It’s 3/5 of Chapter 22 done. That meant 3/5 of my promise kept. Apparently my wife believes that honeymoon = no devices. You won’t get the rest of the chapter until the next 12 days. Give me one more day to recover. Which meant the second half will be released at the 14th of April.
If you’re worried that your reading experience will be disturbed by the chapter split. Don’t worry. The other half of the chapter is about another character entirely. Something to do with Opus-05.
I enjoyed the in-depth discussion that had been going on in the previous chapter by the way. That really does make me feel translating this series worthwhile. Respect to you guys.
Do you thing, Deskie. GUESS WHO HAS AWOKEN FROM HIS PRIMORDIAL SLEEP!
Well then, I’m off on a hunt for cherry blossoms.
Chapter XXII – Harvest Moon (1/2)
Two weeks had passed since then.
Witte clan’s village was but a small one. Verche had wanted to avoid running into Chaga when she were to go out, so she stayed home as much as possible. She would lose her nerve were she just to stay at home idly all day, so she tried to learn needlework from her mother instead to kill time, in which she couldn’t do all that well, as all she did was merely wasting materials and tools. She was exceptionally good when it came to skinning slain game animals, but as one might be able to expect, this was out of her element.
She knew that hunting suited her nature more. And for her to hunt again, she knew she had to bring Chaga back on board.
Two weeks had already elapsed from the one month limit she had set.
But at this rate, it seemed that she wouldn’t be able to bear to wait for another three days.
‘Enough time has already passed.’
‘No, not yet, it’s still too early.’
She was spending that full moon night while harbouring those conflicting thoughts
—- All of a sudden. It happened.
At the earth-shattering tremor that seemed to pierce her guts, Verche raised her face.
“……… What was that?”
The house shook, and small pieces of debris flew from the wall and the ceilings into her room.
‘An earthquake? No, that’s not it.’ There was a sound of something heavy hitting the ground from somewhere. That shouldn’t occur in case of earthquakes.
Again, she heard that same noise.
Was it perhaps her imagination?
However, she felt that the noise just then was a little bit closer than the previous noise..
No, this was not a hallucination. The sound was indeed coming closer.
Adding to that, the sound didn’t seem to come from that far away, too.
It was close…. At the very least, it came from somewhere within the village.
This time, the tremor was even stronger. The noise was louder, too. In other words, whatever this was, was really close.
And if she were to recall correctly—–
She felt like she had heard this noise before, somewhere——
Along with the loudest and closest noise she had heard yet, the light of the moon disappeared from her window.
Did the clouds hinder the moon or something?
Spontaneously, Verche removed herself from the windows.
….. Darkness. It was pitch black outside.
Weird. Be that as it may that the night was a cloudy one, the house which could immediately be seen outside of the window shouldn’t disappear from her sight like this. And that was saying nothing of the fact that Verche was a hunter. She had confidence in her eyes. Even in the mountains during nighttime, she wouldn’t lose sight of the footprints of her game.
She thought it was strange, so she started to look around, until she finally looked up overhead.
—- The full moon.
A towering round light stared down at Verche. But if the moon was still shining, then why was the sky so dark?
…. Then she realised.
Full moons. There were two of them.
No, one of them was not the moon at all. The light it reflected would occasionally appear and disappear, as if it was blinking.
She saw it once. That light.
“GUH, GUH, GUH……..”
That voice that came storming down from above. She remembered.
‘Ah, that’s right.’
That light. It was an eye. Also, that giant figure blocked the moonlight, and for that reason it was dark all over.
As if it was satisfied by Verche’s fearful shriek, it narrowed its eye.
The cyclops’ glint.
That was the true identity of the second ‘full moon’.
“Verche, why did you—– huh?”
“What manner of—-“
Her parents, who had come rushing in due to her shriek, inadvertently stopped dead in their tracks.
Well, of course they would.
This wasn’t supposed to happen.
This was the white birch forest. The land of rest for the Witte clan, protected by the barrier of the tree spirits. A demon like this should not have appeared there.
No, setting aside the ‘appeared’ part…. it would’ve been impossible for them to not realise its presence the moment it crossed through the barriers.
“Fa, father! Mother! Quickly, run away now!”
“Ri, right! Come now Mom, quickly!”
“Wait, just what is happening—-“
After she watched her father escorting her mother outside, she started to flee the house as well.
The reason why she started to move only after her parents left the house was not borne out of filial devotion or courage. She was simply paralysed by the sense of dread that she recalled, and for that reason couldn’t move immediately at that moment.
‘Mo, move, movemovemovemove! An, an Elven hunter like me wouldn’t be tied down by something like fear——-!’
Leaning on her trembling legs, Verche tumbled out from her house.
As if it was waiting for that to happen,
“GUH, HAH, HAH, HAAAAA!”
With its fist, the giant sent the house where she was born flying.
In the aftermath of the impact, Verche’s body was easily blown away to dance in midair.
As she was feeling her top and bottom switching again and again, she frantically attempted to correct her posture to brace her fall.
She broke her own fall. She hit the ground with her back, and rolled several times to reduce the impact before she rose back up.
That flexibility and reflexes of hers were nothing less than the fruits of labour which she had honed in the hills and fields as a hunter.
“Bastard, how dare it did that to our house….!”
She converted her fury to fuel her fighting spirit and suppressed her fear as she scowled at the soaring giant.
She was still shaking, but not to the extent that she couldn’t move because of it. She had no bows nor arrows with her, but unlike that time before, now she had her father and her fellow villagers with her. ‘I won’t be afraid this time!’, she gritted her teeth strongly.
Right there, her father, who had jumped out of the house ahead of her, rushed to her aid.
“Are you alright, Verche?”
“I am… more importantly, father. Where’s my bow?”
“Must’ve been blown off with the house…. Damn it, I did have to move on the spur of the moment there, but to think I didn’t to take it out with me….!”
Well how about that. Father and daughter, both hunters, neither with a bow.
Now that it had become like this, she either had to fight with magic, which she wasn’t accustomed to, or to ask for other’s reserves.
As her enemy was a formidable now, it was clear that she was at a disadvantage. But Verche had not fall into despair just yet. The fact that it was able to breach the barrier without triggering a response and straight invaded the village was incomprehensible to Verche, but she was in her own stronghold now. She could unite with the villagers who must’ve been in their way after they heard the commotion, and strike it in one go with their superior number. Cyclops would be a difficult enemy to fight alone, but its assets were limited only to its giant build and its superhuman strength. If it were encircled and shot by spells and arrows from all directions, it would surely go down.
“What was that noise? …………………….!? CY, CYCLOPS!?”
“A DEMON! A DEMON IN THE VILLAGE!!”
Screams rose from a house nearby. The commotion had been noticed by people.
“Father, others are coming. Let us join up with them and fight it.”
“Right, got it……… Mom, please go and alert the detached houses outside the village. I don’t see how they wouldn’t notice this, but there’s always a case of one or two carefree idiots.”
Cruel as it might be, Verche’s mother had no combat capabilities. She was a gentle lady who did not resemble her husband nor her daughter in that way. Just like her father had said, it was better to keep her away from the line of battle under the pretext of liaison.
Verche’s father turned his face away from his wife, who seemed to about to cry herself, and raised his voice to call upon the villagers.
“Hearken! As you can see, we’ve got a demon in our hands! As of how it did get here, I have not the slightest idea. But as the proud ones of the Witte, there’s one thing we need to do! Exorcise this thing who stands outside of the providence, and protect the peace of this village, this forest!
Those with a bow, get yourself ready – those who know magic, start chanting!”
Being an experienced hunter, Verche’s father’s voice calmed down the restless people around them in no time.
While Verche was still sinking deep emotionally at that sight, she sent her mother away.
“Now, Mother. As Father has said.”
“Very well….. Verche, take care. Take care of him too.”
“I’ll keep that in mind….. Go, now!”
She watched her mother’s departure before she stared back at the giant as it stood there, illuminated by the moonlight.
The cyclops wasn’t moving. It opened its mouth, both ends of it having its fangs showing as it gazed at them.
…… It was laughing.
Realising that, Verche’s mind was burning yet again.
‘What is so funny? That the small people went into a panic, does it find that fun?’
‘I’ll make sure that it’ll regret its arrogance later’, Verche firmly swore.
“….. Apologies for my clumsiness, but please lend me two bows! Ours were struck in the surprise attack. Has anyone got some in reserve?”
“What, an unarmed master huntsman is out of the question…. Someone, has someone got a spare bow?!”
“I’ve got one with me! What about the other bow!?
“Unfortunately, I’ve only got what you see.”
“Ours is a family of mages. So, sorry, but we don’t have one.”
Now, the troublesome thing was there was only one spare bow.
“Then please use this, Father. The thing that was taken from me hasn’t been returned, anyway.”
TL Note: What Verche is trying to say here is that her bow is still taken and hence she felt that she was still being banned from using it, and hence is a lower priority when it comes to taking up the bow.
“You stupid daughter. If we’re talking about the right thing here, of course there’d be no way that a father would let his daughter go unarmed.”
“Back at you, Father. You’re the leader around here, so you’ll have to have one. You’ll have to set an example for these people as well.”
Taking that into consideration, it would be the best for her father to take the bow here.
Also, Verche was a nobody among the Elves. However, even if she would fight only with the mana force which she was born with, she still would not be a burden.
As a known outstanding hunter to the people, and as a person whose position had already been established among these gathered mass, it was a given that her father should be the one who take the bow.
“Here, your bow.”
“Alright, I’ll gladly take it then……… Verche, it looks like that now you think things through before you say anything, huh? As you haven’t been going on a hunt for a while, probably that rush of blood of yours has calmed down a bit.”
Her father said, as he pulled the string of the bow he just received to inspect its condition.
“You jest. Now, more importantly—–”
“Yes. Looks like it’s about to move soon as well, huh?”
Most of the non-combatants have escaped, and preparations over here were about to be completed as well.
Like it was pleased, the cyclops narrowed its single eye.
“GUH, GUH, GUH…..! GUHUHUHUH…..!”
While laughing and causing tremors, the giant took a step forward their way.
It didn’t come running nor it was pouncing at them, it just walked their way. Slowly.
This action, they couldn’t decipher the meaning behind of it.
While they indeed were smaller in size compared to it, their numbers was superior, and on top of that all of them were either skilled in the arts of magic or the bow. And yet it still approached them with such leisure, truly the height of folly.
Verche could hear the sound of teeth grinding in anger.
It could’ve been her own, but it could’ve been the other Elves as well.
“That monster, is it making a fool out of us?”
“…. Then, it’s convenient for us. Let’s finish it in one go.”
“As a reward for belittling us, we’ll take your life in exchange!”
The Elves’ morale rose up.
“This is a good chance, but don’t chase it too far. The Elders will come to our aid sooner or later. As long as we can stay alive until then, our victory is guaranteed.”
“Though, it is indeed vexing that it is scorning us…. Everyone, crush it down! Have its one single eye behold our pride!”
At that word of command, arrows and spells were flying all over in the night sky.
Verche also joined in by casting an offensive spell she had learned many years ago.
Giants, especially cyclops, were in fact weak against magic. Their intelligence is low and their spirit is also unripe, both factors mean that their mana force is virtually zero. That also means that it doesn’t possess an evil eye commonly seen in other monocular monsters. Regardless, its vitality is still formidable, and a lone mage would have a hard time taking it down unaided.
However, the spells that were being casted here were cast by none other than a clan of Elves, proficient in magic. And more than ten of those elves were casting the spells at the same time. No matter how sturdy its giant body was, it wouldn’t offer that much resistance against a volley of their spells.
——- Or, that should’ve been the case.
There, at that moment, Verche saw it.
Just before the barrage of spells landed, a thin, clear light film enclosed the cyclops.
The spells exploded. But they exploded before they reach the cyclops’ skin. Just before that.
The arrows were all repelled. There must be something at play in the air before they were being released from the bows.
As a result,
“GUH, GUH, GUH……….”
—– it remained unhurt.
“Wa, was that…. a magic barrier!?”
“‘Magic Shell’ on top of ‘Protection’……………!?”
“No way! Don’t giants lack intelligence?! There’s no way that they can use magic!”
The monster’s single eye sneered at the Elves’ loss of composure due to the incomprehensible reality.
And then, it took yet another step.
“Do not falter! Even if it can defend against magic, it won’t be able to do it forever! Keep striking!”
Verche’s father threw a word of encouragement at his faltering companions.
Well, what he said was correct. They just had to somehow disarm its magic protection and take the giant down.
“You mages, is there anyone among you who can dispel that protective magic!?”
“That… considering that it could even stand guard against spells with such scope and intensity, I predict that the protective spell was cast with a mana force so powerful that it allowed its barrier to do that. We can try to dispel it, but that force must be dampened to a certain extent first.”
“So, in the end there’s no option but to continue! …… One more time, let’s do this!”
They mustered their weakened willpower to try another all-out attack one more time.
As she joined their attempt, Verche thought to herself,
‘Strange…. I can’t see Chaga’s figure anywhere.’
That friend that she parted with awkwardly two weeks ago. He wasn’t there.
No, setting that aside, considering the current scale of emergency, the number of people who gathered there was too terrible. The people she saw there were residents who lived around that place – those who were already around when the cyclops attacked. Reinforcements should’ve arrived from some time ago, and the village’s strongest war potential – the Elders, shouldn’t have taken this serious state of affairs so leisurely, too.
“GUHU, GUHU, GUHUHUHUHUHU!”
As it intensified its sadistic smile, the cyclops took another step.
As if to shake off their very own fighting spirit, the earth trembled.
The more it approached, the more overwhelming its figure became. A drop of its saliva fell from its mouth and hit the ground with a sound
One of the young Elves screamed in horror at the sight.
“He, hey… HEY!? WHAT ARE THE OTHERS DOING!? THE ELDERS!? WHAT ARE THE ELDERS DOING AT TIMES LIKE THESE!?”
“Yo, you there! Calm down!”
While Verche’s heart was still being shaken, she rebuked the heartful cry that voiced the youth’s question.
The youth however, shakingly, began to fall back.
“HOW CAN I BE CALM AT TIMES LIKE THESE, VERCHE! WH, WHY DO YOU THINK WE CAN WIN AGAINST THIS MONSTER WITH JUST US!?”
“Someone, calm that person down! ……. Its barrier hasn’t been dispelled yet!?”
“No, no good! The spell is not wearing down enough! CRAP, JUST WHAT KIND OF RIDICULOUS MANA FORCE WAS USED TO CAST THE SPELL, ANYWAY!?”
There was screaming mixed in the mage’s reply as well.
As the monster continued to ridicule their powerless, its giant figure blocked the full moon once again.
A giant shadow fell, in the Elves’ vicinity.
“GUH, GUH, GUH, GUH, GUH………..!”
“No breakthroughs, huh………… Retreat, retreat at once! As you lead your way outside the village, try to join up with the others!”
Her father did issue that instruction, but she wondered if he really believed that there was any chance of success in that. His expression was stiff, and cold sweat ran through his intrepid face.
No reinforcements appeared at all. Even their moral support, the village’s strongest mages – the Elders, were especially absent for some reason.
Then, as if to answer that question which had been flickering for some time now,
The Elves’ long ears caught a noise that resembled a distant thunder.
“The cyclops’ attack—– no, it’s not. That sound was too far away…..”
Another explosive sound from another direction.
Then, at the same time, at the opposing side of the cyclops’ figure, flames rose from the edges of the village.
“Co, could it be…..”
As she trembled with fear, Verche finally was able to comprehend the meaning of all of this.
“It’s not just here…. are you saying they’re all over the village…!?