18-016 Step Up? (3)

 The trunks of dindle trees are more crooked than those of cedar and cypress trees commonly seen in Japan, and they have more branches.
 They are relatively easy to climb without any special equipment, but in case of emergency, we took turns holding the rope as we climbed.

It's a strange feeling, isn't it? It's like knowing where you're safe. ......
"Well, that's what being an elf is all about, isn't it? Come on, we're almost at the top.

 The wind is very strong around here, but in a way, it's strange that I don't feel any fear.

 On the branches swaying in the breeze, there are many ripe berries, as well as many still green and yellow berries.
 Ms. Diora said that the ding dong season is past midway, but it looks like we won't have any trouble collecting them from this tree alone for a while yet.

So let's split up and pick some here and some there. Take it easy, okay?

 I nodded as Haruka, who had retied the lifeline to a large branch, pointed to it, and I too began to pick from the immediate area.
 The fruit, which looks like a slightly squashed apple, is much heavier than I expected.
 The skin is a little thick and tough, but it smells sweet and sour.
 I checked the color and threw the ripe ones into my backpack at random.
 There are so many berries around here that I hardly have to move at all, instead of growing in the middle.
 It took me less than 15 minutes. Soon my backpack was full.
 I took a breath and looked at Haruka, who still had some room left.

"Haruka, I'm almost done here, do you need help?
"Yes, I'd like that. I think I'd better. It's not safe to climb down if we fill it up.

 Haruka looked at her backpack, shook it lightly and nodded.

"Yeah, right?

 I've got as much as I can fit in there. .......
 I've got a few things to take out and throw away.
 I'm not sure what to do with it.

I'm not sure what to do. You can move some of it over to me.

 With a little chuckle, she pointed to her own backpack, and I took her at her word and moved some of the dindle berries over.
 Then they closed each other's backpacks tightly and checked their balance.

I think we're okay, right? Okay, I'm coming down. We're going to be here for a while, so let's leave the rope tied here.
"But won't the others use it? You don't want them to get the berries, do you?

 Honestly, this rope will make the climb much easier.
 Maybe it's not impossible even if you're not an elf.

So I'm not going to leave it hanging down, but I'm going to pull it up to a certain point. If it still comes up, ...... well, that's good, isn't it? It's not like it's a job that's so good that you have to monopolize it.
You know what I mean?

 It's not that bad of a job.
 It was a bit much for a complete rookie because of the possibility of demons appearing, but on the other hand, by the time demons could be killed easily, there would be more ways to earn money.
 So, in a sense, there is almost no competition, as it is only for adventurers like us who are just starting out.

 If the supply is low, the price is likely to rise, but still, fruit is fruit. Because it is not a necessity, there is an upper limit. That's the current line, I guess.
 However, people who like it seem to like it a lot, and when it is sold in the market, it is almost certain to be sold, and in some cases, there are requests to collect it.
 However, since the rewards are not that high, it seems that most of the berries on the market are collected by adventurers who love dindol, without regard to profit.

I hope we graduate from rookies next year and get more profitable jobs .......
But before that, we have to be alive, right?
Don't say anything sinister. I'm coming down then.

 I called out to Haruka and started to descend.
 The descent is more like a rappel with a rope.
 The tree trunks of the dindle trees are not vertical, so even a person with no special skills can do it.
 As you go down, you'll see something strange on .......
 It's like a field athletic net stretched between two branches.
 On it, Toya is lying down.

"Oh, Nao. Are you done?
"Yeah. Yeah, there was a lot of it. What's this?

 I put my foot on the net-- it's pretty sturdy, isn't it?

I figured it would take a while, so I made a resting place, but it was a bit of a waste, wasn't it?

 I thought it would take some time, so I made a resting place.
 It took a long time, as expected, and it was finished only a few minutes ago.

Then he laid down and I came down.
You know, I've done that before.

 When I looked in the direction Toya was pointing, I saw a gutted boar hanging from the branch of another tree.

Did you kill it?
Oh. Almost no problem with boars anymore.

 At first, we left it to Haruka, but after a few days she got used to it and was able to do some simple dismantling.
 The only thing that is still difficult is removing the fur, so we basically leave it to Haruka or practice under her guidance, so the boar hanging there still has its fur on.

Toya, you've got a lot of time on your hands, don't you?

 A little later, Haruka landed next to me and looked at Toya with a bit of dismay.

I'm sure you'll be happy to know that there's more to come tomorrow, but ...... don't waste too much time, okay? It's not a cheap rope either.

It's okay. It's not cut, so you can untie it and reuse it. And I've retied this one, too.

 He pointed to the rope he had used to climb this branch.
 The rope that had been tied to the branch had been retied a little higher up, so that it circled the trunk and hung down along the trunk.
 Hmm. I guess we don't need to rappel like Toya did in the beginning.
 So that's how he climbed up after hunting the boar.

You hunted a boar too. How many arrows did you use?
"......13. I've collected them all.

 Toya looks away a little awkwardly.
 It's a good thing that you're not the only one who can't afford to buy a new one.
 I'm not sure what to do. You can't reach me from the tree tops with my spear.
 Why don't you just use your sword when you get down on the ground?

Well, that's acceptable. "Well, I guess it's acceptable. I can reuse some of them as they are.

 Haruka nodded humbly as she inspected the arrows Toya had used.
 Incidentally, the arrows that are easiest to reuse are the ones that miss.
 If you don't hit it, it is less likely to be damaged. It's obvious.
 Of course, damaged arrows are also collected and repaired. The easy ones are made by Toya, who has the blacksmithing skill, while the difficult ones are taken to the weapon shop.
 Arrows that fly straight and true are expensive. You can't afford to waste them.
 Small savings add up to big bucks.

Have you seen anyone else?
No. Only Tasker Boar. But he seems to have come to eat the fallen dindle berries, so there's a chance that demons might be gathering around here.
"I see. If you want to avoid danger, you should go home while you still can. ......

 Haruka said and pondered.
 One of the purposes of coming here is to try to kill goblins, so what should we do?
 If there are goblins near the city, there will be a request to kill them, but killing goblins in this area will only yield magic stones. It's not a lot of money, so it's a little tricky. .......

"Toya hunted a boar. If you haven't eaten it in a while and don't run into it before you leave, we can call it another time.
"Yeah, ......, I guess so. We'll be back tomorrow, so there's no hurry.
Whoa! It's been a while since I've eaten here! I'm looking forward to it!

 Since the first day, we had eaten ready-made lunches, sparing the time to build a fire and sell the meat.
 When I remembered the taste of it, ...... oops, I drooled. .......

"Okay, I'll take care of the meat, you guys go get the firewood.
"Yes, sir!

 Our movements were swift.
 We immediately went into the forest and raked up branches.
 There was no shortage of dead branches in this area, as there were no more people than in the outer edges of the forest.
 You gather them at a distance from the dindle tree and quickly build a fire.
 I'm quite familiar with magic, so this is no problem for me.

 What? Is it easy? No, no, it's quite difficult to control.
 If you just 'ignite' it, it won't light up like a candle, and if you make it too strong, it will burn up.
 In the future, it will be even better if we can create a magic that can make a fire immediately.

 If you're cooking in a pot or something, it's okay to have flames coming out, but if you're cooking over an open fire, it's going to take a long time because only the surface of the fire is going to burn if it doesn't catch fire.
 The solution would be to carry charcoal with you instead of collecting firewood, but there is no way you can do such a thing that would be a burden.
 In the meantime, Haruka's preparation was finished, and as before, each of us was given two skewers of meat, or three for Toya.

Oh, thank you. That's Haruka, she knows her stuff!

 Toya, too, smilingly accepts the skewers and sticks them around the campfire.

"Hey, Haruka. I'm sure you'll be happy to hear that. If we prepare a pot, can we eat spare ribs too?

 The ribs are delicious, but I also like spare ribs.
 I'd like to try the spare ribs from Task Boar, which are much better than the pork I usually eat.

"Oh, me too! I want some, too!
"I'm choosing the part for its ease of grilling on a spit. I don't really care if it's not in a pot or on a grill, but the seasoning, you know?
...... Oh, if it's spare ribs, I want soy sauce or something.

 I'm not sure if it's a good idea, but it's a good idea.
 I'm sure it's delicious with other flavors as well, but it's too much of a waste to use only salt, which I currently have.

Well, now that I have a little more money, I might as well buy some cooking tools. I wonder if you have a cooker or something like that.

 A cooker is an outdoor pot or pan that can be stored compactly for easy carrying.
 I've never used one myself, though.

 I've done some camping before, but it's easy, like driving a car. You don't need to buy an expensive and compact one, an ordinary one is enough.
 Those are probably bought by people who enjoy mountain climbing.

If you are going to spend a lot of time in the mountains, why don't you consider it? You'll be packing a lot of stuff.
I wish I had an item box.
That's where Nao comes in, isn't it?
Ugh, I'll do my best. ......

 However, I don't even know if such magic exists.
 I'm not sure if there's even such a thing as space-time magic, but it's so rare that it's not even generally known what kind of magic there is.
 One such magic that is known is "space expansion," which can be combined with alchemy to create bags and boxes that can hold more things than usual. Both are called "magic bags".

 This is probably the best choice at the moment, but it is quite difficult to get a magic bag.
 First of all, they are very rare because there are very few users of space-time magic, and they rarely appear on the market.
 Even if it does, it's not something that we can afford.
 In the end, the only way would be to wait for my 【Time and Space Magic】and Haruka's 【Alchemy】to improve, and somehow become able to make them ourselves. Both of them have yet to even get a clue.

By the way. By the way, since it takes time for the meat to cook, Dingdol, would you like to try some?
"Yes! I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to bite into one while I was taking it!

 I nodded without a second thought as Toya glanced at my backpack.
 I could feel it while I was picking them, but even now I could smell the sweetness of them coming from my backpack.
 I haven't eaten anything sweet since I came here, because there is almost no sweetness in this world.
 That's why this smell is almost violent in a way.

I've been wondering about that too. ...... A little goes a long way.

 Haruka must have agreed with him. Without any particular objection, he took out the fruit and a knife from his backpack.

"Let's just ...... cut it up, shall we?

 Haruka, not knowing how to eat it, first cuts it in half.
 The three of us look at the cross section.

The skin is ...... probably going to be thrown away, right?

 The skin around it is thick like an orange and looks hard to eat. The skin is a little strange because it is all red, but it looks like bell bell pepper.
 The inside of the skin is filled with a slightly yellowish pulp.
 For some reason, there are no seeds, so at first glance, it looks like a bowl of jelly poured into the skin.

It's a strange fruit, isn't it? Don't they usually have a seed in the center?
Yes, ......, though it looks easy to eat. Let's try a quarter of it.

 And then cut it in half and hand it to us, Haruka.
 This is a great way to make sure you are getting the best value for your money.
 The texture is similar to a hard peach ...... plum.
 The skin comes off very well and there are no seeds, so it can be eaten easily.
 The peaches have very little fiber and are very pleasant to the tongue, giving the impression that they are more like sweets that have been carefully prepared than mere fruit.

"This is delicious!
"Oh. It's easy to eat, and I can see why it's so popular.

 I looked at Toya, who said happily, and we both looked at the remaining slice in Haruka's hand.

"What? Do you want to eat it?

 Haruka, who hadn't taken a bite out of it like we had, but had cut it into small pieces and was eating her own portion in an elegant manner, noticed our gaze and asked.
 We nodded in agreement.

I'm sure you'll be pleased with the results.
What? But they cost two or three thousand yen each, right?
What's wrong with that? You can sell them for a lot of money.

 If you sell three of them, it's enough to pay for a day's lodging.
 That's the selling price, and the market price is much higher.
 It's like a high quality mango in the original world. Considering that they are smaller than apples, the price is not affordable.

Well, I'm not a grower, but I think it's good to have this kind of luxury as a collector's privilege. I'd be choked if I had to save all the time.

 I thanked Haruka for cutting it up and handing it to me, then crunched on it.
 Yes, it's delicious.
 It's not just sweet, so you won't get tired of it.

"In return, Nao, can you pick me another one? It tastes even better than I expected, so let's pick as many as we can and go home.

 Haruka's eyes were fixed on Toya's empty backpack.
 The original plan was to fill it with random game and medicinal herbs on the way home, but that was also to fill it with Dindol.

"...... Oh, I understand. I'm off.

 If Haruka can't cook and Toya can't climb, it's inevitable that I should go.
 Well, the rope is already in place.
 I don't need to retie the rope again and again, and I have a good grasp of the branching, so I should be able to make it there and back before the meat is cooked.
 I threw all the dingles I had in my mouth, and took Toya's backpack on my back and climbed into the tree.