Tuesday, February 13, 2024 @

Chapter 16 Bandit (Part One)

Chapter 16 Bandit (Part One)

 "Is what you just said true?"

 As I suddenly spoke, the four adventurers looked at me with a slightly wary expression. I repeated the same question.

 "Is it true that bandits are appearing at the northern battlefield ruins?"

 "Have you been listening to our conversation?"

 Then, the female adventurer glanced at my clothes and then back at me. By the way, I'm wearing my high school uniform.

 "It's true. I saw it myself. And they were wearing clothes similar to yours. I didn't see them clearly, though."

 "If the bandits were to return to that temporary hut, when do you think it would be?"

 The female adventurer tilted her head slightly.

 "I don't know. I don't even know if they'll return to the hut at all. But if they do, it would probably be before sunset. That area becomes infested with zombies and skeletons at night."

 (Oh no...)

 I bit my lower lip.

 Until now, I had been staying at the foot of a mountain closer to the town, without going to the battlefield ruins. That's why I didn't pay much attention to the story about bandits at the northern battlefield ruins.

 I looked at the clock.

 Luckily, the clock operates on a 24-hour system in this world too.

 It's currently 5 PM.

 There might be bandits heading towards the temporary hut.

 "Thank you!"

 I thanked the adventurers and returned to my table.

 "What's wrong?"

 Alice was the first to ask.

 "It seems the cabin that Kiridani and the others entered was actually the bandits' hideout. There's a possibility that the bandits might come."


 Tsubasa's complexion changed.

 Mizuno Kaede widened her eyes and pressed her lips together.

 "I'll go and call them. If things go well, we might be able to get everyone out before the bandits arrive."

 Alice looked worried.

 "But that place is infested with zombies at night. Can you go there and come back?"

 "It'll be fine as long as it's not midnight. We can escape the battlefield before then."

 "What are the chances of other monsters appearing?"

 It was Morimura who said that.

 "If we're careful, it should be fine. More than anything, bandits are more dangerous than those monsters. I can't just leave them be."

 Tsubasa looked at me with a determined look.

 "You're not planning on going alone, are you? I'll go with you."

 I shook my head.

 "No, I'll go alone. Everyone stay here."


 I gave her a stern look as she started to say something.

 "This isn't a game. Lives are at stake. I don't have the luxury of protecting everyone this time!"

 It will be some time before she can use her powers in this world.

 Tsubasa looked startled.

 I immediately regretted what I said.

 "It's alright, if I go alone, I can hide and I know where to escape. So please wait here, everyone."

 Tsubasa and Alice both looked at me with worried expressions. Kondo Shuichi tried to comfort them by saying,

 "Akito-kun is right. He knows a lot about this world. If we go, we might just be a burden to him. Let's stay here quietly."

 I nodded and asked Gina if she could lend me a horse.

 Gina borrowed a horse from a nearby carriage shop for me. It was quite large in size. According to Gina, it wasn't the fastest horse, but it had excellent endurance for long runs.

 I mounted the horse and set off from the town of Sakurakand, heading north. The journey that would have taken over three hours on foot could be completed in less than an hour on horseback.

 As I passed through the mountainous path and reached the grassland dotted with rocks, I arrived at the place where I had parted ways with the cheerful group. The sun had already set, and it was dark. From there, I could see the silhouette of a log hut on top of a hill, a little distance away.

 (That was the bandits' temporary hut, huh?)

 When I saw that, unease welled up inside me. It was because the hut was dark. If Kiridani and the others were in the hut, they should have lit a fire.

 I got off the horse a little distance away and approached the hut silently. I could see that the door was slightly open. Does that mean there's no one inside?

 (No, it could be a setup, someone might be lying in wait)

 I went closer to the door and drew my sword, pushing the door slightly with the tip of the sword. The door opened slowly. No one jumped out.

 Still, I cautiously entered the hut. The inside of the hut was pitch dark and seemed uninhabited. No, upon closer inspection, in the darkness, there was something large lying on the floor, like a big bag. I strained my eyes to see.

 Eventually, as my eyes adjusted to the darkness inside, I could make out what the large bag on the floor was. Someone had collapsed. And judging from the clothing, it was one of my companions.

 I approached him and shook his upper body as if embracing it. When I looked at his face, it was Kashima Shougou. And when I lifted him up, there was a slippery sensation in my hand. Needless to look, it was blood.

 "Kashima, are you okay?"

 As I called out, Kashima Shougou slowly opened his eyes.

 "...Akito, is that you?"

 "Yeah, what happened? What about the others?"

 "I don't know... Suddenly, six men came into the cabin... They shouted something and then attacked us. I and Kiridani, Shimura tried to fight, but they immediately took our weapons and captured us. I tried to protect the girls without letting go of my sword, but I couldn't protect them..."

 While speaking, Kashima looked in pain. There seemed to be a large wound on his abdomen.

 "Let me stop the bleeding."

 As I said that and tried to take off Kashima's clothes, he stopped me.

 "It's useless. I'm done."

 (Damn it, if only there was someone who could use healing magic at a time like this...)

 I grit my teeth.

 With healing magic, even if the injury is severe enough to have their internal organs flying out as their abdomen is torn open, as long as they have they life, people can restore everything back to normal.

 Even if their limbs are cut off, as long as the cells of the severed parts haven't died, they can be reattached. But at this point, no one has learned magic, and I never had that power to begin with.

 "You still don't understand. Don't give up. It's not like you, Kashima."

 But Kashima weakly shook his head from side to side.

 "I was stabbed in the abdomen in two places. Just surviving until now is already close to a miracle. But more importantly..."

 Kashima groaned in pain.

 "Please help the others. Kiridani and Shimura, the three girls. All five of us were tied up and taken away by the men."

 "Do you know which way they went?"

 Kashima struggled to lift his trembling left hand. He pointed in the northeast direction.

 I took off my school blazer and tore the edge of the T-shirt I was wearing underneath with my sword. This wound is just a consolation, but I couldn't just do nothing.

 "Understood. I will follow after. Kashima, please stop the bleeding. I will come back as soon as I rescue the five people, so please hang in there until then."

 Kashima seemed to faintly smile with a pale expression. His lips trembled as he spoke.

 "Akito, you were really a strong guy... In everyday life, you can't really know a person's true strength..."

 "It's not like that, I'm weak too. I'm just a little more accustomed to this world."

 "If only I had followed Akito's advice back then..."

 At that moment, Kashima Shougou's words were interrupted.

 I leaned closer to his nose and saw that he was still breathing weakly.

 "Wait for me. I will definitely rescue everyone and come back."

 I said that and left the hut.

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