I never thought that even after becoming this old, my birthday would still be celebrated.
—The Magus of Genesis
“Mentor, something bad has happened!”
Hearing Violet’s shout, I jumped to my feet. Nina, who’d climbed onto my back at some point, tumbled off me and let out a strange grunt upon hitting the ground, but I ignored that.
“The field, it….!”
When I went into my human form and went outside, Violet pointed to the field with an unusually serious expression. What I saw after being lead there by her was hundreds of collapsed wheat stalks, ruined.
“What… what happened here?”
Approaching the field in a blank daze, I saw something strange. Set over the irrigation channel were innumerable tree branches.
“I thought it would be for the best if I let you see it for yourself, Mentor. I saw it happen with my own eyes.”
Violet spoke, her voice strained.
“The rats carried these tree branches here and made use of them.”
That could be possible—is what I was about to say, but I stopped myself.
Red dragons spout flames instead of breathing. Elves live for millennia. Merfolk, lykoscentaur, lizardmen. In this world where you could find such fantastical creatures as those, I shouldn’t find the concept of rats using bridges strange. They were a familiar creature to me, so I had overlooked them with my preconceptions of them.
“… Let’s clean up for now.”
Collecting the branches and piling them up, we burned them. However, if we only tidied up, that would just lead to the same thing happening again. We had to put some sort of measure against them in place.
“Let’s figure out some countermeasures. Could you call for Shig, Rin, Luka… and Yuuki?”
Nodding, Violet ran off.
“Umm, I’m here… good morning, big brother.”
Feeling awkward, Yuuki showed up just after Violet left.
“Morning. Right, you were in charge of the field too, weren’t you?”
She nodded, lacking her usual cheerful mood. An awkward mood filled the air between us.
I have to fix this—
But just as I thought that, my voice was drowned out by Nina’s shout. Come to think of it, I totally forgot about her. Thrown off and roused awake, she was probably heading to see me in a bad mood. Upon seeing the the ruined field, however, her brows rose in anger.
“The rats ruined it. It appears that they spanned the channel by using bridges…”
Also now that I think about it, I hadn’t told Nina about what happened before. I’d thought what happened last time was just a prank or something, so I didn’t think I needed to tell her about it.
“… Wait. Is the warehouse still alright?”
Hearing my explanation, Nina asked as such.
“The warehouse. Yeah, it’s…”
The raised floor warehouse had scarlite mouse guards. I was about to say that it was still good, but then I realized. If they could build bridges over the canal, maybe they could do the same for the warehouse?
“We need to check it out…!”
“I already have. It’s safe.”
The person to say that as I was about to rush off to the warehouse was Shig.
Behind him was Rin, Luka, and Violet.
“That’s great. Thanks, Shig.”
“Luka suggested it, thank her.”
“Really? As expected of the class leader… though I suppose she’s a professor now? Thank you, Luka.”
“Please stop, Mentor.”
Although Luka, who’s head I was petting, wiggled her shoulders in embarrassment, she didn’t seem dissatisfied by it at all. She actually angled her head so that it would be even easier to continue.
“Still though, bridges…? Doesn’t that mean the rats are smarter than Rin?”
“I’d just swim!”
Rin just puffed her chest out in pride at Shig’s sarcasm.
“Given how fast this happened… I get the feeling our only option would be to put up walls.”
“What would they be made out of if we did? They’d just gnaw through wood. They definitely wouldn’t get through a scarlite wall but we don’t have enough of that.”
I nodded in response to Shig’s justified opinion.
“Perhaps we could set up a night watch? Even if they are just small rats, I doubt we could miss them going across the channel with bridges.”
“Unless anyone else has a better idea, I think it’s worth a shot.”
As someone who’d long defended the elves’ forest, Violet’s proposal was a pragmatic one.
“Rin, do you have any ideas?”
The young mermaid started thinking seriously after being brought into the discussion, her brows knit. It was unusual for her to seriously think about things, she tended to just say whatever came to mind first.
“I think Violet’s idea is good…”
A few moments later, she said that indecisively. Picking up on her indecision, Shig glanced at her. After that, I asked Luka, Yuuki, and Nina for their opinions, but they couldn’t think up anything else, either. In the end, I decided to put Violet’s plan into action.
“Alright then, let’s have the villagers cooperate and keep lookouts in shifts. I wonder how long we should have the shifts be…”
“I suppose two dracos would be fine?”
Hearing a unit of time I’d never heard before come from Violet, I tilted my head.
“Mentor, you know how you decided to call the time it takes for a lykos kiln to finish a lykos?”
I’d partly done it in jest, but I did decide to call it that.
“Most of the villagers are not used to saying lykos, so when it came time to teach them how to measure time, that is how it eventually came out with their accent.”
Luka’s the only lykoscentaur in the village, so them not hearing it often couldn’t be helped.
Lykos… draco… I both get it and don’t get it.
“The ending is hours yeah? And I thought the ly part in it meant dragon… Luka told me what it actually meant later on though.1”
“So you’re the cause!?”
Seeing Yuuki grin in embarrassment, I couldn’t stop myself from retorting. I definitely do remember telling her how I came up with lykoscentaur and how it meant half-human half-wolf… oh well, it was when she was a lot younger.
“By the way, since people figure a draco is the base measurement, people are using: twelve dracos to a dracoday, thirty-four dracodays to a dracomonth, and twelve dracomonths to a dracoyear.”
I shouted after hearing Nina’s brief explanation. I just couldn’t understand why they added draco to everything.
“Also, this year is year five hundred twenty-two of the dragon era.”
“Wait, that’s my age!?”
With Violet’s reveal of the finishing blow, I felt my face redden.
“By the way, I’m the one that came up with dragon era.”
I shouted in despair. No matter how I think about it, it’s just too similar to Christianity’s way of naming eras with stuff like AD and BC. Still though, the only person I told about that was Shig. He’d ask me about my previous life sometimes, so I’d tell him stuff like that whenever he brings it up.
But is he putting me up there with Jesus Christ…?
“Everyone loves Mentor, that’s why!”
With Rin shouting back in glee and not the slightest ounce of ill will, I couldn’t say anything in return.
“… We’ve gone off topic. Let’s see, we’ll do it in a two… no, a four draco shift. That much should be fine. That way, we can have the shifts be between two shifts per night… we’ll put some more people working in the field and have whoever works night watch have the following day off.”
“Understood. I will figure out the details with Yuuki and report back to you.”
Sighing deeply, I asked for Violet to take care of the arrangements. However, despite the current turmoil, it feels like I was actually able to talk normally with Yuuki. Maybe I should take it as a silver lining?
The rats should give up and move on if they can’t get any food for a few days. If not… then we’ll just have to think of something else.
Hoping that this would solve our problems, we ended our meeting for the time being.
＊ ＊ ＊
However, our hopes were fragile and were shattered on the following day.
“Yes. Fortunately though, there were no major injuries.”
Worried about the damage that occurred due to her idea, Violet looked pensive.
“The problem is that they attacked the warehouse.”
After setting people up on watch duty at the field, it appeared that Violet set a few more up at the warehouse as well after recalling what Luka said. However, it was the warehouse that was attacked.
It’s true that the warehouse was less well covered, but the field being entirely ignored was just too weird.
“No way… were they listening to us…?”
The moment I said that, Violet turned on the spot and shot a vine out of her fingertip. It stretched out like lightning and caught a tiny creature that then let out a shriek.
What she capture was something that could fit into someone’s palm. A small black rat.
“Can you… understand us?”
Still feeling as though it was impossible, I asked the rat if it could. However, the rat didn’t answer, it instead just struggled.
“Even if it can understand us, that doesn’t mean it can speak.”
Nina’s remark caused me to realize that fact.
“Rin. You’re always thinking up weird stuff. What do you think?”
Urged on by Shig, Rin spoke, reluctantly.
“They might… have a home…”
“Right! In that case, Luka could trace them back to their nest. Then we can just solve it all at once!”
Shig immediately agreed with Rin’s simple idea. The rats’ nest was likely a hole in the ground. Rats couldn’t swim, so we could exterminate the vast majority of them by flooding the hole.
“That would be troubling.”
Just then, we could hear a high-pitched voice. We all looked to the rat that Violet had caught out of reflex, but it was completely exhausted after attempting to struggle free.
“I am here.”
This time, I heard that voice come from right next to my feet.
Once I looked down, I saw a pure white mousing looking up at me.
“Let us negotiate.”
Opening its mouth, the white mouse clearly said as such.
- Alright, this sentence was finally the one to defeat my localization efforts. I couldn’t change this in a way that would fit seamlessly as I’ve done before. Explanation: Lykos (JP: Ryu Ko Su) is very similar to Dracos (JP: Ryu U Ko Ku). Ryuu means Dragon, while Ly (JP: Ryu) is simply the start of Lykos, taken from Lykoscentaur. Kos (JP: Ko Su) turning into Co (JP: Ko Ku) is explained as being due to the humans’ accents. As an ancient way of saying a period of two hours, the ending to drakos (JP: Ko Ku) can be taken as what Mentor intended with twelve Lykos per day, further reinforcing Yuuki’s perception of Draco (JP: Ryu U Ko Ku) being correct.