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The difference between monsters and normal living beings is whether or not they store magic stones within their bodies.
Monsters have an organ containing magic stone, which is a mass of magic essence, right next to their hearts.
Ordinary living beings, including us, have no such organ.
Monsters store magic essence in the form of magic stones in their bodies and release it in their bloodstream during hunting and battle to strengthen their bodies.
Normal wild animals can’t strengthen their bodies, so if they have the same physique, monsters are far more dangerous.
Well, for a short-statured felan like me, both are equally dangerous and I don’t want to encounter either when picking medical herbs.
Even goblins, who are considered to be the small flies among the monsters, are bigger and stronger than me.
After finding out that I’ve been reincarnated in another world, I longed for a situation where I could mow down my enemies by using magic and swordsmanship, but… reality is harsh.
Right now I’m even more of a small fly than a goblin, a weakling among the weaklings, the King of Weaklings.
Monsters, like wild animals, are wary of humans.
They know that humans can defeat even strong enemies with the coordination of magic, weapons and large numbers, so the monsters don’t carelessly trespass into their villages.
They understand that the village is the territory of humans.
If villages and towns are the territories of humans, then the forests and mountains are the territories of monsters and wild animals.
Even the monsters, who won’t set their feet in the villages, will attack humans in forests and mountains after ascertaining who they are.
Once they take even 1 step in the opponent’s territory, humans are also considered as preys.
So, whenever I enter the mountain to pick medical herbs, I always pay attention to my surroundings.
I take dried mugwort powder with me and sometimes sprinkle it on the path I’ve walked on to keep my scent from being traced.
I try to avoid places with bad visibility as much as possible and try to detect others before they can detect me.
Even in Japan, people who go into mountains to pick bamboo shoots and wild vegetables might get attacked by bears, but the encounter rate is much higher in this world and they are actually people who’ve never returned after going into the mountains.
Next I admonish, admonish, admonish my body and enter the mountain.
Today I was also in the mountains since the morning, but I only saw a deer parent and child and returned without encountering any dangerous animals or monsters.
As I was washing and sorting out the medical herbs that I had picked in the mountain at the riverside, somebody called out to me from behind.
“Yo, Nyango. Seems like you’ve been doing well recently.”
The village chief’s grandson Miguel, who called out to me, was envious of Horacio, who was the only one of his peers to get scouted by the order of royal knights after the ‘rite of independence’ and continued his depraved lifestyle after returning to the village.
Even now, the word was that he was accompanied by Dulles, an equan who was 1 year older than him, and Kimble, an ursan who was one year younger than him, and wandered aimlessly without going to the school.
It seems that sometimes he would drink alcohol behind his parents’ back and it felt like he was going towards being a scum in a straight line.
Also, he said something about me doing well, but it’s doubtful whether I can earn 1 silver coin per day.
In the Japanese financial sense, it would be like being told that you’re doing well when your daily wage is barely 1000 yen, so I can’t help smiling wryly.
“Well yeah, I work diligently, after all.”
“What’d you say?… Are you mocking me?”
“The only reason you think you’re being mocked is because you feel guilty.”
“You little… hey.”
Kimble, whom Miguel signaled to, went around the riverbank and sandwiched me in-between.
I continued to move my hands while exchanging words with Miguel and finished putting the clean medical herbs in tied bundles in the basket.
“Dulles, Kimbel, looks like Nyango got dirty while picking medical herbs. Help him get clean.”
“Leave it to us, young master. Don’t mess up, Kimble.”
I wanted to make a quip that he wasn’t very fit to be a ‘young master’, but looks like I don’t have time for that.
Dulles and Kimble started approaching me slowly with their hands wide open.
Looks like they want to catch me and drop me in the river.
Both of them are large species and I can’t match them in physique and since I have the basket with medical herbs with me, breaking through the front would be difficult.
The river is less than 10 meters wide, but it’s 1 meter deep, and if I get pushed to the center, I’ll end up head-deep in it.
I carried the basket and walked towards the river.
I stepped on the surface of the river, but I never actually touched it.
The strength of my sky attribute magic has increased and I’m now able to create a foothold that can support my body weight.
I can only make 3 footholds for now and they break if I lose my concentration, but I don’t have another means right now.
“Aargh! This guy’s walking on water.”
“What? What’s going on?”
I was able to walk to the center of the river while Dulles and Kimble were surprised, but I can’t afford to let my guard down now.
“That guy’s using magic. Hey Dulles, use your magic.”
“Yes, I understand! In the name of the Goddess Fatima, let the winds soar!”
Hey hey, I’m not a devout believer, but I don’t condone using Goddess’ name for bullying.
Air currents released from Dulles’ stretched out hands rushed at me across the surface of the river.
The air currents made my body sway, but they weren’t so strong that I couldn’t brace myself if I knew that they were coming.
I held out on top of the foothold without disturbing my concentration and took my next step.
“What the hell are you doing? Look carefully. In the name of Goddess Fatima, let the flame blaze up!”
Hearing Miguel’s chant, I discarded the foothold I’d make straight ahead and rebuilt it.
A fireball with the diameter of 50 centimeters passed right by me as I greatly changed my course to right.
The fireball was immediately followed by a rush of hot air.
If I get hit directly with something like that, it would make the fur I’m proud of all frizzly.
“Dammit! Stop evading! In the name of Goddess Fatima, let the flame blaze up!”
I discarded the foothold in front of me again, made a new foothold and evaded to the left this time.
He probably thought that I would evade to the right again, as Miguel’s fireball strayed greatly to the right.
The moment I thought that I would be able to cross with a few more steps, a numb pain suddenly ran through my left shoulder, my concentration broke and my steps shattered.
Fortunately, I had already reached the shallows, so I only got my feet wet and didn’t end up falling.
When I turned around to see what had happened, I saw that Kimble had picked up stones and was throwing them at me.
The pain I just felt must’ve come from the stone making contact.
“Aaagh, my eyeeee….”
I immediately blinded Kimble with the use of sky attribute magic.
After trying it at Ibro’s adventurers guild, I judged that it would be useful and continued practicing.
The strength of the solidified air also increased, so I’ve made it possible to use it in two forms: one with the sharp edge when I want to seriously blind somebody and one with a spherical form to temporarily blind the opponent.
The one I hit Kimble with was spherical form, but practice has also improved the speed at which I thrust it out so it must hurt a lot.
“Now you’ve done it, you bastard. In the name of Goddess Fatima, let the flames blaze up!”
I solidified the air near the center of the river in response to Miguel’s fireball.
As a result of my training, I’ve become able to solidify an area the size of about 4 tatami mats (1 tatami = 0.88×1.76m) by stretching it thinly.
It’s only about 3mm thick and only as strong as a plastic sheet, but if it breaks, I can redo it as many times as needed.
Miguel’s fireball will shatter the hardened wall of air, but next I’ll create the wall diagonally to deflect the trajectory.
I was ready to create the next wall, but it was the fireball that dispersed.
It hit the wall of air, spread and disappeared just like that.
It doesn’t have the density of soil and water and it’s just a mass of fire, so it doesn’t have enough impact to break things.
The fireball suddenly disappeared and Miguel stood stunned.
“W-w-what that, don’t mess with… aaaghhh, my eyeee”
“You’re the one who started shooting fire magic at me without questions, you don’t get to complain.”
“Ooouch, my eyeee….”
I blinded Dulles too while I was at it, went up the bank and headed home.
When I think that somebody like Miguel will become the village’s chief one day, I seriously start to worry about the village’s future.