Vol. 4, Chapter 4, part 1
The day after the fruitless search. My body feels strangely heavy when I’m logging in.
(Is something wrong with the helmet)
When I open my eyes while thinking of that…… my vision is all blue.
There sits a bit shrunken Pikasha. Her size is…… around 2.5 metres, I guess? A bit shy of 3. My vision has gone blue because there was Pikasha in my futon.
“–Can you, perchance, control your body size at will?”
Pikasha answers perkily as if to say “yes”. I’m getting a feeling that there’s something wrong about it for a living being……? I’m afraid that one of these days I’m gonna find out that she can become anthropomorphic. (human-shaped)
“All right, but please refrain from doing that in public…… Because it’s likely the people will surround you and stroke you all over……”
Especially girls…… I know that there is a whole “Pikasha lovers’ association” dreaming of touching Pikasha’s fluffy feathering.
It might be my imagination but Pikasha seems to be having a cold sweat. I guess it’s because being looked at is tolerable but being pat and stroked all over is just too much. Moreso if the opponent is a whole crowd of people.
“Let’s leave it at that…… what shall we do today?”
Actually, I can hardly find anything to do. I’m done my share of fighting yesterday, so I don’t plan on doing it today, and I’m still on break from smithing for some time. The cooking will wait until the amount of “Dragondon” has decreased. So, what’s left is carpentry?
“Pikasha, could you please let me ride on your back while keeping this size. I’d like to check the quality of wood in yesterday’s forest.”
(Hm-m, this one won’t do, the previous tree is also out of the question…… )
I’m riding on Pikasha’s back through the woods looking for a usable tree, but the quality of the wood here is much lower than around the second town, Nexia.
(The logging there is excessive, so I can’t really get any…… thanks to that though, the prices of wooden goods are on the rise…… for some reason, the NPC-run shops have also risen the prices on bows and shields……)
The reason behind the shield price increase is because most of the lining of the shields is made of wood. The shields like mine, made of a single specific material are very few. Usually, the front side is made out of metal, and the back side out of wood to reduce the weight. One blacksmith actually did make a large shield out of light metal ore just for fun, and even a main-job tanker, boasting good arm strength,
cried out “It’s too heavy!”
(All it’s good for is arrow shafts…… I’m a little low on arrows right now, so I’ll probably cut one down……)
I took my time searching but couldn’t find a single good tree. By the way, monsters are avoiding us, so we didn’t get to fight. The monsters seemed to still be traumatized by the recent incident with Pikasha.
Om our way back, I get off Pikasha, cut down a single tree, and start processing it right there. I wonder if I can only make “Wooden Arrows” out of it…… and it’s really hard to process. I guess, even if they implement a house-building system in the future, the wood from hereabouts would still be utterly useless.
And then, a thought sprang into my mind. Where did they procure the wood for houses inside the town?
“I guess, I’ll try asking around…… Pikasha, let’s go back to Ichigatake.”
“This is the first time I’ve seen an adventurer inquiring about that.”
The proprietress laughed when I asked her that on my return to Ichigatake.
“I’m extremely curious about this. You see, I’m dabbling at woodworking myself.”
The landlady politely answered my question. It appears that high-quality wood is obtained in the vicinity of Shigatake, and the finest wood that the houses in the Ryu country are made of also comes from there. The quality of the trees in this area is, on the contrary, so low, that it isn’t even worth cutting.
“Speaking of which, I have got to tell you a very important thing, the trees in Shigatake are protected by the country. Logging there without permission would be a crime even for the citizens, not to mention foreign people, so don’t get any silly ideas.”
The proprietress gave me a warning. True, the unprotected trees near Nexia were cut down without a trace.
“Thank you, I’ll be careful not to break the law.”
I bow and thank her. I don’t want to get even close to anything under national protection. Still, it makes it hard to obtain any good quality wood……
“Can I get any good wood elsewhere?”
Let’s try asking the landlady.
“I don’t know…… I am not that knowledgeable on the topic. But, I suppose, it would be difficult. As you can see, we use a lot of wood in this country. I think the lumbering is limited not only in Shigatake but in other towns too. Only Ichigatake and Niigatake are an exception. Because, you see, the wood that can be obtained in the surroundings is the worst of all the country.”
As I suspected, the wood around here is of poor quality. I satisfied my curiosity and I’m disappointed. So, the wood here could barely be used for “Wooden Arrows” at best.
“I see, it really is difficult……”
I scratch my head, surprising chick Pikasha, perched on it – “Pyu-pyu!?”.
“Well. you might find some for sale, but it will be correspondingly expensive. Building a house of Shigatake wood is counted among the topmost luxuries among the Ryu people. Besides the point, but our inn is made from Itsugatake wood, so it is top-notch, you see?”
The more of the landlady’s story I hear the more I frown. That means I would be hard-pressed as a woodworker for the time being. I’ve got no choice but to hope that the admins increase the growth speed of the forests around Nexia. If I have to buy every ingredient separately, I might end up broke.
“Oh, you’re up. There is a guest waiting for you.”
The next day, the proprietress took me from my private inn room to the dining table. There sat a single old man, leisurely drinking his tea.
“Mr.Hisame, I brought the archer adventurer. Please, tell him the rest yourself.”
Upon saying that, the landlady returns to the counter. I guess, she’s busy and has to go back to work.
“I am very sorry for calling you so abruptly, I am an old man called Hisame. I needed aid from an adventurer in one thing, so I troubled the proprietress to act as an intermediary.”
With that, the gray-haired Ryu bows his head.
“Glad to make your acquaintance. My name is Earth. I dabble at different things while traveling around…… for now, I have chosen archery.”
Although it wasn’t the best way to put it, I couldn’t explain it more precisely. How can I call myself if being an archer, I also practice a lot of things like whip and kicking, and also smithing, cooking, apothecary, woodworking. There is no such occupation as jack of all trades.
“It sounds like you’ve got some things going on…… My request concerns a kind of wild hog we call “warthog”, it has something like warts above its eyes. Their meat is extremely delicious. Although, that meat is very hard to obtain. I hope that an adventurer would be able to get some.”
Oh, a new ingredient…… count me in.
“Could I ask you what you are planning to use it for?”
The old man who introduced himself as Hisame nods slowly.
“Actually, it is my grandson’s birthday in a few days’ time, I would like to prepare it for the occasion. If you boil it well and skim the scum from the liquid, it will turn into truly delicious meat. I’d like to spoil my grandson at least once a year.”
I guess I should do something about it then. But let’s ask something else.
“One more thing, why did you look for me?”
“For some reason, sword, spears, and axes are ineffective against a warthog. The only effective weapon is the bow. However, the archers are rare among the Ryu people, and the bows are hard to come by, and that is the main reason…… yes.”
After that, I found out from Mr.Hisame the best place to spot a warthog and went right there.
There is an open area to the south of the Ichigatake forest. It seems that there are many edible vegetables and such growing in the soil in the area and the warthogs come there to feed on those.
I investigate the area with “Danger Detection” and “Far Sight” but find none to be in the area. By the way, not only warthogs, but the usual boars also frequent the place, but I was explicitly told that their meet is not needed.
(For now, I’ve got no choice but to walk around and investigate with “Far Sight”……)
This might become a drawn-out hunt.
30 minutes later……
(I see it, Warthog, a rare monster……)
Monsters that appear rarely are called rare monsters. They often drop nice items, but depending on the type of monster, worst-case scenario, you can clear the whole game without even meeting one. This time I don’t need that kind of level.
15 more minutes later. I find a boar with a slightly different fur among the boars roaming around. I check with “Far Sight”…… there’s a number of warts a little higher than their eyes. Finally…… this is probably the warthog. From time to time the boar pokes its snout into a hole in the ground. I wonder if there’s something edible there.
Now I’m going to hunt it down but there are several problems.
First and foremost – I don’t know how strong the warthogs are. Rare monsters vary, as do the patterns of their behaviour, like fleeing right after being hit, getting angry and counterattacking, or making use of their special abilities. What will this one do?
Another problem is whether it can cooperate with the nearby boars to attack. There are about 5 wild boars walking around it looking like its escort. Being attacked by this number at once would be really tough. If the warthog flees and his guards start towards me, I won’t be able to shoot it…..
“Then should we go with a pincer movement. Pikasha, go to the other side, return to your original size and we’ll attack after matching our timing. If the 6 boars try to run away, I want you to stop them from doing that. During that time I’ll hunt down the warthog.”
Pikasha flew to the other side from the wild boars. Now, for the pincer movement. I’m taking my recently bought hand-grenade replica from the pouch and slowly approach the group of boars.
I approached the place which by my estimation was within my throwing distance, pulled the pin, and thrown the replica hand grenade at the warthog…… it exploded.
Hm, compared to my “Strengthening oil”, it seems the emphasis is made on an insta-kill by the explosion. Having taken the initiative with this, I have to finish the warthog before it escapes.
Not only the warthog but also the 5 boars that seem to be its guards made a beeline to escape. I didn’t expect it to run together with its guards but before they could do it, Pikasha returns to her original size and blocks the way to all 6 boars, warthog included, as per my request. Stopped by Pikasha suddenly blocking the way, the boars assembled as a group and assumed a defensive position.
(So, they stopped, then I’m starting without delay)
The distance is too much to throw a grenade, so I take out my bow and shoot a “Sonic Hound Arrow”. It is the art I’ve got when the bow evolved into a “Wind Quake Hunting Bow” and it causes damage by making the air around the arrow vibrate at a certain frequency. Its special effect is that even if the arrow is blocked, the opponent still takes significant damage from the oscillation. And the vibration also widens the attack range to some extent. It’s ideal for the grouped up boars. Two of the escorting boars got capsized by the shock wave.
Some of the wild boar guards got capsized, which made a gap in the wall around the warthog. I took my aim through the breach and released two arrows simultaneously.
The arrows hit the warthog precisely. Squeeal! It emitted a pig-like cry…… wasn’t the wild boar cry pretty much the same.
After this attack, the warthog collapsed immediately and the desired warthog meat was finally in my hands.
“Pikasha, you can defeat the rest!”
As soon as Pikasha hears that, she starts stabbing them with her sharp beak. The wild boars, confused after the warthog’s defeat, followed suit immediately.
And it would’ve escaped if not for Pikasha. It was designed to be a two-team party subjugation using the pincer movement…… Well, whatever.
“Thank you, You’re a lifesaver.”
Pikasha is rubbing her cheek against mine. It’s so fuzzy, soft, and warm. I’m getting addicted to the feeling.
On the way back I’m riding on Pikasha’s back and get off near the town wall. Flying through the skies is really a special feeling, even if it is in virtual reality.
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