Here’s the chapter, enjoy~
Chapter 156 – Faraway Rose
The sun began to set early in the afternoon.
The weather was still very unpredictable, partly because of the season’s short daylight hours. Thick, low-hanging clouds were spreading over us.
It was only natural since we had come in the direction of stormy weather. The wind had picked up considerably, and a light dusting of snow was rolling in.
“It’s going to be rough near evening. If it comes down to it, we can dig a snow cave and make an emergency camp.”
“A snow cave big enough to fit a horse is impractical. What is most unrealistic is the assumption that we can safely stay up all night in this situation.”
McCain calmly replies to my frustrated remark. This shield-user big man is as physically strong as Tig and Louis, but his personality is calm and clever. He understood the joke as a joke, and he gently nailed me.
There was no time to run away.
We were about 200 meters ahead of the horse-drawn sleigh carrying Calmon, his wife, and Nora-chan. The horse-drawn sleigh that contained the five other members of the Battlecry and me, stopped just before the pass.
One reason is to avoid the wind. The other reason is to find out the enemy’s position before we start to descend.
About two miles (3.2 km) beyond the snowfield below us, we can see the ramparts of the inn town of Rose. Although it was hazy due to the blizzard, it was only an hour’s drive away.
“Once inside the town of Rose, there are beds and stables. What’s the point of digging in the snow here?”
“…Yeah, I suppose you’re right. I knew it myself, but when Louis pointed it out to me, I was shocked.”
“I’ll beat you to death, you bastard!”
The problem is not the distance. Not even the weather. No, the weather is also a problem.
As someone who is being chased and targeted, it’s not all bad to have your vision blocked, but we are not equipped enough to spend the night outside in a blizzard. I don’t think the enemy will leave us alone while we leisurely wait for morning.
The bandit guild had sent an exclusive observer on their first raid. They would think it impossible to encamp with the equipment we had loaded on our horse-drawn sleighs, so it was a given that we would head for the town of Rose. The assassins were definitely waiting for us.
The only question is where and when the attack will take place.
One of the possible points of attack is the descent with good visibility that begins just ahead. The other is a two-kilometer-long snowfield that continues beyond the descent.
From our side, it would be difficult to control the sleds. The snowfield is almost unobstructed, so it is almost certain that we will be discovered. In addition, the snowfield is an open area where there is no escape if we are targeted.
If there were no attacks in these two places, we would have to enter the town of Rose. They may attack us in our sleep, or they may…
“Hey, is there any chance it’s the whole town?”
“Of course there is. No one has ever openly fought with the bandit guild. Even if it is in Sarz, in another town, you never know who is working for the guild. You never know what they’re going to do.”
“What’s the matter, Takifu?”
With a cheerful tone of voice, Myrril-san, mounted on a snow-wolf Moff, walked up to us.
“Yeah, we’re planning our response in case of an attack.”
“What’s the point of doing that? If they attack us, why don’t we just kill them all?”
Yeah, that’s right. That’s exactly what we’re doing, though, isn’t it?
Only you can do that, though. The Battlecry smiles weakly with a twitch on their faces as if to say that. To put it simply, they were all shocked.
Colon, who had been out scouting, returns. There was no sign of the enemy until halfway up the hill. He could see the tracks of what appeared to be horse-drawn sleighs on the way down, but he could not see any sleighs.
“We had to wait for about a quarter of an hour. If there are any enemies on the way to Rose, we’ll take care of them right away.”
“Why? Are we going to do it too?”
That’s the problem. We can’t coordinate with the Battlecry. I can’t read their capabilities, to begin with. I don’t know how well the adventurers’ abilities will work with the bandit guild, if not incompetence, and to be honest, they’re a bit of a liability to us because their equipment and abilities are too specialized.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t take everyone with me. I need you to escort Calmon.”
That’s right. They are supposed to be the guards for Calmon and the others. They can stay here and protect them while we go…
“Takifu, isn’t that right?”
I came to my senses when Moff poked me in my lower back with his nose. The Battlecry was looking at me suspiciously. When I turned around, Nojaloli-sensei shook her head with a smile.
“What are you in such a hurry for? There is nothing to be afraid of. We will fight together and win together.”
Yes, that’s right. This was the worst pattern I had fallen into many times when I was a corporate employee: It’s faster to do it myself than to leave it to someone you are not familiar with.
The relationship deteriorates due to a sense of distrust, the burden increases, and the relationship eventually reaches a standstill.
Tig the tiger-beastman smiled at me as I let out a sigh and relaxed my shoulders. His face immediately changed to that of a party leader, and he began to issue instructions.
“McCain, move 50 feet (15 meters) ahead of the others and move with flair. Just enough to invite the enemy to attack.”
“When you’re done, Louis will take the left side, and I’ll take the right. You can get back here as soon as you can. Don’t go too far.”
“Eino, you will block the enemy mage’s attack, conserve your magic as much as possible, and if anyone gets hurt, use your healing magic.”
“Mir, please stay in the rear and protect Calmon. Don’t think about us.”
“Colon, switch places with me. It’s downhill and probably icy. Reduce the speed to half of last time.”
“Yeah, leave it to me.”
It took me a few moments to realize I was being called. When my eyes meet Tig’s, he looks at me, strangely equipped with a spear in each hand.
“Take care of the archer, okay? Colon will tell you about the hidden enemies.”
“Now, let’s get to work. It would be useless if you got hurt. So let’s take it easy and not overdo it, okay?”
As soon as Colon and I got on the driver’s platform, we saw McCain going down the hill at a tremendous pace. With his huge shield at the ready, he almost leaped 15 meters ahead of us, and his momentum sent the snow rolling up into a huge white waterfall in the air.
“Okay, they bit it.”
Colon told me, and we started the horse-drawn sleigh. I can see that he is paying attention to both sides of us as we slowly descend the hill. I have no idea what was biting, though.
Sitting on the back of the sleigh, Louis and Tig look comfortably ahead.
As we passed the halfway point of the hill where Colon had confirmed the safety of the road, my eyes caught sight of an enemy trying to skirt the shady trees. I couldn’t tell what kind of enemy they were, but the tracks of a sled that were visible on the way down must have been what they used to get around.
“Yes, with armor.”
“It’s four on the right and four on the left. Not as bad as I thought.”
Before I could see the details, the muscle-brain duo jumped out of the sleigh and closed the distance in no time at all.
As the horse-drawn sleigh goes down the hill, eight enemies in heavy armor and carrying hand spears emerge from the shadows of the trees.
They must have been torn between going for McCain, who was ahead of us, and attacking our sleds. They were too late to react to Louis and Tig, who were closing in on them.
As Louis, who was lightly armed with only a cuirass, closed the gap, she swung her stiff arm, and a dull metallic sound rang out as the enemy’s arm snapped off and was blown away.
It seems that Tig had destroyed four enemy soldiers at the same time as Louis. The heavily armed infantrymen who had been thrown up by their fists collided with each other in mid-air, creating a high-pitched metallic sound.
The pair of the best brain muscles of the Sarz, as expected, is amazing. They may have been physically strengthened, but their muscularity is not human in the first place.
“Takifu, 80 feet in front! Three archers in the bushes on the far right!”
I look in the direction Colon indicated, and in front of me is McCain with his shield at the ready. Beyond him, I saw a short arrowhead flying in a bundle.
“Shu… ah, damn it!”
I couldn’t catch it in my vision and couldn’t stow it in time. When I saw that the arrowhead was bounced off McCain’s shield, I fired a single shot with my AKM at Colon’s designated position. Blood splattered behind the bushes, and the fallen enemy slid down the slope.
“One more. He was low in the bushes on the right side.”
A 7.62 mm round fired from a slightly lower position seemed to have shattered a leg, and the enemy came tumbling out of the bush, screaming. A follow-up shot fired immediately blew their heads off.
They were carrying a crossbow-like weapon. It was rather ugly in construction, but it looked a little like the mechanical bow that Myrril had made. It is not impossible that it was a random coincidence, but perhaps there was an information leak from the kingdom.
“I think the only enemy left is at… Mir.”
Looking back, we saw a group of men in white winter jackets charging toward the horse-drawn sleighs in the rear. There are eight of them in all, and they’re all magically reinforced.
“…Right. She’s probably many times stronger than I am.”
He tried to follow up with something like, “No, that can’t be true,” but Colon seemed to have decided that wasn’t comforting enough and slurred his words, making it very hard for me to understand.
After confirming the results of the battle, Myrril-san waved her hand at us without seeming to be too proud.
Her lips are pouting, perhaps in dissatisfaction at being so disappointed. Nee-san, you certainly have a lot of time on your hands, don’t you?
“Can’t they use their heads a little bit, idiots!”
Indeed, their strategy seems to have been the same as the first failed raid, but I don’t want to be told that after I’m dead.
“Ten and…9? There might be five or six more lurking around somewhere.”
Colon muttered to himself as he operated the horse-drawn sleigh to retrieve Tig, Louis, and the others.
“I hope they are in the plains. But if they’re in the town of Rose, it’s going to be a little tricky.”
“It’s forbidden to be armed in the town of Rose.”