Chapter 10 – A Tale of a Werewolf, Or Something Similar
I was hurriedly walking down a street at night.
I had only arrived in the country two days earlier. On the first day I simply walked around while sightseeing, on the second day I went around looking at the famous sightseeing spots within the country, and as for today, the third day, I had again been doing my best to cover all the sightseeing spots.
I had heard that there was a hill near the country where the view at night was very beautiful, so I left the country after sunset and then returned after night had fallen.
For those reasons, I was walking on a street at night that was illuminated by street lamps. While frequently rubbing my upper arms, and occasionally glancing backwards, I was quickly walking towards the inn where I had a room.
The streets at night were eerie. Although I had walked along the same road in the afternoon as well, at night its aspect changed completely and appeared more as a path that would lure you into another world.
A fog was hanging over the town as though invited by the deep darkness of the night, and visibility was poor. Due to the light cast by the street lamps, my shadow was unusually long and stretched out in front of me.
No, I was mistaken.
The shadow I saw in front of me was not my own. Even when I came to a sudden stop, the shadow was slowly moving through the darkness.
—There was something standing in front of me.
“……Hello, who’s there?”
At some point, I had pulled out my staff and was pointing it in that direction.
The shadow reacted to my subtly trembling voice, wavered gently within the darkness, and came closer with tantalizing slowness.
I could hear the footsteps echoing.
Eventually, the shadow stepped into the light—
“Fuhahahaha! I am a werewolf, and I have been lying low in this country ever since a few days ago! It’s dangerous to walk around alone on the streets on a night like this, you know? You might get eaten up by a monster like me!”
I was shocked.
What appeared in front of me was indeed what he proclaimed.
It was a werewolf!
A werewolf! He was there!
“Hey, what’s wrong? Too scared to even speak? Fufufu, that’s right. You should be scared.”
I looked up at the werewolf in front of me.
Incidentally, I also let out a sigh.
“Hey, hang on a second. Why are you sighing? I’m a werewolf, you know? A monster, you know? I’m going to eat you up, you know?”
“What sort of response is that?”
“I’m sorry. Despite your grand entrance from within the fog, your actual appearance is rather dull so I was just disappointed.”
“Disappointed? I’m a werewolf, you know? Do you not know what a werewolf is? It is a super famous name that is well known among all the monsters, you know?”
“Have you never looked at yourself in a mirror?”
“Out of concern for your well-being, I will tell you. However, in the first place, you are not a werewolf.”
“……Then what am I?”
“Dogman, you say.”
“And what’s more, a chihuahua.”
“Wait. What is a chihuahua?”
“It is a type of dog that is said to be very cute.”
Right then, please try and imagine it.
What I saw in front of me was a creature with the face of a chihuahua and the body of a heavily muscled man. What’s more, his whole body was covered in dirty-looking tawny fur, and he spoke like a foppish older gentleman. But his face was that of a chihuahua’s.
Even if you took all manner of garbage and stewed it in a pot, it would be hard to replicate the same level of discomfort I felt upon seeing this creature.
What I saw before me was just that uncanny a spectacle.
Despite taking the effort to make a show of trembling in fear and preparing the perfect stage for an appearance, this is what I get? Seriously?
I am extremely angry.
“Moreover, what’s your deal? Why are you going around shouting that you’re a werewolf with a face like that? Are you an idiot? Are you a moron? There should be limit for not knowing your place, you simpleton.”
“……Don’t you think you’re going a bit too far with the insults?”
“Anyway, sit down right there.”
“Ah, yes ma’am.”
I made him sit. I then realized that the werewolf (self-proclaimed) had also shifted into polite speech at some point.
By the way, the werewolf sat down on the ground with a huff and crossed his legs.
“Are you trying to look down on me? Sit down properly, on your knees.”
I kicked the werewolf on his knee.
The chihuahua man let out an adorable kyan! cry and switched to sitting on his knees. He then looked up at me with moist eyes. It’s making me angry.
“Besides, do you understand how most people would react if a monster with a face like yours suddenly appeared on a street at night?”
“They would be afraid.”
I shook my head.
“They would probably laugh instead.”
“Why would they do that?”
“Because only your face is cute. If you want to call yourself a werewolf then get some cosmetic surgery first.”
“You’ve been saying some really hurtful things for a while now.”
“That’s your fault.”
“Yes, it certainly is.”
Let’s get back to the topic at hand.
“Why are you even trying to frighten people in the first place?”
“You see, there are some very complex circumstances behind this—”
Saying so, the chihuahua man told me his sorrowful tale.
The chihuahua man was apparently born from the union of human and chihuahua parents. By the way, the father was human. You might be wondering how a child could possibly be born between a human and a dog, but in a world with magic, stupid things like this which can only be called miracles happen quite frequently. It’s actually quite troubling.
Back to the topic, the chihuahua man had been living with his parents deep in the mountains and far away from other people. Though, after reaching a certain age, he naturally reached puberty.
“I don’t want to live in this house anymore!”
One day, after a quarrel about pointless things, the chihuahua man decided to part ways with his parents. His father said, “Don’t bother, you won’t be able to live by yourself,” and his mother said woof in a sad voice.
Despite that, he had climbed down from the mountain and come to this country. He decided to find employment here, but when he went to a restaurant people found him creepy, when he went to an inn people found him creepy, no matter where he went, people found him creepy. Forget about finding a job, there wasn’t a place for him in this country in the first place.
Well, of course that would be the case. He’s not a werewolf, he’s a chihuahua man. He doesn’t just get covered in fur during a full moon, his appearance is somewhere between that of a human’s and a chihuahua’s every single day.
Of course people would think he was creepy.
And because of that, he became sulky.
At this point I got bored and stopped listening to him, but apparently, those were his circumstances, and since he couldn’t find a job, he called himself a werewolf and decided to attack people in the area and extort money from them, partially out of desperation.
By the way, I was apparently his first target.
“However, calling yourself a werewolf with that kind of appearance is too much of a stretch. Not a single person will be frightened of you. Please don’t take werewolves lightly.”
“Then what should I do?”
Wait, you’re leaving it all up to me?
Oh well, I don’t particularly mind.
“Right now, for the time being, let’s do something about that face of yours that scores full marks for cuteness. It’s because of that face that you can’t be scary despite trying.”
“But I have no money for cosmetic surgery…”
“That’s okay. You can still do something about it without money. For starters, shave off the fur. From your whole body.”
“But won’t I look even less like a werewolf if I shave off my fur?”
“You’re not a werewolf to begin with, so there shouldn’t be any problem with shaving off the fur, correct?”
“No, but still……”
“There’s no need to worry. As long as you do what I say, you’ll be able to earn a huge amount of money in no time. It’s okay. You have potential.”
“I have potential…? Even though I’m not even a werewolf?”
“Yes, of course.”
“However, to make it work, you absolutely have to shave off your fur.”
“What should I do after shaving off my fur…?”
And then, I told him.
While showing a slightly wicked grin.
“Here’s what you should do…”
A few days later.
I was waiting for a certain man on the road at night, where the fog was accumulating.
“Hello there, Witch-san.”
He’s here. After shaving off all his fur, he had a fresh look.
“Hello. I’ve been waiting for you. How are the earnings lately?”
“Right, the earnings! It’s amazing! Just like you said, Witch-san, after shaving off the fur, everyone I meet on the streets at night has gone running away in fear!”
“Well, of course.”
A shaved chihuahua is pretty disgusting, after all.
“There were even people who threw their whole wallet at me and ran away when I said 『Fuhahaha! Give me your money!』 The streets have been completely taken over by my fearsome looks!”
“Well, of course.”
By the way, he was becoming quite famous. During my sightseeing trips, I often heard people saying things like “Some incredibly disgusting goblin-like creature is appearing on the streets at night. So scary.”
“At this rate, I don’t need to limit myself to just this country, I can expand my activities to other places as well—”
“Ah, that’s enough talking.”
I cut him off in the middle of his rambling and held out my palm towards him.
“You haven’t forgotten our promise, have you?”
After giving me a complicated look for just a moment, he rummaged around in his pockets, and,
“Here you go. Twenty percent of today’s earnings.”
Saying so, he deposited a certain number of gold coins in my hand.
Or rather, it was one gold coin.
So in one day, he obtained five gold coins.
That’s a fairly large amount.
“Still, you’re amazing, Witch-san. I can’t believe you came up such a plan based on my appearance. Well, it’s not easy to earn five gold coins in one day, and even though the idea certainly came from you, Witch-san, can I consider that this high rate of earning is due to my own talent!?”
“You’re getting carried away.”
“But it’s the truth, isn’t it? I guess I have the makings of a werewolf after all!”
“What a joke. If I felt like it, I could earn twice as much as you in a single day.”
“Eh? How would you do that?”
“That’s a secret.”
Saying that, I carefully stashed away the gold coin in my purse.
“Hehehe… Now I’m really a full-grown werewolf…”
“Are you sure you’re not just a renegade goblin?”
A few more days later.
A certain rumor was flying around the streets.
“Hey, did you hear about it?”
“I heard the goblin man appeared again.”
“I don’t want to be attacked by a goblin! I’m going back home!”
“What are you supposed to do if you’re attacked by the goblin?”
“I heard he lets you run away if you hand over your money.”
“What kind of goblin is that?”
“I don’t get it.”
“So basically, you’re safe if you walk around with enough money in your wallet?”
“I guess so.”
I see, his activities are the talk of the town, and people have also realized that he’s attacking them only because he’s after their money.
Instead of fear of the goblin man in question, there is a sense of discomfort and bewilderment spreading among the populace instead.
I suppose it’s almost time.
“Oh my, is something the matter, everyone? It looks like you have a problem.”
I put a fake smile on my face and approached a group of people who were talking about the goblin man.
Hearing that, the people looked at my attire and immediately told me about what was going on.
Having the title of Witch is very useful at times like these.
While kindly listening to their explanation, occasionally interjecting with sympathetic noises and making exaggerated reactions, I received a report of the circumstances which I already knew everything about, albeit from a different perspective.
And then, after they had talked about the goblin man for a while.
I looked at them and made a proposal.
“Oh my, that sounds terrible. By the way, I specialize in exterminating goblins, so would you like to hire me to put down the goblin for you? For say, ten gold coins.”