Mountain Pass Crossing: Valley
At the start of the following week, preparations for the caravan were completed, and we departed that day.
There were three covered wagons for the merchants, and two wagons for the Adventurers, which comprised three parties for a total of fifteen members. Then there were the four merchants and three travelers. A large caravan of twenty-two.
The wagon in the lead was from the D-Rank, local Adventures, the ‘Rodon Guards.’ They were apparently a region-specific party organized by locals of Rodon Village near the Ranaleria area.
The White Snake Scales took up the center. And in the rear was the D-Rank party, Northwind Peak.
As the travelers did not belong to any party, they were in the middle. Aside from me, the two others could not fight. And so they rode in the back of the wagon that Naros was driving. They had paid to travel with them.
“We’ll be counting on you, priest.”
Said White Snake Scale’s scout, Gunat, as he patted me on the shoulder. He was a beastkin, with almond-shaped eyes and deep green hair that was the same color as his dog ears and tail.
“Aye, I’ll do what I can.”
That being said, while they allowed me to accompany them, I had not accepted any official request. So no matter how much I fought, I would not receive any reward. After all, my goal was to get across, and their goal was to protect.
And we were just cooperating because we were both trying to reach the next city of Ranaronwa safely. Getting there was my reward.
For the first day of travel, we would go down the road along the river, until we reached the foot of the mountain pass. There was a forest on the opposite side of the river, and I could sense the presence of monsters.
However, when there was a caravan of this many people, there were hardly any attacks.
And though tiger wolves and goblins would sometimes peek out from the trees, a few arrows were enough to scare them away.
Most of the Adventurers wielded bows. I suppose it was to deal with the harpies. Though, I heard that they were rarely seen at lower altitudes.
As we were near the mountains, the current of the river was fast, and the water was clear.
“It would be nice to swim in it.”
I muttered. Naros heard me from the driver’s seat.
“You don’t want to do that. Flare eaters will get your last leg.”
“What’s that? Sounds horrifying.”
He then explained that they were lizard-like monsters that lurked near the bottom of clear streams. And so children playing in the rivers were often victims to them.
The leisurely atmosphere was torn away by the sound of the monster whistle.
The voice rose from the caravan, and a fang boar shot out of the forest. Arrows were unleashed, but its flesh was tough, and it continued to charge.
It seemed to be targeting the center wagon.
I kicked Mulze’s sides and rushed towards the fang boar.
I heard Gunat’s voice, but I had no intention of stopping.
As we moved forward, I let go of the reins with both hands, unsheath my sword and raised it. Once our trajectory matched the fang boar, Mulze did not disappoint.
While there was still some distance, I swung horizontally, so that it barely sliced into the side of the fang boar.
The one hit was enough to stagger the fang boar, which went off course and then stumbled.
Jirot then finished it off.
I was starting to get the hang of mounted combat. I turned around and returned to the line, where they had started to carve up the fang boar. Gunat’s tail was raised as he came towards me.
“Why! Why is the healer the first one to rush towards the enemy on horseback!?”
“I was following the teachings of the priest at my old church.”
“Eh? What teachings is that?”
Father Zenrima. The time has come for me to spread your teachings across the world.
“He said, ‘Defeating the enemy before your comrades get wounded, is also a healing art.’”
“Changing the wording does not make it healing! That’s an attack!”
Father Zenrima, your teachings were not accepted in the outside world.
Though, I personally liked that one.
Ultimately, that was the only attack that day. And so we arrived at our campsite at the foot of the Pamar Mountain Pass earlier than anticipated.
The fang boar was roasted that night, and spirits were high during dinner. While there was more than enough meat for twenty-two people to eat until they were full, we would not be able to move much if we did. And so we saved some for the next day.
The sun set quickly in the valley. And so it became dark in no time, and the great bonfire in the camp illuminated our surroundings.
When there were this many people, it was more effective to show our presence, rather than to hide.
And so we sat around the fire and made plans for the next day.
“Everyone, listen. It is true that a caravan of this size is less likely to be attacked by monsters. However, it also means that we draw that much more attention. We cannot let our guard down against other monsters, and an attack from harpies is quite likely.”
Said Lodoz, leader of the White Snake Scales.
“We should be able to manage if they come separately. But it’s dangerous when they attack as a flock. In such times, there is often a ‘queen.’ And so even if you can’t see them, do not break the formation!”
Everyone nodded in the firelight. After that, they discussed strategy.
“Around these parts, there is no one who hasn’t lost a comrade to a harpy.”
Said Gunat, who was on watch duty.
“The Pamar Mountain Pass is a favorite hunting ground for them, as prey passes through it regularly. And so it is also the strongest flock that makes the Ranaz Mountain Range their territory.”
“In other words, we have to fight the elite harpies.”
“Exactly. Someone will definitely be injured tomorrow. Do not rush out like you did today.”
He said, patting me on the shoulder.
I answered. However, during my life as an Adventurer, I had only fought in large groups like this a few times. Not only that, but I had never participated in something of this scale as a healer.
While I was a little worried, I should start by checking the area.
And so I used my Night Vision skill to look into the darkness. But there were no monsters nearby. And so the first night passed without any attacks.
Bonus chapter courtesy of Photo. Thank you so much!