Chapter 11 – Cut Them Down!
I crouched and headed towards Mette and the others.
She and the Kijins were carrying their crossbows.
And they were all wearing the armor as well.
But the ones who waited behind them were still wielding crude spears and slings.
They were looking into the darkness, but I couldn’t see anything.
“…Mette. What is it like?”
“Ah, it’s you, Joshua. Apparently, they are slowly moving towards us. There are twenty-one in all. I can tell by their scent that they are human. Also, I heard voices saying they would abduct the women. They are whispering, but I still hear them.”
“I see… So they are definitely slave hunters.”
Mette showed me her crossbow.
“I can shoot them with this any time.”
“No. While you may be able to do it, the other five will have trouble shooting at this distance. We should lure them closer before taking them out. They still believe that we only have crude weapons. And so their guard will be lowered.”
“Very well. So, what will you do?”
“The same thing I did during the day. Humans have weak eyes and noses too.”
I said as I put my hands on the ground.
And I absorbed rocks and turned them into powder.
“First, I’ll use this sand to confuse them. And once the dust subsides a little, you will target them with your crossbows. Once you’ve fired off the first round, have the people in the back attack with their slings. Their numbers will be greatly reduced then, and I’ll finish them off.”
“All right. Everyone, wait for Joshua’s order.”
The Kijins all nodded at Mette.
And then I turned towards Iria.
“Iria, don’t put yourself in danger. Fight with that sword only when the enemy gets close.”
“…I understand, Sir Joshua.”
It was just as Iria replied.
Suddenly, a fire appeared in the darkness, and a voice rang, ‘Attack!’
The slave hunters showed themselves and began to run towards us all at once.
“All right, now!”
I unleashed the sand towards the armed slave hunters who charged in our direction.
The sudden smoke screen robbed them of their vision, and caused fits of coughing.
Some of their torches went out, and confusion was in the air.
Mette and the five other Kijins unleashed their crossbows.
Six shots in all. Surprisingly, all of them hit the slave hunters.
Two of them managed to avoid a lethal wound, but the other four fell to the ground heavily.
“Now the slings!”
Mette said, and the Kijins in the back unleashed their stones.
Of course, no one fell from the slings. In fact, no one had been hit.
However, the slave hunters were now crouching and hiding behind shields.
In the meantime, Mette and the others unleashed a second round of bolts from the crossbows.
The slave hunters fell one after another.
“Tsk. What cowards.”
But there was one person among them who was larger than the others and continued to advance through the rain of stones.
He was covered in plate mail and wielded a giant shield and mace.
And on the shield, was the crest of a black dragon that was familiar to me… It was the crest of the Knights Order that had once meant everything to me.
And this figure was also someone familiar.
When the moonlight touched the tall man’s face, I couldn’t help but mutter.
“Is that you…Gaius?”
“Eh, what? …If it isn’t Joshua. And what are you doing in a place like this?”
“That’s what I should be asking you.”
The tall man was Gaius Corvit.
He had joined the Knights Order seven years ago, and was currently twenty.
A problem child who was ill-mannered and quick to cause fights, but it was also said that in terms of combat ability, he was one of the best.
“I can crush any kind of plate mail!”
That was what Gaius would always say.
And he was not lying.
I had seen him in action on the battlefield, and his mace, shield and armor were made by none other than me.
They were made of black demon iron, which was a special ore with magic energy. While not to the same degree as a Kijin horn, it was still very strong.
Gaius brushed away the stones and bolts and said to me,
“What am I doing here? I’m hunting slaves. The captain gave a direct order. At first, I thought that it would be boring work, but it’s more amusing than I thought! Last night, I went north and captured a woman with dog-like ears. I only meant to have a taste, but she ended up dying.”
Gaius laughed with a vulgar expression.
He was saying it with such glee, that at first, I didn’t understand what he was saying. Perhaps my mind was refusing to accept it.
“What did you…say?”
“Eh? Slave hunting! That’s what we’re doing! Isn’t that why you’re here too? And then you were captured by mere demihumans… You really are pathetic.”
“You… You did that, while bearing the crest of the order?”
“Eh? Why are you so upset? Maybe I’ll kill you with the rest then? You’ve always been a meddler, just because you were part of the old guard. But you’re nothing but a crafter!”
I unleashed a sharpened stone at Gaius’s head.
However, he dodged it by a hair’s breadth.
But blood trickled down his cheek, and Gaius’s face was red with fury.
“You… I’ll kill you!!”
Gaius said. And then he put on the bucket helmet that hung from his waist.
“Everyone! Target that big one!”
“No, Mette! Continue attacking the others. Your crossbows won’t get past his shield and armor!”
I said, and Mette quickly rescinded the order.
Gaius’s shield and armor was made of black demon iron, and normal iron weapons would not get through.
“…In that case.”
It was Iria who muttered this while standing next to me.
However, when I looked, she was not there.
With sword in hand, Iria ran towards Gaius.
“Oh!? Now here’s a pretty one! Yes! I will have you! But not before you feel some pain!!”
Gaius roared with laughter as he held his shield in front of him and raised his mace.
A sword made of a Kijin horn…would be able to cut through the black demon iron.
However, I doubted that Iria was skilled enough to kill someone who had fought in hundreds of battles.
And so I immediately cast the low level spell, Magic Shield, on Iria.
However, it would maybe block one of Gaius’s attacks at most.
But blocking one attack would be enough.
…I would swiftly jump on Gaius and slash his throat.
As I ran as fast as I could, Iria swung her sword.
In front of her was the great shield, and Gaius with his mace raised high in the air.
Iria shouted as the blade cut through the air.
The sword erupted into dark red flames, and slashed through the shield like butter…
“Wh-what? My shield!? Gah!?”
And then the bucket helmet went flying in the night sky.
Now that Gaius’s huge body was separated from its head, it collapsed heavily to the ground.
A second later, the helmet hit the ground as well, and the remaining slave hunters turned pale.
“The knight…from the Schwarz Knights Order…was killed…?”
“Run!! We’ll be next!!”
And then the slave hunters began to run.