342 What Comes After Smooth Sailing
Things are going well, the future looks bright. But I can't just tell them 'Good bye, be well' yet.
(I'll keep a watch on them until tomorrow or the day after, and finish up if nothing seems amiss.)
I've managed to ascertain the kids' capability with bows and arrows today.
Frankly speaking, 'there's nothing left for me to teach them'. Like how the heck did they even hit all their arrows on those nimble wolves, damn.
These kids are already at a level where they won't miss immobile targets.
"Alright! Let's go back for today. The deeper areas are dangerous. You get that from watching this missy here, don't you?"
The kids energetically replied, 'Yes!'
"So, what's your name? Mind telling us that? I don't mind calling you missy though."
She's probably older than me, kind of rude calling her that.
But how am I supposed to treat her befitting her age after such a colorful encounter?
I just can't after that pitiful sight.
"I-I'm Raine, please call me Raine. A-and you?"
"Raine it is. Hm. Okay then, Raine let's go back. Ready to go home, kids?"
I completely ignored Raine asking my name. I've no intention to get involved with her more than necessary.
It's the kids that are gonna be under her care from now on. She must have a lot of stuff to teach the kids about this forest.
"Eh, um? Err?", Raine looked bewildered as I kept ignoring her. Looks like she couldn't process me not replying her question.
The kids have finished retrieving the prey and arrows, waiting for my next order in a neat row.
"Fall back!", I led the kids to retrace our path back while staying alert.
I heard a voice behind me, "P-please wait for me!", but that didn't stop me.
We have no more business in the forest today. At best, we're gonna climb up some trees to pick up fruits along the way.
We can never have enough food but stockpiling too much is just gonna leave them rotting. Hence, you need to maintain the right balance between procuring, consumption and hunting.
(I'm putting our haul in my magic bag today, but I guess they'd need baskets later... Well it'll be their homework.)
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The one indispensable thing I needed to teach these kids is processing the game we hunted. Which will be done at Raine's home.
She's a hunter by trade. Her house surely has a facility to process animals she hunted.
I'm gonna fully make use of her as her savior. But it won't be a one sided thing, I'll make sure to have her profit as well. I'm not that brutish.
Today's hunting has solved quite a lot of things.
Mostly thanks to Raine, as the thing I should have been shouldering will be hers to take over. In other word, I'm pushing this responsibility to her.
However, it also brings upon one new thing bugging me. Those 'wolves'.
Later on, I lamented myself for noticing this.
(Forest Seeker was it? These wolves were far more nourished compared to the ones I saw back then. And their fur seemed well tended... Is this normal?)
I came across the same type of wolves attacking a wagon on my way to the empire back then.
I recall how I paid some mercenaries there to take care of them.
Those wolves were thinner than these ones.
A forest this rich should have no shortage of critters. But the world of nature is never easy.
My experience hunting in my village tells me as much.
(Isn't it weird how well fed they seem to be? I know this forest has plenty of prey but that doesn't guarantee those wolves always succeed finding one. And besides, their fur has this luster like it's been tended well...)
To those living in the nature, even the act of finding small critters alone requires laborious work.
I really doubt those wolves could hunt the amount of prey necessary to maintain their build.
It's not unusual to find prey only after several days. This naturally results in them having a thinner build.
I also noticed the difference in luster between the wolves I saw back then and the ones this time.
This hunch leads me to one conclusion. I couldn't even afford to throw a punchline here.
(Were these wolves being 'kept' in the depths of this forest? ...For what? If they're tamed beasts, attacking Raine must be their role as watchdogs? Is there something a party doesn't wish to be discovered around that area...?)
This conclusion is bad for me. The keepers of those wolves must find it unusual if they don't come back and go investigate themselves.
That can only mean one thing.
(I'm gonna get dragged again in another trouble, that's one thing for sure...)
We left the forest as I prayed my hunch turned out wrong. We then made our way to the gate marking the end of our first day hunting.