< Create Own Request if There is None (Part 1) >
The vegabond left, but Zin and Leona decided to stay at the base until the storm died down. Zin was not sure if the vegabond would head to the BH or somewhere else. Leona was feeling uneasy for a while, and ended up speaking up about her experience.
“I… I was able to feel his emotions.”
“You felt it?”
“Yeah, it was… as if I was able to read his mind. What is this about?”
Leona had a gloomy look on her face.
“You were able to look into the vegabond’s mind.”
He didn’t tell her that she was able to do so because she was a witch. Leona became gloomy and dropped her head down.
I suppose she can’t use her power of her own will.
Whether it was fortunate or unfortunate, Leona was not able to utilize her powers freely yet.
All vegabonds were powerful monsters, but this vegabond used power far superior to other, ordinary vegabonds. And the fact that Leona was able to enter the mind of a monster at the vegabond’s level meant that Leona had an extraordinary dormant power within her.
It was even more formidable because she was able to read the mind of a monster that used to be a human.
Zin wondered if Leona knew about the fact. Leona was in a gloomy mood for a while, and didn’t speak.
“The storm should die down by tomorrow. Let’s leave tomorrow.”
Zin changed the subject on purpose, and Leona noticed it, but she didn’t speak any further. The vegabond left for some destination, and Zin assumed that he went towards the BH.
I hope I don’t come across him again…
But Zin had a strong feeling that he would meet the vegabond again. Zin, a hunter and a devil hunter, always came across many monsters that he didn’t want to meet.
The storm weakened, and as the wind calmed down, the two left the base. Leona was sick and tired of the basement, and she walked quickly to release her pent-up energy. Zin also picked up his pace. The air was humid after the storm, but it was bearable for them.
And as Leona walked through the wilderness, she made many silly gestures.
“Mister! Look! It’s an umbrella!”
Leona used a giant leaf of a mutated tree as an umbrella, and she became very happy because it provided her with shade.
“You are acting all silly now…”
“What’s wrong? It’s keeping me cool.”
Leona walked around with the giant leaf with joy, but after thirty minutes, she threw away the leaf.
“Crap! It’s too heavy!”
Leona kept herself busy and entertained even though Zin did not respond to her much. As a kid, she was able to find things to do that would keep her busy. And even though it was a long journey, it seemed like the time flew by pretty quick. Seven days after the storm went away, Zin and Leona were able to reach the northern part of the Korean peninsula.
As soon as the sharp gunshot fired off, the bullet struck the head of a red bear. The red bear was three times the size of a regular bear, and Zin only needed a single shot to take down the bear. Zin slowly put away his M700.
“Looks like we’re pretty far up north. I haven’t seen any ghouls or poisonous dogs for a while.”
“Does that mean we’re going to see different monsters?”
“Yeah, it’s more dangerous. But as long as we spot them first, there is nothing to be worried about.”
The red bear was a monster with burning red fur, and it was powerful enough to take down dozens of poisonous dogs or ghoul by itself.
However, it was sniped down with a 7.62mm bullet while taking a nap in the shade. Zin and Leona started to walk up the hill where the red bear was lying dead. A stronger monster produced more chips, and there was another important fact.
“That is a pretty delicious monster.”
“Really? How good is it?”
“It smells slightly, but its taste is similar to a cow’s meat.”
Leona got excited and jumped with joy. They had not been able to stop by any village, and they have been eating corpse hunter for a while. The meat of the ghouls, birds, and monsters all tasted the same... rotten.
“I was getting worried because I was getting too used to the rotten taste.”
Leona was sad that she was getting used to eating such bad-tasting meat. However, because she had been eating well, she gained some weight and looked healthier. She was looking sharp, and was growing up as a kid.
And, Zin was satisfied about hunting the red bear. As Leona looked at Zin, he pointed at the bear.
“The gallbladders are very expensive.”
“What is a gallbladder?”
“It’s an internal organ.”
“Gallbladder? It sounds very bitter.”
“It is very bitter in taste.”
“Something bitter is expensive? Why?”
“Well, I’m not sure, but there’s plenty of demand for it.”
“What a strange world.”
Along with the chip that could be extracted, the gallbladder could be sold for some good profit. Zin would be able to sell it for at least 20 chips, and he would be able to sell it for 100 chips to lords who were very conscientious about their health.
Zin thought how much he would profit by hunting a red bear using a single bullet. Zin was getting happy at the thought. As he continued to climb the mountain, he looked out for the surroundings. He figured that there might be one or more red bears living around here.
And then something unexpected happened as they were about twenty steps away from the dead bear.
The red bear was sucked under the ground and it disappeared in a split second. Leona was surprised, and so was Zin. At the spot where the bear disappeared, there was a hole that looked like an ant lion’s pit.
Leona looked at Zin who was in shock, and asked him, “Mister… this… Did we get robbed?”
They were robbed of their prize. They were robbed in broad daylight. With disbelief, Zin kept on looking at the ant lion’s pit for a while.
It was a disgrace for a hunter to get robbed of his prize that he hunted down. However, this time around, the situation was a bit dicey.
“It’s a cave ant.”
“What’s a cave ant?”
“They are ants that dig tunnels and live inside it. They rarely come out of the ground.”
Zin explained to Leona as he looked at the sunken ground. Zin was still in shock, and couldn’t speak for a while.
“They dig a tunnel close to the surface, and when the prey passes above the tunnel, several ants attack and shred the prey.”
As Zin spoke, Leona looked at the ground in fear.
“What? Does that mean we are in danger as well?”
“They will not hunt anything alive unless they are very hungry… They usually steal dead monsters.”
The cave ants usually stole the bodies of monsters or humans that were killed in a battle. They were risk-averse monsters. And therefore, Zin was not worried about the cave ants too much.
“Well, aren’t they some scumbags?”
They could not deny the fact that they were robbed. Leona was very upset by the fact that her delicious meal was robbed, and Zin was shaking in anger, as he was robbed of his chips and gallbladder.
The cave ants moved at a great speed inside the tunnels. They were probably carrying the dead body somewhere underneath.
Zin murmured with a serious look on his face, “A witch can control monsters with her psychowave.”
“Huh? Why is that…?”
Zin laid his hands on the both shoulders of Leona, and looked straight into her eyes.
“Control the cave ants and bring them over here. No, you just need to locate them. If you can control them, that will be even better. If you can locate them, let me know. It will be worth the try.”
Zin was fuming in anger, and Leona had never seen Zin get so mad. Zin pulled out his NTW-20 and started loading ammunition. Although the shell of the cave ants were thick, the ammo was strong enough to pierce through them.
“I am going to kill them all.”
Zin was planning to kill them at point-blank range with the massive rifle.
Leona was not sure what she needed to do, but she closed her eyes, and started to concentrate.
Thirty minutes passed by.
“I don’t know.”
Leona shook her head as she was getting tired.
“Anything you sense?”
“No, I am lost.”
Leona was lost as she did not know what she had to do, and she was getting tired as she tried focusing her energy. Leona tried to sense the monsters for a while.
“… Now I feel like peeing.”
As if her concentration had affected her bladder, she ran away to somewhere remote. As Leona as struggling, Zin was able to regain his composure. And as he looked at the giant NTW-20 rifle in his hand, he came back to his senses.
“… I got too upset.”
He was reacting irrationally, as using a giant rifle was very inefficient. Acting furious and irrational was not the way that a wise hunter would act.
Even if he could sell the gallbladder expensively, at most, he lost out on about 150 chips. Zin took a deep breath to calm himself.
150 chips… 150 hours…
It took a while for Zin to unload the ammo from the rifle, and put it all away.
He thought that he could always hunt other red bears, and he had only used up a single 7.62mm bullet.
When Leona came back, Zin was talking to himself repeatedly to calm down.
“What’s with that face, mister?”
“Hmm? What’s wrong with me?”
“You look so ready to kill anything.”
Zin had a very dead serious look in his face. Humans were agitated easily at misfortunes, and it was no different for a teenager or a two hundred year-old hunter. Leona laughed as she poked Zin’s side.
“Well, let it go, things happen, you know.”
“… that doesn’t feel too great, getting advice from a kid.”
“We still have something to eat, you know? I mean, I was a bit sad that I am going to miss out on good-tasting meat.”
Leona was trying to cheer up Zin, and she said things out of the norm. And Zin smiled bitterly looking at Leona who was trying hard.
Leona started running, and Zin spoke.
“It’s not that way. It’s this way.”
“Ah! You are right!”
Zin pointed out that Leona was heading in the wrong direction, and she scratched her head and smiled.
They passed the mountains, and along the way, Leona spoke again.
She sounded down a bit.
“What do you mean?”
“Sorry, I couldn’t help.”
At the moment, Zin realized why Leona was trying to cheer him up. Zin talked to Leona who was feeling down.
“No, I’m sorry.”
“Why are you sorry, mister?”
“Sorry for asking you to do something strange.”
“…” Leona dropped her head down, and tried to hide her smile.
“It’s okay…” As Leona replied, she felt something swell up inside her heart, but she was not able to figure out what it was.