I rushed on over to where the manticore had been. The child was there, with blood left pouring from its abdomen.
The wound started to suture itself closed as Partner cried out. The child’s still pale, but it looks like they’ll make it. Seems like we just barely made it in time, somehow.
[Level of title skill [[Brave Hero]] has increased from level 1 to level 2.]
Oh, it rose. It’s alright if I raise this… right? Because just thinking back to this being one of the skills that that hero had is making terrible images flash through my head… Ah, well, for now, the child takes priority over something like that.
A title skill rose, so that means whatever danger there was should’ve passed.
I’d say the child probably looks more or less around ten years old? The child had white skin with what appeared to be lines drawn under their eyes and they were wearing a somewhat peculiar, long sleeved black dress. It’s like folk garb, in a way.
For the time being, how about I just check to make sure they don’t have any strange status ailments?
Status: Fainted (Minor)
Body: [[Lithuvar Dress: F]]
[[Grisha Language: Lv 2]] [[Muted Movement: Lv 2]]
[[Physical Resistance: Lv 1]]
[[Gale: Lv 1]]
[[Archer: Lv 1]] [[Hunter: Lv 1]]
It looks like they’ll be alright if all they are is just temporarily unconscious. It’s nothing. They’ll probably wake up any moment now. Phew, that’s a huge weight off my chest.
With their status difference, I feel this child would’ve ended up dead in a heartbeat if the manticore had gotten one square bite on them, but I’m so relieved they survived. I wonder if this was a sadistic hobby for the manticore or something? It was making a vulgar-looking face and it didn’t even have anything decent among its title skills, so there is a possibility. It’s not something that puts me in a pleasant mood, but if it’s thanks to that that I made it in time, then I’m fortunate for it.
…Huh? This species… I feel like I’ve seen it somewhere before…
((“Nevertheless, hardly a soul is there, but I’ve heard that a dangerous group of people called the Lithuvar Tribe, classified as a demonic race, lives there. I don’t even know the details of it all and I hear they’re few in number, so my guess is, with that large forest, that there’s a higher likelihood that you won’t encounter them than otherwise…”))
…Is this the species that Adofu was talking about? He was saying that there was a high likelihood that I wouldn’t encounter them, and yet I ended up randomly encountering them the minute I set foot in here. Eugh, it’ll be fine, won’t it? You’re not gonna, say, open your mouth wide and come snapping at me when you regain consciousness, right? Their status isn’t all that high, so I think it’ll be fine…, or rather, I want to believe that it’ll be fine…
Looking at the child’s sleeping face, it appears to be nothing but the face of a sweet, ordinary girl. They don’t have a rank either, yet they aren’t completely classified as human? What is this demon race thing? I’d really hate it if we ended up fighting. Mostly because I’m still in the middle of rehabilitating from the PTSD I’m burdened with, which stemmed from the events in the village as well as the events in Haranae. What else do you think I came to this forest, the purportedly most dangerous forest, for?
Just then, I felt a presence emanating from behind me. Come to think of it, there were two human-like presences, weren’t there?
From within the stone-masoned building, a girl was watching me. She had about the same stature and appearance as the other girl, but she was wearing a long scarf on her head that hung down to her arms and she was wearing a mask on her face. The mask itself was perfectly round and had what appeared to be horn-like protrusions coming out of it. The scarf itself… looked more to be some cloth that was sewn onto the mask, turning it into a headdress.
In her hands, she held another piece of cloth that was sewn onto a mask. I wonder if that belongs to the girl lying on the ground over here? I took a few steps back and distanced myself from the collapsed girl, thinking that it’s probably difficult for the other girl to approach her with me being here.
She came running over and covered the collapsed girl’s head with the piece of cloth. After that, she looked up at me in a subdued manner.
“Th-thank you…, Ryujin-sama.”
The girl bowed her head. After that, she hoisted the fallen girl over her shoulder and went running off somewhere.
To be thanked… Makes you feel fuzzy inside, doesn’t it? I thought maybe I was gonna get hit in the face with a rock or somethin’, y’know?
Though, what the heck is a ‘ryujinsama’? I wonder if there was a dragon or something that resembled me in some kind of folklore here? I don’t think there’s all that many double-headed dragons hangin’ around…
While thinking about it, I turned my head back toward the stone-masoned building. My eyes locked onto the stone statues of the double-headed dragons positioned at the entrance. Those really have someone’s heart and soul poured into them, don’t they?
Uh, hold on… by some chance… is that a shrine or something to ‘Ryujin-sama’? Judging by what happened just a few moments ago, it’s the Lithuvar Tribe who built this, isn’t it? Wait, with this, my time has come, hasn’t it? My time to shine is almost here, isn’t it? Three cheers for the Lithuvar Tribe, amirite? Demon race? Who said anything about a demon race?
Instead of saying that I drove that manticore out, I get the impression that I took this place back. It’s like, you know, Ryujin-sama came back home and drove out the monster that was undeservedly occupying their shrine. This was a bang-on first impression, wasn’t it?
Though uhh, I have [[Dragon Scale Powder]], so… Uh, well, as they say, don’t count your chickens… something or whatever. Even if I get my thoughts all knotted up, it won’t change anything about it. Alright, calm down, me. Just calm down. You’ve come this far, so even if there exists an army of adults that’ll come marching on through here to tear down the shrine or something, it wouldn’t be all that unusual. Getting betrayed right after being all delighted? The literal aftershock would be huge. I can’t get easily carried away now.
I shook my head and jostled the delusions out of it.
Partner was looking at me, her eyes looking as if they were observing some mysterious creature. Wha-what’s wrong with you?
For the time being, since it’s going to be my personal abode from now on, how about we check out the shrine? I headed into the shrine, headfirst.
Scattered around the inside were monster bones, blood marks, the whole works. It’s a little dirty, but there wasn’t exactly much else to expect… I suppose it’s still better than the manticore taking a dump here. Just that would’ve been enough to make me consider moving.
I looked up towards the rafters to see if there was, well, something to eat… When I did so, I noticed a peculiar creature. It sported an outward appearance that looked like dumplings with fur growing on them, of which the size of each was about as large around as a human is tall, more or less. It only had a single, long feeler bobbing about as… Gegh, hold on, that’s a spider, isn’t it…?
On top of having been flipped upside down, save for just one, all of its legs had been ripped off? It’s just like the manticore to do something this awful. I never thought kindly of spiders ever since one of them made me go through hell when it chased me around in the forest, but this is cruel no matter how you slice it.
Hm, I thought it had three dumpling-shaped masses, but it actually has something stuck to its abdomen that looks like a clump of cocoons. Eggs? I thought spiders were supposed to leave their eggs in their web.
It had been protecting its egg sac, which it made from thread it had spun, by attaching it to its own body. This world is filled with as many strange creatures as ever. There are absolutely no advantages to being an egg-layer, are there? It would’ve been better for you if you were a mammal or something.
For a split second, it felt like the spider had glanced at me. After that, it suddenly stopped moving its leg. I thought it was trying to go unnoticed, but after that, the spider gently and slowly fluttered its leg. I don’t get the feeling that it’s in distress like it was just a few moments ago.
I thrust my claws into the spider, killing them. Unsurprisingly, it wouldn’t sit well with me to leave them like that. It’s better if I let them die as quickly and painlessly as possible.
[40 experience points have been acquired.]
[Due to the title skill [[Walking Egg: Lv –]], an additional 40 experience points have been acquired.]
It might be because they were on the verge of death, but I didn’t get as many experience points as I was expecting. …In any case, what am I going to do with this? Can I even eat spider? The only things that I could call insects that I’ve eaten up until now would be darkworms… It’s thanks to… that that I can stomach worms and the like, but I still don’t have a tolerance for spiders, y’know? …Oh, right. That reminds me… Haven’t I eaten centipede, too? …I recalled something I would rather not have. I don’t wanna take any more bites into that…
Well, an experience is an experience. If I can’t eat it, then I’ll go ahead and give it a burial somewhere. Normally I’d just go with leaving monster remains and the like alone, but I can’t help but feel a little sorry for the poor fella.
I gently and carefully cut the egg sac away from the spider. This is a… bit of an acquired taste for me to consume, huh? I straight up don’t feel like eatin’ this. For one, it’s covered in thread. I can’t eat thread. And as everyone knows, that comes straight out of a spider’s butt. Mentally, I just can’t even.
I feel bad for the spiders, but they’ll be hard to deal with, even if they hatch. After I burn them, I’ll get someone to properly dispose of them somewhere outsi-… Wait, where’d they go?
Partner was wriggling her neck around gleefully, the egg sac stuck to her forehead. …What the heck are you even doing?