Translator: Silver Editor: Kaio
「Just Passing By」 Part 2
When I called out to Ponta who was quenching her thirst by the riverside, she made her way towards me while barking cheerfully. While I waited with one of my knees slightly out, she used it to leap up to my shoulder before finally settling herself in her usual position on top of my head. I took out and peeled some of the pistachios from my bag, resulting in her happily wagging her tail.
After walking through the shallow section of the river, I entered the forest on the opposite shore.
From this point forward, I was in the domain of the elves. However, the atmosphere in the forest was anything but somber. Rather, with the sunlight filtering through the treetops, it felt quite pleasant.
However, there were no bloodstains on this side.
Instead, there were signs that someone had tread upon this area. Was it possible that person was wounded during the crossing of the river, resulting in the blood only appearing on the opposite shore?
This might mean that the supposed bandits considered this area to be dangerous.
If that’s the case, then even if I carefully searched this area, it would be unreasonable for me to be able to find any additional signs to pursue. It seemed that I could only steadily search on foot.
Since time wasn’t really an issue, I leisurely walked through the forest with Ponta. Occasionally, a certain type of nut would catch her eye; after using wind magic to retrieve them from the tree, she would enjoy them on top of my head.
Before long, the light of the sun began to to fade away, gradually dyeing the forest a crimson red. It was at this time that we found ourselves before what appeared to be a mountain trail. The width was at most able to accommodate a single carriage. The undergrowth was cut to the extent where it could barely be considered as a road.
The road extended to the northeast and the southwest direction.
Since it was already getting dark, I headed in the southwestern direction, towards where the forest’s exit might be. From my head, Ponta’s sleepy yawns could periodically be heard.
Farther down the path, I heard the sound of weapons clashing with one another.
I left the trail, moving quietly through the thickets as I approached the source of the noises. There was a wagon with a small group of people next to it, their weapons drawn and their faces covered with menacing looks.
The people surrounding the wagon had the same discreetly colored cloak, their weapons and shields raised in formation in order to protect it. They were clearly exceedingly different compared to a normal gang of bandits with mismatched equipment.
The wagon parked a little ways behind them was covered with a cloth canvas, hiding its contents. However, I felt signs of life in the interior of the carriage; there must be people hidden inside.
A slim man beside the wagon drew his sword, but unlike the guards in front of him, the sword trembled in his hands as he pulled it from his waist.
The corpses of three men covered with arrows surrounded the wagon. They seemed to be victims of a surprise attack.
Among the men with increased fervor near the front, a man who had a good build let out a pained moan before he fell to the ground. As he fell, I caught sight of the assailant’s figure retracting her sword before vigilantly observing her surroundings.
From one glance at the beautiful woman who stood there while wielding a slender sword, it was clear that she wasn’t human.
Her lilac colored skin was crystal smooth; her long hair white as snow. Her pointed ears complemented her sharp eyes, which glowed with a strange gold in the darkening forest. Compared to the elf I had previously seen, her ears were also shorter.
She was dressed in a long-sleeved dress with a modest length hem that allowed for great maneuverability. A leather corset served as protective gear, while a grey cloak fluttered in the wind behind her.
Her demeanor was reminiscent of a veteran warrior.
However, a stunning feminine charm radiated from the body wrapped in plain clothing. The fabric at her chest threatened to burst open at any moment under the pressure from their overwhelming mass. Underneath, a narrow waist accentuated her graceful legs and toned buttocks.
If one was able to deprive their eyes of her beautiful figure for even a little while, then they would be able to notice the flashing silver sword in her hand that fiercely struck out, felling one hefty men after another.
Occasionally, there were men who tried to surround her, but they would retreat after receiving the arrows shot from a position farther behind her.
While using the thick branches of the large tree as a foothold, and the trunk as a substitute shield, the archer, who had the same features as the person I saw near Diento, continually fired arrows.
With emerald-tinted blonde hair, jade-colored eyes, and long, pointed ears along with a slender build, he was undoubtedly an elf. However, this elf appeared to be a different person from the one I saw near the city.
The two attacked a group that numbered about twenty. They were skilled enough in battle that they easily overcame the number disadvantage. As Ponta and I quietly observed from a bush, wondering whether, after a few minutes, the battle would conclude, I heard a man swear near the back of the group. Then, he started running towards the wagon.
After the man tore off the canvas covering the wagon, he pointed his sword towards one of the attackers while screaming at her.
“Woman!! Surrender obediently!! Otherwise, I’ll cover their bodies with holes!!! That elf back there, too!!”
With bulging veins and saliva spraying out of his mouth, the man shouted.
His sword was directed towards the iron cage inside the wagon where four children were locked up. With golden hair, emerald eyes, and long ears, they were all elves.
The children, probably fearful of the sword pointed at them, let out muffled sobs through their gags. At the same time, more tears gathered at the corners of their eyes.
When the woman stopped her sword in consideration of the threat, the men around her let out sighs of relief. Simultaneously, they began to gradually shrink their encirclement.
“Damn─! The shameless humans!!! …Instead of submitting to you and enduring the humiliation for the rest of our lives, the people of the forest would rather die proudly!!!”
Along with her yells, the tip of the sword rose back up. A more intense hatred and anger gleamed from her eyes. The pressure from the dark aura now surrounding her caused the approaching men to hesitate.
The elf situated on the tree pondered on what he should do and didn’t raise his bow. In this situation, it was obvious that some of the elven hostages would become sacrifices.
It might be the nature of a helpless man to want to get closer, even if it’s only by a little, to that beautiful woman with lilac-colored skin.
“Hmm, looks like you’re in a tight spot. Allow me to lend a hand.”
In this volatile atmosphere, after turning pulling Ponta from the top of my head and turning her into a scarf for safety, I approached the man next to the wagon while calling out in an innocent tone.
For a moment, only the surrounding air rustled.
If a silver knight who wore a black cloak suddenly emerged from the thicket, of course anyone would find it suspicious. The man who threatened her earlier seemed to be lost in thought.
“Lend a hand? Lend…” With a confused expression that seemed to be pondering something, he muttered under his breath.
I closed the distance towards the off-guard man who couldn’t seem to make a decision.
Although I could have simply transferred to shorten the distance, I was hesitant to thoughtlessly reveal it in front of so many people. It was a delicate situation, as it was still unknown whether or not defeating the kidnappers would create the opportunity to form a friendly relationship with the forest people.
“Al-alright! I will reward you generously if you capture that dark elf!!! However, be sure to capture her alive!!!”
“What!! What on earth are you thinking!!! We can’t trust such a suspicious person; are you mad!!!”
When the man, whose patterns of thinking must have been completely faulty, called out such words as if they were good ideas, one of the members of his group protested. As expected, there was still at least one person who was able to think rationally in this situation.
“Annoying, so annoying, just shut up!!! You lot are so incompetent that you couldn’t even overcome a single woman!!! Capture her quickly!! We can’t let such a precious rare species get away!!!”
This group appeared to be capable, so how did such an incompetent person get mixed in? I wonder who the leader in charge of this group of kidnappers is? Although, at this point, I suppose it doesn’t matter…
So, she’s apparently a dark elf, huh… Her features do differ considerably from that of an elf. Although, in the game, dark elves had long ears instead, along with red eyes and dark brown skin; their features in this world seemed to be quite different.
Furthermore, considering they were a rare species, their numbers were probably few.
While thinking of such irrelevant thoughts, I closed the distance towards the incompetent man to a short degree. Even with my full-body armor, thanks to my current greatly enhanced body, I was able to cover the distance in the blink of an eye.
I drew my sword and slashed at his arm ─ the one he had used to brandish his sword earlier. As if he couldn’t understand what had just happened, he had a dumbfounded expression on his face as he took his final breath. After the upper body began to fall, the flaccid lower half hit the ground and spilled its filth onto the well-tailored pants.
Everyone was stunned at the sight they had just witnessed. However, in the next moment, the dark elf regained her senses.
While everyone else was still distracted, she took the opportunity to cut down three men.
A man tried to regain his stance, but before he was able to, I dashed forward and cleaved him in two with an overhead swing, as if I was preparing to fillet a fish. Pure panic and fear took over the men as screams filled the air.
Arrows from above, courtesy of the elf in the tree, picked off all those who tried to escape.
In a matter of minutes, stillness descended upon the clearing, with only the sounds of the insects and the rustle of the leaves breaking the silence.