Without slowing down his full sprint dash, Karito continued until the scenery changed into a single path sandwiched between forests. There, he finally stopped in his tracks.
Or, it should be said that he couldn’t help but stop.
Washing away the very glimmer of hope that moved Karito’s running muscles, the shocking sight spread out before him made him dumbfounded. It couldn’t be helped.
A village-like settlement was wrapped in flames.
The reason why he knew that it wasn’t an accidental fire was because of the intense smell of iron rust and gore that was carried by the wind to Karito’s nose.
It was exactly like that time when even a shotgun couldn’t smash the horned bear in its original form. He couldn’t help but recognize the similar states.
Above all, the houses that were burning were all constructed from wood and plaster. Surrounding the vicinity were figures of people crouching and lying down on the ground, their bodies dyed with fresh blood flowing from various wounds, most notably from arrows penetrating their bodies.
Amidst were shapes beyond recognition, people who became chunks of flesh, with bones and internal organs scattered on the ground. A great portion of the ground’s surface had turned reddish-black from all the blood that was soaked up.
It didn’t seem like they died because of the suffocating smoke. No matter how much I think about it, they were all beasts, or possibly even artificially made bodies.
It was an odd scene, strange enough that it didn’t make Karito vomit out all the food that he had just eaten a few minutes ago.
“...Huh...!!” Karito gasped.
To his own surprise, when he stumbled upon the scene of the massacre, he rolled over to the thicket beside him for cover in reflex.
This slaughterfest was clearly done by a third party. Despite it being a fantasy world, Karito didn’t think that there exists a beast that can use a bow and arrows.
He laid his M14EBR onto the two legged pod, and assumed a snipping posture. This was the movement that he had performed countless times inside the game. But, this was obviously reality - the stench of death assaulting his nose, his heart beating like an alarm bell, knocking loudly into his thoughts.
Without using the scope that was attached onto the top of his rifle, Karito activated the zooming function of his special goggles. It was much easier to confirm the situation by having a vast field of vision.
I focused on the piles of damaged human bodies while clenching my teeth. I checked them one by one for survivors, even for those that seemed to still be breathing slightly from the distance. But, I couldn’t even find one survivor at all.
I checked once again, but the results didn’t change. I was attacked by an indescribable feeling of impermanence. Have the people who did this already left this place...?
The enlarged field of vision of the goggles showed the detailed state of the dead bodies to Karito. Every person’s face was contorted in anguish, their eyes and mouths wide open from rigor mortis. Without any regard of it being shown through the scope, the vividness of death struck Karito’s conscience.
Their expressions upon death were so intense that looking at a scene of human bodies that were scattered around from an explosion would be better.
When I finally couldn’t endure it any longer, the taste of sour gastric juice spreads in my mouth. I forcibly swallowed it, and pushed the contents back into my stomach.
I felt that the state of the corpses that were lying all over the place looked different from normal, leaving aside the question of how does a normal corpse look like, but it was too late when I noticed this.
(Animal ears? Was this a village of beastmen?)
Shifting my attention away from the way they died, I confirmed the general state of their bodies once more. I noticed that half of them had something on both sides of their heads, of which resembled cat, dog or cow ears. Also, the region between their waists and bottoms had a tail growing out from there.
Even though there were a few childrens’ corpses mixed in there, most of them were the grown bodies of males and females with animal ears and tails. The remaining half were the corpses of ordinary humans.
Whatever the state was, the fact didn’t change that all of the men and women, old and young, all who lived in this village were massacred.
So, the reality was obvious.
――――If only I had arrived earlier, would I have been able to change anything?
At that time, the shadow of a person jumped out from the back of a burning house. I shifted my focus to the shadow of the figure quickly.
“A girl?” I muttered.
She looked to be about ten years old. Wearing a plain apron dress with conspicuous patchwork, the girl looked desperate.
Karito looked over to the figure that was frantically crossing his field of vision.
But as soon as I thought that there was something flashing for an instant, the girl came tumbling down.
No, something was different. She was shot by an arrow from her back. The arrow pierced deep into her thigh, and a look of anguish appeared on her face.
After a short while, several men appeared from the corner of a building. To be exact, there were five people. One man wore a pure white robe just like the typical guise of a magician from fantasies. The other four soldiers were dressed similarly in light equipment, strapped with longswords and bows. Looking at the soldiers’ vulgar smiles, it made Karito remember the bullies from his high school days.
All of the swords in their hands were stained with blood. The soldier-like group appeared to have worn a set of uniformed equipments, as everyone had a metal slip-guard protecting their torso of the same design.
The magician also had hair as white as his robes. Not just his appearance, but his body seemed to be surrounded by a white faint glow, a mist, or perhaps a halo of some sort. I wonder if that was just my imagination?
“Ya, just when I thought I was able to secure a living female! Isn’t this a kid!“ One of them complained.
“Hey, don’t ask for too much. It can’t be helped since we got carried away and slaughtered all of them.” Another replied.
“Urgh... Ah...” The little girl crawled and cringed in an attempt to escape from the men, even if it’s just by a little bit.
However, on that girl’s back, a soldier’s armoured boot stopped her. A groan of pain leaked out from her mouth.
Karito wasn’t able to hear their conversation from his position. But, with the aid of an interception mic, it would have been possible to pick up even their breaths. However, at this moment, Karito was frozen to the spot while holding his breath, forgetting the existence of the equipment.
“Now now, let’s hurry up and bring her back to the carriage. Everyone is waiting as well.” One of them said placatingly.
“What should we do, Rezado-sama...?” Someone asked.
“This idiot! How can you speak so brazenly?! I am sorry, Rezado-sama. Because he is just a new recruit, he doesn’t know how amazing Rezado-sama is yet.” An older man apologised.
“Don’t mind it. After all, we are all the same. Even though it was a little bit unsatisfying, I have enjoyed the beast hunt. You can do as you like with the female beasts.” Rezado waved his hand.
“As expected of Rezado-sama! You are very wise!” They exclaimed.
Am I simply going to stand there and watch them drag away the injured little girl ?
However, the opposite party is the same as him - humans. They were the very human beings that he had always longed to meet, longed dearly to meet. At the very least, that should have been the case.
[ED: Oi, oi, MC! Be brave and kill them for once! Didn’t you kill a horned bear?! Shouldn’t human trash like this be killed too?]
However, if only this meeting was a more peaceful one... For example, a situation where they were farmers quietly ploughing their plantations. Karito would have been running towards them wholeheartedly, crying in delight.
[ED: You’ll probably scare them and be treated as an intruder though...]
Unfortunately, the people reflected in Karito’s eyes were a group of madmen who massacre living beings, be they old or young, men or women, beastmen or ordinary humans.
――――Who in their right mind would expose themselves to a group of such people?
“Y.O.U GUYYSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!” A loud roar suddenly came out from the rear.
[ED: This one, apparently. Also, *insert butthole joke here*]
Just a moment later, the shadow of a figure flew over from the side where Karito lay hidden.
It had tremendous speed. It’s dashing speed was like when one was equipped with an armor that reinforces speed, and putting all the experience they gained into the speed parameters. To be exact, it was at a speed of leaping over a distance of fifty meters within a mere five seconds to reach the area where the group of people stood.
The figure jumped over to the group and raised his right fist. The lifted fist was covered in light.
Like a killer technique from an anime; Karito had this inappropriate impression.
Returning the intruder’s attack motion, the white robed man reacted first before the other soldiers could even move. As if protecting the group of men behind, he stepped forward in front of them. The action taken by this magician-like robed man was only that.
The glowing fist pierced the white robed man... Or so I thought. At least, it was what it looked like to Karito.
But, the fist didn’t reach its target. The white robed man stood on his feet as if nothing happened.
The fist did not make a blow on the white robed man’s body, but hit the aura around him instead.
“...Looks like there is still a beast remaining.” Rezado stated coldly.
“Gu, Gaaaaaa!!?” The figure that leaped for the strike was blown backwards.
As though a demolition iron ball had collided with it, the sound of the impact reverberated several times as it bounced on the ground, finally rolling a good ten metres away.
Ten seconds haven’t even passed from the time the figure jumped from Karito’s side .
When at last, the figure that had been blown off to the ground wasn’t moving, I was able to see the full figure of the mystery person clearly.
The real nature of the figure was a beastwoman. Ignoring the point that she had not been groomed well, she still had dazzling blonde hair that extended to her shoulders, and unexpectedly, a pair of identical dog ears of the same hair color peeked out. In addition, a slender yet splendid tail sprung out from her waist.
I felt like I recognized this silhouette. Could it be, the shadow of the person I saw for an instant when I was having a meal?
Her well endowed chest and hips were covered atrociously, only by a piece of poor, torn up cloth wrapped around it. Her masculine beauty, that seemed to be of a concentrated mix of sharpness and wilderness, was distorted in pain from the heavy blow that struck her whole body.
“Let go... Of that child...!” She grunted.
“It’s wonderful, Rezado-sama! As expected of the power of the god fragment!” One of the men panted.
“I am tired of hearing this foolish flattery. Do whatever you want with this beast too.” The robed man stated.
“Hehehe, I thought I had to make do with the kid, but it looks like I can make a profit out of this fellow here.” A man grinned.
All at once, the eyes of the group of men turned towards the beastwoman, glittering and smeared with lust worse than any wild animal around.
[ED: Umm, isn’t this where the MC usually steps in?]
One of the men stomped onto the back of the little girl, and asked his friends.
“What should we do with this kid?”
“We have already acquired such a fine article, so that one isn’t necessary anymore. After all, a bitch that is worthy of being violated has already come out by herself.” One replied.
“That is right. I don’t have the hobby of doing it with a child either―――――” Another smiled.
The soldier who was stomping on the little girl’s back pulled out his longsword from his waist.
‘Stop’, Karito’s mouth moved unconsciously, and the beastwoman also cried out ’Stop!’ in sorrow.
[ED: DO SOMETHING MC! WHAT’S YOUR RIFLE FOR?!]
But, it was all for nothing. The soldier’s longsword thrusted into the back of the girl without hesitation.
“RIIIIIIIIINNAAAAAAAA!!!!” The woman screamed.
She tried to move towards the little girl, sluggish because of the pain. Before she could reach the little girl’s side, the group of men had already pressed her against the ground.
The longsword pierced the girl’s stomach, and physically nailed her to the ground. Fresh blood soaked the ground and spread out slowly as it oozed from the body. The man twisted his hand that was gripping onto the longsword, making the girl shriek hoarsely at the pain of the blade digging into her torso as she gasped constantly.
Karito had been watching all of this from the beginning till the end through his goggles. At the thicket where he lay hidden, Karito had witnessed everything - each and every move of the soldier who stabbed the little girl, the expression of that very soldier at the moment of the murder.
(That man... He was laughing)
The moment he understood the meaning of it, something changed inside of Karito.
...I thought that it would be enough as long as I can meet a person. I surely did think so.
(Don’t joke with me. They are crazy!)
I didn’t want to admit the existence that would stab a young girl with a sword while laughing as a human being. I wouldn’t consider them as one.
They were no longer human, but an existence of the worst evil, worse than a starved beast.
And, Karito possessed a way to eliminate them.
While saying so, was there a reason to not beat this bastard down to hell?
He stretched his hand to the side of his rifle that sat on the two-legged stand, and switched to an orthodox shooting position.
He held his breath after breathing out silently, letting his whole body relax. After his whole body’s muscles loosened up, he fixed his muscles into that position, suppressing any slight movement that could alter his aim to the maximum.
First, I aimed at the man in the white robe. He was probably a magician of some sort. Since there’s a good chance that he could cast some powerful magic here, I need to eliminate him first. It is basic strategy to eliminate an opponent that has larger firepower, like a gunman with a machine gun. I aimed the crosshair at the magician’s head.
The robed magician flashed a sadistic smile as he looked at the girl writhing in agony at being pierced through by the sword. His face overlapped with the face of the bullies’ leader who used to make Karito eat feces by force. Right after that, Karito flung a urinal pot to the lead bully’s face, and literally crushed the bridge of his nose.
But this time, it would be destroying the head of a good-for-nothing with a lead bullet. As for the actions that he would undertake from then on, there was no hesitation, logical sense, or sense of guilt in the slightest in Karito’s mind.
“Die, you fucking asshole.” At the same time as he murmured the phrase in anger, he squeezed the trigger of the rifle quietly.
The recoil that penetrated his shoulder; the sound of a gunshot roaring... The magnified head of the magician exploded. As long as I took on a proper sniping posture, I didn’t even need the assistance of the mark at a distance of no more than fifty metres. It was to the extent where I didn’t even need the assistance of the scope.
In addition to being supported by the bipedal stand, Karito’s M14EBR also uses a forehand grip and a high precision gun barrel that could increase accuracy for a short distance confrontation. Along with it was also Karito’s own specially custom made enhanced armour exploding ammunition with high firepower and recoil. Inside the game, it was just a simple customization, but it was enough. With the correct handling method, it could be used to cope with any kind of situation.
I fixed my aim that has been tilted. I shot another two bullets into the chest of the standing body that has not realized it was missing its head to ensure that I made the finishing blow.
They blasted somewhere near the heart. As Karito had only ever seen the image of blood splattering inside the game, the sight of a freshly and badly damaged corpse was imprinted into his memories. Karito suppressed the strange feeling into a corner of his mind forcefully.
I moved the direction of my muzzle by a little bit, and the next target that my rifle’s crosshair pointed to was the man, who has been kicking the girl, who was standing stunned, unable to comprehend what had just happened.
I aimed at his neck joint that wasn’t covered by the slip-guard, and shot. After shooting open a large hole in his body, the man collapsed.
I have murdered two people today.
“Serves you right.” My lips moved unconsciously.
Furthermore, I turned and readied my aim at the remaining men who surrounded the beastwoman.
On this side too, the group of men froze at their respective spots, unable to grasp the situation. Without any further hesitation, I shot another bullet. Bit by bit, I shifted my aim and mowed them down with rapid fire in semi-auto mode. The armor exploding bullets pierced their armours easily, destroying their internal organs. They fell down one after another, scattering pieces of flesh and blood from the pierced openings.
When Karito had killed all of the enemies in his sight, he raised his body quickly and attempted to approach the village. As he pressed his rifle onto his right shoulder, he dropped his waist a little bit, tilted his body forward, and began to jog. Even so, his speed was the same as a child running a short distance.
[TLC:Is his speed really freaking slow - -"]
[ED: Wary of danger, maybe? IDK.]
Karito was only a few meters away from the beastwoman that lay dumbfounded, also unable to comprehend the scene that had just occurred, when at that moment, another group of soldiers came running towards them.
Their hands were holding onto swords. It was very clear that they belonged to the group of men Karito had just killed from their malicious presence. Their numbers totalled to five. If they were the men's comrades, it means that they’re Karito’s enemies.
“What the hell are you...” Ignoring the fact that one of the men was about to say something, Karito proceed to fire.
When aiming at a moving target, one should aim for the large torso. At this short distance, Karito didn’t even need to use the scope. He double tapped the trigger, and the bullet hit the middle of the man’s chest exactly.
[TL: Double Tap is a shooting technique where 2 shots are fired in rapid succession at the same target]
Subsequently, at the point where only two men remained, the M14EBR ran out of bullets. He imagined a weapon change as he slung the rifle to his back without panicking or fussing, his hands unconsciously moving towards the back of his waist.
When both of his hands appeared next, he was holding onto two handguns, one each in his hands.
They were the IMI desert eagle. Moreover, they were the best ones in their class, a .50AE model. The .05AE model has an expansion magazine that can increase the capacity of bullets loaded in it, a high precision barrel that increases accuracy, a muzzle brake that reduces recoil, and an armor piercing shell with increased recoil of customizable performance.
[TL: I found a video of swat team firing a desert eagle but it was .44 one damn it really packed a punch in there.]
Originally, this setting was unachievable in the [Tactical Combat Mode], but it was not unusual for a player in mercenary mode to use two handguns, considering that there was the transfiguration of parameters, and the armours’ additional effects.
It was, then again, different from the M14EBR, where its heavy gunfire sound rung out like a hammer slamming onto a tree. A huge handgun comes with a huge muzzle flash as well, and the magnum bullets show the power it deserves. The soldier’s upper body leaned backwards and collapsed, as if he was hit by a home run king’s invisible bat.
The last soldier was filled with horror as he watched his friends die one after another.
“HIIIIIIIIIII!” He emitted a miserable scream.
Throwing away his sword, which was the only weapon protecting him, he turned his back to Karito, and ran away.
But, Karito didn’t intend to let him go.
Aren’t you as guilty as well? The traces of blood left on his sword were the best evidence.
“This insect is too selfish.” Karito mumbled.
He raised the desert eagle in his right hand single-handedly, and fired at the escaping soldier. A hole the size of a table tennis ball formed in his back. Leaning forward, the soldier fell face first. There was no sign of him waking up. There was no sign of life in him as well.
I scanned the whole area while taking a pose where I can shoot with a desert eagle anytime. There doesn’t seem to be any ambushing troops within the scan range.
The only people alive were Karito, the beastwoman, and one other person.
“No, don’t, Rina! You musn’t die! Stay with me!” The beastwoman finally pulled herself together, and clung onto the little girl.
She pulled out the longsword from her little body, and embraced her. She suppressed the intense bleeding from her stomach, but no matter how you looked at it, it was a fatal wound.
Rina seemed to be the name of that little girl. Karito then noticed that he was able to understand the words that the beastwoman said. It might be because of the effect of the standardized translation function inside .
Unable to leave them alone, he approached the mortally injured girl called Rina, wondering if he could offer any first aid. Then, he did a double take.
Her eyes had already lost their glimmer, and her face was turning greenish-blue from the loss of blood. On top of her head was a floating clock shaped icon.
To the players of , it was a familiar icon. It was the pie chart that indicates the time one has remaining, and it would gradually decrease over time. He shouldn’t delay things any longer.
“Get out of the way!” He yelled urgently.
“Wha... What are you gonna do!?” The woman glared.
“Listen up, I will take a look at this child!” He stated fiercely.
He tore the girl from the beastwoman by force, and kneeled beside Rina while choosing from the equipment list.
Since time was precious at the moment, he didn’t give an explanation. Once Karito found the item he wanted, he materialized it immediately.
What appeared was a pencil-shaped syringe replacing his handgun. Karito pressed the sharp point at the back of her neck, and pushed the button on the opposite side with his thumb. *Pssh* The sound of compressed air could be heard, and the medical solution flowed into the girl’s body.
It was now Karito’s turn to be pushed away by the beastwoman. His collar was grabbed and raised with a strength that he couldn’t imagine coming from the beastwoman’s small hand. Her eyes blazed with fury as she glared at Karito angrily.
“What did you do to Rina?!” She demanded.
“Medicine, I only injected her with medicine!” Karito replied hastily.
Right after that, the girl’s eyes that were closed the entire time fluttered open. While making questioning sounds, she raised her body easily. Her face’s complexion had returned.
Understanding that it turned out well, Karito’s stiff body slouched in relief. On the other hand, the beastwoman froze again from surprise when she saw that Rina, who had been on the verge of dying moments ago, had regained her health. However, her hand was still gripping onto Karito’s collar.
“Eh? H-Huh? I don’t feel anymore pain?” Rina stated in confusion.
“Ri-Riiina!? Why!? A... A-Are you really alright!?” The beastwoman yelped.
“Y-Yes. I don’t understand it well, but I’m probably fine. ...I think.” The girl replied hesitantly.
“Hey, hey, hey! Hey you! What exactly have you done to Rina!” The beastwoman turned to Karito agitatedly.
“I gave her some resurrection medicine. It was nearly past the time limit, but looks like I made it in time somehow...” Karito sighed.
[TL: giving resurrection medicine like a boss.]
The stopwatch icon that floated on top of the girl’s head indicated the time limit until the resurrection medicine given would have an effect. Resurrection medicine was an item that would immediately revive the player when his Life Point reaches zero, with the exception of instant death or damage dealt to a certain level in a given period of time. It was an indispensable existence when you play.
Anyway, the beastwoman’s tears of gratitude kept flowing out from the joy of Rina reviving from the brink of death.
While rubbing her red-hot swollen eyes, the beastwoman turned to face Karito while securing the girl in her arms several minutes later.
“I give my thanks to you from the bottom of my heart for saving Rina... By the way, who are you?”
Now then, how should I answer this?
Karito didn’t know how to reply.