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KENS Chapter 71

Chapter 71 King of Griffins (1)

The sun had not yet begun to rise, and inside my dark room I unsheathed my mithril sword and checked its blade under the light of the lamp. I never got the sword chipped while in Merdiore in the first place so there should be no problem but it’s just a uncontrollable habit of mine to check it anyway before an actual fight.

That’s probably because I love swords. Checking its condition, I maintained it properly. I feel like when I’m doing this, I am calm inside.

Sitting down on the floor, spreading out a piece of cloth, I lay all my weapons on top of it. Including the daggers and knife. Picking up each one by one, I cleaned the blade with a new piece of cloth and removed any stains that might have been on the blade. But they weren’t that dirty in the first place so I finished pretty quickly. Picking up one of my daggers, I gave it a swing and the sound of the air getting cut by its sharp blade reached me. Satisfied from that pleasant, familiar sound, I put the dagger back in its sheath.

The dragon bone knife, as its name would suggest was made out by carving and shaping the bone of a dragon, so its blade looked pretty rough but its edge was much sharper than even a normal sword. To test its sharpness, I pushed it on my finger nail and it cleanly, without much resistance, cut the tip of my nail.

After checking every weapon like this, I took in a breath, and then slowly, with ease, breathed out. When I picked up the mithril sword to put it back in its sheath, the door was knocked on.

“I’m coming in.”

“Sure.”

Saying that, the one who entered was Feirona. Even though it was still so early in the morning, there was no sign of sleepiness on his face. On his back was a bow and quiver and a sword on his waist. This look, that I had grown used to seeing, still made me feel confident as well.

“There’s still time before we set out but, how’re the preparations going?”(elf)

“Yeah, I’m almost done.”

“I see.”

Feirona took off his weapons and sat down on the bed. While seeing him, I took out Ermenhilde out of my pocket. Gripping the gold medal in my palms, faint jade green magical energy leaked out from it and turned into a sword in my hand. The blade was pure white as if it was made of silver and it shone under the light of the lamp.

Only one of my covenants was released right now. Even though I’m supposed to be fighting griffins soon, this really makes me uneasy. The only covenant released was my fighting will but that really made me feel complicated.

[What?]

“nah, just thinking that the blade was really pretty as usual.”

[fufu, I see.]

When I gave my honest impression, Ermenhilde clearly spoke up happily. Well, if she’s happy that’s good as well.

“What about you? Are you done with the prep?”(renji)

“yeah, no problem here. That said, this is my first time fighting a griffin. I’m not sure what I’d need against them either.”

As I asked that to Feirona, he replied back in a relaxed voice. There was no sense of unease or over eagerness in his voice.

I was amazed to see him so relaxed even when he’s about to fight against an enemy that he’s never fought before.

“Don’t worry too much. With your skills, it won’t be much of problem.”(renji)

“Being told that by you does make it more reassuring.”

“Well, that’s great then.”

Saying that, I shined Ermenhilde’s blade under the lamp. The temper line of the sword was as straight as it could have been, without a single bend. Though it’s not as sharp as Masaki-chan’s blade, it can still easily cut apart goblins and Orcs like butter.

“And, how’s your own condition?”(elf)

“As usual. I so scared to fight that I’m shaking.”

“Fuh, well that’s reassuring as well.”

“Oh leave me alone.”

Replying that, I averted my gaze from the Divine blade in my hand. And the sword dissipated into green magical energy.

“It’s very like you to be the same as usual even before a big fight I guess.”

“What? Did you want me to be actually more nervous?”

“No way. If you started acting nervous, it’ll disrupt my mood as well.”

“What an unfair remark.”

Giving a small laugh, I stood up. Putting away the items I used to inspect my equipment, I cracked my enck once.

“Now then, what about ms Francesca? You guys have been with her for the past few days right?”

“Look forward to it. She worked really hard together with Mururu so that she could surprise you.”

[fufu. To surprise him, eh?]

“Well, can’t wait to see that.”(renji)

I looked outside the window. The sun will begin to rise soon.

It’s about time when Aya and others woke up as well. After getting breakfast first, then meeting up with ms Francesca, we’ll make camp in the plains near the bare mountain and annihilate those griffins.

Honestly, I hoped to have Yuuichirou’s strength with us as well but he’s finally settled down with a woman and is walking on to a new path. It’d be boorish of me to be an obstacle to that.

Well, considering his personality, he wouldn’t have cared at all about it though.

But he’s also the type who hates fighting. That’s why he chose a job like gravekeeping that doesn’t require him to use the powers of a Hero. He might have accepted if I had asked but that’s slightly different from him voluntarily accepting it I think.

Now knights and adventurers have to fight continuously because it’s their job but making someone fight solely because he’s strong is——or maybe I’m being naïve here as well. But even while knowing that, I didn’t ask Yuuichirou to fight means that even I still have lots to learn. If I was hoping to keep danger to a minimum, I should have relied on Yuuichirou, I understand that very well.

“Then, let’s see if she has what it takes.”(renji)

“Don’t make her do something too rash though.”(elf)

“I know. If I let such a good girl get injured, her father would kill me.”

I recalled Leonhart, [Ms Francesca’s father]. For a  merchant he was well built and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone said that he was an adventurer. In a pure competition of strength, I can very easily see thing go badly for me.

[He let Ms Francesca go understanding and accepting the risk and conditions so I don’t think you have to worry about that though.]

“I can’t be like that now can I? It’s not my hobby to see beauties get injured.”

[Nobody cares what your hobbies are.]

“hah, I guess so.”

Also, a battle is to put your life on the line. Your priority should be to stay alive till the end. Even I understand that.

When I gave shrug saying that I was just joking, Ermenhilde gave a really heavy sigh.

And after a while, the door was knocked on.

“Renji, Feirona, are you two awake?”

“Yeah.”

When I answered, the door opened.

It was Solnea who appeared. She had already changed out from her nightgown and was in her usual black one-piece dress. But, there was also a blue bird on her shoulder.

“So you’re awake already. The sun hasn’t even risen yet. Why not sleep a bit more?”(renji)

“Because Aya and others started moving around already. And it’s almost morning anyway so.”(sol)

“I guess that’s true as well.”

Giving a laugh, I sat down on my bed. Seeing me, Solnea also took a seat on one of the chairs in the room.

At the same time, the small bird on her shoulder flew up and sat down on mine. As it chirped right beside my ear, I gave a smile. Animals sure can be cute, really.

As I gently caressed its head with my finger it came closer as if it liked getting spoiled by me.

“What happened Solnea? I thought I told you that it’d be difficult to be with us for today, right?”

“I remember Feirona, but Aya and others said that we were going to take breakfast right now.”

“Oh so you came to call us, eh. Thanks.”

“Don’t mention it.”

So it’s already time. I was about to stretch my body but remembered that the small bird was on my shoulder and stopped halfway. Seeing me make such a half gesture, Feirona gave a smile and stood up and put his equipment back on. When I also stood up while also paying mind to the small bird, Ermenhilde gave an exaggerated sigh.

[Are you planning to take that bird with you as well?]

“No way. Solnea, take care of it while we’re gone okay?”

“Understood.”

When I said that, the blue bird flew back to Solnea’s shoulder. Was this the result of Utano-san’s training or had it become more intelligent simply from turning into a familiar? Either way, I’ll have it keep an eye on Solnea while we’re away as well. It seemed like bird had understood me well.

“Now then, let’s do some proper work for once eh?”(renji)

“Seriously. You’ve been constantly away from guild work from the day we came to Merdiore so be sure to work hard today.”(elf)

[umu. Make sure to work him hard.]

“………No but, I did important stuff like confirming the number of Griffins etc you know?”

Why do they say things that’ll make me instantly uneager about this? While dropping my shoulders, I put on my mantle and seeing me like that Feirona in a low voice but clearly, laughed out. I wonder how much was he serious and how much was it just a joke.

“Don’t expect too much okay? There’s not much I can do here.”(renji)

“I know, of course. We’ll only ask you to do things that we know you can.”

“I wonder about that.”

When I gave a shrug, this time Ermenhilde was the one who laughed. Even though we’re about to go face a really dangerous beast, there was no sense of tension in our talks. While thinking that this was a good thing, I left the room.

“Renji.”

Just then, Solnea spoke up.

Wondering what was wrong I turned around to see her, in a rare moment……..well not sure of that but anyway, Solnea was making a somewhat meek face.

“What’s wrong?”(renji)

“Will you be fine?”

A very quiet voice reached my ears. Maybe because she came when I was checking my weapons, she was looking at my weapons with a curious gaze.

“What do you mean?”

“No, I heard that you will be heading to a battle soon so..”

Hearing that, I tilted my head confused at what had happened. I had already talked to her about the Griffin subjugation and though the enemy was a demonic beast, since we know it’s habits and weaknesses…….well, I did explain that we’d be fine.

There’s no certainty to anything but I do make sure to complete a job as safely as possible.

I had explained all that to her but was she still worried about something?

Glancing towards Feirona, maybe he sensed something from Solnea’s reaction because he was currently resting his back to the wall and standing with arms folded. It seems he plans on waiting till this conversation ends properly.

“We haven’t had our game of chess yet.”(sol)

“Hm?”

At first I didn’t get what she said.

Chess, chess? After that word rotated in my head for a while, I finally got what Solnea was saying and also realized the answer.

She’s talking about how we talked about having that chess game yesterday but still haven’t played yet.

“I see. Well, why don’t we have that match after we return? Is that okay with you?”(renji)

“Yes.”

When I said that, she gave a slight nod. She really is like an obedient child, not being selfish or wilful at all. Well, it’d be troublesome if I actually had such a big kid though. Being a father at my age doesn’t suit me at all. Even though I do basically act as a substitute father to all the children.

“Please come back safely.”(sol)

“Su, sure.”(renji)

Since this was the first time she said something like that, I stuttered a bit. No wait I feel like she did say something similar when I went to participate in the tournament back at the capital but at that time the way she spoke felt like it was obvious for me to win or something.

Even though getting so surprised at her words should normally be considered rude, Solnea simply continued to stare up towards me without showing any change of expression.

Well this was a first. Rather than feel surprised at being stared by a beauty like this, I was honestly more surprised at this change in her. So as to regain my composure, I cleared my throat and took deep breaths. And Solnea continued look at me with emotionless eyes.

“I got it. I’ll be sure to come back safe………..It’s a promise.”

I was able to say that normally. No, should I say that those words came to me unconsciously.

It’s an old habit.

——-I promise. To definitely fulfil it. To protect it. To return back safe. No matter how strong, big, or ferocious my opponent may be, because I promised, and to fulfil that promise.

[You sure about this?]

“hm?”

[I thought you always said that you won’t make promises so easily? Using something like ‘it’s difficult to fulfil them’ as an excuse.]

“It’s fine. Now that I’ve said it, I’ll keep it.”

[I see.]

Saying that, I walked off.

It must not be my imagination that Ermenhilde’s voice seemed clearly more cheerful than usual.

Seeing me like that, Feirona didn’t even try to hide his smile as he walked alongside me.

“How very reliable indeed.”(elf)

“Don’t tease me too much. I’m just a weak little human after all.”

[And already, you’re talking like that again…………]

“Well, I’ll moderately work hard I guess.”

I promise. I’ll work hard. Those are words I had been constantly avoiding for a while now.

It makes me really itchy but——to move forward, it’s a path, words I can’t avoid.

And finally as I came down to the first floor while thinking of such things, Aya and Mururu, who were already changed into their normal clothes, and Ms Francesca, who must have come here pretty early, were sitting on a table together having a chat.

Realizing we had come down the stairs as well, she, slightly nervously, gave a bow towards me. Seeing her like that made me recall how she was when we first made and I ended up laughing slightly. Compared to back then, Ms Francesca has grown up a lot. As people who travelled with her, we know that the best.

And we also know that if she keeps on working hard, she can grow even further.

“Good morning, Ms Francesca.”

“Good morning, Renji-sama.”

“What happened? We were supposed to meet up at the main gates right? Did you get too excited and not sleep or something?”(renji)

“………fufu. You could say that.”(fran)

Maybe she felt something from my words, she removed her tense expression and gave a smile. I think she was probably thinking of the same thing as I was.

When I first met her, the next day after I saved her to be exact, I recalled how she was awake so early back then as well.

It was a nostalgic piece of memory. But others who didn’t know of that could only look at her confused as to why she suddenly smiled like that. Well, she’d probably tell them if anyone were to ask though. It’s not really some kind of secret after all.

“now then, let’s quickly have our breakfast and head to work, shall we?”(renji)

“………….”

But when I said that, Mururu looked up towards me in a suspicious manner. I looked at others wondering if I said something strange but they didn’t seem to show any reaction.

“What happened?”(renji)

“Did something happen?”(mururu)

Hmm. Unable to understand what she meant, I could only look back at her for a while.

“Nothing really.”(renji)

“I see.”

And, when I said that, she didn’t pay any more attention to it and turned away.

“Weird girl.”(renji)

“I’m not. Renji, you’re just easy to understand.”(mururu)

“But you’re definitely not though.”(renji)

Well, I guess even she does get easy to understand when it is anything concerning food.

I wonder if she picked up on something. Beastmen are very sensitive to the subtleties of emotions as well after all. But the fact that she didn’t try to pursue it any further was very Mururu like indeed.

But still—–

“It quite hurt to be called as easy to understand by you.”(renji)

“……..And, you were also rude in return.”(mururu)

“Well, sorry about that.”

When I gave an insincere apology, she lightly elbowed my side. I guess you can call such a relationship to be an intimate one as well.

.

.

.

(Part 2)

The difference between demonic beasts and normal monsters, in my opinion, was similar to the relationship between humans and beastmen.

Demonic beasts were a more superior version that held the agility and the toughness of beasts. But unlike beastmen, they can even use magic—–especially spirit magic that comes with the strong protection of the spirits. Griffins were the same.

A winged lion. It’s claws could cut through even steel easily, they could run faster than horses, and could even fly. And they also had the divine protection of Sylph making them able to use wind type spirit magic.

Honestly speaking, even the biggest strongest Ogre in this continent would be put in a lower level than a griffin. The main reason being that they could fly. After all, human’s can’t fly. The protection of the Sylph helps them against arrows as well and because it was a winged demonic beast, it was excelled at moving in the air. It could easily dodged any normally thrown projectiles like stones or fireballs.

Now then how are you supposed to take them down?

First method was to depend on pure numbers to drag it down to the ground and kill it. It was the tactic Dagram and others used during the first subjugation. This method didn’t require much specific planning. But at the same time, it was also equally dangerous.

And then there’s was the other way, the one we’d be using today. That as to lure it out and then trap it. And so, to find bait to use for the lure, I was currently inside the woods.

“fuu.”

Drawing the mithril sword out of its sheath, I faced the goblins that were hiding in a thicket. There were 2 of them. Both of them held a rusted, unmaintained knife in their hands.

“Renji-sama.”

“I know.”

I gave my sword a swing. Did it get more wary due to the sound of air cutting, the goblins clearly seemed to be putting all strength in their body. It was 2 vs 2. Ms Francesca held her short sword in a natural stance. The length of our swords were different but her stance seemed to be somewhat familiar to mine.

Loose. Her whole body seemed to be relaxed but her gaze was stuck to the goblins so that she could instantly react to any kind of movement.

[Is there a need to be so cautious against such opponents?]

“Stuupid. If I let my guard down against mere goblins and got even slightly hurt, Aya would laugh at me.”

[I don’t think she would but………..but yeah, she will shocked at least.]

“See? The image of Yamada Renji inside her would completely shatter if something like that happened.”

[I’m pretty sure that image already crumbled a long time ago and has been buried into the ground though.]

I guess so, I laughed.

“Ms Francesca, take the left side.”

“Fufu, yes.”

Both of us, at the same time, moved to either sides. Matching us, the two goblins also split to face us.

Now then, then goblin charged towards me without being on guard and with its momentum, it swung down its knife at me. Deflecting it away with the sword’s broad part, I destroyed the goblin’s balance.

Checking over at Ms Francesca’s side, she used the moment where her short sword and the goblin’s knife clashed to use her other hand to stab an ice dagger into the opponents chest.

How clever. Sword an magic. It looks easy to do but how many swordsmen or magicians can actually do that in a real battle? At the very least I think it’d be too difficult for me. That said, I can’t use magic since I don’t have even a speck of magical energy in me in the first place though. While moving my body, my mind was thinking of completely different things.

While still in my thoughts, I dodged the goblin aiming for me with minimal movement and guided it away. Downward swings, horizontal slashes, avoiding all such easy attacks, my back reached a tree. It must have thought of me stopping as an opportunity as it tried to stick its knife in me. I repelled that knife with the dragon knife I held in my other hand.

With a shrill sound, that rusted knife flew in the air. The goblin, confused, looked at its own hand having lost its weapon. I kicked its stomach and blew him towards Ms Francesca.

“Ms Francesca!”

I called her name. reacting to my voice, she turned this way and without panicking stabbed the goblin that flew over to her instantly. From the chest of the goblin that was only as big as an elementary schooler, the short sword stuck out. After spasming violently for a second, its body became lifeless.

“Looks like your reaction time has grown quite a lot as well.”(renji)

“Really?”

When I said that, she made a happy expression as she withdrew her sword from the goblins body.

Her expression was still that of a lovely noble girl but what she was doing was monster extermination. The gap between the two things was so strong that I’m sure I’m not the only one who would get a complicated feeling inside.

It’s nice that she was smiling but she was still holding a blood stained sword in her hand as well.

“But still, why do we need goblins for the griffin subjugation?”(fran)

“For the bait.”

“But wouldn’t it be easier and safer to just buy orc meat from the market?”

“That would cost money and above all, it won’t be fresh meat.”

While answering to her questions, I picked up the goblins by the nape of its neck. Though small, they still weighed about 30Kg each. Holding one in both hands, it’s 60Kg weight load on me.

While pulling the goblins along, we left the place. Behind me, Ms Francesca sheathed her sword with a practised movement.

“You really have been using that sword for quite a while now right?”(renji)

“I guess so?”

“Has it not started to wear out yet?”

“That’s, well, yes but if I maintain it properly it’s very much useable.”

Saying that, she gently caressed the handle of the short sword lovingly. Looks like she’s quite attached to it but really, she’s been using it for 6 months now, it should be slowly starting to wear out by now.

Even if not, she had been practicing a lot with Feirona and Mururu these days as well. We’re in the middle of a job right now but I really should examine it later. Well, I’m also only slightly better than an amateur so there’s only little of what I can do in terms of maintenance.

It’d be better to show it Kudou. She still hasn’t returned to her house in Merdiore but seeing how she hates trouble, she’ll return as soon as the griffin problem is resolved.

I’m pretty sure she heard the details from Utano-san and decided not to return worried that she might get dragged into this mess as well. That’s the kind of woman she is. She understands my personality pretty well as well, you could say.

[You really treasure it a lot eh?]

“Yes. It’s one of my few treasures.”

“Calling a sword that can be bought from any store as treasure is quite unusual though.”

“Maybe so. But I think it depends on the person what they consider a treasure.”

[That’s true.]

“Yes.”

For some reason, Ms Francesca and Ermenhilde seemed to have come to some kind of mutual understanding. As a weapon and someone who treats weapons preciously, I guess they just connected well.

That said, it’s not like I’m one to talk. I do treat my partner very preciously and it was the same for the mithril sword, knife and the daggers as well.

But that, and clinging to a weakening weapon is two different things. I want to explain her that but………how should I say it?

“Well, it’s too late to worry about the weapon though.”

I thought that but that’s nothing more than putting away a problem for later. Calling it a ‘problem’ might be an exaggeration though. I couldn’t remedy the situation right now anyway.

While talking like that, we soon reached the exit from the woods and the place where we separated from Aya and the others.

There my comrades were standing with almost 10 goblins already taken down. Even though we’ve only killed 2 in the same time. So fast. Half of those have huge holes in their chest though.

Aya must have blown them with her magic. So easy to understand.

“Sorry. We were a bit slow.”(renji)

“nah, we came back just now as well.”

“I see.”

The conversation seemed similar to a couple meeting up for a date. That said, I doubt such customary type of conversation even exists in this world so it might be just my imagination as well.

While in such stupid thoughts, I threw the two goblins on the mountain of corpses as well.

“Now then,”

Taking a breath, I cracked my neck. And removing my gloves, I drew out my knife.

“I’m about to do something slightly disgusting so you might want to get away a bit Ms Francesca.”(renji)

“Eh?”

“He’s about to cut open the goblin corpses and lure the griffins out with the smell of blood.”

Mururu gave the explanation in my stead. Hearing that, Ms Francesca took a step back. Her expression was clearly stiff as well.

Though not showing it clearly, Feirona wasn’t making a very good expression either.

Friffins were carnivores and due to the effect of Sylph’s protection, their sense of smell was incredible. So the easiest way to lure out griffins was to use the smell of blood and flesh. The fresher the better. They’re not some gourmets but they are smart enough to tell the difference between fresh meat and meat bought from a store.

Thanks to that though, just gathering this many goblin corpses would be effective.

While explaining that, I kneeled down near one of the corpses.

“Eh, umm, let, let me help —–“(fran)

“No need to force yourself. Go stand aside with Aya. Feirona you as well, go stand on top of a tree.”(renji)

“Should I just aim from there with my bow?”

“Just aim at the goblins that would also get attracted from the smell. Griffins won’t be affected by normal arrows.”

Saying that, I looked towards Aya who was sitting quite far away on top of a pretty big rock. Even if she has gotten used to killing and hurting monsters, she still isn’t used to seeing a corpse mutilated like this in front of her so she quickly goes away as far as possible.

And I don’t really consider that to be a bad thing either. Every person has something they just can’t get used to. In fact it’d be weird for a girl to actually get used to seeing a monster—that too a humanoid one, get split open like this.

Mururu was, well, she’s a beastwoman so its fine.

In Elfreim, everyone still lives by the principle of self sufficiency. Now though they won’t eat goblins that barely have flesh on them, Orcs and other creatures of its subspecies and other monsters are all precious food. They are taught how to cut open such creatures from childhood so there was no surprise.

“Should I help as well?”(mururu)

“Nah, it’d be bad if the smell caught to you. You should also stay a bit away.”

“Got it.”

An important point to keep note of was that if the smell stuck to you as well, you’ll get noticed by the demonic beast due to their strong sense of smell. Since it couldn’t be helped in my case, I’ll be acting as decoy. Well, that’s not a new thing for me though.

It was our fighting way from back then, I’ll be the decoy and others would use the chance to strike and kill the monsters. It’s dangerous, scary, and I don’t want to die; I always thought that but once I got used to it, it ended up becoming our main way of fighting instead. I could even suppress my sense of fear with pure willpower as well.

……….to say it in a  more embarrassing way, I thought that as long as I can trust my comrades, we could survive any situation.

While in such thoughts, I opened up the goblins stomach with my knife. I wonder since when did I stop feeling anything even while opening up corpses like this. It must be the same as how I got used to fighting and killing things as well. While thinking of such philosophical things, I cut open its belly and let the smell of blood spread in the air.

At least with this much smell around, it shouldn’t be able to discern me alone. In the end, I used the water bag on my waist to wash my hands and put on my gloves.

[You’ve really gotten used to doing this eh?]

“How many times have I done this already? I’d get used to it even if I didn’t want to.”

[fumu.]

“Humans, whether for better or worse, are very adaptive creatures in that sense, Ermenhilde.”

I wonder if my usage of those words was apt here or not though. It feels like the crime scene of crazy serial murderer. It may sound weird seeing I am the one who did it but really, I want to at least put a blanket or something on top of these. But that would only make my own effort useless though.

“Ms Francesca.”

As I walked towards the females gathered together, I spoke up the name of the one I needed.

“We’re getting on top of trees as well.”(renji)

“Wh, Yes!”(fran)

[…….you’re already so nervous. Will you be fine?]

“I, I’ll be fine.”

There’s no need to be so nervous…….well, I guess anyone would be at their first time.

Aya and Mururu hid in a nearby bush and Feirona was on top of a tree with his bow ready at a point where the girls and the goblin corpse were both in his view.

And me and Ms Francesca climbed up right atop where the corpses were lying. While climbing on to a large branch, we waited for the griffins to come.

“Does it smell?”(renji)

“Eh?”

“The blood. I was right in it after all. If it smells bad, you can move a bit away.”

“Ah, no, it’s fine…….the smell isn’t that bad.”

The way she said it means that I still was smelling though. Was she kind or just honest? While thinking of that, I moved slightly away from her.

I can’t move too far away as we were sitting on a branch but this should be better, even if only slightly.

In contrast, even though Ms Francesca was so close to me, I couldn’t smell anything nice since the smell of blood had completely disrupted my nose. How sad.

“So, umm, what do we do next?”(fran)

“Once the griffins come down to eat the goblin corpses, we’ll jump down to stab them.”

“………that’s it?”

“That’s it. It’s a simple but effective method.”

Saying that, I lightly caressed the handle of the mithril sword.

“Monsters and Demonic beasts. What do you think is the similarity in those two?”(renji)

“Similarity, is it?”(fran)

She spoke the question back like a parrot. Did the way I asked it wrong?

“They have a heart and think with their brains.”(renji)

“Ah.”

“Yes, same as humans. Once the heart or brain gets crushed, they die.”

And the goblin corpses were right below us. By jumping down from here, you could clearly aim for both heart or the brain. Right up top is a clear blind spot for the griffins.

No matter how strong the protection of Sylph they might have, it’s a distance where they’d be too late to act even after noticing.

The [Arrow reflecting ward] may be able to deflect away light things like arrows but it can’t divert heavy things like a human body. Basically, the [Ward] can’t deflect things with great mass and weight.

I explained it all to ms francesca since we had nothing better to do till the griffins came. By the way, in the meantime, the number of dead goblins kept on increasing from Feirona’s arrows.

“……..haah.”

“That’s because magic has lots of weaknesses as well. Thinking around those is pretty interesting you know.”

“And Renji-sama who can think of all that is pretty amazing as well though.”

“Not really. I’m just a bit more open-minded than normal that’s all.”

Utano-san says that to me many times as well. Was it a compliment?

While I was thinking of that, Feirona, who was in my view, averted his gaze from the goblin corpses and turned towards the mountain. Following his gaze, I saw Griffins flying this way. I could sense Ms Francesa take a gulp.

“Now then, it’s time for work Ms Francesca.”

“Yes.”

When I said that in a small voice, she replied in a low voice as well.

Seeing her  gaze was nailed on the griffins, without making her jump from surprise, I poked at her defenceless shoulder.

“No need to be so nervous. You have comrades so don’t worry about messing up. In fact, just think that it’d be fine even if you mess up a bit.”

“……….Sure.”

[For once, you’re being pretty gentle.]

It’s not that rare right? I shrugged skilfully while still on the branch.

After a short pause, I turned back towards the griffins. Were they cautious of their surroundings, the griffins didn’t land easily.

If it was Aya, she could strike them down from such distance but not Ms Francesca. Of course, neither can I.

First, we need to have them land on the ground and take the bait. We must endure till then.

I wonder how much time had passed. A few minutes or more than that? Or maybe less?

Finally, the Griffins grew less wary and flapped their wings to come down to the ground. Covered in dark brown hair, their wings were of the same colour. Its head was white and beak golden. Its body was a bit more than 3m big and if their wingspan was to be included, it’d be close to 6m.

Even with such a big body, there was no sound as it walked on the ground. That was no because it was just that light stepped but due to the Sylph’s protection, so that they could approach its prey silently.

“So big……….”

Ms Francesa muttered in a very low voice.

“This is the average size. Once they grow up a bit more, they grow almost twice as big.”

“That big!”

While sensing her gasp, I slowly withdrew the mithril sword from my sheath.

[Not using me?]

“I doubt more that more than one or two restraints have been released anyway. This is easier to use.”

[muu]

No matter how strong the enemy, the conditions for the release of my constraints is set. When it’s not a descendant of the demon god and not strong enough to be considered very dangerous, I could tell how many constraints will be released.

If 3 or 4 get released, I will use Ermenhilde but if not, the Mithril sword was more convenient. It’s sharpness wasn’t inferior to Ermenhilde either and there was no danger even if it broke. But it’d be a big problem if something happened to Ermenhilde. Or rather, in such a situation I don’t want to force Ermenhilde unreasonably.

“Look closely Ms Francesca.”

The griffin walked closed to the goblin corpse and reached for it with its beak. Choosing that moment,

“It’s heart is right beside the base of the wing, at the centre of its back.”

Saying that, I jumped from the branch. The distance down till the griffin was about 3m. holding the sword in both hands, I put all of my weight into it and pierced through the griffin’s back.

It gave out a long cry but I definitely felt that the blow was fatal.

It tried to fly again but with its heart pierced, it was unable to flap its wings and fell down to the ground.

“………I was so worried that it might struggle for an instant.”

[pathetic.]

To my muttering, Ermenhilde spoke in a truly sad voice. I can’t help it can I? the opponent is multiple times bigger than me. If I got attacked by its claws, it could tear me up easily.

Even with setting such a perfect trap, scary things were still definitely scary.

Thinking that, I climbed back up. Since ms Francesca was in a skirt, I paid attention to not look up as I climbed and sat back down in my previous spot.

“Next will be Ms Francesca’s turn.”

“Y-yes!”

[no need to get so worked up. As long as they don’t come in multiple numbers together, there’s no need to be that on guard.]

“Demonic beasts are usually stronger but in turn, they aren’t very good at using their heads.”

In the end, they’re still animals. Since they move on their instincts they have sharp senses but they can’t win against their own hunger. Even while knowing it might be a trap, they end up heading towards the food in front of them.

As said by Ermenhilde, if they really don’t come in multiple numbers, this trap could be used multiple times. Well, this kind of trap only works on Griffins and similar beasts though.

I glanced towards Aya and Mururu just to see them sigh in relief as their shoulders were drooped.

[Then, while wishing the next one will come alone as well, let’s wait again.]

“……..Oi, you idiot. Why did you make such a flag raising comment.”

[What’s that supposed to mean?]

While we talked like that, the sound of flapping of wings came to me again.

Looking towards it, two griffins were heading towards us. Feirona with his bow ready and arrow nocked, looked towards me.

He was asking me what to do now that there were two coming. I gave a signal with my hand for him to standby and thought of what to do.

Well, if I just needed to subjugate them quickly, the best would be to ask Aya but if Ms Francesca is to travel along with us, I want her to get as much experience as possible. But still, two at the same time might be too dangerous for her.

I thought of various things inside my head.

“Now then, let’s work hard shall we?”(renji)

“Eh?”

“I’ll be the decoy so Ms Francesca do something to stop their movements somehow.”

“Somehow?…….is it?”

“Yes. somehow.”

Saying that, without hesitation, I jumped to the ground. The smell of goblin blood can’t be removed that easily. Then it’s the easiest for me to get their attention.

After that, let’s trust in Aya and Francesca who won’t be noticed.

It has always been this way. Aya who knows that, I wonder how she sees my actions.

I think she might be at her wit’s end as well.

As my feet landed to the ground, I drew my mithril sword and held it in my right hand.

[By the way, what’s a ‘flag’?]

“When something happens which is completely opposite to what you just say, basically.”

[What kind of magic is that?]

“It’s just a type of omen.”

Well, maybe it’s slightly different than that?

I had enough composure to think of such things. Feeling surprised at that, I realized I was smiling.

Now then.

“Come at me you shitty birds. I’ve got no grudge against you but I’m gonna kill all of you anyway.”(renji)

While glaring at the griffins in the air, without fear or hesitation, I said that.

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