Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
「That which brings blessings and tragedy」Part 1
Our group left Gurado and advanced along the northern highway.
Dalson led the thirty-man unit which consisted of twenty knights and ten other combatants gathered from the town, all marching with weapons and other subjugation tools in hand while Ariane and I followed behind with Ponta atop my head.。
After leaving the town and traveling for about an hour, the landscape around us started to rise slightly to form a hill. That’s when our group left the highway and approached a forest on the western side.
From the top of the hill, I could see that the trees in the forest were sparsely placed. Dalson gestured for everyone to be quiet before he started to crouch, everyone following his example as we advanced towards the forest.
Eventually, we came to a stop when the hill ended in a small cliff and Dalson silently urged us to have a look.
A group of ogres was standing around at the bottom of the cliff. Their height ranged between two and two-and-a-half meters, their rust-colored bodies consisted of steel-like muscles and tusks were protruding from the corners of their lower jaws. They seemed to have a degree of intelligence given the animal pelts around their waist and the ivy bound stone axes and large clubs they carried.
There were ten ogres in total and a quick glance revealed that everyone in the unit was holding their breath.
“We begin the ambush here, so I’ll lend you this.”
When Dalson said that, a knight pushed a quiver of arrows and bow to both Ariane and me.
While I remained confused about what they were for, Dalson nudged his chin towards the cliff.
“We’ll fire arrows from here and lure them towards the highway. Since we’re on top of the hill, it’d be difficult for them to climb up as they chase us.”
Just as Dalson had said, when I took another look, the valley the Ogres were in was surrounded by hills on all sides.
“The arrows have been dipped in poison, but it’s only strong enough to slow the ogres’ movements. Since it isn’t wise to face them inside the forest, we’ll draw them out with these arrows.”
The greatest strengths humans possessed was their ability to form groups and strategize. Though I couldn’t tell if there were enough people here to go through with the plan, it was true that it’d be disadvantageous to fight in the forest.
Since there were only ten of them, Ariane and I could go down and take care of them ourselves, leaving Dalson and the rest here safe and out of sight.
However, I wasn’t the main force here, I was just meant to support them. When I looked to Ariane, it appeared that she reached the same conclusion as she only nodded back at me.
Since I never used a bow before I watched the others to learn how to do so. Besides, I only need to provoke the ogres, not hit them.
“Everyone, ready your bows.”
At Dalson’s command, everyone aimed their bows off of the cliff’s edge.
A second later, the thirty men let their arrows rain upon the unsuspecting ogres.
I drew my bow with all my might in preparation to shoot at the ogres.
However, just as I was about to fire I heard a cracking sound and the bow in my hand snapped in two.
I’d heard that amateurs would have a hard time fully drawing a bow, so I held and drew it with all my might, but that was apparently a mistake.
Both Ariane and Dalson had amazed looks on their faces while the others were in a state of shock. Everyone’s stares were starting to make me feel a little uncomfortable.
“Well, seem that this bow’s maintenance has been neglected.”
While quietly tossing the broken bow to the side I blamed its breakage on the one in charge of weapon maintenance.
Unlike me, Ariane managed to draw her bow and shoot it at the ogres at the bottom of the cliff. However, her ability with the bow wasn’t as high as you’d expect of an elf. Her arrow struck the ground close to the ogres.
But seeing Ariane fire the bow I understood why. Her large chest seemed to throw off her aim when she fired.
While everyone readied themselves to fire another volley, roars rose up from the bottom of the cliff and angry glares focused on our group.
Several of the ogres had arrows stuck in their bodies, but they managed to avoid fatal injuries thanks to their thick muscles.
In order to contribute something, I looked around for something to throw. I could help reduce their numbers if I threw rocks at them from this height, but unfortunately there were no fist-sized rocks around.
Well, these pebbles should be enough to provoke the ogres, so I picked up a few of them and started to throw them down the cliff.
When the stone I threw hit one of the ogres in the head, there was a dull sound as a hole appeared in his head and it fell down unmoving.
Cheers arose from the men shooting arrows around me.
Dalson nodded approvingly before he bent down, gathered more stones, and handed them to me. Although I had been just trying to find something to do, I managed to reduce their numbers.
I took aim at another ogre with the stones I received. However, that first one seems to have been due to luck. Stones thrown at fastball speeds could certainly be fatal, but it’s hard to aim at fast-moving objects and trying to hit the ogres at a vertical incline on top of that made the task even more difficult.
Above all else, I knew for a fact that I lacked honed throwing skills.
At the ogres’ second angry roar Dalson confirmed that they were making their way up the cliff, and I finally managed to take another one out, leaving eight of them.
Ponta suddenly made a tense cry from atop my head.
Just as Dalson had given the order to fall back to the highway, two more ogres appeared from the forest behind us, shocking everyone.
Ariane couldn’t even hide the shock on her face at being ambushed. Somehow, both she and I had become so absorbed in shooting arrows and throwing stones that we had neglected to cover the rear.
One of the newly arrived ogres raised its stone axe to take a swing at Dalson, but, Ariane quickly grasped the situation and blocked the strike.
The moment she saw the ogre move, Ariane wasted no time tossing her bow aside and drew her sword as she stepped in-between the ogre and Dalson at lighting speed.
Ariane managed to avoid taking the blow delivered by the ogre’s log-like arms by deflecting it with the flat side of her sword. However, the force generated by the axe hitting the ground was enough to blow her hood off.
When that happened her lilac skin and golden eyes were revealed. Without paying attention to that, Ariane quickly raked her sword over the ogre’s arm that held the axe.
The ogre screamed as it let go of its axe and tried to step back, but Ariane wasn’t having it and closed the distance.
The ogre tried to knock her away with its large arms but it was unable to raise the arm Ariane had injured. Capitalizing the opportunity, she slashed the ogre’s thick neck.
The ogre grasped at its neck as blood started to spray from it, an act that proved to be futile as it collapsed and writhed on the ground.
While Ariane’s battle had played out I had faced off with the other ogre that had snuck up on us.
Had Ponta not cried out when she did, I might have received the ogre’s blow. Though it’s unlikely that I would have received much damage thanks to 『Belenus’ Holy Armor』, Ponta would’ve been in harm’s way if I handled the situation poorly, sitting on my head as she way.
Thanks to her warning, I was now facing the ogre and Ponta had already coiled herself around my neck.
When I caught both of the ogre’s arms and squeezed them, the ogre glared at me while trying to free itself. The ogre initially tried to swing its club at me, but as my hold tightened, agony seeped into its expression and its escape attempts started to become desperate.
“Hehehe, I’m not letting you get away!”
I put enough strength in my hold to break the Ogre’s wrists. The instant they snapped, the ogre roared as if it was dying. My follow-up head-butt shattered the ogre’s skull and broke its neck.
When the ogre became silent I tossed the corpse aside and checked up on Ariane. We made eye contact just after she pulled her sword from the neck of her kill and she was starting to put her hood back on.
We somehow managed to kill the two from the ambush.
When we looked towards the others, we were greeted by their dumbfounded expressions. The ogres at the bottom of the cliff had already split into two groups and they were closing in on this location.
“The rest of them are heading this way.”
Dalson returned to his senses when he heard me say that.
“Everyone, fall back to the highway!!”
At his command, everyone simultaneously retreated towards the highway.
When we reached the highway, a group of four ogres broke out of the forest and started their assault.
As the enraged ogres ran out of the forest, hell-bent on killing us, Dalson issued another set of commands.
“Throw your oil bottles!! Ariane-dono, if you’d please!!”
Everyone then threw small containers of oil at the ogres, coating them in the stuff before Ariane used her spirit magic to send multiple fireballs flying at the ogres.
When the fireballs hit them, the ogres were engulfed by the flames. As the flames consumed them, the ogres dropped to the ground and rolled around to extinguish them, stopping right at our feet when they were done.
The soldiers quickly formed separate groups and stood on the sides of the wounded ogres before they started to stab the ogres with their spears and swords. In each group, there was a knight standing in front of the ogres with a large shield, whose purpose was keeping the ogre’s attention focused on them while the others stabbed the ogre. I decided to use the way they handled their shields as a reference.
I cross-referenced the trained movements of the corps members with the way I usually fought and noted that they were almost identical.
Ariane, Dalson, and I were located in the center group where two of the ogres rose to their feet and screamed in anger.
I took my shield off of my back and unsheathed my sword before stepping forward.
I deflected a giant club using the shield in my left hand. The ogre’s balance had been thrown off because it was pulled along by its weapon, and after cutting into it with my great sword the ogre ended up being bisected.
The second ogre was done in with a single thrust, after I hit it in the face with my shield I used the opportunity to ram my sword into its stomach.
My thrust had managed to cut the ogre’s spine, and with a final moan, the ogre fell down like a puppet with its strings cut.
Looking around I saw that the other groups had been able to overwhelm the other two ogres. When the remaining ogres showed up, Ariane and I split up to support the groups under attack. The battle was over in an instant and not a single ogre was left alive.
“Considering that you’re an elf, Ariane-dono, I’m truly grateful for your help.”
While we were busy removing the magic stones from the ogres’ bodies, Dalson approached us and started speaking to Ariane with a smile on his face.
At his comment, Ariane lowered the hood of her cloak and stared back at him with her arms crossed.
Without paying attention to her shift in attitude, Dalson continued to speak to Ariane in a more blunt manner.
“Though this is the first time I’ve met one, I heard stories that elves occasionally appeared in the neighboring forest during my great-grandfather’s time.”
Dalson’s eyes didn’t hold the same gleam as one that desired to capture elves. If anything, there was only a hint of curiosity.
“This is your first time meeting an elf?”
Since Ariane was maintaining her vigilance and silence, I decided to urge Dalson to continue. Dalson seemed a little happy about it, instead of being displeased as I thought he’d be.
“Since my great-grandfather’s time, our family’s tenet has been 『Help elves whenever they’re in need』……. When he was young, an elf saved his life when he’d been exploring the forest, I never imagined I’d be saved in a similar fashion.”
As Dalson spoke, he focused on Ariane, whose arms were still crossed.
“……Even if we didn’t help, you’d have managed somehow.”
Dalson shook his head at Ariane’s curtly reply.
“If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be able to return to my sons today.”
“Technically, we only completed the task you requested of us. So, are you going to give us the directions now?”
Ariane simply brushed it off and said it was nothing.
“Ah, that’s right. When we return to town, we’ll need to prepare a proper reward for Arc-dono and Ariane-do──”
Ariane and I simultaneously spoke up.
Sharing a quick look, the two of us nod in agreement before she continued speaking.
“No, we’re heading to the empire from here. It’ll save us the trouble if you tell us what we need.”
“However, I don’t have much with me at the moment, so how can I reward you here?”
Dalson took out a few gold and silver coins from a leather wallet he’d been carrying as he spoke.
“That, along with the bow I broke, is enough of a reward.”
I shrugged my shoulders as I made that joke.
Dalson looked at me and opened his mouth to say something, but Ariana managed to beat him to it.
“As an additional reward, how about you ensure that that family tenet of yours is passed down to your great-grandchildren.”
Ariane’s large chest rose and fell while being supported by her arms as she started to chuckle. That precept of 『Help elves whenever they’re in need』 was a good one to pass down in my opinion.
Dalson turned a questioning gaze in my direction. Since I didn’t really mind the reward that she had suggested, I nodded at him.
As compensation for the subjugation, he told us that this road would lead to a large city in the empire and bade us farewell together with all the members of the subjugation party.