Two more days have passed, and the merchant caravan should be here in a day.

Luilui has noticed this too, but we haven’t told anyone except for the adventurers.

We’re worried that people might let their guard down and become careless if they expect to leave here soon.

But the caravan isn’t the only thing on the move.
The group of orcs is moving too, even though they were in front of the cave all this time.

Considering what time it is now, they should be crossing through the forest during the night, and might even attack before the sun rises.

We share this information with the people in the inn, and it creates a tense atmosphere.

The merchants that are camping outside probably sense this restlessness inside, because they start making a ruckus even though they were quiet all this time.

“Stop treating me like this at once.
I’ll sue you.”

“Give me more food.
Who do you think I am?”

“I’ll be reporting this to the guild.
And don’t come to me to apologize, because by then it will be too late.”

They keep complaining.

That’s right, they are all merchants, aren’t they? Some are part of companies, if I remember correctly.

In a way, it’s strange that no adventurers made it back.

We’ve been giving them the minimum necessary to survive.
It’s not much, but it is free.
They’re not helping us with anything either.
They keep making excuses.

“Shut up for a minute.
We don’t have time to hear your nonsense.”

Yells the villager in charge of dealing with them, probably because he’s on edge.

They respond with such dirty language that it makes me want to cover my ears.
Locke can’t stand by and watch anymore, and steps forward.

The merchants that were speaking to the villager with loud and confident voices become gradually quieter as Locke approaches.

“I told you before, if you have any complaints you can get out of here.
Did you forget that already?”

Locke is in a bad mood, and feels more intense than usual.

“I’ll warn you now.
Orcs are coming to attack, so if you keep making noise, I won’t have mercy on you.”

He says, and leaves before they can respond.
I guess they’re getting tossed out if they keep acting like this.

“Good job dealing with them.”

Says Leila.

“I was just the right person at the right time.”

“Then let us talk about putting the right people at the right time to deal with the orcs.
I think I would want to intercept them in the forest.”

“Can I ask why?”

“First, we have magic items that allow us to see in the dark.
Also, I don’t want to fight that group on an even playing field.”

There are fifteen of them, and it will probably be even trickier because they have an orc general commanding them.”

Talia adds to Leila’s answer.

They’re speaking from experience, after fighting them in the cave.

“Are you talking about abandoning our defensive position?”

“Talia, Casey, and I will be the only ones going to the forest.”

“Isn’t that dangerous?”

“We are not going there to take out every orc.
We will reduce their numbers and retreat while luring them.”

“Then can I go too, master?”

“I guess so.
You’re better suited for this than me, so I’ll leave it to you.”

“Are you sure about this?”

Asks Locke, but I assure him it’s fine.

“Then you should take potions.
Be especially careful about not running out of magic energy.
Hikari, I’m counting on you to support them.”

“Yes, leave it to me.”

I give the four girls the items they’ll need, and start preparing too.

Luilui and I go up to the watchtower, and stand-by as Yor, Locke, and the others stay by the gate.
We keep watch in shifts as we wait for the time to come.

The battle begins in the middle of the night.

I see the battle from afar, or rather, by looking at Map and using both Presence Detection and Magic Energy Detection.

We need to defend this place if something happens, so all we can do now is trust them and wait.

Talia and Hikari are running around in the forest.
Talia was pretty quick to learn how to use magic energy.

She dispatches an orc right after coming across it, but apparently it takes a big toll on her, because she drinks a mana potion right after taking down another one, to restore spent magic energy.

Hikari is steadily fighting them by paralyzing them.

Leila and Casey are holding steady and fighting off the orcs.
I think they’re hiding behind trees and using sneak attacks to take down the orcs that get near them.

Leila and Casey’s reactions overlap with an orc’s, and the orc’s reaction disappears instantly.

I hear constant screaming and loud yells from the forest.
The noise is loud enough to wake the people that were sleeping.

“Do you know what’s happening out there?”

“Talia and Hikari are doing a good job reducing their numbers, but apparently the orcs are becoming more wary of coming this way.
Their movements are changing too.”

I check this by using Map.
The orcs were all scattered, but they are now converging on a single spot.
I figure based on the magic energy there that they’re gathering around the orc general.

Still, nine were brought down by the sneak attack.
Only six remain.

“Should we send them a signal?”

I ask.

I’ll break the link once the signal has been sent.”

As we talk, two more reactions disappear.

Was it to keep them from joining the other orcs?

Oh? The orcs are already surrounded.

“Hold on.”

“What is it?”

“Can you see what’s going on inside the forest?”

“Hum, uh?”

Another one is down.
Are there only two left?

“…It looks like the orcs are surrounded.”

Luilui is surprised too.
The general is still standing, but aren’t they taking them down a bit too fast?

“Should we just leave this to them?”

Sending them a signal now would probably just break their concentration.”

In the end, we don’t send the signal to retreat.

Luilui says it’s over, so she tells Locke about it and I head to the forest.

I’m going there to retrieve the fallen orcs into the Item Box, and to learn exactly what went down here.


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