Chapter 5: Unfortunate Encounter
Ragna and Melisa were sitting around a campfire, with a pot containing stew hanging on top of the flames. The former poked the fire with a stick to keep it going. The king had meant it when he told them that he had prepared most of their travel necessities, even a whole tent had been stored inside.
From tents capable of fitting several people side by side to sleeping bags, and even the pot and spices they were currently using to cook their dinner. They still needed to hunt for the actual ingredients but they were basically self-sufficient for the foreseeable future.
Nearly a week had passed since they left the castle and fortunately, their journey thus far had been rather uneventful. Their luck so far could be attributed to several factors but the most important one was that they had chosen to travel down the main road.
While monsters were quite widespread in their distribution in the area, the lesser ones tend to stay away from well-traveled paths such as main roads as it would increase their chances of encountering adventurers. On the other hand, the strong ones are usually smart enough to reduce their risks and therefore prefer to choose more discreet territories.
The pair scooped some of the stew into their bowls before tasting it. It certainly was nowhere as delicious as the meals they got in the castle, but having stayed in a rural village for years, neither of them voiced any complaints about the taste.
As he ate, Ragna turned toward his companion as he spoke,
“How are you doing by the way? Did you experience any significant changes lately?”
Melisa paused her eating for a moment, trying to remember, before shaking her head,
“Nope. None that I can tell, at least. Well, I do try to NOT use the sword’s power if possible… so I don’t think that I will change that rapidly anymore.”
Ragna looked at the blonde silently for a few seconds, trying to discern if she was lying. Satisfied that she was telling the truth, the red-head finally nodded before he returned to his meal.
They passed the rest of the meal silently, until Ragna placed his bowl down on the grass. He turned back to his companion before asking,
“Speaking of which, I haven’t seen that holy sword with you since that first audience with his majesty right after you woke up. At first, I thought you simply left it in your room, but I still didn’t see it when we left… Don’t tell me you stored it in the magic bag?”
Melisa raised her eyebrows before she started to giggle as she shook her head,
“No way… It couldn’t be done anyway, I’ve tried. Then again, it isn’t necessary either… Hmm… I think it will be easier to show you instead…”
Ragna tilted his head in confusion, more so as he saw the blonde dusting her hands before standing up. She closed her eyes before clasping her fingers together as if in prayer. Suddenly, the center of her chest seemed to glow before she pulled her hands apart slowly until they were several centimeters apart.
Between the space of her hands, the light condensed before a familiar was formed as if it was being called out from within her. Soon, the glow disappeared as the sword appeared completely. The blonde grabbed its grip in one hand to catch it from falling.
The blonde turned toward her friend with a smile as she spoke,
“You see, after the audience with his majesty, I found out that the sword was able to merge with me and I could summon it out at will. Quite convenient, don’t you think?”
As if to prove her statement, Melisa closed her eyes once again and sure enough, the sword dispersed into light before being absorbed back into her chest. Once it was completely gone, the blonde turned toward Ragna, and his shocked expression somehow amused her.
The red-head was still rather shocked but hearing his companion’s giggle he finally managed to recover. He cleared his throat as he spoke,
“I… See… That’s… Interesting I guess…”
They continued to chat for a while longer before Melisa suddenly released a yawn. Since she had been turned into a female, although her physical abilities remained the same as before her transformation, it seemed that the same couldn’t be said about her stamina. Though it was merely some slight difference, the blonde had still needed more rest lately.
Seeing that it was starting to be somewhat late in the night, Ragna turned toward the blonde before speaking,
“It’s late, you can go to sleep now. I’ll take the first watch.”
Melisa nodded with no argument as she crawled into her tent before closing the flap. Some rustling sound came from inside before it finally turned silent, the blonde had finally fallen asleep.
Ragna looked at the blonde’s tent until there was no longer any sign of activity inside before he reached for his magic bag. He pulled a book from inside and began to read to pass the boredom.
It was barely half an hour later when the young man was distracted from his reading by the sound of groaning from Melisa’s tent. He lifted his eyes to look at the source of the sound and briefly pondered if he should check on her.
After a few more seconds of waiting, Ragna finally decided to check on her as he put his book back into the magic bag. Just as he stood up however, the flap to the blonde’s tent was pushed open and Ragna saw her hurriedly step out.
He quickly noticed that the blonde must have changed into her pajamas before she slept, as she was wearing one instead of her traveling clothes. However, before he managed to continue his observation, Melisa spoke urgently,
“Something is coming… I don’t know what or who… but I feel them approaching…”
Ragna raised his eyebrows as he wondered about the meaning of her statement but his expression immediately changed to seriousness as he noticed a certain detail: The blonde was clutching her chest over the spot above her heart and below her clenched fist… was a familiar glow.
Suddenly, they heard the sound of grass rustling. Careful observation revealed that the sound was nothing like wind brushing against grass… moreover, the sound came from more than one source and from all directions… they had been surrounded.
Ragna turned toward Melisa and his eyes widened as he noticed that she was trying to summon the holy sword once again. He rushed at her before grabbing her arm as he whispered,
“Don’t… if you use it, you’ll accelerate your change… Use it ONLY when it’s necessary…”
He waited for the blonde to nod her agreement before finally letting her arm go. Reaching into his magic bag, Ragna pulled a sword out from inside before handing it to the blonde,
“Looks like you left your magic bag inside the tent… no time to fetch it so just use this for now… from the sound of it… it’s most likely goblins… this should be plenty enough to deal with them.”
Melisa nodded and received the sword with both hands as she prepared for the battle to come. The two stood back to back to cover each other’s blind spots as they waited for their opponents to make the first move.
The rustling sounds approached closer though obviously much slower than before. It seemed that the goblins had realized that their targets were now armed and ready for battle, thus the monsters decided to approach with more caution.
Goblins were monsters with an appearance similar to a 10 year old child with bald heads and greyish-green skin. They hunted in groups and had a ferocious appetite for human flesh, and their sharp teeth made that fact quite clear as they were capable of biting chunks out of humans much like piranhas.
Their most dangerous trait, however, was that they were monsters with intellect that wasn’t much lower compared to humans. In fact, they were capable of utilizing tools and knew teamwork, some of the higher-levelled ones were said to be even capable of issuing orders and using magic.
Fortunately for the two, the goblins surrounding them didn’t seem to have a leader, meaning that they were wild goblins. The rustling stopped roughly 5 meters away from the two of them, a sign that the goblins had stopped and were now preparing to attack.
Sure enough, with a piercing cry, one of the goblins leaped at Ragna with its club raised. However, the youth had expected its attack and reacted with a punch, augmented by his steel-reinforced glove, once it was within his reach.
Not expecting the counter, the attacking goblin was caught off guard as Ragna’s fist struck it right at its throat. The sound of breaking bones meant that the youth had broken its windpipe and the goblin was dead before it even touched the ground.
Seeing their comrade’s unmoving body hit the ground, the rest of the goblins started to make angry sounds. The monsters glared at the two as their grip on their clubs tightened, obviously ready to attack and intending to overrun the two with numbers. Sure enough, the goblins rushed together at once toward the two humans, especially the one with golden hair who looked weaker than the other.
The monsters’ small stature and the depth of the darkness made them nearly invisible to the naked eye. However, Melisa didn’t hesitate when three goblins rushed at her as she gripped the sword with both hands and swung it in a wide arc.
Her swing cleanly sliced through one of the attackers and injured the other two on their chests. Taking advantage of the momentum from her slash, the girl followed through with a roundhouse kick that caught the other two right on their heads.
The force of the impact sent them flying away and they tumbled onto the ground. Before the two managed to recover, Melisa ran after them while reversing her grip on the sword at the same time before leaping forward and stabbing them together as she landed.
On the other side, Ragna rushed forward to meet the incoming charge as he crossed his arms in front of him before throwing them out like a pair of wings. Suddenly, the steel plate on the back of his hands extended over his fists, forming a pair of blades nearly 30 centimeters long.
He sidestepped one of the charging goblins before stabbing it in the back with one of the blades, killing it instantly. With the dead goblin still attached to his blade, Ragna swung it toward another charging goblin, successfully dislodging the dead body and using it as a projectile against the other.
As the charging goblin was forcefully stopped by the impact, Ragna leaped forward and stabbed it through its heart. Quickly pulling his blade free from its chest, he used both blades to decapitate it before kicking the head with a spin toward another incoming goblin as if it was a ball.
The decapitated head struck the leaping goblin right on its face with enough force to break its nose and stopping it right in the air. Ragna then leaped after it and grabbed it by its head before savagely slamming it into the ground, crushing its skull below him.
The fight barely lasted for a brief 10 minutes but both Ragna and Melisa had killed nearly 10 goblins between the two of them. They stood and surveyed the rest of the goblins as if challenging them to continue their attack.
However, seeing how the two humans had murdered their comrades so easily, the rest of the goblins finally decided to slowly retreat before finally turning tail and running away.
The two waited for another 10 minutes to make sure that the goblins were really gone before they went back to their campfire. Its flame had burnt out during the fight. Both of them released a sigh of relief as they tried to relight the campfire, and any thoughts of sleep were forgotten for the night due to the recent excitement of battle.
This translation is stolen content. Read at original site wordexcerpt(.)com