Ch. 125: Encounter during Travel
Everything was peaceful for a while after they left Kauffa.
They would eventually have to get off the road to get to Rose’s village, but while they were on the road, with soldiers patrolling around it, there was no danger to them.
It was so peaceful that Loren thought that out of the four days it took to get to the village, they probably didn’t need guarding for the first two.
Loren felt that the spending the night was quite comfortable as well.
Among Rose and her villagers as well as Loren and Klaus’ party, the two of them were the only men, so Loren thought it would be quite uncomfortable, but when it came to work, as well as when keeping watch, which the two parties took turns doing, Lapis was the only one he was with, so things were as usual.
“Can we do something about tying up Klaus at night?”
“Loren, are you saying we should let a wolf loose inside a pack of sheep?”
It was very so, since all the people other than Loren and Klaus were women, and Loren sighed as he watched Klaus be tied up from shoulder to knees and thrown into a one-person tent.
The food was like none other than he had seen before.
They had agreed to eat what they had brought instead of sharing what Rose had brought, but it was because Klaus had their expenses, and Lapis didn’t hold back.
Of course, since they needed the food to last the whole job, there wasn’t anything over the head, but what came out was still way better than the provisions that they were used to, and that caused the girls to treat Klaus even harsher, but Lapis paid no attention and enjoyed the luxurious meal.
“With enough money, even dried meat tastes different.”
“How much did this cost…”
“That’s a secret. It’s free, anyway. Loren, do you want a drink? Believe it or not, it’s wine that isn’t thinned in water. I had it poured into a vintage wineskin as well.”
“What are you doing? I mean, I’ll take it though.”
He knew it wasn’t something he should drink during the middle of a job, but he wasn’t someone to make something that tastes good into something that doesn’t taste as good.
Wine thinned with water was something that was drank by adventurers instead of water, and Loren had drunk it before as well, but of course, it wasn’t something that tasted that good.
“The bread is pure flour as well, and the cheese is good quality as well, so if you put it on top of the bread and sear it…it tastes so good. It goes so well with the wine.”
“You’re enjoying yourself to the fullest, aren’t you…?”
“Maybe put some pieces of dried meat on it as well. Too bad we don’t have any vegetables. They don’t last a few days.”
“Didn’t you throw potatoes in the campfire earlier?”
“I’m going to retrieve them later and put butter on them. It tastes good you know. You’re going to have some, right?”
Rose and the villagers had pots they used to stew their ingredients so they were doing okay, but Klaus and his party were eating hard brown bread and dried meat that looked like the soles of a boot, and were drinking either wine thinned in water or just water.
With Lapis eating her delicious meal next to them, of course their morale would be low.
Loren would’ve suggested sharing if he could, but there wasn’t enough for everyone, and he didn’t want to give them his share of the food either, so he just sat there and ate the great meal with Lapis.
That was how the first two days went, but things changed from the third day.
It was because they went off the main road and went onto the path that led to Rose’s village.
Although it was a path that led to a village, it wasn’t one that many people used.
It was only used when the villagers transported supplies or merchants went from village to village, so it wasn’t maintained too well.
The carriages shook as they rolled on the uneven ground, slowing their progress, and with no soldiers on patrol, there was more risk for danger, so as bodyguards, all their senses were on alert.
“This is a harder job than I thought it would be.”
As Lapis looked around, Loren was pulling one of the wheels of a carriage out of a hole in the path.
With only women, it would’ve been possible if the carriage was empty, but since it was full of supplies and the weight was near its limit, it was quite the feat to get it out of the hole, which Loren managed to do.
“That should do it.”
He put his hands on the carriage, and without even grunting, he lifted it up slightly.
At the same time, one of the villagers lightly whipped the donkeys, which caused them to move forward, and the carriage finally slipped out of the hole.
Loren brushed the dust off his hands, watched the company move once more, and followed, looking around them as Lapis was doing.
Their surroundings were a simple plain with nothing but grass, so their outlook was good, but it was the same for anyone looking at them, so with nowhere to hide, Loren couldn’t help but feel danger.
“It won’t be hard to see something coming, but there’s nowhere to hide.”
“That’s why we hired adventurers like you to protect us.”
Rose was the one who responded to his words.
Seeing Klaus’ face starting to loosen up at her glossy voice, but immediately tightening back up as he felt Ange and the other girls’ glares on him, Loren said something that could be taken as a warning as well as a complaint.
“Then you should put more thought in the payment. No one would take your job with the current one.”
“But there’s people like you who took it.”
As Rose replied with a smile, Loren just snorted, not giving her a reply.
It seems that Rose had put bodyguard jobs up with similar conditions as the current one.
As Loren was impressed that she managed to find people to take the job every time, Rose leaned forward slightly and said in a whispery voice.
“There might be a next time. In that case, I’ll be looking forward to seeing you again.”
Seeing her movements and voice, Loren had a good guess of what it was.
It seemed that every time, she had been depending on adventurers like Klaus to bite the hook.
He had no idea how far her “service” went, and how long she had been doing this, but sensing that she was quite good at what she did, he backed off as naturally as he could as she stepped closer to him.
“This time was by chance, so there’s no next time. For us, anyway.”
“Hm, you’re a hard person.”
Seeing Klaus mesmerized at Rose, who had bent over slightly, emphasizing her chest, Loren waved his hand as if he was batting a bug away, signaling for her to go away.
“If only our leader had half that self-control…”
“It’s useless to hope that.”
“This must be a trial from god.”
Hearing the girls around Klaus muttering, Lapis had a smug look on her face for some reason, but after making sure that Rose had left, Loren returned his attention to his surroundings.
He then suddenly smelled something in the air that shouldn’t be there and looked upwind.
When attacking coming from upwind was quite naïve, even when put into soft words, but if being found out wasn’t a hindrance, it wasn’t a bad place to attack from, with the tailwind helping them.
The whole company tensed at Loren’s warning.
The smell that drifted on the wind was unpleasant body odor and the smell of leather.
They were smells that warned Loren of danger, as he was familiar with them during his life on the battlefield.
When Klaus drew his sword, nasty looking men suddenly stood up from the middle of the field, as they had been lying in wait for victims to show up.
They were wearing dirty leather armor, which was what made Loren aware of them, and they had different weapons as well.
The bandits would’ve preferred their victims closer to them, but with Loren realizing they were there, they had no choice.
Loren immediately assessed that they couldn’t run.
If they left all the supplies, there was a chance they could do so, but it was hard to believe that the villagers would want to leave their lifeline behind.
It wouldn’t matter if they died, but if the bandits took the supplies, they were going to go down the same path anyway.
But Loren still asked Rose.
“Are you willing to abandon the supplies?”
“W-we can’t! Without it, we’ll…”
As her response was the expected one, Loren scratched his head.
If they couldn’t run, the only option they had was to fight.
When he squinted his eyes, he saw around twenty armed men, and unthinkingly said to Lapis next to him.
“You could handle them by yourself, right?”
Lapis immediately elbowed him in the gut.
When seen from others’ perspectives, it might’ve looked like Lapis was annoyed that Loren said something a bit stupid.
But knowing that Lapis was a demon, and with the amount of force behind the jab, Loren felt a chill go down his spine for a moment.
“What are you saying Loren? I’m just a priestess. I know a bit of self-defense, but there’s no way I could deal with all those bandits.”
Her blow didn’t deal that much damage to Loren.
Although there was a dull sound when her elbow made contact, to him it felt like he was poked very hard, so he looked at Lapis, thinking that she had held back, but for some reason she had a vexing look on her face, so he realized that it was because of the quality of his armor.
At the same time, he reminded himself that they were with Klaus and his party as well as Rose and her villagers, so they couldn’t depend on Lapis’ abilities.
“Sorry. That was a bit mean.”
“It’s fine as long as you understand.”
After apologizing and letting the people around them know that it was a joke, Lapis’ face loosened up and she nodded.
“Then leave this one to me. That number is no match for me.”
“I don’t feel like it, but I guess it can’t be helped. Protecting the weak is our job too.”
While Loren and Lapis were doing their thing, Klaus and one of his party members, the knight named Layla, both readied their swords and stepped forward.
Ange moved behind them with her staff in hand for support, and Roll the priestess stood even farther back, watching the whole situation.
“I guess we’ll watch for separate detachments and protect the goods.”
“That’ll be fun…I mean, the villagers will need protection.”
Letting Klaus deal with the situation, Loren walked over to the villagers and carriages, his hand still on his great sword.
Lapis covered her mouth with her hand as she followed him, warning herself to watch what she said.
Hey guys Kaoto here.
Been quite busy the past two weeks.
I need a little break…
Anyways, I can’t wait for Persona 5 Scramble to release.
But it’s going to be a fight between me and my brother on who’s going to hog the PS4 first 🙂
Hope you enjoy and I’ll see you guys in the next chapter!