Today is yet another day with the Forest of the Ancient God, spreading out in the Wildinne Region, being shrouded in a thick mist. It’s dense enough to make you acutely experience the dampness, so characteristic of this region.
A line of stagecoaches is advancing along the narrow road cutting through the conifer forest with their wheels whirling up the mist. The visibility is almost zero.
The stagecoach I have boarded is in the middle of a three-coach convoy, but even as I strain my eyes I can’t see the coach in front nor the one in the back. All my eyes perceive is a white, murky wall as if someone had spilled white paint onto the world.
The gray air clinging to my nape keeps stealing my body’s temperature thanks to its cold humidity. Reflexively I raise the collar of my mantle with a shudder, curling up my body.
“How ye like Wildinne?” Mr. Favore, the beastman sitting across from me, chats me up after seeing my reaction to the coldness.
“Compared to the capital, the temperature around here is quite low.”
Light chitchat is none of my specialties, but we’ve got nothing else to do on the coach over the course of the last four days.
“Wafufufu, it ain’t just cold. As soon as the sun comes out, damn place gets hot as hell. ‘Round this season, it’s like summer and winter switch ’round as they please. The borderlands’ weather ain’t kind on humes. A thick coat worn over a sleeveless shirt seems to be the proper fashion ’round this time.” Mr. Favore glances at the other passengers.
Five others besides me are traveling in this coach. The graceful elderly couple, Mr. and Mrs. Franz. The neatly dressed lady, Mrs. Minera, and her five years old child, Lune. And Mr. Favore, the beastman who’s talked to me just now. He’s a beastman of the grey wolf species, and my hired coordinator as well as bodyguard.
“Well, I’ve got tis fine, natural fur coat, so I’ve got less of a problem with it, I’d say,” he brags, fetching a piece of jerky out of his worn satchel, and biting into it.
A hume like me can’t guess a beastman’s age, but according to him, he seems to be a fairly middle-aged guy.
“Nonetheless, this is some amazingly dense mist.”
“What, it’s goin’ to clear up in a whiff. Wildinne’s weather is as moody as a woman.”
“Really? It’s my first time here.”
“Going by yer look, ye haven’t had yer first time with women yet either, wanugahaha.” Mr. Favore breaks into a vulgar laughter.
Going by the feeling of this conversation…he’s definitely a fairly middle-aged guy.
“Well, don’t fret, I’ll get ye through this with my reputation. Ye just need to follow me obediently, and we’ll get yer desired treasure within a week. If ye want, I can get ye some women, too.”
Mr. Favore takes out a crude knife, heartily cuts off a chunk of jerky, and brings it to his mouth.
The treasure mentioned by him refers to mithril steel. It’s a super rare ore with the highest rank as crafting material for enchanted weapons. Of course it’s nothing you can easily get your hands on. I’ve paid a fairly big sum of money to Mr. Favore to secure myself a route to get some of the steel myself.
“Ye, what was yer name again? Umm, Nia…” After chewing several times with his big mouth that contains conspicuous canines, he washes down the meat with the content of a leather bag.
I’m pretty sure it’s liquor with a fairly high alcohol degree. If the drink of a beastman who eats his food directly from a knife were to be sweet tea, it’d be a complete let-down.
“Teo. Teo Korpi.”
“Oh, that was it. Forgettin’ the name of my employer, I gotta admit, that’s quite bad of me. Right, Korpi. Korpi’s a name tough to remember.”
“I feel like you’ve made the same mistake before, though.”
“So, I’ve heard from yer mother. Something about ye bein’ a prodigal magic blacksmith, aight?”
“No, not at all. Those are just the words of my mother. Describing me in such an exaggerated way…I simply received training since childhood.” I deny Mr. Favore’s question, energetically shaking my head.
It looks like Mum has bragged to him before our departure. Doing something so unnecessary…
“I see. I mean, since ye goin’ to buy expensive stuff like mithril, you gotta be the child of a good family, no? Yer family rich?”
“Absolutely not. I’ve got my own circumstances, so I’d be happy if you could somehow keep the expenses as low as possible…”
In fact, it’s all over the news how my family is in the middle of going down. I heard that we were rich several years ago, but nowadays not a single trace of all that money is left. Well, our wealth goes as far as the pillars back home being somewhat thick and luxurious.
“Figures. Ye don’t look a rich boy at all.”
“Haha…right? As expected.”
“How to describe it? Ah, yeah, the skin’s gloss of rich folks looks tad more delicious.”
“Eh? Looks delicious?”
“Aye. The skin of rich folks got a springiness that wakes the urge in ye to sink yer teeth into it.” Mr. Favore exposes his fangs with a smug laugh.
“Wanufufu, ‘s just a joke. Humes ain’t anythin’ I wanna eat. Especially with their tendency to have fat meat.” Pointing his knife at me, Mr. Favore laughs loudly, “Wanwahahaha.”
To be honest, I don’t get what’s so funny about it. Or rather, why does he know about the tendency of humes to have fat meat…
It’d be hard to get the joke if it was made by an old hume guy, but if the one making such a joke is a middle-aged beastman, it genuinely becomes impossible to understand the funny part in it. Moreover, it’s beyond any hope when dealing with a beastman of the borderland region Wildinne. The Wildinne Region is adjacent to the outlands, an area inhabited by demonic beasts.
──Or in other words, it’s a frontier region.
It’s a place that’s somewhat tough on normal humes. However, for those trying to make a living by killing demonic beasts, it’s the perfect place. A suitable habitat for those wishing to rise in the world through the power of their swords. Mr. Favore mentioned that he originally made a living as a demonic beast hunter, too.
“Wanufufufu, wanufufu…so, what was it again? Magic blacksmith or somethin’?”
“Yes…magic blacksmith. Among those, I’m hailing from a family of cortege blacksmiths.”
“Cortege?” Mr. Favore is completely puzzled.
Of course I fully understand that it requires a proper explanation.
“Umm, cortege blacksmiths are smiths forging blades mostly used in ceremonies by royal families and clergy, demanding complex magic enchantments and sophisticated ornamental techniques. Traditionally…”
Mr. Favore licks his own snout.
“As I said, cortege blacksmiths are a type of magic blacksmiths, but unlike with commonly used items, our creations use high grade materials and high level seals. They are ceremonial items requiring a lot of time, effort, and money…”
“Okay, okay, I see, I see.”
He’s pretty obviously just agreeing there randomly. Mr. Favore devotes himself to his booze while nodding in a rhythm.
“…You’re not listening to me at all, are you?”
“That’s only natural, no? Look, I’m a beastman, and tis here is booze. It’s pretty stupid to bother a drinkin’ beastman with annoyin’ explanations, aight?” For some reason he proudly shakes his snout lightly, before draining down another gulp of booze.
“Wasn’t it you who asked…?”
I don’t feel like explaining any further, but delicate and elaborate techniques are demanded of cortege blacksmiths. Those techniques are passed down over many generations in a few families. My family, the Korpi family, has once been the best of the five distinguished families…
But, even if I tried to tell all of this to this old dog, he’d definitely ignore me.
“I don’t quite get it, but in any case, it means king’s blacksmith’s lookin’ for mithril in the borderlands, aye?”
“It’d be great if I could agree with my chest swelling in pride, but…”
As a matter of fact, the Korpi family has lost its position as leading cortege blacksmiths, and doesn’t produce any of the royal family’s arms nowadays. I’ve been putting efforts into obtaining mithril for the sake of regaining that position, but…
…Even if I were to explain all those circumstances, there’s no one here who would lend me an ear!
The old dog is drowning in booze, seemingly having gotten in the tune of getting himself drunk.
“In short, ye got special circumstances. Ain’t nothin’ unusual.”
“All those comin’ to Wildinne are burdened with heavier or lighter circumstances. Anyway, I wish ye all the best in tis land.” Mr. Favore holds up his leather bag high in the air as if offering it to the gods, and then pours even more of the apparently strong booze into his throat──
“Gefuuhh!” He vomits the same amount of blood as he drunk booze moments ago, and falls flat.
I can’t catch up with the situation due to its excessive suddenness.
“…Eh? Ehh!? Mr. Favore!?”
Mr. Favore has slumped forward, face down. A stone axe is very deeply stabbed into his gray, furry back.
What’s going on!? Just what has happened here!?
Next, the scream of a woman. It’s Mrs. Minera. While being hugged by her, Lune’s eyes are dyed with fear. Ahead of where Lune is looking, a pig demon running on two legs ── an orc is quickly getting closer through the thicket at the roadside.
Orcs are known to be an extremely aggressive demon species. They live in packs, and attack humes in groups to pillage. The orc clings to the stagecoach, and crawls up. While gasping roughly, it climbs on the low wooden frame, installed as prevention against falling off.
“Bugurururu.” While lifting its face with a threatening growl, it pulls the ax out of Mr. Favore’s back, causing dark-red blood to spray out.
Once more, the orc swings its ax down on Mr. Favore. Over and over again, it hits his back, shoulders, and head… Mr. Favore’s head breaks open like a melon. The ax also strikes his long, well-featured snout, resulting in the snout being almost torn off, only held to the face by a single sheet of skin.
Finally, the orc sinks its teeth into the nape of Mr. Favore who has completely stopped moving by now. Thinking of him as freshly caught food, the orc rips out a chunk of neck flesh by furiously shaking its head, and chews on that piece with fresh blood dripping down its muzzle. The orc crunches on the flesh while shaking its big snout.
Its eyes…look at me. As if it’s evaluating whether it should sample me as its next delicacy.
Suddenly the coach sways intensely.
In response to that sway, the orc flies out of the coach. Very likely the coach’s wheels have run over a stone or something. Either way, the coach has abruptly come to a halt within the dense mist.
I’m saved…is nothing I can say in this situation. If the coach doesn’t get going right away, we’ll be very soon attacked and turned into food by the orc.
“Driver! Fly the horse! …Aaahh…ugh!”
The driver has already been captured and turned into food. His right arm has been roughly torn off its shoulder alongside the bone, so he can’t whip the horse any longer. Moreover, even the all-important horse has been caught by orcs.
One, two, three…
An orc clings to the thrashing horse’s neck with nimble movements you wouldn’t expect from its short and stout physique, and stabs its sharp fang into the horse. Another two orcs hold onto the horse, pulling it to the ground.
While threatening each other, the orcs bring down their stone axes, bite into the horse’s throat, or beat the horse’s head with a fist-sized stone. With a last pitiful neighing, the horse stops moving altogether.
“Uguh, guh!” While feeling sick from watching that spectacle, I return to the center of the coach.
“Excuse me…what…what is happening?” Mrs. Minera tightly embraces her child with her eyes blurred in anxiety.
“I don’t have a clue what’s what either…a-anyway, making any rash moves is…”
We’re in a simple, covered wagon made out of nothing but a cloth canopy and iron braces. There’s nothing here to defend ourselves with. However, if a woman recklessly tries to run away with a child in arm, it’d become even more dangerous for her.
Fortunately, the orcs are fighting over the food ─ the meat that used to be Mr. Favore and the driver ─ they’ve already procured. If the guards protecting the coaches in the front and rear use that time to come running…
“Our wagon is in the middle of the file. I’m sure the guards defending the front and back of the convoy are going to rescue us.”
“Y-Yeah, you must be right.”
“I wonder. It would be great if you’re correct.”
It’s one part of the married couple who gives such an ambiguous reply. He’s an elderly man with a magnificent, gray mustache. This composure under these circumstances…that’s the experience of many years for you. While combing his prized mustache, the old man gazes at the front.
The orcs are kicking something round around between each other. They must be messing around. That iron ball-like object is…the head of a guard!
The orcs are playing around with a severed head that still wears its steel helmet. The guards have already lost the battle against the orcs. The guards escorting convoys are professional demonic beast hunters belonging to the guild. If those guards have already been killed off, a fairly high number of orcs, exceeding any estimations, must have attacked us.
The orc, who has kicked up the guard’s head, loudly roars out something similar to scorn.
“I guess a pack of orcs has hidden itself within this mist…” The old man watches the tragic scene with a blank expression as if it’s someone else’s problem.
It feels as if he’s completely given up on life, as if it was a great life despite all its various troubles… Just when I thought that he’s quite calm about all this, I find out that he’s already made his peace with this life!
I’m very sorry, but I can’t reach that mental state yet. Same applies all the more for Mrs. Minera who’s got a small child with her.
──I’ve got no choice but to struggle to the utmost.
I pick up the short sword I have with me for self-defense. Of course it’s my own creation. It uses Damascene steel. Its blade has a four-character seal of the Wind Spirit Joint Prayer. There are two small slots at its hilt, both filled with a Curse Gem of Gale. While having been made compact to make carrying the sword easier, it boasts an enchanted durability and a sharpness that can withstand genuine battle. With its outstanding handling, it’s my prized sword that can be used against demonic beasts, if they’re small, but…
I’m rather unskilled at the swordsmanship needed to wield it properly.
I’ve been educated to become a magic blacksmith ever since I could understand what was going on around me. Therefore, I’ve got absolutely no clue about swordsmanship, even if I can forge a sword. Normally, I’d love to entrust this to someone who seems capable at swordplay, but…Mr. Favore has sadly passed away. Only a grandpa, a grandma, Mrs. Minera and Lune are left.
A hopeless group of non-combatants… As expected, I’ve got no choice but to fight myself.
“Fuck, fuuuck! I’ll show you! I can do it!”
I get off the coach, which has stopped within the mist, and ready my sword with a wheel in my back. At least I won’t need to worry about getting attacked from behind.
Orcish roars can be intermittently heard through the mist in front. It looks like they’re still fighting over the food, but they’ll likely come back attacking this place very soon.
When are they going to come? From the right? From the left? The hand holding my sword is trembling like a lone leaf in a storm. That trembling travels from my hand to my spine, and then to my knees. The most I can do is keep standing.
Fuck! It’s no good, the trembling won’t stop! It’s very unlikely that I can fight like this. You kidding me!? The trip affecting the fate of the Korpi suddenly comes to an end after getting attacked by orcs…!?
I won’t give up like this…!
I put myself on guard, and frantically observe the shadows squirming within the mist.
…From where? …When?
──Directly from the front!
An orc face suddenly appears, cutting through the fog. A big muzzle with its fangs bared. It snaps its muzzle shut in front of my nose’s tip twice, biting at empty air──
And then it slumps down at my feet, falling to the ground with a thump.
————- End of Part 1 ————-
“Uwaaahh!” I scream out of reflex, surprised by the sudden turn of events.
The orc’s head has already disconnected from its body as it flies towards me while screaming. The orc’s neck, almost twice as thick as a hume’s, still continues to spray blood from the cleanly cut stump.
The orcs’ screams have changed in quality. Their roars have shifted from voices full of sadistic exhilaration to what feels like wariness and heightened hostility. Of course, all of it should be turned towards the being that lopped off the head of their kin.
Remarkably loud cries. Voices seemingly tearing through the throats, teeming with grief. The very definition of death screams.
Those cries occur in succession before the misty conifer forest falls back into its usual silence.
…We’re saved? Is it over?
What slips out of the dense mist, the one who has rescued us from this nightmare ─ is an abnormal being. Our savior itself looks just like something out of a nightmare. An old rag as a mantle. A huge sword, no, I guess it’s a machete, in its right hand. Bluish black blood as it’s characteristic of orcs drips from its blade. Its face is hidden by a weird mask in the shape of a horned, animal skull. The right half of the mask is tainted by the blood spurt of an orc. Two holes have been artlessly drilled into the mask…with two bright, crimson eyes gleaming through them.
Although her face is hidden by the mask, the outfit cladding her body is rather revealing, allowing a clear look at her womanly parts. Two voluptuous breasts bulging, a tight waist, and thighs visible through gaps in her mantle. She has glossy, dark brown skin which you will rarely find in the capital, and her body is well-trained.
The abnormal swordswoman casts a glance at me, and then plants her feet in front of Mrs. Minera who’s trembling inside the coach.
“U-Umm, thank you very much. Thanks to you, my son has survived…”
Mrs. Minera gives her thanks, but the swordswoman doesn’t answer. Despite standing in front of mother and child, the swordswoman’s eyes remain fixed on the orc head laying on the ground.
“Pardon, you truly, saved us. My son…”
“Hey, boy, hold this.” The swordswoman interrupts Mrs. Minera.
She bends down, grasps the bleeding orc head, and holds it out to Lune who’s still clinging to the chest of his mother.
“Kyaaaaaaaaah! What are you doing!?!” Mrs. Minera screams.
“Be quiet. If you don’t want to die, then don’t provoke the orcs.” Her voice betrays youthfulness. Its tone is calm, but carries a faint trace of dignity.
“But, a head all of a sudden is…”
“If you don’t want your child to hold it, do it yourself. But, whatever you do, do it quietly.” The swordswoman presses her index finger against the bone mask at the place of her mouth.
Somehow I feel like her beautiful voice sticks out like a sore thumb. The sound of her voice, clear like a bell, doesn’t mesh with her eerie appearance and odd behavior. I have absolutely no clue just who she might be, but it still doesn’t change the fact that she has rescued us…
“Good gracious, I thought that I would die here.”
“No doubt. To be honest, I had already resolved myself.”
The old couple, Mr. and Mrs. Franz, voice out their relief. Obviously overcome with emotions, they’re rejoicing happily.
“You have my heartfelt gratitude, Ms. Guard. For me and granny to be allowed to enjoy our remaining years for a bi… Ms. Guard?”
The swordswoman doesn’t listen to Mr. Franz at all. She nimbly whirls around and jumps off the coach. Then she dashes straight towards the shade of a tree, followed by a very powerful slash of her machete, aiming at a thicket from above.
The orc, who has lurked in there, leaps out with blood gushing out of its shoulder. It rolls around on the ground while screaming in pain.
“A-Another orc was still hidden over there? You saved us.”
“Thank you very much.”
The elderly couple bows their heads again. However, the swordswoman doesn’t pay any attention to them. She crouches down in front of the fallen orc, and swings her machete down once more, stabbing it deeply into the orc’s back.
“I see, so it was still breathing. Carelessness is one’s greatest enemies. Let me say it once more, then…
The swordswoman pulls out the machete, and swings it sideways towards the orc’s leg next.
The orc’s lower right leg is vigorously blown away from its knee.
“…Orcs sure have a strong vitality…Carelessness is…”
Immediately following, she also amputates the lower left leg. Having lost both lower legs, the orc writhes around. The swordswoman keeps swinging her machete indifferently, cutting off its right arm, and also its left arm.
Now the orc has lost all its limbs──
──and yet it’s still crawling across the ground restlessly.
“Umm…overdoing it is…”
Mr. Franz’s remarks are getting completely ignored. The swordswoman keeps brandishing her machete as if doing woodwork.
Back, abdomen, head ── uncanny squishing and crunching sounds can be heard as bones get smashed and flesh gets cut. The orc’s shoulders burst open, its belly is torn apart, and brain mush splatters into the surroundings.
“…Ugh.” Mrs. Minera covers her mouth with a hand as she throws up lightly.
But that’s only natural. I mean, honestly, even I’m on the verge of barfing.
At this point the orc is only convulsing faintly. The swordswoman roughly grabs the orc’s head, and drags it in our direction. Then she leans the orc’s body against the coach’s wheel. The limbless orc completely entrusts its body to the wheel, having lost all power.
The swordswoman stands up in front of the orc, whirls her machete around, shifting her hold into a backhand grip, and stabs its blade into the area at the top of the orc’s head. The big machete penetrates through head, neck, and chest, all the way down to the belly.
Shocked by that, the orc’s eyeballs jump out of their sockets. But as they remain connected to the brain, they keep dangling like pendulums.
──The machete has penetrated the orc’s body vertically. Only its hilt can be seen protruding out at the crown of the head.
“I’m taking that one back.” The swordswoman clutches the orc head in Lune’s hands, heads over to the machete’s hilt, and drives the orc head onto the hilt.
Now two orc heads line up vertically, skewered onto the machete. The upper face cries tears of blood, whereas the lower face still has its eyeballs suspended from its eye sockets. A perfect overkill. An act only describable as blasphemy towards the gods.
I can’t hold it back any longer. Unable to suppress what’s welling up from within, I vomit next to the coach’s wheel.
Why do something like that…?
Although they’re demonic beasts, there’s no need to kill them while making them suffer so excessively, and on top of that, toy around with their corpses. Is she someone with a completely deranged mind, or some evil heretic…?
Once I lift my face after having spit out everything in my stomach, the masked woman stands right in front of me without me having realized her approach. At close proximity, her mask looks even more ghastly.
Seemingly made out of some monster’s skull, the big horns extending at both sides of her mask are covered by thick layers of blood spurts. Would you wipe those off, an eerie gloss would likely become visible beneath.
Her red eyes, dully gleaming within the two holes, are fixed on me. Intimidated by them, I reflexively ready the short sword in my hand.
“That’s a nice short sword, you got there.” A composed voice, lacking any emotions.
She brings her face close to my short sword, and fixedly stares at its blade.
“The enchanted element…wind, huh? How many does it have?”
It’s a completely unexpected question.
“I’m asking how many enchantments it possesses.” The beautiful, cold voice repeats her earlier question.
“Umm…eleven charges of Wandering Blade…I think.”
“Hoh, a high-quality item. Are you rich?”
The swordswoman definitely doesn’t beat about the bush.
“No. I’ve forged this myself.”
“This one? You a blacksmith?”
“Yep, a cortege blacksmith.”
“You’re quite skilled.”
“I have to thank you.” The swordswoman says with her usual, indifferent tone, and smoothly snatches the short sword out of my hand. “Yep, just as I thought. It’s really a nice short sword. Its balance is great, too.”
An astoundingly quick move. Moreover, I have felt almost no strength from it. It was a mysterious sensation as if my short sword suddenly vanished out of my hand…
Wait! Now’s not the time to be surprised! My short sword was stolen from me!
“Wait a moment! That’s my precious…”
“You carrying it serves no purpose. Even if you die while holding onto it, you won’t be able to take it with you to hell.”
Leaving aside the question why it’s set for me to head straight to hell, her needing my short sword means…
“More of them are going to show up. The pigs are tenacious, after all.”
I check my vicinity in panic. There’s no sign of the coaches which should be stopped in front and back. It’s unfortunate, but I think they’ve been completely destroyed. I can’t even see the corpses of the passengers. In exchange, the thickets further ahead are shaking faintly. Very likely the passengers have been dragged into those bushes. As food.
“Orcs again…no way… Still, why my short sword?”
“That one has run out of curse power. There were too many of them. 『Corpse Eater』 isn’t suited for hunting small-fry.” The swordswoman glances at the machete that’s decorated with orc heads.
It seems like that big machete is called Corpse Eater. I’m just a petty magic blacksmith, but even I can tell at a glance that her machete is anything but normal. Enchantment: Darkness. Moreover, with an ultra-thick density. It’s what you’d commonly call a cursed weapon.
It might be a type that boosts its sharpness through a powerful curse. However, because it has cut through a great number of orcs, its darkness enchantment, or in other words, its curse has run out of power.
“But, that’s just a short sword.”
In the end, it’s no more than a short sword for self-defense. It emphasizes an easy carrying and handling, and isn’t catered towards genuine battle against demonic beasts. If you fight many orcs with it, its enchantments will run out quickly, transforming it into an ordinary short sword.
“You don’t have anything else, do you? So put some trust into your own sword’s balance.”
“Believing in its balance to such an extent is…”
“I’m Shea. Shea Kyle. Get your money for the sword from the margrave. You’ll likely get whatever you’re asking for it.” With those words, Shea turns on her heels, and runs off like a gale.
In the blink of an eye, she arrives behind the completely destroyed coach that’s stopped in front.
Only the head of an orc rolls quickly out of the carriage’s shadow. Another orc shows up while kicking the rolling head of its kin flying. The new orc is fiercely thundering this way. Its eyes full of rage and dread.
Chasing it, Shea nimbly leaps at it from behind, unleashing a fast sweep with the short sword.
The shrill sound of wind being cut, unique to Gale, echoes. It exceeds the blade’s range, loping off the orc’s head. The bleeding head is hurled up high into the air. It’s such a flashy way of being blown away that it feels ridiculous instead, but this is the peculiar phenomenon created by Gale’s space distortion.
The orc’s head draws a clean arc, passing over my head.
“Hoh, sure let it fly nicely,” Shea mutters while following the parabola with her eyes.
She’s certainly right. This phenomenon is only possible because the sword has wind enchantments properly applied to it. The head wouldn’t have been loped off so cleanly if the enchantment had been added sloppily. Certainly, she’s correct about that, but still… It’s my first time to receive praise for the flight path of a head. To be honest, I’ve got no clue how I should react to that.
“Now’s not the time to act all bashful. Look.”
At the end of Shea’s line of sigh I can see fresh orc reinforcements. One, two, three, five…they keep increasing.
Probably wary of Shea’s strength, they don’t try coming closer, but their numbers are growing on the road ahead. Moreover, situated in the back of the orc group stands a remarkably big orc. Its frame is huge enough that you can clearly identify it despite it standing at the very back. Far from being just one head bigger than the other orcs, its height towers twice as high. Very likely it weighs four or five times more than any ordinary orc…
“A high orc, huh? Tsk, how unlucky.” Shea spits out while keeping her tone as dispassionate as usual.
──High Orc. It’s a very rare, mutated orc variant. It boasts an abnormal appetite, an abnormal growth rate, and above all, an abnormal aggressiveness.
In other words…
“Unlucky is a complete understatement. It’s the worst.” Mr. Franz looks up towards the sky.
“Leaving us two old people aside, it sure is a pity for the young men and women here.”
The two have completely concluded with their lives.
“Ms. Guard, don’t try the impossible. Even if it’s just yourself…”
However, Shea doesn’t react to their words at all. With a quick shake of her head, she checks the orcs’ movements, getting ready for her next attack.
I can’t feel the slightest resignation or sadness from her state. However, the Gale contained in my short sword contains another ten charges. Once those run out, it’ll revert to a simple lump of steel.
“You okay? The available Gales…”
“Even if you can somehow handle the normal orcs with it, that sword lacks firepower to take on a high orc!”
Enchanted weapons are the sole means for humes to fight demonic beasts. They are the sole way of resistance for the frail humes who don’t have big fangs, sharp claws, wings to fly, or scales to defend themselves. No matter how skilled a swordswoman she might be, she won’t be able to fight against demonic beasts with a short sword not boosted by mana. Even if she cuts a high orc with a plain short sword, she’ll only be able to add a few, small cuts. As a swordswoman in the borderlands she should understand as much.
“It’s my job to hunt those pigs. You guys, hide yourself behind the coach.”
Shea plunges into the swarm of orcs without any hesitation. Spotting her, an orc swoops down on her. Shea jumps lightly, exposing her lean thighs as her mantle turns over.
The orc’s stone ax cuts through empty space as Shea has already circled around into its back. She drives the short sword into its head, activating the Gale enchantment. The orc is cleanly cut in two halves, starting from the head.
──Nine charges left.
————- End of Part 2 ————-