An excellent caster of magic is, namely,
an excellent reciter of poems.
“… Here’s one…!”
While very, very discreetly making my way through the forest’s foliage, I finally found my prey. A deer.
I call it a deer, but it’s not exactly the one I know of. It has a strikingly geometric pattern down its whole body, a heroic-looking horn, and is a being that could easily push down a tree by pushing against it.
Be it me or that Armored Bear, doesn’t this world’s wildlife have too much in the way of combat effectiveness?
“Ai. Can I leave it to you?”
When I whispered to Ai on my back and felt her nod, the trees in front of the deer rustled. Noticing that it was clearly different that being rustled by the wind with its senses, it jumped backward on reflex.
—In other words, it was heading right toward us.
Using that chance, I jumped out from the bushes and swung my claws. However, just before I made contact, the deer quickly changed its course and dodged my swipe.
Spreading my wings, I assaulted it with a gust of air by flapping them. Although the deer did lose its balance for a moment due to that, it vanished into the forest before I could give chase.
“Another failure, is it…?”
“I’m sorry, Mentor…”
“Oh, no, it’s not your fault. It’s my clumsiness.”
I’m not too good at hunting to begin with.
To the point that I would’ve been doing good by being successful one out of ten times.
I’ve gotten to the point of succeeding once every seven times thanks in no small part to Ai’s help, so it’s definitely not her fault.
Although it isn’t…
“What should I do…”
Our current way of life has stumped me.
There are a total of sixteen people in Ai’s settlement. Adding me, Nina, and Ai to that, it brings to total to eighteen people and one pretty big animal.
Even if it was possible for me to cover us three with my current success rate at hunting, it’s difficult to maintain it for that many people.
They were able to live in this world up until now, of course. It’s just that although they could live on their own, they did so with a major lack in nutrition.
And that they had no time to do anything else in their life.
They would set out to hunt in the morning when the sun rose and sleep when it went down. That was almost their entire life. Even so, it was a question as to whether or not they would have enough food to eat. Many of them had died of starvation, half of those sixteen were children.
I was feeling quite acutely that having the time for education was itself a luxury that they didn’t have.
“Oh well, let’s call it a day and head back.”
Seeing that the sun was in the middle of the sky, I spoke to Ai.
Today’s harvest was nuts, fish, and shellfish. Things like these are fairly stable in harvesting compared to large prey, but the fact that it’s easy to over harvest them makes it difficult, so I only take what’s needed for the day.
When we returned to the cave, Nina and the children greeted us. Hearing the downpour of lively greetings, I smiled.
The children’s learning capabilities truly surprised me. Even though it hadn’t been too long since we moved our base closer to the cave, they’d already begun memorizing the more simple phrases.
“You weren’t able to catch any large prey today either then, I take it?”
“It’s not like I particularly mind…”
Taking the hunt’s spoils from me, Nina quickly put them into jars.
“Really, wouldn’t it be better for me to go with you?”
Hearing Nina’s question, I groaned.
It’s true, the efficiency of my hunting would improve dramatically if she came along.
Elves are basically the children of the forest.
They can sense living things much more keenly than any wild creature and could even out-creep an insect, not to mention how they could trap their prey by using all of the surrounding trees. If I go with her, even my lackluster hunting skills would get a boost up to producing a success once every other try.
“Well, I’ll try it out with Ai a bit longer. I’d like you to handle this place a bit longer.”
Yet even so, I have a reason as to why I don’t want to take Nina.
“Please protect the children.”
“I don’t have much of a choice, do I?”
Nina agreed. Her cheeks were puffed out in displeasure, though.
She and I were the only two that could do something if this settlement was attacked by some invader.
It would leave me uneasy if we both left it at the same time.
Although it was fine when I just had to take Ai hunting as well, it’s a whole other story now that there are eight other children to think about. Not to mention the fact that two of them are still just babies.
“Well, Ai is steadily improving with her magic, so it should change for the better soon enough.”
As long as we can all stay alive, things will get better and improve.
That’s what I believe, at least. For that sake, I absolutely cannot allow these children to die simply because they might end up easily dying even in the best of times.
“How about we start today’s lesson?”
When I said that, all of the children raised their hands and screamed in delight.
It may be because I give them berries after each lesson, but they are generally all truly enthusiastic about learning. The fact that Ai, a girl who learned magic from me, is here as well might also have a big part to do with it. Some have been zealously learning new words from Nina even while I’m not here, there’s even a child that’s succeeded in using simple magic.
“Mentor! Fire, appear!”
The one advancing the quickest amongst them is a young boy named Ken.
“Oooh, good job! You’re amazing, Ken.”
I’d say that he looks a little younger than Ai.
While not quite to the point of feeling like his ability to understand was at genius levels like Ai’s, he was still plenty fast. He was absorbing everything I taught him as fast as I could show him. The concept of [Energy] seems to be particularly difficult for them to understand, the children other than Ken would be doing well if they could move a leaf just a bit.
While the children were learning enthusiastically, the problem was the adults.
Although it was due to them being busy because of needing to hunt, they hadn’t tried to learn any words at all, much less magic.
To be honest, magic isn’t too useful right now. Although it’s different for people who can handle it as skillfully as Nina, even Ai’s level of magic can’t be used for much. If it’s something like rustling trees, a group of men or one of my arms would be enough to do the job. Her fire magic can’t ignite firewood, either. The only ones who can produce flames that are able to ignite other things are still just Nina and I.
And although it’s not as though they are attempting to interfere with me teaching the children, I would at least like them to try learning how to speak.
I had Ai teach me the form of language they used, but it wasn’t of much use.
How to move when out hunting, what to do in everyday life, and how to do specific things… if they hadn’t accumulated that sort of knowledge, there wasn’t much meaning in me teaching them a language anyway.
They all lived together and shared the majority of their lives, which is why having those simple signals were enough for them. They hadn’t had a reason to use words to explain things to other people in the first place.
Well, it’s not like I’d understand the subtle details in such a short amount of time. Even me learning what they know might not have much of a point. My physique is simply too different from theirs. If I, someone who isn’t human, lived life the same way as them, I might not experience the same things.
Which is why although I’d like them to learn a language, something that would allow them to converse with those that held a different set of values, I’m not able to convey just how useful being able to use one is to them exactly because they do not already know a language.
“Fire! Appear! Fire! Appear!”
As I was lost in thought, Ken was happily putting out and reigniting the flame. Come to think of it, I also kept having fun with the fire coming out of my mouth just after I reincarnated in this world, didn’t I?
Children were things that loved to play with fire.
“Ken, even if it isn’t hot, you shouldn’t…”
You shouldn’t play with it too much.
As I was about to chide him, I got a surprise.
The flame he’d created was considerably hotter than usual.
If the flames Ai could produce were like warm water, his was definitely closer to hot water.
“Ken!? How did you do that!?”
I unintentionally shouted that out, causing Ken to be frightened as he put the fire out.
“I’m sorry, I’m not angry. It’s alright. Could you please try appearing the fire again?”
Nodding, Ken timidly caused the flames to appear again. What appeared above his palm wasn’t any different from what Ai could create… no, it was actually at a somewhat lower temperature.
“Huh? Could you make the same fire as a moment ago?”
When I asked Ken that, he looked troubled.
“Why…? Is it like he ran out of MP or something…?”
Although I wasn’t particularly worried about it thus far, I hadn’t been thinking that magic was something that could be used indefinitely without some sort of cost to it. It probably used willpower, mana, or something similar to fuel it.
“Isn’t it because he’s not saying ‘fire, appear’ now?”
As I was wracking my brains, Nina spoke up with a quip while she continued scraping off a fish’s scales with her stone knife.
“No, there’s no way something… so… simple?”
Half doubting myself, I urged Ken to try doing it while speaking.
“Fire… fire, appear!”
A flame arose from Ken’s palm as he shouted out with gusto.
It wasn’t just an illusion formed by heat and light. It was a true flame.
“I see… so that’s it?”
Why didn’t I notice something so simple?
It looks like we’ve been ignoring the incantation part this whole time.