After our brief conversation, Leon and I hurriedly made our way towards the other hunters. I thought Mia and Felix were fast, but wolfkins might be faster or Leon is just an excellent runner.
In a short while, we reached the troll nest. Leon doesn’t even look winded or sweaty. He seems to have stamina and speed. I don’t know if he can run a long marathon, but he’s someone who is faster than an Olympic athlete, well most of the natives here are stronger, faster, and physically better than humans from Earth. —It doesn’t matter, I should focus on checking the nest and making sure there are no survivors.
Leon immediately took back the role as leader after checking the hunting party. Once he’s done he divided the party into three smaller groups. Each group entered a different entrance, scanning if there are any trolls that remained.
The nest was cleaner than I expected. There are various pieces of broken rock and herbs inside a hollowed-out hole. Pieces of meat hung in the cave. Rocks arranged in a circular pattern encircling a blackened floor. The cave was quite eerie.
We scouted the nest and checked every crevice making sure there are no survivors. Once we were done checking and making sure we cleared the nest we moved on to the other nests.
On the way to the other nests, the scouts and I noticed the old inhabitants of the nests are no longer there. Trolls, ogres, and hobgoblins lived in the nest instead. The old inhabitants are wandering around the forest, making it quite hard to move without having any encounter.
“The forest sure has changed. It was a gradual change and we are quite unprepared for it.” (Leon)
“—Leon! Another wolf pack.” (Mia)
“Another one?” (Leon)
“Yes! The other scouts notified brother in the rear.” (Mia)
“You heard her. These wolves are far more aggressive than before. Be ready.” (Leon)
Leon glanced at me and I just shrugged. I was assisting them mostly by healing and restoring their stamina. Unless there is a strong monster, I just let them fight just before they empty their stamina. It was a little Spartan but Leon understood that this would be for the best.
Most of the hunters noticed the abnormal number and new species of monsters in the forest. However, when they voice their worries, Leon reassures them and helps maintain morale, and inspires them to keep fighting.
It wasn’t ideal but these hardships are necessary for them to survive.
I noticed that the people living in Amihan are far weaker than those in Habagat. The amount of mana in Habagat has made it so the strongest will only survive. Amihan had always had fewer places brimming with mana. With no surplus mana enhancing wildlife and the people living, everything remained peaceful. That was until mana started springing from places where mana should have been thinner.
It has been just a few decades, short of a century, but the creatures evolved faster with mana as a factor. Smarter and stronger monsters have been born. This could not be said to be the same, with the people having barely made any significant advancement in magic and combat techniques.
If things continued this way, Amihan would surely fall to the monsters. I have confidence in my knowledge and skills. Those hard-earned gifts from Father kept me alive and I will do everything to make sure I pass those lessons to the villagers of Dao Village.
I don’t know what the future will hold for the people here but the situation in Habagat will become more turbulent and dangerous. I doubt Amihan will not be affected by that. I have to cover all my bases. I will never lose anyone important to me.
After finishing our task of clearing the nests in this part of the forest. The hunting party headed towards camp. Leon and the older hunters are looking quite tense. I have an idea why, but I have to make sure.
“Is there a problem, meow?”
“The forest is too quiet and the traps look quite worn out. It has just been barely a day and we already need to do maintenance on the traps.” (Leon)
“Hmmm. Meow see.”
“The scouts in the trees are also looking quite tense. I believe the others in camp will have quite the story.” (Leon)
“Let’s hurry Leon!” (Mia)
There don’t seem to be any enemies nearby but the place reeked of gore. I was feeling anxious but my mind was clear. With my titles and skill I know I can save any of the villagers as long as I try hard enough.
The sight that we’ve witnessed was quite unforgettable. All of the people in the camp were quite banged up but none were life-threatening.
However, the number of monster materials being processed by the people in charge of stripping and disassembly was incredible. Those blood, meat, and offal are being segregated and treated. The edible parts are either being cooked or salted, ready to become preserved food. The pelts, monster cores, horns, and useful parts are being bundled and stored. Those that can be processed later are kept inside magic bags. The inedible and useless parts are being buried using earth magic and the smell was being dispersed using wind magic.
The processing team looked far worse than the guards and scouts. Then there’s Vargas with the other trappers, he’s looking quite exhausted as he fixes the traps and tools that were being worn out faster than they can be maintained. Some of the traps still have their prey trapped.
Though all of the people looked worn out, Tulip looked like she’s about to explode in tears, as she looked tearfully over a mountain of squashed monsters. Looks like she’s the one responsible for the gory scene. But imagining what has happened made my fur stand. Without Vargas’ traps and Tulip, the group managing the camp would have all been slaughtered.
The amount of monster materials they’ve received is almost enough to be a minor stampede. The lives of the people here are far closer to danger than I could have imagined. Training should start as soon as possible. Talking to Vargas and Leon is a priority and planning is essential. I should talk to both of them during the night watch.
“U-umm. Sir Vi-Victor. Can we talk?” (Tulip)
Noticing my presence, Tulip shuffled close to me.
She’s much taller than me but she’s acting like I’m a large creature that is ready to pounce on her. She’s almost three to four times my height. Was I scary or is she just this timid?
Looking at my tiny and furry paws, I know I am adorable and far from scary.
“Don’t be scared meow.”
“I’m just really nervous sir. (Tulip)
“Well, try to relax meow and tell meow what happed.”
“I-I keep trying on killing the monsters without damaging them. However, my efforts were in vain. I’ve flattened all the enemies I’ve faced. (Tulip)
“Th-that’s fine meow. Without you, things would have been worse, meow.”
“But looking at Vargas, he can take down prey without destroying their corpses! I might have protected them from the monsters, but there are barely any useful parts. I’m so useless. Uhuhuhuhu…” (Tulip)
Oh no she’s crying! I have to calm her down. Her grip on her weapon is quite tense and she looks like she’s going to flail around.
“Huh. Have you tried other weapons?”
“I can’t use any ranged weapons. My sight is quite similar to Hornkins and I break almost every bow I use. I have the mana capacity of an elf but I have no aptitude with any other magic except self and weapon enhancement-type spells.” (Tulip)
“How about spears, halberds, or greatswords meow. They might be perfect for you.”
“There are no weapons available that could withstand my weapon enchantment spell. The only weapon I have is this twin-headed morningstar from my father’s family.” (Tulip)
“So meow’re weapon is the problem.”
I think of ways to deal with it and the only ways I can think of is either getting her to gain sight enhancement skills or spells or finding a weapon that could withstand her spells.
However, looking at things in the long run. I think polishing her ability to control mana would be better. She might not be able to learn magic like elves but she can learn how to control her output. There’s also that.
I have to talk to Vargas and Elder Hugo as soon as possible.
“Got it meow! I will teach you how to regulate your mana and strength meow. You will stay as my student until you are able to use multiple kinds of melee weapons meow.”
But, I will start on helping Tulip grow before anything else.