In a slightly listless atmosphere, Loren x2019;s eyes suddenly turned sharp .
Lapis, slightly surprised, watched Loren as he started to reach for the great sword strapped to his back .
x201C;Wait! I just heard something! x201D;
Naron x2019;s warning rang out a moment after Loren x2019;s sudden action, and everyone tensed up .
Loren scanned the area, concluding that the others noticed the danger too late .
They were within the forest, but he decided that it wasn x2019;t a problem because they were in a small clearing, with space to move around and see their surroundings .
As soon as he used his left hand to pull the string strapping the cloth wrapping his sword, it fell off, revealing the blade .
He pulled out the sword in front of him with his right hand and put his left hand on the handle, right above his other hand, and switched his thought process for battle .
Even for mercenaries, who were in battle very often, straining their senses for battle all the time would chip away at their minds .
Loren had seen too many who broke their minds and hearts doing so, thus he made sure to switch back when he wasn x2019;t in battle .
He didn x2019;t have time to enjoy the energy flowing through his body before he spotted a few shadows moving behind the trees .
The shadows looked small and humanoid .
Based on how deep into the forest they were currently in, and the speed of the moving shadows, he was sure that they were not children lost in the forest .
x201C;What is it? Monsters? x201D;
Sarfe asked Naron, but his hand wasn x2019;t even on the grip of his sword .
Naron, although she pricked up her ears, hadn x2019;t even grasped the direction of where the monsters were coming from .
She kept looking around, pricking her ears and squinting, but she hadn x2019;t noticed that Loren already found the enemy and was tracking them .
Loren, wondering if this party was going to be okay, was trying to decide if he should point out the enemy x2019;s location, but wasn x2019;t sure if he should take Naron x2019;s job . Before he could decide, the enemy made the first move .
A few arrows flew at them, threading the space between the trees .
They didn x2019;t have much speed to them, and some of them flew off into a completely different direction . But still a good amount of them were headed toward where Loren was .
Most of them missed their target and fell around them, but one of them grazed Oxy x2019;s shoulder, spraying a bit of blood .
Sarfe and Naron shifted their gazes to Oxy at the sound of her pained voice .
x201C;What are they doing!? x201D;
Loren cursed . The two should know how much of an advantage they could give an enemy if they looked away during battle .
Not even facing the way the attack came from, but instead facing a cry from a comrade, was equivalent to begging the enemy to make the next move .
Loren x2019;s eyes turned to the monsters that started to run out from between the trees .
They were green and ugly, with shields made of wooden planks and short, rusty swords .
Loren swung his sword at the goblins .
The sword and the wooden shield clashed .
Loren x2019;s sword didn x2019;t cut through it, as his sword wasn x2019;t made to cut .
But instead, with its weight and sheer force, it smashed through the shields and crushed the goblin x2019;s arm, then ripped its body into two bloody pieces of meat .
Sarfe finally realized who the attackers were and pulled out his sword, while Naron pulled out her knife to protect Oxy, who had her hand on her wound .
x201C;Defensive arts!? x201D;
x201C;Don x2019;t need them! x201D;
Loren answered Lapis wildly and kept swinging his sword .
The third goblin instantly got crushed between the blade and a tree .
Loren reflected the second wave of arrows with the flat of the blade, then tracked the direction where they were coming from .
He was able to find the goblins with bows, but was irritated at where they were standing .
There were trees blocking the way so it was difficult for him to rush at them, and there wasn x2019;t enough space between the trees for him to freely swing his sword .
He wished he had a knife or a shorter sword . He then glanced at the ground and saw a small sword that belonged to one of the dead goblins . He picked it up and threw it at the archer goblins .
The feeble sword flew across the clearing and hit one of them, but only succeeded in giving a shallow cut .
Loren picked up another one and prepared to throw it but the goblins let out a cry, surprised that
Loren had a way to attack from a distance, and started to run away .
x201C;We x2019;re not letting them get away! Let x2019;s go! x201D;
Watching Sarfe giving out orders, Loren thought
x201C;You didn x2019;t even do anything x2026; x201D;
Naron and Oxy followed his orders but Loren gave his sword a swing, shaking off the blood stained on it, and stopped them .
x201C;I don x2019;t think chasing is a good idea . x201D;
x201C;What do you mean? Our job is the hunt the goblins . We finally found them, so we should chase them and make sure we destroy their nest . x201D;
x201C;Yeah! A lowly mercenary like you shouldn x2019;t butt into the leader x2019;s decision . So just shut up and follow him! x201D;
Loren stopped and didn x2019;t even try to talk back to Naron .
No matter how low intelligence the low rank monster called a goblin had, they weren x2019;t stupid enough to leave their nest completely vulnerable .
Their quest didn x2019;t say that they had to exterminate the nest .
All they needed to do was walk around and hunt down a certain number of goblins and receive their reward, so Loren wanted to avoid danger such as going into the nest, but it seemed that the rest of the party wasn x2019;t going to listen to him .
While he was comforting himself thinking that it wasn x2019;t the first time he was working under a useless leader, Lapis came up to him and started walking next to him .
x201C;Your friends are way up ahead . x201D;
Loren told Lapis without thinking, revealing his irritation, but Lapis smiled, not affected by it at all .
x201C;Yes, you x2019;re right . But I decided that this is the best place to be . x201D;
He remembered that if he excluded himself, Lapis was the newest member of the party .
x201C;It x2019;s not that I have an ulterior motive or anything . Since priests and magicians usually fight with warriors to protect them, and since Sarfe and Oxy are together, I thought that it would be natural for me to be with you, Loren . x201D;
Judging from Sarfe x2019;s reaction to the goblin attack, he would be labeled as a failure in Loren x2019;s mercenary group . He would either be sent to be retrained or to the very frontlines of battle for no reason .
Loren didn x2019;t want to put someone like him as a leader for sure .
Lapis replied without hesitation .
x201C;Loren, you used to be a mercenary, right? Okay, let x2019;s see x2026;Have you heard rumors of the mercenary called the ? x201D;
x201C;I x2019;ve heard that name before . x201D;
It was a name that was known among mercenaries .
He was famous not only among mercenaries, but was well known swordsman in general . The was a legendary mercenary known to bring victory to his allies but death and destruction to his enemies . He was a being that no one wanted to meet in battle, both as an ally or an enemy .
It was because if he was an enemy it would mean death, and if he was an ally there was a risk he would take all the credit .
Mercenaries got more offers the more they took part in battle . The existence called the was distanced from others for that reason .
Although there were mercenaries with titles here and there, the was considered the one of the strongest . It was believed among mercenaries that the only ones who could stand up to him was the , who used both sword and magic, or another swordsman called the .
x201C;Don x2019;t tell me that he x2019;s as strong as him? x201D;
x201C;Even if ten million Sarfe x2019;s got together, they wouldn x2019;t be able to beat the . x201D;
It was a confusing way to compare, but Loren understood that she meant Sarfe wasn x2019;t strong at all .
No matter how strong the is, he would run out of steam going against ten million enemies . But if that many number of people couldn x2019;t beat him, it meant that Sarfe was very weak .
x201C;You guys must be insane, trusting your lives to that kind of guy . x201D;
x201C;Loren, we x2019;re in the same shoes right now, you know? x201D;
x201C;Oh yeah, you x2019;re right . I have no money . I can x2019;t say that you x2019;re insane . x201D;
If Loren didn x2019;t have the problem of being broke, he probably wouldn x2019;t have chosen to become an adventurer .
x201C;Being broke sucks . It x2019;s like I don x2019;t have a say in the decisions I make . x201D;
x201C;Well, how should I put it . My condolences? x201D;
Loren wondered why she said it like a question, then suddenly stopped in his tracks .
Lapis stumbled, not expecting Loren to stop walking . She then saw Sarfe with his hand up as if he was signaling them to stop .
x201C;Look, a cave . That must be their nest . x201D;
Sarfe must have meant to talk softly, but Loren facepalmed at how loud his voice still was .
x201C;The trail of blood goes into it, and Naron is sure of it as well . x201D;
x201C;Are we going in? I x2019;d rather not . x201D;
The cave was barely wide enough to fit two people side by side, and there wasn x2019;t enough space for Loren to pull out his weapon and fight .
But Naron appeared from a nearby brush and started to make fun of him for saying so .
x201C;Then just go back . But you x2019;re not getting any of the rewards . x201D;
x201C;They x2019;re just goblins, so we should be fine . If you x2019;re worried about weapons, try this . x201D;
Sarfe then handed him a small sword that belonged to one of the goblins he had slain .
x201C;I brought this because I thought maybe we could find a use for it . x201D;
x201C;Well, you x2019;re not completely thoughtless . x201D;
Thought Loren . He was actually a bit impressed at Sarfe, but not at the sword . It was made poorly and it was so blunt it couldn x2019;t even cut anything .
But it was better than nothing, so Loren strapped his great sword onto his back and took the sword .
x201C;Oxy, use a spell to give us some light and Naron, watch our surroundings . Looks like there x2019;s no problems . Let x2019;s go . x201D;
Loren sighed again, wondering how many times he had sighed already and didn x2019;t even want to count, at the fact that they didn x2019;t even have a torch or lantern with them .
Of course, Loren didn x2019;t have them either, but that was only because he didn x2019;t have the money to purchase them .
x201C;They don x2019;t have anyone keeping watch or hiding, and no traps either . x201D;
x201C;Okay, let x2019;s go . There might be villagers in there . We should hurry and save them . x201D;
Oxy raised the staff she was holding .
x201C;Behold, light . . x201D;
A magic light appeared at the tip of the staff .
Loren didn x2019;t understand why they would use the spell already when they didn x2019;t even step into the cave yet, but had completely given up on them a while ago so he didn x2019;t even try to point it out .
x201C;Let x2019;s go . x201D;
As soon as Oxy gave a nod, Sarfe started walking toward the entrance of the cave, with no way of knowing everything going on in Loren x2019;s mind .
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