-The Forest of Ente-
There are several small forests in the vicinity of Bern, and we enjoy the benefits that they provide us everyday. Of course there are many other creatures living inside the forest, including the kind of savage beasts that attack Humans. So setting foot inside the forest is always dangerous. Children are absolutely not allowed to enter the forest because we are trying hard to keep them out of harm’s way. Even adults usually party up with at least three or more people, when entering the forest.
One day I entered the forest to release pigs that were being kept in the village. If the pigs made it past winter we would be spending lots of effort in collecting food; such as acorns from the forest, in order to sustain them. But if we release them into the forest they can scavenge food for themselves and reproduce naturally.
We feed our domestic animals with the lesser quality grain we produce, and nuts from the rich forests. Some of our livestock is fed with high quality grain and nuts from the forest, so that they will have a higher quality meat and we can sell them to the aristocrats who love meat. The domestic animals fed with high quality food are the ones that were handpicked and bred specifically for that purpose, so their meat is more expensive than normal meat.
Walking in the forest are Selia, Christina, three other villagers, and myself, for a total of six people. Everyone in the group except Selia is armed with a long sword, a short spear, a bow and arrows, to fend off any dangerous creatures that we might encounter. These forests usually have more dangerous beasts than those near the Kingdom’s central area.
Judging from our equipment alone, one can easily understand how dangerous it is near Bern. Recently, the savage Goblins that are said to live in the dark wilderness to the northeast, have been spotted nearby, so the villagers are more cautious than usual. Considering that fact that Selia and I are both rare magic users in Bern, and the fact that the top-notch swordsman Christina is accompanying us, there shouldn’t be anything to be too stressed about.
At first, I thought that it is alright and I didn’t need to be on constant full alert. But after thinking about a certain event, I abandoned the thought. As I watched the pigs eat, I noticed buds blooming with a healthy greenish color, and then I spotted a wild beast approaching one of the pigs.
It is fortunate that I noticed it before it could pounce. I carefully observe the beast as it is gets closer to the pig that is eating. The beast is covered in brown fur with lightning-shaped black stripes on its side. Plus, its fur is quite glossy-looking. If the beast were to stand up on its hind legs, its height would be three times mine. Its four powerful looking legs give it both balance and strength, so it can pounce at any moment. Every claw on its paws are sharp, and look like the teeth of a crocodile. Its rounded ears are down, and golden eyes lock onto its prey with frightening intensity. Its growl is quiet and there are two long and large fangs protruding from beneath its jowls.
It is a rare sight of the rare savage beast, Saber Tooth Tiger, nicknamed Tiger Sword.
It is said that this large savage animal lives deep inside the Ents forest around Bern, where Humans activities do not reach. With its large body, and long teeth, it could easily tear through an Armored Bear’s hide. This beast is even more terrifying than the bear.
The fur covering its body is much harder than regular leather armor, plus it has a nice pattern to it. The teeth extending from its upper jaw are no less sturdy and sharp than iron, the length is also about the same as a dagger/around a hand-length-sword, so if a Saber fang Dagger/Sword were to be crafted, it would sell for a considerable price.
While moving behind the little pig to protect it, I draw my sword with my right hand and hold my spear in the other and point them at the Tiger’s forehead. Although Selia and Christina both notice the presence of the Tiger, they can’t move due to the emergence of another Tiger. They made the right decision to not move carelessly, because the current situation could get ugly quite fast. As I look closely, it seems as though the Tigers were fighting among themselves, because one of the Tiger has fresh wounds on its body, the trail it made is spotted with droplets of blood.
Is it possible that these two were fighting before we showed up?
Tracing back on the trail where the second Tiger came from, I see a dead boar with its neck shredded and its abdomen torn. The marks of the wound most likely belong to the Tiger.
Did they fight so one of them will have the boar all to themselves?
Compared to fighting another one of its kind, the pigs that we brought look much more promising to the Tiger.(editor’s note: it’s spring. They’re bringing the pigs back, not leaving them there.)
I think both Selia and Christina understood the situation, so with only this type of opponent there shouldn’t be anything to worry about. The presence of more Tigers or wild beasts cannot be detected so I place my attention on the Tiger in front of me.
It would only take one swipe of its paw, one bite from its fangs, being pounced upon with its sheer weight, etc… for a Tiger to kill a Human. Although the Tiger now focused its attention on me cautiously, there is no sense of fear emitting from it. It’s probably due to where the Tiger lives, it had never seen a Human before. Thus, as long as the beast isn’t being reckless, I likely won’t be in any danger.
I lower my sword and spear slightly. It is a clear provocation,“Are you going to come at me?” Its eyes take interest in my challenge. The Tiger is a predator with as much pride as any Human hunter. It positions its two front legs as to taunt me in return.
The Tiger’s two front paws dig into the ground and its leg muscles clearly show how monstrously strong this creature is. The Tiger with the black lighting striped fur launches its very adaptable and tough body at me and attacks. As the beast propels itself forward on all fours, the soil where it stood was blown off by the sheer force applied by its muscles.
As the Tiger is in the air, I adjust my sword and aim for the middle of the Tiger’s forehead. My long sword sliced through the warm spring air and created a silver arc. However, my sword did not go where I wanted it to. What happened in that short moment while the Tiger flew towards me, was that its front paw knocked the middle section of my sword away and made a short high pitch sound “clang!!”
After the sword was hit, I maneuver it so that the blade won’t crack or break, so the strike just now was simply a way for me to toy the Tiger. The Tigers eyes now show signs of anger for failing to break my sword. I outsmarted it. Therefore, the Tiger seems to lose its interest in me and more focus on the sword itself. I figure that since the Tiger’s attention is on the sword, it will then only attack it. It leaps at me again.
I drop my spear, and charge at the beast while lowering my sword to my side, hiding it from the Tiger’s vision. When I get into range, I slide under the Tiger and put the sword in front of me in a defensive position. I pass right under the Tiger and draw out my dagger on my belt with my left hand, and use it to stab the Tiger’s large and unprotected underbody.
The Tiger’s fur is quite hard, so I applied a little of my Dragon’s Magic into the blade, otherwise even the sword would be unable to pierce its skin. The Tiger definitely takes notice that its thick fur and muscles have been penetrated, and its life is being drained away. After having tasted the pain, the Tiger passes over my head and lands behind me.
Coincidentally, the Tiger and I look back at each other at the exact same time.
I observe the wounded creature calmly. The Tiger keeps its body low in a position where it can pounce again at anytime. However, my dagger is still embedded in its chest, and from its mouth, a torrent of blood is flowing out like a waterfall. My dagger is sticking out in the center of its chest, where its fluffy white fur is dyed blood red. The Tiger collapses completely and with its golden eyes, with some life left, is looking at me with the pride that was crushed by me, who is stronger.
I look towards Christina and the others, all are looking at me with a certain amount of respect. Looking at the Tiger where the others are standing, its wounds are much more severe, and from the look of it, it is also around a year or so younger than the one I fought. Either way, it did not stand a chance.
Fortunately, my worries were proven to be entirely false.
Looking as the fact that it was a clean battle, Selia must has used her Demon Eyes paralyzing effect, and Christina dealt the killing blow to the Tiger’s neck with her long sword. The fresh green buds and moss are covered in the Tiger’s blood, where their corpses laid.
Pun(Hmph), the thick smell of blood spreads through the air.
In the history of Bern, this is the first incident where someone encountered two Tigers and no one sustained injury, much less a casualty, without even losing any of the precious livestock. Overall, it is the best possible outcome for those who happen to engage the Tigers in battle. Only the other three men and I, who have been living in the village, know about this fact because Christina and Selia are new here, after all. We didn’t expect them to know our history that well in the first place. The Tigers are supposed to be living in a forest far to the east. There is definitely something abnormal going on around Bern. If this situation is left alone, then more savage beasts are going to show up for sure.
The corpse of the wild boar is buried so it won’t attract any more dangerous beasts near the area. The dead bodies of two Tigers are carried back to Bern.
When we return, Commander Balin decides to talk about what happened, how we encountered the two Tigers in the forest, in the Chief’s house. The emergence of the two Tigers in the area around Bern turns the Chief’s face pale, and managed to shock Maguru Obasan as well.
Sitting around the table is everyone who was involved in today’s incident, the village’s Chief, Maguru Obasan, and Commander Balin. I slowly raise my hand and request permission to investigate the forest.
“Village Chief, if the current situation is left unchecked, it can get much worse and out of control in the future. What I request of you is to grant me permission to investigate the forest before it gets to that point. Given the fact that there were not one, but two Saber Tooth Tigers that appeared today, it is certainly abnormal. You know this better than anyone, Chief.”
Hearing my unusually demanding tone, the village Chief lets out a short groan, Hamuu (*nibble*).
The village Chief is already over the age of sixty this year. If he was any average old man, he would have started slacking off a long time ago. However, the duty of the leader of this village rests on his shoulders, he cannot afford to fool around. Despite being old and exposed to the elements on farmland for many years, he still shows little signs of becoming senile.
His achievements and experience was recognized by everyone in the village, and that’s also something I yearn for. I hope in ten or twenty years, I will be able to take up the Village Chief’s position. (T.L. First thing he’s gonna do. Rename the village to “Drangonia.” Then conquer the world.)(Masa: dranland, also known as the harem country. Btw, Dran’s implying that he hopes the old man dies in the next 10-20 years.)
Being extremely concerned, the Chief brushes his white beard with his right hand.
“If this matter is left unsupervised and grows into an unfavorable situation, as you said it would, then it is in fact a very urgent concern. However, there isn’t any reason why I should send you alone. But we shouldn’t send too many either. Balin-dono, how many soldiers can you spare?”
“Oh, two or three people could go with Dran. If it gets to that point, we can always request reinforcement from Galois.”
Although Commander Balin is being serious about sending two or three soldiers with me, I find it rather bothersome, and it restricts my freedom somewhat.
“I think it is best not to send your soldiers with me Commander Balin, after all, I’ve a good understanding of the situation to some degree. It might not be good if some unexpected situation were to occur and everyone is split up. Unlike us, you Commander, and your troops are experts in warfare. In the worst case, it is best to have a strong defense force protecting the village.” (T.L. Smooth talker ~.~ he just wants to spend time with the girls xD)
Although we villagers do routine training in between farm work, there is no way we are at the level of Commander Balin and his troops, who train regularly and spend excessive amounts of time in studying warfare. They’re stationed here for a reason. To defend this village from bandits, barbarians, demons, wild beasts, etc. from harming the people living here. Their equipment is also being provided by the kingdom, and they are very effective in battle. Besides, there is no need to bring anyone into a situation where it might be dangerous and they can get injured.
With my strong counter argument, the Chief once again lets out a short groan, Hamuu (*nibble*).
The decision of investigating the forest is certain, however, it may take a little time to decide who will go.
Yes, it will take time for him to decide after all.(Editor Note: implying that he’s taking advantage of an old man)
Just as I thought to myself, regretting the fact that I may not be able to go alone. Selia raises her hand full of enthusiasm.
“Yes! If it is so, I will go with Dran-san to investigate the forest. I have my Demon Eyes and I can also use magic. After all, I did paralyze the Saber Tooth Tiger today. If it’s Dran-san and I, we can deal with pretty much any surprise the forest has.”
“Ojo-chan wants to investigate with Dran, is that so? Although we had not heard of any rumors of a Lamia tribe living inside the Forest of Ente, if it’s Ojo-chan, that certainly reduces our worries. It’s a duo of magicians so both of you can manage somehow, but…”
Just how much reassurance does it takes to convince the Chief?
In addition to Selia, there is also another person who both the Chief and I did not consider to be of interest in our village affair.
With that said, Christina who had been silent up until now, stands up from her chair and looks at the Chief with a determined look for she was with us when the Tigers showed up.
“If you don’t mind Village Chief, I will also accompany Selia and Dran. My skill with the sword is quite decent, and I have also learned some magic. I hope you will allow me to investigate the forest. How does that sound? ”
The Chief who was on the verge of letting Selia and I go, shows a different reaction when Christina asked to investigate the forest with us.
“Absolutely not! If you involve yourself in this matter and end up injured, there is no way we can allow that to happen. We are grateful for your offer but this is a matter of our village. Please pay it no mind and stay in the village, and never think about going into the Forest of Ente.”(Editor’s note: there’s no easy way to go about editing this, It’s simply japanese grammar clashing with english.)
After hearing the Chief insisting on keeping her out of the village’s matters, Christina keeps her cool look and stays silent. Somehow, it seems that Christina’s relative or some high officers she knew had a very deep relationship with Bern. Commander Balin also seems to be agreeing with the Chief, he must know something about her background as well. With Christina’s noble appearance, most of the villagers have already predicted that she has some noble lineage in her. It is not exactly surprising in the least. With the strong premonition I’ve been holding in my chest, I speak out.
“Village Chief, even if you denied Christina’s involvement, will you allow Selia and me to go and investigate the forest? If the third or fourth person isn’t decided soon, I will proceed ahead and investigate the forest. How about it, Chief?”
“Umu, very well. The task of investigating the forest will be left to you and Ojo-chan. From the bottom of my heart, I value your life as much as I do mine. If you are to go, you’ll have to abide one condition: return alive and well.”
“I understand. Selia and I will come back without fail, and we won’t have a single scratch on us. We will try our best to unravel this mystery.”
I replied with a strong and confident voice to reassure the Chief, and he nods his approval. So in the end, Selia and I received approval to investigate the Forest of Ente from the Chief, and under Commander Balin’s supervision, we go back to our homes and prepare supplies to head out.
The next day, I inform the Chief that I predict this investigation will take several days. Therefore, I am taking several days worth of food, water, and medical supplies. I am also taking my long sword, and the dagger I used to stab the Saber Tooth Tiger through its heart.
My preparation is almost finished, with me putting on my shin guards, and arm guards made from the skin of a Large Crocodile, and lastly a chest plate. Everything that is needed for minimum protection. I tied my leather flask onto my belt, swung my bag over my shoulder and walk over to the North Gate where Selia and I are to meet up. As for my field and house, I’ve asked Marco to take care of it while I am away like last time.
It is still quite early in the morning and I can see the silvery moon in one corner of the sky, and in the other I see sunlight dyeing the horizon with a golden color.
Will the day brighten before we reach the forest?
As I walk to the North Gate, I see some familiar faces and greet them. When I arrive at the rendezvous point, I see Selia, with her bulky bags behind her, already waiting for me. As I raise my hand to greet her, I notice Selia’s troubled face, so I lower my hand.
The reason is the person standing next to her in the clear chilly morning air, with a very elegant appearance, and the beauty that transcends Heaven and Earth. It is the maiden Christina, wearing black metal shin guards, arm guards, and a chest plate in the same fashion as I.
Christina, whom the Chief objected to entering the forest with us, has her luggage at her feet. There was surprisingly little, and it seems like she is planning to tag along. Seeing Christina’s beautiful figure dressed in black clothing and armor takes my breath away. Seeing my reaction, Selia and Christina both have an awkward smile. The sound of Christina’s laughter sounded very fake, almost as if it is cracking. Judging from that, her sociability isn’t exactly perfect.
“Good morning, Dran. The weather is very good for traveling. Don’t you think so?”
“Good morning. The weather looks very promising. However, haven’t the Chief and Commander Balin strictly forbidden you from going into the eastern forest, yesterday?”
“Oh, they certainly have told me not to do so in the hall, but I just happen to be out walking for a few days. I have this occasional urge to travel up the river stream and go to the eastern forest. It’s just a coincidence that you two are taking the same route. And besides, I do not know the area around Bern very well so if I go alone, I may end up getting lost in the forest.”
She may or may not follow us all the way, but it is quibble, more or less.
It seems like this fellow is very bored living in the village and wants to use this opportunity to relieve her boredom.
Should I say that my analogy is very accurate?
“There is no telling how the Chief may react to your excuse. At the end of the day however, we are all going to be scolded. First off, why do you want to accompany us to investigate the forest? Judging from how the Chief reacted when you proposed the idea, there is something more to you, and I do not want to place you in any danger.”
My indication clouds Christina’s face, but her beauty doesn’t seem to fade at all.
Since I am going on this trip with the condition of coming back alive and well with Selia, if Christina tags along as an individual, as long as she is unharmed, it’s all good.
“When I was a child, my relatives told me that our ties with Bern are very deep. However, it is not necessarily the case with me. I have almost no relation with Bern personally. The reason why I am here in Bern is because I was told about this village and decided to travel here some day. While being in the village, I picked up signs of trouble surging. Since the problem isn’t something complicated, all I want is to sincerely offer help with my power. Surely dangers are to be taken into account. However, I have confidence in my swordsmanship, and with your navigation skills in the forest, which certainly are better than mine, we can cover our weaknesses and no danger will fall upon us.”
Fumu. It seems that despite having a beautiful face, and being the embodiment of beauty itself, she unexpectedly has some rough personal issues, and is willing to voluntarily go head-first into the first sign of trouble, where other beauties like her wouldn’t.
Christina, with her beautiful skin shining like new snow, and a determined look emitting from her red eyes, looks straight at me waiting for my answer. As Christina’s eyes shine brighter and brighter, it’s almost as if the more determined she is, the brighter her eyes glow, so I turn to Selia and ask.
“Selia-san, what do you think about this matter? I’ll go with your decision since I do not mind it at this point.”
I asked Selia for her opinion….She takes a brief moment to think while tapping her index finger lightly on her lips.
With the tip of her tail wriggling, her head tilting to one side, and her relaxed overall look, I feel at peace whenever she’s like this.
“Isn’t traveling together a good thing? We are just going to investigate the forest and get out of there quickly, and since Dran-san, Christina-san, and I are going together, it surely will be fun, and much safer.”
Selia replied with a smile, and seeing her smile, I have a feeling that not going with her decision wouldn’t be very nice on my part. “The decision have been made” as I want to say it out loud.
“I understand. Let it be that Christina just happens to go to the same destination, and she is going to travel with us out of convenience, no complaints? If so, it’s all good.”
“Yes. It’s good to have companion who are as outstanding as you two.”
After we made some changes, the initial party of two, now with three, heads for the Forest of Ente. The road leading from Bern to the edge of the forest is wide enough so that two small wagons can travel side-by-side. However, the condition of the road is quite bad due to long exposure to heavy rain and snow, plus it was elevated above the farmland, and on two sides, weeds grow densely. Some portions of the road gave away so these parts are very narrow and sluggish. (T.L Search “village road” on google to get an idea if you’re a city/shut in boy/girl. No offend.)
The Forest of Ente is a collective of large unexplored forests that covered the entire northeast and eastern regions of the kingdom, extending well beyond the border into neighboring countries. Of all the countless explorers, and explorations that had taken place, the total amount of area they were able to explore and map is around one-fiftieth(1/50) of the forest.
Despite the fact that we enjoy the benefits that the forest gives us, living inside it are savage animals and Demons that could easily kill people. For them, Humans are mere prey. The forest also has some kind of magical effect, probably being produced by magic plants, which easily upsets one’s sense of direction. The climate inside the forest is also very humid and has lots of vapor so food can’t be kept for very long, and if one finds food there, one better know if it is edible. Many lives were lost during the exploration expedition.
Yet, the reason as to why there were so many expeditions is because of the rumors that deep inside the Forest of Ente lay the ruins of the once glorious ancient Elves Kingdom, who in ancient times controlled this entire continent. And its people, the Elves, are asleep within. Adding the fact that every expedition so far had failed, it gave people more reason to believe in the story.
In the past, there were lots of strong and troublesome Demons, and wild animals in the vicinity around Bern. Some examples are man-eating spiders, large lizards that glide through the air like flying squirrels, etc… Thanks to the efforts to exterminate all Demons, the villagers were able to enjoy life as it is now. However, the act of deforestation to get wood to build a defensive wall and make space for farmland, harmed the forest. But at the same time it gave Bern good protection in case danger strikes, as it had happened many times already.
I was eager to explore the forest ever since the Armored Bear showed up. If I happen to discover the Elves’ ruined Kingdom on this trip, all the more exciting.
As we get closer to the Forest of Ente, the smell of wood intensifies, and the earth and water attribute magic grow stronger.
On the ground, there is a stream of a river, a spring coming off of the ground. It would be very difficult for a house to be built here, much less a village, since the ground here simply won’t last with ordinary building methods. However, if Selia or her tribe were to live here, they would find it quite comfortable.
Regardless, we arrive at the site where signs of deforestation are obvious and there are some huts nearby. Inside one of the huts on the right is a small kitchen, and on the left is the fireplace and in the middle is a table with six chairs. In addition to that, there is a door in the back which seems to be leading to the bedroom. There is a moderate amount of dust, but it is to be expected since these type of huts were not made for long term living. They were made for workers to cut down trees and abandon them when Demons attack or when their jobs were finished.
We dust off the table, sit down on the available chairs and bring out the food we brought from our bags. It’s best to be full of energy before heading into the forest. Christina also eats the preserved food that she brought along without making any complaint. Looking at Christina, who is supposed to be an aristocrat, her actions and reactions to things commoners do does not fit the image I was told. Did I perhaps misunderstand something?
I cannot come up with a suitable explanation as to how or why Christina possesses such beauty.
Was it because she received the blessing from the Goddess of Beauty, or was it a coincidence that she was born into an aristocratic family by chance? And what is the hardship she is carrying?
These are things that I want to know.
After we finished our meal, we leave the hut, and walk into the forest.
We soon find ourselves, or rather, our feet being covered by yellow, green, and red glowing grass on the ground, which from afar would looked like they were layers of colorful cat fur. There are places where the roots completely covered the ground with moss growing on top of them, which gave me a hard time walking. But I got used to it with a little practice. Of course walking on top of these areas with leather boots isn’t exactly a bright idea, but I can’t help but be jealous of Selia who treads over the terrain while leaving behind a much better “footprint” than mine. The footprints I make are deep and the moss which was trampled over is unlikely to have survived.
With the branches of tall and old trees covering most of the sky above, only small rays of sunshine are able to get down to the forest floor through the gaps. Selia and Christina’s hair shines under the sunlight like liquid gold and silver, but whether they are real gold or silver doesn’t matter, I am fascinated by their beauty. Paying too much attention to them has caused me to lose my footing several times already.
Soon, we are starting to be attacked by Demons and wild animals. As we continue on, the frequency of attack increases.
I cut the head of the a Todai Lizard clinging on the huge tree and its head falls down on the ground. Turning back, I swing my long sword at another one behind me. (T.L. Todai is the same as large.)
I perform a slash half of my normal speed and cut its neck, and another head rolls. The smell of burnt blood tickles my nose. The heat created by the friction between my blade and the lizard’s hard skin is enough to burn the blood on my sword.
These oversize Lizards have tough skins and bones. It’s usually take more than one strike to kill them but I’ve more than enough muscle strength to cut them in one swing. Usually, Todai Lizards attack alone so this was just a coincidence, nevertheless there are no more threats here. I’ve taken care of the two Todai Lizard that were here. Selia noticed them a bit late and attacked the headless lizard still clinging onto the tree.
With my sword still stained with the blood of the Todai Lizard, I am wondering if I should skin the Lizard. The Todai Lizard’s skin is very sturdy, it would no doubt make some nice equipment. However, we are currently inside the forest, and it’s not a good idea to increase our luggage anymore.
It’s a waste, but can I do nothing but to let nature claim it?
Selia is keeping an eye out above the branches with concentration in case of another attack, but rather looking scary, her eyebrows are drawn up and she look very cute. Mumumu.
She holds her fists up at her chest, so it adds more to her cuteness*. Christina and I let out a small smile when we notice a large insect crawling on the forest floor. I have to admit that the creatures that live in the forest had adapted to the environment very well. The insect for example moves against the leaves, grasses, and the branches without even making a sound.(T.L. Kinda like the “teary eyes” )
“Selia, there’s nothing above. Look under here.”
“What? Eh, what is it?”
Reacting to my voice, Selia looked on the ground level and spots the spider closing in on us.
The spider is huge, its height is around the level of my chest. On its legs, hair grew very densely and looked fuzzy. The Spider’s colors are purple, red, and yellow, all of which are signs of a poisonous creature. The Spider’s eight big red eyes look at us as nothing but prey.
Fumu. With three of us, it would be excellent to have a team battle.
There is also a type of Demon with lower body of a giant spider, and upper body of a woman. They are call Arachne Demon.
They really do live in the forest.
Arachne’s threads can be sold at a very high price since the thread can be made into clothing that is very comfortable and durable. That said, the material is in very high demand on the market.
There are rumors about villages of Arachne living in other forests and exchanging domestic products. By all mean I want to visit one of those villages.
Arachne’s attack are uncommon but their Demon Spider cousin’s attacks are quite common. They shared insane agility, jumping power, and tough strings from its bottom(spinnerets). The reason as to why fighting them is very troublesome is due to those three points mentioned.
For those of us who are in an area dense with trees and slippery ground, it is a huge disadvantage when facing Spiders who live here and possess excellent agility. If Christina, Selia, and I were to be defeated here, we will be killed and eaten. Quite a thought.
I grasp the movement of the Spider, jumping from left to right in a zigzag pattern, using my enhanced senses. As the Spider closed in while baring its fangs, I use my sword and repel the bite.
With its first attack failed, the Spider’s blood lust increased several fold and it jumps up in the air creating a gust of powerful wind and cuts through the air. I sense magic was used in that jump. While the Spider is out of my sight, I still know its exact position thanks to my enhanced senses.
When it’s about to land, I turn and pierce its head with my sword. The blade went through the spider’s hard shell and liquid starts to flow out. While in pain, the Spider hammers its legs down on the ground with a lot of force, and I give it another thrust. The Spider drops onto the ground with a loud sound and so much force that it could crush it’s smaller cousin spiders to the thickness of a sheet of paper.
I’ve taken care of the Spider that came at me, looking back at Selia and Christina, each of them is dealing with a Spider of their own.
“Earth Lance! Ei!” (T.L. “Ei” = “Take that!” SFX)
The thin magic spear flies close to the ground shredding the grass and moss, piercing the Spider through its abdomen. The Spider couldn’t even let out a scream, and just makes some small noises.
It is necessary to chant when using magic, like when Selia did when fighting the Bear, with enough practice the chants shorten and can become very effective in combat. However, shortening the chant while delivering that much destructive power would drain the magician greatly. Selia blew the Spider away with a single shot thanks to my supply of Dragon magic.
It isn’t something to be surprised about since Selia and I live in a village where attacks from Demons are quite frequent. It’s good to let Selia practice fighting so she knows what to do when the village is under attack.
The same time Selia finished off her Spider, Christina is also done with her Spider. She pulls her sword out from the Spiders corpse while the strange liquid oozes out.
Each of us stand close to our respected kills and look at each other, confirming the situation. Seeing that no one was hurt and no more Spiders were around, I feel relieved. Selia asks me to confirm my situation.
“Dran-san, You are not hurt anywhere are you? If only I was able to take a notice of them sooner…”
“There is no need for you to worry. As you can see, I’m fine and well. I’m not hurt anywhere. We are still inside the forest, from now on, things will only get more dangerous.”
As we go deeper, we sometimes encounter Large Birds which make a mess by dropping hundreds of feathers onto the forest ground. There are also the wolves living in Ente, attacking us at quick intervals.
Selia aside, Christina and I, who are normal Humans with legs running across the root covered forest floor, are drained of physical strength. It’s not like we travel fast, because we aren’t, the ground is slick and even “running” is traveling faster than walking.
The attacks keep coming non-stop from all sides, not only Demons and animals, but also strange insects attack us.
The abnormalities of Ente continue to surprise me.
The color of the forest slowly changes from dark green, yellow, and red to more dangerous colors such as blue, purple, black, etc… sometimes, we even step in some nasty liquid on the ground. The bizarre circumstances also apply to the trees and vegetation here. The tree barks have varied colors, and instead of growing straight towards the sky, they twist and turn at random, covering the path. It looks like they are decomposing as well. The ley-lines of this area are severely messed up, all the nutrients that are necessary to sustain life no longer linger here, and thus plants and animals cannot survive in such a habitat.
“This is awful. It is like another world, or perhap a miasma…“
I, using my Dragon soul, and Selia who can naturally feel the ley-lines, expressed our concern so Christina can observe the abnormal situation. If it’s a miasma, then it would be as if the boundary between the Spirit world and Material world was broken and is causing all of the things we see here, a much more severe case compared to the Berserk Earth Spirit at the swamp. It is to an extent that it gives goosebumps to whoever is near it.
Selia raises her magic power to cover her body, and Christina draws her sword, ready to strike. The “enemy” Selia and Christina are seeing are one of the spirits that came from the Spirit World and was tainted, thus it look very ugly and unfriendly. Most of the time Humans mistake them for the souls of the dead. Both Selia and Christina are in attack mode and oblivious to that fact.
The stench of thick blood and death fills the air, decomposing materials and dirt covered the spirit, even I won’t blame anyone for mistaking it is a spirit of the dead. Then, a big tree gives away, falls onto the spirit, crushing it, and just happens to create a path for us.
Shortly after, we find a corpse of a beast on the ground, blood stains can be found on the trees and grass around it. The corpse looks as if it was killed quite some time ago, maybe four days old. It is an Armored Bear with brownish fur, and its body has been torn with many cuts. The scene looks very gory. This particular Armored Bear is even bigger than the one that showed up near Bern.
Looking at the cuts, what would’ve possibly happened to this bear? Whatever it is, it’s something we must watch out for.
“Uhg”, Selia made a small groan after seeing the tragic remains of the Armored Bear.
Christina and I inspect the corpse for further clues as to who or what killed it, while Selia stands to the side and watches.
The thick armor like fur should have protected the Bear from most slashes and pierce attack, but these cut reach deep to the white of it’s bone, a splendid cut indeed. Even with the Saber Tooth Tiger’s sword, such a cut is not possible.
“Can you replicate such a cut, Christina?”
“No, I can’t do it. Plus, there are many cuts, it cannot have possibly done by one individual. They were ruthless as well.”
This is certainly an important issue. I also agree with Christina’s statement and have an unpleasant feeling about this.
“These cuts are aimed towards avoiding a fatal attack, and prolonging death. They enjoyed watching the animal suffer as it died slowly.”
Judging from the wounds, they could easily killed the Armored Bear with just a single strike. Instead, they choose to kill it slowly, aren’t they a bunch of savages?
Is the one organizing this kind of killing, messing with the Forest of Ente and driving animals out of it?
As I thought, if this were to be delayed, it would become troublesome for sure.
It might be a little too early to feel relief since the danger is still very much real here.
“At the very least, the soul of this bear will be able to rest in peace in the Sea of Souls.”
“You know of such a thing?”
Christina opened her eyes wide and asked me, who was speaking some petty words to the Bear.
It is difficult to understand where exactly Souls goes, for it’s not exactly a place.
“It’s just an analogy. I feel pity toward this bear, and it is only right to honor the dead.”
“Well, that’s that. If we left this corpse of the Armored Bear alone, there is a possibility it will turn into an undead.”
“Yes, that possibility exists.”
Naturally, a corpse like this would be picked at by scavengers and slowly turn into soil that enriches the earth, but since this situation is abnormal, someone or something could manipulate the corpse and turn it into an undead.
There’s no better way than to bury it.
I interfere with the soil and in the process of burying the Bear, I pick up an unfamiliar presence and instinctively reach for my sword. Christina noticed the presence at the same time I did, and our Lamia is the last one to take notice. Was Selia disgusted by the corpse and slow to pick up the presence?
“It seems like we will be able to meet the people who were responsible for this soon enough. Christina, Selia, are you both prepared?”
“Was there any preparation to speak of? Their attentions seem to be aiming at us directly.”
“Let’s run away.”
So we begin running away, Christina, with her sword in hand, leads the way through the ground covered with grass, tree roots, and branches. Our pursuers are chasing after us, and we can hear them jumping(moving) from side to side, from the corner of our senses. But even when they are moving relatively fast, they don’t seem to be able to keep up with our pace.
Wait, isn’t Christina suppose to be a normal Human according to my analysis?
I run after the trail that Selia makes with her snake body. Looking back, I see small figures like that of monkeys soaring from trees to trees at their best and chase after several twinkling silhouettes. Their heads and feet resembled that of a lizard, however, the face don’t look like a lizard in the least. Their skin is gray, and their claws are seemingly made of overly grown bones. When I look at them closely, their claws dig into the trees with ease. That’s when I realize how easy it must have been for them to shred the Armored Bear apart.
“Wha… are those?”
I try to remember exactly what those Demons are in order to answer Selia as we run. I have no knowledge of what they are nor was I told about any Demons with that appearance.
However, existed within my memories prior to my reincarnation into a Human, they are creatures I’ve encountered countless times.
“They are lower class Demonic soldiers. They are called Zeruto. They are small, agile, and possess superb agility. They are very troublesome, especially because they are small and it is hard to hit them. Christina, you better think twice before fighting them head on, one wrong move and you would be sliced into multiple parts.”
Demonic soldiers refer to the minions of the Evil God/Demon Lord that live in Hell. They are known for their matchless cruelty, ferocity, brutality, and are extremely aggressive. They hold no love for the beauty of life, living only for destruction. The proof of this can be found on the Armored Bear’s corpse.
For them to appear in the material world, some Demon Lords or an Evil God must have come up with a method of sending them here. If there happens to be an army of them in this world, only disaster awaits the humans living on this Earth.
Selia lets out a wry smile with a few drops of sweat on her forehead.
“It’s…good to know that.”
“They are recorded in one of Maguru Obasan’s book.”
It’s a lie if you want to call it, there’s no other way of settling it quickly. It’s easy enough with Selia, she won’t ask too much about it if I say I read it somewhere. Then the lower class Demonic Soldiers found us and change their malice directly towards us, and closing in on our position.
“Selia! Use your Demon Eye!”
Selia seeing the Zeruto closing in is trembling, but at my yelling her body shakes, and she replies in panic.
The Zeruto are fast, small, and have lots of place to hide, so it is a disadvantage for a Lamia to use the Demon Eyes ability. All of the Zeruto immediately hid behind the trees.
As expected, this will be a very difficult fight for me and Christina, even with Selia’s support.
After a second or two, the Zeruto continue their advance. Their height is up to my waist. Their bone claws are dyed blood red, even if there are only eight of them here, it is enough to say they are the reincarnation of death inside the forest.
For Zeruto, their favorite place to attack are the legs. These creature would slice off their enemies legs or rid their enemy of mobility, in terms of an army of numbers ranging from thousand to ten of thousands, they would be on top of you once your movement is cut off. They would then proudly paint the ground with the blood of their enemies.
A Zeruto slice the tree trunk with it’s five bone claws, making the tree fall in the process, and look at Christina and I with its slimy face. Christina kicks off the ground with her strengthened body and aims straight for the Zeruto’s black eyes. Christina kicks off the root on the ground, and the place exploded, her movements toward the Zeruto are very manly.
Wait, the power she put into that kick made the root explode?
Turning away from her silver hair dancing on the wind, I see Selia invoking her magic against three Zeruto.
“Hear my prayer! Become my Arrows and pierce my enemies!”
It’s the chant to create the Arrow she used against the Armored Bear. With her reservoir of Magic and the Magic of whoever she prayed to combined, the shape of her spell is unique to her only. Even if the Arrows are small and lack the destructive power of the Earth Lance, they still hold enough power to kill the Zeruto. What’s more, Selia is skilled enough to make the attack lock on to their targets. A total of six green arrows were made after her chant finished, then I engage two Zeruto that come at me from above. Kyun, the Arrows make a shrill sound flying through the air to it’s designated Zeruto. The path which each Arrow fly leave behind a green trail of light. The Zeruto’s who magic resistance is utterly nonexistent can’t defend themselves against regular magic attacks, much less the magic Arrows that were made using my Dragon Magic. Each Zeruto gets two arrows, one hit the head, and one hit the abdomen, the Arrows slide through them like a hot knife through butter. Three of them have two big hollow holes one through their head and on through their chest.
They fall on to the ground and disintegrate into gray dust. Three gone, there are five remaining. Three of which are fighting Christina. One was already defeated.
With the way Christina fights, the Zeruto couldn’t even touch her body. Her swordsmanship far surpasses that of Marida, her balance is superb, her attacks are accurate, and over all, she possesses tremendous physical strength.
The other two Zeruto come at her with twenty sharp bone claws on the left and right filled with murderous aura. They plan to trap her in like a bird cage. I run for the other two Zeruto with my sword in hand.
How will it attack?
Then, the speed of the Zeruto in front of me decreases, turns back and aims straight at me. The second Zeruto them comes from behind aiming for my legs. Indeed, this is an effective strategy for when you are in a two vs. one situation.
Fumu. They are surprisingly smart.
The Zeruto in the front aim to shred my head to bits, while the one coming from behind aim to crush my legs. I’ve practice a lot with the soldiers, and I’ve observed many moves in my collective experience, there are many things i still I want to do, therefore, I won’t fall here.
I move to the left, and the Zeruto coming from behind follows up and tries to stab my waist. I use my sword to deflect the blow so it deals as little damage as possible. By the time it reaches my waist, it only does a small scratch since it lost all of its momentum. I feel a little bit of stinging pain.
Using no particular technique, I strengthen my body with Dragon Magic, and swing my sword with speed as fast as sound down toward the Zeruto. The blade pierce through its head and into its body.
As for the Zeruto who was aiming for my head, without having anything in my left hand, I reach out and grip onto the creature’s head charging at me restlessly and trying to kill me just like its kin.
I treat the Zeruto like an eagle with sharp talons, handling it in my hand carefully to avoid its claws. The gray skin feels rough like rock. There is no warmth in this creature, as if it were a corpse absorbing the warmth of the living. I overlay the muscle memory from my Dragon soul onto my body. I send my condolences to the parent of this child, sorry for the pain its about to experience. To a normal Human, the head of the Zeruto is hard and sturdy, but in my hand, it feels like a fragile eggshell. Even if it was for a brief moment, my muscular strength rises above what is normally possible for an adult dragon. I stop my supply of Dragon magic flowing through my body, and my strength returns to being Human.
After confirming that the two bodies of the Zeruto had turned into dust, I turn toward Christina and Selia.
A huge snake manifested and immediately latches onto a Zeruto. The huge snake snatched the Zeruto away, leaving Christina one opponent. Christina makes quick work of it and decapitates the remaining Zeruto. The snakes fangs dig into the Zeruto’s neck, snapping it, then it slowly fades away, Selia must have runs out of Magical power to sustain the magic. Seeing that all the Zeruto had been dealt with, Christina and I sheath our swords, and we regroup.
“That was dangerous. Thanks for helping me.”
“It’s only natural for me to help. If I was in that situation, I’m sure you would lend a hand as well.”
What Selia said is true. Without Selia’s help, Christina would’ve most like been trapped between the Zerutos, resulting in heavy injuries. Christina’s reaction and power far exceeds that of normal men, but for her to take on all three and come out on top, she is certainly very skilled.
“We were the ones being chased, why did you not run away at the first sign of trouble, little Ojo-san?”
Christina, Selia, and I move our gaze toward the sound of the voice, and find a small person covered in twinkling light, who was being chased by the Zeruto. It has the shape of a little girl, around the height of one tenth(1/10) of a Human body and has sparkling light surrounding its body. It seems like the little girl is giving off light from her body.
The girl settles her long jade hair behind her back, on both sides of her head she is wearing two yellow ribbons. On the back, two tiny transparent butterfly wings extend out, scattering light particles.
“A Fairy? The cuteness makes it seems like you jump right out of a book. Fumu.”
“Waah.. It is my first time seeing a Fairy! It’s tiny and lovely!”
Upon finding out the identity of the one being chased by the Zeruto, Christina and Selia showed such feminine reactions. Especially Christina. Without her normal solemn expression clouding her pretty face, she seems like a common girl.
It was a rude thought, I should not think about her bloodline.
There is still time, the opportunities to learn about Christina will increase. I hope for a time where there will be no misunderstandings between us. So far, we have been making educated guesses about what’s going on. Its would be good if we can talk to this fairy girl and get a clue as to what is happening to the forest.
The Fairy is wearing a petal designed dress, which suits her very well, and would certainly cause quite the commotion amongst a crowd of men. However, the Fairy is wary about the appearance of strangers. It cautiously approaches us, to ask in a light and somewhat frightened voice.
“Th-Thank you for helping me.. It is Human-san? And Lamia-san, ni?”
“Ah, yes. My name is Dran. The woman with red eyes and silver hair here is Christina, and lastly the girl of the Lamia race is called Selia. We came from the nearby village of Bern to investigate the forest and try to find out why animals such as Armored Bears, and Saber Tooth Tigers showed up near our village. Can you tell us?”
“Ni! It is M-Marl. It turned while chasing, a-and lived! Th-Thank you very much! However, for everyone to go near human-san’s village….”
Seeing Marl’s upset innocent face looking down, Christina seemed eager to comfort her. Christina’s dark expression seems to fade away, and with that gone, she looks like a gentle woman.
“Right. We came here to search for clues, but we never would have guessed that those Demons are the cause of it. Marl, can you tell us when and where the Demons started to show up? Can you? It would be great if you can remember. Since we are all affected by this incident within the forest, let’s help each other out. Isn’t that right, Dran?”
“Fumu. It is as Christina said. Let’s help out each other. How about it, Marl?”
“Eto.. Eto.. Because everyone is in trouble, Marl will be happy to help you. I hope I won’t be an inconvenience to human-san.”
When I was about to respond, Christina and I noticed we are being surrounded and look up. Selia takes a notice too, but it was already too late.
Since Selia is of the Demon race, shouldn’t she be able to pick up enemy presence before Christina and me, who are Humans?
The feelings that are being directing toward us are more of wariness and suspicion than hostility. They do not have the gray skin or a Zeruto’s thirst for blood. I remove my sword and dagger from my belt and put them at my feet, showing them I am not a hostile. Selia follow my example and shut her eyes tight. Only Christina seems to be at a loss, but she follows my example and hesitantly places her sword at her feet.
With a glance I can tell there are arrows being aimed at us, and looking forward I see two people walk into view.
“It is a clan of Wood Elves.”
I reply to Christina with a short mutter.
It was a beautiful man and woman, with blond hair and green eyes, wearing leaf clothing with fashionable animal fur, and other materials that can be found in the forest. The placement of the mouth, nose, eyes, etc. are so perfect, it is almost as if a God molded them into the perfect position. Their long pointed ears poke out of their dazzling blond hair goes with their green clothing so well, and none of them are an exception.
There are many different kinds of Elves, differing through their race, clan, faction, etc. but the ones standing in front of us are undoubtedly Wood Elves. I heard that there was a high priest who negotiated with the Wood Elves so they would bless the forest around Bern when the village was first established. The Elven clan in front of us might be the very same one from back then.
Marl, who is between us and the Elves, is in complete panic, and fidgeting quite a lot. They have a sword on their belt, a short bow on their back, and in their hand is a spear. In addition, I already feel some of the Elves has starting to invoke their magic. If we show any sign of hostility, they would fire at us at moment notice, we might not be able to dodge if that happens.
Now then, how about we try negotiating?
[To be continued]
If you spot typos, please help me by pointing them out. Thank you.
While at it, some impressions, and thought would be gladly accepted.
By the way, what is your favorite monster-girl type?
I like Dragon, Lamia, and any reptilian types.
After a particular work of Mr. Hideyuki Kikuchi, I’ve also become fond of vampires.
Editors: Takathien (Thien), Masadeer (Albert), Fate Trooper.
Check out the raw here and rate the author. -T.L.