Dream Life Vol 3 Chapter 2.2: “Western Region of Aurella Road”

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 It was open enough to get some sunlight, but there was no shortage of places to hide a few meters from the road, and a few dozen well-trained soldiers could have been used as ambush troops.



 I looked at Liddy and Beatrice, thinking it was the perfect place to ambush us. They seemed to feel the same way, their hands gripping their weapons tightly.



 As we were advancing with increased vigilance, the merchant escort at the head of the line shouted, “Attack! The bandits are here!” We heard the screams of a man who seemed to be the leader, the neighing of horses, and the thud of something crashing into the ground.



 Almost simultaneously, the line of merchants stopped moving along the narrow road.


 The rattling of the wagons ceased, and the anxious voices of the merchants and their guards could be heard, along with the neighing of the horses.



 As the wagons come to a halt, my father gives a quick command.



“Guy! Check the situation ahead!” (Matt)



 “Yes, sir!” Guy answered quickly, dismounted and started to run.



“Byron! Take Brett and Sid and keep an eye on the south side of the wagon! Jim, Kevin, follow me!” (Matt)



 Brett and the others are village patrol youths, Brett and Jim are the swordmen, and Sid and Kevin are the spearmen. There is another archer named Mark, who is currently the coachman.


 The villager patrol youths were well trained, as expected, and when they received an order, they dismounted quickly, leaping from their cloaks and readying their weapons.


 My father ran to the front left of the wagon and gave us instructions.



“Miss Beatrice, you are to escort the carriage with Zack and the others!” (Matt)



 “Yes, sir!” Beatrice shouts, and immediately gives us instructions.



“Zack, you, Mel, and Dan will guard the south side, while I, Lydiane, and Sharon will guard the north side! If they aim to take down the front, they’ll be aiming for our backs, too. Keep your heads up!” (Beatrice)



 The caravan line of nearly one hundred wagons is nearly a kilometer long by itself. The more than two hundred mercenaries were spread out in this long line, and the number of men per location was quite small.



 In this caravan, there were several wagons loaded with artifacts from the northern kingdom of Saltus and expensive demon materials from Pericritor, and today they happened to be clustered at the front of the caravan.


 It seems that they had confirmed the formation when they left in the morning, and had struck at the most opportune moment to let their guard down. Naturally, we were among their targets.



(I wonder how strong the enemy is. If they attacked this many merchants, there must be at least fifty of them. They are probably targeting us and the Saltus merchants in front of us. If so, they’re going to create a diversion in the back to hold off the guards, and then cut us off from the front…) (Zack)



 I approached Beatrice,



We don’t know which direction the enemy is coming from. Me, Liddy, and Sharon should snipe from the top of the carriage.” (Zack)



 Beatrice said, “All right, but watch out for enemy arrows.”


 I told Liddy and Sharon to climb on top of the carriage, and I further told my mother, who was inside the carriage, not to go outside.



 My mother was somewhat pale, but she smiled and nodded, stoutly trying not to worry the young Sophia.



 The twins with our mother, Theophilus and Seraphine, were flushed and ready to go outside with their swords in their hands. They are both level 12 swordsmen, thanks to their grandfather’s training, and they are thinking of confronting the bandits.



 As expected, they would be a liability at level 12. Considering their feelings, I decided to let them guard my mother and my youngest sister, Sophia, who are non-combatants.


 I put my hand on their heads and said,



“Theo, Sera, listen to me very carefully. I want you to protect your mother and Sophia. You two are the last line of defense. I’m counting on you.” (Zack)



 They nodded nervously at my words and returned to the carriage.



(Now, I wonder what kind of force will be on its way. Come to think of it, isn’t this Dan and Mel’s first time fighting against people?) (Zack)



 They had been in the woods with the Doctus, but they had never encountered bandits, and they had yet to kill anyone.



“Liddy, Sharon. Dan and Mel have never killed anyone. I’m sure they’ll be fine, but just keep an eye out for them.” (Zack)



 They nodded their heads, and Liddy was about to say something,



“They’re coming from the South!” (Dan)



 Dan’s sharp warning voice rang out.



 Immediately thereafter, several arrows rained down from the south side of the carriage, to the left of the direction of travel.


 The sound of arrow feathers could be heard, but Mel and Dan, who were fully alert, easily avoided the flying arrows.



 Three volleys the arrows were fired, but Mel and her team either knocked them away or easily avoided them, receiving no damage at all. However, we too were unable to attack the enemy who was skillfully hiding.



 It was the enemy who became impatient first.


 Perhaps thinking that the distance was too great to make any progress, three bandits with short bows leapt out from behind a tree. They were bearded men in their late twenties, but their equipment appeared to be relatively well maintained.



 Perhaps thinking they have gained an advantageous position, the bandits begin to ready their bows, hoping to release more arrows.


 But before that, Sharon and I, who had been watching for an opportunity to activate our magic, released it.


 We unleashed the same magic, the [Swallow-Winged Blade – Swallow Cutter], at the bandits. We had no prior arrangement, but the two magic swallows drew a beautiful arc and rapidly approached the bandits from both sides.



 The bandits were surprised by the magic of the [Swallow Cutter], which they had never seen before, that they stood there for a moment, forgetting to release their arrows. However, the bandits were calmer than expected and turned their attention to avoid the magical swallows flying from both sides.



 It was a move we had expected. Liddy had adjusted her timing slightly and released an [Mallet of Air – Air Hammer].



 The force of the Air Hammer’s powerful compressed air blew the two bandits away, bending their bodies into a crumbled shape. The only bandit who was not blown away was frozen with wide-open eyes and a pale expression on his face. He seemed to be in disbelief at the powerful lineup of three magicians.



 Still, he did not lose his composure and carefully retreated to keep his distance. Not only that, but they had their bows poised to fire arrows at the top of the wagon, they probably thought we magicians were more dangerous than the others.



 The bandit was not caught off guard, but he assumed that my and Sharon’s [Swallow Cutter] had disappeared and failed to be alert.


 In a way, this was a common-sense response, since magic that has been avoided once will never return, but unfortunately for him, our magic was still active and ready.



 The magic swallows ignored the blown bandits, flew away on a cross, and circled around. And then, from the left and right of the bandit who held their bow, they attacked at the same time as if to attack their blind spot.



 When the bandit readied his bow, he noticed Sharon’s [Swallow Cutter] attacking from the right. Then, as quickly as he could, he swung his gauntlet-clad right hand and tried to strike down the magical swallow.


 However, the swallow skillfully changed its trajectory as if it were alive and sliced his hand. Immediately after that, it turned into a sudden curve and slashed the bandit across the face.



 The bandit didn’t even have time to grunt. My magic swallow had penetrated his blind spot and was lodged in his neck.


 When my magic struck, there was a bright red spray of blood. The man turned his empty eyes on me and slowly fell.



 Meanwhile, Dan fired arrows at the bandit who was trying to get up. Mel was about to approach the fallen bandit to put an end to him. At that moment, Beatrice warned, “They are coming from the north!” Beatrice’s warning voice echoed around the area.


 Beatrice also warned my father, “Milord, don’t go too far ahead!”



 I turn around at the sound of Beatrice’s voice.


 When I looked back, I saw more than ten bandits standing in the woods to the north, a mere twenty meters away. The bandits shouted a wild battle cry and attacked, brandishing their weapons. From the trees further in, the bandits attacked one after another, as if they were gushing out of the trees.



 At that moment, there were only four people on the north side: my father, Mathias, two village patrol youths, and Beatrice.


 A motley group in scarred leather armor with one-handed swords, double-bladed axes, and spears attacked with belligerent smiles on their faces.



 We had no time to unleash our magic and allowed the enemy to get close enough to hear their excited breathing.




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