The only reason I hadn’t thought of that was because I was so tired. This time, I pulled out a mana potion and took it. If I drank any more water, I’d definitely throw up. After so many times chugging the waters of life in excess to keep my mana levels up, I was beginning to hate that sweet taste. Maybe I should brew it into a tea or something to give myself some variety.
Of course, Shao was correct. The woman was probably still alive. I glanced at the man who blushed, looking down.
“I’m sorry… I had just hoped. That means… that means…” His hands shook as he spoke, but having only been resurrected an hour or two ago, he just didn’t have the strength to put up any kind of fuss, and thus collapsed helplessly.
It meant that his wife had been captured by the Bandits. She hadn’t been able to kill herself or escape, and now she was likely in some Bandit camp. You didn’t have to use much of an imagination to guess what was going on in there. I had known since the beginning that it’d be impossible to save everyone, but something about the thought of leaving those women to their fate made me feel anger.
After some careful questioning, we had found out that our guess was right and the village had only been raided the previous night. That meant that they had only been kidnapped for the last twenty-four hours, and there was still hope in saving them before anything bad happened to them. Perhaps that was only wishful thinking, but it gave me a sudden surge of strength. I didn’t want to just abandon those people.
A list was quickly compiled and there were about twelve women who were seen being taken from the village. Once we were certain they weren’t among the dead, our only conclusion could be that the Bandits still had them.
“They’re here.” A man who appeared to be the elder of the village pointed at a map I had hastily drawn, which was almost on a par with ones you could find in a shop.
“You’re certain of this?”
He looked away awkwardly. “I’m a Hunter. It’s my job. One woman… I… ahem… marked her… so I always know where she is.”
His face turned red, while a few of the nearby women who overheard started giving him flat looks. It was no wonder he wanted to remain silent about it. Hunters had the ability to target a prey, but to set a woman as your target, it definitely came off bad. Stalking in this world took on a whole new meaning. Then again, I consistently found a certain fairy in my underwear, so I knew all too well how odd stalking could be. I had a feeling if I didn’t have such an open policy with the women in my life, I’d be experiencing more than a few stalkers of my own.
However, this stalker could pinpoint where the woman he liked was on the map. They weren’t particularly far from here. Although Miki and I were tired, I absolutely couldn’t stop here. We had to rescue them tonight!
With the guy having given up a location, I now had it marked on my Map. Regrettably, I couldn’t just mark any location on the Map and go there. I needed that familiarity to make it work, either by having a marked person to target or a familiarity with the person. Therefore, I used Miki’s Dungeon points, freed up a few Portals, and went the old-fashioned way.
We first gave proper directions to the townsfolk before we moved on. They’d have to move during the night, but my Sense Life worked at least that far, and there didn’t appear to be any groups that might be Bandits between this town and the other village.
“Oh, you’re sending us to that village!” The elder went white.
“I-it’s the only place the bandits are avoiding.” I said defensively.
“And for good reason! Those people… they aren’t right in the head!”
“I get it, but no one is asking you to commit incest.”
“They are… multiple times!”
“They kept trying to hook me up with my sister! She ended up moving three villages away and won’t even look me in the eye on holidays.”
“I get it. They’re weird, however, it’s the safest place for you right now. It’s between them or dying, which do you choose?”
“We’re thinking about it!”
In the end, I was able to convince them to head to the village. Actually, the village had no official name. It was simply called Outcast village. At some point, I’d need to come up with a better name for it. If this was going to be the city I lived in from now on, this was kind of important. Anyway, as the villagers headed one way, we ended up heading the other. At this point, it was getting dark. This turned out to be in our favor.
With the sun setting, it only took one jump before we could see the fire in the distance. If I had gone during the day, I definitely wouldn’t have been able to see those fires. Maybe I had been thinking about this wrong. I was used to being in dungeons where night and day didn’t matter. However, up here, our skills working in low lighting would assuredly be advantageous. From my Sense Life to Shao’s Shadow Walking, our abilities were definitely better suited for this time of day.
Not to mention the fact the bandits would be asleep and blinded by their fires. Moving at night would truly be the best action for us. I already saw myself changing how we would do things tomorrow. Of course, we’d still have to start during the day, because the other villages probably wouldn’t take kindly to someone entering at night. We might end up getting mistaken for bandits ourselves and killed.
Looking out over the fire, I gave the girls their last direction. I wasn’t good at guessing, but Ruby had some experience and said that the group looked to be two bands, that meant twenty people. It was the largest group we had challenged yet. These were the Bandits who had attacked the previous village and wiped out everyone there. They were clearly not good people. My goal was to wipe them out in a single quick hit. We wouldn’t play around with changing jobs or instilling fear. Rescuing the people in distress was more important.
With a wave of my hand, our attack began.
In video games, I liked to summon tons of minions, either as some kind of ranged class or necromancer, and then sit back as I kept my group going. They would move forward like a small mobile army, doing my bidding. I supposed, in that way, I was suited to be a lord from even before. One could call it my play style.
Reality was different from games, though. These weren’t skeletons or wolves I was sending into battle, but women I knew, loved, and cared about. One of them even had a baby inside her. Therefore, I gave her the safest job. However, they were all important to me, and even in a world with Resurrection I’d be unhappy if any of them were hurt.
I couldn’t just stand back and watch as they risked their lives, so I always went in with them when things were at their toughest. As the lord and Master, was it the brightest decision? I really couldn’t say. I knew I could help in a fight, and even if I lost some perspective on the battle, I could always be close enough to react instantly when needed. Most of all, I would never lose what was most important to me.
Thus, as the girls went around the camp to take out patrols and surround it, I also took my place right up there with them. As per my rule, everyone was in a group of two. Since there were seven of us, I was the only one alone, but this was because I had the Slave Communication, so I could contact all of them whenever I needed to.
When I had rearranged the dungeon points, I had given Miki and myself Night Vision. Shao didn’t need it, although I could have given it to her if she wanted. Her Dark Knight seemed to give her a skill comparable to it. Raissa also appeared to have gained a skill as a Dungeon Diver that improved her vision. It wasn’t as good as the dungeon point skill, but it was good enough for her. Salicia and Carmine could only look on jealously as we could instantly see in the dark like it was day.
Actually, I was pretty sure that Salicia could see fine too. She just wanted dungeon points, but she wouldn’t get them until I took them into a dungeon and beat it with them. These weren’t simple things to earn. They required a great deal of effort and even putting your life on the line.
Carmine was the only woman in the group who looked genuinely blind. Even Ruby seemed to have something, even if it was just her other senses being honed and experience, that helped her get around in the dark. Carmine was too used to bright light and fighting directly. This kind of sneaking wasn’t her particular forte. She’d much rather just bash through the group head on, fighting each man down. Given her strength, I reckoned she might even have the ability to take ten of them on her own.
“Help!” A woman let out a scream in the middle of camp.
I cursed under my breath, as that scream would definitely wake up every man there. That’s when I noticed something was wrong. Looking around, I could see the fire, sleeping bags all around, and the group of trapped women in the center. I could also see my girls on the outside. They had each targeted a sleeping bag and would attack swiftly in one move. The idea was to at least kill seven of them before they knew we were there.
However, with that scream, not a single person in a sleeping bag had jerked up. I hadn’t even been looking at my sleeping bag, because my eyes were on the Map. It was difficult to tell when you were far away, but the group of bandits and women were intertangled. That is to say, this entire camp was fake, and all of the bandits were mixed in with the women we were trying to save!
“Run! It’s a trap!” I screamed, losing decorum!
“Time to die, my lord!” A man jumped out from the group of women.
They were no bandits behind us. I would have detected them. There were no bandits underground. They weren’t even trying to run and attack us. Although he had made this declaration, there was nothing around that would have obviously defeated us. That was when I saw a bright light overhead and looked up. When I looked up, I could see a descending fireball of light.
“It’s Meteor!” I let out a cry, my mind going blank.
I didn’t know how, but they had completely caught us in a trap I never would have predicted. They didn’t just use hostages, but they were sacrificing their own lives as well, just to kill a party of rescuers.
I was too stunned to move, but I was the only one who hadn’t gone into motion.
Ruby had grabbed Raissa and suddenly tossed her in my direction. It was only at that moment I realized that Miki a few meters away had her hands out. Without time to think, I caught Raissa, but the force of the throw caused me to stumble back… and through a Portal Miki had summoned.
Just as the light on the other side went white, the Portal snapped shut. Just a bit of hot air shot through. Then, I was standing in the middle of a forest, holding Raissa, and everyone else was gone.