Chapter 14 “Trap”
After eating and taking turns sleeping to ensure we were in good shape, we finally set out for the fort.
It was after midnight and close to dawn.
According to Hang, this is the best time of day for a raid.
It's easier to lose concentration and they don't know they're going to be attacked!
He confidently stated, “This will increase the success rate of the raid.”
As we moved along, making as little noise as possible, we came in sight of the fort.
It was battered here and there, but its function as a fort seemed unimpaired.
Surely, this would be tough for three people.
…But now that I think about it, is this a job for adventurers?
It looks like something that would be handled by the Knights or the government….
And while we're at it, it's odd that we're going to surprise them without doing any reconnaissance and assuming the bandits are there, isn't it?
The request is just an investigation to clarify, right?
Hmm? The more I think about it, the more this request smells fishy.
Is it possible that Hang is being set up? Or is Hang himself hiding something?
should I tell him?
I wonder what Garbis and the others think?
Or is it possible that Garbis and Hang are working together?
I don't know.
I guess you can't trust strangers.
All right, let's suspect them all.
Maybe they're all trying to set me up.
Then let's split up and start the attack.
Me, Hongam, and Quingham will take the front.
The rest of you go around back.
You take the other side.”
Baril, Korau, Ro.
Take care of them.”
Baril and Korau nodded silently.
I nodded as well.
Korau disappeared, saying he would go ahead and check the traps.
We decided to go through the woods to carefully bypass the fort.
I lead the way, with the other two walking on either side of me.
The sun had not yet risen, so it was dark around us.
Not that it matters to me.
I have no intention of telling anyone else, so I walk along pretending not to see them.
I noticed rather quickly after I left Hang and the others that the two guys on either side of me were giving me a lot of heated stares.
They are staring at me, as if they don't think I've noticed them because it's dark.
I guess my earlier thought might not be too far off the mark.
Garbis calls out to me.
“I've sensed something.
Baril drops to his haunches and assumes a warlike posture.
I imitate him, and I too, drop to my haunches.
Even I, who am not very perceptive, understood.
These guys are guilty.
I heard a light whistling sound, and an arrow was lodged in my throat.
I fell down without putting up any resistance.
If it wasn't for me, I'd be dead.
That took care of it.”
“Nice work, Korau.
Korau walks up from behind a tree.
Garbis took the trouble to warn me, so that I would pay attention to my surroundings, and while doing so, Korau, who was in the tree, would kill me with an arrow.
Well, I was in full view.
“But did we really have to go through all this trouble to pull off this stunt?”
”I don't have a choice.
“After all, he was being overcautious.
Look, just one hit with my arrow.”
Oh, I knew they were all in it together….
I was on such good terms with them just now, and now this.
You can't trust strangers no matter where you go.
I've guessed most of what's going on, now I'll just have to ask their bodies…or maybe their heads.
I jumped up, grabbed Korau by the neck, who was close to me, and spun him around.
What the hell did you do, shoot an arrow into me? I'm going to return the favor.
I heard a nice sound, like a gurgling sound.
A fist punches the jaw of the startled Baril.
The jaw went flying away.
I grabbed Baril's head, which was spraying blood from where the jaw had been, and threw it at Gervis.
Garbis quickly ducked and pulled out the two swords at his waist.
How are you still alive?”
”I'm surprised myself.
Humans are very tough it seems.”
By the way, Baril is convulsing on the ground.
He doesn't seem to be able to move, so I think I'll just leave him there.
I hold up my makana.
”Why don't you ask me why?”
“If you want me to ask, I can ask.”
His gaze is not fixed.
His eyes are darting around.
He seems to be very shaken up.
I used to get like that when my homeroom teacher used to get mad at me.
I'm going to step in and hit him with my makana.
Leave the head behind so I aim for the torso.
Full swing, aiming at his flank.
Garbis tried to catch it with his sword.
Stupid guy, what was he looking at in the battle with the goblin?
That was just another charade to see how good I am, right?
Makana smashed the sword he received and drove it straight into Gervis's side.
I felt something small snap.
Garbis blew up, spewing blood.
I carried Makana on my shoulder and looked at him.
Yeah, he can't move a muscle.
Not a twitch.
I approached the body with caution just to be sure, and confirmed that he was dead.
I confirm that the other two are dead as well.
I pull out the arrow that's still stuck in me and toss it to the side.
Now, let me see what you know.
I put out a root towards Garbis' corpse.
To sum up first.
I didn't understand it well.
Hang and the others were adventurers, but their real job seemed to be assassins.
They were asked to kill me, so they pretended to meet me for the first time and joined the party to kill me, according to the leader Hang's instructions.
First of all, why was I targeted?
Unfortunately, I don't remember having any particular grudge against anyone other than goblins.
Was it one of the goons I killed? No, I disposed their bodies without leaving any trace, not even a corpse, so I don't think they have a leg to stand on.
I've also disposed of or sold off all their tools and belongings.
Are you saying they were after Rothfeldt?
I doubt it.
Why go to the trouble of finding and killing someone who was perfectly dead after being poisoned?
It doesn't add up.
To be honest, it makes more sense that they were after the money.
I can't help but wonder.
Let's ask the head of Hang directly.
I – Hang – entered the fort with an unassuming air after parting ways with Ro and the others.
Naturally, there was no one inside.
There were no bandits.
The request itself was a pretext to lure Ro to the fort.
The request itself was accepted directly by the boss, so we don't know what Ro did that led to his disappearance, but that's not important to us.
We're just doing our job.
”I hope Garvis and the others are all right.”
”They'll be fine, won't they? They've been talking big about how they can do it without us, and I'm going to laugh my ass off if they screw up.”
“Even if they fail, it won't be a problem.
I mixed poison in his food.
It should be working by now.”
I put a large amount of the slow-acting poison in his bowl and cup and fed him.
By now, Garbis had probably killed him or poisoned him to death.
He was strangely gluttonous….
He ate himself to death when we recruited him….
That was an unexpected expense.
“Hang, you're a quirky guy.
That's a good move.”
“Of course we need insurance, don't we? You saw what he can do against the goblins.
You saw what those weapons can do.”
”Yes, I did.
Yes, that weapon was very powerful.
Goblin heads were exploding.”
”Perhaps it's the enchanted obsidian in the club.
Maybe it's sending some kind of shockwave through the target on contact?”
”I'm getting more and more curious about this.
I want it more and more.
You don't mind if I take the cudgel, do you?”
”Yeah, whatever you want.”
”I'll take the gold.
He made a lot of money, didn't he?”
“That's split evenly between all of us.”
I didn't really know what Ro was doing to earn money because he was shuttling back and forth between the field and the guild without taking lodging.
Where on earth was he sleeping?
Thanks to him, I had a hard time finding out.
”But Gervis and the others are late.
What are they taking so long for?”
”Well, I guess so.
They're probably taking a long time to get rid of him anyway, aren't they?”
Yes, they're a little slow.
Let's go check it out.
I take the two of them and get out of the fort.
If things were going to be like this, we might as well have attacked with everyone.
From what I saw of the battle, he looked tough, so we were going to take him by surprise, but Garvis and the others wouldn't listen to me, so I left it to them…but if it was going to take this long, it might have been better if we had done it over here ourselves.
The place of the raid was in a nearby forest.
I turned around to call out to them that we were going into the woods.
I heard the sound of wind and something passed by my face.
An arrow was stuck in Quineham's throat right in front of me.
Hongham next to me looks startled.
Quinham made a gurgling sound like a gargle and collapsed.
I skip instructions to Hongam and return to the fort.
Hongam hurriedly follows me.
Quingham can't make it….
I hide behind the fort.
”Son of a bitch! What's going on!?”
”I don't know! But that arrow, is that Korau's great bow?”
I recognized the arrow stuck in Quineham.
It was one of Korau's arrows.
”Don't tell me they betrayed us?”
”I don't know.
What are you going to do, Hung? Are we just going to walk away?”
I had no idea what was going on, but I was sure that Korau was the one who had shot the arrow.
It was still dark, even though it was just before dawn.
He was probably the only one who could hit me in this almost blind state.
Did Korau betray us?
Or were Garbis and the others behind it? Or were they killed?
Damn! We don't have enough information.
”Korrau! What the hell are you doing?”
I shouted into the woods, but there was no reply.
Instead, arrows fly at us.
The arrow pierces the ground near us.
”Hey! What are we going to do? We can't move like this.”
I know that.
If Korau is alone, we can escape from behind the fort, but if Garbis and the others have betrayed us, we can't make a move.
The best thing to do would be to defeat Korau and break their plans.
Probably, Gervis and Baril would have betrayed as well.
It is quite painful that Quinham, the rear guard, was killed.
If they attack from a long distance, we can't touch them.
Look around and think.
…Can we go?
I came up with one move.
It's not what I'd call a move, but I don't want to take the time it would take to do it.
Let's use the shield and go in.”
”Shield? Where is it?”
”It's down right there.”
I point at Quingham, who is lying on the ground.
Well, she's dead, so I guess she can't complain.”
”Can you do it?”
”Let's do it.”
We timed our moves and jumped out.
Hongam quickly grabs Quingham's corpse and uses it as a shield.
An arrow comes flying at us.
It pierces into Quingham's stomach.
Hongam runs at once.
I follow behind him and draw my sword.
Arrow after arrow pierces into Quingham's body.
One sticks into Hongam's shoulder and he grunts in pain.
The distance shrinks.
When I get close enough, I leap out from behind Hongam's shadow and plunge into the woods.
From the position where the arrow flew, I have an idea where he is.
At once, I dive into the woods.
I see a shadow.
There is one in number.
It was against a tree.
I guess Garbis and the others are going their separate ways after all.
”Korau! You're going to have to prepare yourself!”
Hongam also threw down Quinham, readied his war hammer, and got ready to attack.
My slash and Hongam's attack hit Korau.
We attacked Baril, who was tied to a tree.
Moreover, the lower half of his face was missing.
It was obvious that he was dead, not to mention that he had been attacked by us.
Then who shot the arrow…?
I turned around when I felt a killing intent behind me.
Before I knew it, Ro was swinging his weapon and about to swing it down on Hongam.
Hongam also noticed and turned around, but he was too late.
Ro's weapon caught him in the forehead area, and his head exploded the next moment.
”Well, I guess you're the last.”
Ro waved his weapon and blood dropped.
“Ro, why are you…?”
“Why am I still alive? I wonder…”
I was frantically spinning my thoughts, feeling something cold on my back.
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