The Shadow of a Mysterious Monster
We left the royal capital and headed for our destination.
The request had come from a relatively large village that was two hours away on foot.
On the way, Serulis said with a smile:
“It’s quite eerie to have monsters appear so close to the capital.”
“Monsters that appear close to large cities are usually weak.”
“It’s for E Rankers. So it must be pretty weak then.”
Serulis was in a good mood.
She must really like going on adventures.
While we walked, Serulis would keep asking for stories of our past.
Since it was a good occasion, I told her heroic stories about Goran.
Talking like this made the journey end all too quickly.
When we arrived, the villagers led us to their chief, who had put up the request.
The chief smiled brightly when Serulis showed him her Adventurer’s card.
It had taken so long, but an Adventurer had finally accepted the request.
“Thank you so much for coming here.”
“No, no. Helping people is what Adventurers do. I heard that there is a monster that is troubling you?”
I intended to leave the negotiations to Serulis. I would only help if she needed it.
And from what I could see, Serulis seemed quite capable, considering she was new to it.
She was friendly with people and very polite. And this had the result of them looking at her favorably.
That in itself meant she was halfway to success.
“Yes, about that…”
The chief looked troubled.
“We don’t know for sure.”
“What do you mean?”
“Damage really has been done. And there are witnesses. However, the testimonies are all different.”
“Could you give me some specific examples?”
The chief told us about the first witness’s testimony.
It had been a giant wolf. It had three heads and flames spewed from its mouths.
Serulis listened to this and muttered,
“Cerber-what…? Is it strong?”
“Yes. Very strong.”
“I see. That is frightening.”
“And what damage did this Cerberus cause?”
“It took one sheep.”
The chief scowled at Serulis’s reaction.
“How very rude of you. Do you have any idea how valuable and important sheep are to us?”
“I misspoke. I’m sorry.”
As her senior, I had to help her a little.
“They are most horrible monsters. It would not have been strange if the entire fold were wiped out. That is why she said that.”
“I see. So we were very fortunate then.”
The chief became a little pale when he heard me.
“Where was this Cerberus seen?”
Serulis asked as she spread open a map.
Serulis and the chief began to talk as if the monster really was the Cerberus.
This was a mistake.
The witness testimonies were all different. She should ask about what the others said.
And so I asked the chief.
“Chief. What about the other testimonies?”
“Oh, yes. The next witness was the village hunter.”
“It had three heads…”
“So it was a Cerber…”
“It was a large snake.”
“…No, it’s not.”
The chief looked confused.
“So it is not a Cerberus?”
“Not if it is a snake…”
“Is that so…”
They were similar in that they had three heads, but snakes and wolves were completely different.
It might be a Cerberus if it is a wolf, but if it is a snake, then maybe it’s a Hydra.
“Chief. And what of the other testimonies?”
All of the testimonies that the chief related were of horrifying creatures.
A giant with one eye. Like a Cyclops.
One had a snake for a tail, the head of a lion and the body of a mountain goat. Like a Chimera.
And then there was a giant dragon.
Serulis listened and then groaned.
“What terrible monsters…”
“Yes, they are all so terrifying.”
He was shaking too.
“And the damage?”
I asked. And so the chief told us of the damage to the village.
But it wasn’t too bad.
The worst of it was the first sheep that was stolen.
Other then that, some vegetables had been stolen and caught fish had disappeared.
Some of the damage was just that people were shocked by the sight.
“What does this mean?”
Serulis wondered and then looked towards me.
I ignored it and asked the chief to mark all of the places the monster was sighted on the map.
All of them were concentrated towards the west side of the village.
“I see. This is good information.”
“Is there anything else that you would like to ask me?”
“This is enough. Thank you very much.”
“Wha-what do you mean?”
I muttered something random in reply to Serulis as we left the chief’s house.
I was hesitant to analyze and theorize in front of the chief.
“Mister Locke. What do you mean?”
“Let me see…”
Once we were out, I turned to Serulis and explained.
“I don’t know what type of monster it is. But I doubt it is very strong.”
“How do you know that?”
“Because if it were strong, then it wouldn’t need to cast illusions to trick the villagers.”
“…I see. I see.”
Serulis looked very convinced as I showed her the map.
“And I think it should be in the middle of here.”
“The illusions are too horrifying. It really wants to keep people away. So we must be suspicious of this area.”
“I see. So that’s what it means.”
The chief and all the villagers were afraid. That’s why they made a request at the guild.
But their testimonies were not consistent. And the damage was minimal.
If this really was a Cerberus hunting quest, it would have an A Rank difficulty.
But this was F Rank considering the damages.
The guild must have had trouble trying to calculate the danger with this one.
And they had come to the conclusion that there could not be an A Rank monster lurking here.
It must have been judged an E Rank quest after much consideration.
“In any case, let’s go to the west side!”
Serulis said cheerfully and started to walk.