|Author: Tsunose Bun||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3024 characters|
|Translator: Jiro||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1225 words|
“How are you going to kill anything with that weapon, Sis?”
With a wooden stick in her right hand and Law in her left, Merc left the Large Tree’s Stump behind and began moving through the gaps in the woods.
Law looked up from her left side with a puzzled expression as he uttered his question.
He was likely concerned because his sister lacked both a bow and a sword, and she was unlikely to be able to kill anything with a wooden stick she couldn’t use to slash or thrust.
“Come to think of it, this is your first time hunting. There’s no need to worry. Just sit back and watch.”
The surrounding scenery appeared quite vibrant to Law, who only left the house on special occasions. He kept looking left and right, and his expression altered whenever he saw a large tree or the splendor of blooming flowers. It had been a while since Merc had seen her brother so happy.
“The last time you came with me was when I had my previous contest against Ganan, right?”
“That’s right. But we weren’t so high up last time.”
“You’re right. We couldn’t go any higher because you were still little at the time.”
However, compared to the last time, Law had grown and had become stronger. Merc admired the growth of children without realizing she was in the same boat.
“Hmph? Let’s start by hunting that.”
When Merc sensed a presence, she raised her head and saw a blue bird perched on a tree branch just in front of her. It wasn’t too big or too tiny, and carrying it wouldn’t be a problem.
“That bird? But it’s so high up… How will you catch it?”
“I can throw the wooden stick… But since I brought this hunting knife I might as well use it. Hya!”
Merc took out the hunting knife and threw it at the oblivious blue bird.
The blue bird was shocked by the knife that dug deep into its neck, and it simply fell down without being able to do anything.
“Good. That’s one down.”
“… That’s not how you’re supposed to use that knife, Sis…”
“I know. In any case, let’s drain the blood first.”
The birds in this forest were known for their vitality. Even if a knife sunk into their necks, they wouldn’t die right away. It was commendable that the bird survived despite having its neck pierced by the knife, but now wasn’t the time for Merc to sympathize with it.
“I’m sorry little one.”
Merc yanked the knife from the struggling blue bird’s neck and snatched it by the legs, pointing its head downward.
“Chirp… chirp… chir…”
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While the bird was convulsing, Merc swiftly secured its legs with the rope and then tied it to her wooden stick with the remaining rope. She then swung it over her shoulder and looked back at Law.
“We might as well drain the blood after we return to the Large Tree’s Stump. We’ll just be wasting time otherwise.”
Law took a step back from Merc, most likely because he was repulsed by her actions just now. It was most likely too much for him to handle.
“Was it really that disturbing? I’ll have you know that when I was your age I’d already killed a hu…”
Killed a human. Those were the words about to escape Merc’s mouth before she swallowed them back down.
“Killed a hu? What is a hu?”
“I-It’s nothing. Just a hummingbird… Even elves have to eat, right? Thank you, Mother Nature.”
Law was taken aback by Merc’s response, but he didn’t press the issue further. If he had pressed it any farther, Merc would have been unable to escape. Fortunately, she managed to avoid the bullet this time.
C-Calm down, me. Estert was the one who slaughtered the bandits who assaulted the village when I was eight. It wasn’t me. I mean, it was me, but it wasn’t Merc…
There were instances like these, when Merc couldn’t tell the difference between her memories of her life as Estert and those of her life as Merc. She had made a number of dubious statements in the past, but she had never been caught. Mostly due to her good luck.
Merc thought that she wouldn’t be bothered if someone found out. It would merely add to the confusion because no one would believe her. However, after some further consideration, Merc changed her opinion.
It was frightening to consider what people might say if they found out that a middle-aged man resurrected in the body of a young female elf. She’d almost certainly be labeled a pervert, and her reputation would be tarnished. She couldn’t let that happen no matter what.
“S-Sis. L-Let’s go and win the contest.”
Merc and Law continued their quest through the forest after the blue bird’s blood had virtually left its corpse.
After a short walk, a Belbit emerged from the thicket in front of them, signaling that their next prey had been decided.
“Law. Could you hold on to the bird for a bit?”
“Huh? But wasn’t it you, Sis, who warned big brother Ganan about the Belbits?”
“Yes. Even if they’re weak they are still a type of Magic Beast. They’re not the kind of opponent a kid who hasn’t had any training should face. However, because I’ve previously gone through a rigorous training program, I’ll be fine.”
“… T-That’s your reason?”
Merc didn’t waste any more time attempting to persuade Law. She simply handed him the bird and took a stance with her wooden stick. She had resolved not to use her knife after the case with the bird flashed across her thoughts.
“Here I come!”
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The Belbit attempted to flee as soon as it noticed Merc. Merc, on the other hand, was quicker, and when she caught up, she raised the wooden stick above her head and swung it down.
She severed the Belbit’s Mana horn with a single slash, and the wretched Magic Beast flopped down with its eyes still wide.
“Did you kill it?”
“No. I held back so it should still be alive. It just passed out.”
“Why didn’t you kill it?”
“Because its meat will turn bad. Only kill it as you’re about to drain its blood, or just a bit before that.”
After Merc responded to Law’s intrigued question, she stuffed the broken Belbit’s horn into her bag and knotted the rabbit’s body so it couldn’t move.
It wouldn’t matter if the meat was nice or awful if she simply thought about the competition; nevertheless, thinking that way felt too selfish for Merc.
If she was going to slaughter a living creature, she owed it to the prey to consume it in its best. That was Merc’s belief, and she vowed to bring it back alive, even if it meant causing her some trouble.
“Well then, just one more left. Let’s wrap this up and go back. We’ll have a feast tonight.”
Law’s face lit up as he imagined tonight’s dinner. He was probably also becoming accustomed to the smell of fresh blood.
Merc and Law resumed their hunt with both the blue bird and Belbit perched on her shoulder.
It had only been less than thirty minutes since the hunting contest began.