Chapter 141 – Into the Depths of Darkness
“I’ll take the lead. I’ll handle the front and left, and Yoshua, you take the right and rear.”
It seems that not only operational command but also field command is the sole domain of Nojaloli-san. In terms of sashimi, I would say she is in the position of the “Tsuma” or “Dandelion.”
In addition to night vision goggles, I have a large surefire light fixed to the side of the UZI’s handguard to deal with hostile encounters. There is no mounting rail, so I just wrapped a hand-held one with duct tape.
Even at the maximum light output of 600 lumens, the light is said to last for more than an hour. Although it won’t live up to its face value in this cold weather, it should show results by the time the batteries are weak.
“This light is not bright; it’s almost violent.”
“Yes, that’s right. When exposed to it, it makes you dizzy and stops you in your tracks. You won’t be able to fight, and that makes you a good target.”
“The world you live in is a terrible place to fight…”
I also prepared a flashlight that could be used as a baton and even a 6D size Maglite with a tonfa clip, but it turned out to be too big to wield in the tunnels, so I put it in storage.
As a non-lethal weapon, it would have its uses eventually.
As we entered the tunnel, we immediately saw a number of branch roads. I followed Myrril’s lead, keeping an eye on my rear and right, but she was going too fast, and I felt like I was going to be left behind.
In the first place, it is too narrow. I knew that. The maximum width of the passage is about two meters, but the top of the passage is narrow, and there is a beam girder to prevent a collapse, so the height at which you can pass through without hitting your head is less than 150 centimeters.
It is difficult to move, let alone fight, in an abandoned mine unless you are a small person. That is why they had to give up on defeating the bandits.
In the green-tinted night vision goggles, a little further ahead, Myrril signaled with her left hand to stop. Looking ahead, there is no enemy in sight, and her finger is pointed to the left.
“Holding the weapon in your dominant arm and touching the wall with your left hand is the standard way to avoid getting lost in the dark… Look.”
I saw a piece of iron embedded in the wall to my left. It is coated with some kind of dark green mucus. I don’t know what color it actually is, though.
“Paralyzing poison. A pit at the end of the fall. These things are terrible.”
Also, there’s a string near the ground at the end of the pit. This must be the mechanism that sets off the alarm. This was just the beginning.
“Yoshua, take care of him.”
A light flickers in the back, and a man appears from a side road. He is less than 10 meters away. If I didn’t have night vision goggles, I would have been discovered.
Unlike Myrril-san, I was just out of effective range. I set up my MAC10, took good aim, and finished him off.
As I approached, I saw that the man had been shot in the neck. Judging from his physique, he was also a dwarf. He was wearing dirty work clothes and leather armor, with thin metal plates attached to his chest and forehead. He also had metal cages on both arms up to his elbows. Although the material is at a level where even pistol bullets can penetrate through it, it repels blades as small as daggers. If he were equipped like this at the lower end, he would be a troublesome opponent for adventurers who come to take him down.
The terrible body odor discouraged me, but I stowed the body away to destroy any evidence of the attack.
“Myrril, do you know the way ahead?”
“I have no information, but the mine is like the home of the dwarves. The internal structure and the way the tunnels are connected are not so different from each other. The question is to what extent it will defy my knowledge.”
“You mean, how far will we go to deal with an enemy who comes at us with knowledge and experience?”
“That’s what I mean.”
For a while, there was a narrow, but not dangerous, side passage. After passing through the hole, we suddenly found ourselves in a wide open space.
In my green field of vision, I saw a huge vertical hole. It was about 50 meters in diameter and 20 meters high. The cylindrical atrium has numerous horizontal holes, and torches are lit here and there.
“Where is the destination?”
“The lowest level. It is the best place to fortify against an attack.”
In other words, if we were to raid this hideout in the usual way, we would have to go in and out of side holes endlessly until we reached the correct answer at the bottom.
Moreover, guards are stationed in the corridors connecting the side holes. It is not only depressing, but the risk of being discovered is high.
One of the guards was placed beside the cave we came out of, but before he could notice us, Myrril-san reached out and snapped his neck.
What a scary thing to do.
After storing the corpse and equipment, I peek down over the edge. I don’t want to join the bandits in their maze game. All I have to do is to teleport to the destination at once. The problem is the situation downstairs…
“Hmm, this is a nuisance.”
Myrril whispered in a completely unconcerned tone.
The bottom of the stairwell is narrow, with a diameter of about 20 meters. At the end of it, a merchant and his guards, who appeared to be hostages, were tied up and rolled away.
They looked like green figures to me, but according to Myrril-san, there were four men and a woman.
Considering the total number of members of the two major merchant associations, it is not so many. The rest were probably killed.
There were about ten dwarven guards around the campfire, but there were no women among them.
“Can I borrow your Ingram?”
“Yes, I’m replacing the magazine right now. Myr, what about the teleport position?”
“About five feet in front of the fire.”
Myrril put the UZI on her back with the leather belt and held the MAC10 I handed to her on her chest. With a slight nod, I teleported at once and flew there.
One of the guards turned around, but that was as far as he could go.
A series of muffled noises were heard, and the guards were instantly annihilated. We stitched our way through the shielding under the cover of darkness, and after storing everyone’s equipment and corpses, we teleported back to the upper level.
“Any sign of the enemy?”
It seems that they were not alerted to the attack, and there was no sign that the guards stationed in the upper corridor had been noticed. In fact, even the hostages did not seem to know what had happened and only scurried around looking for the missing guards.
“If we’d known they were this incompetent, we might have taken out the top brass first.”
Myrril and I shot and killed the guards by the side holes one by one, and then went around storing their corpses and equipment.
After killing them all, we finally seem to have used up our thirty-round magazines. Same with the number of corpses. One shot, one kill. Except for the guards around the campfire, all of them have been shot through the eyeballs.
I returned to the side-hole position from which I had first emerged, replaced the magazine of the returned MAC 10, and put it back in storage. I’m more comfortable with the AKM if I’m in a spot with this much visibility.
“Hope this keeps going well…”
A bell-like sound that could have been an alarm rang out as if there was an ambush or some sort of detection device. Myrril switched to her UZI and went into a battle stance.
“It’s not going so well. The enemy is coming.”
“Should we go out to the other side and get a clear line of fire?”
“That would involve the hostages who have survived. Yoshua, after taking the others down, please lead the hostages to the back-right side hole. The box you see there should be able to defend them against a bow and arrow.”
“Roger that. Do you need backup there?”
“No need. You can just protect the hostage right there. Can you do that?”
“Of course. I’m your partner, after all.”
“Umu, with you here, I’ll be a hundred percent sure.”
Oh, Myr, is it your policy to praise and encourage? I’m a “can-do” kind of guy, but I’m not used to being praised. So when she looks me straight in the eye and smiles, my eyes start to wander.
“Let’s go, Myr!”
This time, I moved right next to where the hostage was lying, and as soon as I saw Myrril run out, I jumped to the designated side hole with the hostage in my arms. After two round trips to the battle’s start, I pushed them behind the shielding and ready my AKM.
“Shut up; you’ll die if you raise your head.”
The man with the bloodshot eyes seems to be a guard, but his disheveled leather armor is covered in scratches, blood is seeping from his clothes, and his face is swollen with bruises. He has several broken teeth, which I saw when he almost screamed, and his right arm, which is wobbling, is probably the same.
“Well… you fought your way to the end, didn’t you?”
“W-what about it?”
The guard man looked frightened, but he still prepared himself to protect the hostage by positioning the hostage on his back.
This guy is an idiot…
I really hope this kind of guy survives.
“…You did well. Be patient, and we’ll get you out.”
“Are you, by any chance… here to help?”
“Yes. Everybody get down behind the box until I tell you otherwise.”
The enemy appeared scattered from the side holes, and Myrril started firing at them. The submachine gun, which had no silencer, fired a barrage of shots that reverberated through the vaulted interior of the mine, striking the ears violently.
“What the hell is that sound…!”
“Sorry, it won’t take long.”
Some of the enemy, perhaps aware of the attack and trying to relocate the hostages or perhaps trying to kill them, came around this way out of Myrril’s line of fire.
I fired a single shot from my AKM at the short, stocky body running in the lead.
“Guahhhh, what the hell?”
Sparks flew from his chest, and he yelled out in anger, and another enemy behind him collapsed like a broken puppet, perhaps having been hit by a ricochet bullet.
Meanwhile, the armored dwarf had rolled into the shadows without collapsing.
Is that chest armor made of forged steel? I can’t see him. It’s going to be troublesome if they keep coming around.
“Yeah, I heard that the moles here wear armor! Well, I guess such a cheap piece of scrap iron won’t be much use as a decoration!”
As I raised my voice in mockery, a series of throwing knives plunged into my side.
“Wait, I’ll kill you right now!”
I was saved by a more single-mindedness than I had expected. I took a low stance and leaped out from behind the box, and fired a volley of fully automatic bullets at the onrushing dwarf. The dwarf, which seemed to be at the level of normal armor except for his chest armor, staggered to a halt and collapsed as blood sprayed out from all over his body.
“That’s dangerous… Myr, are you alright!”
“It’s finished. I’m fine.”
The armored dwarf, dead like a bee hive, was stored as a whole, and the one killed by a stray bullet was retrieved, and I moved closer to Myrril.
The other two were also armored, but all of them had been shot in the eyeballs.
The number of them was 14. Does this mean that the actors are different?
“I can’t find a dwarf woman among the enemies. I can feel her presence from deep within…”
“If she’s not moving, there must be a trap. Wait a minute.”
I went back to the hostage and undid the restraints.
Using the cord from the bindings and a hand spear from storage, I placed a brace on the guard’s broken arm. Unfortunately, neither I nor Myrril can use recovery magic.
“Ouch… I’m sorry. Thank you for your help. …But who are you people?”
“We’re adventurers. We are going to finish the boss for a while.”
“Take her down? That’s absurd! She’s Kazinail’s…”
“No. That is a lie told by a filthy scoundrel, and that lie brings the wrath of the fierce god. If you do not wish to die, do not speak of it again.”
“Then, I ask you.”
Handing the sword and hand spear I had stored away to the guard; I return to Myrril.
The raging dwarf girl has replaced the magazine of her UZI and is in full readiness. Her whole body radiates an aura of rage and she is burning to the point of almost getting burned.
“Well, let’s go.”
Ah, you foolish dwarf bandit. You have made a mistake in life. You thought you were defending yourself with some stupid trick, but it turned out to be a deadly curse. Now burn in the wrath of the fierce god.
And don’t get me involved.