Chapter 21 – Sonia Aquarid (1)
It had been a month since they’d entered the stupid mountain range.
Lawrence, a member of the Skeletal Axe Mercenary Group, missed cold beer, strong tobacco and Amy’s amazing body.
‘Goddammit. When is that bitch Sonia or whatever coming?’
If it wasn’t for the high pay, he would have canceled this job already.
It was okay if it was a bit dangerous. It wasn’t a day or two since he started risking his life after all.
But a boring job was the most unbearable.
As mercenaries, the members of the Skeletal Axe Group were all rather patient and brave when waiting for their objective.
But in a forest without alcohol or women, it was practically torture for them to stay there for an entire month.
As a result, they played games to pass the time.
“Now that’s it! Juan, you lost!”
“Shut up and wait a bit! Victor! Where do I hit to win? Adam’s apple? Heart? Or should I aim for the space between the front teeth?”
“Forehead. If it’s an instant death, then you get 10 points and you win.”
Lawrence clicked his tongue as he stared at his partners.
The ‘Human Darts’ that they were playing was a game they made to pass the time.
It was a simple game where a person was hung from a tree and they took turns to throw daggers at them.
The closer to the target, the higher the score.
Sometimes they’d capture strangers from the mountain to be their targets.
And if they managed to find a woman to use as a plaything, they would use her a few times before letting her go on the mountain and the monsters would take care of her for them.
Juan was one of the members who especially liked to play.
He grinned maliciously and aimed his dagger.
The man tied to the tree was already covered in blood. He was in such a bad condition, that he would probably die even from a slight touch.
“When I hit the forehead it’ll be 10 points? Then I’ll come from behind.”
“Let’s see if you’ll get it.”
The dagger flew quickly and if it continued along its flight path, it would hit the man right in the center of his forehead.
Just as Juan was about to shout for joy, the man’s head drooped down.
The dagger ended up sticking to the tree just above the top of the man’s head.
“Puhahaha! Juan you bastard, look at you luck!”
“What the hell? Did he die at such a time? Kuhaha!”
“I win! I get 10 silver now haha!”
As his partners were all laughing, Juan’s face became red with anger and his cheeks trembled.
“Who is this little bitch to bow his head?”
Juan approached the man tied to the tree and chopped his neck.
The head bounced a couple times before it stopped rolling. The face of a man locked in an expression of pain and fear was revealed.
“To take out your anger on a man who’s already dead.”
“Let him be. He’s already lost 5 games in a row, it’s such a big blow that he had to let out the steam somehow.”
“Hey, let’s get out of here. I am the vice-captain after all.”
When his other partners showed their intentions of returning, Juan had no choice but to follow them.
However before he left, he made sure to spit on the distorted face with an angry expression on his face.
Just as he said so and turned around, Juan was surprised.
A man was now standing in front of him.
However the man’s appearance was quite bizarre.
The man was emaciated and his head looked messy.
He had a long, tangled beard and his face looked like it had been washed several times with mud.
Even a cold blooded murder who had experienced many life and death battles couldn’t help but find his appearance to be terrifying.
“Y-, you bastard! What the hell are you…!”
Juan quickly pulled out his knife.
However the man’s gaze remained on the body without even taking a glance at Juan who was standing there.
‘Gh-, ghost? N-, no. There must be an explanation…’
The rotten smell…rotten smell?
Did undead also appear in the Ispania Mountains?
Juan kept looking at the figure’s face with an uneasy expression until the figure finally opened its mouth.
“I was late.”
“Huh…? Wh-, what did you say?”
Those were the last words that Juan ever spoke.
At that time, a white sickle had appeared behind him and removed his head from his shoulders in one swipe.
Juan died without realizing that it had been done by a 5 star spell Light Sickle.
His head rolled to the body of the man that was still tied to the tree who had died a few moments before him.
The skinny man, Frey, kept looking down at the body.
The man had died because he was toyed with by all the mercenaries, not just Juan.
Then he looked back.
In the dark of the night, Frey’s eyes could still clearly see the rest of the group of mercenaries who were heading back to their camp slowly and calmly while still in the mood to joke around with each other.
Frey’s pupils began to shine brightly like a burning flame.
* * *
“We lost contact with the vice-captain.”
The head of the Skeleton Axe Mercenary Group, Karles, frowned as he heard those words.
He was getting a lot of stress these days.
“Were there any survivors?”
“What kind of monster was it?”
“That…it was a ghost.”
Karles made an odd expression as his subordinate said those words.
“A ghost? Are you sure you know where we are?”
“Yes of course. We’ve been here for over a month, how could I not know where we are?”
“You say you know but you’re talking as if you got hit in the head by a boulder.”
Karles stared at his subordinate with a vicious gaze before looking around.
A vast forest, with tens of thousands of trees which towered high above their heads as well at the mountains which stretched up into the clouds
This was the Monster Paradise, the Ispania Mountains.
The mercenaries familiar with this place called it the Hell Mountains.
It was one of the three greatest danger zones on the entire continent that even B class mercenaries like themselves did not dare to go further than the outskirts.
There was what in this place? A ghost?
“I’d rather see a ghost. I’ve only been seeing the faces of trolls this entire time and I’m honestly getting sick of it.”
Karles’ subordinates laughed insidiously.
“Is it a female ghost? Then it’s more than welcome to come.”
“It’s not a joke. This is serious. Fifteen members of our group, including the vice captain, were killed by an unknown monster.”
If they lost more of their group then it would be much more challenging for them to face off against the strong knights of the Aquarid family.
It was natural that he took this matter seriously.
“And there was no trace of them. Like they had all evaporated. I know. They were just joking around to help us relax.”
Karles doubted their story. If they were truly eaten by a monster then there would be some traces left because monsters were messy.
Even if it ate the whole body, would it also eat the armor and weapons?
“What did it look like?”
“It was a man. With long scattered hair…umm it had a very rotten smell.”
“Yes. On top of that it appeared and disappeared like a ghost, even though it was the middle of the day.”
Karles closed his eyes for a moment.
Then he slowly opened them again.
“It was a wizard.”
“He should be very skilled and capable of double casting as well.”
“So that’s why vice captain and the rest got taken out. A battle mage?”
“Maybe. After all it’s much more believable than some guy who came back from the dead to kill us.”
He let out a sigh.
A mage in itself was tricking, but being able to fight so well in the mountains as well as double casting and barehanded combat?
‘How many years have they been acting as a mercenary?’
If so, it would be the most prickly type of enemy.
“Strengthen the perimeter. That ghost…if you see that ghost, then kill it immediately. It could be a wizard sent by the Aquarid family.”
“Alright. But isn’t that strange? It’s hard to believe that that family of high ranking knights actually hired a sorcerer.”
“It’s not like it’s not possible. It is to escort the only daughter, so they might have bowed their heads this once. Anyway, we only need to focus on our mission, so stay alert.”
As Karles was about to turn around, he suddenly thought of something and opened his mouth.
“Ah. You said yesterday that you found five guys around here. What did you do with them? I feel like they’d die if we let them go anyway so we might as well play with them.”
“Which ones do you mean?”
“The women who came to pick herbs and the mercenaries were escorting them.”
Karles’ subordinates let out a laugh.
“I don’t know, but you kill anyone who comes searching for herbs. You never get tired of it and always want to keep going. It’s human nature to share the good stuff with your fellows. Isn’t it?”
“They want to die soon. We have to help them.”
“Kuku. So what did you do to them?”
“We used the women to let out our desires and used the mercenaries as targets. Ah. They died at dawn. The wolves ate them alive as they slept. One of them was actually played with by the vice captain yesterday.”
This time Karles was the one who let out a laugh and he laughed for a long time.
“Put all the toys away. According to the information, Aquarid’s daughter will be here tomorrow. Throw the bodies to the monsters. Don’t leave them near the city like last time alright? We’re leaving this place soon but it’s still a hassle.”
“Spa-, spare me, plea…”
A quiet voice was heard.
Karles turned and gazed toward the sound. There dangling from a rope was a man with blood all over his body.
The clothes barely covered his private parts and there were daggers in almost every bit of his exposed skin.
“I b-, I beg…the things I saw here…I will never tell anyone.”
The man looked pitiful.
Karles looked at him for a moment, before turning.
“Tion, what did I just say?”
Tion smiled and pulled out his sword.
“You said to dispose of it.”
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