Feeling Like a Newcomer Again
The goblins were slaughtered swiftly and then we took a short break.
“Well, we are a group of three A-Rankers and veteran town guard. It would have been unfathomably embarrassing if they put up much of a fight.”
Daniela muttered as she drank water from the bottle I had bought her. She was right. Staying on your guard was good and all, but goblins were goblins. I couldn’t feel nervous about it no matter how much I tried. And to think there was a time when I ran for my life back in the Fhiraldo forest…
Once we had all finished quenching our thirst, we started walking again. While there were more trees now, they were still short and thin. We weren’t quite inside of the forest yet. These trees didn’t even have fruits. What if they were monsters in disguise…? No, if they were, they would have fruits in order to attract their prey.
“I just remembered something that happened a long time ago…”
Daniela suddenly began as she looked up at the sky. Daniela didn’t often talk about her past. And so I listened carefully.
“This is when I was a guard for a merchant caravan, and we had to travel through a forest. And so I and another Adventurer went on ahead to make sure there were no monsters or bandits on our route. While we walked, I looked up and there was a branch with fruit hanging from it.”
“Ah, the blessing of the forest!”
“Aye, it looked quite delicious. And the man who I was with saw it too, and he immediately asked if he could pick it. He did not wait for a reply, and went running straight towards the tree.”
This guy didn’t sound very smart. Anyone who was nearly as cautious as I would not have gotten close to it.
“So, what happened?”
“It was a monster tree.”
Lemon. Me. Manager.
“Yes, the trunk of the tree suddenly spread open… Rows and rows of razor-sharp teeth tore into the man’s torso as he was caught. I was not so experienced back then, and panicked. I pulled out my bow and unleashed un arrow. Most amusingly, it went straight into his bottom.”
Daniela was the only one laughing. I doubted it was very funny for that guy as well…
“The man was so surprised that he started to jerk around madly. And that ultimately helped him escape the tree’s grasp. I was able to calm down and deal with it after that. So you see, my arrow saved that man’s life…”
“That’s a terrible story…”
“Asagi, you can rely on me if you ever find yourself in a similar situation. Though, I cannot promise that you will come out of it with the same number of ass holes.”
“You wouldn’t dare!’
I had been expecting a story that would teach me something useful… But well, Lemon and Manager were chuckling, so I suppose it served to create a peaceful atmosphere. Hmm. And now that I think of it, I at least knew to be more wary of trees with fruits… It did seem a little forced. But I would take that lesson.
□ □ □ □
Just as the sun started to fall, the forest came into view. At this point, we had encountered goblins, grass wolves and other weak monsters. Daniela had suggested that the labyrinth disaster had caused a lull in traffic, which in turn meant that monsters were widening their area of activity. But even with the disaster, there were still people traveling to Reserentrible. Adventurers saw it as a chance to make a name for themselves. Merchants were willing to brave the dangers for the business opportunity. So while there may have been more monsters than before, it was not by much…I think.
We chose a place on top of a small hill to set up camp. It gave us a good view of the forest. Of course, it would make us quite visible to others, but…at least we would be able to see them as well. We used the dome-shaped tent that Daniela had brought, and Manager used her own tent. The first tent that Daniela bought had been blown away by the Wind Dragon…and so she got a new one. That incident had made me feel like I should have a backup, but I wasn’t able to find another one that I liked. Still, I bought a simple triangle tent, because I didn’t want to have to rely solely on Daniela’s…but it was kind of small for two people.
I watched as the others pitched the tents with skilled ease. At the same time, I took some firewood out of the hollow bag.
“You seem to have everything you could need in there, Mister Asagi.”
“I only have what we need. Except for…”