Nidome no Yuusha Chapter 13
The Way a Certain Beast Girl was Broken Part 1
「There really isn’t any food to be found, is there…?」
「Seems that way. You’d think that after all this searching we would’ve found something at least…」
North of Aurelia Kingdom, there was an impoverished village that lay just before the border of the neighboring Gligar Empire. One particular year, a young girl—who had just become 15 years old—had gone exploring a snow-blanketed forest. She was accompanied by her childhood friend Lucia, who was of a similar age.
In this region, are extreme variations in temperature for each season. Though this usually resulted in bountiful harvests, once every ten-or-so years the village would suffer a poor harvest.
In such occasions, before winter arrived, the villagers would enter the nearby forest in order to gather and store away the last of its blessings.
This year was one such year; they had once again been hit with a poor harvest.
Though they would usually stockpile food in preparation for winter, the temperature dropped sooner than they had expected. As a result, they were unable to store a sufficient amount of food before the forest became blanketed with snow. In an effort to secure more food, a few men of the village embarked on a hunting expedition. In an effort to help, these two children had gone into what was considered a prohibited part of the forest—after slipping past adults’ loose supervision.
「Minaris-chan, I’m sorry for making you come here with me. Just because I said that I wanted Keril to have a full belly on his birthday.」
「No, it’s fine. Besides, it was me who proposed that we should enter the forest anyway. I feel the same as you do Lucia, I also want to do it for Keril’s birthday.」
The smallest of the two girls, Lucia, began shaking her wavy shoulder-length blonde hair, as she attempted to apologize. The other girl simply shook her head, as if saying not to mind it.
The two girls had decided to come here instead of going to their childhood friend’s birthday. They were attempting to find something tasty for their friend to eat by entering the forest without telling the adults.
However, the amount of snow that had piled up in the forest this year was more than usual. The trees still had leaves, yet they didn’t bear any fruits. Not to mention that the snow concealed both roots and edible wild plants, making their objective much harder to complete.
Regardless, the girls continued to search the interior of the forest from top to bottom. In the village, they had heard about a special fruit that could only be found growing from a certain tree during the cold season. It was said to be extremely delicious.
As the two girls proceeded onwards into the forest, they left a zigzagging trail through the snow. Soon they set foot into the depths of the forest, a place that they were taught to never enter.
「Hey, Minaris-chan, shouldn’t we head back soon?」
「Y-yeah. Even though we didn’t find any fruit, I guess we probably should…」
Listening to the unsteadiness in Lucia’s voice, the girl began to feel a bit more relieved about her own anxiety.
Despite the appearance of the forest remaining unchanged, there was a noticeable difference in the surrounding atmosphere.
Though Lucia, who was nothing more than an average village girl, wasn’t able to perceive the change in atmosphere. The one who was feeling more of it, the one concealing the powers of a beastman, was the more sensitive girl. It was her who had accurately sensed the change.
They felt as though they could easily become lost in the new, creepier, atmosphere of the forest; it was as though they were in a completely different place. It had been the girl who initially proposed that they search the forest for the fruit, and now she was the one suggesting that they return to the village empty-handed. For her, it was a bitter thing to have to say.
「Ah, wait. Look at that Minaris-chan!!」
Lucia came to a stop, then turned around and pointed at something hanging from a tree just up ahead.
Though it was slightly difficult to see due to the surroundings, there certainly were several yellow fruits—each about the size of a fist.
Lucia, who found the fruits, reported happily to the young girl, and…
「Thank goodness, it was worth coming here! Let’s quickly grab them and leave— …Uhh…」
In the next moment, the girl fell silent as her face went pale.
Upon seeing what had her friend looking so concerned for, the other girl also went pale.
There was a single goblin off in the distance.
With its diminutive stature, ugly face, green skin, and abnormal reproductive capabilities; the goblin was recognized as a kind of vermin that could be found anywhere. In fact, they would invade and lay waste to the fields around harvest season. Because of this, adventurers are often hired to exterminate them. Though if there were just a few, the men of the village would gather together and drive them out with force. Despite all this, there had never been an occasion where either of the two girls had seen a goblin, not even from far off in the distance. As such, they would not be thought of as any less of an adult if they were to run away from this one. If it was just escaping from a single goblin, even these adolescent girls could manage somehow.
However, it was the color of its skin that was the real problem. Unlike a goblin’s usual green skin, this one had skin that was ultramarine—or deep blue.
「A rare species… 」
The average goblin is generally classified as the weakest kind of monster. Adventurers who would receive quests such as herb gathering would also take on goblin subjugation quests too, as they are one of the recommended targets for first-time combatants.
Even if they’re amateurs who had just started to grow hair, it would be relatively easy for them to defeat goblins. It was to the extent that they could almost immediately wipe out an entire herd of them without much effort. However, there was a kind of higher-ranked species of a goblin which deviates too much from the strength of the norm is rarely born.
The most famous of these variants are goblin soldiers and goblin magicians. However, there are times when another individual who possess a whole different kind of ability will appear. These variants are called “Rare Species”.
One of the young girls had once heard about those types of goblins from a group of adventurers who had visited the village in the past.
There was only one difference between this rare goblin and a regular goblin, its skin was tinted with a dark blue. Unlike the goblins that like warm climates, these goblins would only appear in cold areas. Due to their strong cold resistance, their movements wouldn’t be slowed down in cold places at all. In addition, they have enough magic resistance to repel weak magic. Moreover, their abilities and intelligence are higher than normal goblins, and they possess a much more ferocious nature.
「Ice… goblin… 」
Unlike the other girl, Lucia didn’t know what a goblin was. Despite this, she was still overwhelmed by the goblin’s intimidating presence.
Fortunately, the goblin seemed unaware of the two girls. Instead, it appeared to be engrossed in gathering fruits.
「Lucia, calm down and slowly… 」
Though the young girl who tried to escape calmly had gone unnoticed, it was a different story for Lucia; who could neither endure the fear, nor hear her friend. Instead she just recklessly fled while screaming in denial.
「Noo, don’t. NOOOOO!!」
The other girl noticed Lucia in an abnormal state of panic. The stories that adventurers occasionally shared with the villagers could’ve been the cause of it.
Nonetheless, even if the girl understood the cause, there still wasn’t much she could do to help Lucia. The girl turned around and chased after her friend. When she looked over her shoulder, she saw that the goblin looking for the origin of the screaming. Upon finding Lucia it started laughing, as it had found a better prey.
When it came down to it, the two girls could do nothing but quickly and recklessly run through the forest. However, the goblin’s speed was obviously much faster than the girls’.
And surely enough, the distance between the goblin and the girls was slowly being shortened. Under the pressure of the life and death situation, Lucia fumbled. She tripped and fell right at the beginning of the snow covered path that they had used to enter the forest.
Lucia not only sprained her ankle from the fall, but she also ended up getting half her body stuck in the snow. Even if the girl wanted to assist her friend, she wouldn’t be able to. Lucia might be able to stand, but her sprained ankle would slow her down too much for them to escape from the ice goblin.
Upon seeing this, the approaching ice goblin sneered at Lucia.
Though the young girl did have the capability to save her friend. As all beastmen had a hidden power within.
If she held back at all, then the ice goblin wouldn’t be defeated; only an all out attack could defeat it. However…
『Is that clear, Minaris? You’re absolutely forbidden from using your powers in public. If you use them, then the illusion magic will fall apart. You’ll expose the ears and tails that serve as proof that you’re a wererabbit.』
『Why is it bad if I’m found out to be a beastman, Mother?』
『… Well, I wonder why that is? Our appearance is only a little different after all…』
「No, NOOO… don’t want to die. I don’t want to die!!」
(…I’m sorry, Mother!!)
Upon seeing her best friend screaming, the other girl sprang at the goblin while apologizing to her mother for not being able to abide by her instructions.
The girl’s flying kick hit the goblin directly in the stomach.
Due to there being a difference in physique, the goblin was sent flying further into the woods. The goblin had been caught unaware by the attack, and was unable to retaliate.
Had this been a normal goblin, the attack just now would’ve critically injured it. However, let alone being injured, it had barely even been incapacitated. Though as a goblin with a higher intelligence, it came to understand that fighting back would be a poor decision.
The ice goblin picked itself off the ground and retreated deeper into the forest, giving the girls a hateful glare as it departed.
「Lucia!! Are you okay!? Are you injured?」
「Mi-Minaris-chan… that… 」
Lucia’s dazed state had quickly turned into panic upon seeing her friend. The cause of this panic was the pair of bunny ears that sat atop the girl’ head.
As for the beastmen, even though there are some differences between the tribes, their physical ability is generally quite high. This also applies to their MP, or magic power, too. However, the quality of their magic power differs from humans in that their’s is easy to expel once it leaves their body, but it’s not suited for long range attacks because of its poor efficiency. Though if they clad themselves with a thin illusion, such a flaw had no significance.
As for this girl’s beast tribe ancestry, the wererabbits were exceptionally talented when it came to illusory magic. She had been wearing an illusion all this time, in order to avoid any hardships. However, if she were to unleash the true power of a beastman, then it’s inevitable that the illusion would be completely dispelled due to the strength of the magic power emitted from her body.
「Ah, um, this… I’m sorry, Lucia. I kept silent about it for a long time, until now… Please keep this a secret!!」
「Eh!? Ah, s-sure.」
The girl gave off a smile of relief in response to the other girl’s puzzled nod.
Only after telling her mother that she wasn’t a baby anymore, did the girl learn about why beastmen like her had to hide their identity. It was then that she finally understood why the people of this country held contempt for beastmen, and treated any who lived there with disdain.
Until now, Mother’s instructions had never been ignored. Yet now she was trusting her best friend with keeping her secret from being revealed.
「With this, it’s done.」
The illusionary magic which had come undone was cast once again to hide her ears and tail from other people.
Though she had spent most of her childhood with her mother, 4-5 years were spent by herself.
「Then, let’s return to the village. Though we couldn’t find food, if we stay here we’re sure to encounter another monster as it’s getting dark.」
「Ah, You’re right. Let’s go home.」
They returned to the village later that day, just as it had become considerably dark outside.
The two girls were harshly reprimanded by the village chief for entering the forest. However, their punishment would be given out tomorrow, so they returned to their families without issue.
The girl informed her mother, Maris, that she had ignored her instructions. And upon divulging the reason, she apologized. Her mother, a sickly woman who spent most of her time in bed, laughed perturbedly and smiled saying, “Oh, you helped a friend”.
Though the mother laughed sadly at the girl for some reason, it was of little concern. However, having used her beastmen powers for the first time on a monster who was also one of the rare species, the tired girl slept soundly that day.
That night, the girl dreamt of obtaining lots of fruits for the winter. When the morning sun rose the next day, she was woken up and taken to the center village square. For some reason, the girl’s mother was also taken along with her.
「W-what? The punishment that was discussed yesterday? Why is mother…」
A lot of villagers were gathering while the two were being dragged out, confused. While the girl was thinking of why all of those thorny gazes were directed at them, because of what the elder suddenly announced, her mind went completely blank.
「Minaris, and Maris. Is it true that you’re both wererabbits?」
[7th: Betrayals… Betrayals everywhere…]