Chapter 4: Even a Benchwarmer Participates by Watching from the Sidelines.
I think I’m heading east. At least, I’m walking towards the rising sun.
Maybe “east” is different here, wherever I am. Maybe all of my common sense is useless.
I am beginning to lose confidence in my abilities to survive in this world.
I’m not sure how long I’ve been walking along this road. I reached it last night as the sun was just beginning to go down, and now the sun is peeking over the hills. If the night-cycle is the same as the real-world … no, I don’t know how long night-time is in the real-world either. 8 hours of darkness? 10 hours?
My dark mood begins to fade as the sun’s morning light melts away the night’s chill. Even though I don’t feel tired perhaps I should have stopped to sleep after all, if only to stop the useless, gloomy thoughts that kept running through my head.
I can now see my surroundings more clearly. In the distance, to the … south? … I can see the outlines of mountains. Though they are indistinct forms shrouded in mist, they might be very close. The surrounding environment seems to suggest a mountainous region anyway. Low trees and shrubs poke through the rocks on the steep, rocky hills, but they seem barren. I don’t think there’s much to forage from this area. I wouldn’t know what I could eat, anyway.
Ugh. Now that my bad mood is gone, I’m hungry.
The road I’ve been traveling on has been clearly trodden into a road and it’s much wider than some of the other roads I had passed that joined it. That being said, it still doesn’t look to be a very well-traveled road.
And I still haven’t come across any people.
I speed up my pace. I’d at least like to come across a more well-traveled road soon.
I’ve figured out why this road isn’t more populated.
Instead of going around the treacherous terrain this road cuts straight through the hills and along the cliff-sides. If you travel with any more luggage than me I don’t think you could make it along in any good time. If you don’t remember, I have nothing.
My amazing stamina is beginning to wear as I navigate the road with uneven footing and I consider resting at the side of the mountainous road. Rather than food now, I’m rather thirsty. It’s amazing that I’ve gone this long without feeling the effects too badly. Is this the effect of the passive skill (Resilient Body)?
I bet I can’t go another night without sleep, but I’m not really tired right now. Even though my stamina is running out, it’s only at the point of having run a good few kilometers at a jog, not walking and running for over half a day. I could probably keep going without taking a break … but that’s not why I decide not to rest.
A commotion erupts from below the path, probably in the valley at the bottom of this particular mountain-like pass. Though the source of the commotion is probably a good distance away, the rocks and cliffs echo the sound well and I can hear the words being yelled properly.
“Circle the wagons around, Mii get the merchants in the middle! Kris, Lor, guard behind! Niera, with me!”
How nice, everything’s properly in Japanese … is not what I can say. The sound of the words is definitely not Japanese, and probably not English, but the meaning is somehow translated through. It will make learning the local language much easier. I wish I had this skill for English class. I hope I can keep it when I get home!
While I’m thinking these out-of-place thoughts I move quickly down the road towards the commotion. It doesn’t take long for the wagons to come into sight; it’s just that they’re still quite far in the vertical direction. That’s the problem with mountainous terrain … so thinking I begin to make my way down the still-quite-a-ways distance while trying to remain stealthy. You may think I’m being a coward for not rushing in to help, but forgive me. My skill set is “Inventory”, “Friend Chat”, “Status”, and “Analyze4”. I can’t say it’s a confidence-inspiring bunch.
Halfway down from where I was I decide to stop to watch, hidden well in an outcropping of rocks. It’s still at a distance where distinguishing by face would be difficult but I can now see enough to understand what’s happening. It will be good if I’m unneeded.
That being said, I can’t just pass on by in good conscience without assuring the wagons’ group safety. Despite my skill set being “Inventory”, “Friend Chat”, “Status”, and “Analyze4”.
There are three wagons, each drawn by two horses. As per the instructions before they are drawn up in a triangle-ish formation. In the middle are people not participating in the battle, the merchants I assume, with a person in armor standing protectively over them, weapon drawn. Outside of the wagons are four other armored people, two on each side fending off the bandits.
I suspect the person with the most impressive armor to be the leader. Is that stereotyping?
Of the bandits there is one on horseback. There appear to have been three on horseback initially, but the wagons’ guards have taken down two of them. A bandit hanging towards the back seems to be one of them. He looks to have withstood some crushing-type injuries and has drawn his weapon to increase the pressure on the wagons’ group, though I doubt he’ll be much help if he’s required to actually fight. I can’t see the other former-horseman, but I feel little doubt that he’s been crushed underneath one of the horses lying there.
I unconsciously pat my empty pocket for my smartphone. It’s not there, curses.
I wish I could use the camera mode to see more clearly… Almost as if listening to me my sight focuses in just like a camera zoom.
I’m a bit puzzled but ignore the strange thing that just happened and scan the battle-scene. Besides the injured man and the one on horseback there are eight other bandits, two in the back and three on each side harrying the wagons’ guards. The two in the back … one’s an archer and the other waves an ornamental stick around. As he waves it and chants, spectacular fantasy symbols are drawn in the air. From the symbols shoot lights and translucent, sharp objects. I think I should call the stick a wand instead.
The wagons’ guards are doing pretty well. Despite being outnumbered and bombarded by ranged attacks, I don’t see an opening for me to step in. They are clearly experienced professionals. If they didn’t have to be wary of the wagons and the merchants’ safety I think they could have driven the bandits off by now. The guard in the middle is chanting something, and seeing as the arrows and magic attacks are being deflected from the area around the wagons I think it’s a barrier.
For the record, I can’t hear the chanting well. Only the loudly said words are clear from my position. I would have liked to learn the chant for either the magic attack or the barrier.
At any rate, the fight seems like a stalemate at best, and I can’t imagine bandits doing anything as unprofitable as continuing to siege a well defended caravan now that the difference in strength has been shown.
I’m too naïve.