The First Battle I
No! No! No!
I can’t do this! I can’t!
This was a group of armed killers and thieves. And they had superior numbers.
I was just wearing working clothes. I was an unarmed civilian(46 years old) who couldn’t even use magic.
I didn’t have the brains to get myself out of this… And I had never conveniently received any training in ancient Japanese martial arts.
Really! I was just an ordinary guy!
There was nothing I could do to gain the upper hand!
The momentary feeling of ‘this is kind of like a game,’ had been blown away completely. As I held my breath and watched from the shadows of the rock, the bandit, who had fallen off of the horse in the beginning, returned while being supported by a comrade. While he was wounded badly, he was alive.
The driver, swordsman and archer were stripped of their possessions and thrown into the forest on the side of the road. And after the wounded and the tied up boy were loaded onto the carriage, it turned around and drove back in the direction it had come.
Once enough time had passed since they were out of sight, I scanned my surroundings cautiously before climbing out from the shadows.
I then found myself going to the forest where the bodies were, and ended up vomiting at the sight of such terrible wounds. It continued for some time, even though my stomach should have been empty. Then I braced myself and turned to the bodies once again, and held my hands together, offering a silent prayer. And while I felt that I was desecrating the dead, I took the clothes from the corpses.
My blue work uniform that I was currently wearing would draw too much attention in this world…
I told myself that as I chose the clothes from the three that had the least amount of blood on them, and put them on.
Luckily? I found that coins had been sewn into the pants of the two who had fought in the back of the carriage. And so I acquired two gold coins each from the dead. And while I felt a terrible sense of hypocrisy in doing it, I left a coin in each of their hands and took the remaining two.
From the driver, I took a small knife. Normally, I would have wanted to bury or burn the bodies, but as I had no way of doing that, I lined them up and offered a silent prayer for the second time, and then left.
I then discarded my old work uniform in a part of the forest that was far away from the scene of the crime. And like that, I had gotten rid of all the evidence. Still sinking in a feeling of guilt, I started to walk down the road in the opposite direction that the bandits had gone.
The sun seemed to be descending at my back now. I had been so nervous for so long, and now my throat was dry. If only there was water nearby… I was practically begging as I continued to walk.
Even then the gruesome scene would not leave my head. I had come from a safe and comfortable country and into a world where life was cheap. I knew it now, whether I had wanted to or not.
I could do nothing while the carriage was being attacked.
I could do nothing while the boy was being abducted.
I could do nothing while witnessing someone begging for their life.
I was completely powerless.
Coming to this world had made me feel like I was someone special. Someone who appeared gallantly and could toy with the bandits with one hand. Someone who that boy would look at with admiration. ‘You are not that kind of special person.’ The truth of this world had been thrust upon me.
However, and this wasn’t much as far as consolations went, I had still learned something. And so with heavy feet, I began to organize my thoughts.
First, as the swordsman was pressed into the dirt, I had indeed heard him beg, ‘please spare my life.’ So you could say that the skill Eralt Lv1 had been effective.
As it happened, I hadn’t even thought of trying to activate the skill. It was all I could do to breathe as quietly as possible. And yet it had activated. That meant it was activated all of the time…what they called a passive skill.
That really wasn’t much in value compared to a life. But it did help to put my mind at ease. After all, I was headed to some place that I didn’t know. Some place along this road.
And there was one other thing. The bandit had mercilessly beheaded that swordsman.
In other words, being beheaded meant death, regardless of your HP. Then what were those numbers in HP for? I would have to find out. Perhaps I could cut myself with the knife. However, that was too risky an experiment now, when I had no way to treat any wounds.
The blade of the knife was only 7 centimeters, and was more a tool than a weapon. It was plain, and without any decorations, but looked like it would come in handy. And so I was keeping it in my pocket for now. It was better than nothing, and just holding it made me feel a little bit stronger.
My search for water continued to be fruitless as I walked. And it was just as the sky started to change color that I felt as if the forest around me was starting to open up.
When I came out of the now sparse area of trees, I thought I heard the sounds of trickling.
Unable to hold back, I ran on ahead until I discovered a small stream that was about 50 centimeters in width. There was no time to think about it being unpurified. I dunk my head into the surface of the water and drank. The water seemed to soak into my empty stomach and body.
I raised my head and then sat on the ground with a sigh of relief.
It was just as I muttered this out loud, that our eyes met. The thing that was on the other side of the water.
It was as big as a medium-sized dog. The beady eyes, the long ears. A rabbit in appearance, were it not for the horn coming out of its forehead.
Encountering an animal out in the wild was rather surprising. After we stared at each other for a while, I kept my posture low so as to not scare it, and I got back on my feet. Then I slowly backed away while taking out the knife and removing the sheath.
While it was very rare, if you did encounter a rabbit in Japan, it would likely run away before you could say ‘ah.’ There was even a saying about the speed of a fleeing rabbit.
However, it just stared at me without moving a muscle. I had a bad feeling about this. Unless there was a surprise waiting for me, this was probably one of those ‘Horned Rabbits’ that were your classic smallfry? Though, I didn’t know its official name.
These beginner enemies… Well, that’s what it should have been. But it was staying still with such a dignified presence. With every backstep that I took, I felt like I was the one who was a rank below it.
But it was still just a rabbit. And so judging from where it evolved, shouldn’t it be a herbivore? In that case, even though it might strike back in order to defend itself, surely it wouldn’t attack me if left alone…
But in spite of such hopes, and just as I was about to reach a distance where I would feel safe, it tilted its head to the side and let out a cry.
The gesture and sound was cute. But in my mind it sounded like it was saying,
‘So you think you can run away?’
Well, there was no way that a rabbit would actually say that. In fact, it had crouched low as if charging its legs, and then it sprang towards me with its horn pointed in my direction.
I thought that I heard a ‘Don!’ as it kicked off the ground. And it aimed at my body with precision.
It could reach me even from this distance! While I was shocked, I was just far enough that I was able to move to the side and dodge it.
But it quickly changed directions and we were facing each other again.
My heart was beating loudly in my chest.
Determined to not allow it to target my center again, I went into a lower crouching stance so that I was level with my shorter opponent. And then I held the knife out with my right hand as if to keep the rabbit from getting any closer.
And yet, as if to laugh at my efforts, the Horned Rabbit jumped at me once again.
This time there was less distance between us…
As this charge was targeting a lower target, I thought that I wouldn’t have enough time to dodge it, but my stance helped me, and I made it out of the way just in time. However, its horn scratched my thigh, and I felt a sharp pain run through me.
But there was no time to assess the damage. The Horned Rabbit turned around and jumped at me again.
However, it must not have had enough time to right its posture, and its aim was too high and its speed too slow. While its horn scraped against my right arm, my only thought was, ‘It’s my chance!’ and I spun around half way and slammed my left fist into it.
It was the strongest punch that I could muster, but the impact just felt ‘fluffy.’
The Horned Rabbit turned around. But this time, it raised its head without charging.
It let out a cry.
But in my head,
‘Bah, you’re not half bad.’
That’s what it sounded like.