Chapter 129: Cleaning Up

By the time Io, George and Eddison came back with the pursuit team, the clean up work was just about finished. They managed to kill off a large portion of the fleeing bandits, but the key figure, Dawson, managed to escape their pursuit.

All in all, while the human cost had been great, their deaths weren’t in vain either, we were able to defang the bandit troupe in one fell swoop leaving them with only Dawson left as their main fighting force. There were merely less than 200 bandit minions left over, but given that they still had the tamed wolves on their side, hunting them all down was going to be difficult as the wolves were proficient not only in tracking but escaping as well.

If Dawson were to engage in guerilla tactics with the remaining bandits, the villagers would find themselves hard pressed to counter him. After all, it wasn’t possible for the hunters to constantly act in a hundred strong grouping. Hunters were independent fighters who usually acted in small teams rather than large groups due to the restrictions that would pose on their lifestyles.

Only allowed on

Naturally all that was for the future. At present, with the main quest done, I think it was about time we left; though there were still some matters that had to be settled before that.

The harrowing battle had left the villagers with simply too many casualties thus I instructed Ancarin to share our remaining recovery potions with the villagers. While some of them were still wary of my identity, the majority still accepted my goodwill except for a bunch of villagers who were devout followers of the Goddess of Light.

Notably, the bible wielding old man was amongst this stubborn bunch. Even with a knife wound in his chest, he was still vehemently opposed to accepting my goodwill. Accepting help from the person who he felt was responsible for this tragedy was something he couldn’t abide by even at death’s knell.

Truth be told, walking away from this stubborn old man did cross my mind, but watching an elderly man lie gasping on the verge of death in a pool of his own blood was just…something I couldn’t bear to do.

It’s not like I had some kind of blood feud with this man; it was merely a religious matter that pushed us to opposing sides. I’m definitely not some moral nutcase who felt the need to save everyone, but it’s just a potion after all…being able to save a life with it sounds like a pretty good trade to me.

Yet the man refused to relent. Even with the impassioned pleading of his family members, he refused to accept aid from a devil like me. The reason? Because accepting anything from a devil would cause his soul to fall into hell…

In the end, his family members decided to force feed the potion to him. However, just as that decision was made, the old man heaved violently, coughing out a mouthful of blood before dying a short while later from the agitation.

He deserved it…I really wanted to that say but I chose not to in the end.

The recovery potions were all looted from Duran’s mansion and weren’t that many to begin with. With nearly all of the villagers being injured, that tiny stock of potions simply wasn’t enough to heal them all. The best we could do right now was to use the small stock on the fatally wounded and save them from the reaper’s scythe. As for those with light injuries, they were on their own; a potion was worth a life after all.

Recovery potions weren’t just some cheap goods a villager could afford. One vial alone could cost at least 10 gold coins or 10,000 rmb (chinese yuan, 1,500+ usd). Perhaps this might not sound expensive to some people, but look at it this way, if you cut your finger and had two choices available to you: an instant but expensive method or a cheap but slightly longer method. Which would you choose?

I leave that choice to you.

Let’s be real here though, only the extravagantly rich would choose the former. The villagers were poor to begin with and given that they even shot arrows at me, accepting such an expensive boon from me was just…

Perhaps they were merely reacting to my goodwill but ever since then, their gazes had become noticeably friendlier, or at the very least they weren’t hostile like they were in the beginning.

All in all, those potions were well-spent in my opinion.

Unfortunately, that didn’t change the fact that we didn’t have enough potions to go around which was truly a shame. Like that old man who refused to accept my potion, I truly believed that he wasn’t afraid of some nonsense like his soul being dragged into hell, but rather he knew that there weren’t that many potions to begin with; he wanted to do his part and pass on this bit of hope to the younger generation who might be severely injured.

The reason why I had this view was because this same scenario played out several times with the other old villagers who, just like that old man, refused my potion and died from blood loss…

With their dying breath, the majority of them expressed their wish to leave this valuable potion to the younger generation. To them, the best treatment should be left for their kids.

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Seeing this, the bystanders weeped, especially those who were their family members.

Back in the day, I remembered that the heavenly dynasty experienced a particularly horrific earthquake. If you were to ask any of those present that day, they would all say the same thing: the apocalypse had come. It just so happens that I had an internet friend who was studying in one of the cities affected. [1]

Their school was a particularly sturdy one and thus withstood the tremors unlike some of the other neighboring schools. Thanks to that, the majority of the student body and the staff survived that initial wave; while they could only watch in horror as the neighboring elementary school collapse in an instant like tofu…according to him, no one in that elementary school survived that day.

They then spent the next few days awaiting rescue in the open field without food, water or clothes. Other than dead bodies, they were pretty much lacking everything else. It was under such dire circumstances that the male students decided to give up their portion of rations from the rescue effort to the more sickly female students.

Back then I was still young and basically spent all my time at home, so I had never gone through such an experience personally. I couldn’t understand the meaning behind such an action until my online friend messaged me and said this: “Back then, everyone had goodness in their heart.”

Hearing that, I finally understood the weight of the sacrifice they made that day. They were using their lives to save another who needed those supplies more.

While the earthquake was a natural disaster unlike a man-made one like this bandit raid, the decision by the old villagers gave off the same solemnity. As I watched them die off one by one, each death felt like a stab at my heart.

It turns out that in the face of a disaster, the virtuous side of humanity showed itself after all…perhaps people might be willing to commit unspeakable acts for a simple meal, but on the flip side, there were also people who were willing to go to any length to save another’s life even if it meant giving up their own…these were virtuous acts.

While humans were the closest beings to a devil, they were also the closest beings to an angel.

“Master, we’ve run out of potions…” Ancarin scurried up to me and reported in an anxious tone. All the potions had been used up yet there were still so many more villagers to save; that amount of potions was merely a drop of water in a vast desert.

“If we’ve run out of potions, we can simply buy more. Oh right, where is the nearest apothecary?”

The lightly wounded could survive without the potions but the severely wounded desperately needed that healing liquid in order to survive. The best they could hope for was to suffer in agony for two more days before inevitably dying.

“I know of a store that sells potions under the counter, I’m sure they will have recovery potions there. If we whip the horses, we can probably make a round trip in a day. The only problem is…we don’t have the money for it…”

Being a merchant, Eddison naturally knew of such matters, but the matter of money had truly stumped him. After all, all his money had just been stolen by the bandits so where was he to find the gold at such short notice? Steal it? Like those bandits? Putting aside whether he could do that, even if he could, he would be hunted down by the security forces of that town.

“How much gold do we have on hand now?”

I asked while turning towards Ancarin who whispered in my ears: “Master, we have around 10,000 gold coins left.”

“Then take out 5,000 gold coins and buy 50 recovery potions, the 100 gold coins type.” While recovery potions could go as low as 10 gold coins, those potions barely had any visible effect. The cheapest we could get was the 100 gold coin potion which just so happened to give a round number with 5,000 gold coins.

“Eddison, I’ll get Ancarin to pass you the gold in a moment, I’ll have to trouble you to make the purchases since you’re probably the only one who knows where that store is.” There’s no way Ancarin would leave my side and Regine still had to guard the carriage. Thus, this important task could only be completed by Eddison.

The portly man turned towards me with a shocked look and exclaimed: “But…that’s 5,000 gold coins, that’s not a small sum!”

I turned to him with a solemn look in my eyes and said: “Life is priceless.”

“…many thanks.” As he said that, I could see his eyes tear up slightly.

Several minutes later, Eddison rode off on Dohby’s chestnut horse with 5,000 gold coins in hand. Hopefully he will be able to make it back in time with the potions to save the villagers. With so many severely wounded villagers, every minute wasted could lead to a death.

“I’ll find a way to pay you back.”

“There’s no need for that, saving them takes priority.”

At that, George gave me a torn look that seemed to say he didn’t want to get too involved with me given my sensitive identity. My aid might end up attracting the demon hunters from the Church of Light.

The Church of Light was the religion which worshipped the Goddess of Light. It was also the largest human religion without any close competitor. According to legend, the Goddess of Light was the arch-nemesis of all creatures of darkness. Devils, vampires, werewolves, undead and other monsters were all targets of purification by the Church of Light.

While I did say that being a devil was a sensitive matter in the Western Human Realms, it’s not exactly true that they will be killed on sight. However, these exceptions came with the requirement that you did no evil and was sufficiently strong. This was the only way a devil would be allowed to travel freely in the Western Human Realms. Unless of course you were a devil raised by some king or nobleman, if you were, you would be allowed to travel unmolested even without those requirements.

However, if you were some wild devil…sorry bud, but get ready to be hunted by a team of demon hunters. If, in the process of being hunted you hurt someone…then that’s your fault. If you were to be killed, then you would be judged as deserving death and your corpse will be turned in for a bounty. In short, this was the legendary “dying in vain”.

Thankfully, Eddison’s female servant was unharmed during the chaos and was even helping out with the wounded after reporting in to Eddison. This was the reason why he even had the mood to go on this errand.

Io’s family were basically unharmed as well except for his father-in-law who was slashed in the arm trying to save his daughter. It was a deep cut that couldn’t be healed with normal herbs, and without proper treatment, he was sure to lose his arm. Yet the moment he was offered a potion…he gave it up right away. He rejected it saying that there were plenty of others who needed it more than him, and that not treating this arm would at most cost him an arm unlike some who would die without a recovery potion.

Suddenly, everyone seemed to have become selfless…

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