Chapter 16

[PART 1]
  1. Fairness

The sound of the babbling brook was calming. Gentle rays of the early afternoon sun danced beautifully on the water’s surface.

The wind carried the sound of rustling leaves as it blew through the grove of trees.

Kei sat with his back against a tree with his helmet off and gave a small sigh.

It had already been a few hours since they left Tahfu.

Kei and Aileen took into consideration the excessive weight that Sasuke carried and took a short break in the grove.

Sasuke thrust his mouth into the water, drinking in large gulps before he lifted his head and took a huge breath of air with a puhaa!

Kei rustled through his backpack and began to munch on the hard biscuit he pulled out after unwrapping the paper that covered it. He sighed, “Riding for three… four hours sure is tough~”

Aileen was sitting on the root of another tree next to him, sighing loudly as she cracked her neck. “Yeah, I guess so… I do feel tired.”

With a disheartened expression Kei washed the biscuit down with water from his canteen. His words only received a half-hearted response from the listless Aileen.

Nothing had happened since they left Tahfu.

They followed the brook a few hours east. On their right was the forest, and on their left were grassy fields. The whole way had been so peaceful that it was surprising.

Usually, the most travelers would see was a rabbit in the fields or an animal in the forest.  It was uncommon to run into passersby or merchant caravans. Once, they saw a village that was even smaller than Tahfu, but the villagers looked suspicious as they waved. They didn’t go close enough to speak with them.

The way was so calm that they started to yawn.

However, even in this situation Kei wouldn’t let his guard down.

No matter how peaceful it seemed, a ferocious monster could jump out of the woods at any time. A highwayman or a robber could be lurking in a thicket or in the tall grass.

Not knowing when or where an enemy could appear, Kei held his bow, ready to nock an arrow immediately.

It was the same in the game, to always be vigilant when traveling in small numbers. However, no matter how far you traveled in the game it would be an hour at the worst. Kei had been on high alert for over three hours now. Aileen sat behind him so she lessened his burden by watching their rear, but sensing bloodlust still fell into Kei’s territory. At any rate, it was necessary to watch all angles. What’s more, they felt the heavy pressure of their lives on the line.

It was inevitable that they would lose focus.

The break they took was as much for Sasuke as it was for Kei. Even now, while he ate his biscuit, he stayed vigilant. However taking note of the terrain as they moved and staying alert in a single spot were completely different mentally.

—I guess we’ll start off in another ten minutes or so, Kei thought to himself. Even as he spaced out, staring into the crystal clear water, he sensed Aileen stand up.

“Are you okay, Kei?” Aileen looked worried as she brought her face up close to Kei’s, as if trying to look into his thoughts.

“I’m fine… I’m just a little tired from focusing constantly.”

“Haha… Alright then,” she muttered to herself before she sat down on the root again, her expression still dull.

They sat in silence for a while, trying to figure out how the other felt.

Kei tried to dodge the awkward atmosphere that built up by letting his gaze wander and smoothing over the white bandana over his face. His old one wasn’t fit to use after the battle with the bandits, so before they left Cynthia gave him this one as a replacement. It was plain white with a single red patterned stripe. Apparently she was good at sewing. On the left side, where it came to his cheek, she embroidered cute flowers with a red thread.

She said, ‘This will make you look cute.’ The embroidery was done very well and it did look very cute. However, it taught him something about her peculiar taste; she put a charming decoration on a bandana he would wear into battle.

From Mandel’s advice, when the time came for Kei to wear the bandana most of the time it would be for a fight, but—

Kei sighed lightly and shook his head. He glanced to the side and patted the bandage on his cheek, the ointment had dried up.

Aileen sat on the root, squinting up at sunlight coming through the trees and stretched her toes. Her cloak shielded her, but her ponytail and scarf blew in the wind. She wore black leather bracers, a leather vest, and below her beige tunic her slender legs were wrapped up in the black cloth and the shin guards of a ninja.

Save for her bracers, shin guards, and the saber on her back, she looked like she could be a slightly dressed up village girl.

“Hey… Aileen.”

“Hm? What’s up?”

“Are you sure you don’t want to wear chainmail?” He jangled the chainmail between the gaps in his leather armor.

—She was too unprotected.

Right now, the thing Kei was worried about the most was how poor her defenses seemed.

Except for the leather, she didn’t even wear light armor. He felt that it was too defenseless of her to stay in just her normal clothes.

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Aileen’s expression changed subtly as she replied, “No… It’s heavy, it doesn’t fit right, it’s heavy, and it’s heavy…”

“Yeah, but what if you get hit by another arrow like before…?”

“I let my guard down that time! I could dodge it or deflect it now!”

“Really…?”

“Really!”

“Really…?”

“What’s with that look!? Okay, I know I don’t sound convincing, but still!”

Aileen grabbed the hilt of her saber, asking him to test her.

Kei groaned a “No, no,” in an attempt to placate her.

With Aileen’s skill she could definitely react to an arrow flying at her if it was within her field of vision without much of a problem. He knew that from when she was still ‘Andrei’. Even though she wasn’t good with Passive Sense, she could still sense a blatant attack. Once she saw it, she had the reflexes to dodge it or deal with it. Like a web, Kei’s sense reached out in all directions, whereas Aileen had to focus on just one direction. If it weren’t for some circumstances, Kei thought that she would be on equal ground with him.

He thought, but…

“Hmm, I still feel nervous though…”

“I get how you feel…but if you take away my mobility, I don’t have anything, do I? Now that I have a woman’s body it feels like I have even less strength, too. But it feels like I’ve gotten lighter; moving around feels better.”

Aileen still looked listless as she stood up slowly, but she bent her knees and jumped. She grabbed a branch above her and swung herself up, landing on top of it, almost as if gravity had no effect on her.

The branch was too thin for Kei, it would have broken if he’d tried it. However, Aileen barely shook the leaves on it. The secret behind her physical finesse was in her lightness. Her body was unexpectedly light for how strong her muscles were.

During her character creation she chose the slender forest people. One of her three crests was a minor decrease in body weight, while the other two focused on strengthening her muscles and body to guarantee her some boosted power. She also spent all of her mastery points on increasing her mobility.

And so the utmost mobile fighter, ‘Andrei the Ninja’, was created. Her defenses were paper thin, but no one surpassed her in terms of mobility. She was the embodiment of the ninjas you usually read about in stories.

In the game, she was considered a typical glass cannon, capable of devastating damage. However, it was a different story now that it was reality.

“If your arm was shot off with an arrow you could still move in the game… But it won’t be like that here.”

“Yeah, I know that. For argument’s sake, let’s say that the armor saves my life. But, I can’t run away fast enough because it’s too heavy, so they catch me. I’d rather not become their plaything, you know?”

“Well…yeah. It’s a difficult situation…” Kei scratched his head and looked troubled. The ‘plaything’ made him suddenly think.

—If they were attacked by a highwayman or a robber, at a glance wouldn’t they be more likely to attack Kei rather than the beautiful girl?

Then he remembered, even when they were attacked on their first day, the first arrow the bandits shot was aimed at him.

If the first attack won’t be targeted at Aileen, then maybe having more mobility would be better…

As long as they made it through the first moments of an ambush, she would be able to escape or circle around for a counter-attack with her mobility. If Kei continued to wear the chain mail their chances of living were higher.

“You’re right… It’d be better if you stayed nimble.”

“Yep, that’s what I thought.” She nodded with her arms folded, still on the branch, and sighed lightly as she looked into the distance. “I wish I had my Dragon Scale…”

‘Dragon Scale Mail’—It was armor made with the scales of a flying dragon. Among the armor that Aileen could wear, it was probably the best. The base of it was cloth to prevent any restriction of movement, and the scales were as light as a feather, but still tougher than iron. Its light weight made it the best armor that a mobile fighter could ask for.

The scales were exceedingly valuable. ‘Andrei’ wasn’t able to acquire a large quantity of them, and so she only had enough to cover from her chest to her stomach. Even so, its performance was second to none. No matter how much it covered, it was an item that made mobile fighters salivate.

In the game, she took great care to keep it in the bank for fear of losing it. She only took it out for tournaments that didn’t allow you to drop your items, or for special events.

Kei thought about how much more reliable it would be in this situation. “No one could’ve guessed that this would happen. There’s nothing we can do about it.”

“I suppose so. You’re lucky in that regard… You have such a good bow.”

“That’s right. How about we go hunt a flying dragon for some scales?” Kei lifted his bow as he asked.

Aileen dryly smiled and laughed, “You’re kidding. We can’t do it… If we had a hundred more of you and fifty more of me then I’d think about it. I’d also want at least five catapults and ballistae each.”

“And a pure water magician, too.”
“Oh yeah, we would need magic, too, huh…”

It was impossible. They both stared off at nothing in particular.

Flying Dragons were mountains of treasure that flew through the skies.

Their bones and scales for armor.

Their claws and fangs for weapons.

Their eyeballs for high level catalysts.

Their entrails for potions and medicines.

Even drinking their blood would provide a strength buff that lasted until the player died. Craftsmen and fighters alike would never stop wanting it.

However, during the three years that 『Demondal』had been around, only five had been killed.

During the second year anniversary of the game’s release the large clans formed an alliance and slayed three in an event. The other two were slain during the third year anniversary event.

As to why so few had been killed, there were several reasons, but the first one was just that they were too strong.

They’re huge, they fly, and they breathe fire.

That was the typical description for a Flying Dragon. However, their power was on such a different level that calling them ‘brutal’ wasn’t enough.

For starters, they were the size of an average Green Salamander, which was already a lethal weapon itself. Their bodies were clad in the best defense, dragon scales. The only spots considered to be weak points would be places not covered like their mouths, eyes, or nostrils.

In addition to that, they could fly and use Fire Breath.

Rarely did they ever come to the ground during a battle. They preferred to keep their advantage by circling above their prey and raining down Fire Breath until their prey died or they ran out of the combustible mucus stored in their stomach.

In other words, unless they were brought down from the sky, their Fire Breath would destroy their enemy. It wouldn’t even be considered a ‘battle’.

That was where siege weapons such as the ballista and catapult became necessary. The general strategy was to have one person shoot the Flying Dragon to lure it in, then nets or ropes would be launched from the siege weapons to bind its wings, and once it hit the ground, the rest would beat it to death. This tactic was particularly effective because the Flying Dragon would take a large amount of damage from the fall. Apparently, there was even a clan that brought one down, breaking its neck in the fall, which killed it instantly.

However, attempting to hit a target midair with primitive weaponry was not easy, and even if they managed that, there was no guarantee that it would bind the wings. It was common for the weapons to misfire, forcing the players to retreat because everything would be burned to ash before they could finish reloading.

Even if a Flying Dragon were brought down and its wings bound, a dragon was still a dragon. The firepower of its breath attack was still more than enough for a battle on land. Without the protection of a water magician, everyone would be thoroughly turned to ash.

A good player to lure the Flying Dragon.

Enough siege weapons to launch a barrage.

The manpower to utilize the siege weapons.

Brawler-type fighters for once it was brought down.

A water magician with enough magic power to resist the Fire Breath.

The financial capacity and organizational capability to fuel the fight.

Once all of these were in place, it was finally the starting line.

Without a chat function or teleportation magic, even gathering the players was difficult. Even after everyone gathered together, hunting a peaceful Flying Dragon would incite opposition or harassment from other organizations. They could run into other monsters like the Green Salamander or Giant Bear, or bandit NPCs. In any case, it was far from straightforward.

The players who could actually plan to hunt a Flying Dragon were few and far between.

On top of all those challenges, as exploration and mapping progressed, the places that old Flying Dragons went to die were discovered. They were called the Abysses, and were located beyond forests and tall mountains. Rather than mobilizing the forces necessary to hunt Flying Dragons, it was more cost effective to send search parties to an Abyss, so the number of clans that hunted them had fallen recently.

To digress, the materials for Kei’s ‘Dragon Stinger’ came from the hunt during the third year anniversary event.

The real thrill of the event was that it brought together clans that quarreled and even the hated PKers in order to battle the Flying Dragons. They left the past behind and fought together as soldiers; even as equals in a sense, on the same battlefield. It was one of the original points of online games. To fight together and excel with other players. The sense of teamwork was there.

—Until the dragon was slain.

As soon as the dragon drew its last breath, the fissures appeared. That was the kind of event this was.

Playtime was over. The PKers began attacking and launched shells from the catapults and ballistae at the mass of players that rushed to drink the dragon’s blood. Opposing organizations unleashed magic, arrows fell like rain, and senseless players climbed the dragon to scream war cries before dying to a thrown hatchet.

Amongst all the chaos, Kei drank the blood, removed some of the tendon from the wing, killed a nearby player for the wing membrane he had, picked up Andrei’s corpse, since she’d died somewhere along the way, and escaped.

That was ten days ago. Luckily, Kei hadn’t died since. Based on his usage of his Dragon Stinger it felt like he still had the effects of the dragon’s blood in this world.

Aileen was right, I am seriously lucky…

With his original strength he couldn’t possibly hope to use his Dragon Stinger like a short bow in actual combat. The effects of the dragon’s blood lasted until death, but in this world where respawns were not an option, that was more than he could ask for.

I was lucky enough… We can’t ask for more, I guess.

Kei nodded once, deciding that for now, he would do his best.

Now that Kei and Aileen had plenty of rest, they departed once again.

Kei glanced backward as he swayed atop Sasuke. “Oh yeah, Aileen. Let’s buy a shield in the next town.”

“A shield? What are you going to use it for?”

“It’s for you, of course. It’ll be a thrown weapon.”

“Really…?”

He smiled bitterly, hearing the plain reluctance in her voice as he focused ahead.

“I don’t want one… it’ll be heavy…”

“Just throw it when it gets in the way.”

“Eh…”

“Let’s also get you some leather armor. At least some to cover your chest. I hope they have some that’ll fit your bust size.”

“Hm, I can just use one for a smaller man… I don’t need one of those!!”

Kei held his bow tight and laughed heartily as Aileen lightly hit his back repeatedly with her fists.

[PART 2]

†               †               †

 

A while had passed and just the same as before, Kei was constantly on the lookout for enemies.

 

Aileen suggested that they break off from the highway and continue north.

 

She said that if they continued travelling parallel to the brooklet and cut through the grassy plains, then they wouldn’t need to worry about getting lost. Also, the chance of an ambush would dramatically decrease due to the increase in their field of view.

 

Which was true if you thought about it. They didn’t have a carriage so they didn’t need to stay on maintained roads.

 

Kei stood on the north side of the road and felt comforted for the first time in a while as he stared off at the gentle, picturesque hills that Aileen suggested they take.

 

—However, the tranquility quickly came to an end.

 

Aileen, who watched the rear quietly let out an, “Ah—“

 

Kei turned around and looked at her, “What’s up?”

 

They were behind and to the left, approximately 500 meters away.

 

The black riders came up over the hill one after another. Eight in total.

 

There was tense silence between Kei and Aileen. With one hand Kei formed a circle and looked through it like a telescope, trying to get a better look at them.

 

The riders had simple patterns on their leather armor and decorative feathers—they spurred forward. Their facial features strongly resembled Asian people and they bore characteristic black ink tattoos. Some of them wore bandanas.

 

He was certain. They were the plains people.

 

Suddenly, Mandel’s words came back to him, ‘—Some of them make their living by being bandits.’

 

It felt like a pit opened up in his stomach.

 

It appeared as if Kei and Aileen had been seen, as a few of the riders shot them glances as they discussed something.

 

“It’d be troublesome to get involved with them. Let’s go back to the highway.”
“O-okay.” She nodded a few times nervously.

 

Kei pulled Sasuke’s reins toward the road and urged him to speed up.

 

Aileen glanced backwards to see the riders coming towards them while leaning over their horses. “Hey, I think they’re coming for us…” her voice trembled slightly.

 

Kei saw them open the covers to their quivers.

 

Haa, haa, came the sound of Sasuke’s rough breathing.

 

He clicked his tongue and said disdainfully, “Those guys are riding some decent horses, damn it.” Each time he glanced backwards, the distance between them had shrunk more and more. They were already pushing Sasuke too far; the extra baggage was a poor decision.

 

“I-it’s my fault. It’s all because I said we should get off the highway…” Aileen’s face was pale.

 

Before a moment could pass by, Kei said to her, “Calm down, it’s not your fault. We could have been ambushed on the road. In fact, we’re better off because we could see them sooner.” However, whether or not he felt that was really true, he didn’t know.

 

Kei wet his lips and slid the bandana from around his neck up onto his face before quickly looking at their surroundings. The red rose embroidered on it gently flapped in the breeze.

 

Kei took note of the grove of trees in front of them, “…Aileen.”

 

“Y-yeah?”

 

“You see that up ahead? Those trees?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Sorry, but I need you to get off there for a little.”

 

“…What?” Aileen asked, baffled.
“Of course, I’m not just leaving you there. I want you to give Sasuke a break.”

 

“Are you going to fight?”

 

“Yeah. It doesn’t look like they’re going to stop,” he snorted.

 

Aileen muttered, “Oh, I see… got it.” Then in a louder voice she said, “What… should I do? Should I just hide?”

 

“Yeah. Get off when they won’t see you and stay put. I’ll handle the rest.”

 

She didn’t reply. The trees were getting closer.

 

“It’s about time, get ready. I’m going to slow down.”

 

“No, it’s fine. Keep going at this speed.” Her reply was clear and her voice was strong.

 

“It’s a good thing that you’re agile, you were right not to wear chainmail.”

 

“You see? That’s what I’ve been telling you over and over again!”

 

“Sheesh, I’ll treat you to a drink in the next town, partner.”

 

“Ha!” Aileen laughed in reply. “Looking forward to it, partner.”

 

The brush rustled as Sasuke shot into the grove of trees.

 

Their visibility shrank.

 

The trunks and leaves of the trees would conceal them.

 

“Go!”

 

“Roger!”

 

Aileen jumped into the air, pushing off of Sasuke’s back.

 

She grabbed a branch with her leather gloves and spun around it quickly before letting go. She converted her horizontal momentum into centrifugal momentum, and used that to quickly swing from branch to branch while climbing higher.

 

Wow… Kei looked at her, even in these circumstances, he couldn’t help but be impressed.

 

Even with the forcefulness of her swinging, the trees barely rustled more than they would in the wind. Unless they had eyesight like Kei, there was no way they would have seen her.

 

Kei began to unfasten the luggage tied to Sasuke’s saddle. One by one the bags fell away and soon enough his gait became light.

 

They broke out of the trees.

 

Their line of sight suddenly widened.

 

The grassy plains had no cover at all.

 

It seemed as though the bandits took into account the possibility of them staying in the grove and split into two groups to surround them.

 

Kei felt a little relieved when he saw they still had all eight members, they must not have noticed Aileen. Once they saw Kei, they grouped up and began to chase him again.

 

The sound of arrows whistling through the air came one after another.

 

Kei felt a dull bloodlust at his back. Trusting in his Passive Sense he swung his left hand. The arrow that was supposed to hit Kei bounced off of his vermillion bow. The other arrows were close, but Kei and Sasuke both made it without getting hit.

 

He wondered to himself, are they shooting more?

 

Kei didn’t plan on shooting first. The reason being that he wasn’t sure if they were really enemies or not. However, if they clearly intended to hurt him, then there was only one thing to do.

 

His heart pounded in his chest. The blood rushed throughout his body and his head felt like it was on fire. However, the world around him was still cold, sharp, and endlessly flat.

 

With his right hand, he pulled three arrows from his quiver. Then he leaned back to the point where he was almost laying on Sasuke facing the sky.

 

Far behind him in his upside-down vision, he saw the eight bandits.

 

He didn’t hesitate.

The bow twanged like a musical instrument, a symphony of death that carried through the blue sky.

 

The grassland fighters saw the incoming arrows.

 

But in an instant, the first three riders went flying.

 

“What…?”

 

The moment they spent dumbfounded gave Kei the time to sit up and nock another arrow.

 

“What the fuck!” shouted one of the riders, a man in his prime, with an astonished look. Those became his last words.

 

The arrow pierced clean through the horse’s head and straight into the man’s chest, knocking him off.
Another one whose face was hidden with a bandana, quickly yelled to the others, “Scatter!!”

 

If they kept moving as they were, they would just be good targets.

 

At almost the same time a delightful twang rang out.

 

Having heard the bow, the rider violently pulled the reins in panic. The horse was well trained; it reacted quickly to its owner’s sudden command. It leaned to the side, making a hard left without slowing down. A magnificent evasive maneuver.

 

—Then, as if it were sucked in, the arrow struck.

 

The horse whinnied in pain and crumpled to the ground. He gasped, dumbfounded as he fell. Why… I dodged it… Still taken aback, he struck the ground hard. His bones cracked loudly as they broke in the tumble.
“T-that’s…”

 

The rest of the riders broke out in a cold sweat.

 

His dodge was unsuccessful because he dodged simply by reacting to what he heard. But the arrow was already aimed at the location he moved to when he dodged, and therefore struck its target.

 

This was—this was almost like he could see the future.

 

The last three began to tremble with an unfamiliar fear.

 

However, from Kei’s perspective it was nothing special; it was just technique.

 

Kei simply watched.

 

He saw the man’s eyes look to the left after he yelled to scatter. He also saw the muscles in his left arm tighten more than the ones in his right arm.

 

Based on his observations, he guessed where he would go next. It was something that anyone could do in close combat, however with Kei’s sight he could do it anywhere his bow could reach.

 

There was no way for the other three to know that. They felt a new fear for the unknown they faced.

 

“Shit! You damn monster!” shouted one of them, nocking and loosing an arrow.

 

However, it was a little off to the side, and instead brought an arrow back in reply. His neck blew apart with a wet sound and a spray of red.

 

“Hyyaaaaiiii!”

 

“W-we can’t, it’s no good. Run!“

 

The last two pulled hard on their reins to stop and turn around. That was the worst move they could have made.

 

Kei already had his bow ready, twang, twang.

 

Before they could finish turning, both of their heads popped off.

 

Kei slid off Sasuke and gave a sidelong glance at the corpses, mumbling, “I guess that’s it…”

 

In total, it only took around twenty seconds to kill them all.

 

His battle with the eight plains people came to an end.

 

Even though they were clearly dead, Kei still rode in cautiously and drove another arrow into each one. A coup de grace. He did it because of the bandits that escaped last time. Even if they looked dead at first, he wanted to be sure.

 

Kei mercilessly shot down the horses that were still alive and had defiant attitudes or tried to run away. Horses were smart creatures. They might go back to where the plains people lived, bringing more bandits. Just like how Mikazuki brought Aileen and Kei together when they were separated and first came here.

 

Kei mechanically went about his work, but then stopped dead when he noticed one of the riders.

 

Next to the dead horse sat the bandana wearing rider that Kei predicted would dodge his shot. His right arm and left leg were both bent awkwardly, probably broken in the fall.

 

The bones were severely fractured, yet he was still alive. With heavy breathing he sat there, trying to stand the pain as he glared at Kei with teary eyes.

 

“A woman, huh…” Kei muttered involuntarily.

 

The bandana wearing rider was a young girl; even younger than Kei.

 

Her face bore various black tattoos that were the custom of the plain’s people. Her beautiful facial features gave her a look similar to an Asian even with her tattoos. Looking carefully, he could see the rise in her leather chest from her breasts and the womanly curve of her hips.

 

Amongst the smell of blood, Kei became vaguely aware of a sweet smell.

 

She stared at his expressionless face, not knowing what he was thinking. She dragged herself backwards and pulled out a knife with her left hand, pointing it at him.

 

The blade trembled and a tear spilled from the corner of her eye as she glared at him. “Ow… K-Kill me!” her voice trembled when she yelled.

 

—He didn’t need her to tell him.

 

He came to his senses, pointing his bow straight at her face without a word before casually loosing.

 

The arrow made a wet sound as it dug deep into her right eye. Blood spurted from her nose and ears, and like a puppet whose strings were cut, she fell over, twitching. The last vestiges of life looked like a cruel joke.

 

His vision swayed, almost like he was drunk. In a way different from during battle, his heart beat loud and heavy. He couldn’t figure out what this heavy feeling in his chest was, so he looked up at the sky and took deep breaths.

 

“Keei!” Aileen called from far away. She ran toward him from the grove of trees with a worried look. “Is it… over?” she asked quietly. Pale, she looked around at the bodies scattered on the ground.

 

“Yeah. I wiped them out,” Kei answered, looking the other way as he fixed his bandana.

 

“I-I see…”

 

The wind changed direction, sending the scent of blood straight to Aileen. She covered her mouth and looked down. Her eyes opened wide at the body she saw.

 

“A girl…?”

 

“Yeah… She had a bandana on, I didn’t notice either. So I didn’t hold back.” Kei averted his eyes and spoke quickly.

 

He was scared to look her in the eye.

 

Aileen said nothing.

 

“I’m going to go check out the others…”

 

Unable to bear the silence, he hurried over to the other bodies and began searching them. After a few moments Aileen squatted down at a body near him.

 

“I’ll… help too.”

 

“No, it’s fine. You don’t need to.”

 

Aileen was as white as a sheet of paper. She was clearly forcing herself, so Kei feigned a good mood and turned down her offer.

 

“B-but, making just you do it… it’s…”

 

“Ah, then could you make sure the horses don’t run away? The ones that are with Sasuke.” He pointed at Sasuke, who was grazing nearby. Three other horses flicked their tails as they also grazed. Even among the horses that the plains people kept, these were obedient.

 

Kei let these three live so they could bring them along, and he put Aileen in charge of them.

 

“Hey… Kei,” Aileen called to him as he picked out the good arrows from the riders’ quivers.

 

“Hm? What is it?”

 

“Women, do you think they fight in this world too, like it’s normal?”

 

“Who knows… I’m not sure.” He couldn’t help but say he didn’t know. He didn’t have enough information to give her a serious answer, and he didn’t want to answer her as she was now. “It’s just, well… Regardless if it’s a man or a woman, when they die they die. In this world…” he muttered to himself.

 

“Ah.”

 

In the end, they found many good quality arrows, a decent amount of silver and copper coins, armor that they might be able to use, some everyday items, and three horses. After they loaded the horses up they set off eastbound once again.

 

Kei rode Sasuke while Aileen rode the most obedient of the three horses they took. The two other horses carried the goods.

 

For around and hour they traveled through the plains, parallel to the highway, hardly speaking.

 

The hills flattened out and their field of view expanded. An enormous river, the Morura River, and a large city with battlements came into view.

 

It was a city crowded with merchants and artisans from various nearby villages.

 

Kei and Aileen had arrived at the fortified city, Satyna.

 

 

 

 

  1. Afterword

 

Hooray! We’re at about 777 readers!! Thank you for always supporting me!!

 

I have a feeling that something good is going to happen today hahahahahaaa!!!

 

I’ve attached reference material for the city “Satyna”.

 

Those that are interested, please take a look.

 




TRANSLATOR’S NOTES

Previous Page | Next Page

 

Illustrations courtesy of Mr. NAKA. Find him at https://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=4377278 (opens in new tab).

Photographs provided and taken by author Tomoaki Amagi. View his original work at http://ncode.syosetu.com/n0088bq/1/ (opens in new tab).

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38 thoughts on “Chapter 16

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  3. Dragon blood eh? Why do I feel like the current will be permanent considering the game become reality. I dont know if its true but I think the reason why the power-up has limited time is to balance the game coz if edrinking dragon blood will grant permanent effects, everyone will be powered up except for thenewbies in the game. So reality will probably lift the restriction. .. I hope….

    Like

    • There’s no reason for the duration of the dragon blood buff to suddenly change because the game turned into reality. He should be glad he did it when it was a game though, because after the potions, I’d hate to think what that tastes like…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Depends.
        Log Horizon played with this, with the universe’s space actually expanding to a real-world scale during the course of the books/show and NPC’s literally becoming sapient, complete with political systems and ambitions. Flavor text on items actually becomes real, with persons and events mentioned in them actually having existed.
        In Overlord, spells which didn’t have friendly fire area-of-effect now has it. No more chucking fireballs into the middle of your teammates.
        So I could easily seen an author play with that and go with “realistic physics” if they wanted to.

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  4. Many thanks! For the illustration of our blonde Russian female-ninja (…kunoichi?) too!

    Great. I really like the parts in which we get more backstory or world setting. So Kei was bathed in dragon’s blood and is, or rather, should be OP. Yet, it doesn’t really feel so, as we saw already the intense struggle he had to pass through. Wait, rather than struggle, I would say it was a realistic fight, the one with the bandits, as he did indeed overpower them, but it wasn’t as easy as what would have happened if he were OP like other Isekais. 

    His concern over Aileen is really nice to read. Still, why do I think this as a father-daughter relationship rather than a boy/girl-friend-ish one?

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    • Probably because Kei feels more mature so far. But Aileen was unconscious for like, 3/4 of the story so far, so we’ll have to give it a little more time to really get a good feel for her. At least she seems a lot more mature than the girls in all these harem LNs and anime we have floating around.

      Like

  5. It is my belief that if you have a mortal body with fixed coordinates in Newtonian space, armor is ALWAYS a good idea.
    And don’t give me that piss about mobility. Put on a gambeson at least.

    Like

    • Oh but I’m a wee little lass with the peak physical fitness of an acrobat. I can’t POSSIBLY bear the weight of some kind of armor at all!

      Fookin’ hell man.

      Like

      • Um. Have you ever worn chain mail? XD I slug luggage at the airport for a living, and just walking while wearing that is tiring, never mind running or fighting. She certainly wouldn’t be jumping around in trees like a monkey while wearing it.

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      • I fight, so yes. Legionaries carried around half their body weight in gear. Modern soldiers a little more than that. Gymnasts can actually move around in well-fitted plate armor.

        Armor is an insane advantage. Even something as trivial as a gambeson and some sturdy gloves help A LOT. Particularly in a setting where the characters aren’t just sacks of RPG hit points and will be put out for days from a minor injury. Ever crushed a thumb? Goddamn painful nuisance is what that is.

        If you can’t escape on an overburdened horse, you’re not escaping at all.
        Likewise, crowded quarters with lots of people are around is exactly where dancing around becomes less useful. Simply less space to maneuver.

        I think Kei’s fears are well-founded, given that his waifu was taken out by an arrow. You don’t plan around when things go perfectly, you plan around when they go wrong.

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  8. And you’re also talking about a guy who prefers to study unarmored fencing to armored, mostly because of the prohibitive expense and the generally sidearm nature of swords. Swords were not primary weapons except in edge cases like with Roman legionaries. Bows, spears, polearms and the like were generally primary arms. I spar with a lot of people that feel MUCH safer inside more layers of protection, with at least one or two guys preferring homebrew chainmail for “heavy stuff.” (Whereas I’m basically insane and just wear a jacket, gloves, gorget and mask.)

    Mind you, we’re not the specimens of peak physical godliness that Aileen is. In her position? Absolutely, I would trade some speed for protection. If she’s never made a mistake in her entire gaming career, I will be impressed, but I seriously doubt that’s the case.

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    • She wouldn’t be jumping up onto thin little tree branches and stuff with chain mail on. Good thing she’s not wearing it =p The leather armor that Kei said he wants to buy is MUCH lighter than chain mail.

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      • Leather armor didn’t exist, not in the way that people imagined.
        There were boiled leather cuirasses and lamellar maybe. The former of which was used in conjunction with metal.
        She’s a show-off either way. It’s sort of moot when you can cut down horseman on foot.

        Like

  9. Uhm. Wondering why Kei didn’t steal one of the horses. Or for that matter, however many were left alive.
    They’re short on them and there’s good money to be had off of them.

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  10. Dang, I know it’s been said before, but Kei is frickin scary. To be able to see, and not only that, to read muscle movements at distance and act on it is insane.

    Like

  11. it’s nice to see a strong protagonist, and yet not an overpowered one. Clearly a rare thing nowadays especially in standard isekai setting

    not to mention the world still shows how much of a threat it is and the tension can be feel.

    Like

  12. The nice thing about this ‘isekai’ novel that you folks are so kindly translating is that it shows the world in its full brutality, no sugarcoating whatsoever. The only real difference to a historical fiction novel is the setting and the minor magical shenanigans, which are also brutal. Thanks for the gem!

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  13. me decepciono que kei matara a una chica sin basilar ya que ella incluso tenia brazo y pierna rota, amenos que fuera por que ella tenia una herida mortal no veo por que la mato sin piedad

    Like

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