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Chapter 17

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Author: Himezaki Shiu Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: Jiro English Source: Re:Library

Q. What must be happening in the forest for a Crazed Bear to show up near its entrance?
A. There aren’t enough monsters to feed on. The Crazed Bear population has grown, and the overall population of monsters in the forest has increased.

Various suggestions could be proposed, and consequently, the methods to address the problem would also vary. This is why an investigation was necessary.

In this case, the reason why a monster, which was originally supposed to reside deep in the forest, had been found at the entrance, was because a stronger monster had appeared.

Before the team of two stood a beast with the body of a lion and the head of an eagle, walking leisurely.

◇◇◇

Upon entering the forest, both Fujiwara and Fumitsuki moved quite well despite being accustomed to the leveled ground of Japan. Furthermore, the training grounds at the castle had been well-maintained and were not bumpy at all.

Unless one enjoyed hiking as a hobby, one would find it challenging to navigate such mountainous paths. For the record, back in Japan, I had been forced to climb a mountain during a school event, and I had ended up using my hands to succeed.

I suddenly found myself wondering why people had given up using four legs, considering it seemed more convenient when climbing mountains or ascending stairs.

Now that I was a Demigod, traversing a forest was a walk in the park, and the duo in front of me seemed to be handling it quite smoothly. I assumed they had likely gotten used to it during the five days they took to travel from the capital to the town. It wasn’t hard to imagine, given their adaptability as heroes.

The challenge with investigation requests was that one never really knew when it was concluded. Was it sufficient to find a set of footprints? Did one have to encounter a specific monster? Or was it acceptable to find nothing at all?

Even though I had no doubts, I was still somewhat concerned because the two had rarely ventured into the mountains. I likely wouldn’t have been so worried if I didn’t know them, but after all, it was I who had introduced them.

I hoped that this wouldn’t take too much time.

I couldn’t help but wish I had a Clairvoyance skill with which I could scout the area for the reason behind the Crazed Bear’s appearance. Unfortunately, I lacked that skill. In turn, I considered using the Tame skill to gather the monsters in the area and have them search.

I couldn’t help but hope for something like a World Eye skill to appear in the Demigod Sense category. However, I also felt that World Eye was a skill that would let you see the world from an external perspective. Which was impossible for someone like me, who was bound to the scope of this world.

Lacking Detection or Reconnaissance skills, I figured I might as well try using the All Powerful skill to search for the enemy. I focused, extending my consciousness to the surrounding area.

I could hear several sounds emanating from behind the trees, above the twigs, and among the grass. Both bugs and monsters inhabited these areas.

When it came to the duo in front of me, I could hear Fumitsuki’s steps, but Fujiwara was completely silent. Though it wasn’t surprising that the original was way better. Still, I was better at moving stealthily given that I had both the Spy and All Powerful skills.

As time passed, we eventually reached the place where the Crazed Bear had been killed. Although the body was nowhere to be found, a stake had been driven into the ground as a marker.

“So, this is where it was found.”
“Yes, it’s closer than I expected.”

The two of them paused for a moment, and I followed suit, stopping as well.

“I’d like to say that it’s strange, but I don’t know much about the forest to begin with.”
“How about we go a bit deeper into the forest to see just how many monsters there are, and to check if there aren’t any strong monsters?”
“I don’t know how strong a Crazed Bear is, but I’ve heard that you need a C Grade to defeat it, and there might be even stronger ones. We’ll run immediately if we encounter a strong monster. I’m leaving you to make the call,” Fujiwara said.
“O-Okay. I got it.”

I believed that allowing Fumitsuki, who had access to the Appraisal skill, to make the call was a smart move. She could decide to run after evaluating a monster’s status, and she could also see its name, which would allow them to return with valuable information.

The problem was if she accidentally revealed a rare monster’s name, or disclosed the monster’s status. These would immediately indicate that she had the Appraisal skill and also that she was capable of concealing her status.

Thirty more minutes passed as I pondered this.

Suddenly, a buzzing sound came from above as the two ventured deeper into the forest. The sound was so loud that even they could hear it. The moment they heard it, they hid behind a tree and looked up.

A creature with the body of a lion and the head of an eagle descended from the sky onto the open patch of land. Based on my past knowledge, I would classify it as a Hippogriff or a Griffon.

I decided to use Appraisal on it, and as I did, its name appeared as Gryps1. From a quick assessment of its status, I could assume it was a B Grade monster, and in the upper echelons of B Grade at that.

With the way those two were right now, they wouldn’t stand a chance if they engaged in a fight. Its Stamina, Endurance, and even Mana were quite high. On the other hand, its Agility and Resistance stats were on the lower end.

Fujiwara would likely be able to escape without any issues, however, Fumitsuki would surely get caught if discovered.

After landing, the Gryps failed to notice either of us and gradually moved away at a brisk pace.

I had failed to notice because my attention was drawn to the Gryps, but the area was strewn with monster corpses and there was even a nest-like area in the back. This likely meant that there were two Gryps, or that the Gryps was tending to its offspring alone.

The wisest course of action would be to pose these questions at the Collegium. I figured that the request could be considered complete if we returned with this information.

However, just in case something happened, I climbed up a tree and readied my bow. In that state, I observed what was happening with Fujiwara and Fumitsuki.

Fujiwara seemed fascinated by something while Fumitsuki appeared to be panicking. Fujiwara was a little farther ahead, so he hadn’t noticed Fumitsuki’s state. However, he suddenly turned back to look at her.

That’s when he saw that Fumitsuki was desperately making ‘X’ signs with her arms.

Fujiwara looked at the Gryps, then at Fumitsuki, then back at the Gryps again. He seemed to be at a crossroads.

Though there weren’t any cars in this world, so I thought there was nothing for him to worry about. As I pondered whether cars were indeed scarier, the two of them suddenly ran away.

The Gryps hadn’t noticed them, so I wasn’t sure why they were in such a hurry. After all, if they rushed, Fumitsuki was bound to make a mistake. And just as I thought, Fumitsuki did make a mistake.

She stepped on a branch, and the Gryps immediately noticed her.

“Yume, what’s its Agility?”
“90!”
“Got it. Go back first!”

The pair spoke as they ran away. Given that they were already discovered, there was no need for them to keep their voices down.

Fujiwara’s Agility was 116, and I was surprised because it had increased once again. Fumitsuki’s, on the other hand, was 70.

Considering the Gryps’ Agility was 90, if Fujiwara managed to hold it off until Fumitsuki could create some distance, the Neutral Team would win. If Fujiwara was taken down, the Neutral Team would lose.

As I looked closely, I could see that neither of them had any formidable weapons. Just as I was wondering how they were going to fight, Fujiwara pulled out a knife.

Thanks to the Gryps still focusing on Fumitsuki, Fujiwara used the Spy skill to conceal his presence and climbed on top of a tree. It was the tree right next to the one I was on. I laid down my drawn bow and waved to say hello, but Fujiwara didn’t react.

I couldn’t decide if it was because he was simply focused on the Gryps or because he couldn’t see me.

Regardless, Fujiwara threw down two knives.

The knives sliced through the air and pierced straight through both of the Gryps’ eyes. The Gryps’ movements stopped and it arched backward, emitting a powerful cry.



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Footnotes:

  1. TL/N: Gryps is another name for a Hippogriff or Griffon.
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