Chapter 61 – The True Forms of the Hair Balls
“So they are orcs…what could have brought them all of the way out here…”
I had thought that the north and east were safe, but it seemed like the Demon King army had already reached this area.
Well, considering how frantic they looked now, it was safe to assume that they had suffered a humiliating defeat in the north. And judging by all the arrow wounds, they had likely been fighting against humans.
Iria watched the orcs retreat with a guarded look and said,
“…We can no longer say that these lands are safe.”
“Aye. Perhaps they had been deliberately trying to go around the frontier… Mr. Musupe. I know this is very sudden, but what do you think about joining us?”
Musupe tilted his head to the side.
“Aye. In the west, where we live, demi-humans live united. And I thought that you might like to join us.”
“There is such a gathering… We would welcome the possibility of having more friends. But the only thing we can offer is…”
Musupe looked at the other hair balls that were scampering around.
They seemed to be chasing nearby rats.
“All we can do is catch rats like these, and pick fruits. If we are to be allies, then we must be able to offer you something in return…”
“No, just having you watch these lands would be enough for us. And we can give you tools.”
Musube tilted his head.
And then, his wife, Nivel, opened her mouth.
“My dear. He must be talking about those things that our ancestors used! Sir Joshua, these are, of course, things you use with your hands?”
The hair ball called Nivel looked a little restless.
“So you have hands?”
“Yes. But, we cannot extend them out from our hair.”
Apparently, they had hands, somewhere under all that hair. And after seeing Ymir walk, I was sure that they must have feet as well.
In that case, why did they let it grow so long? Was it to protect against the cold?
I decided to ask Nivel.
“Why don’t you shear it off?”
“Why don’t we? Because we cannot. We are born this way. And the rules state that we must never cut it. Otherwise, we might inhale the ashes…”
“I don’t…see any ashes here.”
“…Yes. And so we do not pay the rules much mind. The real problem…is that this hair is very hard… We cannot cut it with stone.”
“I see… Wait one moment.”
I crafted some iron scissors in Magic Workshop.
“Ymir. Can I try cutting your hair with this?”
“My hair? Why, of course!”
“Alright… Hmm? Yes, it is quite hard.”
Much harder than the Mope wool.
“You’re right. I can’t cut it…”
I said, and then Iria unsheathed her sword.
“In that case, should I cut it with my blade?”
‘Eeee!’ Ymir squealed and shuddered.
“Iria, I think that would be too dangerous… I’ll try with dragon claws.”
And so I sharpened a dragon claw and crafted scissors.
“Let’s see how this does…ah, it cuts.”
Apparently, you needed scissors made of very good materials in order to cut it.
As for my wind magic…it could cut too.
As the hair began to fall, Ymir shouted with joy.
“Ooh! I feel like my body is becoming lighter!”
“If you don’t hate it, I can cut more of it off? And if it gets too cold, I can prepare some clothes and shoes.”
“Mmm! Yes, cut more of it!”
And so I continued to shear him.
And then, I saw a bright color beyond the hair.
It looked like human skin…but it was very pale.
“Is this…skin? Wait a minute.”
I reached the roots of the hairs and continued to cut away.
Eventually, what was exposed were what looked like human limbs.
His torso was still enveloped in hair, but his arms and legs were very similar to those of humans or demihumans.
I didn’t know if it was because Ymir was a child, but her torso seemed rather rounded.
“…I-Iria. Could you shear Ymir and the women? I’ll shear Mr. Musupe and the other men’s hair.”
Iria said, and then she began to sheer Ymir, Nivel and the other women.
At first, I used wind magic to shear Musupe, but I stopped once only the head and lower half of his body remained.
Musupe looked just like a human.
However, he was shorter than average, and quite stout.
But they did not have horns like the Kijin. Could they be…
“Are you…are you people dwarves?”
“Dwarves…? I do not know what that is. Is that what you call us?”
“Uh, yes… A tribe of people that are experts at mining and smithing, and are very strong… A legendary race of demihumans that were supposed to be extinct.”
I said, and then Musupe burst into laughter.
“Legendary! How very amusing! We are no more legendary than bats!”
“Perhaps your ancestors had a reason to have to live like that… Mr. Musupe. Can you hold this for me?”
I crafted an iron pickaxe and handed it to Musupe.
“This…? But…for some reason, I feel like I have held it before.”
“It is a tool to dig through rock.”
“Dig through rock…but how… No.”
Without listening to my explanation, Musupe began to swing the pickaxe repeatedly on the ground.
And then a clean crack appeared on the surface of the ground.
It broke so evenly for a first strike.
Not only were his arms strong, but he must be a natural as well. It was like breathing, and he did not need any instruction.
According to the legends, dwarf babies could use hammers and pickaxes like experts.
But Musupe looked confused.
“Wh-what is this feeling… It’s as if I know how to use it.”
“Father. Allow me to try as well!”
Ymir exclaimed, and then she swung the pickaxe as well.
“Oh! How amusing!”
And just like Musupe, Ymir was able to dig through the rock with skill.
Upon seeing this, the others of the Pelekus tribe swarmed around the pickaxe.
And so after that, I not only sheared them, but crafted pickaxes for everyone.
And just as we were finished, Mette and Melk arrived with the slimes who carried the food.