Sunday, October 19, 2014

Volume 2 - Chapter 3 - Expansion

It had been almost a month since the group invited the dog-eared ones to the Academy. The area around the recently cleared grounds were quickly developed into farmlands with the help of the supply regiment. Temporary tents were used for a short duration as the crews cleared more land and used the resulting timber and raw materials to construct longhouses for lodging and various facilities like a granary, storage warehouse, carpentry shop, shooting range, barracks, a communal bathhouse and even a cafeteria. Kun interjected himself early on, providing advice on spacing between the buildings as he’s doing something similar in the real world. Needless to say, the Academy was a beehive of activity, with students learning all they can from the newly arrived group while helping out.

[T/N: The cleared grounds were mentioned to be behind the workshop, next to the farming fields in Vol 1 Chapter 7]

The group and the company had to sneak out via the hidden passage they made into the dungeon after they packed their equipment. It was a sight to behold as everything was dismantled, even the stone-beds, and carried out. Some of the larger items simply disappeared as the group didn’t see any of the caninoid carrying them. It was already dark by the time they reached the entrance of the limestone cavern, the company suddenly stopped, dropped their packs and thrust their palms into the ground. The group had prepared to fight right there and then, but gray, cattle-sized, shaggy-haired dogs with hooves appears from the ground. The group could only look on as the company loaded their baggage onto these [Gray Cadejo]s. They made quick travel toward the hideout in the [Field of Ashes], with Bell and Kun logging out midway due to the time.

The company broke down when they reached the hideout and the group of students appeared. Some were smiling, others cheered, many cried and hug. The students were bewildered, but also happy to see so many adult demi-humans. Isnic led the company to the Academy as Till and Rick also logged out.

There was a small incident at the Sardonian border where garrisoned troops quickly rushed out to confront them. Due to the orderly manner and size of the traveling group deep in the night, the garrison had thought there was an invasion and sounded the alarm. The matter was quickly settled when Isnic identified herself and showed the captain of the guard the 4 vessels resting on a wagon being pulled by the [Cadejo]s. Isnic hinted that these people were important friends with the former headmistress, she smiled while giving the captain some bags of trail mix and some booze courtesy of Echo before heading off with a few of the students that were also stationed there. Bell would’ve been proud with her application of the “Carrot and Stick” approach had she been logged in.

The company broke down again when they reached the academy a few days later, seeing the students and the work they had accomplished. There was much rejoicing with a little festival, Kun was worked to the bone preparing his “exotic” foods, although it wouldn’t be wrong to say that he enjoyed himself as well, with a helping hand frequently rotating in and out as the rest of the demihumans partied. Everyone, especially Sammy, had a great time. The next few days, the caninoids got right to work, it seems they have a company motto: “Work hard, play hard”.

* * * * *

*kokko kokko kokko*

“Are you guys sure about this…?”

“What do we have to lose?”

“How about my dignity?”

“Just shut it, Rick. Not like it’s worth much anyways.”

“These little ones are cute too~!”

“Eh… Till, I have to ask, how are these things cute?” The blonde-haired youth points at the sloth-like creature with a pointed beak. “What kind of creature are they for crying out loud?! Why are they clucking like chicken but look like a monkey with a beak for a mouth?!”

“They are cute cause they are cute~” The little girl proceeds to gently pet the creature that’s in her arms.

Bell, Rick and Till are currently inside an enclosed area, custom built to be a coop. Although it’s called a coop, it is still a good 20 meters tall with plenty of trees inside the 50m by 50m structure. Poles were erected on the corners, with wooden boards surrounding the lower 5 meters of so. A net of ropes act as the upper walls and ceiling of the coop, there to keep the animals from getting out as well as a way to feed them. There are a dozen or so [Namakemono Chicken]s within the coop, they are brown-coloured with a sloth-like body, feathered, wing-like arms and a chicken-like beak. The lone rooster has a vibrant crown of green and blue and is significantly smaller than the females. It instead has razor-sharp claws and a hooked-beak more typical of a raptor and is unable to climb, but is capable of limited flight. If one isn’t an expert, no one would’ve noticed that they belong to the same species.

[T/N: Just to clarify, 樹懶雞 - ナマケモノチキン is Sloth (Namakemono - the animal) Chicken. 樹懶/ナマケモノ is the descriptor, and unlike the english word “sloth”, it doesn’t have an alternate meaning. So I used namakemono to avoid having the mistaken image of “Lazy Chicken” for it.]

These are low level creatures not in the Total Immersion Entertainment System’s (Second Phantasia's OS, as references in the previous chapter) internal Bestiary nor is there are any information on any of the sites on the internet. According to the lieutenant supply officer that went shopping with the supplies group days earlier in Feia, these creatures were commonly hunted in swamp mangroves and wetland forests everywhere where they were originally from. They sleep for most of the day, only to jump and glide toward their food of choice and either eat it on the spot or bring it back to their nest to eat it there. The males are known as Terror Birds since they would jump up and slash at any adventurers that happen to startle it. The ones here are slightly different, but she recognized them at the bushmeat stall right away. She quickly convinced Bell and Till who were leading the shopping group at the time to purchase all the live ones from the various shops who agreed.

Although they have a kind of bland, delicate flavour, it’s not the reason why the lieutenant wanted them. It is their eggs that she was after. There are no [Namakemono Chicken] farms within the region since no one knew where the males were, so they ended up as bushmeat within the local market. Their eggs are famous for being highly nutritious due to the fact that these creatures don’t move a lot, thus diverting the energy other animals would use for movement into reproduction.

*kokko*

“Get down, Rick.” The youth hesitantly kneels down in front of the felinoid’s glare.

*kokko kokko kuu*

Till gently places the [Namakemono Chicken] in her arm on the Youth’s head. The birdlike thing lazily flaps its arms to balance itself before it settles on Rick’s head.

“How long do I have to do this for?”

“How should we know? How long did you need for those Feian elders?”

“Just an instant since I gave them all a quick headbutt.”

“Then do that here~”

*fuuuuuu* *Kokkkkooooooooooo?*

Rick breathes a long sigh before suddenly dropping down a little and jumping up, lightly headbutting the creature on his head before it glides harmlessly away onto the floor, clucking all the while. This is repeated for all the female [Namakemono Chicken]s. It is finally the male’s turn…

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Rick slowly kneels down again. Looking at the sharp claws, switch to the flashy looking crown, then back to the claws again.

[ED: look at the claws, now at the chicken, back to the claws - what do you see? IT'S A CHICKEN
SLOTH]

“Hm, doesn’t matter, at worst you will just die, we will make sure to pick everything up for you.”

“Here you go~” The girl picks up the male easily, it settles itself nicely after being set on the youth’s head. Likely due to its small size, it balances itself easily without so much as a flap.

*guuuuuuu* “Kokkuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu*

The youth gulps nervously before headbutting the creature, who clucks in surprise and brandishes its claws. Bell smirks as the bird turns in midair and aims its head toward Rick, expecting a show. Her smirk disappears as soon as it lands, lunging for her head instead. She quickly moves her head sideways to dodge the creature, but it still managed to draw blood on her cheek.

Bell touches her face where the cut was, clenching her fist when she sees the trace of blood on her hand. “WHY YOU LITTLE! <>!” The felinoid brandishes claws of her own before swiping at the surprisingly agile bird.

“Eh, Bell-ne, don’t hurt it~”

*fiii fiii fiii fiii* *fa fa biii biii biii*

Bell swipes at the small creature who jumps and changes direction in midair by flapping its feathered arms before slashing with its talons. The two go back and forth, trying to hit each other while evading at the same time.

“Eh… shouldn’t we stop her?”
“Okay~”

*FUUUUMMMUU*

A loud sound like air imploding reverberates where cat and bird are fighting, followed by dirt flying everywhere. The two stop fighting, pulling away from the shallow hole in the ground, before looking at the girl that’s still pointing her outstretched fingers at where the hole is.

*kokkoooooo kokokoko*

The [Namakemono Chicken] quickly runs away, trying to hide behind some trees.

“Huh…?”
“What the hell was that?”
“Oh, just a focused «Air Lance»~”

[ED: damn girl, you scary]

Rick displays a shocked expression as the catwoman questions while moving her eyes from the hole next to her to the girl without moving her head. Till only smiles while giving back a casual answer.

* * * * *

*du du du*

Soft sounds of wood getting hammered into place fills the air.

“So this is the last one, Kun?”

“No, but these will be the main buildings. The trees will be thinned out a little over there, so we can quickly expand if we need to.”

The bulky, scar-covered man turns to the direction where the younger man is pointing before nodding his head. “Planning ahead, good, good.”

The two had been clearing a portion of Kun’s land further up the road and developing it. Hank pulled some strings with his connections along with some help from Kun’s former comrades to get the manpower and tools necessary for construction. Kun on the other hand went into the family archives, referencing blueprints, layouts, materials nearby, and so forth before providing them to the engineers who will be doing the construction work.

Although technology advanced, the designs offered by Kun still got them excited. They were simple and practical, with so called “lost” methods of affixing material without nails or screws. The availability of stone and timber nearby made the work significantly faster. In just over a month, a compound with 11 different buildings were constructed, with 4 of them being large 3 story-high communal structures while the rest are cabins for storage, utility, and private living space. Two barns were also raised in the processed, that are going to be used for raising animals. A farming field will be added in the spring should their plan become successful.

“Right this way, uncle.”

The young man walks toward one of the large buildings with the older man following.

* * * * *

“So these are the machines, huh?”

Hank leans onto one of the dozen consoles lined up neatly into two rows, each in front of a bed with a cabinet right next to them. The room is sparse save for the limited furniture and machines, with a sanded, varnished, wooden floor made out of entire trees.

“Yep, just hmm… lay down on the bed and I’ll guide you from the console. You can select an avatar and then adjust how it looks. Although you can just go with default and let the machine pick everything for you.”

“It can do that?”

“Yeah, it will just copy yourself as is straight into the game.”

“Let’s do that then.”

“Alright, just follow the prompt and just say default when it asks for what you want to be. Add me into your friend list when you get into the game by just thinking menu, you will see it. The name K-U-N (1). Just hold your right hand like this,” Kun places his right hand at the side of his head, placing the tips of his fingers on his earlobe and face. “Think of me and just speak.”

The man sit on the nearest bed, then imitates the young man. “Like this?”

“Yep.”

“Alright, see you in a bit.”

* * * * *

Two men stares at each other. One is on top of a large, white, hairy, blob creature. The other is stuck in a pose with one arm stretched out, while a rabbit-like creature slowly slides off the side of a slightly splintered tree.

“I guess I don’t have to explain combat to you… but what’s with your appearance?”

“I’ve no idea, it said something about race suggestion being dwarf and something and I just defaulted all the way.”

“Eh… guess they added some new features then.” Kun scratches his face with a finger while looking down at the even bulkier version of Hank.

“What the hell is that thing?” Pointing at the creature that Kun’s riding on.

“Ah, this would be Sammy.”

*kero kero*

The creature croaks in reply while the dwarf walks around the creature. “Weird, I don’t see any tails. Let alone three.”

[T/N: Its name is 三尾, with the furigana サミー]

“That’s just how Till named it. So you wanna right inside or on top?”

“Eh, inside? I think I’ll ride on top.”

*kero kero*

Sammy starts to flatten itself like a deflating balloon as if on cue.

“What the hell?!”

Kun can only smile at Hank’s surprised expression. He offers a hand to the dwarf to help him on, snapping Hank back to reality. The man fidgets and looks around as Sammy goes back into its usual round, blobby form.

“Won’t I fall off?” He is nervously looking around, holding onto Sammy’s fur for dear life.

“Don’t worry, just give it a moment and hold tight until you get used to it.”

“Eh?” The part underneath the dwarf’s chunky posterior sinks a little, conforming to its shape. Sammy wiggles a little before speeding off toward the Academy, with Hank going “AAAAHHHHHHHHH!” while gripping onto the white hair and flesh tightly.

9 comments:

  1. wow...first!!!...thank you for this

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  2. Is he going to give the gray fox a console to use? Or does he just plan on leaving his immortal body lying around forever? I personally would jump at the chance to actually have a conversation with an animal companion.

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    1. I forgot to say it earlier, so thanks for the chapter!

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    2. Such short sighted idea, i would exploit the system and release an army of aggressive warriors into the world. (if you want to know what i'm talking about go back and check the comments)

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    3. I'll just say to wait a few more chapters about gui's situation :P

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  3. "There str no [Namakemono Chicken] farms within the region"

    I assume you wanted to say "There are no..."?

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    Replies
    1. weird stuff got into it when I was formatting it for the blog, thanks for noticing.

      Delete

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