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I woke up to the sound of metal clanging in the distance.
I glanced at the closed wooden door.
Judging by the light coming through the crack, the sun was just starting to rise.
For a while, after I woke up, I was confused as to what was going on, and now the gong-gong sound of bells that seemed to echo deep in my stomach began to fill the air.
“What is going on?”
I don’t know what it is, but I know that something terrible is happening.
I began to hear rustling noises and tense voices coming from the rooms around me, and I could also hear the residents making noise from outside the inn.
I jumped out of bed, hurriedly changed my clothes, and grabbed my bags.
What the hell? What’s going on?
As I ran out of the room, I spotted Dan and Rocky and rushed over to them.
“Dan! This sound–“
“We’ll talk later! First, let’s go to the Adventurer’s Guild.” (Dan)
After saying that, I chased the two who started running.
When they got out of the inn, they saw a lot of people moving around in a hurry.
Some were hammering wood into the walls of their houses. Some were running somewhere with large bags. Some were loading their belongings onto horse carts and wagons. And just like us, there were fully armed people running in various directions.
I caught up with them and asked again as I ran.
“What is this sound !?”
Dan glanced at me and told me as he ran.
“The first bell was for something happening at the gate. The next bell is for when something happens in the town!” (Dan)
That’s all he said, and he simply looked forward silently, as if he was putting all his energy into running.
So, something happened at the gate, and then something happened in the town? No, from the looks of the people in the town, I think it’s more likely that something happened at the gate and then that something that happened will affect the whole town.
Either way, there’s nothing to suggest that the situation is any good.
When we arrived in front of the Adventurers’ Guild, we saw someone who looked like an adventurer running into the guild.
We hurried into the guild as well.
The guild was crowded with adventurers, and the guild staff was busily working at the counter.
Some were shouting something, others were discussing with other adventurers.
All of them seemed to be looking for information and waiting for something.
“Silence! I will explain the situation!” (Voice)
A man from the back of the guild shouted.
The man is about fifty years old. Dressed like a jacket in slender trousers, she looks like a civilian and gives a disproportionate impression to the current adventurer’s guild, where this fully armed adventurer gathers.
The man continued talking when the surrounding voices stopped.
“I am Darren Waller, Guild Master of the Rankfurt branch of the Adventurers’ Guild. We don’t have much time. I’ll explain everything briefly! Just moments ago, a horde of monsters was spotted northwest of Rankfurt… It’s a stampede!” (Voice => Waller)
The moment he said that there was an uproar in the guild, and some adventurers let out what sounded like screams and moans.
The guild was in turmoil. Still, the Guild Master continued.
“We’re less than half an hour away from fighting with the first wave…… It’s no use running away now.” (Waller)
Several adventurers responded to the Guildmaster’s words, some sighed and cursed, “Damn it!”
“We’re still negotiating with the Baron, but he should be able to arrange a reward for your help in defending the city. Each of you will be given a reward based on your role and work. Those who have achieved great results will be called upon by the baron…… or the kingdom. I’m sure you’re aware of this…… but I’ll tell you something. If the gates of the town are breached, we will be forced into a melee. If that happens, it will be difficult for anyone to rest. If the town is overrun with monsters, there will be nowhere to hide. In other words, the best way to survive is to protect the gates. Do you understand?” (Waller)
I could feel my heart pounding faster and louder. And I’m feeling restless, as if something isn’t real, as if I’m floating in the sky.
Hordes of monsters, stampede, defense, inability to escape, bounties. So much information is coming at me at once, I don’t know what to do. But I knew the situation was not good.
I close my eyes, breathe in slowly, and breathe out.
Calm down. For now, let’s take a good look at our surroundings, assess the situation, and sort out the information.
First of all, there’s a horde of monsters heading towards the town. This is a definite fact. And we can’t run away. We don’t have much time left before the monsters arrive, but there are also oceans and mountains to the south and east of the town, so there’s nowhere to run if we head that way. We might be able to make it to the Forest Village where the monsters won’t come near us, but even if we went full speed on our horses now, we wouldn’t be able to reach the Forest Village.
So the only way for us to survive is to hunker down in Rankfurt.
I thought a little more deeply.
Somehow, I felt uncomfortable about what Guild Master said and the adventurers’ reaction afterward.
It seemed to me that Guild Master had chosen his words to prevent the adventurers from escaping.
First, he emphasized the fact that they could not escape, and then he explained the merits of fighting.
As for the reaction of the adventurers, when they heard that a horde of monsters was coming towards them, some of them immediately thought of something and tried to run. On the other hand, there were adventurers who were not thinking about running away at all.
I glanced to my side.
My party members are the latter.
Ah, I see. Maybe this is the difference between adventurers from this town and adventurers from another town. If you’re from this town, you’re probably attached to it, and you probably have family there. If so, you have no choice but to protect the town.
…… I think there is something more to this.
“Okay, first of all, adventurers who can use attack magic gather. Especially earth magic. If possible, come forward if you can use [Stone Wall]. And also adventurers who can use bows. I will tell discus with the vanguards later, but for the time being, come to the West Gate as soon as you’re ready.” (Waller)
Adventurers appear one after another after hearing the Guild Master’s words.
Seeing Rocky move forward, he said to Dan “See you later.”, and I also squeezed with the people moving towards the Guild Master.
“You’ve gathered. We’ll be moving to the West Gate soon. I’ll give you a detailed explanation there.” (Waller)
“Haa, haa… Okay, the earth magicians can go out of the gate and build a barrier right away. Ask the staff outside for details.” (Waller)
Everyone ran to the front of the West Gate, and the Guild Master immediately instructed us what to do.
Some adventurers followed the instructions and went out of the gate.
The gate was open, and there were about ten people dressed like soldiers carrying something around. Outside the gate, there were people building a hastily constructed wall, setting up some kind of fence, and overturning carriages and carts to the side.
“Some of you may not understand the details, so I’ll explain beforehand. Stampede is monsters running amok. Hundreds or thousands…… or even tens of thousands of monsters move in large numbers. The monsters that move gradually break up due to their different speeds, and often split into several groups. So don’t be relieved just because you blocked the first wave. According to the guild’s data, the later the wave, the more likely it is to be made up of larger and more troublesome monsters.” (Waller)
The Guild Master catches his breath and continues talking.
“During the stampede, monsters tend to behave differently than usual. They don’t tend to aggressively attack the town, so you can ignore the monsters that veer away from the town for now. Just aim for the monsters that are going to collide with the town. Remember, our goal is not to destroy all monsters. We just need to shift their course to avoid hitting the town. Understood?” (Waller)
The Guild Master looked around at all of us and said, “Okay, let’s go up the wall,” and started to climb the wooden stairs next to the gate.
We followed him.
At the top of the wall, there was a passage about a meter wide, and we could see that it continued all the way around. I was grateful that there were low walls with handrails on both sides to prevent people from falling down.
Thinking about this, I looked up and saw the outside of the wall, at the end of the path.
I winced at the sight and was speechless.
The black waves of countless monsters and the wall of dust were almost upon us.
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