5-2. Journey (2)
Satou's here. Hiking is nice, isn't it. When you're surrounded by nature, fully inhaling the scents of the trees and the plants, you completely forget about all the unpleasant affairs at work.
After I've finished taking care of the horses, I begin to compound for deodorants behind the wagon. I want to do something about the intense smells of the goat leather and wool.
During compounding, Liza come to ask if the meal is fine without soup since the firewood isn't enough. It's cold, and the black bread without the soup would be too hard.
I catch a sight of the Light Hot Plate beside me which I've used to heat water for compounding.
I decided to use this to help for cooking. After heating the soup with this, you could put the burning firewood until it's boiled. I'll leave the magic supply for Light Hot Plate to Arisa.
Still, I didn't think that gathering for fuel would be this hard. I should have bought them in Seryuu city.
I'll take out scrap woods from the Storage if we get in a pinch. The fact that the Item Box could only store item with particular size is a bottleneck.
I, who have been making deodorant behind the wagon, could smell the nice aroma from the soup. The finished deodorant is in the form of a white powder. I put it in a small bag and it seems that you used it by mixing it together with the smell source.
I take out the goat leathers and wools from the storage and put them inside the Item Box in a small sack with the deodorant. Since they were too many to get inside, I leveled up the Item Box skill level to 4.
Liza comes to say that the meal is ready exactly right after I've finished my business even though she probably didn't watch me.
Now then, since the meal is ready I should call Pochi and Tama back.
I call them in loud voice.
Yup, let's buy a whistle when we get to a town.
I do have whistles in my Storage but it'd be disastrous if I blow it and make a kaijuu or an angel appear, so I won't.
"A prey nano desu~."
Pochi comes back while boastfully presenting a rabbit on her hand. The ears are short for a rabbit. According the AR, it's called Short-eared Rabbit. Pochi is dirtied with grass and mud from the top of her head to her foot, but she's smiling nicely.
I relay the rabbit I've received to Liza.
I praise Pochi while stroking her head. Since I can't let her have a lunch like she is, I put water to a bucket and wash her face and arms with it. I've made this policy from the time we were in the labyrinth before we had meals, so when she's presented with the water bucket, she's splashing the water around. Lastly, she shakes her head to remove the water without using a towel. This habit of her is irreparable it seems.
"Meat~? I've brought it~."
This time it's Tama who has come back, her voice comes from behind.
I wonder what did Tama catch? Is it a bird~?
"Meat! ...nano desu?", Pochi tilt her head in puzzle midway.
When I turn back, the thing that Tama holds is an about 80-cm high rat... or not. The AR shows that it's a rat-man.
The rat-man seems to be unconscious, but at least he's still alive.
"Tama, please let that one go."
While looking a bit sad, Tama says, "Prey~ No good~?", she's coming here while tilting her head.
I almost allow it involuntarily, but let's not eat men. I should teach her about this gradually.
"You'll hurt your stomach, so no."
Tama begins to spin on spot while still holding the rat-man. Then, she throws the rat-man across the meadow.
Oioi, that was too wild no matter how you look at it.
The rat-man has its HP decreased by a little, but it seems to be alive.
Since we treated him too rough, I decided to check if he has any external wounds. Before that, I scold Tama properly.
The rat-man doesn't seems to have any injury. According to AR, he doesn't have any skill, age 2. As expected of rats, they grow fast. He's grasping something that look like a ball of mud on his hand, but, since I have no interest on it, I leave it alone. It's probably this child's boxed lunch.
Since he only seems to have fainted, I put him on a meadow a bit away from our camp. I put several fruits beside him as a remuneration for the trouble.
On the other hand, Liza has quickly dismantled the rabbit that Pochi caught and she is grilling it now. The entrails that has been washed then properly cut into tiny pieces by Liza, and fried together with some herbs.
By the way, we're using a dead tree from the other side of the boulder found by Tama as the fuel.
"My stomach is hungry nodesu~."
"Copycat is bad nano desu~."
"Meat~ nano desu~."
Arisa demands for lunch while imitating as Pochi. Pochi protests at her, Tama follows suit.
...this is slightly amusing nanodesu.
Since the rat-man doesn't seem like he'll wake up, we decided to begin our meal.
Liza holds out the biggest piece of meat.
I pass it to Pochi because she's the MVP this time. The second biggest one is given to Tama. She was no good with the prey, but she played an active role in securing the firewood.
The meat of the rabbit is tender and delicious. I don't know if whether this is because of Liza being good at cooking or the fresh ingredient, but good food is good food.
I'm offered the herb fried entrails, but since the meat is enough, I decline.
Even if I don't look at the direction of the sounds, I know from the radar that the rat-man who has awakened runs away. When I check on it later, the fruits has been properly taken away.
I'm enjoying a tea break with Liza and Lulu after the meal.
Lulu pours me the tea. She was taught in the royal court even if it was just a small country, so the tea made by Lulu is on different level than the one I usually drank. Truly delicious.
Seemingly not at all dissatisfied when I praise her, even while acting humble, her face is smiling.
Arisa follows Pochi and Tama along to go on a sightseeing of the boulders. The person itself said, "I'm surveying", of course, but I could only saw pleasure trip on her mind from her tension.
I search the map while enjoying the tea's aroma.
I tried to look for rat-men, but the only rat-man around here is the child earlier. I wonder if he's a lost child?
From the map, there's a hidden village dozen of kilometer away southeast from here, so he's probably a lost child from a rat-man village outside of the earl's territory. Fortunately the lost child is running into the direction of the village, and the dangerous animals are only foxes, so he's probably going to be okay even left alone.
Since I was only searching for monsters' special attacks or level earlier, I had missed the rat-man. There might be thieves too, so I make an adjustment to the search pattern.
Mumumu, there are thieves. Although there is quite a distance, and the highway is separated from the southeast mountain so we probably won't encounter them anytime soon.
When I narrowed it further, red dots begin to rapidly appear on the screen, but there's nothing when I look around.
Normally insects or small animals won't be shown since I've made it OFF by default.
When I face toward the nearby red dot, something is escaping.
Is it a small animal looking for leftovers? If this was a game, then, animals which likely won't be enemies would be excluded from the start. This is troublesome.
I guess I should exclude anything with level 1 without poison. They won't hurt even if they bite anyway.
Alright, I've excluded anything without poison or special abilities.
Hm~mm, the red dots still isn't decreasing.
No wait, when I look better, are those insects? Mosquito-like insects are flying. Furthermore, they have [Race Characteristic: Blood-sucking]. Right, mosquitoes suck blood, don't they?
Let's put aside this setting only for when we go to mountain or thickets, and exclude anything beside thing with poison in normal situation. I'll do something about creature I see for the first time with AR. If they're level 1 then elimination them is trivial anyway.
When I'm just about to finish the adjustment, I could hear Arisa's voice calling me from the top of the boulder.
How did she climb that up?
"Is there anything?"
"A bit, come up on top of this rock."
Pochi come backs from the back of the boulder while piggybacking Tama. Apparently, Arisa had made this two to be the stepping stone to go above.
"Arisa is unfair~."
"Pochi also wants to go up nodesu."
Arisa stretch her arm to reach out, but it's impossible to pull us with one arm.
Since the two people looks eager to go on top, I raise them in turn.
Although because I can't find scaffolds for myself, I jump up once to get there at a blind spot of Liza and Lulu.
"See it from here."
I look at the direction where Arisa points at.
I'm seeing collapsed boulders there. What does Arisa want me to see?
"What am I seeing?"
"Mou, look at it properly."
I see. I finally understand what Arisa wants to show.
"Are those stones from shrine's archway (torii)?"
"I can only make conjectures since they've collapsed, but looks like there are 3 collapsed torii lined up. Maybe there was a shrine here."
I stare at the remains of the torii's stones. I tell Arisa the information from AR.
I thought that they were just traces of megalithic civilizations, but...
"It's a broken Travel Gate."
It's a well-known gimmick for shortcuts when you're traveling in a game. The ones here seems to have been broken since ancient times, so I don't know the how or if it's possible to repair.
Hearing that, Arisa enthusiastically says, "You can fix it?!" but I briefly answer, "Impossible."
It is attractive to have shortcuts like the one from games, but I'd like to refrain from jumping into an unknown location.
I didn't think too much about this before I become the person concerned, but I wonder why games' protagonists could so simple-mindedly go through gates.
It seems that the boulders has magic catalyst properties, they momentarily react when I try to pour it magic. Although I don't want it to end up with, [You've been trapped inside a stone], situation if it malfunction, so I'll stop acting rashly.
Right after we depart, the three little girls went straight to the dreamland. As soon as the wagon started running, they immediately went asleep, probably because they're full. Arisa seems to have lost to her physical limit too.
"Master, could you possibly teach me how to drive the wagon?"
"That's fine, you can sit here."
I agree to Liza's request and make a space on the coachman stand.
It'd be helpful to have people who could drive the wagon beside me, let's teach the other members later.
"Do you want to try it too, Lulu?"
"Yes, I'd like to."
I tried to bring this matter to Lulu who's sitting right behind me, and unexpectedly got a good answer.
I stop the wagon for a moment, and change place with Lulu while holding the reins from the luggage rack. I make Lulu to sit on the coachman stand for training of her together with Liza.
"First, it's about the operation of reins."
I give Liza the reins first.
"Hold the reins a bit loose. But be careful not to make it too loose."
I teach the two like how Yosagu-san taught me.
The two only make minor errors which is normal for people who are tense, and have successfully learned how to drive.
Liza's driving is, though a bit rough, enough for a passing mark. She learned it several hours faster than me, and she's already at the level where she could replace me holding the reins.
>[Education Skill Acquired]
Lulu's driving is, although a bit more unreliable than Liza, fine enough to drive in a flat plain. It'd be fine if she practices it little by little.
While I and Liza watch over her, the wagon driven by Lulu shakes and rumbles while proceeding along the highway between the hills.