We traveled through the forest for about an hour heading for the village. At that point, I noticed something with my [Smell Sense] . I took a look at Ryo and it seems like he noticed it as well, as he began to slow down his pace while contemplating something. After about a minute of contemplating.
“Stop for a second...” said Ryo.
“What’s wrong?” asked another dogkin.
It seems like those with only Level 3 [Smell Sense] have not picked up on the situation at hand. Thus making it difficult for them to resist [Order] telling them to head for the village. But Ryo knows the situation that is unfolding in front of us, or to be more precise, heading for us.
What my [Smell Sense] is telling me is that heading our way is 6 presences. One of those is the middle aged man, the other 5 I have never smelled before...But one thing I do smell that makes this situation so tense is the smell of blood…
This is definitely not looking good… The problem is that I do not know whose blood I am smelling, as I have never smelled the middle aged man’s blood before. But I am sure Ryo has, but him choosing to keep quite is not helping the situation…
In less than a minute, suddenly all the dogkin began to panic. I am guessing they realized the situation.
One of the dogkin could not take it anymore and called out to Ryo to make a decision. But Ryo seems to remain hesitant. I can understand his concern…
Technically speaking, we can retreat at this moment. While there is an [Order] for us to go to the village, the middle aged man did not say to go the village even if it kills you. Which means the base condition of not killing yourself takes precedence over the [Order]. They are still pushed to go to the village, but they can now take a different path to the village, even if it is a longer one in order to assure safety.
If the middle aged man is running for his life, then that might be the best option. That is of course if he ends up dying here. If the middle aged man finds out that we ran away though, I doubt he will spare any of us. Even if he doesn’t kill us, it would be living hell. On top of that, even if we run, I doubt we would get very far as the rate they are moving is faster than my [Sprint] at Level 2. While my [Smell Sense] is not exactly good enough to detect speed coming towards us, by comparing when we noticed it vs the other dogkin, I making a rough estimate.
After plenty of hesitation, Ryo finally comes to a conclusion.
“Drop the luggage and hide! We will observe the situation. Prepare some rocks and if necessary, we will set up an ambush!” Ryo urged.
For now I do as told and wait a bit. After about a minute. I momentarily activate [Eagle Eyes] and my [All-Observing-Eyes] to assess the situation, with the combination of both eye improvement skills, they are now barely in my view.
What I see in my view is the middle aged man and… he is heavily bleeding... There are what seems to be arrows in his back with multiple cuts all over. Chasing him seems to be 5 Orcs, or to be more precise, 4 [Mountain Orc Elite Warriors] and 1 [Mountain Orc General]. Based on their level, the warriors are about mid-tier D Rank monsters and the general is a low-tier C rank monster.
Normally, the middle aged man should be able to beat them considering his strength. But considering how heavily injured he is, at current condition I would guess 50/50? Of course I am no combat specialist, but the middle aged man is over 15 levels above the general. And if we join in the fight, our odds would probably be 90/10 in our favor? But again these are just wild guesses.
If all the beastkin ran away, I may be able to slip out. But since they chose to stay, me leaving alone would be rather difficult. Even though I am not bound by the [Slave Collar], I don’t have anywhere to go and everything is hostile towards me. And if I chose to run, that middle aged man may hunt me down. Considering he moves faster than [Sprint] at Level 2 means that my chance of escape from him is slim. On top of that, despite the enforcements of the [Slave Collar] not working, my collar still seems to react to his commands. So there may be a function for tracking down the collar.
There is also another issue to consider, if the middle aged man decides to fight. That would definitely be in our favor. But what if he just decides to run past us and use us as bait? Frankly speaking, without worrying about the middle aged man, they can probably get rid of all of us in less than a minute. Considering the limitations on stamina and the condition of the middle aged man, he is unlikely to abandon us as he would not get far. Other then maybe Ryo, the Orcs can literally ignore us. So it would be in the middle aged man’s interest to fight with us. But who knows what people will do in desperation.
This is a huge risk no matter what option I chose... So here is what I am going to do, for now I will wait here with the others and see what happens while using [Blend Stealth]. If I see the middle aged man retreat or get to the point where he is about to be killed, I’ll use that opportunity to use [Charge] and [Sprint] away, find a hiding spot and [Blend Stealth] until the danger passes.
With my mind made up I go to the farthest away tree I can manage without looking suspicious and wait.
It did not take long for the middle aged man to come into normal visible sight. Using my [Eagle Eye] I take a closer look and notice his slave ruins seem to be slightly glowing. Which adds more credibility to my suspicion that we could be tracked. I do wish Kuina could have told me these things...or maybe she also didn’t know?
Obviously chasing close from behind were 5 orcs.
“ATTACK THE ORCS AND ACT AS MY SHIELDS! THIS IS AN [ABSOLUTE ORDER]!” yelled the middle aged man.
What in the world is an [Absolute Order]?!?! What’s with all these surprises?!?! I’ll definitely have a word with her when this is over since I paid well for this information!
As if on cue the beastkin came out of their hiding spots and began to throw rocks as they moved forward towards the orcs and got as quickly as they could between the middle aged man and the orcs. By the sudden surprise of the ambush, the orcs paused for a second and during this split second the middle aged man turned around and unleashed an attack I have never seen him do before. His spear suddenly blurred and divided impaling 2 of the orcs at the same time.
Your skill [NA][Thrust] has become Level 4
I slightly frown...I do enjoy the [Thrust] skill don’t get me wrong but I would have preferred the cool looking skill…
One of the orcs took the hit to the throat and died instantly, the other one took the hit in the shoulder and just fell over. But right after an arrow flew out and impaled the middle aged man in the thigh.
“Shit!” the middle aged man cursed.
You have acquired a new skill [NP][Crossbow Mastery] Level 1
The sudden hit from the arrow threw the middle aged man somewhat off balance. And one of the orcs with a large club tried to run and hit him. Though found himself blocked off as the smallest dogkin got in the way.
You have acquired a new skill [NA][Bash] Level 1
In that instant I froze up as I saw the dogkin turn into red paste and blood splattered everywhere. Terror filled my very bones as the realization of what I just saw steeped in. A beastkin of around my level was killed in just one hit! Only one hit! The scene was so terrifying for me that I could not even move, despite wanting to run away, I can’t move due to fear! Thank god I activated my [Blend Stealth] prior…
Of course despite my situation, the battle continued on. Ryo stabbed the injured orc that was on the floor with his short sword right in the wounded area. While the middle aged man recovered and stabbed the orc that killed the dogkin in the eye killing him. In the meantime, one of the bunnykin jumped right at the archer.
Your skill [RA][Jump] has become Level 2
Only to be brutally shot down mid air and fall to the ground. This is ridiculous, does [Absolute Order] make them like mindless kamikaze zombies or something!?!? They are literally jumping into death!
At this time the orc general tightly gripped his great axe and quickly charged at the middle aged man. The middle aged man tried to move his spear, but it got stuck in the skull of the previous orc.
You have acquired a new skill [NA][Penetrate] Level 1
You have acquired a new skill [CP][Runner: Accelerate] Level N/A
Due to a special action, a new special [SPD] stat has been unlocked
Like that, I got my first class based skill… But I had no room to rejoice…
That is b-because…
..K….Ku...Kuina was s-shred in half from neck to thigh…protecting the middle aged man!!!!
As I watched in complete disbelief, Kuina’s lifeless corpse rolls on the floor...my focus began to blur and my mind became blank as the battlefield slips away from me...