「Monster Researcher」Part 1
There was a building located on the side of the mansion’s courtyard. After leaving the guard station, we entered a corridor that connected the buildings to one another. We were now in front of the two-story tall, box-shaped building. Though it looked small compared to the surrounding buildings, it was still slightly larger than the houses in town.
There was an elegantly designed door knocker attached to the simple wooden door, and when the captain knocked on it a man’s voice was heard from within.
In contrast to Ariane’s and my tension, the voice was rather relaxed and the captain paid it no mind as he opened the door.
The captain opened the door and stepped aside after accepting the invite, allowing Ariane to enter first. I followed suit and the two guards were right behind me.
Thick wooden pillars lined the sides of the first floor, the centerpiece of the room being a large table. There were chaise lounges and armchairs on both sides of the room. The fact that they were rarely used, coupled with the bare stone floor, resulted in a slightly bleak atmosphere.
Once he entered, the captain walked in front of the group and led us to a back room that was on the other side of the table.
The back room was an utter mess.
Multiple books, parchments, and rolled up scrolls were hastily piled atop the table in the center of the room. There were many bookshelves arranged along the wall, but they were already filled to the brim with more scrolls and books. The room’s carpet was woven with beautiful patterns, but they were mostly covered by rocks and the fangs and tusk of various types of animals.
There was a large glass window at the back of the room and a man was sitting with his back to us at a crooked work desk.
“We’ve brought the messenger from Canada.”
“Ahh, thank you.”
The captain offered his salute to the man’s back before turning around and leaving the room.
“I never imaged that a messenger from Canada would come for me〜, welcome to my humble abode.”
The man stood up as he voiced his greeting.
His unkempt blonde hair was tinged green, he had the characteristic long ears of the elves, and his emerald green eyes could be seen from behind a pair of round glasses.
Instead of the traditional clothing of the elves, he had opted to wear similar clothes as the general public, but they were in shabby condition.
“I’m Ariane Glenys Maple. Nice to meet you……, Casey?”
“A warrior from Maple? Wonderful, I’m Casey Held, you can just call me Casey Araine-kun. How about you mister knight……Ohh!! A vento vulpix!!”
Casey’s eyes bulged in surprise when he heard Ariane’s name and he turned to ask me my name. However, when he saw Ponta sitting on my head, he rushed towards me and uttered an excited cry.
“My name is Arc, something of Ariane-done’s companion. This fluffy fox here is Ponta.”
With how much Casey honed in on her, I understood why Ponta edged back on my helmet.
“A travelling companion? Since elves never walk around in such armor, are you by any chance a human?”
I nodded in affirmation to the puzzled Casey. His puzzlement quickly changed to astonishment as he began to give all of us a proper once over.
“I have to say that this is a rare combination of individuals. Especially seeing a human that managed to tame a spirit beast.”
Casey extended his hand to Ponta with a smile on his face, however, she wrapped herself around my neck to escape. When he saw this Casey lowered his head in regret and forced out a feeble laugh.
“How nostalgic to see a tamed spirit beast…… Oh, where are my manners, please take a seat.”
When he noticed that we were still standing, Casey cleared a pile of items from a chair and urged us to sit. However, since there was only one chair, I let Ariane take it while I simply stood behind her.
“So is there really a message from my village?”
Casey sat in his own chair and pushed up his glasses with his middle finger as he asked his question. Judging from his tone he must have already grasp the situation to some extent.
“No, we are in the middle of rescuing our enslaved brethren from the humans. We were just passing through on our way to Lanbaltic when……”
“You heard that there was an elf living in this town and decided to check it out. Also, you two are heading the wrong way if you’re trying to reach Lanbaltic.”
When she nodded at his assessment Casey stated to laugh, causing Ariane to look back at me. I didn’t really have anything to say, but I had to do something.
“Casey-dono, you seem to be doing well for yourself in this human town.”
Ariane’s gaze returned to the glasses wearing elf in front of her. Casey took a look around the room before he started speaking in a hearty tone.
“Has it already been ten years since I settled here? I left my village about forty years ago and I wandered from place to place concealing my identity. I think that this country is far better than the others I’ve been to.”
“Ten years, huh… that’s quite a long time to live here.”
“It may seem that way to human, but for us it about the same as a year or two. I won’t say that it’s been that long…… also this is a convenient place to live in for my research, a variety of monsters appear around the Calcutta mountains in the east and beyond the Hiboto wastelands in the west.”
He followed up his explanation by saying “Those areas aren’t suitable to live in” while laughing a pushing up his glasses.
“Why do you live in a human town though?”
Ariane probably asked Casey the question she most wanted answered.
Even I could tell that she didn’t have a lot of faith in humans, her contract with me was only for the sake of her mission. It wasn’t hard to imagine her shock at finding an elf openly living under the protection of the humans in this town.
“I obviously hid my identity when I first came here. However, this town’s feudal lord took an interest in my monster research…… My identity as an elf was revealed after I was invited the mansion and I’ve been allowed to live here as a special guest since. I offered them my findings on the ecology of this area’s monsters and allowed them to publish a book based on it. Well I pretty much did the same thing back in my village.”
When I looked around the room, I noticed the abundant amount of monster sketches, catalogs, and memos scattered about.
The books and documents that were packed into the book sheaves were probably all related to monsters as while.
I also noticed that Ariane was making a complicated expression.
“Currently I’m investigating the Sandworms that live in Hiboto, but since they live mostly underground it’s hard to get a good view of them. Moreover, they are quite formidable enemies……”
As he was going on about his research Casey suddenly stopped talking and took a step towards Ariane before shouting.
“That’s right! I was thinking of capturing a live Sand Worm, how about you help me? Surely a warrior from Maple will have enough skill to accompany me……”
“Umm, we still have our own mission to complete……”
Ariane quickly offered a vague refusal to Casey’s enthusiastic request to help in monster hunting. Since it was a request from another elf, I’d thought that Ariane would hear him out, but I was left staring at her in surprise.
“……Warriors not only train their magic and swordsmanship, they also study monster ecology for the sake of the village. Your books and research on monsters only teach humans how to fight them off.”
Her golden eyes were focused on Casey as she said that.
I could understand what she was trying to say with that comment. She was calling him an elf that valued humans above his own kind.
Casey smiled bitterly as he sunk back into his chair.
“The books on monster ecology that you studied were most likely made by me before I left my village.
“In that case, that’s all the more-”
“Sooner or later, someone will have to research the ecology of monsters. I believe it is my duty as an elf to fulfill this important role.”
Just as she was about to continue her argument, Casey looked Ariane in the eye and shot her down.
But I could understand his argument as well. Thanks to his research, the damage monsters inflicted on this town had been reduced, a feat that could only benefit the elves. If the human’s view on elves changed then it could only benefit the elves.
However, it was a long road ahead, considering that he had to live next to the feudal lord’s mansion and was constantly surrounded by guards.
“Like I said before, this country is better than other ones. The feudal lord’s treatment of me if proof of that. Canada and Rhoden are neighbors. In the future, we can either feud with one another or make peace with each other, and I for one choose to make peace.”
Casey paused for a moment to pushed his glasses before he started speaking again.
“The person behind you is a human right?”
Ariane face had a complicated expression as she looked at me over her shoulder.
I had told them I was human myself, so she couldn’t deny it. However, my current appearance was that of an undead, a person who is considered cursed in this world.
Once more I had this feeling that I had forgotten something important──
As I tried to think about this, I suddenly felt someone’s gaze on my face. Ariane’s beautiful golden eyes were prompting me to say something.
“Call it a form of divine guidance if you will. I will simply trust Ariane-dono’s judgment for now.”
We were only here because of my poor sense of direction, and Ariane had muttered something about ‘Spirit Divination’ and invited an unseen force to direct us… so I was able to ignore my own faults.
“You will be rewarded for your help. I don’t have much money, but maybe I can offer you some of my research instead? I can pay you with these two volumes of my monster research from when I left my village. I believe that those of my village should learn of the world beyond it, after all.”
Casey pulled out two thick books from his collection as she spoke. The books were bound in leather and had the illustration of a dragon etched into their covers. Below Said illustrations, the name「Casey Held」was written.
When he opened one of the books it revealed a abundance of carefully drawn monster illustrations, followed by things such as living habitats and the species’ characteristics. I’ve loved picture books since I was a kid, so I was a little excited seeing these books.
“I can also offer you something not intended for human eyes, an encyclopedia of the various spirit beasts I’ve encountered. Unfortunately it isn’t as detailed as my research on monsters. The difficulties in approaching spirit beasts has hindered any in-depth investigation……”
Casey smiled bitterly as he scratched head and held out another book. It wasn’t as thick as the books on monsters and it was bound rather roughly.
Since he was concerned about the spirit beast, he probably choose to not share this with humans. There was a chance more cases like Ponta’s might occur after all.
But as he said, it was bound to happen sooner or later.
“I understand, but we can’t afford to waste too much time……”
Ariane looked directly at Casey as she said that in a firm tone.