If you want to hunt monsters so much, go ahead. We were born to be part of a cycle anway. This was what the gazers had said.
“However, the four-legged monsters can’t be bothered. They said that if you have to fight, it should only be against the gazers.”
“Can’t be bothered…”
Leia had a faraway look in her eyes. They had fought so hard against the monsters in the dungeon. Well, they did it because they enjoyed it, but she had also believed that it was for the benefit of all beastfolk. However, she now knew that monsters had a will of their own, and they found the whole thing to be a boring hassle.
It was difficult to accept.
That being said, the gazers were still up for it. And so the Adventurers were satisfied. Besides, this way there would be less of a strain on the Saintesses. There were no downsides at all. Leia was quick to see this and so she switched gears.
The beastfolk gathered together and held a meeting. But they did wonder why they had stayed up so late talking the previous night. Had they known that they would be able to fight, things would have ended a lot sooner.
And so under Leia’s supervision, a clearing was made in front of the cave, and everyone who wanted to fight gathered there.
Just as before, the four-legged monsters were sitting on the ground with disinterest, but some of the gazers gathered around as if they were curious to see what would happen.
“Alright, let’s begin.”
“I’ll go first.”
Several catfolk said as they stepped forward.
“Well, I don’t know if this will turn out the way that you’re all expecting.”
And then one of them called out the gazers.
“Come at me!”
The buzzing echoed around them, and then one by one, the gazers started to come towards them.
Then the catfolk changed their form in a flash. It was their second form. Maki had already seen the dogfolk transform, but this was the first time she had seen catfolk do it.
Chiharu held her hands together tightly.
“The paws! The paws!”
Not the eyes.
“Yeah, I wonder if they have toe beans.”
“Well, Zynis had them.”
“Huh? How do you know, Maki-chan?”
Chiharu had also been there that night when they returned from inland, and they had slept while leaning against Zynis and Ortha. She knew how wonderful their fur was. However, she had been much too embarrassed to ask if she could rub their bellies or look at their paws.
“It was back in Tram.”
“That far back?”
They wouldn’t have had any time to go out into town after returning to Midland.
“When we were busy and had to separate. Zynis transformed just his hand and showed me. Like this.”
Maki made a gesture as if she was accepting something.
“I see. They would hold it up.”
“Yeah. And so I was able to see it.”
“I’m so jealous. In any case, it’s nice to know that there are toe beans on those palms of his.”
As they talked like this, the catfolk began to jump towards the gazers, who had arrived but were still up at a great height.
They jumped much higher than their own height and swung at the gazers. They thought they heard the sound of something cutting through the air, but perhaps they were just hearing things.
Regardless, the gazers lost their shape and fell to the ground as magic stones.
“The gazer said that it had let its guard down… Those were its last words.”
There was nothing sad in its voice. It was just the truth. Upon seeing this, the other catfolk started to jump in the air as well. But the gazers also moved to a higher position. Now they were well out of reach, but would occasionally fly lower as if to mock the catfolk.
“The gazers seem to be having fun.”
“The small ones are especially active.”
“I guess they couldn’t all unite. Ah, one of the catfolk has lost their balance!”
Perhaps there was something on the ground, as he tripped over and fell. One of the small gazers then floated down towards him.
As if being lured by this, the other small gazers also gathered around until the cat person was covered like a black clump.
“Huh, wait? Didn’t I tell them that they shouldn’t get close to any people?”
“Yes, you did say that, Chiharu.”
“What happens when gazers get close?”
“I think they get their life force sucked out and they die…”
They looked at each other and started running towards the gazers. They could only sense curiosity and feelings of joy from the gazers. It was clear that they had forgotten their promise about staying away. But then again, it had been these people who had the gazers come close, as they wanted to hunt them.
But the black clump broke away before the two reached it.
The shout echoed, and then the cat person swung sharp claws to the right and left, turning the gazers into magic stones. The remaining gazers drifted back up into the air. Because it got boring? What were they talking about now?
“Come back! Fight! I’ll shred you up with my claws!”
The cat person shouted loudly.
Maki and Chiharu thought that this cat person was a lot scarier than the gazers who had surrounded him.
They said and then tried to leave.
A voice called out to them. It was the same cat person. They hesitantly turned around.
“Hey, you two.”
They didn’t want to answer.
“You can call the gazers, right? Then call them back here.”
What was he talking about? Maki and Chiharu were stunned. And so the man repeated the order.
“Call the gazers. So I can tear them up.”
He said as he raised his right hand and showed his claws.
“Yes, he has toe beans.”
But she had to joke to get through this situation. This brute of a man was talking roughly to them while flashing his claws. She was so scared that she could faint. Of course, it would be over if she did. And so Chiharu stopped herself.
The others noticed the change and looked towards them.
Leia called. Well, it would be fine if the others were watching.
“Stop! Don’t come any closer!”
Maki was angry now.
“What are you going on about? Do it yourself if you want to hunt them so much. Why should we have to help you?”
“Who do you think you are? Scaring a fragile woman with your claws like that. Ridiculous. I can’t believe this!”
She said, and then started to push Chiharu’s back as they walked away. However, the man quickly moved up to them and grabbed Maki’s shoulder.
Maki pushed Chiharu away a little and then turned around to glare at the cat. This seemed to make him recoil just a little.
“Why should we wait?”
It seemed that he didn’t even know himself. He shook his head and then his hand stretched out towards Maki once again.
This guy. Maki clenched her hands into fists. She checked her feet once and then lunged towards the cat person. And just like that, she slammed a fist into his stomach, and then took a step back. Behind her, Chiharu let out a small gasp.
“Don’t touch me!”
Of course, Maki’s punch would do almost nothing to the hardened body of the beastfolk.
“Good one, Maki!”
Zynis and Leia shouted happily. But Maki wished that they had intervened instead.
“Are you awake now?”
Maki was still making a fist and looked like she was ready to pounce. The man brought a hand to his stomach with a puzzled expression. His other hand was swaying to the side.
Maybe he needs another one. But before Maki could do anything, Chiharu stepped forward.
“Chiharu, it’s dangerous.”
Chiharu reached out towards the cat person. Then she grabbed his hand, which had fallen limply.
And then a magic stone fell from Chiharu’s forehead.
“Feel better now?”
He was completely calm now, and touched his own forehead with a mystified expression.
“It’s miasma, Maki-chan.”
Chiharu said as she turned to look at the worried Maki.
Chiharu’s mouth went close to Maki’s ear.
“His toe beans were quite squishy.”
Maki had been so worried. Hmph.