Within the northern parts of the Kingdom of Black Rose, an enormous crescent-shaped canyon with rocky cliffs as steep as the snowy mountain peaks existed.
It was called the Blackmoon Region.
Because a black crescent moon is observable in the canyon during the rise and fall of the sun, it was named as such.
With Blackmoon City situated at the bottom of it, the canyon's cliffs became the city's natural eastern and western walls, enabling the city to become a defensive pass against the demons of the Ashfallen Forest.
pαпdα-ňᴏνêι·сóМIf the northern fronts ever fell, Blackmoon City will become one of few important footholds in holding back the demons from invading the rest of the continent.
'If a day where the northern fronts fell, it would also signify the end of the Kingdom of Black Rose,' Vaan thought.
Even a five-year-old kid would understand the reason why.
The kingdom's capital city was established in the north, and so were all the strongest powers in the kingdom were gathered.
Nevertheless, Vaan didn't dwell on the topic and quickly refocused his attention on the northern outskirts of Blackmoon City, where Dark Hellhounds are frequently sighted.
They were dog-like demon beasts with dark features, sharp fangs, claws, and nimble feet, making them incredible and dangerous hunters in the darkness of the canyon.
Typically, their strengths varied between Rank 1 to Rank 3, but mostly Rank 1. Unless Vaan was extremely unlucky, encountering a Rank 3 Dark Hellhound was unlikely if he followed closely along the stream.
'Rank 1 Dark Hellhounds usually roam the canyon while the stronger ones only lurk inside the caves along the cliff edges and wait for their minions to bring back the hunt of the day,' Vaan pondered.
Although he felt like he could defeat a Rank 1 Dark Hellhounds, these demon beasts don't always travel alone.
If he gets surrounded by a pack, he might as well pick grave on the spot.
'If I want to leave the Blackmoon Region, I have to get past the Dark Hellhounds' hunting ground first. But, how?' Vaan contemplated.
The ideal choice would be to travel in a group or have someone powerful like his teacher accompany him.
However, he didn't want to depart with too many clues left behind.
When the first ray of morning comes, the city lord will quickly catch news of her daughter's death on academy grounds and lock down the city for investigation.
Arranging a group of warriors and witches to leave in the night will definitely seem suspicious. It was better to leave and catch up with a group that had already departed in the day.
However, he was unfamiliar with the traveling schedules of notable escort groups.
'It's best not to pin my hopes on a group for protection. For now, I need to focus on optimizing my survival chances against Dark Hellhounds,' Vaan shook his head and continued to ponder.
His sword was quite good, but it may not be good enough against the nimble Dark Hellhounds.
'I needed something smaller and faster yet not lose out to the sword in terms of sharpness… a pair of daggers?'
After reviewing the inventory list in his Heaven-Swallowing Space, Vaan quickly noticed a pair of red fangs in one corner of the trash pile.
Although they were fragmented and damaged, their tips were intact, and they were still large enough to be used as daggers.
'The red fangs of Crimson Direwolves! And this size and sharpness, these fangs must be at least Rank 2!' Vaan's eyes immediately sparkled.
It wouldn't take too much effort and time to transform them into proper weapons with firm grips. There were plenty of spare handles of broken weapons in his Heaven-Swallowing Space.
Nevertheless, that wasn't the reason for his excitement.
The most important factor was that Crimson Direwolves are superior species with a natural suppression on Dark Hellhounds!
If he carried their fangs around, it would lower the chance of him getting attacked, even if he encountered a Dark Hellhound.
Half an hour quickly flew by, and a pair of simple red daggers were made.
Nevertheless, leaving the Blackmoon Region was more than a day's journey. Even a trained Rank 1 Aura Master cannot travel for so long without any rest.
Vaan spent the following two hours preparing simple ropes, hooks, and other tools to camp on high ground, special powder pouches to erase his scent and ward off insects, and…
Vaan suddenly paused and thought, 'I'll need to visit the kitchen and prepare twice the amount of food needed to reach the next city.'
Once he sorted the food, he would be ready to go.
Vaan briefly glanced outside his room's windows and noticed the night was still long. He was surprised to have spent so little time preparing everything he needed.
'It's mostly thanks to the earlier preparation I made back in the wasteyard,' Vaan determined.
Also, it wouldn't have been possible without the Heaven-Swallowing Space making everything easy and convenient to carry.
After double-checking his preparations, Vaan stored the tools and weapons back inside the subspace.
Vaan frowned at the sudden knock on his room. He wasn't expecting any visitors at this time of the night.
Everyone in the brothel would have already retired to their bedroom by now, whether they were sleeping or enjoying the night activities with their partners.
Nevertheless, Vaan got up from his bed to receive the unexpected guest.
When he opened the door, he was greeted with the pretty face of a young witch as she took a quick snoop inside his room as if looking for something or someone.
Such actions made Vaan vigilant, but the young witch's following words allowed him to relax.
"You were the partner of the witch in room seven, right?" the young witch asked abashedly.
Vaan glanced at the young witch's rosy cheeks and the traces of sweat on her forehead before he determined she had just finished a passionate session with another partner.
His session with Grissel wasn't exactly quiet.
If the young witch had overheard Grissel's moans from the next room over, she must have felt oddly unsatisfied with her partner at that time.
"That's right," Vaan admitted with a nod before asking with a thoughtful look, "But why do you want to know that?"
"That…then you're not busy right now, right?" the young witch asked expectantly.
Vaan glanced at the night sky outside the window again before he smiled at her, "Well, I got time. Why don't you come in for a chat?"
He invited her into the room suggestively.