We headed out of the village the same way we came in. After we gained enough distance from the village I decided to call for Gero.
“Hey Gero, you can come out now.” I say trying not to be too loud.
“At your service Mano-sama” Gero says as he suddenly appears dropping from the canopy of leaves above us.
Needless to say I was startled. Can’t anybody just walk up and say “hello”? Must everybody make some kind of entrance in this world?
“I need you to arrange for us to do some training with minimal gear. Kiel has a sword, the imps have their daggers, and I will take down the enemies using magic so pick a monster that you think we can handle and still get some good experience.” I say as I shove the communication stone I’ve been carrying around in my hand into my inventory at last.
Gero immediately starts laying out a map. It’s the same map that he used before, but for some reason the markings he put on it have disappeared. I suppose they aren’t permanent.
gero gero “The most efficient places for Mano-sama to accumulate battle experience are areas with the Chikai. There are two locations where they may be found, the first is to the south of the village near the river, and the second is towards the north of the village scattered across the entire area.”
I have Kiel describe a Chikai to me before continuing. It seems they are short plump birds that resemble chickens.
“They look dumb, plump, and tasty but they are really quick. If you happen to get unlucky enough to run into a bunch of them, be prepared for them to knock the stuffing out of you” Kiel said
Seems they don’t cause much trouble when unprovoked, but they are higher tier than the local hunters or villagers can handle. They don’t sound like they will be too much trouble if we are smart about how we hunt them. The problem is where they are located.
The southern location is closer but it has little land to hunt and the population of Chikai there seems sparse. The northern location however is quite a bit farther away and it borders where the reports say the goblin camp is. I don’t think we will run into anything we can’t handle, but I don’t want to throw away caution either.
“For now we will head up to the north, if it’s too much for us to handle then we will fall back and rethink our approach” I say pointing to the place on the map.
I try and make that blue stuff come out of my finger, but as expected nothing came out. I figured as much, there must be some kind of trick to it.
gero “Very well Mano-sama, it should take us 45 minutes at a brisk pace.” Gero says as he packs the map back into what seems to be a coat pocket.
Gero begins to walk at a much faster pace than a person normally would in a very natural fashion. I however decide to walk at a normal speed. After a while, Gero turns and notices that I am no longer with him, and slows to match my pace.
gero gero “Time till arrival re-calculated 1 hour and 35 minutes until arrival” Gero says in what seems to be a dejected tone.
I decide to check the skills tab that I had been saving. I didn’t want to look through them in town, because it would have killed me having to wait to test them out. I also didn’t want to rush through important deals because I was anxious about trying them out.
Wow I actually have a rather nice arsenal. The things that interest me the most are “Born Leader” and “Nature’s knowledge”. I suppose born leader explains why my imps could so easily take down Kiel and his goons when they attacked. Does Kiel get any kind of boost from it as my “ally”? I switch over to my “party” tab and check for his name. Oddly enough it doesn’t show up. The only ones in my party at the moment are the imps.
As I start to search for how to add party members this window pops up. I didn’t manage to find a button or anything for it, so I suppose it’s another one of those things where I just need to focus for it to work. I select yes and see Kiel’s name show up on the list. He is listed as “Bad bandit leader Kiel”. I struggle not to laugh when I see his title. Kiel looks back at me as I do everything I can to keep it to a giggle. I decide to look at his stats
When I see how low his wisdom and intellect stats are I cant hold back my laughter anymore. I suppose the numbers next to his stats are what is added by “Born Leader”. With the additions his speed stat is even higher than Bik’s. It might be a bit rude, but I’m glad he is still at a low level. Since I can influence his growth, it would be a waste if he was at a high level already.
“You know that makes you look like you’ve lost it right?” Kiel says looking back at me with what almost looks like pity.
“I just saw something funny in my menu.” I say looking back at him with the rightful spite his pity look deserved.
“Minyuu? Is that some kind of magic from you homeland? Speaking of which where are you from anyways” He says, his curiosity piqued.
They don’t have menus? How do they know what level something is then?
“I’ll tell you my past when you tell me yours.” I say dodging his question.
I have had way too many people ask me questions I don’t know how to answer already. I imagine that’s one question that’s always going to trip me up. I have no idea what amount of knowledge somebody is going to have about the country I use for my cover story. More than likely I’m going to run into at least one or two people that know more about that country than I, even if I do extensive research.
“Fair enough” He says a bit quietly dropping his head and bit and staring forward again.
Maybe that was a bit of a crude card to use to get out of that.
“If this country doesn’t use the menu then how do you asses something’s level?” I ask trying to get off the subject as soon as possible.
“Oh uh, we don’t really use a magic for it or anything. Nearly everybody born here has an inherit ability to learn aspects about enemies. If you stare at something re~al hard, focus, and say ‘status’. Then you can see info like a targets health or level. Some people can see even more about the target like an aura or its name… but not everybody believes in stuff like that.” He says acting it out as if he spotted an enemy and tried to inspect their level.
So they don’t have menus, but rather just see basic information? Curious as to how it works I decided to try it out. I spot a nearby bird focus on it and say
As I do a number and a small red bar appears over the birds head. The bird is level 1 apparently. I don’t see any name or extra colors, so I guess I don’t have either of those abilities.
I repeat the process on all the members of my party. Everything was just as the status menus told me, but there was one thing that surprised me. Gero didn’t have a level. In place of a level over Gero’s head “???” appeared. Is he so high level that I can’t even tell how powerful he is yet? I suppose this explained why the bandits thought that Gero was my bodyguard. It may not be that he is strong but rather that he is an entirely different being all together though, so I should keep him out of combat until I know what all he is capable of.
We walked for quite some distance after that with very little worth mentioning occurring. We noticed that we arrived, because as if on cue a Chikai appeared before us. It did indeed look like a plump chicken, but certain aspects were quite different. The neck was much shorter, and the legs were almost completely hidden by its plumage. The color was a distinct yellow, with little to no discoloration. We began to sneak up on it, and got quite close. Kiel jumped forward when he was close enough and swung down his sword at the Chikai. It was almost ridiculous how easily the Chikai saw Kiel’s attack and jump out of the way, landing in a full sprint away from us.
“Tei-Va-Tera Bind!” I incite thrusting my hand at the chikai.
The Chikai manages to deal with the vines much better than Kiel when him and I previously fought, managing to avoid the first couple vines that came after it. The 4th or so vine managed to wrap itself around on of its legs though, slowing the Chikai down enough to let the other vines finish the job.
“Eeii” One of the smaller imps yelled as he rushed forward and slit the plump chicken’s neck.
I had mixed feelings looking at this. I was quite happy that we had managed to defeat the enemy without much of a hitch, but watching blood flow from its neck was much more gruesome than I was prepared for. I resolved myself by remembering that I would be sharing its fate if I didn’t continue to get stronger, by the hands of the hero.
“Gero as we take down Chikai start prepping the feathers and meat to be eaten and sold.” I say walking over to the Chikai and positioning it where the blood wouldn’t flow into the feathers.
“Understood Mano-sama. I will get started right away then.” He says as he grabs the Chikai and jumps away.
I don’t know if he is much of a combatant but that speed and jumping ability with be useful for something i’m sure.
From there we continued to hunt Chikai rather fruitfully. I would start the fight by launching a fireball at the Chikai, often it would be just fast enough to only get grazed by the spell. After which it would be slow enough that Kiel could catch up with it and take it down. Under the condition that it wasn’t fast enough the fireball that was about the same size as the Chikai would engulf the bird entirely and it would meekly burn to a crisp. Whenever we ran into multiple Chikai at once they would turn aggressive. Without their attempts to run away, the imps could quite easily each handle a Chikai on their own. The last Chikai would typically try and run away, but Bik would Teleport in front of it and take it down.
As soon as we defeat one it would be quickly swiped up by Gero who seemed to be gathering them up somewhere else. Like that we all steadily gained levels. It seems we only gain experience when we deliver the killing blow. So far I have gained 3 levels, Kiel has gained 6, Bik has gained 6, and each of the smaller imps have gained 4. Every time I come across a Chikai I inspect its level, typically they are about level 2-3.
“Wow my body feels so light today, did you use some kind of magic or something?” Kiel says as he jumps a couple times to get a feel for his new strength.
“Kinda, I use a constant spell on those around me to make them stronger. By now though you should be several times stronger and faster than you were even without it.” I say as I open the party menu again.
Wow! I didn’t expect him to be 6-7 times as strong as he was before. Leveling up is rather generous isn’t it? He also gained a new skill “Pounce”. I wonder what my-
“Gyeaaaayk!” i hear screamed at me from the right.
I look in the direction of the scream, and there stands a green man with thin limbs and an ugly face glaring at me. He is wearing clothes that resemble tribal wear. His fore-arm and calve are both oddly large and muscular for his thin arms and legs. He is carrying a stone axe, and a worn wooden buckler. The stone axe in particular looks like it was strung up by the goblin himself, as the handle looked like a weak stick, and the rock looked like those we can see at our feet.
He dashes forward in my direction screaming again with his axe raised. As he jumps for my face, he is met mid-air by Bik who slices the head of the axe clean off by its handle. The sudden charge surprised me, but the opportunity in front of me brings me back to attention.
“Tei-Va-Feir Fireball!” I say aiming at where the goblin is about to land.
“Eiyeyak!” It yells as it swings its unnaturally large calves over its head to land about a foot further back from where I aimed.
It used the weight of it weird proportions to dodge? How intelligent are these goblins? Or is it that they are dumb but naturally good in a fight?
I get ready for another charge, but am surprised by the goblin once more. When it landed instead of charging forward, it bolted in the opposite direction, dropping what was left of the axe that he was holding. Is it going for help? We can’t take more of these things just yet! I charge after it.
“Ai-Meta-Ei Haste!” I yell running after it.
I feel the spell engulf me, and my speed increases accordingly. The goblin ducks below a bush with thick foliage over it. Usually it would have escaped but with my current speed I can bust right through. I jump to avoid the bush and smash through the foliage.
“Maou-sama no!” I hear Bik yell.
Before I have time to think about what he was saying i’m blinded by a bright light. I attempt to look at the ground to adjust my eyes… but the ground wasn’t there. In its place I see a canopy of trees about a 100 meters below me.