Running along the highway, the vegetation gets thinner the further away I went from Occa village.
After reaching a certain boundary, the scenery completely changed, a lot of rugged rocky ground can be seen.
It seems the village is located in a grassy basin surrounded by gently sloping hills.
I looked for Arina. I started by going over the first hill, anyway, the visibility between the series of hills is bad. The scenery changed every time I crossed over a hill.
I think I understand why bandits would attack weak-looking travelers in this condition.
That alone made me more uneasy about Arina’s safety.
“Arina~! Where are you~!~
I yelled loudly in vain, no reply came back.
Losing sight of her in another world not knowing what happens.
… Could Arina by any chance already….
That idea passed by. I ran, trying to wipe away the thought.
I don’t know how far I ran.
I’ve ran for quite a while, and then…
A scream came roaring from behind a hill.
There’s no mistaking it.
This is Arina’s voice!
I touched the E:ID phone to take out the sword I just bought.
I tried using it as I ran, but I couldn’t properly activate the command I wanted.
But I can’t stop running. I don’t have the time to stop!
…… This phone should have a voice command function before it was remodelled.
I pressed a button on the side, and made sure I heard the ping of the phone’s alert sound, and shouted out.
“[Item]! ‘Scrap Iron Sword'”
I said out loud.
It was the alert voice from the time with the chocolate.
Looks like it’s working!
“Materialize! Take out! I want to Equip!”
I called out every term I could think of one by one, and then…
A beam of light came out of my wristband.
The cheap sword appeared, first translucent then becoming solid.
Somehow it floated airily in front of my eyes.
Maybe it’s waiting for the owner to equip it.
I grasped it in my hand and felt its encouraging weight.
When I went over the hill I saw the worst situation unfold.
Arina was surrounded by huge dogs, three of them, and she could not run away from them.
Nevertheless, they are too big. Probably the size of lions.
So big I don’t have the confidence I can jump in and win.
Their protruding fangs showed out of their mouths, their fur stood on end giving them a gruff impression.
Rather than dogs, they’re wolves.
Perhaps becoming hungry, they howled, their bloodshot eyes turned to the prey, Arina.
BEEEEP, the smartphone sounded an alarm tone.
[There are monsters in your vicinity. Please take caution.]
“I know that already….”
I prepared my stance with the scrap iron sword, the other hand holding a suitably-sized stone.
I raised my voice and threw the stone at the enemy.
They received no damage being thrown the stone but their killing intent now turned to me.
“Run, what are you doing!!”
I urged her to run using that gap, but…
“Auuu, Y, Yuu-kun, help!”
Maybe she fell down, or maybe she just didn’t have enough courage, Arina did not move from her spot.
“Dammit! You’re always causing trouble!”
The fact that she’s called a ‘hero’, there must have been something wrong there, no?
—Now that it’s come to this I can only face them head on!
I raised the cheap sword overhead and jumped at the enemy.
The enemy’s fangs approached from the front.
Hesitation is defeat…!
It was a risky blow. Losing myself in the battle, I swung downward.
*whack*, I felt a dull pulse, the enemy took a blow in the nose.
It whimpered, the huge wolf flinched.
I aimed at the enemy’s weak spot, thrusting my sword at its throat.
I twisted at the live flesh, feeling a disgusting sense.
The wolf groaned, *guu*, and stopped moving.
Then, right that moment the dead monster disappeared in a haze.
A jewel-like mineral fell down where the enemy’s body ‘was’.
“What?”, I was captivated for a moment, but now is not the time to investigate.
Another one was howling, jumping in to attack.
“F, ‘Fire magic’!”
Arina’s flame struck at its flank.
That’s right. That girl can use magic!
The wolf whose body was engulfed in flames lost it strength, it fell down with a thud and vanished like the one earlier.
“You should’ve used that sooner!”
“B, bbbbbbbut, p, ppppp…., please forgive me!!”
Arina started to cry.
No good, no matter how the magic she can use are, she’ll be useless as a fighting potential unless she’s mentally stabilized.
“It’s alright already, It’s going to be dangerous so step back!”
“Y, yes…. S, sorry.”
“Leave that for later! Get behind my back and don’t move!”
“A, all right!”
I prepared my sword, confronting the last wolf.
I faced the wolves alone earlier so I can afford to be reckless, but I’ve got Arina behind me now.
I can’t make any risky moves now… what should I do.
Arina spoke up from behind me.
“Mother said she put a weapon in the E:ID…. C, can you use it?”
Taking Arina’s advice, I started up the smartphone.
“[Skil]…… ‘Salamander Cannon’!”
[Make it to equip!] «TN: sic»
The usual light came out from the smartphone.
Before my eyes, a detailed, near-futuristic cannon like one a SF robot would use, appeared. It had a tank-like hood with a two-meter gun barrel attached to it.
The gun barrel itself looked like it could be used as a blunt weapon.
This looked like overkill to use in such a short range… but I’m not complaining.
Looks like preparation is OK.
I stabbed my sword onto the ground, in exchange I prepared the cannon and pointed it at the enemy.
The enemy acted immediately afterwards.
With its large body it jumped higher than my height, fangs and claws rushing at me.
“Hit ’em hard!”
I fired the cannon at point-blank range.
The sound of explosion boomed and the enemy ate a scorching hot bullet.
I imagined there would be some reaction but there was almost no recoil. It felt somewhat anticlimactic.
The bullet scored a direct hit on the enemy, spilling monster guts everywhere. Not losing its momentum, the bullet shot away to the end of the sky.
Finally the sky shook with a thunderous boom. The bullet probably exploded.
Anything that got hit by this won’t stand a chance.
The monster howled, then disappeared.
The cannon, having finished its duty, likewise vanished.
“I, …. it’s over.”
I sat down hard on the spot.
I put the sword away, then…
“You little!! Don’t go wandering around!!”
I shouted at Arina.
“I, I,m sorry. I thought about our situation and u, umm. I shouldn’t be doing nothing while Yuu-kun is working hard.”
“…… ah, whatever.”
That’s the type of thinking that makes hard work even harder.
She’s always been like this.
“Uu. *sob*… Forgive me…. Arina, is always troubling Yuu-kun.”
…… and in the end she’d cry.
Makes me lose the will to get angry. Seriously.
“Doesn’t matter anymore. Anyway, we shouldn’t stay lost here or it’ll all be over. Don’t go running off on your own anymore.”
After having made sure Arina assented to what I told her, I examined something that was on my mind. It was the stones the monsters dropped.
I picked it up. It had a hexagonal crystalline structure, its marble-like shape had a surface that shined with various colors mixing together, iridescence, I think it’s called.
“I wonder what this is.”
I asked Arina what she thought but she only tilted her head, doesn’t look like she has answers.
The fact that the dead body disappeared is amazing in itself.
It looks like I’ve got to study the difference between ‘animals’ and ‘monsters’.
I put the stone away in the smartphone.
Several entries labeled ‘Demon Core’ was added to the [Items] area.
“Anyway, let’s go. We have to get to the royal castle by today, right?”
“Seems we’re going to just barely make it. Can we make it, though… we should hurry.”
As I said that and was about to start walking.
*clop*… *clop*… I heard a rhythmic sound.
The sound of horses’ hooves.
When I looked towards it, I saw four top-breed white horses pulling a luxurious white coach adorned with jewels and gilded rims pulling up from the hill in the direction of Occa village.
The coachman looked at us with a face that said ‘move over’ so we gave them way.
This is a medieval fantasy world, so there’s probably a noble or something of that kind inside.
I peeked at the window out of curiosity and caught a glimpse of a lovely girl from a gap between the curtains.
“T, that’s an expensive-looking coach. I wonder if there’s a princess inside.”
“Looks like it.”
We exchanged vague opinions and started walking once again.
“Aah, a coach must be nice. I wonder if we can ride one.”
I muttered, letting out my idle complaints.
Then Arina said
“……. Yuu-kun, you wanted to ride a coach?”
“Well see, if we ride one we can get to the Royal Palace comfortably, right? Will they stop for hitchhikers, I wonder.”
Of course, that was a joke, only half of it was my earnest wish.
“——……hmmm. Is that so—”
“Hm? … what is it?”
“No, it would be nice if they let us ride on the coach, right♪”
“Hey you. You’re not seriously thinking of asking them to let us ride…”
Uwaa, that was an amazing sense of déjà vu.
How I heard the screaming from behind the hills, I mean.
“Are there two of you?”
“T, there isn’t… We’ve got to hurry!!”
I started to run, moving speedily to the scene.
The coach just now was toppled on it side and the coachman was frantically soothing the horses.
Guard-looking knights jumped out from the coach, preparing their swords and starting to confront the obstacle.
I thought the opponent were giant wolves, but I was wrong.
There were four giants, drawing near as if to stop the coach’s way.
They had an unsteady gait as if they were drunk, but they were approaching the coach with certainty.
When I looked closely all four were bleeding here and there, one of them was oozing large amounts of blood from between his legs.
They looked just like the zombies from the movies.
Against the drowsily walking enemy, the knights stepped back in apprehension.
But they couldn’t run away.
A knight raised an angry voice, and gallantly jumped at the enemy.
A flash. His blade hit dug into a zombie’s shoulder, splattering body fluids everywhere.
But the zombie paid no mind, twisting its body, snatching the sword away. Then the expensive sword that can’t compare to mine was broken with both hands.
The now-unarmed knight screamed and started to run.
It’s not unreasonable.
“Y, Yuu-kun! We’ve got to help!”
Arina shouted out of her sense of justice.
“But, we’ve used up the special move just now.”
The smartphone indicated my MP is at 35%.
The Salamander Cannon requires 60% for energy.
I can’t use it for a while.
“You think we can win against that without the special move!?”
“I, it’s okay! This time Arina, will use magic properly! I, I’ll do my best!”
Arina curled her hand into a fist on her chest, then…
“B, but it’s scary, so i, i, if it’s alright with you I want you to cover for me.”
She wants to do rear support.
“S, sorry, even though I’m like this…. A, Arina is… … a hero!”
There’s no hero who’d overlook people being attacked, right.
Then her party member should do his best as well.
“But you shouldn’t go in without a plan. Swords don’t work against those guys, after all. Especially my blunt one.”
I fumbled with my smartphone and choose something usable out of [Items].
The point was to somehow give Arina an ‘opening’ from where she could use her magic.
Is there any tool that could do that…?
“Ah, Yuu-kun no, you can’t drink alcohol!”
Arina found the liquor that the old man gave me earlier and scolded me.
“I wasn’t going to drink it…. Ah, that’s right.”
I took the ‘Cheap Booze’ out of the smartphone.
“Arina. Besides fire you can also make water, right?”
“Y, Yes. I can.”
I also took out a ‘Towel’ and ‘Lighter’.
I jammed the towel in the bottle’s mouth.
“W, w… what are you doing?”
Arina looked in at me who started doing impromptu handicrafting.
“A molotov cocktail. We’ll stop the enemy with this.”
What, you don’t know…?
“No time to explain. Anyway, I’m gonna make a fire so when the enemy flinches you strike them. After that you extinguish the fire. Can you do that?”
I made sure Arina nodded and lit up the Molotov cocktail.
Raising it overhead, we rushed towards the coach.
“Who are you!” “S, step back!”
Ignoring the remaining knights guarding the coach who were stopping us, I went past the coach and slid down, throwing the Molotov cocktail at the zombies.
The bottle exploded on the ground, the alcohol inside set ablaze, painting an arc of fire.
The fire caught on the zombies’ clothes and all four of them started to burn.
But the zombies didn’t stop moving.
They were dead to begin with so burns probably don’t scare them.
I failed, huh……!
If it’s come to this then it can’t be helped. I equipped the scrap iron sword and got ready.
*CRASSH* …… a bolt of lightning came down from the sky.
This was Arina’s cover.
The enemy who took a direct hit came tumbling down, scorched. It couldn’t move anymore.
Furthermore, the others’ situation changed.
They suddenly fell to their knees, each of them collapsing face down onto the ground.
The fire probably burned off their ankles.
But even with rotted legs, the enemy kept moving, creeping towards us with their hands.
“Get on the coach! Hurry!”
Arina ordered the knights.
The grown men got caught in her vigor and followed her orders, nodding even while confused.
Firstly, one of the knights went back to the coach.
He said “This way…” and pulled out a young girl.
The ‘princess’ from earlier.
Blonde hair and white skin, a lovely girl, she was wearing a white dress adorned with gems.
Then the coachman and the knights started pushing the coach upright.
Rather than here, I can be more helpful there.
I gave them assistance and the coach finally stood upright.
Arina chanted, extinguishing the fire, giving us a way out.
“We’re going!” “Y, Yes!”
Not that it was anyone’s decision, but we all went with the flow and got on the coach.
The horses neighed and took off at full speed.