This series is rated MATURE, please make sure you are of age in your jurisdiction before reading.
This series contains EXPLICIT SEXUAL scenes.
You have been warned.
The preparations for running away was all finished by sundown.
I had given up on the uncarriable furniture from the start, and abandoned the valuable books except for a bare minimum.
For food I packed small things that preserve well, which will probably only last until tomorrow.
Carriable gems and coins, valuables, medicine, then magic tools that might be saleable, and tools from the studio for making them, and the bare minimum of clothes all add up to two large trunks.
Just in case, I placed watching “eyes” as far I can stretch them around the inn, the furthest one was on top of a tree, looking at the village from a distance.
I probably won’t be using them but I prepared weapons and traps and made them ready to use at any moment.
I wished that the coming mercenaries were blockheads or people serious about their contracts who would grumble doing things outside of those. The more so the more time I can buy for my escape.
The mercenaries who often come to the village were small scale ones, but almost all of them were mother’s acquaintances or former lovers.
Because of that, mercenaries who knew the land would hesitate to kill me, and of course the Village Head knew this.
He probably chose to hire a mercenary band we don’t usually interact with from a neighboring town.
Possibly, they were introduced by the nobles and engineers who wanted to develop the mines.
Of course, it’s hard to imagine the Nobles’ private armies coming.
It was my hope that the enemy was unfamiliar with the land.
By evening, I wasn’t even wanting Astarte’s body and disinterestedly did my work.
I took a nap before it went dark, and got up while the night was young. It was several hours before daybreak.
All that’s left is to wait until dawn and meet up with Dahlia if she decided to leave and sneak out of the village.
We would probably have half a day until they noticed Dahlia gone. We should go as far as we could by lunchtime.
Luckily, during this season we would be able to meet with familiar traders or mercenaries going on their rounds once we reached the riverside hut.
They were closer to me than the villagers. We would likely have to pay some money but we could ask them for a ride on their wagons and could probably run far away.
“….. Master Elliott, the flowerpot …”
Astarte’s voice was clearly vigilant.
I hurriedly faced the flower pot, peeking at the scene from the farthest “eye” … the one overlooking the village from a distance.
The distant sight, though the image was faint, was clearly different from the others.
Despite the dawn still far away, this image alone was brightly lit.
The village was on fire.
“Looks like the mercenaries are attacking the village for some reason”
Astarte’s voice was cold.
If you ask someone whether or not they could trust the bunch called mercenaries and adventurers, the answer you’ll normally get is, “well, no”
Even when under contract, if their payments are delayed, they will tear the contract up right away and stay and cause a riot until they get paid. Mercenaries becoming bandits is also not unheard of.
I suppose the mercenaries turned their fangs on their masters too this time.
The mercenaries who’ve been coming to the village are those my mother trusted and brought along.
Those mercenaries were obedient to the villagers to save the face of my mother as their mediator, and the reason they were nice to me was also no more than a favor from those days.
However, it was exactly because he’d been seeing obedient mercenaries almost ten years that the Village Head had misunderstood what mercenaries are.
Whether the mercenaries were going to arrive here at noon today or would they come to attack in the dead of night, that wasn’t something I could judge.
However, as long as they had the information, there was a high chance the mercenaries will come to attack this place.
“… There’s a good chance they’re coming to attack this place, let’s lay some traps”
“Yes, I agree, Master Elliott. If you were to fight the mercenaries, you probably wouldn’t last three blows … and the mercenaries probably won’t come and fight you one on one”
“I only have less than an average person’s fighting strength you know. If I did I would’ve become a mercenary and left the village”
“It’s a good thing to know what you’re capable of and not overestimating yourself”
…. In the corner of my mind, I was uneasy, wondering whether Dahlia was all right, but it would be foolish to go out and leave the place now.
I had promptly laid out traps and was tensely waiting when the “eye” in the forest far from the inn reacted.
It looks like they found out about this place.
“Three of them. One is carrying a bow. Armaments are light armor and spears … they don’t look too well-equipped”
I was only able to look blankly but Astarte seemed to be able to somewhat see in the darkness of the reflection.
“… Looks like they’re going to kill me just in case. Are there any good fighters?”
“The one with the bow is quite good for someone who’d come out to the sticks like this. The others are just riffraff … but that said, compared to Master Elliott, just having fighting experience makes them a lot stronger”
“Astarte, how good are you in a fight?”
“If I were so inclined, I can kill all of these very easily, but we have to get Master Elliott used to killing people first”
…. I wouldn’t want to be someone who’d gleefully kill people but it’s a different matter when the sparks were falling on me like this.
There’s a big difference between being able to kill people and killing people with glee.
But I can’t help seeing this as Astarte’s trap.
“… I’m not strong enough to show mercy to people who want to kill me”
The fact that I was able to get information ahead of time was a big boon.
This place is the place where I live, and if those people unfamiliar with the terrain were coming here based on information, then they’d almost certainly pass through this place.
If Dahlia didn’t come and warn me, I wouldn’t even be able to make these preparations.
I finally understood that fact after all this and a chill ran through my spine.
I don’t know whether it’s a good thing or not, but both Astarte’s visit and Dahlia’s coming here was certainly a blessing for me right now.
In that case, I should make use of it as much as possible.
The vice-captain of the mercenary band “Claws of the Black Bear”, the bowman Gerrick was cursing his misfortune.
The inn where the “non-villager mixed-blood” lives that the Village head mentioned was rather far away, and even though he was used to walking in the dark of the night, it was a pain in the rear. To add to that, unlike the others who were attacking the village, there were no women here.
Attacking a village and assaulting their women was one of the great pleasures of pillaging.
It wasn’t a big village, but when he imagines his friends having fun right now, he can’t help getting irritated.
That said, if he didn’t go there himself, these blockheads will definitely destroy or burn down the magic tools and everything.
Doesn’t that make your heart throb?
If this mixed-blood was really an enchanting magic user, he could beat him up to submission and bring him along as a specialist for the mercenary band.
Either way, there was no need to listen to the village head’s request.
But then again, most of the ones not having graduated from the academy are phonies. If he had magic items he could take them all and kill him later. If he had a tavern, then he’d at least have drinks, right?
Since he doesn’t seem to be a farmhand, he probably wouldn’t be up at this time. The screams of pillage coming from the village won’t go through the forest and to the inn, either. It was a tiresome but easy job.
Coming out of the forest, Gerrick finally saw the inn. He signaled his men with his eyes and sent one of them to the back door.
He would make a small fire, causing a bit of panic, and aim for when the mixed-blood would defenselessly run out of the in. In the unlikely chance that he would come out armed, there’s only one of him against two of them, so they surely wouldn’t lose.
There was a rustling sound from the forest. Gerrick turned around, thinking that it was a wild animal. But he then saw something unbelievable.
A young man was aiming a crossbow at him. Even though Gerrick was used to fighting, he screamed and jumped. The loosed arrow went through his flank and directly pierced the chest of the man behind him just when that man was turning around to look.
Then, the man sent to the back door raised a scream.
It was then that Gerrick finally realized he was under attack. He restored his posture and tried to ready his bow, but the young man tossed his crossbow away and jumped in holding a short sword.
He seems to have a bit of training, but he’s still an amateur. Gerrick gave up on the bow and tossed it at the young man. He used that chance to draw the sword on his hip. Having avoided the bow thrown at him, the young man slashed but it was at the level where Gerrick could easily avoid now that he was calm.
That moment, a thin rope laying at his feet caught his leg and Gerrick lost his posture.
No matter how used to battles he was, in the woods away from the road he had no way of knowing that there were lots of rope stretched around low, mixed with the grass.
He thought he had barely escaped, but the short sword the man carried was surprisingly longer than he thought.
His flank was shallowly cut through his leather armor and into his flesh. However, that’s all there was to it.
The man’s posture was broken because of this attack and he was practically defenseless.
The thing with surprise attacks is that once you survived one, you can somehow survive the rest.
Anyway, he should think after killing this man.
Gerrick raised his sword … and died from an attack coming from behind him, piercing his throat.