Editing: Deus ex Machina
There’s a monster known as the Rookie Killer.
Such creatures are covered in black fur, possess golden, cat like eyes, and have the long fang and claws that are the hallmarks of carnivores. They are fierce and cunning monsters and are said to be highly intelligent.
In front of the cage that held such a monster, Megumin grabbed the bars with both hands and softly said,
There is a set of iron cages behind the guild that are used for holding monsters captured for research or trading purposes.
This place doesn’t get many visitors owing to the risk involved in keeping live monsters in captivity, but for some reason, Megumin’s eyes sparkled like a child in a zoo, and she refused to leave the cage that held the Rookie Killer.
“Hey, even if it’s a so called herbivorous Rookie Killer, it’s still a powerful monster. Come on, it’s dangerous here, so let’s go back.”
Yes, this Rookie Killer is said to be the rare herbivorous type.
Apparently, the guild called in adventurers from far away in order to capture such a rare specimen after hearing rumours of its existence.
Rookie Killers normally have yellow eyes, but the eyes of this one are red, just like Megumin’s. That particular combination of red and black seems to speak to her Crimson Demon sense of aesthetics, and she had stood in front of that cage for an entire hour.
“Do you not understand how cool it is, Kazuma? That sleek body, those huge fangs that look like they could end a creature in a single blow, and those bright red eyes shining from beneath his black fur… Just everything about it is so cool!”
“Well, yeah, large cats are cool and all, but some noble has already decided to buy this Rookie Killer. We can’t afford the compensation if anything were to happen to him.”
“Just a while longer, I’ll go back after just a little while longer… This one seems to really like eating wolfberries. Yeah, I like eating them too.”
Megumin said, gazing upon the Rookie Killer as it hungrily chowed down on the fruit in its cage. How many times has she said ‘just a while longer’, I wonder?
And just like that, she spent the entire day in front of the cage, only returning when it became too dark to see its form clearly.
— I have no idea what made her this obsessed with it, but she came to visit the Rookie Killer again the next day.
“Kazuma, I want to set the Rookie Killer and Chomusuke together.”
“… I know they are both felines, but have you really thought this through? At least consider the difference in size… Hey, stop! Don’t shove Chomusuke through the bars! Do you want her to become a snack?”
After Megumin shoved Chomusuke through the bars, instead of running away, the cat casually walked up to the Rookie Killer and started sniffing it.
The Rookie Killer itself seemed to pay Chomusuke no heed, simply lying in it’s cage as Chomusuke approached.
“… Seems like it failed. Ah, and here I wanted them to create a cool child together…”
“Come on, you should respect their choice.”
From that day forth, Megumin went to visit the Rookie Killer daily.
“I want to give him an awesome sounding name.”
“Don’t do that. Seriously, I’m begging you, don’t.”
“–I made an outfit to bring out Chomusuke’s cuteness today. Do you think the Rookie Killer will like her better now?”
“What are you doing? I feel sorry for Chomusuke… Though I guess the cat quite likes it…”
And thus, the days went by. Then, one day-
“Kazuma, Kazuma, I think there’s something wrong with that Rookie Killer as of late. How do I put it, It feels like it’s weaker than usual.”
“… Yeah, it does seem more lethargic. And the way it sleeps is a little odd.”
The Rookie Killer lay in the middle of its cage, its eyes half open.
“His body has probably become weak after being locked up in that cage for so long.”
After we relayed that to the guild staff, they tried many different things such as varying it’s diet and inviting priests to cast Heal on it, but it didn’t seem to make much of a difference.
In her worry, Megumin tightly grasped the bars of the cage and pressed her face all the way up to it.
I told her that it’s still dangerous even if it’s herbivorous, but she completely ignored me. Until the day the noble arrived, Megumin spent all her time glued to that cage.
“– So this is the herbivorous Rookie Killer… What the- It’s not dead, is it?!”
Such were the words the noble uttered upon seeing the Rookie Killer.
The Rookie Killer has only become weaker and weaker since then, and now it lay motionless in the middle of the cage.
According to Megumin, the only times it gets up from that spot nowadays is for meals. It’s otherwise completely listless.
“It isn’t dead. Can’t you see it’s ears moving?”
Megumin, who was still glued to the cage, immediately retorted.
“Who are you? Are you the adventurer who caught this beast?”
“No, I’m only here to visit.”
The nobleman waved dismissively at Megumin to shoo her away, before ordering his men to bring the cage outside.
Even as it’s moved along the streets, the Rookie Killer still remained motionless. The nobleman prodded at it with his cane to check for signs of life.
Seeing the Rookie Killer remain completely still, the man let out a deep sigh.
“It might not make it back to my residence like this… Ah well, if it ends up dying, I suppose I’ll just stuff it.”
Those words put an indignant expression on Megumin’s face.
“… How long do you intend on following us for? Anyway, we’re leaving, so hurry up and make way.”
The nobleman said as they struggled to lift the cage onto the carriage they had waiting outside the town’s walls.
“… Hey, how long would it take for you people to load it onto the carriage? You know what, nevermind, we brought the specially made collar with us, yes? Just put it on its neck and take it out of the cage. If it’s this weak, a collar and rope would be enough to control it. It’d be faster this way. I won’t need to spend money to buy the cage too.”
Hearing the nobleman’s words, his underlings gave each other a look, before doing as ordered.
“Right, the collar and rope are both attached now… Say, are you sure this thing is still alive? It’s not moving at all. Hey, just drag him out of the cage!”
Following his instructions, his men grabbed onto the rope and dragged the Rookie Killer out of the cage. Just then-
The Rookie Killer suddenly opened its eyes, and pounced upon the nobleman.
“Aaah! Th-This guy isn’t weak at all! Help me! Hey, Crimson Demon girl! You can use advanced magic, right? Hurry up and kill this thing!”
In response, Megumin brought out her staff and struck a pose.
We are adventurers, after all. No matter how much she likes that Rookie Killer, or how much she dislikes that nobleman, we can’t possibly turn a blind eye when someone is getting attacked by a monster.
In response, the Rookie Killer stared at Megumin and slowly backed away from the nobleman.
Without shifting it’s gaze from Megumin, it started slowly moving away from the town.
It must have instinctively known that she was the only person in this group that posed a threat to him.
“Hurry up! What are you waiting for, strike it down already!”
The newly freed nobleman screamed, and in response, Megumin said,
“My magic is quite special. If I unleash it at this range, it might hurt you…”
“Don’t worry about that, hurry up and blast it! That thing tried to kill me, so hurry up and slay it already!”
Now that she has gotten an excuse, Megumin smiled.
The Explosion exploded some distance away from the Rookie Killer, merely buffeting it with the shockwave and causing it no major damage. On the other hand, perhaps due to their close proximity to the Explosion, the nobleman and his underlings all fainted out of shock.
The Rookie Killer took a look at Megumin who collapsed after expending her mana-
“… It left… Yeah, Rookie Killers are cunning monsters with high intelligence. I almost forgot about that…”
“… Say, there’s a reason other than mana exhaustion that you aren’t raising your head, right?”
“Shut up! You are as tactless as usual, Kazuma! Forget it, hurry up and carry me home!”
— A few days later, I heard that the guards discovered a large pile of wolfberries mysteriously left outside the gates…