I momentarily held my breath and reflexively crouched a little.
Is there something dangerous… up ahead…?
Ikuru stopped me and said, “It’s there.”
The things I had seen in forest are ‘hard wolves’ and chickens and rabbits. However, looking at Ikuru’s appearance… there’s probably a strong monster.
“Hinami-sama… there’s a ‘snow rabbit’. Please come here quietly.”
“Eh…? It’s not a dangerous monster?”
“Ahh… No. It’s a rare and cute rabbit.”
W-What did you say…!?
Ikuru’s words betrayed my intentions in a good sense. I slowly headed to Ikuru’s side. Noting that I arrived next to him, Ikuru to a certain point. It was there, hiding between the trees.
There was a white rabbit.
“Is it the first time you see it? That’s a monster that lives at the southern region of this continent ‘Sariton’. It’s a rare snow rabbit. There’s about one account of witnessing it every few years.”
My! A rare and cute rabbit!
Once every few years…!? Then, meeting one today is a very lucky thing? Cute… I want to pet it…! I wonder if I can get close to it, will it run away if I approach?
I slowly and carefully took steps towards the snow rabbit. Please, don’t run away…!
“It’s very fast on its feet so if it sees you it will run away.”
“Eh! Then I can’t touch it…?”
Rare ones are known to run quickly… or something like that. Then just watching would be the best action, I wonder. I want to touch it, but it can’t be helped. Since there’s no way that I can catch it. Ahh… I want to pet it. I’m giving up sine it can’t be helped, but at the least lets send a passionate gaze to convey my thoughts.
I’ll pretend I didn’t see Ikuru’s exasperated expression! Because it was for cuteness! I couldn’t help but stare.
“I want to catch it for you, but I can’t see well… it’s not possible for me.”
“Ah, don’t mind it! It certainly is cute… but capturing it would be sad too.”
“…Yes. Hinami-sama is kind.”
I think it’d be nice to live in this world of 〈Letisreel〉 peacefully.
Earning points for god, making restoratives (potions)… opening a shop or something, that should be fun~!
My thoughts were drifting off, but I came back to reality from Ikuru’s startled voice.
When I wondered what it might be, I saw the snow rabbit charging towards me!
“Eh!? W-What’s going on!? Is it going to attack me!?”
“No… a snow rabbit shouldn’t attack… for now, stay behind me, Hinami-sama!”
When I quickly hid behind Ikuru, the snow rabbit that had been charging slowed down and stopped. Instead, it slowly toddled towards and came up to my leg.
Th-This is…! What’s this!? Can I think it likes me? I can, right?
I crouched down a little and reached a hand out to the snow rabbit. The size is… fitting perfectly in my hand. I was curious about the fur, and up closer it was fluffy and white. When I gently touched it, the snow rabbit was cold as its name suggested. A snow rabbit with fur like white, cold and fluffy cotton, or something like that?
“A snow rabbit approaching a person… I never heard such a thing.”
Ikuru looked somewhat shocked, but his stare was fixed on the snow rabbit I was hugging. Fufu, it’s a cute snow rabbit-chan after all! Gender doesn’t matter to its charm!
Rather, I wonder what I should do about this child. Should I return it to the forest…?
“Mm, snow rabbit. Want to come… to my house?”
“Ohhh! Then from today snow rabbit-chan is family!”
“No no no… how absurd.”
“Hey! Ikuru, do you want to pet it too?”
I’m very happy that the snow rabbit answered energetically to my questions. Also, Ikuru is very surprised…! Right, it can only be seen once every few years, but on top of that it’s following me… it might be unheard of. I wonder why… could I have good compatibility with this world?
But then I was attacked by hard wolves so maybe not? Well, doesn’t matter.
“Wah! It really is cold…!”
Ikuru also touched the snow rabbit gently and was surprised at the coldness. Rather, aren’t you petting it more affectionately than I did, Ikuru-san?
“Oops, why don’t we head home first…”
Maybe because he was embarrassed at how absorbed he was at petting it, he quickly took his hand off and held the moo’s reins. Even though he can pet it more. When Ikuru turned around with a slight blush, I felt that it was the human expression he showed compared to his usual lack of expression.
“Yeah! Let’s get to the forest of the lost first!”
◇ ◇ ◇
“Huh, are we already at the forest of the lost?”
“To be exact… it’s the forest of the lost from that large tree.”
“……Ikuru, you’re well informed?”
“My attribute is ‘wind’. Presences and such, I’m sensitive to them. The flow of the air for example… I can discern things from that.”
“Ohh—! That’s amazing!”
For me who lives in the forest of the lost, Ikuru is the best I can ask for!
Around a little less than an hour after we entered the forest… I guess? After meeting with the snow rabbit and taking some breaks, we safely arrived at the boundary between the ‘forest’ and the ‘forest of the lost’.
I thought that the trees would grow thicker as I walked, but the vegetation didn’t grow much thicker… and instead there was a bright forest. Indeed, it was a beginner’s forest and even for me who couldn’t even be called a beginner, the forest was clear and beautiful.
On the way, we encountered a few hard wolves but Ikuru defeated them without much trouble. Amazing. And unfortunately I couldn’t find any new herbs.
“Now… I don’t know the way from here though?”
“Mm… the house should be within about walking distance.”
“That’s too vague…”
Ikuru sighed but kept walking without any complaints.
Then, when Ikuru crossed the boundary and set a foot in the forest of the lost something happened.
Ikuru’s body was shining bright green.
The glittering green light was as though it was being absorbed into Ikuru… then the light was gone.
I quickly ran over to him and checked if he was alright.
“No… nothing wrong with me. Just… my finger feels a little hot.”
After saying that, Ikuru showed me his left hand.
“The curse slave crest.”
The curse slave crest that was formed from the magic from me and Ikuru was glowing… a light green. I was slightly awed at the pretty light that could be seen from afar… but what should we do.
“I haven’t heard of such a thing happening…”
“Ehhhh! Could we have failed in the contract?”
“No, no… the crest is strongly linked with the master, in this case Hinami-sama… so if there’s anything the cause should be Hinami-sama.”
“Ehhh… Rather, I don’t know anything about the curse slave crest though?”
Even if it’s my fault, I don’t know anything. All I can think of is that the magic tool was in bad condition so something went wrong… that’s all.
“The curse slave crest is a ‘bond’ that links the curse slave to the master. While the crest is there, the curse slave is affected by the master. Though, most aren’t affected. For example… right, let’s say that a master has a special skill… such as 〈Magic Increase〉. The master obviously has an increase in the capacity of magic. Then the curse slave also receives the benefits of the skill… the magic capacity is increased. The amount depends on the crest. A single line crest doesn’t create anything. However, if it’s an amazing crest like mine from Hinami-sama… I can’t predict how much but there should be great influence.”
“Then… Ikuru is shining… because of my abilities?”
“Even if my skill is not in effect?”
“Mm…. the curse slave crests are usually single lines, so there aren’t many cases. I’m sorry, but I’m not sure.”
From my skills…? And it’s independent of whether I am using it or not. However, the skills I have are ‘God’s Miniature Garden’, ‘Rhapsody of Light (Light Rhapsodia)’, ‘Angel’s Voice (Sanctuary)’, just 3.
‘God’s Miniature Garden’ creates a safe zone that is always active… it creates a sacred ground.
‘Rhapsody of Light (Light Rhapsodia)’ is a defensive skill.
‘Angel’s Voice (Sanctuary)’ accelerates growth and makes crafting easy.
I don’t think anything would affect Ikuru though? But if there’s a possibility, maybe it’s the always active ‘God’s Miniature Garden’?
“Hinami-sama, this is… it’s definitely pulling that way.”
Pulling that way…? Ikuru stretched out his arm to the inner part of the forest of the lost. If the crest is pointing somewhere… then…?
“Maybe… it’s pointing to the sacred ground!?”
Yes, it’s definitely that!
“Ikuru! Let’s head that way!”
“This way… what would be there?”
“Of course, my house!”
Quickly quickly, I urged Ikuru and pulled him by the arm, advancing through the forest of the lost. The scenery I always saw from my house must be at the place Ikuru’s crest is pointing to! “No way that’s true…” I’m sorry to Ikuru who murmured so, but my intuition is telling me that.
“Hinami-sama can be unexpectedly pushy.”
“Yes. I think it’s still fine though? Huh, wait, isn’t that ‘azure grass’?”
On the downhill slop to the right, there was deep blue grass. It’s the last required ingredient for the deep sea restorative, azure grass.
The short herb had only a few large round leaves. It was a small herb, but it had such a deep colour that my gaze was stolen by it. The colour was much clearer than any other plants, but I wonder I couldn’t see it.
“That, I need even the roots!”
“You really are a chemister. I’ll go pick them up now.”
While Ikuru was digging up the azure grass, I looked around to see if there was any other azure grass. Of course, I stayed in the area since it would be dangerous.
However… there was none.
“I picked them up, Hinami-sama. At any rate, it’s quite a rare sight to see azure grass in such a shallow forest, even if this is a forest of the lost.”
“Yeah. It usually grows in deeper forests.”
“I see… I’m learning a lot.”
“If you’re a chemister you should at least remember that.”
I looked at Ikuru looking exasperated for the hundredth time. However, I didn’t miss that his impassive face was growing softer.
It was just a very trivial change… but I felt very happy.
“Hm, I think we’re close. The curse slave crest feels warm for some reason.”
“Really? Then we’ll be home soon!”
In front of us, there was a slightly tall tree and some thicket. I wonder if I can see my house if I get past that? Even as my heart pounded, my legs felt lighter as leapt between the trees and exited the woods.
Yup. It definitely is my house!
“Ikuru! This is my house!”
“Eh…! There really is a house in the forest of the lost…”
“You didn’t believe me!?”
“No, that’s not it, but it wasn’t realistic either.”
When I set foot into the grounds, the snow rabbit joyfully jumped around the garden. What’s with this child…! It’s so cute…!
Right! I have to think of a name…!! Since it’s a snow rabbit, Yuki. No, I can’t give such a casual name! I’ll decide after talking about it with Ikuru. Right, decided!
“Could this be… medicinal herbs?”
Oops, a déjà vu…?
After Ikuru set foot into the garden, he was looking around. And from those lips words of surprise escaped.
At times like these, right, victory goes to the one who makes the first move.
“Yup. I can cultivate medicinal herbs.”
“……Amazing. This is the first time I saw something lie this.”
“Ehehe. It’s my only redeeming feature as a chemister… but keep it a secret, okay?”
“Of course. If this is told to the world… the whole world will be in a fuss.”
Looks like my strike first strategy worked, as Ikuru seems to have accepted it. Besides, Thia-chan and Alfred-san told me to not tell anyone else including Clef-san, out of concern. They also told me that the truth should never leak since it would be dangerous.
The people who know this fact are Thia-chan, Kiruto-kun, Alfred-san and Ikuru, 4 people. It shouldn’t increase from there… yeah, I should be alright.
“For the time being, why don’t we go inside and have some tea? I’ll prepare some delicious fruit.”
“Alright… but I’ll brew the tea.”
“Ehehe, thank you.”
For now, I’m relieved that I returned safely.