Chapter 77: Attacking After Discovery
They found the bandits' camp unexpectedly easily.
It was because they didn't try to hide themselves in the first place.
When he thought about it, a band of two hundred or so ex mercenaries who became bandits already sounded like a threat, but its power could be equal to an army, so Loren guessed they thought that nothing other than a gigantic army would be a threat to them.
"I was the one who suspected this, but this is quite a sight."
An area that they arrived at after a minute of walking from the remains of the town.
In the middle of a clear, flat area, men who seemed to be bandits, were camping there with bonfires lit, and as Loren had just said, it wasn't a group that could be touched with halfhearted determination.
"They do as they want, but I guess they aren't thoughtless either."
Lapis said in an annoying voice as they peeked out from a small depression in the ground a distance away from the camp, where its lights wouldn't find them.
Since they had enough power to win against almost any opponent head on, what they needed to be careful against was ambushes, and staying in the middle of clear land was the best way to do so rather than stay in a place that shielded their view.
Loren didn't know if they chose the place with that thought in mind, but Lapis said that moving based on the assumption that they did posed less danger.
"It would be better to assume that they are somewhat smart, rather than assuming they are idiots."
"That's fine, but can we even move in on that?"
If they tried to get near from their current location, they would immediately be spotted by the bandits on watch.
Even if they were to form a plan, the surrounding was just flat land, with nothing that they could use to their advantage.
Loren had indeed been a skilled and experienced mercenary, and although he somewhat thought so himself, he wasn't as arrogant as to think that he could march against a hundred, two hundred enemies and come back out alive.
"We can't use the classic fire or water attacks. We can't set a trap large enough for those numbers either."
"Loren you seem to know a lot about those kinds of things."
"I've attacked and been attacked like that, so. But this time both ways won't work."
There wasn't anything around them they could set fire on, nor rivers or swamps to draw water from.
Flat plains didn't benefit attacking nor defending, but that was the same for the enemy as well.
If the gap in power was hopelessly large, there was no way to fill it.
"Let's see. I could use a large-scale magic and force fully annihilate them."
"You could use such a spell?"
"Who do you think I am? Even though I don't have my limbs and eyes, I'm still a powerful demon. And currently I've retrieved my left arm."
Lapis said as she twirled her left hand, but Loren couldn't really believe her.
He knew that powerful magicians could use spells that could turn the tides of a battle, but a spell that could annihilate two hundred enemies seemed like something from a fairy tale.
"Of course, there'll be a price, so I'd like to avoid using them if I could. So, could I ask you something Loren?"
Since they were huddled together in a small depression, Lapis could stare into Loren's eyes from a close distance.
Loren could see her looking at him in the dark of the night, with the light from the camp barely reaching them, because of Shayna, who was inside him, but her straight gaze made him think that she saw right through him.
"I would like you to present every single card we could use, but what do you think?"
Inside Loren, or inside his astral rather, which was his spiritual body, was a girl named Shayna that had been turned into the highest ranking undead called a No Life King in a previous job, but Loren hadn't explained that to Lapis yet.
He had been saved by her powers many times already, so it was safe to assume that Lapis knew about it, but she was playing dumb until Loren decided to tell her himself.
Loren guessed that since she was currently asking for an explanation, she was either relying on its powers, or there was no other option.
"I know you can't help but be wary of me. I understand that I'm a person that you can't be wary enough of. It's kind of sad, but…"
As her face really clouded in sadness, Loren felt guilty about hiding things from her.
"But from our current situation, I would like you to give me information, but how do you feel?"
'Onii-san, shouldn't we just be honest and tell her? It's a bit painful to leave Onee-san an outcast like this.'
It seemed that Shayna felt the same way as Loren did.
As Shayna sent her thought to him, he thought that this would be the best timing to tell Lapis, so he decided to do so.
"About Shayna, who we couldn't save on our previous job."
"I see. Would it be safe to assume that you're ready to tell me?"
Lapis interrupted Loren, who had started to talk, and Loren nodded, surprised at her question, confirming that she was correct.
"Then let me guess. Shayna's astral is living inside Loren's astral. It's impossible to tell since she usually uses your astral as a cloak, but if she excites her astral, she can use a part of her powers as a No Life King, am I correct?"
"You already know everything."
Loren sighed that she already knew everything, but Lapis told him with a serious look on her face.
"Guessing the truth and asking for confirmation are two different things."
"You can't see Shayna?"
Lapis shook her head at Loren's question.
"I can't. Feeling a strange presence and feeling that it was similar to the No Life King that I've seen before raised my suspicions. Seeing the powers activate turned it into conviction."
"That's still pretty incredible."
"Thank you. And now, we can finally set up a plan."
Lapis smiled and put her hand on Loren's shoulder as she said so.
Loren didn't understand what she meant by that, but then Lapis told him casually.
"So, Loren, please go attack the camp."
"Hey…are you trying to kill me here?"
Lapis said it like it was nothing but cutting in alone into more than two hundred enemies was a foolish act, which wouldn't work whether it was an ambush, or it was head on, that he wouldn't return from alive.
Since she just told him to do that, Loren started wondering if he did something to get on her bad side.
"I'll support you, so don't worry."
"But…that would kill me as well…wouldn't it?"
"Killing the first few bandits is the key."
Loren understood from the way she talked that she wasn't joking and wasn't trying to get him killed, but he still couldn't see a win condition.
On the other hand, Lapis seemed to know that they had a good chance of succeeding.
"If it were just the two of us, I wouldn't use this sort of plan, but with Shayna it's a whole different story. I think that we have a good chance of winning."
They were against a number that was impossible to go against between the two of them, but Lapis declared that going in alone gave them the highest chance of victory.
Logically thinking, Loren couldn't agree, but with Lapis saying so with such confidence and himself not having a better idea, he knew he couldn't change her mind, so his only options were to go with her plan or fall back.
"Seems like an impossible plan. But I can trust you, right?"
"Leave it to me Loren. I don't intend to let you go here, nor let those bandits do what they want."
As Lapis put her fist on her chest and told him not to worry, Loren couldn't find any traces of lies or hesitation in her words or her expression.
So, Loren decided to believe her and lowered the great sword from his back and held it in his hands.
"Loren, I can't speak with Shayna. Can she hear my words through you?"
"Yeah. She said she could link her senses to mine."
"Then please listen Shayna. What I want you to do, is to make allies. Can you do it? Please tell me if you can't."
'Hmm…I understand. Please tell Onee-san that I could do it.'
"Seems like she could."
Lapis nodded and turned towards the bandits' camp.
Nothing seemed to have changed.
It didn't seem that they noticed where they were, and were still making rounds, keeping watch.
"Let's begin. Let's show those bandits, who raided the town and ruined our dinner and beds, hell"
Lapis seemed to have said it very seriously, but Loren, who was about to run in, tripped when he heard it.
As she looked at him with a confused gaze, Loren said with a nervous laugh.
"…Didn't your motivation just turn really stingy?"
"What do you mean Loren? It's commonly said that a grudge over food is terrifying. And this time we have a grudge over beds as well. We have to make sure that they go dance with the devil in hell."
"What happened to getting revenge for the residents of the town?"
At Loren's question, Lapis gave a look like she had just remembered it, and an evil smile appeared on her face.
"If we put that into consideration, we can't even give them time to repent."
"You know, I'm starting to feel sorry a bit sorry for them."
"That's an unfavorable trend Loren. In times like these, you need to send them to the afterlife mercilessly, cold-heartedly, and cruelly."
"Did you need to mention cruelly?"
Loren shuddered as he wondered what 'cruelty' was for demon kind.
Lapis replied without changing her expression or the air around her.
"It can't be helped that the results are going to be cruel, right?"
"What am I going to be doing…"
"Nothing different than usual. Fight the enemy and cut them down. Just that."
Loren guessed if that was the case, it wasn't different than what he always did.
Next to him, Lapis started preparing spells or divine arts to assist him.
"I'll leave the timing to you. I'll assist you as I see fit."
"Alright. I'll be going."
A large body and a giant sword.
With movements unexpected from someone wielding both of those, Loren flew out into the night out of the depression they were hiding in.
Not long after he did, he was spotted by the bandits on watch, and those with bows gathered to take him out.
If he kept going like this, wouldn't he be running through a rain of arrows.
The thought crossed Loren's mind, but when the archers raised their bows, a bright light exploded through the night from behind him and dyed the area in white.
He wasn't affected since he had his back to it, but the archers, who were looking towards him, were blinded by the sudden bright light, more so because they had been looking into the dark for a long time.
'Onii-san! Go, go!'
"You don't have to tell me twice!"
It was a small opening, but it was more than enough for Loren.
He used that time to dash in and close the distance to the enemy camp and used the momentum he built to charge into a corner of the campsite.
Hey guys Kaoto here.
I guess that if I could focus, I can get a chapter done in around 1.5 to a bit over 2 hours.
I really need to stop getting distracted.
It’ll actually save me some time…
So the next part is probably one of my favorite scenes in the series, because it’s the first show of how Shayna could use her abilities.