Chapter 155 – The First Attack
The distance from the black-robed enemy cavalry is about 100 meters. Four men with two long spears on each wing and a magic short staff in the center. They charge forward in formation.
“Everyone, cover your ears!”
I readied my AKM and fired a fully automatic shot at them. Without checking the results, I change magazines and scatter the next 30 rounds beyond the snowdrift.
“I’m going to check it out. Take care over here.”
“Takifu, you want me to cover you?”
“I don’t need it. Just don’t let anyone come in. Otherwise, you might get caught in the crossfire.”
Basically, I trust the Battlecry, and I have already exposed my storage and guns. On top of that, I feel it would be a bad idea to show them long-range teleportation. I’ve already shown them the short-range teleportation during the fight with Louis, so it’s too late for that now.
“If I teleport a little bit at a time, they might think it’s some kind of unusual movement magic…?”
So I approached the enemy by repeating the super-short distance teleportation in small intervals. I feel like I’m wasting a lot of time and effort on little tricks that don’t really matter, but it’s just a matter of how I feel.
As I approached, the six horses and their riders lay on top of each other and did not move an inch. No matter how bad my marksmanship was, they were huge cavalrymen, and I heard that if I fired 60 rounds at them with full-auto, it would hit them. It’s like the saying goes, “A few shots with a poor rifle can hit a target,” but it would be troublesome if the horsemen pretended to be dead. Just to be sure, I checked to see if they were alive. There was only one way I could think of.
The bloody horses and riders disappear, leaving a naked middle-aged man alone. Startled by his own situation, he looked up, and I stepped in and kicked him in the jaw.
Ignoring his collapse, I teleported toward the forest and stowed away the dead bodies of the bow and sword bearers, and returned.
Switching from my AKM to my Ithaca shotgun, I approached the middle-aged man who had fallen on his back. Something I don’t really want to see is on full display, but I don’t care.
I don’t know if he was lucky not to be hit by that many bullets or if he just repelled them, but whatever the case, it’s a big deal that he survived.
Rather, I didn’t think I would actually miss it. I was stunned at my lack of shooting sense.
“I don’t think it’s likely that the bandits would have cavalry as a standing army. I guess you are mercenaries who came to kill at the request of the bandit’s guild, right? That cloak and armor, you must be an imperial army, right?”
“No, you don’t have to talk.”
The man gasped and let out a muffled scream as a shotgun shell smashed his elbow as he tried to raise it.
Fresh blood spurted from his shredded arm in time with his pulse. I wondered if he was clutching something, but both his weapons and armor seemed to have been stowed away, and he had nothing in his hands.
“It’s all the same. You will die. All of you, like insects.”
I felt a gaze from the far right side of the forest. I can’t see them, but I can feel their faint presence. It was most likely the exclusive observer assigned to check the results of the battle.
“Tell your boss. I will be there soon to greet him.”
When I called out to the observer, the presence and eyes disappeared from the forest’s depths without making a single sound.
“I found the messenger. You’re no longer needed.”
After shooting the naked man dead, I stowed the body away and returned to the horse-drawn sleigh where the Battlecry was waiting for me, repeatedly making short teleportations.
Eino-san was looking at me with a doubtful face.
“How are you doing that?”
“This movement? I’m advancing with magic power, but it’s troublesome to control and consumes a lot of magic power, so I wouldn’t recommend it.”
“No, Eino, that’s not what you should be worried about. Takifu, that weapon…”
“This one is a secret magic tool that came from a certain country. Pry into it, and you’ll get hurt.”
When I lightly threaten him, Tig shudders and nods his head repeatedly.
I did not lie. Although not all of it was true.
I teleported over to Myrril’s and tried to tell her the threat had been eliminated, but…
“Whoa! What’s this?”
Seeing my surprise, Moff wagged his tail happily. If Myrril-san had a tail, she would probably be wagging it, too.
“They formed a group and attacked us, but I was able to beat them back without a second thought.”
There were more than ten men lying in the snow, clad in white top and bottom winter jackets that might have been snow camouflage. As far as I could see, each of the bodies had been shot through the eyeballs with such precision that it was obvious who had done it.
It was a close call. We were so busy dealing with the enemy coming at us that we didn’t even notice that something had happened behind us.
“Calmon, are you hurt?”
“We’re all right. In fact, I didn’t even have time to react because Mir took them out before I knew what was going on.”
I hugged Myrril and Moff, who seemed to want me to praise them, and I squeezed them all together in my arms.
“Thanks. I knew it was a good decision to ask Mir and Moff to act as escorts.”
“Mufufufu, you can leave it to me.”
I left Mir and Moff as the escort, and I flew around with teleport to retrieve the bodies and equipment. On the way, I noticed something strange.
They are better equipped than the ones I took down with my AKM.
The matching daggers were forged steel, and inside the winter clothes were sturdy-looking chainmail. To begin with, the winter clothes themselves looked elaborate and expensive.
The enemy I faced was nothing more than a deserter or a mercenary. The two sword-bearers who were guarding the bow-bearer were dressed only in layers of simple cloth clothing.
“Mir, it seems that the previous group was a diversion.”
“It seems so. The real target was the Calmon family. I guess we created a situation that could be misunderstood.”
We destroyed the hideout of the mole bandit group and crushed the conspiracy involving the trading company.
I told Myrril that I sensed the presence of what seemed to be an exclusive observer. Although Nojaloli-senpai nodded in agreement, she didn’t seem to have a sense of crisis.
“No matter how the enemy moves, we will only eliminate those who are coming toward us.”
“That’s right. I’m counting on you.”
Louis said that there were close to 50 enemies waiting for us.
I didn’t bother to find out specifically the number, but if it was 50, we had only defeated about half of them right here. The rest would be waiting for us somewhere down the road or would probably follow up on the failed raid.
When I returned to the horse-drawn sleigh in the lead, I found McCain beckoning to me from the coachman’s seat.
“Let’s hurry. The weather’s going to be rough around sundown.”
Beyond the horizon he pointed to, dark clouds were gathering. It seemed to be getting closer than when I had seen it at the start of the trip.
I gestured to McCain, and he agreed. We picked up speed and proceeded through the snowfield.
The temperature was low, but that only made the snow tighter and easier to ride on. For a while, the only sounds were the regular breathing of the horses and the sound of the sleighs scraping through the snow.
We continue to move forward for a few hours, keeping a watchful eye on the road. Surprisingly, there was no enemy pursuit or ambush. Tig instructed us to take a short break.
“The forest ahead offers shelter from the wind. Louis, wipe the sweat off the horses. Takifu, bring the tubs to the front. Eino will get the water. Colon, you’ll take the lookout ahead.”
“Leave the rear to Moff and me. Calmon, watch over your family. Your senses in your limbs are so dulled that if you get used to them, you won’t even notice if you get frostbite.”
“I understand. Thank you, Mir.”
I opened the cardboard box, replenished my fluids and nutrients, and prepared for the long journey ahead.
The distance traveled was longer than expected, but the horses were still the only power source. The average speed is around 20 kilometers per hour at best.
As long as they are living creatures, they will need to rest every now and then and replenish water and food, so realistically, we should expect to spend two or even three days on the road. Maybe a little longer if there is bad weather.
“Louis, do you know of any good places to camp?”
“Well, I know of one, but it’s not possible, is it?”
“We won’t camp out this time. I don’t know about Takifu, but we’re bringing the bare minimum of equipment.”
McCain turned and explained.
They gave up on the encampment, prioritizing speed and armament and minimizing their baggage because of the expected attack.
“Besides the equipment, there are a few good places to camp, but the ones that offer shelter from the snow and wind are the ones where we would be stuck if we were attacked. The weather’s not stable this time of year, and we’ve decided to take shelter, even if it’s a hassle.”
“Hey, Takifu, you’re giving us a “huh” look, but we had a meeting beforehand, didn’t we?”
According to Louis, we had discussed this over dinner last night. I don’t remember anything about it.
“Takifu, you were nodding your head, too, weren’t you?”
I think I was probably too busy eating to listen because last night’s meal was so good.
There are people who travel in any season. There are inn towns for such travelers.
I heard that the town of Roses, located on the road to Lafan, is a prosperous town, a little smaller than Sarz.
“Ah, so that’s how it is.”
“…Maybe, just maybe, you’re thinking right.”
McCain shakes his head in annoyance. I finally realized why the other half of the assassins hadn’t shown up.
They must have seen that our load was minimal and switched to raiding the inn towns.