An orc pushed Vera forward so hard she almost fell. She turned and glared at it hatefully.
"!%%@^$%^!" grumbled the orc in his race's tongue.
Even though she didn't understand their language, Vera could tell it was probably something along the lines of 'What are you looking at?' or 'Keep moving!'
"Leader, why are we bringing this white-skinned woman along? Her looks disgust me," griped the orc to another of huge build behind him after looking at her.
"You pig! Even though we investigated such a large area, we didn't find any leads. We, therefore, have to bring a human back and question her to see if she knows anything. Hmph, these humans have been going a little too far lately!" grumbled the leader.
Vera cursed as she walked, but thanks to the orcs' inability to understand the common tongue, they ignored whatever she said and proceeded on their journey.
While she didn't know where they were taking her, she wasn't interested as she had already abandoned all hope. When the orcs attacked, she had focused only on her front and completely forgot to pay attention to her rear. As a result, she was struck by a wooden stick on the back of the head by an orc. Even though she didn't faint immediately, she lost all ability to resist. She saw Cyranos fight for his life with the orcs. Eventually, his chest caved in from a blow from an over 200-kilogram hammer.
Her family had once been wiped out by orcs… and now she once again saw another loved one die in front of her at the hand of an orc. Rage, hatred, and grief once again tormented her. They cause her so much pain she lost the will to live. At that moment, Vera felt like taking her last stand and killing a few more orcs before she died. She had already been silently waiting when she traveled with the orcs. She wasn't going to lash out until her mind cleared up properly. Even though she had no weapons and both her arms were tied, she would still fight. She could even bite the throat off an orc with her teeth!
Feeling herself mostly recovered, she pretended to trip on a thick branch and prepared to strike.
"This human is useless!" laughed one orc as he prepared to pull Vera up.
An arrow dug into the orc's head at that exact moment.
Kurdak had been tailing the group for about an hour. Using the experienced he had gained from years of working as a mercenary, it didn't take him long to find them. However, he hadn't attacked right away. There were 13 orcs in the party. It wasn't that he lacked the courage. He just couldn't risk both Vera's life and his own without a proper plan.
He'd thought of many possible ways to resolve the situation, like setting a trap ahead of the group, or running straight up to them, quickly freeing Vera, and leaving together. He soon realized, however, that both plans had too many flaws. He settled on taking advantage of the orcs' bad night vision in the end. He patiently waited for nightfall. Even though it would also affect his own eyesight, he still had the advantage over orcs.
Just as Vera was about to fight to the death, Kurdak fired his first arrow.
"Enemy attack! Arm yourselves!" barked the leader.
The group got into a crude formation. A few faced the direction the arrow had come from and lifted their wooden shields.
Kurdak furrowed his brow, dissatisfied at the results of his first strike. After a long period of observation, he could tell which one was the leader. His first arrow was meant to take him out. If it had succeeded, the rest of the simple-minded orcs would have been far easier to deal with.
But, in a twist of fate, Vera tripping made one orc bend down and take the arrow meant for the leader. When he realized that he was the arrow's actual target, he hurriedly grabbed Vera and retreated behind his subordinates. Even though Vera was just about to go all out, the sound of a passing arrow made her freeze. When the dead orc fell to the ground, she could see the magical engravings on the arrow. Leguna and Kurdak must've come to her rescue.
Even though her fighting ability was not much worse than the orc leader, she couldn't compete with him in raw strength. No matter how hard she struggled, its hands didn't budge one bit.
"Leave me, you two fools! There's too many of them! You're not their match! Run!" cried she.
No sound came from the woods, no reply, instead, Kurdak conveyed his intentions with the next arrow he fired.
"Kurdak you idiotic, stupid bear! Why are you such a fool? There's no way you can take out all of them! Leave! Leave with Leguna! He's still young and shouldn't have to die for me! Even if you don't care about your life, you should consider him! He's just a child! Leave with him now!"
Vera was already breaking down. She bit her lip so hard it bled. Though her tears had already mixed with the blood on her face, she still kept on crying out.
You don't have to worry about that kid, idiot. He's long gone, thought Kurdak before he fired another shot.
He wasn't lying when he told Leguna he knew how to use many different types of weapons adeptly. He was quite accurate with the bow. It allowed him to kill two orcs in the darkness with only three shots quickly. If they didn't take any action soon, they would be picked off one by one until none were left.
The party leader fumed with rage. He hated the coward who only knew how to fire shots from the darkness -- an act of great cowardice orcish culture.
Two of his comrades had already died and it was an insult to orc warriors.
If that fella has any guts, he ought to fight us head on!
None of the orcs dared to act rashly, however. Their night vision was too bad. At the darkest point of the night, they could see no further than ten meters. The worst part was that the moonlight was mostly obscured by the forest's dense foliage. If any of them dared to charge, they would just be exposing themselves even more. They were in an incredibly perilous position.
"A bunch of idiots," mumbled Kurdak as he moved to a new position and fired another arrow.
The third orc fell. The leader was as angry as ever, but, when he saw Vera screaming, he began to come up with a plan. He drew an enchanted dagger emanating a yellow-orange glow. It was the weapon he had taken from the human male they killed.
A tough one, that human.
He'd had to order the other orcs to not attack to prevent further casualties among his party and challenge the human to a one-on-one fight. While the human was stronger than him, its injuries made it possible for him to win. He'd claimed the human's dagger as his trophy. Not only was it a good weapon, it was also a sign of respect an orc showed his foe. Currently, he held that very weapon against Vera's neck.
"!^%@&*#%[email protected]&*$**&@...&die," barked he.
He held the woman so tight she couldn't even make a sound.
As he was fortunate enough to be taught once by the Earth-shaking Hammer, he knew a little of the humans' common tongue. He had mixed a little of his own language in because he yelled in a hurry. He'd meant to say, 'Cowardly ambusher, stand out immediately and face me in battle head-on. Otherwise, I'll kill this woman.'
As Kurdak knew a little orcish, he basically knew what the leader was trying to say.
"I knew it wouldn't be that simple," Kurdak mumbled as he dropped the bow and took out a bottle containing a purplish-black liquid.
"Guess I ended up needing this thing after all."
After some hesitation flashed across his eyes, he downed the whole bottle.
"It doesn't taste bad at all!"
He nodded as he looked at the rampaging orcs. He charged with his two-handed sword without the slightest bit of hesitation and a loud roar.
When the orcs saw the huge man jump out of the bushes, they could no longer control their anger and waved their weapons in the air. They ran forward with their hodge-podge equipment. Kurdak resolved himself and rushed straight for the five orcs coming his way.
The fight broke out immediately and at that moment, a strong wave of impetus burst out of Kurdak. He leaped and used the downward momentum to execute an airbreak slash.
The orc right in front of him hurriedly raised his toothed club to block. He'd underestimated the gap in strength and equipment, however. The impetus-infused two-handed sword was sharper than ever. The moment it came into contact with the orc's club, both the weapon and the user split in two. Blood spurted all over and covered Kurdak. He killed an enemy one strike. But as he had used too much force, his wound tore open and blood flowed out.
He felt a searing pain that almost blinded him. With a loud groan, the impetus in his body exploded outwards in a wave that sent the four other orcs stumbling backwards.
Even though the orcs were poorly armed and hadn't received any formal training, their naturally large physiques and the years they spent growing up in harsh environments toughened them up considerably.
They didn't show any sign of fear even after seeing one of their comrades killed in a single strike. Instead, the sight stimulated the battle lust innate to orcs. They roared before clashing with Kurdak again.
Even though the orc leader hated using such an underhanded method to force the enemy's hand, the situation was critical and it was the only thing he could do to remedy it. Now that Kurdak had jumped out of hiding, the orc leader relaxed his tensed-up nerves and lowered the dagger he held to Vera's neck. Just as he was about to give his next order, a searing pain lashed out at him from the back of his head. Less than a second later, he lost consciousness for good.
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