BBYW Vol. 1 Chapter 6
Chapter 6 – Holidays are for Hunting
Clop, clop, clop, clop, clop, clop, clop…
Several dozen horses trotted across the plains with armed men rode on top of them.
The atmosphere surrounding the men was too casual to think they were soldiers: their outfits were also completely mismatched. Some of them wore knight-like armor, others wore animal skins haphazardly stitched together to form some sort of clothing.
These men were the “Crimson Tigers”, a gang of horseback thieves that, in recent years, scoured the territories of Viscount Silfis, located in the eastern provinces of the Lamperouge kingdom.
The Silfis territory was one of the major producers of crops in the kingdom of Lamperouge: most of the area was composed of plains. Horseback thieves could easily move across the plains, making them very difficult to deal with and turning them into an endless source of concern for Viscount Silfis.
The Crimson Tigers were infamous for their ruthlessness: several villages had already been burned to the ground by them, the villagers murdered brutally.
“The village is up ahead, right!?”
“Yes, we’re very close.”
The large, burly man heading the group barked a question, and the lean man riding next to him replied.
The large man bore a fang-like tattoo on his bald head and rugged muscles on his body riddled with scars. He had the aura of a veteran of many battlefields.
This man was the leader of the Crimson Tigers: while his real name was unknown, he was wanted and feared with the name of “Man-Eating Tiger”.
“The men are going to bring wheat to the lord today, so there should be only women, children and old people in the village, boss. It’s gonna be a feast, heeheehee.”
The lean man licked his lips.
In response, the “Man-Eating Tiger” snorted.
“We’re not gonna find much if they already carried away the wheat…I guess we’ll leave just enough so they won’t starve.”
“We’re gonna find women, boss. We can do what we want with them, yeah?”
“Yeah, do whatever you want. Just don’t take too much time.”
“Loud and clear, boss. Heeheehee.”
Soon enough, the village became visible.
The village was surrounded by relatively tall fences, which served to keep out wolves and other beasts. For the horseback invaders, it amounted to paper-thin defenses.
The “Man-Eating Tiger” drew the broadsword on his back and held it high, while deftly controlling the horse with one hand.
“Listen well, men!! We are beasts! Monsters that feast on human flesh! Kill, rape, take everything you can!!”
The horseback bandits roared in response to the “Man-Eating Tiger”’s shout.
A small group of bandits ran ahead of the group and tore down the fences for the rest to rush into the village.
The Crimson Tigers were all experienced in the art of plunder and slaughter — their leader more than anyone else, of course.
The people of such a small, weak village could not have the means to stop their barbaric acts. A banquet of flesh and blood was about to start.
The “Man-Eating Tiger” followed his subordinates inside, hearing screams of agony coming from the village already.
But there, the “Man-Eating Tiger” froze in his tracks.
A completely unexpected scenery welcomed him.
“Ready your bows, fire!!!”
For some reason, there were rows of soldiers armed with bows in the village. The corpses of the bandits who entered the village first were strewn at their feet.
“S-shit!! Why are there soldiers in a place like this!?”
The “Man-Eating Tiger” swiftly moved his broadsword to parry the arrows, but one of the arrows he missed struck his horse.
The bandit leader jumped away from his collapsing horse, rolled on the ground, and quickly got into stance again.
“Tch…charge, men!! Kill them all!!”
The horseback thieves not felled by the arrows rushed towards the soldiers. Just when they were close enough to attack, however, another group of soldiers appeared at their back, this time armed with spears. They proceeded to charge at the bandits from behind, thrusting their spears into the ruffians.
“W-we can’t win this!! Run!!”
The horseback bandits’ true ability manifested in being able to freely maneuver through wide grasslands: in a small village with many obstacles, their capabilities amounted to half as much.
The bandits were taken out, one after the other.
The “Man-Eating Tiger” decided quickly. He ditched his surviving subordinates and fled in direction of the torn fence. He ran desperately, using his broadsword to knock away any subordinates in his way.
(They must have found out that we were going to attack this village! Shit…where’s the way out? Where!?)
The leader ran for dear life, as the screams of his subordinates grew fainter in the background. Just then…
“A horse, I have to find a horse…”
“You’re the ‘Man-Eating Tiger’, yeah?”
A young man suddenly appeared at his side.
“I’ve been waiting for you.”
The “Man-Eating Tiger” turned around and saw a young man clad in knight armor, with a group of soldiers, apparently his subordinates. There were the dead bodies of several bandits at their feet, probably those who attempted to escape before.
“Who are you, bastard…!?”
“Definitely not someone a filthy thief can call a bastard…the name’s Dyngir.”
Not that it means anything at this point — shrugged the young man.
“Dyngir…Maxwell!? Why are you here!?”
“The eastern provinces are Maxwell turf. We don’t directly rule over this area, but there’s no reason why we can’t be here, is there?”
“This is bullshit!!”
“Well, if you really want to know, as the next lord of these lands, I feel like I have to protect my ‘little brothers’, see? So I figured I could take a load off the shoulders of my precious vassal.”
Dyngir chuckled and drew his sword.
The dull glow of his blade was very different from the ceremonial blades nobles often wielded. It was not a decoration, but a fine tool made for killing.
“Come get yours already. I’ll do you a favor and take you one on one.”
Dyngir pointed his sword at the “Man-Eating Tiger” and grinned playfully.
None of the soldiers even tried to dissuade their lord. They were positive he would win, apparently.
“Don’t get so cocky, brat!!”
The “Man-Eating Tiger” held his broadsword high, lept forward, and took advantage of the momentum to swing it down. Despite his large body, his movements were very agile.
“You look like a tiger all right.”
Even before the bandit’s killer strike, Dyngir was as nonchalant as ever.
He easily sidestepped the attack and swung his sword in return.
Dyngir swung his sword twice: the first slash cut off the bandit’s hands holding the broadsword, the second opened a deep gash on his legs.
The hands used to hold a weapon were gone, and he now had lost the use of his legs to escape. The “Man-Eating Tiger”, having lost control of his limbs, could only fall face down on the ground.
“Stop the blood and drop him off at the inspector’s place. Make sure he can’t kill himself.”
“My, that was splendid.”
One man stepped forward, congratulating Dyngir on his victory.
“To cut down the ‘Man-Eating Tiger’ so easily…your swordplay was something to behold. Hehehe!”
The lavish praise and creepy chuckle came from the lean man that rode into the village alongside the leader of the bandits.
“Ah, thanks for your help too. Sorry to have you do something so troublesome.”
“Not at all, troublesome tasks are my line of work after all…hehe.”
The lean man was a spy sent by Dyngir to infiltrate the Crimson Tigers. Thanks to his information, they could prepare a trap for the horseback bandits this time.
“I’ll send someone with your reward later. I’ll be counting on you again if something comes up.”
“Yes, naturally, sir…by the way, was there a reason to leave that man alive?”
The lean man spoke while looking at the soldiers tying the “Man-Eating Tiger” and carrying him away.
“My men have already taken over the Crimson Tigers’ hideout, so I don’t think there’s anything to gain by interrogating that man, honestly. Heeheehee…”
“Oh yeah, about that.”
Dyngir picked up the broadsword used by the “Man-Eating Tiger”.
“This is a pretty good sword, isn’t it? It’s dirty with mud and blood right now, but it was made with good metal. It’s not some mass-produced thing, but a one of a kind genuine product of fine blacksmithing. It’d fetch a fair bit of money on the market.”
“Yes? What are you talking about, sir?”
The lean man was puzzled by the sudden change of topic.
Dyngir did not seem to care, however, and continued.
“It’s the same for the other bandits’ weapons. You can’t find high-quality gear like this just by plundering villages. There has to be a sponsor backing them up.”
“Someone pulling the strings, sir?”
“Yeah, my first bet is the empire. Then, a central noble that wanted to take us down a peg. The dark horse is the Lamperouge royal family.”
Dyngir tossed away the broadsword and wiped his hands with his sleeve as if he had touched something disgustingly filthy.
“In any case, there’s plenty of stuff to ask him, so he’s not going to have an easy death. Poor guy.”
(What a terrifying person…much more than these thieves…)
The lean man looked up to the sky, as chills ran down his spine.
◯ ◯ ◯
After the horseback thieves were finished, I was at the village’s well, wiping blood off my weapons.
We had informed the villagers about the operation in advance, so they were now returning from the shelters, little by little. Among them, there were also some innocent-looking girls.
(Hmm, the women here aren’t half bad either. Pure, naive beauty, like a wildflower blooming in the grasslands…I could do two or three before going back…)
As I was gazing at the young female villagers happily confirming each other’s safety, one of my subordinates ran up to me.
“Lord Dyngir!! A messenger from Margrave Maxwell!! There are orders for you to return to the castle immediately, my lord!!”
“Tch, what’s the damn hurry?”
My expectations of a good time were abruptly interrupted, so I replied with an annoyed tone.
The messenger looked terrified of having soured my mood as he continued his report.
“M-my deepest apologies. A-apparently, Baron Nommes and his son in law wish to see you at all costs…”
“Haha! I see, so they came!”
Maybe startled by my loud reaction, the villagers in the surroundings quickly scattered.
The young girls I enjoyed looking at so much were gone, but I was in very good spirits nonetheless.
“I’m going back to the Maxwell territory! Those who can leave right now, come with me!!”
I ignored my subordinates’ booing, hopped on my horse, and galloped away.
(Hahaha…welcome to the outer provinces, o former crown prince…you’ll enjoy your life in the countryside.)