While we had to cooperate a few times to deal with monsters that appeared along the way, we were eventually able to reach our destination for the second day.
It was a clearing with a river nearby. And so we let the horses drink water as we started to set up our camp.
“I’ll make food for all of you as well!”
Said Seppi. That was nice. Seppi had also been the one to shoot down today’s prey, the horned rabbit, from on top of the wagon with her bow.
Naren went off to gather firewood, while Oriore made an oven and was igniting it. I suppose I would go and gather some water.
After a while, a delicious smell drifted towards me, and I started to worry that it would attract monsters.
“I hope we won’t be troubled by any monsters.”
“I’ll be counting on you when that happens. Seppi will get mad if our meal is interrupted.”
Being a party leader must be tough…
There were always two people who kept watch during the night. Though, the second person started halfway into the first person’s shift. And so while the first person only needed to do half at first, they also had to be there for the last one. Still, as you could sleep for the longest interval, that role was given to Seppi.
When it was my turn, I sat next to Oriore near the fire and stared into the dark forest. Thanks to Nightvision, I could see decently, but it was still dark.
However, being in a dark forest while sitting next to a fair elf whose face was illuminated by fire light…it sure was something out of a fantasy book.
There was a lot that I wanted to ask, but since the others were sleeping, I did not want to disturb them with our chatter.
“Would you like to get a drink once this is over?”
The elf said with a smirk. And the fantasy atmosphere was ruined.
A sound from the forest! How did we miss it? I pulled out my sword, just in case.
However, when I squinted into the trees with my Night Vision skill, I could see nothing. But there must be something in there.
Just then, Oriore began to chant something behind me.
“Lu-lele-bide-lot-rem! Night Sight!”
While I couldn’t see what had happened behind me, my eyes flashed white once, and then my vision opened up. So this was Night Sight, which I had heard so much about!
I could see! The shadow spider that hid in the tree! The enemy!
As I ran straight towards it, the spider saw me and jumped from the tree.
Shadow spiders were light. I blocked it with my shield and then it jumped back. But I would not let it get away!
The shadow spider landed on a tree again, and so I jumped up and thrust my sword at it. I just barely reached two of its legs, but was able to sever them. It lost its balance and fell to the ground and…
I slammed the bastard sword into it, cutting it in two. Ah, that just ruined the materials.
I looked around, now that I could see better, but there were no other monsters. And so I removed the fangs and magic stone from the shadow spider corpse and threw the rest into the forest.
“Thanks, that was a big help. And very impressive.”
“The night shadows are under the tranquil drape of Lord Memrikia.”
The shadow magic of a priest was more than I had imagined.
Oriore’s spell involved using the prayer skill to convert words with magic energy. No matter what language was used, the sound would be the same.
I returned to the bonfire and asked about it.
“That spell. What does it mean?”
“Said normally, it is, ‘Tranquil shadows, guide me through the surrounding darkness.’”
You couldn’t activate magic by just copying sounds. But even if you knew the meaning, you had to have the skill as well. And of course, there was the training.
“What’s with all the noise?”
Ah, it was just Naren. I settled back down. We had talked so much that he woke up.
“Sorry. There was a shadow spider.”
Naren glanced at the time tool. It was something like a sand timer, only with liquid. They used it to measure the length of a shift.
“There is still a little more time. But since I’m already awake, I’ll join you.”
“Sorry, but it will help.”
In spite of his grumblings, he was very caring. I suppose that was why he was the party leader.
The next morning, we packed up everything and set out once again.
“We should reach our destination before evening, but since we’ll be going much deeper into the forest, please stay on your guard.”
The client, Mr. Kibie warned us before leaving. Indeed, the path grew narrower up ahead, and it would be much easier to be ambushed in the forest. And since there wasn’t enough space for the horses to walk next to the carriage, we would also have to change our formation.
It was during times like these that we could depend on Seppi the scout. Of course, we couldn’t expect her to do everything.
“I’m counting on you too, Hyuga.”
He neighed in reply after being petted. It seemed like he was enthusiastic.
Naren swung his two-handed great sword, and the orc’s arms went flying. Good! Almost done!
“Naren! There’s a snake behind you!”
Oriore said from behind me, but Naren was facing an orc. And he could not be distracted.
He shouted and swung wide, causing the orc to retreat.
Then an arrow shot out. And while it bounced off the tough skin of the orc, it drove the orc’s attention away. Was that Seppi!? Good work!
Naren then took a step back, turned on his heels and headed back.
And then I unleashed a light, mostly ineffective attack at its stomach, making it take another step back.
I swiftly raised the sword and then slammed down into its shoulder.
Blood sprayed as it screamed, and then the orc thrashed on the ground. There was a lot of blood. I stepped back and waited for its movements to slow.
I jumped forward and cut off its head. What about my surroundings? When I looked around, they were also looking around. I wiped off the blood and sheathed my sword again. Phew.
“What should we do with the orc?”
“It will be a good gift for the village. Let’s take it back with us.”
We decided to go with the client’s suggestion. The three of us strung up the orc and the grass viper and talked as we removed the blood and guts.
“Oriore. I think you meant to say my name, and not Naren’s?”
“Sorry, it was so sudden that I said it out of habit.”
“Bah, it worked out fine in the end, didn’t it? That was very good of you Ajifu. Distracting it like that.”
“No, that was Seppi’s skill.”
In any case, we finished dealing with the bodies, and so we laid out some skins on the wagon and tied them on top.
On the way, we stopped by a brook and let the horses drink as we ate lunch. Today, it was grass viper grilled with salt. And it was rather delicious.
“Things are going well enough.”
“Yes, we’re almost there now. And while I heard that they finished exterminating the drain leeches, you must be careful about what’s over your head. As they might rain down.”
Seppi wrapped her arms around herself and shivered.
Cloudy with a chance of leeches. Not the best kind of weather.
“It’s when you’re almost there that you have to be the most careful!”
And so we set out.
However, the forest that we reached after resting was eerily quiet. Usually you would see horned rabbits or forest wolves prowling about. But there was nothing.
“I have a bad feeling about this.”
“I feel the same.”
Seppi seemed wary of our surroundings. Her tail was sticking up as if alert.
Yes, even the air here felt different. There was something ominous about it.
The horses were also nervous, as if they too had sensed something.
A short distance away, we heard a roar and the ground shook. Whatever it was, it was big.
The whip lashed out, and we quickened our pace.
Trees crashed as the thing appeared behind the carriage. It was over four meters tall. A giant, ash-colored bear.