“I still think I should stay up,” I muttered to myself.
“It’s okay, Master.” Lydia reassured me, “The skill Alarm will tell me if anyone comes anywhere near our tent. The Adventurers showed me before we left how to set it up to detect specifically larger creatures, so it won’t be triggered by something like a rodent or a bug.”
“Yeah, well, that’s why it kind of bothers me.” I sighed.
We had usually set up watches in the dungeons. Only occasionally would we depend on the Holy Circle barrier as our only means of protection as we all slept. It was probably sufficient enough, but it still left me worried that a monster would attack at night. However, as much as this world was like a game, animals were animals and people were people. Monsters might be a little bit more aggressive than animals, but typically if you left them alone and didn’t encroach on their space, they left you alone too.
It was as unlikely to experience wolf attacks in this world just as much as in my other world. Most monsters remained near their dungeons, so unless you were in a wild area, you weren’t likely to see them. Within a country’s borders, where every dungeon was closely guarded, this was doubly true. In fact, the biggest worry was bandits, and even bandits only struck when they thought it was worth it and rarely would attack people at night. At least, that was what I had been told.
Either way, I wasn’t used to walking in the sun all day and was feeling a bit tired. I was overweight, but it was like I was averse to exercise in my old world. I just happened to really like sugary and fast food. Weeks of walking around dungeons and eating on the run had helped me lose the weight, but that hadn’t really turned me into a marathon walker. Twelve hours of walking was twelve hours of walking. It was better than having to take care of a horse, but it still left me wanting to sleep the whole night without interruptions.
It wouldn’t be fair to expect the girls to take breaks instead of me, and that’s how we ended up on the topic of her skill known as Alarm. She had picked it up as a Scout. You could basically set a proximity line, that if crossed, would signal the person. Is a perfect skill for this kind of thing, and quite safe according to the Adventurers. Nine out of ten times it was usually just a fox anyway. On top of that, I had my Map and Sense Life. If anything got close to us, I could see it, presuming my eyes were open.
I decided to just trust in the magic and skills of this world. In the end, exhaustion overtook my worry, and I drifted off to sleep. I wasn’t sure what I dreamed, but it was probably good. That was until I was awoken to somebody shaking me in worry.
“M-master!” Lydia whispered, “Someone has triggered the alarm!”
I sighed. “Just my luck.”
Immediately pulling up my map, I checked the Sense Life. The sense life didn’t just read the proximity alarm, but in an outdoor area like this it could stretch out about a kilometer. As my levels increased, so did the power of my skills. It was one of the perks of continuing to increase my status. There was a group of about three near the tents. I immediately clicked on them while thinking about Basic Monster Identify. Instantly, the name was revealed.
Map was seriously overpowered when I combined it with new skills! Even knowing I got Sense Life to work with it, I never thought I’d also be able to identify from this distance as well? I supposed if it was all handled by mana, then if I could sense something at a distance, I should also be able to identify something at a similar distance. What I ended up identifying were three dogs. They seemed to have come over and sniffed around the tents, and then left.
I would have been happy with that, except that at the very edge of my Sense Life, I detected a group of ten, and when I clicked Identify on them, it was revealed as a human. So, a human knew we heard, and sent three dogs in to investigate. Were they there to investigate? Or, did they send them to trigger the proximity alarms? If I existed in a world with proximity alarms, my first action would be to send something harmless to go trigger them.
It’s like that old wives’ tale in my old world. A mysterious person knocks on your door asking if someone you never heard of was there. A few hours later, you find out several places nearby were burglarized. Clearly, the person who knocked on doors was an associate of the burglar, and if you were there, they would skip your house but would hit up the houses of anyone who wasn’t present. These dogs popped up to knock on our door, and if we reacted, they’d know we were prepared for them.
Likely, anything like my Map ability didn’t exist in this world, so if I did pop out of my tent to look for what caused the alarm now, they would assume we’re defenseless. Perhaps, the second layer of it was that if I decided to track the dogs, they’d lead me right into an ambush. Overall, this sounded like a pretty good plan.
“What do we do, Master?” She asked.
She had already woken the other girls too, and Miki and Celeste were looking up to me anxiously. It was strange that I used them to fight for me, yet I was still the one they looked to for protection. Any of these girls could probably equal me in a fight, but I was their source of comfort and safety.
“Celeste… can you muffle our sounds and allow us to sneak out the back of the tent without being seen?”
I really didn’t want to cut a slit in my tent, but I wanted to be murdered in my sleep even less. Celeste nodded. Well, muffle was one of her air-related skills.
“What does Master have in mind?” Lydia seemed to grow more confident.
I couldn’t show them the map sitting in my head. I was just glad I looked around a good kilometer before going to sleep so that the map of this area was revealed to me. These men were still on the road, but that put them next to a hill that would obscure their view of us. In other words…
“I think a sneak attack is in order.”
Making a small slit in the tent, the four of us snuck out one at a time behind the tent and kept low. The girls followed me as I used the map as my guidance. I set my third job to Cook and then activated the Temperature Gauge. With thermal vision, I felt a bit like the predator trying to take out some soldiers.
Then again, I didn’t really know if these guys had bad intentions. For all I knew, these guys were just merchants, soldiers, or gypsies. This was just me being thorough. Sliding out behind a small hill, we moved up to the top with Celeste’s muffle and the cover of darkness. I’d rather take them out before they attacked our camp. I didn’t want my tent or anything else to be further damaged.
I didn’t send Celeste up into the air, as I worried that the moon and stairs would reflect off her wings. The last thing we needed was for her to take an arrow and alert these men. The moon and stars in this world were a lot brighter than my old world, and they filled the sky with a dazzling light that could take your breath away.
I made my way closer to the group of people until I was as close as I dared get. They popped out in my sight thanks to the night vision. I could see it was ten men. One, in particular, was a large man with a bald head except for a ponytail sticking out the back. He was wearing furs and he had a big ax on his side. He was sitting on a stump and he looked really intimidating.
“Well?” He demanded in a gruff voice.
A man walked up with the three dogs I had seen early jumping around him. “Nothing. No movement. They must not have a watch at all. They’re ripe for the picking, Balrack.”
“Ah… that sounds good.” The man chuckled. “What a foolish lord. I’m going to enjoy raping his women in front of him.”
I sat back and closed my eyes. He had to say something like that, huh? I couldn’t even imagine the effect words like that would have on my girl’s faces. Shock? Dismay. It must truly eat them up inside to be so casually treated like a piece of meat by some brutish bastard like this man. I really wanted to rip him apart, for their sakes. I would definitely-
“Master…” Lydia’s voice came out, shaking slightly.
I opened my eyes, and there were three women staring at me with narrowed, angry expressions on their faces. Lydia was stroking her blade with a sort of sadistic desire. Miki was clutching the staff I had bought her, her face tinged with anger and a look that appeared ready to kill. I had given Celeste a wand, and she was fluttering left and right while waving it, looking like she was ready to lunge forward and rip out their throats.
That was right, my girls could take care of themselves, and right now they had heard the words of a man who thought too highly of himself. There was only one logical outcome.
“Do you guys know the policy on killing in Aberis?”
“If there is no evidence remaining, no one can catch you?” Miki offered.
These girls can be scary sometimes.
“I’m concerned about your safety first, but try not to kill anyone unless you have to.” I sighed. “These aren’t monsters.”
It wasn’t like I was feeling pity for the bandits. I just had to live with the results of what my harem did, and I wanted to be able to sleep come the morning. Either way, this was four on ten. Even though we had them by surprise, they outnumbered us. I had never fought outside of a dungeon before, so I had no clue how strong people were. Thus, I was expecting an extremely difficult fight.