The boy and his rude guard left. I didn’t really mind the boy, but I was more than happy to see the guard leave. I changed into my new armor after making a makeshift place to change. It was quite difficult to set up something similar to a changing booth, but I managed it by using a convenient branch formation and one of the blankets we had. Seriously, blankets have been one of the most useful items so far… I should get some more next time we are in town.
“So what are we gonna train on today?! I feel like fighting Chikai might be a bit over kill now. “ Kiel says as he shadow boxes in front of me.
“Well aint that obvious? Next best thing would definitely be River Crays. Our glorious leaders got a lightning amp and you could use some training going through shells and armors! Not to mention Crays are a high-class ingredient.” Kera says patting Kiel on the back hard enough to make him lose his balance and nearly fall forward.
“High class? Good we can sell the meat afterwards.” I say as I pull out the map.
“Ehhhh? We aren’t going to eat it? In that case let’s fight something else.” Kera says lying back onto her lion with a bored look on her face.
Oi! Were you just suggesting that because you wanted to eat some? Please be a little more serious!
“We need to get strong fast, but we are going to need money for our travels. If you can think of something more convenient tell me now, otherwise we are going to hunt River Crays.” I say giving her the map.
“Fiiine. River Crays have a hard material for their shells and it is quite difficult to penetrate. With your magic we should be able to weaken them a fair amount though. While we are at it, there is a cave up near this area with a slime infestation. Slimes aren’t strong, but their gel can be used to make quite a few salves, so some merchants will pay a fair amount for large quantities.” Kera says as she begins marking the locations on the map with the blue dust like material Gero used.
Seriously I’m the only one who doesn’t know how to do that aren’t I?
“There is a problem with that… I don’t know any lightning spells. I heard that water is effective as well, but if I can’t pierce their shell I don’t know how much that’s going to help me.” I say
“Seriously? Can’t you just use the magical language to make one?” Kera says with pure confusion on her face.
“I don’t know the magical language; I’ve just learned some individual spells. I’m not even entirely sure what the magical language is supposed to be. Is it some kind of chant or something?” I ask as I look through the list of skills I have.
Why are all of my offensive spells fire based? I’m going to be really annoyed if the answer is something along the lines of “The Maou can manipulate the fires of hell”.
“Ahh… I don’t really know much on the subject so I don’t want to confuse you with the bits and pieces I do know… for now I think I’ve got a solution. I learned a low-grade shock spell for a little fun I was having before. I don’t really use it much though cause it doesn’t have much output. It might be strong enough with that sword ya got though.” Kera says smirking as she remembers something.
Kera spent about the next 5 minutes or so helping me memorize the chant and the magical language. It was kind of tedious so I’ll spare the details.
“I beseech nature to spare your wrath, stun my enemies. Ai-Va-Aer” I say thrusting my hand out for about the tenth attempt.
As I do joy and surprise fight for my expression as I shoot a lightning bolt from my hand. I was expecting some kind of small stun spell, but instead I shot a bolt of lightning strong enough to scorch and destroy the unfortunate trunk of a tree in its path. The tree itself was about a 1.5 meters in diameter and about a meter high before being blasted away. Needless to say the tree fell in our direction, thankfully getting caught in the canopy overhead.
Whiiiiistle “Nice one Mano-san! With that those River Crays will be nothing!” Kiel says enthusiastically to me.
“I thought it was only supposed to be a small shock? What in the world were you trying to trick me into doing?” I say looking at Kera skeptically.
“I beseech nature to spare some of ya wrath, stun my enemy. Ai-Va-Aer” Kera says running up to me with her hand outward.
I jump into a fighting stance as fast as I can. I’m completely caught off guard though and don’t make it in time. She swings low and suddenly disappears from my sight.
“YAOUCH! That stings!” I say as a sudden jolt hits my butt.
“Pwahahahahah! That never gets old!” Kera says rolling on the ground laughing.
“What was that for!?” I ask as the pain fades.
“A demonstration. It’s hardly useful as a weak, albeit very funny, prank. You’re the only one I’ve ever seen do that with it, princess.” Kera says before continuing to roll around laughing.
“…I beseech nature to spare your wrath, stun my enemies. Ai-Va-Aer.” I say with a dubious expression, thrusting my hand at Kera.
“… too far?”
“Sorry, sorry, sorry!” Kera says as she quickly jumps out of the way of the bolt.
Somehow the look on her face doesn’t look sorry enough.
“I beseech nature to sp-“
“Okay, okay! I won’t do it again!” She pleads as she grabs my arm.
Hah “Fine, let’s get going. There is a river you marked just a short ways from here. Lead.” I say lowering my hand but keeping my look of doubt.
“Yes, Maou-sama” Kera says as she bows in imitation of Gero.
I decide to ignore her. As my guide she won’t be very helpful if she is extra crispy. We only walk for a short ways before the sound of running water is clearly apparent. Accompanying the sound of water is a wet crackling sound that’s hard to describe… A shiver runs down my spine when I remember it is a common sound affect for a large bug or swarms moving in movies. My pace slows for a moment, but before I have time to reconsider going this way I notice the source of the sound.
A large crawfish like animal is walking around on the edge of the river picking up rocks and holding it up to its mouth. The crawfish itself is surprisingly large as its size matches that of very large dogs. Its entire body is the stereotypical lobster red, the only area that doesn’t follow this pallet are its eyes which are a perfect black. They also rest atop two stalks like those of a snail.
“That is a lot larger than I had previously imagined… I hope my inventory refrigerates.” I say as we walk up to them.
“River Crays are pretty passive in general, though they will snap at you if you touch them. Hurt them and they won’t hesitate to gang up on you to counter-attack. Well y’all have fun, wake me if you change your mind about eating them.” Kera says as she fluffs the mane of her lion and positions herself to take a nap.
…I don’t know if I’m glad, or irritated that she’s a non-combatant. I wouldn’t feel safe if she was goofing around while we were fighting a big enemy… but at the same time, she’s going to turn into a mooch if we are always the ones getting the food and earning money.
“Kiel go ahead and try to take that one on, if it’s too much I’ll send some support in to help you.” I say pushing Kiel forward.
“Huh? Wait, wait, wait. I’m fighting it alone?” Kiel says turning to look back at me with a slight pleading look on his face
“I want to get a good feel for their strength and see what would be the smartest way for us to hunt them. You’re the weakest, therefore the best benchmark.” I say back as I look for more River Cray in the distance.
“So cruel!” Kiel rebukes.
“Suck it up, if you don’t like it then. Fighting without us will make you stronger. Plus, I already said if it got too dicey I would send in somebody to help you out.” I say turning my attention back to him and giving him a look that seemed to be shooing him away.
“Guu… I’m being underestimated aren’t I? Fine I’ll show you I can deal with this thing just fine!” Kiel says rushing the River Cray with his new sword drawn.
The River Cray didn’t move nearly at all until Kiel’s strike was unavoidable, though it did shift itself to make the sword slide down on of the slanted pieces of its shell, essentially deflecting the strike. Kiel noticed the failure and immediately put some distance between them. Afterwards it pointed its claws towards Kiel and began to snap them at odd locations that kept making Kiel flinch. After a while I began to notice what it was. Kiel who is still pretty new to fighting is telegraphing his attacks rather obviously. Whenever Kiel would shift his weight for a new attack the River Cray would snap at the to-be-location of the attacks origin.
“Kiel ignore the snapping! See if you can strike into the shell!” I yell at Kiel
Kiel nods without looking in my direction and shifts his weight again. He takes up a rather strange pose before leaping into the air. He puts his full weight into his sword, holding it between his legs and doing something similar to a cannon ball.
A rather unpleasant sound is made as the sword goes directly through the shell and pierces directly into the River Crays head. Within moments it ceases all movement. Was that “Pounce”? I figured it wasn’t a magic from the beginning, but I suppose this confirms that not all skills need a chant.
“How’s that?! I took it down on my own! Didn’t even get a scratch!” Kiel says as he gloats to himself.
“Okay, we are going to hunt these in two man squads. Mak and Kay can be one team, Bik and Kiel are the other. Alternate who gets the kill, and try to take them down in the first strike. The member not meant to be getting the kill will search for another Cray, unless the first strike fails to kill the target. Don’t worry about getting hurt too much; I will restore you if you take any injuries.” Once again giving orders just feels too natural.
Of course I’m a little bit nervous with everybody looking at me… Especially since I’m giving commands, but I don’t stutter or falter due to some strange confidence. I wonder if it’s an effect of “Born leader”?
“…Somehow that makes it feel like I got barely passing marks on that test” Kiel says dejectedly.
“When the sun reaches its peak in the sky we are going to start heading to the goblin camp… yesterday’s battle proved they are both weak and formidable at the same time. If we get surrounded in our current state, I’m not positive we will win, so try and get as strong as possible to even the playing field.” I expected them to look dejected, or possibly sad remembering yesterday’s events when I said this.
…To my surprise however everybody, even Kiel only seems to get more motivated. Bik teleports out of my sight. When my eyes next catch him, he is running alongside Kiel at a Cray in the distance. Mak and Kay smile at me vigorously for a few more moments after that before they too, teleport away. When in the world did they learn how to do that?
“Hey Kera! I’m going to another location Keep an eye on them and tell me if anything goes wrong over the Com-stone!” I yell in Kera’s direction as I run off myself.
“Hrn? Com-stone? I kinda like that.” I hear her say shortly after I run off.
That’s odd… I’m far too far away from her for her voice to be this clear. I look back and confirm that Kera is still where she was a moment ago. In her hand I notice the Com-stone. I look in my inventory at the Com-stone I have linked to her, and beside it is an intercom symbol that is flashing.
“Hey Kera can you hear me?” I say without taking it out.
“Have ya already learned how to use one of these princess? You’re stubborn about not wanting to learn magic from me aren’t you?” Kera responds.
I blush when I realize that my earlier plan wouldn’t have worked because I don’t know how to use the stones. Good thing Kera wasn’t around to see it.