Leaves of the Drakon Kidney Flower
They left town early the next morning and set off on a mountain trail. The plan was to go up and be back down by sundown, then head back to Scholarzard the next day. The first day of school might start two to three days from now.
The mountain they climbed was barren, with only a few half-withered shrubs growing here and there. At times they’d spot greenery – most likely alpine plants. Hikaru checked if they were rare medicinal herbs.
He had his Mana Detection on at all times. Once he detected mana, he would turn his ability off and confirm with his naked eye just in case. It was a kind of training for him.
There were rarely any monsters – or rather animals; only deer and mice.
「Phew. I’m exhausted.」Hikaru said.
「Me too. But I feel like I have more stamina now.」
They sat down on tree stumps in an open space to take a break. Lavia’s enhanced stamina most likely came from the one point Hikaru put on her “Stamina” back in the dungeon.
「Maybe the dungeon helped.」
「I actually enhanced your Stamina using the Soul Board.」
Lavia stared at him blankly.
「That’s incredible. You can do that too, huh?」she said ecstatically.
For Hikaru, it was not him who should receive the credit. It was all the power of the Soul Board. But Lavia saw things differently. In this world where “job classes” were thought of as an integral part of one’s abilities, she believed Hikaru’s power to configure Soul Boards to be extraordinary.
「Look, Hikaru. We can see the town from here.」
He turned around to see a small town sprawled below. Situated by the main road, it was pretty much a desolate town with only a mountain trail. There was no such hobby as mountain climbing in this world. People only traversed the heights when necessary – gathering plants, hunting animals, or going to the other side of the mountain for some important business.
「Lavia! Get down!」
Hikaru’s Instinct picked up something. He grabbed Lavia’s hand and got down, activating his Group Obfuscation. In the blue skies above was a small, black dot. For a while it stayed like that, but soon enough…
「That’s not a bird, is it?」Lavia asked.
「It’s a Lesser Wyvern.」
A full-fledged monster. Those belonging to the dragon family specifically preyed on humans and were encouraged to be killed when sighted.
Looks like we’re in luck.
Once a Lesser Wyvern was spotted, a kill quest would be sent to the Adventurers Guild immediately. As such, Hikaru didn’t expect to find one in these mountains.
The creature was flying towards their direction. It didn’t notice them lying face down on the ground with their cloaks completely covering them. It still might not see them if they stood with Group Obfuscation on, but it was better to be safe than sorry. Monsters might have something that surpassed humans’ “Instincts”.
The wyvern descended down a ridge nearby.
「…Hikaru? Your face says you want to go down there.」
「Yeah. I know it’s strange. We’re supposed to be here gathering magical ores and fossils since you have the ability mana flowing in them.」
Lavia stood up with her hands on her hips and smiled broadly.
「We’re going to collect leaves of the Drakon Kidney Flower, aren’t we?」
Dragons, Lesser Wyverns included, loved the fragrance of the Drakon Kidney Flowers. In fact the more powerful ones plant its seeds near their nests to grow them. You only needed to follow a dragon to find the flowers. Of course, there was the danger of being spotted by the monster.
「I’m surprised you knew.」Hikaru said.
「There were plenty of places nearby where we could complete requests, but we came all the way here where Dragon Kidney Flowers grow. I thought that was your plan all along.」
「Smart. I’m very impressed.」
「But why do you want to help the principal all of a sudden? I don’t think you need to help someone as rude as her.」
「That’s a good point.」
He had a reason for doing this. Talking with League made him realize that Forestia’s existence relied heavily on the balance between the seven nations. The principal’s home, Zubura, was especially small. It would be terrible if she lost her position.
Just giving her what she was looking for wouldn’t change things; not greatly, at least. But it was a big deal for League, and if the guy had the guts, Hikaru wouldn’t mind betting on him to make a change, to maintain the balance of this country. He explained that to Lavia as well.
「Why are you doing this when you have nothing to gain from it?」
「I’ll be staying in this world for the rest of my life. I just want to make this world with you a better place. So I have my own selfish reasons for helping out.」
「Hikaru.」She grasped his hand tight.「I’ll help as well.」
「Thanks. We’ll have to see if that guy’s actually studying under the professor from Kotobi.」
「You want to see if he’s really serious about changing this country, huh?」
Oddly enough, Hikaru wanted to face this world with positivity. All because he told Lavia everything, and she accepted him for who he was. He would do anything for her, even eliminating threats to the peace of this world.
「All right. Let’s go after the Lesser Wyvern.」
They crested the hill. Down below was a dense greenery where the wyvern was lying down.
「Is it asleep?」Hikaru said.
「Looks like it.」
「Can you wait behind that boulder?」
「Are you going alone?」
「It’ll be much easier for me to go alone. Just keep your Stealth on while hiding. Though if I give the signal, I want you to blast it with all you’ve got.」
After taking Lavia to hide behind a rock, Hikaru started downhill. He could barely keep his balance with all the pebbles. Stones rolled down the slope. He went down carefully, adjusting his angle of approach so the stones wouldn’t hit the sleeping wyvern.
He turned around. Lavia should be watching him from behind the boulder, but he couldn’t see her with her Stealth on. If he strained his eyes, though, he could tell she was there. It was as if she blended in with her surroundings.
「So this is what Stealth looks like. Amazing.」
The reason why he could see her if he stared long enough was probably because it was only a level one Stealth.
Hikaru moved forward. With every step, he realized just how big the wyvern was. Its body was the size of a school bus, with gigantic wings.
They call this a “lesser” wyvern, huh…
The normal wyverns or actual dragons could be much bigger than this. In this world, a clear distinction was drawn between drakons and dragons. The ones that looked like winged lizards were called dragons, while the one Hikaru saw in the dungeon that looked like an enormous snake winding and coiling around was called a drakon.
It would appear that the wyvern was really asleep. The smell of blood drifted in the air. Red smudge around the creature’s mouth indicated it just had dinner. Underneath its body were Drakon Kidney Flowers, leaves crawling on the ground. Red as blood, it was a strange flower, its petals warping and springing about.
Looks easy enough, Hikaru thought as he inched closer to the wyvern.