One of the ladies had long, dark gray hair with lime eyes, and slightly revealing clothes that seemed to be made from unknown materials. Her expressions were calm, seemingly devoid of emotion. With one glacé at her you could tell she is someone who likely doesn't talk much with how her expression is.
The other lady had pale skin with light red hair and pink eyes. She wore a butterfly accessory headphone on her head, and her wore were composed of vocalist-like clothing consisting of a white, long-sleeve shirt with the collar tied with a red ribbon under a black vest, a red, checkered miniskirt, and black leather below-the-knee boots.
As for the old lady, she had gray hair with purple eyes. She wore purple clothes with a purple hat, and on her left hand she wore a metal clove.
Moved forward along the dry mountain road, the girl with the butterfly accessory suddenly said, ‘‘ha… can’t we just start a camp, we've been walking all day and it's already night time.’’
The old lady heard the young girl and shot her glare, ‘‘Chelsea, although you are good at every other area, working on your stamina is something you really need to work more on.’’
The girl, Chelsea, didn’t take offense to what the old lady pointed out about her as she continued to say. ‘‘It's late into the night so shouldn't we rest for tomorrow's journey instead of wasting it and feeling tired while walking the next day.
‘‘Mmm, you have a point there. But seeing you coming up with a logical reason just because you couldn’t suck it up and continue walking really makes me not want comply with your request.’’ The old lady shot Chelsea another glare, and said with sigh ‘‘honestly. Youngsters nowadays are really different, when I was young…’’
Ack! She started again… Chelsea thought as she sweat dropped when hearing the old lady going on about when she was young.
‘‘... Teacher, do you smell that ahead of us?’’ The girl with a lime eyes, who was quite the hold time, spoke while sniffing the air for a moment. ‘‘It smells like roasted meat,’’ pointed her finger ahead of her, she said with not much change in expression.
‘‘Yes, Taeko. I could smell it, but it is normal for people to be out camping on these mountain roads,’’ the old lady stopped talking about her pest and replied to the girl.
Since you said it's normal, why aren’t we also camping as well? Chelsea grumbles in her head, but the next moment her pink coloring eyes sparkle with glow. ‘‘Since we met people camping just ahead, why don’t we go and camp with them.’’
‘‘...’’ the old lady looked at Chelsea for a long moment and said, ‘‘fine. Only because we still have a few days before we reach our destination and don't need to rush.’’
Alright! Chelsea screamed excitedly in her mind.
Tatsumi sits on a stone rock as he looks up toward the night sky. Countless stars appear in his view, sparky so brightly, so pretty that it could make one gaze at them and be lost in them forever. Unable to ever wake up from their deep beauty.
Unconsciously smiling, he retracted his gaze and looked at the giant leg that was being roasted in heated flame. ‘‘Looks like it is almost ready, the danger-beast looks quite tasty. I hope the meat is good.’’
Behind him a giant corpse could be seen, the corpse was the remains of the danger-beast he killed just this night. It had a lizard-like body and grayish-black color; tiny winds could be seen growing from its back, its expression looking ferocious as its maw contained row upon row of sharp teeths.
Its height seems to be about a few meters tall while its body length was even longer. It laid there looking dead with wide eyes; one of its back legs was missing and blood continuously leaked from the spot of which it was missing.
Obviously the leg that was missing was exactly the one that was being roasted right now.
‘‘It has been almost a week since I climbed that mountain peak and went through the mountain range, till I end up here.’’ Tatsumi murmured casually, ‘‘I wonder if I’ll reach a town or something if I continue going from this direction. Although nature is good and all, I kind of miss civilization after wandering aimlessly for almost a month.’’
He let out a tiny yawn while whispering to himself among the isolated wilderness.
Hm? Among his whispering the young man suddenly frowned in confusion, as he felt a presence less than 10 meters away from him, coming up the mountain slope with not so fast pace towards his way.
Some people are coming this way!Frowning even more, Tatsumi tenses up immediately and looks in the direction where he felt the presence.
After a few more moments of him being all tenses, feeling that he was worked up too easily, he calmed himself down and thought over the matter.
I shouldn’t become agitated, they are probably just some people who are also passing through these mountain roads. Tatsumi shook his head and thought. It seems meeting those savage tribe members really put me on edge and guarding against unexpected people suddenly showing up.
Sensing the presence of the group of people coming his way, getting closer with every second, he put his hand on his weapon-hilt and mumbled softly. ‘‘Though being a little careful isn't bad either.’’
Sucking in a breath of air through his mouth, he relaxes his muscles and starts counting down numbers in his head.
7...6...5… by the time he counted the meters of distance that separated the people that were coming his way down to mere 5. He was able to see three people showing up in his sight. The one in the front was an old lady, and the other two beside her were young beautiful women that looked to be less than twenty.
The instant Tatsumi gaze landed on them, he immediately drew his sword half-way as a small cold sweat dripped down from his forehead. His relaxing muscle became tense, while his expression was cautious as he tightly grasped the hilt of his weapon.
The reason he became so tense out of sudden when looking at them was because— He could feel that these three were powerful, to a level where he felt threatened just by gazing at them.
As for how powerful exactly? It was unknown to him, the only thing he could tell was that his chance of beating them was low.
Even as he gazed at them, he felt inwardly nervous.
I can’t fight these guys, I need to find a way to escape somehow!His pupil turned blood-red as he was preparing to use his blood ability to escape the exact moment he saw them draw their weapon.
But right as those thoughts went through his mind, another thought also transpires through.
Wait! They aren’t showing any hostility so far, so why am I showing it to them? He constricts his pupils and tries to think things through more clearly.
Aren’t I the one picking a fight instead… Tatsumi came to that conclusion after mulling over the matter.
Although he could sense that these people were really powerful and dangerous, especially the old lady; her presence was practically screaming out danger. While that was the case, he didn’t sense any killing intent from them nor any sign that they were going to attack him.
But that would likely change if I continue to show hostility against them… Coming to such a conclusion, Tatsumi put back his half-unsheath sword and tried his best to put up a smile. His smile looked a little straining as he was still kind of nervous and guarding against the three.
‘‘I didn’t think I would meet people on these mountain roads… I apologize for showing such aggressiveness just now.’’ Trying his best to make his voice sound as normal as possible, he said politely.
Such strong suffocated murderous intent!
Taeko seriously voices out inside her head, her outward appearance was calm but inwardly her mind was completely shaken, stirred up by the seemingly ordinary young man sitting close to the bonfire with a smile.
‘‘Uh, so. You guys just passing by?’’ The young man asked.
When none of them answered him, he spoke again. ‘‘Are you guys hungry by any chance? If you are, I wouldn’t mind sharing this with you.’’
Is he seriously offering for us to join him?... Taeko thought while glacéd unnoticeably at his right hand that it seemed like it would pull out his weapon at any time, and his body that seemed tense and un-edged.
Just by those signs she could tell that he was cautious and un-guard against them. She couldn’t understand how he had the courage to ask them to eat with them when she could clearly tell he didn’t want them around.
Invited us to eat with him like this when clearly he doesn't want us around. Is it a trick to make us let our guard down? Taeko thought and constricted her pupils.
‘‘Of course we’re hungry, since you invited us I’ll take you up on that offer then,’’ Chelsea said with a smile as she walked forward to the bonfire.
‘‘Is that so.’’ Taeko could see his forced smile become clearly strained when Chelsea said that.
‘‘I guess I’m having a guest for dinner tonight then.’’
‘‘Hehe, come along now Taeko we’ld also be joining.’’ The old lady glared at the young man for a moment and walked forward to the bonfire, urging her disciple to go too. Taeko looked at her teacher and nodded.
Follow her teacher and take a seat at one of the rocks by the bonfire, just like the young man didn’t let his guard down against them, Taeko too didn’t drop her caution against him. She looks intently at him and focuses on every one of his actions in case he tries anything.
The young man seemed to feel her gaze on him as he turned his head and their eyes met. Taeko was surprised by their eyes suddenly meeting each other head on, but he turned his eyes away from her right away, and acted as if he didn’t notice her stare.
Having that brief eye contact just now, Taeko's gaze became more intense as if she was trying to figure something out from him.
‘‘We’ld have to wait for a few minutes. The meat still needs time to be completely cooked.’’ Tatsumi gave Chelsea a look and continued, ‘‘are you guys traveling to some place?’’
‘‘Hm...’’ hearing his question, Chelsea seemed to be in some sort of deep thought. After a brief time pass, keeping him still waiting she took out a lollipop from somewhere and started sucking on it.
Tatsumi didn’t lose his patience and kept waiting for an answer from her. As he waited, time tick by in a silent manner as seconds and minutes go by quickly. Moving his gaze back to the meat that is being cooked in the heat, he casually moved his finger to it and gently placed it on the meat.
Pulling his finger back, he looked at the three and said, ‘‘the meat is ready.’’ The old lady in purple clothes gives him a kind smile and responds to him. ‘‘Even though you are so young, you're quite skilled aren’t you.’’
Feeling a slight sweat dripping down from his forehead, his smile seemed even more straining. ‘‘I guess.’’ Moving his pupils to the calm faced Taeko, he said. ‘‘If we’re looking at skill, I don’t think I can match up to her.’’
Said girl silently raised her brow when she heard him.
Why did she mention my skill? Acting as if he didn’t notice the young girl's raised brow, Tatsumi redirected his focus to the meat and thought about the old lady's words in his mind. Is she warning me not to try anything?
Hmm… hah, that might actually be true.
Even if she warned me it doesn't seem like they’re going to attack any time soon, so not much point in thinking about it for now... letting out a sigh, taking unnoticeable glacé at them. I’ll try my best to show them I’m not a threat.
‘‘So, do you have a knife that I could slice the meat with?’’ Shifted his attention to the light red hair girl with a lollipop in her mouth, he asked. Chelsea lifted her eyelash and said, ‘‘I do but don’t you have one?
Tatsumi shook his head from her words, ‘‘I don’t carry around a knife.’’
He wasn’t lying to her as he truly doesn't carry around a knife with him, after all if he needed one, forming it from his blood ability was simple enough. But there was no way he would reveal his blood ability in front of these highly dangerous strangers, and he didn’t also want to startle them by suddenly pulling out his sword just to cut the meat either.
They might take it the wrong way and think that he is going to attack them.
As soon as he said that Tatsumi felt something moving towards his way, he quickly turned his head and peered at it, not sensing any killing intent from it he lifted his left hand to grab hold of it.
Holding the unknown object in hand, his expression frowned for a moment before gazing down. In the palm of his hand a knife could be seen, giving it a long look he moved his eyes to the one who had thrown it.
Sitting a few feets away from him, the girl with long dark gray hair and lime eyes, and a seemingly expressionless face that looks to be devoid of emotion gives him a light nod.
Squeezing out a smile to the quiet but dangerous girl, he said. ‘‘Thank you.’’
Though I would be more grateful if you guys have just decided to move on, instead of accepting my invention to stay.
Spoken those words in his mind, he casually peered back to the meat and moved his left hand holding the knife forward at the meat of the roasted leg. Cutting a four lump of meat off from it, before the few pieces of meat could fall to the ground he caught it using the side of the knife.
As he caught the few lump of meat a clapping sound was heard at his left, knowing who it was he gave her a confusing sideways glance. Catching the confusing glaze he was throwing at her, having a lollipop in her mouth, Chelsea grinned at him from ear to ear.
‘‘You’ve really amazing with a knife. Did you practice a lot with it?’’ She said and questioned him.
‘‘Yes, I do practice a lot with knives. But I think you're over praising me, I don’t believe myself to be good at it.’’ He replied back to her with an odd look.
Why is this girl acting so friendly? He constricted his pupils as he questioned the reason why that is. But he couldn’t come up with any reason whatsoever, though there was one that he knew.
Her acting friendly like this really makes it uncomfortable to be near her. Even as he thought that Tatsumi outstretching out his hand holding the knife over to her, ‘‘here.’’
Chelsea didn’t act humble as she took the meat off the knife, after she took the meat he turned to Taeko and walked over to her. ‘‘Also one for you, miss. Although it's not much I hope you take it,’’ he said, as he held out the meat to her.
Said girl gazed up at him for a split second with a blank look in her eyes. Seeing her still not taking it his forced smile twitch a little, he rubbed the back of his head and said. ‘‘Well… I guess not.’’
Just as he was about to turn away from her, a hand stretched forward and took the meat from the knife.
‘‘Thank you,’’ Taeko said as she bit down on the meat.
Looking slightly surprised he nodded at her, and went toward the old lady. The more he moved closer to the old lady the more he felt uneasiness within him.
Hah… this old lady is way too dangerous! Inwardly muttering those words, reaching her, he did the same thing by helded out his hand and saying politely. ‘‘Please take one as well ma’am.’’
‘‘Hehe~ calling me ma’am, well aren’t you polite,’’ the old lady took the meat as she said.
‘‘My uncle always tells me to be polite, ma’am.’’ Replying back to the old lady, Tatsumi turned around and handed back to where he was sitting, but after only moving for a few steps the old lady's voice resounded in his ears.
‘‘You should work on your smile some more, it looks too forced and fake.’’
Feeling his body stiffening for a brief second because of the old lady's words, he took a few more steps further and sat back down on the stone rock. ‘‘Thanks for pointing that out for me, Ma’am, I’ll keep that in mind.’’ Dropping his smile, he said to the old lady with a wary tone.
‘‘This meat might not have any season on it but its roast really well, juicy and quite tender.’’ Biting off a piece of meat from her hands, Chelsea spoke as she showed him a affiliative smile. ‘‘You shouldn’t be nervous around us, it's not like we’re gonna do anything to you.
Constraining his pupils, Tatsumi didn’t look at her and simply replied, ‘‘I will also keep that in mind.’’ Biting a mouth full of his roasted meat, he continued on, ‘‘I would believe you more if you answer my previous question.’’