~ Chapter 91: Battle for the fluffy (Part 1) ~
[Alkelios' point of view]
On our way from Lineas Village to Orhiga Village, I couldn't shake off the bad feeling I had. I kept seeing that moment when the merchant entered after those two chained up women. There was also that furry tail which may have belonged to a relliar.
There's something wrong... I can feel it. I thought.
“Is everything alright?” Kalderan asked me when he saw me frowning.
“Hm? Yes, why?” I asked.
“The goblin who kept attacking you gave up and ran away.” he said.
“Huh? What goblin?” I blinked surprised.
I didn't feel anything.
A bit confused, I looked at myself but there was no sign of injury, then I caught sight of the little bugger. He was walking off annoyed.
“I'm sorry.” I said.
“Why are you apologizing to the goblin?” Kalderan raised an eyebrow and then shot the critter before he walked off too far.
“There's just something on my mind... those two slaves... the merchant.” I said as I looked back at the black carriages.
The convoy was on the move again. It didn't need to wait for us. As the escorts, we took care of the dangerous situation, so now we had to catch up to it. Telling the convoy to remain in a potentially dangerous location was highly inadvisable.
“You know the law regarding slavery in this country, right?” Kalderan asked.
“Yes...” I said and then let out a heavy sigh.
Of course I knew that those who fell in debt or didn't have enough money to pass the winter would eventually sell a family member to the slave traders or they themselves be forced into slavery to pay the said debt. Unfortunately, no one really bothered to check if all of these cases were legally justifiable or not.
Framing or cheating someone into slavery was considered a crime, but it wasn't one that the peasants of that poor village could prove.
As we drew closer to the convoy, I approached the last of the black carriage. My gut was telling me something was wrong, and I wanted to see with my own eyes that I had nothing to worry about, but just when I was a few meters away from it, someone jumped out of it and landed right into my arms.
For a moment, I was in state shock, I didn't know what just happened. If it would have been someone dangerous, my instincts would have kicked in and swiped the danger away, but I reacted in the opposite way, I welcomed them. The one who jumped into my arms was not an enemy but a child, a relliar child with dark-brown and light-brown fur.
When I looked down at her, she looked up into my eyes, and I saw her frightened expression, the tears in her eyes, and her trembling lips. Her little fur-covered hands were gripping to my chest with the little strength she had, and it would have been so easy for me to push her away, yet I didn't feel like I could be so heartless.
This child... she's frightened... she's crying... why? I wondered and then lifted my head up to look at the black carriage.
Inside, I saw the merchant with barely any clothes on him. He had a knife in his right hand, and it was covered in fresh human blood. The scent struck me like a hammer, and I could feel a chill run down my back.
For a moment, I hoped that what I was looking at wasn't true, but my senses didn't lie.
To the left of the merchant was a human woman who was in the middle of being flayed alive, her arms and chest had the skin hanging down. There were tears in her eyes, and I could tell from her gaze that her mind had shifted from sanity to insanity. She was gagged to keep her screams down.
To his right was the skin of the other woman. It had been completely taken off her body almost with surgical precision and was going through the drying process. When I looked for her remains, I saw her dead body hung like a hog in a butcher's hook to the far left.
“W-What have you done?” I asked in a trembling tone of voice.
“Pwease... Pwease save me... Pwease...” the kitten cried and clung to my chest with her little, weak, trembling hands.
“I won't let him harm you.” I said and embraced her gently.
I guess I'll become a fugitive. I thought.
“Boy! Hand over my merchandise! She hasn't been processed yet.” the merchant shouted at me.
The three hooded fellows took out their weapons and approached me with an intimidating aura around them.
“You were going to kill her.” I said as I looked at the merchant.
“Going to? I certainly will once you hand her over! She's my merchandise! I paid a good coin for her! Give her back!” he demanded.
I didn't reply, I just looked down at the trembling kitten.
“If you don't, I'll have you join my collection!” the merchant snapped his fingers and the three hooded men released their killing intent. “You have no idea how many nobles desire my products, and the money they pay is extraordinary!” he laughed.
“Boy, don't oppose the Black Company.” one of the hooded men warned me.
“I wish...” I said and then looked at the merchant “that this child will not be harmed in the upcoming battle. I wish that Kalderan will not be harmed either and that we will both come out victorious.” I said.
“Are you going mad?” the merchant asked surprised.
“I need to fight now, can you please move to a safe distance from me?” I asked the kitten and showed her a gentle smile.
“Y-You'll pwotect me?” she asked through her sniffles.
“Of course. If I would dare not to, my wife wouldn't be too happy about it, besides I'm not one who will abandon a child in need.” I said as I gently patted her head.
Hearing my words, Kalderan took out his weapons and stood by my side just as he promised.
“So you choose to go against the Black Company? How foolish.” the merchant said shaking his head.
“I wonder about that.” I said as I let the trembling child down and then turned my gaze towards the merchant.
“A weak adventurer like you thinks he can defeat my hired special mercenaries?” the merchant started to laugh.
Before all of them, I summoned [Black Hole] then from it, I pulled out Hell and Heaven. I thought about using my armor as well, but it would have been a bit overkill against these guys. What I was currently wearing and my barrier spells would be enough.
“What an interesting skill.” said the merchant.
“I knew that fool will do something stupid.” said Ragna as he too unsheathed his sword and aimed it at Kalderan.
“I'll take care of those four.” said Kalderan.
“Are you sure?” I asked him.
“Yes.” he nodded.
“Very well, I'll handle the heavies then.” I said.
“You're going to die today, boy!” declared one of the hooded men.
“I doubt it!” I shouted and then jumped towards him.
Until then, I had barely used even 10% of my whole strength. In this land filled with nothing but weak creatures, my strength as a Breakthrough-er half-dragon never had the chance to be put to the test. Actually, even now, I wasn't planning on using my full strength. There was no need to do so. By feeling alone I could tell that none of these humans could even come close to my strength.
They didn't even see me move until it was already too late, but I didn't wish to kill them yet. I wanted to see if I could make them give up first, so I stepped right between all three of them.
“Give up.” I warned them.
“W-What the...” one of them said.
My eyes were serious.
“HAAA!” Ragna shouted as he attacked Kalderan, but he dodged and moved out of the way at the last moment.
The redhead was surprised by his agility, but I wasn't. After all, he was someone who accompanied me on my monster hunts and had to chase after me almost nonstop. His stats skyrocketed ever since I partied with him. I let him have most of the kills, so his levels kept rising. Maybe even he didn't know how powerful he was right now, but I had a good guess.
Risha, the woman with the daggers, didn't take an offensive stance. She looked conflicted by what was happening. Her eyes shifted from the relliar child to Kalderan and then to her friends.
“Don't blink, or...” I said and then moved so fast that I vanished from their sight and then reappeared behind one of them “you'll miss me.” I said and kicked him in the back.
The man was tossed into one of the carriages, causing it tilt over.
“NOOO! MY GOODS!” the merchant shouted.
At the same time the mercenary who tried to attack me first turned around and swung his sword in an attempt to separate my head from my shoulders. I parried with Hell and then pushed his blade back. The other one tried to attack me from behind, but I turned and avoided the sword.
They are definitely quite powerful for normal mercenaries, but they are definitely not at a 700 Power Level, they are somewhere around 500 at best. I thought as I pushed another attack out of the way.
I jumped back and then used Heaven to block another attack. The three were relentless and tried to get me to show them an opening, but with my skills and speed as well as combat experience in the Seculiar Forest and in the Albeyater dragon war, such a thing was impossible.
“What's with this guy?” one of them said as he kept trying to cut me down with his sword.
He was the fastest out of all of them, but none of his hits reached me.
I decided to take this battle to the next level, and I finally poured Magic Energy into Hell and Heaven.
A pulse of pressure was released from within them and washed over the entire area. It took everyone by surprise, and for a moment all of them froze in place, except for Kalderan, who already experienced this a few times. He took advantage of this to take some distance between himself and his enemies.
“W-What are those swords?” one of the men asked.
“Wouldn't you like to know?” I replied with a smirk as I rushed towards him, the black haze of Hell and the white streak of light from Heaven mixed up behind me.
A single slash would have been enough to kill him, but I used the back of my sword to strike him. The blow was so powerful, it sent him flying up into the sky at a ridiculous speed. While his friends watched him go, I moved to my next target. I hit him in the stomach with the hilt, then I did a roundhouse kick and sent him flying several meters away from me. I jumped up and caught up with the guy I sent flying. I kicked him in the stomach and sent him flying back down.
His body smashed into the ground and caused a small crater around him. My attack was powerful enough to leave him with noticeable damage and weak enough not to kill him. I then locked onto the remaining mercenary. but while I was still up in the air and was about to attack, he let go of his weapon and raised his hands in the air.
“I give up.” he said.
I landed a few steps in front of him and asked “You give up?”
“We are mercenaries not loyal Knights. If we are forced to face an unfavorable opponent, we will rather take our chances with surrendering or fleeing.” he confessed.
“It's a smart choice. If you continued, I wouldn't have had any problems with killing all of you.” I declared and narrowed my eyes at him.
“We thank you for your mercy.” he nodded.
“Take your friends and stand aside while I deal with your employer.” I ordered them.
The man nodded and went to help the guy in the crater.
Meanwhile, I turned to look at how Kalderan was doing.
Note from the author: Thank you for reading this chapter, I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, and be sure to check out my other stories too!
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