Ellen was suspicious of everything she came across. I had just seen a light and thought about getting some rest quickly. Ellen, on the other hand, wondered why there was only one light.
She probably acted that way because she heard from Artorius that it would be difficult to survive as an adventurer if she didn’t stay vigilant at all times.
We had to be wary of both monsters and people. Careless idiots would pay the price for their ignorance one way or another. The three of us left the road and approached Klitz Point from a different direction.
Unlike the relatively safe St. Point, Klitz Point had a type of barrier erected around it that seemed to serve as a prevention method against unexpected attacks.
The pouring rain and darkness severely limited our view. However, the weather was also hiding us from any potential enemy in the area.
Right when we were reaching the general vicinity of the area…
“Can you hear anything?”
Ellen asked me, remembering my strengthened hearing when we reached the barrier.
However, even after I strengthened my hearing, I could only hear the sound of falling rain.
“The rain is too loud. I can’t hear anything else.”
I tried to somehow catch any sound that came from the only lit-up building; however, any sound that might have come from there was completely buried by the rain. It was also too far away.
Ellen nodded as if she thought as much and then took off her raincoat and backpack.
“Ms. Relya, wait here. Reinhardt and I will be back in a second.”
“Will you be alright?”
Eleris seemed worried, but Ellen only nodded her head to her question. Like Ellen, I took off my raincoat and backpack and followed her.
The wooden fence was about three meters high.
Ellen stabbed a knife into the middle of the fence. Then she applied some more force, driving it in till the handle.
“Let’s step on this and jump over.”
She wanted to use the knife handle as a stepping stone and told me to cross the wooden fence in the same way. Originally that would have been impossible, but my physical abilities were at a high enough level that I could manage to do something like that.
Ellen lightly jumped on the knife handle, grabbed the sharpened part of the fence like a lever, and pulled herself over.
One could never know what might await us on the other end of that fence.
A fight might break out.
Ellen had already crossed over. However, Eleris was just silently holding my hand still.
She didn’t say anything, but I fully understood what she was thinking.
I lightly jumped on the knife’s handle and crossed over the wooden fence as Ellen had.
The rainy weather was quite in our favor in that situation. Any noise we would make would get drowned out, preventing anyone from spotting us like that.
However, we wouldn’t be able to discern objects except for those that were close to us. All I could see was the light shining from that building located in the center of Klitz Point.
We didn’t approach it immediately.
“Let’s move slowly.”
Ellen and I moved in a lowered position. Even in that darkness, there were still even darker places, so Ellen and I moved slowly, little by little, taking advantage of the darkness within the darkness.
And as we moved further in, I started to hear something through the rain. It seemed that it was only audible for me after I strengthened my hearing, as Ellen was about to move forward again. I ended up grabbing her.
-It sure is raining like crazy…
A mumbling voice.
It was a person.
I whispered to Ellen after that person had gone by.
“It’s a person.” We were in Klitz Point, in which most buildings were drenched in darkness.
Then there was a person who walked through the rain without a lamp or anything with him.
With that, we couldn’t really find out if it was safe or not. On the contrary, things had gotten even more suspicious. Ellen whispered to me, telling me that we would move even more carefully.
“Let’s not get too close to that area yet.”
It seemed that Ellen wanted to investigate the dark buildings rather than the lit-up building for the moment. We continued to move slowly because we couldn’t even see if someone was walking around in front of us.
We reached a wall of one of the dark buildings.
“Not to the door, the window.”
Ellen whispered quite curtly, leading to us following the wall of the building to one of its closed windows.
She carefully tried to open the window from the outside. Luckily, it wasn’t locked.
Ellen grabbed the windowsill and slipped inside the completely dark building, and I followed after her.
We couldn’t see a single thing once we jumped inside; however, it didn’t take long for us to realize something.
We covered each other’s mouths reflexively.
We didn’t even try to cover our own mouths but each other’s.
We both felt like we’d be fine but were afraid that the other would start shouting. After we realized that, we slowly reached out to each other.
The reason was simple.
Although we couldn’t see anything, we could still sense it.
I nodded in the dark after hearing Ellen’s voice.
“It smells of blood.”
It was a smell I knew.
Back when I was in the Demon King’s Castle, horribly disfigured corpses were strewn about everywhere—the air was pregnant with this smell.
We were inside that building where we couldn’t even see our hands before our eyes.
We couldn’t detect any sign of movement, but the smell of blood permeated the whole building. We could tell, even if we couldn’t see anything with our eyes.
That smell wasn’t just at the level of someone bleeding somewhere around there.
There was a corpse in there. Actually, a great number of corpses, so strong that the smell seeped into the walls. As I had already smelled something rather similar to that stench, I could guess that there weren’t just one or two corpses around there—they wouldn’t give off such a strong smell.
“There are corpses in here. A lot of corpses.”
Ellen nodded at my whisper.
It seemed that a massacre had taken place in Klitz Point for some reason, and it was most likely the work of the guys located in the only lit-up building.
Or they were people who locked themselves in that building when the massacre took place. Survivors. Even without talking with each other, we seemed to have come to the same conclusions.
“Let’s get out of here. I can’t see anything.”
It was much darker inside than outside, and if we continued to wander around the building like that, we would only end up stumbling over one of the corpses.
Ellen and I went out through the same window again.
For some reason, a massacre had occurred at Klitz Point. We presumed that there were bodies in each of the dark buildings.
So who were the people in the lit-up building?
“The bodies haven’t been buried.”
Ellen whispered as she organized her thoughts.
Looking at the state of the bodies left unattended in the buildings, one could assume that they didn’t view the dead favorably.
If they were survivors of an unexpected attack, wouldn’t they have at least recovered the bodies? “They are probably… either bandits or robbers.”
So Ellen’s suspicions were more than plausible.
Bandits or robbers.
They might have attacked the close-by Klitz Point. If so, it was quite logical to assume that Als Point, located further south from there, and the other Points connected to it, were also ransacked by those guys.
After they looted Als Point, they traveled to Klitz Point. It was more than clear why we hadn’t heard anything of the adventurers that went down there to find out the truth behind the collapse of Als Point.
Those adventurers needed to go through Klitz Point to reach Als Point, after all.
They came across the robbers who had already occupied the Point and were killed or ran into them as they were heading towards Als Point.
Adventurers, who probably had to stop by Klitz Point, not knowing what had occurred here.
And the corpses left inside those buildings…
A small group of adventurers wouldn’t be able to deal with such a large group.
Klitz Point had been completely occupied by robbers.
Having confirmed as much, we had no other choice but to come up with something else.
“Wait… What will happen when the convoy gets here?”
I could feel Ellen holding in her breath.
Those robbers would let the convoy enter Kiltz Point, probably feeling like a pie just fell from the sky, kill all of the people, and take all the supplies.
There had already been a massacre, but there would be another one soon. Of course, there was an escort team accompanying the convoy, so I wasn’t too sure how it would end, but it was rather obvious that a big fight would take place no matter what.
“We have to warn them.”
I could only agree with Ellen’s subdued words.
-Hey, hey! Hurry up and get a move on!
Then, I could hear a loud voice penetrating through the rain.
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People were coming out of the lit-up building. Ellen and I hid ourselves around the walls of the building we were close to and watched what they were up to.
All of them were rushing about with lanterns strapped to their waist.
“What are they doing…?”
The streams of people started to flow into a perfect structure, prompting us to lower our posture even further.
Then I heard the door of the building we entered not too long ago open loudly. Fortunately, we were much closer to the barrier, so they didn’t come towards us at all.
I focused on the sounds they gave off with my strengthened hearing.
It wasn’t just one person who entered that building but a group of them. I could hear their footsteps.
– Urg, it smells.
– Can we even clean this up? The smell will probably stay.
– We’ll just clean it.
– What about the bloodstains? .
– I was told to cover them up with rugs or leather.
They seemed to be trying to dispose of the bodies. It seemed like Ellen could also hear what they were saying as they were close by.
-By the way, it’s raining like crazy. Are you sure the convoy will come here tomorrow?
Ellen and I couldn’t help but feel our hearts drop at those words.
– They’ll have to pass through here sooner or later. If they’re delayed, the smell might have gotten weaker, and we have plenty of time to remove our traces, so ain’t it a good thing?
-You’re right. Those guys already knew that a convoy was on its way. We couldn’t help but understand why they decided to remove the bodies.
After disguising the place as if nothing happened there, they were going to kill all the members of the escorting team while they were distracted, resting at Klitz Point.
-If people end up assuming that this is the work of the Demons, we might be able to do this a few more times.
-What do you mean? Aren’t you going to retire? After this one’s over, Imma quit. I didn’t earn just a penny or two. after all.
-You’re naive, kid.
They weren’t robbers or bandits.
They were adventurers planning to steal the Adventurers Guild’s supplies.
They were just casually chatting about those things while moving around.
* * *
Ellen and I made our way out of Klitz Point and returned to the place where Eleris was waiting for us.
The more I heard those guys talk, the more unbelievable the situation seemed.
Ellen and I led Eleris away from Klitz Point without uttering a single word.
I had taken off my raincoat, so my whole body was really wet.
“……It’s too complicated to put it in words.”
Ellen hesitated to answer Eleris’ question.
Klitz Point had been occupied by an unidentified group, and all the original residents had been killed.
That was why I thought they were bandits, but it turned out that they were some adventurers who got together and turned to robbery.
“Th-that means that the convoy that’s supposed to arrive here sooner or later is in grave danger.”
Eleris was flabbergasted to hear that a massacre had already taken place in the base and was terrified when thinking that the people with the convoy were about to face the same fate.
“They already knew that a convoy full of supplies would come here.”
They had already predicted the actions of the Adventurers Guild.
They predicted if Als Point fell, the guild would send supplies to rebuild the base, so they planned to loot it.
They even planned on disguising their actions of destroying Klitz Point and robbing the convoy as the work of demons; they might even try to do it a few more times.
If all went according to their plan, no one would actually know if it was done by a band of bandits or adventurers. They might just continue to calmly work as adventurers, or they might simply disappear after one last big cue.
It was unclear if they would keep on being adventurers.
They would have to live, hiding that they killed countless people like that, and after some time, the memory of that incident might also just fade away.
“This is just… ridiculous…”
Eleris was so flabbergasted that she was unable to close her mouth.
“So it seems like all those who weren’t part of their group that previously occupied Klitz Point have been killed.”
Those guys wandering around the base seemed to keep a lookout for adventurers going to that place in order to catch them. If Ellen hadn’t realized that the place was suspicious, we might have been forced to fight with those bandit adventurers as soon as we entered.
The convoy wasn’t the only one in trouble.
It was clear that the group completely occupied the midpoint between Als Point and St. Point, so they probably also killed all the people that tried to go there from Als Point 1, 2, and 3—that was why none of the people ever managed to return from the isolated bases.
Eleris seemed prepared to leave us somewhere and do something about it herself. However, she wouldn’t act without my order.
It was unknown how many bandits had taken over Klitz Point.
However, I estimated that there should be at least 20 of them.
“We have two choices.” Ellen calmly organized her thoughts.
“We could deal with them ourselves or go back and warn the convoy team.”
“…Do you want us to deal with them ourselves?”
“Yes. It might be dangerous, though.”
Ellen took the option of going directly into the bandits’ den and beating them up into consideration.
Of course, Ellen was more than capable of that. However, those guys didn’t just murder one person; they had caused a massive massacre. I didn’t know if Ellen could handle all that.
No matter how much Eleris and I assisted her, she could die if she made a single mistake or slipped up.
“I think our best option would be to go back and warn the convoy team.”
Of course, Ellen also acknowledged that danger. The safest option at that point would be to go back and notify the others of the threat.
“But we talked about it, right? The list.”
Hugson formed the escort team for the convoy entirely out of newcomers to increase his own income.
All of them were the newest of the newbies. If a fight broke out in Klitz Point, they might die without being able to do a thing. In the worst case, they might all run away.
On the other hand, the adventurers occupying Klitz Point were more than accustomed to killing, although we didn’t know their level of skill. I mean, they casually chatted while removing the corpses.
“Do we really… Have to take this risk?”
Eleris seemed a bit reluctant and negative about dealing with them on our own.
Out of all the aspects, the fact that she might end up killing someone with her own hands seemed to make her feel the most reluctant.
“If the news reaches them, the convoy might collapse just because the people start panicking.”
Even if Hugson was with them, all those newbies thought that they would just go down to the Als Points. However, there was a possibility that things would completely fall apart before anything even started, just because they had heard that a large band of bandits was waiting for them there.
That way, the convoy would completely collapse. I had no choice but to agree to Ellen’s words.
“If the convoy collapses, the only thing left behind would be… Right. Supplies.”
I realized something as I spoke.
The purpose of the convoy was to rebuild Als Point; however, it was also very important to deliver food and other supplies to the isolated bases at the front lines.
So they would have a huge amount of materials with them.
If the convoy collapsed, the adventurers stranded at those three points might starve to death.
Ellen was looking at the whole picture.
It would be safest to go back and warn the convoy team. However, the supply delivery to the Points would be delayed even further, so it would cause huge problems. If the Guild was informed that a massacre had occurred at a point and that it had gotten completely taken over, the Guild’s forces might get dispatched. However, for that to happen, they would have to report it to the Exian Outpost.
“Besides, if these bastards notice that things took a bad turn for them, they might run away to St Point and scatter completely. There’s no evidence for all this, after all.”
When they united, they became a band of bandits, but when they scattered in all directions, they were just individual adventurers. There were no eyewitnesses or anything, so there was no way of proving that those particular adventurers were responsible.
We had only heard some voices as well. We didn’t even know what those guys looked like.
I realized once again that the Darklands was a place that wasn’t ruled by any laws.
In the end, dealing with them ourselves was the best option.
It was easy to make that decision, but what would come after wasn’t as easy.
Both Ellen and I had to kill people. Directly, with our own hands.
It didn’t matter whether they deserved to die or not. It was a completely separate matter if I could go through with it and endure the feelings that would come after.
However, I couldn’t avoid dirtying my hands forever.
There would come a day when my hands would be completely stained with blood. I didn’t think I would manage to reach the story’s end completely untainted.
“Okay, let’s do it.”
If it was something I would have to experience anyway, it would be good if I got used to it as soon as possible.