Chapter 196 – They Came Out!?
“Maybe over here…”
Milina the fox was desperately sniffing around in the plains.
“Cannot find them?”
“I can’t help it! After the magic used by the black cats, I can only smell burned carcasses.”
As Milina said, the whole field had been burned, and the smell of it still lingered everywhere.
In the first place, Melk also had a very good sense of smell, and she had already given up on it.
“Still, should it really be this difficult to find them? I do not even sense any presence.”
“Now that I think about it, Milina. You were all wearing special collars, weren’t you?”
Mette said as if suddenly realizing something.
“By wearing those collars, we are able to hide ourselves… I don’t know how it works, but father gave them to us.”
I nodded at this.
“Those collars had small magic stones inside of them. While they are a little too small for humans to wear… Milina, do you know a spell called Hide? It’s magic that allows you to conceal your appearance or presence.”
Milina thought about it for a moment before answering.
“I didn’t know it until Ms. Melk and the others taught us. But, I knew of a similar concealment art. Father used it a lot.”
“Magic taught by the Demon King, huh… Or perhaps it is magic that the foxfolk learned on their own.”
I said, and then Melk brought up something that she had been wondering.
“But, Milina and the others were not able to erase their smell.”
“Perhaps there is someone who can use something more powerful. Like when Lord Joshua uses Hide.”
Said Asuha, and I nodded.
“That would not be surprising. Perhaps the foxfolk are currently watching us from far away.”
“So they are being cautious, then. In that case, they might come out again if we leave…”
Mette said, though her expression looked a little troubled.
“But after defeating the enemy, the least they could do is come and thank the Nowa tribe.”
“Anyone would be cautious after seeing that magic earlier…”
Asuha said calmly, and Mette had to agree.
Besides, there was nothing to connect us with the foxfolk.
And so it was no wonder that they were cautious.
Rona then opened her mouth, as if she could not stand it any longer.
“Meow-meow. Then we shall just call them, meow… We have your children, meow!!”
“We are taking care of them, you mean!”
Mette said, and Rona tilted her head.
“Meow? You don’t like it?”
“No! It will sound like we have taken them as hostages!”
Mette said with exasperation, and then Melk turned to Milina as if it was a last resort.
“Milina. Sing the song. It might help.”
“Huh? Oh, that? But it’s embarrassing…”
“Hmph. You are so rough with people.”
Milina said. But though she was embarrassed, she started to sing.
Her voice was so pretty that even a human like me felt a sense of nostalgia while listening to it.
However, even after she was finished, the only answer we got was silence.
“Ohh…this is so embarrassing.”
“You shouldn’t feel that way. You were very good.”
Iria and Asuha clapped for her.
And then Mette said,
“In the first place, they may not be close by.”
“It is possible… What should we do, Sir Joshua?”
Iria asked me.
After thinking for a moment, I shouted.
“We will come back in order to return your children! Will you then lower your guard?”
There was no point in forcefully trying to find them if they did not want to be found.
The problem was…could they even hear me…
However, after a short while, a small, high-pitched squeak echoed.
And I sensed some faint magic coming from that direction.
“It’s over there.”
I turned to look. And then after a short while, a single fox appeared.
And then more and more foxes started to appear. And then I noticed that there were a few fox cubs that were laughing. Apparently, the parent foxes could not control them. They had reacted to Milina’s song.
“Mlina. Well done.”
Melk muttered. But Milina said, ‘It’s not me,’ bashfully.
And then, a representative of the foxes stepped forward and said,
“You… You are from the west, are you now?”
“Was it you people who got us involved with the fighting?”
Upon hearing those words, Mette objected immediately.
“Sorry, but those bugs have not appeared in our territory. Surely it was you who did something here?”
“But we just live alone. We do not communicate with the other races.”
So they were saying that they hadn’t done anything.
This fox was likely the chief. It seemed like they had no intention of cooperating with us.
I turned to look at Iria, and then said to the fox,
“There is no need to, if you do not wish to. And we will return your children at once.”
“We would be grateful for that. However, we have no way to thank you… Indeed. Ah.”
And then he turned to the other foxes.
“Your child…that child. We shall offer it to them.”
The fox had a dark expression, but nodded.
And then Milina raised her voice.
“He-ehy. What do you mean, offer a child…”
“We have no other way to thank you.”
“Bu-but, you can’t just…”
This was strange.
It wasn’t just me, but Iria and the others thought it as well. The idea of handing over one of your own to show your gratitude.
However, the foxes acted like this was normal.
It was then that two names appeared in my mind.
“Allow me to ask you this. Have you heard the names Kyuby and Yomotsu?”
Upon hearing this, the chief became silent. It seemed like he was trying his hardest to stay calm.
“According to my speculation… Kyuby is trying to get revenge against you. And the bugs were his assassins.”
I said, and the foxes suddenly became restless. Just as I thought, they seemed to know the name Kyuby. I could hear them muttering the name to each other.
The chief turned to the others and shouted angrily.
“Silence! Do not believe the words of strangers!”
“Aye, it is only speculation. However…I do not think that it is over. Kyuby seems to hate you greatly.”
The chief became silent again.
“In any case, I will return your children to you. However, please think carefully in the meantime.”
I said, but the chief did not nod in reply.
In any case, we decided to return to the village in order to fetch the fox cubs.