Chapter 50 – The Mountain’s Watchmen

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Author: Tsunose Bun Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 3024 characters
Translator: Jiro English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1332 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

For a while, the forest road continued on, eventually changing into a gentle uphill, and the view in front of them had changed to that of a mountain road before the two women realized it.

“W-What should we do?! It’s too dark! I can’t see anything!”

The sun set as the women made their way up the mountain path, and the stars lit up the night sky. Totoara grew concerned as a result of the change.

“You can’t see? Why didn’t you say so sooner?”
“Well! You were moving so confidently, and I didn’t want to lose to you…”
“You’re quite stubborn aren’t you. Hmm, what should we do…”

Merc had no trouble grasping the entire picture as she peered around her dimly lighted surroundings. However, this was primarily due to the elves having eyes that were unaffected by darkness. The stars and the moon shone brightly as well. It was no wonder Merc didn’t have any problems looking around.

We can surely walk a bit more… But, since Totoara can’t see anything, I wouldn’t want to force her to go any further…

Because Merc had lived as an elf for so long, she had forgotten that humans were not acclimated to the dark. As such, she had no other option but to rest for the day.

“At least the weather is nice. We didn’t have to pack any sleeping bags or anything like that.”

After reclining against a huge tree right next to them, Merc said to Totoara. Totoara followed Merc’s lead and rested against the tree with her back against it.
 
Merc deduced from Totoara’s demeanor that she was no stranger to travel. Merc had even seen her go out of her way to obtain water when she noticed it was becoming dark. Totoara had most likely realized that they would be camping out in the mountains so she had decided to prepare herself beforehand.

“Good grief. To think that a lady such as me would be forced to sleep in this place…”

Totoara complained as she noticed Merc looking at her. Totoara, on the other hand, didn’t appear to be a pampered lady in any way.

“Merc. Can you perhaps see in the dark?”
“I can… Miss assassin, are you unable to do so?”
“Good grief. Don’t tease me!”

Totoara said with a smile. She was a lovely and charming young woman. In addition, her chest was quite large. Merc could not have asked for a better travel buddy.

However, she’s still hiding something. She’s unquestionably used to traveling, no matter how I look at it. Why is she behaving as if she is a complete novice?

That was the one thing Merc didn’t understand.

Merc reasoned that Totoara was worried of provoking trouble by sticking out too much. Perhaps she was worried that if she stood out too much, she might be hampered during the exam.

If Totoara was correct, Merc would have to think about doing the same. After all, it wasn’t out of the question that others envious of their ability would try to sabotage them in some way.

Perhaps I should also pretend to be ignorant.

As Merc was thinking this, she became aware of a presence approaching them and stood up.

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“Merc?”
“Quiet!”

Merc quickly interrupted her before she could say anything else. Totoara raised her body slightly as she noticed Merc abruptly stand up and place her hand on her wooden stick.
 
When Merc saw Totoara’s movements, she was convinced they weren’t those of a novice. But this wasn’t the time to be concerned about that.

There’s something there. A group… There’s 20 of them.

Merc was able to deduce that a group of 20 was closing up on them by sensing the magic power around the group. She assumed they were humans based on the quality of their Mana, but she couldn’t be certain.

The one thing she was confident of was that the group was well aware of their location and was heading right for them. Merc and Totoara had no choice except to flee or fight at this point.

“Merc, what happened?”

Totoara inquired softly. She had most likely also noticed that something wasn’t right.

“There’s a group coming our way.”
“What? What did you just say?!”

A tiny red light could be seen flickering between the trees in front of them at the time Totoara said that. The movement of the light indicated that it was the flame of a torch. Which meant that the group consisted of humans.

“Fire!”

A single arrow pierced the darkness the moment that voice echoed throughout the area.

The arrow flew entirely above Merc and Totoara’s heads before piercing a tree in the back. Merc and Totoara had no means of knowing whether the men had missed on purpose.

“Don’t move! The next one won’t miss!”

Merc determined that the arrow had only served as a threat based on what the opposing side had just said.

“Who are you?”

Merc asked. After this, a row of guys carrying lit torches emerged from the shrubbery. The man in the middle of the row then smirked devilishly as he drew his blade.

“Hehehe. We’re this mountain’s watchmen. If you wish to pass you’ll have to pay the toll.”

The man with the filthy circle beard who had just now spoken appeared to be the leader of the bunch.

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Watchmen my a̲s̲s̲. They’re nothing more than mountain bandits…

Merc thought as she tightened the grip on her wooden stick.
 
There were twenty enemies.
 
Merc could tell they were all small fry, but she couldn’t relax her guard. In addition to having ten times their numbers, Merc sensed something peculiar about the group’s leader.

“How much is the toll?”
“10 gold coins1! Are you paying?”

10 gold coins? Ridiculous…

Merc knew that the men’s goal wasn’t the toll based on the amount the leader had just declared.
 
Merc was curious as to which traveler would be able to spit out ten gold coins. She was convinced that the men had no intention of ever letting them go.

“And what if we can’t pay?”
“Hehe. We’ll have to resort to other means. You see, we’re not mountain bandits so we’ll let you off if you leave everything you have.”

That’s just what a mountain bandit would say…

“That’s just what a mountain bandit would say!”

Totoara shouted out exactly what Merc was thinking, slamming the men. As soon as he heard that, the men’s leader knit his brows.

“Missy. That’s not something you’re allowed to say. We have a rule of not letting anyone who has called us bandits leave.”
“S-So what? Y-You want some of this huh?”

Totoara said this while fearfully scanning the area and nervously adopting a gap-filled stance. She was fidgeting with her arms, most likely owing to the stress from the numerous torches that surrounded them.

“No. You are women after all. Only filthy scumbags would lay a hand on women. We’ll let you off the hook this time.”
“Some lax rules you got here.” Merc said mockingly.
“Did you say something? Well it doesn’t matter. Just leave everything that you have. This includes your money, weapons and clothes. Everything. If you do that, we’ll let you go.”

Totoara looked at Merc after the leader announced his demands and asked, “What should we do?”
“We fight.”

Merc naturally responded in hushed tones.
 
After all, they would lose the map that the Adventurers’ Guild had given them if they had all of their belongings stolen. They wouldn’t be able to take the shortest path if it happened, which would make arriving at their goal difficult. Rather, it would make it impossible.
 
It was something they had to avoid at all costs.

“So, Missies, what will it be?”

As he carelessly lifted his foot to approach closer, the group’s leader inquired.

The moment the leader’s foot lifted off of the ground was the moment that Merc dashed forward2.



References

  1. Robinxen: Is this a lot?
  2. Robinxen: Speed lines go!

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