Day 91

Day 91

Yesterday afternoon, we had begun our journey from the forest. Since our horses are actually my Skeleton Centipedes, they don't require any rest, so we could have probably gone in a single go without stopping.

Though our wagon train still calls far too much attention to us. Several dozen undead literally running down the road makes it an extremely noticeable convoy. I suppose as long as we keep moving in earnest, we won't greatly disturb the communities within the grasslands beyond the forest.

Our mission this time was to leave the forest, the hills, the mountain, and trek into the unknown to discover the fortress city of Trient. There should probably be enough time today for us to arrive there before night fall.

We might have even managed to make it there already, but we decided to spend the night in a nearby village on the prairie, so we're currently stopped in the grasslands.

The name of the village we stayed in was Clute, its population is roughly 300 people. I'd have to say it's a little plain, with just the minimum level of agriculture to sustain it. Hmm, actually, it looks a lot like the village I was born in during my life as a human. The forest that we were born in was apparently called Kuuderun Great Forest where it is famed for the high-quality wood.

Even the administrator of Velvet's dungeon had informed me that due to the high density of magic in the area, some wooden products made from the trees of the forest could have magical properties and were famous for making musical instruments. It appears this town also has a shop that makes their livelihood from selling these pieces.

I decided that it was worth sating my curiosity on the matter and headed over to the shop. In all honesty, these items were actually stunning; they were imbued with the power of the spirits of the forest. No wonder they are such a popular commodity with the rich and nobility of this nation. If anyone ever wanted to become a famous [Job-Bard], they would certainly have an easy time of it if they had something like this.

Originally, it seems that there was nothing but grassland in this area until several years ago. The story apparently goes that several craftsmen following a rumor of high quality lumber settled and built several houses around each other to begin practicing their trade. They were so successful that soon, others followed them here, and in time, this so-called craftsmen's village was formed. I'd say, given the growth, this town might actually be nearly twice its size in several years.

Because the craftsmen masters reap such high levels of business from the aristocracy of this kingdom, it seems that if you are skilled enough, you could actually rise through the ranks of nobility, given enough time. One such individual is apparently so skilled, that he created man-made creatures called [Golems] that are in charge of protecting the village.

In short, these guardians are Iron Golems, though they don't have much more offensive power than a Hobgoblin, they have massive bodies with high endurance values. From what I have seen so far from walking around, there are about five or so of these creatures. As added defenses, they have installed trenches, ditches, and a man named Kikabe installed a watchtower.

According to Redhead, she had met several well privileged merchants that had made their starts in this town. It's safe to say that these people have quite a large sense of safety in the world, it almost annoys me how ignorant some people can be.

Soon enough, I found myself wandering full circle around the exterior of the village. After seeing the black bodies of the Skeleton horses I had created, I decided to use one of the items from my box to change them into normal looking brown horses. It was a ring that I had gained from Velvet's dungeon. It allowed me to change how certain objects or people appear for a certain period of time.

After that, I made my way into the inner parts of the city after seeing that everyone had not yet made ready to depart. Part of my reasoning to do this was because, during my stroll, I had heard several persons discussing some form of trouble that is causing strife for the villagers. Seeing the possibility for a job I made my way inward.

This village has apparently been having issues for several months now where the Orc clans have been causing trouble and growing aggressive. These Orcs had apparently not caused much in the way of trouble in the past and mostly keep to themselves in the forest. When I heard that these were monsters of the forest, that suddenly grabbed my attention. This may have something to do with me and my attack on the main Orc compound a while back.

According to a villager, around 10 years ago, a deal had been struck with the Orc tribes of the forest to cease their raids on the village in return for the transfer of some female slaves once every six months. Apparently, it was more convenient to do so, due to the high income of the village rather than risking lives to fight the Orcs and their constant raids up till now.

However, the Orcs have recently begun to break their contract, and on the contrary, have begun attacking the groups that have gone logging. In doing so this time, they have supposedly captured the daughter of an influential member of the community. I was told that this was the seventh large attack in recent months, with the Orc's attacks growing more rapid each time.

I hear there are quite a number of them, but they haven't taken the risk of attacking the village directly as of yet, even though Orcs are a type of monster that, if there were several of them, would be able to kill an Iron Golem. Though the Iron Golems are strong, with the size of this village, you can't protect everything with only five Iron Golems. It would be up to the villagers to fight should they come under full-assault from the Orc tribe. As it is, the villagers are no longer able to safely obtain the high-quality wood material.

The Orcs have been pretty friendly to the village over the past decade, so this level of brutality has left the village in a state of confusion. Though Orcs have some humanoid characteristics, in the end, they are still just monsters. That's where the general consensus is heading - Typical human mentality.

The history of this village is short, and not many have spent much of their lives in this village. Though they are pleased with their lives here, especially the skilled craftsmen that have invested so much into the town over the past decade, there is risk that the village may have to be abandoned if the Orc raids continue.

These humans have no fighting mentality whatsoever and would prefer to cut their losses rather than die. To leave their village and all of their hard work without even putting up a fight. Hmph, I suppose this also qualifies as human behavior.

Though I would normally not care too much about the sufferings of the humans, there could be business to be made through trading with this village since they use the spirits of the forest in their crafts. 

Since the only place that would be able to dispatch a punitive request to deal with the Orcs would be the governing town Guild, I went there to offer our services, for a just reward suited to saving their entire village of course. I don't like charity unless it benefits me.

Ah, right. I think I may have figured the root of the crisis that this village is facing. It seems that I truly am at the center of this incident. It was myself and the rest that had robbed the Orcs of their base of operations and slew their leader. Given that probably most Orcs don't have that much intelligence to begin with, cutting off the head of their clan probably sent the survivors into a tribal civil war. There was probably several divisions over the next leader, with each out to secure their own survival. So far, survivors from their raids pin that there are probably between thirty and forty surviving Orcs from the dozens that were slain at the mine.

It may have been that all of the Orcs with even the slightest bit of wisdom had been present at the mine during our attack. As such, all of their supplies, leaders, Mages, and organizational hierarchy were all wiped out. The survivors are probably no more than mere beasts that rely on pure instinct. A better way to picture what is going on is to imagine all of the survivors are like Ogakichi-kun without my influence. With their food running short, they are attacking the closest source of food possible, meaning the town and those that went out to collect the lumber.

Orcs were never really that weak, but as we are now there would be no trouble in removing the threat. For normal untrained human civilians however, an Orc is a frightening proposition when you bring up the discussion of fighting back. It would be extremely difficult to subdue the Orcs to ensure the safety of their lumberjacks.

Recent sightings of the Orcs portray them as far more skinny than they had been previously, an obvious sign that they are struggling to secure proper sources of food.

The Orcs probably held off on attacking the humans until hunger got the better of them, and they came looting the humans even though they remembered the warnings that their superior's had told them before we slaughtered them all. Since the crop fields were almost totally undefended, the Orcs also struck there.

Sigh, since this is a problem that I have caused, I suppose I can't just leave it as it is. Especially if, for some reason, it comes to light that it was me who caused the Orcs to attack the human settlement, who knows what the results would be. Most likely, my relations with the humans would be tarnished for a very long time. Not that I feel sorry for kicking the Orcs out of the mines. The spirit stones that were extracted from the Orc mines were far worth the cost to the humans. The experience at the time was also nice. 

Spirit stones are precious to the humans and many other races for their magical properties. If I were able to clear out the remaining Orcs, selling them here would bring an enormous pile of gold in. Since this place has such a high demand for high-quality magical materials, I see this place almost as if it were filled with trees that grew money. Its not something that my greedy heart could just pass up. Well, for now I'll keep the information I've discovered concealed while I discuss the matter of a contract to deal with the Orcs. For me, what I have done to the Orcs is a thing in the past.

Its not like I have anything against the Orcs, but, with the idea of gathering a reward, I pushed any possible morals aside. Though as a consolation, I suppose I'll throw in the treatment for all the injured people created from the constant Orc raids. There is even benefit in doing this. It makes me appear as a benevolent soul in their eyes. I may even be given special prices for my goods once this is all over.

Anyway, with the contract with Clute Village made, I had a few small conversations with some of the head Guild members before I made my way out. If I play my cards right, I could turn this short-term contract into a formal long-term contract to protect the village from future attacks. Even this would be in my benefit. If I'm going to be doing business with these people by selling them our spirit stones, I may as well makes sure it doesn't get pillaged or razed to the ground. With myself being sure of the future of this deal, I made my way back.

After the contract was made, it wasn't even evening before all of the Orcs were being fried up as roasted pork. The village's Orc problem has been all wrapped up. With a delicious meal thrown in, I can accept that price of one day's worth of travels.

While we were wiping out the Orcs, we made sure to not harm the human women in their possession. By taking this caution, we managed to recover the three women that had been kidnapped during the Orc raids. When we returned, a deal was signed for the future protection of the settlement. With the deal struck, I sent for ten Goblins and ten Hobgoblins led by a Hobgoblin Mage to garrison the village. They should arrive within a day or so and would be greeted with great kindness upon arriving at the village.

The trust I gained from this was great.

While keeping the slave women would be nice, I decided to free them and leave them in the village. I gave the Guild Master a request to treat them as equals, to which he agreed to.

I think the environment of this village is better than before.

That's good. The better the relations with a village, the better the business.

As we were back on the road, the effects of the ring wore off.

I decided to eat the ring for the chance of picking up the ability for myself

Ability learned: 【Shapeshift】

For now, I changed the color of my body to be more human like, though I left my tattoos as is.

With that, we continue to proceed onward to our destination.

Day 90 == Day 91 == Day 92