Chapter 31 – Ogre hunt – Part three

Ever since I trained with Geitz, I’ve been asked to go train every time I show up at the guild.

“…You’re not weak, you’re actually better than a lot of people on the lower end of the spectrum.
You’ll become a good attacker if you keep piling on the experience and learning techniques.”

I feel like Geitz saying this has made me accepted by people here.

On days when I’m not out of town doing quests, I’m always fighting someone.
I get offers to join parties, but I say no, because I’m headed to the capital once that becomes possible again.

I’ve learned something after fighting several people.

I never thought about it until this point, but my physical abilities are excellent.
At the very least strength, stamina, and agility are all above average.
I only lost in an exchange of blows against one person, and he was a muscular guy with tree trunks for arms.

If I could see my opponents’ status, I could very easily check, but even at Appraisal level nine, I still can’t do that.
Will that restriction be lifted when I max out its level?

Siphon and his party have been vigorously accepting hunting quests, and we meet and train on their days off.

Siphon also trades blows with me, but I’m keeping it a secret that Geitz’s teachings are actually more helpful.

Geitz doesn’t talk much, but apparently he’s known for his skills with the shield.
His power of insight is great, and he can observe his opponents’ movements while blocking their attacks, so people often ask him for his opinions.

This goes on for a few days, until eventually the group that went out hunting for orcs returns.

The townspeople were eagerly waiting for news about the hunt, and gather in front of the gate to get a glimpse of the heroes.

The group can be seen coming this way from far away.
Everyone starts cheering, but once they get a better look at them, the cheering suddenly stops, and is replaced with perplexed expressions.

Everyone is in tatters.
I can’t help but feel that they look like soldiers who escaped from a losing battle.

They don’t look elated at all about completing their hunt, and there’s a heavy mood in the air as they go through the gate,

It looks like their numbers have decreased quite a bit too.
I get the feeling that less than half the knights that left are returning.

The townspeople are speechless, and watch them in silence.

“It doesn’t feel like the hunt was a success.”

But I also feel like they would be a lot more flurried if the hunt failed and they came back running.

I also see what looks like defeated orcs loaded onto the wagons, but it’s less than you’d expected from such a large group.

The answers I’m looking for come later that night when I’m sitting in the dining hall.

Siphon invites me to have dinner with him again, and when we sit down, we’re sharing a table with one of the adventurers that participated in the orc hunt.
Apparently Siphon knows him, and he says they’ve accepted joint quests a few times.

“You’re here too, Siphon?”

I was thinking about coming here from Physis and then heading back to the capital.
Have you been working here, Draco?”

There’s not as many quests here as in the capital, but it’s not bad.
But more importantly, it’s not as cutthroat as the capital, there’s less competition over quests here.”

“So, what actually happened? Is there a gag order?”

“There isn’t.
It’s going to be announced by the guild tomorrow anyway.
Honestly, this isn’t the sort of thing we can let people be in the dark about.”

Siphon waits for Draco to continue while pouring a drink.

Draco takes a sip, and says the next phrase like he’s spitting it out.

“There was a demon.”

“A what…?”

The eyes of everyone who was listening are fixated on Draco.
Even people sitting at other tables are now looking at him.

Confusion, bewilderment, and shock spread throughout the room.

“You’re kidding…”

“It’s true.
That was a demon.”

Draco’s expression twists with fear, like he’s remembering what happened there.

Sweat suddenly starts dripping from his forehead.
He tries to start speaking, but closes his mouth, like he’s hesitant to talk about this.

This happens a few times, until he finally starts speaking quietly.
It sounds like he wants to put it all out there and forget that fear.

They found out about a settlement of orcs deep in the forest, so they were going to assault it along with the knights.
The plan was to rescue the hostages and crush every single orc.

Since they had A ranked adventurers and knights, they defeated even the superior species of orc that were present, like the high orc and orc general, even if they suffered some damage.

There were only a few orcs left, when he appeared.

He came flying out of the clear open sky, and glided as he observed what was happening on the surface.

An uproar broke out as people started noticing him, and as if waiting for it, he raised his hand.

According to a magic user Draco knows, that magic energy felt explosive.

Light fell down, and a group of knights were flung away with an explosion.
When the dust settled, there was a hole in the ground.

It happened again, and a third time, until it was quiet again.

His eyes were clearly deep red like blood even from a distance, and they sent a chill down everyone’s spines.
They made people tremble, even if they weren’t looking him directly in the eyes,

He approached them as if he was strolling, and casually swung his arms.
Adventurers who were near were flung, blown away, and it literally started raining blood.

Draco doesn’t remember the rest very well, he just ran frantically.
Before he knew it, he was trembling in the forest, waiting for the noise to stop.
The screams were burned into his eardrums, and it felt like he could still hear them even after he covered his ears.

He doesn’t know how long it was, but eventually the noise stopped, and he followed others as they went back to the settlement.
He didn’t want to go, but felt like he had to at least check how it was.

He says that if there is a hell, he saw it.
It was horrible.
Pieces of flesh splattered around, corpses everywhere… There was a mess of both people and orcs.

The adventurers and knights that stayed there said they fought the demon back, but in reality, they dealt next to no damage to it.
In the end, he said ‘this isn’t it’ and left.

The survivors buried the dead, gathered whatever mementos remained, and retrieved orc materials and magic stones as proof that they at least defeated the orcs.
They then came back quickly, or rather, ran back.
Draco laughed self-deprecatingly as he finished telling us his story.


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