Chapter 27: The raid
The next day, after breakfast.
Ren, who had finished preparing for the hunt, stood in the yard, waiting for Roy.
But as soon as he stepped in, Roy told him to take off his equipment.
“I want you to take today off from hunting and go into the village to carry lumber.”
“Carrying lumber? What’s going on?”
“Fortunately, Weiss-san and the others are going to help us with a lot of things. They are going to help us with the little boars that have increased ridiculously and do some carpentry work while they’re at it.”
“Oh, so that’s what this is about.”
“So I’m going to the vaults with Weiss-san.”
Ren tilted his head at the word vault.
“I don’t know if I told you, but there’s a shed near the bridge where we store wood. Ever since I told you before that I was going to fix up the mansion, I’ve been working on it little by little.”
Roy and Weiss would visit the shed and check on the forest, while handing over the wood to the knights for transport.
It seems that it is a flow of handing it over and carrying it.
In the village, Ren would assist them.
“I’m going to give instructions at the storehouse and then I’m going into the forest with Weiss-san and some other knights.”
Weiss comes in just as he finishes checking these things.
Mireille came out of the house after him.
“Roy-dono. let’s get right to it.”
“Yes, I just talked to Ren about it.”
Then Mireille came out of the house.
“I’m going to Grandma Rigg’s house. I need to have some medicine made for the young lady, so I won’t be back until afternoon.”
“I’m sorry, Mireille-san.”
Mireille saw Weiss bowing his head and hurriedly said “Don’t worry about it!“
“It is the duty of a knight’s family to take care of the lady. Leave this kind of work to me.”
With these words, she walked ahead of the others down the field path.
Soon after, Ren and the others followed her out of the garden and joined the knights who were already waiting outside.
“Well, my fellow knights.”
The knights straightened their backs in response to Weiss’s voice.
“We must return the favor and kindness shown to us. Get into position and display the physical strength you have developed over the years.”
The knights responded heroically.
Everyone began to move briskly.
Some followed Roy and Weiss as they walked and some started walking toward the carpentry area.
(…… It’s cloudy today.)
Just before he himself began to move, Ren looked up at the sky.
He asked the Lord God to keep the rain from pouring down from the cloudy sky.
Within two hours of everyone moving, the sky deteriorated rapidly and the rain began to fall.
Within seconds, the fog began to roll in and the visibility was terrible.
They couldn’t even see a little bit further.
“Ren-dono! I think we should take a break!”
“I understand….! The weather is getting worse.”
Ren who replied to the knight was going back and forth between the material yard set up between the field and the mansion.
The repairing area is not limited to the mansion, but there are also some old houses, so it was more convenient to set up a relay point.
(The rain is getting heavier and heavier.)
The rain was increasing and the ground was getting muddy.
Let’s take a break at the house until the weather calms down.
(What’s that ……?) Ren raised his eyebrows as he made this decision.
(What’s this ……?)
Ren’s nose suddenly twitched.
(What’s that smell?)
The smell of the soil being wet from the rain, mixed with a nose-stabbing odor.
It was the smell of burning.
In this village, there are villagers who burn fields several times a year.
It was a thick burnt smell, similar to when they did it.
The knight walking right beside me also noticed the smell and raised his eyebrows.
(It’s coming from over there.)
The smell came from the direction where the mansion was located.
Ren’s foot noticed this and unconsciously pushed his body forward.
“What’s this smell—-Re, Ren-dono!”
The knight shouted and at the same time, he ran after Ren, who was running at a fast pace.
The two of them looked in the direction of the Ashton family mansion and saw a bright red glow at the end of the thick fog.
As they took one step closer, and then another, the true nature of the light was revealed.
It was a fire.
It was a flame, radiating a deep red light.
“Why… Why is the mansion……?”
It was natural to wonder.
But he didn’t think about the answer.
The first thing that came to mind was the people who remained in the mansion. Most importantly not the knights, but —- Licia.
“Please wait! Ren-dono!”
Ren ran without listening to the knight’s calls.
The distance of more than ten minutes to the mansion, he ran through in the blink of an eye.
“Hah …… hah …… hah ……!”
As he approached the mansion, a new aroma wafted through the air that stung his nose.
Mixed in with the fog and rain, there was also a slight smell of blood in the air.
Something strange is happening.
The crimson flames are raging despite the rain. It was visible and hidden behind a thick fog, and asserted its presence like the sun.
An old fence comes into view beyond the thick fog.
Further on, he could see the fallen knights in the garden.
When he approached to ask how they were, he found that every single one of them had died and there was a terrible scar at the base of their necks, as if they had been bitten to death.
Ren’s hand touched the body and felt the warmth that still remained in the knight’s body.
Not much time had passed.
(Taking advantage of the fog and rain to drown out the sound too….! Who could have done this in just a moment ……?)
Ren saw this and, fighting back the nausea that came over him, turned his attention toward the mansion.
The memorable mansion was engulfed in a raging fire and looking at the doorway, it looked like a dragon spitting flames.
He still didn’t stop and valiantly kicked through the door to get inside. He also summoned his iron magic sword and clenched it in preparation for battle.
At this point, Ren wondered whether to wait for the pursuing knight.
If someone had set fire to the house and attacked the knights…… that someone might still be inside the house.
It’s definitely better to wait for the knights than to go alone.
—-But what would happen to Licia while he waited?
Perhaps the knights will arrive in less than a few minutes.
But what if Licia falls to the deadly blade while waiting for that time? Thinking of that, he couldn’t stop, even though he was terrified.
Gasping for breath, Ren slapped his cheek and stomped into the mansion.
“Why is this …… happening?”
The inside of the house was bright red and dazzling with flames.
The heat wave that surged through the air caused a burning pain on his skin.
Still, Ren stepped into the raging fire and ran up toward the half-destroyed staircase.
At the edge of his vision, he saw the figure of a knight who had turned into a lying, mute mass.
In the face of what was clearly an unusual event, he bravely went to his room, not letting his fear get the better of him.
And then he arrived.
Ren, fighting the pain of his burns, roughly opened the door to his room.
He shouted loudly toward the bed.
At the same time, he notices a man and two monsters by the bed.
He also noticed that only the man was surrounded by a glowing blue veil, and that he wasn’t on fire.
“—- are you Ren Ashton?”
The man standing beside Lithia who was sleeping, asked.
The man’s gray robes made it impossible to make out anything other than the cold sound of his voice.
Ren saw the white wooden staff in the man’s hand and involuntarily stiffened.
(Is he the one responsible?)
Anger, sadness, confusion.
Ren, who had been tormented by a multitude of emotions, calmly asked the man what was going on. Before answering the man’s question, he looked at the monsters following him.
It looks like a huge black lizard, but its face has no eyes or nose, only a large mouth with sharp fangs peeking out. Its winged body, reminiscent of a bat, is about the same size as an adult.
Ren recalls his knowledge of the Maneater.
Nervously, he swallowed his fresh spit noisily.
“Is this your doing, Demon beast master?”
“Oh, you know?”
“One would be a fool not to know. They’re Maneaters, aren’t they? I can’t think of any monster that would use power to create flames and a veil to protect their master from their own flames.”
The man let out a chuckle at Ren’s words and left the bed to approach him.
Ren, on the other hand, held up his iron magic sword, repeatedly taking a step back as the man took a step closer.
“Surely, the Maneaters here are monsters I summoned.”
“I didn’t realize that you knew that they’re part of the power of a demon beast master. I’m surprised.”
Ren was secretly relieved that he hadn’t made a mistake, although it was all knowledge he had learned from the legends of the seven heroes.
(Think about it. What should I do?)
The Maneater is a monster that can be summoned with the skill of a demon beast master. Its power is generally equivalent to D rank if it were to be replaced by a normal monster.
Two of them.
It goes without saying that this is not a situation where he can easily fight.
(No, my father and Weiss-sama should be here soon.)
What I need to do is buy time.
I must somehow prolong this stalemate.
And as Ren is raising his vigilance—-
The mansion shook violently.
The old mansion was being attacked by a raging fire from the inside, leading to the collapse of the mansion, which was not defeated by the pouring rain.
The shaking rocked the ceiling of Ren’s room.
Then, the ceiling above Licia’s bed began to collapse.
Ren saw this and summoned his wooden magic sword, creating tree roots and ivy to stop the collapse.
The Maneaters saw this and opened their big mouths to spit flames.
The roots and ivy were instantly transformed into charcoal. But on the other hand, the collapse of the ceiling was unstoppable.
So Ren had no choice but to run.
Ren swung the wooden sword again and again with all the strength in his muscles, and the wind pressure he generated dispelled the flames.
He didn’t stop running, and when he reached the bed, he cut through the falling ceiling to protect Lithia.
“Go to sleep for a while.”
The man’s cold voice rings out and a fresh, mint-like scent reaches Ren’s nostrils.
Once he smelled the scent, he felt his strength drain from his entire body.
His eyelids grew heavy and he can’t seem to resist the urge to fall down on his own and his body easily collapses beside Lithia.
“What …… is ……?”
“It’s incense. It could put a small dragon to sleep for days.”
Ren hears her voice and reaches out to protect Lithia.
A moment after he embraced her slender body, Ren let go of his consciousness.