Bastard Swordsman Chapter 13

Shrimp Fishing and Outliers

New guild members fresh out of training can’t really contribute as battle force to any quests.

First, they can’t do security jobs. These are just country kids with no connections backing them up.

If they were relatives of a village elder or something they might get a letter of introduction and be able to take jobs through the guild, but basically no one trusts some no-name kid with important work.

Material collection is tough too. It’s not like most citizens here don’t have farming experience. Any eye-catching herbs and plants that fetch a price have pretty much all been ripped up root and stem by someone, so to gather you’d have to go deep into the forest or pretty far out.

Normally neglected city sanitation jobs get swarmed by newbies this time of year as easy day labor, but even those are limited.

Beyond that, the only other options are nasty jobs like sewer maintenance, backbreaking manual labor in construction, or heading out on unfamiliar subjugation quests.

3K jobs are always rough. For real.

…Well, they’re tough but for some reason subjugation quests are always popular.

Is it overconfidence in their strength from just coming in from the countryside, or dreaming too big about being guild members? There’s an endless stream of guys accepting subjugation requests beyond their ability.

And as you’d expect, every year a ton of these young folks die doing subjugation work like this.

It’s because they don’t have any margins for error, they have no know-how…

They’re supposed to properly learn that stuff in the guild’s initial lectures, but after finishing the lectures it’s just “Alright, let’s go hunting!” for these guys. Nothing you can do when they’re like that immediately after you tell them.

I don’t get why they all charge into the forest with a “Up to 2-star should be no problem lol” attitude when they don’t have Monster Hunter experience. Please have some mercy wandering around like goblin bait. Skeletons swarming later is also too much.

“It’s too crowded, no work for me to take,”

My junior Raina sighed in front of the guild job board.

Artemis is a party focused on subjugation work, but with all these rookies suddenly flooding the forest at once, it must be incredibly annoying.

For hunters, just having clueless amateurs randomly wandering around changes the look of the whole forest. Habitats are probably shifting pretty fluidly for the monsters right now too.

“I’m out of work too. All the Legol city sanitation jobs have been wiped out.”

“We can’t take those from beginners though…”

“Kidding. I wouldn’t let kids starve to death. …I actually wanted to camp out in the deep forest for a few days, but looks like too many people this year for that to work out.”

“Right. Legol’s economy has been good for a while. It’s not just people from nearby this year, people from way further out have been coming to use this as a base too. That’s why it’s so busy.”

Legol’s prosperity.

That is to say, the bizarre phenomenon continuing due to the successful production of the Earl’s inventions being spread around.

In other words, it’s my fault.

Went and did it.

“There are emergency hiring ads from all kinds of workshops too. Not guild jobs, but you can earn money there. Might be good once quests dry up.”

“Workshops huh…they’re all expanding like crazy.”

“Constant construction, constantly short on manpower. Well, busy is good I guess.”

Legol seems to be growing into an active trading city.

Before, being in a mediocre location not particularly close to anywhere, it was treated like a negligible middle transit point, but with multiple specialties suddenly sprouting up, things are hectic. It unexpectedly became a lively town trading with various cities.

The Earl governing Legol, who had no plans for this busyness, is apparently stumbling around in confusion. Hilarious.

“Alright. Hey Raina, if you’re free, want to go to the river or something?”

“The river? Anything there this time of year?”

“It’s a secret honey hole the amateurs won’t know about. Better with more people for this one… Come to east gate with your gear ready if you’re interested, and you’ll see.”

“Hmm…fine, I’ll go.”

And so after a bit of prep, I headed to a river near town with Raina.

Surrounded by the natural ambience of rolling stones. The only sounds are leaves rustling and the river’s babbling.

“Okay, let’s catch some shrimp together!”

“Huh!?”

Seeing me take out my homemade fishing rod set from my luggage, Raina eyed the bow in her hand.

“I thought we were hunting something!?”

“There’s tons of shrimp around here this time of year.”

“Um, you sure you wouldn’t rather do this alone!?”

“You were free right? Fishing alone is just boring and unsatisfying.”

No smartphones or anything in this world. I’m sure some can enjoy themselves alone for hours, but that’s no good for me. It’s rough without someone nearby to chat with.

“Ugghh…oh, is this one for me?”

“Of course. My handmade super high-performance fishing rods. Planning to sell them soon.”

“They just look like sticks with string tied on…but thanks, I’ll use it.”

You rarely eat fish or shellfish in Legol. If any it’s mostly dried or smoked. Sometimes foodie hobbyists will catch river fish and serve them at taverns, but basically none.

These rivers around here though, plenty of fish and shrimp. Prime spot for me.

“Are the bugs around here okay for bait?”

“Yeah, drop them near rocks where the current isn’t too fast and you’ll get plenty of bites.”

“Ohhh.”

The basics of bait fishing are patience.

If I had lures I’d have to frantically jerk the rod around, but these rods unfortunately don’t have handy features like reels. I want to try that sometime, but for today let’s stick to still fishing.

The two of us lower our lines side by side, blankly waiting for bites. Utterly still until they come.

And the ones we’re after might get away even after biting, so no need to react too quick. That’s why time flows by without much tension.

“Raina, you didn’t fish back in your hometown?”

“Never. Just traps and bows. Some uncles did it, but I had no interest.”

“You’ve never eaten shrimp!?”

“Nope.”

“No way, really?”

“Really. Some people there ate it I guess, but not enough to go around to me. Oh, I have had crab. Love crab.”

“You’ve missed out on half of life…”

“You think life is half shrimp, huh…”

“Precisely, half ebi-chili.”

“I don’t get it.”

“You will today.”

“Rather not…”

“Oh?”

As we chatted, Raina’s rod got a bite. Before mine.

“Hold up. Give it another 10 seconds or so.”

“It’s tugging though!?”

“Calm down, leave it. Hasn’t properly taken the bait yet.”

Weird. Is this beginner’s luck? Didn’t expect her to get a bite before I showed her how.

“Fifteen…seconds, can I pull it now?”

“Alright, try slowly lifting it up now.”

“Suuu.”

As Raina casually raised her rod, a small silhouette hung at the end of the line.

A river shrimp. Pretty standard size, a bit smaller than a crayfish.

“Ohh!”

“Nice, toss it in this pot and get the lid on quick.”

“Clink. That was easy.”

“Right? Oh, you’re a natural at this. Didn’t expect it to go so well your first try.”

“Hmm.”

What’s with that “hmm”?

Watch me demonstrate the power honed through tenaga shrimping.

“Oh, another one.”

Second bite already. Well, guess that happens when you find a good spot.

“Woah, tugging!”

Well, where there’s two there’s three they say.

“And got one right as I put it in! No no, calm down…wait patiently…then carefully…”

Hey now hold on a minute!

“Raina!”

“Yes? Something wrong?”

“How many do you have!?”

“Um, around 10 maybe?”

“Switch spots!”

“Eh…fine I guess.”

YOU ARE READING STOLEN TRANSLATION. READ THE ORIGINAL TRANSLATION AT GADGETIZEDPANDA.COM

Something’s up. Makes no sense they’re not even nibbling my bait. We’re only meters apart.

So it’s the spot. If I drop my line where Raina is, there’s surely some mysterious power at work…

“Mongrel senpai, Mongrel senpai.”

“You got one there too!?”

“No. Over there, other side of the river.”

“Oh…”

Where Raina was staring, her expression somehow tense, I followed her gaze to the other side of the river…and there stood a hulking monster, crouched and glaring this way.

At a glance while standing, its form resembles a human.

But shaggy, long fur. An extreme hunch like an ape’s. And most of all, the single eye in its head. Everything indicated the being there was no human.

It’s hard to gauge distance with it on the opposite riverbank, but its bloodshot eyeball is clearly visible, meaning the thing is huge.

Get closer and you’d see the one-eyed monster is nearly 3 meters, a veritable giant.

Cyclops. Needless to say, an extremely dangerous monster.

“So, what do we do?”

Raina placed her rod down and picked up her bow. Fishing is on hold for me too.

Drawing the bastard sword at my waist, I think.

Cyclops are high risk monsters. Often stupid but monstrously strong.

Unlike goblins who may fear people, cyclopes feel no fear with their power. They see a human and automatically assume enemy, prey. The drool dripping from the one across the way makes that plenty clear.

“Exterminate it. At this shallow a river it’ll have no issue crossing over.”

“Really?”

“Really really. Fun fact, they’re faster than humans and about five times stronger.”

“Crap.”

“But stupid heads. It’s just standing there derpy like Raina has her bow. Obvious weak point right?”

“That gross eyeball, yes.”

Raina drew her bow, the cyclops in her razor focus.

“Think you can hit it?”

“The river wind seems iffy. It looks sturdy, so even a little off will be bad.”

“Probably withstand anything but the eye huh.”

If this was a brutish archer instead of Raina, they might be able to shoot through a vital spot on the cyclops’ thick body.

But Raina’s aim is good, her power still that of a child with their first fuzz. Best to assume settling it without the eye will be hard.

And I have the strength, but got bored partway through bow training so no range attacks for me.

“Well, take a shot anyway.”

“Don’t say it so lightly when I might miss at a critical moment.”

“A miss is fine. I’ll handle it somehow. Think of it as practice.”

Seeing me heft my bastard sword, Raina grimaced.

“Next time bring an even longer sword, ‘kay?”

“If there is a next time, this should do fine right?”

The cyclops roared from the opposite bank.

Crazed single eye, and maw no human could mimic. Jagged uneven teeth.

Gross. Filthy monsters just make me sick.

“Deadly Aim.”

Raina activated her skill, a faint light in the depths of her eyes.

Skills, granted by the gods (or so it’s said in Zanaculate) ultimate techniques.

Thanks to its effects, Raina’s drawn bow completely stopped shaking, the arrowhead unwaveringly aimed at the cyclops.

“Pierce.”

The arrow was loosed.

Cutting through the wind over the river, in an instant it reached below the cyclops.

But.

“Gwohh.”

The arrow hit around the cyclops’ cheekbone and bounced off. Must have drifted from the wind. Nothing for it.

“GWOOOHH”

Of course getting hit but not pierced didn’t make the cyclops forgive us. It bellowed an even greater anger.

Splash splashing through the shallow river, steadily approaching.

“S-so, I can leave this to you right, senior?”

“Leave it to me. Back up just in case though.”

“I’ll cover you from range just in case…”

“Wait!”

“Yes!?”

“Don’t let it punt that pot away. Take it back with you.”

“Now!?”

“Think about why we came out here today!”

“I’m thinking of not dying now…!? Oh fine, I believe you!?”

Watching Raina retreat with the pot, I ready my sword.

“Well now…hooked quite the outlier here.”

“GWOHH, GWAAH!”

“Angered? No release for you.”

A giant body, imposing at 3 meters for sure.

But my opponent is unarmed, I have a weapon.

Even with a middling bastard sword, ample range advantage.

“Senpai!”

If only it had a stick or club or something it might be an actual fight.

Crossing a river unarmed is a losing pattern even in the Warring States period.

“Ga–!”

Right before finishing crossing I turn my sword on its outstretched arm.

Hamstringing. Can’t grab now. Keeping the blade tilted I swing down and open its leg.

“GWAAAH!”

It’s a shallow cut relative to its giant body, but it couldn’t help kneeling in pain. Got it.

“GWAAAH!?”

No matter how big, taking damage to one leg and increasing surface area in the river means no solid footing.

The cyclops slipped spectacularly, washed a short way downstream.

“C’mere c’mere!”

“GUBOH, GWAAH!”

“Angry?”

Now to freely hack and force bleeding with its exposed underside.

Paying mind to counterattacks, I’ll aim for vulnerabilities like blood vessels and tendons it uses for power to finish it off.

Gotta keep up the overkill feel with something this big. Can’t get careless. Any living thing will play dead so no mercy.

“Senpai…you really can use a sword.”

“Damn right.”

“But bad at fishing.”

“Hey now, just off today.”

“Realllly?”

Why you cocky with the beginner’s luck…

“Nice attitude…I’ve got it, let’s fish together again sometime. I’ll show you my serious side.”

“Hehe, looking forward to it. Oh, how do you eat shrimp? Cook, boil?”

“Nah, for these you stuff the cavity with moss, soak in water for a day. Eating is tomorrow or later.”

“Uggh, what a pain.”

“Well you’re right, I’ll bring some set aside to eat tomorrow.”

That’s if I’m not busy with paperwork for this sudden cyclops first though.

Dangerous monsters popping up out of nowhere in this annoying season.

If this guy wasn’t a lone wanderer and they’re spawning in groups, we could have a rookie massacre this year.

Depends how the guild responds…should be interesting.


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