve this year! A fine adult.”
“Adulthood starts at fifteen. You still have a ways to go.”
Daniela said as she tousled his hair. I didn’t see her being sociable often, but it was nice seeing Penrose settle in as a party member. After all, this morning she had said something about ‘blood needing to be shed’…
“And how old are you, Miss Daniela? Are you an adult?”
“Haha, Penrose. Daniela is-”
“…-a brilliant adult, and uh, you would do good to learn from her on how to be an Adventurer.”
“Oh? I understand!”
A stare that was colder than my ice magic was directed at me. Letting your guard down was a path to death. I learned a new trick to surviving.
The third monster is a woman who cares about her age.
□ □ □ □
Now, enough of that foolishness. There was a goblin behind the bushes up ahead. We silently looked and saw that it was standing with its back to us, and he held a spear that was thrust into the ground. This one had probably been abandoned by the others. The ones who were no good at hunting had no choice but to gather seeds from the ground. There was a feeling of sadness in that back that faced us, but life was much the same for us. And so I thought that we should get this over with quickly. It was time to hunt.
“There are no other goblins around. We have just one enemy. His weapon is just a wooden spear, however, that will still kill you if it pierces your throat, so be careful. Do you understand?”
As this was his first real fight, Penrose was too nervous to do anything but nod. Looking at the longsword he was holding, I could tell that he was gripping the handle too hard, but at least he wasn’t taking this lightly. A certain amount of nervousness was good. Besides, the extreme nervousness you feel would eventually go away once you’ve fought a couple times.
“Alright, go get him!”
I push his back, and he runs off like a bullet. His feet were firm on the ground, and he was careful not to allow the leaves to cause him to slip.
He was behind the goblin in a flash and swung the longsword out. It struck a good blow and the centrifugal force helped to take the goblin’s head off with a clean cut. Once the fountain of blood subsided, the goblin’s body crumpled onto the leaves.
“You did well! Splendid!”
Penrose was breathing hard, but his face wore a big smile. I tousled his hair after he returned to us, and we waited for him to catch his breath before walking to the goblin. I looked at the motionless and headless goblin and saw how clean the cut was. He must have trained a lot to be able to do that. It would not take him too long to rise from his current G rank. So he was gemstone after all.
“Well, that was an ambush. You just swing your sword on a still target. Pretty easy, huh?”
“Yes… But, I can still feel the sensation of cutting…in my hands…”
His tight fists were shaking. This was the first time he had taken a life. It carried quite a weight for someone who was only twelve years old.
“And you should not ever forget that sensation. It is when you forget it, that you will fall from man to beast.”
“To take a life. Taking and living. Do not forget it. Penrose, you are able to live because of others.”
“…I understand. I will keep this feeling with me.”
That’s right…there was a time when I had forgotten it myself. Back in the mines. I had seen myself as an ugly, cold creature that did nothing but kill. Perhaps that was what it felt like to fall into beasthood…