“Back in the mountains we used to live in, there were these bird monsters called cockatrices. They look like giant chickens, except they have a snake for a tail. They’re pretty aggressive creatures. They wander from time to time into our cavern, so we have little choice but to fight and defeat them. They’re troublesome, but at least their meat tastes great.”
That was the information given by the village’s dwarves about the bird monster that was sprinting down the slope with great speed.
Including its tall, red comb and its snake tail, it was a little over 4 meters long. If one was struck by its axe-like beak or by its thick legs, they would almost assuredly be sent flying.
Stimulated by the monster-luring scent, the cockatrice let out an ear-piercing cry.
Cockatrice were more dangerous than orcs. Even alone, these monsters shouldn’t be taken lightly.
However, upon encountering such a fiendish monster, the reaction of the group of hunters led by Selen wasn’t that of fear. Instead…
Instead, the hunters rejoiced in finally finding their prey.
The cockatrice naturally didn’t understand the language spoken by people, but suddenly being treated like game made it flinch.
Taking advantage of that opening, Philia let loose an arrow.
The arrow was heavy, but thanks to the wind that supported it, it flew straight toward the cockatrice.
However, the cockatrice quickly spat at the arrow, making it fall down to the ground before it could reach the monster.
When it was fired, the arrow was made of wood for its shaft and iron for its tip. However, upon coming into contact with the spit from the monster’s beak, it was completely turned into white stone.
“I see, so that’s a cockatrice’s petrifying spit.”
“If we’re not careful, we’ll turn into stone immediately!”
As countermeasure to the monster’s saliva, the hunters brought various kinds of potions, but whether any would actually work remained to be seen.
The cockatrice began charging, but it stopped when it crashed into Noel’s gigantic shield.
Noel was already tall before, but after hitting his growth spurt, he became even taller.
Moreover, his once slender body was now so muscular thanks to all his activities and training. His physique might even be better than an orc’s now.
“Great work, Noel…!”
“It’s quicker than it looks though…maybe because it’s a bird…?”
“For now, let’s strike!”
Taking this chance, the hunters all jumped at the monster.
The cockatrice hurriedly leapt back and spat at the hunters. Unfortunately for it, the group managed to avoid the attack.
“It bends its head back before it does a spit attack! As long as we can recognize that movement, evading its attack’s not hard at all!”
Having confirmed its pattern, Selius shared the information with the others.
“Why evade, when we can just freeze its attack!”
Meanwhile, Selen dealt with the petrifying attack by freezing the spit midair, causing it to fall down to the ground.
“Well, you’re the only who’s able to do that, my sister…”
Having its signature attack be completely neutralized, the cockatrice made a kwekwee!? sound.
Additionally, any and all attacks using its beak, claws, and snake tail would have been guarded by Noel and his shield.
Understanding that it was no match against this group, the monster turned around and tried escape. But it was already too late as the upward slope that served as its escape path was already blocked off.
“Ha, another of that petrifying attack! We already know that pattern!”
“No, wait! It’s…”
The former bandit leader Dorial mocked the monster, but Belrith sensed that something was different this time.
In the next moment, what came out of the monster’s beak was a mist-like white breath.
“A petrifying breath!?”
“It’ll be dangerous if it keeps breathing that out!”
If it was a spit attack, they could dodge it and be done. But as mist, it could continue to spread in the area and make it harder to avoid.
Based on this switch between attacks, a cockatrice could be said to be highly intelligent for a monster. Unfortunately for it, the hunters had an easy solution to this tactic.
Philia and Selius synchronized and made an updraft together.
The updraft sent the breath attack upward until there was nothing left.
“O-our second joint action…!”
“Hmm, it seems you and I have great compatibility, Selius-dono.”
“Hey, Selius! Focus on the fight!”
Selius couldn’t help but be angry with his sister.