Chapter 29 - Those with Wings
I didn't encounter Motoyasu on the path back.
I thought he probably would have gone mad with anger and searched around for me, but it looked like that was a needless worry.
After I dropped off the cargo at the village, I returned to see Raphtalia feeling better.
"Were you okay?"
"Th-that was fast..."
The lumberjack was surprised at how quickly we had returned.
"Seems like this guy is a good walker."
I answered the lumberjack while petting Firo.
Firo answered energetically. Yeah, you're fast.
"Well then, shall we start seriously searching the forest?"
"Run slowly on the way back okay."
What is that? That noise, her growing period should be over right?
I heard it coming from Firo again.
It's okay if it's not a strange disease but..
That day's harvest was pretty good.
Raphtalia put in a particularly good effort and while she was at it, I got to see Firo's movement and attack power.
To be honest, she might be beating Raphtalia in speed and hitting power.
The requirements for White Usapiru Shield have been met.
The requirements for Dark Porcupine Shield have been met.
The requirements for Usapiru Bone Shield have been met.
The requirements for Porcupine Bone Shield have been met.
White Usapiru Shield True power sealed.....Equipment bonus, defense +2
Dark Porcupine Shield True power sealed.....Equipment bonus, wit +2
Usapiru Bone Shield True power sealed.....Equipment bonus, stamina up (small)
Porcupine Bone Shield True power sealed.....Equipment bonus, SP up (small)
They're all great status up types.
It would be good if I could unlock a high performing shield and become more efficient, but I don't know places that have good money or exp. So I have no choice but to honestly work hard to raise the ability of the shield.
What all these abilities I've unlocked add up to... there are too many so I don't know.
In the first place I haven't used the beginning equipment like the Orange Small Shield even once since unlocking them.
At best I've just been using the shields with exclusive effects like the Whetstone Shield when I need them.
If it's not exclusive then it affects all the shields after all.
Well at least, I won't be using the four from today again after unlocking them.
The sun went down as we slowly walked back into the village.
Raphtalia required training to get used to the cart after all.
During the trip, she felt sick many times so we repeatedly rested while slowly making progress.
In the end, we made it back after the sun had mostly set.
"I'm very sorry."
”Don’t worry about it, you’ll eventually get used to it.”
Even I think it's odd that I don't get motion sickness at all, but I have no intention saying that other people do not have any willpower.
I've hear that if you get used to it then you wont get motion sickness anymore.
So I want to get Raphtalia used to the cart quickly.
Well, if something happens then the sprinting Firo will be at fault.
At this time, something strange was already happening.
To be correct it had been happening for quite a while, but we still hadn't noticed it. No, we noticed it but decided to ignored it.
The next day.
Even I noticed the change at this point. Raphtalia was the same as me, deep in thought.
When we showed up at the stable, the change had already ended.
Firo had... no matter how you looked at it, grown far larger than the average Filoliara.
Filoliaras usually grow to about 2m 30cm. This about the same height as an ostrich.
But, Filoliaras' have a larger skeleton, in particular their heads and necks are larger.
However...Firo's height had passed 2m 80cm.
She was already at the point where if she stood up her head would reach the ceiling of the stable.
"Did I really buy a Filoliara's egg? I'm starting to want to think that I bought some other thing."
"Yes... I also think so."
Gulp, and Firo swallowed something down.
Looking closely, the chimera meat that the villagers had left in the stable was gone.
There should have been about two cows' worth of it, but it had tragically all disappeared.
Did she just eat the last of it?
"I had thought she lost her appetite but..."
"Um, is it possible that Naofumi-sama's shield's power caused her to grow this big?"
"It's plenty possible. The Familiar Shield III had a bonus called growth compensation (middle).
Na-naofumi-sama... there was a Slave Shield as well right?
"Yeah, the Slave User Shield had a similar bonus with it."
"...Um, did the power affect me?”
”Yeah, it was unlocked a while ago. So it has been affecting you a little.”
Raphtalia ran out of the stable while screaming.
"Recently, I thought my body felt light. But it was just because of Naofumi-sama right!"
"A-am I going to become big like Firo!? That's scary!"
"You're not making any growing noises right!"
"O-oh, that's right. Thank goodness, really thank goodness!"
... This doesn't change the fact that we can't make guesses in this situation.
While imagining a Raphtalia that's grown to be super macho, I turned my gaze to Firo.
"Are you thinking something rude?"
"... What should we do?"
I ignored Raphtalia's question and advanced the conversation.
"I think it would be good to return to that tent and get confirmation."
No helping it. I don't like the idea of returning to the castle town for no reason but... there was no other way.
We left Riyuuto Village as Firo energetically pulled the cart. At the same time, I was worried for Raphtalia as she fought with motion sickness.
During the trip, Firo stomach rumbled, so I fed her some food. We also fought with a few monsters. When we got to the city it was after noon.
I noticed that Firo's appearance was still changing.
Her legs and neck were gradually getting shorter. By the time I noticed she had changed to a body with short legs and a long torso like an owl.
Even then she enjoyed pulling the cart, and kept pulling it without change.
However, there was a big change in how she pulled it.
Right now she was skillfully using her hand-like wing to grip the cart's harness and pull it along.
Even her call was different, and she was becoming pure white.
As I slowly got off the cart I got a look at Firo's height.
She had shrunk to about 2m 30cm. However, she was wider too, and it seemed like she might be more intimidating. To put it badly, she looked like an amusement park's mascot, strangely fat.
"No, it's nothing"
Had Firo noticed her own change?
It was to the point where you couldn't tell what kind of animal she was.
"Well... I wonder what this was, thinking about it I had nothing but words of surprise, yes.
The slave trader, while repeatedly wiping away his sweat, looked closely at Firo.
Firo had gotten an even larger breadth and width, making her look like some kind of owl monster.
Where did that friendly ostrich-like form go to.
"So, I wanted to ask directly. This guy is the monster hatched from the egg I bought from here. What kind of egg did you give me?"
Depending on how this turns out...
I whistled with my finger and Firo threatened to attack.
The slave traded seemed to panic and check over some kind of document several times.
"Th-that's weird. The supply papers we have show that the egg Hero-sama bought definitely had a Filolial inside of it."
"This is a Filolial?"
I threw a fairly big piece of food to Firo and she skillfully caught it in her mouth and swallowed it down.
Come to think of it, I feel like that growing noise that had been coming from Firo stopped.
Did she finally grow into an adult body...?
"Still, even though it's only been a few days to have grown it this large, as expected of Hero-sama. I'm moved."
"Don't use flattery to get out of this. Hurry up and tell me what kind of egg I bought."
"Uh... did this monster have this shape from the start?"
I gave the slave trader a rundown on Firo's growth from when she was born to now.
"Well then, she was definitely a proper Filolial up to the middle right?"
”Yeah, and it has grown to the point where you can’t tell what kind of monster she is now though.”
While tilting her head in a somehow cute pose, Firo seemed to pick up on my slight irritation.
Who's fault do you think it is that I have to do this.
Using her whole body, Firo slid up and snuggled me. Being hugged by her fairly large wings I felt Firo's body heat that was hotter than a bird's. Truthfully it was just hot.
Raphtalia frowned and grabbed my hand.
It somehow seemed like Raphtalia and Firo were talking with their eyes.
"What's with you guys?"
"No, it's nothing."
Both of them shook their heads to convey their intentions. What was that?
"So? What is it?"
The slave trader was very troubled.
He deals with monsters but does he not know how monsters grow?
"For the time being, I will quickly contact a specialist and investigate, so could I have you leave her with me? Yes."
"Yeah, don't make a mistake and kill her so you won't have to say 'I don't know'"
"I understand of course, but it will take a little time for the specialist to come here. Yes."
"...Well, that's fine. I'll leave it to you. If something happens I'll just take compensation money."
At my response Firo flapped her wings like she was protesting.
However, the slave trader's workers put a collar on her and moved her to a cage. It might have been since I was close by, she entered the cage surprisingly obediently.
"Alright then, I'll be back to get her tomorrow. Have an answer by then."
I warned him just in case, and left the tent with Raphtalia.
I still heard Firo's loud voice even after leaving the tent.
That night...I was staying at the inn when suddenly the inn keeper called out to me.
"Hm? What is it?"
"There's a customer here to see you."
Who is it? I thought as I went up to the counter where the inn keeper was waiting. There was a man I hadn't seen before.
"What business do you have?"
"Umm, I... am someone from the monster trader."
Monster trader... ahh, the slave trader. He definitely can't make a public introduction that way.
"Um, my master has ordered me to ask you to take the monster you left with us back."
It's only been a few hours... what exactly happened.
I went to the tent with Raphtalia to hear Firo's cry still echoing.
"I'm sorry to disturb you so late at night. Yes."
The slave trader, seeming a little tired, came out to greet us.
"What happened? The plan was for you to take care of her until morning right?"
"That was my intention, but Hero-sama's monster is a little bit of a problem."
Firo had been flapping wildly with her wings and finally calmed down when she saw us.
"She's broken 3 iron locks, I've had 5 workers who tried to subdue her sent to the hospital, and 3 of the monsters I used have suffered serious injury. Yes."
"I'm not paying for that."
"I tip my hat to Hero-sama whose first concern even now is money."
Is this slave trader serious?
"So, what happened? Did you figure it out?"
"No... just, I've found an eye-witness report that says she has a body similar to a Filolial king."
"To be correct there's talk that there is a Filolial that rules over a group. It's quite famous among adventurers."
It looks like the slave trader had used all his information network to check for some kind of hint to her identity.
It seems like there's a large group of wild Filolials, and he heard a conversation mentioning that the one who runs it is the king.
The Filolial ruler that seldom appears before humans is the king Filolial… So his conjecture is that Firo is one too.
This is hearsay.
If I unlock the shield crest for this monster, I might be able to determine whether it's true or not, but that would mean killing Firo.
Even if I use her feathers or blood, she's my monster so the only thing to come out would be the Monster User Shield. It seems like a light bulb isn't coming to me....
I don't have the needed level or series.
I look closely at Firo.
The monster's species name doesn't come up in the part monster status... but if it's an enemy I can get it though.
"So, what do you call that kind of monster."
"It's called a Filolial king, or queen."
"Firo is female so I guess queen."
"R-right... if it's this attached to Hero-sama, then as it stands if you tried to sell it to me I'd be troubled."
She went wild while crying out and broke 3 iron locks, was it?
Damn! My plan was completely ruined!
Well, I didn't plan on selling her though.
"Hm? Did you just hear a strange voice?"
"Well now? I feel like I heard a voice like that too."
While covering her mouth Raphtalia pointed to the cage Firo was in. Looking the same, the slave traders workers also pointed to the cage.
The slave trader and I tilted our heads wondering what was going on and turned around.
There, with a faint light remaining, white... with white wings was a naked girl inside the cage reaching her hand out to me.