Chapter 83 – Target Found
The next morning, I finished my meal quite early and headed to the mountain. We walked towards its foot for two hours, and then we climbed to the point where the Thunderbird had been spotted.
I put a pair of boots on my feet, and some warm clothes and an overcoat to protect my body from the cold. I didn’t put too many because it would hinder my movement while fighting, and the overcoat was enchanted to protect against the cold anyway. I also prepared a few days worth of food and changes of clothes for the mountain climbing, just in case it is necessary.
Following the lead of hunter-san, I started climbing the mountain path that is covered by snow, it took 3 hours, to reach our goal… During that time, I walked without speaking a single word. I planted my feet firmly on the snow covered path with each step, this unusual way of walking was necessary to be sure I’d not waste any stamina while walking through it. Despite the hardships, Hunter-san kept on moving forward to arrive at our goal without delay.
How much did we walk? After getting considerably tired, Hunter-san’s feet finally stopped in place. “I saw the thunderbird around here.” He said.
Once I heard that, I started looking around, but I only saw a snow covered mountain… I guess it couldn’t have remained in the same place forever… Let’s start by looking around this place to see if there aren’t any clues.
Though I said that, I have no such skill, so I’ll rely Hunter-san’s… He said to look if there aren’t any footprints of the thunderbird, the traces of its food, or of the excrement. So I did my best to, like an amateur looking at a new dish.
How long have we been looking for it? I got so engrossed in it that I forgot to eat lunch, and when I was about to give in to the hunger, “Wait! It’s the footprint of the thunderbird!” Hunter-san said.
I stopped my foot mid-air and saw the footprint right below where I was going to step. That was certainly the footprint of some kind of bird… However, it was a big footprint, and it looked like the one of a waterfowl, not really similar to a bird’s one.
Thunderbirds have a small body of about 1m height, and it lives mainly on high altitude zones and snowy places, the large foot, that is similar to a waterfowl’s, increases the area that it steps on. Making it easier for it to move through the soft snow. In other words, the footprints found here are definitely the thunderbird’s.
The footprints continue from here to the top of the mountain. The footprints are still new and the chances of finding the thunderbird are pretty high. So we quickly followed them.
After half an hour of tracking, we were able to find the thunderbird in an open place. It was wrapped in pure white feathers, and it easily blended into the snowy field, which served as camouflage for anyone looking from a distance.
I dropped my luggage, and encouraged Hunter-san to separate from me, so as to not be dragged into the fight. After checking he did it, I unsheathed my sword and prepared myself.
For certain victory, the first blow is a must. Certain death in one blow! I ran towards it and slashed my sword downwards, however, as soon as my hit connected I heard a sound as if I was hitting a rock. Immediately after, a bunch of snow flew up and I lost sight of the Thunderbird. It probably defended against my attack somehow.
Still holding my sword, I looked for the thunderbird while casting a defensive spell and body strengthening one. Suddenly though, I heard a strange sound and I could only see white.
I jumped to the side and the tree behind me was blown up by something… It seems the thunderbird is striking back, so I quickly got up and looked for it again, this time finding it.
It would be useless to try hiding against this firepower, so I should try staying in wide places with easy maneuverability instead, but… I can’t beat it if I don’t get close, so I rushed towards it at the same time more snow soared up and its body got filled with electricity.
I don’t know how it defended against my blow, but it seems that it won’t be easy to beat it seeing that there is no visible wound on its body, still, I put my all into a slash with my strengthened physical ability. However, I didn’t have solid footing because of the snow, so my attack was too slow and the thunderbird dodged it.
Immediately after, its body flashed and I jumped away from it. A thunder echoed and the place I was on just a moment ago was now filled with steam… This was dangerous, the thunderbird, just like its name says, can manipulate thunder. No, I feel that it can generate electricity in its own body rather than manipulating it? That seems to be how its power works.
Since I have defensive magic, I won’t be taken out in one blow, but it is not something I’d want to receive anyway. Fortunately, the lightning attack seems to requires a small interval, so it’s not continuously used. Before the next attack comes, I put my spirit on my feet and break into its territory.
Dashing towards it, I tried a downwards slash, but the thunderbird dodged again and emitted a strange sound while raising its electricity current even further… I jumped away, but this time an explosion came from its body, it would have blown me away if my jump didn’t put enough distance between us… Luckily, it didn’t cause enough damage to break through my defensive magic.
“Ku… it’s S-rank, indeed… It’s not going to be easy…” If only I had proper footing I could attack properly… “Flame Arrow!” I tried to use the magic as a restraint, but it is easily avoided, or erased by the discharge that comes from the body of the thunderbird. As expected, it seems like it cannot be restrained by elementary level magic.
Still, it seems to be cautious against my magic, which gave me time to recover my posture… How can I beat it? My attack doesn’t reach in one step. The electrical explosion comes if I get too close. If I get away, it uses the lightning attack.
If I try approaching with an ice pathway, it will still be too slippery, even if I melt the snowy surface with flames, it will be a very local thing, and I’ll be back to the start if it moves away. And melting the snow might also end up causing an avalanche, which is not really an option… So changing the soil isn’t going to work, which means there is only one way to do it.
“Icicle Lance!” Ten spears of ice flew towards the thunderbird. The three, were on the direct hit course and were intercepted by lightning and evaporated in the air, the rest are stuck on the snow.
“Earth Spike!” A sharp rock appeared below the Thunderbird, which flew away from it.
“Fire Lance!” Five fire spears that appeared in the air flew toward the thunderbird, which shot lightning to intercept it… Just as expected. While it was busy with the spells, I ran towards my enemy and swung my sword straight towards its neck.
The thunderbird tried to avoid it, but the Earth Spike was behind it and the ice spears on the side, locking it in place. Usually, they should go back to the original form once the spell ended, but this time I put some magical power on it so as to let it remain for a while.
Panicking, the thunderbird tried spreading its wings and flee to the sky, but that momentary delay decided the game. With a smooth blow, I cut the thunderbird’s neck off.
While splashing blood from its decapitated head, vestiges of its attempt to flap away could still be seen on the movement of the feathers, that soon stopped and its body collapsed on the snow. “Haa…” Looking at it, I sat down on the snow with a sigh. “… I’m hungry…”
Doing all of that without eating clearly took its toll on me, so I collapsed on the spot. I needed to recover some strength though, so I moved towards my magically light-weighted backpack, put the thunderbird within it, then took some food out and ate it.
Once that was done, I moved to the meeting point to group with the Hunter-san I was working with before, he was at the place he had first seen the thunderbird and was clearly surprised I won. “Did you really defeat Thunderbird!? I heard that adventurers aren’t just their looks, but even so…”
Did I just hear some strange words? Who’s a little kid? Eh? You didn’t say that much…? Maa, it’s okay. I am also tired, and it is troublesome if I go against Hunter-san. I’m an adult, so I’ll forgive you.
As expected, the search took a long time, so I gave up on getting off the mountain today. And at this time of the day, the sun is almost setting. It’s a reckless thing to walk in the dark snowy mountains, isn’t it? Hunter-san said that there is a mountain hut nearby, so we’ll stay there overnight and get off the mountain tomorrow morning.
After about half an hour walk, we arrived at the mountain hut, Hunter-san started a fire while I hang the thunderbird in a corner of the hut to let the blood dry. Because the blood flows in large quantities, we are careful so as to not dirty the hut too much.
While sitting near the fire, I talked with Hunter-san and had dinner by eating a bit of the preserved food. While taking turns on watching the fire, we rested, and in the morning we had breakfast and got off the mountain.
We arrived at the village around noon, there was an uproar after seeing the thunderbird, but I managed to get through it. Maa, rather than curiosity, they were more grateful that they were able to hunt again thanks to the fact that the thunderbird is gone.
I ate lunch at the inn, rented a room and headed to the hot spring. I put the thunderbird within a sack and then in a magical preservation tool, so as to not waste all the hard work in killing it.
The bed and the hot spring were able to cure the tiredness from mountain climbing… Even if the food wasn’t, and in the next morning, I took a wagon towards the royal capital.