I Will Save You – Part 06
When Hikaru met Unken at the butchering station, the old man was wearing the same grumpy expression.
“I told you to come in the evening.”
“Sorry. I finished earlier than expected. I can come back later if you want, though.”
“It’s fine. Let’s do it now… Wait, did you bring two rabbits?”
The national hero was surprised when he saw Hikaru take out two rabbits and place them on the table.
Come on… If they’re that rare, then make sure you disclose it properly. Label them as “rare species” or “SSR”.
Hikaru couldn’t help but think pointless conflicts might occur simply because of adventurers lacking common sense. What would’ve happened if he brought three rabbits? Leaving one with the guards was a wise decision.
“For the record, the horns are broken,” Hikaru said.
“Of course they are! You’re going to give me a headache if you keep bringing ones with their horns intact. Speaking of which, the horn from yesterday has been priced.”
“How much is it?”
“Well? Stunned, are we?”
“A-A little bit.”
He was dumbstruck. There were more zeroes now. It was only natural he’d be stunned.
“Plus the price of the meat from yesterday for a total of 147,500. You will receive 47,500 cash, and 100,000 will be in the guild’s custody. Does that sound good?”
“Wait a sec. What do you mean custody? Do I have to come here to withdraw money?”
“What, you don’t even know that?”
According to Unken, guild custody was a system that allowed money to be withdrawn from any guild branch by recording it on the guild card as “additional information”.
So not only do these cards serve as ID, they can be used like ATM cards as well, huh? Definitely something out of science fiction.
“They told me it would fetch a higher price at an auction,” Unken went on. “So what will you do?”
“You do auctions here?”
“In the capital.”
“They put monster horns for sale?”
“There are different categories, but works of art is the main one.”
“When’s the next auction?”
“Ten days from now, I think.”
“I can’t wait that long. I’ll sell them now. I’ll deposit 100,000 with the guild, though.”
A hundred thousand gilans would be equivalent to a large bag packed with gold coins. Hikaru didn’t want to carry all that weight around.
I won’t have to make more money for now. Objective cleared ahead of schedule. Thank you, Red-Horned Rabbits.
Afterwards, Unken taught Hikaru how to butcher meat. The old man offered him a butchering knife from the guild for 100 gilans, so he took it.
“That should do it,” the old man said.
“Thank you. This isn’t something you can learn on your own, huh?”
There were tricks to cutting meat that simply reading books wouldn’t be enough. It was quicker to learn from an expert.
All he had to do now was practice over and over. Also the method he was taught could only be applied to animals and monsters closely-related to rabbits.
“There’s reptiles and birds, too. I guess I’ll just leave those to the experts,” Hikaru said.
Unken chuckled. “You won’t be able to say that once you’re in a dungeon. You might have to eat monster meat. There might even be times when you just have to take home the necessary parts.”
“Dungeon? There are dungeons here?”
“Not around here, no. But there are two in Ponsonia.”
“Wh-Why are you getting all worked up?”
Of course he’d get all worked up. Dungeon meant adventures. Adventures meant dungeons.
I would have to save that one for later, though.
Lavia’s rescue came first. Nothing could change his plans.
“I have a question,” Hikaru said. “What’s a good monster for me to hunt around here?”
“You may ask the receptionists.”
“They look busy. One even complained about having too much work.”
“And I’m a busy man myself.”
“Come on. You’re here right now anyway.”
“You’re so persistent. I would bet people call you arrogant.”
Unken told him about several monsters anyway.
“Got it. Any monsters I should stay away from, then?”
This was the actual question he wanted to ask. The library contained information about the easier monsters, but not the more dangerous ones. This was to keep adventurers away from them.
Actually “no information” wasn’t quite accurate. Their names and distinctive features were available, but nothing else. No mention about where they could be found.
“Why do you want to know?”
Unken’s eyes narrowed. His Instinct had sensed something.
“So I stay away from them, of course,” Hikaru answered. “I’m thinking of making money around here for a while. I might have to go deep into the forest. I think it’s important to know which areas I should steer clear of.”
The answer was enough to satisfy the man. Hikaru had already assumed which questions Unken would find suspicious.
“There are three monsters you should be wary of. First is the Green Wolf.”
“I know about those already.”
“What about Rogue Bees?”
Rogue Bees were apparently bees the size of a coin. Their wings had devolved so they moved by jumping from tree to tree. They normally operated alone, but if they spotted an enemy, they would immediately call their friends.
“I know what you’re thinking. They don’t sound like a threat.”
“That’s not it.”
Hikaru was telling the truth. He was thinking about how much trouble it would be to kill them to rank up.
“They’re quite swift and their movements are unlike any other monsters. It’s difficult for the eyes to adjust.”
“Got it. What’s the last one?”
An unfamiliar name.
“They’re about three meters tall and either operate alone or with a partner. A couple, basically. They look terrifying, so it’s unlikely that you get close to them unwittingly.”
“What do they look like?”
“They have four arms and only one eye. Otherwise, their bodies are similar to humans, but they don’t wear anything, and they have smooth skin.”
The perfect example of a legit monster. Now that he mentioned it, there was information about them in the library, but they were referred to as Green Giants or Forest Guardians.
“Where are they found?”
“Just don’t go too deep into the forest; especially at the foot of the mountains. The ecosystem in the mountains is different. There’s one place you should also be wary of: the lake on the east. That area is a breeding ground for monsters.”
“I see. I think I got all that.”
“That’s about it… No, wait. There might be one more thing.”
“Goblins have been spotted near the town recently. They might have a settlement somewhere. Stay away if you see one. They say once you find one, you find three hundred.”
So they reproduce faster than cockroaches?
Two more days before Lavia’s transfer.
The next morning, Hikaru started early. The hotdog stand was closed today, so he had breakfast at a different place, bought packed lunch for two, and left town.
He planned to go to the eastern lake, a breeding ground for monsters.
It would take three hours to get there by foot, so he took a ride on a horse owned by a cool-looking man. It could carry two passengers, similar to a bicycle or a motorbike. The blankets on the seat made for a comfortable ride.
A one-way trip took thirty minutes and cost 100 gilans. More expensive than he had expected.
Hikaru wasn’t sure what time he’d be back so he told the man not to come pick him up.
“Don’t go too far now,” the man warned. “If I come by in the afternoon, I’ll check to see if you’re around. But don’t expect too much. Again, don’t go too far!” After giving him sufficient warning, the man left.
The lake was known as a fishing spot; Hikaru spotted a number of people fishing. But as Unken said, there must be monsters deep in the woods. A lot of them.
“That’s just what I want.”
Hikaru switched his Blessing to Stealth God: Bearer of Darkness and activated all his Stealth-related Skills. He was going for the big one, of course.
“Target: Forest Guardian.”
The forest felt a lot deeper than the one Hikaru ventured into when searching for poisonous glimmering herbs on an empty stomach. High above him was a canopy of thick leaves, under his feet a carpet of mulch. The trees were covered in moss, and faint mist hung in the air in places. It seemed like a haunted forest.
Hikaru spotted a green wolf in the distance.
“A Green Wolf.”
They can be found here too, huh…
It was prowling about unwarily, yawning. The perfect opportunity.
Birds chirped loudly, flying from one branch to another. The Green Wolf shot glances at them too.
The next moment, the Green Wolf’s vision grew dark, and it fell over with a thud.
On its neck was a dagger plunged all the way to the hilt, severing the spine.
Under normal circumstances, its neck was an unlikely spot to get stabbed, since it required getting close. Green Wolves were extremely perceptive and could sense anything within two hundred meters. There was no way it wouldn’t notice a human just right beside it.
“It’s over… “
With a hand on his chest, Hikaru breathed a sigh.
“I ranked up with just one kill.”
The shock—no, the recoil from ranking up had struck him.
He was saving his points for now. For his plan to work, he needed to have three points available at hand.
“I can’t take the meat back. Sorry, little guy.”
Leaving the area should lessen the effects of his Stealth, allowing the smell of the Green Wolf’s blood and flesh to then spread through the forest, attracting other animals and insects to devour the body. The corpse of the Green Wolf would return to the forest.
Hikaru pulled his Dagger of Strength out and wiped the blood off it before heading deeper into the forest.
Thanks to his Stealth, he was able to get close and kill his target without it noticing. After killing two more Green Wolves, his rank went up once again.
He was now at rank 7. A fast pace. It felt like he could reach 10 or 20 in no time at all.
He wondered why the other adventurers were not just grinding nonstop. Then he recalled Unken saying that Green Wolves were tough. Taking one down solo was an extraordinary feat.
There were other monsters besides Green Wolves: rodents, smaller than Red-Horned Rabbits, almost like a brown mouse, blue locusts about thirty centimeters long, man-eating plants that attacked by launching pollen.
They weren’t much of a threat. Even without his Stealth, Hikaru could take them on one by one. They tended to group up, however.
“I bet those kinds of monsters barely give any exp.”
One would have to kill a lot just to rank up. In addition, ordinary people, not just adventurers, were unable to confirm their ranks. They could sense that they had grown stronger, but they couldn’t quantify it. As such, adventurers lacked motivation to increase their ranks.
Hikaru ignored the smaller monsters and hunted for Green Wolves only.
Around noon, when the sun was at its zenith, Hikaru was having his lunch, when he heard a scream in the distance.
“What was that?”
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