The location was about an hours walking distance from the Orc settlement. The Orc subjugation force from Gilm stopped the wagons and the leaders of each party gathered in Hobbes’ tent for a strategy meeting. Rei was also called to the meeting as the person in charge of transporting supplies.
Though there are adventurers on watch so that Orcs and other monsters don’t come near, they don’t have a nervous appearance.
To begin with, excluding Rei, the lowest ranked adventurer party to accept the Orc subjugation quest was still D rank, and above all, the Griffon, Set, was keeping watch.
「Well, though we have arrived here safely at last……I want to scout the situation at the Orc settlement first. Are there any volunteers?」
To Hobbes’ words, all of the participating party leaders remained silent.
Even Elk was silent. After all, the party composition of Axe of the Thunder God was 2 warriors and a mage. It couldn’t be helped as they didn’t have anyone in charge of scouting.
Though there were parties with thieves, they judged it to be too dangerous and remained silent.
Moreover, as for the leader of Dark Night’s Star, Seryl, though they had thief like Murgas, their aim was different.
(It’s necessary to have Murgas watch the rookie. He’s been ordered to steal the item box if there is a chance, I can’t assign him the troublesome duty of scouting the Orc settlement.)
As she was thinking this in her mind, her eyes swam around for a moment when Hobbes glanced at her.
「Seryl, wasn’t there a thief in Dark Night’s Star? How about that guy?」
「I apologize, but his personality isn’t good to scout the Orc settlement. He’s basically a coward. Well, he’s a thief who can find the enemy before they find us.」
By the way, here, a thief didn’t mean someone who stole things. When adventuring, their role was to scout ahead and to make traps. They were thieves in the sense that would open trapped chests in labyrinths without needing a key.
As Rei was watching the exchange of words between Hobbes and Seryl, he raised his hand.
「Though I think someone has asked, in this case, will scouting count towards achievements for the guild?」
「Ah, that’s natural of course.」
「Then, I will do the scouting.」
For an instant, Hobbes wasn’t able to understand what Rei was saying and asked again.
「As I said, I would like to take on the role of scouting.」
「Wait a second. Do you have the skills of a thief?」
Though one of the party leaders near Hobbes asked, Rei shook his head in silence.
「I haven’t acquired such skills.」
「Then I will object. Though my party can’t provide a thief, I’m against you scouting if it risks being found. If we’re found, won’t the night attack be ruined as well?」
「That’s right. I’m also against it.」
All the other party leaders agreed with the words of the man who spoke up first.
However, as Rei saw his thoughts being rejected, he smiled as he started to speak.
「Certainly, I don’t have the skills of a thief. And the general opinion is that the night attack will become useless if I’m found while scouting. However, as you know, I have Set.」
As soon as Rei said that, the others understood what he wanted to say. Elk gave a loud cry.
While the neighbouring people turned their eyes to Elk, Rei continued to talk.
「Set’s a Griffon. In other words, it can fly. And because I tamed Set, naturally, I can ride on his back.」
As he said that, all the other people in the area understood how Rei was planning to scout. They turned their eyes to Rei with looks of admiration.
……With the exception of one person, Seryl, who had a bitter expression on her face.
Still, the reason why no one had thought of scouting from the sky until Rei said it was because magic that allowed people to fly was a highly advanced magic and very few people could use it.
At the same time, though there naturally were beastkin adventurers participating in the Orc subjugation force, beastkin from bird families didn’t exist, as a result none of them had thought of scouting from the air either.
By the way, although there are people called Dragon Knights among the knights of the country, it took lot of resources and time to hatch a Wyvern from an egg and raise it along side a Dragon Knight candidate, as a result, most of them belonged to the country’s military forces and were stationed in the Imperial Capital, there were none of them in a frontier city like Gilm.
「Hobbes, is there a problem if I ride Set to scout the Orc settlement from the sky?」
「No, there are none. I mean, we welcome it if you can do it.」
Grinning, Hobbes nodded as a fierce smile came on to his face.
「What should I look for?」
「First of all is the number of enemies. Next is where the settlement is built. Lastly, it will be good if you can note where the defense of the settlement is weak. At the same time, I would like to know who the monster is that is leading the Orcs. Whether it is a rare species or a high ranking species. ……I hope it’s a rare species.」
Rare species and high ranking species. Speaking of which is more troublesome, it is still the high ranking species. While rare species have abilities that are better than their species, high ranking species live up to their name. Though there is not much difference between a rare species and high ranking species in terms of ability to lead, it is easier to subdue a rare species, was Hobbes explanation.
Rei nodded to Hobbes words and left the place.
He felt the hateful eyes of Seryl, directed to his back.
(Damn, if possible, I wanted to steal the item box before the fight with the Orcs started. Did he volunteer to go out to scout on purpose? Seriously, is the only thing he wants to do is to gain points with the guild.)
While Seryl vaguely guessed the reason in her mind, Hobbes called out to the party leaders in the area.
「We’ll finish here. Because we’ll gather again when Rei comes back from scouting, please stay nearby.」
To Hobbes’ words, the people went back to their own parties.
Set saw Rei after Rei left Hobbes and gave a joyful cry. Several adventurers who happened to be in the surroundings watched Set with smiles.
Apparently, by sharing the watch, a lot of people had lost their fear of Set.
「Set, we’ll go out for a while. 」
「Hobbes left us the job of scouting. Will you be able to scout safely if you fly over the Orc settlement?」
Will do, Set gave a small cry and turned his back to Rei.
「I’m relying on you.」
After patting his back and sitting on it, Set opened his wings after a run up of a few steps and ran up into the sky, as if stepping on the air.
Adventurers watched this scene enviously.
A blue summer sky and white clouds. And glaring sunlight. Set stretched his wings and flew in such weather. Because they were flying at a reasonably high altitude, Rei judged that even if the Orcs looked at the sky and saw them, they would think it was a bird.
Rei, who was across Set’s back, observed the Orc settlement beneath his eyes. Although scouting the ground from this altitude would be difficult for a normal person, this was a body made by the concentrated efforts of Zepairu and his organization, it wasn’t particularly difficult for him to see the state on the ground.
Though Hobbes had said there were about 50 Orcs, the scale of the settlement was larger than expected. There might be around 100 Orcs. However, on the contrary, it may be the Orcs misfortune. For that reason, the settlement hadn’t been completely built, east side region was almost completely untouched. Still, being cautious in the mean time, several Orcs acting as sentries could be on the east side from the air.
「Perhaps the building larger than the others in the center is the home of the Orc leader.」
The buildings that the other Orcs lived in were poor ones made from a mix of wood and straw. However, the building in the center clearly took more effort in comparison to the buildings around it. ……Still, it was shabby compared to the houses in Gilm.
「For the number of Orcs, the situation has been confirmed. Now, I should be able to check the leader of the Orcs……no, with my knowledge, I won’t be able to tell if its a rare species or high ranking species……I guess?」
Muttering at that time, the appearance of an Orc entered Rei’s eyes. It was about double the size of a normal Orc, it was equipped with some kind of armour while the rest of the orcs were armourless.
「Is that the individual leading the Orcs?」
Rei muttered while Set gave a cry at the Orc settlement, he drew Rei’s attention to a place that they had looked at before, a bit further away.
There was an Orc at the place noted by Set. The Orc was also wearing armour and was double the size of the other Orcs.
And when you looked at the state of the settlement carefully, similar Orcs were present.
「In that case, those armours denote officers or generals. ……I guess?」
Next, he caught sight of a place where the Orcs had gathered. It was a shack north of the settlement. There were just under 20 Orcs around the hut.
「What? Is that a food storage or something?」
As he was thinking, the next moment, as he was about to leave the settlement, something jumped out of the hut and began to run……outside, it was held down by the Orcs that had gathered. Rei’s eyes, that were much sharper than a normal persons, confirmed what had jumped out. Wearing what seemed to be the remains of clothing on her body, it was a human woman that was almost stark naked.
When he concentrated on his hearing, 『No, stop it! Please don’t dirty me anymore than this!』a voice could be heard faintly.
Rei furrowed his eyebrows at that sight, he recalled from Zepairu’s knowledge that Orcs used human women to breed.
「Help, is it? ……No, I can’t help.」
If he only considered his personal feelings, he would have rushed down and killed all the Orcs. However, even if he could take care of the Orcs near the shack, it would likely make the rest of the Orcs wary. It could become a factor in the night attack and cause it to fail, finally, it would affect the number of people sacrificed from the subjugation force as well as the number of Orcs that would be able to escape.
「……Tonight. I’ll help if you can hold out until tonight. So don’t give up.」
Though he knew that the woman who had been pulled back into the hut couldn’t hear him, he gave a small mutter.
Rei himself averted his eyes to continue scouting, aware of the anger he was feeling as the woman was taken back to the shack and decided he would take out the Orcs at tonight’s night attack.
「In the end, most of the weapons the Orcs have are swords and clubs. Several are carrying shields. ……There are some with bows.」
With a bow in hand, Orcs with a quiver on their back could be seen walking through the settlement. And……
「Are there canes too? Those are Orc Mages.」
Though there were only a few, the figures of Orcs with canes could be seen.
「Right, this much scouting should be sufficient. Set, we’ll head back.」
Giving a sharp cry in response to Rei, Set spread his wings and and returned to where the Orc subjugation force had camped.
「Orcs, tonight is your last night. I hope you enjoy your time before night to your utmost.」
With those cold words, Rei left.
When Set glided in and landed on the ground, several adventurers in the surroundings unintentionally clapped their hands as they saw it.
However, several smiling adventurers who were going to call out to Rei understood that there was something about the Orc settlement when they saw the cold smile on his face. They let him go straight to Hobbes.
As Set gave an anxious cry, several adventurers gave him some dried meat and patted his head.
Leaving Set there, Rei headed straight to Hobbes, the person in question, Hobbes, also came to meet Rei.
「Rei, you’re back.」
「How was the scouting?」
「I’ve roughly seen everything.」
「I understand. When you returned, I had already notified the party leaders to group. Please come.」
So informed, Rei followed Hobbes who went ahead. Though Hobbes felt his appearance was somewhat strange, he judged the top priority was to hear the results of the scouting and went to the tent for the meeting without saying anything.
As Hobbes had said, the party leaders had all gathered, they all gave a sigh of relief upon seeing the safe appearance of Rei.
Seryl, who was aiming for the Misty Ring, was the same. However, regarding Seryl, it was a sigh of relief that her prey hadn’t blundered on the scouting mission and had been killed by the Orcs.
Seeing Rei sit down, Hobbes started to speak.
「Well, Rei. Please report on the results of scouting at once.」
「Ah. First of all, the number of Orcs, the original 50 that we assumed has been greatly exceeded. There’s probably 100.」
100. The cheeks of the party leaders cramped the moment those words were said.
As they had joined the subjugation force to fight 50, it was no wonder.
「Calm down! I would like to say this first. The number of 50 was the lowest estimate. It was expected that the numbers would be greater.」
「However, I never hear that the number would be doubled. Can’t we decide to return to the city?」
「……And overlook the damage of the Orcs to the city of Gilm?」
The person who advised withdrawing didn’t persist strongly when it was said that damage would be done to the city of Gilm if they retreated here. Even if that person didn’t have friends in the city of Gilm, they had acquaintances. If it was said that they might end up as victims of Orcs, they wouldn’t retreat.
「At the same time, though there might be more Orcs than expected, as a result, they haven’t finished building the settlement. The East side is almost untouched. However, I have confirmed the presence of sentries instead. 」
「I see, the East side is undermanned. That’s good information. I will reference that for the night attack.」
「As you want. Also, there were Orcs double the size of normal Orcs who were wearing armour.」
「……Those are Orc Generals. That’s one of the high ranking Orc species.」
「Others had bows, several with canes were also confirmed. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find the individual leading the Orcs……but because there was a building built better than the others in the center of the settlement, it might be there.」
「Orc Archers and Orc Mages……the center of the settlement.」
「Ah. ……As well as that, there’s one last thing. There is a shack to the north of the settlement, and I have confirmed there are humans there.」
Humans in an Orc settlement. The others that heard it had their faces stiffen, Hobbes opened his mouth to speak.
「That’s……a woman, is it?」
「Ah. I think the Orcs go there to breed. Though when I last saw they still looked alive……」
「I see. ……Did you notice anything else?」
「No. That is all.」
「I see, I understand. Then please rest until night. I’ll explain the strategy at dinner.」
Giving a small nod to Hobbes’ words, he left the tent.
Several hours remained before the night attack. Everyone started their combat preparations.