Chapter 22 – First Monster
They traveled along the main road after leaving the town, and walked for about three hours before stopping to rest.
There were no monsters. And since Ralph and Menew did not talk, things were rather uneventful and mundane.
Menew sat down on the grass by the road and drank some water. He tried to think of something to say to Ralph.
“Uh… So, how was prison?”
Idiot. He berated himself, but you couldn’t always control what you said.
Well, maybe he could try to turn back time with his time manipulation skill… However, Menew did think much when using time or space manipulations skills. If he used them consciously, then his head would start to hurt.
“Ah, it was surprisingly comfortable. And the food didn’t stink. Even if it was tasteless.”
“Oh, I see.”
“Menew…can I call you that?”
It was pretty late to be asking that…
(Wait, did I go out on a journey with someone without proper introductions? That was reckless.)
Even worse, it was someone who he had thrown in prison. However, it was too late for regrets.
Besides, Ralph wanted to know how to refer to him, which showed that he was serious.
“I didn’t introduce myself yet. I am Menew. I lost my memory after falling off of a cliff. Nice to meet you.”
He said, and then showed a part of his status window.
Why are you alive? He seemed to say with his eyes.
“Ah, that? Um, don’t worry about it. I can still protect myself…”
“No, surely not?! The monsters in this area have a hunting level of 35 and above. You will have to be level 50 for some of the stronger ones!”
So saying, Ralph showed part of his own stats. Indeed, he had an impressive level of 63. His occupation was Swordsman.
As Menew had beaten him so easily, Ralph assumed that Menew would have a much higher level.
“Well, uh, I’ll be fine. Besides, I have Stan.”
Ralph looked at Stan suspiciously.
“…That divine beast?”
Ralph’s expression darkened. He recalled being stared at as if prey.
Stan then thrust his beak out provoking while perched on Menew’s shoulder, which made Ralph even more angry.
“Stan, don’t mock him. Don’t worry, Ralph. He’s small right now.”
“It’s not a problem of size… Well, fine then.”
He must have realized that Stan would make a very useful ally at least.
After all, Ralph was now feeling that he had agreed to go on a journey where he would have to protect a man who wouldn’t last a second if left alone.
He was probably regretting this decision.
“In the first place, where is your weapon? Don’t you have a staff?”
“Huh? This? I suppose?”
So saying, Menew showed his sketchbook and paintbrush.
Ralph let out a great sigh.
“…Are you mocking me?”
“No, not at all.”
It was the most powerful equipment of all. However, he could not say that now.
“I’m accustomed to this, so it will be fine. As for you Ralph. Can you use that sword now?”
“Ah, you cut my arm…the envy. So it won’t be able to possess me again. Though, I did lose a skill.”
Apparently, one his skills had been overwritten by jealousy, and then Menew cut it off.
He had thought that it was just an arm, but the sword had become one with the body. It was like the embodiment of the skill. And so even if there was a sharp pain when being cut off, it was the reason he was able to regain his real arm afterwards.
“Cursed equipment is cursed because it generally blurs the line between it and the flesh, preventing you from removing it. You either have to use magic barriers or spells… But your sword was able to cut through it.”
He asked if it wasn’t Menew’s main weapon, but Menew was not used to using swords.
Paintbrushes were much better, he insisted.
“You are level 2…and have that joke of a weapon… Are you mad? If it’s still safe enough for you to…”
Turn back. That was what Ralph was going to say, but he fell silent.
Menew didn’t know, but Stan and Ralph were both looking at the same spot. And then eventually, he turned to look.
In the forest surrounding the road, a fire was blazing. And he could hear voices.
“Goblins. It’s not too unusual for them to be around here, but they are dangerous.”
Hob Goblins. Menew had read about them in books. They were tougher and more intelligent than ordinary goblins.
While they used fire for traps and distractions, they were also weak to it.
“What makes them so bad?”
“Their numbers. They tend to move in packs of ten to fifteen.”
“Ah, I see.”
That was bad.
He looked at the map that Seker had given him. They were still quite far from the next town.
And so it would be best to avoid injury or using up items.
“Well, we wouldn’t want them to attack us from behind or end up in a pincer attack. So let’s defeat them.”
“You’re saying that as a level 2?”
He was not going to forget that part. Well, it was no surprise.
In an MMO, if you accidentally wander into a high level hunting ground, then you would die and be sent back to the town.
“As I said, I can protect myself. Don’t worry.”
Menew said as he got to his feet.
(It seems like it would be more convincing if I fought instead using the sketchbook to draw.)
And so he would not use it now. It had to be done in order to earn Ralph’s trust.
Ralph then unsheathed his sword, intent on protecting Menew.
“Stay as far back as you can.”
He said, and so Menew obeyed for now.
(This will be my first time killing something.)
He thought as he took five steps back.
When Ralph entered the forest, they noticed him.
Their voices hushed for a second, and the glowing yellow eyes widened.
They probably meant to surround him.
“I’ll take them on from the side. Don’t die.”
Ralph was being overprotective. After saying that, he rushed towards the left side of the goblins.
If words were not enough, then Menew would have to act.
His brush slid through the air.
First, he cast a fire enchant on Ralph’s sword.
Even though he was surprised, he continued to rush forward and slash as the goblin with his sword.
The fiery blade made contact, and as the wound burned, the goblin fell to the ground.
The body continued to burn.
At a glance, it was two against thirteen. They could not lower their guard.
Menew’s brush moved again, and this time, five magic circles appeared.
Search, Snake, Fireball, Firestorm, and Air Cutter. He then unleashed the magic at the seven goblins on the right side.
Search and Snake guided Fireball, which landed with precision, raising a great pillar of fire upon impact.
Air Cutter slashed through them, just as they were trapped in Firestorm and burned.
(…It wasn’t as hard as I thought. Perhaps it’s because I know they are enemies.)
The sudden pillars of fire nearly made Ralph stop in surprise. However, the fires did not spread, but faded away after burning their targets.
Ralph then returned to fighting the remaining hobgoblins, but support magic continued to fly. And he was shocked by all the magic that was coming from someone with such a low level.
He would have to question Menew after the fight. Ralph decided in his heart as he swung his sword.