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Day 27 Sidestory: Redhead's POV
It should have been a simple common quest. However, it did not end so easily. In fact, it ended in complete failure.
The quest was to escort a medium sized group of merchants from the Merchant Guild «Star God’s Pavilion» to the city of «Trient» whilst protecting them from bandits and monsters. It should have been an easy going job without much risk. I'm a fledgling adventurer with no reputation, so I am viewed with a lack of confidence and competence.
However, I can acquire work, as I am part of the Adventurers' Association «Sword of the Weak». A standard sized group doing this journey would normally number a dozen or less. This group that I was a part of however, had eighteen fledgling members and six senior members for a total of twenty-four people. The large number of participants lowered the income, but we put up with it since this was to help us gain experience.
At first, everything was fine. The road we traveled had recently issued monster subjugation requests; clearing out most of the monsters, thanks to this it was much more secure. Still, there is risk involved. The large chicken monsters with a height of seventy centimeters called «Misuteddo» would attack in groups of two or three. Encountering these monsters help the fledgling adventurers that hunt them get some good experience.
For me and one other fledgling adventurer, this was our first escort quest; however, because the journey did not have much of a danger, the rest of the group wasn't nervous at all. Inevitably, because there was a lot of free time, most of the it was spent talking; and as it turned out, I was the only woman adventurer this time.
Fortunately, everyone was openhearted and carefree. The seniors spoke of stories full of information. This will be useful for the future. Blacksmith Emery Furado gave me a cheap ring and a necklace. Sisters Alma and Felicia made me sweets. Alchemist Spinel Fean gave me a home-brewed stamina recovery drug (Life Potion). Although her potions are inferior to commercially available ones, stamina is very important. My life could well be saved by this one day. Stamina recovery potions are essential items for adventurers; however, they are expensive, so they are usually out of reach for a fledgling like me. So, above all, I was thankful.
With the unexpected income, I relaxed my guard. I started thinking about how the quest had gone on without a hitch and how I would have a drink in the tavern when we arrived.
But that was not to be.
Suddenly, arrows came flying out of surrounding forest and struck the side of the seniors. Apparently the arrows had been coated in a fast-acting poison. We quickly began treatment; however, the seniors died with bubbles flowing from their mouths. And though it was not the first time I had seen people die, I couldn't help thinking that the seniors I was once familiar with are now a pile of corpses, but now was not the time to think about it. This was because a large amount of monsters had just jumped out from the bushes near the forest and are now heading towards us.
Whilst listening to the roar of fighting spirit, I draw my steel short-sword «The Sword of Love», a parting gift from my uncle.
【Rubellia Walline Battle Technique(Arts) 【Slash】 Sword】
I was taught the [Warrior] occupation by my uncle and can handle the basic Battle Techniques. A pale red light appeared on the blade of my sword with deadly intention confined to the blade.
With distinctive green skin, pointed ears, and ugly faces, the enemy are «Bandit Goblins» from a Goblin tribe. I aim my blade to cut off his head; however, the enemy easily parries my sword. With the collision between swords, a high-pitched sound occurs and sparks scatter. The impact is so hard my hand becomes numb. My hand has weakened but I can still firmly grip my sword. It's okay; I can still fight.
However, it's different for the Bandit Goblin in front of me. The shock of the previous blow caused it to drop its sword leaving it unarmed. Regarding my combat profession that's at level 10, I am a considered a low-level [Warrior]. It has only been a month since I became an adventurer. However, I originally grew up with my family as a [Farmer] and got to level 48. This caused my muscle strength and durability to increase to make up the difference between us.
The hard day-to-day farming operations made my arms strong and hands sturdy helped me keep hold of my sword and not fall back. Only for a moment, I think back on those days. I desperately swing my sword again aiming for the kill, but the Bandit Goblin blocked my sword with a round shield at the last minute. I slightly damaged the round shield but was unable to strike a mortal wound. The enemy is also desperate. However, I was able to still break the posture of the Bandit Goblin. Without giving it the opportunity to escape, I aim for the exposed thigh not covered with Hide Armour.
【Rubellia Walline Battle Technique(Arts) 【Slash】 Sword】
The blade's sharpness is increased by the Arts. It tears through the meat, but momentum slows as it cuts into bone. I still succeeded in cutting off the leg. Fresh blood spewing from the wound. I raise my short-sword high in order to give the decisive blow on the Bandit Goblin who groans in pain while clutching the cut leg desperately. I hammer the single blow into the crown of the head. Without resistance, my sword cuts through the skull while splattering brains and staining some of my leather armor with blood.
"Behind you!! Look out!!" a male adventurer named Charles, who was the same age as me, called out. I turned around equipping my shield in my left hand and pushed forward.
【Rubellia Walline Battle Technique(Arts) 【Shield Bash】 Shield】
Pale blue light wrapped around my shield as I struck the Bandit Goblin in the face. It was unable to avoid the instant surprise attack. Shield Arts are originally known for their great hardness. The strike broke the Bandit Goblin's nose causing a gushing nosebleed as the large Bandit Goblin's body fell back.
The【Shield Bash】 causes a 【Knock Back】 effect breaking their stance.
I seize the chance and rush in to cut off the head of the Bandit Goblin. I don't use Battle Technique here as they consume lots of physical and mental strength. I slash through the neck of the Bandit Goblin unopposed due to the broken stance from beforehand. I hit an artery, and fresh blood spouts out like a fountain. The blade became a little chipped when I cut through the bone. In the corner of my view I see a figure of an enemy aiming at me. I avoid the large spiked club that is clearly too much for my small shield to block and I jump back at once. "Tsuu!"
The club which was swung disturbed my balance. There wasn't any damage though, and I succeeded in getting back. However, that seems to have been the aim of the enemy.
「Why is a Bandit Hobgoblin here!!」
A formidable enemy, a «Bandit Hobgoblin» has appeared from my blind spot while releasing a fearsome cry.
Hobgoblins are a higher species of Goblin, slightly beyond the ability of the average human. It's a famous monster that fledgling adventurers must overcome once. It's a nasty opponent to kill one-on-one. I saw a battle with a Hobgoblin that had previously caught my Uncle and he had some trouble with it. Hobgoblins begin as Goblins who then Rank Up with enough experience while giving them superior skill and physical prowess. This thing murdered a lot of creatures and Ranked Up after rising from the bottom.
The Bandit Hobgoblin strikes with its powerful fist. It doesn't hit me since I defended with the round shield at once. However, because there wasn't time to use Arts, the round shield releases an unpleasant sound as it became slightly damaged. I felt as if I collided with something huge. Just after that, my body was flying backwards.
Initially, as I rolled across the ground, I couldn't understand what had happened, but it was a simple story. There was no trick; just pure power. My round shield that took the attack has become somewhat smashed at the part that received the Hobgoblin's punch. The bones in my left arm have also become broken and unable to move well. As I continued to roll, I hit my head upon a stone or something hard and started to lose consciousness. I caught sight of the blood which flowed over my left eye and dyed my sight red.
Exhausted, I want to rest but that's impossible. My body is physically bursting in pain and blood is gushing out. I pierce my sword into the ground to support myself as I stand. My legs are shaking as I look around but I can still stand. Hobgoblins apart from their skin color have features which resemble a human's, however, this one is quite ugly. It is the ugliest Hobgoblin that I've ever seen. It stares at me with eyes that are tinged with intelligence. It watched me with a vulgar smile on its face. A swelling crotch vividly expresses what it's thinking.
I suppress the nausea to well up from the mental thought and I demand help from people with my eyes. It is strong. I am strong, but this isn't an opponent an inexperienced adventurer like me can handle. If there were three people, I can comparatively kill it. I must be able to defeat it somehow when I say three people if there are only two people. Somebody, Anybody. I looked around the battlefield desperately while rubbing my left eye that was blurry because of the blood.
However, there is no one else, everyone is busy just surviving.
The seniors that could have helped us were killed first. The fledgling adventurers have scattered, panicking. It has become a critical situation because we were inexperienced. I try to gather the remaining forces, only eighteen people, including myself. They are cut from behind as they try to flee. Others are being burned by fireball projectiles. There is a Hobgoblin Mage too! Mages are able to exercise the powerful art of witchcraft. I was attacked by an illusion, my visibility becomes dark. Fledgling adventurers will get massacred by a mage. If you have a long distance attack method such as bow you can figure something out. However, I do not have a long-range attack method as a [Warrior]. Most [Warriors] would be killed by magic before getting close enough to use a sword. I look around for the voice I heard earlier. Charles is more competent than me. I see two Bandit Goblins before my eyes.
This situation is the worst.
But I don't want to give it up. As an Adventurer I know how it will turn out if I give up. As a female I will be taken away and used to satisfy their desire. Continuously violated by force and impregnated with goblin children until I die. Such an existence, like being livestock, is disgusting. It's absolutely disgusting. I would rather be murdered. My parents have both died and I have no lover. So, it's better if I am killed. I can accept death. But I refuse to just be raped and left to die like an animal.
From the field pack around my waist I take out the Life Potion I got from Spinel. Luckily it was not broken and I swallow it at once. I taste a subtle sweetness in my mouth. I feel the pain my my joints decrease. My left arm can move freely and my fatigue is gone. I heard that this was inferior to the commercial version, however to me the effects seem amazing. I will fight. I wont give up!
It was no good though. Bandit Goblins had surrounded Charles before killing him. After that, I got stunned and eventually was captured. My limbs have been restricted by rope and a gag was placed in my mouth. It's hard to understand the Goblin language, but it seems we will arrive at their home soon. This is the worst. The bulging crotch of Bandit Hobgoblin who defeated me crosses my mind. The vision approaching has an obscene smile with a vulgar laughter.
It's unpleasant. I do not want to be violated by that. I hate, hate, hate!, I hate it, I hate tsutsutsu! This will be my future. I should have fled earlier. I can no longer escape. My limbs are bound, I can't even bite my tongue.
As we are being carried, I prayed to the God of Fate «Shikkuzaru». Surely in this world, God exists. That God will answer my prayer is unlikely, but I have to try. Even if it's a gamble, there is slight hope.
But praying will not change the situation. I look up and see those who I was trusted to defend, but failed. The other women who are in the same circumstances as me. Emery, Felicia, Alma, and Spinel. Even now, they did not blame me.
My heart aches. I cry. I feel sick that I am so weak. I am ashamed. Ashamed, I apologized to everyone with my eyes. I apologize from the bottom of my heart. I'm sorry I am weak.
I recall memories of my parents, memories of my uncle. Tears flow out without stopping. In the distance in this remote location I can see caves.
Suddenly, my luck begins to change.
As we approach the cave, we could see many Goblins, but one in particular caught my attention. He had a body that was colored black. I could hardly believe my eyes. I have heard rumors of seeing brown skinned goblins living in mines. Usually, their skin should be green. This one is dark black and paints a picture of darkness. He must be protected by one of the Gods which makes him a subspecies that appeared after Rank Up. While I'm thinking this, the black Hobgoblin approaches the Bandit Hobgoblin and begins to speak.
"Those women. Can you release them into my custody?"
On the surface, he is gentle-looking, but he has an overpowering voice. His attractive body has a charismatic charm. I am attracted to his power which I don't have. Coming here to meet him was my destiny.
From here marked the beginning of my fate.