Chapter 64 : Fairy of The Forest.
「That was amazing, Stella-chan! You act so naturally even though you say that you hate to do this! 」
「H-Humph! I’m not doing this for you, Aria. It’s just to let Tama know that I’m the kind of woman who can work together with others! 」
「Fufufu, saying that makes you even cuter, Stella-chan.」
Embarrassed, Stella blushed furiously at Aria’s praise.
Aside from proving her worthiness to Tama, being praised by Aria also improved her mood greatly.
―― Good job, Stella. Keep it up.
<――T-Tama’s praise! Yosh! Leave it to me, Tama!>
Stella’s eyes shone brightly after Tama’s telepathic message.
Whenever she smiled like that, Tama sometimes forgot that she had once been a dragon.
(Humph… Stella-chan and Tama were staring at each other in silence again. Just what in the world is happening between them?）
From a third party’s perspective, Stella and Tama seemed to be merely gazing at each other. Aria, not knowing that they were communicating from within their minds, burned with jealousy at the sight.
She shook her head to clear those thoughts and focused her attention on the Giant Ape corpses scattered around them.
「To be honest, I want to skin them and bring back the furs. Unfortunately, our backpack capacity is limited, so I guess I have to abandon these since they could become a hindrance later…」
Disappointed, Aria sighed heavily and moved away from the carcasses.
The pelt of a Giant Ape could be sold at a fairly good price. It almost made her turn around and carry it with her despite how the extra weight would inconvenience her. Not to mention that as they ventured deeper into the labyrinth they could find a treasure box.
Although both Aria and Stella carried their luggage on their backs, for the time being, they had to avoid increasing the weight of their packs.
(Fumu, a Giant Ape pelt, huh? Its price is quite good… Guess it’s time to reveal my “new” skill. As long as Reis-dono is the one purchasing it, we might be able to keep this skill a secret.）
Tama decided to go through with it and approached his master, letting out a tiny roar to catch her attention.
「What’s wrong, Tama? 」
「Nyaa~ Nyaa~!（Look at me, master. Skill activate,《Storage》!)」
「――EH!? T-The corpses… They disappeared! 」
「What in the world just happened here!? 」
The moment Tama activated his “new” skill, the corpses of the Giant Apes vanished.
Aria could not believe what she had just seen. She quickly returned to her senses and her gaze fell on Tama.
「Tama… Don’t tell me.」
「Nyan~! (You’re right, master!) 」
A nod later, Tama invoked his 《Storage》 again.
Thus, the Giant Ape corpses that had vanished appeared again.
「W-What an amazing skill you got there, Tama… You really are an incredible cat.」
「Amazing! As expected from the male I chose! 」
The storage-type skill was so rare, only 1 in 10000 people managed to have it. Also, according to what Aria had heard about it, the capacity was usually so small it could only hold small items, like rings.
Storing two entire Giant Ape corpses inside a storage space was completely out of her expectations. Aria gave Tama a cramped smile, while Stella was simply delighted by the skill.
「Does that mean we don’t need to leave loot behind anymore? Tama, how much load can you hold in your space? 」
「Nya~n nyaan~! (Fret not, master! There’s still plenty of space left!) 」
「Well, let’s move on! 」
「What are you so happy about, Aria? 」
「Because we can exchange the monster corpses for gold, Stella-chan. More gold means more delicious food for you.」
「WHAT!? Why didn’t you tell me that sooner! Yosh, let’s crush those monsters for the sake of our FOOD! 」
Stella’s eyes literally sparkled once Aria explained why collecting monster carcasses was important. Using food instead of currency made it easy for Stella to understand. Her mind was flooded with memories of the past few days and all the dishes she tasted.
She picked up the pace, fired up by the idea of eating more delicious food.
Aria and Tama could only follow her from behind.
「Tama! Please use your Wind Howl! 」
「Nyan~! (Yes, master! 《Aether Howling》!) 」
Tama followed his master’s order and aimed his skill at the two bee-like monsters in front of them. They were as big as a human head with a sharp, pointed stinger. The Poison Bees.
They were C-ranked monsters. As their name suggested, they had poison within their stingers that, once injected, slowly confused the victim until it died.
Although poison wouldn’t work on Aria and co while they had the《Divine Protection of Lion King》applied to them, it didn’t mean that the stingers wouldn’t be fatal if it hit a vital spot.
Also, even with Aria’s superb knife-throwing skills, landing a hit on the Poison Bees was almost impossible. Hence why Tama intercepted the attack with his howl.
A storm swept the area above the two girls’ heads, conjured by Tama’s roar. The Poison Bees that were preparing to sting them were thrown out of balance then swept away by the fierce wind.
「Now, 《Acceleration》! 」
「I won’t lose! 」
Aria went after the Poison Bees.
The combination of her haste skill and Tama’s 《Divine Protection of Lion King》 sent her flying forward like a bullet.
Stella followed along in her dragonewt form, albeit not quite keeping up with Aria.
The Poison Bees lay on the ground, all but immobile.
Only their wings moved, making a faint buzzing sound.
And then, there was a flash followed by a resounding sharp sound.
Aria beheaded one Poison Bee with a swing of her knife.
With the sharpness of the alloy that combined orichalcum and tamahagane coupled with Aria’s extreme speed, such a feat was nothing more than a child’s play.
「You are not getting away! 」
The other Poison Bee did not last much longer.
It got hit from the side by Stella’s greatsword. The body fell to the ground and smashed into pieces.
Seeing the Bee’s body destroyed, Aria screamed as if she was being stabbed.
「AAAH, THE LOOT!!!!! (◞ ‸ ◟) 」
Both the stinger and the feathers of the Poison Bees could sell for a small sum of money. But that was just a lost dream, now that the Bee’s body became a chunk of crushed meat.
While Aria agonized over the lost loot, Tama detected a hidden presence.
(Hm? This presence…)
「Something is hiding in those bushes! 」
「You’re right. Stella-chan, I’ll distract whoever is behind those thickets with my throwing knives. Meanwhile, you and Tama attack them when they dodge my knife! 」
Both Stella and Aria felt the presence in the bushes.
Aria took out her throwing knife from her thigh belt and got into position.
Before she could throw, they heard two adorable voices coming from the thickets.
「Uwa~! Wait, wait, wait, Human! We’re not your enemy! 」
「Ye~s, don’t attack us, ple~ase! 」
「Who’s there? Come out! Now! 」
「R-Right away, ma’am! 」
「Awawawa! Plea~se wa~it, we’re coming ou~t.」
The owners of the voices slowly made their way to the group.
「N-No way… A〝Pixie〟? 」
「Nya~n!?（Could the other one be a 〝Dryad〟!?） 」
Both Aria and Tama couldn’t hide their surprise when they saw the two people.
The one who appeared first was a palm-sized, pink-haired girl with wings on her back.
Following her was a girl the size of a child, with deep green hair and pale green skin.
「Exactly, name’s 〝Lily〟. I’m a pixie! 」
「My name is 〝Faeri〟, of the Dryad race. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.」