To the Settlement
And like that, through the efforts of Ness and Angelica’s valley team, we of the orc extermination group were able to set out for the orc settlement. Of course, it was towards the center of the valley. We had wrongly assumed it was towards the end of it, and this discovery was made with more than a little sacrifice made.
Virgil moved in the front as we made out way through the forest. There were still orc corpses lying around. The sharp stench of blood was in the air. Eventually, it would all return into the earth and disappear into the current of the dragon vein. But for now, it remained a scene from hell.
However, the sight that awaited us outside of the forest was even worse. Of course, it was the aftermath of our battle.
“Ahhh, it is so much worse under the light of the sun.”
“Worse. That is an understatement…”
It was my own reaction to seeing the remains of what I left behind. But Virgil now looked at me as if I was something to be feared. A little rude, to be honest. I didn’t do it all on my own. Maybe about eighty percent.
Passed the scene of carnage was the valley and the bridge made of several logs. It was all very visible during the day. The orcs had attacked us by crossing here. They likely hadn’t used something so eye-catching up until now, as they only needed scouts to cross it. That way, they only needed one log.
It was all orc territory once we crossed this bridge. Angelica and the others seemed to grow more cautious as we moved closer. In fact, we were attacked by orcs a few times while coming here. But it was a very hopeless battle for them, as we were well prepared. And we killed them without a single casualty or injury. If this was all a trick by the orcs to make us underestimate them, it was working very well. But in any case, we did not suffer any significant counterattacks until we reached the settlement.
“So this is the orc…”
The place was surrounded in a wall that had numerous sharpened logs jutting out of it. There was even a huge gate. If they had constructed this based on the orders of the abnormally evolved being alone, then it was incredibly impressive. But something was strange about all of it.
“Is it not too quiet here?”
Daniela muttered to no one in particular as she used Presence Detection. At the same time, Angelica peeked inside through a crack in the gate.
“…There is no one here. I cannot sense anyone through Presence Detection.”
“So the orcs have left?”
Virgil glared at the wooden walls and seemed to be deep in thought.
“Well, we might as well go and see.”
Gardo said. He was walking behind me with Ness. He was right. We wouldn’t know anything until we went inside and checked. Virgil thought about it and agreed that there was nothing else we could do. He turned around and gave the order.
“We will infiltrate the settlement now. We do not know what may be waiting for us, so be careful.”
The Adventurers all nodded.
First, Angelica went inside through a gap in the gate. Next was Lauria, Olive, Oregano, and Ness. After a few minutes, the gate opened from the inside. Then the rest of us entered, weapons in hand. I was expecting to fight in this settlement, and so this time I had left my great sword in the hollow bag. I intended to dual wield the armored demon sword and the Ashikirimaru.
There were rows of wooden houses inside of the settlement. It was a small village of sorts. On closer inspection, the houses were all very finely built. I had expected shacks that were practically wooden boxes with a board on top as a roof…
“This…is. Is this really the work of orcs…?”
Virgil said in disbelief. The others were also at a loss for words by what they were seeing. While we moved, I used Presence Detection to scan the houses around us. However, there was nothing to be detected in any of the houses. Angelica and her team tried entering each one and checking, but they found nothing. Though she did say that they appeared to be turned over. But it was hard to understand what had happened.
“Everyone, listen to me.”
Virgil turned to look at us.
“We will all help search, not just the valley team. But there is still a chance that we might be ambushed. So I want you to separate into teams and start searching!”
Human wave tactics, I suppose. Still, what a horrible thing for Virgil to say. ‘Now, team up with a buddy.’ That was what he was saying basically. You know, that’s how the loner dies.
Well, it’s not a problem for me. Because I have Daniela.
“Now, Miss Daniela, let us go!”
“Indeed! Let us hunt these orcs together!”
“Ah…girls, there is no need to pull. Alright, alright…”
Uhhhh….Daniela is… Daniela is…
I looked around me frantically. Gardo…has left with Ness. Lauria is with Angelica…Olive is with Oregano. Virgil…is gone somewhere. The group of six have split up and vanished. And the rest of the spirited Adventurers have scattered.
Right then, something slapped my shoulder as I stood there in despair. Oh, so god was being merciful…! I turned around to see one of the magician girls standing there. Ahh, did she mean to pair up with me as I could not be with Daniela? …What a nice person…
“Hey. I’m all alone.”
That’s all I said. And the girl went running away.
With that finishing blow, all I could do was weep silently.