Over a long time I’ve repeatedly received requests to pick up Konjiki no Moji Tsukai, and the last time, a good while ago, when I brought up the idea on my Discord, the reactions were rather positive as well. I liked reading this story, but I’ve been wavering whether to really go ahead with translating another old, almost-forgotten title like this. Add to this the sheningans of the author, who deleted the first version of it and rewrote it in another attempt, earning himself a shitstorm for it, and all the past drama over the WN translation.
Still, I decided to give the LN, which is finished at 13 volumes + 3 extras, a chance. Of course I’ve absolutely no interest in translating a story that’s read by a few dozen people. As such I’ll set it up as a teaser. I’ll translate Chapter 3 completely, in four parts on a weekly Friday release, and go from there. If I see an appropriate interest in the reading of this story through comments and reader numbers, I’ll keep going, if not, then it’ll be cut. In other words, if you wish for this novel to get a full translation as a fan of its story, spread the word. 😉
You can read the earlier volumes here. I’ll try to keep the naming and style as consistent with the previous translator as I can.
— Your local translator, Shasu
At the end of the stone-paved road cutting through the flower field laid a village – small and snugly, like a hidden refuge. The party around Hiiro Okamura, having arrived at their destination, entered the village while surrounded by the fragrance of flowers.
Thereupon, they saw bearmen gathered at an open space for some reason. Wondering what was going on, the party decided to take a look. Arnold broke into a happy smile when he spotted a conspicuously big bearman, rushed over to him, and audibly clapped on his back.
“Ouch!? …Eh? Oooooohh?! Is that you, Arnold? It’s been a dang long time, hasn’t it Arnold!?”
“Man, Max, you’re as chubby as ever!”
They greeted each other while joining their shoulders.
“Hmm? Arnold…your ears…”
“Ah? Haha, stuff happened.” Arnold’s expression turned awkward. However, as if to immediately drive away any gloom, he continued with a cheerful voice, “Let me introduce him to you guys. The big guy over here is the bearman Max. We share a past of having drunk some bottles of booze together when I came to this village last!”
When Arnold introduced him to Hiiro, Muir and Winka, Max casted a broad smile on his big mouth.
“Max, this lovely girl here is My Angel, and also Cutie Flower, Muir Castlair!” Next Arnold faced Max, and began to introduce his three companions.
As soon as he finished Muir’s introduction, he put on an expression as if he had totally nailed it, but most of those present just looked blankly at him. Meanwhile, Muir’s cheeks dyed crimson with her clearly being embarrassed.
“N-Nice to meet you!”
Her bowing in a fluster caused the others to cast warm looks at her.
“Then, this here is the mysterious, attractive, super-strong girl, Winka Jio!”
“Nn…best regards. This is Winger.” Winka bowed, and using the opportunity, introduced Winger by lightly lifting him up.
“Ah, before I forget it～ Over here we’ve got some random brat called Hiiro.”
Arnold’s attitude was plainly different, but Hiiro ignored it since he didn’t give much of a damn either way.
“Okay, it’s a pleasure to meet all of you! I’m Max!”
Outwardly he had a great body build, or rather, his body was clearly the epitome of overweight. His ears were round as typical of a bear. Or rather, his big frame vividly reminded one of a bear. However, when compared to the other bearmen, Max was the only odd one out as slender bearmen were present, too.
(I suppose you would rather call him a pig bear than a bearman.)
An outrageously rude thought crossed Hiiro’s mind.
Arnold asked Max for the reason why all of them were gathering here.
“We’re going to head out to collect the honey any moment.”
“Collect honey means you’re going to make that, right?”
“Aye. You really came during the perfect season. We’re going to go all the way to the 【Honey Ridge】 to gather some really sweet honey. Just wait for a bit in the village. Or are you in a hurry?”
“Not really. The honey was the reason why we came here. If it means that we can get some fresh honey, we’ll wait for as long as necessary.”
“Wonderful, that’s music to my ears. But, it’s going to cost you quite a bit, okay?”
“Ahaha, won’t you give me at least a bit of a discount?”
The two men were getting along really well, enjoying their repeated, openhearted exchange of bickerings. On a closer look, not just Max, but the other adult bearmen also carried pots on their backs.
Just as Hiiro concluded that they most likely planned to store the honey in there, brisk footsteps approached them.
“Papaaa! I’m ready!”
The one showing up was a girl with light brown, short hair who was a tad smaller than Muir. The chestnut-colored, big eyes on her small face sparkled. Her head was adorned with an adorable flower ornament.
“We’ve almost left without you, Susu.”
“Now listen, a girl has various preparations to take care of! Huh? Hey papa, who are all these people?” The girl called Susu curiously scrutinized Hiiro’s party, but Arnold looked at Max with a face full of shock.
“Oi Max! Y-You…had a daughter!?”
“Hehehe. Oh, come to think of it, when we saw each other last, she hadn’t been born yet. I’ll introduce her to you. This is my daughter, Susu.”
“For real…? Just when did you plant a child into your wife?”
“Right after you left the village, I think?”
“Haah～ I see. Umm, Susu, was it? I’m Max’s friend, Arnold. Nice to meet you.”
Then Arnold continued with the introduction of his companions, and after he had finished, Susu bowed courteously.
“I’m Susu. I’m seven years old. Allow me to thank you for having taken care of Papa in the past.”
“Man, isn’t she way too level-headed and polite, considering she’s your daughter, Max?”
“Hahaha, she takes after my wife.”
“How very enviable…oh, speaking of your wife, where is she?”
“She’s resting back home.”
“…Is she ill or something?” Arnold asked worriedly with a frown, but Max shook his head.
“No, not at all. It’s just that she’s pregnant right now.”
“A second is already on the way!?”
“No…it’s my third.”
“Dude, just how many are you goin’ to churn out!?”
According to Max, his wife is napping at home with his second daughter who’s soon going to turn two years old. As for her pregnancy, she’s entered the period where the delivery is nigh, and thus she’s sleeping in order to preserve her stamina for the childbirth.
“You see, when it comes to boosting stamina, the honey from the 【Honey Ridge】 is the very best!” Susu said.
She also added that honey with its high nutritional value would become a reliable support for her mother’s body and the child within. According to her, her mother had recently been eating honey, but their stock ran out, and since the village’s emergency stores had diminished as well, they would now go out to restock.
“I’ll let Mama eat pleeenty of delicious honey!”
Deeply moved by the little girl’s innocent smile, Arnold sniffled.
“See? She’s a wonderful daughter, isn’t she?”
“No kidding, she’s totally wasted on you, Max.”
The other bearmen informed Max that they were ready to head out to the 【Honey Ridge】.
“Okay, we’re off then. We’re going to collect lots of honey, so look forward to it, Arnold.”
“Sure. We plan to stay at the village for a while, so it’ll be alright even if it takes you three or four days.”
“Come on, it’s not like it’s goin’ to take that long. We’ll be back by tomorrow.”
“Now that you mention it, it wasn’t that far away, was it? But, you’ll be back tomorrow? The sun is already going down, you know?”
“Aye. We’ve got some stuff to do over there. We’ll return after wrapping up our business, so it’s going to take a bit of time.”
“I see. Well, be careful out there.”
Right afterwards, Hiiro’s party saw Max and the other bearmen off as they left the village.
“Mmh～ I can’t wait!”
“Is it such a great honey?”
Because Arnold was so hyped about it, Hiiro’s food sensor got triggered in anticipation.
“Indeed. I think I told you before, but the honey pastry made out of the honey procured by Max and the other bearmen is a friggin’ dream.”
“How should I describe it…? Sure, the honey is sweet, but that’s not all. Its aroma is refined, and the sweets made out of it…are true masterpieces. It’s a tiny village, but the honey pastry of this place is so famous that you won’t find anyone in the beastman realm not knowing about them.”
Hearing all that, Hiiro’s interest was quickly piqued. Now he had to taste them by any means. Although Max’s group had left only moments ago, Hiiro strongly wished for their swift return in his heart.
It had been decided that Hiiro’s party would stay at Max’s home until he came back tomorrow. Since Max had also asked them to look after his wife if possible, before leaving, it resulted in him letting them stay over. Max’s wife, Lusso, welcomed them happily.
Max’s home was a wooden house big enough to shelter Arnold and the others with ease. Hiiro was honestly astonished when he heard that Max had built it himself.
“However, for that guy to have grabbed himself such a pretty wife, the world sure is an unfair place.”
“Oh my, Arnold, you’re embarrassing me. If you’re going to praise me so much, I’ll get carried away, you know?”
Lusso gently stroked the head of her second daughter, Bell, who was sleeping next to her, while holding her big belly. Just as Arnold had said, she was so slender that she looked like she could break at any moment, unlike Max. A beauty with great looks who could work as a model at any time.
“Whoa～ How cute～” Muir was spellbound by Bell’s sleeping face.
Seemingly unable to resist the charm of Bell suckling her finger every once in a while, even Winka’s eyes were glued to Bell.
“U-Umm, would it be okay for me to touch your belly?”
When Muir begged Lusso, the pregnant woman readily consented with a gentle smile. Winka said, “Wi too,” taking advantage of the opportunity. The two girls carefully and tenderly touched Lusso’s belly.
“Ah, it moved just now! Right, Wi-san!?” Muir exchanged a look with Winka, obviously excited.
Winka responded by repeatedly bobbing her head up and down.
“But I gotta say, mothers are really amazin’.”
“What’s with you all of a sudden, Old Man? Don’t tell me, you want to also touch her belly? Give it a rest. Making a move on the wife of your buddy definitely won’t end nic──”
“What are you talking about!?”
“Uncle, sshhh!” Muir cautioned Arnold while making sure to keep her voice as quiet as possible. She glared at him, asking him with her eyes what he intended to do if his shouting were to wake up Bell.
“Now you made her angry, Old Man.”
“Y-You damn… Haah, whatever. Arguing with you is just a waste of time.”
“Oh, it looks like you’re starting to learn.”
Arnold glared at Hiiro for a while with his cramped cheeks twitching. Hiiro closely stared at Lusso, and then quietly closed his eyes. After excusing himself, he left the house.
Many children were jaunting around in the village. Cheerfully frolicking around, they stumbled, fell, and started to cry, just to be comforted by their friends. And those children who didn’t stop crying would be hugged and soothed by their mothers.
Within that peaceful scenery, Hiiro discovered a stump to sit down on. Soon after, Winger showed up, nimbly climbed on Hiiro’s lap, and curled his body up there while yawning in obvious comfort.
Hiiro absentmindedly stared into the sky.
He recalled his parents who had died in an accident when he was still a child, and especially his mother who had tenderly taken care of him until the very end.
(Back then, if I had possessed magic like now…)
Him ending up pondering such hypothetical questions probably stemmed from him having seen Lusso and her child earlier…
(Just what am I thinking…)
Hiiro shook his head as if to expel those thoughts, and began to read a book he had retrieved out of his bag.
During the night, around the time when everyone was asleep, Bell’s crying suddenly tore through the house. The typical crying of babies at night. Everyone spontaneously woke up, gazing at Bell who was sleeping together with Lusso.
Without anything you could describe as a negative feeling showing on her face, Lusso raised her body, and lulled Bell, keeping her smile up all the time.
“Yep, just as I said, mothers are really amazing.”
Arnold’s murmur had some persuasiveness to it. Even Hiiro was aware that babies would cry at night. Of course, Hiiro himself had never experienced it since he was an only-child and had no children of his own.
However, such crying would occur almost every night, and each time, the parents would take care of the baby until it stopped crying. It was clearly an act based on their love towards their child. Hiiro had heard that some parents would collapse after completely tiring out their mind and body during childcare. This was plain proof to him that childcare was very arduous, and he could fully understand the strain it caused, even by just experiencing it on this one occasion.
While resting their tired bodies after doing the house chores and working at their job, they’d be woken up by the baby’s cries in the night. Moreover, this repeated itself several times during every night. Hiiro couldn’t even imagine him being able to endure something like that.
Moreover, Lusso continued taking care of this strenuous nursing despite being pregnant. Without losing her gentle smile either…
(Why is she able to keep up such an expression…?)
Lusso’s expression which was full of tender affection, and her continuous, gentle tapping of Bell’s back; Hiiro couldn’t sense any negative emotions from either. All they emanated was the beauty of Lusso only thinking of her child.
“I’m sorry, everyone. I’ll quiet her down as soon as I can.”
If a person capable of blaming Lusso for her words actually existed, Hiiro would love to meet them. Even he remained lying on the floor without uttering a single word, only able to think the following:
(Mothers are……great….I guess)
Bell cried several more times during the night, but Hiiro weathered through it with his eyes closed. Even though it disturbed his sleep, he didn’t feel bad about it for some odd reason.
On the next morning, they heard that Max would soon come back if everything went according to plan, causing Arnold to wait outside with Winka in order to greet the returnee. Muir was playing around with Bell inside the house.
As for Hiiro, he went to the 【Doggam Garden】, a flower field situated near the village, and read a book while laying on the grass. Being wrapped up by warm sunlight and floral aromas that seemed to calm one’s feelings was an ideal environment for the quiet reading of books.
By the way, his current book was one he had borrowed from Max’s home. Of course he first got permission. He heard that the book had been left behind by a fortune teller, who had dropped by the village many years ago, as gratitude for a night’s lodging.
This was the title written on the book’s front cover. As to why Hiiro could read the characters of this world: A Japanese translation surfaced on top of the characters of this world. The language of this world was called 《Lanaris》. Of course it didn’t resemble Japanese in any way.
At the time when he got summoned he heard that the local language would be automatically translated as adjustment for visitors of other worlds. However, if he wanted to write in the local language, he had no choice but to learn the characters. Just in case, Hiiro had practiced writing after arriving in this world. Him being able to unexpectedly smoothly remember the characters might also be an effect of the adjustment for visitors from other worlds. Because of that, he wouldn’t have any problem communicating in writing nowadays, nor would he have any issues living as a local resident of this world.
Ever since his childhood, Hiiro had been good at memorizing stuff. His memory was so excellent that he would basically never forget things that piqued his curiosity, and especially the contents of books, if he saw them once. His quick learning of the characters might also be an effect of that memorization ability.
“This is…what you’d generally call…a hero tale, isn’t it?”
The illustration drawn on the front cover depicted a young man standing while holding a sword.
(Still, no matter which world it might be, you’ll always find someone writing these kinds of stories. Let’s see, the author’s name is…Marqis Bluenote…eh?)
He felt like he had never heard that name before, and although he had read quite a few books ever since coming to this world, he had never encountered this author’s name anywhere. Unable to suppress his impatient anticipation about finding out what kind of story it was, Hiiro flipped the pages.
The setting honestly seemed quite ordinary to him. Various countries advocated their own claim for power, and insisted that they should be the only ones leading the world. At first there had been discussions among them, but gradually the tone between them became rougher, to finally escalate into wars. As the countries fought each other, their people fell into ruin. The world had turned into a place filled with nothing but sorrow and grief.
Within all that, a single youth rose out of worry over the world, and alongside his friends, who shared his feelings, he suppressed the conflicts.
(What an extraordinarily fine sense of justice. Though I don’t believe that a world would perish that easily, even if it’s full of grief.)
That man was adored as brave, but one day he got killed.
(…Huh? The protagonist died?)
Moreover, the one that had him killed was the king of the country that had produced the brave. The brave was executed for the crime of having killed the king’s daughter. Of course, that was a lie as the brave hadn’t done anything like that. But, the king was jealous of the brave’s fame as a symbol of peace after having aided various countries, and thus had the brave deliberately murdered. This caused the sparks of conflict to ignite once again, and the small sparks soon turned into a huge fire, once again enveloping the world in the tragedies of war.
(Somehow, well, it was a pitiable final moment. I guess being a brave didn’t pay off for him.)
However, his adventures didn’t come to an end.
He still had something he ought to achieve. Indeed, a duty that he had left behind unfulfilled: Reviving himself and bringing peace to the world.
(If he goes this far, you really gotta call him tenacious. Rather, revival…how’s that supposed to work out?)
Having become naught but a soul, the brave searched. A method to return to life once more. And then he discovered certain magic – almighty magic that would allow him to change the world to his liking. But, unfortunately his flesh was gone with only his spirit remaining. The brave couldn’t use the magic.
Thus he decided to wait. For the day when someone would find and resurrect him. And, at the time when he finally managed to revive, he would use the absolute magic he acquired, restoring peace. Yes, first he was planning to destroy all countries.
(Hey, hey, wait a minute! That’s a really messed-up brave!)
He would eliminate all countries with wrong ideologies, which should result in peace for the world. Then he would be able to enjoy adventuring in that wonderful world again.
He continued to wait, and wait, and wait…and then some more. Believing in the glimmer of hope that’d reach him one day, he kept waiting. Right, his name was Tinklevykle – the one holding the title of brave.
(This guy has gone completely nuts. Then again, the cause for his madness was the country, no, the world, I suppose.)
Hiiro closed the book with a clap.
“It’s not like I’m going to become a hero or brave. I definitely don’t want to become either.”
Such an end can’t be called a happy end by any standard. It’s said that truth is often stranger than fiction, but a story is in the end just that, a story. A fictional tale isn’t a recount of real events. Even heroes, who brought about peace, will have many enemies. I mean, there’s people who consider war as convenient, and others who desire battle. Being able to push your own, selfish justice through against all odds under such circumstances is commendable.
“Freedom is great. Living as you please without changing the flow, that’s the best.” Hiiro sighed while allowing such mutter to escape his lips.
At that moment, he noticed someone heading over from the village towards the flower field. Moreover, when he strained his ears, Hiiro could hear how their breath was going quite erratically as they were apparently quite panicked.
Hiiro sat up, casually shifting his eyes in the direction to find out who was coming his way────
“Ah, Hiiro-san! Please come with me in a hurry!” A pale Muir pleaded.
According to Muir, someone had returned from the honey collecting, however, the unexpected part was that it was only Susu who had come back.
“What’s this about?” Hiiro asked Muir while running next to her.
With a sad look, she replied, “As far as I understood, a monster suddenly appeared on the 【Honey Ridge】, and Max-san and the others were…umm…”
“Don’t tell me, they were killed?” Hiiro voiced out the worst possible outcome without any hesitation.
In response, Muir’s expression became bitter and painful.
“I don’t know, but according to Susu-chan, everyone was caught by the monster…”
Hiiro felt like something was off about Muir’s remark, but he put it aside, hurrying towards the crowd of people visible ahead of them. Many villagers, including the village chief, were surrounding Susu, as they listened to what she was saying. Arnold and Winka were also among them.
“Oh Hiiro, where did you go?”
Just like that of the bearmen, Arnold’s expression was grim as well. Since Hiiro had only told Muir about where he was going, Muir had headed over to him as soon as she heard about the crisis.
“Rather than that, is it true that the old bear dude and his friends haven’t come back?”
“Y-Yeah. It sounds like something has come out…”
“Something? Not monsters?”
“Well…about that…” For some reason Arnold grimaced, seemingly faltering in being precise.
Thereupon, Susu drained the water in the cup she had received from a villager, and spoke up, “Papa said it, that there’s no mistake. He clearly called it….a Unique Monster!”
Hiiro frowned at her words.
(Unique Monster? I feel like I’ve heard that term somewhere… Ah, if I’m not mistaken, Tenny mentioned it. I tried to question him about it, but under the circumstances back then, he didn’t have time to clearly explain it to me.)
“Old Man, what’s a Unique Monster?”
So far as it goes, Hiiro had a suspicion. That term had also appeared in manga and light novels back in Japan. However, Hiiro couldn’t judge whether the meaning over here matched with that 【Concept】.
“Simply put, it’s a dangerous creature above S-Rank.”
Arnold’s face was ghastly pale, betraying that he couldn’t really believe it.
“In other words, you’re saying it’s not an opponent you should half-heartedly mess with?”
“Yep. Moreover, Unique Monsters possess unique abilities and special traits. They’re usually opponents you’d subjugate after forming a party of adventurers beyond S-Rank.”
Hiiro found his assumption proven correct. It looks like there’s not much of a discrepancy with my understanding of the term. A monster with an exceedingly high grade of danger even among monsters – that’s a Unique Monster. And something like that has assaulted Max and the others, according to Susu.
“Say Susu, that monster looked like a spider with its whole body being red, right?”
When the village chief, who appeared to be around seventy years old, confirmed with Susu, her only answer was a nod, with her body trembling in fear, seemingly vividly remembering that monster.
“I see. It appears I wasn’t wrong then.” As everyone shifted their attention to the village chief, he gravely continued, “The opponent must be──────── a Red Spider.”
This name caused shock to travel across the faces of the villagers. No, even Arnold donned the same expression. Apparently he had an inkling about the monster mentioned here.
“Usually, Unique Monsters are elusive, randomly appearing at different places. For one to appear on 【Honey Ridge】… Moreover, it’s really unlucky for it to have appeared near the Honey Bee’s hive.”
Max’s group had headed over to the hive of a monster called Honey Bee. The bearmen had apparently been receiving the Honey Bee’s honey as compensation for having built the hive for the bees. This time it was also planned for Max and his friends to head over to the hive, put the hive and the area around it in order, receive a share of the honey as reward, and come back thereafter.
This was what Max had meant with having some stuff to do over there.
Apparently they had arrived at the Honey Bee’s hive, wrapped up their job over there during the night, and collected the honey in the morning. But, on the way back, they ran into spider webs that weren’t there the day before, cast over the whole area as if to close off the path. Just when they tried to pass the webs while going around them, a Red Spider suddenly showed up, and rounded all of them up.
“Doesn’t that mean you just need to go rescue them?” Hiiro asked after having silently listened to the conversation, but all he got as an answer were only the villagers’ gloomy looks.
“Hiiro, you’ve never fought a Unique Monster before, so I guess you can’t understand.”
“Understand what, Old Man?”
“I told you, Unique Monsters are beyond S-Rank, didn’t I?”
“Of course the Red Spider is an S-Rank monster as well, and can be usually subjugated by an S-Rank adventurer party. But you see, the folks in this village, or rather, the bearmen as a whole are a gentle race, disliking any kind of conflict.”
“You don’t get it? Even the highest adventurer rank of the guys here doesn’t surpass D-Rank.”
It meant that they were around the same rank as Hiiro. Of course, simply equaling rank with strength wasn’t possible, but even so, a rank of S was a classification only given to strong people. Like Winka, for example.
What Arnold wanted to say was that the bearmen would be easily slaughtered by the Red Spider, even if they faced it with a big group.
“Besides, take a look at them…” Being urged by Arnold, Hiiro let his eyes wander across the people gathered here. “Only women, children and the old are left in the village. All the men, who have some strength, left to collect the honey.”
Given that it was a small village to begin with, its population wasn’t overly big either. All men had been gathered for the honey collection for the sake of bringing back as much honey as they could carry. However, those men were caught by the Red Spider.
“Somethin’ like defeatin’ a Red Spider with the villagers over here is next to impossible.”
“How very unusual of you, Old Man.”
“Usually you’d have already rushed out after saying that you’d handle it one way or another. Why haven’t you done so this time?”
Hiiro thought that it’d be only natural for Arnold to immediately head out for the sake of saving his friend Max. But, for some reason, Arnold was merely pulling a mortified face.
“Even I want to go save him on the spot! But, you see, Unique Monsters are really abnormal! Moreover, I’m still only level 37, a C-Rank! There’s absolutely no way that I could fight against an S-Rank! I mean, you know the strength of an S-Rank as well, don’t you!?”
“…? …….You’re talking about Antenna Girl?”
According to Tenny, Winka was an S-Rank adventurer. Her level was close to 80. When Hiiro and Arnold had previously fought her, even both of them together suffered the bitter experience of having absolutely no chance against her.
“We were lucky since Wi still had some reason left back then. But, a monster is completely different, you know? It’ll go for the kill without any hesitation. I want to save him, and if I were alone…” Arnold cast a glance at Muir.
Indeed, if he were to die, Muir would be left behind alone. This was the reason holding him back from rushing out to help his friend. Apparently well aware of that, Muir bit her lower lip, looking full of regret over the fact that her own weakness shackled down Arnold.
At that point, Lusso appeared from Max’s home, scrutinizing the gathering with a puzzled look.
“You came back, Susu? …What about Papa? Besides, what’s going on for all of you to have gathered in a place like this?”
Probably because they had been noisy close to Max’s home, Lusso had come out after hearing their voices. Susu quickly jumped into Lusso’s embrace with tear-stained eyes. Up until now she had managed to keep up a tough front, but it looked like she had reached her limit.
All blood drained from Lusso’s face when she heard that Max and the other man had been caught by a Red Spider.
“N-No way…it’s got to be a lie…!?”
In the nick of time Arnold caught Lusso as she crumbled down after fainting. At that moment, a heart-rending crying could be heard from Max’s home. Bell had apparently woken up from her nap. Arnold went over to the house while carrying Lusso in his arms. The rest of Hiiro’s party followed him.
Once Arnold laid Lusso down on the wooden bed, Susu firmly grasped her hand, with a face full of anxiety.
“I’m going to be alright, Susu. It’s just a light stroke of dizziness.”
“Don’t pull such a face. Look, you’re making Bell feel uneasy, you know?”
Bell had stopped crying after Muir had quickly hugged her, gently comforting her, but sensing the strained atmosphere, Bell stared at Susu, looking like she’s going to break out in tears again any moment.
Susu stood up, and took Bell off Muir after apologizing. In response, Bell squealed in joy. Lusso beamed a smile on her face after seeing that heartwarming scene, but her smile immediately fell apart, and she turned her face towards Arnold.
“Arnold-san…my husband…Max is…”
“…It looks like he covered for Susu who was almost caught by a Red Spider. And then he told her to go back as quickly as possible to inform the villagers.”
“Is that…so? Then, my husband is already…”
A silence wrapped up in sorrow began to dominate the room. However, as if to cut through this heavy atmosphere, a certain person remarked, “Not said…yet.”
“…Wi?” Arnold turned around, staring at Winka.
Winka dispassionately continued with her eyes fixed on Lusso, “Not said yet that he was killed. Red Spiders, slow at eating.”
“Wi, did you fight against a Red Spider before?”
“No, but Wi heard. That’s why, probably still time left.
If it was as Winka said, it would certainly mean that Max and the other bearmen might still be alive. But, to save them, the Red Spider had to be defeated, one way or another. Rescuing the caught villagers without killing it would likely prove to be difficult.
“Then…just need to defeat. Only that…right?”
“Now listen, Wi, you’re definitely strong, but even you should know after having traveled for a long time – how scary Unique Monsters are, right?”
“…And you still believe you can win?”
“Otherwise, Max and friends will die. Arnold, you okay with that?”
“You gotta be kiddin’! He’s my friend! I wanna save him! But…I can’t see myself winnin’ against it. I fought a Unique Monster in the past. Back then I barely managed to get away alive, but most of the adventurers, who fought with me, died in that battle. Moreover, in the blink of an eye. Even if I can confidently say that I’ve become somewhat stronger since then, I’m… I cannot die yet.”
“Uncle…… I’m sorry, it’s because I’m here.”
“No, you’re wrong, Muir! This is my own selfish wish! For you to grow up splendidly is my dream…and also what I’ve promised your father.”
The two were trapped in their own little world. In this atmosphere that didn’t easily allow anyone to interrupt, Winka turned her face towards Hiiro.
“Hiiro, what would be the best thing to do?”
“Why do you ask me?”
So far Hiiro had remained a spectator with his arms folded.
“Hiiro is Wi’s king. So Wi follows Hiiro’s decision, ok?”
Once again, she displayed the loyalty that had been troubling Hiiro. He couldn’t look straight into her innocent eyes lacking any kind of impurity. It’s because he felt like he’d be drawn into them if he were to look.
Winka averted her eyes, facing Arnold next.
“Arnold, Wi and Hiiro will be there as well. You still can’t imagine victory?”
“Friends are precious. Allowing them to die is a no-no. That’s why Wi wants to do what Wi can. It’s also Wi’s way of repaying favors.”
Repaying a favor – very likely this was the feeling harbored by Winka towards Hiiro and Arnold for having worked very hard at allowing her to regain her sanity after she went on a rampage.
“Besides, being sad over friends painfully stabs this place here.” Winka placed a hand on her big chest.
“Muir…… Hiiro.” Arnold weakly looked at Hiiro’s face.
His feelings of wanting to depend on someone or something were clearly passed on. Hiiro could easily imagine from Arnold’s look that the enemy this time would be a fairly tough nut to crack. Hiiro looked back at him while sighing lightly.
“It’s goin’ to result…in me borrowing your power…once again, but…are you going to lend it to me….your power?”
“Hiiro-san, I’m begging you as well!”
Arnold and Muir lowered their heads. It wasn’t the first time for them to ask for his help. Actually, it had happened quite a few times in the past. It caused a certain question to pop up in Hiiro’s head.
(Really now, why do these two get so desperate for the sake of others…?)
Only once in the past had Hiiro felt the wish to save someone else while risking his own life. However, it was for the sake of family, and back then he was still a small child. Following a 【Concept】 which allowed him to treat the lives of others lightly, Hiiro objectively regarded their ability of wanting to save someone else to such an extent as a valuable trait. Thinking back on it now, they had always moved for the sake of someone else. At first Hiiro had been astonished by the irrationality behind their actions, but it was also a fact that his curiosity had been lightly piqued by their pure hearts.
However, that interest of his was ultimately limited to an objective, scientific curiosity. Hiiro was sure that it was unimaginable for him to act in such a way, now, and also in the future. For Hiiro, only his own desires merited him putting his life on the line.
For this reason, Hiiro shrugged his shoulders while accepting it as the usual, and said, “Well, the old bear dude and his friends won’t be able to make honey sweets for me unless they get back here, right?”
“…Huh? Y-Yeah well, that makes sense.”
“I came here to eat honey pastry. The option of leaving this place without even tasting them doesn’t really exist.”
“Hiiro…that means you’re…”
“Of course, I’ll simply crush the Unique Monster if it gets in the way of my honey pastry.”
“As expected of you, Hiiro.”
Muir, Winka, and Winger exclaimed like groupies. Arnold puffed out his breath while staring at Hiiro with eyes half-closed.
“Yeah, yeah, you just can’t be honest with yourself, can you?”
Getting really pissed off from Arnold’s expression, Hiiro firmly stepped on his toes.
Being hugged by Susu, Bell laughed cheerfully upon seeing Arnold’s funny skit of rolling around on the floor while holding his foot.
Confronted with the usual antics of Hiiro and Arnold, Muir puffed up her cheeks and cautioned them. When the dispute came to an end after they found a common ground, Lusso called out to them.
“U-Umm, are you really going?”
“Huh? Yeah, we’ll definitely rescue Max!”
“Don’t worry! It’s true that I’m still very weak, but Wi over here is ridiculously powerful, and although he looks like this, this unlikable brat can use an amazin’ skill, too!”
“Sorry for being unlikable, Pervert.”
“Don’t interrupt when others are speaking! Besides, who’s a Pervert? Tell me, who!?”
“Sheesh, Hiiro, Uncle, leave it at, will you!?” Muir stopped the bickering by wedging herself between Hiiro and Arnold.
Arnold pouted like a child, snorting, and then looked at Lusso with a gentle smile.
“You don’t worry about anything and rest up, okay? The child in your belly is soon going to be born, right?” Arnold said with his eyes pinned on Lusso’s belly.
Lusso confirmed while nodding.
“I ain’t gonna allow that child to grow up without its dad.”
“Besides, previously I had said that I can’t imagine myself winning, but with that brat…” Arnold whispered so that Hiiro wouldn’t be able to hear, “Once I considered that Hiiro would be with us, I felt like it’s goin’ to work out one way or ‘nother.”
“Is he that strong?”
“Yeeeah…rather than strong, you coulda call it unfair or cheatin’.”
“A-Anyway, I’ve always got a hunch that we can weather through most stuff as long as that guy’s with us. It’s the same this time as well…it’ll be alright.”
Susu, who was nearby, heard Arnold’s remark as well, and quickly shifted her eyes to Hiiro, but Hiiro only had a bitter expression with his eyes closed and his arms folded.
“…….I understand.” Lusso answered with a wry smile. “Still, I won’t say that I’d like you to rescue my husband at the risk of your lives, but…”
Lusso stood up, knelt down on the floor, and lowered her head deeply. “Please, bring my husband back to me.”
“You can bet on it! Leave it to us!” Arnold thrust out his fist while broadly smiling.
Hiiro’s party left Max’s home to inform the village chief before departing to the 【Honey Ridge】. Of course, the elderly man tried to stop them at first. But, once he saw that they wouldn’t give up on the idea, he reluctantly gave up any further attempts at persuasion. The party got their things ready with the villagers gathered around them. All of them had joined their hands together in prayer, obviously pleading while giving Hiiro and the others various pep-talks such as “Be careful,” “Please take care of it,” and “Thanks for your help.”
Arnold called out to Muir, whose eyes were trembling in worry.
“Muir, hold the bastion for us, okay?”
“Y-Yeah, if possible, I’d like to go with you as well, but it looks like this time I’d truly become a burden to everyone.”
As expected, with the opponent being a Unique Monster, Arnold had Muir stay back in the village to take care of Lusso. One might wonder whether that wouldn’t be Susu’s task, but the little beargirl would take over the role of guiding the party for a part of the way. After all, Susu had a clear grasp on the location of the Red Spider. Of course, her mother only allowed her to come along after Arnold promised that he’d always watch her, without allowing her to accompany them too far. Besides, this was also something Susu had requested herself. It was her very own desire of wanting to do something for Hiiro’s party who’d go this far for her family’s sake.
“Let’s go, Old Man.”
Arnold, Winka, and Winger enthusiastically answered Hiiro. Their party left the village while being clad in an aura as if they were about to head into a final, decisive battle.
“Hiiro-san…Uncle…Wi-san…Winger…please, come back safely.” While suffering from her own powerlessness, Muir frantically prayed to the gods for their safe return.
For Hiiro’s party it wasn’t a particularly steep climb. It was a dull mountain pass with a gentle mountain road, surrounded by rocks, endlessly continuing onwards. Among the monsters inhabiting this area didn’t exist any that could become a threat to their current party.
Still, because there were many spots densely clustered with rocks, producing plenty of blind spots, they had to be careful of surprise attacks. They had been told that they’d find the Honey Bee’s hive on an open field down the mountain path. The road itself had many branches, leading into dead ends, which would likely lead anyone coming here for the first time astray. Susu’s guidance wouldn’t have been necessary with a straight, unforked road, but with the road having this many branches, it’d take them time to reach their destination unassisted. And in the worst case, that time loss could jeopardize the lives of Max and the other bearmen.
One of the traits of a Red Spider was to wrap up its prey with threads spat out from its mouth, and it had the disposition to slowly enjoy eating its prey after letting it grow weak in a cocoon. According to Susu, the bearmen had been caught by the Red Spider on the way back home, after collecting the honey. Meaning, not much time had passed since the attack this morning.
Right now, it was still quite possible for Max’s group to be alright. Nonetheless, Hiiro’s party hurried along the mountain pass under Susu’s guidance as much as possible. As Susu continued to follow the correct path without having lost her way even once, she suddenly called out to Hiiro who was walking at the end of the group.
“…Don’t get so familiar with me, Beargirly.”
“Beargirly!? I-I’m Susu～!” She demanded from Hiiro to change the way he called her with her cheeks puffed up, but Hiiro had no intention to go along with her request.
“Bah～ Well, whatever. Anyway, anyway, can I ask you a little something?”
“What is it?”
“Are you possibly Muir-chan’s big bro?”
“Huh? You’re not? But, I mean…”
With puzzlement, Susu stared at Hiiro’s hair. Seeing her look, Hiiro suddenly remembered that he had transformed into a beastman. Moreover, his transformation had used Muir as reference. In other words, it was only natural for them to resemble each other. Because he considered it a pain to explain things, or rather, since he had no intention to do so from the very start, he forcibly closed that topic by giving some fitting answer.
“Yeah, it’s somewhat similar to being her big brother.”
“Oh, just what I thought! Hmmm, but you see, somehow I feel like Muir-chan isn’t looking at you like you’d look at a big brother.”
Hiiro admired her for her keen observation. Certainly, since Muir and him weren’t siblings, one might be able to catch a misalignment from the way they treated each other, if one looked at them.
Feeling that this was starting to become troublesome, Hiiro brushed it off, “Does it really matter either way? It’s not unusual for siblings to share such a relationship.”
“…You know that this isn’t what I’ve been talking about….” Susu mumbled somewhat as a complaint under her breath.
“Aren’t you worried about the old bear dude and his friends? Why are you so cheerful?”
“Huh……? I mean, if I stay silent, my head’s only going to be filled with bad thoughts.”
‘I see, so that’s why she’s forcing herself to act cheerfully. She’s apparently doing it so as to not have to think about the worst outcome.
“Then feel free to talk to the Old Man. That man likes little girls, so he’ll gladly keep you company.”
“Hey, I can hear you loud and clear, brat!”
‘Well of course you can. I’ve said it so that you’d hear it after all.
“In the first place, it’s always the same with you! Tell me, just how much do you wanna ruin my position in society until you’re satisfied!?”
“Hoh, that’s news to me. Old Man, you had something like a position in society? Oh, wait, I see. You were part of a little girl protection association?”
Susu giggled when she saw Arnold trembling in rage, “Ahahaha, you two sure are funny! Yep, you rock as a comedy duo!”
Her gloomy expression had cleared up in one go. Perceiving that, Arnold sighed as if having lost all drive to stay angry, and roughly scratched his head.
“…Say Susu, is Max a good father?”
“He is! He’s the best Papa!”
“I see. Alright, we’re definitely going to rescue him, Hiiro!”
“We came here for that reason, didn’t we?”
“Now listen brat, this is one of those moments where you’d pump your fists into the air full of spirit. Don’t you get at least this much?”
Just when Arnold tried to force his nonsensical values on Hiiro, Winka and Winger, who had been walking ahead of them, suddenly stopped. Naturally, Hiiro, Arnold, and Susu did the same.
“What’s wrong, Wi?” As Arnold asked, Winka kept fixedly staring ahead of her.
Just as she squeezed this short comment out, Winger went on guard, growling. When Hiiro looked at Susu’s face, she nodded with a frozen expression.
“I-It’s just a little bit further ahead from here. A somewhat wide field opens up around the corner over there. Probably, there…”
She meant to say that they would find the Red Spider over there.
“Old Man, I’m going to take a look first. You guys wait here.”
“Are you going to be okay?”
“No need to ask.”
Hiiro approached the road’s corner by himself while using the rocky area as cover. Once he drew a bit closer, he made his presence fade from perception with 『隠』.
When he sneaked around the corner, he got unintentionally startled by the scenery in front of his eyes.
Just as Susu had said, it was a somewhat open area. Its vicinity was walled in by rocky cliffs, forming a circular enclosure. A huge spider web spread out, as if to cut through the enclosure, or rather, as if to clearly block the path.
Surveying the area, Hiiro spotted several big jars scattered on the ground. Those were the jars the bearmen had carried with them to store the honey. Apparently the spider had left them behind out of lacking interest in honey.
Furthermore, Hiiro could see Max and the other bearmen hanging in the spider web with their bodies completely wrapped up by threads, only allowing their heads to peek out.
(It looks like they’re still alive.)
With quick strides, Hiiro went closer. Because he couldn’t see anything looking like a Red Spider at the moment, he judged that it had gone somewhere else.
(What should I do? Destroying only the spider threads while I can wou────)
The instant Hiiro pondered about this, a powerful bloodlust – one so terrifying as he hadn’t ever felt it in his life – assailed his whole body. Out of nothing but reflex, Hiiro jumped back at once. Something long and narrow stabbed the spot where Hiiro had been a moment ago.
(Wha-!? …A thread!?)
Once he swiftly followed the thread back to its source with his eyes, he found a huge spider with a crimson body looking down at him from a cliff. Again a chill traveled down his spine, and immediately following, another thread sharply extended towards him.
He let it go past while hiding in the shade of a rock. Just this little series of movements felt to Hiiro as if he had exhausted an unbelievable amount of energy. Although he hadn’t moved around that much yet, his heart was racing, his breathing was a mess, and his whole body was drenched in sweat.
(That thing…is bad news…)
He understood at a glance what Arnold had meant.
Suddenly he heard a bam. Once he tried to check with bated breath, he saw how the spider had landed on the ground and was now climbing its web as if having lost interest.
(So that’s…a Unique Monster…a Red Spider, huh?)
It was no underestimation to call it special. The shock he suffered was far more intense than back when he saw Winka going on a rampage. Of course Winka was dreadful as well, but in her case, them being acquaintances and her not being serious played a big role as to why she didn’t feel so frightening.
However, the Red Spider was a different beast altogether. In the instant he faced it, he clearly perceived its intent to kill. He had sensed the same from Folse too, but the potency of the spider’s intent was in a completely different league. He had succumbed to a sensation as if the other party completely held his life in its grasp. Indeed, he was spellbound by fear of death.
(So monsters like this one exist as well, eh…?)
Moreover, its rank was “only” S. In other words, there was still some room upwards as two more ranks existed above S.
(Haha…nothing less of a different world. A box full of surprises, and way too much so…)
The Red Spider possessed a presence that overshadowed all enemies he had taken on so far. Moreover, it owned wild instincts that easily allowed it to find his location despite his usage of 『隠』.
Hiiro held his breath once more, and slowly returned to Arnold and the others while taking his time.
“Ooh, Hiiro, how did it go?” Arnold asked Hiiro as he returned, but seeing Hiiro’s depressed look, “H-Hey, come on….don’t tell me…Max and the others are…”
“Nah, it looks like the bear lads are still okay.”
“B-Boy…don’t gimme such a scare… So, what’s the reason for you to pull such a face?”
“……I saw that thing.”
“Eh? A-Ah, you mean the Red Spider? W-What was it like?”
“It’s just as you said, Old Man. It’s my first time…to run into such a monstrosity.”
In response, Arnold gulped down his spit with a stiff face.
“H-Hey, hey, that’s not like you at all. What happened to the usual Hiiro?”
Apparently sensing that something was wrong with Hiiro as he didn’t retort as usual, Arnold also fell silent, only standing there.
While everyone kept silent, only Winka looked calm. Because of her words, Hiiro realized that his own body was faintly trembling. Then Winka grabbed Hiiro’s hand, and continued with an expression showing no emotions.
“Will be alright…ok? Wi will protect Hiiro and everyone.”
For just an instant, Hiiro considered her strength to be enviable. If he had the same strength, he wouldn’t stand around trembling here. He wouldn’t have to hate his own weakness. However, if they were to leave without rescuing the bearmen, he wouldn’t be able to eat those honey sweets he had been looking forward to so much. Besides, Hiiro was fully aware that he’d encounter other such opponents if he were to continue his adventure. Thus, he couldn’t do something so cowardly as running away here without accomplishing anything.
(I can always run away after I’ve done all I can do!)
Suppressing his own trembling ─── no, faking to do so, he drew 《Piercer》.
“Now listen, Bear Girly. You don’t go any closer than this. It’s not an opponent where we can fight while protecting you on top of it.”
After strictly instructing Susu, Hiiro gazed ahead of him.
“Old Man, put your fighting spirit into this. It’s going to be a harsh fight between life and death!”
Hiiro didn’t have the intention to die, but he’d do what he had to do to the very limit. No hesitation plagued Hiiro anymore. In any case, I won’t be able to get my hands on any honey pastry, if we don’t beat that thing. He hardened his resolve to get through this deadly challenge.
“Wi will go first. You two, support. Winger, you stay with Susu.”
“Wooof…” Winger looked like he wanted to protest.
However, because Hiiro couldn’t believe that Winger would be of any use as a combat force in the upcoming battle, he said, “I think it’d be better like that. Let’s go, Old Man.”
“Uuuh, alrighty! Now that we’ve come this far, I’ll go all in!” Arnold also drew his greatsword, following Winka at Hiiro’s side.
While holding Winger at her chest, Susu saw the three off.
Skilfully using the rocky area for cover, they crept closer to the web. When they took a peek at the situation through a gap in the rocks, they spotted the Red Spider spitting out new threads, expanding its webs, apparently to reinforce its nest.
“Uehh, we’re going up against something like that…?”
Hiiro could fully understand Arnold’s feelings, but if they were to leave the Red Spider to its own devices, they’d never rescue Max and the other bearmen.
“Antenna Girl, you got a plan?”
Seeing how Winka looked almost no different from usual, it was pretty evident that she was a powerful, experienced warrior. While readying her beloved spear 《Bone Maiden of Victory》, her eyes already had the gleam of a fighter in them. Not the slightest hint of fear could be found. Hiiro felt from her eyes that she was a very strong woman.
“Wi will pull the enemy. Meanwhile, Hiiro and Arnold will rescue Max and friends.”
“Whoa, wait a minute! No matter how you look at it, it’ll mean that you’ll take on that thing alone.”
“Nn…that’s why, hurry, ok?”
As soon as she answered, she suddenly jumped out of the cover. Arnold yelled, “No way!?”, but now there was no going back anymore.
“Let’s go, Old Man!”
“Argh, damn it! I know, I know!”
Hiiro and Arnold ran at full speed. The Red Spider was so calm about this that it seemed like a bad joke. It noticed the two guys, but first shot its threads at Winka who had been advancing through the spider webs.
Hiiro felt almost sick from just looking at its hair-rising, crimson body. It looked just like a bloody tarantula with the size of two cars. It caused a truly revolting feeling of disgust in him.
“《First Stage – Tempest》!”
The flash unleashed by Winka’s spear gave birth to a wind blade, cutting the threads right in half. Next she shortened the spear by one level, stretched the chain at its butt end, and nimbly entangled it with the thread shot at her by the Red Spider. Pulling the whole thing with all her power, Winka succeeded in dragging the spider off her web, slapping her huge frame against a rock wall.
Hiiro could understand Arnold’s amazement. Only Winka would be able to pull off such a way of fighting.
(Moreover, for it to be possible to use a spear in such a way…)
He had grasped that Winka’s 《Bone Maiden of Victory》 could be shortened by three levels. Furthermore, the shorter the spear, the longer the chain at its end.
Hiiro didn’t believe in his wildest dreams that the spider could be hauled off its net like this. However, the entangled threads worried him. After all, Winka’s movements would be limited by them. But, those proved to be unfounded worries as the chain suddenly started to glow crimson, melting away the threads with a sizzling.
“Wi’s spear…rocks.” Winka readjusted her stance to face the Red Spider again while whirling around her spear with a buzzing.
The spear’s specs were certainly high, but what stood out far above that was Winka’s battle sense of having assumed such a combat style. For the first time since meeting her, Hiiro felt jealous of Winka. He realized that he wouldn’t need to fear for his life or be so terrified, if only he was as strong as her.
I want to get stronger. That wish would boost Hiiro’s growth even further, but that was a story of a distant future as of yet.
“Old Man, the spider’s warp threads have no stickiness!”
In short, as long as they went along the warp threads, they’d be able to reach the bearmen.
“B-But, what are we goin’ to do once we reach ’em?”
“The threads coiled around the bear lads have no stickiness just like the warp threads. Thus we should be able to easily cut them apart with our blades.”
In other words, they’d be able to free the bearmen as long as they cut the threads apart without hurting the bearmen in the process.
“Hey, Max! Wake up!” Arnold approached Max, trying to wake him, but Max didn’t show any response at all.
As a last resort, Arnold got a bit closer and slapped his cheek, but that didn’t do the trick either.
“Come on, what the hell’s goin’ on here!?”
It wasn’t as though Max was dead, seeing how his face was still warm. And yet he didn’t show any signs of waking, no matter what Arnold did.
“Hiiro! How is it!? Did you manage to wake up the bearman over there!?”
“No, I have no luck either. Okay, in that case…!”
Hiiro shot an 『覚』 character at the bearman in front of him. The instant it activated, bluish-white electricity was discharged, and the bearman’s eyebrows twitched, before his eyes sprung open in the next moment.
“H-Huh? Where am I…?”
“Hey, get a grip!”
“Eh? Umm…if I remember correctly, you were…”
“Don’t mind that. I’m going to cut off the threads next. Make sure to properly land on the ground.”
“Mmh? Land, you say…wh-…what’s this…a-…about?” Unexpectedly, the bearman lost consciousness again.
“What’s going on?”
Even Hiiro felt shaken by that. Despite him going out of his way to wake the bearman by using magic, he fell back asleep in less than ten seconds.
At that moment, he recalled Arnold’s words:
『Yep. Moreover, Unique Monsters possess unique abilities and special traits. They’re usually opponents you’d subjugate after forming a party of adventurers beyond S-Rank』
As soon as he remembered that explanation, Hiiro suddenly understood and came up with a conjecture.
“Old Man! Whatever you do, don’t touch the threads wrapped around the bear lads!”
“These threads are probably───”
Just when Hiiro was about to say the rest────
“Hiiro, Arnold, watch out!” Winka’s yell echoed.
When the two turned their faces in her direction, they saw countless small objects being sprayed out of the Red Spider’s butt. Its butt was aimed at Hiiro and Arnold.
The projectiles looked just like eggs – spheres with a size of around two clenched fists. Hiiro immediately jumped down to the ground so as to not get hit by those bullets. Arnold did the same.
Immediately following, one white sphere after the other got stuck in the net, and cracked. Small red spiders ── Mini Spiders appeared from within. Just as expected, those had been eggs. Hiiro didn’t understand why it would give birth to so many children all of a sudden, but currently he didn’t have the spare time to worry about it as a rain of spiderlings leaped down from the web upon them.
“Bring it on! I’ll blow you all away────”
“You stupid, Old Man? Are you planning to get the bear lads dragged into this!?”
Arnold’s 《Explosive Wind Claw》 was definitely a handy 《Trick Art》, allowing him to unleash a tornado of wind blades over a wide range, if he were to point it upwards from the ground. However, if he used it now, Max and the other bearmen would definitely get hit by the blades as well.
“S-Shit! Then I’ll kill ’em one by one!”
It looks like we’ve got no other choice. Hiiro drew his katana, and chopped up the spiderlings as they fell. However, there were too many of them. The spiderlings that landed on the ground unhurt, immediately started to attack from below. At this rate, both men would very soon become unable to move after getting swarmed by spiderlings. Moreover, Hiiro didn’t have any time to write characters, and Arnold seemed to struggle hitting the nimble Mini Spiders.
Winka being Winka, she dodged the Red Spider’s threads and adopted a hit & run strategy by instantly closing the distance, attacking the spider’s legs, and falling back just as quickly, but even Winka wasn’t able to completely immobilize its legs. Apparently the Red Spider’s body was about as hard as steel. It was a cheat monster in all respects. However, just the fact of Winka being able to take on such a monster without losing ground could already be called plenty amazing.
Although Hiiro didn’t actually face the spider himself, he clearly felt frightened by the Red Spider’s presence, and yet Winka prevailed unfazed.
Because of Arnold’s scream, Winka’s attention was drawn his way for an instant. This likely caused her reaction to the spider’s threads to be a step late, resulting in the threads coiling themselves around the middle part of her spear. Once again it turned into a tugging war. In a pulling contest between a huge spider and a small girl, anyone would believe the girl to be at disadvantage, but both parties didn’t give way, turning the whole situation into a stalemate.
As for Arnold, he had his body engulfed by Mini Spiders, and finally was turned into a bagworm. Apparently he had become unable to keep up with the slaying of spiderlings at long last. It’d be better to save him, but Hiiro had his own hands full. As his stamina slowly continued to dwindle, his movements became sluggish, resulting in Mini Spiders latching onto his back.
“Tsk! Damn pests!”
He tried to shake off the spiderlings by rotating his body, but, although one or two fell off, it didn’t mean that he got rid of them all.
Suddenly he felt a stinging pain on the back of his right hand. Looking down at the place, he saw how a Mini Spider had bitten him. Because of the pain, he dropped his katana. The Mini Spiders took that as a signal to cover his whole body, just like they had done with Arnold.
(Guuh…it’ll get really bad at this rate.)
He slowly proceeded towards the rock wall he could barely see, approaching up to approximately one meter away from it. Hiiro clad the tip of his finger, which he could somehow move, in mana, and wrote. Then he tightly shut his eyes to bear with the upcoming pain while clenching his teeth, and in the next instant──── an explosion occurred in front of Hiiro.
Hiiro got blown away by the blast, and many small wall fragments impacted on his body after being hurled his way alongside the detonation’s shock wave. However, since the Mini Spiders were currently covering Hiiro’s body like a set of armor, most of the impacts hit the spiders, causing them to fall off his body.
Still, because he had used 『爆』 to cause an explosion close to himself, Hiiro was sent tumbling across the ground, just to slam against the rock wall on the other side.
Even though he now felt an intense pain from his back, he had somehow succeeded in tearing off the Mini Spiders that had annoyed him so much. The Mini Spiders themselves were strewn across the ground, twitching while at death’s door. Twisting his face in pain, Hiiro picked up the katana, which had apparently slid alongside him thanks to the explosion’s blast, and used it as a cane to stand up.
Next, Hiiro turned his attention to Arnold who was still covered by spiderlings.
“Pheeew. Old Man, endure the pain for a bit.”
After giving an excuse in advance, Hiiro shot 『炎』 at Arnold’s feet. After an instantaneous electrical discharge, flames blazed up high into the sky. Arnold and the Mini Spiders were wrapped up by crimson flames, and a little while after the Mini Spiders had turned into crackling torches, they fell off Arnold’s body.
“Hoooott, hoooott, it buuuurrrnnss!”
While roaring with his usual, loud and annoying voice, Arnold escaped the flames in panic. By rolling across the ground like a loose tire, he extinguished the flames licking his body. After thrashing around for a while, the flames were completely gone, but Arnold was panting heavily with his breathing totally messed up. It seemed like he was also at death’s door.
“Y-You brat…even if it was for the sake of saving me…couldn’t you have chosen a gentler method…?”
“Shut up. I saved your life, so don’t whine. Rather than that…”
Winka was in trouble. At a glance it was clear that she was losing the tugging war. She was getting pulled over by the Red Spider.
“Why isn’t Wi meltin’ the threads away like she’s done earlier?”
“She probably can’t? Very likely only the chain is capable of that. However, right now the spear’s handle has been caught by the threads.”
“Isn’t she in danger then!?”
“Yeah, it might be better for her to let go of her weapon, but if she did that, she’d become unarmed.”
“What are we goin’ to do, Hiiro?”
It’d be meaningless for them to try rescuing Max and the others, like in the beginning, just to get intercepted by Mini Spiders once more. Hiiro thought that it might be better to support Winka, and defeat the Red Spider first.
“Alright, we’re going to back up Antenna Girl, Old Man.”
“Well, I s’pose we ain’t got any other choice anyway.” Arnold stood up while gritting his teeth in pain.
“Old Man, you’re going to completely sever those threads. I’ll hit that thing with some magic.”
“Leave it to me! Here I comeeeeeeeeee!”
Arnold readied his greatsword, and swung it down at the threads connecting Winka and the Red Spider. However, his blade didn’t manage to cut through, only bouncing off the threads with a boing, as if he had hit rubber.
“Old Man! Watch your left!”
A new thread spit out from the Red Spider’s mouth coiled itself around Arnold’s chest from the left side.
As if saying that it had served its purpose, the Red Spider bit the thread which tied it to Winka on its own accord, and spit further threads at Arnold.
Hiiro and Winka screamed, but it was too late. In the blink of an eye, Arnold’s entire body got covered by a cocoon of threads, only leaving his head out.
“F-Fuuuuckk! As if I’d let somethin’ like this stop me!!” Arnold tried to forcefully rip the cocoon apart with brute strength, but, “Hauu..uuhh…w-why do I suddenly feel so weak…Hiiro…Wi…run away……”
He collapsed to the ground with a thud, unconscious. However, because of Arnold’s state, Hiiro’s conjecture changed into conviction.
“Just as I thought! Antenna Girl! Make sure to absolutely not touch the threads spit out by that thing! Very likely you’ll be forced asleep, if the threads get hold of you!”
It was the very definition of a unique power. Hiiro had woken up a bearman with his magic before, but even though the magic should cause the bearman to completely perk up, he immediately fainted again. Hiiro concluded that this came from the bearman’s body still having been covered by threads at that point.
(A body as hard as steel, the ability to create countless Mini Spiders, and threads with a sleep effect? Damn, is there no end to its abilities, or what!?)
Hiiro got frustrated. Moreover, its swift movements, which didn’t suit its huge frame, were troublesome, too. Even if Hiiro would shoot his word magic at it, it might be able to dodge the characters with its wild instincts. Still, after all was said and done, the Red Spider was still an insect. Hiiro was sure that it should be weak against fire, and still saw a chance to win if only he could exploit that weakness.
“Antenna Girl! Come here!”
He called out to Winka, and burned off the thread coiled around her spear with 『火』.
“No need for thanks. Antenna Girl, can you kill that thing?”
“…Will take time.”
“So you can do it?”
“Nn…fire is its weakness. Wi will use Wi’s 《Gathering of Flames》.”
“…I don’t really get it, but are you going to be able to kill the spider with that?”
Hiiro took a deep breath, and glared at the Red Spider which had been gradually creeping closer to them. If Hiiro was honest, he didn’t know whether he’d be able to stall for long enough to allow Winka to get that 《Gathering of Flames》 thing ready. However, if she said that it’d be possible to kill the spider with it, it’d be smart to plan around that skill as their main weapon.
After Hiiro spat out his breath once more, he tightened his expression, obviously having made up his resolve.
“I’ll buy you the time you need.”
“You will be alright?”
“Don’t mind me, and get started.”
Winka left Hiiro, skilfully climbing up the wall. Hiiro faced the Red Spider, which was about to focus on Winka, and threw a pebble he had picked up at it. Bouncing off its hard shell with a plonk, it didn’t damage the spider at all, but Hiiro succeeded in pulling its attention off Winka.
“I’ll be your opponent now, Red Spider!”
Around the time when Hiiro’s party entered the 【Honey Ridge】, Muir Castliar did her very best to accomplish the task entrusted to her.
“Thank you, Muir-chan.” Lusso said to Muir, who had cleaned the room, from her bed.
Next to her slept Bell, looking very comfortable.
“Don’t mind it, I like cleaning!”
Muir made every effort to keep up her bright mood as she was fully aware that Lusso was plagued by worries and anxieties over her husband’s safety. Even Muir worried about her friends. However, if even Muir sank into gloom, depression would gain full control over the place. Believing that it wouldn’t be of benefit for the baby in Lusso’s belly, Muir kept on smiling.
After having finished the cleaning, Muir took a small jar from a shelf, and poured its content into a bowl. It was honey that glittered amber. The village chief had shared a portion of honey with them, telling Muir to have Lusso eat it for the sake of her own pregnant body, and the baby soon to be born.
Although Lusso knew that she had to eat plenty, she would apparently throw up regular meals right after eating them. Thus it was necessary to somehow get her to intake food with high nutritional value. What had been selected for that task was the honey called 《Honey Syrup》. Since Max and the others didn’t know when the baby might be born, they had stored up honey for her sake. At present she had been eating the honey which other families had shared with them in small amounts, but thinking that they had to replenish their stock soon, the men had gone to the 【Honey Ridge】, leading to the current incident.
However, despite feeling uneasy, Muir believed that her friends would bring back Max and the others. After all, their group consisted of Arnold who had always protected her since her childhood, Winka with her outstandingly high combat ability, and ────── Hiiro.
Spotting a ray of hope even in the most perilous situations, Hiiro always brought a smile to everyone. He was an unsociable boy who rarely laughed, but he’d always keep a promise he made once. There were times when he was somewhat stubborn, and he never moved unless he got a benefit out of it as he tended to find most things bothersome, but still, in the end he’d bring about smiles on everyone’s faces. He was a very mysterious and fascinating boy.
In addition, he possessed enough power to turn around even the worst situations with a single blow. That’s why Muir trusted that the three, including Hiiro, would definitely be able to win against an enemy as atrocious as a Unique Monster.
“How is it? Is it delicious?”
“Yes, thank you, Muir-chan.”
Lusso scooped up the honey with a spoon, bringing it to her mouth. However, suddenly she cast her face down with the spoon dropping into the bowl with a clink. With just a glance, it was plain as day that she was thinking about Max.
“…It’ll be alright, Lusso-san.”
“I’m sure Uncle and my friends will very soon come back together with Max and the other men!”
“…Yes, you’re right.”
“So, please believe in them, Lusso-san! I believe in them, too!”
“……Fufu, thanks, Muir-chan. You’re absolutely correct. If I don’t believe in his survival, who else will.” Lusso smiles gently.
Muir was relieved as she felt that Lusso’s expression had improved a bit.
“Ah! I’ll go and bring you some more honey!”
Muir headed to the shelf with the jars, and when she returned to Lusso carrying a new jar, Muir unintentionally dropped the jar, causing it to break, because Lusso was holding her own belly with a pained expression.
Muir was uncertain what she should do while propping up Lusso.
“I-It’s okay…as long…as long as I can lay down sideways.”
She said so as to not make Muir worry instead.
(Is there anything I can do for her?)
Muir didn’t know why Lusso was suffering, and thus she couldn’t do much more than hold her hand. At that moment Bel started to cry, having apparently sensed the anxiety hanging in the air. Muir quickly held up Bell in her arms, but couldn’t quite get her to stop crying. Lusso also gritted her teeth with a pale face.
(Even if just a bit, I want to make it a bit easier for Lusso-san! What could be of use for that!?)
The bawling Bell suddenly stopped crying, widening her eyes in surprise. But that was little wonder. Muir’s hair gently floated up a bit, and each time her ears twitched, silver-shining particles fluttered about. Those particles kept pouring down on Lusso.
(Something I can do…!)
As Muir pressed her eyes shut and continued to pray her wish of wanting Lusso to be released from her pain, Lusso’s hand relaxed. And when Muir opened her eyes, she found Lusso staring at her with faintly opened eyes.
Muir didn’t know what Lusso wanted to tell her, but since her complexion had improved greatly compared to moments ago, Muir felt relieved, believing that it might have been a temporary spell of weakness.
“H-Huh? Bell-chan has stopped crying, too?”
Muir was puzzled as she didn’t know when Bell had stopped bawling, but,
(Ah, come to think of it, I’m supposed to call the village chief if something happens!)
Once Muir placed Bell down next to her mother, Lusso thanked her. Muir stood up on the spot, quickly headed to the village chief’s house, and told him about the situation. Seemingly guessing what was going on, the village chief took several women with him, heading over to Max’s home. He had Muir wait outside, where she could hear how Bell started to cry again. And then, after a while, the village chief stepped out of the house, and informed Muir about Lusso having gone into labor.
In other words, the baby would be born very soon.
Muir quickly turned her body in the direction of the 【Honey Ridge】. Guessing that she wouldn’t be able to help in any way if she stayed here, Muir told the village chief that she would head over to the 【Honey Ridge】 to let Hiiro’s group know of the situation, and ran off.
(Wait a bit longer, Lusso-san! I’ll hurry to bring Max-san and Susu-chan back!)
She believed that to be what she could actually achieve right now.
Having climbed the wall, Winka began to fiercely swing 《Bone Maiden of Victory》 at high speed while looking down at Hiiro who was buying her time. Thereupon, the chain at its end produced a faint, bright red, small flame. As she kept drawing red trails in the air, the flame steadily grew in size, and with her gradually accelerating her spear wielding, the flame wrapped up Winka.
Hiiro focused on the enemy in front while hearing how her spear buzzed through the air in his back. In an instant, he dodged the thread of the Red Spider by hair’s breadth. No, dodging it at hair’s breadth was the most he could do.
(Kuuh! It’s fast!)
Indeed, Hiiro couldn’t react with a leeway. In the end, all he managed was to evade at the very last moment. He realized that the battle against the Mini Spiders had cost him much more stamina than he had imagined. However, because he raised his speed by activating the 『速』 character he had prepared some time ago, he was still capable to move nimbly.
He closed the distance while blowing up a cloud of dust as he kicked the ground, jumped high with his katana set up in front, and thrust its point at his opponent’s back with the intent to skewer it.
However, the Red Spider skilfully moved its legs so as to fling him away, trying to knock down Hiiro. Without a moment’s delay, Hiiro blocked the attack with his katana, but because of the terrifying force behind the kick, he was slammed against the rock wall once more.
The Red Spider spat its thread at Hiiro who had dropped to the ground. Shouting, “Fuck it!”, Hiiro kicked off the wall behind him, getting away from his current location.
“Haa haa haa…” Hiiro gasped roughly.
He had definitely been accumulating damage. On the other hand, the opponent in front of him was completely unhurt. Besides, the spider looked bigger to him compared to earlier when he had seen it for the first time. Once again, his body trembled. He could clearly sense the difference in power between him and the spider. But, Hiiro possessed 《Word Magic》, a skill that could close that gap in strength.
“Burn, 《Word Magic》!”
He released the character of 『燃』 from the tip of his finger. Indeed, no matter how strong the opponent, 《Word Magic》 was always a wild card that would induce a phenomenon twisting the logic of this world. If it hit, it could turn around a battle at any time.
Yep ──────── if it hit.
Relying on its wild instincts, the Red Spider easily surpassed Hiiro’s expectations. Having a character fired at itself, it curled up its threads, forming a ball. A character would only affect the target it struck. As result ──── 『燃』 was obstructed by the ball of threads.
“Shit! If it’s difficult to hit the opponent, then we go with this!”
Hiiro released 『針』 towards the ground while keeping it hidden from the Red Spider. The character got firmly stuck to the ground, but Hiiro didn’t activate it yet. He took distance from that place, moving so as to lead the Red Spider around by the nose. Still, he gradually lured his enemy to the place where he had set up his trap.
(A little bit more…just a little bit. …Right, come here… Gotcha! Pierce, 《Word Magic》!)
Without sparing a second, Hiiro activated the character beneath the spider. With an electrical discharge gushing out with a crackling, clusters of earth shaped like cactus thorns assaulted the spider from the ground. This time there was no place to run. And just as he had expected, the attack definitely reached the spider’s body. Just, the clusters of earth lost out against the sturdiness of the spider’s carapace.
(Oh man, come on, a goblin would have been dead meat by now…)
Of course it was ridiculous to compare the Red Spider with such a puny monster, but Hiiro had hoped that it’d cause at least a bit of damage. But, the reality he had to face was the spider being completely uninjured.
He became speechless by the high defense power of his opponent. He realized that he wouldn’t be able to defeat his opponent with half-assed attacks, even if he went for its weakpoint – fire. Its sturdiness went so far that he’d require tremendous firepower.
(What should I do…?)
As he pondered, the Red Spider closed the distance on him with a blinding speed while causing rustling sounds. Just when Hiiro tried to run away, he stiffened for an instant because of a sharp, abrupt pain running through his back.
(Damn!? Did I get injured when I slammed against the wall earlier!?)
The Red Spider wasn’t so generous an opponent to miss the opportunity of him having frozen. It quickly shortened the distance to Hiiro with swift movements, and moved its thick, tough leg, blowing away Hiiro with a side sweep.
It was an impact as if a steel pipe had sunken into his abdomen. A nasty crunching sound reached his ears from his belly. Thinking what would have happened if that impact had struck his head gave him goosebumps.
(You’re telling me, Antenna Girl was taking on such a powerful opponent…!?)
Hiiro was astonished by her strength all over again. He was awed that she could oppose such power that could only be described as atrocity.
For some odd reason Hiiro thought about all this while rolling across the ground from the impact in pain. Was this a feeling of composure, or an escape from reality? Even if Hiiro could find an answer to this, he wouldn’t be able to admit it. Only now he realized just how troublesome his trait of hating to lose could be.
However, for the time being he had managed to do what he was capable of. While facing up, he sent a glance on top of the rock cliff. A huge fireball floated over there.
“……Go for it, Antenna Girl.”
Alongside Hiiro’s murmur, a small sun dropped down towards the Red Spider.
“《Fifth Stage – Gathering of Flames》!”
The crimson mass created by Winka directly hit the Red Spider. A blast swept across the vicinity, accompanied by a terrifying explosion. Having been close to the wall, the Red Spider had no way of escape, and should have been struck by the attack head-on.
The fireball’s heat was so intense that it pulverized the rock wall. Hiiro was convinced that the spider had no way to defend against this, no matter how steely its body might be. The cluster of flames scattering into the surroundings caused the temperature to rise. Hiiro breathed out deeply, and shifted his posture to lying face down while bearing the pain, anguishing enough to make him groan against his will. And then he looked towards the place, where the Red Spider had been, to confirm the outcome.
Over there he saw the traces of massive destruction, and he could also confirm Winka standing on top of the cliff while engulfed by flames.
However, it’s strange. Why────── why──────
Why is Winka caught in the threads of the Red Spider─────────
I don’t get it. Just what happened? Didn’t Winka’s attack succeed?
And then Hiiro became flabbergasted after catching sight of a certain scene. In the Red Spider’s mouth. Arnold was stuck in there while still wrapped up in threads. This allowed Hiiro to comprehend. Just before being hit by the attack, the Red Spider spat out a thread, and pulled Arnold to itself ── using him as a shield.
(You gotta be kidding… It’s even intelligent!?)
In the first place, spiders were cunning, using plans to catch their prey. But, Hiiro had never expected that it’d do something like using hostages. Hiiro suspected that Winka had noticed Arnold, and immediately changed the direction of her attack. Looking closely, the Red Spider hadn’t moved. Only the area next to it had been destroyed. And using the gap in Winka’s defense after having fired off a big technique, the Red Spider had attacked Winka with its threads. Moreover, unable to fully avoid the threads, she ended up caught in them.
The thread, which caught Winka, seemed to cause Winka pain as it had coiled itself around her neck. At this rate, Winka would suffocate. The spider tossed Arnold towards its nest, as if saying that he had already served his purpose as a shield.
Hiiro tried to write a character and shoot it at the spider, but he was too far away. He thought about a plan to somehow overcome this situation, but nothing came to mind.
Meanwhile, Winka’s arms dropped powerlessly. Very likely she had been affected by the sleep effect.
But, at that very moment, a blue beast tried to bite apart the thread binding Winka alongside a familiar woofing. It was Winger. Still, Winger was a young beast who had been born not long ago, and even with him having grown up a bit, he was a B-Rank monster. He couldn’t possibly rival a Red Spider.
“Winger…run a…way…” Winka squeezed out, but even as he started to pull with a growling, Winger couldn’t remove his teeth from the thread.
Immediately following, the Red Spider flung Winger away with a leg as if getting rid of an annoying pest.
Winger was hurled all the way to the wall, and fell silent. While trembling, Winka extended a hand, trying to grab Winger, but of course there was no way for her to reach him. And at the very end, she looked directly into Hiiro’s eyes, and said, “Sorry…”
The instant he heard that word, a sensation as if something broke ran through his head. That word, no ── this word under these circumstances was a taboo word Hiiro wanted to hear the least.
Those were the last words of the person he wanted to save even at the cost of his own life in the past.
Roaring fiercely, Hiiro forgot all the pain, and stood up.
He started to run towards the Red Spider. However, he didn’t hold his katana. The katana was laying on the ground, near the spider.
Splendidly sliding past under the threads spat out by the Red Spider, Hiiro picked up his katana while tumbling across the ground. Next he avoided a leg swung at him by crouching, and slashed the katana at his enemy’s face.
A sharp, metallic sound reverberated. As he had somehow expected, he didn’t manage to injure it.
“Then, how about thiiiiiiiss!?”
With a speed unbelievable even for himself, he wrote the character 『軟』, and activated it towards his enemy, immediately following up by a similar slash as before.
A squishing sound. Finally. Finally he was able to injure his opponent. However, there was still a long way ahead. He still had only smashed its right eye. At this rate it wouldn’t be enough for his blade to threaten the spider’s life.
Hiiro swiftly dashed away from there, and wrote 『伸』 on his katana’s blade. Once he activated this, it lengthened the blade quad-fold, to approximately eight meter. He extended the katana to pierce through the spider just like that, but he forgot that his opponent was also capable of swift movements.
Once again that impact, but this time it hit his back. He could hear the sounds of his back bones cracking and grating. It caused him to fall forward while an intense pain assailed his whole body.
Even though he believed he had finally found a way to deal with his opponent…Hiiro was frustrated. However, his body didn’t move anymore. As he gradually exceeded the limit of pain, he completely stopped feeling anything. And at long last, Hiiro also got caught by the Red Spider’s threads.
Around that time, Susu, who had been waiting in a place slightly away from the battleground, had continuously prayed for Hiiro’s group’s safety while holding her knees. She felt scared when she suddenly heard a loud explosion, but she waited while believing in everyone’s return.
After the explosion, Winger headed towards the battlefield, obviously panicked, but hoping that he’d be safe, Susu kept waiting all by herself without running away even as her body trembled.
Next it became completely deadly silent, as if all life had ceased.
“Is it possibly…over?”
She wanted to go check. But, she was afraid. Her legs refused to go any closer. However, she knew that Hiiro and the others were risking their lives for the bearmen. And yet, would it be okay for her to infinitely stay still here like this?
Just when Susu was pressed to decide whether to wait or go, “Susu-chan.”
Having her shoulder abruptly tapped, Susu screamed, “Nooooo!”, while believing that a monster had found her, and tried to run away, but, “I-It’s me, Susu-chan!”
“Noooo… Eh? M…e?”
Once Susu turned around while completely perplexed, she found Muir Castlair behind her.
“Muir-chan? Why are you here?” Susu confronted Muir who had shown up all of a sudden.
“Yeah, it’s big news! Lusso-san has collapsed due to labor pains!”
“Eehh!? Mama has? I-Is she okay?”
“Y-Yeah! The village chief said that it was a sign for the baby going to be born very soon.”
“I-I see…” Susu breathed out in relief.
“That’s why I came all the way here to inform you!”
“T-Thanks, Muir-chan. I see, Mama is doing her very best, isn’t she?”
Muir turns her eyes further down the road, “What about Hiiro-san and the others?”
Hearing from Susu that it had become silent a little while ago, Muir brooded for a moment, and then nodded as if having made her resolve, “We’ll go check the situation.”
“Eehh!? T-That’s dangerous!”
“But, the sounds have stopped, right? Maybe they’re rescuing everyone after having defeated the monster. I have to help them.”
“Y-You think so?”
“Yep, I’m sure.”
“B-But, I still think it’s scary.”
“Then let’s do it like this!”
Muir firmly held hands with Susu, doing her best to alleviate Susu’s anxiety by smiling cheerfully. Susu’s expression, which had been stiff until now, relaxed a bit.
“G-Got it. D-Don’t let go, okay Muir-chan?”
Making sure to be very cautious, the two proceeded down the road slowly and soundlessly. And in front of the road’s turn, the two took a deep breath before looking at the situation in the open space through a gap between rocks. What greeted them was an astonishing sight.
A little time before Muir met up with Susu, Hiiro grasped within his murky mind that he was currently hanging in the spiderweb. When he moved his eyes, he could perceive Arnold and Winka nearby. His mind was full of regret. He misread the time to make his getaway. Although he couldn’t afford to die, he had become too passionate, resulting in him being stuck here like this.
Let alone moving his body, Hiiro hardly felt it to begin with. He was only sleepy ── nothing but sleepy.
Then he heard something approaching with a rustling. Once he looked in the direction of the sound, he spotted the Red Spider looking down on him.
(I see……so you’re going to start with me, eh?)
His mind was completely indifferent about it, as if all of this was about someone else, believing that it was inevitable because he was the one with the heaviest injuries. Drool that seemed to have a melting effect ran down from the Red Spider’s mouth. At this rate, he’d be dissolved and become nourishment for the Red Spider.
In short ──── death.
The opponent had been superior in everything and anything. In the end, his thinking proved to have been too shallow. He didn’t take the providence of the survival of the fittest seriously enough. But now ──── it was too late for anything.
(Death…am I going…to die?)
Hiiro closed his eyes slowly, obviously having resigned himself. Still, he wondered why his mind was so calm about this. He had expected to feel more dread, but……he suspected that the actual feeling of him being on the verge of death hadn’t hit home yet.
Thereupon he could hear someone’s voice. A voice he had heard before. A nostalgic voice. The voice of the person he had loved the most.
However, it was also a voice that didn’t exist anywhere anymore. A voice he wouldn’t be able to hear ever again.
And yet, that voice reverberated inside his head. Vividly. He thought that this might be what was commonly called flashback.
That person was frantically trying to say something. But, to whom?
But, what is it saying?
His heart throbbed with a thumping. He recalled, those were that person’s last words. But, suddenly he felt a sense of discomfort.
──────Were those really that person’s last words?
(……No, they weren’t.)
Those weren’t the last words. There was….some more. Ah, right. At the very end, that person said with a smile…
Hiiro’s heart raced, as if refusing to die. Something lit up in the center of his chest. Something warm and dazzling spread across his entire body like a ripple.
(…Right. I…can’t die. I haven’t achieved anything yet. I haven’t been able to do everything I set out to do. There’s still a long road ahead of me!)
Hiiro felt how his whole body became hot as if burning within. However, mysteriously it felt comfortable. It was a feeling as if he had fused with the sun.
At the moment when the Red Spider opened its mouth to devour Hiiro──────
────────the cocoon wrapping up Hiiro was engulfed up in golden light.
This ends the teaser for Golden Wordmaster’s LN translation. With today’s release, this chapter has been released over the course of a full month. As you can see for yourself (as of 23th July 2021), the number of comments is as underwhelming as the count of readers. I’ll keep an eye on the progress, but you can very likely expect this series going back to the graveyard where I dug it out from.
Thanks for having read the teaser, and feel free to check out the other series on this site. You might find something that interests you. 🙂