Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
「The Tiger Tribe」
Early the next morning.
We crossed the Sheila River and entered the Kuwana plains.
Normally, in order to cross the massive Sheila River, you would need to follow the river downstream until the river narrowed, but I just used 【Dimensional Step】to get us across.
The Kuwana plain were the home of the tiger tribe, but it wasn’t all that different from the Shingarika plain we just crossed over from.
Just beyond the river, Ariane pointed out something in the northwestern direction…… four conical mountains spaced at equal intervals from each other, indicating that there was more to this landscape than I thought.
The journey after that went smoothly while I occasionally glanced at the four mountains.
We haven’t encountered any of the carnivores we had been warned about, and therefore the ride through the plain was slightly boring.
In front of me, Chiome’s cat ears fidgeted about as she scanned the area for anything out of the ordinary.
Behind me, Ariane had become accustomed to the dragon mount’s normal speed and was calmly keeping an eye on the scenery.
Occasionally, Ariane would say 「My butt is hurting」and we’d stop to take a break, without any of us having much to say.
Our relaxing journey came to an end when Ponta stuck her tail into the air and started crying.
Ariane was the first to respond to Ponta’s cry and worried us of an incoming threat.
“Someone’s approaching from our right.”
On the right, I caught sight of two shadows kicking up dust crowds as they closed in on us. They were closing in with considerable speed.
The was a hint of worry in Chiome’s blue eyes as she looked back at our pursuers.
It was obvious that they would catch up with us soon.
I tighten my hold on the reins and lowered our speed as I tried to get a better look at them. It was Ariane that managed to identify them first.
“They’re riding the same kind of mount we are…… could they be from the tiger tribe?”
I pulled the reins and stopped the dragon mount as the two shadows neared.
They were still too far away for me to confirm anything yet, but I wondered if we would be able to interact with the tiger tribe on good terms.
I was filled to the brim with anticipation at first, but that changed as I felt aggression coming from the other party.
Noticing our behavior, our pursuers lowered their speed and began to observe us.
They were tiger tribesmen, just like Ariane had said.
The two tiger tribesmen held decorative spears in their hands
I couldn’t estimate their exact size, but since they were a head taller than me they were probably around two and a half meters tall.
They wouldn’t lose to Goemon in terms of muscularity and their gold and black striped hair, certainly resembled the fur of a tiger.
While their toned upper bodies were exposed, they wore arm and leg guards.
If there were any differences between the cat-eared people, it would be the physical disparity between them.
Leaving aside exceptions like Goemon, the majority of the cat-eared people I’ve met, be it man or woman, had thin flexible bodies.
If these two were standard for the tiger tribe, then Goemon’s size would be the norm for the tribe.
Their ears were more rounded than regular cat-eared people and combined with their wild, shoulder-length hair they truly gave them the atmosphere of beastmen.
The dragon mounts the two of them rode stopped five meters away from us.
One of the tiger tribesmen raised his spear as he began to shout.
“Where did you acquire that mount? The design of that saddle belongs to one of the six clans living here, it’s the property of the Ena clan! Your lives depend on your answer!!”
Ariane, Chiome, and I shared a look after we received that threat.
The saddle we’d received to ride the dragon mount seemed to act as an identifier within the tiger tribe.
Their cautiousness was probably because they believed we had obtained our mount through underhanded means.
I raised my hands in front of them in a non-threatening manner and explained our circumstances to them.
“We’re from an elven village on the Northern Continent. We came here to meet with the tiger tribe. We have no ill will towards you. This dragon mount was obtained from a stable owner in a town called Fernandez, just east of here. We only seek to return it to its owners.”
When I stopped speaking I observed the two tiger tribesmen to see how they’d react.
The warriors looked at us with suspicion and exchanged a few hushed words between themselves.
“We are members of Uiria clan! What business do you have with us!?”
The man rose his spear at us again and shouted another question at us as his companion watched.
Since we had nothing to hide I decided to answer him.
“The merchants in Fernandez say you posses devil nails. I was wondering if you provide me with some of them. Is there any way to negotiate?”
The two of them became more skeptical when they heard my answer.
The tension began to rise as I realized how weak the pursuit of peppers might have seemed. It sounded like a poor excuse made up on the spot.
As I tried to come up with a better way to explain ourselves, Chiome reacted to something and turned her head in a certain direction.
When the two tiger tribesmen also reacted I looked behind me to see what was happening.
Everything seemed the same as before until I noticed a dust cloud gradually approaching us. This time it was only one tiger tribesman approaching us.
This man had a panicked expression as he raised his spear and made a call to action.
“Two giants have appeared near the village! All patrol teams must return to fight immediately!!”
Once the man finished delivering his message, he grabbed hold of his reins and vigorously headed off in another direction.
The two tiger tribesmen glanced at us, sighed in defeat and prepared to chase after the messenger.
“You some kind of warrior aren’t you!? If you want to meet our leader, follow us!!”
Saying only that in a booming voice, the two cracked the reins of their mounts and ran off.
Ariane’s head peeked over my shoulder and stared at their backs with dull surprise.
“What will we do, Arc? Based on the flow of the conversation, they want our help with a troublesome situation.”
I looked down at Chiome as I thought over her question. She looked away from the tiger tribesmen and nodded towards Ariane and me.
Seems like my answer would determine our course of action.
“We’ve come this far, I say we follow them.”
I maneuvered the dragon mount in the direction of the tiger tribesmen and gave it the command to run.
According to the messenger, a pair of giants had shown up near the village, so just what kind of creatures were they?
I tried to imagine what the tiger tribe, which differed from humans, would classify as giants, but it could be inferred that these giants were a considerable threat.
The figure of the treant we saw from a distance yesterday crossed my mind, but I shook my head and focused on what was ahead of use.
If it was a giant of that scale I doubted even my abilities would be enough. It would be a sick punchline if the those trying to drive something out were destroyed instantaneously.
“I feel like we’re stepping into another troublesome situation again.”
While I tried to calculate the risks and rewards I caught a bit of Ariane’s complaint.
“Well, let’s think about it. This works in our favor, since negotiations will be easier if we help them.”
I think I heard an exasperated sigh after I said that.
Ponta took a fighting posture on top of my head and vigorously shook her tail.
Her behavior was proof enough that we weren’t in any danger just yet.