A Quiet Forest
I was walking with Kyle in the forest that was quieter than usual.
We were out here hunting as always, but for some reason the forest today was abnormally quiet. I could not hear the sounds of insects nor the birds chirping at all.
A somewhat eerie feeling filled the air, and the mood gave me tingles.
I knew it, there was something strange about the forest today…
We kept on walking through the forest as I harboured such thoughts in my mind. Then, I started to pick up some faint sounds of movement on the ground.
「…Again, more prey are coming」
I readied my bow as I picked up signs of something moving inside the forest.
「… They are coming from the west again… 」
I aimed my bow to the west. Although a bit late, Kyle had also started to take notice of the incoming presences. I held my bow at the ready as I notched an arrow to the bowstring with smooth movements.
「I’ll take the right one. I’ll be counting on you for the left, Kyle」
After he gave me a short reply, the brushes around us shook as two deer dashed straight out from there.
We released our arrows with no hesitation as we saw the deer looking startled for a second, possibly because they did not expect that they would run into humans here.
A sharp sound of the air being cut was heard as our arrows headed straight for their foreheads when they came running.
*thunk*, the arrows pierced their mark as the deer’s bodies fell to the ground.
When we confirmed that there were no other living creatures around us, we slowly put the bows back on our backs. From there, we will start to work on draining their blood.
「With all things considered, there sure are lots of prey today」
「Yeah. This is already the fourth one even though it hasn’t been long since we got here. We will have to make a trip back down to the village again」
Kyle said as he sighed. Maybe he was thinking about the effort it’ll take to get these down to the village.
「I’m happy that we’re catching so much, but they are coming here as if they were fleeing from the west…」
We’ve already caught four deer, three rabbits, two wild boars and two birds today. This is a lot considering that it’s only been a few hours since we got here.
If these animals all ran here because they were scared of something in the west, then there is only one thing that comes to mind.
A vicious monster has appeared over there.
It’s common for vicious, carnivorous monsters to be moving their hunting grounds as they chase for food. Herbivorous animals and weak monsters would naturally run away in order to escape from them. It’s something that I had seen happen many times during my adventurer days.
At times like this, it’d be best to not carelessly move around too much. The best thing to do is to send out some scouts to collect more information on the situation before taking action.
Loren-san was with us until a little while ago, but he felt curious about why the animals were running here from the west and went to check it out. At that time, it felt like he wanted us to wait here without going near the west.
Even though we are getting as much prey as we pleased, any more was not possible since we could not bring them back with us.
As we drained the deer’s blood while staying alert, I started to hear footsteps coming from the west.
Then, out of the left corner of my eye I saw a big shadow appear.
「…. Oh what the heck, it’s just teacher. I thought it was a bear」
「You dumbass. Have you seen such a handsome bear before? 」
Loren-san came over here while he joked around like he usually does.
Kyle was right though, his shadow did look like a bear’s when he suddenly jumped out of the trees like that.
Loren-san had a sarcastic smile on, but his expression turned serious in the very next moment as he looked right at us.
「Well, but what Kyle was thinking wasn’t completely off」
「You mean… 」
Words leaked out of my mouth without thinking.
Maybe Kyle has also noticed something from Loren-san’s words, as he looked up at him with a look of surprise.
Then, Loren-san nodded.
「Ah, I’ve found what looks like a red bear’s fur and I saw something like claw marks on the trees in the west. I don’t know if it’s looking for food there but I’m guessing it came down from the north」
And then, he showed us a batch of red fur.
There’s no mistake about it; that batch of red, long hair belonged to a red bear. I’m sure of it because I’ve seen it many times in the past.
It’s no wonder that the animals ran here in terror.
「… A-are we going to group up with other hunters and go hunt it down? 」
Kyle asked with a stiffer expression than usual. There was cold sweat on his forehead and his voice was shaky.
No matter how grown up he acts, he is still a 12-year-old child. Although he hunts in the mountains, the monsters that he would run into during a hunt would only be small, low-threat monsters like goblins at the most.
Of course he would be scared of a big monster like a red bear.
A red bear isn’t a low level monster like goblins and horned rabbits that villagers can handle.
Even if you go hunt it with a large number of hunters, there will still be casualties. Normally, you would have to rely on adventurers to subjugate it or you’d have to ask the feudal lord for soldiers to kill it.
However, since we’re in Nordende, it would take some time to reach an adventurer’s guild or the mansion of the feudal lord in a time of emergency.
But that was also the reason why I chose to live here…
「We might have to if push comes to shove, but right now we should make it our priority to evacuate the villagers. It might not get to that point but if it keeps heading that way it might reach the field of flowers in the worst case scenario」
Kyle looked relieved after hearing Loren-san’s words that were spoken in a heavier tone than usual.
When Loren-san and I see such a child-like side of Kyle, we couldn’t help but grin.
Even if there was a need to take action, it would be the role of the adults to take the initiative.
We were not that far from the field of flowers from here. At the worst case scenario, the villagers who went there without knowing anything might get attacked by the red bear. I don’t want something like that to happen.
Flora often goes in and out of there, and it’s also a place that I like a lot. I don’t want that place to be destroyed by monsters.
A red bear would go back up north once its stomach was filled, but if something were to happen, I would have no choice but to consider getting my sword and taking it down….
「With that said, today’s hunt is over and we’re going back to the village. We’re going to warn everyone about this」
We nodded to Loren-san’s voice. Then, we hurried and finished processing the animals that we caught. I actually wanted to find a place and cool off with some water and do the processing slowly, but since we do not have time this time, we’ll go back down with just the blood draining done.
「I’ll head to the town square and inform the village chief of this. Kyle, you take the south route down. Aldo, head west as fast as you can. There might be some people at the field of flowers」
「Got it! 」
As we headed down the mountain, Loren-san and Kyle went their separate ways to report the information we have.
I was the most suited to head west as fast as I can since it was the most dangerous. Therefore, Loren-san had taken the deer and is taking that back to the village for me. Anyhow, I left at once without delay after I saw this nice guy off.
There are very few villagers from the east who would come to the west, so it was decided that we’ll be able to deal with the situation if we start spreading the news from the center.
This is a village where the people are close to each other, so the transmission speed of important news would be fast. Right now, what was important was for the each of us to spread that news.
「Welcome back, Aldo-san! Hm? Where are your catches for the day? 」
「Sorry, I don’t have time right now」
When I ran west down the mountain, several kids came running to me as usual, but I couldn’t entertain them today since I didn’t have time to do that.
「Ehhh? That’s no fun」
The kids looked unsatisfied and went back to the field when they understood that I could not entertain them right now.
In the midst of that, I found and called out to an adult that I saw.
「Ah, excuse me, Doyle-san! 」
「What’s going on, Aldo? 」
Doyle-san came over to me with a curious look on his face and a hoe on his shoulder.
「There was a monster that came down from the mountains in the north and it was headed to the west of here. Perhaps it may even reach the field of flowers. So, can I please ask you to warn everyone of this and tell them to not go close to the field of flowers for the next little while? 」
「…Seriously?! What kind of monster is it? 」
Doyle-san asked in a panicked voice after he heard my words.
「We suspect that it’s a red bear from the red fur and the scratch marks that were spotted」
「…I-I-I got it. I’ll go tell everyone who’s working on the fields here! 」
When Doyle-san heard that it was a red bear, he quickly started running.
I’ve heard from Loren-san that he used to live in the hinterlands in the north. The villagers from there would know exactly how to deal with things like this. Normally people wouldn’t believe something like this if you just went up and told them that. It’s because Loren-san had always told the villagers here regularly that they have to take the threat of monsters seriously. That’s Loren-san for you.
「Oiii! Everyone, gather around for a bit! 」
Looking back, I saw that Doyle-san had gathered the villagers with a loud voice.
「A monster? 」
「It’s a scary one that would attack us… 」
It seems like it would be fine here. With that in mind, I ran to the field of flowers where it was the most dangerous.