My preferred hunting spot was about an hour’s walk from the base. For some reason, this part of the mountain was rich in edible plant life and wild animals. I immediately had Nanom activate scanning magic while heading deeper into the mountains.
Since I was relatively free until we reach the hunting grounds, I ended up teaching Cleria about the standard hand signs I learned back in the military academy. I didn’t have a lot of chances to use them before because we just communicated through the Nanoms in live combat situations, but I guess these would prove useful in the situation we’re currently in.
I managed to get a reaction from the scanning magic after walking for about thirty minutes. Three o’clock. There’s two of them, about two hundred meters away. I immediately conveyed the info to Cleria via hand signs. She looks to have understood and displayed a serious expression.
The other party is heading towards our general direction, but they’re not moving in a straight line. They probably haven’t noticed us yet. Judging from their movement patterns, I assumed them to be Gray Hounds.
I’ve often encountered Gray Hounds during my hunts. I usually met one or two of these guys; three at most. I’ve always eliminated them whenever I encountered some. Dangerous pests like these need to be promptly exterminated.
“There’s a good chance these guys are Gray Hounds.”
“Would it be alright if I fight them instead, Alan?”
Oh, Cleria seems to be raring to have a go! Well, she has her armor on and all. Fine, let’s see what she’s got. I have my rifle with me, so I can just intervene if she ever gets into a bind.
“Alright then, engage them in a composed manner. They’ll be arriving at our position in about thirty seconds.”
Oh, and by the way, the method of time measurement in this planet is roughly the same as what’s used all throughout the empire – one minute is sixty seconds, one hour is sixty minutes, one day is twenty-four hours and one year is three hundred and sixty days. And similar to my home planet, they also divided the day into twelve hours each.
The reason for it is unknown, but the method of time measurement on almost all planets which housed the human race is roughly the same. The most promising theory is that the third-party responsible for spreading humanity all throughout the cosmos somehow taught all of mankind how to count time. Other theories proved lacking.
Furthermore, the period of revolution of each and every human-inhabited planet is around 365 days. Again, the most promising theory is that a third party selected planets that fulfilled this criterion and brought humanity to them.
Cleria pulled out her sword and stared at it. It was a thin one-handed sword inlaid with detailed engravings. After about ten seconds, the blade began to glow. Whoah! Can Cleria use Final Blade too!? Alright then, let’s follow suit.
I drew my sword and activated Final Blade as well, making the sword glow brightly. It seems the Gray Hounds finally noticed something. The glowing icons representing their position on the virtual map were approaching us rapidly.
I thrust my palm out in front of Cleria and started counting down. …Five. Four. Three. Two. One. The Gray Hounds finally came into view. One of them headed straight towards me. I jumped off to the side as usual and swung down my sword. I lopped off the Gray Hound’s head without any resistance.
Cleria moved forward after I finished one-off. The second Gray Hound froze on its tracks for a bit after witnessing the other one getting killed. It pounced toward Cleria instead, probably because it thought she was the easier one to bring down.
Cleria swung her sword but the creature somewhat avoided the slash. Too shallow! However, Cleria immediately followed up with another slash. This time, she was able to land a fatal hit. The Gray Hound’s throat was split open and it thrashed about on the ground, but Cleria soon finished it off.
Did she just use the basic combo I taught her? That looked quite good by the way. Cleria also seemed elated at her performance. I put away my rifle.
“How did I do, Alan?”
“I think you did pretty well. But I sensed a slight gap before you unleashed your next sword slash. It would be best if you practiced your ability to unleash successive follow-up attacks in case one slash fails to finish off your enemy.”
Corinth-style Swordsmanship was a style that aims to overwhelm opponents with multiple successive attacks. It’s better for Cleria to form a habit of performing continuous attacks and always thinking of the next move. Oops. It’s not like Cleria’s my disciple or anything. What am I getting all worked up for anyway?
Cleria seemed convinced with my teachings and did a few practice swings.
Alrighty then, since the pests have been exterminated, let’s continue on.
“Aren’t you going to extract their magic stones, Alan?”
Hmm? Magic stone? What’s that?
“What’s a magic stone?”
Cleria seemed taken aback when I asked such a question.
“Magic stones are materials located inside the body of monsters.”
“What’s a monster? How can you differentiate between normal animals and monsters?”
“A creature with a magic stone inside its body is a monster and a creature without one is an animal.”
You serious? I got to learn something new again. Now that I think about it, I did find a round stone inside the body of one of those disgusting green creatures a while back.
“What do people do with these magic stones?”
Are these stones really useful or something?
“You can exchange them for ***** in any city or town. But the stones from these Gray Hounds aren’t worth that much ***** though.”
An unfamiliar word appeared. It’s been a while. I’ll try updating my language database again.
I played back Cleria’s reply.
“You can exchange them for money in any city or town. But the stones from these Gray Hounds aren’t worth that much money though.”
I was shocked silly. It wasn’t due to the low value of Gray Hound magic stones, but about the fact that I completely forgot about the issue of money!
It’s the form of currency this planet is using. Money! I think I saw some several small and round metallic plates while I was sorting out the luggage back then. Argh! Dammit! I failed to take note of it because it wasn’t a concept I was familiar with. I was even wondering why there were several pouches containing those things when I was sorting out the items.
For thousands of years, the empire has used electronic currency to process transactions. I was not familiar with this world’s money because what I’d used ever since I was a kid was e-currency.
(Hey Nanom, you also missed out on the money man!)[We did not determine them to be particularly necessary at the time.]
I’m in the same boat. I only managed to secure a few pieces. This is bad. Once we arrive at the city of Gotania where Cleria was heading, I bet we’d need some money.
Should I go back to where the carriages were? Nah, it would be too risky. Cleria’s pursuers might be hot on our trail after all. They might have already found the carriages too.
Wait, maybe Cleria brought some with her.
“By the way, Cleria, do you have some money on you?”
Ugh. I sound like a deadbeat good-for-nothing asking for some dough.
“No, I, unfortunately, do not.”
Looks like Cleria was broke too.
In that case, our only choice right now is to earn some. If these magic stones can be exchanged for cash, then I’ll have to gather a bunch of em right away.
(Display the position of the magic stone inside the carcass.)[Here.]
A cross-section of the Gray Hound was displayed on a virtual window. The magic stone was located near its chest. I see. So magic stones get formed in the area of the body where magicle concentration is the densest.
Should I open the body up with a knife and thrust my hand inside? Naw, I ain’t doing that. Might as well just split it open with my sword.
I activated Final Blade again and slashed the carcass while being careful not to damage the magic stone in the process. I finally retrieved a magic stone after poking around the carcass with my sword.
It was a cloudy white ball about three centimeters in size. I secured both stones from the two carcasses. Cleria didn’t know how much they were exactly worth for.
Ok, let’s resume the hunt. After walking around the hunting grounds for twenty minutes, I finally got a couple more reactions from the scanning magic. It was in the two o’clock direction and was stationary. It was located two hundred meters away.
I relayed this info to Cleria with hand signs and approached the target slowly and soundlessly. I somehow had a hunch about the identity of our stationary target.
As expected, it’s a Blackbird. These guys almost never budge from the tree they were roosting on unless they sense danger.
Cleria asked me to allow her to hunt it as well. I agreed and approached the target with her until we came within forty meters. Cleria closed her eyes and prepared to cast a spell.
Cleria released her spell. Three flaming arrows hurtled towards the Blackbird, but it was disturbed by Cleria’s shout and was about to fly away to escape. One arrow managed to barely hit its wing and the pudgy avian fell down from the tree. I started running towards it along with Cleria.
The Flame Arrow hit its wing but the Blackbird still seemed energetic. It couldn’t fly, but it started running on the ground. It’s fast!
I started chasing it around together with Cleria. The running speed of the bird was somewhat slower compared to humans, but it was using the trees as cover, making catching up to it a challenge.
We split in two directions and pincered the damn bird. We chased it around for about three minutes until Cleria finally managed to fatally wound it with her sword. Man, that was tiring.
Cleria laughed heartily. It seems she really enjoyed the chase. Well, two people chasing a fat bird around did paint a silly picture. I laughed along with her.
We returned to the base after I finished draining the bird’s blood. Since this bird’s liver was the vaunted “white liver”, it was, of course, served as sashimi.