TWEM Vol. 3 Chapter 2
Chapter 2 – Bandits’ Hideout
Three minutes later, five bandits were prostrating themselves before me.
Not long prior to that situation, the five people in front of me had attacked me, and I proceeded to destroy their swords with my strengthened fists.
Then, while they were dumbfounded, I approached the remaining bandits who were about to attack the carriage with a high-speed movement skill “Ground Shrink”, stunned them, bound them together with a rope, and rolled them along the ground to my carriage.
And just about time when they came, I activated the skill “Intimidation” on the five of them, and they went pale and fell to their knees.
Moreover, when I asked the location of their hideout, they answered without making a fuss.
Since they had answered me so readily, I asked them to guide me to the hideout.
“G-Guide you to our hideout, you mean?”
“Hmm? Is that a problem?”
So I said, with slight intimidation this time.
“No, no, no, no, not at all! Please! Allow me to show you to our hideout!”
The remaining four nodded vigorously to the words of their fellow.
Now, I would like to proceed to their so-called hideout, but…
I decided to head out alone, leaving the carriage behind on standby and letting Tendo and the others keep watch over the unconscious bandits.
I asked Tendo, “Wanna come with?” for the sake of it, but he said, “I still don’t think I can…”, so I decided to leave him be.
Well, I’m more than enough anyway and it’s not something that can be forced.
In my case, thanks to being nearly killed once, I was able to let go of my naive thoughts and resolve myself to kill another, but…I guess it wouldn’t be so easy for Tendo and the others.
After walking for a while carrying such thoughts, the bandits leading the way turned around.
“Senior brother, that cave over there is our hideout!”
There were two guards at the entrance of the cave.
Wait a minute, when did I become their senior brother…?
“Stop calling me senior brother. And thanks for showing the way”
That said, I knocked out the five bandits who had led me, rolled them up in a bamboo mat, and hung them on a nearby tree.
“It would be great if the rest were as stupid as these five, but…guess that would be wishful thinking huh.”
While talking to myself, I stunned the two guards with lightning magic, tied them up, and hid them in the nearby grass before entering the cave.
The inside of the cave was surprisingly bright, with torches placed at even intervals.
As I probed for the enemy using Detect Presence and Map, it seemed that there were only about ten people inside.
I’m sure the ones I defeated were the main force.
After activating Conceal Presence and going a little further, the path split in two.
“…Which way? It looks like there are two people on the left…”
It was a waste of time even if I was worried, so I decided to move to the left for the time being.
An ordinary civilian may have been caught, and in that case, I can’t afford to drag my feet.
The path to the left led relatively quickly to the innermost part.
A sturdy-looking iron door which led to the back room seemed to be locked.
If I opened the door forcefully or broke the lock with my sword, the noise would give me away.
So, this is where the skill “Molding” comes into play.
As I gripped the doorknob and let magic power flow, the iron deformed along with crimson sparks, and the door unlocked.
I carefully pulled the door open to see what was going on inside—
“—Are you feeling regretful now?”
“I’m truly sorry!”
There was a woman with red hair and a big guy prostrating on the ground.
I could only get a side view of the both of them, but the red-haired woman was a beautiful woman with strong, upturned eyes, and the big guy was a rough but muscular, tough looking fellow, you know, a bandit stereotype.
I closed the door and took a deep breath.
Let’s see, normally the guy would be the leader of the bandits, but what’s going on here exactly?
I made up my mind and opened the door again, slightly.
…For some reason, the bandit leader was being tied up, unconscious.
But then, what happened in this short time of just closing the door and opening it again?
As I was making such deductions in my head, my eyes met with the beautiful woman.
“Who goes there!”
At the same time as my Detect Danger skill sounded an alarm, a knife came flying towards me.
The knife came through the gap in the door with such precision, and I quickly succeeded in catching it between my index and middle fingers.
Th-that was close… it seems that Detect Presence was unintentionally cut off when I made the interjection. If it hadn’t been for Detect Danger, it would have been a little dicey there.
Who the hell is this lady, anyway?
“Hey, who are you?”
While she was dazed by her knife being stopped in its tracks, I checked the status of the beautiful woman who called out to me.
Invasion of privacy? I don’t need to show such consideration towards someone who just attacked me out of the blue, now do I?
Sword Arts LV5
Boxing Arts LV6
Physical Boost LV6
Fire Magic LV3
Unique Skill User
What’s with this status? She’s fairly strong.
Moreover, she also had a unique skill.
Increases attack power, defense, and speed by five times.
Conversely, cognitive processes are reduced, so the sense of self may get out of control and run amok.
I see, so it’s pretty risky.
Five-fold enhancement is pretty good, but slowing down thinking is pretty tough.
Also, the title is scary as hell. What the hell does Scarlet Princess mean!
Nah, I think it’s best not to worry too much about the title. I mean, even the unique skill seems a little eerie, so it’s better I don’t probe too deeply into it.
“Hey. Why don’t you say something? You weren’t captured by the bandits, were you?”
It was the voice of the beautiful woman— Kusel, that brought me back to my senses.
Oops, I was looking at her status and forgot to reply.
“Yeah. We were attacked by the bandits earlier. So, I came to level their hideout as payback, but…did you also come to subjugate them? It looks like there are still some bandits left, what shall we do?”
There are few presences, so, if it turned out that they are just ordinary civilians that were captured, we just needed to save them. If they were bandits, they would surrender once they found out that their leader has been captured.
“Hmm? Oh right, this guy seems to be the leader of bandits. Apparently, I was the only one captured. So, what’s this about subjugation?”
“Huh? Aren’t you here to subdue the bandits who use this place as their hideout?”
Kusel tilted her head curiously.
“…Speaking of which, there were some bandits at the entrance, so how did you get past them to get this far? The door to this place was also locked.”
“Oh, I happened to be camped nearby when I was kidnapped, apparently. I woke up just as this guy was about to assault me, and I beat the shit out of him.”
Kusel answers my question boastfully.
They kidnapped her while she was sleeping and she didn’t even wake up while they were transporting her here…the bandits don’t look like they have practitioners that employ strange drugs or magic, or could she have simply slept like a log and not notice anything?
“I see. By the way, have you thought about how you’re going to get out of here?”
“Uh, um! Of course!”
For some reason, she’s puffed out her chest so arrogantly, but this reaction…she didn’t have a plan did she?
I knew it, she was an idiot. Beauty without brains…
I sighed and changed my mindset.
“Let’s save the talk for later. For now, let’s get rid of the rest of them.”
“Sounds good…oh right. I didn’t catch your name.”
“I am Haruto, an adventurer.”
“Haruto? I think I’ve heard the name from somewhere…oh well. Still, that’s quite an unusual name.”
Of course it was, I was an otherworlder afterall.
“I get that a lot. So what about you?”
Although I already know it from her status.
“I’m Kusel. I’m an A-rank adventurer.”
“A huh? Isn’t that amazing, I’ll be counting on you then. Now then, let the bandit hunt begin.”
We buried the leader of the bandits in the ground with only his face exposed, and then left the room to deal with the rest of the bandits.
We went back to the previous fork in the path and turned right, this time finding a wooden door in the middle of the passageway.
Checking the map, I confirmed three people inside.
I called out to Kusel so we could proceed cautiously.
“There are three——“
But before Kusel could hear my words to the end, she kicked the door open with a front kick and rushed in.
“Heyy!? What are you doing !?“
While I shouted involuntarily, the three bandits in the room, holding cards in their hands, froze in surprise at the beauty who suddenly appeared after kicking the door open. And then…
With actions accompanied by such graphic sounds, Kusel knocked the three of them unconscious. It was truly an instant kill.
“You know, you could be a little more careful.”
I said this to Kusel as I tied up the unconscious men, but she just tilted her head and said, “is there a need to be so wary?”. In the remaining two rooms as well, Kusel kicked in the door before I could tell her how many people were there, and quickly overpowered the bandits.
The bandits in the room seemed to have noticed the commotion and were on high alert, but to no avail as they were instantly subjugated.
Speaking of which, I didn’t do much but tie up the unconscious bandits. To the point where I honestly wondered if there was any point in me being here.
After a moment of subduing them, we got all the bandits out of the cave, walked down the road and hung them on a nearby tree.
To finish up, we made a signboard that said, “We are heinous bandits” and hung it around the leader’s neck.
Now, someone should find them with this.
Kusel nodded in satisfaction as she rolled her shoulders after a job well done.
“Whew, am I so glad that Haruto was here with me.”
“I didn’t do anything though.”
All I did was carry these guys out and hang them.
“No no, I felt safer just having someone stronger than me with me.”
“…You could tell?”
“You bet. I am not just an A-rank adventurer in name only. Most importantly, you stopped my knife.”
Is that how it is?
“Well, I’m certainly stronger than you, but… so, what are you going to do now?”
“I’m on a journey with no destination. For the time being, I’m going to head for a nearby town.”
“Well, we’ve got our carriage parked nearby. My friends are on standby there. We are heading to the Elven Village of Tonitia in the Sea of Trees, which was recently attacked by the Glicente Kingdom. If you don’t mind, we could go part of the way together? This could also be some kind of fate.”
Pointing in the direction in which the carriage was parked, Kusel put her hand on her chin at my suggestion, reflecting a slightly cloudy expression.
“The Elven Village of Tonitia in the Sea of Trees, huh…”
“What’s wrong? Is there some kind of problem?”
“…I am a former Vice Knight Captain of that Glicente Kingdom”
Whoa, this is an unexpected revelation.
Even though she is older than me, a vice knight captain at such a young age, wow. Even though she’s a dummy.
…Not that, I mean of course it’ll be difficult to go to the elven village, when you’re the one who attacked it.
“I see…well, in that case, I’ll just go ahead and mention that one of our friends used to live in that elven village. You understand what I’m getting at right?”
Kusel’s eyes widened at my words.
Then, with an apologetic look on her face, she started walking in the direction I had just pointed.
“——I said I was a former Vice Knight Captain, but I left the Chivalric Order when I was given the task of raiding the Elven Village, so I didn’t take part in the operation.”
According to Kusel’s story, her mother had told her from an early age that elves were a race that loved the forest and peace. And she herself wanted to be a proud knight, like a knight captain who would use herself as a shield to protect her subordinates from danger at all times.
For this reason, she could not accept the campaign to attack the Elven Village to enslave them.
Naturally, she rebelled when ordered by the king to do so, but her protest was not heard and the operation was forced to proceed.
“I couldn’t participate in such an operation, so I left the Chivalric Order. If it was the knight captain, he might have been able to cancel the operation, as that man has a very strong sense of justice and wasn’t briefed about the operation originally. Because if he knew, the captain would naturally rebel, and in the worst case, he might get killed by the royal family, so I kept quiet and left on my own. I still regret not being able to stop that operation.”
“So that’s how it is…do you not have any regrets giving up such a prestigious position as the Vice Knight Captain?”
“Of course not, I would rather live my life unrestricted than sell my honor to keep my status. Fortunately, I am fairly skilled, so I could make do as an adventurer.”
Kusel smiles in self-mockery.
“I see. Then, any lingering attachment to the kingdom?”
“None. My mother passed away last year from an illness, and my father was attacked and killed by a monster five years ago, so I no longer have a family to grieve over me leaving the kingdom. It’s not that I don’t have friends at all, but…more than anything, I am disappointed with the royal family and the Glicente Kingdom, who would raid an elven village to satisfy their personal greed.”
As Kusel finished her story, all I could was utter an interjection.
The silence continued for a while, and the only sounds that reached my ears were our footsteps, the chirping of the birds, and the swaying of the trees and grass.
And so, we continued walking, and when the carriage came into view in the distance, Kusel opened her mouth.
“Haruto, in response to your earlier question, I think I’m going to visit the Elven Village. Do you mind if I come with you?”
“Of course I don’t mind. The more traveling companions, the livelier it’ll be, right?”
“That’s true. I was just about getting bored being by myself. So, you have no idea how I relieved I am hearing that.”
And so, Kusel and I arrived at the carriage.
“So, you decided to pick up this woman?”
Suzuno’s eyes were terribly cold as she looked down at me.
I was now sitting on the floor in front of Finne, Iris and Suzuno.
Everyone must have worked together to remove the fallen trees, and the carriage was ready to move.
But as soon as Suzuno saw Kusel beside me as I approached the carriage, she said, “Haruto, on the floor, right now!” in an astoundingly forceful manner, which led to this situation.
As for Kusel, she’s busy talking to Asha. She doesn’t seem the least bit eager to help me. She couldn’t even care less in the first place.
“No, hold on. I didn’t pick her up.”
I desperately tried to explain what had happened at the hideout.
“Like I said! When I opened the door and looked through the gap, I saw the leader of the bandits on his knees! You have to believe me!”
However, everyone looked at me coldly, as if they didn’t believe what I was saying. Kusel, as before, seemed to have no intention of helping me out. Whose fault does she think it is that I’m in this situation.
—— ten minutes later.
“…I see, now I understand what happened. That said, I still think it’s a little improper inviting a woman randomly just like that.”
I lowered my head to Finne, who puffed out her cheeks.
“Right…I’ll be careful.”
“I, for one, don’t want our numbers to increase that badly. I mean, then…gonyogonyo*” (TLN: Mumblings)
I couldn’t hear what she said at the end, but Finne returned to the carriage with a flushed face.
“Haruto, although I did say the more the merrier, there is a limit, okay? I didn’t mean it like getting new faces everyday…because that would also mean that my time together with Haruto will decrease…”
“Right! I will be careful!”
I replied instantly. I mean, because, you know? If Iris says something like that to me while fidgeting, then you bet I’ll answer immediately. Certainly.
Perhaps my explanation had broken down the barriers, because Kusel seemed to be having fun chatting with everyone. She didn’t seem to have been acquainted with Tendo and the other heroes in the party directly, but she was surprised to see that she recognized their faces.
And now that my scolding was over, I asked everyone to introduce themselves again, and Kusel was even more surprised.
Well, of course, when you have five heroes, plus the first princess of the Perdis Kingdom and the princess of the Elven village, that reaction is understandable.
Then finally, when I showed her that I was an EX-rank adventurer, and my adventurer card as proof, Kusel was completely speechless.
Kusel was staring at me in silence, but after a moment, she opened her mouth.
“…I thought the name sounded familiar, but to think you were that infamous EX-rank adventurer. Unbelievable…also, there’s one more thing I’m curious about.”
“What is it?”
And so, Kusel asks with a sense of trepidation.
“I have a feeling that Haruto’s name is the same as that of the heroes sir Tendo and the others, and similar to the one used in the Kingdom of Zipang in the east…”
“Yeah, that’s right. I was summoned as a hero along with these guys after all.”
“Is that so…wait, WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTT! ?”
She was so loud that I covered my ears.
Speaking of which, the Kingdom of Zipang, does she mean that kingdom with a Japanese-like culture in the east?
“That explains it. They say that those who are summoned as heroes have gifts that are more powerful than unique skills. Perhaps the reason behind Haruto’s strength has to do with…”
“Hmm? I didn’t receive any gifts though?”
Kusel drew closer to me upon hearing my reply.
I felt her soft twin hills pressing against me with a plumpy feel.
Hmm…boobs are justice!
The women who were watching the whole thing gave me a cold stare, but this was something out of my control*. There isn’t a man in the world who wouldn’t be happy to be hit by a pair of tits like these. (TLN: Force majeure)
“——Hey! Are you listening Haruto!?”
Oops. Seems that I focused too much on the feel of her tits.
“Umm, what was it again?”
“I’m asking about the reason behind Haruto’s strength.”
Reason behind my strength? Hmm—, what do I say.
“…Because I worked so hard?”
Excuse my lack of creativity, but I really just got a “cheat” from God.
“Why does it sound interrogative! Moreover it doesn’t answer anything!”
She got pissed at me for some reason. I mean, I can’t think of any way to put it that would sound believable.
“How about…because I got a skill from god as recompense, and then I worked very hard?”
“…Hey. You really think I’m going to believe that crap?”
Yup—, My thoughts exactly.
“For real, it’s like this! I was thrown into a blank space, and an old man with a beard suddenly appeared and said, ‘I am a God. I am going to give you a skill to make up for forgetting to bestow you a gift’, and when I woke up, I actually had a skill, right? So I had no choice but to believe him, don’t you think?”
I omitted quite a lot, but it’s mostly accurate, so it’s all good.
“I don’t believe in God, but…I see. So God is an old man.”
“That’s beside the point. But now, I would appreciate it if you’d move away from me a little…the gazes I’m receiving from everyone are…”
Kusel tilted her head at my words.
It’s about time you noticed that your magnificent twin hills are pressed up against me.
“You see y…your breasts have been hitting me since a while ago…”
When I said that, Kusel’s face turned red——
“Don’t be unreasonable GUUHHHH!”
A sharp right straight, as good as a professional boxer’s, hits me square in the face, and I fall to the ground.
To be honest, it didn’t hurt that much and I could have avoided it. However, if I were to avoid it, the folks with the scary smiles behind me would consider me unrepentant and something terrible would surely happen.
“Y, you should mention such a thing early!”
“No, no? I tried to mention it? But I couldn’t win against it…”
Against those magnificent twin hills of course.
I stood up and ran to the men who were supposed to be my comrades.
However, both Tendo and Mogami whispered accusations as I approached.
“How envious, Haruto!”
“That’s right, Yuki!”
“You guys…although you’re right, it certainly felt good.”
My words made both of their cheeks twitch.
“Haruto. You are now our enemy!”
“Wait Tendo! Don’t be hasty!”
“No, Koji is right. Besides Yuki, are you trying to say you’ve forgotten your vows!?”
“What vows!? When did I make something like that!”
I tried arguing with Mogami, but he shook his head.
“A girl’s breasts are to be watched. Never to be touched if not in a relationship, or so it goes.”
“Huh!? What the hell is that!”
“Haruto, I totally misjudged you, to think that you’d break your vows…”
“What the hell is Tendo talking about?”
Halfway through, my voice was getting louder and louder, and the women looked at me with disgust, but I decided not to worry about it.
After such a farce, we set off.
Kusel’s face was red for a while, but she got all excited when she learned about the subspace. After having had fun for a while, she must have been tired and was resting comfortably in the house in the subspace.
The rest of the day went without incident, and I stopped the carriage just as the sun began to set.
“It’s getting dark, so let’s have dinner.”
I called out to everyone in the back of the carriage and the subspace, and proceeded to prepare dinner.
Today’s menu was fried chicken, which was well received by Kusel.
“I never thought I’d eat something like this on the road! It’s so different from jerky!”
So she said. Well, if the target of comparison is jerky, then it’s definitely a far cry from it. Although I don’t dislike jerky.
We finished dinner, smiling at Kusel’s fussiness, and got ready for bed.
Since we had a spacious house within the subspace, we decided to sleep there, keeping only a watch on the carriage.
I could send the whole carriage to the subspace, but it would be troublesome if others saw the carriage suddenly appear tomorrow morning; so, I left the carriage and Maguro out.
After setting up a strong barrier with barrier magic, it should be okay to just set up a lookout in case of emergency.
After deciding on the order of lookouts, we brought the first day of our journey to a close.