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Chapter 141: Quarry Transportation

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Author: TypeAxiom Original Source: Scribble Hub

Penniless…penniless. Camilla refused to accept this reality.

While Eva and Lavitte were still looking at the crest coin in her hand with interest, Camilla tossed it back into her pouch with a clink and drew the drawstring close. She must have hope. With hope, anything is possible…or so she wished, even if she knew that was a childish thought.

With the object of interest gone, the elf and vampire no longer continued to look and instead turned their attention back on Camilla. From her expression and silence, they already knew her current situation, but they were polite, and respectful, enough to say nothing.

For that, Camilla was thankful. Let her keep her fragile hope alive, even if Kagriss had already given up. She gave Kagriss another glance and quickly looked away lest she got caught up in Kagriss’s hopelessness. One would think that the sky was falling from how Kagriss acted, sighing and with disappointment pouring over their bond.

Who knew Kagriss cared about money so much?

It’s not like they weren’t used to camping out and hunting for food. Giving Kagriss a pat on the back, Camilla shot her what she hoped was a reassuring smile. The smile must have worked, because the sadness that Camilla felt over their bond slowly dissipated.

Recomposing herself, she turned back to the question at hand. She still didn’t know where Dianene was.

“If you don’t mind, can you lead the way to Dianene?”

Lavitte nodded without much thinking. “Of course. It’d be our pleasure to.”

With the matter decided, it was just a matter of setting off, but first, they had to gather everyone. Closest to them were Duura and Elyss. After checking on the huge badger, the two simply rested. Elyss was dozing off near the badger while Duura sat next to her, carving something small enough to be hidden in her hands. Her thick fingers were surprisingly dexterous.

Camilla stared at the badger. It didn’t move.

“How are you planning on getting it back to Dianene?” she asked.

“We wake it up after tying it,” Lavitte replied.

Not that she wanted to doubt his words, but how much rope does it take to restraint a mana beast? There’s a reason most mana beasts are killed and not captured. Elyss only survived because she was sapient, gifted with telepathy, and submitted to the party that Camilla had led back then.

Then she remembered that this was no longer human territory. It was no secret to those at her level that the so-called demon races had the most advanced magic, ranging from miscellaneous tools to this new teleporter. It was cause for much jealousy, greed, and bloodlust.

Magical rope was probably the least impressive.

Sure enough, Lavitte produced a length of rope, half as thick as Camilla’s arm. It had a strange pattern. Coiled, it should’ve taken up more space than the entirety of Lavitte’s backpack, but Camilla had stopped being surprised by such “minor magic.” Besides, her own bloodbonding was more convenient.

Snapping the rope tight a few times as if to test its strength, Lavitte nodded at Eva who quickly ran off to get the others. Meanwhile, he motioned for Camilla and Kagriss to follow.

He noticed Camilla’s intense gaze. “You don’t know what this is?”

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Camilla shook her head but took a guess anyway, since even an idiot could give an overview. “Magic rope. Probably stronger than normal. Don’t know the details though.”

“Well, yes. It’s made of a special reed. When woven or braided in a specific way, they bond and form a structure that’s extremely resilient.”

“A special reed,” Camilla repeated. She had never heard of something with the properties that Lavitte mentioned. Such plants, if they existed at all in human territory, would be extremely rare. The tea that they had the twins drink was an example, as they found only a single bunch of that leafy plant over the course of their whole trip south.

Another reason the humans constantly dreamed of expansion…

Judging by how casually Lavitte took out that rope and explained it, it doesn’t seem like that reed was overly rare. With a start, Camilla realized that she was really about to step into a new world. This time, it won’t be with the intent to destroy and conquer, but to really live. To learn.

Much of her knowledge and common sense probably won’t be applicable. She and Kagriss will be on the same starting point in this new world.

At their approach, Duura looked up and put her carving knife away long with the little carving. It wasn’t done, but with the brief glance that Camilla managed to catch on the carving before it disappeared into Duura’s bag, it looked to be a bird.

“Boss,” she greeted.

Lavitte nodded at her and tossed her the rope. Without a word, Duura got to work, looping the length of the cord around the badger’s feet, making sure they stayed tight. She left a little slack so that the mana beast could still walk, but if it tried to run, it’ll fall flat on its face.

The familiarity at which Duura went about securing her party’s quarry made it clear that this wasn’t their first time doing this.

Lavitte’s party was probably an experienced mana beast hunting squad. With six members hovering around the average strength of a templar, they certainly had the firepower.

“Do this a lot?” Camilla asked.

Lavitte shrugged. “If you’re strong and have a good team, it can be pretty lucrative. But it depends on demand and that can be pretty inconsistent.”

“What do you do when demand’s not that high?” The reality of being penniless, no matter how much Camilla denied it, continued to haunt her. But before she could answer, she found a slight change in her connection with Kagriss.

A change in mood.

Someone poked her side and she turned to find Kagriss staring down at her with pleading eyes. “Can we do it too?”

“…” She forgot that Kagriss had a strength obsession with fighting mana beasts. And she wasn’t the only one either. A pair of amber eyes burrowed into her. “Not you too. Go back to sleep!”

“And forgive my rudeness, but we really don’t need more competition…”

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Camilla nodded at Lavitte’s words, choosing to ignore the excessive politeness he tacked on at the beginning. “Yeah, see? No need to steal someone else’s livelihood when you’re having fun. Elyss, I already promised to let you fight your fill, didn’t I? And I promised that when we settle down, I’ll take you hunting.” The last words were directed at an overly eager Kagriss.

With her reminder, the desire in Kagriss’s eyes faded, even though Elyss still snorted before putting her head back down.

Camilla inwardly shook her head. Elyss had always been the impatient type. Whatever, this kind of probably can probably be solved in time. Besides, she never said no, because if the need ever arises, she didn’t mind letting Elyss stretch her muscles.

By the time Duura finished tying up the huge badger, Eva managed to find some of the missing members. The twins and the elves that they had been talking to returned first, having stayed nearby. Alayna held Ariel’s hand while Calaen held Sariel’s. All four had smiles on their faces.

Camilla briefly wondered what they had talked about before deciding it wasn’t really her business. But it was good to be young. Sariel and Ariel were both just a bit older than Fleur, and unlike Fleur who at least had entire years of teachings from the Church slandering anything that weren’t humans, the twins were probably never exposed to too much propaganda of this type.

Even Fleur may be an exception thanks to her relationship with Camilla. Another acolyte from the Church would probably have a hard time accepting the elves’ presence.

The last group back to the clearing was Lucienne and Marion with Eva following close behind, scolding into Marion’s ears. When they got closer, Camilla managed to catch what she was saying. “How many times do I have to tell you to stop wandering off? Do you know how annoying it is to look for you? And look where we are!”

Camilla looked around. Forest.

Marion didn’t answer while Lucienne had her hands up as if trying to mediate between the two vampires, yet Eva showed no signs of caring about her signals.

“We’re in the middle of the Border Forest. A bunch of mana beasts about. Isn’t it common knowledge to not use magic unless you absolutely have to?” Eva snapped.

“…maaaybe…”

“Now now, it’s my fault as well. I wanted him to go all out…” Lucienne tried to cut in between them, only to receive a glare in return. Shooting an apologetic to Marion, she abandoned him and sidled up next to Camilla and Kagriss, looking up at the sky as if the yelling had nothing to do with her. Camilla sighed.

“Does this happen often too?”

Lavitte nodded, not at all concerned about his party arguing. “They’re siblings. Happens.”

Siblings. Camilla never had siblings before, but she did used to have some brothers- and sisters-in-arms. They…didn’t actually argue that much, even if they did disagree with her at times. They usually deferred to her decisions. Perhaps that was just a pale imitation of siblinghood, thanks to her status as their leader. Arvel was the only exception, but they didn’t actually see each other that much thanks to the sheer distance between Moltrost and the Cloud Stronghold.

Now that she thought about it, did she ever have anyone that she was truly close with outside of Arvel? She couldn’t name a single one that she could imagine having an argument with.

She looked back up at the pair of vampire siblings. Marion mostly ignored his sister while she yelled. Only when Eva began to pinch his ear and pulling did Lavitte finally step in.

“Alright, alright, calm down in front of our guests.”

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At the word “guest,” Eva seemed to find herself. She blinked, coughed once to hide her embarrassment, and fell silent. Marion just rubbed his ear and grinned, completely unfazed by the lecture he’d just received.

“We’re all here then?” Lavitte said, making a quick headcount before looking at Camilla. Camilla did the same and nodded. Everyone was accounted for. “Great. Let’s wake up the big guy and let’s get going then.”

He dug in his backpack and pulled out a bottle. Covering his face with a cloth while Camilla’s group watched curiously, he knelt down in front of the unconscious badger’s face and poured the liquid inside the bottle into the mana beast’s nose. Even from where Camilla was standing, she could smell a pungent odor wafting over from the clear liquid.

It smelled of rotten eggs and meat mixed with fecal matter, distilled and amplified. Beneath it all was something earthy, and while Camilla could probably identify a few more smells it resembled, she really didn’t want to think about it a second longer. She quickly shut down her sense of smell.

And as sensitive as her nose was, it was nothing compared to Elyss who was dozing right next to the mana beast. When Lavitte uncapped the bottle, Elyss’s eyes rolled up in her head and she gagged. Without wasting a single second, she jumped to her feet and bound into the trees. A moment later, retching sounds and more gagging could be heard.

Everyone except Lavitte backed away, but even the elf had his head leaned back and turned slightly.

If it was that bad for Elyss, then Camilla didn’t even want to imagine how much that poor badger was going to suffer.

The waking up was explosive as Camilla expected, probably more. The mana beast’s eyes shot open and it leaned away, whining and screaming. Lavitte jumped away, just in time for a huge body to crash into where he was just standing as the badger twisted and writhed on the ground, trying to paw at its nose but failing thanks to the rope that tied its four limbs together.

It screamed again, followed by a belch as a sickly, green matter spilled from its mouth.

“No matter how many times I watch that happen, it’s always disgusting.”

The speaker was Alayna, shielding Ariel behind her. But the girl peeked out, watching nonetheless. Calaen glanced at her. “You try pouring some of that stuff in your nose.”

“Haha, no way.”

Slowly, the badger’s movement slowed until it finally stopped, a heaving mass of black and white fur on the ground that breathed hard to catch its breath.

“Is it over?” Camilla asked.

“Yeah.”

“Was it really necessary to pour it directly into its nose? Seems needlessly cruel,” she said.

Lavitte nodded. “That stuff fades pretty quickly by itself. If I pour it onto a cloth and hold it near, it won’t be as effective. Might not even work before the smell’s all gone. The only way to make it stay is to put it in something damp or moist…”

“And the nose is exactly that and accessible too, making it perfect. I see. Now that you mentioned it, I don’t smell it anymore.” Camilla sniffed the air again, just to be sure. None of that revolting smell remained.

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“Yeah, well, I still smell it. That poor thing. I don’t even know it and I feel sorry for it,” Elyss growled in everyone’s minds. “Don’t do that again without warning me. If you open that anywhere near me, I’m going to rip you apart.”

The last words were obviously directly at Lavitte. The elf shrugged and smiled.

“This can be used as a weapon too, you know. Just one of the things any hunter should carry with them.”

If lions could pale in fear and shock, Elyss would have, because she said nothing else.

But what Lavitte said was interesting. When Camilla went hunting with the templars from the Order, they usually brute forced through their opponents. Sure, they used tactics, but all in all, their victories were on the backs of their martial might.

For some reason, exploiting weaknesses like smell never came to her despite it being well known that beasts had enhanced senses including smell. The closest they came to doing something like this was blinding with a flash of light.

Incapacitating with something that truly smelled strong and horrifying was such a novel, yet obvious way to make things easier. Camilla noted that information down for future use with Kagriss.

It’ll be especially effective since she and Kagriss both had the ability to shut off their noses, which meant no risk of friendly fire.

“If you’re interested, I can introduce you to a source for this,” Lavitte said.

Camilla extended her hand and the elf grabbed it. “Deal. Of course, I’ll need money first…” She held back a groan.

“I wasn’t going to say anything.”

“Well, thank you for that, I guess. Shall we get going then?”

Lavitte nodded and gestured at Duura. “Duura, you mind getting that big oaf moving?”

“Sure. Think a bit of fire’ll do the trick?” the orc asked.

That was the most that Camilla had heard Duura speak at once and she took in the woman’s deep, silky voice. She wouldn’t mind hearing it again and she considered trying to get Duura talking, but then she felt a pair of eyes on her again…the thoughts disappeared into the void.

The orc grabbed the length of rope looped around the huge badger’s neck and tugged at it. The beast’s heaving flank stopped for a moment and it looked back at her. As if just realizing that she was nearby along with a bunch of other puny two-legs, it rolled over onto its feet, but just as it poised to launch itself at its offenders, it tripped and fell flat on its chin.

It was like comparing day and night when it came to its and Elyss’s intelligence.

The badger’s tiny eyes turned even redder and it bared its teeth, strings of saliva hanging down from its open mouth as it growled, but Duura tugged at her end of the rope. The badger’s growling turned into a whimper as she pulled it off balance with force alone.

Duura smiled and fired a small orb of fire at the badger’s face, leaving a small patch of charred fur on the beast’s forehead. Although it didn’t do much damage, it successfully enraged the beast again.

“Shouldn’t you intimidate it instead? Make it submit.”

Lavitte was about to answer, but Duura cut in. It seems to be her specialty. The orc shook her head. “That won’t do. A cowed beast is no fun to watch in the arena.”

“That makes sense.”

Satisfied with the answer, Camilla continued to watch as Duura dragged the badger to its feet again, taunting it with a small fire on her fingertip. The beast’s beady eyes followed the flame around and around until the flame winked out. It’s object of focus gone, the beast honed in on Duura and charged toward or—at least as much as it was able to while tied up.

“That’s the spirit! Come on, we’re off! And stay away for your own safety. I’m not responsible for any casualties from here on, got it?” Duura called as she began to run, all the while tugging on the rope. The badger snarled and chased after her.

The orc and badger grew smaller as they weaved between the trees, finally disappearing, leaving the others, including Camilla behind.

“Really? That’s how you’re going to get back? Being chased by your quarry?” she asked, a bit shocked. She thought it’d be more…professional.

Lavitte laughed. “Well, we don’t do that all the time. We do use carts and sedatives, but as you can see,” he said, sweeping his hand around, “the environment doesn’t allow. Shall me…?”

Camilla nodded and gestured with her hand as if to say “you first.”

She knew which way to go now with Duura gone, but it was only polite to let their official guide go first. Lavitte didn’t argue and he beckoned to his party before heading after Duura. Camilla followed, with Kagriss and the twins atop Elyss once more.

They went at brisk pace, a little faster than a jog. That was the fastest the badger could go with its legs tied, but it was fast enough. It was in the afternoon when Camilla met Lavitte’s group and “defused” the situation, and nightfall when they arrived with the badger in tow at the tall walls of a walled city.

There, they knocked the badger unconscious before dragging it on its sturdy back past the outskirts outside the walls, toward the open gates of Dianene.

Even now, lights were on and people were out in the streets. People gawked at the sight of the giant badger being dragged along the road, and even more at the magnificent lion that followed at the back of the party.

Camilla was taken back to her tour with Victoria of Celrantis.

Like Celrantis, Dianene had a mixed population. Like Celrantis, it remained active at night. Demon cities rarely slept.


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