“Damn it… Mittens! Wake up!”
“Just 5 more minutes…”
I turn around… Wait, someone is trying to wake me up? But I’m living alone in this cave! I open my eyes and shoot up. Matthew is standing there. So it’s just him…
“Good morning, Swift!”
“Yawn, good morning, Matt!”
“You’re a surprisingly fast sleeper.”
“I’m not exactly an early riser.”
“I’m surprised you made it here. You couldn’t do that before. What changed?”
“Flynn offered to guide us. We just followed him.”
Flynn… So you need Forest Magic to navigate this forest? But didn’t have it until I reached the top of the Crystal Down! Or do you simply need a connection to this place?
“We arrived here a bell ago, but you just didn’t want to wake up. I’ve been trying to wake you for the last 10 minutes. I was about to get a bucket of cold water.”
“I can do without, thanks.”
Matt laughs and leaves my room. I look at my interface. The clock says it’s 0E:00. I get up, get dressed — I do sleep in just underwear — and move to the living room. Silas, Sain and Seth are waiting there. Faryl, Felix and Flynn are flying about and playing.
“Good morning, Swift.”
“Good morning! So… How long are you staying this time?”
“We’re staying until the day after tomorrow. Also, we brought you some flour. And we have some Poto, too! And eggs.”
Silas hands me two bags. I have a look at them. There are potatoes, I guess potato is called Poto here. Surprising, in those novels, people usually don’t know about potatoes.
“Thanks a lot! I’ll make something tasty from this, though we need to get some stuff first. I’m fresh out of ingredients.”
I put the bags into my Infinite Storage.
“I guess you mean things you can get in the forest? Let’s move then.”
“Let’s go hunting first. After that, we go gather some fruits.”
“I don’t see Raiden anywhere, did something happen?”, Seth asks.
“No, no, Raiden lives in the forest. He comes when I call him.”
As if I’ve called him, he comes flying in. He lands on the table.
“I would like to have him land on my arm but it doesn’t work out so well. His claws dig in too much.”
“You should get a falconry glove then”, Matt says.
“A falconry glove? I need to go to the city for that, don’t I?”
“Oh, yeah… you’re a hermit.”
“No, no, the gods told me, I can leave the forest any time I want. I just need to be politically neutral. For now, I just like living here.”
“Yes, I just received an oracle this night.”
“An oracle? Is something about to happen?”
For some reason, they are quite riled up.
“No, it was just the formal appointment to be the Keeper of the Crystal Down. And the long explanation of what kinds of duties and privileges that entails. In my case, the most important thing is staying politically neutral. Retreating to the forest is just to help me with that.”
“I see… So you can leave the forest…”
“Yes, I can. You seemed quite shocked about the oracle part. Is that something unusual?”
“I don’t know. Usually, we only hear about oracles when something big is about to happen. I wouldn’t know if mediums receive a formal appointment from the gods.”, Matt explains.
“Well, it might just be an exception. The position is the Keeper of the Crystal Down after all”, Seth says.
“I guess you’re right, Seth.”
“Anyway, it’s about time we left for the hunt. Raiden, where are we hunting today?”
“Err? You’re leaving that to Raiden?”
“Why not? It worked out great so far.”
Raiden flies out of the cave and comes directly back.
‘There’s trouble in the forest.’
“Trouble in the forest?” I repeat so the others can hear.
‘It’s quite an evil presence.’
At that moment I hear the ringing on a new mail. I try to open it discreetly.
Subject: Dangerous Monster in the Forest — Subjugation Request
Good morning Swift! We just detected a Giant Rabbit in the Avan Forest. Would you and your friends kindly dispose of it? You were going for a hunt anyway, weren’t you?
“Suscellu sent a message. There’s a rabbit in the forest he wants us to hunt.”
“A Giant Rabbit?”
“Yes, a Giant Rabbit.”
“If it’s only that I’m sure we can take care of it.”
“I’m surprised you’re not that surprised about the rabbit.”
“Well, Giant Rabbits aren’t that dangerous. It’s just they can decimate fields and forests for years if it’s not hunted quickly. So it makes sense for it to be hunted as fast as possible.”
“I see, Raiden, lead the way.”
We follow Raiden to the eastern parts of the forest. I speak what’s on my mind.
“I wonder why Suscellu told me to bring you with me…”
“Have you ever hunted a monster?”, Seth asks.
“No, I haven’t. Is that a problem?”
“No, not really. This should be the first Monster Hunt for Young Master as well. So how do you usually hunt?”, Seth asks.
“I make pitfalls with my Earth Magic and shoot them with arrows.”
“That could be a problem with the Giant Rabbit. Giant Rabbits can dig through any ground with ease. Try using Lightning Magic instead. Fire Magic should work as well but we’re in a forest.”
Lightning Magic… let’s just tell them.
“I may have high levels in all magic, but I haven’t actually used Lightning Magic before.”
“So you’ve been born with innate skill in magic?”
“Yeah…” I need to stay with that origin story! It’s not like I can just tell them I’m from another world!
“I’m sure you can manage. Just be careful not to zap any us.”
“I’ll try my best.”
The Giant Rabbit slowly comes into view. It’s big. I think it about twice my height. At least it’s not white and throwing snowballs. It’s calmly eating, a lot.
“So what’s the plan?”
“Young Master draws its attention. You stun it with magic. After that, you flip it on its back and kill it by stabbing it in the belly. If anything goes wrong we’ll jump in.”
“O… OK!”, Matt answers. I can hear the tension in his voice.
“Don’t worry. You can do it.”, Seth says.
Matt moves around so the rabbit is between us. I can hear him mumbling something but I can’t make out what it is.
“Hey, you damn rodent! You’re for dinner today!”
For some reason, the rabbit reacts and charges towards Matt, roaring. I guess it’s a Provoking Skill. It bounces off Matt’s shield.
I try to think about a Lighting Spell. Chain Lightning? No, my feeling tells me it would hit Matt as well. I could enchant my weapons! Or I could channel lighting through the blades. Let’s try and see what’s better. I draw my short blades and close in. I imagine my blades emitting electricity from their tip.
I jump and ram my blades into its neck. I retreat several steps. My blades are still stuck to its neck. The rabbit turns towards me. It’s all or nothing. I stretch out my hand. Lightning from my hands.
A bolt of lightning from my hands hits by blades in the neck of the rabbit. Upon impact, the rabbit convulses. It looks like it’s a success. The rabbit drops to the ground. Is it dead? Seth rushes over and flips the rabbit on its back with just one move.
“It’s not dead yet!”, he says.
The rabbit is still breathing. Matthew draws his sword and stabs into the belly of the rabbit. Blood starts spraying around. Finally, it stops breathing.
“Seems like it’s dead.”
I pull my blades from its neck and try putting the body into my Infinite Storage. It works. It must be dead.
“Yeah…” Matt doesn’t sound that happy. I look at Matt. He’s completely drenched in blood. I put my dominant hand on his shoulder.
All traces of blood vanish. Matt examines his clothes. His mood instantly improves.
“Thanks a lot. I didn’t know there was such a spell.”