Chapter 1-17 : New Problems (part 1)
「Alright then, let’s go hunt the bear! Jasper-san, I’m counting on you for today.」(Sarasa)
「Leave it to me! This is a serious problem for everyone in the village, after all.」(Jasper)
The members of today’s bear hunting team are me, Kate-san, Iris-san, and Ells-san’s husband, Jasper-san.
I invited Jasper-san because he is my nearest neighbour and easy to ask, but the main reason is because he is a hunter and has a reliable tracking ability.
Even if I can kill the bear, it will be meaningless if we can’t find it, right?
Besides, I’m an amateur at tracking animals.
Iris-san and Kate-san don’t seem to be good at tracking animals either, so I asked for help from a professional.
Jasper-san is the only hunter in this village, so we can definitely rely on him.
「Sarasa-chan, let me ask you once again. You really can kill it, right? I’m a hunter but I can only hunt normal bears. It’s impossible for me to kill a monster.」(Jasper)
「Don’t worry, I can fight it alone. Please run away if you feel it’s too dangerous.」(Sarasa)
「No, Ells will kill me if I run away leaving a girl like you alone! So Sarasa-chan, I also want you to run away if you think you can’t kill it.」(Jasper)
「Ahaha… Don’t worry, don’t worry. I’ll be just fine, really.」(Sarasa)
Looks like Ells-san is the boss in their family…
Well, she looks as strong as a sumo wrestler, after all.
「Alright, Kate-san, please guide us to the place where you were attacked.」(Sarasa)
「Roger that. Umm… I think it was this way.」(Kate)
With Kate-san as the guide, we first headed to the place where she and Iris-san were attacked by the Hellfire Grizzly.
She didn’t seem to remember clearly because she was running while carrying Iris-san on her back.
However, the blood trail along the path showed us the way.
-30 minutes later-
「This is the place! We were attacked here!」(Kate)
Even an amateur like me could tell right away that this place was the scene of the tragedy.
Broken twigs, trampled grass, burn marks on the ground, and blackened blood stains.
「This is terrible… Sarasa-chan, this guy is pretty big. I don’t think I could even kill a normal bear if it was this big…」(Jasper)
After inspecting the claw marks on the trees around us, Jasper-san shook his head with a slightly dismayed expression.
Iris-san said that it was almost twice as tall as her, but after I looked at Jasper-san’s expression, it looks like the bear was even bigger.
「No need to worry. The only problem for me is how I can kill it cleanly without damaging its body parts too muchー」(Sarasa)
「There it is! My sword!」(Iris)
Iris-san raised her voice all of a sudden.
It looks like she has been looking around for her sword.
With a happy expression on her face, she picked up her sword from some bushes.
Come to think of it, Kate-san said she didn’t have time to pick up Iris-san’s sword when they ran away from here.
「I’m glad for you.」(Sarasa)
「Ah, Store Owner-dono…」(Iris)
Iris-san, who was hugging her sword happily, looked at me with a slightly awkward look and shook her hand vigorously.
「A, ahh! I, It’s not that I come along just to find my sword! I was thinking if I have my sword, I can be useful!」(Iris)
「Eh? Ah, I don’t mind. You can’t work as a Collector without a sword, after all.」(Sarasa)
I wonder why she is a bit panicked, but I see, she’s worried about that, huh?
I don’t think she has to feel guilty about that.
Swords are expensive, after all.
That’s why I didn’t have a sword when I came to this village, but thankfully, Master gave me one.
For Iris-san, who is currently in debt, not having a sword is a serious problem.
「I’m sorry, Store Owner-san. I completely forgot about this.ーーIris, if you come along because you wanted to collect your sword, you could have told us.」(Kate)
「Uuh… I’m sorry. I can’t deny that I only thought about my sword when I volunteered to help carry the bear’s corpse.」(Iris)
Iris-san bowed to me with an awkward expression.
After looking at Iris-san, Kate-san also did the same.
「Ah, no no! You REALLY don’t have to feel guilty about that. I’m glad that you found your sword.」(Sarasa)
「…Store Owner-dono, you’re so kind.」(Iris)
Now that Iris-san has calmed down, we’re back to the business we came here for.
「Jasper-san, can you track the bear down?」(Sarasa)
「Of course!! I wouldn’t be able to call myself a hunter if I couldn’t even track a big target like this.」(Jasper)
「Great! I’m counting on you!」(Sarasa)
After making a thumbs up pose, Jasper-san guided us, following the traces of the bear.
First, we walked in the direction where we came from.
After a while, Jasper-san stopped for a moment, and then changed the course.
Looks like the bear had given up after a while of chasing Iris-san and Kate-san.
「…Does this mean we were lucky…?」(Kate)
「You can say so. Bears usually chase after their prey persistently. Well, I don’t know if… what is it called again? Hellfire Grizzly? I don’t know if that monster falls into the bear category, though.」(Jasper)
「Monsters are also quite persistent at chasing after their prey. Unlike wild animals, there are many aggressive monsters that attack people.」(Sarasa)
Most ordinary wild animals would run away when they encounter humans unless they were very hungry.
If you walked while making sounds, wild animals would usually avoid you.
However, monsters are different.
There were quite a lot of cases where monsters attacked humans as soon as they saw them.
This is a clear difference between monsters and wild animals while it can be quite difficult to distinguish between the two sometimes.
Of course, there are also monsters that don’t attack humans right away, but I’ve never seen a monster like that.
「Anyway, I’m glad that the Hellfire Grizzly didn’t chase you guys to the village. Otherwise, it would have been really bad.」(Sarasa)
「There’s no one who can deal with monsters in the village after all….. Except Sarasa-chan, of course.」(Jasper)
「No, maybe some of the veteran Collectors can fight monsters too… Well, I don’t know if they would be willing to fight to protect the village, though.」(Sarasa)
「I would fight for the village!」(Iris)
「No, no. Iris-san, you were badly injured at that time, right?」(Sarasa)
「A, Ahh… Well, yeah, but if I was fine, I would definitely fight for the village!」(Iris)
「Fufu. I know.」(Sarasa)
I like her spirit, but I want her to care more about her own life.
She sacrificed herself to protect two male Collectors even though they were only excess baggage for her.
Iris-san is kind, but she makes people around her worried.