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After walking for a while something crawled out of the thicket with a rustle. It was a monster. It must have fought something because it had pitiful wounds all over its body. Hiiro and co thought it would stagger towards them but it didn't notice them at all and collapsed from exhaustion. The four were concerned and slowly approached it.
Arnold looked at the monster's wounds and frowned unintentionally. Muir was astonished and covered her mouth with her hands.
The monster looked like it was in serious condition and despite its injuries it had still managed to desperately run until now. Its breathing also seemed faint.
"This monster's called a Sky Wolf. It's a strong rank B monster."
Monster ranks starting from the lowest: F・E・D・C・B・A・S・SS・SSS. B rank monsters were quite strong and one needed to be at a considerable level to beat them individually.
Hiiro had seen this monster in the reference book so he knew about it. It looked like a wolf covered in clear blue fur but it was more than five metres long. Furthermore there were wings on its back and although it wasn't very good at flying, it was still a monster that could soar in the skies.
The Sky Wolf in front of them was about three metres long and had wings on its back. However the wings looked as if it had been torn in many places.
"… We can help him."
Winka said as she took a cloth from the bag on her waist and approached it to wipe away the blood. The Sky Wolf weakly opened its eyes in confirmation and then,
The Sky Wolf suddenly opened its mouth wide and snarled trying to repel the approaching Winka. It probably thought that it was going to get killed.
Normally people would feel fearful when approaching a Sky Wolf that was growling in hostility and wariness but Winka continued to slowly approach the Sky Wolf with no fear.
The Sky Wolf felt no hostility from Winka and stopped growling but it didn't avert its gaze from her.
Winka carefully approached the Sky Wolf and gently wiped the blood on its body with the cloth in her hand.
The Sky Wolf did not try to threaten her instead it closed its eyes as if leaving its body to her.
The Sky Wolf's head was also bleeding and the cloth was quickly dyed red. The laceration on its head was the biggest and if left alone it would cause the wolf to bleed to death.
Muir and Arnold also wanted to help out and searched inside of their bags before pulling out pieces of cloth but Hiiro quickly walked passed them.
"Move, Antenna Girl."
Then something happened that surprised Arnold and Muir, Hiiro had approached the Sky Wolf and started writing something on its body.
(Eh… Is he helping it!?)
Based on Hiiro's previous actions, Muir never would have thought that Hiiro would heal the Sky Wolf without the promise of a reward. But that thought was quickly betrayed.
After writing『Heal 治』, Hiiro instantly activated it then a faint bluish-white light engulfed the Sky Wolf. Winka opened her eyes wide at seeing the wounds heal.
Muir wasn't surprised as she had seen Hiiro cure his wound like this before but she was curious as to why he did such a thing for the Sky Wolf.
The wounds took a while to heal and when they were healed the Sky Wolf stood up and stared at them. No, actually, it was looking at Hiiro and Winka. The Sky Wolf brought its face closer towards the two. Muir thought that it was going to eat them but the pair stood fixed on the spot so she kept quiet.
The Sky Wolf gently licked their faces then it put its face between the two and playfully moved its face. It didn't feel like attacking at all, on the contrary it liked Hiiro and co.
Confirming, that for the time being, they were in no danger of being attacked, Arnold exhaled loudly and looked as if he wanted to ask a question.
"Hey Hiiro, why'd you heal it? You didn't even demand for anything in return."
Muir nodded in agreement beside him.
"Puh, you guys wouldn't understand this, but cool-looking wolves are justice."
It was something that only Hiiro knew but from what Arnold had heard, Hiiro was touched by the fact that he got to see such a big wolf in this fantasy world. Whether it was because he was a man or some other reason, Hiiro thought that big wolves were cool. Besides Hiiro also liked animals and he especially liked dogs.
When Hiiro saw that such a being was lying down on the ground full of wounds he healed it because he wanted to see how it moved.In the end Hiiro was just acting on his desires but for the Sky Wolf it was nothing other than luck.
"You don't need to thank me. I healed the wolf only for myself. Hey Wolf, try running for a bit."
The Sky Wolf nodded and ran at a staggering speed. Hiiro was impressed at the wolf's lively movements and his eyes shone.
"Oh ~, it looks cool!"
It was the first time Arnold had seen Hiiro act like this and he stared at him absentmindedly. Muir who was also watching Hiiro act like a child didn't know why her cheeks were heating up.
(S-so Hiiro-san can laugh innocently like that…)
She was moved by Hiiro's rare smile.
"Hey Wolf! Let me ride you this time!"
The Sky Wolf bent its legs and lifted Hiiro up by his clothes.
"… Wi too."
Apparently Winka wanted to ride as well, her face flushed with excitement.
"Can you handle two people riding you?"
Even with two people riding it, the Sky Wolf's speed didn't drop. The scenery swished passed them at great speed as if they were watching from inside of a train and the wind blew onto their bodies.
Hiiro was wrapped in fluffy fur, he'd felt good that he got to experience something fantasy-like. He thought that he was only able to experience something like this because he was in a different world.
"Mhm? What's wrong?"
Hiiro tilted his head but the Sky Wolf pulled on his clothes again.
"Hiiro, this Wolf has somewhere it has to go."
Winka said expressionlessly and they looked at her in wonder.
"… You can understand what he's saying?"
"No way, Wi. You understand what the Sky Wolf's saying?"
Arnold couldn't believe it either so he asked her. Winka nodded.
Arnold looked at Winka suspiciously but the Sky Wolf nodded its head in affirmation. Everyone including Hiiro couldn't hide their surprise and were blinking.
"Your appetite for food, your speech, conduct and being able to converse with monsters. Just how much of a mysterious-chan are you, Wi…?"
Arnold's remark was right, it would have been strange for anyone to accept but she was a completely eccentric person so it was already decided that she would be mysterious-chan.
Winka was listening to the Sky Wolf's growls and when it'd finished she turned to face them. She said that the Sky Wolf had escaped from a nearby establishment, where many of his kind were being treated horribly by humans. The Sky Wolf had found a gap and sneaked out. It thought that it could save its kin after its wounds had healed.
"Establishment? What establishment? Is it close to here?"
Arnold asked doubtfully. The Sky Wolf growled again and Winka understood.
"It's located to the far East."
Winka pointed in the East direction. It was close to the country border where Hiiro and co were headed.
"The establishment is called 【Buscador】."
"Do you know what it is, Hiiro?"
Hiiro couldn't say that he definitely knew but when he was in Japan he'd read it in some books. However Hiiro wasn't sure if the meaning of the word remained the same in this world so he didn't say.
(It meant《Seeker》in Spanish, right?)
Hiiro shrugged his shoulders thinking about what they could be seeking. He didn't speak Spanish but remembered the meaning. Of course it was highly possible that it was a homonym but if what the Sky Wolf said was true, he had no doubt that the Sky Wolf and his kin wanted to escape from the establishment. Besides the wound it had gotten was from the establishment. In order words if the meaning of 【Buscador】really meant 《Seeker》then the answer Hiiro predicted was this,
(Monster testing ground… Or possibly a processing plant.)
It was probably the former but if they were collecting monsters in order to seek something then it was more fitting to use the word 'experiment'.
Hiiro wondered if he should say something to Arnold and co but if he did there was a high possibility he'd get involved in something troublesome again. Even though it's a monster their sense of justice might make them want to stop whatever awful things were going on.
If that happened it would be troublesome. Although they weren't in a hurry to reach their destination the people from 《Beast Cage》were still after them and Hiiro thought it was better to cross the border as soon as they could.
The longer it took, the harder it would be to cross the border.
If it came to it Hiiro could escape alone using his 《Word Magic》but it was painful to lose Arnold's beastman knowledge and cooking skills. It was mainly the latter, being able to receive benefits while travelling made him really happy. Hiiro had gotten used to eating Arnold's cooking and it was somewhat difficult to part with that.
Hiiro thought about what to do while crossing his arms then,
"A lot of the Wolf's family was killed."
Winka said and Arnold and co's faces paled.
"There were a lot of monsters there but everyone was shot up with some weird drug, had their body was remodelled and then they died. It seems that only the Wolf's family is left now."
"W-why… such a thing…"
Muir said sadly and looked at Winka.
"The wolf said it wants to save them. It wants to save everyone."
Hiiro felt that the situation was very suspicious. Winka gently stroked the wolf's face. It nodded and turned to face them.
"This is where we say goodbye."
At Winka's sudden words Arnold and Muir said, "Hah?"
"W-why all of a sudden, Wi…?"
For the time being Arnold decided to ask her what she meant.
"Wi is going together with the Wolf."
"You're going to help a monster?"
"No, I'm helping this Wolf's family."
Winka said but she was helping a monster. The thing that Arnold and co always hunt. Of course the Sky Wolf had yet to attack them but Sky Wolves were still classified as monsters.
It was certainly a sympathetic story but Arnold questioned why Winka chose to help the Sky Wolf without hesitation.
"… Why're you helping, Wi? It's an atrocious story but you don't have any obligation to, right?"
"Yup… It's not an obligation."
"Because that has nothing to do with it…"
"Wi is going to help him because Wi wants to. That's all there is to it…?"
Wi said as if it was natural and Arnold became more confused. Although Arnold had asked the question he felt as if he was being questioned.
Her ideology was, to put it briefly, helping those who were in trouble. It was an extremely simple ideology. She had no doubts about it, she acted upon her feelings.
(That's just like him…)
Arnold thought and glimpsed at Hiiro whose eyes were closed as if he was thinking about something.
(Doing something because they want to do it. Saying extreme things and acting upon their desires. Yeah these two people vaguely resemble each other.)
Their insatiable appetites and the atmosphere around them was exactly the same.
Winka said while looking a little lonely.
"It's better for family to be together."
Winka said as she jumped onto the Wolf's back. Arnold thought her back looked somewhat lonely.
(Come to think of it, Wi's looking for her dad…)
That was probably why she was so invested in this.
"I don't want to drag you guys into this. I'll go alone."
"Hey Wi, wait―――."
"It's only been a short time, but I had fun. Thanks everyone…"
Her usual emotionless face had a smile on it. Her childish face looked very mature and it was so beautiful that she could grab onto the hearts of the people looking at her. But it was a very painful and fleeting smile. Arnold felt that she had a broken smile.
Her expression instantly changed and went back to normal, no, it was stiffer than usual, and she stroked the Sky Wolf's head.
The Sky Wolf and Winka left in an instance. Arnold regretted not stopping her and at the same time he questioned himself on whether or not it was okay to leave it up to her.
"What's wrong, Muir?"
"… I'm weak."
Arnold went blank thinking about what she wanted to confess.
"I'm weak, that's why I know I shouldn't say something like this…"
"But I want to help Wi-san and the Wolf!"
Muir said that she was weak. All she could do during battle was run around the place, hiding and being protected. It was wrong for her to choose such a dangerous path. But even if she knew that, she just couldn't ignore it. She couldn't ignore Winka's smiling face or the unfortunate Sky Wolf and keep on travelling. If she was to continue her journey and something happened to Winka, she would regret it.
It was easy to guess what Muir was thinking since Arnold had known her for a long time.
(Muir already prepared herself. If something were to happen I'll definitely protect her!)
Arnold decided and turned to face the other person in their group, who was silent up until now.
"Hey Hiiro, won't you come with me to【Buscador】?"
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