Another one for new year~
While the group had squeezed in two breaks while traversing the highway in the forest, they were able to reach the town almost on schedule around evening. The escort mission of Gaviik’s party end’s here.
“Ah, it’s finally over. Let’s drink some liquor!”
“The self-made alcohol in this kind of small town is usually good right.”
Together with the rest of the party members they went into a tavern where they could get food. Within the bustling tavern a girl was busily running around taking orders, from time to time she would slap away the hands of some drunks that would go for her ass.
While his subordinates were relaxing, Gaviik, Mandel and Ref were busy splitting up their profit from this job, while they were working out fine details such as finding the next job procuring equipment and other such things. Since their pay got reduced for reimbursing the destroyed carriage, they were only left with a small amount.
Since they had used up all their medicine, their pay would be even less since they’d need to resupply on medicine. If they didn’t have the medicine the Hornbear left behind then they would’ve been deep in red. Just where did that mountain of potions come from? That was the question they had–
“Captain! Vice-captain and strategist you’re too stuffy, smile some more~!”
“This smell of wild plants, it’s delicious! It seems like the spice of Nachtome has been used.”
“Well, I guess it is fine to go along with them from time to time.”
— Together with his subordinates in the tavern, they forgot all about the hardships on this mission.
While Gaviik’s party was relaxing in the tavern, Kou was fishing in the lake close to the village while hiding in the forest.
It’s impossible to make intricate things with the Hornbear’s paws, but something simple like attaching a line and a hook to a pole he can, he’s also able to easily get the items from his dimensional storage and put them together.
It shouldn’t be that hard to catch something while fishing as a Hornbear.
[—– Or so I thought, I guess it really is impossible in the end. It seems like the fish are scared and won’t come close.]
He was able to use the fishing technique like he thought, but if the most important thing is missing, the fish coming closer, then there is nothing that can be done. He might be able to use it if he were to make a pose as if he were thinking about life. While he was thinking about jokes like that, he felt a human presence coming closer to him from the town.
[Someone is coming…?]
Putting away the fishing rod, Kou, who had hidden himself within the lush plants and trees, looked toward the small road that branches of from the highway.
“Kuma-chan, I wonder just where you are~.”
Karen was walking around the small road connected to the lake with meat shish in both her hands. It seems like she wanted to let the Hornbear eat some of the food too, so she came to give him some. While Karen was doing that, three thugs had followed her from town staying near her.
“Walkin’ around on yer own in the woods middle in the night, you got a death wish?”
If they knew that Karen was part of Gaviik’s party, then they wouldn’t even think of laying a hand on her. Why this happened; the three of them were deciding whether they should go to the tavern or play at the brothel, then they saw her walking around waving meat shish in both her hands and decided to target her.
Having a cheeky cat-like beautiful face, maybe she has had some alcohol since her face seemed glossy, she’s filled up in all the right places and because she tried to hide that, the places seemed more tightened, which aroused them further.
When Karen tried to turn around, one of the three men threw his arms around her.
“OOH! She got a nice body on her.”
The man, who had grabbed Karen whose hands were occupied, went on and put his hand under her clothes, he groped her breasts which are plump and soft as he expected.
“Iya~aan, I’m not someone that does that kind of work you know? It’s bad to do something like that!”
—– And when she had said something airheaded their desire got further stimulated, making them even more raring to go. The moment when the three men tried to take Karen into one of the bushes, a giant shadow appeared from amongst the trees. A slightly dull white body appeared with a wolf’s head and a black horn.
“Ha, it’s a Hornbear!”
“It’s a monster! A monster appeared!”
To the appearance of a large monster that isn’t supposed to appear near a town like this, the three thugs immediately ran for their lives without a second thought.
Sitting on a random boulder around the banks of the lake, the Hornbear Kou was gnawing on the meat shish he got from Karen. He felt the Hornbear’s conscious beginning to surface, but since he’s alone with Karen there is no way he can let go of his control.
Kou can only feel hunger from the host’s will; though he might not be able to faintly taste things, he knows that the act of ‘eating’ is needed to sustain life.
“Kuma-chan, just this much isn’t enough right?”
The meat shishs Karen brought with her were the size of three adult male fists, one shish is enough to fill the stomach of an average adult male, but with the Hornbear’s body it was only a snack so it wasn’t nearly enough.
“Then, I’ll go catch some fishes.”
While humming Karen took out her assembly type portable bow and put it together, then she skillfully aimed her arrow toward the lake. ‘Can you catch fish with a bow?’ Is what Kou, who was watching over her thought. Then he confirmed that she was putting magic power into the arrow.
It’s an archery technique that skilled archers use. The arrow Karen fired went through the water ignoring its resistance and leaving behind a small ripple and splash, she accurately hit a giant freshwater fish at the bottom of the lake. A few moments later, the layer of magic power the arrow left behind on its path burst and the water erupted.
This archery technique forms a layer of magic power around the arrow which nullifies physical resistance the arrow would get, it possesses the effect of being less effected by rain or wind. Just like Karen did, even if you fired it into the water it wouldn’t be affected by the water’s resistance for a while. Of course, being this proficient in it isn’t something just anybody could do.
[So Karen was this good…]
“Kuma-chan, lend me a paw.”
Karen who had tried to pull up the big fish with her string attached arrow, asked for help since the prey was too big. The big fish Karen caught was about 133 Pale long. In units Kou knows it would be a giant fish of about two meters long.
Even with the Hornbear’s brute strength it would be hard to lift the fish if he didn’t put his waist into it and while he was picking the fish up, Karen had finished up the preparations for the fire by gathering twigs and leafs.
“Will it grill~ will it grill~, will the fish get grilled well~.”
Karen was singing while evenly spreading the fire with a stick. While Karen was singing happily, Kou was able to somehow sing along. When he did, Karen began to laugh happily. A while later, the smell of grilled fish was spreading around.
[Something like this is heartwarming and nice isn’t it?]
Meanwhile, at the tavern in the city.
“I’m serious, without a mistake there was a Hornbear!”
“A big one like that, you can’t meet one if you don’t go deep into the mountains y’know.”
Three drunken adventurers or mercenaries came into the tavern and made a fuss about how there’s a Hornbear in the forest close by. In one corner of the bar members of Gaviik’s party heard them talking about it, every one of them immediately thought about the Hornbear that followed them from the rocky mountain and was liked by Karen.
Just like Gaviik’s party they were in a group of other adventurers or mercenaries, while Gaviik’s group sent them a skeptical look they started to talk.
“Now that I think about it, Karen went to the forest didn’t she.”
“It seems like she went over to bring the Hornbear some food… could she have been seen?’
Gaviik and Mandel were whispering with each other. Would it not be wise to send someone over to look after her, when the worried Triton suggested it, the voices of the three idiots which were still going on could be heard.
“Oh yeah, I get the feeling I didn’t see that girly when we ran away.”
“Didn’t she just get eaten?”
“Yeah, since it was a monster and all, well, it was an unforgettable feeling.”
Such a waste, really a waste, the three idiots lamented while laughing.
Bang, the chair fell to the ground and the seemingly taciturn warrior Daido leaves his seat while putting on his battle gloves and walked in a quick pace toward the tavern’s exit. Rippa who was drinking next to him said toward him.
“Hey hey, Daido where are you going?”
“Hey wait a second!”
Even within the party he is more concerned than anybody else. —– Simply put, he loves her, but it seems like no matter how much time passes he just can’t bring himself to say it.
Hey, hey, while saying that, Rippa donned his beloved sword and followed after him. Dis, who was next to them looked at their back and then toward captain Gaviik and the others, then strategist Ref who was next to vice-captain Mandel stood up.
As if by an invisible something all the core members of Gaviik’s party stood up from their seat and went toward the tavern’s exit.
“Oh it seems like specialists are going to take care of it.”
Now we can feel at ease, the three idiots spouted such bullshit while seeing them off. The other mercenary and adventurer groups weren’t seeing them off but rather thinking whether a Hornbear really did appear, but none of them left their seat. They decided it would be better to wait for the Gaviik party’s return.
While such a commotion was happening at the bar, on the side of the lake a human and animal were leisurely spending their time while eating.
“Hmm, can’t eat another bite.”
“Vu~orfu-aru” [Seems like this one’s also satisfied.]
The giant fish was able to satisfy Karen and it also seemed to be enough for the Hornbear’s stomach. While watching the nocturnal birds eating the leftover flesh on the fish’s bones, Karen rounded herself up on Kou’s knee.
“Vu~arfu? Vu~orfu~oarfu~aru?” [Karen? You’ll catch a cold if you sleep here you know?]
The Hornbear’s fur is harder than you’d expect, but it seems like soft body hair was comfortable, since he could hear Karen sleeping after a short while.
[Oh my, seems she fell asleep.]
Of course there is no way he would just wait until the sun rises like this. Just what should I do now, while worrying about it Kou carefully lifted up Karen making sure he didn’t injure her, and then he walked towards the town while hoping that someone that from Gaviik’s party comes looking for her.
“Hey Daido wait a second already, if you go around with killing intent like that then even docile monsters would —”
Rippa, who normally doesn’t think about things too deeply and just does them simply, was now trying to calm the worried Daido but while he was soothing him, Daido suddenly stopped walking. Rippa then ended up colliding with his back from the leftover momentum.
“What the heck, don’t stop all of a sudden.”
From the entrance to the forest they could smell grilled fish. Gaviik who went after the two of them called out to them.
“Isn’t Karen just grilling some fish?”
If I’m not mistaken a Hornbear also eats fish, the moment when the members had found this out and wanted to step deeper into the forest, a white figure appeared from within the forest and almost instinctively the members of Gaviik’s party had their guard up.
That figure was the Hornbear carrying Karen. He thought he had eaten Karen and got surprised for a moment but then he saw that she was just sleeping and became relieved. When the Hornbear holds out Karen with his long thick arms toward him, Daido carefully received her.
“Hey Daido you sure you won’t drop her?”
“… I won’t.”
[This person seems to be really on the edge, is he alright?]
The Hornbear slightly tilted his which causes his body to stiffen, though from the eyes of the others it looked as if he was concerned about Karen and Daido. Leaving behind potions, getting liked by humans, this Hornbear is totally different from the large monster they know off.
After Gaviik’s left out a sigh he looked at the Hornbear, when he did he unintentionally muttered a question that came to his mind.
“You, seriously just who are you?”
When he muttered it the Hornbear looked at Gaviik. Captain Gaviik then gave him a puzzled look. Vice-captain Mandel who was right next to him and strategist Ref both took a step back. Kou thought for a little, and then the spiritualist’s amulet the gem appeared on the Hornbear’s forehead.
“Wha! Y, You’re…….”
Amazing everyone, with a flutter a memo paper appeared on the Hornbear’s chest with a self introduction written on it.
“Kou…? So, you’re called Kou? The one that possessed that Demon dog.”
“Gu~au” [That’s right.]
Answering their question with a yes, the Hornbear Kou gave them Karen’s portable bow and then retuned toward the lake. Since it’s the entrance of the forest road it stands out.
Turning around once, Kou waved his hand saying, see you again, and then his figure disappeared into the forest. Seeing off the figure of the Hornbear Kou amongst the trees, with an awkward feeling, Gaviik and the others return to town for now.
“No way, to think it would be the Demon dog from that time…”
“It’s so sudden I can’t believe it, or so I would like to say… but this paper, furthermore—-”
“……. There’s no mistake that that green stone was the spiritualist’s amulet. It’s probably the same one that we saw in Barass.”
Lev, who had been in charge of the freezing trap, can say for certain that the wavelength she felt was the same from one from that time. Gaviik grandly sighed after he remembered how a female swordsman looked at him with eyes of condemnation at that time.
“Ha~aaaaaaaaaa, how did it get to this.”
“If that existence, ‘Kou’ is an existence as the rumors in the town said he is, then we might have earned ourselves some awkward infamy.”
It would be better to lengthen their stay in the town of Barass the next time they stay there, strategist Ref also advised him that it would be better to have some good connections with the village chief and the adventurers association. Until they had reached the inn they stayed at before, the top members of Gaviik’s party were all silent with a weird air around them.
“What could’ve happened to captain and the others? Did something happen to Karen-san?”
“He was kind of making an awkward and difficult face wasn’t he?”
Dis and the others are young members or apprentices, the ones that took care of everything, the underlings. While sitting with each other in the corner of the tavern they were looking at each other with puzzled looks.