|Author: The Sole Survivor||Original Source: SFACG|
|Translator: CatatoPatch||English Source: Re:Library|
Because we had coordinated before, it didn’t take long before we bumped into Reyage and the others while they were out ‘searching’ for us. While we could have just met up at the site of the battle, I decided it was better if we didn’t. After all, hearing about a battle from my mouth was one thing, actually seeing the carnage we wrought on those nearly one hundred bandits was another. Given that I couldn’t guarantee how Nicole would react after seeing such a sight, caution was the better part of valor.
Having spotted me from a distance away, Jezsere came galloping towards me while excitedly waving her hands. The moment she caught up to us, she leaped off Mo Ning and right into my arms, like a dog that had just found its long-lost owner.
Ahh… my adorable Jezsere is with me again and everything is right in the world… but… Mo Ning… can you not stick your horse face in mine… you’re blocking my heartwarming reunion with our resident timid girl. Also, don’t lick my face.
Now that we had ticked off the reunion with the servants event, our next mission was to safely reach the village of Lyon.
As for why safely… well… certain unfortunate accidents might happen if we were to bump into that massive crime scene nearby…
While bandits were undoubtedly the scum of the earth, Nicole was still a kind girl deep down, of that I was sure. I was worried that my methods would leave a bitter taste in her mouth. And all that talk about not caring about me… that was all a test… Yes… a test. She wanted to test if I was a bad person.
My Nicole is a kind girl! She would never knowingly leave me to die!
Since this was the first time we were all meeting, I decided to have a short round of introductions. Naturally, I was going to introduce myself as Mo Na, and definitely not Mo Ke.
“This girl here is Nicole, and her companion is Neneth. They are both Demon Hunters from the guild. They have the same goal as us: to take down that Vampire in Lyon. Oh right, Nicole, you may just address me as Mo Na.” Having said that, I then pointed at those gathered around me. “I’m sure you already know Regine. This here is my bodyguard, Zurnalin. The cute girl is Jezsere, my maid. And that’s Reyage, Jezsere’s elder brother and also my most trusted officer. That beautiful girl over that is the guide we hired, Jill.”
And that was all the introductions. Or at least it should have been, had it not been for Mo Ning neighing unhappily in my direction. Seeing that, I could only pat her horse head gently before adding on, “This is my steed, Mo Ning. Don’t let her looks fool you, she’s a very smart horse with the blood of a magical beast mixed into her bloodlines.”
Upon hearing that last bit, Nenenth’s eyes practically lit with admiration. As for Nicole… she was as unaffected as before.
Thanks to that, the whole scene became a little awkward. Once again, it was up to me to save the day. I quickly eyed the cowering bandit leader. “Didn’t you say that you were from Lyon? Lead the way, we still have a Vampire to slay.”
“Okay, I’ll get to it immediately…” Said the bandit leader as he turned around to leave.
The bandit leader turned around and looked at me confused.
“Take the shortest route instead.”
At that, the bandit leader almost fell over as he immediately did a complete one eighty to the opposite direction. “Right. Right. I know just such a shortcut. Over here… but it might be a little… unsuitable for horses…”
“Just lead the way.”
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Short that exchange might have been, but I knew that Nicole would get a little suspicious of me because of that. That was why I decided to nip that problem in the bud with an excuse I prepared well beforehand.
“It’s getting late now and we still have some ways to go before we reach Lyon. If we can arrive at the village before nightfall, we might even be able to set up some preparations against the Vampire.”
At that, Nicole curtly nodded her head; clearly she was in agreement with my idea.
As for Neneth… she was all excited and clapping. “That’s brilliant, Sister Mo Na. You even thought so far ahead… not at all like Neneth… she’s so stupid in comparison…”
Now that the conversation was suddenly about her, Neneth couldn’t help but lower her head a little, as if to say, pat me now.
Seeing this cute side of her, I couldn’t help but smile a little as I gently comforted her till she finally smiled back.
Our current location was roughly ten kilometers away from Lyon. Because the bandits did not have any horses, we ended up taking longer than necessary. However, that bandit leader ended up finding us a shortcut as he promised. It was a hidden route, and not at all suited for horses as he warned us. Even so, we still managed to reach the village before nightfall.
On the surface, Lyon didn’t seem all that different from an ordinary village. However, there was a palpable sense of gloom cast over the entire village. The villagers were all hidden in their homes and only whispers could be heard throughout the village. Had this been an ordinary village, we would have already seen children running about the streets, playing without a care in the world. Yet everyone was now locked up tight in their homes, as if they wanted nothing more than to permanently seal the windows and doors.
“The sky is turning dark, if there is no other instruction, we’ll be off then…”
Having completed his mission of leading us here, the bandit leader quickly glanced at his companions before throwing out the quickest excuse he could come up with to bid farewell.
Unfortunately for him, there was no chance in heck I was letting him go. His lackeys could leave, but the leader that he was had to stay behind.
“The rest can go, but not you.” I waved my hands to dismiss the other seven lackeys. Finally, I pointed at the bandit leader, “I need you to bring us somewhere.”
“I…” His face almost fell apart.
“To the village chief first.” It was then that Nicole spoke up. Having done that, she glared at the bandit leader. Even if the others were gone, it wouldn’t be a problem tracking them down as long as we had their leader in our hands.
With tears in his eyes, the bandit leader brought us to a relatively large building with two stories on the eastern side. He opened the lock on the door with practised ease and walked in naturally as if this was his home.
Wait… don’t tell me he’s the village chief? No way, he looks like someone with muscles for brains.
“Reyage, Zurnalin, go set up some defenses; it’s getting dark soon. I don’t expect the defenses to be able to defeat the Vampire, but they should at least warn us of its coming.” I instructed the two of them upon entering the house.
The two of them left immediately without saying another word.
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Upon stepping into the building, the bandit leader dug out some chairs from the somewhat messy living room before pulling one for himself in the corner.
Seeing that, I was quickly reminded of how odd this whole situation was. “Who are you exactly?”
“The previous village chief is my father…” The bandit leader immediately opened up with a shocking bit of news, but that was only the precursor of what was to come. “During our third attempt at organizing mercenaries against that Vampire, he was slain by Blood Ghouls. I’m now the… interim village chief.”
What the heck? Why are you even a bandit then? You have a perfectly bright future ahead of you! Do you actually think banditry is better than what you got?
“I know what you must be thinking right now… why would I even choose to be a bandit…” The bandit leader *** interim village chief sighed at that point. “I’m sure you all have already noticed what’s wrong upon entering the village. This village is barely alive. That Vampire will at least capture one villager a day. His favourite prey includes beautiful virgins, strong men and children… But with no money to hire more mercenaries, an uncaring lord, and an unresponsive Demon Hunters Guild… we can do nothing about that. The villagers spend every day in terror.”
“Our village isn’t rich. Most of us have no kin outside of the village. Leaving now would only delay our deaths a little. What’s worse is that a slaver party got wind of our plight and even set up shop nearby to capture those who flee…”
A slaver party?! Right outside of the village too? Doesn’t that mean that the Vampire also has some connection to those slavers? But even if they don’t, those slavers have reached a new low. Even a firing squad would be too kind for these monsters.
Speaking of which, the village is already at such a desperate stage and yet the lord hasn’t intervened yet?
Clearly, I wasn’t the only one to share this surprise as well. “EHHHH?!!” Neneth exclaimed loudly. “Is the lord of this region not going to step in even now? The slavers are already openly capturing his subjects.”
“The lord… hmph… didn’t you just mention one of his most profitable schemes just then?” The bandit leader coldly harrumphed.
“You don’t mean…”
“All you noblemen and ladies will never understand the suffering of us common folk.” The more he spoke, the more the agitation in his voice grew, any thought of that spider in his belly long gone by now. He waved his thick arms about in rage as he yelled. “You all are born with a silver spoon in your mouths, never worrying about how to fill your bellies -but we aren’t that fortunate! We wake up everyday to crippling hunger. When you open your eyes, you see a feast spread out before you, while we only have despair on the dinner table if the crops do not meet the winter needs. While we endure the harshness of the cold within our very own homes, you sit by the fireside and make merry… You even have servants to drive you around on carriages while we…”
The bandit leader was on a roll at this point. Unfortunately, his otherwise moving rant was immediately cut short by me.
“I think you’re misunderstanding something here.” I stared right into the eyes of that livid bandit leader and said, “Your misfortune is not justification for robbing innocents. Besides, I was of common birth as well…”
“Impossible!” The bandit leader eyed me from top to toe, not at all convinced by what I said. “There’s no way you are of common birth. Just look at those serving you right now, their auras are nobler than the last. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were all born noble. And as their master, you have the gall to claim you are of common birth? What a joke! Our plight is already miserable enough without your jokes!”
Unfortunately, I was telling the truth here. My family in the past had all been commoners, even if it seemed like I was doing a right fine job for myself right now. However, the world was like this sometimes: a convenient lie might earn you the trust of bystanders while telling the truth might just earn you scorn instead.
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