45. Megane-kun, Winning via His Mental Trainings
It was there, on top of some branch.
Looking at it with the 「Night Vision」, it appears red in my vision. Its size and its shape match the description from the Field Guide, so I’m pretty sure this is my prey.
Still, I’d be damned.
I know it is there, but I can’t feel even a shred of its presence. I’ve never met a creature like this before….. no, I have. I do have, haven’t I. In fact, I just did meet some recently. After all, such creatures are everywhere both in the Leavant Manor and this Assassin Village. People with no presence whatsoever. Like an auntie that just showed up right behind you. Mainly, old people.
Just thinking that creatures like that suddenly jumped on you from above……well, no wonder they call this Demon Beast a 「Hunter」. On a completely unrelated note, I think that auntie can kill people just by shocking them to death via suddenly showing up behind them. I’m just that much terrified of her.
For this lizard’s case, however, it appears to have melted.
It’s still some distance away, alas, I put a guard up and ready myself onto the aggression from where I am.
I take my bow, apply the paralyzing poison onto the arrowhead, and nock it. Ready to launch.
I move as little as possible, snuffing out any sounds I may make, and take a position where there is an open straight line between me and the beast.
——Silently, the arrow is released.
It hits squarely.
The Sky Lizard squealed at the sudden attack, falling off the tree it rested upon.
I already ran to where it fell before I could even confirm the hit. I’ve already anticipated this to happen during my mental training.
The paralyzer takes effect immediately.
The question is how quickly can I retrieve it and return to the village. Its blood is already spilled. It’s also making a lot of noises. I need to finish it fast before a new Demon Beast enters the fray.
Sure enough, at the spot where the lizard fell to…. there’s nothing.
No, wait, there is.
An arrow quivering, floating in the air, and some red liquid flowing out of something and hitting the ground.
This is surprising.
It’s really melted.
This Demon Beast, Sky Lizard, has a mimicry ability that lets it 「melt into the background」.
It becomes as transparent as water.
While it is a dreadful ability even during daytime, due to refraction of light and many other factors, I can still vaguely make out its shape.
But, it’s a different thing altogether if it’s nighttime.
At night, where light is scarce, it is said that this Demon Beast becomes truly invisible.
It’s written in the Field Guide that you’d better be prepared to die if you encounter one at night. Also, on a completely and perfectly unrelated note, the author of the Field Book closed the segment with a comment 「I wish I could be like the Dark Night Hunter and drop myself onto pretty girls at night」. Really makes me wonder how this book managed to get published at all.
Indeed, you can tell that there is something there if you stare at it hard enough.
Something that is more like a haze.
The scenery looks a little distorted, and even if it’s gone transparent, it can’t avoid crushing down the grass and such under its body weight.
No. This isn’t time to marvel at it.
The fact that I can’t see it means that it’s still alive. The Sky Lizard’s special ability, mimicry, is still active.
The arrow is lodged near the neck, just as I aimed.
It’s a good firing point to kill in a single shot, and yet the beast is not dead yet despite it hit the bullseye.
This means the arrow didn’t penetrate deep enough to cause a fatal wound.
Probably due to its strong Magic Core.
Its defence is simply too solid.
Thinking that killing it with a bow and arrow may prove impossible, I pull out my dressing knife.
I’ve anticipated that this might happen. I choose my next action decisively, all thanks to the elaborate mental training I did just in case things went this way.
I use Night Vision to see the invisible and aim at the area where my arrow hit.
I hold my knife low at the level of my waist and stab the Demon Beast from underneath with the entire weight of my body.
What I aim for is its throat. While there is some resistance, my weight helps the blade to go all the way to its handle.
I knew it, this part has to be one of the softest of various living creatures, animals and Demon Beasts alike. It’s probably because it needs to be elastic during feeding time.
The paralyzing poison has taken effect, so it can’t move around that much, and yet I can tell through the knife that the beast is still flailing around as hard as it could.
Its vitality, its very will to survive, is unbelievably strong.
Still, my mental training is perfect, just in case this might happen. I put all of my strength into it and push the knife even deeper.
A most disagreeable sound is heard.
I can no longer feel my game’s resistance from the knife that I hold in both hands.
When one of the forces between this lizard and I disappeared, I lost my balance and tumbled over the Demon Beast.
Yeah, I basically fell so spectacularly. But still, I had anticipated this to happen in my mental training.
I regrouped with a front roll, bearing not even a scratch. While the knife in my hand——Ah, so that’s why. That’s how it comes to be.
My knife is broken at its base. There is only fresh blood and the handle of the knife in my hands.
I thought it would last me my lifetime, but to think my knife ended its term first. I guess it couldn’t withstand both my weight and the Sky Lizard’s resistance at the same time.
Nevertheless, this level of an accident is still well within the anticipation of my mental training.
I throw the handle away, take up my bow, and fire three consecutive shots at it at a close distance. My target is its head
When I’m at my fourth arrow, things have gone quiet——I can no longer feel the soundless pulse of life from it.
I stopped moving, staring at where the Sky Lizard lays.
——And then, the invisible beast is quickly dyed in various colors, enabling me to finally see its body.
A huge lizard, one speckled in scales the color of soil, dead trees, and dead leaves——ocher, appeared in front of me.
Its eyes downcast and languid, as its life has ceased to be.
After making sure the 「Megane」 doesn’t show any number on its head, I put away my bow and arrows, then line up the upper half of my body with the lizard’s back.
The hunt is still on until I return to the village with my spoil. I can’t let my guard down just yet.
The lizard weighs just around what I assumed it would be in my mental training. About the weight of an adult——a little lighter than me. Just barely at the limit of what I could carry.
Again, just like how I did it in my mental training, I turn the dead lizard upside down, lift it up, and carry it with its belly on both of my shoulders.
What I struggled with in my mental training is just how fast I could go to the village from here.
I redid my mental training again and again until I reached a conclusion.
——Just run for it.
If I follow my mental training, which I’ve revised mercilessly until nothing else can be gained, I should be able to make it back to the village with no hitch.
After a few falls, drops, and throwin down Stink Bags at the first sign of danger, I managed to escape from the mountain by literally rolling away from it.
It was a very close call.
I was definitely being chased and targeted by a few Demon Beasts back there.
I leave the mountain, and only let out a sigh when I no longer feel any presence of pursuers.
I succeeded, somehow……Still, this kind of close-call hunting style is not good at all.
I will definitely flop it if I keep doing something like this time and again.
No, just failing is still better.
Most probably, I’ll die.
I managed to cover up what I lacked by going through all sorts of mental training that was ridiculous even by my standard, but I’m not that much of a ridiculous character to think up such a ridiculous method again and again.
The hunt went well.
But it was a hunt that left a lot to be desired.
The issues that came to light from this hunt are exactly what I need to overcome by studying in this Assassination Village.
I’m not very happy with the success of this hunt.
My footsteps are heavy when I hurry home, carrying the lizard by me.
I’m broke orz
Hopefully I can survive another week to post the next chapter.