9-1. To the Town of Magic Hunters
Satou's here. My workaholic father had been returning from work late at night, and going to work early in the morning since I was a child, maybe that's why I don't remember meeting him much. Although, I never thought that I would be in the same position before I got married.
It's been awhile since our last wagon journey. We always rode on the wagon when we were in the duchy capital, but the duchy capital main street with its neatly prepared soil is quite different than the undeveloped narrow road at the back country. Since the branch of the great river runs along the main road, there are only a few carriages that are running here. Most are transported by small boats on the branch river.
"Gatagoto~" "Gotogoto nanodesu!"
<TLN: Japanese onomatopoeia for rattle.>
Pochi and Tama are looking awfully excited ever since we've gone out of the town. They've been pulling and shaking my sleeves on both sides by matching the shaking of the wagon, so it's hard to read book in the menu.
"Mou~, just what do you girls find so fun."
"Don't you know nodesu?"
"Arisa is still green~"
"She's no good nanodesu~"
"Mukka~ So cheeky even though you're just Pochi and Tama~"
Arisa is saying something like some kind of kid boss in the block, but she seems to say it for the sake of saying it and doesn't mean to offend.
Seeing Lulu who's been giggling while facing the road on the coachman's seat since awhile ago, it looks like she knows the reason.
"Lulu, don't laugh, tell me if you know it."
"You~can't, since it's a 『Quiz』, you can't ask the answer from other people."
Arisa is growling, "Gununu", such unladylike groan from Lulu's reply. Since Lulu's used the lines that Arisa usually says to everyone, she probably can't rebut it.
However, I also don't know, I guess I'll ask for a hint.
"I'm sorry, Pochi and Tama. I also don't know though?"
Tama, please stop speaking sound effects out loud. I pat the head of the two, who look like puppies that have been betrayed by their master, as if to gloss over it. I wonder, am I the bad one here?
"Monopoly of master~""It's nice to be together nodesu."
Come to think of it, when we were in the duchy capital, especially the latter half, we hadn't been together beside during the meal and sleep. Since, during the latter half, I was like an overworking father who came home late after everyone had gone to the bed, let's pamper them a bit now.
Mia who was scouting with Liza, and Nana, together with the hornless beast comes back. She jumps from the hornless beast toward the wagon, so I receive her and put her down on the wagon. Even though she's gained a bit of fat, she's still quite light. Looks like she'll be fine even without going through dietary restriction like Arisa.
"Master, a fallen tree is blocking the road up ahead."
"Master, the way the tree has fallen looks unnatural. It feels like it's been artificially made."
<TLN: It's impossible to tl but Nana's always used "Masuta" to call Satou while all other members uses "Goshujin-sama". They both mean "Master" in English.>
The fallen tree is probably the handiwork of thieves to stop carriages. Since I found the thieves on top of the low hill a bit apart from the highway when Liza and the others went scouting, I've already dealt with them with [Remote Stun]. Magic is convenient after all.
"Pochi, Tama, change into your work clothes. Let's remove the fallen tree."
"Roger~""Hear hear~ nanodesu."
I told Liza that I would remove the fallen tree with magic, but since she wanted to use the tree as a training by likening it to a monster, it was refused. This is just right to check the performance of everyone's magic swords. If they can't properly hold back when they're going against thieves, they will surely kill the opponents.
"Master, I wish for charging nodesu."
"Tama is right. If you don't charge it with your own mana, it won't be a training."
I somehow evaded Pochi's request attack that came with upturned eyes while she was presenting her short magic sword. It might have been dangerous if Tama didn't support.
No one can use magic edge like Liza, but Tama and Nana are able to charge mana without problem. However, Pochi is the only one who's having a hard time with it. According to Arisa's investigation, it's not only because she's short on MP, but she also needs to instantly operates large amount of mana, so it's not going well for her. Although, there aren't any difference between mana of Tama and Pochi.
"Yay, it's done nodesu!"
Pochi who is finally able to put mana into the short magic sword turns to me and puts out "Praise me" aura, so I praise her, "You've done well", while patting her head. Her tail looks like it'll break.
"First turn, Nana will go. 『Shell』."
Nana freely displays the raised physical strength from the physical reinforcement nature magic by wielding a shield that's larger than her body and a one-handed sword.
Although the sizes of the magic swords of Nana, Pochi, and Tama are different, I've put the same magic circuit on them.
After filling it with mana, once you recite the password (Command), the magic circuit carved on the sword will activate. 『Shell』 generates cylindrical mana field around the axis of the magic sword.
It's a magic circuit that's normally put into shields or armors, but you can use the sword as a blunt weapon with it, and it's also useful when you fight against monsters with acid or putrid bodily fluids, so I try to experiment with it.
At first I made a magic sword carved with a magic circuit that could generate fire, but it seemed that the heat from the fire is too bad for the material, when I tried to use it, the sword broke. I put the plan on the back burner until I get some material that's stronger against heat. Since it'll burn your hand when you hold the sword after using it for a long time, I also have to find insulating material it seems.
It's a plain magic circuit, but it's probably ideal for dealing with thieves that we've been going through a lot this time.
With just a single strike from Nana, a fallen tree the size of three of my waists is snapped right in half until the inside.
"Second turn, Tama's going~"
"Third turn, Pochi nanodesu!"
Tama is wielding two short swords now due to the influence of the martial art tournament. She's keeping her balance nicely to the point that you won't think that she doesn't have dual wielding skill. Pochi keeps the same style as before with a one-handed short sword, and a shield.
Tama utilizes the weights of the two magic short swords, no, she's skilfully utilizing the inertia from her assaults, striking the fallen trees as if dancing. Each of her strike is only about 20-30% as strong as Nana's, but since she's hitting a lot, she cuts the thin fallen tree and branches in succession.
Pochi simply wields the short sword, and charges ahead. She's powered up with the heavy blow skill properly. Yet, it's only about 80% as strong as Nana, I wonder if it's because of her physique, or her weapon.
"Fourth turn, 『Magic Edge』『Heavy Blow』."
Liza attacks in a low posture while leaving red trails of light. The reason why she doesn't use Thrusting skill is probably because striking damage is more important than piercing for this.
However, spears have too high of piercing power after all, she only leaves a big hole on the fallen tree, unlike Nana and the others who've smashed the tree.
I should make an attachment for Liza's spear for when she's fighting an enemy with piercing resistance.
With Mia's Baloon magic and Arisa's Repulsion magic, the fallen tree that's been torn into pieces are removed from the road.
Since the thieves had recovered during the meantime, I made them sleep once again with [Remote Stun]. I've already collected their weapons with Magic Hand. There isn't anything noteworthy, so I'll melt them to become raw material.
"Do you guys have some business in the village?"
"No, we don't plan to stop by in particular. It looks like some things have been burned, did some thieves attack?"
When we were passing near a farm village, we got challenged by some armed farmers. This farmer looks to have some burn injuries, but the farmers behind him seem to only have some kind of scar injuries. In addition, their weapons are all crudely made, you can even call it improvised. Things like wooden spears with only the tips shaved, or spears with smashed obsidian stones attached on the tips.
There are hatred and fear on the eyes of the farmers.
"I, it was someone even worse than thieves. It was a noble."
The young man announced as if vomiting. I feel some glance from a far away house. We should get away from here as soon as I've gathered some information.
"Was it a noble from around here?"
"No, I had never seen him before. He asked if we were hiding beastmen, when we told him that we didn't know, he burned our houses with magic, and threatened us to confess."
A fire magic-user noble who's searching for beastmen.
I'm terribly reminded of someone. It's the foreign noble who had tried to buy the white tigerkin princess in the dark auction. Since I don't remember his name, I search for him by limiting to only around up to the neighbor town from here. Looks like he's staying on the town of Puta that we're heading to. Let's mark him at least. It'll be troublesome if he mistakenly attacks Tama.
"That's unfortunate. We also have to be careful as to not get involved. These are thanks for the information, please accept it."
I take out three lower-ranked potions from the accessory case in the wagon, and pass it to the young man. Since he looked doubtful, I told him that they were cheap magic medicines (potions), and then the wagon departed before he could say something.
"You're quite generous eh~"
"They were just dummy that I've made for the wagon, they were really cheap stuffs you know. One is worth one copper coin at most."
They're leftovers from when I was mass producing military-use magic potions, from the alchemy book I had bought in the dark auction. They came out when raw materials weren't enough, or after I omitted some step. The lower-ranked potions from earlier are about the same as lower ranked magic potions I usually make that are 20 times more diluted. Nevertheless, they're not inferior to lower-ranked potion that's on the market. However, since you can make the dilution without magic cores, it's quicker and easier to make the potion normally considering the trouble.
Since the [Diluted Lower-Ranked Potion] that are made from this method has a weak effect, I can freely give it to people, it's convenient.
And then, three days after we depart from the riverside town of the great river, we can finally see the town of Puta at last. This town is congregated by people called magic hunters that are working by hunting monsters to collect their magic cores. Even though the job sounds strong, most of them are not higher than level 10. In this duchy capital, there are several towns where magic hunters are gathering like in this Puta town.
I've learned the circumstance of things around here from Tarina-san of the scroll workshop. She was complaining when the magic cores that had arrived from Puta town were small and had low purities.
Around the forest near this Puta town, there are eight nests with about 100 demi-goblins each, they're separated for 10 kilometers apart from each other. Small nests with about dozen of demi-goblins also exist here and there. They're probably controllably hunted so that they won't become too many, or die out.
Humans don't seem to be the only one who hunt demi-goblins, various snake, lizard or frog monsters are loitering around near the nests.
Even now, there seem to be several magic hunter parties that are hunting the demi goblins, loitering around in the forest. One of those parties seems to have just been returning to Puta town, and from what we can see from here, they're having some kind of trouble.
Good grief, there's a lot of troubles in this world.