It is said that the larger the size of a town, the more severe racial prejudice and discrimination become.


 In a small village deep in the mountains like Atsuka village, it is said that discrimination is rare because the village cannot be maintained unless all the villagers fulfill their roles as workers.



 Even so, it does not mean that there is no prejudice or discrimination at all.


 In the first place, catkins are smaller than other races.



 If forced to use our strength during an argument, it is obvious who will win and lose.


 Ever since I can remember, I have often seen my father being bullied by an old man in the neighborhood and forced to deal with troublesome matters.



 Physically, it is between a schoolboy and an adult man, so maybe it is understandable that he is scared of him.


 I have complained about Miguel, a werewolf who is the son and grandson of the village chief and my age, even if I didn’t like him, if he tried to challenge me to a contest of strength, I would use my quickness to get away as quickly as possible.



 I was not willing to live without being able to say what I wanted to say, as I had done in a previous life, where I was bullied and then easily died.


 Miguel always calls me a coward, but I have no intention to fight back.



 I will not fight a man with superior strength against my own strength.


 If you’re going to call me a coward, then fight me against my superior quickness and win.



 Miguel, who had been living a carefree life for a while after returning from the “Nest Leaving Ceremony”, seems to have been smacked a lot by his father, who was fed up with his antics, and he is attending school properly these days.



 However, he does not seem to be training in his attribute magic like I do, who has been training in magic almost all day every day, and now I would not be defeated in a proper fight.



 After about two months of continuous practice, improvements have been made to my [Armor] and [Shield].


 One is the material, but I have been able to make it much stronger.



 The board made of the same material still breaks when I hit it with the club, but it is still rebounding even while breaking.


 Since this is the extent of my attack as a catkin, I don’t think it could withstand the attack of a monster, but it should be better than wearing nothing at all.



 The second improvement is the creation of a helmet.


 Unlike metal helmets, the helmet is transparent, so even if it completely covers my head, it does not obstruct vision, but it does fog up when breathing, so I added more holes for better ventilation.



 If my ears are covered, my superior hearing would not be used properly, so I decided to use two types of helmets, one with my ears out and one with my ears covered.


 The first type does not cover the ears while searching for enemies so that the wearer can hear the surrounding sounds better, while the second type covers the ears during combat.



 The third improvement is the use of shields.


 The shield is used to block an opponent’s attack, but I found that it is stronger if I fix it in the air with magic than if I hold it in my hand.



 If I hold the shield in my hand, it will move if pushed by a force stronger than mine, but if I fix it with magic, it will either block or break, it will not even move from its place.


 So, instead of using the shield in my hand, I decided to magically levitate it in the air.



 During training, I make two of them in a smaller size and move them around me, but perhaps because I am used to operating [Step], I seem to be quick to discard them and deploy new ones than to move them.


 Ideally, I should deploy them automatically when I detect danger, but it seems difficult to reach that level.





 If I continue training at this level, I should be able to reach satisfactory skills in escaping and defending, but the problem is improving my offensive ability.


 A catkin’s body is small and light, and the weapons that can be made with void magic are strong but light, so even if my magic is further enhanced, it will be difficult to increase the power of a single blow.



 If a heavy blow is impossible, the only way is to master speed.


 For this reason, I would like to somehow master body enhancement magic.



 Body enhancement magic, as the name implies, is magic that uses magic to strengthen physical abilities, but it cannot be used without training.


 The moment the seal is broken in the “Nest Leaving Ceremony”, the attribute magic becomes usable as if a sealed memory is recalled, but I don’t know how to get started with it.



 Even if I understand the theory of strengthening the body with magic power, I don’t know how to channel magic power into my body or what the basic sensations are.


 Pouring magic element into the magic veins, like when using attribute magic, only strengthens the attribute magic, but not the body.



 Some people are said to be able to use it on their own, but they are said to be at risk of damaging their muscles and ligaments due to their inability to adjust the strengthening, or in the worst-case scenario, suffering serious aftereffects.


 In the beginning, therefore, it is common to learn by being taught by someone who is familiar with the technique.



 The best user in Atsuka Village is Zeol, who is employed by the village chief, but rumor has it that he does not teach anyone easily.


 When Miguel, the village chief’s grandson, asked him for help, he did not budge.




 Since I started catching Forest Mouse and going to get the bounty, I have had more chances to see Zeol, but I have never talked to him except to say hello.


 He was a very handsome uncle, and I had no idea how to talk to him.



 The season has turned into autumn, and the leaves of the trees in the mountains are turning red.


 Autumn is here, and winter will soon follow.


 This is the time of year when the Forest Mouse gathers food for their winter shelter, and as their movements become more active, I naturally become busier and busier.



 I used to be able to catch only about five mice a day, but since autumn, I have been able to catch not twice as many, not ten, but three times as many, fifteen mice on some days.


 Thanks to this, my income has increased, but there are those who don’t think it’s good when others earn money.



 On that day, when I was leaving the village chief’s mansion after receiving the reward money for the fifteenth fish, Miguel and the others were waiting for me by the gate.


 In the past, I would have thought about where to slip away, but thanks to void magic, there were plenty of escape routes.



“Nyango, you’re cheating, aren’t you?” (Miguel)


“Huh? What are you suddenly saying?” (Nyango)


“If you weren’t cheating, you wouldn’t be able to catch ten or fifteen Forest Mouse a day.” (Miguel)


“No, I don’t understand.
In the first place, is there a legitimate way or a bogus way to catch Forest Mouse? As long as they don’t bother others, no matter what method you use to catch them, it’s for the good of the village, so you can’t be blamed for anything.” (Nyango)


“What, this guy… who do you think he’s getting the bounty from?” (Miguel)


“Of course, it’s from the village.
The village’s money and the village chief’s personal money are two different things.
If you are going to be a village chief in the future, you should know that much.” (Nyango)


“This twerp…” (Miguel)



 Miguel’s face turned bright red, and he began to tremble just by receiving a proper argument that could not be called an incitement.





“Damn, you… in the name of the Goddess Fatima…” (Miguel)


“Shoot magic from there, and if I dodge, your house will be set on fire.” (Nyango)


“Let the flames burn… eh, ah, hot!” (Miguel)



 The fireball that was in the process of being activated on his head was interrupted, and Miguel summoned a fireball on his head, which he brushed off in a great hurry, but the smell of burning fur was wafting through the air.


 It looks like he was burned quite a bit, and that part might become a bald spot.



“You bastard!” (Kimball)


“Hay, that’s dangerous!” (Nyango)



 Kimball, a bearkin who is one year younger than me and has not yet undergone the “Nest Leaving Ceremony”, threw a rock at me from a distance of about 10 meters, and I quickly deployed [Shield].


 The [Shield] was broken, but Kimball’s eyes widened at the sight of the stone, which lost momentum in mid-air and rolled to the ground, seemingly without hitting a thing.



“Hey, you, if someone gets hit by something like that, it’s not a joke.
If it hits someone’s eye, they might lose their eyesight.
Don’t be stupid!” (Nyango)



 Kimball backed away with a frightened look on his face as if he didn’t expect me, a catkin, to yell at him.


 Dalles, the horsekin who had picked up the stone and was aiming it at me, also stopped moving, shaking.




 Throwing a stone at close range isn’t a joke, so when I was thinking of giving them some punishment worse than blinding them last time, a deep voice resounded from behind.



“That’s enough, kids.” (Zeol)



 As soon as Miguel and the others realized that Zeol, the tigerkin, was looking down at them from the window by the front door, they turned tail and ran away.


 I mean, Miguel’s house is here, right? Where are you going?



“You there, wait until I get there!” (Zeol)



 Zeol pulled his face out of the window as he said this while pointing at me.


 I thought about running away too… but it would be more troublesome, and maybe I could get a chance to learn a little about body enhancement magic.



 I thought he would come out soon, but after waiting for a while, Zeol opened the front door, and when he saw my face, he showed a surprised expression.



“Oh, you waited without trying to run away?” (Zeol)


“I have no reason to run away.” (Nynago)


“Hmph, that’s right… Alright, come here for a minute.” (Zeol)




 Zeol, with a tilt of his chin, gestured to follow him and so I started walking towards the building he is going to.

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