Friday chapter as promised: check! Small note, I put ~ at the end of some of the new character’s lines, but those ~ aren’t the ara ara~ kind of ~, but rather the mocking kind. As for the next chapters, expect one tomorrow or Sunday, and if I have enough time I’ll do a second one. That’s it from me, enjoy the chapter!
That’s how I ended up pushing my way through the dense forest at dusk together with Ai-Fa.
It seems that nighttime is close, it’s getting darker and darker.
“Because of you, we’ve wasted a lot of time. If we get attacked by a Giba in this darkness, try not to die”
While holding Ai-Fa’s left shoulder with my hand, I cover my injured leg while walking along, “Giba?” I asked back.
“The animal that you wanted to hunt, the one that you dug the pit in the ground for I mean. Could it be that you’re talking about that wild boar-like animal?”
“Oh. It’s black in colour, has a round body, and tusks growing here and there……”
“That’s a Giba. Did you see one?”
“I saw one. I mean, I was chased by one, and that’s why I ran and fell in your pit trap you know”
“That’s dumb. When a Giba chases you, you’re supposed to climb up a tall tree”
“Like I said, this place’s common sense, I don’t know it”
As I said that, I dropped my eyes to the hand that was grabbing Ai-Fa’s shoulder.
“Say. Could this fur mantle, be made of the fur of those Giba?”
“Obviously. I am one of the People of the Forest, one of those Giba-hunting people of Mount Morga. The People of the Forest, hunt the Giba, eat their meat, and sell their tusks and fur for a living”
Carefully weaving through the bushes, she looked back at me with sullen eyes.
“……and, the residents of the Stone Capital, despise the “Giba-Eaters” of the forest”
“Hmm? Why? Wild boar, is delicious”
Once again I’m not trying to brag about this, but during winter break of my second year of middle school, I joined the farm campus (ファームキャンパス) of the Hunting Club, and had the experience of killing wild deer and wild boar.
The deer stew I had at that time was, really, really delicious.
“That wasn’t a “wild-boar”, that was a Giba. The Giba’s meat, is tough and smelly. The residents of the forest who eat the Giba, also stink”
“You don’t stink. Actually, you’re giving off a really delicious smelling smell”
Ai-Fa’s deep blue eyes, took on an even more sullen light.
Hmm. She’s very difficult to deal with.
Also, to honor Ai-Fa, it’s not only because of the smell of meat and fat. But rather, it’s also the smell of the cool herbs and sweet fruit. The combination of those two aromas and the meat, is what stimulates my appetite to the core in a perfect way.
“No, but, really. I have a pretty good nose. That Giba is delicious, I’m sure”
“……there is neither good nor bad food”
Gee, that’s a rant. Is that a challenge to me, who despite only being an apprentice, was nonetheless on the edge of becoming a real chef?
But, well, in this situation, there’s no point in waving around my old world’s values. After that, I stopped moving my mouth unnecessarily, and concentrated on walking in silence.
Then, after walking through the forest for 15 more minutes一一suddenly, we arrived at a clearing.
The forest, we got out of it.
The Sun was already 80 percent below the horizon.
Illuminated by the orange afterglow, was what seemed to be a village on the mountainside.
(oh……truly, it looks like people are able to live properly here, in this world)
Somehow, my heart feels really satisfied.
It’s too dimly lit to see clearly, but in the craggy, rocky terrain that’s dug out of the mountains, there seemed to be many small wooden houses dotted all over the place. Some of them, were lit by red fires, and high in the sky, climbed the evening meals’ white smoke
(……see, it smells great)
The smell of the meat’s protein, as well as what’s probably the smell of herbs and spices, melted into the atmosphere.
I had a hard time soothing the sound of my stomach in order to not offend Ai-Fa.
“Outside the forest, it’s quite nice and peaceful. In this village, around how many people live here?”
“Dunno. ……well, there’s 500 at most”
“500 people? It’s a pretty big place. Though by the looks of it, there doesn’t seem to be too many houses”
“……the people of the forest, in order to divide Mount Morga and Jenos’ territory, have built settlements from the north to the south. Just to get from one end to another, would take over half a day”
Fumu. Since this territory is very long vertically, the houses are all of a lonely feeling distance away from each other, I guess. Having a low population density is a good thing, though I don’t think that it’s appropriate for this to be called a “village”.
I wanted to gather some more information, but an unexpected intruder appeared.
“Yo, Ai-Fa. That pathetic brat, who is he?”
A thick and deep male voice called out to us from the side.
Much to my surprise, Ai-Fa quietly clicked her tongue with a “tch”.
“Nothing. It’s none of your business, Deiga-Sun”
“It isn’t none of my business though~? The Sun family rules over all of the people of the forest”
The large figure, approached shamelessly.
He was, a young man who was dressed in a similar way as Ai-Fa.
He, is tall. Using the scale from my world, he’s probably at least 180 centimeters tall.
His frame and body looked solid, he looks about 80 kilograms heavy.
His dark brown hair was cut short, his body was light brown in colour, and his eyes were blue. Other than the colour of his hair, he was identical to Ai-Fa.
Worn over his large body was a thick fur mantle and a cloth jacket, and there were more tusks and horns hanging around his neck compared to Ai-Fa.
And finally, hanging down from his waist, was a large, thick flesh chopping sword, as well as a small knife.
He stood there while blocking our path, and then he shot me an unreserved look.
“Hmm. That’s a strange outfit, isn’t it? You, where’d you come from~?”
He has a thick voice, but the way he speaks is somehow uncomfortable.
Also, even though his eyes had the same colour as Ai-Fa’s, his are cloudy and muddy.
Even though he’s the second human I’ve met in this world, he didn’t seem to be able to make a favourable impression.
However, I’ve been in the customer service business since I could remember.
If you get irritated by these kinds of people, then being a merchant’s son would be boring. So with that in mind, I thought of showing him some of my hospitality, but一一
“It doesn’t concern you”, said Ai-Fa, before I could speak.
“I owe the Sun clan nothing, and more than that, to me you’re simply a pain in the ass. It’s annoying to talk with you, so hurry up and get your uselessly large figure out of my sight, Deiga-Sun”
“What, you little……”
The man’s expression changed, but that didn’t stop Ai-Fa’s mouth.
“If you have a problem with that, I’m always ready to play games with you. Otherwise, don’t show yourself in my presence. You’re a bother, Deiga-Sun”
After saying that, Ai-Fa started to quickly walk away.
As a person who owed that shoulder a debt of gratitude, I could do nothing but follow her. As I passed the angry young man, I gave a modest bow.
“This stray, eccentric woman! You’d better be real careful, or else I might mistake your head for a Giba and crack it open from behind!”
The man’s voice, out of control, echoes in the foothills.
The idyllic scene is ruined.
“You know, maybe it’s not a problem that I, an outsider, should be talking about but. Maybe it’d be better if you took care of your neighbors a little bit more?”
“……that man, Deiga-Sun, on the night that I lost my father, crept into my bedroom in order to disgrace me. So, I beat him until he couldn’t stand on his own legs anymore, and dropped him in the middle of the river”
“Since then, because I humiliated the Sun clan’s son, their heir, my place in this village has been lost. ……such a person, you want me to take care of him?”
“I take it back. My bow too. I should have punched him in the face when I had the chance”
Saying that, I stopped and let go of Ai-Fa’s shoulder, but she grabbed my right wrist with a tremendous force.
The thin but powerful fingertips, dug into my skin.
“What are you talking about, you. Deiga-Sun and the others, aren’t worth beating up”
“No, but, it’s not fair that you’re the only one who gets punished and constrained”
“I don’t feel constrained. I don’t want to have to deal with people who aren’t even my family, so I’m rather glad that they pinned the blame on me”
With a light so strong and determined that it was incomparable to the man from earlier in her blue eyes, she stared at me angrily.
“However, if you were to harm someone from the Sun clan, I, as the person who brought you to the village, will be held fully responsible for everything. If that happens, then this time I will be completely banished from the village. ……are you trying to make me live in the wilderness, you?”
“Ah……that’s right, isn’t it. Sorry. I wasn’t thinking about your situation. I guess I’m getting short tempered because I’m getting hungrier”
Then, as if to show it’s approval of my words, my stomach rumbled with a “gugyuru” sound.
Grabbing my wrist, Ai-Fa’s shoulders began shaking once again.
“……you, you’re doing this on purpose aren’t you? Do you want to be thrown into the river too?”
“Som, something like an intentional stomach rumble, I can’t do something so skillful. And I mean, if you want to laugh, then just laugh”
Ai-Fa pushed my arm away, and again began walking with large steps.
Panicked, I clutched onto her left shoulder.
And, while watching her bright red ears and nape, I was vaguely thinking一一”I guess the people of this world too, are warm to the touch”, it was a very casual and mundane thought.