Earlier that day in the cellar…
“We can’t just wait any longer. We need to go out there. It doesn’t matter what happened to the him We need to get stronger. That hasn’t changed.” Ava stood up and exclaimed looking flustered
Kaden took a good look at her but instead of his usual heated gaze, he instead looked at her disapprovingly “We don’t have to go and kill monsters. We should kill when we need too, and just leave. Make a run in the direction of another town. If we mind more people then we’ll be fine. That’s the safest choice.” he said in a slightly tired voice.
Hannah gave Kaden a soft look, the kind a mother gives her young child when he doesn’t seem to understand something seemingly simple to everyone else, “Kaden. We don’t know whether it would be the safest choice, we don’t even know what’s out there. It could be nothing or could be even stronger monsters. We definitely have to go hunting. We need to get stronger if we are going to have any chance of getting to another village relatively safely. Ava is right.”
Sharing a glance between one another, Hannah and Ava seemingly make a unilateral decision and grab their weapons.
Kaden feeling dismayed at not being heard. Wants to argue but holds his breath knowing it’s not often he wins an argument with his sister “What about that guy?” he asks with a monotone voice.
“We’ll do our usual rounds, if we find him that’s great and we’ll ask him what happened. There’s nothing else we can do, if he’s gone he’s gone and if he’s dead he’s dead. If he’s hurt he’s hurt, but we wouldn’t know where to start. There’s no point in thinking about it since he didn’t tell us what he was going to do and where.” Ava brings a backpack with some food and bandages, this time ready to stay out longer with no one staying behind
“Okay, it’s as good a plan as any” Hannah says following behind Ava, Ava stops at the front of the stairs and stares at Kaden
“Oh ah yes??” Kaden looks a little surprised by the sudden stare.
“You go up first.” Ava says with no room to argue in her tone
Suddenly flushing, Kaden turns his head and starts up the stairs with the girls behind him.
Above ground they begin to discuss where to go. Somewhere new or the areas they’ve previously covered.
“I think… We should go south. We’ve barely taken a look that way so far. Plus I have a feeling” Hannah comments and with no arguments from the others they begin their walk on guard and ready to meet any dangers.
Heading south they were lucky enough to get through most of the town without encountering any monsters. They were feeling more and more optimistic about monsters not being as common as they thought. Until they got further south. Without meaning too they ran into a group of Orcs. These orcs looked stronger than the ones they’d seen, they had a clear leader and seemed to be awaiting orders. Inadvertently Hannah was seen and after that two of the orcs entered into battle with them. Even without Daichi to tell them their levels they could tell that they were stronger and faster, only Kaden was able to face them face to face as a distraction while he told Ava to guard Hannah.
In reality it was a two pronged plan, being one of his brighter ideas he both got Ava to guard Hannah and Hannah to guard Ava. If an orc attacked after what he’d said he’d be less weary of one than the other not realizing how deadly both Hannah and Ava were.
Unfortunately with two orcs attacking Kaden at once he was having trouble dealing any damage because after the first dash from one of the orcs Kaden got a a feeling that one hit from either any of these orcs would deal serious damage and limit his ability to fight back. Under so much pressure Kaden was relegated to dodging all of their blows and at every attempt to strike back, Kaden would have to stop in order to avoid the other orc.
Barely within Kaden’s field of vision he saw three orcs charge at Hannah and shouted at her “Hannah! Stay back for now!”
Swords in hand, Daichi slowly crept closer to the orcs. There were too many to just dash in without gaining as much ground as possible. Their levels were high enough and this was a big group too. “I definitely have to play it smart. I’ll get in as close as possible before rushing them. Kaden’s group will just have to hold out for now.”
Moving closer bit by bit and taking cover behind anything he could find, Daichi creeped closer and closer until he was a few meters away. In fact Daichi was a little surprised by their lack of self-awareness, figuring that these orcs must have been seriously focused on the battle in front of them to leave their backs so exposed.
“Careless mistake on their part” he thought while preparing his skill. Daichi leapt forward covering the short distance left between himself and the orcs in but a few seconds. Giving Mannoth the orc only enough time to sense the danger and turn pulling one of his orc companions in front of the sword piercing towards him. The moment Daichi’s sword pierced the unaware orc He triggered his <Chaotic Eruption> skill. Pulling his blade out of the orc in front of himself and moving around him to strike at Mannoth.
“I have to kill their leader immediately. That’s the only way I get out of this with ease!”
Unable to move, Mannoth could only stare blankly at the blade swinging towards his neck with an expression of confusion before he was decapitated without even the slightest chance to react to this new development.
After killing Mannoth, the 4 orcs standing in the immediate vicinity were already staring at Daichi with expressions of fear and confusion. An opponent had just easily killed their most trusted leader with such ease and trapped them with some form of magic rendering them with fear and dread. Understanding their rationale, Daichi decided to end their confusion.
Fortunately for them they only had to experience this dread for a few more seconds before he moved in closer decapitating them one at a time. Leaving only the original orc he’d pierced before still alive within the span of 4 seconds.
Daichi tried to turn and move while ignoring the sensation of his muscles tingling and convulsing. Luckily it only lasted a second as he turned around, not wanting to leave his back exposed as he struck at the remaining orc before thinking of what action to take to save the others.
The orc in front of Daichi was filled with fear at seeing his companions die in the blink of an eye. He tried to turn and run away only to leave himself even more vulnerable to Daichi’s sword. Pierced once more through the back the orc fell down unable to take more than a few steps.
“I definitely made the right choice. If I hadn’t just acted as decisively as I did, that orc may have recovered enough of it’s courage to attack instead of trying to run away making that such an easy kill.“
Facing the others Daichi noticed two orcs chasing after Hannah and Ava and Kaden struggling to fight two more orcs by himself. Considering their strengths and weaknesses as a group, Daichi decided to help Hannah and Ava. “They probably won’t be able to evade the orcs for long but Kaden will.” Daichi figured but not giving it too much thought as he closed the distance.
Running towards them as fast as possible. Somehow despite taking out their leader and 5 of their comrades, those orcs and the others still hadn’t noticed Daichi’s arrival. Taking advantage of this as he got closer, instead of making noise to draw their attention Daichi stayed silent and struck at the slowest orc behind the knees with his foot making it fall to one knee and letting Daichi to pierce it from behind and through the heart. “I’m getting more and more used to the vital point of these monsters at this point.” Daichi thought as he killed the orc.
That kill finally made enough noise for the other orcs to stop their swings at the girls, and stop in their tracks as they turned around in Daichi’s direction. Unfortunately for the orc in front of Hannah, that was all it took for Hannah to touch it’s back and end it’s life with a very terrifying simplicity.
Staring at Daichi both of the girls were perspiring and breathing heavy.
Daichi wasn’t really sure what to say, so instead of saying something pointless he instead turned to look at Kaden and saw he was having trouble evading the orcs at this point. Kaden must be getting tired he thought as he looked in the direction of the girls “Let’s go help Kaden, I’ll distract one and Ava you finish mine off while he’s facing me. Hannah use the same strategy with the Orc facing Kaden.” Not even waiting for them to reply Daichi started running forward with his swords dripping blood in his wake.
Using his strategy, they finished off the last two orcs with ease. Which allowed the girls to get some more experience. After finishing the final orc, Daichi could tell from a glance that Kaden was angry at him. “He’s looking at me like he wants to throw a punch or something.” Instead of trying to smooth things over though Daichi decided to just be frank and tell them what he found out and see what they would say after that.
“Last night I found out a lot. We need to go back and talk.” he threw it out there hoping they could handle it with ease.
Kaden nearly blew his top and screamed at Daichi “What the hell happened to you!? We all thought you were dead! Why the hell did you even go out on your own in the first place!?”
Glancing at Ava and Hannah it looked to Daichi like they didn’t quite trust him as much anymore. Neither of them were saying anything so he could only assume they felt the same way as Kaden.
“I went out on my own because I needed some space. It’s my right to do that if I want. As for why I didn’t come back last night, that’s because I got trapped under one of the old guard posts near the wall at the outskirts of town. There was a horde of monsters too strong for me to deal with, I had to hide until they were gone.” Daichi knew it wasn’t quite the truth but also figured it wasn’t all too far from what had actually happened either.
Looking at him like she didn’t quite believe him “You were being selfish!” Ava said in an almost monotone voice.
Hannah looks at Daichi with some lingering disappointment and continued to stay silent.
Kaden continues “No. Wrong. You don’t get to make that choice. You don’t get to take off whenever you want. We’re in this together. Going off and doing whatever you want may work if you’re going at it alone, but if you want to stay with us you can’t do that shit man. I’m trying to keep it together but you did was fucked up. You aren’t just risking your life when you pull a stupid stunt like that, you’re risking ours too. I can’t trust someone who doesn’t even think about how his actions affect his friends.” taking a breath and finally almost calming down completely. His eyes going cold, enough to surprise me finishes his thought “Honestly I couldn’t put my finger on what the hell is so off with you and I think that’s it. I’ve finally realized it. You don’t think of any of us as friends. We’re not your friends are we?”
Daichi immediately answered back “Am I your friend? No. You know that and so do I. We’re companions. We have a common goal. I trust you enough to try and accomplish this goal with you. I said I would help take Ava to a nearby town, and I still think that’s in the best interests of everyone including myself. So I’ll keep my word. That doesn’t mean I’m just going to do whatever you want.” Daichi stood firm. He thought he understood why he was upset, but it didn’t matter to him. “If I don’t have the freedom to do what I want when I want then I may as well leave.”
Finally stepping in “Kaden isn’t wrong… But he’s not right either and neither are you… We’re all in this together now. Everyone is safer if we stick together. I’m not saying… *We’re* not saying that you can’t do what you want, we’re just saying that it’s not fair to us for you to do something so dangerous and not take the groups interests into account. You may have thought that going out to gather more information was a good thing, but you not only didn’t tell us which direction you were going, how long you were going for or make a contingency for what we should do in case something like you not coming back happened. That wasn’t fair to us, and you would definitely not appreciate being put in that position either would you?” making eye contact with for a second before looking down, I could tell Hannah was being very serious.
Sigh. She isn’t wrong I guess.
“Okay. Yeah you’re right. I’m not used to being around people. So this is kind of not only new but uncomfortable to me. The next time I need space, which I probably will. I’ll make sure to discuss my plans before leaving and what to do in case I don’t return. In fact we have a lot to talk about right now anyways. So I’m apologizing for how I handled things. Can we move past this now?” I finish saying. I think I was doing well up until the end, I can tell Kaden and Ava are angry at me again.
“Yes. We can.” Looking at Kaden and Ava with a long stare she turns back to me, “What’d you find out?”
Looking at all three of them, “A lot. We have a lot to talk about.”