Chapter 29 – Encounter with Guards
Danger area of rank D『Crimson Forest』.
The demons which appeared were not much different from the ones inside the labyrinth. In fact, their levels were low but they come out in large numbers, so it was annoying.
Well, it wasn’t like they always attacked even if we happened to come across them, ignoring the small demons generally more would immediately leave to some place. Even then numbers ain’t low,
we weren’t killing every one of them, but mostly we kill one of them and let others run in fright. Most run with just that.
Frankly, fighting each and every one of them would be troublesome. Once again, the numbers ain’t low.
And……there are many demons in this forest which I hesitate to kill.
Rabbit with horns『Horn Rabbit』or squirrel about the size of a puppy『Trifartel』 ……there are many demons who are cute. They would be on the level one would keep on staring them if they were to be sold in a pet shop.
If you want to laugh then laugh. Even though I’m like this, I love cute, since the previous life. Plush toys too.
However, a part of the demons were exceptions. I’m hunting them proactively.
Like the demons whose raw materials can be sold for high prices, or those who can used as a meat and were needed.
In my case, my policy was to tear the needed parts of demons, those which can be eaten would be used as food.
As an example,『Ignite Boar』is a pig-like carnivorous brutal demon. Its meat could be considered as a high-grade item, so good to eat, good for sale, that sort of monster it was.
There were also like a large sized chicken『Big Cook』and a completely bear like demon, and the name too『Bear』.
……That goes for the demons on raw materials basis, as for those with expensive fur like『Trifartel』, it was being hunted by Elk proactively, so I can’t get used to them dying.
Well I have my backpack, so after hunting the demons we put the materials into it, I don’t think we would have a problem in walking due to excess of raw materials.
But I still have to take care to not take too much. I have no intention to greedily take raw materials in large quantity, and I more enough don’t want it to become a racket if I brought raw materials in large quantities to the Guild.
Even if I『Store』it as food, the time couldn’t be stopped, by time its condition would only worsen.
And, I also hunted demons with magical power. They would become the food of Alva.
Just like the『Red Lizard』from before, we met with a『Magic Bunny』only once but it was really impressive (it was realllyyy cute).
Its appearance wasn’t much different from that of a rabbit, but making small sounds……it fired of a fireball like magic, at that time I was really surprised.
I got surprised, striked the fireball with backhand blow, in between that time Elk killed it by throwing the knife.
He had a scent of more dense magic compared to other demons, but for it to suddenly use magic. ……How enviable.
Later, Elk told me it was a rank『D』demon, and it could defeat『Bear』, something much times bigger that it itself. Hearing that, I was even more surprised.
As for that『Magic Bunny』, it had more magical power, so as expected it became the food for Alva.
Up until now, we met only one of them.
Alva ate it the moment I presented it. If it wants to it eats.
The appetite couldn’t be considered as something for someone as small as this.
The『Magic Bunny』I just now talked about was eaten completely except the bones.
It was 2 times larger than normal rabbits, and obviously lot more bigger than Alva itself……was it digesting using magic?
Then, after digestion and absorption was over, it flew to quite a distance and did it that work……after that it came back to my shoulder. Yeah, this guy has got good brain. It’s good that I don’t have to deal with aftermath.
It relaxed after eating, right now, it was sleeping on my shoulder. Was eating and sleeping the same in infants of both animals and demons?
Incidentally, This thing had been on my mind for a while,
The demons of this forest, maybe my imagination, but most are agitated……?
Perhaps, again something else came out?
「What do you mean by something?」
「Well something like『Naga』, after all all the demons are agitated and too much worked up as if wanting to secure food, maybe a strong demon came out that can destroy the balance of ecosystem」
Something like, an ancient sleeping demon woke up due to landslide.
「Give me a little break……I don’t want to meet something like that every time」
Maybe it had turned into a trauma, Elk started. Cold sweat sprouts.
No, well, I didn’t feel that they were starving or thin, so I don’t think there would be something like that……
However in that case, I have no idea what it might be……
I tried to ask Elk before, she said normally, even if the danger level rank was D, there hasn’t been a time this many demons would come across by.
Though the demons were in lot of numbers, there’s those who are coward, and careful, so upon sensing humans they would themselves disperse.
And, there were majority of them who would attack on their own, now that’s suspicious.
If it was like in the『Labyrinth』like food shortage I could understand the reason, but I couldn’t feel anything like that, so it had been in my mind even more deeply.
In other words, for some reason, they had been agitated and turned brutal, so they’re right now in high state?
Mating season……it doesn’t seem like that. According to Elk, it doesn’t occur this season.
Don’t tell me, the demons of forest have made a united front and were going to attack the human habitations……no no no, though they are demons most of them are wild animals. They wouldn’t be hostile to humans only. They aren’t some army of some demon king.
But in that case, it becomes more complicated to understand……
While thinking that we briskly walked.
In an irregular place like this, Elk could still calculate and find the way back using map and sun, she’s really excellent……
I think I heard something just now……?
At that moment,
Not only me, but sleeping Alva too got startled and woke up, then raised its head up.
We both looked around here and there……in the end we stopped while looking at the same direction.
「Oh, Alva you too noticed it?」
「? What happened, you guys?」
Elk walked some steps, noticed something and turned back……the next moment,
SFX: *Hyuuuu!* *Pashiii!!* (*whistle* *strike*)
Something – an arrow – so an arrow, came flying at me crossing through the trees, so I tried to catch it with my hand.
Not like it would hit something or someone even if it kept flying in that trajectory.
As though the momentum if came flying can be understood, the arrow hit my arm making a *Piiin* sound and wavered, seeing that Elk started then a second later she understood the whole situation.
Then, in a fluster, I looked towards the place arrow came flying in from, there was no one.
「Minato, is there something!?」
「……Well, if you ask there is something then yes there is, but……」
Most probably, Elk thought it was an attack from some demon with intelligence and can use weapons like Kobold from yesterday or Goblins from『Labyrinth』. She took out the dagger and took a fighting stance.
But that might be wrong. From what she had heard.
I tell her『It’s fine』while holding her back with my hand.
「Probably, we weren’t getting aimed at.」
「……? What do you mean?」
Ah well, it was quite far……so Elk can’t hear it.
In this forest, there were cries of demons here and there, so it had been noisy.
As for what my ear heard were……battle sounds.
The sound of something getting cut by a sword.
The sound of something attacking a metallic armor or something.
The sound of air cutting mostly because arrows are flying.
And……the sound of demons’ crying and humans’ voices.
But, the voices of humans’ wasn’t something like scream. It was more like, angry voice? commanding voice? At any rate, it wasn’t a voice that seemed to be afraid from demons……
In that case this arrow was a stray arrow. Now this is really dangerous.
「In other words, someone is getting attacked by demons?」
「It’s not one-sided, looks like they’re putting up a fight? I can’t hear screams. And it’s not necessary that there are only 1 or 2 people」
From what I heard, approximately, 10 are present. I couldn’t deduce exactly the numbers because there was a quite a distance between us.
「So, is it an adventurer party? Or is it a trader group with escorts?」
「Who know. What will you do? Wanna see?」
「……Not really, I have no interest in getting involved with other people’s problems……」
*glance* She sees the map in her hand,
「From here it is quite far. Helping them is something else, but let’s go and see what’s happening」
We change the route, not like we couldn’t take a detour but it would be troublesome to walk more.
And, seems like they were having hard time, so it would good to not take a detour so I could save them when needed.
The stray arrows could again come flying, so for precautions, I walked in front while Elk behind me.
Sure enough, 2 or 3 came, so I broke them or catched and kept on our progress.
The arrows I catched were stored in the backpack because it seemed to be too wasteful to throw them.
Then, after passing through the trees, we finally reached the mountain road where the sounds were coming fr……Whoops! (Pashi), once again it came flying.
Then, what I saw on the other side after catching it was……
「……!? Reinforcement……no, humans, eh?」
A woman holding a bow while looking at us with a surprised expression.
And in her surroundings,
Just like I heard, there were 10 and some more people.
Everyone had weapons in hand and were fighting the demons attacking them from inside the forest.
There were some carriages too, they were fighting while covering them, it doesn’t seem like a trader group to me.
Why? Because the attire of all them was same.
And it wasn’t only normally matching. It looked like a military or naval uniform. They are wearing an armor, all have the same design. Including the woman too.
They seem more like Knights compared to adventurers?
Then, after a second, the startled woman, quickly,
「……Oi, the young man over there!」
「You’re an adventurer, right? There is danger here, quickly……!」
The woman stopped talking, took her stance with bow and nocked the arrow.
Then, aiming at our side……Wha, Wait!?
I took defensive posture for an instant, but the arrow didn’t reach us, but went by our side and pierced the temple of『Wolf』hiding in the shade of tree behind us.
Whoa, awesome. She’s fast to take stance and shoot.
That bow and arrow using woman, takes a breath then once again looks at us,
「I’m sorry for scaring you. Young man and oh, there is one more. I’m sorry to ask it immediately, but are you adventurer or something? 」
「Eh? Ah, Yes, well we are」
「I see. Sorry for the rude behaviour, but just as you see en route we……!」
While saying that she once again takes down another demon with her certain archery.
「If you haven’t lost the way, then I will recommend to get out from here quickly. The situation is quite dire. If you remain here it would dangerous for you too」
「Err, what about you all?」
「Just as you see. I’m sorry, but we can’t protect *you both in this situation」
[ET: She says Kikou (貴公), this is used by MALES to refer to equal or inferior (in age) males]
No, I don’t think I understood anything at all by looking.
Then, before she spoke her words,
Her companion fighting at a separate place shouted in panic.
「Captain! There are reinforcements near 10 o’clock! Wolf and……Bear and Red Lizard too!」
「Ku, again! The smell of blood is stimulating them and luring them, eh……It’s inevitable, everyone……!? Oi moron, behind you!」
The woman shouted, the man who just now called her『Captain』, had a wolf coming at him from behind.
But, before that『moron』man noticed it, ……the arrow I threw struck the eye of wolf. The one I catched some moments ago.
Yeah, even now I can not leave someone who is about to get hurt. No matter what.
The wolf stopped there, but it started rampaging there, so there could’ve been casualties for the Knights (?), so I stepped the ground to reach there and kicked it.
The kick sent it flying to the opposite side of bushes, no, grove of trees.
The bow and arrow using woman and others saw everything that happened in that second in mute amazement.
「Err……was meddlesome for you?」
「……No, you helped us, thank you」
The bow and arrow using woman gave the words of gratitude after being the first one to understand the situation.
「And young man, though I said to run, but can you try to meddle some more? You have some ability, frankly, we don’t have much composure right now」
「Eh, yes, if that’s the case. Elk, you fine with it?」
「Yeah, I’m fine. It’s not like I didn’t predict this. Finish it quickly, okay?」
「Understood ma’am. Ah, that’s right, Alva it will be dangerous so be with Elk」
I confirmed that Alva landed on the shoulder of Elk.
That Elk was in an non-aggressive defense stance with her back facing a carriage. Yeah, in the current situation that might be the correct choice.
I strike the gauntlets of both hands and faced the『reinforcements』the knights (temporary) were saying before. Whoa, sure enough, they are quite a lot.
……Well, it would be a good warm-up.
So now that I’m participating in battle here, I would have to perceive this group as my comrades, right.
I don’t like my comrades being hurt, so to finish the warm-up, I kicked the ground.
After some ten-odd minutes,
We succeeded in somehow repelling that crowd of demons.
While letting the knights protecting, the carriage was moving away from that place.
We were able to get them away by the plan of me and other knights including the bow and arrow using woman to kill the monsters chasing us.
It wasn’t exactly repelling, right? We too ran away.
And, right now we both were sitting while facing the bow and arrow using woman inside a carriage of the group.
「Well then……first let me thank you. We were saved after all」
「Ah, no, we were just passing by, you don’t have to worry about it」
「Though I’m grateful that you say that, but thanks to you the casualties to my squad was less, so I can’t accept your words. Right now, I can only bow down my head」
She bows her head, seems like, she was the captain of this group.
The way she was letting out that air, and bowing her head in a place like this, I had a good first impression of her.
And, here finally I could see her clearly.
She has somewhat short light blue hair, and an easy-to-move blue colored navy uniform.
Maybe she had matched the armor with her clothes and it too was of blue-violet color, it was a light armor just like Elk’s one. The design was more for not interfering with agility and not more for defense
「I haven’t introduced myself yet. I’m Suura Cowen. I’m the platoon leader of the city guard force stationed near here. They are my subordinates」
City guard force……ah, the police-like thing that came in the case with Elk.
For short『Guards』. Though they are counted as a part of country’s army, but they are more like police boxes responsible for problems happening near the citizens living place.
To put it simply, the difference is like that of police and army?
Well in emergencies they too fight along with army, so they were considered as a full-fledged army link.
And, this Suura-san seems to be the『Platoon leader』in the base near here.
She lead a troop for a mission, then the situation changed into what it was before and seemed to have a close fight.
And, we by coincidence were passing by.
「It would’ve been dangerous at that rate. Though we wouldn’t had lost, but not everyone would have been fine. You really saved us」
「Ah, no, it’s fine as long as everyone is fine」
I reply with a nod seeing Suura-san bowing her head again, at the same time, I finish our self-introduction.
「……Now, let’s change the topic, you both are adventurers, right, what was the reason you came in this forest? 」
「Ah, no it’s not like we had some reason to come in this forest……」
I told her, us coming from Ritoras Mountain, and were taking a detour route to return back to city. All in a summary.
Then, Suura-san slightly furrowed her brows.
「It’s unfortunate but you won’t be able to reach your destination on this carriage. We are heading deep into forest after all」
「Eh, is that true?」
「Yeah, strictly speaking……『We have go deep inside the forest』or else we won’t reach our destination」
I don’t get it clearly, but it seems like that.
Muu……I was thinking that they would let us get out of forest in the carriage for helping them, but not everything in life goes easily well.
But in that case, we should now leave them.
We were only outsiders, and will only be hindrance to Suura-san in her mission.
I tell Suura-san that we would leaving here.
「I see, understood. I still want to thank you, but I’m in midst of work, so you know. It’s painful but I have nothing to give to you two」
「Ah, please don’t. I’ll just take the grateful feelings」
「I see. Then……before that」
Then Suura-san opened a map in front of us as though she remembered something.
What is it, while thinking that we both look, Suura-san then points at a point with her fair clean finger.
……Elk, I leave it up to you.
「Are you both going via this route to outside?」
「Yes, is there a problem?」
「Yeah. In truth……because of the heavy rain yesterday, the whole terrain around this area has crumbled. Due to that, this south road is mostly blocked」
……geh, for true?
The area Suura-san pointed with her finger also covered the route Elk had said to walk on.
……We couldn’t get through there. For the same reason we took a detour from Ritoras Mountain.
Suura-san, left the base early morning, couldn’t use that route, so took a really roundabout route and had then reached here.
We were told about the route, but yeah, it surely has quite a large distance to cover.
And we were able to know the reason behind the agitation of demons of forest, it was because of landslide.
Though it was only in an area, but the landslide changed the terrain of that place, so the demon ruling that territory was agitated. It lost the territory in a single night, so due to that the demons moved for recovering it, but didn’t stop and started to expand their territory, therefore the southern side of forest was in a rebellion state for now.
It couldn’t complain the natural phenomenon, so it came to this point.
In that case, for some time, this forest would be really troublesome.
Normally too the numbers and types of demons here were more, and in this state it would be more bad. Including the fact I would have to take a detour, it would turn into a difficult road back to city.
「What will you do, Elk」
「What you mean what to do, this is the only way back, so we have to go on this route」
「……By the way, I have single suggestion」
Suura-san opened her mouth with a difficult to speak expression. What happened?
「Can you both accompany us, only if you feel like it?」
「? What do you mean by that?」
「Just like I said before. We are currently headed deep in the forest for our mission, so it’s quite uneasy because the demons would also be stronger. That is little miserable, you might have guessed it from the battle before」
「Ah, I see」
「Furthermore in this『Crimson Forest』the outer areas have low ranked demons but after entering a little inside their ranks jump the gun and rapidly increase. The current us……well, we won’t be annihilated but we surely wouldn’t be able to come back without anyone getting hurt」
「I had heard that the people affiliated to Royal Army’s lowest strata have been employed as『Guards』……」
「Yeah. That’s why the lack of strength is also one of the reason」
There, Suura-san spoke.
Though they were low leveled demons like『Wolf』and『Red Lizard』, but I was beatin the crap out of them barehandedly and Elk too fought against them with movements not at all inferior to Knights.
So she wants to hire us as adventurers to aid the squad temporarily.
「Of course, I would reward you later. Though it won’t be as far as giving all, but I do plan to give you the reward from my private funds too」
「Wouldn’t it be better to go back temporarily and replenish the war potential?」
Elk spoke up.
Completely right. Doing that would be more good than hiring adventurers like us who have unknown origins.
And didn’t they used too many arrows in the previous battle? they should replenish it too.
「……Indeed, normally I would’ve done that. But we don’t have timewise composure to do that」
「What do you mean?」
「The mission this time is to rescue. We can’t take more time」
Ah, so that’s how it was.
From what I heard, yesterday, a caravan of traders was deployed from『Volca』piled with some important commodity, but they didn’t reach the neighbouring city they were to reach in night.
From investigating, it was guessed that they took the path via『Crimson Forest』as a shortcut route, but en route the heavy rain came and they were stranded here.
They would be on the woodland path, and would be found out without taking time, or so was their speculation, but due to the change in terrain because of landslide and the agitated state of demons had changed it.
Because of the situation within forest they wanted to replenish the consumable goods like like arrow and all, but they couldn’t possibly make the target for protection wait for long in the forest.
Moreover in doing that they would have to take that roundabout route. If they went back, then coming back today would be impossible. Based on time, the survival rate of traders would be grim.
And so, she asked us to help her, after all we came like a godsend to them.
「And it’s not like I don’t know you.」
「Due to my position, I have a good eye to discern people, just like from the skill you showed in the previous battle and especially, ……Minato, right, you even stopped my arrow from point-blank range, didn’t you?」
Regarding that Suura-san apologized.
Well indeed, normal people wouldn’t be able to catch an arrow. So she also evaluated that point too.
「And you don’t even demand money for helping and just tried to get away from here, that’s an unselfish personality. Having seen that much, I know that I can somewhat trust you」
Suura-san said that along with a gentle smile.
「So what will you do? I will say again, that I will pay the reward completely. It’s including my subordinates with promising future. Although it’s miserable as a soldier, but stomach can’t become spine. ……can’t you please accompany us?」
Suura-san asked with gentle yet serious eyes.
……Ah, what should I do……
I’m happy that she praised me. But in that case it would be……
It didn’t look like she was lying, so Suura-san would clearly pay the reward. For the amount of trouble it would bring us also.
Even so, we would have to bear the responsibility of going in the dangerous『forest』without any preparations.
And, the tactics based on pros and cons based on the area were something I’m not good at or rather……
……Elk, all up to you
「How long would be the time period for this job?」
「It will be like……searching for traders group, then escort them to the city, so at fast it would be over by tomorrow. At most it would be 5 days. Of course, that would be the timit limit for exploration」
「……Minato, you can make ice and all?」
「? Well, it’s not like I can’t do it, why?」
More precisely, I don’t make it with magic immediately, but use『Magic Arts』to freeze the moisture in atmosphere to make ice.
But, what happened suddenly?
「I mean the wrists of Kobolds for subjugation proofs, we can’t let it rot away, right? Upon freezing, it should be able to keep the shape for some days」
「? You were in the middle of quest?」
「Yeah. We have to present the proofs of subjugation within one week」
Saying that, ELk showed the wrists of Kobold to Suura-san.
「I see. In that case, we have preservatives within our equipments, you can use it. If it’s a simple thing then it would be able to preserve for 2 weeks」
「Really? You have got a quite convenient thing there?」
「Yeah. Due to my work, I have to bring back the wrists of robbers too. Regardless of missions, upon expeditions I bring it for preserving some things」
Unexpectedly, we were told her work quite vividly.
Well, like that the wrists would be preserved.
The time limit for request reached『At most 5 days』, so it might be safe at borderline.
In the worst case, after days, the exploration gets cancelled, we both withdraw, and I run with Elk on back in hyper speed.
「How about we act as mediators for the time limit of quest. Of course, for the time you would be here, we will prepare the food. But, upon increase in numbers we would have some local procurement, please acknowledge it……」
「And for other facilities?」
「The sleeping place, huh. Either inside the carriage, or we have 2 tents prepared, you can choose any one」
「Contents of work? Are we needed to only aid during the time of battle?」
「Basically yes. If I ask to be more greedy, I would like you to help in exploration, and setting up the camping grounds……Ah of course, I would increase the reward taking that in consideration」
「I see. ……I need a rough sketch about the amount of money given as reward, can I ask it?」
「You’re right……for the time being, how about 50 silver coins?」
In Japanese yen it would be……500K yen!? Really!? I would get that much for just escorting for 4 or 5 days.
「……Isn’t this quite lavish?」
「It isn’t. The place we are going is the deepest part of『Crimson Forest』where the danger level are lot more. According to situation, I would increase the reward」
Hearing that, Elk thought for a while……
「……Understood. Minato, you fine with it?」
「You accepting it?」
「Yeah. Looking at other conditions, this is cost-effective. And thinking about future, this would have help us get experience for quests like this」
With this work we should be able to get a lot of experience for escorting quest.
Adding that, we would get extraordinary reward, so it would be good to accept it.
After that I left the negotiations to Elk, completed the detailed facts, and officially accepted the quest by Suura-san.
It was a normal quest, but before I knew it, it had upgraded……well just think of it as life experience.