As the sun peeked its face over the horizon, so did we leave to hunt. It had been three days since the selection for the Elite Corps.
The adjustment to allow people to fill in for the new members of Nettle had finished and finally we could finally begin the real training.
Going hunting during the snowy season was a torturous ordeal for most, but I needed to obtain meat for the members of Nettle to eat.
To build more robust bodies I needed to feed them meat. The best for that would be the high-protein and low calorie deer meat. We did have dried jerky, but it was unreasonable to think that they would eat enough than if I got fresh meat for them.
「Cyril-niisama you’re even faster than a horse!」
A silver fire fox was tied to my back with a rope. It was Yukino who usually acted calm, but was excited just like a girl of her age should be.
I was currently searching for prey using 【Perception Expansion】 as I sprinted through the forest. The ground was covered in snow and I would get bogged down in it, so instead I was using the trees to leap from branch to branch.
I was using 【Windbreak】 to prevent the wind and snow from hitting us, and Yukino was using fire magic to warm the air around us.
Using this method we could easily hunt in the forest and mountains even while it was snowing.
Yukino was tightly hugging my back as she used her magic. The warmth of the fire magic and the heat of her small body was pleasant.
I had gotten up early in the morning and thought about asking Kuu to do this for me, but since the snow would make it harder to move I decided to take Yukino who was much smaller and lighter.
「Sorry for waking you up so early Yukino.」
「I’ve been getting up around this time recently so it’s fine.」
「That’s pretty early.」
「Un, I’ve been training with Kuu-anesama every morning.」
「Huh, come to think of it, Kuu’s been doing that all this time…」
「Kuu-anesama is strong.」
The Fire Foxes had an aspect that revered strength. Despite being the daughter of the Chief, Kuu had never let up on her daily training.
Looking at it like that, even without her magic Kuu might be the second strongest in hand to hand in the village besides me. It might be that she had taught Yukino this combat style as well.
The origin of Kuu and Yukino’s fighting style were different from my own so I didn’t believe I could guide them much.
「Also…Kuu-anesama said that Yukino would be fighting with the members of Nettle. No matter how strong Yukino gets, if the group doesn’t get stronger I’ll die. So it’s obvious that Yukino should work hard to make them stronger.」
「Yukino’s a smart girl. If you keep working and understanding what you can do, then you’ll become a strong woman.」
Those weren’t just compliments, they were honest words. If she wasn’t vague about her goals and instead came to a firm decision her progress would be faster and more efficient. If she could do so then her speed of improvement would increase a lot.
「Of course. Yukino is smart. Also if I do my best then Cyril-niisama will definitely reward me.」
As expected of the hidden leader of the three girls. How shrewd.
Of the three of them, Kemin vigorously charged forward, Yukino calmly followed up, and if things failed or they got into a fight Kurone would kindly resolve things with her comforting aura.
Truly the three were well balanced.
「It can’t be helped. If you do your best then I’ll give you a special meal just like the members of Nettle. I have to make sure you get big and strong too.」
「I’ll do my best so please give three servings.」
Yukino didn’t want three portions for herself. I’m sure she wanted some for her friends Kemin and Kurone.
If I refused I was sure she would share her own portion with them…she was being a bit sneaky but…
「I got it. I’ll prepare their portions too….but Yukino you’ve been trying a bit too hard and it’s getting really hot.」
「Oops, uhh thank you Cyril-niichan.」
Yukino lessened her power and the temperature returned to normal. I kept the return journey in mind as I searched the nearby surroundings for deer.
After fifteen more minutes I finally sensed a deer within my 【Perception Expansion】 range.
「Good, found it.」
「Yukino can’t tell…」
Her black-tipped silver ears were pointed straight up as they twitched and tried to catch a sign of the deer, but she couldn’t.
「Uuun, it’s pretty far away after all.」
Fire Foxes had powerful senses but it wasn’t to the degree that they could detect a deer hiding 250 meters away through obstacles. It was because of this amazing ability that I had to teach the members of Nettle 【Perception Expansion】.
I softly set Yukino down and set a bolt on my crossbow. I had not secured a line of fire yet so I took a few steps to the side and aimed my bow.
「Okay…huh? Yukino why are you staring so hard?」
As I readied to fire I felt an intense stare. Yukino was staring at me with a glitter in her eyes as her tail wagged.
「Cyril-niisama, when you ready your bow your face changes. You always look so nice and smile kindly, but your face tensed up and looked intense.」
「Is it scary?」
「Uh-uh, it’s cool.」
「Well, I am your Big Brother after all. When the time comes I do what needs to be done.」