The cat man shook his head and then walked away on unstable feet.
“Really, what was that?”
Maki was still fuming.
“I think you were too close to see it, Maki-chan.”
Maki tilted her head at Chiharu.
“Like I said earlier, the miasma.”
As the two talked, the spectators started to gather around them.
“That was impressive, young lady.”
“What did you do? We use claws as our weapons, so I rarely see anyone punch like that.”
And so Maki was surrounded once again. On the other hand, some of the cat folk were still fighting the gazers in the clearing. Apparently Chiharu had said something to the gazers, and they stopped getting carried away so easily.
“Uh, it’s a form of martial arts from back home. I never thought I would actually use it.”
Maki had never actually done it to someone before. That being said, it was only done to surprise him a little. She would have hurt her hand if she hit him harder.
“That’s amazing. Teach us how to do it.”
The beastfolk shouted as they gathered around, much to Maki’s annoyance. She told them that she didn’t have the time, but they would not listen to her. It was no wonder, since Sauro was just the same. However, she was just about to have an important conversation with Chiharu. And so Maki was getting very annoyed.
“I’m sorry, there’s something we need to talk about.”
Chiharu’s small voice echoed.
“It’s the short Saintess.”
“So they have business.”
“I guess it can’t be helped.”
The people who were around Maki muttered as they moved out of the way.
“Wait a minute! I mean, you don’t have to wait. But why do you only listen to Chiharu?”
Maki was right to question them.
“Wouldn’t you feel bad if you didn’t?”
“And you don’t feel bad for me?”
But they ignored Maki’s question.
“This happened a lot in Japan as well.”
“Chiharu… It’s not fair.”
“If anything, I’m the one who is jealous that men treat you as an equal.”
“I’m jealous that they treat you like a girl.”
Maki and Chiharu thought back on their life with nostalgia.
“But men in both places…”
“Yeah. They don’t even realize how much we dislike the way they treat women differently.”
They agreed. After all, even if a man treated you like a lady, it would all be for nothing if he was then rude to your friend.
“Of course, I’m sure the beastkin didn’t mean to do that. They’re just impressed by your strength, Maki-chan.”
“Well, I’m sure you’re right. By the way, about what you were saying earlier…”
“Yes. Come over here.”
Chiharu took Maki and they moved away so that they could see the clearing where the others were fighting.
“Look. Where the gazers are gathered and crashing into people.”
“Let me see…”
While it wasn’t as much as before, there were some people who were surrounded by gazers. Chiharu had said something about miasma. Maki squinted her eyes. Miasma wasn’t something you could see with your eyes, as it was more of a thickness in the air. And so it could be difficult to detect. Still, she could tell that it was thick around the gazers. As for the people nearby…
“Wait, wait. I can sense miasma inside of their bodies!”
“Right? Look at that person.”
There was someone near the corner who was surrounded by gazers.
“He’ll start becoming strange soon.”
Chiharu said calmly. And her prediction became a reality.
The man shouted, and then started attacking the gazers viciously. Someone tried to stop his reckless attacks, and ended up being attacked as well. Ultimately, the man had to be restrained.
“What is wrong with you! Calm down!”
“Keep holding him! Maki-chan, watch from a distance!”
Chiharu shouted as she ran towards them and tried to put her hand on the man from behind. Maki watched this from a distance, just as she was told.
“She’s going to touch his back and…no, wait!”
Maki expected her to touch him gently, but Chiharu slapped the cat man hard on the back before turning to look at Maki.
“Ah, the miasma was pushed out!”
Then she touched him again, this time softly.
“Uh, the miasma was sucked in.”
When Chiharu moved her hand away, the other cat people let go of the man as if to see what would happen. Then the violent cat person looked around in puzzlement, as if he had just awoken.
“What-what was I…”
“You went wild out of nowhere and even attacked us. But you seem to have returned to yourself after the Saintess hit you. Still, I’m the one that wants to know what happened.”
“I was surrounded by the gazers and started to feel dizzy. After that, all I could think of was defeating those who were right in front of me. I’m not sure what happened after that…”
“I think the miasma got you. You should probably rest for awhile.”
Chiharu said to the cat person.
“Oh, uh, thank you.”
And then he wandered off somewhere.
“I’m still not sure what happened…”
The others muttered. And so Chiharu decided to warn them.
“In any case, please be careful so that the gazers don’t surround you.”
And then Chiharu returned to Maki.
Maki could only chuckle awkwardly.
“I realised it when you punched that guy in the stomach. The miasma flew out of his back and disappeared.”
“Huh? I didn’t suck it in as a Saintess?”
“If you did, I couldn’t see anything. Maybe it flew out because you threw such a good punch. Anyway, I was able to see it.”
“Ah, so that’s what I saw just now!”
“Right? And then I wondered if that was why they were acting strange. And so I thought that I should just suck in the rest of the miasma.”
“I see. That was very observant of you.”
Maki was impressed by Chiharu’s explanation. Leia and Zynis were listening right next to them.
“In other words, being attacked by monsters isn’t about having the life sucked out of you, but having miasma put in you?”
Zynis muttered in disbelief.
“But now that I think about it, casualties from monsters always happen within the dungeons, and I never really watched someone carefully as they were weakened by monsters.”
Maki turned to look at Zynis.
“Yes, Zynis used to fight in the dungeons when he was younger. Before he became a goodwill ambassador.”
Leia looked proud for some reason. Chiharu thought that Zynis must have been especially dashing during that time.
“I’ve seen a number of people die.”
“Well, perhaps there are several steps. First they become violent from the miasma, and then they slowly weaken.”
“Hmm. However, we can’t exactly put it to the test.”
Now that two of them had gone down, the catfolk had become cautious. Fewer of them were surrounded by gazers now.
“Hmm. But I have a bad feeling about this. It seems like we’re sucking in the miasma as well, but more of it spreads when the gazers move around like this. And so it’s not getting thinner over all.”
The miasma was thick in the area, and the catfolk looked like they were out of breath.
“Alright, that’s enough now. All of you! It’s time to finish this!”
The catfolk looked surprised when they heard Leia’s voice, but they pulled away to the corner of the clearing while remaining cautious of the gazers. As for the gazers, they spread out, and looked a little disappointed.
“Do you think we can do it, Maki-chan? Let’s try getting rid of some of the mana here.”
“Uh, you mean by our own will?”
“Yeah. We suck it in automatically, of course. But I wonder if we can accelerate it.”
And so Chiharu and Maki stretched out their hands. They thought posing might help.
“Gather! Huh? It’s really coming! Ah.”
Not only was the invisible miasma coming towards them, but a few of the nearby gazers also looked like they were being pulled as they turned into magic stones.
“Are you serious?”
“Are we vacuum cleaners now?”
The highest suction power. The only Saintess in the world. The advertisement shot through Maki’s mind.