Mistake 8; I try to be a great guy.
The carriage was manned by a driver who exuded a red aura. It circled around to the back of the mansion. There was a place to stable horses and it was easier to smuggle people in from the servant’s door in the back.
The driver led the horses’ right up to the back entrance. He seemed to be familiar with this place.
Jumping down onto the cobbled stone driveway, he strutted towards the door calling Shiro’s name. Looks like you think Shiro’s expecting you, too bad there is a change of owner here.
He knocks and then opens the back door. A foot greets him on the chest, sending him crashing back into the carriage 20 feet away.
Yep, he still has about half health bar remaining; he is of the strength of Tatsuya. He staggers up drawing his sword.
- Hiromi! Roast him a little.
A fireball stops his next words and gives him a nice burn. His health has reached around the quarter mark. He still has room for a greeting.
- Akemi! Cool him down.
I see his hands reaching for a potion, but the Ice bolt from Akemi turns him critical and freezes him. It is just enough time for me to smash a fist into his face. He drops to the ground and I pick up his potion and the rest. Tamotsu comes over with the rope looking begrudgingly at me.
Hey, hey, next time I will give you a chance to shine ok!
While we tie up our newfound friend, the girls open the carriage. Two girls and two boys are tied up and gagged. They seem to be ok, no worse for wear. I let Miki and Akemi handle the girls, the boys go with Tamotsu. We brief them at the carriage itself on our situation. I will not trust people just because they are in the same wave as us. Who knows when they will betray us?
I give them a stark instruction to follow those appointed to them and then let them in the house. I keep it secret that I can get a heads up from the map if the dot color changes.
Toshiko, Miki and I search this carriage and then lead it to the stables. It would look convincing when others come, there are carriages already here. I will instruct the maids to take care of the horses tomorrow.
We escort our new pal into the house to show him his living quarters. Shiro will be so pleased for a roommate. His last one is now fertilizing the rose beds in the garden. Good job!
Yuka and Ume are relieved. I stretch in the new guest and once secured leave them to the girls. Toshiko and I head upstairs. The study is our new base of operations in this house. I can’t take the chance of a surprise attack wiping us out when we are separated.
There is a bedroom for maids on this level. The girls share one while the guys have the other. It’s not too crowded since someone is always on watch and a pair of wardens is always downstairs with the prisoners.
We all gathered except the wardens and Tamotsu. He is presently keeping watch on the entrance to the estate from the second storey.
We share information. The story is relatively the same, before they knew it they were in this world. Not even a day passed and first it was the girls then the boys. Their capturer, Hondo Shui was quick and overpowering. They all testified to relative good treatment.
On the question of anyone being killed, the girls were witnessed to it.
Apparently after visiting the villages and securing the two girls, Hondo went to the third village. Unfortunately here he encountered resistance. The great chuunibyou Hayasaki Tomo refused to submit, and further incised by seeing two girls held captured decided to wage war.
The battle was one-sided and the chunni fell. But instead of waiting to be tied, he pulled a surprised rush attack on Hondo. At this time Hondo had his sword in a relaxed manner in front and before he could raise it, Hayasaki prevented him by getting skewered onto it like a pig.
It was a horrible mistake, as the girls screamed Hondo frantically tried to administer health potions to the guy but his life was already gone. Hondo kept using potions even after. He really did only have one potion remaining when I checked him.
I glanced at Tomiko, it looks like this guy Hondo has never killed before. We will have to question him and arrive at a hard decision. This is moving from the black and white to the undesired gray area. It all boils down to ruthless or consideration.
I feel a headache coming on!
It is late and we are all tired. Akemi divides up the watch and sends me to sleep. In the event of another carriage they will wake us up. The two boys are to use the room upstairs near Tamotsu; I know this girl ways of thinking all too well. She will not let me sleep with a stranger until she trust them completely. It’s the same mind set as me.
We disperse after that. I sponged off and hit the sack. I didn’t wake up until 10am the next day.
Our routine has changed on instruction from Akemi. She is of the opinion that our fights will be at night mostly after midnight. Thus we are all to rotate the guards and sleep during the day so we will be fresh at night. The main fighters will be afforded the most sleep. Our new compatriots will be under the care of Yuka and Ume. Their main function is to oversee the day activities and act as lookouts.
Only on sighting a carriage or suspicious entry to the estate, will I be woken up to verify. She didn’t disclose my skills; it is just a simple instruction.
The day passed slowly and after dark we congregate in the study. To fight effectively there are only the first 6 of us. Everyone else is at a level that is just asking to become chopped suey. Even so, Miki and the others can only hold their own against any demon subordinates like we previously encountered. That battle still needs the support of each other. In facing one of these Travelers, they will only be asking for death.
We are stagnating our levels here. We only gain levels if we happen to kill any demons accompanying the prisoners. We do not gain levels by killing of Travelers, the ‘there can be only one’ rule doesn’t apply here. I can’t grind outside since I might miss the other roads leading to the city.
Such is the impasse we are at. I am thinking of letting loose a party we rescued but it is too dangerous, since they are too week.
All this is mentioned as we look for a solution. I include the new Travelers in the discussion, I want their opinions. The only reason I have a say here is because I am strong. There is another reason to feel out the newcomers. Just like in the past, troublemakers are going to appear.
Think about a rash guy like the late Hayasaki (I clap my hands in prayer). He might go crazy learning about the situation. Others may not be so nice, pulled into the world of zero laws; they may join the Saidai willingly for a chance to commit heinous acts without restraint.
The last thing I need is to have such people in my group. That’s why I plan on rescuing these guys, informing them of the world affairs and setting them loose from here. If they decide to tread the wrong path and happen to cross me; well let’s just say I will send them off with a good time.
After discussions the newcomers are in full agreement with us. The girls have no problem and the boys are still amazed and ready to level up. We split up and Tomiko and I head to the dungeon. We relieve Yuka and Ume and sit down on chairs we brought here.
Just to know, I am not a sadist. There are toilet facilities located here, and we do allow the prisoners to eat. When that happens I am usually present. This place is kept clean and there is a table with fresh fruits everyday for the guards. There is even a cot placed outside for guards to rotate and sleep. The only problem with this place is it’s musty, damp and cold.
Soon Akemi arrives with Hiromi. These are the people I trust and who can be a judge of good character. Miki is absent since she is a sheltered girl. Tamotsu is lost to his world of honor, that guy can be bamboozled to buy a stick. Yuka and Ume are off to take a bath and eat. We sit on chairs or stand around Hondo Shui.
Hondo is slightly intimidated; it is not often to be stared at by three beautiful girls and a drop dead gorgeous guy. I start asking questions he is familiar with, the girls follow up and we get his character in perspective.
Hondo Shui arrived here 4 years ago. Surprised and amazed he quickly adapted and reached level 4. However his free time in this world was cut miserably short by the previous Travelers. Since there were few of them he had achieved a good level before being imprisoned.
After he would face the choice, be killed or submit to the death seal.
He chooses the life of submission. From that point he was a lackey and had to perform task for those who were more powerful. Luckily he moved to Frost City and was roaming the Empire when the word came of the new wave. This was his first time trying to subdue others like him. He tried to take his time but the guy Hayasaki Tomo was unreasonable. By accident he killed him. Now all he sees is the dead guy’s surprised face. He just wanted to be left alone, now he has stained his hands in blood.
Will I, who have killed intentionally no matter the reason, proclaim death to this guy? I look at the others. I can see they are also thinking.
- Hondo Shui! Do you want to assist in saving more lives to atone for that sin? Or do you wish for death.
- I… I will atone. After do with me as you see fit. I have been a slave too long.
- Good, then tell me about that cursed seal and all you know about this world. If you are truthful then maybe you will live to return home.
I made that statement and looked at the others, in the mist of Hondo’s crying and sobbing we come to the understanding.
No matter if you are forced or if willingly you are sealed and bonded to the Saidai. You will become a monster eventually.
Tonight’s watches for the dungeons are the two guys who were rescued. We leave them and head upstairs. Every day is an eye opener in this world. Or should I say every night?
Tonight passes without incident. Akemi will gather information on the seal, etc. when she has time.
Our daylight routine continues but tonight after midnight we get company. Three carriages entered the estate making their way to the back entrance. I had three red dots along with fourteen purple ones. Tamotsu ran downstairs as we made our way out the back entrance.
- I saw three demons on the second carriage, I’m sure of it.
At least six enemies, this is going to be a tough one.
I looked at Akemi; we had discussed scenarios like this. Now it’s time to put the plan into action. We took up out positions like we practiced. Sweat runs down my back as I glance at my companions. Tamotsu gives me reassuring thumbs up.
Hey! Hey! Isn’t that a death flag, yes it’s a death flag. Wait, wait Nakamura, its ok calm down he’s a boy…….whew, got panicky for a moment there.
We hid behind the shrubs and trees near the back entrance. Akemi had even ordered some large sculptures and placed them in strategic positions where we could hide and attack. It simply accentuated the ones that were there before.
As predicted the carriages rolled to a stop in the paved road before the back entrance. Three boys with healthy red auras jump down. The ones from the first two were apparent friends; they both had around the same health. They gathered at the side of the second carriage.
- AKI! How was it, finally being as the one on top?
- Heh, EIJI like I said, it was the best. I made good use of that Chop skill!
- Oh yeah! Like I said, that ice bolt spell makes you feel like a real mage man.HAHA
- Ohhh, what are you two fry’s’ talking about. You haven’t seen anything yet. Too bad you’re still weak.
The person sauntering up to them, escorted by three iron armored knights, looked to be in his early twenties. He had the air of a king gloating down to his subjects. They were now all in a group talking at the edge of the roadway, by the walkway to the back door. I looked at Akemi and gave the signal.
- Ice Field!
As the magic spell was cast, we all sprang into action from our locations. The roadway had lanterns that were oil lit, and the mansion was the same. The numerous shadows beyond this sparse lighting offered the perfect ambush setting.
The ice field spell was only at level 2 after much grinding. It probably could only freeze these high level targets for a couple of seconds. After that we were probably going to be overwhelmed. I may be able to withstand an attack one on one, but if my teammates fell I would be at a disadvantage.
An ambush attack is the best option for us, and what better place than when the prey is in a relaxed state after reaching their destination. By positioning ourselves around the back entrance between the mansion and the circular road, it was only a matter of time before they decide to enter.
If we were on the other side, the carriages would be in the way, impeding our attack. That few seconds would negate the key factor of an ambush; the element of surprise.
Everyone moved smoothly as greased monkeys. Hmmn, what an analogy! Anyways…
My first attack focused on Mr. Last carriage man. He was the one with the most health, and he was sooo happy to admit it to me and the others just now. With my sword I pierced through his chainmail defense, into his stomach with the sword tip protruding out at the back. I grab his head and smashed his body to the ground.
At the same time a Firebolt landed on the middle of the three red eyed guards. The other two close by were greeted with a hot sensation courtesy splash damage. An OneBlade from Tomiko finished off the demon who was awarded the Firebolt. She promptly withdrew.
On the left Tamotsu used his Cleave skill to damage the demon there. The one on the right was struck by a staff from Miki, his Health dropped to critical. Remember this girl has a 100% strength power up. Given time, she can kill one of those demons by herself.
The first strikes from all of us happened in an instant. With my current stats, I downed the first boss and stabbed the second in the same manner. I made sure to twist the sword when I pulled it back out. I smashed his face with my fist rocking him into the carriage side.
Hurrah! Brains and Brawn are a lethal combination!
However, by this time the effect of the ice field was totally worn off. In a few seconds I did that amount of damage.
The last Boss here is a mage. He jumped back casting a spell, while creating a distance. I was rewarded with my previous hard work with an Ice bolt. That spell froze me in excruciating coldness. I saw my health bar dive by roughly an eighth.
Ahhhhh! This pain is real, now I know the reason mages can’t concentrate under fire. To pull off even a fighter skill seconds after receiving attacks is near impossible. Even though this may be about 1 second duration, if he is fast or I react too slowly on the freeze release. I can die.
I watch him try to create more distance as he prepared to fire another spell.
- Ice bolt!
An Ice bolt crashes in from the side before he releases his spell. Thank you Akemi!!
After the Ice field, she has enough mana for 2 Ice bolts. It’s up to her discretion to use them. This is the result of our hard grinding and teamwork. Not even two weeks has gone by since we met each other, but our trust includes our lives.
I grind my teeth and rush the mage; he was just release from the freeze spell when I appeared before him. The look of fear turned to horror as I smiled like a maniac and drove my sword through his unarmored body. I did the usual twist, a little vengeful are we? And then threw him towards the carriage between the other two.
By this time, with fire bolt support and Tamotsu Block and innate sword skills the demons had already fallen. Tomiko was darting in and out between the two moaning Travelers. She had stabbed their hands to force the release of their weapons. Constantly shouting hard enough for them to hear, she reminded them to keep their hands at the side. No health potions were allowed. Both their health was critical, but dropping very slowly because of the blood loss.
I chose to do that type of wounding to create the pain, preventing counter attacks. The blood loss would also make them weaker, despite using healing spells or potions. This ‘tough love’ is the only way to secure these guys. I obviously cannot just approach them and just ask them to surrender, can I?
I walk towards the carriages as the others surround it. I summon the map open to double check the area, last thing I want is another set of carriages coming in now.
Whew! Safe, I really can’t handle another wave of attacks. I glance at my friends making their way to the third carriage. Tamotsu keeps watch over the injured; we will deal with them in a minute.
There are five purple dots in both the first and second carriage. The third and last contains four.
Wait! Why is it looking like three purple and a dim red?
Hiromi grabs the carriage door and opens it triumphantly.
I summon all my strength and cover the few feet between us. Hugging Hiromi I move her away from the open door. A blade slashes across my back as I cry out while tumbling to the ground.