I, the “false hero” expelled the “true hero” Volume 1 Chapter 3 part 5

When the sun started setting and the surroundings rapidly grew dark,
 
I took camping gear out of my bag and set up a camp with practiced ease.
 
While I left preparing the campfire to Iris-chan, I nimbly hunted a wild rabbit and cooked it into a meal.
 
“Iris-chan, can you get the pepper? It should be in the bag.”
 
“Here it is, go ahead.”
 
“Thanks. Grilling it alone would be pretty tasteless.”
 
I sprinkled pepper on the grilled rabbit meat and wolfed it down. Yeah, the flavor is light but the pepper accentuates it, making it very delicious.
 
When I was butchering the rabbit, its moist eyes made me feel a tinge of guilt, but Iris-chan briskly slit its throat with a dagger beside me.
 
She said [Having hunted in forests many times, I don’t think anything of it. More than dragging out their pain, it’s best to finish them quickly and peacefully]. Elves sure are scary. And Iris-chan is seriously merciless.
 
But after properly taking its life, she offered a prayer. Seeing that made me feel favorably towards her.
 
“…Hey, is it really okay for us to leisurely eat like this?”
 
“What’s up, Ratio-kun? Got hungry too? Look, this spot here looks delicious, want to try some?”
 
“N-no way! I’ve got rations! “
 
Saying that, he gnawed on the small amount of rations he brought. Then immediately scowled.
 
“I think freshly grilled stuff is more delicious than rations though. And this is your rightful compensation.”
 
“Compensation?”
 
“Because you helped with the preparations, right?”
 
Though he grumbled all the while, Ratio-kun did help with the camp preparations.
 
“So I want you to have some.”
 
“…Well, if you put it that way.”
 
Ratio-kun accepted the rabbit meat from me.
 
“You should just honestly accept it from the start. You’re not a child.”
 
“Sh-shut it! You’re a child too… Oh right, you’re an elf so it’s different. Hag.”
 
“Shall I offer you to the plants?”
 
“Hiii!? I-I’m sorry!! ……Oh, this is good.”
 
Cowering from Iris-chan’s pressure, Ratio-kun nibbled the rabbit meat and faintly smiled.
 
The lack of any gamey taste makes rabbit meat easy to devour. I’m not good with raccoon and stuff because they’re a bit too gamey.
 
While we were chatting like that, amidst the sounds of the wind I faintly heard a sound slip into the silence.
 
…It’s here.
 
“You were saying you’d defeat the magical beast but you’re just leisurely eating… So you had no intention of defeating it after all, right?”
 
“It’s not like we’re slacking off or anything.”
 
“Huh?”
 
“The opponent is a magical beast. Based on the footprints when Billy the [Soldier] was attacked, and the many matching footprints here. Some are new and some are old, so this place is frequented by that guy. In other words, we have a very high chance of being in its territory right now. Therefore, us making a campfire and grilling meat here makes us perfect bait, see?”
 
No sooner had I said that than an attack with its presence concealed came slashing at Ratio-kun from the dark thicket. I immediately reacted and blocked the claws trying to slash him with my sword.
 
“So like this.”
 
“Hiii!? W-w-w-what!?”
 
“Get back. You too, Iris-chan.”
 
But Ratio-kun’s legs seemed to turn to jelly, and he was slow to move. Seeing that, Iris-chan sighed.
 
“Good grief, so much trouble… O Mother of the Forest, o fellow brethren of the forest, o spirits of the forest. Please protect us with your hands, hearts, and thoughts. Shelter us with the trees.”
 
Zawa zawa, tree roots sprouted from the ground, and branches crossed to envelop the two of them.
 
What was that? Magic? No, now’s not the time to worry about such things.
 
“Ayame-san, I’ll protect this cheeky brat, so don’t worry.”
 
“Got it…. Yeah, that’s certainly a convincing size. Big enough to even kill a horse.”
 

 
The beast’s form was revealed by the flame – a black-furred wolf with gold and white markings.
 
Huge. Together with its imposing presence, it felt like a massive boulder. Yet it was wrapped in a dangerous atmosphere like a sharpened sword.
 
“Th-that’s a ‘Goldwhite Wolf’!”
 
Ratio-kun muttered the name fearfully. So that magical beast is called a Goldwhite Wolf.
 

 
Looking closely, I could see wounds that seemed to have appeared recently all over its body. It must have lost in a territorial dispute or something.
 
Putting that aside, the magnificent beast truly lived up to being called a “Goldwhite Wolf”, beautiful yet powerful.
 
Even now as I kept it at bay with my sword, it pressed against me with unbelievable strength.
 
I poured all my strength to deflect its claws as it tried to slash me, but the Goldwhite Wolf easily evaded it. It still didn’t try to get close carelessly, only glaring at me.
 

 
No, on closer look its breathing seems rough. Could it be exhausted? In that state, it’s trying to drive us out of its territory, but finding it more difficult than expected?
 
“U-um, Ayame-san!”
 
“What is it?”
 
“If you wouldn’t mind, could I try conversing with it a little? There must have been an exceptional reason it attacked people. I want to know why.”
 
Conversing? Can she do that?
 
“You can understand it?”
 
“Yes! I can’t communicate freely, but I should be able to get the gist of its intentions! Because I’m an elf!”
 
Iris-chan pleads with me.
 
[Beast Tamers] can understand magical beasts, but apparently Iris-chan can also understand them to some degree. While there’s open hostility and our chances seem low, I decide to trust her judgement once. Of course, I won’t be negligent.
 

 
“Please, answer me. Why did you attack people? Was there some compelling reason?”
 

 
Iris-chan desperately speaks, but the Goldwhite Wolf snarls as if brushing her off.
 
“Iris-chan. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem there’s room for negotiation.”
 
“I see… Please be careful, Ayame-san.”
 
“Ah.”
 
Iris-chan steps back dejectedly and I step forward to replace her.
 
When it snarled, I thought it would leap at me, but it didn’t.
 
Even while Iris-chan was talking to it, its gaze never left me. It probably realized I would slash at it if it attacked carelessly.
 
“You’re smart, huh? Just in case…”
 
I try kicking the campfire to throw a burning piece of firewood at it as a test.
 
As I expected, it doesn’t fear the fire at all. Yeah, that was a predictable result.
 
The Goldwhite Wolf and I face off with the campfire in between.
 

 
“Whoops.”
 
Did it get aggravated? The Goldwhite Wolf leaped over the campfire with tremendous speed, baring its claws. I saw through its movement, jumping to the rear to evade as it then opened its huge mouth lined with sharp fangs, trying to bite me.
 
Now!
 
“There!”
 

 
I sprinkle the pepper that Iris-chan gave me right in front of the wolf’s nose. Of course, I make sure not to inhale it. The “Golden White Wolf,” which accidentally sniffed it, sneezes loudly.
 
I don’t let this opportunity pass. Swiftly swinging my sword, I cut its throat.
 
“Gaa! Gu, Gugwon… Quoo…n”
 
The “Golden White Wolf” tried to dodge, but it couldn’t.
 
With a faint cry as if worried about something at the end, the wolf fell.
 
“To defeat such a monster in an instant…”
 
“Ayame-san! Please don’t use pepper in such a wasteful way! It’s precious!”
 
Iris-chan scolds a surprised Ratio-kun.
 
I apologize to Iris-chan.
 
“I had no choice but to take advantage of its vulnerability. If I had let it escape with an injury, there was a possibility of more harm occurring. It had to be finished in an instant. But with this, I wonder if I achieved the requested task…”
 
“Yes, that’s right. O life returning to the earth, may you find peace…”
 
Iris-chan offers prayers and flowers to the fallen “Golden White Wolf,” a magical beast that attacked humans. While some may feel relieved that the threat has been eliminated, there is no one offering prayers.
 
Among them, Iris-chan, praying, looked beautiful to me.
 
“…………”
 
“What’s wrong?”
 
“Well, I just thought you’re kind.”
 
There are no prayers for the magical beasts defeated.
 
For [Beast Tamers] or [Dragon Knights], they mourn or pay respects when their contracted magical beasts die. However, for the majority, magical beasts are a threat. Essentially, they are targets to be exterminated, with a few exceptions where coexistence is possible.
 
“I am an elf, a [Nature Mediator]. Regardless of any wrongdoings or misdeeds committed during their lifetime, it doesn’t matter. Life circulates. It’s natural to pray for a peaceful journey.”
 
“I see. Admirable.”
 
I mimic Iris-chan and kneel beside the slain “Golden White Wolf.” I then offer a moment of silent prayer.
 
After that, I touch the injured leg of the “Golden White Wolf” that had caught my attention.
 
“What’s wrong?”
 
“Well… from its movements earlier, it seems this individual already had injuries. The wound on its forehead and this leg injury. Especially because of the leg injury, it couldn’t evade my sword.”
 
If not for the leg injury, it would have moved more agilely, and I would have had a tougher time. I strongly feel that the impact of the injury influenced this “Golden White Wolf.”
 
(Come to think of it, was I always able to move this quickly?)
 
Apart from that, I felt changes in my own body. Was I so powerful that I could easily defeat the so-called “Golden White Wolf” without any occupational or skill abilities?
 
“To inflict wounds on such a monster…”
 
At my words, Ratio-kun trembles in fear. Seeing his reaction, I temporarily cut off my thoughts.
 
“No, it’s just speculation. It might have been a territorial dispute, an injury due to carelessness, or the old injury acting up. But more than that, this wolf seemed distracted by something…”
 
“Gawoo!!”

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Another howl is heard, and I immediately point my sword towards the source of the sound. However, what appeared was unexpected, leaving me perplexed.
 
“! A child…?”
 
Yes, it was a wolf cub.
 
The size of the cub was incomparable to that of the “Golden White Wolf.” The young wolf in front of me, glaring at me, rushed towards its parent upon seeing its lifeless body, letting out a mournful cry.
 
Ah, I understand. This young wolf is the offspring of the “Golden White Wolf” I killed. I take a step closer.
 
“I killed your parent. That fact won’t change, and I won’t apologize for it.”
 
[Growls angrily]
 
“If I let you go, you might attack people out of revenge. That’s why, to prevent any grudges, I have to kill you.”
 
///
 



 
///
 
This was a necessary measure. Unlike rabbits, wolves attack villages. While there’s no guarantee that this wolf cub will safely grow up after losing its parent, if it does, it will undoubtedly become a threat to that village.
 
That’s why it was necessary to eliminate any potential future problems. With the young wolf glaring at me, I tighten my grip on the sword, preparing to at least make it quick.
 
“Ayame-san, please wait.”
 
Iris-chan grabs my sleeve.
 
“Iris-chan?”
 
“Indeed, this parent wolf harmed humans. That is something unforgivable in human society. But this child is different. It’s still okay. We can start anew.”
 
“But if we leave it here, won’t it hold a grudge and possibly harm people?.”
 
“I will raise it so that it won’t. Besides, it will become a good floofy companion.”
 
“…Floofy?”
 
“Yes, very floofy.”
 
She looks up at me with sparkling eyes.
 
Well, even if you say that…
 
“Iris-chan, even if you think this young wolf won’t harm people now, there’s no guarantee it won’t when it grows up, fueled by resentment.”
 
“It’s okay. I’ll raise it properly.”
 
“But it’s not a dog or a cat.”
 
“It’s a dog. Right, Jamama-chan?”
 
You’ve already given it a name!?
 
The wolf cub snarls as Iris-chan fearlessly approaches. I ready my sword just in case.
 
“I understand you’re sad about losing your parent. You must feel uneasy. But it’s alright. You’re not alone. From now on, I’ll be with you. I can’t apologize for taking your parent from you. She too harmed others to survive. But you’ll be okay. I’ll look after you until you properly grow into a fine adult. You may not believe the words of the one who killed your parent. But will you try to believe me?”
 
Speaking earnestly with a compassionate expression, Iris-chan’s words make the wolf cub named Jamama perplexed.
 
“Could it be…”
 
Maybe when she said it was fluffy earlier, that was rhetoric to help the cub. Certainly, her words mellowed my emotion too.
 
For a while, Iris-chan and the cub exchange gazes.
 
A tense moment.
 
Jamama the cub fearfully approaches Iris-chan. She accepts it. The earlier hostility is gone.
 
…Can’t be helped.
 
Seeing that, I lower my sword. Can’t be helped, but am I too soft?
 
“Hey, wait! That dangerous monster cub, it can’t enter the village! What if someone dies!?”
 
“Do you think such a small child could kill a person?”
 
“Th-that’s…but!”
 

 
“Eek! Ugh, ow!”
 
“Oh.”
 
Jamama’s growl makes Ratio stumble back and he hits his head on a tree root and gets knocked out.
 
“Oh my, he’s completely unconscious.”
 
“Pitiful. And his knees gave out earlier too.”
 
“You’re harsh.”
 
“Just stating facts.”
 
Iris-chan picks up Jamama. She also tended to Ratio who hit his head. Though Ratio’s concern was perfectly natural.
 
“I need to explain the circumstances it seems.”
 
To persuade Jamama, Iris-chan convinced it.
 
Then persuading people is my role probably.
 
Carrying the unconscious Ratio, I first return to the village and take Iris-chan and Ratio back, then go fetch that “silvery white wolf”‘s corpse again.
 
Even after draining the blood, that “silvery white wolf” was honestly quite heavy. I somehow carry it on my back.
 
“Hm? Are these feathers?”
 
I notice a large white feather flutter down that I didn’t earlier.


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