Dream Life Vol II Chapter 59: “Bandit Assault”

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 July 7th.



 I heard that the mountains of the Porta Mountains in the west – the mountainous area that spreads south of the Farthus River – are covered with clouds, and it looks like it’s going to rain from this evening.



(It’s tricky when it rains in the Karsh Pass. I think we can make it this evening, but the next village, Bowden, is a poor village, and I’d like to get there early if possible to secure a decent lodging where we stayed before. After all, it would be better to continue on ahead of the merchant caravan…) (Zack)



 So, with that in mind, we decided to go ahead of the merchant caravan, which was leaving at 7:00 AM.


 These are light cavalry. The merchant caravans are wagons carrying heavy goods. Because of this, the speed of movement is quite different. Especially when we entered a mountain pass, the speed of the wagons was reduced to two or three kilometers per hour.


 We had to take many breaks to keep up with the speed of the wagons.



 The number of wagons of the merchant caravan this time was ten.


 The number of wagons was quite small because many wagons had departed from Pericritor right after the Midsummer Festival, so it was just like a narrow gap between the two.


 Naturally, the number of escorts was also small, about 30 in all. From the looks of it, there were hardly any skilled mercenaries, and it even felt like a numbers game.


 Even so, the fact that there were so many made me feel secure. In particular, monsters often target travelers who are few in number. A mercenary company of about 50 men, including the leader, would be a sufficient deterrent against orc-level monsters, let alone flying ones such as harpies.



 Around one o’clock in the afternoon, we were entering the toughest part of the Karsh Pass.


 The vegetation changed from a forest of large trees to bushes and tall grasses. Further on, the terrain became a wasteland of rocks and sheer cliffs on one side.



(Last year we were attacked by harpies around here…) (Zack)



 We were on guard around us, waiting for the merchants to catch up with us at the top of the pass. We heard the rattle of wagons behind us, and the caravan was slowly coming up the hill.


 The ten wagons were about fifty meters behind us.



 I had the feeling that I had felt their eyes on me several times before this point, and when I mentioned this to them, both Liddy and Beatrice said they felt the same way.



(Right now, we are sitting ducks. As soon as possible, I want to get out of the top of this narrow pass with no way out on either side…) (Zack)



 As I was thinking this, Liddy’s sharp warning voice echoed through the pass.



“Look! Men with weapons!” (Liddy)



 I looked in the direction she pointed and saw a group of men with swords, spears, and bows.


 There were more than 20 of them.



 Since northbound merchant caravan already passed, it was impossible that they were escorting the merchant party. In other words, they were bandits.



 Beatrice shouted to the merchants behind us, “There are bandits!” We dismounted and readied our weapons.


 The distance was about 50 meters.


 The top of the pass was flanked by cliffs five meters wide and ten meters high, making it the perfect place to intercept the bandits.


 Liddy and Beatrice were of the same opinion, and Beatrice, who was the vanguard of the group, went forward with her spear at the ready.


 I wondered if I should attack without warning, even though they looked like bandits, so I checked with Beatrice.



“They look like bandits, so what are we going to do? If you don’t mind if we launch a preemptive attack, we’ll fire our magic at them.” (Zack)



 With a terrifying smile on her face, she said, “Yes. Let us ask them first.”



“Who are you? If you get any closer, I won’t be able to keep myself calm! Now drop your weapons or get lost!” (Beatrice)



 At Beatrice’s strong words, the bandits gave a deep chuckle and walked on.



“You’re a courageous miss. I’ll make sweet love to you to my heart’s content later, so just wait there!” (Bandit)



“All of you throw away your weapons! We are not a match for this lot…” (Bandits)



 I heard those words and called out to Liddy and Sharon.



“It looks like they’re really bandits. We’ll use magic to strike first. Sharon, I want you to cast [Firestorm] from the front side. Coordinate with them so that they move to the back. I’ll come from the back so they can’t escape. Liddy will attack based on her judgment.” (Zack)



 Sharon nodded cockily and said, “Yes,” and began to cast [Firestorm] with me.


 Liddy cast [Snow Storm – Blizzard].


 Apparently, she was going to launch [Blizzard] after our [Firestorm] to freeze them.



 One of the bandits seemed to be familiar with magic and said, “They’re going to use magic! Release the arrows!”


 Several arrows fly, but Hector—our squire Hector Marlon. It seemed that there was no one with a bow as powerful as Hector’s, and the arrows were only from a short bow. Beatrice stood in front of us, spinning her spear and knocking down the flying arrows.


 Meanwhile, Sharon and I complete [Firestorm].


 The bandits have already started running and are about twenty meters closer. Sharon made a vortex of flame appear in front of them, and I made a similar vortex of flame directly behind them.



 A roar or flames burning echoed, and the five-meter-wide path was blocked in front and behind the bandits by a wall of flame vortices.


 The two vortices then slowly advanced toward the bandits from the front and back, gradually driving them back.



 The bandits were surprised by the two vortices of flames that appeared in front and behind them, and involuntarily stopped in their tracks. Then, seeing the flames approaching them, they panicked.



 The bandits screamed, “They’re moving! Get back!” And “It’s coming up behind you too! Get out of the way!” All of them tried desperately to escape.


 However, there were no escape routes on either side, and with more than 20 people crammed together in a narrow path, the bandits could only move to the right and left, unable to make up their minds what to do. In the meantime, one of the bandits tried to force his allies to escape, and several of them were knocked off their feet and fell down. They tried to get up, screaming, but the panicked bandits could not get up easily.



(How unsightly. After all, they are just bandits. If Grandpa was in command, they wouldn’t act so sloppily. No, even if I took command, it wouldn’t be this bad…) (Zack)



 Meanwhile, the vortices of flames were approaching and finally began to engulf the bandits in a storm of flames.





 The bandits were talking and saying, “It’s hot! Help me!” and their wailing screams echoed through the narrow pass.


 Soon the smell of burning clothes and leather armor began to waft, followed by the unpleasant smell of burning flesh.


 It was truly a cacophony of agony.



 The flames were extinguished in about 30 seconds, but more than 10 people fell to the ground, and several were thrashing around in pain.


 Some of them were lucky to have their friends as shields and suffered only minor damage, and they came at them again, screaming in fury.



 Just as the bandits rose to their feet, Liddy’s [Snow Storm – Blizzard] was unleashed. Sharp shards of glittering ice flew from her hands all over the street.



 The bandits again fell into a panic. They tried to back away or get down on the ground, but the shards of ice sliced through them one by one, regardless of what the bandits did.


 In just a minute and a half, the number of bandits who could stand up was reduced to five out of more than 20.


 Of those five, three were equipped with shields, so they were not fatally wounded even by Liddy’s [Blizzard]. However, they were by no means unscathed, having suffered burns on their faces and arms, as well as having ice shards cut through the gaps in their protective gear.


 The other two, the leader and his deputy, seemed to be in the rear and had not taken much damage from my [Flame Hurricane – Firestorm].



 But the five standing men were not given time to escape.


 Beatrice charged at them after Liddy’s magic ended.


 I drew my sword and followed her, but in no time at all, she was able to finish off the shield-carrying bandit with her flurry of spear strikes.


 By the time I catch up to Beatrice, the three are already down, and she continues on ahead of me. I follow her and head for the man behind her who seems to be the leader of the bandits.



 As Beatrice and I approach him, the man who seems to be the head of the bandits only mumbles and mutters with a stunned expression on his face.



“Annihilation! My twenty subordinates were wiped out! In less than three minutes, two women… two children… against my twenty subordinates—all gone! What a monster!!” (Bandit)



(You’ve heard that line somewhere, haven’t you? Ah, it’s the words of a certain major general who quickly dropped and lost his prided pants. The situation is certainly close to that, but the word “monster” is a bit of a stretch…) (Zack)



 I had time to think about such things.


 The only two people standing properly are the two people who are just standing there in a daze, unable to accept the current situation. I was thinking about this in a corner of my mind as I followed Beatrice, who was ahead of me.


 As soon as she caught the leader in range, she would not care about the opponent’s situation, and she threw a sharp thrust at the enemy, who was standing there in a daze.


 The leader received the spear without resistance.


 I glanced at the leader’s corpse,



(This guy must have died without understanding what happened to him. It’s not that he doesn’t understand, but he’s a bit naïve for a bandit…) (Zack)



 The other man finally came to his senses when he saw his leader killed beside him. He then turns around and starts running, trying to make his escape.


 Beatrice, who had killed the leader, grinned at me and used her blinding speed to pursue the fleeing bandit. The bandit was a few meters ahead of me, but the fear of the reaper – Beatrice – approaching from behind made him look back involuntarily.


 That decided his fate.


 He looked back, which caused him to slow down slightly, and Beatrice caught up with him. He, too, was hit in the back by Beatrice’s merciless blow and rolled on the ground, coughing up blood.



 In the end, I had no chance to grab my sword, but I didn’t get a chance.



(They should have waited for us to pass by before attacking. Then they wouldn’t have had to fight under such unfavorable conditions… No, look at the four of us, there are three magicians. It is unreasonable to think that they were there. Even so, why didn’t they ambush us?) (Zack)



 After Beatrice ordered me and Sharon to be on the lookout for the perimeter, she and Liddy finished the bandits who were dying from the magic.


 It seems that they leave those with relatively minor injuries for interrogation, but those with severe burns are killed, probably as a form of mercy.



 I was wary of my surroundings, finally realizing that I had killed someone for the first time.


 Sure, he looked like a bad guy himself. But even so, he was still a human being who was able to communicate with others. I was able to kill it just as calmly as a devil. And even when I realized I had killed someone, I remained calm. I was surprised at that.



(Was it because I was used to killing a humanoid monster? Or because I killed them with magic that I don’t feel it so much? Come to think of it, the first time I killed a humanoid monster, a goblin, I didn’t feel anything in particular. However, the other party is a human being who speaks the same language. I thought I would feel more guilt or regret or something…) (Zack)



 The merchant guards approached fearfully. And the sight before them left us speechless.


 They looked down on us and annoyed as we left the city of Thornbrough. They knew what Beatrice was capable of, but I guess they still thought of her as a guardian to protect us two kids.


 They did not see Liddy’s face, but they knew she was a woman. Therefore, before we left, some people told Beatrice to stay away from the merchant team because we would attract bandits.


 But we, who had been looked down on, wiped out more than twenty strong bandits – twenty-two in all, if I counted them – in less than five minutes. They couldn’t believe it and looked as if they were having a bad dream.



 The three surviving bandits are tied up and healed to the point of not dying.


 The mercenaries could not hide their surprise. Three out of the four are magicians, and two are also healers. A party with this much firepower and support is not only rare but impossible.



 Meanwhile, the main body of the merchant party arrived at the top of the pass. They were unable to move from there in front of the dead bodies of the bandits.


 A merchant, who seemed to be the representative of the party, approached Beatrice with a frightened expression on his face.



“Well, thank you very much. Please let me know if there is anything we can do to help.” (Merchant)



 Beatrice looked down sharply at the merchant who seemed to have turned the tables on her.


 However, she quickly relaxes her expression and requests that the bandit’s equipment be removed and that the corpse from which the magic crystals and orbs were recovered be dumped somewhere.



 We interrogated the surviving bandits while the mercenaries of the merchant corps cleaned up the corpses.


 The bandits could not believe what had happened to them and were still reeling. Therefore, they answered Beatrice’s questions honestly.



 As a result of the interrogation, it seems that the bandits were now almost all of them, and that they were a group of field thieves with no particular base of operations. He told us that there was a horse hidden about a kilometer from here, and that he had left two men to guard the horse.



“It hasn’t been much time yet. It wouldn’t matter if they got away, but I’d still like to retrieve the horses. Zack, I need your help.” (Beatrice)



 Beatrice seemed to have decided to take care of the bandits in horse guard and retrieve the horses. She then asked me, who is good at close combat, to be her partner.


 When I answered shortly, “Okay,” she said,



“I’ll go on foot. You can’t trust what the thieves say.” (Beatrice)




 I nodded and we headed down the road.




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