Having tangled with these eight wolves for so long, the fact that they were able to toy with me up till now was without a doubt, an embarrassment. It goes without saying that I was lacking in certain areas, namely strength. Other than my speed, it could be said that my other attributes were definitely stronger than a one-star but barely comparable to a two-star.
If I could use my bone walls to create a more favorable terrain or my instant cast bone spears, these wolves would not have been such a problem. In fact, if I just had enough time to cast my flame whip, I wouldn’t have been in such a disadvantageous position. Unfortunately, the need for secrecy took precedence over everything.
If my red skin was to get exposed by a stray bite, the consequences would be dire. And so I had no choice but to focus primarily on defense. All it took was for one wolf to bite off my hood and my secret would be revealed. Thus, this wolf encirclement was particularly troublesome for me; it wasn’t that I had gotten weaker but rather I was unable to fight with my full capabilities.
Furthermore, the situation on the other side concerned me as well. Regine and Ancarin were only two-star and one-star respectively. Facing off against a three-star warrior was already asking much of them, let alone expecting them to win. With all these issues distracting me, concentrating on the fight was difficult in of itself.
Thankfully, Ancarin had a treasure trove of magical tools aiding her, most notably those magical scrolls. The Third Chief knew of the power of these scrolls and thus couldn’t decide on whether to retreat or continue attacking.
At the moment Regine launched a sneak attack on him, I managed to kill the second wolf.
Having been reassured by the presence of those scrolls, Regine abandoned the fight with the bandit and instead came to help me. As a thief, she naturally had long range attacks of her own and thus didn’t need to stand too close to the wolves. All she had to do was find the opportune moment to toss a couple of throwing daggers.
With her superior speed and throwing daggers, she had a much easier time handling these wolves compared to me. The combination of my blade and her daggers ended up killing most of the remaining wolves.
In the meantime, George and the other hunters had managed to defeat the minions that the Third Chief had brought along with him. That’s right, defeat not kill.
Logically speaking, George should’ve been the one to face off against the three-star Third Chief right from the get go as they were the only three-stars present. Only should he falter would this responsibility fall onto us outsiders.
Yet when George saw that I saved his little brother Dioh, he no longer paid any attention to the Third Chief but instead chose to fight the minions. While I could understand his reasoning, it still pissed me off nonetheless.
If, during the process of fighting against the Third Chief we were to get killed or captured, there would no longer be a reason for the two parties to fight. While some minions might get sacrificed in the process, these minions were called small fries for a reason. With that in mind, it seems like the relationship between George and the Wolf’s Fang Bandit Troupe wasn’t as simple as it seemed on the surface.
Of course, it could just be me overthinking things.
Choosing to fight the minions instead could just as likely had been motivated by the desire to minimize the casualties on the side of the hunters. However, I had to admit that this fellow was truly ruthless. With every swing of his blade, a bandit would fall to the ground dead or crippled. Under such circumstances, it didn’t take long before the bandits began to feel the pressure of their losses.
With his minions defeated and George free to join in the fight, not to mention the other side still had magical scrolls on hand…the chief was basically stuck between a rock and a hard place.
And so the Third Chief wisely chose to back out of the fight. Yet, this didn’t mean that the matter was over either. As the man retreated, he shouted: “George, you win this time but this won’t be the last you hear of me. One day I’ll make you pay for everything you’ve done!”
Having said that, he picked up the long blade he dropped and signalled for the surviving bandits to gather up. With a long sharp whistle, he commanded the wolves to stop after which he slowly walked past George and began gathering the survivors.
With this battle over, George who was against this fight in the first place, finally breathed a sigh of relief and began marshalling the hunters. The uninjured hunters were tasked with escorting the injured ones back to the village first while he took care of one last piece of business.
Without stopping to check the casualties, George immediately stepped forth and rebuked the bandit, knowing full well that if he were to show any signs of weakness now, the bandits would only get emboldened: “You shouldn’t have attacked my little brother.”
“Let’s get things straight here, he was the one who attacked me first!” Hearing this, the Third Chief immediately flared up once more. “You should rein in that mangy brat instead and teach him the dangers of being impetuous!”
“Who’re you calling a mangy brat!”
Being a hot-headed youth, Dioh naturally wasn’t willing to let that comment slide.
“Naturally, whoever it is that answered of course.” The Third Chief said with a taunting laugh as he threw the boy a contemptuous look.
“Dioh!” Seeing the kid try to rush towards his death once more, George immediately grabbed hold of his little brother and prevented him from running off.
“Big Bro, let me go!”
However, no matter how much he struggled, George refused to let go. After struggling for awhile, he finally realized the futility of his actions and quietened down. Thinking that the kid had finally calmed down, George released his grip on Dioh and turned his attention back to the departing bandit chief.
Not even giving the moaning bandits on the ground a second look, the Third Chief turned his gaze onto me and said with a sinister grin on his lips, “Lass, I’ve set my eyes on you now. There’s no way you’ll escape from the palm of my hands!”
How many times do I have to repeat myself to make you guys understand…I’m a guy!
“There’s no way we can settle this amicably?” Keenly aware of my desire to remain low-key, Ancarin stepped forth once more to mediate this issue with money. “If we give you a low-grade enchanted gear as compensation, will you let bygones be bygones?”
A low-grade gear was at least worth 500 gold coins with the more expensive ones being worth a few thousand. However, being able to settle this issue by paying one or two pieces of gear was still a worthwhile trade; given that we managed to loot ten of such items from Duran. Compared to having my identity potentially exposed, losing some money was nothing. With Nicole so close at hand, the safer choice was definitely the better one.
Yet, the Third Chief didn’t seem to think so. With a legion of henchmen under him and two other chiefs standing behind him, he didn’t need to fear us at all.
“You wish to settle this privately? That price is just too low.” He declared arrogantly without a hint of fear in his eyes.
“Then two pieces.”
“Haha, as long as I catch you all, all your items will belong to me. Naturally, that includes your bodies as well,” said the Third Chief, revealing his unbridled greed with one sentence.
Even though he had lost the battle, his aggressiveness hadn’t diminished a bit thanks to his powerful backing. Ironically, it was us, the victors who seemed more concerned about any repercussions.
“Lass, you better wash up and be ready to get f*cked! Ah hahaha…lads, we’re leaving for now. Once we’ve had our fill, we can come back and settle the score!” He laughed for a moment before signalling to his henchmen to retreat with a wave of his hands.
As for him, he made sure to threaten us once more to ensure we didn’t abscond: “Don’t even think about escaping, if I come back to find ya’ll missing, I’ll raze this village! Women, children and all.”
With those simple words, he cut off all our escape routes. No matter what we tried, whether it was money or just running away, the other party didn’t intend to let us off the hook. Even though we could still leave after these bandits retreated, there’s no way the villagers would allow us to do so as that would incur the wrath of the bandits.
Given that the man was only ranked third, that meant that there was at least two other chiefs ahead of him. Since bandits only valued strength, the other two chiefs would definitely be stronger than the three-star Third Chief. In fact, one of them might even be a four-star.
With that in mind, I could finally understand the feelings of that old village chief; not only could he not defeat them, he couldn’t let us go either. If we had chosen to leave last night, the combined forces of me, Ancarin and Regine should’ve been enough to break through any opposition, assuming that George and the others weren’t there of course.
Yet if we did that, the village would’ve definitely had to pay the price. While there was no guarantee that the bandits would kill them all, the price would still be steep.
At this moment, the looks the villagers gave us started to seem a little strange. They had done nothing wrong at all and yet they were now threatened with the possibility of annihilation thanks to us. We must’ve looked like a bunch of jinxes to them.
Unfortunately for us both, the reality of the situation was as such so there’s no point blaming me. Who would’ve known that killing a couple of wolves would bring out a whole bunch of bandits?
Not only was the Third Chief unrepentant; not only did he walk at the very back of the contingent with his exposed back to us, his swagger gait was wide enough to form an upside down V! If one didn’t know better, one would’ve mistaken him for the reincarnation of a blonde orange.
Hmm…what are we to do now? If we wait for him to come back, that would be the same as committing suicide. Even if we tried to escape now, the addition of George and these hunters ensured that our chances were basically nil.
Just as I was mulling over this dilemma, a certain brat made the decision for me.
The twang of bow resounded across the silent battlefield, bringing with it the signature whoosh of an arrow barrelling through the air as it shot right towards the back of the bandit’s throat.
However even in his non-combat state, the Third Chief didn’t let his guard down for a second. The moment the arrow left the kid’s bow, he immediately picked up on the sound. He swiftly turned around and swung his blade, landing it perfectly in the path of the arrow slicing it apart with ease.
“Mangy brat, you actually dared to attack me again!”
As he turned his fuming gaze onto the kid, his eyes swivelled in time to catch the sight of a second arrow being fired by Dioh.
That’s right, the one who launched that sneak attack was Dioh. The kid who seemed to hate the man even more than me for reasons unknown, immediately loaded a second arrow with the full expectation of his first arrow failing.
I had to admit though, this brat’s archery skills weren’t too shabby. Even with over ten meters separating the two of them, both of his arrows were aimed perfectly at his throat and heart respectively.
Having been the target of two sneak attacks, the Third Chief was now dead set on killing Dioh. Yet, his attack was intercepted once more, this time by George who rushed to Dioh’s side the moment he saw the second arrow being loaded.
Before he fired off the arrow, George was completely unaware of what he had planned. Knowing that his big brother wouldn’t approve of his sneak attack, the rebellious kid ran off to a remote corner and waited for an opportune moment to launch his arrow. In the end, he failed at catching the bandit off guard.
Knowing that the first arrow was doomed to fail given the disparity between him and a three-star warrior, he decided to load another arrow.
Truth be told, the second arrow was probably a stunt on his part. His aim, to attract the attention of the Third Chief while simultaneously telling his big brother that “your little brother is about fire his load again…”