TN: There’s a conversation about c*nn*b*lism here. Also animal d*capitation, I put the beginning word on bold and underlined font. I underlined the entire part on the “C” topic so just scroll past it if you think you’ll feel uncomfortable reading it.
I don’t know what time it is but we got hungry so we decided to have lunch. Saine and Dole investigated the surroundings, determined that it’s safe here and we stopped walking. Strictly told not to move by Saine, I wait for him with Dole and Olphynn.
[Am I that untrustworthy?]
[Kind of. You look easy to fool.]
[I’m not that simple. Besides, who would fool me in this kind of place?]
[Well, there are monsters. Beasts aren’t the only monsters here, you know?]
[There are also beasts, but that’s not all. There are smarter creatures. There are also those who look like humans, as well as monsters who can change their forms at will. There are harmless ones and there some that are just dangerous. Monsters don’t have a fixed form. That’s why you have to be careful.]
[Is everything we can encounter in the forest monsters?]
[Not for sure. There are also normal animals. Also, even though this place is like that, there are also bandits who has a base here. In short, there are also normal humans here. When I said about getting fooled, I’m talking about the shape-shifting monsters. When Saine beckons you over, you just follow him, don’t you?]
[Of course I’ll go.]
[And I’m telling you that you can’t. You first have to ascertain whether it’s the real Saine or not.]
I see, being able to change their appearance freely means that they can look exactly like Saine.
[Dole and Olphynn might get fooled but I think I’ll know if it’s Saine.]
[Oh~? You can tell them apart?]
[Yeah. If it’s Saine, I’ll definitely know.]
I can’t explain it properly but I’m sure. When I pushed my chest out and declared, Dole amusedly raised his eyebrow.
[So, is it just water that you need to get? Isn’t there something else?]
Dole asks Olphynn. It seems there are a lot of springs in the forest, but we need to get deeper inside to get to the closest one.
[Goat beard, wool below the sheep’s right ear, a newborn water, newborn fire, a stone on the bottom of the earth, scales of the armored bug, a yellow flower, red leaves, a white fruit, a cobble’s tears.]
[There’s so much!]
I retorted unconsciously.
[Right? I thought we’d be done after just the water.]
[Dole, you knew?]
[How can I not? It’s usually us guards who collect the materials for the priests’ ordeal.]
[Why is that?]
[Putting the goat and sheep aside, the rest can only be found in either the forest or the mountain. There are various materials for the ordeal that can be found only in the forest or the mountain, or both forest and mountain. But they usually hire someone to gather them.]
[Why is Olphynn gathering them himself?]
[It’s my own ordeal. Isn’t it normal that I get them with my own hands?]
I clap at him. I feel like being with Olphynn makes me grow.
[You’re so admirable, Olphynn. I respect you. If it can be done by someone else, I’d choose the easy way.]
[Even if things are easy now, I’ll still have a hard time later. It’s not a good place for someone unskilled to be involved in. Besides, I will not allow myself for making others do my own ordeal.]
I shudder at the stern glare of his blue eyes.
[Olphynn, so cool! You’re really amazing! I’ll surely accompany you until the end. Or rather, please allow me to!]
He’s not full of himself even though he’s this handsome, and he also faces difficulties head-on. I really think that Olphynn is so cool. It’s a different kind of coolness from Saine. I was deeply moved and freely shook his hand.
Olphynn accepted my compliments as if it’s natural. Bluntness is also great.
[Oh, if that’s the case then Dole, do you know where all the materials are located?]
[No, I don’t know that. An ordeal probably has different varieties, right? Because the contents changed whenever I accepted a commission.]
[It’s exactly as he said. The ordeal varies depending on the taker. The chief of the priest guild draws a stick from a box. A token with the same number as the number written on the stick is given. The ordeal is written on that token.]
[Isn’t that a lottery?]
[Whichever stick is drawn is fated. The ordeal that’s written on the token is exactly what I am currently worthy enough to take.]
Olphynn tightly clenched his fists. Dole was smirking beside him.
Olphynn sure is interesting. He’s not just cool, he’s also sincere. It’s nice to be friends with someone who is funny, but someone like Olphynn who wants to achieve his goal is also great. I think I should also face my ordeals more straightforwardly.
Not just about myself, but I also have to think about Saine. What’s the best for Saine. In the end, I think that it’s taking the Ceremony again. A man like me won’t do.
When I turned around after hearing a rustle, Saine was there.
[The real one!]
When I pointed at him, Dole clapped his hands.
[Yes. Well done.]
[What are you talking about?]
Saine suspiciously furrows his brows.
[We’re confirming your connection. So Saine, did you get it?]
Snorting at Dole’s words, Saine took out the prey he hunted. Looking at it, I stepped back with an ‘woah’.
There are a lot of things that shocked me but this is just a foul.
[What is this……]
[It’s ras.] (TN: A wild ras (literally)appeared!)
Ugeee. So this is a ras? Rather, this is what I ate. I seriously look at the bird that is tied with a rope.
It’s size is slightly bigger than a chicken. Its neck and legs are fat and short. The feathers on its stomach were white and blue on the back.
No, it’s fine until those parts but……
[For some reason…… it looks like Olphynn……] (TN: lol)
When I quietly murmured, Dole burst out laughing and Olphynn’s face turned sour.
The ras had a face that didn’t look like a bird. It’s blonde, has blue eyes, and a face that looks like a person. Olphynn looks 22-3 years old but it makes me wonder if this is how he looked like when he was 15-6 years old*. In other words, the ras has the face of a blonde, blue-eyed pretty boy. (TN: lol x2)
[Are we eating this?]
[I caught it because you said you wanted to eat it.]
[Right, right. It’s pretty hard to catch one, you know? It’s nimble and it must be captured alive.]
The ras that’s being caught by Saine and dangling by its feet was certainly alive. It’s flapping its wings.
[Why does it have to be caught alive?]
[Because its meat gets spoiled easily. It is okay for the ones raised in the ranches since they’ve been reformed but wild ras must be eaten as soon as it’s k*lled. It gets spoiled easily, plus it has poison. That’s why we have to cook it right after we k*ll it.]
Dole started preparing the fire after saying that.
I was crouching and watching the ras that was being tied on a tree. The bord who has no idea of its fate is tottering around. Its fat legs are short, and it looked difficult to walk with. Saine must have shot it on its rear, there’s an arrow stuck there. The tottering ras suddenly looked at me. The pretty boy’s face was looking at me, then it opened its mouth.
[I beg you.]
I didn’t expect it to talk so I fell on my bum.
[Please help me.]
Being begged at by such a pretty face, is there anyone out there who can refuse it? Dole stopped my slowly extending hand.
[Don’t do that. You’re being deceived.]
[You’re being tricked by a mere ras, you won’t stand a chance against monsters.]
Dole pulled out his sword while saying that.
[This thing’s just mimicking a voice.]
[What do you mean?]
[You see, ras can quickly memorize words. It’s noisy so the ones in the ranches are being silenced, but wild ones talk a lot. That’s why the memorize the speech of people who enter the forest and transmit it. That’s why as soon as one bird remembers it, it’s like 10 birds have memorized it.]
[But it’s comprehensible. It understands and says it, right?]
Dole took a step then spontaneously stopped. He released my hand while laughing.
[Nope, it doesn’t understand it at all. It simply spoke the words it remembered at the time. Here, listen to it.]
When I looked down at the ras, the pretty-boy bird flapped its wings and suddenly screamed.
[EIL, I LOVE YOUUUUUU!!]
[Some idiot probably shouted out his overflowing affections.]
[RAS ARE SO DELICIOUS~!!]
[See, it’s even praising its own deliciousness.]
While laughing with ‘hahaha’, Dole mercilessly lopped off the pretty boy’s neck. (TN: RIP, bird Olphynn.)
He throws it into the fire he prepared without plucking the feathers out. I was bemoaningly crying while looking at the fallen pretty boy’s face.
It’s kind of like, the shock was so great that it’s hard to get a hold of myself. It may not have known the meaning of those words, but had a person’s face and could talk, of course I’ll be shocked.
A big hand covers my eyes. I heard a rustle. When Saine’s hand let got, the ras’s head was no longer where it fell.
[No matter how it looks like, meat it meat.]
Prompted by Saine, I go near the fire. The meat was cooking within the fire. It looked like nothing more than a bird.
[Don’t judge its edibility on its appearance and sound. The point is whether it’s poisonous or not.]
[He’s totally right. There aren’t many people who die while embracing their moral values. There are even some who eat their kind once in extreme hunger. Particularly, humans.]
Illuminated by the fire, Dole’s face became red. Olphynn was watching the bird inside the fire without saying anything.
Will I also eat people when I feel extreme hunger? Will I try to survive until I ate somebody? I tried thinking about it but I don’t know. I can’t say that I won’t because I’ve never been in that situation before. I can’t cast away something I haven’t experienced before with just a sound argument. Even I know that there aren’t only beautiful things in the world.
But there’s just one thing that I can declare.
[No matter how hungry I get, I’ll never eat Saine.]
I looked up at Saine and said.
[But Saine, eat me. If you get hungry and there’s nothing else to eat, you have to eat me, okay?]
When Saine looked down at me, his expression looked kind of hurt for some reason.
[I won’t live long enough to eat you.]
[Why? It’s over once you’re d*ad. it may taste unpleasant, but you have to eat.]
I wish I could settle in his stomach and become his flesh and blood. Then I won’t be separated from him anymore. I believe that that’s something to be happy about.
I touched Saine’s arm while looking at the roasting ras. The firm arm gently moves and grabs my hand. My tightly grabbed hand hurts, but I don’t want to let go so I also grabbed back with just the fingers. Saine’s big hand is difficult to grab together.
When I look at Saine face to face, my neck becomes sore. He’s too tall so I have to keep looking up at him, and Saine also has to keep looking down. I can’t talk to Saine on the same level like Dole.
Although Saine and I are an odd couple, just for a bit longer, I want to walk on the same path together. Although our figures are irregular, still, I think that it’d be nice if we can be together a little longer.
But this is just my selfish thoughts, though.
The wild ras was insanely delicious. Enough that I want to say that the one in the market is a fake. Whether it WAS its face or its sound, all of those flew right out of my head. To the point that I quipped to myself, who on earth was it that was sobbing his eyes out from shock?
[…… It was amazingly~, delicious……]
[It sure was. No matter what its form, delicious things are delicious. Don’t be stingy when it comes to human food. It’s up to the concerned person whether to eat it or not. Well, I don’t recommend eating your kind, though.]
When I got over my hesitation in the beginning and started eating, I couldn’t stop myself from how delicious it was that Saine ended up giving his share to me. I would refrain myself if it was the usual, but this is irresistible. I already started eating when I asked him, Is it okay?
Saine also caught a small pig. It’s a pink pig. It’s not just a light pink, it’s very pink. We also roasted and ate the glaringly pink pig.
Because we just finished fortifying ourselves with a meal, we walk towards the deeper part of the forest. First on the list is water.
[Now then, we have to be careful from here on out. You must never get separated from us.]
I gulp and nod. Dole’s quiet and inconspicuous voice resounds in the forest.
TN: This chapter went from ehehehe, that’s funny and adorable to *sniffle* *cry* to hehehe at the last part.
I tried to finish this as soon as I can because I want to know what happens in the entire chapter so ta-da~
Olphynn look-alike bird is still funny tho. RIP.
I won’t put trigger warnings next time since I really don’t know which parts in general to warn you guys about. I don’t even know if the ones above is trigger-inducing since I just read too much or various stuff. 🙁