My Pet Is a Holy Maiden 72 – The True Objective of the Test
“I see…a spotted lynx…”
After he finished listening to him, Morganeich looked at Tatsumi again.
“For you to be able to challenge the spotted lynx…you’ve gone a long way.”
“N-No, that…I’m still way beneath you…”
Certainly, in this year, Tatsumi has been training hard. However, his strength couldn’t even compare to the Freedom Knight in front of him. It’s not as if Morganeich was fooling around in the time that Tatsumi was training.
“Speaking of which, you’ve fought the spotted lynx too, haven’t you?”
“Yeah. I fought that demonic monster before.”
“Then… did you beat it on your first try?”
“I was crushed utterly on my first try too… No, it isn’t just us. Most beast-hunters lost on their first try.”
Before the time that he was recognized as a full-fledged beast-hunter, Morganeich had done the same test.
Similarly to Tatsumi’s party, Morganeich, along with Calcedonia who he had already at that time, challenged the spotted lynx, yet completely couldn’t do anything.
The two of them fell into a slump, just like Tatsumi right now, as one would expect.
“But, the next time… I won.”
It was only two words that Morganeich said, “I won.” Yet, those two words were overflowing with confidence.
“H-How in the world… How did you beat that demonic monster!!?”
Tatsumi subconsciously leaned forwards as he asked that question. To such a visibly excited person, Morganeich stifled his smile and looked at him seriously.
Morganeich entirely understood Tatsumi’s feelings. Tatsumi was still fixated on finding a way to beat the monster. It’s no wonder that he’s all over the place.
Surely, his seniors had the same feelings towards his past self as he is having now towards Tatsumi.
Thinking that, he unintentionally let out a smile. Of course, he was smiling about his past self and not Tatsumi.
“Don’t panic, Tatsumi. In all honesty, there’s a small ‘tradition’ among senior beast-hunters. When doing the trial, other beast-hunters can’t offer their help.”
It wasn’t known who made it, but it was an unspoken rule among the senior beast-hunters.
He continued, “It’s like a rite of passage, you know? No matter where you go, you’ll never get any real advice.”
Discouragement was clear on Tatsumi’s face.
If he were to hear of how Morganeich won over the spotted lynx, it’d be a breach of etiquette, wouldn’t it?
In this world, you couldn’t just simply google to find an answer.
Without the internet, it was a complicated task to get relevant info.
For example, the books of this world were all handwritten, and because of that, they were expensive valuables, so ordinary people couldn’t simply come into contact with them.
The only places that had a large collection of them would be the royal palace, various churches, and archives of major clans.
On that point, Tatsumi, as a priest of the Savaiv church, could get into its library.
However, the collection was so large and varied that if Tatsumi wanted to find information of the spotted lynx, it’d take too long as to be worth the effort.
Furthermore, it wasn’t even certain that the information existed in there to start off with.
And since books are a dead end, one had to ask other people.
In this case, it would have to be a person who has hunted the spotted lynx before, like Morganeich. So, when Tatsumi asks such a person, he’d learn how to fight the spotted lynx and use the information on the next battle with the monster.
But, like Morganeich said, senior beast-hunters would not give any advice on fighting the spotted lynx. Consequently, there wasn’t a huge chance that the information was in the Church of Savaiv’s archives.
Tatsumi was looking downcast. And to such a Tatsumi, Morganeich was grinning.
At that time, Tatsumi felt that something was off.
The tradition of seniors not helping juniors with the spotted lynx made sense.
However, would it really be possible that so many beast-hunters could pass by following that tradition?
Of course, there are those people who just kill the lynx outright. But, from what Tatsumi’s been hearing, most beast-hunters lost on their first encounter.
If so, the test isn’t just about hunting the spotted lynx.
There seemed to be something more to the test.
Tatsumi looked at Morganeich in doubt. And then, he smiled.
Seeing the look on Morganeich’s face, he was confident of his assumption.
Tatsumi remembered of the words that Morganeich said some time ago.
“Morga. Can I ask you a small question?”
“Hm. What is it?”
“You said it before, didn’t you? ‘When doing the trial, other beast-hunters can’t offer their help.’ So, in other words, if I ask for help…”
In short, seniors won’t do anything if you don’t say anything, but if you ask a question, can’t they answer it? That was what Tatsumi was thinking.
“My, my? Did I say something like that?”
His mouth was denying it, but his eyes were smiling.
Yes. Tatsumi was correct.
Morganeich’s silence was Tatsumi’s answer.
“It seems like you’ve already figured it out, but the trial of the spotted lynx is more than just being able to kill it.”
Morganeich re-explained the trial to Tatsumi, who had already had an idea of the truth.
“In this trial, it is essential to collect enough information about the spotted lynx.”
“And for the young beast-hunters that don’t know defeat, the trial teaches them a lesson. The higher you are, the harder you fall.”
The readiness of fighting a demonic monster for the first time. The importance of intelligence gathering. And most importantly, overconfidence and self-conceit.
It is these things that the trial aims to cover.
Tatsumi was overconfident.
Though their party was small, they never met with defeat. You couldn’t say they had no conceit in themselves.
And, they were met with the misleading words of “If you can do this, you’ll be a real beast-hunter.” Which led them to fight the demonic monster without the help of information and be completely defeated.
The trial went exactly as it was intended to.
“Besides, just by being a beast-hunter doesn’t mean that they’re friends with every other one. We beast-hunters have a loose relationship, and when someone fails a hunt, that’s an opportunity for another of us.”
Beast-hunters make a living off hunting demonic beasts.
That is to say, when one beast-hunter fails killing a beast, another beast-hunter has a chance at killing it instead.
For someone to kill a monster that someone else was still hunting isn’t too frowned upon, but one couldn’t say that it didn’t break etiquette, just a little bit. However, when someone fails, nobody cares if you go hunt the same monster.
For that reason, if you don’t actively ask around for information and stuff like that, most won’t offer you it.
Of course, while there are those meddlesome folks who give advice if they hear that you’re looking for it, there are those who don’t answer even when asked.
Even so, there seemed to be a tacit understanding between demonic beast-hunters that when asked, they’d share what they knew with each other.
Tatsumi’s face was glittering in hope, hearing what Morganeich has said until now.
It was the feeling of being in pure darkness only to be met with a beam of light.
But, Morganeich told the unkind truth to the hopeful Tatsumi.
“It’s true that there is a custom of trading information about demonic monsters, but that doesn’t mean that it’s free.”
“…I see. Does that mean that there’s an information fee?”
“It’s as you said. And, you wanted to learn from me? About the spotted lynx’s habits, abilities, and weaknesses. If so, I have the right of accepting some compensation for the info.”
Morganeich laughed again. Then, Tatsumi took a deep breath and asked,
“I understand. Then, how much would I have to pay for the information?”
Morganeich finished the last drops in the wooden sake cup, and the server, seeing the empty vessel, refilled it.
“For the information fee, how about treating me to a drink in this place?”
“Huh? T-That’s it?”
Tatsumi was stressing over how much he’d have to pay. So, when he heard Morganeich’s price, he just stared blankly in surprise.
Seeing his face, Morganeich laughed like a kid who just pranked someone.
“What, did you think I was going to ask for your net worth? It’s usually a drink or two and sometimes a meal. Then they’ll happily give you the info. But, be careful, okay? Some people eat and drink like it’s their last day in this world since they’re being treated.”
Tatsumi smiled at Morganeich’s joke. That smile was the smile of finding the solution to a problem that plagued you for a long time.
And, the two, getting another round of sake, touched their cups together.
“I’ll give ya everything you need to know to kill that beast. So you better win. And make Calsey happy!”
Tatsumi was no longer confused or gloomy.
Several days later, Tatsumi, Jadokh, and Miloulle were once again in the forest.
They were, of course, looking for the spotted lynx. And this lynx was sprawled on the same rock like before.
The spotted lynx was staring at the intruders—Tatsumi and the others.
Last time, this was where they couldn’t move. Their bodies were paralyzed from the feeling emitted from the demonic monster.
However, this time was different. Before the monster could use its glare at them, the three surrounded the lynx.
“Jadokh! Miloulle! Don’t look at its eyes!”
Jadokh responded, “I know! You said that its eyes had some sort of power!”
“Fool me twice, shame on me!” Miloulle energetically said.
Tatsumi learned this information from Morganeich. The spotted lynx’s eyes had a power that invoked fear in one’s allies. The so-called demon eye.
It was to this demon eye that Tatsumi’s company felt that abnormal fear in the last time they fought.
But, in other words, that was all there was to the spotted lynx. Yes, they had to be careful about its sharp claws and fangs, but those features weren’t limited to the spotted lynx. Many other demonic beasts and monsters had the same features.
If the monster realized that its demon eyes didn’t work, it would immediately escape. However, its escape route was blocked by the shield that Tatsumi was wielding.
“I’m sorry, but you can’t escape!” Miloulle yelled.
Miloulle readied her spear and thrusted it with vigor at the beast’s flank. She attacked at the exact moment the monster was confused at the blockage of its escape route.
The spear easily penetrated the skin and flesh, damaging the organs of the beast.
The lynx let out a deafening scream. Yet, despite its wounds, just that would not kill something with the mighty life force of a demonic monster.
Nonetheless, it couldn’t last for much longer with its secret exposed.
Jadokh immobilized the beast with a swing of his battleaxe to its legs, and Miloulle quickly stabbed it. In this way, the monster gained yet more injuries.
Though Tatsumi retreated several steps back, he was paying attention to the monster the whole time. When the beast would attempt to use the demon eyes, he’d use his shield to block its eyesight.
Like that, Tatsumi would interrupt the skill from triggering, and the two of them were left to continue damaging the monster in relative peace.
Little by little, its strength and vitality were chipped away, and before long, it could no longer stand, flopping down to the earth.
And then, Jadokh raised his axe up into the air. He dropped it down in a magnificent swing, finally dispersing the all the flames of life that the lynx had.
At The Elf’s Resthouse, that cheerful word resounded.
The party could truly defeat the spotted lynx. This was the celebration party for passing the test.
Eru, the restaurant’s workers, and the regulars gave their praises and good wishes to Jadokh and Miloulle.
Among the crowd, a drunk Miloulle was looking for Tatsumi.
“Huh? Tatsumi, where did you go?”
Miloulle was looking everywhere. But, the man was not to be found as expected.
“Geez, don’t say stupid things, Miloulle. Isn’t there only one place where Tatsumi could be?”
While heartily drinking his booze, Jadokh skillfully winked with his four eyes.
“Ahhh, Calsey’s place, I guess… Ugh, I get his feelings, but… Couldn’t he just spend a little bit more time with his companions…”
Lonely and regretful. Miloulle put those feelings of her into words.
“It can’t be helped, you know? Because, to Tatsumi, Calsey is above everyone else.”
“Hey hey, if you’re mad, have a drink? This is our long-awaited celebration party!”
Bang. She slammed her cup into the table in front of her. Miloulle had drank all the alcohol inside with one gulp.
“Landlady! Keep ‘em coming!!! I’m gonna drink ‘til the end tonight! Since I’m being treated today!!!”
Miloulle stinkily vomited like an old man. Even so, Eru poured another cup.
It was as she said, the other beast hunters were treating her today. The other beast hunters would treat those who passed the trial of the spotted lynx. That was also the beast-hunter’s tradition.
“Hehehe. Then, I’ll also drink without holding back. It’s not like I’ll be paying for it.”
With a happy look, Jadokh made his request.
The other beast-hunters watched how much the two of them drank, and their faces slowly started to become more pale.
Morganeich gave out that warning to Tatsumi as a joke, but how could he know that such people were in their midst?
In the comforts of their home, Tatsumi was hugging Calsey tightly.
“…Sorry, Chiiko. Sorry for making you worry.”
“No…I had no doubt that Master would win.”
Nuzzling her face on Tatsumi’s chest, Calcedonia happily murmured.
“Hmmm? I wonder who was the one who said that it was okay to give uuup?”
“Uh, ummm, t-that…… Geez!!! Master is so mean!!!”
Calcedonia lightly punched Tatsumi’s chest a few times. Of course, she didn’t put any power into them, so it didn’t hurt at all.
Tatsumi gently petted the angry Calcedona’s head, just like in his original world.
Calcedonia was still punching Tatsumi, but her face was of pure bliss.
“…I’ve somehow gotten this far, but… Someday, I’ll reach your level.”
“Yes. If it’s Master, it’ll happen before long.”
It wasn’t known who leaned in first, but their lips touched. When their lips parted, Calcedonia let out her pent-up breath.
Calcedonia’s face was completely red. She looked lovingly at Tatsumi.
Tatsumi knew what she wanted. He picked her up and started walking.
He opened the bedroom door. After the couple entered─the door slowly closed.