Summer vacation is in full swing.
There is hardly anyone in the dormitory now.
Evi has gone back to his parent’s house, and I’m the only one in this room.
And the usual members of the group have started leaving one after another since the day after the baseball game.
I also intend to go back to my home.
However, since I will only be returning a few days later in the schedule, I should be free, but …… I have already made a lot of plans for this summer vacation.
Today, I am going to go to the Kafka Forest with Clarice to catch insects, which I have promised her for a long time. So I was just getting ready to go.
It is now 4:30 in the morning.
The meeting with Clarice is supposed to be at six o’clock in front of the forest. I’m up early and ready to go. Putting on my camouflage top and bottom, I carefully stretch my body.
It brings back memories of bug catching or …… something I used to do in the jungle with my mentor. Clarice would like to do that, too, so I admire her ambition.
I was ready to go, and with a big backpack on my back, I set off for the Kafka forest.
“Hey, Ray! Good morning! hm …… eh?”
“Ou. Clarice, good morning! It’s still ten minutes before our meeting time, but you’re early.”
“No, that’s fine, but. ……”
“What’s wrong? Even so, you’re lightly dressed. Are you all right?”
That’s right. Clarice, who came from the other side, was too lightly dressed.
She was wearing a plain white shirt, shorts, and sandals. She was also wearing a straw hat, and today she had her twin-tail hair tied lower than usual. Her silky hair on either side was slightly swaying in the breeze.
It was a different impression than usual, but I thought it was very cute.
She also has an insect cage hanging diagonally on her right side and a sturdy-looking insect net in her right hand. On her back, she was carrying a small backpack, and I could see two water bottles in the pockets on the side.
Although I am surprised at how lightly she is dressed, I guess she has her own ideas on this.
Just as I’m thinking this, Clarice yells out loud.
“No, no! We’re going to catch bugs, you know? And we are only going to do that!”
“No, no, no! So you say? It’s not like that! It’s like a total survival mission!”
“What!? Isn’t bug-catching part of survival?”
“No, it’s just a normal bug hunt!”
“S-stupid,…… I was taught by my master that bug catching is a part of survival,……, and we were competing to see who could get the most insects… …”
“By the way, what kind of insects are you talking about?”
“Giant bees, giant ants, giant butterflies…”
“Giant bees are classified as monsters, aren’t they? That’s monster hunting! It’s a hunter’s job!”
“No, Master taught me that size doesn’t really matter! What I learned …… was wrong.”
“Ahh. Now I understand how you got like that. ……”
Then I heard Clarice’s supposed bug catching, which was really quite simple. All you have to do is catch the insects with a net and put them in a basket.
I had mistakenly thought that I was supposed to engage in a battle with an insectoid monster and then fight to the death.
I learned a lot by talking to Clarice.
Today let’s do some ‘bug catching’ in the true sense of the word!
“So, what are we going to do with all that stuff?”
“Let’s take it just in case. I thought we would have to camp out because we would be catching bugs over there today. I’ve prepared a lot of things.”
“C-Camp out ……? What’s with that scale ……?”
“For now, let’s go catch some Bugs, Clarice said. I’m illiterate on this matter, so I’m hoping you can teach me some things.
“I-It can’t be helped! Let’s go!”
“As you wish!”
And so we walked side by side into the Kafka forest.
“It’s hot, …….”
“It’s summer after all.”
“But this heat is one of the best parts of catching bugs!”
“I see. I am learning a lot.”
“Ah! Look, a stag beetle!
Clarice approached a nearby stag beetle and stealthily stepped forward and quickly put on a …… bug net. Her movements were recognizable even to me, an amateur, as those of someone who is accustomed to this sort of thing.
Looks like Clarice is an expert in this field.
“I did it! It’s a sawtooth stag beetle!”
“Ohh, ……, it’s quite a nice form.”
“Isn’t it! It’s so cool. …… Well, let’s see…”
Clarice put the stag beetle she had caught in the basket, which was already covered with soft soil, and next turned her attention to the beetle in the next tree, but Clarice never got to it.
“I’ve checked before, and the beetles in these woods are pretty nasty ……!”
“Why is that?”
“Actually, there was a huge war between the beetles and the stag beetles. In these woods.”
“What ……! How does Clarice know that?”
“Erm. I know the scars on each individual and the damage to the trees, and I witnessed it with my own eyes when I did my research beforehand. ……”
Clarice begins to speak eloquently.
We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Clarice seems to have a hard time with basic studies at the institute, but in her area of expertise, she spins her words with ease.
I listen intently to what she has to say because I can hear new knowledge that I don’t know.
“I see. So, who was the winner?”
“It was the beetles. Especially the onslaught of the Hercules beetle was amazing. The Palawan giant stag beetle and the Giraffa sawtooth stag beetle were outnumbered by just one Hercules beetle. With its long, supple, shiny black horns, it kept them at bay and won hands down. The Caucasian long-horned beetle, which had been standing behind him, did not appear, and the beetles won. From there, apparently, it is the beetles that have the upper hand in this forest. That’s why the stag beetles were so easy to get, but ……”
“……This is real bug-catching. Does this mean that advanced research is important?”
“Yeah. Especially in the Kafka forest, the insects are very agile and have good physical strength, probably due to the magic factor. Bees, grasshoppers, butterflies, etc. are also amazing. Compared to normal ones.”
“Amazing. You’re like a professor of insects.”
I meant it as a compliment, but Clarice seemed truly modest as she continued her story without hesitation. The look in her eyes is serious. I had never seen Clarice like this before, so I was a little overwhelmed.
“A real professor would laugh at me if I said I am a professor. Well, let’s go further in.”
“Is this beetle alright?”
“Yeah. We can’t start without capturing Hercules, who is the leader of this forest. Our goal today is actually Hercules.”
“But it is like a boss-like figure, isn’t it? Can we capture it today?”
“Actually, with that in mind, I said I’d stay at a friend’s house today. So Ray’s camping out won’t be in vain. I bet this is going to be a long battle. ……”
“What a ……! Coincidentally, my efforts were not in vain.”
“Yeah. Let’s go, then!”
I followed Clarice and proceeded further into this Kafka forest.
“Haah…… haah…… haah…… haah……”
“Let’s take a break.”
“Yeah, that’s a good idea.”
After that, Clarice and I went further into the forest. Her explanations of the insects we encountered along the way were very interesting. Clarice has a deep knowledge of insects, and her knowledge is truly impressive.
We also encountered some monsters, which I took care of. Besides carrying a survival knife, I had my internal code to strengthen my body at all times.
Since I had originally come here to engage in full-fledged survival, I was well prepared.
However, Clarice seemed to be struggling with her stamina, so we decided to take a break.
“Fuu,……, you’re tired, aren’t you?”
“Yeah. We’ve walked a lot.”
The two of us sat side by side in the shade of a tree, wiping off our sweat with towels and rehydrating ourselves.
Once again, I thought, even without taking into account the fact that Clarice is a young girl, she has survivalist qualities. Not only ordinary people, but also sorcerers would have given up by now, but Clarice doesn’t, and she keeps going silently.
Perhaps it is Clarice’s passion for insects that makes her so.
And, although I had always thought she was physically strong, Clarice’s potential is still quite high. Her basic physical performance is comparable to that of Amelia, who went through an Ainsworth-style boot camp.
Perhaps she is putting in a lot of effort behind the scenes.
“Hmm? What’s wrong?”
“Salt. In summer, you will dehydrate from sweat, but you will also lose a lot of salt. You’ll need to replenish it.”
I handed her a packet of salt and she licked it up. I then decide to tell Clarice about it.
“Even so, Clarice has a lot of potential. No, you have been working very hard.”
“Eh, what are you talking about?”
“A hunter. You want to be one, don’t you?”
“That’s true, but ……”
“Don’t you want to take the test? Is it okay with you to take the hunter’s exam, with master’s help?”
“Do you think I could be a hunter?”
Clarice looked up at my face with an unsure look in her eyes. Her eyes seemed to be shaking slightly. Of course, I calmly told her what I thought.
“I think. I’m a gold hunter so I’m saying it. There’s no doubt about it.”
“Yeah. Your basic physical performance is not bad either. You work hard.”
“I do a lot of strength training and running, …… in secret.”
“For how long?”
“More than five years now.”
“Amazing …… that persistence is something to be admired. Okay, the next exam is at the …… beginning of the year, I believe. You can take the bronze hunter’s exam there. Don’t worry. I’ll support you. But the problem is the written exam, in Clarice’s case.”
“Sorry for being an idiot, ……!!”
She glared at me, but perhaps she had only studied what she was interested in, or how to study. I don’t think she’s fundamentally stupid, I just think it’s a matter of balance.
“No, I’m sure it’s just a matter of how you study. You used to study all night for tests, right? That’s no good. It may pass the school test, but not the written hunter’s exam.”
“And ……, no, let me say this for the last.”
“? Well, okay, …….”
Clarice and I stood up and made our way through the Kafka forest dominated by this scorching heat.
A moment later, a whoosh of wind blows through. It was very cool and felt good on our hot bodies.
Clarice’s beautiful golden hair was flowing in the wind. As I glanced at it, she looked as if she wanted to say something.
Clarice hesitated for a moment and then opened her mouth.
“What is it?”
“Thanks …… for going out with me today. And, you know, it made me happy to know that you remembered about Hunter, too,…….”
“I’d like to say you’re welcome, but I’m always up for this kind of …… company.”
“B-but don’t get me wrong! I’m just thanking you,……! That ……, no, that ……, don’t get me wrong!”
As usual, she turned bright red. But I already understand that Clarice can’t be honest. However, I was happy just to hear her put it into words like this.
Misunderstanding? Yeah, I do. Clarice is happy to be with me, let’s assume that’s how she feels. But I’m sure Clarice feels the same way. Just playing with friends like this fills us up so much.
I’m really glad we came here today.
“Hahaha. That’s right.”
“What are you laughing at! Mouu!”
“Nothing. I just think Clarice is the same as usual.”
I said that and started to run lightly. Not caring about the weight of the backpack on my back, I run out of the place lightly.
“Let’s go! Clarice!”
“Moou! Wait for me!! Don’t go ahead of me!”
And so, we continued on with our bug-catching, laughing among ourselves.
Sponsored Chapter (7/15). I will try to be faster.
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