Chapter 111: Foraging fundamentals, part 2


Translator: Denryuu; Editor: Ryunakama


The man stated that he belonged to an association named ‘Welger & Co.’

The name rang no bells. Many merchants are affiliated with similarly-named companies, which are also referred to as ‘business guilds’ in certain areas. However, this man didn’t look like a businessman at all.

「We buy and sell anything our clients want. If they want it, we go and get it.」

A poaching association that operates underground, perhaps? Maybe I can’t judge a book by its cover after all.

「And they want the hides of Grey Wolves this time, then?」

「Uh, uhh…」

His voice was shaky, as the twig was still near his eyeball.

It suddenly occurred to me that while the trade of certain animals is prohibited, there’s no such regulation when it comes to humans. It’s kind of strange when you think about it, although I suppose there are a lot of us

「In a certain country, Grey Wolf hides seem to be a status symbol. News of that travelled here, and our client’s wealthy, so there you have it. Business.」

「Okay. I’ll have to trouble you to illustrate that in more detail in front of the knights.」

Deciding what to do with criminals isn’t my job.

「Fine, but… it will do you good to remember this, brother. Our association leaves no man behind. They will certainly come for me.」

「For a person who has spilled all their secrets?」

「You think that because you don’t know my friends.」

To his credit, he’s bolder than I expected. I could honestly just get rid of him right here and now, but culling a lowly grunt won’t shake the upper echelons of his association in the slightest. If this is allowed to continue, Grey Wolves will be erased from the forests, creating a temporary paradise for smaller animals. Eventually, though, food will become scarcer and scarcer, affecting not only the Mini Fortunes, but every other herb as well.

Not only will adventurers be affected, but the guild as well. Ordinary citizens won’t have it much better without their potions either.

「It’s like a line of dominoes」, I mused. Looking at the man, I asked: 「Will your friends come for you regardless of who your captors are?」

「Without a doubt.」

Hmm. How should I settle this problem quickly, then…

「…」

In order to show that I didn’t intend any hostility towards him, I dropped the twig.

「If that’s the case, then I suppose there’s no reason to arrest you.」

「R-Really!?」

「In return, I ask that you allow me to work with you. I will ask the adventurers where to find Grey Wolves and relate the information to you.」

「Hehehe. You’re a bad one too, brother.」

「Not at all. You’re just an acquaintance of mine, and I’ll simply be talking about my work without due discretion.」

「Got it. In return for the information, you will receive fifty thousand rin per wolf. Sounds good?」

That’s a good price. Is each cut of the profits really fifty thousand, or is he pocketing more than he should be, I wondered.

「…Sounds good.」

「Grey Wolves are feral creatures. I’ll set up traps in the forests that you tell me about, but it’s entirely possible that I don’t catch anything. On your end, you know nothing. All you did was accidentally disclose the locations to me, your acquaintance.」

「Makes sense.」

I have no idea who processes the hides and turns them into furs, but all the middlemen required to ensure that the customers receive their goods means that the retail price has to be quite an amount. The customers must thus be reasonably loaded, meaning that they’re almost certainly nobles or extremely rich people.

「There’s a forest that adventurers rarely tread into. Have you gone there yet?」

「Where is it? Tell me, tell me.」

「A lot of Grey Wolves still roam about there simply due to the lack of adventurers. I can’t tell you the exact number, but it’s certainly higher than what you’ll find around here」, I explained, leading my horse as I walked.

「How well-informed, as expected of a guild employee!」

「That’s all I know at present. It would be good if you could mobilise all the available personnel from your association. The lack of adventurers also means that it’s much more dangerous.」

「That’s true. Even if we set up a bunch of traps, it won’t do to only have one or two people in a big forest.」

「Let me know the day on which you will go there. I’ll show you the most efficient spots to spring your traps.」

「Aye, sure thing.」

Toodles, said the man, giving me a friendly thump on the shoulder as he headed the other way. What an unsuspecting person he is, I thought to myself, before returning to the guild to tell Iris the news.


「Grey Wolves seem to be disappearing from the forests」, I told the branch chief, illustrating the correlation between that and the population expansion of the tsunorabi.

Preferring to investigate more on my own later, I kept the existence of Welger & Co. a secret from her for the time being. If anything happens, she might be dragged into the whole fiasco by accident.

「What should we do, then…」, she muttered, tapping her desk.

「I will investigate and find out why the Grey Wolves are disappearing and come up with some countermeasures.」

「Hmm… that doesn’t feel like the job of an employee, but no matter. This involves the adventurers’ bread and butter, so I’m counting on you.」

「Okay.」

I don’t know which day that guy has in mind, so all I can do now is prepare.


It was on the way to work three days later that I met the stubbled man again.

「It’s today. We’ll enter at noon」, he whispered as we brushed past each other.

「Got it.」

「See you there.」

We didn’t even look at each other, so we probably looked like two unrelated strangers going about our own business.

…To the multiple pests watching us, anyway.

After morning assembly ended, I immediately went to explain the situation to Iris. Receiving the all-clear from her, I quickly finished my duties, saddled my horse and headed for said forest before the sun was at its highest.


Waiting at the entrance to the forest were about fifty men who could be roughly classified into two categories — hoodlums and men with more brawn than brains. It looked like a large-scale mobilisation on their end, and it was clear that they had been infected by the stubbled man’s enthusiasm.

「Here we are, brother!」, my point of contact hollered, waving at me.

「I see that you have all gathered here.」

「Aye.」

These men probably had the same job as the stubbled man — catching Grey Wolves at various hunting spots. However, I could see neither excitement nor fear in their eyes, so I assumed that they were seasoned poachers.

One man stood out from the rest, though. He was well-built, and his muscles were rather firm given his young age.

「This is Bale-san, the man in charge of material control.」

Upon hearing the introduction, I channeled some of my magicka and shook his hand.

To immediately shake the hand of someone he’s never seen before, I thought. Does he have no sense of danger? As a hunter, perhaps he’s never felt what it’s like to be hunted, and thus doesn’t keep his guard up at all times.

「Please take good care of my subordinate.」

「No, no, this is a give-and-take situation」, I replied.

「…What does this magic do?」

「It offers you extra protection by thinning your presence.」

「Hmm. You seem pretty familiar with this entire business.」

「I am. Food is plentiful in this forest, allowing Grey Wolves to receive sufficient nutrition during their growing years.」

While checking each man’s equipment, I also cast ‘Guardianship’ on them. It was a spell that Rodje had taught me while making our own preparations a while ago.

「Right-o, brother. We look good to go. Let’s lay all the traps we have before the sun sets.」

Sure, I said, knowing that my own trap was working.

I could just kill them all on the spot, but dealing with the cadavers will take too long. If I spook them and send them flying in all directions, though, it’ll be impossible to round them up afterwards. Thus, I found it most efficient to let an ‘incident’ play out deep within the forest.

Splitting themselves into groups of a few men each, the party dispersed. I entered the forest along with Bale and the stubbled man.

「I don’t know what lurks here at night, so we’re gonna finish setting up the traps while the sun is still up there.」

After about ten minutes, the effect of ‘Guardianship’ began to show. A cacophony of howls and roars arose in the distance.

「Ugyaaaaa!?」

The cries of the dying reverberated around the forest, amplified by the trees such that they seemed to be coming from all directions.

「Those cries –」

「Yeah, I can hear them too…」

As the other men went on guard, four Grey Wolves appeared.

「H-Here they come.」

「Calm down. They don’t have the habit of attacking hu –」

「Uuuuuoooooon!!」

Their bloodlust clearly stated otherwise. The look in their eyes was also different from what I knew.

「Hm. How effective.」

One of them grabbed my shoulders violently.

「Oi! What on earth did you do!?」

「Did you not make the first move?」

「Huh…? What do you mean?」

The wolves bounded towards us at the same time. Although differing in size, all four were larger than the largest dogs.

「Try not to get bitten by these dogs, will you? Human skulls are rather vulnerable to getting crushed.」

「W-What did you –!」, yelled Bale, grabbing me by the scruff of my neck.

「‘Guardianship’ was a lie, of course. What I had actually cast was ‘Hater’, a spell used by elves on the hunt to lure prey out to make them easier targets. During battles, it’s usually cast on meatshields… large, shield-toting men on the frontline.」

A spear-wielding poacher let out a blood curdling cry as his wrist was chomped off.

「Having it used on you makes you a priority target. They’ll attack all of you but not me.」

「Vuoooh!!」

Leaping into the air, one wolf landed beside the stubbled man and sunk its fangs into his neck.

「Aghh…!?」

With a swift motion of its head, it wrenched the man’s head clean from its tether.

「You tricked us…!」

「Why did you believe me for even a moment? Is it because you’re usually the lying ones?」

Don’t come a step closer, said Bale, swinging his sword.

「How does it feel to be hunted for a change?」

With one of his cronies eaten alive, another’s leg torn off and the third decapitated, Bale was the only one left standing. The screams of terror were still coming from all around us. The forest had become a living hell.

If I’m not wrong, ‘Hater’ doesn’t last long, so the Grey Wolves will return to normal once the effect has worn off. I had never used it before, so this was my first chance to see the effects for myself. Always one to plan for rainy days, I had already stationed a scary vampire in the forest. As a side note, she was extremely happy to have received this single assignment.

She should be picking off the remaining poachers as we speak.

「Why did you do such a th –」

「The greater of two evils will oust the weaker one from its place. That’s all.」

Bale turned on his feet and began to run away. Seeing that the wolves were about to chase him down, I displayed my own bloodlust, looking straight at them and sending them bailing in the other direction.

Now, we just wait for Dee to finish her rounds.

「I’m sure she’ll do a fine job.」

After all, as much as they’re empowered by the night, vampires are just as empowered when dealing with the opposite gender.


Running for his life, Bale ignored his trembling knees and pressed on out of the forest. Although he had a gaping wound left by a wolf’s claw on his back, the fact that his four limbs were still intact meant that he was already one of the lucky ones.

He felt a chill engulf his body, perhaps due to the rapid blood loss.

His gasps for air could be heard above the typically quiet ambient noise of the forest. With the image of the bloodthirsty Grey Wolves still etched in his mind, survival was the only thing he could think of at the moment. Of course, he didn’t know why he was running, let alone where he was going. It was only when the ground flooded his field of vision that he realised his knees had given way.

A single thought replaced the previous one — the realisation that he was going to die, just like all his friends had.

「Ara-ara, maa-maa. What a bloody mess. How I wish you were still alive. Hold on… maybe you are still alive. HelloOooOOoo?」

The last thing he saw before going under was the face of a beautiful lady.



One Comment

  1. Thanks for the chapter desu~

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