Chapter 41 – Stolen!?
Hmm? The sky has suddenly become darker?
I stopped planting the grain as I looked up at the sky.
One of the Kijins muttered.
Yes, there were black crows flying overhead.
However, they seemed very large to be crows.
With their wings spread out, they were larger than eagles.
Furthermore, their beaks were very pointed and sharp compared to normal crows. They looked more like arrowheads.
These were no ordinary crows… They were monsters known as Arrow Crows.
Not only did they ravage the farmlands in human settlements, but they hunted both man and beast and devoured their flesh.
With the arrow-like beaks, they thrust into their prey and skewered them alive.
“Damn it… Everyone, gather around me!”
I shouted, and the demi-humans moved at once.
By my side, Iria unsheathed her blade.
“Sir Joshua. What are these birds?”
“Monsters that are called Arrow Crows. They hunt in flocks and will target the weakest first. And so we’ll be safe if we huddle together like this.”
As if to prove this, the Arrow Crows did not attack, but just circled the sky above.
However, perhaps they grew tired of waiting, as one of them flew down to the field.
After all, there was at least the grain to eat.
“I won’t let you. Craft…Steel Arrow!”
I quickly thrust my hands towards it and unleashed the arrow.
The crow let out a shriek as the arrow punctured its neck, and then it fell down.
Upon seeing this, the other Arrow Crows became agitated, and they started to cry suddenly.
It seemed like they were furious.
This was my chance to lure them away.
“Iria. I’m going to run to the south and distract them. In the meantime, take the others and escape to the north.”
“I understand! Everyone, once Sir Joshua starts running south, move to the north in a tight group!”
Iria said as she clutched her sword.
At the same time, I dashed out to the south.
And then, just as I had predicted, the sounds of things cutting through the air approached.
They really were simple-minded, just like boars.
All they did was charge. Not only that, but they could not stop suddenly.
And so I crafted a stone wall and blocked them…or, that was what I was going to do.
The Arrow Crows were cut down by Iria, who had jumped into the air.
It wasn’t just her, but Melk and Ecleshia were also attacking them.
“Stand back, Joshua. Leave it to us.”
Melk said as she tore through the Arrow Crows with her claws.
Eventually, Mette and other demihumans began to come from the village.
“Everyone, let’s shoot them down!!”
Mette ordered as she unleashed an arrow into the sky.
And then the other demihumans began to also fire with their crossbows and bows.
After being attacked like this, the Arrow Crows were knocked out of the air, one after another.
Most of the arrows and bolts found their targets, with only a few of them missing the mark.
Eventually, there were just a few left in the sky, and then the Arrow Crows fled to the south with the speed of the wind.
“Good work, all of you.”
I had meant to block them with stone walls and attack them one by one, but it had not been necessary.
Iria sheathed her sword and answered.
“It’s all because we have these things that you made, Sir Joshua!”
“No, it’s because you’ve all trained well… Clearly everyone is used to wielding these weapons now.”
Mette and the demihumans raised their crossbows and bows into the air and cheered loudly.
They were celebrating our victory.
And then Melk muttered.
“But Melk has never seen these birds before.”
“We Kijins have not seen them either. I was most surprised at first.”
“And I have never seen them in our forests. Are they really not ordinary crows?”
Iria and Ecleshia answered.
Apparently, it was unusual for Arrow Crows to appear in the Fendel territories.
Indeed, it was said that wild Arrow Crows were rare.
They were generally air superiority fighters of the Demon King’s army. Their role was to fly around the continent and attack human settlements.
But perhaps this time, they had looked down and mistaken everyone for humans.
“Now that we have made a field, we might see them here regularly… In any case, I will build a tower nearby. We must have better security.”
I said, and Iria nodded.
“Yes! We will have guards posted here. But, what should we do about these birds?”
“Aye. I will gather them. The feathers from an Arrow Crow’s wings can be used for arrows, as well as their beaks. But more than anything, their meat is delicious.”
“I see! So they can be a food source.”
“Aye. Now, everyone, let’s continue to plant the wheat. And in that corner, plant the Demon King turnips. I will gather the… Huh?”
When I turned my eyes towards the Arrow Crow carcasses, something swooped down and snatched one away.
It happened so quickly that I couldn’t tell what it was. But when I looked up, I saw a lone figure flying in the air.
It appeared to be a human with wings.
But it also had the head of a crow, and talons instead of feet.
And in its beak, it held the body of an Arrow Crow that we had killed.
“Is that…a demihuman…?”
I muttered, and then Mette came running and held up her bow.
“Are you a Tengu!? You stole our prey! I’ll shoot you down for this!”
“Wait, Mette. Surely we can allow it to take just one.”
“…Very well. However, I will not forgive it if it takes any more.”
And so Mette lowered her bow, even though the arrow was still held in place. She was ready to shoot at a moment’s notice.
A Tengu… That was a name that I had heard before.
They were a type of demihuman that were categorized as birdfolk.
They usually lived in high mountains and were rarely seen in the lowlands…
In any case, I didn’t want to kill that Tengu and then start a war with the others.
There was no need to fight over one Arrow Crow body.
And so I called out to the Tengu.
“Are you hungry!? Then you can have that one! But, won’t you come down and talk with us?!”
However, the Tengu did not reply, but just flew off in the southeast direction.
Mette sounded angry she said,
“Damn it! I did not expect a Tengu to steal from us.”
“Yes. Even if they sometimes show themselves, I have never heard of them taking things or attacking people.”
Iria said suspiciously as she watched the Tengu disappear into the distance.
I didn’t know much about them, but the idea seemed to be that this was out of character.
Ecleshia also sounded doubtful.
“Perhaps they have also been enslaved… But the slave hunters were already…”
“Aye. Cobis has been defeated. And there were no Tengu in the castle.”
In that case, there may be other slave hunters who are active in the south. It wasn’t just Cobis.
“…Regardless, we must be extra careful from now on. I will start building a tower at once.”
After that, I gathered the Arrow Crows and carved everything that wasn’t meat. And then I crafted a tower by the field.