Author: Demon Lord D (D魔王)
Chapter 2: Siren’s Tears
When Ellen walked out of the bar, it couldn’t be said that his condition was good, but at least he walked out by himself. In comparison to those that were carried out, or like the drunkards leaning against the wall vomiting, he could be considered relatively sober.
The door to the pub closed behind him, with a deep clanking sound. Then everything was silent.
The curfew during the wartime had already be lifted early on, but during the late night, the lower city belonged to the burglars, thieves, murderers and black market dealers, normal people would not want to be wandering about here.
Moonlight came down gently, spilling on the ancient streets. But the small alleyway on either side seemed as if to reject the light, hiding themselves completely in the darkness, even the elf with his night vision, could not see completely within.
Don’t come near – it was as if it was giving out a silent warning.
Then in that darkness, something seemed to move. Ellen rested his hand on his dagger and looked in that direction.
In threes and twos, a group of people came out. The elf released his breath.
They were mercenaries. Although more than half were unknown to him, most of them could be considered familiar faces. A few of them, Ellen even joined in on missions together.
The leader was a bandit, seemingly recognizing Ellen. He nodded, as if in greeting, then turned in another direction.
Probably returning to the Inn after a mission, the elf thought, silently following ten paces or so behind them.
The Inn was simply “The Inn”, there was no name on the signboard. But since that was the only place in the lower city that accepted mercenary boarders, there was a silent consensus, to call it “The Mercenary’s Home”. The story was that the owner was saved by a mercenary in his youth, so he was happy to accept people who were considered vagrants and thugs in the normal people’s eyes – as long as they were willing to pay a room fee higher than that of a normal person’s.
“The Mercenary’s Home” was located at the edge of the lower city, it was a group of buildings surrounded by high walls. The story goes that it was refitted from a jailing facility, thus it was far away from the civilian quarters and in the center is a large empty field.
That field had been used to house refugees from all over, but since the war was over, they had all been sent back.
Now all that was left were all sorts of crudely shaped lean-tos, which had yet to be dismantled.
Between the various tents, was a small well-worn path, which was just manageable to pass through.
Since stepping onto that field, Ellen had felt a strange atmosphere. Perhaps it was simply the effect of alcohol, or perhaps it was because this is the first time he had ever returned this late, or perhaps it was because…
Yes, it was the silence.
A group of mercenaries just returning from a mission, in full gear, needn’t worry about someone purposefully causing trouble, so there was absolutely no reason for them to be discreet. This should be when they are laughing and joking loudly, but not one of them could be heard talking.
–As if they were not on their way home, but in the middle of a mission.
Ellen lifted his head, finally confirming the source of his suspicion.
–The numbers were different.
A group that started off with around ten or so people; now there was only four, walking in front of him: a warrior, two bandits*, and an archer.
Ellen could almost be certain, that the ones who were missing, were mostly archers.
Naturally they aren’t really missing, just hidden, preparing to sneak behind; prevent the prey from escaping.
Not a bad trap. Unfortunately once the “prey” realizes this, it would be pointless.
The elf’s lips lifted in a mocking smile, silently bent down, and disappeared behind one of the tents.
The first to notice something was wrong, was one of the bandits.
When he looked back, he found that the elf was no longer following behind them like before, he immediately alerted the other three urgently.
From afar Ellen watched as the four stopped, talked for a moment, then turned around, carefully returning the way they came.
Too bad they were not stupid enough to search separately, Ellen thought with a little regret. –Since one versus four is still a little tiring.
As the four painfully searched for their prey, Ellen had already found two of the hidden archers, and dealt with them. Following that he successfully snuck behind the four.
The last member of the four man group was a warrior. He felt like cursing. They spent the whole day searching the streets for that damned bastard, and he was actually leisurely hiding in the bar, and now…
The warrior threw down his helmet in frustration, looking around himself, hoping to find the drunk elf passed out on some roadside.
“Looking for me?”
Reflexively the warrior turned his head around, what welcomed him was the hilt of a dagger. Hitting him across the nose, the pain made his eyes water. It was followed by another blow, to the back of his head. He dropped, armor and all, lying in the muddy road.
The two bandits and the remaining archer got into battle formation, forming a straight line, facing their opponent.
Thus the few archers still in hiding, even if they wanted to help, they would find the only barrier between them and the target would be their three comrades. They would have to abandon their advantage of ranged attacks and run to the front to help, or choose the easy way out: casually release an arrow or two, then pretend to die to one side.
–They chose the latter option.
The elf’s fist struck out randomly, hitting the upper torso of the archer unprotected by armor, and so, the expert they called “The one who could hit a running boar 100 paces away (aka Running Boar)”, writhed on the ground like a dying boar.
At that moment, one of the bandits finally managed to sneak behind the elf, preparing to stab at the unprotected back. But just as he was about to thrust forward, his face ate an elbow soundly, and so he went to join his other comrades.
The one remaining bandit was undoubtedly the leader.
Facing this type of raid, he didn’t panic, just drew his dagger, blocking the elf’s own short knife.
They were basically evenly matched, but the bandit was relieved.
The elf in front of him was not good at close quarter combat, just relying on agility and night vision, gaining quite a bit of an advantage in this setting. Plus the elf was not wearing any protective gear, even a little nick could decrease his energy by a lot.
In comparison, his own light armor had already blocked several threatening attacks by the dagger. As time drags on, becoming an endurance match, victory would undoubtedly be his.
But at that moment, the hidden archer made his move as if waking from a dream. Arrows flew towards them one after another, at a low angle, clearing aiming for the lower body. – As long as they were lucky enough to hit the target, it would be fine even if a team mate got a little hurt accidentally.
The bandit immediately began to feel the pressure. It was as if the elf was dancing, casually strolling through the rain of arrows, at the same time leading his opponent into the path of the archer. Cold breeze following the path of the arrows, brushed against the leg of the pants, and again.
Until one arrow sliced across the bandit’s body, the cloth near his thigh – or rather the side of his buttocks – was left with a hole. The wound wasn’t deep, but it burned a little painfully. The bandit finally couldn’t stand it, and opened his mouth to shout angrily.
“Can you fuckers stop shooting! You bunch of idiotic –“
Who knows if the following words were “pigs” or “asses”, the sensation of a cold strip of hardness against his throat stopped him.
The elf’s green orbs reflected the moonlight, looking at him calmly.
“Though I don’t expect to get an answer, but to be polite I should still ask – who sent you?”
The bandit finally made his decision, when he felt the sharp point of the dagger pressed against his throat, closing his eyes, he scratched at an indentation at the hilt of the dagger.
A cloud of purple gas silently spread from between the two of them.
The elf jumped back reflexively, holding his breath at the same time.
But still he miscalculated, the gas didn’t target the lungs.
The ground at night, turned into a forest shadowed by trees.
The sun shone through the treetops, leaving spots of light on the ground.
Amongst the sound of the cicadas, the elf lifted his head, faintly he say “them” standing under the trees, waving in his direction.
“Siren’s Tears”. A hallucinogen created using the tears of the magical creature Siren, along with strong mental magic. Non-lethal, due to its high cost, it was almost never used in real battles.
300 years ago, it was a popular drug in the black market.
–People say that, in the tears of a Siren, you can see heaven.
The elf swayed and fell.
The bandit – a veteran mercenary called “Golden Toothed Shark” – sighed with heartfelt pain, putting away his dagger.
The tool given by the employer was used just like that.
Although he originally wanted to save it for emergencies, not planning to trade it for money.
But, it was still regrettable: the current asking price for “Siren’s Tears” in the black market was one hundred gold coins, and it was in a long term state of shortage.
However, compared to the reward this time, who cares if it was used.
Golden Tooth Shark sighed again, and started to kneel down to check on his team mates.
It seemed that the elf had been merciful, they were all breathing. That was unfortunate, but he would remedy that mistake quickly.
Golden Tooth Shark picked up the elf’s dagger, and drew a line across the warrior [Shield]’s throat, followed by the archer [Running Boar], and finally his peer [Shadow].
The archers hidden around the clearing were already up, and heading in this direction.
Golden Tooth Shark laughed coldly and silently at the bottom of his heart.
The elf was light, not requiring two people to carry.
Therefore, only one person can leave this field alive to collect the reward.
Wow, I’m churning these out fairly fast, but don’t get used to it! It’s only because this is the first few chapters and everything is new XD. Eventually, it’ll taper off to one chapter every few days. I’m currently staying up crazy late to get these done and I do like my sleep.
*盜賊 – I couldn’t decide whether to use “Rogue” or “Bandit” for the job title, but in the end i decided to use ‘bandit’. (Google translation says bandit or robber lol)