Chapter 8: A request for help
A week after a festival, things were back to normal. I was back to guarding the bridge and the residents were tending to their own business.
It's a good thing Nai built a house for Ange's pet sheep Mee Ro. It'll be weird to see her riding it all the time. She changes into a cheerful girl when she's with Me Roo but I prefer her to be in "quiet" mode.
"Good to see you! Here's our food for today!"
Atab is going around giving everyone the lunch for the day. He added some sheep dishes to his menu thanks to Gnak's sheep.
Atab then gave me my share. One whole pot.
"Thanks as always."
"I think it's quite obvious that you won't see new dishes or ingredients here anytime soon. Are you still going to stay?"
"I don't think that's the case, Sir Atup. Actually, Mr. Rick told me some stories about strange beasts that you've put down while guarding the bridge. I might be able to make some new, experimental dishes from those exotic meat!"
I really don't want to see a Troll stew anytime soon. Atab was going back to the residential area when suddenly...
There was a group of villagers on the other side of the bridge. They are wearing peasant clothes. Farmers?
A few seconds later some bandits with bows and arrows came out from the woods.
"Ange. Go take them out."
Ange threw exactly 15 knives and hit every bandit the came out of the woods.
Another wave was coming so I decided to put Ange on my shoulder and jump to the side of the villagers.
Some of them were terrified of me. Of course, I was a giant compared to them.
"You guys go cross the bridge now."
I decided to let them through since they all seemed to be normal villagers. Even though some of them had swords and shields, they were too worn out to be useful in battle. I don't think you could even kill a deer with that.
"Let's go guys!"
While they were crossing the bridge, 30 bandits came out from the woods.
"Hmmm. Turn back now."
"What the heck are you talking about you dumb ogre?"
"Hahaha! Get him!"
10 was charging at me at the same time.
Ange jumped off me when I swung my sword. The skill cleaving shockwave when I make a slash. It cut down all 10 of them.
"Tsk. It's a strong one. Fall back!"
As Ange was falling down from her jump, she threw 10 knives on the fleeing bandits.
Even if they were already out of sight, their screams could still be heard. Ange was definitely good at throwing those knives since she was able hit them even when they're inside woods.
"I'm sorry, I think at least 10 of them escaped."
"Don't worry. I doubt they'll be coming back anytime soon."
We went back to the our side of the bridge. The villagers were resting there. It looks like they have been running for a long time.
"Atab, get these people something to drink and eat."
Atab hurriedly went to get his tools. Tap Sa was praticing his swordmanship nearby and also helped by bringing drinking water.
"In behalf of all of us... Please accept this. Thank you very much, Sir."
They gave some kind of treasure. A gold bracelet?
"Some of the bandits that we fought off dropped that. It is the only valuable we have."
"It's all right. I'll take this as payment... But who are you people? I don't remember a village near these forests or even near the mountain."
It was a year ago the last time I checked. I quickly scanned the area around the mountain for enemies when I was facing an orc warband.
"We are just poor villagers from a village east of these mountains. There were a lot of warnings and taboos about this mountain but it was the only place we could go to."
"Why? What is happening in the east?"
"It's war. As always, our town would get pillaged by the enemy army. Our army won't spare any to defend us so we decide to flee instead."
30. There was only 30 from their group.
"This must not be the whole group. Are you their chief?"
"Yes, I am. Since the death of our chief when we entered these woods. The others were... also taken down by bandits."
Mr. Rick gave me the authority to accept people in our kingdom. Even though their just villagers, I believe increasing our working people would help us a lot.
"Mr. Chief, what is your name?"
"I am Lon."
"Very well. Lon, you can join our kingdom if you want. It's dangerous in these mountains and the bandits are not the only ones living here."
"We gratefully accept your offer. We know nothing about fighting but we are farmers and lumberjacks. We will help you with tasks that we can do."
"That's good enough."
"If... I may ask you a favor... Sir."
"It's Sir Atup by the way. So, what is this favor that you're asking for?"
"Some of us are still alive... They are being kept hostage by the bandits... my wife is with them. Please, help them."
Hmm... I can't leave the bridge. Not even for an hour.
"I'm sorry, I am not allowed to leave this bridge."
"Then I will help them."
"Yes, Sir Atup. I have trained hard lately and eager to try out my skills."
"I see. But you will not go alone. Ange."
It's not a month yet but I already trust Ange. She can do this.
"You are now free to go. But you need to help Tap Sa on this task."
"Thank you very much! I won't fail you!"
Tap Sa and Ange quickly left to search for the survivors.
"But... Sir Atup... Do they know where the bandits are located?"
"Don't worry. One of them is a ninja. They can find them on their own."
"I just hope they get to them in time."
I might look cruel to them now but if by some freak chance a monster appeared and tried to attack the kingdom, I won't be able to protect the bridge if I'm not there.
"Nai, you should make them some temporary shelter while you build the houses."
Atab also arrived with the food. They were eating vigorously. It must have been a brutal climb.
Lon looks really worried. I'm sorry but we need to trust Tap Sa and Ange.
(Tap Sa POV)
Finally, I would be able to test out my new skills. Sir Atup has been training me when he's free and as long as it's near the bridge.
Ange is leading the way since she's quite familliar with these woods. I grasp the sword in my hand. Please let me use it, Father.
"I could sense a group of them heading north."
After following the group for 15 minutes, we arrive at their camp.
There was a lot of tents and makeshift houses. There was also a cave where the hostages are tied up.
"Why would they even take hostages? They're just villagers."
Ange pointed to the middle of the camp where there was a huge fire burning. There were some people being burned on stakes. It was a ritual.
"These are not just bandits. They're cultists. We need to take them out before they summon their demon master."
There were about 50 of them in the camp. 5 were guarding the entrance.
"Try to take them out as quiet as you can."
Anget killed 3. She did it by killing one with a knife to the head and killing the other two by throwing a knife left and right.
I tried to unsheathe my sword but it still won't budge.
A new seal suddenly appeared when I was training with Sir Atup one day, he said I should be the one to break it this time. I tried but wasn't successful.
I used a sword that I got from Mr. Rick instead.
I dropped in the middle of the two and made a quick slash to the right and the left. Cutting their necks open.
"Let's go in."
We jumped to the other side of the gate but something weird happened.
They were already aiming their bows at us and the other bandits were also ready to fight.
"HAHAHAHA! Fools! You think you could sneak by our god's watchful eye!? Nek the Bloodlord is all powerful!"
The cultists starts to laugh hysterically.
Ange whispers to me...
"I'll throw a smoke grenade and use that to close in the distance. Try to kill as much as you can while the smoke is there."
Ange throws the smoke grenade.
Clouds of smoke covered the area.
<Proximity Sphere>! A circle made by a thin line surrounds me. Even though I can't see my enemy, as long as their inside the circle, I can hit them.
I jumped inside the smoke.
Slash, Slash, Slash...
One by one, the cultists fell to my blade.
Spells were flying from all directions but they did not hit me. Some of them even hit one of their own.
"Don't use spells idiots!"
A few minutes later, the smoke was gone.
30 cultist were lying dead on the ground.
"What!? You fools! How could you lose to these lower lifeforms!?"
"Time to die."
I remove the blood from my blade by slashing the air.
Ange threw 5 of her knives to the shouting cultist. He must be the leader since the remaining cultist gathered around him.
The other cultist caught all of Ange's knives.
"Let's finish him!"
Ange and I make a dash towards him and something unexpected happen.
The bodies of the dead cultists, the sacrificed villagers all floated to the cultist leader and exploded in a torrent of blood.
"GUHAHAHAHA! I AM HERE ONCE AGAIN! That dumb giant... I'll get him back! Get out of my way!"
Ange planted her knives on the face of the demon but it was deflected.
It's a good thing Ange was quick to react and was able to dodge a counter from the demon.
"So you're Nek the Bloodlord, huh? Take this!"
While he was busy trying to catch Ange, I made a slash towards his side.
The sword broke in two. It was a very good sword in my opinion and I was even able to cut rocks with that. For his skin to break it... He's not even armored.
"Hahaha! Take this worm!"
I took a direct hit from his tail. The demon covered in blood was floating with his wings made of blood.
"You are no match to me. Offer up your blood and be part of my awesome power!"
"You disgusting filth!"
Ange was ticked off. She throw some weird looking daggers at him. She threw 20 in quick successions.
He made a blood shield to defend himself. The knives exploded and was able to break through the shield.
Ange tried to dodge but the wave was too large.
A shadow saved her from the <Blood Wave> and she came out at the top of a tree.
She was clearly exhausted. It must be a very costly spell.
"Stay there. I'll take care of this."
"Hahaha! Trying to be a hero huh!?"
"Let's do this your way, Swordsman!"
I used my father's sheathed sword.
Deflecting his blows was not easy and when I was able to land my own hits, they weren't doing much damage.
Clink! Clank!!! Booomm!!!
A strong swing from his Blood Sword threw me a few meters away.
"Weak. You can't even be a good warm up for my real battle."
"Oh... looks like my food there is getting tired of waiting."
Some of the villagers was freed of their binds and was trying to free the others.
The villagers screamed. Time stopped for me.
A voice can be heard from my head. "As long as you draw your sword for others. I will give it to you."
The chains keeping my sword sheathed was shattered. My speed rose greatly, everything was slow motion to me.
I chased the demon Nek who was on his way to massacre the fleeing villagers and slashed him from behind.
He was cut in two.
"GRAAAHHHH!!! YOU FOOL! YOU WANT TO DIE FIRST? THEN I'LL KILL YOU!"
Time went back to normal. I was able to cut him in two but he manipulated his blood to get himself back in one piece.
This is the end... His Blood Sword was on its way to decapitate me.
I opened my eyes to see what was happening.
The demon was being sucked into a black hole.
"GUHAAAAA!!! NOT AGAIN!!! CURSE YOU!!! TRAITOR!"
Tero was there. He must have teleported here. With a wave of his hands, the demon Nek was gone.
"Hmmf. Low-class demons should know their place."
"Thank you... Mr. Tero..."
"Tero is fine. Sir Atup told me to help you guys with this since we felt some demon aura coming from here."
"By the way... That sword is impressive. To be able to cut Nek-chan's body like that... You have a bright future."
(Sir Atup POV)
"Thank you for bringing them back."
Tero brought back Ange and Tap Sa with his <Teleportation Gate> skill.
"That's a very useful skill you have there."
"Yeah, it's royalty stuff."
"Can I go back to reading now?"
Tero was trying to find out more about humans and how can they get so strong with time.
Ange was weakened and Tap Sa was unconscious. I cast <Greater Healing> on them to heal their wounds.
Ange also fainted after being healed. It must've been a hard battle. The villagers were also taken back along with them.
Lon finally got to see his wife. He was worried sick all this time.
"Thank you... thank you..."
He was crying.
"Don't thank me. Thank these two later when they wake up. I believe they did their best and that's why the others are still alive."
"Still, thank you for everything!"
He bowed deeply.
"You are welcome."
"I haven't told you before... but I am actually was bron with a special skill."
"It's the passive skill <Great Gardener>."
The skill made him knowledgeable about plants and makes the plants grow faster and grow more abundantly. He can also learn <Nature> spells more easily. This skill's most important trait is that he can plant unique plants.
"I see. You are very much needed here. I hope you stay here with us."
"Of course! I will do my best to repay this debt with my life!"
"Woah! Unique plants!?"
Atab suddenly came from nowhere.
"Can you tell me more!?"
It seems like the two would get along well.
Nila approached me before they went back.
"Thank you dear sir. My husband is a great person and I hope you take care of us. We will do our best to serve."
"No need for that. I'll make sure everyone in this kingdom is safe."
She bowed one more time and finally left. There's something weird with her. She's hiding her aura for some reason. It's a good thing that the aura isn't malicious.
Nai approached me a few minutes later.
"The houses are finished!"
"I see. Amazing as always."
"Human houses are the easiest ones to build. Bring us some weird creatures next time! I want to build different houses."
Mee Ro was trying to wake up Ange. The two are still lying down here near the bridge.
Tap Sa woke up.