Chapter 5-20 : Snowy Mountain Ⅱ (part 1)
While descending the slope, we occasionally took breaks and took a little detour when I felt the presence of monsters nearby.
「Hm? Something is moving… Is that a… white rabbit!? Waah~」(Lorea)
Lorea-chan pointed at a white rabbit jumping on the snow about a hundred meters ahead.
It’s not a big rabbit, but its body is covered in white fluffy fur. If it wasn’t moving, no one might have noticed it because its white fur looked just like the snow.
「Oh! Good job, Lorea! We can have sautéed rabbit for dinner tonight!」(Iris)
Iris-san looked happy. She thought she would be able to eat rabbit meat tonight.
However, Lorea-chan seemed to think differently.
「W, Wait! I didn’t tell you because I want us to hunt it! I didn’t see it as dinner! I just think that it’s white and cute! Right, Kate-san?」(Lorea)
「Eh? Y, Yeah, sure… It’s… It’s cute.」(Kate)
When Lorea-chan looked back at Kate-san and asked for her consent, Kate-san lowered her bow and smiled awkwardly at Lorea-chan.
She seemed about to shoot the rabbit.
As a hunter, her action wasn’t wrong, but she couldn’t bring herself to kill the rabbit in front of Lorea-chan.
「Kate-san… did you just… draw your bow…?」(Lorea)
Seeing Kate-san’s suspicious smile, Lorea-chan pouted.
「Lorea-chan, is this your first time seeing a white rabbit?」(Sarasa)
「Yeah. I’ve only seen brown and blackish ones. Sometimes I buy rabbit meat from Jasper-san. It’s so delicious~! …Umm…」(Lorea)
After saying that, Lorea-chan returned her gaze to the white rabbit. She seemed to be perplexed.
The rabbit is cute, but it’s still meat for us who are trying to survive in this cold white mountain.
「So… Shall I… hunt it…?」(Kate)
Kate-san raised her bow and asked Lorea-chan who still looked confused.
「Ughh… I’m sorry white rabbit-chan… We will gratefully eat you… Kate-san, please do it without making it suffer.」(Lorea)
The moment Lorea-chan turned her face away, Kate-san quickly drew her bow and shot an arrow straight at the tiny head of the rabbit.
The rabbit was dragged one meter on the snow by the force of the arrow and stopped moving. It seemed to be dead instantly.
Kate-san then put back her bow on her back and went to collect the rabbit’s body.
She picked up the rabbit, cut its neck, and drained the blood on the spot before she returned to us.
「Gau, gau (Dear, dear)…」(Kurumi)
Seeing Lorea-chan groaning while glancing at the rabbit’s headless body, Kurumi crawled on her shoulder and stroked her head, trying to calm her down.
「Thank you, Kurumi-chan.」(Lorea)
Lorea-chan grabbed Kurumi gently with both hands and brought her to her chest.
Seeing Lorea-chan’s sad expression, Kate-san, who just returned, hurriedly dismantled the rabbit with an awkward expression on her face.
「Uhh… Somehow I feel like I did something really wrong…」(Kate)
「No, you didn’t.」(Sarasa)
As a hunter, Kate-san did the right thing.
The thing is, Lorea-chan, who normally just receives meat to cook, has a different perspective from Kate-san who usually hunts animals.
「Lorea-chan, if it’s hard for you, I can cook this rabbit later.」(Sarasa)
When I suggested that, Lorea-chan immediately shook her head.
「No, cooking is my job. Besides, I want to do it for the sake of white rabbit-san. I will cook it into a delicious sautéed rabbit. That’s the only thing I can do for it.」(Lorea)
Wait… Does that mean it won’t be delicious if I’m the one who cooks it?
Well, I admit that I’m not as good as Lorea-chan, but I still can cook, okay?
In the end, Lorea-chan cooked the rabbit that night. It was so delicious, exceeding my expectations.
I’m glad I wasn’t the one who cooked it.
◇ ◇ ◇
The next day in the afternoon, the environment started to change.
The surrounding area began to become dark, and cold, strong wind began to pierce our cheeks which were not protected by any winter gear.
When I looked up at the sky, I saw black clouds covering the sky and snow was starting to fall from them.
「This is bad… Let’s hurry and find a place where we can avoid the wind.」(Sarasa)
「But, Store Owner-dono, you have an artifact that can protect us from the wind, right?」(Iris)
「Yeah, but I feel like the wind will be very strong. The stronger the wind, the more magical power is required. I don’t know when it will stop, so it’s better if we can find shelter. The artifact will be our last resort if we can’t find it.」(Sarasa)
The artifact is called “Dome Shelter”. It can protect us from something that is flying at a certain speed like wind, snow, and rubble, but of course, it can’t protect us from monsters.
When we inject the artifact with magical power, it will create a dome-shaped magical barrier around us.
It’s a handy artifact, but unfortunately, it has a flaw. It consumes a large amount of magical power to create the magical barrier.
I prepared it to protect us from the snowstorm, but judging from how black the clouds are, I think the incoming snowstorm will be very strong. I don’t know how long it will be, and I don’t want to waste too much magical power.
I have more magical power than normal people, but it doesn’t mean that my magical power is inexhaustible.
Also, I don’t want to waste magic stones because they are precious items to keep Kurumi alive. Unless we are in a situation where we really need to use magic stones, I won’t use them.
Therefore, I think it’s best to find a natural shelter for the time being.
「Alright, sounds good to me. I hope we will find shelter.」(Iris)
「Oh, right! Hold on.」(Sarasa)
Suddenly, I remembered that Marley-san made a detailed map of this area. He might mark places that could be used as shelter.
Before the wind got any stronger, I crouched down and took out the map.
「There it is! There’s a cave that we can use not far from here.」(Sarasa)
「Wonderful! Let’s get going then!」(Iris)
Now that we know where to go, we speed up our steps and manage to reach the cave before the storm hits.
The cave is not too small but not too big either. The space is enough for us to set up the Floating Tent and a small campfire.