Giant Deer I
“You are going to accept this quest, Mr. Ajifu?”
The receptionist said with a puzzled expression.
Normally, a C-Rank Adventurer would not accept an E-Rank quest. So it was no wonder. And I had spent a lot of time recently, swinging away in the training grounds, and had attracted some attention within the guild.
It must have seemed strange to train so much, only to go on an E-Rank quest.
“I just want to test a new sword. Please.”
“If that is the case…”
She accepted it solemnly. As for the guild, they would have preferred C-Rankers to clean up the C-Rank quests. And E-Rankers would not like their quests to be taken away.
While murder bulls were E-Rank when alone, they could be very formidable monsters in herds. They had thick skin, and it was hard to deal damage with blunt weapons. You would need a good sword to cut to the bone. They also had vicious temperaments, and would often attack humans on sight.
But as this quest was to hunt lone bulls that had strayed near a village, it was an E-Rank quest.
The two horns that protruded from the murder bull’s head were sharp and pointed forwards. I sensed nothing but malice coming from it. But I managed to dodge its charge by moving to the side.
I cut deeply into its front legs. The momentum of the charge caused the murder bull to slam into the ground.
It tried to stand back up, but the wounds were too deep.
And yet, its murderous rage did not die even a little. That was apt, given their name. I stepped around and cut its hind legs as well. Then I trust my sword near the joint of its hind leg, aiming for its heart.
When I pulled out the sword, blood sprayed out, and the light left its eyes as its head slumped.
As for Mine Breaker’s first battle, it was barely a passing grade. I was a little nervous to use it for the first time, and wary of the murder bull’s thick skin, which made me use more magic energy than I needed.
There were things to improve on, and so I was glad that I picked an easier opponent.
I drained the blood and started a fire. The rising smoke was the signal. I could not carry a bull with me, and so people from the village would take it away by wagon, where it would become their food.
“C-Rankers sure are different. Good work. We’ll be dining on this meat tonight, and you are welcome to join us, Adventurer.”
As the hunters were going to carve up the meat, I left it to them and made my report to the village chief. I was then invited to a feast. Well, I was not one to refuse a free meal.
“Ah, we were very troubled, as it was staying near the water.”
That night, I sat at the feast and chewed on some meat while the chief poured some wine.
“Mm mnmrin mmoum momer monmms mn mhe marea?”
“I do not understand what you are saying. Here, drink this.”
I swallowed and took a sip.
“Any information about other monsters in the area?”
“Oh, there is. A horned deer has taken up residence near the charcoal furnaces in the mountains. Much to the horror of the hunters and loggers.”
A monster deer, eh? They were not like those other, quiet creatures. These were vicious enough to destroy goblin settlements.
They were Rank-D.
“Is there a quest out for that?”
“Things are rather severe in the village, and we cannot afford to put out a D-Rank quest. Thankfully, we have a small hut for the charcoal at the foot of the mountain, so it is not an emergency.”
Normally…a quest like this would pay ten in gold.
“I could do it for nine.”
Even if I accepted it at the guild, it would not be included in my completion rate. Since I was already here, it would be efficient to just negotiate directly.
“Hmm. We could send villagers to help you. And you can take the materials. But could you do it for seven gold?”
“I can’t take the meat with me anyway, so I would have to leave it. I also do not need the materials and will leave them here. So, how about eight gold, with help?”
They could eat the meat, and sell the skin and horns for a good price. Surely this was a good deal for the village.
“Hmm, I suppose I must accept then. Yes, please do it for eight gold.”
So it was settled. We shook hands on it.
“I’ll take you to the hunters and loggers tomorrow. But now, let’s drink!”
I did so without hesitation, and then slept at the chief’s house that night.
The following day, the chief and I went to visit the hunters, and there were five men waiting for us. Apparently, three of them were hunters, and two were loggers. And all of them knew the mountains very well. So they would be good to have around.
Three would be in charge of carving and transporting. And the two hunters would lead me to the charcoal furnace. The three that pulled the wagon would accompany us part way before we separated.
We left the village and entered a narrow path through the forest, towards the mountain. As the path was just the right size for the wagon, they clearly passed through here often.
Eventually, there was a slight incline, and it was the beginning of the mountain. We were almost at the point where we would split up, but then hunters in the lead suddenly stopped. I followed their gaze up ahead, and noticed the thing that was staring at us from above.
Even though it was far away, I could tell it was in the shape of a deer. But the size was completely different. And it had two giant horns and red eyes.
So it found us first. And there was another deer behind it. It was smaller though, and had only one horn. A doe.
The hunters began to slowly move back, so as to not anger it. The rest of us did the same.
So it was a pair. This was bad. While fighting two would already be tough, males were especially wild when part of a pair. This was the kind of quest that you would send a whole party to deal with.
It was too much for a C-Ranker.
The sounds of the wagon as it drew back. As if this was a signal, the horned deers began to bound down the slope.
A hunter shouted, and they abandoned the wagon and began to run. As the others fled, I alone stayed and unsheathed my sword.
I would buy some time for them… Well, that was not what I was actually thinking.
While I was able to run well enough now, I could not outrun a horned deer. So it was best to fight back from as good a position as possible.
In spite of there having been a good distance between us, I found myself dodging the antlers almost immediately. I rolled on the ground, but heard the hooves approaching again. Still on the ground, I rolled again to dodge it, just as the doe’s one horn shot passed me.
I swiftly rose to my feet. And the stag was on me again. And so I jumped to the side, rolled, and while on my knees, held up my sword. But there was no follow up attack. However, I was now sandwiched between them.
The horned deers watched as if to see what I would do next. They looked even bigger at this range. Three meters, easily.
And while I had been able to deal with the first attacks, this was still a dangerous situation. Just then…
An arrow flew, but bounced off the skin of the doe. It let out a cry. As the stag was distracted, I got up and moved two, three steps closer.
Someone had returned and shot an arrow from the forest. While it was reckless, it helped me.
Now that I was close, the stag turned to me again. But it was obviously concerned with the doe. I swung my sword to attract its attention, and took another step towards it.
The doe was now avoiding the forest, and trying to go around me.
I sent magic energy into Mine Breaker, and swung it, when I was just barely within reach. But it was blocked easily by the antlers. Still, the first attack had landed.
A second shot followed, but also bounced off the neck. I had to change positions so that the doe didn’t get my back, so my feet were not firmly on the ground.
However, a light attack would just be deflected. But I wanted to get in a good hit before the doe got any closer.
I increased the amount of magic energy in Mine Breaker, and slashed horizontally from a low angle. I was aiming for the legs, which would be difficult to block with the antlers.
However, the horned deer stood up on its hind legs, raising its front legs and dodging the attack.
And then, when my body was open after swinging through air, it stomped down over me.
The hoof felt like rock as it hit my arm.
I fell back, was knocked off my feet, and tasted dirt.
I couldn’t breath, and stayed on the ground. I felt dizzy, but there would be a follow up attack. I had to get back up. That’s what I thought, but the attack didn’t come.
While wondering about this, I raised my head. With the doe behind him, the stag had become still.
And its red eyes were looking down at me.
Bonus chapter courtesy of Photo. Thank you so much!!