First of all, I will not humanize
The beast was as large as an elephant.
It stood about three meters tall. Its sturdy limbs resembled those of a big cat, but its head looked like a furry bulldog, with floppy rabbit-like ears.
Its coarse fur covering its entire body transitioned from a bright yellow to orange, akin to flames.
However, strangely enough, it was covered in irregularly sized metallic scales that seemed to seep out from between its fur. The dense covering on its back resembled either an armadillo’s shell or the armor plating of an animal-type combat robot. Its thick tail covered in armor was nothing less than a deadly weapon.
Around its head, metallic parts rose significantly, resembling either devil’s horns or a crown, shining oddly under the sunlight.
The colossal beast had fiery red eyes, glaring at the peculiar corpse that appeared before it.
“…Estimated Threat Level: 7th Class Equivalent. Ignite Beast Variant, Named Monster ‘The Dazzling Molten Steel Beast’.”
Looking up at the beast, René contemplated the information from the Adventurer’s Guild that Tracy had brought.
The jungle’s trees were partially knocked down, with the remaining ones showing signs of being scratched extravagantly.
This was the heart of the Great Tree Forest, the lair of ‘The Dazzling Molten Steel Beast’.
Throughout the dense jungle at the foot of the Ku-Lukal Mountains, formidable Named Monsters resided.
Most of them stood at the top of the local food chain, reigning as tyrants over beasts and monsters alike. Each of them had their territory and seemed to coexist without much conflict with other powerful Named Monsters.
And the boss of this area was this beast.
A monster that had grown several times larger than its original species, the Ignite Beast, had the mysterious ability to consume and absorb metal, which it manifested as various-sized metallic scales protruding from its fur.
These scales were either naturally occurring minerals or equipment from unfortunate adventurers who had been devoured and absorbed.
In scouting the surrounding monsters, René first searched for this beast.
While people used to say, “If you plan to shoot a general, start with his horse”, there were cases where it was more expedient to target the general himself.
By subduing the influential Named Monsters in the vicinity, René expected that nearby monsters would rush to join her like an avalanche.
However, ‘The Dazzling Molten Steel Beast’ did not appear to be daunted by René’s presence.
The Winged Tiger immediately started growling, but ‘The Dazzling Molten Steel Beast’ stared at René with an intimidating growl emanating from the metallic fangs.
Udanosuke, standing nearby, placed his hand on his katana and took a step forward.
“Leave it to me, Princess. My beloved sword, Douchou Atsuryoku, can cut even the toughest mithril. Even if it has steel scales, it’s like tofu before me!”
“No, Udanosuke, there’s no need to interfere. I think I’ll have to teach this one the difference in strength in a one-on-one showdown. Stay away to avoid getting incinerated.”
The goal was not to defeat it but to make it submit.
To make it understand the difference in power, René believed that a one-on-one confrontation was necessary.
“Around here, you’ve been invincible all this time, believing you’re the strongest in the world. I’ll break that nose of yours… Well, your snout isn’t pointed, is it? Um, then I’ll put mud on your face! It’s too late for regrets after getting a mudpack!”
In response, the beast spewed fire instead.
“Princess, be careful!”
The fierce wind of flames expelled from its wide mouth swept away the spot where René had been standing. The breath cleared away the trees and left a blackened path in its wake.
However, René was no longer there. Having teleported to the beast’s side to avoid the breath attack, René now faced the swing of the steel (presumed) tail.
René did not avoid the crushing battering ram’s assault-like blow.
With her small feet firmly planted on the ground, she used magic to enhance herself while bracing for impact.
Taking the appropriate force for her giant opponent, her head, which had been perched on her neck, flew off.
Udanosuke immediately moved into position, catching René’s head.
“Follow my command!”
René, who had caught the tail, forcibly lifted it and slammed it down as if performing a body slam.
＊ ＊ ＊
8 hours later.
The jungle clearing, where trees had been felled, had expanded to nearly double its size, with even more trees knocked down.
The ground scorched, cracked, and roughened.
In the center of the clearing lay René’s body, sprawled gracelessly with her exploration gear torn in various places.
Beside her, the massive beast lay exhausted, lying on its back, its tongue hanging out as it panted heavily.
Udanosuke approached quietly, placing René’s head, which he had been holding, next to her body.
A crimson evening sky painted above as a carefree magical bird flew by.
‘The Dazzling Molten Steel Beast’ seemed to growl as if to say, “Hmph, you too.”
Using her crimson blade or magic attacks might have settled the matter more quickly.
However, René was concerned about the possibility of accidentally killing it, so she decided to use magic for support and engaged in close combat.
As a result, it turned out that her concerns were mostly unfounded, and René had come to realize the inexhaustible toughness and stamina of ‘The Dazzling Molten Steel Beast’.
She had punched it, wrestled it, thrown it, beaten it, and even come close to being engulfed by its fiery breath…
It had been an exhaustingly long battle, even for René, who had an inexhaustible body.
And somehow, an unknown sense of camaraderie seemed to have sprouted between them.
“I need your power. How about becoming my pet?”
René stood up and approached ‘The Dazzling Molten Steel Beast’.
It didn’t seem to understand human language and gave no response, but it allowed its massive body to be touched by René’s small hand, squinting its eyes in acceptance.
“Well then, this is what they call ‘paving the road’, isn’t it?”
Udanosuke, about to utter another proverb, was silenced by the other Ghouls.
“Come here, ‘The Dazzling Molten Steel Beast’.”
“…You really make that kind of sound.”
The giant beast reluctantly got up and laid back down.
Its posture, with its chin resting on the ground and its head lowered, seemed like a gesture of respect in the beast’s manner.
“But… ‘The Dazzling Molten Steel Beast’ is a bit hard to pronounce, isn’t it? Firstly, it’s a nickname given by the Adventurer’s Guild, so the beast itself might not have even heard it. Maybe I should give you an easier and more understandable name.”
René lifted her own head and observed the fiery-colored giant creature closely.
‘The Dazzling Molten Steel Beast’ remained calm and still.
Eventually, René had an idea.
“A dog… a dog that breathes fire…… Hot Dog?”
The creature, seemingly unable to understand human speech, appeared to have sensed the unusual nuance, hesitating with a face that seemed to contemplate whether to breathe fire in protest or not.
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