85: The reason for the attack


I entered Roni Village where the fight continued.
I run on the cobblestone road.
First I head to the east of the pond.
The Lizardmen are causing the greatest damage.
Their scales were hard, so they couldn't be defeated by the villagers.

"--'Wind Blade Grant'"
I cut them down with my Tachi while running through them.
"*Gugyaaa!*" "What--*gua!*" "*Gufu!!*"ran
Blood splashed and three of them collapsed.

"One! Man! Surround!"

Five Lizardmen lined up in a row to the voice of their captain.
It was a quite composed movement-- However.
"That's convenient for me--'Gale Slash'!"
I swing my Tachi horizontally.

*zaann!*

"*Gyaaa!*" "*Gugieee!*"
With a single swing of my Tachi, the Lizardmen collapsed while the blood was spurting.

A warrier-like man was exhaustedly kneeling on the ground and muttered.
"Wh-What strength... who are you?"
"I'm Keika. I'm a hero."
I smiled while I held my Tachi up high.


To not cut down the man.
"--'Gale Revolting Blade'"
I slashed at some Lizardmen in the distance.

I chanted "Recovery" on the man and the surrounding people while I spoke.
"This place should be save now. You should hide inside a house until reinforcements arrive."
"Understood... Please help the others."
"Leave it to me"
I ran and headed to the next battlefield. Of course I cut down the demons I encountered on the way.


The south side of the pond.
Some Frogmen were making a fire in front of the church.
The monkey demons and their dead companions were lying in the surroundings. They were the ones that I had shot down when they had climbed the church's roof. The platoon leader was among them.

It seemed that the Frogmen were acting on their own now without their captain.
"It looks like there are only women and children inside. Let's grill them, *kekeke*"
"It's tasty when they have some fat. *hihihi*"
"The order was not to kill any people if possible, but I don't think we have to listen to that."
"Who knows whether we can snatch the harvest away next year, we should eat now!"
They ignited the timber and it became an open fire.

"No, you guys will burn."
"What?"
"Who is it?"
"There's no point in telling."
"What was that!?"
"Oh wind, blow! --'Roaring wind'"
*goooo!!*

The open fire flares up.
The flame catched the Frogmen like the tongue of a monster.
"*Gigeee!*" "*Gyaaaa!*"
They got scorched in an instant and died.
The fire burned out immediately without spreading to the church.

I look inside the church with "Clairvoyance".
A long desk is placed in front of the door and several middle-aged women are holding it down.
There are many women, children and old people.
They had gathered around the altar and were holding onto each other.

I ran to the west side of the pond after seeing that they were alright.


There are many villagers in the west.
The villagers had taken up their farm tools and were fighting to prevent the wheat from being taken away.
They were able to push the enemies back because they flinched from the stone bombardment.

The beastfolks are having a hard time fighting while carrying the crops.
There are also some beastfolks who are abandoning their wheat bags and flee.
A two meters tall, fat pig demon is swinging a pillar-like club and yells.
"Don't falter *Squeak*! If you run, take the bags with you! *Squeak*"

Three villagers were sent flying just by being grazed by the club that the pig demon swung around.
Not only his physique but also his strength was in a different league.


A mage who looked like an adventurer was pointing at the pig and shouted.
"Fireball!"
A red fireball is born and aims for the pig!

"Oh! --'Spiral Tornado'!"
The pig demon held his club in its center and swung it violently like a fan.
Just by doing this, a swirl of wind was created and the fireball bounced off.


*dogoon!*

It fell to the feet of the swordsmen and the villagers and exploded.
"*Uwaa!*" "*Gyaa!*" "*Daaamn*"
"The villagers were blown away.
It's powerful.
It seems that the returned fireball and the wind were accumulating to cause such a large explosion.

An adventurer who was near the pig is also blown off by the whirlwind.
"Sh-Shiit...! For such a strong guy to be here!"
An armor wearing knight dropped his sword and fell to his knees.
The pig demon shouts.
"I'm of the proud Piggard tribe *Squeak*! Don't put me together with weak humans and low demons!"
--Is that the guy who repelled my stone?


I walked briskly and looked at him.
--------------------
[Status]
Name: Gurumon
Race: Piggard Tribe
Job: Regimental commander of the Demon Lord Army's beastfolk corps and beastfolk district governor
Attributes: "Wicked Wind" "Darkness"

Attack atrength: 3500
Defense strength: 2200
Vitality: 5000
Mental strength: 300

[Skills]
Down swing
Storm Down
Spiral Tornado
Pressure Down
--------------------
"Heh. You're quite strong."
"Who are you?!"
"I'm the hero Keika."
"Hero!! I'll become one of the Four Heavenly Kings if I defeat you *Squeak*! Diiie!"

He was drooling from his face while he kicked the ground.
His giant body was rising toward the sky.
The sun is in his back when he swings down his club that is engulfed in wind.
--Pressure Down, huh.

A heavy blow with weight.
Any weapon would be crushed normally.


"Well, normally --'Water Blade Grant'"
I make my Tachi glow blue and cut diagonally upward from below.

*zann!*

I cut him together with the club from the waist to his shoulder in two.
"Whaaat--*Squeeeeak!*"
He makes a strange sound, scatters blood and tumbles to to ground.
"I'll give you at least credit for your strength."
"To cut through my technique... *ua* *gulp*"
Blood spewed from his mouth when he exhaled.


The surroundings fall silent from astonishment.
A knight, whose armor is rattling, speaks.
"What, was that, just now... I couldn't grasp the movements of the sword with my eyes..."
The villagers are muttering.
"Amazing... --He killed him with a single blow" "Th-This is a hero!" "Thank you very much, Hero-samaaa!"

"Are you okay?"
I walk leisurely and heal them with "Recovery".

The gathered beastfolks panicked.
"*Uwa!*" "The governor is...!" "Run away, run away!"
The fox and cat beastmen started to run while they screamed.
Some of them were carrying bags with wheat.

"*Aa!* The wheat!"
"Leave it to me"
I went straight to the group of beastfolks that had gathered to the western side of the village.


I leave the village and run.
About 50 cat and fox beastfolks are pulling a number of carriages while they are fleeing.
It looked like that was the unit that was assigned to carry the stolen wheat away.

There were even women and children when I got closer.
They started to scream because I chased them with an enormous speed.
"He's coming!" "What shall we do, mother?" "Help us!"

A demon with the head of a wolf shouts loudly.
"What are you doing! Hurry and push the carriages! The food is more important that your lives!"


At that time, a beastfolk mother who was pushing a carriage spoke to her child.
"E-Even if it's just you, escape!"
"Y-Yes"
The about ten year old cat girl was running towards the mountains in the north. She moved her thin legs and desperately ran. Her cat tail was swinging.

"Hey, you! Don't run away, it's only one human!!!"
The wolf demon got on his four legs and chased after her while raising a cloud of sand.
He's so fast that his outline blurs.

The girl's face became stiff from fear when she looked back.
"Nyooo...!"
"You guys also watch! This happens when you run away!"
He opens his mouth wide and shows his fangs.
The girl stumbled and fell to the ground.


I won't make it in time after all.
"Damn"
I flicked my tongue and took a stone from my pocket.
I aim while I'm running.

*pashiiin!*

I release the stone together with a shockwave from my fingertips that exceeded the speed of sound.
The stone gets red from the friction and flies straight.

It hits the wolf demon's side, runs through him and flies far into the distance.
It reached the forest at the foot of the mountain, where white smoke rose from the explosion.
*zudoo...on*, a heavy tremor could be heard a little later.


The beastfolks stopped moving.
They seemed to have grasped that I was responsible for the bombardment and understood that they would be unable to escape.
The wolf demon was dead as his eyes had turned white.
The girl was sitting down on her bottom.

I ignore the group and rush to the girl.
"Have you been injured?"
"A...a...!"
She was holding her pointy ears and was shivering.
--Well, of course she's frightened.
Her eardrums didn't seem to have torn thanks to her covering her ears.

I applied my hand since her knee was grazed.
"--'Recovery'"
The girl's injury got cured in a flash.
"Eh...eh?"
I pick the girl up who had sunk to the ground with one hand and head to the group of beastfolks.


They were mostly cat and fox beastfolks.
Even though I say beastfolks, some of them are completely covered in fur while others only have the characteristic ears and tails.

The beastfolks were sitting in Seiza on the ground. They had put their hands under their ankles.
It seemed to be a posture of submission or surrender since they couldn't make sudden movements.
Everyone had fear and anxiety in their faces and their ears and tails had drooped.
The boys and girls had cudddled up to their fathers and mothers and cried.


A fox man with two bushy tails steps forward when I approached.
He took the same submissive posture as everyone else and lowered his head.
"We have a request in exchange for our lives."
"What is it?"
"We'll return all the stolen grains and all men will offer their lives. But, please just spare the women and children."

I looked over the frightened beastfolks while I spoke.
"I don't think that this is up for discussion."
"Th-This is...!"
The adults were trembling and the children were crying out loud from fear.


I returned the girl to her mother and inquired the beastfolks.
"Let her quiet down. I am Hero Keika. Who are you?"
Unrest spread from the word "Hero".
A fox man lowers his head.
"My name is Mahal. I'm the leader of the Foxfolk tribe."

"Mahal, this looks like a rather large operation, why did you attack?"
"The truth is... there is no food at the beastfolk district that is controlled by the Demon Lord's army."
"Heh, was it a bad harvest?"
"No, our harvest was good. But it seems that the Demon Lord's army is understaffed and everything was robbed by strong demons."
"I see. So?"
"The beastfolk district governor Gurumon - although being a pig demon - took command of his subordinates and us beastfolks and lead the attack to compensate for it.

I looked around and spoke.
"There are only cats and foxes."
"Yes. We are few among the beastfolks, but the most was stolen from the fields of the catfolks and foxfolks."
"And you say that you were put to work."
"We were against the attack. But we were threatened to be killed should we flee... It's true that we took part in it though. We are prepared to die, but please help the women and children, Hero-sama."
There are 33 catfolks, 18 foxfolks... and one demon.
--Hmm?


"I seems that not all of you are beastfolks, right?"
"""Eh?"""
The beastfolks gazes gathered in the back.
A demon resembling a hedgehog was trying to hide behind the beastfolks. He was weak when looking at his status. His skills like damage reflection and needle defense were unpleasant though.
--Well, I could kill him with a single swing of my Tachi.

The hedgehog was screaming with *eek*.
"I-I didn't do anything bad!"
"Mahal, who's that?"
"That's Gurumon's close aide Herge. He sweet-talked Gurumon to get all kinds of favors. He monitored us and passed it along."


The needles on his whole body were standing and bubbles came from his mouth.
"Th-That's wrong. I only did it because I was ordered to... Hero-sama, please believe me!"
"Everyone, give us a moment."
I carried my Tachi on my shoulder and pushed my way through the beastfolks.
Maybe because his legs gave in, he made a step back while he fell on his backside.
"You'll regret it if you kill me!"

"Is there anyone who'd miss him here?"
Nobody answered when I asked this. Rather, many people were glaring at him.


I go to his side and look down at him.
"It doesn't look like anyone will come for your aid. You can fight and die or run away and die, you have the free choice."
"Th-This is... I-I'm entrusted with an important task... *a*"
Herge covered his mouth in haste. I seemed that a secret had slipped out.

But it's too late. I didn't plan to let it pass by.
"Oh, tell me about it."
I stood with my Tachi up high while I spoke.


However, Herge's trembling suddenly settled.
His little eyes are gleaming with determination."
"I'm sorry... I, can't tell."
"Why?"
"I can't, betray my friend. ...So that's how far I go, huh. You can kill me."
"That's a fine spirit. Do you have anything left to say?"

Herge spoke with his eyes closed. Tears were spilling.
"In the end... I didn't find out Gerdolf's whereabouts. I'm sorry."
Did he get close to the small fry demons in order to look for the whereabouts of the guys of the Four Heavenly Kings?
Then it hit me.


"Are you an acquaintance of Leo?"
Herge's round eyes went wide open.
"Y-You know Leo!?"
"He's a companion."
"I-Is that so...! I, really didn't want to do this, it's the truth! But, I have to be recognized by even higher leaders to find out Gerdolf's whereabouts..."
--So he was spying?

I sheathed my Tachi.
"Then I'll grant you some extra time. But don't get lost yourself and don't become one of them."
"Eh? Yes, I get it. Thank you, Hero-sama!"

I looked at the beastfolks.
"Pretend you didn't hear this. You'll put yourself in danger."
"U-Understood."
Mahal was surprised but answered firmly.


--Well then, what to do?
We separated from the beastfolks and I inquired Herge.
"Doesn't the Demon Lord's army have enough food?"
"No, while there is enough, it's somewhere else. The arriving goods have halved after Evil Squid, who was in charge of the logistics, had died."
He might have used the navy for transportation since he controlled the ocean and the rivers.
While most demons are only thinking about immediate profits, there still seem to be some guys who are level-headed enough to properly think of logistics.

"I see. And now Gerdolf has to do all of this and that's why he's always moving about, huh."
"There aren't many strong demons who are good at management as well. Being only smart isn't enough. Demons will only listen to the strong after all."
They seem to be on the way to self-destruction.
That might change when the Demon Lord wakes up though.


"Is the situation at the beastfolk district bad?"
"They might not make it through this year's winter."
"...Conversely, it might be a chance."
"Eh?"
"Don't worry about it. Thanks for the info. What are you going to do now?"
"Of course, I'll head back!"
"You might get the attention of the higher ups, if you say that were defeated by the hero who defeated the guys of the Four Heavenly Kings and lives in the north of the Daphnes Kingdom."

Herge starts to walk.
"Yes, thank you. See you again, Hero Keika-sama. I'll report to Leo."
"Please do so."
Herge's needle body was making rustling sounds as he headed north at a quick pace.


I returned to the beastfolks.
"Now then. How to deal with you?"
"Yes. We'll accept any punishment."
"Even if I'd overlook this and let you return home, it seems that there wouldn't be any food to live off. You'll work at my village. In exchange I'll provide you with food."

"I-Is that true!?"
The beastfolks are raising their voices in delight.
"That's more than we could have hoped for" "We're saved!" "Thank you very much!"

"So, the other beastfolks who ran away should still be around, right. Can you call for them to gather here?"
--Some of the fled beastfolks are also still carrying wheat.
"Understood. Then, excuse me-- Please block you ears since it'll be loud."
Mahal inhales and shouts loudly "*keeeeen!*". The shout has a force that penetrates the sky behind it.


The beastfolks gathered one after another.
Some came from the forest, some had taken shelter in the village and some had even dug themselves into the ground.
There were three foxfolks, four catfolks and one cowfolk.
They put the wheat onto the carriages. I used magic to heal the injured beastfolks.

"Well then, let's return the wheat to the village!"
"Hero-sama, won't the humans be anxious when we're not tied up?"
"You can't pull the carriages if you're tied up, right? I'll take care of it should something happen."
"Understood. We'll work as hard as if our lives are depending on it-- Have you heard that, everyone?"

"""Yes!"""
The beastfolks answered in unison.
I accompanied the beastfolks back to the village.