Translator: Jiro Editor: Ryunakama
「Hmm… I guess this should do it…」 Shirushu said as she chose a collar.
「A collar huh.」
「C-C… It’s not! This is a choker, a choker! That’s what this is called!!」 said Shirushu with an angry face, however no matter how it looked at it, to me it looked like a collar.
I raised my hands as if I had given up and Shirushu stared at me.
It seems like I angered her.
「I’m sorry. As an apology I’ll give you the money for that.」
「You’re both doing your best. So it’s a gift.」
「Wow! Thank you!! Claude-san will be really happy!!」 Shirushu said with excitement and she handed the collars over to me.
I then went and gave it to the owner of the store.
Both of the collars cost a total of 50,000 rupi.
These are so expensive! Well Shirushu seems to like them so I guess it’s fine.
「Come here, I’ll put it on for you. Stretch your neck out Shirushu.」
I put the collar on Shirushu as she stood completely still.
It reminded me of the time when I put a collar on my dog.
I just can’t imagine this being anything else but a collar.
「I-It feels kind of embarrassing…」
「Kuku, but it suits you doesn’t it?」
「…What do you mean by that?」
「Haha, I’ll leave you to figure that out by yourself.」
After a while, I received a Telepathy call from Claude so we went and met up.
After finishing our shopping, we went out to the forest to hunt the Sti Beetles
◆ ◆ ◆
There were several dungeons in the depths of Sazan Island. If they were left unchecked, the Sti Beetles would come to the village in search of food.
Our mission this time was to prevent that.
As we walked through the woods, Shirushu suddenly stopped and cautiously looked forward.
「I smell a Sti Beetle.」
Just as Shirushu said that a beetle-shaped monster that was the size of a stump came out. It was a Sti Beetle.
Two tentacles extended from its oval body, and several legs wriggled under its black shell.
Even among the insect-type monsters, it was a monster that was particularly hated for its appearance.
Furthermore, it was quick.
Silverie will probably have a hard time against them, considering she hates insects.
The Sti Beetle jumped at us, but Claude brought it down with her sword.
The Sti Beetle was split in half with only a single slash. It fell to the ground and its legs fluttered after which it disappeared.
The thing that remained after the Sti Beetle disappeared was a banana peel.
「Urgh… It’s garbage…」
「Let’s pick it up and throw it away later.」
I picked up the peel and put it in the trash that Shirushu prepared for me.
The Sti Beetle have the habit of eating the garbage and equipment left by humans and storing it in their body. So once they are defeated the items stored in their bodies drop.
Collecting the garbage they dropped was also part of our quest.
After storing away, the banana peel we continued once again.
As we walked a good number of Sti Beetles attacked us, but we took care of them all.
Claude murmured in a small voice as she picked up the garbage that a Sti Beetle had dropped.
「This is kind of strange… I thought that Sti Beetle was a monster with a timid personality that didn’t attack people often…」
「Hmm, there really are quite a lot of them… One by one they aren’t that strong, but there may be something else happening. Watch out okay?」
「For the time being, let’s look for a place where the monsters are gathering.」 I said.
Hearing me Shirushu took off her hat and as she did that her ears sprung up.
She then mobilized her nose and began to walk as she looked around.
「Hmm… It’s this way.」 she said.
We continued our Sti Beetle hunt with Shirushu guiding us.
Out of all the Sti Beetles that we encountered about half were of those that attacked people while the other half were of the timid ones.
With so many aggressive monsters, the forests of Sazan Island will be dangerous for the normal tourists. A long time must have passed since the last time they cleared out the Sti Beetles. Good grief. The resorts here are making money so the management shouldn’t be so stingy.
「AH! Another Sti Beetle! It’s coming at us really fast!!」Shirushu said
「Leave it to me.」
Right after Shirushu’s warning a black shadow appeared. Seeing it I immediately cast Time Square.
While time was stopped I cast Black Ball and White Ball.
Double Fusion: Marble Ball
A black and white magical ball appeared and drew a line, piercing the Sti Beetle with tremendous speed.
I hadn’t been able to synthesize it before, due to the incompatibility between the Sky and Soul Magic, however after training for some time I was finally able to pull it off.
The magic bullet that shot out at high speed wasn’t so powerful, however it was without a doubt the fastest spell that I had.
However, since I could only synthesize the ball version of the spell, for now I could only use it against enemies of this calibre.
The things that the Sti Beetle had eaten fell into the grass.
「I’ll pick it up.」 Shirushu said and moved forward, but then she suddenly stopped.
Both me and Claude were shocked by Shirushu’s yell so we approached as well. When we did, we were also amazed at the sight.
「Z-Zeph-kun!! This is…」
A human’s arm had dropped out of the Sti Beetle.
I picked it up and examined it.
It doesn’t have that much damage on it… It must be recent.
「D-Did it get eaten by the Sti Beetle…?」 Shirushu asked fearfully
「No judging by the cut of the arm, it appears to have been cut by a blade or something.」
「The cut is really clean… It must be someone quite skilled.」 Claude said from the side.
Sti Beetles are usually quite docile, but I’ve heard that once they eat something that’s been worn by a human, and learn that taste, then they may attack people in search of it.
The Sti Beetles in this forest might have become ferocious because they found a human corpse and remembered its taste.
「… I didn’t notice until now because of the mixture of various smells, but there’s a strong odour of blood coming from the north. There might be something happening over there…」 said Shirushu
「Let’s go check it out.」Claude said immediately.
「Hold your horses. There might be someone really dangerous over there.」 I said, trying to stop her. However, Claude’s eyes were burning with motivation.
She was the perfect description of a person guided by justice.
But it was just too dangerous.
「If there’s someone like that we can’t just let him go! Let’s catch him and hand him over to the Dispatch Magicians!」
「You idiot. People like that should be left to the Dispatch Magicians in the first place. We don’t need to get involved.」
I stroked Claude’s head to calm her down.
「I understand your feelings, but would you really want to put us all in danger?」
Claude was left lost for words.
It seems like she didn’t think that she’d be putting her own friends in danger.
Claude then apologized.
「It’s fine as long as you understand.」
Claude has a strong sense of justice. Which is by no means wrong, but it’s not praiseworthy to stick her nose where it doesn’t belong. She shouldn’t get close to murderers… In that sense Milly can be said to be dangerous as well. She might just dash off if she happens to find a dead body. Still, Lydia and Silverie are with her so I hope she won’t do anything crazy… I’ll check up on them just in case.
I called Lydia using Telepathy and she immediately replied.
《Zeph-chi, is something wrong?》
《Something strange happened, so I thought that I would warn you. Actually…》
《… I see. Got it! We’ll be careful!》 replied Lydia in a carefree manner.
But even so Lydia was quite the reasonable person. She would stop Milly if she were to do something.
「Still, we don’t need to be that afraid of the murderer. If we do happen to run into him, I plan on taking him down. I’ll tell you this just in case, but if you happen to encounter someone that looks suspicious don’t hesitate. Shirushu if you smell a strange odour be sure to tell me immediately.」
「I-I’ll do my best…!」
「Understood! I don’t plan on letting someone like that get away either!」
Still I’d prefer it if we didn’t have to fight against humans. Especially if the opponent is someone who’s committed murder. It might turn into quite a fierce battle. Aside from me, I don’t want to force Claude and Shirushu into such a battle. I guess it’s gonna be fine as long as we don’t go too far in and just hunt around here.
While I was thinking that, Shirushu began to dig a hole in the ground.
「I’ll bury this arm…」
「… You’re right. The owner is probably no longer alive after all.」
Shirushu buried the arm in the hole as if she was handling something really important.
She made a cross in front of her chest, clasped the cross that was hanging from her neck with her hands, closed her eyes and prayed.
Considering she was once a sister, she probably wanted to mourn the owner’s death.
Claude followed after her and kneeled on the ground.
They sure are serious…
I pretended to pray with them while thinking that. Suddenly I felt a human’s presence behind me.
Hearing my shout, Claude and Shirushu looked back.
This presence, it’s definitely a human… To think that he was able to get this close without Shirushu noticing him with her nose…
「… Show yourself.」 I said facing the grass, however I got no reply.
It seems like he doesn’t plan on coming out.
Claude stood in front of me and pulled out her sword.
「Come out! If you don’t I’ll attack…!」 said Claude
「If you don’t come out within three seconds, I’ll cast magic.」 I declared and slowly raised my hand.
As I did so I heard rustling coming from the grass.
「I’m sorry for scaring you. I got scared and missed the timing to come out.」
We heard a polite male voice coming from within the grass.
As soon as Claude heard that voice her body quivered.
The man that appeared had a fearless look, and his long unsanitary hair was tied behind him.
He was dressed in rags and looked like a slave who had just broken free.
Wait a minute, this face, this voice, I think I’ve met this person somewhere…
「It’s been a while Claude.」