Chapter 14 – Taking a Life
Exiting the meadow, we arrived along the fringe land between the mountain and forest.
Raphtalia’s fighting style had greatly improved thanks to her experience, and her movements were more skillful too.
Our herb collecting was going well. Monsters steadily kept on coming and provided us with exp, while our luggage was being overstuffed with all the item drops.
But then 'it' happened.
Before we had only fought fable-like monsters. But now we had finally encountered our first animal class creature.
A one-headed... chestnut rabbit?
That’s a weird name.
The Usapiru spotted our presence and leaped at us, attacking with its huge buck teeth.
It targeted Raphtalia after judging she was weaker.
I jumped out to protect her like usual.
It seemed that my defensive power was still higher than its attack.
“Alright! Stab it.”
“A, a living thing, will, will have blood, right..?”
I was barely able to make sense of Raphtalia’s stuttering words.
“Deal with it, we'll be fighting these kind of enemies from now on.”
Usapiru repeatedly bit me with its teeth.
“Brace yourself and bear with it. Or else you'll become too much of a burden that I'll have to abandon you.”
That’s right. Even if she’s my cherished slave; if she can’t fight then she isn't needed.
I'll just have to visit that perverse slave dealer and buy another slave, one who can fight properly.
Frightened with her eyes shut tight, Raphtalia stabbed the Usapiru multiple times with her knife.
Blood began spewing after she pulled her weapon out.
The Usapiru died with a thud and laid motionless on the ground.
Raphtalia stared at her own knife while trembling, the scene thoroughly burnt into her eyes.
Her complexion pale, she looked as if she wanted to escape from all of this.
However, we mustn't feel any remorse.
Because we'll be fighting monsters like this again and again for hundreds, even thousands of times.
Another Usapiru appeared out of a bush and it leaped at Raphtalia, trying to bite her.
I immediately prevented the attack by jumping in between the two.
“... Sorry. To be honest, I had to push you. Because I can't do anything but protect others. So I have no choice but to leave you with all the dirty work.”
The Usapiru was chewing on my arm while I told this to Raphtalia.
“There's no other alternative but for me to grow stronger. For that purpose, I need your help.”
If I don’t, then there won't be a future for me. The time limit is fast approaching and the waves of disaster will soon appear.
I had no confidence in my survival with how things stood now.
“Within one week, a world-ruining wave will spawn."
“Because of that, I want to become stronger, even if it's only a little bit.”
Raphtalia was trembling as she listened to me.
“Are you... fighting against that disaster?”
“Haha, I was told that this was my role. So I'm not doing it because I want to... Guess we're similar in that regard. I was forced to defend against the wave; there's no sense of obligation or duty in it for me."
“So, please try to understand that I don't want us going our separate ways.”
Having to raise another slave will definitely be a waste, and sending her back into that cage won't make me feel good about myself either.
But unfortunately, I have no money. If I want to buy a new slave, then I'll have to sell her.
“... Understood. Goshujin, -sama, I... will, fight.”
Color gradually returned to her pale face. She slowly nodded her head and thrust her blood-stained knife at the Usapiru’s vital point.
For some reason, her demeanor was the polar opposite of what she was like before, her eyes now shined with determination.
At the sight of the Usapiru squirming and convulsing, Raphtalia silently closed her eyes.
Then a moment later, she changed her grip on the knife and began skinning the rabbit.
“Let me do that. I don’t want you handling all the grunt work.”
I took out a knife used for dismantling, and with that the body of the Usapirus was soon dismembered.
This is reality, not a game.
It was understandable for someone to want to look away.
But after killing a living creature for the first time, I truly understood what it means to be alive in this world.
With the Usapiru’s blood staining my hand, I was able to understand what Raphtalia had just gone through.
I dismantled both rabbits and absorbed the pieces into the shield.
The requirement for Usa Leather Shield has been unsealed.
The requirement for Usa Meat Shield has been unsealed.
Usa Leather Shield
Equipment bonus: Agility +3 (Unmastered)
Usa Meat Shield
Equipment bonus: Dismantling Techniques 1 (Unmastered)
I equipped the latter shield then stood up.
“Goshujin, -sama. Please, don’t abandon me.”
Raphtalia begged me while raising her face.
She probably hated the mere thought of going back to that place, where she cried at night and was sick and famished.
Without proper care, she'd probably die in there. That would certainly leave a bad aftertaste in my mouth.
Although I'd love to imagine ridiculing that bitch until the climax of her death, it would be impractical for it to actually happen.
“You’ve properly fulfilled your role, so I won’t abandon you.”
Besides, I would be troubled if Raphtalia were to die.
But then again... That's right. She's a creature of the similar gender just like that bitch... the exact same as that bitch!
I shook my head repeatedly.
I need to stop thinking like this. It's bad for my heart.
Right now, I have to find a way to grow stronger with this slave of mine, even if just a little.
EXP 7 x 2
“I want to, lend my strength, to goshujin, -sama, desu.”
From then on, Raphtalia was unbelievably enthusiastic about charging in and skewering the monsters which appeared.
Someone who I always needed to keep safe was now being so aggressive without any inhibitions.
This was some good development, but it seemed like... she was motivated for the wrong reasons.
The way I handled matters could never be praised.
It was entirely for self-interest.
But still... these sort of things needed to be done no matter what.
When the evening came, we decided to rest within the forest. For that purpose we found a spacious area, lit some firewood, and began setting up camp.
We made a stew out of the Usapiru’s meat and edible herbs which we collected.
The remaining meat was grilled over the campfire.
Although our plan was to return back to town by tomorrow evening, we have no concrete proof that the monsters’ meat will even sell.
Since I was a bit skeptical, I used the ‘Judgement’ skill to identify the food and see if it was safe to eat.
I cut a piece of the cooked meat to confirm that there was nothing wrong with it. But I still had no idea what it tasted like.
They were just grilled and boiled so it couldn't be considered a proper cuisine.
I also activated my ‘cooking’ skill, and the quality turned from ‘normal’ to ‘a tad good’. So they shouldn’t taste terrible either.
“Here, eat up.”
Raphtalia then began devouring the cooked stew and grilled meat.
Her stomach grumbling in anticipation a little while ago, Raphtalia heartily ate with shining eyes.
After today’s fights, I became a Lvl 10 and Raphtalia also became a Lvl 10.
She finally caught up with me.
Oh well, it couldn’t be helped.
I started compounding under the light of the campfire.
Our immediate goal is to gradually save up money, then to gear ourselves up. Which is why I'll trying to create the most expensive medicine in order to sell it.
grind grind grind
I grounded the medical herbs with the mortar, then mixed the extracts together before transferring the solution into the beaker.
Recovery Potion was made.
Nutritional Supplement was made.
Again, these recipes were ones which I had already discovered.
This was the limit of “Simple Compounding Recipes 1”. Even though these two drugs were miracles made earlier from other intuitions.
The shield’s power - which was fueled by an ‘eternal torch’ that will-, who am I kidding - of ‘compounding’ had reached its limit.
Basically, most of the qualities were somewhat bad.
“... Ah chou*”
Did the effect of the medicine run out?
I silently passed her a ‘recovery potion’, and Raphtalia drank it while frowning.
Anyways, in order to acquire new sources of income, we will need to grow stronger.
“I'll watch over the campfire, you go ahead and sleep. So yeah... I'll wake you up after awhile.”
She was strangely obedient. One could see a huge difference between this and our first meeting.
“Haha, pleasant dreams. Oh right, we'll be selling those tomorrow. So go ahead and use the fur as a blanket.”
I passed Raphtalia the fur, which was fumigated while I was cooking in order to drive away fleas.
It was a little small, but it should keep the body warm after bundling yourself up, right?
Raphtalia frowned a bit after sniffing the fur’s scent.
“Is it smoky?”
“Yes. It's very smoky.”
“I thought so.”
“But, it looks very warm.”
Raphtalia snuggled up to me, leaned against my back, and closed her eyes.
Oh well, this was fine.
I continued to make medicine and threw more wood into the campfire, just waiting for the moment when Raphtalia would began shrieking like a banshee.
I wondered how long this lifestyle would continue.
It might only last for one week more, huh.
Although I shouldn’t be thinking about dying anytime soon, I should always be prepared for that possibility.
... It’s about time. Since we've been together for three days, I could somehow sense when she was about to make another uproar.
Raphtalia gently rubbed her eyes and slowly got up.
“Are you awake?”
She didn't scream.
Ah, I see. It was because she was contently sleeping against my back.
It may be a trauma, but it seems like she'll be fine if there's another person’s warmth besides her while she slept.
“... My stomach's empty.”
She got hungry again right after the feast she just ate.
I gave Raphtalia the grilled meat which was meant to be reserved for tomorrow's breakfast.
Raphtalia delectably stuffed her mouth full of the meat.
“Well then, I'll be going to sleep now. Wake me up if anything happens.”
Raphtalia nodded while munching her food.
Good grief, she became a lot more energetic. But look at how much of a glutton she turned into.