Two years had passed since Reito started living in the cave.
He raised Ullr as a hunting dog to hunt down monsters in the forest every day.
That day, Reito and Ullrs target was a Poark, a boar-like monster with meat even more delicious than Horned Rabbits.
Ullr had grown in size, but the Poark was still almost twice as large as him. Even so, the White Wolf chased its prey without fear.
The Poark fled desperately, its cry vaguely resembling an Orcs.
Poarks had massive bodies, but their disposition was rather meek. On the other hand, they were even more powerful than Orcs: they could even take down large trees when they charged.
The chaser, Ullr, however, was even stronger. He ran as fast as a bullet and attacked with sharp fangs and claws.
Ullrs claws slashed the poor beast.
Reito was observing the situation from atop a tree branch. He carefully aimed at the Poark, bow and arrow in hand.
The arrow struck the Poark, exactly between the eyes. The monsters massive body collapsed and quickly stopped moving.
Reito jumped down from the tree and Ullr immediately ran up to him.
“Good job, Ullr.”
Praised by his master, Ullr happily wagged its tail left and right.
Reito gave Ullr a pleasant rub.
He had been living in the forest for a long time, but had not gone to the human settlements outside of the forest yet.
The reason was that Airis told him he should not go.
According to her, Reitos wanted poster had been distributed in all the nearby villages and towns. The kingdom had classified him as a criminal.
The news of his escape from the residence had reached the capital, naturally.
The king, fearing Reitos escape across the border, apparently sent his wanted poster to all cities and towns within its territory.
His crime was treason: a large bounty now hung on his head.
No child could ever survive in that forest, normally, but evidently the king thought otherwise.
Reito was thus forced to live in the forest, unable to even visit human dwellings. Two years had passed, but the state of alert around him had not changed in the slightest.
Reito called Ullr, while butchering the Poark.
“Well have Poark hot pot tonight. Honestly, the Cooking skill sure is convenient!”
Living in the forest, Reito eventually acquired the long-awaited Cooking skill.
Thanks to it, not only did he become good at cooking, but he also became able to prepare simple seasonings with wild herbs.
In the last two years, Reito also became skilled with bow and arrow. He had made both out of wood, while he used Shape Change on metal he brought from the residence to make the arrowheads.
He learned many other useful skills too, such as Concoction.
Reito was still working on the Poark, when the noise of distant thunder reached his ears.
“Oh…sounds like its going to rain. Better finish quickly.”
“Stand guard, buddy.”
Ullr nodded to Reito and started patrolling the surroundings. Thanks to him, Reito could focus on the monster.
When he was done, Reito took the parts he couldnt use as materials or ingredients and covered them in soil.
“Done. Ill leave this here for other monsters.”
Ullr did not seem to agree with Reitos plan, however.
“Dont complain, its not good to be greedy.”
Reito gently scolded Ullr, who promptly obeyed. Living together in the forest, they came to understand each other better and better.
After the hunt, Reito went back to his “home”.
The duos return to the cave behind the waterfall was uneventful.
Reito gave some smoked Horned Rabbit meat to Ullr, while he had grilled fish and soup made with vegetables and Orc meat. The vegetables in this world were fairly similar to the ones on Earth, but the main sources of meat were monsters.
Reito savored the soup, but thinking about his past worlds food made him sigh.
“If only I had some miso, I could make it into soup…”
He knew it was an absurd desire, but couldnt help but long for it.
Reito stopped eating for a moment and turned towards Ullr. The white wolf had finished eating and lied down to sleep.
Reito took a blanket and put it over Ullr.
Reito patted Ullrs head, careful not to wake him up, then returned to his meal.
At that precise moment, however, Reitos Detect Presence picked up something. Someone was approaching the entrance of the cave.
Reito, as silently as possible, picked up the bow and arrow laid against the wall. He activated Soundless Walk and moved towards the entrance.
He looked outside the cave — and found a Goblin. It was carrying fruit, for some reason.
Reito recognized the Goblin and his expression softened. He put down the bow and arrow and approached the monster, without any fear.
The Goblin offered the fruit to Reito.
“Today we have Rico and Min fruit…okay, heres your raw Orc meat.”
Reito took the fruit from the Goblin and gave it raw meat in exchange. The Goblin took it and left, humming gleefully.
Reito and the Goblin formed such a “relationship” roughly one year before.
One day, while exploring the forest, Reito spotted a Goblin being attacked by an Orc.
Reito had no interest in saving monsters, but more Orc meat was always welcome, so he took down the pig-like beast.
Thus as a result, he saved the Goblins life.
The Goblin ran off after that, but appeared again while Reito and Ullr were out hunting the next day.
The monster, carrying as much fruit as its arms could hold, offered it all to Reito.
(Does it want me to have it?)
Reito was puzzled for a moment, but felt no hostility from the Goblin, so he decided to take the fruit.
Afterwards, the Goblin would appear before Reito every now and then, always bringing fruit. Eventually, Reito stopped just accepting the offering and started giving leftover monster meat in exchange.
“Now that I think about it, I dont see any Goblins other than that guy around here…I wonder whats going on?”
Reito spoke his thoughts out loud.
After some thought, he recalled the circumstances in which he first encountered the Goblin.
“Hmm, could it be that it strayed from the pack for some reason? So it started living in this area by itself…”
Reito reached this conclusion because the Goblins offerings never included monster meat. It always brought fruits and herbs for Reito, maybe to have monster meat in exchange, since it couldnt hunt monsters on its own.
Somehow, Reito started worrying about the Goblin.
“After I leave this place…will that guy be fine on its own…?”
“Hey, you were up?”
Ullr had come next to Reito, without him realizing it. He looked at the Goblin gleefully prance away, its arms filled with monster meat. The boy and the White Wolf watched the monster until it disappeared from their sight.
Several days later…
Reito and Ullr were going back to the cave after the usual hunting, but the cave seemed different than usual.
Fruit was scattered around the entrance. The furniture, tools, and food storage had been ravaged too.
Reito was so surprised that he dropped the monster game on the ground.
Next to the shocked Reito, Ullr was baring his fangs, as if in excitement, then started sniffing around the ground.
Reito picked up the fruit.
“Im sure we ate all the fruit we had before leaving…so this is new stuff! That Goblin brought it here? It definitely doesnt look like this was done by people, it has to be monsters doing…”
Reito was trying to make sense of the situation, when Ullr barked to draw his attention.
“…you found the smell of the monster which made a mess of the cave!?”
Ullr nodded to Reitos question.
The White Wolf started following the monsters tracks, its nose on the ground. Reito quickly made the necessary preparations and followed his hound.
Ullr exited the cave and headed into the forest.
Ullr started running at full speed, following the smell.
Reito activated his Swift Legs skill and used the Physical Boost support magic too, so he could keep up with Ullrs speed without problems.
Ullr stopped abruptly and growled in front of a large tree.
Reito looked in the direction of the tree and saw a large bear-like creature with red fur, about 3 metres tall.
“Whoa, its huge!!”
Facing the dark red bear-like beast, Reito and Ullr retreated a few steps.
Reito activated the Observing Eye Tech Skill and realized that the monsters fur was not normally that color.
In other words, the dark red was caused by blood. The surroundings were indeed filled with its stench.
The blood red bear yawned loudly, then glared at Reito.
The boy clicked his tongue and quickly opened communication with Airis.
Airis apparently expected Reito to call, as she answered promptly.
『That is a Blood Bear, commonly called just “Red Bear”, a level 3 monster.』
『Level? Do monsters have levels too?』
『Its a bit different from the levels people have. For monsters, it defines their danger level, and goes from 1 to 5.』
Airis paused for a moment, then continued.
『Goblins, which can be defeated by the average person, are level 1. Monsters like Orcs, a common prey of beginner adventurers, are level 2. Monsters that only expert adventurers can consistently defeat are level 3. Those which only the handful of S rank adventurers can face are level 4. Lastly, dragons and other mythical monsters are level 5. It is said that a whole army is needed to exterminate one of those monsters.』
Reito timidly asked another question.
『So this monster is…』
『Yes, a level 3. As such, it is super strong. Definitely a tough opponent for you now, Reito. If you dont strike first, you will be killed.』
『For real? This is bad.』
Reito sighed after hearing Airis assessment.
He closed the communication and time started flowing again. Reito immediately armed himself with his bow and shot an arrow.
The arrow flew straight towards the Blood Bears head, exactly as Reito aimed, but the monster stopped it with its fangs and crushed it.
Reito then switched to the next offensive.
He created ice swords with both hands and made the blades vibrate.
The proficiency level of Reitos Ice Block was already maxed out at 5: the ices hardness was much greater than before, and the number of blocks he could create at the same time increased too.
Reito created a gigantic block of ice in midair, then activated the Craft Skill he learned when he maxed out the proficiency of Ice Block.
“Ice Blade Bullet!”
The blade of ice shot towards the bear monster, as fast as a gunshot.
The sword pierced its thick skin and stabbed its flesh, propelling the monster backwards.
Severely wounded, the Blood Bear fell to its knees.
Reito then gave an order to Ullr.
“Good! Ullr, bite!!”
Ullr immediately followed orders and jumped.
It spun its body in midair, lunging for the bear monsters neck.
Ullrs razor sharp fangs sank into the Blood Bears flesh, spraying blood everywhere.
“We did it!!”
The Blood Bear, its figure now more than ever befitting its name, collapsed on the ground. Reito and Ullr cheered, but the next instant realized something unusual was going on.
The roar of the supposedly defeated Blood Bear echoed throughout the forest.
Reito felt that the trees near him were shaking: he turned around and found another Blood Bear. It was even larger than the one they just defeated, easily over 5 meters in size.
“W-what!? Theres another one!?
The massive Blood Bear knocked down the surrounding trees and stood tall. Its imposing bulk froze Reito and Ullr in their tracks.
The newcomer glanced at its brethren, sprawled motionless on the ground, and roared furiously.
“This is really bad!!!”
Reito and Ullr detected the danger and jumped backwards: at the same time, the Blood Bear slammed its claws on the ground, causing a tremor.
Reito saw fragments of the soil fly everywhere and was blown away himself.
“What insane power!!”
He couldnt help but be shocked by the sheer strength of a single attack by the monster.
Ullr jumped on a tree branch, then charged towards the monsters neck. It tried ripping its flesh like before, but its fangs could not penetrate the Blood Bears thick skin this time.
The massive beast glared at Ullr, then swatted him away, sending the White Wolf flying.
“Ullr! Damn you…Ice Blade Bullet!!”
Reito created another large blade of ice and shot it at the monster, but the beasts claws repelled it.
Normal magic couldnt damage it, apparently. Reito thus decided to use a composite spell.
“Fireball…into Flame Lance!”
Reito launched a Flame Lance from his palm, piercing the bear monsters arm.
His magic had grown to a point that he could even burn a fire-resistant Orc to cinders. The giant Blood Bear, however, simply swung its arms to wipe out the flames.
The monster then roared its irritation.
Reito jumped backwards to dodge the Blood Bears swing, then continued to evade its following attacks.
“Whops — tch — crap — that — was — close!!”
The bear monster seemed to be confused by Reitos evasion.
On the other hand, Reito was growing tense. He could dodge the Blood Bears attacks thanks to the Martial Artist Tech Skill “Evasion”. If he hadnt learned it, he would surely be dead already.
Reito took advantage of the pause in the Blood Bears offensive and pointed his palm at the ground, to activate Earth Block.
The giant bear monsters hind legs sank into the soil, knocking it down.
Reito then activated another Craft Skill he learned when he maxed out the proficiency of Fire basic grade magic.
A Fireball ten times larger than the regular one formed from his palm. Reito immediately slammed it on the Blood Bears back.
The moment it made contact with the monster, the Fireball turned into a flame pillar.
The Blood Bear, its back scorched by flames, wailed in pain. Reitos offensive continued, to deliver the final blow.
“Fireball…into Wind Blade!!”
He created another Fireball with his left palm, then activated Magic Boost and, at the same time, the boosted Wind Pressure spell — Wind Blade with his right palm.
The crescent blade of wind was thus absorbed by the Fireball, turning into a blade of flames, which Reito unleashed on the monsters face.
Reito, feeling his attack struck loud and clear, rejoiced.
The Blood Bear thrashed about, but its lower body was still stuck in the ground, so its claws could not reach Reito.
The moment Reito was sure of his victory, another roar shook the air from behind him.
He turned around and found yet another Blood Bear, gripping fish with both paws.
Reito quickly activated the Observing Eye skill and found out that this bear was the mother of the first one he killed. The bear Reito just set ablaze was the father, apparently.
The new Blood Bear was smaller in size than the others, but for Reito it was still massive.
The mother bear, realizing Reito had attacked her family, charged at him furiously.
Reito barely managed to avoid the attack thanks to Evasion, but the mother bears offensive was relentless.
The monster knocked down one of the nearby trees and used the trunk in a sweeping attack.
Reito quickly activated Leap, jumping from branch to branch to avoid the mother bears attacks.
In the meanwhile, the Blood bear scorched by flames stood back up.
The two Blood Bears rumbling roars echoed through the forest.
Reito realized the situation had become really desperate and contacted Airis to look for ways to survive the crisis.
『Hmm, quite the pinch, isnt it. I cannot see your future, so be very careful. Anyway, about the two Blood Bears…』
『I used too much magic today already, but I cant let this fight go on much longer…』
『Composite magic consumes a lot of magic power, after all. Why dont you try the sword skills youre so good at then?』
『Will a sword work against huge monsters like those?』
Airis reply to Reitos question sounded like a riddle.
『Not a normal sword, of course. So use one that is not normal.』
Reito sighed internally at Airis reply and closed the communication. Time started flowing again and Reito jumped down on the ground, facing the two Blood Bears.
The two monsters, wary of Reito, kept their distance. Reito used the opportunity to approach the collapsed Ullr and cast the Support magic spell Recovery Boost on him.
“You can do it, buddy.”
Thanks to Recovery Boost Ullr regained consciousness and slowly stood back up.
Luckily, the impact when he was tossed by the bear monster only made him faint: he did not have any serious wounds.
Ullr was still eager to fight: he bared his fangs at the Blood Bears and growled menacingly.
Reito then ordered him to create a diversion.
“Calm down now…I want you to run around and draw their attention. Ill find an opening and finish them off.”
Ullr, brimming with will to fight, barked in protest. Reito, however, shook his head and scolded him.
“No complaints…if you wont listen, youre skipping dinner tonight.”
Ullr was a bit miffed about the whole affair, but ran off immediately and charged towards the two Blood Bears.
If Ullr ran at full speed, he could easily dodge the Blood Bears attacks. Thanks to Reitos training, he also became skilled at jumping on tree branches.
Ullr thus started darting around the Blood Bears, keeping them focused on him.
The Blood Bears swung their arms wildly, but Ullr continued jumping from tree to tree, making them miss every time. Reito, impressed by Ullrs skill in confusing his opponents, focused on his hands.
Reito chanted the words and a large two-handed sword appeared in his hands.
The blade was about four times thicker than a regular longsword, the total length over 2 meters. In order to be able to wield such a sword, longer than his height, Reito used the Support spell Muscle Boost and Tech Skill Might.
He then made the blade vibrate to boost its sharpness to the max.
In order to be sure to finish off the wounded father bear, he gave Ullr a new order.
“Ullr! Keep the mother busy!”
Ullr immediately obeyed the order: he jumped on the mother bears snout and bit her ear, causing the monster to stagger.
Reito did not waste time to approach the father bear.
The father bear spotted Reito and raised its arms high.
The Blood Bear swung its arms down, trying to crush Reito: the latter countered with a Swordsman Battle Skill, a lateral sweep with his broadsword.
The broadsword and the father bears arms collided, producing a large splatter of blood on the ground.
It all belonged to the father bears arms, naturally. Seeing the large, gaping wounds, the father bear opened its eyes wide in anger.
Reito charged the father bear and stabbed the broadsword into the monsters chest. After confirming the vibrating blade had pierced its target, he activated a Battle Art.
Reito swung the blade down, cutting through the father bears flesh. The Blood Bear howled in agony, then slumped down to the ground, lifeless.
Reito adjusted his breath, then slowly turned around. At that very same moment, Ullr was swatted away by the mother bear and came flying towards him.
Reito, taken by surprise, stumbled and fell. The furious mother bear rushed towards them at mad speed.
The monsters claws were descending on the fallen Reito. It seemed to be all over — when a shadow appeared behind him.
The shadow jumped on the Blood Bears snout: it belonged to the Goblin who exchanged food with Reito. Maybe it had been attacked by the Blood Bears, as it was bleeding profusely.
Despite the mother bears attacks, the Goblin resisted desperately.
“Are you…trying to protect us!?”
The Goblins brave stand did not last long, however: the mother bear grabbed its body and easily tore it away.
Squeezed by the Blood Bears powerful grip, the Goblin grimaced in pain.
Reito instinctively readied his broadsword to attack, but —
The mother bear crushed the Goblin in its claws.
The sound of creaking, shattering bones echoed in the surroundings. A mix of foam and blood spurted from the Goblins mouth, as its head hung down.
Reito clenched his teeth and attacked the mother bear.
One of the mother bears hind legs was cut off.
The bear monster lost its balance. Reito did not stop, however, and stabbed his broadsword in its other leg. The monster was thus stuck to the ground, unable to collapse.
Reito let go of the broadsword, immediately formed Iceclad Swords on both of his hands and used them to slash the mother bear, over and over again.
His mind lost to anger, Reito cut through the monsters flesh again and again.
Finally, he stabbed both ice swords in the mother bears head — when Ullr, who had come up to Reito from behind, pulled on his clothes to stop him.
The mother bear, covered in blood, was without a doubt dead.
Reito let go of the swords and hugged Ullr, who gently licked his face.
Reito and Ullr then kneeled beside the Goblin.
The small monster had already drawn its last breath.
Reito couldnt understand why the Goblin protected them with its life. But no matter what the reason was, it had saved them. Had the Goblin not jumped in, Reito and Ullr would have probably been killed.
Reito wished to give the Goblin at least a proper burial, so he lifted its body up and took it back with them to their cave.
On the way back, Reito quietly thought about the Goblin that could have become his friend.
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