38 Ordinary C-Rank Hunter
Rena was standing in front of the request board of the Hunter guild with a scary expression on her face and said:
「Now, at least, let us take our memorable first quest as C Rank Hunters!
What shall we do first?」
「Of course we will hunt Goblins!」
Mile’s reply to Rena’s passionate query didn’t quite agree with the other three.
「Why would you want to go and hunt Goblins at this point in time! Suppressing them doesn’t earn you much, they have nothing worth selling, and you can’t eat their meat. They’re what D Rank Hunters use for pocket money or as training dummies!」
「No, a Hunter’s work begins with herb harvesting and ends with Goblin hunting!」
Mile didn’t let her declaration get refuted.
「Hunting Goblins is the first hurdle the F Rank Hunters who want to graduate from gathering herbs or killing Horn Rabbits, and rise to E Rank, have to master. Or to phrase it differently, it is the proof of one’s growth!
And what would we be supposed to do when we have to teach our juniors about the weak points of Goblins in the future!」
「Eh, isn’t a Goblin’s weak spot it’s neck? Cut its head off and it dies…」
「If you cut of its head even a Dragon would die! Something like that is not a 『weak spot』!」
In return to Meavis statement, Mile’s voice rose to an unusually high volume.
「A-Anyway, we might be C Rank, but we only ever hunted Goblins one time during the Training School outing where the safety of the location was guaranteed and everything prepared so we only needed to swing our swords or release our magic. With just that we can’t say that we have 『experience in suppressing Goblins』. As an E Rank Hunter Rena-san might have experienced it already, but I, Maevis-san and Pauline-san have only done this one time.
Even if we are able to defeat Forest Wolves and Ogres, if we neglect the basics we can’t call ourselves proper Hunters, and it will someday come to bite us in the back…
To be honest I would say we should start from herb gathering, but we certainly did that more than enough on our free days to earn money…」
Even though the displeasure was visible on her face, when it was clearly said to her that it wasn’t for her sake, but that of the other three, combined with Mile’s convincing explanation, Rena rescinded her protest.
And certainly, different from doing it to earn some pocket money, when a village requested the suppression of Goblins, the most important part was not the battle itself. It was the prior investigation and strategizing to make certain that not a single one of them escaped, that their lair was eradicated instantly, and that they also finished of all females and young. If they left even just a few alive they soon multiply again and cause harm to the villagers. And their targets were usually those with soft flesh, children and women.
「….alright. Then let’s go with this. Are you okay with this too, Maevis, Pauline?」
「I don’t mind.」
Both of them were also convinced by Mile’s words and agreed.
And the other Hunters who had overheard their conversation had been impressed.
「Heh, looks like they know what they’re doing, despite being wet behind their ears. When I heard that they had formed a team consisting of only C Ranks fresh out of school, instead of joining a somewhat experienced party, I thought they soon die in a ditch somewhere, but it looks like they’ll survive and get better…」
「As expected of them. They are not the hot topic for nothing. The Training School really did good work there…」
「Hou, I see… I had heard that 『Mithril Roar』 had let someone win at the graduation exam, so they probably saw their potential and wanted to boost their confidence…
Or they gave them a free pass because they’re all cute girls, Ahaha!」
At a certain Hunter’s proclamation several of his surrounding colleagues showed looks of surprise, but let it slide, coming to the conclusion that he hadn’t seen the graduation exam in person and had only gotten the twisted rumors.
In front of the request board, Mile’s shoulders hang low.
There was no request by any village to suppress Goblins and neither was there even a continous commission for thinning them out. It seemed that right now the number of Goblins around the capital was quite low.
Other requests that were nearby and could be finished in a day were sparse, too. There was no motivation to pick a quest that would require them to travel far on their first day, nor had they made any preparations for camping outside.
「Well, how about hunting Orcs for the continuous commission for now? And since there are a lot of other food related commissions we can just pick them up along the way… We already hunted them in practical training so there should be no problem?」
Mile reluctantly nodded at Maevis proposal while Rena and Pauline looked slightly relieved.
Although they agreed with Mile’s logic, neither of them was all that eager on hunting Goblins.
(Goblins stink so horribly when they burn… Orcs are much better in that regard.)
Truly, in comparison to a Goblin, the smell of grilled pork stimulated the appetite.
「Can’t catch any…」
Rena sunk to her knees.
The feeling of deja vu was strong in Mile, but she wouldn’t utter a word about that.
Yes, Mile had been able to learn to 『read the mood』 a little bit.
This forest wasn’t the one suited for E-F Rank they had visited while they were in school. These were the 『Hunting Grounds』 where D-C Rank Hunters went to earn money.
…yes, this was 『one of the Hunting Grounds where the big number of D-C Rank Hunters went』. In short, the competition was fierce, and there was practically no prey at the shallow fringes of the forest.
Although there were quite a few Birds and Horn Rabbits, hunting the same prey they had hunted over and over again as an E-F Rank, felt wrong as their first C Rank kill.
「Let’s go in deeper!」
Since their feelings were the same, the other three simply nodded, and they headed further into the forest.
Shooting off a pebble, Mile went of into the bushes for a moment before returning with a Horn Rabbit.
No matter how much they wanted to catch something bigger, there was no guarantee they’d do so. And even if they caught something big, there was no need to go out of their way to overlook the small prey. For 2 silver coins they could get a meal of a better Rank for dinner. Since 『Red Oath』 had no limit to how much they could carry, they didn’t need to be picky with their prey.
「….But, it’s really convenient, that magic….」
Rena said while looking enviously at the way Mile launched pebbles. How many had she already shot today?
「If you are fine with ripping off your finger I could teach you?」
And as always, Rena groaned painfully at Mile’s words.
When Rena had cornered Mile to teach her this spell, Mile had bent a copper coin with her fingers as a show, and told her that only those who had trained from an early age could use this spell without blowing off their fingers upon activation, to make her give up.
If she didn’t go that far, she’d have to tell Rena that this wasn’t really a spell, but just pure muscle power.
They made quite a bit of money on the way, but since it was only Mile flicking pebbles, the other three were bored. In search of prey, they went even deeper into the forest.
After walking for a while, Meavis who had been in the front stopped and silently signaled them with her hand. The sign that she had found prey.
In their party formation, Meavis was at the front. Since she was the tallest among them she would be the first to detect any enemies, and if someone went before her she’s have to clear the branches left on her height level, so it would mean needlessly doubled work.
Well, the most important reason was that Meavis was the only 『Pure Vanguard』 party member.
By the way, Rena and Pauline were rear-line fighters, while Mile was Vanguard/Middle/Rear-line Fighter.
When all stopped at Meavis signal and studied their surroundings.
There it was.
Since today they worked to fulfill a continuous commission there wasn’t a 『particular prey』 they needed to catch, but their personal goal was to hunt an Orc. There were three adult Orcs.
「Mile, you already hunted a lot today, so let us have them!」
Mile nodded in response to Rena’s whisper, but entered full combat mode in the off case of something going wrong.
「I’ll take one of them down for good. Pauline, you damage the other two. And as soon as your spell hits, Maevis will deal them the finishing blow.」
Pauline and Maevis nodded in agreement.
Rena and Pauline then began chanting in a whisper, releasing both of their attacks at the same time on Rena’s signal.
Despite having plenty of magical power, Rena was not that proficient in water and ice magic, yet she used a single ice-based Attack Magic, while Pauline used her dexterity to fire off to water spells at the same time.
And the icicle as well as the two water blades splendidly hit their targets.
The enemy pierced by the icicle through the stomach had collapsed, but the other two, despite the big slashes on their belly and shoulder, were not fatally wounded and had quickly entered a battle stance and looked around for their enemies.
But, at this point Maevis, who had sprung forward together with the spells, had already closed in and was brandishing her sword.
When the Orcs noticed her, she had already brought down her sword and bisected one of them.
Raising a cry of agony, the slashed Orc fell forward with blood splattering.
Dodging this Orc, Meavis went on to cut at the remaining one.
Since the Orc had been looking down at its wounded stomach, the tip of her sword cut its throat open, leading to the second Orc also sinking to the ground.
「We, We did it…」
Filled with satisfaction and fulfillment upon her first killed Orc, Maevis spaced out for a moment.
When she turned around at Rena’s scream, the Orc that hab been impaled by her Icicle had risen up again and was charging at Maevis.
Since she had no time to lift her sword, Meavis swung it in an upward cut.
Mile had been on the tip of her toes the whole time, ready to jump in at every moment, but she wanted to hold back as long as possible so the others could get through with their own strength. And with her superior eyesight she had determined that Maevis attack would be fast enough.
And it certainly was fast enough.
The Orc’s body had been cleaved in half from bottom to top by Meavis sword, averting the Orc’s assault.
Not Maevis heart, but her blade.
There was a reason that her sword had broken.
Maevis, due to Mile’s training, was strong for a woman.
But more important than that was the speed of her strikes.
It obviously was connected to the power of the impact, increasing the strain on the blade.
And the sword that had already been marked for replacement had now been used for misaligned strike due to her unfavorable position, causing several times the usual strain.
And what was meant to break broke.
Such a thing was inevitable.
But, understanding more than anyone else that the actual reason her sword broke was due to the lack of skill of that last strike, a palpable feeling of gloom overcame Maevis. Seeing the look on their friend’s face and her broken weapon, the other three could only say one thing.
That evening, the four members of 『Red Oath』 went into a weapon shop in the capital.
They had turned all their prey, more than enough for their debut as Hunters, into money at the Guild and were congratulated by the Hunters there.
When a Hunter asked them why they looked unhappy despite bringing back such an abundant harvest, Maevis pulled out her sword as if to admonish herself.
Swords were by no means cheap.
Even with their small earnings today they still would end up quite deep in the red.
And this was the shop everybody had recommended to them for their comparatively cheap but good swords.
「The question is, whether we should spend all of our money to buy a fairly good sword, or buy a cheap one for now and use it to earn money for a better one later. What should we do…
Ah, Maevis, don’t hold back in choosing one. Make the best choice for the good of the party.
Your sword was at its limit in the first place and we planned to replace it.
…and first of all, the reason your sword broke is that I ran my mouth about finishing off the Orc in one shot but didn’t deliver. If your sword had broken before that for some reason I might have killed you with that. I’m really sorry…」
Truly, having your sword break in mid-fight meant death. One an untrustworthy sword one just because it was cheap.
「Got it. I won’t hold back and pick a sword I think is good. Let’s have a look…」
「A cheap one!」
Mile surprised Maevis by suddenly cutting in from the side.
And Mile continued.
「Please pick one with the right length for you and a comfortable hilt. From among the cheap, second hand ones.」