12 – Mountain Ecology
The resting area that I was led to looked like a school cafeteria. There was even a ticket system. There were no fantasy elements at all.
The young hunter, Sylt, who had silver hair and blue eyes, taught me how to buy the tickets. Though, it ended up being the exact same as in Japan. Since he was going to pay for me, I ordered some tonkatsu. But it was called schnitzel here.
…There were other dishes that I did not understand, even after having them explained to me. And I did not feel like challenging myself at the moment…
The schnitzel was good. Instead of sauce, it was eaten with lemon juice. The salt and spices also added a lot of flavor.
The bread was soft, and not like that hard black bread you usually read about in fantasy books.
There was no Japanese food.
Though, I heard that there were places that served it, and the ingredients could be bought in the market.
As I was used to living in the mountains, I had not been too worried. And it looked like I would have no trouble when it came to food.
“So, are you an easterner then?”
I became a little frantic when asked that. And so I just muttered something vague, about having heard something like that before.
The old man had definitely looked the part. But he did not cook, and all we ate was beans, meat and vegetables.
“Ah, is this that Yukito?”
As I drank some coffee after eating, a low voice called my name.
A giant who was at least two meters tall was folding his arms and looking down at me.
He had a large scar near his mouth and looked like a ruffian.
“Mr. Grafios. So you came back.”
“Ah, if it isn’t Sylt. Yes, just now.”
The man called Grafios put his canned coffee on the table and sat down next to Sylt.
“I heard all about this wild child who was raised in the Galian mountains.”
“So, how is it, actually?”
What? I looked at him questioningly. ‘The mountains,’ he clarified.
“A-Ranks, perhaps even S-Ranks live in the Red Field, don’t they? I want to know what kind of monsters or demon beasts were actually there.”
Ah. I nodded vaguely.
In spite of his intimidating appearance, he might be more friendly when you talk to him.
He had a pleasant smile and his eyes seemed intelligent and not unkind.
I took a sip of coffee from the paper cup and thought back on the mountain.
Yes, as a hunter, that was valuable information. Knowing what kind of monsters lived there.
“Well, first of all. The mountain I lived on was the tallest one.”
As it was called the Galian mountain range, it was made up of a series of mountains.
Though, to be precise, it was one large mountain with others surrounding it.
“If I’m being honest, the other mountains are not that dangerous. Just some bears, wolves, snakes… Oh, and humanoid bird creatures near the top.”
“…I don’t know about these snakes, but are the humanoid birds, harpies?”
“And the tallest…the mountain we lived on, the monsters are completely different depending on the lower, mid, and high levels.”
The monsters on the low level were about the same as the other mountains. There were no harpies. At worst, there were bears like the huge one that the old man cut in half. It was the boss of that area.
And the mid level…that was where our cabin was. That was the level where you really started to see a lot of big monsters. Like Chimeras. Also, more of them use magic.
“After the mid level, there are huge birds, and flocks of harpies, so it’s quite dangerous. These harpies have black feathers and use wind magic for long range attacks. To be honest, it would be very difficult to deal with them without some kind of countermeasure.”
Those giant birds were probably called griffins. Or maybe a Roc. I would have to look it up later.
“That sounds pretty bad…”
“It’s the worst when I’m trying to climb up the side of a cliff. They try to shoot you down when your movement is restricted.”
Sylt must have been imagining it, as his face turned a little pale.
“However, there are dangerous monsters on the mid level too, right? I can’t believe that you actually lived there.”
“Ah, well… We had ways of dealing with them.”
“Really? Like monster repellant?”
Huh? Such things exist?
Well, I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising…
I shook my head and explained.
“We left the corpses of stronger monsters near the house. The monsters are quite intelligent, and so they see that it is dangerous, and keep their distance.”
Yes, it was a very simple solution. The ‘get any closer and you’ll die!’ strategy.
The only downside is you have to hunt regularly for it to be effective. And it couldn’t be a weak monster. That would have the opposite effect.
Drag down strong monsters from the higher levels and scatter them around. That kept the mid-level monsters away. Obviously, they smelled really bad, so they could not be placed too close to the house either.
Still, I saw how shocked the other two were, and regretted it.
We were in a dining hall. I shouldn’t talk about something so gory. Losing one’s appetite was an understatement. I felt bad…
“Um…by the way. There was a bag of black scales in your belongings…”
“Ah, those are from the dragon that lived on the top.”
Mr. Graphios suddenly shouted, rose to his feet, and glared at me.
Did I say something wrong!?
“Uh, well…I was thinking that I could sell them…”
Mr. Graphios was about to say something, but was interrupted by an electronic beeping coming from somewhere.
Sylt frantically pulled out a mobile device from his pocket.
“…Excuse me. Uh, ah, yes. Understood.”
After exchanging a few words, he hung up and let out a sigh.
“Ah… Mr. Yukito. All the matters have been attended to. But, um, there is someone who wants to meet you first.”
“Yes. Count Orlando. What will you do?”