Chapter 04 – Looking for Herbs in all the Wrong Places
We walked through the forest with Millet guiding the way. She led us straight to a field of medicinal herbs.
We had slowly made our way through the forest for over an hour from where I first met Millet.
「This area is known for having a mass of herbs, but I don’t smell any…」
It seems that Millet has a nose for smelling out herbs.
Wherever they’re growing, their smells seems to float around.
Even with her disappointment, Millet continued scouring the area, searching for a glimmer of hope.
After asking her what the herb looked like, I started searching too.
After a while, Millet’s shoulders dropped in despair.
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「…I knew it. This place has been all eaten up too…」
「Aren’t there others?」
「There’s a place about 30 minutes walk, a cavern where a whole bunch is growing.」
「Well, then let’s go.」
「Is there a problem?」
「Yes. There’s supposed to be a basilisk that started living in the cavern.」
The basilisk is a fearsome magical beast. Suppression Level B. With a party at B Rank, you could somehow defeat a beast like that.
Of course, going solo made the task far more difficult. If you locked eyes with it, you turned to stone, and it had a poisoned tail, so going solo was almost suicide.
Moreover, its blood was poison. If you split it open with a sword, you could get bathed in a spray of poisoned blood.
And if you were petrified or poisoned and had no healer to back you up…you were pretty much a dead man.
「A basilisk? That’s scary.」
「Yes, it is.」
「But it’ll be okay.」
「This old man is an expert at killing basilisks.」
I explained why to the objecting Millet and she showed me to the cavern.
「Do you smell the herb?」
「Okay, then wait here.」
「No, it’s too dangerous.」
「It’s okaaaay, okaaay. If something happens, just yell. I’ll run back here.」
I entered the cavern.
「Oh, so this is the herb.」
The wolves must have been so afraid of the basilisk that they never entered the cavern. There was a bunch of untouched herbs just growing there.
As soon as I began quickly scooping up the herbs…
I began hearing an eerie noise come from deeper inside the cavern. The basilisk was coming.
I kept picking herbs, paying it no mind.
The basilisk approached cautiously after not hearing me run or react in fear at it drawing near. It didn’t rush at me quickly, but slowly closing in.
I didn’t look in its direction. That way it couldn’t petrify me.
But it still had that needle of poison on its tail.
It judged when it had come close enough to me. I could hear the basilisk quickly whip its poisoned tail around at me.
「That might hurt someone!」
I shouted without looking its way, and quickly cast a magical barrier.
The loud sound of a crash as its tail smashed against the magic wall.
The basilisk seemed to gurgle with anger.
Then it swung its poison tail at me again.
What a nuisance.
「Enough with the tail!」
I shot the wall out and into the side of the basilisk.
The basilisk flew across the cavern and into a wall.
But the thing still didn’t give up. It again unleashed its poison tail at me. Again I knocked it away.
「I guess I have all I need.」
Since I had enough herbs, it was time to face the basilisk.
But, of course, not look at it.
There was no telling when this basilisk would leave the cavern.
And the poison in its tail could be used for medicine.
「Just remember…you forced me into doing this.」
As I said this, I knew the basilisk’s eyes were flashing, relishing the idea of stabbing me with its poison tail. The basilisk struck.
I ducked under the tail, picked up a small rock, and shot it with magical acceleration at the basilisk’s unguarded head.
The rock plunged between its eyes and into its brain. There was little blood.
The basilisk quickly twitched and stopped moving.
「It’s been a while since I’ve had to kill a basilisk – glad to know I haven’t lost my touch.」
I relaxed. I knew I could beat it easily, but if I got its blood all over the cavern, then a lot of these valuable herbs would be destroyed.
Even though I had enough with me now, the herbs should continue to grow here from year to year.
I called Millet, and she approached on tip-toes with a look a fear.
「Mr. Al…are you okay?」
「Fine. I’m going to dissect this thing outside, so help me carry it.」
「Wha? No way…you beat it?」
Millet was ecstatic.
「How did you beat this thing? I guess you really are good at beating basilisks, Mr. Al! A-maaazing!」
She was really impressed. Almost enough to make me blush.
I told her how to how to defeat a basilisk while slicing the thing apart.
Tails and fangs, and the eyeballs…all fetched a high price.
The blood also made medicine. The skin was useful. No part you could just throw away.
Even though she was just an apothecary, she did an excellent job helping me dissect it.
When we had finished, the sun had fallen.
「Time to camp out in the cavern.」
Millet said with a bit of hesitation.
「Hm, oh, I know you want to hurry and get this herb back to your sister, but running through the forest at night is no fun, you know?」
「I know that, but that’s not the problem.」
「Hm? What’s the problem then?」
「Night camps are scary! J…just a little though!」
Millet suddenly looked very dainty and innocent.
We both started eating one of my packed meals.
Millet curled up in the blanket I gave her and leaned up against the cavern wall.
「Sorry for borrowing your blanket, are you going to be okay?」
「Yeah, it’s warm. I’ll be fine.」
Looking out, the forest was covered in shadow.
I made a fire in the mouth of the cavern so that Millet wouldn’t be scared and sat next to her.
After a moment, I felt Millet staring in my direction.
「You’re not sleepy?」
「I can’t sleep yet.」
If you weren’t used to camping nights, it was almost impossible to sleep right away.
「Hey, Mr. Al. Why are you in a place like this?」
「A place like this?」
「Yeah, a place like where I was, getting attacked by a wolf. Far from the path.」
「I was walking towards a village where someone had requested help, but I heard you getting attacked and went to look.」
「Is that what happened? Thanks.」
「Don’t mention it.」
She thought a bit, and then her face filled with worry.
「Will the requestor be okay? Aren’t you going to arrive late?」
「I’m fine. There was no time period on it.」
「So, where are you going? If it’s somewhere I know, I can show you.」
「It’s called Mulg Village, I was responding to a request for a guard there. You know it?」
「Mulg is where I live!!」
Millet almost shouted.
Well, that was good. That should make my time there even easier.
I was very happy I had met her, and she said,
「Well, then you’ll be living in Mulg for a while!」
「That’s what I expect.」
And after a bit more,
「Heh heh heh.」
I heard her giggle to herself.
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