It was late at night and the only sounds that could be heard was the cold of winter and the sound of wind rolling through the forest that the merchants had decided to set up camp close to. That, and the snores from the tents where the merchants were sleeping.
Meanwhile, three people, Taenia, Fabel and Louise, who taken measures against the cold by wearing robes and coats, were on night watch as they stayed near the campfire. Next to the campfire, Set was also lying next to them, and Louise, who was on guard duty, kept looking over with wistful eyes. And as Taenia and Fabel stopped her from going over to hug Set, they continued to talk to fight their drowsiness.
Of course, their weapons were within reach, ready to fight back as soon as any monsters or bandits attacked.
「It’s only been two days since we’ve worked together……but what do you think of Rei?」
Fabel suddenly asked as brought a cup of tea to her mouth to fight her drowsiness.
「What do I think……well, he’s skilled. He proved that when he fought the Icebirds, right?」
「Yes, I know that much. But isn’t that strange? Such a small kid like him has the power of a rank C adventurer.」
「Small kid……he’s just about as tall as you.」
While holding down Lousie with one hand, who was about to move towards Set again, Taenia replied with a bit of surprise as she drank some tea with her other hand.
「Wait, that’s not true. I’m taller! T-A-L-L-E-R!」
Fabel’s height was 166cm, slightly taller than Rei. Even if it was just 1cm taller, she was still taller. This seemed to be a line that Fabel would not yield on. She insisted while yelling in a whisper.
By the way, Taenia was 172cm tall, and surprisingly, Louise’s height was 175cm, which was the tallest among the party of Beautiful Raindrops.
「Yes, yes, I’m sure you’re taller. ……So, what’s wrong with Rei?」
「Mm, it feels like the way he handles things is a bit rough. ……I mean, don’t you think it’s a bit crazy for him to reach rank C at his age? What’s more, he has such an amazing creature following him.」
Perhaps he felt Fabel’s gaze. Set opened his closed eyes and tilted his head as he gave a cry.
Originally, in this situation without Rei, putting a Griffon next to people would only bring fear. But Louise was an exception and Taenia and Fabel had little fear of Set after he had helped them fight off the Icebirds. The merchants were the same, they hadn’t had the time to get used to Set unlike the residents of Gilm. However, they were still able to interact normally.
「I can see that, but every now and then, you here such crazy things right? In addition……」
Taenia tried to continue. But Set, who had been lying on the ground, suddenly got up and gave a cry towards the depths of the forest.
The cry seemed to be a warning for Taenia, who hadn’t worked with Set for long. It was easy to understand what such a warning cry meant in this situation, as they had already left the frontier. After all, Rei had seen bandits tailing them with his own eyes during the day.
「……Fabel, wake up Rei. Louise, stop looking at Set and prepare to intercept!」
「I also know as welll.」
Fabel hurried to the tent where Rei was sleeping while Taenia readied her favoured halberd. Louise notched an arrow, ready to release at any time. And……
Set, who had been lying on the ground a moment before, suddenly jumped up from the ground with an amazing burst of energy and moved in front of Taenia. He immediately swung his front claws.
Kin- Kin- Kin- Kin-!
A continuous metallic sound was heard as something fell to the ground. When Taenia reflexively looked towards the ground, there were about 5 knives and broken arrows.
(Are they seriously trying to kill us!?)
Taenia held her breath in her mind.
Taenia was aware of her own looks. It was the same with Fabel and Louise. She wouldn’t consider herself beautiful enough to turn heads when she brushed past men in the streets. However, she had enough confidence that at least two out of ten people would call her beautiful. And, she knew that bandits usually targeted money and goods as their first priority, followed by women. She knew that if she got caught, she would be humiliated as a woman, but as long as she stayed alive, there would be a chance to get her revenge. Yet, unexpectedly, the bandts tried to kill her outright without even talking.
Following Taenia’s orders, Louise shot an arrow in the forest. However, in the dark……Louise, who had been looking at the campfire previously, was not used to the lighting and her arrow flew wide.
(But, that’s my aim. It certainly didn’t hit anything, but now they know we can attack from range.)
As Taenia expected, the momentum of the enemy attacking them from the forest paused for a moment……
With those words, a fireball about 30cm in diameter flew out from behind her and lit up the forest in an instant with light from the flames.
「It’s magic, extinguish it, put the fire out! They’ll be able to see our whole position from there!」
Unfortunately for them, the fireball had hit one of them by luck. A man rolled on the ground ablaze, trying to put it out with the remains of snow or soil on the dew soaked ground. As one of the bandits spoke, the darkness in the forest was somewhat washed away by the flames. At the same time, several spears flew out and buried their tips into the bodies of the bandits.
Rei, with the Death Scythe in his left hand and a spear with a rusted tip in his left, appeared next to Taenia, who realised who had cast the spell.
「We can see where the enemy is for now. What do you want us to do? Fight or run away. That said, if we run away, the heavy carriages will be a hindrance.」
At the somewhat provocative question, Taenia made her decision immediately with a wry smile.
「We will fight. We were hired as escorts for that purpose. Considering our own strength, we will guard the merchants! Rei and Set, go to the forest and attack the bandits!」
Following Taenia’s orders, Louise fell back with her bow and arrows……more precisely, back to the carriages. However, with a long range weapon, she could still attack from behind as she shot arrow after arrow towards the human figures illuminated by the magic used by Rei.
Protecting Louise, Fabel and Taenia stood on either side as the merchants rushed out of their tents near the carriages and gathered behind them.
「Set, you sneak behind the enemy from above!」
Along with that shout, Rei threw the last spear in his hand. The spear penetrated the belly of a bandit, sending him flying into a tree that was growing behind him. At the same time, the handle of the spear snapped in two due to the impact.
The next moment, Set ran a few steps before jumping off the ground and into the sky.
The bandits who saw that immediately followed Set’s movements with their eyes, but……
「You can’t look away when dealing with me!」
With a slash, Rei’s Death Scythe split several people in half at the waist. At the same time, their organs and blood scattered into the surroundings, their blood evaporated by the flames that had yet to disappear, causing a rust like odour to drift around.
(This is all thanks to Taenia’s arrangement. Even though there is light, it is still dim. If it had been anyone other than me who had rushed into the forest, there would be a high probability they would be taken out.)
Rei swung his Death Scythe while admiring Taenia’s judgement in secret. Several people were slashed by the huge blade as another was smacked away by the handle, breaking a few bones. One more was fatally injured as the base of the handle was thrust through his torso.
The number of bandits who had attacked them had exceeded 30. However, not only did Rei have his extraordinary physical ability, the Death Scythe was also a large scythe with a blade that wouldn’t dull even after cutting through several people at once. The bandits must have become afraid after seeing the number of their companions slowly decreasing every few seconds. Some tried to turn around and run back into the forest……
Something came down towards the eyes of the male bandit who was about to flee, as if tearing through the night sky.
Needless to say, it was Set, who had gone around behind the bandits at Rei’s order.
The huge body that fell from the night sky could have been described as a death god of the sky. The bandit who tried to escape flew nearly 5m away after being hit by Set’s forefoot, along with Set’s momentum. He hit a tree, which broke his spine, before dying on the spot.
The first man who tried to run away died in a joke like death, causing the remaining bandits to stop moving. The next moment, a bandit who had turned around just a few seconds ago was cut down by a large scythe and his body thrown aside as if he was a weed.
Regardless of whether the opponent was a man or woman, the blade of the death god swung down. Whether they were old or young, they were all killed equally.
Those who tried to run were killed by a Griffon, a rank A monster. The death god cut them down without hesitation, as if he didn’t care about their lives. The only options there were given were to run away towards the sides, where their escape paths had not been blocked, or to drop their weapons, knowing that they had no chance of winning.
「I-I-I surrender! Please, don’t kill me!」
「Me too! I’ll do anything. I won’t do anything bad ever again, so don’t kill me!」
「I will surrender as well! L-Look. I have a nice body. I can sleep with you, so don’t kill me!」
Three bandits were left. Considering that only 5 had managed to run away, the lives of nearly 30 bandits had disappeared in a matter of a few minutes.
「The ones who were begging for their lives……should I let you go?」
Rei asked as he shook the Death Scythe.
Feeling that those words meant that they might have a chance of survival, the 2 men and 1 woman nodded desperately.
「Of course. You shouldn’t kill those who have surrendered. I-I-Isn’t that right?」
「Yes, of course. To help others is to help yourself.」
「We are good bandits.」
The bandits desperately tried to persuade Rei that he should let them go. When Rei heard those words, a smile floated onto his lips.
We’re saved. Just as the hearts of the three people were filled with relief……the bandits realised that the Death Scythe was swinging towards them.
Despite spilling the blood of nearly 30 people, there was no dullness on the blade and it gave off a sparkle that could almost be called glossy.
When they realised that Rei’s smile was not a compassionate one, but a sneer, it was too late and the Death Scythe was already swinging down.
The moment he heard Taenia call out from behind, the blade of the Death Scythe stopped. If her voice had been a moment later, the head of the male bandit closest to the blade would have been severed at the neck. The blade stopped as it reached his skin.
「Why did you stop me?」
「You can kill them at any time, but we can only get information from them while they’re alive. ……Hey, you lot. If you answer my questions honestly, I’ll overlook this. What will you do?」
Of the three bandits, the man in the middle and the woman on the left nodded without hesitation.
Taenia was a bit worried that the man on the far right had no response, but looking at him, only the white of his eyes were showing with foam at his mouth in fear of death. The wet patch around his groin must have been due to his fear of impending death.
(……It’s understandable I guess.)
The blade of the death god had literally almost cut his head off. It was impossible for him not to faint from fear of death. Taenia looked at the other two.
「Why are you still active at this time of the year? Merchants are usually not active in this area during this time of the year right?」
「That’s……we don’t know. Our leader got your information and decided to attack you.」
「How many of you are there?」
「About 50 people? But, if I consider how many were killed today, I think there are only 20 or so left.」
「Where is your hideout?」
「A cave just past this forest.」
The two bandits answered Taenia’s questions one after another. The two spilled the location of their hideout without any hesitation towards their companions. If they could save themselves, they would sell out their friends. The act itself showed that they were low level bandits, and at the same time caused Rei to frown unpleasantly at their answers.
Eventually, after 5 minutes of questioning, Taenia judged that there wasn’t anymore information they could get out of them. She nodded slightly and turned around.
「That’s enough. I will do as I promised. You can go now.」
Are you really going to let them go? Rei asked with such a meaning, but Taenia winked lightly such that only Rei could see and stopped him from saying anything more.
「R-Really! I’m sorry!」
「Thank you, thank you very much!」
They survived. That was enough to satisfy them. The two bandits tried to escape from the place immediately.
「Take that unconscious guy with you. I don’t want to leave him here.」
The two of them lifted the unconscious man at Taenia’s words and disappeared into the forest.