Chapter 4──── The Entete Forest
There were several small forests scattered around the village of Berne, which we benefit from on a daily basis.
Naturally, there were many other creatures other than human beings living in these forests, and there were also a number of fierce beasts that attacked us. Therefore, stepping into the forest always puts you at risk.
At least children were never allowed to enter the forest alone, and even if adults were to enter, there must be at least three or more people in the forest.
One day I was out to release the village pig into the forest.
Pigs are easy to raise, as they eat acorns and other foods as long as they are released into the forest.
There were a total of six people in the forest: myself, Serina, Christine-san, who came with us on a whim, and three other villagers.
Except for Serina, all of us were armed with long swords, short spears, bows and arrows to prepare for the dangers of the forest. Villages in other kingdoms would rarely be this vigilant in going out into the nearby forest.
In other words, our appearance clearly showed how dangerous the frontier near the village of Berne is.
In recent times, fierce beasts that wouldn’t normally be seen in the villages have been sighted, making everyone even more cautious.
However, considering that Serina and I, one of the few magicians in Berne Village, and Christine-san, a top-notch swordswoman, were accompanying us, there was no need to be so arrogant.
However, I missed the point.
After entering the forest, I was feeding the pigs while watching them, when a ferocious beast that shouldn’t be there showed up.
Fortunately, I was able to spot the beast before it attacked the pig. I took a close look at the beast as it slowly approached us.
Standing up, its huge frame, which seemed to reach three times my size, was covered in brown fur with black streaks that ran like lightning, and every single hair was shiny and glossy.
I could see its four thick legs treading the earth carelessly, gathering strength to leap at me at any moment.
Dull white blades protruded from the joints of each leg.
Golden eyes stared at my every move, and fangs as thick as two of my fingers peeked out of its mouth, which let out a low growl.
A blade tiger, a fierce beast with very few witnesses.
It’s a large fierce beast that is said to dwell in the Entete Forest, a deep forest that is beyond the reach of humans, located east of the village of Berne. It was said to be able to cut through the shell of an armoured bear with blades extending from its limbs.
Their pelts were harder than leather armor and their blades were as sharp as iron, making them a prized possession of some royalty and the wealthy, and a bladed tiger is said to fetch a tremendous price.
Protecting the little piggy on my back, I loosely lifted the blade tip of the long sword held in my right hand and thrust it between the blade tiger’s eyes.
Serina, Christine-san and the others who noticed the appearance of the blade tiger were about to rush over to us, but in the meantime, another blade tiger appeared from another direction, forcing them to be wary of that one.
If one looked, one could see the marks of a struggle on either of the blade tigers, and their fur was ripped open, revealing something reddish-black.
Does this mean that we showed up at the place where the two edged tigers were fighting?
When I looked towards the one where the two Bladed Tigers appeared, there was the corpse of an Hammered boar with its abdomen slashed open and its neck chewed to pieces.
They were fighting over who would eat this Hammered boar?
We brought a pig that didn’t have any way of resistance compared to the Hammered Boar, and from the point of view of the edged tiger, it must have seemed like good prey.
As for the other one, as long as Serina and Christine-san are around, they shouldn’t have to worry about it.
Since there was no sign of any other fierce beasts, I focused my attention on the bladed tiger in front of me.
A bite of the edged tiger’s fangs, a swing of its claws, or a blow of its blade, any of them could easily end a single human’s life.
The proof of this was the fact that although it was definitely wary of me, I didn’t see any fear. Maybe it’s because I know of a human or a species that is similar in shape.
He also seemed to know that his life would not be threatened if he wasn’t caught off guard.
I lowered the tip of my long sword slightly. It’s an understandable provocation, but now, will it come along for the ride?
In the Blade Tiger’s eyes, there was a sense of pride in itself as a predator, as a strong one, saying, “Interesting, you’re challenging Me just by yourself?”(TN: Dio be like: Oh? You’re approaching me?
And Shaggy be like: Are you challenging meme?”)
The blade tiger’s limbs sank down slightly, its sharp claws dug into the ground, and it released the power stored in the muscles of its entire body.
The blade tiger’s body, which was both flexible and strong, turned into a bolt of lightning that matched the stripes running across its fur, and attacked me.
The blade tiger’s powerful muscles leapt, the dirt that gouged out of its legs flew up, and the blades extending from its limbs slashed the wind with a sound.
I aimed at the leaping blade tiger’s brow and threw the long sword in my right hand. The long sword thrown from my right hand, which was bent like a whip, turned into a silver stream that split the atmosphere.
However, the Silver Stream was bitten by a black lightning bolt that suddenly flashed in the void.
The right foreleg swung by the blade tiger struck the long sword’s middle, knocking it down to the ground with a resounding thud.
The eyes of the blade tiger, which were aimed at the long sword, showed anger and contempt for being toyed with by the little trick. But when the eyes were turned back to me again, a sense of bewilderment was also present.
Because Blade Tiger’s eyes had lost sight of me.
In the instant that the Blade Tiger was forced to focus its attention on intercepting the long sword, I rushed forwards, lowering myself, and was in a position to get under the Blade Tiger’s body.
I didn’t miss the moment when the huge body of the edged tiger passed over my head, which was nearly on my belly, and I thrust the dagger I had drawn with my left hand into the edged tiger’s unprotected chest up to its base.
The blade tiger’s fur was harder than I thought, and if I hadn’t allowed the magic of the Dragon species to pass through it, the dagger’s blade would have had a limit to eating into the tip of the cut.
A sure response that tore through the fur and the thick, tough flesh beneath it. I felt the realization that I had taken a life.
While savoring these feelings, I looked back at the Blade Tiger, which passed over my head and landed behind me.
Oddly enough, I and the edged tiger looked back at each other at the same time.
Quietly, as I stared ahead, the blade tiger kept its posture low, ready to pounce on me at any moment, but from the depths of its mouth, bright red blood poured out with a force as if it were a dam, and a waterfall of blood stained its body.
The hilt of the dagger I had thrust up grew out of the chest wrapped in fur, and a sea of blood was slowly spreading from there as well.
The golden eyes of the blade tiger, which had already lost its life, were still certainly looking at me, and even in death, it had not lost its pride as a strong one.
I turned my gaze towards Christine-san and the others with a certain respect for that figure.
The injuries sustained were deeper in the blade tiger that appeared to Christine san and the others, and it was also a young individual, so I don’t think there’s any chance of that happening, but…….
Such concerns of mine were completely in vain.
From the corner of my eye, I saw the neck of the blade tiger, which was bound in motion by Serina’s paralyzing magic eye, was about to be cut off by Christine’s mithril longsword right now.
The encounter with the two blade tigers, a significant danger in the history of Berne Village, had thus settled down to the best possible outcome: no casualties, no damage to livestock.
But with the exception of Serina, who was still new to the village, and Christine, who was an outsider, the three people in the village who had come to the forest with me understood the unusual situation – the fact that a bladed tiger, which was supposed to live deep in the eastern forest, had come so close to the Berne village.
And the danger that if that abnormal situation continues unresolved, more disaster will come to the village.
† † † † †
First of all, because of the labor and the value of the prey, the mallet boar was drained of its blood and buried on the ground to prevent it from being eaten by other prey, and then the bodies of the two edged tigers were brought back to the village.
After that, we reported on the situation of the encounter in the forest and speculated on why the blade and tigers were there at the village chief’s house with the village chief and Baran-san.
The appearance of the Blade Tiger, which had never been seen even when initiating the development of the northern frontier of the kingdom, including the village of Berne, was too much to change the faces of the village chief and Grandma Muggle to be grim.
At the table they were all sitting through, I slowly looked around at the faces of everyone in their chairs and asked for permission to investigate the forest, which I had been wanting to ask for a long time.
“If we continue to just sit on the sidelines and watch the situation change, it may one day become irreversible. Before that happens, give me permission to go and investigate the forest. Considering the fact that even Blade Tiger is near the village, this is obviously unusual. I’m sure the village chief is more aware of that than I am.”
The village chief snorted briefly at me as I said with unusually high spirits.
The village chief, who has reached the age of 60, could have passed his natural life expectancy at any time, considering the life expectancy of the people of this era, but he still has a clear head and his body, which has endured many years of hard work on the farm, has remained lean and healthy.
People in the village are very fond of this experienced and sympathetic chief and hope that he will remain in his post for another ten or twenty years.
The village chief rubbed his beard, which was grown out like a goat’s beard, with his right hand and said.
“It’s true that if we sit here like you say, we’ll only be in the back of the pack if something happens. But we can’t just let you go on your own. Can’t you get someone out of your place too, Baran?”
“Yeah, I’ll send a couple of guys. Depending on the situation, we may need to call Galore for reinforcements or an investigation.”
We only trained in between farm work, but Baran-san and the others received regular training in the kingdom and gained real-world experience against fierce beasts and barbarians while living on the frontier.
They have the regular equipment provided by the kingdom and are very dependable when it comes to fighting. It would be a shame to send those people to a place where they can’t grasp the situation and get injured.
Since my rebuttal was also a good one, the village chief snorted again. We definitely need to investigate the forest, but it may still take some time to choose the right people for that.
And as I was thinking about how we can’t afford to spend time talking like this, yes! Serina cheerfully raised her hand.
“Yes! Then I’ll go with Doran-san to investigate the forest. I have the magic eye and can use magic. I stopped the blade and tiger today as well. If Doran-san and I go together, I think we can handle most things.”
“Let the young lady go investigate with Doran. I’ve never heard of Lamia in the Entete Forest, but with you, young lady, we won’t have to worry about the snakes. And with two wizards, surely most things can be managed…”
It would be a push until the village chief was satisfied. Just as I was about to argue further, there was a candidacy from someone neither I nor the village chief was expecting.
So far Cristina, who had been sitting quietly in her chair, gazed straight into the village chief’s face with determined eyes and said she would accompany us into the forest.
“Then, village chief, I will accompany Doran and Serina. I understand magic and I can wield a sword better than most people. I would like to ask you to allow me to head out to investigate the forest, but what do you think?”
The village chief was leaning towards an affirmative opinion of me and Selina’s offer, but as soon as Christine-san said she was heading to the forest, he had a different reaction than he had to us.
“It will not happen! I would not be able to face this person if anything were to happen to you. I appreciate the offer, but this is a matter for the Berne village. Please do not concern yourself with this, and remain in the village. You must not think that you are going to head for the forest of Entete.”
At the words of the village chief, unconvincing color appeared on Christine’s beautiful face, and her mouth was tightly closed in silence.
Apparently, Christine’s blood relatives or those related to her are adults who are related to our Berne village.
Seeing that Baran-san has the same expression as the village chief, it seems that he knows her background.
However, the fact that Christine-san is from an aristocratic family was predicted by everyone in the village based on her clothing and appearance.
It’s not surprising now. But I had a feeling that there was more to it than that.
“Village chief, although you won’t allow Christine-san to accompany us, will you allow me and Serina to head out to investigate the forest? Assuming we don’t find anything, we’re probably going to go to the forest for three or four days, but I’m not sure.”
“Hmm, good. I’ll send you and the young lady to investigate the forest. I don’t want you to take any chances with your life. I will allow the investigation if you return in one piece.”
“All right. I promise to return with Serina without any harm. And we’ll find out what’s going on in the forest.”
Trying to reassure the village chief, I nodded and replied in a strong, confident voice.
† † † †
After obtaining permission from the village chief in the presence of Baran-san, Serina and I returned to our respective homes to make preparations, and the next day, before the sun rose, we decided to leave the village before the sun rose to investigate the Entete Forest to the east.
Since we planned to investigate over several days as we told the village chief, we packed up our bags, mainly preservative food, water and wound medicine, and took the dagger that pierced the heart of the bladed tiger and my usual long sword.
Once I put on the leg binding, gauntlets, the breastplate and minimal armor made from the skin of a large fanged crocodile, my preparations were almost complete.
As usual, I asked Marco and my family to take care of the fields in my absence, and then I walked to the north gate of the village, where I was to meet up with Serina.
When I arrived at the north gate, Serina was already there, dressed in the same shoulder bag she wore when I first met her.
I was about to lightly raise my hand to call out to her, but when I noticed Selina’s slightly troubled face, and at the same time understood why, I had to lower my hand that was about to be raised.
Because right beside her was a beautiful woman who looked like a heavenly world’s beautiful warrior maiden.
It was Christine-san herself, wearing black metal shin guards, base-armor, chest guards, and protective gear of the same composition as mine.
Christine-san, who had been strictly forbidden by the village chief to accompany us yesterday, seemed to have placed a small bag at her feet, waiting for us to arrive.
Christine-san’s breathtaking beauty was still covered in a stupefied shade, but when she caught sight of me from Serina’s gaze, she smiled awkwardly.
It was an awful smile that you could almost hear it crack, but it’s not entirely devoid of social skills, since it’s so much like trying to smile affectionately.
“Good morning, Doran. It’s a nice day to go out, isn’t it? Don’t you think so?”
“Good morning. I know it’s a beautiful day, but Christine-san I wonder if the chief of the village didn’t adamantly forbid you to go to the East Woods yesterday.”
“Yeah, sure, I was warned by the village chief, but I just happen to take a few days to go for a walk. So far I have been heading around the village and upstream of the river, but I figured it would be a good idea to go to the east once in a while. You guys just happen to be going to the same place, it’s just a walk. It’s just, well, you know, I’m not very familiar with the geography of this area, so I might take a wrong turn and get lost in the woods.”
You didn’t have to go to all that trouble to accompany us.
It seems that this person was more active than I had thought. Perhaps I should say that I was not reading it right.
“I don’t know if the village chief would approve of what you have to say. Besides, we’re going to be getting a lot of complaints after all. In the first place, why do you think you’d want to go along with the investigation? From the attitudes of the village chiefs, I’m guessing you have some kind of connection to the village of Berne, but I don’t think there’s any reason to go to the trouble of risking anything.”
My point seems to have hit a sore spot with Christine-san, and she clouds her expression.
For me personally, I don’t have much of a problem with Christine-san accompanying me, but I should nail it down, just in case.
“That being said, I am not weak. I’m more related to the village of Berne by blood than I am to myself. I visited Berne because this person had told me about the village and I had planned to visit it sometime in the future. Then I found out that the people of this village were in trouble. Fortunately, even I was able to help them with the problem, so this was just a fate and an offer of help. There is certainly some danger. But I’m inexperienced, but I’m confident in my sword in its own right, and with your abilities that I saw in the forest, I won’t be in so much danger.”
Hmm, despite being the embodiment of beauty that would cause an aspiring artist to break his own brush, this person seems to have a surprisingly sketchy personality, contrary to his delicate good looks.
Christine-san looks straight at me with pleading and unyielding determination in her red eyes.
Defeated by Christine-san’s gaze, I turn my gaze to Serina beside me.
“When you say this much, I’m inclined to let you do as you please, but what do you think, Serina?
In response to me, Serina puts her index finger to her lips and ponders for a while, hmm~.
The tip of her tail was twitching along with her tilted head. The sight of Serina like that made me feel at ease, and my eyes relaxed.
“It’s fine, isn’t it? As soon as we find out that the situation is out of our control, we can leave the forest, and Doran-san and I and Christine-san will be fine, I’m sure.”
With a smile, Serina tells me, and I nodded my head, feeling encouraged to do so as well.
“I understand. I’m not going to complain or stop you wherever you go, Christine-san, just because you happen to be headed to the same place. That’s all right?”
“Yeah, I’m glad to see you guys are on the same page.”
Thus we decided to change our plans and leave the village of Berne with the three of us.
From the village of Berne to the outermost edge of the Entete Forest, there was a path that was wide enough for two carriages to pass each other.
It was a simple path, cleared of weeds and trampled down to the ground, and would quickly become rough and crumble in the event of a downpour.
The Entete Forest extends from the northeast of the northern frontier to the east, straddling the border and extending into the neighboring country, a large, unexplored forest area.
Not one fiftieth of its vast area has been explored, and explorers, adventurers and state-sponsored expeditions have set foot in it many times.
But the vast forests, with their diverse and indigenous vegetation, easily distract those who set foot in them. Furthermore, the ferocious beasts and demons that inhabit the forest may attack at any moment, strangling the nerves of those who enter and sucking the blood and lives of those who enter.
The mysteries of the forest, which still remain unresolved, fascinate people, and rumors that somewhere in the forest lie the remains of a great empire that once ruled the continent, the capitals of super-ancient non-human races, and the land of the old elves, are endless.
In the vicinity of the village of Berne, the existence of more powerful and troublesome monsters than the grasslands and the upper reaches of the river, including large flesh spiders and flying monitor lizards that glide through the air with a membrane like a mousseline, have been confirmed.
(TN: Mousseline is a very fine, semi-opaque fabric similar to muslin)
Even so, the area where the trees were previously cut out for building materials is still relatively safe because the demons are still regularly swept up, and there are several huts built so you can rest there.
I was willing to step deep into the place as long as time allowed to find out why the sword tigers and armored bears had appeared.
In the process, if the ruins of the ancient kingdom and the village of the elves are found as rumored, that is something to be gained.
The closer you get to the forest of the Entete, the more diverse smells the trees create, the stronger the power of the earth’s attributes and then the water’s attributes.
I’m sure Serina will be more comfortable in this environment than in the village if there is a water spring or river.
When we arrived at the former logging area, we entered one of the huts.
There was a simple cooking area and stove to the right, a fireplace to the left, and a long table and six chairs in the center.
There was a door that led further back, but there was probably a bedroom with a sleeping area.
The hut that was built to cut down the trees in the forest seemed to be maintained during regular demon slaying, and apart from a few dusty things, there was no noticeable dirt in it.
We sat down on the chairs and laid out the food we brought on the table, making sure to finish our stomachs before entering the forest in earnest.
Up to this point, Christine-san had been acting with us without a single complaint, and she hadn’t said anything about the taste or texture of the preserved food she may have purchased in the village.
Christine was so unconcerned with her reaction to this, the reaction of someone who knows the life of a nobleman, that I internally thought I may have been mistaken.
Her graceful appearance and good looks, which could only have been blessed by the God who controls beauty, made me vaguely think that she was born of nobility, but I wondered if she might have had a surprisingly hard life.
We stepped into the forest after we finished eating in the shed.
Our feet were covered with grasses of all shapes and sizes – green, yellow and red – and the brown ground was nowhere near as brown as a cat’s forehead.
Thick tree roots were tangled together to form a carpet, while in other places they were forming a mass larger than I had been, making it difficult to walk.
The ground was covered with thickly folded grasses and mosses of various colors, so thick that my footprints were clearly visible, and the carpet of tree roots went on and on.
The branches of huge trees folded together to create a canopy of wilderness, and the sun shone through the gaps in the trees.
Every now and then Serina’s golden hair or Christine’s pure silver hair would glow in the sunshine, and I would often slow down to admire the beauty of the trees.
Eventually, as we moved deeper into the woods, the attacks of the monsters and animals that lived in the forest gradually increased.
From the branch of a tree so huge that I could look up, the head of the flying monitor lizard that jumped at my back was sliced off with a swing of the long sword as I turned around.
Because of the speed of the sword, no blood even seeped from the sliced off neck and body. The faint smell of burning flesh tickles my nose.
When I looked at the long sword, I saw that it was heated by the friction with the atmosphere, and the dull silver blade was stained fire red.
I’m not sure if the flying dragon lizard’s hard skin and neck bone were even there, but it was an extremely messy strike that was not driven by skill but by physical strength.
Usually flying monitor lizards act alone, so there was no successive assaults.
Selina noticed the flying monitor lizard and attempted to flatten it with a blow to the lower half of its body, but she only watched as I held it still with my hand.
Since there was no blood on the blade, I looked at the carcass of the flying monitor lizard with the long sword in my hand.
The flesh is somewhat hard but not inedible, and the hard skin is useful if processed as a protective gear as it is.
However, we have just entered the forest, and even if we process it here, it is not a good idea to increase our luggage.
Although it seems like a waste of resources, we’ll just have to leave it at that.
Serina looks quite alarmed and prepared for the next attack, but mmmm, there’s no scary thing at all when she raises her eyebrows and glares upwards, just cute.
It was even more so because he was making a small clenched fist in front of his chest.
Giggling, I let out a small smile and turned my attention to the presence of the large insects crawling on the ground.
Let’s just say it’s a forest creature, indeed, running around on a foothold with a green carpet of grass and flower leaves that don’t make any noise as they scrape against each other.
“Serina, not up there. Down.”
” Huh? Oh, what?”
When Serina looked back down at the sound of my voice, the Great Spiders were surrounding us.
They are huge spiders, almost as tall as my chest, with finely hairy legs and shells of purple, yellow, red, and blue, a color scheme that is extremely toxic.
The giant spider’s eight red eyes stared at us emotionlessly, but it didn’t seem to recognize us as its prey.
Hmm, the fact that more than one of them is coming at us means that they may be able to cooperate with each other.
I’m sure there was a female demon named Arachne, whose upper body is human and lower body is a spider, but does she really live in this forest?
It is said that the thread of Arachne can be sold for a high price in some cases, and clothing made from it is said to be on the market.
In addition, there are some Arachne settlements in the forest, and some of them are said to have a normal exchange with people. For the sake of the village’s future, I’d like to make their acquaintance.
The most troublesome thing about these spider creatures is the sticky thread that comes out of their rear end, and their agility and leaping ability that is hard to imagine from their appearance.
These three things are often the reason why you lose focus when fighting these large spider monsters.
In fact, we are even more disadvantaged under the unfamiliar conditions of a large, dense forest of trees.
But, Christine-san and Serina are very different from the opponents that the giant spider has been able to devour.
I used my enhanced five senses to completely grasp both sides of the Giant Spider as it jumped at me from each side, and I thrust the tip of my long sword into the mouth of the Giant Spider on the right, without misjudging its aim.
With the same response as piercing the flesh of an animal, I swung my long sword and struck the opposite spider from above like a mallet, with the same momentum that I had laid waste to the body of the giant spider.
Just as I crushed the small spider with my foot, the other spider was crushed to pieces by the sheer force of the impact, crushing all of its brethren who were already dead.
—–Part I end—
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