I stayed with Ovis in a small room that was lent to us by Sergio. There were two beds but the place was quite dusty. Sergio himself told us that the room was not used in years so it was understandable. The sun had already set a while ago yet there were still no signs of the Ratichis, the beasts we were tasked to kill. The fields were quite visible from the room we were in so that was where we decided to wait.
Ovis was sitting on her bed. She looked uneasy. Her hand was shaking while holding her mace. I figured that being in a small room with me must have made her uncomfortable.
“On second thought, I’d rather wait outside for the Ratichi.” I stood up and grabbed my sword.
Ovis also got up and got her gear ready.
“You just rest here. I’ll call you when they appear,” I added.
“N-no, I rather wait outside too.”
She just nodded.
I actually decided to go out because I thought she did not want to be cramped in a small space with me. Since she decided to follow, that must mean that I was wrong. We went outside and sat at the back of the house where all of Sergio’s crops were visible. The moon was bright yet it was not completely round, the clouds weren’t shrouding its light either. In contrast to the weather during the morning, the air was quite cool.
“This is actually making me quite sleepy,” I muttered.
“Um… I c-could just… wake you up when they a-appear,” said Ovis who was sitting beside me.
“Thanks, but I rather have my eyes peeled too.”
“Say, is something bothering you? You don’t seem like your usual self.”
“I-I…” Ovis opened her hand then stared at it.
“Come on, you can tell me.”
“It’s just t-that… we will be k-killing beasts tonight.”
“Are you afraid of blood?”
“N-no…” She shook her head. “B-but is killing really necessary?”
“J-just like Sergio and Scurus w-were able to understand each other, c-can’t we do that with the beasts as well?”
“It would be great if we can, but they can’t even understand our words.”
“Humans and Beastkins can already communicate fluently yet not everyone was able to settle their differences. What more if there is no language to link them together?”
I then reached for Ovis’ head then ran my fingers through her fluffy hair. “Just don’t think much about it. There are a lot of things that are just out of our control. Just focus on the things that you can do something about.”
“Y-yes…” Ovis nodded.
I did not know if I was able to sound convincing but I at least believed my own words. If everything could be easily solved then we would not have any problems at all. I just stared at the sky. Somehow, I also felt my nerves relax. Yet the moment of peace was suddenly broken.
A soft sound of food steps and crackling came from afar. I looked at the fields and I saw five beasts, running towards us. Their bodies were roundish and their coatings were brown and fluffy looking.
“M-master! Th-they’re here!” Ovis whispered. She held her mace and shield then stood up.
“Wait! Something’s wrong!” I hastily grabbed her arm to stop her.
“Wh-what?” Ovis looked confused.
“Just don’t attack! I’ll just go check on something first!”
I ran back to my room to get my Bestiary to confirm something. Based on what I knew, Ratichi were the beasts we were hired to kill. They were rodent like beasts with only one tail, different from the ones before us. I hastily opened the book and searched for the information about Ratichi. I compared the illustration on the book and the beasts that were visible by the window. They were almost identical but Ratichi really only had one tail.
I flipped a few more pages and I saw other beasts identical to the Ratichi, those were Ratini and Ratisan. Their only difference in appearance was that Ratini had two tails and Ratisan had three tails. I just confirmed that the beasts invading the farm were Ratisans and not Ratichis.
“Although they do not have a lot of difference in terms of appearance, Ratisan is far stronger than Ratichi. The more tails they possess, the more dangerous they are. Ratichi are considered as E rank beasts while Ratini and Ratisan are D rank. Ratisans can also be considered as C rank if they are present in large numbers” That was what was written in the book.
There was no way that I would fight D to C ranked beasts for my first job. That was a risk that I decided not to take. I ran back to where Ovis was and gave her instructions.
“We won’t attack. We will only defend if they come at us but we won’t take the initiative.”
“W-why? T-they are destroying the fields!”
“I’ll explain later. For now, watch the beasts closely.”
It was heart breaking. We watched the beasts as they took their time to enjoy Sergio’s hard work. I clenched my sword in annoyance. If only I was confident in my strength then I would have attacked.
“You useless tamer bastard! If you cannot do it then I will!” Scurus came out of the house with a hoe in hand.
“Damn kid! Stop!” I shouted.
But it did not seem like he even listened to my words. He just ran at full speed with his eyes set on the Ratisans.
“Haaaaaaaaaa!” Scurus shouted as he swung his weapon downwards.
His target Ratisan was able to dodge by jumping forward. His hoe hit the ground and due to the force of the strike, its head got stuck.
“Damn you!” Scurus let go of the hoe and attacked with his claws instead.
The Ratisans may be round and small, but they were fast. The beasts were just jumping around as if actually enjoying it. None of Scurus’ attacks made contact. He would be beaten if this went on.
“Ovis stay here and wait for my commands!”
I unsheathed my sword then ran towards where Scurus was. The boy was still tirelessly fighting the Ratisans until the beasts bared their teeth and started to attack. The Ratisans alternately jumped at Scurus to bite him. Fortunately, Scurus was nimble enough to dodge them all.
“That’s all you got?” Scurus suddenly stopped moving. “What? I can’t move!”
By how it was going, I would not be able to get there in time.
“Ovis, Stoneskin!” I shouted.
I did not hear her chant because of the distance but Scurus’ skin became coarse and fragmented just before the Ratisan’s teeth made contact.
“Aaaah!” The boy shouted but the Ratisan’s teeth were deflected due to the Stoneskin spell. “What?”
The spell only lasted for a few seconds before it disappeared. The Ratisans were about to attack again, thankfully I was able to arrive in time. I moved in front of Scurus and defended him from the beasts’ attacks with my sword.
I thought there were five of them. The fact that there were only four in front of me was baffling.
“Hey, run now!” I annoyingly shouted at the boy behind me.
“I can’t! I can’t move!”
“Huh?” I looked behind me for a moment just to see that there was a Ratisan behind him, doing nothing.
I quickly used my sword to do a sweeping strike at the Ratisan behind Scurus. The Ratisan quickly removed itself from the ground to dodge. That was when Scurus was able to move again.
The other beasts went to attack. I guarded with my sword as I would not be able to dodge in time.
“Haaaaaaaa!” Scurus shouted as he used his claws to deflect the attacks from the beasts.
I jumped forward to try to take one out yet the beast used its teeth to meet my blade. I was just able to knock it away yet was not able to land a single wound.
On the other hand, Scurus was just slashing at the air. The beasts were dancing around him until another one settled behind him. Scurus stopped moving once more.
“Again?” Scurus uttered in frustration.
I quickly attacked the Ratisan behind him. The moment it jumped to the air, Scurus regained his ability to move. I now understood how it worked but that did not mean that we finally had the advantage. There were five of them and it would be game over if both of us got immobilized.
“Scurus, we’ll run away when a bright light appears!”
“Run? No way! We have to stop these bastards!”
“Ovis! Use Glow!” I shouted without giving Scurus’ protests a piece of my mind.
I and Scurus defended ourselves for a while before a dazzling white light illuminated the area. I used that opportunity to grab Scurus’ arm and dragged him away from the beasts.
“What are you doing? Now is the time to beat ‘em!” Scurus tried to pull his arm away from my grip.
“We are the ones who are going to get beaten at this point!” I replied.
“We won’t know until we try!”
“We already tried! Did you kill at least one?” I angrily replied.
He went silent and just ran along with me until we arrived at the place where I left Ovis. We watched the Ratisans from there. I was glad that the beasts did not chase after us. They just resumed thrashing Sergio’s crops. On the contrary, Scurus did not look relieved at all. He bit his lip while his hands were largely unsteady. I understood how he felt but I did not really think we should push the fight further.
The Ratisans left after a while. It was natural for me to expect that they would still be back for more. The three of us entered the house with heavy hearts. Sergio was there waiting, sitting by the table.
“I’m sorry.” I bowed to apologize. Ovis also bowed with me while Scurus just looked away. Sergio sighed before he responded.
“I’m sure you got your reasons for not doing your job, right?”
“Yes, the truth is that-“
“Just tell me tomorrow. I know that you are all exhausted so just rest for tonight,” he responded.
“But these bastards did not do their job! Why are you treating them nicely?” Scurus pointed at me.
“Then do you also want to be scolded tonight for jumping out to fight those beasts even when I told you not to?” Sergio gave out a smile, a sarcastic one.
After that, we retired to our rooms, tired and devastated. I could not help but feel guilty for Sergio since he treated us so nicely. But on the other hand, it was also not my fault that the target beast was falsely identified in the request. I just closed my eyes and hoped that they would understand what happened.
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