Infiltrating Deep into Orc Territory
Farsi looked at Leguna in the distance with a twinkle in his unsettled eyes. Given that Annelotte was right beside him, he didn't pull any moves and merely dictated his spells to kill the enemy.
Leguna flicked Flameblade to get the orc captain's blood off it before he looked behind him at the limping orc that hadn't made it far away. Even though Farsi didn't ask that all the orcs be killed, he felt it best to keep word of a squad of humans traveling deep in orc territory under wraps for a few more days if possible. So, he evaded two other orcs before tossing a smoke bomb on the ground and disappearing.
Modherik resisted the heart-wrenching pain as he continued to advance. He had seen the sight of his father falling when he turned back just a moment ago. Anger, humiliation, and grief assaulted his mind in waves; an overpowering urge to fight the human to the death, but he didn't do so. He had an even more important mission. He had to take word of this encounter to the other settlements. He had only just realized the reason his father gave him the order. Not only would it minimize the damage the humans here could do in their territory, it would also ensure the survival of his only son.
His dad had been fully aware of how dangerous human magi were, so, when he spotted three in the squad, he knew, immediately, this wasn't a battle that could be won.
If I hadn't been so rash, maybe everyone could've survived, thought he.
They had rushed to attack the enemy because he had led the other youngsters in a charge against them. If he had listened to his father's orders, maybe they could've retreated. At the very least, not all of them would've been wiped out.
Modherik struggled to endure the pain, both physical and mental, but continued onward with grit teeth. He had already decided to commit suicide to atone for his mistakes after completing his current assignment. Even if that method of dying was incomparably shameful, it wasn't nearly as humiliating as the shame he currently bore.
Unfortunately, he was not destined for such an end. A dark figure suddenly materialized in front of him.
Leguna looked at the orc in front of him with interest. He had gained quite a bit of understanding of these creatures over the last two years. The simple-minded things would rush straight into enemy ranks roaring whenever there was an encounter. Not once had he seen an orc turn tail and run. Did orcs feel fear and terror as well? The orc answered his questions soon enough. He swung his axe at him without hesitation.
Modherik was well aware that the human in front of him was his father's killer. Now, he had come for his life. Even though he knew he was far from the human's match, he still charged. If battle was inevitable and death was on the horizon, he would face it with courage! That was his people's pride!
The orc's sudden charge surprised Leguna. He saw a bit of his more innocent self from two years earlier in it. Though he was really weak, he still wanted to prove something despite his lacking strength. He didn't kill it immediately. His body swerved and evaded its strike before he made his way to its rear. With a slight lunge, he pierced both his mithril daggers into its kneecaps.
Losing the support of both his legs, Modherik fell to his knees. He ignored the pain and struggled to turn around and give the human a stubborn glare.
Leguna looked the orc in the eye before he sighed and plunged Lighteater into its chest.
He glanced at the orc. It appeared rather young, slightly older, or even younger, than himself. The orc's face didn't contort in pain when the sword pierced its heart. Instead, it's face revealed a shamed, unwilling, and... questioning expression.
'Why? Why did you kill me? Why did you invade our homeland?' it seemed to ask.
He silently drew Lighteater out and turned to around. The battle should have been more or less settled. Thanks to the bombardment of the three mid-order magi, the orcs' lives were harvested like sheaf after sheaf of ripe wheat.
Only a few orcs were left and fighting without care for their lives as if they didn't notice the death of their comrades around them.
The humans also suffered some casualties under the orcs' incessant attacks. Four of Farsi's warriors had died, with six others injured. Farsi didn't even bat an eye at the casualties. To him, attendants were expendable resources whose death was nothing about which to feel bad.
Daver, on the other hand, heaved a huge sigh upon hearing about the deaths, before his old habits to flirt with Annelotte kicked in. He asked how she was doing and even forced her to accept two bottles of mana potion. As a fellow magus, he knew well how dangerous and painful it was to be in a mana-drained state.
Leguna returned without a word. He merely nodded to Kurdak and the rest before sitting in a corner where he watched the others collect the spoils.
"Mister Kurdak, your party really lives up to your fame. I see hiring you was the right decision. Please accept my thanks," said Farsi when he came over.
Kurdak turned to look at Farsi and laughed.
"Haha, Mister Farsi, we're a bunch of crude mercenaries working for money. We aren't even comparable to a prestigious magus like you. I'm sure a few hundred gold coins aren't much to you either."
"Indeed. A few hundred gold coins truly isn't a huge figure to a magus. However, isn't Miss Annelotte of your party a magus too? Why did she choose to become a mercenary?" asked Farsi nonchalantly.
"Annie doesn't lack money, she joined to hone her skills."
Naturally, Kurdak wasn't stupid enough to reveal Annelotte's true identity without good reason.
"Oh? I wonder if Miss Annelotte has a guild backing her? Given her talent, I believe she would be given a high post if she joined the Eye."
Kurdak felt a slight chill. He didn't know what at what Farsi was prodding. He had no choice but to feign ignorance.
"I'm not too sure. I remember her saying she was someone's apprentice. I can't say for sure whether she's a member of a guild or not. At the very least, I haven't heard her mention anything along those lines."
"I see. Then what about Leguna? He already has impetus of the 11th stratum at such a young age -- a rare talent. Is he not in guild either?"
He was trying to prod for more information on both Annelotte and Leguna.
Kurdak cracked a smile.
"That brat? He's part of Moonshadow's odd-job department. He was just carrying out an errand two days ago in Jade Street. He's in charge of collecting the protection fee there."
Since Leguna's status as a membership of Moonshadow was no secret, Kurdak didn't bother to hide it so he wouldn't incite more of Farsi's suspicion.
"Ah, so that's how it is. I didn't expect an 11th stratum mid-order assassin like him could only serve in the odd-job department. It seems the mysterious guild is rife with hidden talent as always," murmured Farsi with an odd expression.
Seeing that Farsi was confused, Kurdak hurriedly changed the subject.
"We managed to get quite a haul from the battle today. What do you plan to do next, Mister Farsi?"
Farsi gave it some thought.
"We'll continue our advance. We wanted to take a swing around the orc settlements in the area."
"As you wish." Kurdak didn't object either. There was no way Farsi didn't know the dangers involved. Since he had chosen to continue, he must be confident he could retreat safely.
Two days later in the night, Farsi's squad arrived near an orcish settlement. The settlements were the equivalent of human towns. However, they were usually less populated, had more simple buildings and were usually dirtier. The orc empire only had one city, its capital Ogrimma. The other areas were nothing but pigsties in the eyes of humans. Ogrimma itself was only comparable to a second-rate city and was nowhere as prosperous as Starfall.
"What a great haul we're going to have!!"
Even in the middle of the night, Kurdak seemed as excited as a chicken in a cock-fighting ring. It was only to be expected. If they could wipe out a whole orc settlement with at least five to six hundred warriors guarding it, even a third of the ears was worth thousands of gold coins. With money in hand, Kurdak would be more than capable of going on a shopping spree in Hammer of Flame. He would no longer have to worry about blocking Vera's sight lest the shopping maniac saw something she ought not purchase.
"Alright, let's go. Be alert and try to kill as many enemies as possible before we're discovered," instructed Farsi after he dictated enhancement spells for the group.
The battle would take place in the middle of the night. The sleeping orcs didn't expect humans would attack the settlements. They hastened to respond, some orcs even rushed out of their houses naked, wielding wooden sticks. Unsurprisingly, they were either hacked to death by the human warriors or ground to dust by the magi's spells. By the time dawn broke, every last orc capable of combat was dead. Only the elderly, females, and children remained. They were currently tied up and huddled together helplessly and watched by ten well-equipped men.
"Alright, let's head off. We've earned more than enough!" said Kurdak as he wiped the blood stains off his face.
"But, Mister Kurdak," Farsi said as he pointed at the captives, "there are still a bunch of ears waiting to be harvested. Don't you want them? They're probably worth a thousand gold coins, you know."
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