Since it had been a while, this evening I went hunting with Gobukichi-kun in a previously unexplored area, where we found a group of 12 armed men.
Their vigilance in watching their surroundings and speedy—although slow compared to us—advance towards the area where I think the village of the Elves is made me conclude that they were something like the human army's reconnaissance corps.
Motivated by curiosity, we decided to follow them.
An ogre taller than 2 and a half meters should be easy to spot, in fact I usually can’t help but stand out, but in this situation it wasn't a problem.
Since the fourth day after we were born, we were told to get our own food by hunting.
From that day on we followed my plan which was, rather than charging straight at our prey, we stay hidden, read its breath, then strike from its blind spot accurately as if we were assassins.
Because of this, Gobukichi-kun and I have polished our skill at hiding ourselves until it wasn't even comparable to the usual level of skill others have.
The gigantic figure of an Ogre merged with the surroundings, it’s an ability that makes the target unable to perceive you for over ten minutes.
In addition to this, I possessed the ability [Hiding] which boosted my ability to hide even more. I could easily support Gobukichi-kun as well, so there shouldn’t be any problems.
After tailing them for a short while it seems that we'd reached their target point, where the humans assumed a formation shaped like the letter "U".
As they finished moving into formation each human took one of their 2 crossbows in hand, erased their presence, and hid themselves.
If you didn’t know about their presence in advance, they’d be pretty difficult to spot even if you got very close to them.
Their hiding skill is very advanced.
Well, it's still at an inferior level compared to us who live in the wild.
Now that they were in position, they had a high chance of silencing their targets without being discovered using a surprise attack with their crossbows.
Since they had 2 crossbows each, they could fire them both in succession then enter close quarters combat.
That's what I would've done anyways.
I wanted to know what they were doing here, so I secretly extended a superfine thread, that was almost invisible even if you were to look at it closely, and listened in on their hushed conversations.
I learned their mission here was to kidnap the beloved daughter of the “Elven Round Table Conference’s Chairman”.
Apparently the Elves had adopted an institution where the representatives of several clans get together to make decisions.
They were preparing to kill the daughter's guards, or so I deduced from the conversation.
From the conversation I also established that the Elves had a traitor among them.
Though I don’t intend to do anything special with this information, I had no doubt that this was a very useful piece of intelligence.
The existence of those who betray their own comrades to save their own skin isn't all that unusual.
Many had been left battered after getting influenced by personal interests, and I didn't have anything to do with it in the first place, so I couldn't care less.
I’ll squeeze as much profit from this as I can if I get the chance.
After about 2 hours of watching how things would work out, an armed group of pretty female and male elves came along. Gobukichi-kun got tired of waiting long ago, so I let him go hunt close by. If anything were to occur I’d notify him with my thread.
The Elf sitting on a sedan chair being carried by a number of elves was certainly the Elven Maiden-san who was going to be kidnapped.
From her looks she seemed to be between her late teens to early twenties, and frankly speaking she was the most beautiful person I’d ever seen.
She is what one would call an incomparably beautiful woman.
I couldn't help staring at her. While I was mesmerized I noticed a small change in the humans that were hiding.
I thought something was going to happen, so I called Gobukichi-kun back with the thread. At the same time the 12 humans moved simultaneously and accurately killed an Elf each with their first crossbow.
It didn't end there, they threw away the crossbows they just fired, took up their other crossbows, and fired once more. Another 12 elves died to the bolts.
The humans quickly rushed the eight remaining elves in the confusion following the surprise attack. The elves tried to take up their bows to retaliate, but were silenced by the blades of the humans.
The whole thing was over in only ten seconds. They worked at lightning speed; I have to admit, they are quite skilled.
The Elf-Maiden was the only survivor and the men approached her after they were done with the other elves.
Despite her struggling, they forced a cloth against her mouth and she suddenly went limp.
From what I could gather at this distance it appeared that she had lost consciousness.
The humans who were able to finish their mission flawlessly picked up the listless Elven Maiden-san and ran back the way they originally came from.
They withdrew without hesitation.
I assumed they would use the same path they used earlier, so I waited on the path to ambush them.
Their distance was close enough, I thought the time was right, so I jumped up from the ground and shot threads from my fingertips.
I activated [Earth Control] just in case, and I erected walls made from dirt on the three sides of them other than the front to prevent the 12 humans from escaping.
After the sudden turn of events, the expressions of the humans who were panicking was funny.
They were all was captured in one go.
Using the flexibility of the thread created by the ability of the Argiope’s [Golden Thread Creation] they remained in place. It was exhausting because the golden thread was heavier than it appeared. Its vulnerability to fire, which was the previous thread’s weak point was covered up. It’s also impossible to cut quickly because of its resistances.
They looked like bagworms as they wriggled around which was hilarious.
Now that they were captured they were determined to use the poison in the back of their teeth to kill themselves to prevent being forced to confess anything. As soon as they did, I cured them to prevent them from dying. They might also bite off their tongue, so I gagged them with my thread since it was troublesome to apply medical treatment.
To make sure they didn't undo their bindings I dislocated their joints. As I finished tying up their wrists and thumbs firmly Gobukichi finally arrived.
I gave the work of carrying all of the humans to Gobukichi-kun who arrived late.
Though his burden looks quite heavy, Gobukichi-kun was carrying them like it was nothing.
...Including the equipment, it’s definitely more than 1 ton right? I wondered this while tilting my head a little, but he looked completely unfazed so I didn’t say anything.
I was carrying Elven Maiden-san who was sleeping in my arms.
We'll return to the cave we dwell in after I've dealt with Elves' corpses.
The heads of Elven Maiden-san’s escorts were hollowed out from the bolts of the crossbows and separated from their necks by the blades of the humans.
The assassins were skilled, so the elves vital points were accurately destroyed and there wasn't anything I could because I don't have any resurrection skills. I took all their equipment and their hearts, then I properly buried them because it would be cruel if a monster ate and ravaged their corpses.
Ability learned: [Luck]
Ability learned: [Doom]
Guess I’ll have to activate the Luck (good luck) ability for now. I gotta be careful that I don’t accidentally activate the Doom (bad luck) ability.
Lastly, I clapped my hands together “Namu”.
I offered a prayer to them.
Hm? What will I do to the captured humans you say?
Well, after interrogating them I'll have them fight us for the experience. Afterwards, I'll use them as materials to give a lecture on torture. Since they’re all males they don’t look good. They don't even compare to the looks of the male elves.
Yeah, tonight will be busy.
That was what I thinking about, but then something happened. We encountered some Goblins on our way home.
These weren't unfamiliar faces. They were a group of the older Goblins, six Goblins who were once our seniors. Nowadays, even the goblin underlings who had carried Redhead and the other girls outclass them in true strength. These Goblins had become known as guys who couldn't keep up with training.
I already mentioned before that the Goblins of my generation were stronger than the older ones, but I'll add that because the underling Goblins were comparatively younger, they had shown some likelihood of growing reasonably strong through training. The fact that they had beaten out these guys was another story. Oh well, that's fine for now.
I wanted to ask what they were doing in this kind of place, but since they seemed to be in some hurry I just observed them in silence. It could have been resignation, but one of them raised his hand and spoke.
The reason: they could no longer follow me.
Not being able to sleep with the human women against their will was hard enough and they could barely stand the rigors of daily training. Even so, they endured, thinking that something would come up, but when the female Elf prisoners were also not an option, they couldn't take it any longer.
In their situation, sleeping with the female Elves was impossible; even if they held out their hand, they were limited to the males. The males were pretty boys so they weren't bad, but of course they wouldn't come close to the females' first-rate bodies in a lifetime. The goblins were helplessly tantalized by this situation.
Even to the extent of being half-dead. In an environment where they had some first-rate meals right in front of their eyes, but only those other than themselves can eat this well, what could they expect to do.
So, they moved out.
In other words, they want to leave the group.
After saying that much, they went silent and trembled.
Maybe they thought that they would be killed.
Ah so it's finally coming to this, I told myself, although it wasn't something I wanted to hear.
Well, at this point, it's not really necessary to keep these guys around who don’t want to comply. If they had told me that they want to leave, “I see” was probably what I would’ve said.
If it were Gobukichi-kun I would stop him to the point of pulling. He's my right hand man after all. Something like that.
I force everyone to adhere to the rules, but I haven't considered what to do to guys who were like "we don't like it, so we're leaving" yet. Since they weren't a big group it would be okay.
I might have to make-up some kind of violation that would make them leave.
Besides, my goal right now was not increasing our numbers, but rather to raising our individual abilities. Rather than increasing the number of burdens, we're okay right now, it might be better to consider adding children from now on.
It was not my intention to leave behind these already frustrated guys right now. Even if they had no talent, I wanted to extend my hand to those willing to work hard.
Nonetheless, to prevent gossip from leaking out, I should be tactical about this. No, I didn't think of killing them, at least at this stage. I won't kill them.
The weapons carried by these trembling older goblins, who were looking at me with a tense expression, were only [Normal] class items that I gathered and distributed to them. If you want to call it by rank, then it would be first-grade from the bottom.
With them they had [Normal] class weapons and armor, and several [Rare] class weapons were thrown in with them were taken out, the armaments were then handed out without a word.
They were certain, that they would be killed if they made a move.
It was the right choice.
Getting back to what I was saying, it is good that the Goblins were armed, but the best weapons quickly dwindled in number as they were distributed. Their chances to survive and thrive with their current abilities and quality of weapons they have would be uncertain.
Oh well, I decided that I will show them how merciful I am with a parting gift. So, I presented them with six knives taken from my item box.
This knife is one of the relics left from the Elf Guard-san who died earlier. Using my appraisal the blue knife appears to be made of the magic metal Mithril, which is normally too precious for a Goblin to have.
The knife does not contain any special abilities, but its sharpness is beyond compare to the standard steel short sword that they are currently equipped with. Would you believe me if I told you that Mithril can easily cut the blade of a steel sword without getting a scratch on it?
Only the elves have the ability to manufacture the Mithril Knife. It's so (Rare) that a low level adventurer could not obtain one.
Just to show the sharpness of the blade, I cut my fingertip and several drops of blood trickled out. Then I handed the blade back to a Goblin who sheathed it. The wound quickly vanished without a trace because of [Rapid Recovery].
The older Goblins just stood there with a dumbfounded look on their faces. Then Gobukichi-kun and I, smiling wryly, left them there without looking back, and took our leave.
Perhaps, destiny will allow us to meet again.
Well, even with the Mithril knife they still have a high chance of being killed by a group of adventurers or mercenaries. With the market value being so high, a treasure like that usually invites trouble.
I wish them luck for the future ahead.
Lastly, I simply said "This important point is a place where I shed my blood".
TL note: This is likely a reference to the phrase, “lose a finger to save an arm”. He’s cutting his losses. He’s losing some forces, but it’s necessary for his plans.