Dark and moist murderous intent was directed towards me.
The moist air which originally wrapped around the trees now got corrupted by the bloody smell of a beast.
In front of me, there was a heavily breathing, gigantic boar, which is the origin of this smell, blocking the road.
Its eyes harboured a strong murderous intent which made me doubt they belonged to an animal for an instant.
It wasn’t hunger nor was it anger caused by invading its territory.
It was a black emotion not directly connected with instinct which was unnatural for an animal to possess.
–It certainly is appropriate to call this strange.
I stroked my chin, inside the mountains Sonia asked me to visit.
The gigantic boar let out a muffled roar as the prey before it was moving.
That gigantic boar, letting out a strong murderous intent, kicked the ground, making it shake in the process.
With its big body overflowing with magical power it starts to run with a violent force packed with all its speed and mass.
That massive body smashing trees in its way while charging completely looked like a chariot.
On the other hand, I thought it pulling a carriage would be great.
That, however, depends on if one could even tame this incarnation of raging violence.
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It seems impossible for me.
This is what one would call a reckless charge. I don’t know —
Whether out of instinct or desire– its only purpose was to cause destruction, but if it doesn’t desire to communicate it wouldn’t even feel the pain caused by one’s tries to train it.
The gigantic body of the boar drew closer while pushing away the broken trees’ branches.
I glanced at it before I kicked the ground.
I jumped over the three metor high, massive body of that boar while twisting my body to form a lax circle.
After I landed without making any sound like a feather the boar stopped its charge before I saw it running towards me again.
It was definitely targeting me which reminds me of Sonia’s words she directed towards me before I entered the mountain.
“The mountain’s wildlife is acting strangely, was it?”
I repeated those words I heard while watching that enormously big body approaching.
While having my thoughts wander to a far-off place, I locked my eyes on the approaching, big boar and let my body overflow with magical power.
However, that large boar didn’t care about that and ran towards me with that large body, not hesitating at all.
The distance between us melted in the blink of an eye, at that time the boar tried to crush this boy’s body by ruthlessly stomping on it.
I focused all my magical power in my feet and kicked the huge boar’s face.
The large boar got forcibly bent into a perpendicular position.
An earth shattering crushing sound could be heard as the boar’s massive built mowed down many trees.
With is head pointing into a different direction than its body the gigantic boar stopped moving.
I glanced at the motionless boar at the tip of my kicked-out foot and retreated it.
I walked towards the large boar which became a motionless corpse and crouched down.
Those eyes which were fitted in that big body were filled with something like insanity as it died.
“– I see, this certainly is strange”
It wasn’t an act out of instinct such as hunger or to protect its territory or off springs. If it went on a rampage because of pain then it would have shown some reaction to the wood piercing its body.
In short, there was no reason behind its actions. Or rather, it did it because it wanted to– it gave the impression that it let itself get led by its destructive impulses.
Another thing I don’t understand is how it could have such an unexpectedly large body different from normal boars.
The blood flowing out of the large boar changed its colour to the same murky black its magical power, which one should rather call miasma, had.
I’m not even sure if one can still call this a boar.
There’s this one thing, however, I absolutely cannot understand.
That’s– this, magical power.
In the first place, it’s really unusual for non-humanoid creatures to be able to handle magical power.
There exist countless species in this world but there have been very few species, except humanoids, who were confirmed to be able to harness magical power.
They were mostly part of the dragon species whose population is really small, so just hearing that some wild boar inside this kind of mountain was able to harness magical power no one would believe that.
……And such unbelievable things are said to happen all over the world, including the mountains near Natosha.
I wouldn’t have believed it either before seeing it with my own eyes, however– seeing that large boar, it seems the rumours were true.
However, that’s not the only thing I don’t understand about this.
As I mentioned before, that magical power’s…. It’s nature.
It felt unprecedentedly evil and rough as if it was malice itself.
Even a person with malicious intentions would have trouble to produce such wicked magical power.
For a beast with low intelligence to possess something like that lets one realize the magnitude of this matter.
──However, I didn’t really know what to think about this.
“……Lets meet up with Cheryl and Sonia for the time being.”
I stood up in order to head towards the meeting place I agreed upon with Cheryl and Sonia who acted separately.
I wouldn’t call it uneasiness, but I left the place feeling like something will definitely happen.
As I finished exploring I subdued several wild boars which also turned violent as well as some other monsters — then I headed towards the location Sonia designated.
It was a river located in a relatively shallow part of the forest. It’s filled with pure water which strongly reflected Natosha’s nature.
As the trees became fewer and it gradually grew brighter my goal came into view.
Cheryl and Sonia already sat down on a rock near the river.
“Huh, you’re already here? Have I kept you waiting?”
To not alarm those two I approached them while calling out to them.
Cheryl who was scooping up some water and Sonia who was watching her with a smile turned around at the same time.
“No, not at all, we just got here as well. Fufu, this kind of exchange always seemed fun”
For some reason Sonia was very happy.
I relaxed my facial muscles and started to laugh while she was shaking her head and trying to cover her slightly reddened cheeks.
……That reminds me, she wasn’t wearing her mask which she wore until a while ago.
“You took off the bird mask?”
“In the mountains there aren’t any people who’d care. Thanks to you I feel a little better.”
While stretching, Sonia gave off a sense of liberation.
It was just a casual gesture but due to the location it seemed very picturesque.
If one is a girl with Sonia’s facial features no matter what she’d do it would attract people’s attention.
“If it’s Sonia, it might be like that.……So, what are your search’s results?”
“Ehh? That’s all? I thought…… there’d be more”
……However, I’m getting used to it.
Sonia directed a fearless smile towards me with that vermilion colour still present on her face.
Ever since we shared that hot bath, I’m troubled by her aggressive attacks.
In a sense, for me who spent more than 100 years single, she might be an opponent more powerful than Chester.
“No, it suits you — sounds strange, doesn’t it? Well, you’re very cute?”
Still, without breaking eye contact I opened my mouth as I was thinking.
Even though they were just plain and awkward words, Sonia seemed satisfied, maybe because my honest feelings were conveyed.
“Hmm~? Ufufu~, well, that’s good enough for now, I guess~”
Sonia turned her face away to hide that loose smile while pretending to be unaware of the reddish tinge present on her face getting stronger.
Good grief, if you’ll get all flustered like this yourself, why do this to begin with?
Why use such a suicide bombing attack…. though me, who used “Cherry blossoms (Trail made)”, saying that would seem rather rude, wouldn’t it?
“I, isn’t it enough already, one shouldn’t make fun of the elderly. Besides, how about Sonia starting to talk about this times exploration. Let’s report quickly.”
Looks like I can’t help but hide my embarrassment again, after all.
I don’t think I can keep covering it up and I think Sonia has already noticed, but– Well, it’s a matter of pride.
“I got it, I got it. Well then, shall we start talking a little more seriously?……Cheryl-chan”
When Sonia turned her head her face regained its dignified, strong brilliance.
Fumu. Did you organize your thoughts or– is the report’s content important?
Cheryl, in response to Sonia’s words, tilted her head slightly and took something out.
Cheryl held it in both her hands and showed it to me.
She probably wants me to look at what she had in her hands.
I took what I was shown out of Cheryl’s glossy hands.
“Yes, Cheryl-chan found it”
A completely dark red crystal.
This was a strange colour for a jewel to have and it gave off a strong brilliance unusual for a stone as well.
It seemed like the solidified blood of a dragon– as if regrets were mixed together with a ruby.
“I don’t know. However, this colour is worrisome, isn’t it?”
“Colour……Ah, I see, that’s how it is, huh?”
As I questioned Sonia an idea immediately formed in my mind and I immediately stopped the interrogation.
That’s because that colour which emitted such malice seemed familiar to me.
“It really does look similar. Those crazy animals — No, should I call them monsters? It resembles the magical power they gave off”
That’s right, it’s that magical power that shouldn’t exist which I saw just now.
Magical power coloured like blood which seemed like malice itself. This crystal had a similar colour.
Besides, this crystal itself emitted weak but evil magical power.
It was really weak that one would miss it if one wasn’t careful but– as I thought, this doesn’t seem unrelated.
“That’s right. Though it was concealed by the disgusting demonic beasts’ magical power, but, as you said, I can feel the same energy from it.
You did great, Cheryl-chan. If it wasn’t for you, I’d surely overlooked this”
“……! I’m great?”
“Yeah, great, Cheryl”
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I patted Cheryl’s head as her eyes seemed to sparkle, trying not to dishevel her hair.
Then Cheryl span round and round, spreading her flowery skirt.
Now that I think about it, recently she started expressing herself through movements to make up for her lack of facial expressions.
Cheryl, who expressed her joy for a while, got closer to me and took my arm.
She took me to a nearby rock and sat down.
She seemed to tell me to sit down as well. As I didn’t have a reason to refuse, I placed my buttocks on that rock.
Naturally, we sat on the same rock.
Cheryl who got praised by Sonia and me seems to be in a good mood.
Her satisfied and comfortable looking face was very cute.
I carefully reached out my head to her head.
However, Cheryl seemed to like being patted so she accepted happily.
Truthfully, she seems to love it. I’m horrified because recently I started to understand that fellow, Chester’s feelings.
Oops, my thoughts were just deviating from the topic. Let’s get back to the main subject.
“So, as for my report, but– What’s the matter, Sonia?”
……Mu? Now that Sheryl also calmed down I called Sonia to get back on topic but I got a displeased answer in return.
Did I do something bad?……Things like a woman’s heart, I don’t get them.
I have no idea how a “woman” such as Sonia is thinking probably because I was surrounded by young girls like Seria and Cheryl up until now.
I kind of understood how to handle Cheryl, but I wonder if I will learn in time.
“……? Well, fine. Well then, my turn, but to tell the truth, nothing much happened.
I killed a big boar, a deer and two snakes which attacked me.
However, this is my personal opinion, but– those demonic beasts weren’t very animal like is what I thought. I had the impression as if their actions weren’t driven by instinct but by a clear malicious intent.”
I recalled those attacking animals’– no, demonic beasts’ evil eyes.
Even now I was still worried about the fact that I got attacked with the intent to kill without any reason whatsoever.
“We didn’t encounter any violent animals, but malice, huh……?”
Sonia put the back of her hand under her slim chin.
Like the moon hiding behind clouds, her emotions seemed to be hidden somewhere behind those beautiful lips.
Sonia, who seemed to be deep in thought, breathed some words rather than saying them from time to time.
“Yeah, as I thought, I have to go to that place, don’t I……?
Hey, Slava-kun, have you decided on your next destination yet…….?”
Before long she seemed to have collected her thoughts, then Sonia propped up her face with her hand and asked us.
Those words which carried a certain sense of fear…… seemed to implicate she indirectly hoped we haven’t decided yet.
To tell the truth, I haven’t decided yet — I didn’t really think about anything after the match with Sonia, after all.
“No, I haven’t decided on one yet. I hadn’t planned anything except when I heard from a friend that there is a strong fighter in Natosha.”
“I see! Then that’s really good!”
When told that our next destination was yet undecided Sonia’s voice lighted up, proving that my theory was right after all.
Our destination being undecided is good and convenient, meaning — you want us to go somewhere.
“Actually, there’s a place I want to take that crystal to.
I have an acquaintance in a research institute located in Alfareia. If your destination is yet undecided why don’t you come back with me to the capital which would also serve as information gathering?…. Is what I was wondering”
Sonia, whose eyes were moist, asked this of me with upturned eyes. Perhaps, she wants me to accompany her there.
……When hearing something like this how could one refuse? A girl’s upturned eyes probably are some kind of secret eye technique.
However. It’s true that our destination isn’t decided yet and this might unexpectedly be a good suggestion.
“Fumu……That might be a good suggestion. A place where a lot of people gather certainly is the best for gathering information.”
“Yeah, it’s a good idea to go back to Alfareia one more time. Thank you, Sonia.”
When I smiled widely and turned to her, Sonia’s face was dyed in deep red.
“I, I don’t think it’s very nice to surprise attack people like that……”
Sonia twisted her body while trying to hide her cheeks which became bright red as she was taken by surprise.
I shouldn’t have said anything too weird but — I don’t know about that. I should learn more about a woman’s feelings to avoid angering her so suddenly, huh……
Putting that aside, it’s good that we decided on a destination.
I didn’t think I would come back right after I said my good-byes, but life is like that sometimes.
“Then, shall we leave? Personally, I’d like to hurry up a bit……”
As she tried to change the conversation’s direction with something like impatience, soft laughter spilt out of my mouth.
As the smile on my face inflated my cheeks, Sonia turned to face the other way.
It seems like, even though she’s good at attacking, she’s quite bad at receiving.
I obtained some good information but let’s get on with the talk.
“If that’s so…… then lets depart tomorrow. I want to adapt to Sonia’s circumstances. Is that alright with you Cheryl?”
“Yeah……I, like the city”
I more or less tried to get Cheryl’s approval as well, however — it seems like there was no part in her wanting to deny.
She seems to like the city a lot, so it is an even better idea to return to the city if Cheryl can enjoy herself as well.
“Well, because there’s nothing but nature here in Natosha. Well then, let’s strike while the iron is hot and leave tomorrow, shall we? Towards the capital Alfareia!”
By obtaining our approval Sonia’s voice gained in brightness and she loudly declared as such.
Even if she begs to differ, she’s also a young elf. Watching these events unfold, swinging between joy and sadness, is pleasing to watch.
An immediate goal has been decided as well so for now I’ll just sigh.
──However, a crystal emitting a very small amount of magical power and monsters becoming violent and possessing magical power, huh?
Their correlation has yet to be proven, I, however, quietly believed in the correlation between these two things without anything for the time being.
Unexpectedly, this second life I received might take place in a troublesome age without my knowledge.
Feeling the beginning of something, I looked up at the sky.