Daisies are an ivy-shaped plant that exists in the Demon Forest. This plant absorbs the magical power in the atmosphere and it grows on leaves and ivy fibers.
Boromintella is a well-known plant that is useful for avoiding demons. It has no effect on humans, but to demons, it smells disgusting.
Mariela’s master taught her that it is possible to live in the Demon Forest by covering the roof of your house in daisies, and by planting boromintella along the fenceline. So, Mariela’s hut, which she inherited from her master, was built following these guidelines. That’s why she was able to live peacefully until the day of the stampede. When the stampede occurred, the demons became frenzied, and so, the boromintella had no effect on the frenzied demons and they were once again sensitive to the magical power of humans. This is why Mariela’s hut was completely destroyed.
Mariela covered herself in the new, high-grade demon repellant and decided it was time to leave her hut.
The demon repellant has varying levels of effectiveness depending on the type of demon, but, no matter what, any demon will want to avoid the source of the demon repellant. So, as long as she remains quiet, she can safely move throughout the Demon Forest when using the repellant. The time appears to be around noon. The sun is still high in the sky, but Mariela wanted to reach the city as soon as possible.
She had been walking through the forest for 30 minutes along a road on which a carriage could pass. The animal trails she usually traveled along were now completely overtaken by the forest. The alignment of the trees was also different, but she seemed to be on the right track so far.
Because the Kingdom of Endalgia is surrounded by steep mountains and the Demon Forest, traveling to another country through the mountains is nearly impossible. So, people have no choice but to use the roads through the Demon Forest to travel to other countries.
And this road was one of them. Along this road on the other side of the Demon Forest, there were once many different grain fields.
“The forest has overtaken everything…”
I wonder what happened to the Kingdom of Endalgia?
Even though the grain fields were no longer there, this road still remained. There are clear signs that this road is still being used, so some people must still be alive. Mariela had looked around enough and decided it was time to continue on to the haven.
At that time, as she continued along the road, she could hear the sounds of fighting nearby.
Mariela had no combat skills and is completely unable to fight.
Usually, she would stay as far away as possible and try to quickly escape. Yet, she remained standing there, still, there was something she had been concerned with ever since she awoke. She was curious about the current situation of the world, and so, she headed in the direction of the battle. She cautiously made her way along the road using the trees as cover.
“Are those forest wolves, and….carriages?”
There were three carriages entirely covered in iron.
There were only a couple small windows — one for maneuvering and one that a crossbow could fire through — on the carriage. Aside from these windows, the entire carriage was covered in rugged iron plates. Looking closer, those iron plates must have been reused many times. There were signs of damage from demon claws and teeth here and there. These plates must have been through many life-or-death situations.
Two of the armoured carriages were being pulled by beasts called raptors. They are carnivorous, bipedal beasts. Although they have ferocious personalities and a strong hide, they are just a low-class demon. However, training them is difficult and they are rarely seen in Endalgia. In the first place, Mariela had never seen such a heavily armoured carriage before.
There were two guards riding on raptors, one was using a sword and the other a spear. However, they were wearing heavy armour that focused on defense, and because of this, their movement was slow. Their armour is strong enough to protect against the forest wolf’s fangs, but their attacks are too slow to hit the wolves. It seemed the guards were struggling with the wolves.
“Even so, forest wolves, hmm?”
A forest wolf is a nasty demon to fight against. They hunt in packs and attack in waves with their sharp fangs and quick movement. However,
The demon repellant was thrown out.
All of the forest wolves ran away simultaneously.
After all, they are wolves. Their noses are extremely sensitive. The repellant would be super effective against them.
So, even if you were to use a small amount of the repellent, you would never encounter them and they would be easily chased away.
In the first place, it is common that any travelers through the Demon Forest would first buy a demon repellent. They are sold for cheap along the entrance to the forest. If you were using a cheap potion that costs no more than five copper, you could travel safely through the Demon Forest. That is as long as you stay along the road in the safer areas of the forest.
Do they not even have the common sense of a child? Did they just forget to buy it or did they just not know too?
After confirming that all of the forest wolves had fled, Mariela began walking in the open.
The two guards that had been fighting the wolves looked in the direction the wolves had fled and then to the spot the potion had broken open. Their faces were in complete disbelief. Then, one of the guards spoke to Mariela.
“Just now, was that a demon repellant potion?”
(What else would it be?)
Mariela knew she needed to act polite. She needed information from these people. They would hopefully feel indebted to her after she saved them.
She showed a friendly smile and responded.
“Of course, that’s what it was. I’m not sure it was necessary, but I thought I should help.”
One of the guards got off of the raptor, removed his helmet, and began to approach Mariela.
He had firm facial features and looked like a seasoned adventurer, he appeared to be around 30 years old. Uncaring eyes, which are common among skilled adventurers, were staring at her through thick, brown eyebrows. This person seems to be their leader. He had a rather dignified appearance for his age.
“No, you saved us. We were struggling with these forest wolves on our way to the city. My name is Dierk. I am the captain of the Black Iron Transportation Corps. Are you by chance, the Spirit of the Forest?”
He gave Mariela a polite greeting, but there seemed to be a strange misunderstanding. She was still wearing her unusual leaf skirt.
(How do I answer?)
The “Spirit of the Forest” is, as its name suggests, a spirit that lives in the forest. There have been many sightings of this spirit, and some people have described it as a beast, a tree, or many other things that appear near people. Unlike demons, spirits don’t attack people. Rather, they help them. There are stories that the spirit would guide children that came to the forest to find medicinal plants when they needed medicine for their parents. The spirit would then guide them to the exit. In a similar occurrence, the spirit would rescue injured hunters and bring them to safety.
Unlike the four main spirits, such as water or fire, this spirit doesn’t lend its power to humans in order for them to use certain skills or magic. There is no known method of summoning this spirit and, just like most other spirits, the “Spirit of the Forest” has no known physical form. The only known description of the spirit is of its dazzling silhouette. Because of this spirit’s close relationship with humans, the people of the city have given it the familiar name of the “Spirit of the Forest.”
“That’s not right—, Captain. The Spirit of the Forest can’t be seen so clearly. No matter how you look at her, she’s just a girl.”
As Mariela was wondering how to reply, someone else calmly answered for her.
A young man with flaxen hair got down from the armoured carriage. He was probably around the same age as Mariela. Maybe 16 or 17 years old. The young man showed her a friendly smile causing his small eyes to become straight lines.
“No, I definitely have a strange appearance.”
(Muu, is this herb skirt considered to be some kind of state-of-the-art design?)
“This is my ‘Skirt of Demon Protection.’ ”
For now, she tried to defend her strange appearance by describing how useful her skirt was.
“Anyway, are you a citizen of the labyrinth city?”
Captain Dierk suddenly asked this question.
Now that Dierk knows she’s human, his way of speaking became rather straightforward. Due to his height, this man that introduced himself as Dierk is rather intimidating.
“Hey~, that was a demon repellant potion you used earlier, right?”
Before I could answer, the young man interrupted with his own question.
(Itome-kun, aren’t you acting too friendly? Do you think it’s okay to interrupt the Captain? Rather, maybe I should be asking what this labyrinth city is?) (TN: Mariela refers to the young man as Itome-kun. Itome just means narrow/small eyes.)
When she looked back at the Captain, she could see his eyes slowly studying her.
(Ah, he has the eyes of a predator. I wonder if the interruption by Itome-kun was also planned out by the Captain. These men belong to a transportation company that uses armoured carriages, but for some reason, they don’t use demon repellant potions. This labyrinth city? I’ve never heard of such a city. What happened while I was asleep? Was I careless when I decided to help them?)
“I have a few more potions. I’m in need of money, and am on my way to sell them.”
Mariela cautiously opened her pouch and showed them the contents, the entire time she was regretting coming to rescue these people. She wasn’t lying about selling her potions, but she knew she should avoid saying anything unnecessary.
“Hee~, you have three monster repellants and five low-grade potions. You used something so valuable.”
The young man with small eyes grabbed a pouch as he approached Mariela.
He was no more than ten steps away when she was able to see the contents of the pouch sparkling.
Captain Dierk took a step towards Mariela as she focused on the treasure in the pouch.
“Hmm, even though we would have been fine, it is true that you helped us. So how about we pay for the potions you have left and the one you used earlier?”
(I’m guessing they’ll take it by force if I refuse so it would be best if I were to sell them. I don’t understand why this is happening with such cheap potions. Also, please do not come closer to me, I’m scared.)
Of course, she knew she couldn’t say any of that.
“Sure, this must be fate.”
While regretting her carelessness, Mariela answered with a smile.
“I see. Then, we’re saved.”
Captain Dierk replied as if he were relieved.
(I wonder if they ran out of potions. If that is the case, then they may not be such bad people. As long as they are willing to pay, they are customers. Of course, I won’t relax my guard just yet.)
Even though she was just severely regretting her decision to help them, she was now considering them as her customers.
“And the price….?”
Another man who was on a raptor approached the Captain and whispered something in his ear.
(Ah, please stop this, it’s bad for my heart. What are they whispering about? Are they deciding whether or not to buy the potions? Just as my anxiety was at its peak, Dierk told me the price.)
“For nine potions, how about five large silver coins?”
She was completely stunned. Or rather, she felt as if her heart may have stopped.
(Umm, I need to calm down.)
For some reason, Dierk was saying the demon repellant and the five low-grade potions would equal five coins.
Even if someone were in a desperate situation in the forest, these potions may sell for ten copper each.
Even if there are nine potions, I would be lucky to get 100 copper coins for them (100 copper = 1 silver coin).
Yet, they said 5 large silver coins? One large silver coin is equivalent to ten silver coins. So, this price would be…50 times!? Is the inflation really that much? Does one loaf of bread cost 50 copper?
After seeing Mariela’s reaction, Captain Dierk seemed to panic a little.
“No, we can tell your potions are of a good quality based off of the forest wolves reactions. The potion’s effect is as good as a newly created potion….Then, how about one gold coin?”
(As I was stunned, the price went up. It’s suddenly doubled. So that makes it 200 times the usual price? What is going on!?)