To The Underground Nest
We talked about matters related to scouting while making our way to the Nise Yggdra Tree. Anis brought two other scouts with her, so we were a party of four in all. They were all so light on their feet. From what I heard, they mainly fought while staying hidden and using surprise attacks. We came upon several goblins on the way, and I was able to observe them in action. I was very impressed.
“That’s a good way to fight as well. Of course, you have to be extra careful and prepare, but it’s less tiring in the long run, since you trade fewer blows.”
“We don’t specialize in combat, so we have no choice but to make due through other means…”
Anis scratched her cheek awkwardly. One of the other scouts, who went by Igeldo, continued.
“We used to work as scouts in a different party. But there were too many meatheads, if you know what I mean. And we were eventually driven out.”
The other scout, Ulgio, nodded. Both these guys were pretty different in personality, but Anis seemed to get along with them quite well.
“Well, a lot of people don’t care, as long they win in the end. As for me, I want to learn as much as I can.”
“Is that why you have your own concealment set, Mister Asagi?”
“Yeah. Since I have the Presence Block skill, I thought that I might as well have a set that would help me get the most out of it.”
“Ahhh… You sure have a lot of talents.”
“It’s no wonder they call you Silvergreen…”
I hadn’t meant to boast. Regardless, it really was Jack of all Trades, Master of None that made it possible for me to acquire these skills.
Even as we talked, the three of them continued to put their scouting abilities to good use. They would find footprints in the snow and use Presence Detection to find the goblins. And they were able to hunt down their prey, all the while leaving very few traces of their own. They watched from a short distance away, carefully taking stock of everything before they planned. And they would go in for the kill in a flash. It was amazing.
“It’s really hard to chase someone’s traces…
“Oh, but it’s quite easy in the snow. After all, there are very visible footprints.”
“The grasslands are where it gets difficult. At least in forests, there are fallen leaves and trees that can leave marks. But the enemy tends to hide in the grass.”
“Besides, there is nothing to block the wind, so they can smell us easily…”
I see. I nodded understandingly, even though I didn’t really. Still, they talked about everything as if it were simple to do. At least I had Jack of all Trades, Master of None, which would allow me to practice. Observe and steal. That was my strength.
“…Ah, is-isn’t this a footprint?”
“Yes. A boar’s footprint.”
“So it’s not a goblin…”
I was finally the first to discover something, and it was just a boar. Being a scout was hard…
□ □ □ □
“This is the Nise Yggdra Tree.”
My neck started to hurt really quickly. The giant tree that stood before me was reminiscent of the sacred trees I had seen in Japan. There was no rope tied around it, but this tree was related to the old Yggdrasill trees, which was practically a sacred tree, so perhaps they were more similar than you’d think.
“Look over there.”
“Hmm. Ah, it’s hollowed out.”
There was a hole that looked like a vertical crack going down the trunk of the tree. And around it, you could see that the snow was trampled and covered in filth from the goblins. There were also many places where the tree bark had been carved away.
Perhaps the most obvious indication of a goblin presence, was the animal bones that were littered everywhere. The goblins in this area must have been hunting for food. Hunting would be difficult if all you did was chase the animal around. Perhaps they had some kind of trick.
“Hmm… There are a lot of goblins gathered underneath the tree.”
“You can tell?”
“Yeah. I’ve had a lot of practice when it comes to using Presence Detection from above.”
Of course, it was thanks to Jack of all Trades, Master of None. Apparently, Anis and the others weren’t too good at it yet.
There was a horde of goblins below us. Maybe not exactly one thousand and five hundred-sixty, but still a lot. And there were more than a few advanced types.
“Some of the presences are really strong. We’ll die in an instant if you’re not careful.”