003. Luca's Grace

(I will die.)

I remember well how intense I felt. I knew intuitively that this beast was infuriated and was about to pounce at me.

At the time, Luca did not even know that the beast was a wild boar. He had eaten boar meat before, and even touched its fur. He had even been shown a whole boar that Wolf had hunted. But the size of the boar was completely different when seeing the it lying on its side after being killed, than seeing the boar larger than his own height standing and looking at him from the front. He couldn't register that they were the same kind of beast.

Why didn't I notice the smell of the beast until now?

Why didn't I notice the sound of the bushes that this huge body was scrambling through?

Maybe it was the direction of the wind. Maybe the sound I was making was louder. Alas, there was no time or meaning to look for an answer.

It was too late for regrets. My legs were shaking and I could not move at all.

Its small eyes looked mad and bloodshot. Its fangs, as thick as logs, protrude at an angle that could gouge out a heart, aiming straight at Luca. It's big snout curls up as it vigorously breath. It stomps on the ground twice with its black hooves, before rushing towards him akin to that of a bow leaving the string. 

(I will die. Die. Die...)

As the boar charged in a straight line, fear started taking shape in Luca as it approached. The bushes and grass that were in its wake were all knocked down, and dirt and dust cloud was sent flying in its behind. 

Would he die after being gutted by its fangs? Or would he be crushed alive?

Luca wondered why everything seemed to be moving so slowly as he experienced the sensation of a wedge of something floating in his vision.

It looked as if a small bird was perched on a branch of a tree beside the boar. Luca thought...

(If only I could stay on that branch, I wouldn't die.)

At that moment, it was activated. In the blink of an eye, he was already on that branch.

While Luca was stunned, the boar hit a tree and looked around. It was a fairly large tree, but the area near the base of the trunk had been gouged out so badly that the white insides were exposed. Luca shuddered at the thought about what would have happened if he had been hit instead of that tree.

Luca once again looked at the branch he was on. The branch was thin and could barely support Luca's body.

Fortunately, there were some larger branches in the vicinity.

He saw a branch that had a "wedge" in it, so he asked himself to move to it. And the next moment, Luca was on that thick branch.


That was Luca's "Grace."

Whenever I think back to those days, I feel as if my face is on fire. I don't know why I was so immersed in such a mysterious feeling of omnipotence.

The boar eventually went away, but Luca was worried about what would happen if the tree that the boar had rushed into suddenly fell over, and he told Wolf, after he came back. He relayed the whole story except for the "teleportationt" part. He lied about it, saying that he had flown sideways just before the boar slammed into him.

For the first time, he received a knock in the back of his head from Wolf. Wolf was really angry when he found out about Luca's selfishness.

Now I understand why he was angry. If you underestimate the mountains and nature, you can easily die. At that time, it was my mistake to think that I can do it. Wolf was angry because he was not prepared for the possibility of Luca's death.

(I wish I could hunt in the mountains with Wolf all the time...)

I've never told anyone about the "teleportation" thing.

I'm sure Wolf would never tell anyone even if they asked. 

(But I've never heard of such a "Grace" until now.)

Luca had lived in the village until he was five years old, so he had heard a lot about what kind of "Grace" the people in the village had. Most of the men in the village who are overbearing usually have a "Grace" related to physical ability. For example, <Strong Arms> or <Quick Feet>. The adults once laughed when they heard that the proprietress of the diner in the east section of the village was a <Sake Connoisseur>.

Luca's father had <Dexterity> and his mother had <Seamstress>. Both are good at manual labor, but they are farmers. Luca's older brother, who is not good at it, seems to have <Woodworking>. He is going to succeed the farm.

One thing I can say is that all the various "Grace" I have heard about in the village are an extension of what any human being can do normally.

Like a little stronger than others. A little faster on their feet than others. Or, they are good at a particular task.

Then, what about "teleportation"?

As I thought about it, I couldn't bring myself to say it out loud.

I was afraid that I, who was already so different, would become even more different.

I heard that there are some "Grace" in the world that can use magic, but that would be unlike everyone in the village.

(I don't think it's the kind of thing that would be favored by a country, but I'm not sure what the criteria were either...)

Luca was not looking forward to the day of the inspection, in fact, he really disliked it.

(I hope there's others that can "instantaneously move", I hope it's a common one...)

After inadvertently clouding his mind with anxiety, he was bored out of his mind in the wagon with nothing to do in particular.

Eventually, it became unbearable, and Luca put on a hood to protect himself from the sun, and took the reins of the wagon. He smiled as he felt like a real coach. After that, they took a rest and camped out, and he was praised for his cooking and camping skills that he had developed during all his time hunting, making it a rather enjoyable trip.

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