Chapter 5 – The Human Village
“Is that the same boar that had appeared around town?”
The people who emerged from the forest were dressed in animal hide and wearing a furry hat with long beards. They were human men, dressed as traditional hunters.
“Probably? I’m glad that he didn’t notice us.”
“He seems to be injured. There is a scar different from the spot where the arrow pierced him. Who would have done it?”
The men who didn’t notice me, much smaller in size compared to the boar, started to inspect the boar’s dead body.
“Must be one heck of a hunter.”
“Yeah, to hurt a boar this badly. If they did it by themselves, they wouldn’t be an average human.”
“But where did they go? Did they get attacked?”
They weren’t saying it to me since they didn’t know that I was there, but I was still feeling good from their awe.
“I did it.”
I stood in front of the men after announcing.
“What is that?”
“It’s a monster!”
The hunters freaked out the moment I appeared, and then stepped backwards or fell to the floor.
“Why are you so surprised, can’t you tell that I am similar to a human?”
And it’s funny for me to say it myself, but my outer appearance isn’t so frightening to be so freaked out as if you had seen a wild carnivore?
“What should we do?”
“Of course we should run!”
I had heard before leaving Rabbit Hole and from reading the novel that humans either look down or fear dual specimens.
I just felt glad that they hadn’t mentioned killing me.
I was going to say ‘don’t worry,’ but my stomach spoke first.
“The kid seems to be hungry?”
The hunters, even though they weren’t bunnies, had good hearing and could pick up my sound well.
“It’s because the boar took all my food.”
Without knowing, I made an excuse even though I didn’t have to explain myself. Why am I making up such excuses and being embarrassed?
“This rabbit, since it’s able to talk with us, doesn’t seem to be a threat.”
“Yeah, it’s not so violent, either.”
The hunters looked at me. I was embarrassed that my stomach rumbled, but from this they let their guards down.
“Hey, kid. Did you really kill this boar?”
The hunters must have thought that I looked like a little kid, and called me one.
“Yeah, that was me, but a kid?”
Since I still had memories of my life in my late 20s before my death, hearing the word ‘kid’ made me flinch a bit.
“Hey, man. I think she’s a grown woman, you shouldn’t call her a kid!”
One of the hunters said after noticing that my expression was odd.
“Oh, I see. Sorry about that.”
The hunter apologized right away. To apologize for something like that, these hunters seemed to be good guys.
“No, it’s fine. It’s nice to look young.”
No matter what age, we all dream of going back to our teenage years and talk about the things we would fix if we could go back in time. So, it wasn’t really something to feel bad about.
“This kid has a good temperament.”
“Only if she changed her informal speech.”
“Really? She just reminds me of my daughter and is cute.”
The hunters laughed amongst themselves and then looked at the boar once again.
“Anyways, that girl really killed this boar?”
They were still in disbelief.
“Should I show it to you?”
I took over my rapier and then placed it near the boar’s scar.
“The shape of the rapier is the same as the shape of the scar, right?”
To be honest, unless they were experts, you wouldn’t be able to tell the similarity with a naked eye. Still, I spoke with confidence, and
“I think so.”
“It seems like it, I guess.”
“This rabbit lady wouldn’t seem like the type to lie, either.”
The hunters just let it be since I spoke with so much confidence.
“What a great skill.”
“This means that before we shot the arrow, it was already dying.”
And then they gave me a look of praise.
“Well, this is like nothing for my level…”
As if my stomach was dissatisfied that I was showing off, it grumbled again. It was already embarrassing the first time, but this time my face felt red.
“Since earlier, you seem to be really hungry. Would you like to eat with us back at our village?”
The hunters who were staring at me as if they would stare at a kid from their village, seemed to be inviting me.
Was this the village that I was looking for? This would mean that I wasn’t lost after all. No matter how you get there, if you make it to your destination, the path you take would be a type of a path, no matter how unplanned, right?
“Yes. Since we got the boar, we will be returning to the village.”
The hunters were already getting ready to head back after packing the boar. The boar must be tasty as a barbeque, I imagined…
“But human villages are…”
It wouldn’t seem cool to accept their offer right away. It was my philosophy that a swordsman must always have pride and elegance. Although I had long forgotten about this philosophy from hunger, I was still not at my lowest point, and refused once to keep my pride.
“Don’t worry! We are not like the bad guys you are worried about!”
“Yes! I think everyone will like you!”
Due to their kind nature, they offered once again after I refused.
“Well, if you say so.”
This time I didn’t refuse, but I made a face as if I was convinced by them and then followed them along.
“Do we still have a lot to go?”
“We are almost there.”
Unlike my estimation, the human village was quite far away. If I had gone alone, it would have taken even longer to find it.
“The hunters are coming back!”
As I started to see fences that were man-made, the kids were playing with a ball in the field near the entrance and ran inside the gates after spotting us.
“Rabbit lady, welcome to our village.
The forest village that the hunters proudly announced was a common forest village that you would expect. Most buildings were made of wood, and from the numbers you could tell that they had a small population.
“What is that?”
“It’s a boar!”
“That must be it! The one that ate all our crops!”
The village people came out one by one, and all their attention was on the boar, not me.
“Well done, Hans! You caught the boar that was threatening our village!”
An energetic voice. Arms thicker than those of the hunters. A haircut in the shape of a rectangle. A man who seemed to be strong and short-tempered from first glance approached the body of the boar with a laugh.
“No, mayor. We didn’t catch it.”
A Mayor? He seemed a bit too young to be a mayor and he looked as if he would do a better job crushing people’s skulls.
“Really? Someone already killed it? Who?”
The mayor was making a puzzled face, then made eye contact with me.
“But who is this girl? First of all, I don’t think that she is human? Where did you bring her from?”
The mayor kept staring at me, as if he was fascinated with my large ears.
“Hey mayor, say hi. This lady was the one who hunted the boar down.”
From these words, the village people started to talk among themselves.
“That thing is not human, right?”
“Of course not. You can also tell from her white skin and red eyes.”
“So it’s a dual specimen?”
“Mom, why does that girl have ears on top of her head?”
There were many reactions: mainly those of interest or fear.
“Hans, is that true? This skinny girl caught this giant boar?”
The mayor scanned my up and down and made a face of disbelief.
“Yes. It wasn’t just me, but the other hunters can verify this.”
All three hunters, who had seen the mark of my rapier, all nodded their heads in agreement.
“I cannot believe it. Even though she is a different species, she seems weak and young.”
The mayor still didn’t believe me. I smiled at his words and approached him slowly.
“Why? Are you disappointed?”
The difference in height between the mayor and I was long enough to fit a small kid. My height being shorter than average also played a part. I had to look up at him, but I didn’t feel any energy that was overpowering from him.
“You must be confident about strength since you seem pretty muscular. However, your legs seem weak compared to your upper body.”
At that moment, I stopped smiling, used my bunny legs to approach the mayor quickly and slid out my rapier halfway. Everyone around was surprised, and the mayor only flinched his hand, but couldn’t even reach his ax on his waist.
“Which means that you have low reflex, and if I were to approach you this quickly, you would have failed to show off that boasty strength of yours you are proud of.”
I smiled, and then backed off.
“Now do you see it? This should be good to prove my words that I killed the boar?”
The mayor, who was stiff from my surprise, made a frown.
“Did you just….”
The mayor was about to say something, but stopped. He must have known that I didn’t say anything wrong.
“Ha, I got a punch for calling you a little kid. Let me formally introduce myself. I am Victor, the mayor and leader of the lumberjacks of this village, ‘Eradora.’
The mayor who was zoning off regained his smile and then introduced himself. He must have accepted the fact that I am much skilled and stronger than him. There was no doubt.
“If the words of the huntsmen are all true, it would be just to show a token of our appreciation for saving the village.”
Victor held out his hand towards me.
“If you are not aware, this is what we call a handshake…”
Silly Victor thought that the reason that I was standing still was because I didn’t understand what a handshake was.
“I am Aris. I didn’t hunt it to save the village nor did I not know what a handshake is.”
When I firmly shaked his hand, Victor smiled.
“Okay, Aris. What a pretty name. Welcome to our village. But Hans, why did you bring this rabbit lady?”
Hans then pointed to the boar with his chin.
“Since she helped us catch that, I was going to offer her a meal.”
“Yeah, this lady was making a scene about how that boar stole all her food.”
I frowned a little from their words. I never made a scene.
“Really? There’s no other reason?”
Victor stopped his smile and then looked into my eyes. Did he think that I came here for something else? In this tiny town that seems to have nothing going on?
When I asked in return, Victor just let out a fake laugh.
“Yeah, it can’t be. Since we caught a boar and have a guest, shall we have a festival?”
From his words the people cheered.
“With that bunny?”
And of course, there was a middle-aged man who complained that there was a different species to be included, but
“If she were to cause trouble, she would have already done something by now!”
His opinion was thrown off the table.
“Did you say that your name was Aris? Do you want to take a rest at my place while the festival gets ready?”
When the village people were bustling to get the party ready, Victor suddenly suggested that I rest at his place.
Since I had no great reason to refuse, I followed Victor up to the house at the highest point of the village and entered inside.
“It’s pretty average for a mayor.”
I thought that the mayor would get something fancier, but it was just a regular house like all the others.
When I was looking around the place, I heard something weird. And I knew what sound it was.
It was the sound of the door getting locked.
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