Drawn Mochi Volume 1 Chapter 12: Strange Horses and Poachers*6

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 The pained neighing of the Pegasi echoes. It is followed by a bellowing laugh and angry shouts.


 Then, the sound of cutting flesh, blood spurting out and the horses’ rampage can be heard all the way through.


 I couldn’t move… the scene was very overwhelming.


 The tips of my fingers are cold. I can’t move as if I’m frozen. …I can’t do anything while looking at the gruesome scene.


 The red of the splattered blood is unpleasantly burned into my eyes. The neighing of the Pegasus lingers in my ears. Then I hear the voices of the brutal people who cut off Pegasus’s wings while it was alive… The gleam of saw-like blades and the heavy thud of the clipped wings falling …everything has sealed my actions.



“I was wondering what I was going to do when I almost got caught, but if you just look at the results, it’s another good harvest.” (Poacher)


“Two horses, two pairs of wings, and the wings are still intact! I’m sure we’ll get a good price for them!” (Poacher)



 The poachers laughed at each other with the horses’ neighing.


 I wonder if I stayed there for a while, looking at them. The poachers’ hands finally cut off the other wing of the horse.


 The Pegasi were limp, but still trying their best to scratch the ground. But with only one wing, it couldn’t even fly away.



 …It was about that time when the horse carrying me turned around.


 The Pegasus I was riding bent over and shook me off.


 I rolled on the ground but was not particularly hurt. In other words, it was a gentle ejection.


 Before I could wonder what was wrong, the Pegasus, who had carried me all the way here, was walking straight ahead.



 I couldn’t even say, a word. I couldn’t speak as quickly as I wanted, and my breath just leaked out. My half-extended hand couldn’t even reach the horse’s tail.


 The Pegasus is going straight ahead, straight towards the other Pegasus whose wings had been clipped off.


 …Here, at last, I think. The first thing that comes to my mind is why.


 Why go all the way to the people who hurt you? Why did they shake me down here?


 Why did they bring me here?



 I don’t even have to think about it.


 The Pegasus brought me here because he wanted my help.





 The Pegasus walked away and was immediately spotted by the poachers. The poachers were delighted and immediately set about catching him.


 The Pegasus was darting about, but they were not about to run away. It was as if they were trying to attract the poachers’ attention while being concerned about their friends whose wings had been clipped.


 Seeing the Pegasus being chased, I rummaged through my bag.


 I take out a set of art supplies. Pencils, paints, brushes, and a sketchbook. And a bottle of water.


 I quickly begin to run my pencil through my sketchbook, hiding in the bushes to catch my breath.





 I drew a long rope. A long rope tying up poachers.


 I could heal the wings of a horse. Even the horns of unicorns could be healed. And I even bandage their wounds. If I wished… I could even wrap a rope around a poacher.


 The human figure, as seen from afar, is, well, messy. But that’s OK. Even a horse could be affected even if it was rather crude. Now, I don’t want to spare even a second. I’m going to pull out all the stops I can.


 …In the meantime, the poachers finally caught the Pegasus.


 The horse, which had come all the way here with me on it, was dragged down to the ground and held down.


 Then, a saw-like blade was placed on the horse’s wings… and began to move.


 A horrible sound. Heart-wrenching screams. Disgusting laughter.


 I tried not to hear any of those sounds. I eliminated all information coming in through my ears and just continued to observe and draw what I could see.


 The Pegasus goes berserk. Blood splatters. A saw is swung down toward the Pegasus’ back. A meaningless injury.


 I watch and observe such scenes, but still, I steadied—froze my heart, and only moved my hand…


 I kept on drawing. I never stopped drawing.



 The poachers caught the Pegasus, and when all three pairs of wings had been clipped off.


 …finally, my drawing was completed.



“Nuh?!” (Poachers)



 The poachers fell down.


 Suddenly, their bodies are tied up and they fall to the ground, unable to move their hands or feet.


 Those who didn’t fall were tied up with ropes connected to other poachers, so naturally, they were dragged along and fell down.



“What the hell is going on? What the hell is this?” (Poachers)


“Damn, hey, what’s going on! Somebody, get the rope untied now!” (Poachers)



 I moved quickly when I saw the poachers starting to make noise.


 This time, my body moved properly. I ran, and ran, to get to the wounded Pegasi.


 As I approached, the horses wagged their tails to reassure me. I was about to cry when I heard a weak whinnying.



“It’s okay now. Let’s go home. Can you walk?” (Tougo)



 I called out to the horses and watched as they stood up. They stood up fine. The Pegasi were brave enough to stand up straight.



“I’m sorry, I’ll do the treatment a little later.” (Tougo)



 The Pegasus cried out, weak and faint, but still walked steadily. …Are they really alright? It’s a serious injury, but for now, it’s better to leave this place. I’m sorry, but I’ll have the Pegasi push themselves a little more and move.



“Hey, you! What the hell do you think you’re doing!” (Poacher)


“Did you do this to me? Hey!” (Poacher)



 The poachers were clearly shouting at me. But I ignored them all and headed back the way we had come with Pegasi.



 If possible, I wanted to go back to the house for treatment, but it looked like Pegasi would not be able to keep up their strength.


 The Pegasus, who seems to have been caught first, had several wounds on their body. …Horrible thoughts weaved in my mind, but maybe this Pegasus was tortured to lure the other Pegasi with their scream.



“…I’ll heal you here.” (Tougo)



 I can’t let the Pegasus force themselves anymore. Looking back, I could no longer see the poachers.


 …Then, I’ll be all right. I decided to paint the horse right here.



 The wounds were bandaged. Proper wings where the wings used to be.


 I’ve painted this many times over the past week. I’m fine. I’m used to it.



“…almost done.”  (Tougo)



 I encouraged the Pegasus as I moved my brush. The past week had definitely paid off, and it only took me about 30 minutes to paint one horse.


 I painted up the Pegasus with the minimum lines and colored one horse at first. The drawing of the Pegasus trembled, swayed, squeezed, and flew toward the Pegasus, and the bandages and wings were attached to the Pegasus.


 As soon as I did, I felt like something was leaking out of my body, but I put up with it.



“Next one, let’s go.” (Tougo)



 Then I started to draw the next Pegasus, and suddenly I thought.


 I’m probably going to pass out when I finish this one.



 I was a little lost.


 There are three Pegasi. But maybe my limit is two horses before I pass out. It has been like that for the past week.


 …What should I do? I think it would be very tricky if I were to faint here. Aside from the poachers chasing us, fainting in the middle of an empty forest is simply courting death.


 However, both Pegasi are badly wounded. If I faint in the middle of the forest, one of them will still have to be treated later. That’s not good.


 I would only be able to treat one more animal before I passed out, but there are two more Pegasi.


 …then I have no choice but to try.


 I draw two Pegasus on the drawing paper at the same time. If I was afraid I would pass out after drawing one more horse, I thought, “Why not finish two horses at the same time before I pass out?”



 …Even if I faint after drawing them, the horses will probably carry me away. Maybe.



 In the first place, would I be able to draw two horses at once and have them healed before I fainted?


 I was worried about that, but it couldn’t be helped. If the treatment was incomplete, I would have to redo the drawing after I returned home.


 …I drew more carefully than the first one. More, thoughtful and precise.


 And… maybe it was worth it.



 As soon as I drew the two horses at the same time, the picture began to shake and tremble as usual.


 …And then.



“…I did it!” (Tougo)



 In front of my eyes, each of the three Pegasi wagged their tails while flapping their wings.



 Seeing Pegasi recover safely, I feel my consciousness fading away.


 But it’s a little different than before. Somehow, something is not just coming out of my body… it’s like the cold is entering my body.


 Gah! And the area around my chest feels painful. I cannot breathe.


 The breath I’m trying to take doesn’t go deep into my chest. While I was suffering from that, something was slowly coming out of my body, and my body was getting colder and colder…


 …and moreover.



“Hey, boy. You did all that, didn’t you?” (Poacher)



 The poachers have caught up with us.



 I think about a lot of things, like how I tied him up, or how a cage would have been better than a rope, but I can’t think of anything. But even as we were doing so, the poachers were getting closer to us.



“…hmmm? What is it? It looks like the Pegasi are very fond of you.” (Poacher)



 In front of me who can’t move, the Pegasi stand in their way. Spreading their wings trying to protect me from poachers.


 I wanted to say no, but I couldn’t speak. I wanted to say, “What are you doing, get out of here,” but I couldn’t move.



“Looking closely, you’re a beautiful little kid.” (Poacher)


“Maybe it’s some kind of magic beast tamer? Or… well, whatever.” (Poacher)



 The poachers looked at me through the wings of their horses and chuckled.



“It looks like you will sell well.” (Poacher)



“What the hell are you doing!” (Voice)



 But the hand that was extended to me never reached me or the Pegasi. Instead, I heard a familiar voice in the distance…




 …and then I passed out. Well, it can’t be helped.



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