Editor: A s h e s
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It was the second night of my mission with Marida Company. The two horses I had noticed during the day were indeed bandit scouts. They had raided us at night, but their number exceeded my expectation. When preparing for the attack, I heard from Malta-san that a gang of bandits would have as many as ten men. I had thought this attack would have about the same number, but in reality, there were forty on horseback. This was followed by twenty more on foot for a total of sixty bandits.
There weren’t many large scale bandit gangs in Kurtmelga Kingdom. The bigger their number, the larger the base they would need for accommodation as well as a matching quantity of food. They also needed to feed the horses and such. The number of goods and money needed would swell up considerably. The harvest festival had just begun and it was too early for such a big group to appear now. They wouldn’t gain enough spoils from these raids.
I had a clear disadvantage and the other three adventurers on this mission had already fled after seeing the bandits’ numbers. It couldn’t be helped – It was the right move to run from such a large gang, but I wouldn’t forget their actions. I had told Malta-san and the other staff of the company to run to the capital on one of the wagons, but with forty bandits on horseback – it was unthinkable that they’d overlook one missing wagon.
First of all, I needed to make an attack to make them aware that I was still here and that it would not be easy to chase the fleeing wagon. The bandits charged in while shouting war cries. I went to the back of the two remaining wagons, got my AS ready and aimed down the sights at the coming riders; my crosshairs on them. They were spread out, but I aimed at the leading horses’ heads, guiding the crosshairs left to right and squeezing the trigger continuously. The VAL’s muffling property was excellent, even better than suppressors – they flew through the air nearly soundless. The bullets only opened small holes on the front of the horses’ heads but wreaked havoc inside. This caused their heads to explode at the riders sitting right behind.
The mounted bandits were more shocked at the brain matter flying at them than the sudden explosion of their horses’ heads. They fell down one by one together with their horses – who were killed instantly. The bandits seemed to use the campfires at rest stops as targets for their late night raids with only the moon as a light source. As the leading group suddenly collapsed, the followers were caught up and also fell down. But there was just too many of them. I had forced about ten of the leading riders to fall off their horses with my preemptive strike, but the following group split into two in order to avoid them and came at the rest stop from both sides.
I saw their movements clearly thanks to my NV mode.
After my attack, the bandits split into three. Two advanced to flank the rest stop and the group that was attacked halted at the back.
“What are you doing, stupid? Don’t be careless! Louver, chase after that wagon! Don’t let it escape!!”
As I was changing the magazine, my earpads caught a man shouting. It didn’t feel right. Shouldn’t they aim for the remaining wagons, which were loaded with goods? The group split up again, one group took a roundabout to run past the stop. Should I chase them? No, first I had to crush the two groups coming from the sides.
I took out an M84 and threw it at the group coming from my right. I aimed carefully and the flashbang exploded around the middle of the group. A brilliant flash of light flared up the dark night, accompanied by a roaring sound. Unable to see or hear, the horses became upset. The riders once again struggled not to fall off. I fired at the left group without checking the effect of the flashbang, there was no need too. I knew it was effective by the sound of the explosion. I focused on my fluctuating crosshairs displayed on my goggles instead.
The left group had moved away when the leading horses had been shot down in order not to be caught up in their fall. There was no meaning in shooting the horses again, so I put the crosshairs on one of the bandits for the first time ever in this battle. Shooting at a living human was a line I had to cross sooner or later if I decided to live in this world as an adventurer.
It was time to cross that line.
Taking into account the horse’s speed, I shot down the bandits in the left group one by one. I had to stop in the middle to change magazines since there were only twenty bullets in one, but I had managed to kill nine of them. At the same time, the right group was still struggling with the effect of the flashbang. Suffering from having their vision and hearing impaired like never before, they couldn’t recover yet. I took out a frag grenade from my overcoat and threw it at the right group to blow them up. The M67 Fragmentation grenade was green in color, shaped like a pear. It would explode three seconds after being thrown, causing fatal wounds to those within a 5m radius. The fragments inside could injure and kill those within a 15m radius.
In VMB, the fragments that flew out of the radius would disappear into light particles. After crushing the two groups coming to surround the rest stop, I changed out my half-empty magazine to ensure I had a full load while watching for their next move.
“They’re not coming…?”‘
The next group didn’t come for the stop, they joined the foot soldiers and lined up at the front as if to form a shield. It seemed like they were cautious about my long range attacks. In that case…
I activated TSS and summoned the Kawasaki KLR from the garage. I couldn’t afford to keep dealing with the bandits here forever. I would chase after the riders that were after Malta-san. I got on the bike, took out two TH3 thermate grenades and threw them at the two remaining wagons. They burst into roaring flames. I twisted the accelerator and sped up, going for the mounted bandits.
I drove at maximum speed. Compared to the first time I had ridden the bike in this world, it was more frightening to ride on a highway lit only by the moonlight and the bike’s headlight. But it was just a trivial thing compared to the bandits that were chasing Malta-san. I used one hand to take out the FMG9 while still riding, touched the side lever and with the sound like that of a toy, the gun extended to its full size. It was difficult to control the VAls recoil with one hand.
So I used the FMG9 which could be controlled with one hand in semi-auto.
I could see the bandits now and they seemed to be catching up with the wagon. The FMG’s effective range was not that long so I needed to get closer to take them down. The bandits riding at the rear seemed to have noticed the sound of my bike and turned around, but they wouldn’t be able to attack at such a distance – be it magic or archery. I calmly aimed at them and fired. The gunshot mixed in with the sound of the running wagon and the chasing bandits.
As the bullets hit their backs, they screamed out in pain and fell from their horses. I overtook the bandits and cut in between them and the wagon. I turned back to check the distance of the wagon then switched the FMG to full auto, gliding the crosshairs over the bandits and rained bullets on them.
“Malta! It’s me, Shaft! Stop the wagon!”
It looked like Malta-san had gotten into a trance running from the bandits; he didn’t notice me riding along the wagon at all. The staff driving the wagon peeked out from inside the wagon and called Malta-san. They finally noticed me. They seemed surprised at me riding some unknown item alongside them and stared at me with wide eyes. I asked them to stop once more and the wagon gradually slowed down.
“Ah, you’re alright. That’s great…”
“I’m alright. Sorry, but I burned the other wagons. I also disabled the horses, so probably there won’t any pursuit. I’ll also get on the wagon, then let’s go to the Royal Capital.”
“I see… Schwa- Shaft-san… No, Shaft-sama, you saved my life not only once, but twice. Thank you.”
“It’s just my job. I’m sorry I couldn’t protect the other wagons. Anyway, let’s go.”
I put my bike back into the garage and went into the wagon. It was full of bags packed tight with mana stones. The staff looked pale and huddled together. I told them everything was alright now and asked the one to drive the wagon. Then I sat down at the back of the wagon where I could see outside. I told Malta-san that there would be no pursuit, but if the target was not the goods, but rather the Marida staff themselves, the attack wouldn’t end here. I peeked outside just in case as we drove to the capital in during the night…