Blight


 

To fulfill the slave merchant union’s request, I will deliver the hunters and their equipment into Titis forest with the indigo wyvern. 

 

While doing so, I will estimate how strong they are, what their personalities are like, and come up with a plan to save the young kijin girl.

 

The first idea that came to my mind was to kill the hunters myself and then say that they were attacked by the monsters in the forest.

 

 

However, there was no meaning in doing so.
Regardless of how strong the hunters are, as long as the “Union” is after the kijins, there are many other methods they can use other than employing those hunters.

 

Even if it will buy her some time, it won’t solve the problem.

Moreover, Fedor will definitely get suspicious if I were to return as the only survivor.
It would be so obvious.
He will wonder if I took out the hunters to obtain the kijins and monopolize them.
I wouldn’t be able to avoid that suspicion.

It would be a piece of cake for the “union” to hire a priest who can use “Sense lie” on me.

 

 

And so, my first plan is out the window.

 

The next idea that came to mind was to have the hunters think that the “kijin died”.
If their target is dead, then the “union” will move on. 

But the flaw of this plan is that I’ll need the cooperation of the kijin side, and I have no way of contacting that girl.

That girl might listen to me if she remembers me from the incident but…there’s no way she would just answer with “Yes, I understand” if a human suddenly shows up and tells her, “I came to help so just pretend you’re dead!”

 

Especially in a situation where my intentions are unclear to the other side.

 

It would be a natural reaction to wonder if it’s a trap.
In the first place, there’s no way for me to come into contact with the girl before the hunters do anyway.

 


If I handle things poorly, I will be attacked if the hunters see my intention to steal a march on them.

In that scenario, I would face the same danger as the first plan after that, so the second idea is scrapped too.

 

This means that neither of those plans is any good.

There is no choice but to take it one step at a time this time.

 

 

Suddenly, a voice came from next to me.

 

「Wow, I gotta say, it’s so convenient to be able to fly in the air! Normally it’d take 3 or 4 days to get here.
Thank you, dragon rider!」

 

The person who said that while tapping my shoulder strongly was the leader of the hunters, a warrior named Perry, who leads the clan 『Scythe of the Grim Reaper』.

 

He is a giant of a man.
His muscular build makes him look like a bear that’s standing up.
He somehow reminds me of my past guardian, Gozu Cima.

 

Even though he wasn’t Gozu, I felt like it would be hard to have him as my opponent.

 

「Oi, you’re Sora, right? Do you want to join my clan? You’d add the power of a hundred men if you joined」

 

「I can’t do that since I also lead a clan myself」

 

「You call it a clan, but there’s only two slaves in it other than you, right? I will take care of them as well, you know?」

 

With that said, Perry spoke to the indigo wyvern next.

 


「Of course, you too.
Is your favourite food beef, pork, or lamb? I’ll give you the finest food!」

 

「*Pugiiii!*」

 

The wyvern let out an intimidating shriek when Perry reached out and tried to pet its head.

 

However, Perry did not mind it and laughed out loud.

 

「Ahh, my bad my bad! You don’t let anyone but your owner touch you, huh? That’s so cool.
Man, to see an indigo wyvern that’s well known for its ferocity so well tamed like this, it makes me want to recruit you more and more!」

 

Perry laughed loudly.

 

Then, a cautious sounding voice came from nearby.

 

「Captain! Please don’t laugh so loud like an idiot in the middle of the forest! Do you want to attract all the demonic beasts here?!」

 

「Oh whoops, sorry.
I’ll laugh quieter then」

 

「Whatever, please get ready! We still have to narrow down the kijin’s whereabouts.
I don’t want to wander aimlessly by intuition in this forest like the time before! 」

 

「We spotted her in the end so who cares! Everything’s good if things work out in the end, right?」

 

「You’ll be injured if you keep on thinking that your good luck will continue forever!」

 

Although Perry’s subordinate was harsh with his words…How do I put it? He seems to have deep trust in his captain.
That’s what it felt like.

Perry was also helping out like he was told.
Contrary to their vicious guild name “Scythe of the Grim Reaper”, the relationship between their members seems pretty good.


 

Yea, that’s the reason why I felt like it was going to be “hard” to have Perry as my opponent.

Him and the people in his clan are good people. 

Honestly, from the term “hunters”, I imagined their leader to be a cold blooded killer with snakey-looking eyes and his subordinates as a bunch of expressionless dolls. 

However, the truth can be seen in the conversations we had after we met.

 

When I think about it, kijins are hostile to humans.
Although there are way more humans than there are kijins, kijins are stronger individually.

Hunting them is not anything evil at all.
Rather, you can even do it under the banner of justice of preventing human casualties from kijins. 

Of course, there is a lot of money to be made with the kijins’ horns, but all adventurers are more or less trying to make a living.
So for the people who aren’t moving with resentment as their motivation like I am, you can even say that they are benefiting mankind.

 

…That’s troubling.
In this situation, I’m the bad guy for sure for trying to let the kijin escape.
I’m going to have a bad taste in my mouth afterwards if I had to slay Perry and the others. 

I can’t help it if push comes to shove, but I’d like to avoid that if possible. 

 

 

After landing, me and the wyvern spent some time at the base that the 『Scythe of the Grim Reaper』set up inside the forest.
During that time, I overheard various things from some of their other members.

 

It appears that once upon a time, Perry was not an adventurer or anything, he was just a simple lumberjack.
Of course, he had never even hunted a kijin either.
He was just a villager who was proud of his strength.

 

One day, his village was attacked by kijins.

 

The reason was unknown.

The ordinary villagers could not match the kijins, and the village was destroyed.

Perry’s wife and son had also lost their lives at that time.
Furthermore, most of his subordinates in the 『Scythe of the Grim Reaper』 were in the same situation as him.

 

Their unexpected backstory was giving me a headache.
If that’s the way it is, do I just hope for the kijin girl to escape Perry’s pursuit? While I was thinking about such things in desperation…

A member of the Scythe of the Grim Reaper came running back with a pale face.
Then he said,


 

「Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit! Call the captain at once! The blight is coming!」

 

Blight.
The moment that term came out, everyone who remained at the base here turned pale.

Up to this point, it only felt like things could get dangerous, but that relaxed atmosphere completely changed in a moment.

 

On the other hand, I could not understand what was going on and tilted my head slightly to the side.
Well, I can tell that the blight or whatever is bad. 

 

…I wasn’t really worried because deep inside my heart I was confident that I would survive no matter what happens.

 

However, to the other people, my attitude probably makes me look like someone who doesn’t understand the seriousness of the situation.

 

「The spread of blight is an earth eroding phenomenon that occurs under certain conditions」

 

The one who answered me was the youth who yelled at Perry earlier.

 

「Certain conditions?」

 

「It’s a natural phenomenon that occurs rarely in volcanic areas or in areas with thick miasma.
However, it’s actually caused by a demonic beast most of the time.
In other words, the decay of the earth is from the ferocious poison discharged by the demonic beast.
The great blighted sea south of the holy kingdom was formed when a deadly, poisonous dragon-like creature called a hydra was killed in ancient times」

 

「A hydra…You’re saying that such a mythical creature appeared in Titis?」

 

「No, of course not.
In the first place, the hydra from the legends had 8 heads, all of which would reach taller than the rampart walls of Ishka.
If something like that is lurking in the forest, you’ll notice it whether you want to or not.
I think it should be something not as big as a hydra, but a monster that lets out poison that’s poisonous enough to create blight.
It’s most likely—-」

 

The youth paused for a second, then he spoke the name of the demonic beast.

 

The king of snakes– a basilisk.

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