|Author: The Sole Survivor||Original Source: SFACG|
|Translator: CatatoPatch||English Source: Re:Library|
Even with her companion’s pleading on my behalf, Nicole still coldly said, “No.”
At this point, the bandit leader was on the verge of collapsing on his knees. If Nicole wasn’t going to play along with this script, he was done for; there was no doubt in his mind that I would turn him into spider food.
What the heck…when did my Nicole become such an unlikable girl?! This ain’t natural!
“Since Sister Nicole doesn’t want to, then Neneth will stay out as well.” Neneth said before gobbling up the last of her bread. With a clap of her little white hands, she said to the bandits, “Neneth will be off then.”
I… blast. What to do now? If I let her go now, I…
I could barely hold myself back any longer. An undisguised wave of murderous aura slowly leaked out of my body towards the bandits. If Nicole wasn’t to help and neither was Neneth, I could only settle matters myself in order to push this scene onwards.
“I thank you both for helping me stall for time. I’ll be the one to handle these curs!” I grasped my left wrist at that point, then with a flourish, revealed Lion’s Majesty for all to see. “By my name, burn! O emissary of flame!”
As the last of my chant finished, a towering silhouette made entirely out of flames began to take the shape of a humanoid between the bandits and Nicole.
By controlling the output of my mana, I was able to ensure that this Fire Elemental was only at the level of a Five-star. Yet even at this level, its appearance was enough to have the already hot air around us burn even further. Plus, with its current strength, it was more than enough to bully the bandits in a feigned fight.
“We surrender… please don’t kill us…” But before I could even give the command to attack, the bandit leader had already thrown aside his massive blade and led the pack by offering his surrender.
I know you guys are just last-minute hires, but can you at least put in some effort? What’s the idea behind surrendering without even trying?
The bandit leader deliberately turned his head away at that point to avoid my hateful gaze. “That flame monster is terrifying… there’s no way we can win…”
“That’s right. That’s right. Fire is our greatest weakness. My mom even told me when I was young not to play with fire, you will end up wetting the bed if you do…” One of the other bandits immediately interjected to support his boss.
“I miss my mom too…”
“What a coincidence, me too…”
One after another, the bandits joined in the chorus of reminiscing about their moms, ruining the otherwise tense atmosphere in an instant.
I swear! What can I even do with a bunch of pig allies like them?!
Neneth, on the other hand, was confused as she eyed the kneeling bandits. “Eh? Aren’t you guys going to catch her?”
As if they dare. Bah, I know how these spineless jellyfish work now. When it’s a bunch of normal people, they are more than happy to act like a fierce bandit troupe. Now when it came to an opponent they couldn’t win against, they would immediately wag their dog tails. But at least they created a chance for me to talk to Nicole. All I need to do now is use my gift of the gab to turn this disaster into fortune.
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“You have my sincerest thanks for stalling these dastardly villains. Had it not been for that, I would never have had enough time to summon help.” I addressed Neneth this time instead. While nothing would have made me happier than to address Nicole directly, knowing her cold attitude, that was doomed to fail.
“You’re welcome. As long as you’re fine, pretty sister.” Still riding atop her white horse, Neneth reached into her backpack and rummaged about for a second before pulling out a paper-wrapped piece of bread. “Neneth was so worried just now. But don’t worry, pretty sister, Neneth would have stepped in if those dirty bandits actually tried anything.”
“Oh, then you have my thanks once again.”
While I might have said that, deep down, I was practically beside myself. Had she really intervened, I would be chatting with Nicole right now. But… looks like a change of plans is in order.
“So… Neneth? May I know where you two are heading to?”
Hearing me call her by her name, the blue-haired, bread-munching girl nearly dropped her bread in surprise. “Eh? How do you know my name is Neneth, pretty sister? Neneth never mentioned that her name is Neneth!”
But you did mention it… many times, in fact… Oh boy, looks like we have another sharp one here…
“And will you stop addressing me as pretty sister, I’m actually a man.”
Even though Neneth was admittedly a cute girl, there were some mistakes that couldn’t be overlooked. Especially when it came to my gender.
“Huh? So it’s pretty brother then?” Neneth hopped off her horse, bread safely cupped in both her hands. She then leaned in and gave me a sniff before breaking out in a smile, “Oh, sister is such a kidder. There’s no way a boy would ever be so fragrant.”
“I…” But I’m really a man… why does no one believe me…
Yet just as I was busy being tormented by the question of my gender, Nicole who hadn’t spoken up till now suddenly asked, “Who are you?”
“I’m Mo…” I barely managed to catch my tongue in time. Thankfully, I was able to stop myself when I noticed Nicole’s eyes sharpening when I said Mo. I swallowed by reflex and said, “I’m Mo Na.”
Good daughter of mine, I hope you won’t mind that I borrow your name for a while. I promise I will return it right away once I’m done. So be good and don’t cause trouble. I swear, I’m at wit’s end here…
“Mo Na…” Nicole softly repeated the name of my daughter, eyes never blinking as she stared at me. My heart couldn’t help but race as I worried whether or not my cover had been blown.
“Greetings, Sister Mo Na, I’m Neneth.” Said Neneth while she happily waved at me. She then introduced Nicole as well, “This here is my sister, Nicole.”
“Greetings as well. I plan to travel to the nearby Lyon, what about you two?”
Now was the time to take the initiative by stating my objective before Nicole. This way, even if she felt that this was too much of a coincidence, she shouldn’t be all that suspicious. After all, her intelligence shouldn’t have any report about me being here.
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“What a coincidence. We’re heading there too.” As she said that, she waved her obviously bitten bread and smiled happily. “Well, since we’re both heading there, how about Sister Mo Na join us!”
“Alright, I was thinking the same thing as well.” I quickly threw her an approving look. Even though this girl seemed callous at first, she actually wasn’t such a bad person after all. However, when my eyes swept over the kneeling bandits, I realised another problem. How was I going to find an excuse to let them go? After all, with that spider in their bodies, there was no way they would ever dare defy me. Leaving them alive could prove useful in the future.
“So what should we do with these fellows?” I casually asked.
“You’re the one who captured them, this has nothing to do with me.” Nicole impatiently snapped.
“That’s right. Sister Nicole, how you handle them is up to you.”
Their attitudes towards this matter were crystal clear: they didn’t care. Yet I clearly couldn’t let them off the hook so easily either. In that case, there was no choice but to have them suffer a little and fake their deaths.
With that in mind, I declared, “A trial is unnecessary then. Bandits are all bad people, leaving them alive would only bring tragedy in the future. In that case…”
“No! Please, we’re actually just villagers from Lyon. We had no choice but to become bandits… please let us go, brave heroines… Didn’t you say that you were heading to Lyon, we can guide you all to the village!” Having completely missed my point, the bandit leader honestly thought that I was about to kill them all so he immediately jumped to his feet and yelled. “I know you. You must be from the Demon Hunters. I recognise the insignia on your clothes. We really had no choice but to become bandits… it’s all that Vampire’s fault…”
The bandit leader then began his woeful recount of how a Vampire brought ruin to their village. As he spoke, I could clearly hear the resentment and resignation in his voice.
So they really were forced into becoming bandits…and not the professional kind.
The village of Lyon was a highly populated settlement. But because of the village’s inherent bad geography, the majority of the villagers were impoverished. Unlike my previous world, this world wasn’t a kind one to the ordinary folk. Even if they were suffering, the leader of the territory would never spend a dime on bettering their lives.
It was under such a backdrop that the situation of the villagers got increasingly worse. Leaving the village carried a very real risk of starving to death or just being captured as slaves. Yet staying behind was certain death as well.
Faced with such a disaster, those that had the ability to leave had already left. Those who could not weren’t going to quietly wait for their deaths either.
In actuality, the villagers of Lyon had not only requested aid from the Demon Hunters, they had also made the same request of several mercenary troupes. Because of a Vampire’s obvious weakness to sunlight, even ordinary troops stood a chance at victory as long as they were crafty. Unfortunately, the Vampire in question was just too strong. They had hired three mercenary troupes in the shortest time possible, each more powerful than the other. Unfortunately, every one of them had been met with failure. In fact, some of the mercenaries had even turned into slaves for the Vampire. The fact that their efforts did not weaken the Vampire but ended up strengthening it instead was just sad…
It was also because of this that this mission was stuck in limbo for a good long while in the Demon Hunters. The constantly rising difficulty of the mission meant that the Demon Hunters could not figure out who to send to rescue the villagers. After all, Lyon wasn’t the only village they had to look after. They couldn’t waste unnecessary manpower on a task if it did not warrant such effort. When facing a Vampire, sending more than necessary might even backfire…
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