【Chapter 1: The First Village, Part 2】
The first thing I saw after I left the barn was the early morning scenery of a peaceful country village. The buildings consisted mostly of one storied wooden houses surrounded with vegetable gardens. The eastern side of the village consisted of vast open fields, while the northern part housed a large forest. It looks like the villagers begin their daily activities fairly early, because even though sun had just risen over the horizon, some of them were already up and about, walking down the simple, stone-paved road.
I don’t know if I should hide from them or not, but just to be on the safe side I’ve chosen to hide behind the barn for now. There are still too many things that I don’t know that being cautious sounded like a best possible course of action for now. After all, I don’t know who these people are and if they are friendly to outsiders or not, and there’s also a matter of me stealing (although by accident) those sandals from inside the barn. I don’t know about you, but for me the prospect of having my hand cut off as a punishment for theft was not a welcoming one. So in order to avoid attracting unnecessary attention to myself I decided to wait and observe the villagers form the shadows and use Identify on the couple which happened to pass by the barn on their way to the fields. It told me that both of them had only a first name without any last names, didn’t have any Jobs except for [Villager] and were both at Lv1. In other words, they were your typical, run-of-the-mill NPCs (Non-Playable Characters).
While we’re at it, I am also at Lv1. Sooner or later I’ll have to do something about it.
I decide to enter the forest from the side of the barn and observe the village from there. That way I’ll be able to continue my investigation of the surroundings without having to worry about getting caught by anyone.
The village itself was actually quite large, stretching way into the southwest direction. The total number of houses in the whole thing should be around thirty to forty. The village’s very center was the place where most of the two- and three-story houses were located. Squinting my eyes to see better, I used Identify on the people who were currently coming out of them. Just like before, they had only one name and one Job listed, but not all of them were labeled simply as [Villagers]. Among all the people were a total of five [Farmers]. I don’t know what made them different form the regular village-dwellers, maybe the fact that they were more effective at cultivating the land? Man it sure as hell would be swell if there actually was some kind of tutorial here that would explain all of the basics to me, but I guess that is too much to ask for, huh? For now I guess I’ll just have to make do with Identify alone.
Now to continue my monitoring.
The person with the highest level was a Lv25 older-looking dude. Should I try talking to him, or perhaps settle my sights on someone with a lower level, just in case that things could really go south? Let’s see now… I spy with my little identifying eye that the person who was 8 levels below the one with Lv25 was actually the village’s chief who’s apparently 69 years old. Heh, 69, such a neato number.
In addition to him there was also someone with Lv6 who appeared to be a merchant, but it was hard to tell if he was a traveling one or the owner of the village’s general store. Either way, he must be one of the more financially stable members of the community here since he walked out of one of the few three-story buildings in the neighborhood.
I wanted to investigate some more, but unfortunately any further attempts ad doing as such have been interrupted by a pair of high-pitched voices echoing through the calm, early morning air. They belonged to two people who left the village perimeter some while ago and now they were running back with all their strength, literally screaming their throats out. Unfortunately for me they were both too far away for me to hear what exactly was going on in here, but I found out soon enough.
One by one, the villagers rushed back into their homes, only to emerge back with weapons, mainly swords and spears, in hand. Don’t tell me….
Don’t tell me someone actually saw me and they were preparing to lynch me! Are you fucking serious?! For a measly crime of stealing a pair of used sandals that are not even all that comfortable to begin with?!
At least that’s what I had initially thought, but thankfully that does not seem to be the case this time, since the villagers weren’t converging on my location, running towards the east instead. Hiding behind the trees, I quietly follow after them to what all the commotion was about.
After around two minute of walking, I finally saw it. A large cloud of dust approaching the village from the eastern road, followed by intimidating shouts and the rumbling of hooves against the beaten ground.
It was a bandit raid. It wasn’t just my assumption based on my knowledge of the tropes from games set in medieval times and audio clues, oh no. I took my time to scan them with Identify, and even though they were still so far away from me that they looked like nothing more but the grains of rice, it showed me that each and every one of them had [Bandit] listed as his Job. Man, the reach of that skill is seriously OP.
Also, thanks to that I was finally able to grasp the situation I found myself in. All the signs pointed towards only one possible conclusion:
This is a [Tutorial Quest: Bandit Raid!] On a side note, this is not a name that I have come up with on the fly. The information window that just appeared before my eyes literally called it like that.
Since this is a tutorial quest, I should be able to complete it without any major difficulties, since the levels of the Bandits are generally quite low, single digit ones. Even if I myself am only at Lv1, there is no way in hell that I could lose an introductory battle like that! Not when I also have a Holy Sword Durandal on my side!
The Bandit’s equipment consisted primarily of Copper Swords, the same as the ones possessed by the villagers and simple Leather Armors. A high-end weapon like Durandal should eat them for breakfast in no time.
All the villagers stopped just some distance away from the barn I was initially hiding behind and took assumed their positions, waiting for the Bandits to approach them. I look towards them once more to confirm their numbers. Most of the villagers were present, including the Lv25 village’s head. What are the chances of them besting a group of bloodthirsty cutthroats? If you say [not very high] then I’m afraid I have to agree with you, especially after taking Identifying the Bandits and their Leader form up close.
Bandit Leader Hugo
Male, 38 years old
Equipment: Iron Sword, Bandit Bandana, Iron Armor, Leather Shoes
Yeah, no doubts about it. The guy in the middle must be their Leader. His level is exceptionally high and his equipment looks to be more luxurious when compared to the rest of the band around him, who wore the standard stuff. Level-wise, the Leader was at 19 and someone who looked like his right hand was at 11 respectively, and the rest of them were single digit ones. Could this be because this is the first event in the game? Well, no use thinking about it now. For now, let’s just adopt the following mindset: everything is going to be all right as long as I’ll be careful enough not to get hit by any of the Leader’s attacks.
The moment the Bandits finally reached the village, a fierce battle commenced, and the best way I can describe it was: chaotic. Unintelligible shouts and screams filled the air as both Bandits and villagers were slashing away at each other with their swords and it quickly turned into a situation where I couldn’t clearly tell one side apart from the other. All I knew was that the battle itself was slowly moving towards me in the forest, so if I timed my actions right, I could probably jump out and land a few surprise attacks here and there.
Both of the sides were pretty even, one not being able to overwhelm the other to claim the decisive victory even though the fight itself was going for a while now, developing a clear standstill. The same was true for the bandits Leader and the village chief, but because the chief’s level was higher than that of the Bandit Leader, it’s only a matter of time before he comes out on top. However…
One of the horse-riding Bandits came between the two Leaders, distracting the chief and enabling the Bandit Leader to perform a thrusting attack which made his sword penetrate deep into the chief’s body.
What was that technique?! It looked like the Leader stabbed the chief through the gaps between the elements of his armor, but could something like that really be pulled off by a thug like him? I heard that such a technique really existed and was utilized mainly by the master swordsman fighting against armored opponents to strike at their vital points, but only a selected few managed to master completely master it.
Wounding the chief like that, the Bandit Leader totally has him on his mercy, looking down on him and grinning in a very unsettling way. But now that his eyes are focused on him and no one else, maybe that was the opportunity I was waiting for?
I feel that now would be a good chance for me to sneak behind him unnoticed and stab him through the heart with my Durandal. Something is telling me that an attack like that would deal a considerable amount of damage, possibly even killing him on the spot.
I slowly remove the Durandal from its sheath on my waist and squeeze its handle with both my hands. It is much heavier than a wooden sword I was so used to carrying, but not to a degree where I couldn’t swing it around since my muscles have been thoroughly trained through years of kendo practice. Also, I keep telling myself in my head that since it is a first in-game event, there is no way for me to die in it.
I have to do it. I have to go. It’s either now, or never.
So I take a deep breath…
…and I dash out of the forest straight into the heat of battle!