Mistake 4; I find out something troubling.
Miki landed on the ground with a heavy thud. In the last second when I shouted the warning, she raised her staff in a vertical defense. That blow was so powerful that it smashed through the staff, like breaking a small, dry twig. It then slammed into her body that was already in the air with that force.
I saw her body drop on the ground like a rag blown in the wind. She rolled to the side, her back towards the man approaching from the tree. Before staring down this person, I did see the flicker of blue on her hands, the start of a healing spell.
- Damn you! What did you do to my potential girlfriend, yoooou bastard!
Hiromi ran to Miki, I moved to the side with my shout, staggering like a man who was dazed after a hearing about the loss of close kin. Grabbing a dagger from the loot, I threw it at him. Of course I was hiding my strength, I want to see what kind of enemy, we are facing.
This guy, looked like us, my map at least confirmed that he was no ordinary person. I closed it so as not to be distracted. I do have a Health Bar up of this guy.
As the dagger approached him, he casually used the sword in his hand to swipe it away. He has already taken us to be small fry’s, unworthy of his attention. At the same time though.
A fireball smashed into him from the side. With a cry, he doused the flame of his cloak and on his burnt arm and shoulder. His health bar moved down by about one eight. He level is high, and I get the feeling he spent more time in this world than us.
Staring ruthlessly at Hiromi, before he could act, I slipped my way in front of him. Though I am unsure if I can beat him, I can’t let him vent on a girl.
I become the weak, groveling little idiot that I am.
- Hey, wait a minute cant we discuss this. You seem to be just like us. Help us sempai!
I performed the best scared face seen; if I could get some snot running down my nose it would have been perfect. My sword was held shaking in front, my legs clearly wobbling.
- Hmmn….. It seems this time, there are only wimps. You look useless, but the girl is a gem and feisty. It is a long time since I tasted a chick from home, it will be great watching you squirm and break, girl.
- I really wanted to kill you pathetic wimp with that strike. Lucky for you I haven’t mastered it yet. I would have liked to have two girls instead.
It didn’t take a rocket scientist to read his intentions. He looked back at me with killing intent.
- You have no idea what predicament you are in. it is best I save you the hassle and kill you here.
- Please sempai! I will do anything that you want, please don’t kill me.
I backed away, fear in my face, pleading.
He raised his sword and slashed, I just managed to block it but I lost my footing and fell to the ground on my butt. I crawled backwards, on my ass and hands begging to be spared. Again barely blocking strikes aimed at me, luckily my trembling sword didn’t leave my hand. He sneered at me, as looking at trash.
- You really have no backbone. I tell you what, help me capture that girl alive and I will let you live.
- Really? Thank you for your mercy. I will do anything for you my savior; I have been suffering in this place, scared I just want to go home. I hoped to meet someone as strong as you; there is no one stronger than you, sempai.
I got up shaking as I praised my new benefactor, of course I didn’t miss the scorn in his eyes. My face was only beaming as a newly recruited thug in an infamous gang.
- Hahaha, I can really use you, I have been here for four years and am at level 12. In this section I am the third highest. I was one of the first sent here after …………ahhhh!
I am afraid that my newly found sempai, and savior did not get a chance to finish. A sword pierced through his shoulder, the surprise face was distorted into anger then pain. This was because another strike followed into his other one. This guy could use magic, so let’s see if there is a correlation between magic concentrations and pain ……hehehe, I am such a chunni.
- .Who, whaa…how …could …you…
- I’m sorry sempai, Ah, give me a minute again! Don’t run!(me)
To the wanna be killer who tried to block my sword while turning to escape, I gave the present of a beautiful slash to the back. With this he dropped to the ground. I promptly sat on him hard, his bones creaking (I’m not heavy; just I dropped like a rock).
I held my sword in hand vertically, the tip just piercing his upper back. I looked to Hiromi calmly, inside I was breathing loudly, nearly throwing up. This was a fellow earthling, not a goblin.
- How is she?
- Still in pain, but should be ok after a few more heals. The pain makes it hard to cast the spell.
Hiromi answered, stooping over her sister. She looked at me strangely, I guess I deserve it. Maybe later I will explain, right now I need to bully, ahem, I mean politely ask questions.
I think I need to give an explanation; I was not a thug or a gangster. Not even a week has passed, where I was a simple, schoolboy living in a non-violent community. How can someone adapt so fast?
I had a rude first experience, a sabertooth nearly killed me.
First rule established; this is a survival of the fittest. A dog eat dog world. Kill or be killed.
My interaction with the villagers
Second rule established; Dorothy is not in Kansas no more, this is not my world. Knowing that, and being an avid reader and connoisseur of manga/novels, cough, cough, I mean having some knowledge of this situation, knowledge and experience is power.
Meeting people from my world, I am glad I met people like these girls. I am also glad I met this idiot alone, if in a group bet your bottom dollar I would be dead.
Third rule established; I am going to have to kill people from my world. The day I hesitate may get me killed. I need to protect myself first, and trust fellow travelers with the proverbial grain of salt.
I am sorry, but even if I throw up, cry or faint every time, once you try to kill me I will show no mercy. I have a mom and two sisters to return to, that’s my goal. I will act like an idiot or be ruthless to this end.
I blame this all on that damn sabertooth!
I turn to the villagers we saved in the cave, they were huddled to the side scared. Giving them a smile, I reassured them and had them return to the village. They will go to Greenview village, the one used as base by the girls. We will receive information from the guild on return.
We still gave them the daggers to defend on the road; most likely the adventurers patrolling for the goblins on the roads will offer assistance. Hiromi saw them off, and returned propping up Miki. She looked pale, but by constantly using the small heals, was becoming better.
Now to my gracious friend here, I kept him on the ground spread eagled; his face was raised looking in front. I began sweetly.
- What’s you name sempaiii?
- You…. Do you know who I am?
He gritted his teeth and replied roughly. His health bar was about quarter, I guess the bleeding and the strikes contributed to it. I did pierce straight through, and the slash to the back was to the bone. I think a human would have died already. Ok, let’s begin again.
- Miki-chan, how much heal can you cast after recovery?
- A…about 10 times. Give me five minutes again.
- Hiromi-chan, burn this guy if he makes any sudden moves.
It has been nearly 30 minutes since this fight began, I think getting a major healing spell is a must in this world. If the speed of the injury exceeds that of the heal amount, death is the only option without healing potions.
I make this guy strip to his underwear. First he refused, but after two more sword strikes to the back of the knees, he complied.
Now he is sitting, half naked on the ground feet stretched out. I make Miki cast a heal on him, good it just raises his bar a little.
- What is your name senpai?
- Tetsuya Akuto…….. You have no ide…
A couple of cuts and one fireball later, with some quick healing; he was singing like a lark. Oh god I scolded Hiromi, supposed the Heals weren’t enough; there was a little touch and go when the health bar nearly ran dry while Miki frantically cast heal. Afterwards, we found out he had health potions in his bag.
Crap, all that mana usage calculations was for nothing. Well we will just chalk it up as experience.
- Tetsuya Akuto, sempai
- When were you transported to this world?
- Around four years ago, this world has same kind of calendar length like home sempai.
And so our questions continued. We completed this amicable discussion until dark, after I tied him up cheerfully with some vines, spider cocoon style. We kept an eye on him, and moved away so as not to be overheard. Miki was teary eyed, while Hiromi remained firm, she and I were both troubled inside.
Twenty years ago, the dimensional rift was opened, and the first travelers appeared. This was the result of a desperate battle between the Light and Dark continents. The Sage Gathering in the Light continent was rumored to have caused this. Since then the summoning continued every four years.
The goals of these visitors were simple, to kill the Demon King and liberate the dangers to the world. These travelers had the ability to gain experience quickly, and possessed numerous skills. They didn’t require huge expenses and nurturing time by the kingdoms like their heroes and armies.
There were 500 villages that acted as waypoints. All were scattered across the Sky continent. Guides were sent to these villages to inform and direct the Traveler to the Light Continent when they were capable to fight. Although there were 500 villages, occasionally two people would appear in one together, but always 500 people will be summoned.
Disaster started in the first wave of Travelers.
I once read that true human nature can be learnt when the individual is placed in an environment where no binds are there to hold him. The age of a Traveler is about 15-18 years when summoned. Imagine a teen with no parents, no previous morals and ethics to bind him coupled with a “super power”.
Really! What the hell happened to the one man suave hero?
In a group of ten people you are going to find the thugs, and hidden terrors waiting to break out. Even those chunnibyou’s have the dangerous ones like the kill all mentality ones (oops, wasn’t I sounding like that?)
Who wouldn’t dream of wielding a sword like in the Tokugara Era? Or casting forbidden magic? Harem, count me in! Becoming a king or ruler of a country, hell yea! Justice is the only path I walk on, all others must be purged! Time to revenge on all those who abused me in the real world, I will be the law!
After the first two years, half the villages were destroyed and more than half the Travelers lost their lives in some form of confrontation. The kingdoms conducted a purge, sending them all to the Light continent. Refusal or rebellion was met in swift death.
In the third year, 10 Travelers returned to Sky Continent, to defeat a Demon who set up a portal in the north, beyond Silver Peak Mountains. The demon defeated, a request was made to send the next wave of summoned Travelers to the captured Citadel. It would be easier to integrate them for the main goal.
Sixteen years ago, the next batch arrived. They were led by knights and priest promptly to the Citadel. They and their escorts were never seen again. The demon gate was opened (it had never been closed in the first place) and terror gripped the lands. Two of the previous 10 fled to the south declaring that two companions rebelled and killed off the rest of their comrades.
Word came from across the sea from Light continent, demons had obliterated the First Fort, located in the Dark Continent; all Travelers were dead there. Only six who were on a quest in the Light Continent survived.
The Desert kingdom of Dune, located to the Far East and the Mountain realm of Kavar in the south of Sky continent, snatched the two Heroes on this continent. The swordsman Tomi Goro was made a Count in Dune, while Kavar appointed the Assassin Sutoka Takehiko as Duke. This was to deter invasion of Demons and the Rebel Heroes from the North.
Twelve years ago, the next wave was summoned. It was found out those villages that were destroyed as waypoints were replaced by others randomly throughout the continent. 500 waypoints were always present. However, in spite of their best efforts all 500 of these Travelers were captured and assassinated during that four year period.
The last two summoning years had Travelers killed, with some joining the kingdoms and others the Citadel. None were sent to the Light continent, it was decided that after a complete destruction of the demon threat in the North, full assault would be made against the Dark Continent. With this year’s new recruits, victory would be assured.
Now for the proverbial ‘Spoke in the Wheel’.
Revelation came to the Sage Gathering; this year’s summoning would be the last. Mana was exhausted; it would take a century for the Rift to reopen.
And if that wasn’t enough for a midday television drama, another plot was unfolded.
I think between Hiromi and me, the path to human torture would be an exciting and rewarding one……..hehehe. The story continues.
Roughly seventeen years ago, when the 10 “heroes” battled the demon in Sky continent, four fell in battle. With the demon heavily wounded, it offered a compromise. Besides the futile attempt to kill the Demon King in the Dark Continent, there was another means to return home.
If all Travelers summoned in a wave were killed by accident or intentionally, the last person alive will have a possession known as an Ancient soul. Using demonic arts, extracting this will kill the person but open a temporary gate allowing 2 persons to return home. 500 lives for the return trip of two.
This gate returns a person to the time they were taken. It also allows them to return with all memories and items from this world, for instance gold. You can live until old age here, engage in all worldly pleasures and when reach a position of helplessness return home with health and riches.
Since this gate was activated by sacrificing the lives of 500 persons, it could provide such bounties. It should be known that the gate activated on the death of the Demon lord only allowed one to return home without any memories or baggage. Difference is it allowed everyone to go home.
In addition to this offer, the demon will serve and provide protection in the Citadel in exchange for its life. The northern lands will become known as the Hellfire plains, with all races under the dominion of demons and Travelers. The demons will continue their offensive from here. An enticing Win, Win situation for all involved.
I think the biggest problem in this world is their lack of screening. It’s like zero immigration policy, allowing both the dependable worker, and the lazy bum through. Similarly, it’s like opening the prison doors of a country into another and giving them the free for all signal.
And so the north became demon country. The last 16th year wave was all herded and killed off, with the bonus of some kingdoms knights also. Two people went home, unconcerned about the brutality used to achieve their goal. The last 12th year wave were all assassinated, the survivor imprisoned in the Citadel. This was insurance for the four remaining, to leave after milking this world.
However this plan fell through. Most of the cities, towns and people seized by the demon army in the north were from the Empire. The northern Hellfire plains were actually quarter of the Empires lands. Because of this, and added animosity and untrusting attitude to Travelers as a whole, movement of Travelers were strictly monitored. Although large, only 100 village waypoints were randomized within the Empires lands.
The four remaining Travelers used their demon contacts to search and once 500 were accounted, start the methodical killing. Unfortunately when the killing began, two people disappeared. Halting the culling, the remaining 100 from this set were branded with subjugation seals and used as agents. Some were given dominion over some towns and cities in the Hellfire region, whereas others acted as bodyguards to the two who posed as upstanding Heroes.
The same scenario happened during the last wave. This time three people disappeared. The remaining 200 survivors were branded and used as agents. This included our new friend Tetsuya Akuto. The four at the top are known as the Saidai. All traveler’s who came before us are now part of this organization.
When this wave became known as the last, extra efforts were made. Agents were sent to capture or kill those who resist. Those who were unfortunate to arrive in villages under the control of Hellfire were moved to the Citadel. Even if it meant fighting with the Imperial knights, agents descended on the Empire.
What gave us an advantage was that our villages were located close to the Great Black forest. This strip of pure (freaking dangerous, hell I haven’t forgotten my friend the sabertooth) nature, stretched from the Silver peaks to the north down to the Southern causeway. It essentially separated the Empire from the desert kingdom of Dune. Far to the south, a road cut through it connecting at the borders of both the Dune and Kavar kingdoms.
Only by sneaking through the border at Frost City, could a person reach quickly to this area. Thank god I didn’t arrive here, only to have my throat slit by an assassin.
What a way to become a statistic!
This guy was supposed to handle those from these five known village waypoints. Possibly someone has a map skill like me. He came to Greenview village first and getting a description of the girls, he rushed here. Bonus was he found me also.
This is troublesome; do I try to rescue the others from the villages nearby? Save myself and try to reach Light Continent? Run away and form a harem with these girls?
We decide to camp on the hilltop we were on. We gagged the guy and secured him hanging from a tree.
Between recovering from the shock, eying the prisoner, the occasional retching and creeping paranoia, I don’t think any of us slept that night.
What can a 17 year old do in such a situation? Damn this world was supposed to be carefree!!!