Everyone seemed scared, no matter if it was part of the mission or not. They seemed to question whether it was really part of the mission. At the rate things were going, they were sure to give up.
However, more and more clues were gradually gathered about the others.
The others would raid our camp at night.
They had their own camps all over the island; it seemed like they ate there as well. However, we didn’t know in which camp they mainly stayed.
They appeared to be cannibals.
It wasn’t clear whether there was just one of them or more.
Everyone understood that catching these others was that special condition.
Catching them was a way to finish the mission early, but it included many risks.
Eventually, after dinner, everyone prepared to sleep with anxiety in their hearts.
“I installed the alarm magic.”
Harriet had installed alarm magic around the camp, and it would sound if anything other than us approached; that was the only safety measure we could take at the moment.
Everyone went into their huts, the anxiety apparent on their faces.
Erich would stay up all night to stand guard.
The camp was thrown into chaos when the alarm sounded.
“What’s going on?!”
The people that came to their senses the quickest crawled out of their huts. The first to react were me, Cliffman, and Ellen.
The alarm went off, but it had already happened.
-Waaaah! S-save meeee!
We could hear two screams sounding from the darkness of the jungle. The others also crawled out of their huts at that point. Everyone was terrified as they knew what had just happened.
“Wh-wha… What should we do?”
Harriet’s complexion was pale.
We increased our night watchers, but both of them were captured.
“It seems like both Erich and Adelia have been captured…”
The ones kidnapped were Erich, who was a permanent guard, and Adelia, whose turn it was to be guard number two.
“Taking both of them should definitely slow them down significantly. If we go after them now, we might be able to catch up to them.”
Bertus silently nodded his head to Cliffman’s words.
“We should, but…”
Everyone gazed towards the jungle drenched in darkness, which made it difficult to enter. Would we be able to dive into that dark void of trees and catch the kidnappers? It was rather clear that we wouldn’t be able to see a single thing, and it was highly likely that we’d fall into danger again.
“I can use light magic.”
Adelia was abducted right in front of her nose, so Harriet stepped forward, seemingly trying to somehow press down her fears. Bertus looked at her and nodded.
“Okay. Then let’s go right away.”
Ellen and Cliffman—who had had the highest fighting power—took machetes while Bertus, Liana, and I each took a javelin.
“It might be more dangerous to stay in the camp. Everyone, you should come with us. And take everything you can with you, including the small knives.”
Everyone nodded at Bertus’s words.
If we were successful, we could soon be released from that hell mission.
We could recover our two kidnapped classmates and leave that damn deserted island.
It was a rather rare opportunity.
The jungle at midnight was terrifyingly dark.
– Float… Float…
Harriet, who was at the forefront, summoned a sphere of light to illuminate our way, and Ellen and Cliffman walked beside her as if they were her bodyguards.
Bertus and Kono Lint walked in the center while Liana, Heinrich, and I walked in the rear. Heinrich also lit some wood to use as a torch, maintaining it with his power.
Both the vanguard and the rearguard had their own means of illumination.
“There are some footprints left behind.”
“Where? Let me see.”
Ellen was able to locate footprints the raiders left behind as the rain had stopped. Bertus wrinkled his eyebrows when he saw them.
“Is that right…? If so, they should be giants.”
Judging by the size of their footprints, it was clear that the kidnappers were giants of considerable height. Even if they took two kids, they were simply able to put them on their shoulders like that.
“Okay, let’s keep following these traces.”
If we followed those footprints, we’d be able to catch the raiders. Everyone felt extremely nervous, because it might lead to a battle.
“I-is it… Is it really… going to be okay?”
Kono Lint expressed his doubts, wondering if this was really part of the test. The rest of us also had similar thoughts.
Was this really part of the test? What were the teachers even doing? Actually, wasn’t this real?
Even these doubts and fears were part of this group mission. I saw these kids right in front of me being tortured like that. That made me wonder if this was really okay for just an exam.
However, waiting around would be even worse.
Everyone moved forward with heightened vigilance, staying completely quiet—they momentarily forgot their excruciating fatigue because of the eerie tension.
After we walked for a while, the vanguard suddenly stopped.
“There’s something over there.”
Everyone held their breath at those words. There was the faint glow of light coming from the place Ellen pointed at.
“What’s going on?”
“Shouldn’t we follow them?”
During that brief exchange of opinions, the distant light began to approach us.
Soon, we found out who they were; someone appeared before us—running through the jungle like the wind.
“Are you guys also searching for them?”
It was Delphine Izadra.
It wasn’t only us who searched through the jungle in the middle of the night; Class B was doing the same as well. That was our first proper meet-up ever since the group mission started. A few of us were missing, though.
Class A and B gathered in one place. So, Charlotte and Bertus started to talk to each other as they both wanted to quickly resolve this situation, although this couldn’t be called cooperation.
“Two people were abducted?”
Charlotte and Bertus were talking with each other as our representatives while the rest of us warily watched our surroundings.
It was a competitive mission, but both of them were mentally exhausted. Focusing on winning was good and all, but it seemed that both Charlotte and Bertus just wanted to get the mission over with as quickly as possible, so they even shared their information with each other.
“Lanian and Christina got kidnapped on our side.”
Both sides had lost a person on the previous day and had lost two more on that night. Each class had eight people remaining. Bertus folded his arms and stared into the dark jungle.
“This time, I’m pretty sure there isn’t just one raider…”
It was impossible to attack both camps at the same time like they had if there was just one. Bertus seemed to think that there were at least two of them. Charlotte agreed to Bertus’ guess.
“There are actually more than one.”
“…Did you check?”
“We were a little further ahead. We found traces going in different directions.”
Because they had Delphine, who was good at hunting and tracking, Class B moved a lot faster than us and was able to gather more information.
“Since we’re here now, let’s follow one trail each.”
Charlotte suggested that Class A and B should follow one each, and Bertus agreed.
One trail led to the middle of the island, and the other trail seemed to lead to the other side of the island. Charlotte gave Bertus the right to choose first—he chose to follow the trail leading to the middle of the island.
“By the way, if the condition is catching both of the raiders, what will happen when we catch one each?” Liana said curiously, meaning to say that there was no way for both our classes to be victorious.
“Since we’ll get additional points, I think they’ll probably evaluate the other parts as well. Rather, if we absolutely have to catch both… That would be a headache…”
If we had to catch both of them to finish the mission, things would be difficult. Bertus seemed troubled by that thought.
It was nighttime and, no matter how bright a light we had with us, our view was still limited. Class B had Deelphine; due to her tracking background, she would be able to move a little faster than us.
We were able to hear various howls of beasts in the nighttime jungle.
“Wh-what was that?!”
The kids were so anxious that they jumped at every rustle of a bush. I wasn’t much different, though.
Cold sweat was trickling down everyone’s faces and necks.
“Nocturnal animals might end up attacking us suddenly. Stay vigilant.”
It had also been confirmed that there were large cats and other wild beasts in the jungle. There was the possibility that we might get attacked by such a wild beast, apart from the raiders.
Everyone seemed to have only just realized how crazy it was to enter such a thick jungle at night.
Soon, we reached the stream we had discovered the other day.
“I think they crossed over.”
As Ellen said, the trail cut off at the stream. However, due to the recent heavy rain, the stream was almost overflowing.
“How can we get over there?”
With the stream as it was, it wasn’t possible to jump over it, so Bertus was posing that question. If it was just us, we’d be swept away the moment we set foot in the stream.
But it seemed rather obvious that the raiders somehow crossed the stream.
“Th-there… Can we use those, maybe?”
Kono Lint put down the bundle of rope he had slung over his shoulder.
“Oh… Right, we had that. Okay. Well done for bringing it with you.”
Following Bertus’s instruction,.Kono Lint brought whatever he could carry. Honestly, that guy probably didn’t think it would be of much help, but he couldn’t just leave it in the camp, so he brought it with him—it had actually turned out to be quite helpful for us.
“If we tie this to a tree on the other side and this side, I think we can somehow cross the stream…”
Of course, everyone had that thought floating in their heads.
“How do we get it to the other side, though?”
However, that didn’t change the fact that we had to take one end of the rope to the other side. Bertus looked at Ellen.
“Ellen, do you think you can jump across the river?”
When Ellen said it was impossible for her to leap across a river of such breadth, Bertus just nodded, saying, “Is that so?”. Anyway, we somehow had to cross over to get one end of the rope to the other side.
Wait, there was a way.
“If we tie the rope to something like a rock and throw it over there, we could send it over to the other side.”
Bertus nodded after listening to my explanation.
“… We could do that. We can send it to the other side like that, but we won’t be able to tie it to a tree. In the end, one of us has to cross the river to tie…”
Bertus suddenly closed his mouth as if he had just realized something.
It wasn’t just Bertus.
There was only one person that could cross the river safely. Everyone wordlessly stared at Kono Lint.
It was possible for him.
“Ex… Excuse me? G-guys…? M-me… Why me?”
Bertus put a hand on Kono Lint’s shoulder.
“We believe in you. Lint.”
Kono Lint didn’t have the guts to refuse Bertus’s gentle coercion.
The plan proceeded without a hitch, with all the female students covering their eyes, not looking across the stream. Kono Lint teleported to the other side. Naked, obviously. Cliffman tied one end of the rope to a rock and threw it over, then Kono Lint hurriedly tied it to a nearby tree.
After that, with both ends of the rope tightly tied to trees on both sides, I crossed the river, handing him his clothes.
“Whwhat is it…”
“You really can do this anywhere, huh?.”
At my words, Kono Lint shouted with his face tomato red.
“I didn’t want to do this!”
Still, Kono Lint’s ability was quite useful during the mission. Just by giving up his dignity, he would have no equal among the supernatural power users.
“Ooh! Now we can cross the river!”
Terrifyingly powerful torrents were raging below, and they had to rely on that single rope to go across. Of course, all those that had no combat-related talents were rather reluctant.
Harriet shivered, looking like she would absolutely refuse to do it, her face particularly pale.
It was Ellen who came after me, then Cliffman tried to cross over. By the time he climbed about halfway across, Ellen, Kono Lint, and I could see it.
Something was approaching our party from behind.
“Ththat… That. What is that…?”
Kono Lint muttered as his complexion grew ashen.
“Run away, you fucking idiots!”
Only after my shout was added did they turn around to look behind them.
Something was approaching the kids, its eyes shining red in the darkness.
The others living on that island.
Bertus looked at the approaching giant and muttered blankly.
“They weren’t… humans…?”
What came after us wasn’t human.
It had green skin and red eyes.
With the appearance of the orcs, the kids began to run away, scared to death.