Chapter 18: Are you the heroine?! You were an enemy after all!
AN: The forest at night is dark (´・ω・｀) I mean seriously dark
Every time my four feet hit the ground, the forest’s soil gets turned over.
My face has gotten a bit moist from the cold night’s wind hitting my face.
Leading the way through the dark forest, I was running ahead.
Glancing behind me, I can see that Zenovia-chan is easily keeping up with me.
With the leaves of the trees covering the moonlight, there’s not a single speck of light in this forest so we’re in complete darkness.
To make it even worse, the humus, soil, and tree roots make the footing unstable.
It would be impossible for me to even walk if I didn’t have this wolf body.
Even though she’s in that kind of forest, Zenovia-chan is running like it was an even road surface.
「Oi, stop looking back every time. You don’t have to worry about me. Just focus on reaching the place where our objective is located」
With her breathing undisturbed, Zenovia-chan said that to me.
Please look at that.
She might have said that in a dignified way, but this was the person who went the wrong way earlier.
Considering her usual uselessness, I was absolutely sure that she would also be incompetent at running but Zenovia-chan is unexpectedly capable.
Who would have thought she’d be able to do something like this despite her usual self.
She’s acting cocky since even though she has such a heavy looking large iron case on her back, it doesn’t show with the way she’s running.
It seems like she can even see clearly in this dark forest.
An amazing night vision and a good runner.
Certainly, if it’s like this then it’s fine if I speed up a bit.
Letting out a single bark, I increased my speed.
「Haa, what should I do. Is this all that you have? This is still nothing for me you know?」
Zenovia-chan sneered as if to look down on me.
Ahー, did you really just say something like that? Did you?
Even though your just Zenovia-chan, you dare to try and stir me up?
Bring it on! I’ll make you cry!
「Wan wan! (Let’s go! Let’s see who can get there the fastest!)」
I weaved my way through the gap in the trees like lightning.
「Kuu, you’re on! I’m not gonna lose!」
Zenovia-chan was making a wry face but she still kept up with me.
No way! I’m running at full speed right now you know!?
Why can this two-legged baggage carrier keep up with me!?
How terrifying Zenovia-chan, how terrifying.
She has an outrageous physical ability.
If those two swords that broke when she picked a fight with me weren’t fake, I would have definitely been cut…
N-not good…! If she somehow gets a hold of a decent sword, I would eventually get killed…!
I should hurry up and develop my new ultimate technique, 《Cute Pose》…!
As if I was running away from Zenovia-chan, I continued to dash frantically.
† † †
S-sorry, any more is impossible.
I can’t run anymore…
Zenovia-chan and I were staggering as we got out of the forest and collapsed by a stream with clear water flowing through it.
「C-can’t do anymore can you…」
「W-wan… (Seriously… until the end… she kept up with me… Zenovia-chan, how frightening… )」
As I was lying down, I looked up at the sky and saw that the darkness has already started to make way for the light.
Is it already 3 or 4 in the morning…?
We left the mansion at dusk so we’ve been running close to 10 hours now I guess.
Uu, I’m tired…
I want to go home already…
Which reminds me, where are we right now…?
We were so focused on running north that we lost track of how far we went.
「I can hear the sound of a waterfall. It must be close」
Zenovia-chan who has already caught her breath faced north.
Why did you notice that sound before me, who is a demon wolf?
Certainly, if I strain my ears, I can hear the sound of a massive waterfall.
Judging from the sound, it doesn’t seem like it’s that far away.
Garo told me that it would take 3 days to reach it, but it seems like we’ve arrived earlier than I thought.
「Let’s take a break for now. We’re going to enter a dragon’s lair so we have to be in perfect condition」
Zenovia-chan started looking for a big flat stone by the riverbed to place her bag on top of it.
Looking inside, aside from the basic cookware, she has a huge loaf of rye bread, raclette cheese the size of a fist, and a lump of smoked meat.
「Kun kun (That faint smell of apple wood chips… It’s the old man’s smoked meat. You bad old man. So you still have some smoked meat hidden away…!)」
I didn’t find any of those when I was stealing food.
Damn it, he must have found out!
「W-what? It’s not like I didn’t tell anyone I was bringing these you know? I properly requested for James-dono to prepare it for me」
Zenovia-chan faltered seeing my bitter gaze.
A wincing Zenovia-chan is cute as well. I want to lick her.
「You go look for dry twigs. I’ll draw water」
We split into two groups and started preparing for our fire and our meal.
† † †
While making crackling sounds, the kindling’s burning red.
「Wan wan! (Food! Food! Quickly! Quickly!)」
「Well, just wait. I’ll make this into something delicious」
Saying that, Zenovia-chan cut the rye bread in half.
Even though the bread was baked until it was hard as stone outside, the inside is surprisingly fluffy.
After that, Zenovia-chan cut thin slices out of the lump of smoked meat and placed it in between the two halves of the bread.
「And finally, this…」
She pierced the cheese with the tip of her knife and put it over the fire. An appetizing smell spread out as it started getting softer.
Just before it started drooping down, she coated the smoked meat and the top of the bread with the melted cheese.
The cheese and meat are mixing into the fluffy bread.
「Wan! (Th-this is… Could it be)」
That alps-style bread that I thought I would only see in my dreams as a kid…!?
And it’s not just the cheese, there’s the meat as well making it even more delicious.
「Here, take it and eat it」
Saying that, Zenovia-chan rudely presented the bread to me.
Since I didn’t have a plate, she did it while making sure it didn’t fall to the ground as well.
Zenovia-chan, you’re such a tsundere. I want to lick her.
「I’ll eat it if you won’t」
「Wan wan (Ah. I’ll eat, I’ll eat)」
Even while covered in that strong appetizing smell of the thick raclette cheese, you can still detect the scent of the apple wood chips from the smoked meat.
As if smelling a flower, my nasal cavity gets appeased just getting a whiff of those two combined tasty scents.
「Wan! (Thanks for the meal!)」
I gratefully received the Alps-like bread from Zenovia-chan’s hand.
「O-oi. You don’t have to be in such a hurry. I was just joking earlier. Calm down while you eat」
As I bite into it, the cheese’s strong smell, the smoked meat’s rich flavor melds with the taste of the rye bread, bringing forth a simple, yet profound, flavor.
Iya, this is really delicious.
If the cafe I went to when I was still a corporate slave had this as a part of their morning special, I probably would have been able to keep working harder.
Well, even that morning special is a luxury since I couldn’t even afford to eat!
Let’s just forget about my previous life.
I’m already living the blissful life of a dog after all.
Seeing that I’ve already eaten my bread, Zenovia-chan started preparing her share.
She would usually look at me with so much hostility but at a time like this, she’s even prioritizing my meal. I guess Zenovia-chan really is a tsundere after all.
I will absolutely make sure that I lick her someday.
I swear that in my heart.
† † †
「…speaking honestly, I understand that you don’t hold any ill will or anything like that」
Zenovia-chan started mumbling that while drinking fruit wine that has been diluted with hot water.
The fruit wine’s alcohol content is low so it’s a little lacking when it comes to warming your body up.
The fire was dying out so she used a tree branch to stir the ashes and use the embers to warm herself up.
The weak flame illuminating Zenovia-chan’s face is making her lose her usual fierceness, maybe even somewhat somber.
「You seem to be genuinely attached to Ojou-sama. That I can understand. However, from my perspective, I still see you as something dangerous」
「Kuーn (Iya, I can’t really relate with that)」
Looking at my appearance, all you can see is a cute pet after all.
It’s just that, my body is slightly big and my face is slightly scary.
But that’s just something you can ignore.
「The aura that your body is clad in isn’t normal. I can’t even imagine how much more you’ll grow from now on. Compared to the monsters that I’ve subjugated before, I’m sure that you can get even stronger」
Zenovia-chan gritted her teeth.
「You might be docile right now, but you might regain your true nature and hurt somebody someday. I’m afraid that’ll happen. If a day comes where you hurt the family head, Ojou-sama, and the other members of the household… If that happens, I won’t be able to live with myself…」
Zenovia-chan started hugging her knees.
The way she tightly curled her body makes me think of an abandoned puppy.
「Those people treated me like family. That’s why, even though I may be incompetent everywhere else aside from battles, I want to do whatever I can for them with this sword. That’s why, even if you resent me, I will…!」
「Kuaaaa (Good niーght)」
I yawned then lay down.
「Ah, you bastard! When a person is telling you something serious, you listen to them!」
「Kuuuuaaaaaa (The day that Zenovia-chan is thinking will never happen so listening to you anymore will be useless, useless I tell you)」
After doing a big yawn, I faced away from Zenovia-chan and closed my eyes.
Geez, doing that stray dog act while having a person’s body…
I was almost about to say that I’ll pick you up and raise you by myself.
As I thought, Zenovia-chan is a rival to my pet life after all.
I will never hand over the seat of family’s slacker to you!
It’s the lifelong scramble for the limited position of a pet (´・ω・｀)