[Keruk. Are you awake already, Hubby? Get up. I prepared meals for you.]
I could see the back of Idaltaru, no… Idy, sitting at the entrance to stand watch.
I felt around with my hand to find a small pebble. I picked it up and threw it toward the back of Idy’s head.
The pebble struck Idy’s tail.
“I told you not to call me by that.”
[Captain, you are too shy, keruk.]
I still feel very weak.
Still lying on the ground, I tried opening and closing my hands as I asked Idy,
“How long was I asleep?”
[You slept for about three hours. Keruk. That’s pretty long for you, isn’t that right, Captain?]
If I did sleep for three hours, that really was long.
If I didn’t summon Idy, let alone three hours, I probably couldn’t have been able to sleep for even ten minutes.
I had been suffering from inability to fall asleep lately. Because of this, it is impossible for me to fall asleep in dangerous places where I can’t put my mind at ease.
In times like that, I had to either put myself to sleep using a sleeping pill or wait until I just fainted.
I am thankful that Idy is here.
Dead Summoning was indeed an incredible skill.
It had limitations of only allowing five summoning and requiring objects with souls. However, it was still incredible.
Bringing back and summoning the dead is the kind of power that could not be obtained by anyone other than gods.
Its effectiveness would be even greater if I summon someone stronger after developing further at a higher floor.
Still, I don’t think it was a waste at all to have summoned Idy here.
Before I could rest, to be certain of my safety, I needed her here right away. Also, in a situation like the 12th Floor where I have to stay inside the stage for a very long time, having someone besides me was a really big help.
I could make a better decision just from having a conversation with someone.
Also, it alleviates loneliness which rots away my mind.
It was at the Eighth Floor when I summoned her for the first time using the Dead Summoning.
I just needed someone to draw the enemies’ attention, but she was far more talented than I expected.
Not just her combat abilities, but her calm personality, which was not like the typical violent lizardman, helped.
Of course, she didn’t look calm at all when she was burning with the focused desire to take me as her husband at the Fifth Floor.
We had been having conversations since then and developed understanding of each other. Now, we had become pretty close.
According to her, to the lizardman kind, the only thing that mattered in choosing the mate was strength, and stronger meant a better mate. This applied to both genders.
Because of this, to the lizardman’s kind, being desired by someone stronger is obviously something to be happy about, and Idaltaru also added that almost nobody refuses such proposals.
She said the lizardman’s kind as a whole pursue strength and hone their skills for the sake of mating with someone stronger. It was their most important reason.
Because of this, when I refused her mating proposal, she could not understand me and was infuriated.
Objectively looking at the strength, she was definitely stronger than me at the time.
Now that I have surpassed her in strength, the situation changed a little.
In lizardmen’s culture, the right to choose the mate was held by the strong. Since I was stronger than her and I already refused her, she didn’t obsess over it anymore.
Actually, other lizardmen that I met at the Fifth Floor had that kind of tendencies, so it was easy to understand.
I also explained to her about human kind’s principles.
I explained that forcing someone to mate is a crime, and humans do not like the idea of mating with beings other than humans.
Actually, I don’t think the whole species issue would matter if it was with gorgeous beings like elves from fantasy fictions, but…
For now, that’s how I explained it to her.
Idy looked very disappointed, but I ignored it.
Since then, with her as my grunt, no… as a comrade, we had been doing well together.
She occasionally called me hubby or whatever, but it became an inside joke between us.
She came next to me and gave me a thinly sliced meat.
As always, I thought it was a meat jerky as I put it in my mouth, but it was raw meat.
“Uuuug… What is this.”
[Just eat it. Think of it as tartare. Captain, you have poison resistance, so you cannot get sick from it anyway. Keruk.]
Fortunately, the meat was, perhaps because a lot of the blood was drained or it just was that kind of portion, not hard to eat.
Compared to the orangutan meat, this was far more edible.
[It is the meat from the baby Lamburu that was on the ground here. I prepared it right away, so it should be edible.]
It seemed that weasel monster was called Lamburu.
“Idy. You know a little bit about Ihaoi? I think that’s what this place is called.”
[I don’t know. Keruk.]
Her voice was covered with disappointment, and that conveyed the meaning of what she really wanted to say.
It was not that she didn’t really know about Ihaoi. It was that she did not know if she once knew about Ihaoi or not.
Ever since I had Idy as my comrade, I had asked her a lot of questions.
I asked her how she ended up in the Tutorial, what is the Tutorial’s purpose, what it was like before…
I asked her many questions, and Idy was not able to answer most of them.
She said that inside of her head felt like it was turning white whenever she tried to remember the answer, leading to nothing.
She said it was as if a white paint was pasted over her memories.
She looked sad and upset whenever this kind of condition happened, so I didn’t try to uncover her past or the true identity of the Tutorial.
She could only tell me about the common knowledge and her skills that she used to have in her past.
Still, she could not remember in detail about anything related to Tutorial.
Since she knew the name of this monster, maybe she knew about this place in the past.
[Keruk. What’s your plan from now on? First, I would like to know the clearing goal.]
I explained briefly about the information and the clearing goal that the message told me.
[In that case, if you just spend 25 days quietly in this cave, you will be able to clear this stage safely. Keruk. I like this stage a lot. Keruk.]
What do you like about this stage?
Idy moved her eyes all around the place and did not respond to my question.
“I will not be able to clear it right away. Because of the remaining time, clearing is simply impossible.”
[What do you mean it is impossible to clear?]
I explained to her about the time left in the round and the time I need to spend here to clear the stage.
[As usual, you have foul luck, Captain. Keruk.]
It almost sounds like you are saying I bring foul luck instead of saying I just have bad luck.
Anyway, now that it came to this, I plan to focus on growth and throw away my impatience.
I also explained the Focused Effort skill to Idy.
[I see. I think it would be a good idea to learn about the skill in detail. If you spend the time by focusing on your growth with that skill, this won’t exactly be a waste of time. However, first, we need to secure your survival with certainty. Keruk.]
“Yes, right. We should set this area as our territory and hunt the ones living nearby one by one. As we do that, ones coming near the cave will start to disappear over time.”
Residents of this jungle are all wild animals or monsters.
High level predators probably all have their own territories and not go past their boundaries.
[Keruk. There are bastards that occasionally go past their territories or try to take over another’s territory. However, your plan is definitely a logical one.]
[However, if we are too active, high level predators who consider this area as their territories may come.]
I think it will be all right.
The usual bastards won’t be able to survive the coordinated attack from me and Idy. In the worst case, we just need to run away.
The high level predators are very likely to be acting alone instead of being in groups like the orangutans.
Moreover, this jungle is vast. It is really, seriously huge.
When I was at the top of the cliff, in all directions, the jungle stretched to the end of the horizon.
Running into a strong predator that we have to run away from is probably not going to happen easily.
[Keruk. Well then, are we going to make the move right now?]
“No. The sun is down, so let’s start tomorrow morning.”
Both Idy and I can move without being seriously hindered by darkness. However, that is about it.
I don’t want to invite danger by fighting nocturnal monsters in middle of darkness in the jungle.
I also still feel tired too.
“Let’s try out the Focused Effort skill. I’ll be using the Mana Circuit, so please guard the area for me.”
[I got it. Keruk.]
* * *
I spent the time until the morning by operating the Mana Circuit.
However, there wasn’t any noticeable growth. I didn’t notice any response from the Focused Effort either.
I don’t know if I need to focus longer or if the method is wrong.
Let’s try again later.
[Keruk. I am ready. Hurry up and come out, Captain.]
Idy told me to hurry up, so I came out of the cave.
I saw that the scenery changed a bit.
What I saw were traps hidden here and there in the bushes.
There were traps made with vines and sharpened woods. There were also craters.
I don’t know about other kinds, but I am excellent at finding those kinds of traps.
I had been tormented by such traps so much since I entered the Tutorial, so…
Besides the traps, there were ash like things spread at the cave entrance’s floor.
“What is this?”
[I dried leaves called Kikimu and crushed them into fine powder. The animals in this jungle hate this, so they won’t approach the place easily if you have this spread here. Keruk.]
What the, just when did you do this?
You crushed it into fine powder? You probably don’t even have tools for that.
You dried it? You dried leaves in this humid jungle?
Also, just when did you make all those traps? Was it even possible given the time frame?
[Keruk. Keruk. There are ways.]
Idy smiled. Her smile was full of pride. Looking at her smile, I panicked a little.
I didn’t expect this much from Idy.
Until now, her role was simply fighting along side me and standing guard while I rested.
I told her honestly how impressed I was and praised her.
Having heard my praise, her tail started to waggle left and right, but I ignored it.
[Keruk. Let’s go try hunting.]
In a mysterious way, the back of Idy was dependable to look at. I followed her into the grass.
* * *
I kicked the dead body of a bizarre looking boar, which looked as if it was exposed to radiation and mutated. I said,
“Hey, how come you are also good at hunting?”
I didn’t know we would succeed in hunting so fast.
It was not like we were hunting monsters inside a video game. We were in a huge jungle. It is not easy to find a prey of this size and track it.
Actually, running into one alone has pretty low probability of happening.
[Keruk. Because I was shunned by my own kind, I always had to hunt alone and procure food. Thanks to that, I have plenty of hunting experience. Keruk.]
Story of her dark, sad past came out of the blue. Having heard it, I praised her with a bit of exaggeration.
Idy made keruk keruk noise and acted happy.
[So, are you going to continue hunting?]
[In that case, what are you going to do about this one? If we take it to the cave, we will lose too much time.]
“Let’s just leave it here. Our plan is hunting all dangerous monsters nearby anyway. If more bastards come lurking around after smelling the dead body and the blood, that will make our hunting easier.”
[Keruk. I got it.]
Idy gave a brief response. She raised her trident, cut the monster’s body into pieces and brought out its intestines.
Certainly, doing that will make the smell of blood to spread more.
“Idy. I’m thinking about finding the prey myself from now on. I would like you to handle the battle.”
[Keruk. That won’t be a problem for me, but isn’t that inefficient assignment of roles?]
“It is, but I would like to earn skills related to search or tracking. That’s why.”
One thing that hanged over my head the entire time while I was being chased by the orangutans was that these bastards weren’t just tracking me simply based on my foot prints and smell.
Even when I crossed water or valley with the Talaria’s Wings, they somehow knew where I was and kept chasing after me.
I am thinking that one of the orangutans had search or tracking skill and used it to determine my location.
In that case, since it would be a very useful skill, I would like to acquire it here.
I had been simply using my sight or hearing to identify the enemy’s location.
With the enhancements from Sensory Strengthening and Amplification Skills, I never felt my senses were insufficient.
However, they didn’t work against enemies with stealth or invisibility skills.
If the orangutan that used the invisibility skill and the weasel baby that used the stealth skill to hide at the cave were stronger…
If they were strong as me even without skills, it would have been really dangerous.
I would not even have been able to notice their presence a little. I could have died at the spot.
I needed a solution against such skills.
The skill I’m trying to acquire this time could be the solution.
In the process of obtaining this skill, I should have Idy handle combat and all other tasks besides tracking the prey which could benefit from the Focused Effort Skill.
First, I learned the basic of hunting from Idy.
She said it would be very inefficient for me to aimlessly look around for a prey. She recommended learning her knowledge and techniques first.
Things like selecting the hunting route, methods of confirming the prey’s territory or movement path based on foot prints or excrements, how to hide my own presence and approach the prey, etc…
Idy explained in detail about hunting in a way that was easy for me to understand.
It seemed she was also skilled at teaching things to others.
After that, I tried operating the mana in the way that Idy advised me to do.
I practiced using mana to further increase the movement suppression to move more stealthily.
On top of this, I also learned how to spread thin layer of mana around me to feel the situation around me.
It was not easy at first.
When I tried to spread the mana around me, the mana’s concentration was too thick.
In that attempt, not only did the mana became visible, I couldn’t even spread them far.
It took quite a while until I was able to skillfully spread the mana and feel the situation around me.
This was a high level mana operation skill. It was to the point where my Mana Circuit Skill leveled up once while I practiced this skill.
Like that, for two weeks, with the cave as my base of operation, I hunted the monsters around the cave and honed my skill.
[You acquired Mana Circuit Lv.11]
[You acquired Detection Lv.3]
[You acquired Stealth Lv.11]