Hello, fantasy world. Goodbye, normal life. Howdy, I’m Rin Takanashi, a self-indulgent outlander. I was currently heading to the forest with Ville, and we had talked about a bunch of things along the way. To begin with, Ville was an adventurer whose base of operations is in Elranje, and while on a personal trip he decided to take by himself, he encountered an unexpected accident. He seemed to have danced with the devil (hard luck). He had my condolences.
And the city of Elranje, located on the other side of the lake, was where we would be heading after I finished this harvesting tutorial.
The forest was at a slightly higher elevation so we encountered an incline in the road after about half an hour of walking. I spotted a variety of fruit-bearing trees among the rest of the forest about three meters higher than us.
“Wow! The air tastes so good!” I commented.
“The air… tastes good? Can it even fill your stomach?” Ville asked.
Well, no… but anyways, the air was refreshing! Ville didn’t seem to appreciate it like I did, but that was okay. The sun had risen quite high in the sky, the rays felt warm, and the leather cloak Ville lent me was a bit stuffy. But, the wind was cool and refreshing, and the overgrowth of foliage made for some nice shade. Could those be the reason why everything felt good?
Seeps into my body and soul,
The sounds of nature.”
-A heartfelt haiku by Rin Takanashi
I heard the rumbling of a stomach, foreign to this serene space, and turned to Ville. “…Wait, are you already hungry?”
“I’m a bit peckish.” The smiling oni slightly tilted his head and held his stomach. The destructive power of a friendly hottie was terrifying!
…Come to think of it, I was also a bit hungry. Since we woke up early, we’d naturally get hungry early. That was how things were. I should probably prepare some snacks to settle the cries of our stomachs when I have some free time.
I looked around the area to see if there was anything we could snack on when I caught sight of that tree. Whitish-green, red, and dark violet fruits were illuminated by the sun filtering through the trees. They looked exactly like the mulberry trees that grew in the promenade of the park near my parents’ home. “Ah! I found something good!”
“Something’s growing there. It looks like berries! Do you see it?”
“Yeah, growing! Look, do you see it? The tree by the bank! The red and violet things!”
“Oh, that! But are they edible? A lot of fruits are poisonous, you know?”
Ville shaded his eyes with his hand to search for the trees, but it seemed he still couldn’t find them. He even squatted down next to be at my eye level. Fufufu… my food sensor has already spotted several similar trees!
“There!” I pointed and Ville finally seemed to notice. Were they that hard to spot? Also he mentioned something pretty important before. It was true that many wild plants could be poisonous. We could probably handle some stomachaches, but death was too high of a price to pay…
[Halleberry (flavor: delicious) = A type of berry. Small lumps gather to form one piece of fruit. The deeper the purple, the sweeter and more delicious the fruit. The unripe ones are very sour and hard, making them unsuitable for consumption. The leaves can be used as a natural remedy, and when dried, they can be used as an herbal drink.]
“Survival Skill says… that they’re not poisonous and are delicious. ‘This is not where you will die!’”
“Really? Okay, then let’s pick some!”
“What? So fast! Hold on a second!”
The moment he found out that the berries were edible, Ville was visibly excited. He faced the slope. I thought he would lightly jog over, but he easily jumped to the top with just a single leap. Ville’s physical abilities were amazing!
Grr… I gotta show off my skills too! Although I’m obviously not as good as him… But I used to be a wild tomboy who would climb trees, climb the concrete blocks by the river, jump on the shed room, and slide down banisters. I’m sure I could climb this cliff too.
After enough time thinking, I got ready. Get set… go!
“Are you okay, Rin?”
“…Thank you very much for offering your assistance to my plight.”
In the end, I managed to get about halfway up through the momentum, but I couldn’t get to the top. I felt like I was more nimble in the past. Wait, could it be my weight?! Have I gained too much?!
Moreover, I used both arms and legs in my desperate ascent, but with only 50 centimeters left to the top, I lost my balance when the dirt by my feet crumbled and had to be saved by Ville as he grabbed my arm and lifted me up. The cheers of “Fight on!” and “All at once!” ringing in my head weren’t bad.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Ville. I know I’m heavy. Are your arms okay? Does it hurt anywhere?” I thought I deserved to die! The death penalty! If I injured Ville’s arm, so I quickly examined the arm he had used to lift me up. …Yeah. There didn’t seem to be any tenderness or muscle pain and I couldn’t see any inflammation… I think he’s fine.
“There could be two of you, and you’ll still be light. You can get a little heavier if you want.”
“Whaaat? I don’t know what kind of reaction I should give to that?!”
I checked Ville’s reaction, but he only looked dumbfounded. Yup, I think he’s fine… but at that relief, I noticed something a woman must never overlook being told. Mister Oni, if I got any heavier, I would be a snowman… Damn it! You and your fine muscles! Frustrated, I unconsciously applied more pressure with my thumb against Ville’s inner arm. …Yeah, he’s even more toned than I thought.
“Nngh! Rin! Ow! That hurts!!!”
I chuckled at the screaming Ville. I then took out a plastic convenience store bag from my shoulder bag to harvest some berries.
Author’s note: Mulberries are sour and delicious! Although your fingers get stained purple from grabbing them… You can make them into a delicious jam and it has a unique flavor like fruit wine.