Chapter 33: Outside the Barrier (Otou-sama’s POV)
Even though people say that boys are energetic, the 11-year-old Luke and 14-year-old Gill seemed tired. They quickly went to their rooms and fell asleep.
Even if the person himself wanted this, I wondered if it was alright to let them do something so harsh. But, both Luke and I wanted a motive to change.
We left early in the morning and arrived 2 days after in the afternoon. It was nearly time for the sun to set.
Earl Neville came along even though he was old, “Don’t look down on someone who lives in Frontier!” He said. So, we were late and the merchant, who looked bitter, changed his attitude. The Four Marquises’ title didn’t mean anything near Frontier, and it was amusing.
“I chose this place because this is the north of Wellington Mountains and Hollows come out a lot here. The Hollows will appear just before the barrier. Therefore, there aren’t any towns with people around here. Even Hunters would lose their lives here if they’re not careful.”
The merchant confirmed with Earl Neville if this was really alright. Merchants in the Royal Capital would think about the dangers to the Four Marquises’ and probably wouldn’t accept the request normally.
“Hey, you.” This rude man was looking after Luke and Gill today. He’s probably over 30. He was a little younger than me and had messy black hair and brown eyes. There were about ten hunters. The hunters usually group themselves in groups of 5 or 6, and there were two groups. He seemed to be the leader of the older party.
“Do you really have the barrier box?”
I nodded at the person who was carrying my luggage, and they gently took a small box out. It was the size of two adult palms and made a barrier about three metres in radius. When I opened the box and showed him the magic stone, he gulped.
“What proof do you have to show that it works?”
“I don’t need to fool you when my son’s life is at stake,” I said quietly. The man looked at Luke and Gill for the first time and raised his eyebrow.
“You’re actually one of the Four Marquises.”
Even though you were probably assessing me before. I got irritated, but I held it in. The man that I was entrusting them to was this stupid, but if he is said to be excellent, then no other hunters can compare.
Luke and the others were waiting outside the barrier for the Hollows in a place where I could see them. 200 metres away, the Wellington Mountains rose high in the sky shaded by the sun. There was a small table and two chairs prepared for Luke and Gill. The barrier box was then placed on the table and used as a base to hunt the Hollows.
Before leaving Kingdom’s barrier, the man gave Luke and Gill a brief lecture.
“Look, this is a Rhodolite sword. I prepared some for you boys just in case. It may look blunt, but you can’t cut through Hollows without this.”
“If the barrier’s real, then we’ll use that as a base. Listen to what I say and don’t move out of the barrier. Alright?”
“Then, let’s go.”
I also went with them up until the barrier. But, someone grabbed my shoulders.
“If you go any further, you’ll leave the barrier.”
This guy. Luke and Gill nodded at me and walked away. Then, they stopped after 10 steps.
“As expected of magic users. This is the border of the barrier.”
“The air’s changed.”
“It’s rare for someone to feel that. People usually just feel something tingling. You would have become a great hunter if you lived in Frontier.”
The man lightly chattered and guided Luke and Gill to the place where the table was while remaining vigilant. The barrier box had been given to Luke, and he placed it on the table before turning the key.
“Woah,” we heard the men’s voices from here too. Luke and Gill shook their heads. Apparently, the barrier was working correctly. The men walked about and checked the confines of the three-metre barrier. There were 12 people inside the barrier, but the three-metre radius was unexpectedly wide. The relief within them spread.
Graces must have gotten tired of holding me back because a chair was brought to me. I sat down and watched what was happening.
Then, Luke glanced backwards at the men who were making a fuss then he and Gill looked towards the mountain. I also looked where Luke was. It was like looking off into the distance on a hot day.
Then, the men finally noticed it. The Hollows were already close to the barrier by now.
*WHIRR* I could feel their presence strongly even from within the barrier. It was an unpleasant presence. They trembled but held onto their form. Are they people? Or forest beasts?
The leader of the Hunters calmed the others down when they began to panic. *WHIRR* The Hollows bounced back from the barrier. I could tell the men were relieved. At first, there were only 5, but more gradually appeared from the forest. *WHIRR* A noticeably big one appeared, and Graces stepped out in front of me.
“It’s fine. So the Kingdom’s barrier is for that?”
“We came here to see that. What did we come here for?”
Graces stepped back. A shaky figure of a person was 10 steps away from me, and it was bounced back when it extended its hands towards the barrier. It gradually increased in numbers.
“That’s a Hollow.”
“They don’t have any emotions or culture. They’re just a natural phenomenon that absorbs human life.” I accepted Graces’s words because the Hollows looked so much like a human’s.
“Oh, the hunters have begun their hunt,” I looked at Luke when I heard this. The hunters confirmed the barrier’s scope and then swung their swords in turn. It was quite different from a human fight. They were swinging their swords diagonally. Then, the Hollows quivered and disappeared.
“Then, the magic stones drop where they were.”
They were hunting in good rhythm, then the younger group gradually headed out to hunt as well. The leader said something, but I couldn’t hear him. Luke and Gill stared at the scene.
The younger party gradually lured the Hollows, and the other party also proceeded forward.
“Not good. At this rate, everyone will leave the barrier,” Graces whispered, and I agreed with him.
Then, the young man furthest away, who was battling a Hollow, tripped over something and tumbled. Graces stepped forward and stopped. The Hollows gathered at the man who had fallen, and his comrades started striking at the Hollows, which rendered the barrier useless.
“Things aren’t looking good for that fallen man if things continue like this.” Surprisingly, when Graces became talkative, the comrades of the men stopped slashing at the Hollows and returned to the barrier. Are they abandoning him? No.
One of the men grabbed the barrier box in front of Luke and began running towards the man who had fallen. Luke and Gill were dumbfounded. The leader was screaming. Time seemed to flow slowly, the Hollows moved towards Luke and Gill, who was now outside the barrier.