Chapter 83: What I have nurtured
We were in the depths of the forest in order to escape from the soldiers of the city.
While I understood my current situation, I ended clenching my fist with anger rather than sadness.
Dora-chan’s hands grabbed my hand and hug me tightly because she was worried about me.
That alone seemed to heal my heart a little, and I gently touched Dora-chan’s head.
At that time, the sound of someone stepping on the grass roots was heard from the depths of the forest. A woman appeared in front of us, who were already alert and ready to escape.
She was a beautiful woman whom I met for the first time.
Was she a pursuer? When I thought about it, I noticed that Jack looked surprised.
「This way. 」
With that said, the woman beckoned to the back road to guide us without showing any signs of hostility.
…What were we going to do?
I thought about the possibility of a trap, but at that moment, Jack spoke without hesitation.
「It’s okay, bro. She’s on our side. Believe me. 」
I heard Jack’s confident voice.
“Why do you say so, Jack?” I tried to ask him that, but I didn’t have time to do so because I could see the soldiers with torches from behind.
Even if we waited, we would be surrounded by the soldiers in no time. Then, it was better to believe in Jack’s words and follow that woman.
We all nodded in agreement and entered the depths of the forest while being guided by the woman.
Eventually, I saw a hut in the place where the forest opened, and the woman hid us in it.
「It’s okay for you to remain here for a while, because it’s far from the city and only a few people know about it.」
With that said, the woman turned her face toward us again.
Her dignified expression had something in her eyes that looked straight at us, but her gaze was directed at Jack, not me or Hell.
「It’s been a long time, Jack-san. 」
「…Yes, it’s been a long time, Miss Esth. 」
Did she truly know Jack? But from when and where?
With that in mind, the conversation between them continued. Dora-chan and I stared at each other with a question mark.
「Your eyes; it seems you can see. 」
「Yes, thanks to you, Jack-san. Thank you. 」
「…I’m sorry. 」
「…? Why are you apologizing, Jack-san? 」
「…As you can see, I’m from the same race as the monsters that killed your parents. It would have been horrible that such a monster as me had taken advantage of the blind you.」
「Jack-san, I told you. I don’t judge people by their appearance. And I’ve always knew about you.」
「I was aware, but I only noticed it later. As I said before, I wanted to see you first when my eyes were healed, so I was able to see how you looked. I went to see you once. 」
「We didn’t meet in person. I just looked at you from a long distance. I heard that there was a cultivator growing monsters on the outskirts of the city, so I went to see him. Then, I saw it. At first, I thought you were Kyou-san, but the atmosphere was not right. Rather, the pumpkin-headed gentleman next to him was more like the person I knew well. It was similar, so guessed it was you, indeed. 」
「…I see. I’m sorry I didn’t notice you back then. 」
「No, don’t worry. And above all, I’m glad I’m finally able to say thank you this way. 」
It seemed that they were talking to each other by creating a space only for them.
Hmm, was it okay to have myself mixed in their conversation?
「Oh, I’m sorry, bro. She’s Miss Esth. Well, she knows a lot about me. 」
「Nice to meet you, Kyou-san. This is the first time I’ve met you in person. 」
「Ah, yes, nice to meet you. 」
I also exchanged greetings obediently.
Miss Esth smiled a little when she saw us, but she immediately changed to a very serious expression.
「Do you understand the situation? 」
It seemed Miss Esth had a rough idea of what was happening in the city.
「…I have a rough estimate, but can you explain it? 」
「Yes, but I don’t know much. 」
Miss Esth explained something.
I knew it. A few days ago, a messenger from the Alburs Empire came to this city. He first met the Lord, and then visited the people whom I had a close relationship with, the monster cultivator of that city.
And after the messenger left, the atmosphere of the city began to change.
Miss Esth originally lived in the depths of the forest, and only occasionally came to the city. Above all, she didn’t have a direct relationship with me, so he didn’t tamper with her memory.
After listening to her story, my younger sister Hell, who had been next to me, squeezed her fist in anger.
「It seems that he’s focusing on hunting you down, big brother…I’ll never forgive him. I’ll kill him immediately when I see him next time.」
Hell’s expression looked clearly angry. And it was the same for everyone else.
「…Papa, Rock also feels angry because that man afflicts Papa…I can’t forgive him… 」
I could see that even the normally quiet and innocent Rock had a distorted face as if he had bitten a worm, and his hands were holding my clothes tight.
It was the first time I saw his face with such dark emotions, and I was more hurt to see these friends hurt than feeling myself hurt.
「…Yeah, that’s right. I can’t forgive him for even destroying our home. 」
That’s right. Until now, I was shocked that my house was taken away, but that was not the only case.
He even robbed Rock, Dora-chan, and Jack of their homes and rights.
Not only that, but also the home of the monsters I grew up with.
If I were the only one, I would have been shocked, but I would accept it as my fate.
However, I couldn’t forgive anyone for messing with the people I held dear.
Both Mina-chan and the Lord had their memories tampered with, which insulted them by even robbing them of their memories.
Instead of being angry at my misfortunes, I was once again angry at the defilement of my companions, and I realized it.
「Let’s do it. We must not give up. Let’s get him to pay for it. 」
Above all, how could I abandon Lily, Fitis, and Amines, after they have been robbed from me?
No, I couldn’t.
I had no time for a breaking heart. If I had time like that, I’d punch my face right now.
The moment I got up and looked at everyone’s face, I nodded.
「…Tell the culprit to come out now! Otherwise, we’ll set the hut on fire! 」
The soldiers of the city were gathering outside the hut before I knew it.
「…It seems that they’ve discovered this place because of the footprints. I’m sorry, but I can’t help you at this critical moment.」
Jack put his hands on Miss Esth’s shoulders and smiled when she apologized.
「Miss Esth, you saved us. There was one person who remembered us and helped us. That alone was enough to boost our morale. Thank you, Miss Esth.」
「Leave it to me from here. I won’t let them get one step closer to your hut, Miss Esth. 」
Jack put on a gentleman’s hat and came out before me.
Hey, that was the main character’s standing position.
Jack was about to take the lead role, so I hurriedly stood in front of the door.
「Big brother, I think there will be an attack such as bow and arrow the moment you open the door.」
「…I think so too. So, what should we do? Hell. 」
In response to my question, my sister smiled as if there was no problem and returned to her usual tone.
「Uh, uh, uh. Who are you talking to, big brother? Those bows and arrows will turn into dust before they reach here.」
「Leave it to me, bro. I haven’t changed my class, but if they’re normal soldiers, then it will be easy.」
I put my thumbs up to the two smiling people so that they could feel at ease.
「Yeah, I’ll leave it to you. Both of you. 」
Rock, who had been wondering for a while contrary to the other two people, spoke with a sharp mouth.
「Papa…! Rock will also…fight! The bad people who hurt Papa…I must defeat! 」
「Rock…Thank you. 」
Rock pulled my clothes hard, but I wanted him not to be as rough as he wanted.
I wanted Rock to live in harmony with humans if possible.
With that in mind, I must first get through this place.
I tightened my mind again, put my hand on the door, and called out to everyone behind me for confirmation.
「Then…Let’s go! 」
The moment I opened the door.
The soldiers holding bows and arrows blew off “to the side”.
What happened? I understood it the next moment.
「Wha…What! What happened!? 」
「Ca…Captain! It’s a monster! There’s a monster from that side! 」
「Wha…What!? Ugh, but if it’s a monster from around here, the danger level will be D at most! Don’t break the formation line because of such monster! 」
「You…You’re wrong! Tha…That’s not a D-rank! 」
「What…No way!? 」
It appeared from the side, the monster who upset the soldiers.
A monster with multiple dragon heads on one body.
It was much smaller than the length I’ve seen before, but it swept away three soldiers one after another, and eventually, it stood in front of us to protect us.
「Hy…Hydra!? Impossible!? Even though it’s a child, why is an S-rank monster doing in such a place as this!? And there’s more of it!? 」
Besides the astonished soldiers, I was familiar with the Hydra, actually, Hydras.
These were baby Hydras born from the eggs that Amines had previously collected when she defeated Hydra.
I managed to protect the eggs, but since Hydra was a monster that grew in a place near the water, I grew them in a nearby river, and when I occasionally came to see them, did they think that I was a parent? They often got on their feet jumping and were playing around like dogs.
They became so big before I knew it, and did they come here to protect me?
I was deeply moved.
「Captain! It’s hard! There are monsters! Not only from the sides, but also from behind! 」
I saw that various monsters were marching towards here from behind. The soldiers were in panic.
It was Cockatrice. Jack O’ Lantern. Devil Carrot. Mash Bamboo. Killer Plant. Weed Leaf.
These were the monsters I had raised so far.
They all beat the soldiers down, and rushed towards me. They wrapped me around them to protect me like the Hydras.
「Li…Listen! Those monsters! They don’t matter! Except for the Hydras, those are only small fish monsters! Shoot them down! 」
The captain, who had not collapsed yet, tried to give instructions to rebuild the dismembered formation, but his body was grabbed by some branch and danced in the air.
「Eh? Whoahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!! 」
「Hohoho, if you think the forest is yours, you’re wrong…Did you think I’ll allow such violence in my forest? 」
It was the keeper and lord of this forest who helped me develop Entake before.
「It’s been a long time, little boy. I’m rushing in because it’s going to be difficult for you to win against these people. Moreover, it seems that there are many other acquaintances of yours besides us. 」
When I looked at the group of soldiers in response to the voice, the soldiers were grabbed by the giant demon-like people and their movements were blocked.
「Kyou-dono*. It’s been a long time. Thank you for your efforts for our village before. We’re here to return the favor.」
Even the ogres whom I visited to grow the Bahanero rushed to this place and wiped out the soldiers.
I saw Bahanero playing an active part by spitting fire from their mouths and burning the soldiers’ butts.
That’s right. The Emperor Hero may have robbed me of the memories and bonds of the people of the city.
But he didn’t rob me of the bonds I made with those whom I first get along with in this world.
The bonds with monsters. Yes, the bonds that distinguished me from the other people living in this different world.
*Tono (殿 との), pronounced -dono (どの) when attached to a name, roughly means “lord” or “master”.