When Peaceful Times Cease to Exist : Battle of Seeker’s Village, Part 5 — The Scourge of Dulcass Forest
Translated by KaiesV
Edited by KaiesV
Time goes back a few days
「So, where are these elves going to take us?」
「Who knows? For now, go for the tree with the red string on it.」
「We’ve been walking for about three hours now.
The sun has already passed the midday.」
「Besides that, aren’t we heading to the heart of the forest?」
Men in armor walking through the forest grumble.
「Don’t blabber, the laces are getting shorter and shorter.
We’re almost there, aren’t we?」
「Why is it red? It’s hard to see.」
「Like I care with that.」
The man in lead tried for a moment to placate him, but he was soon involved in an argument.
We can leave after delivering the elves.
I’m even goad I don’t have to see that stupid prince’s face anymore.」
「You’re talking out of your won ass, man.
We were the Imperial Guards, for crying out loud.」
「It’s like a lottery.
I would have preferred the first or second prince.
That idiot prince is no match for the court.」
「That’s why he’s desperate.
He’s trying to mark for himself.」
The soldier spits and mutters that they should be the ones who have to deal with it.
Another man tapped him on the shoulder.
「I don’t think we’ll be able to handle this with his shit.
It would better to have a straw still stuck in it.
I don’t know who sent him this time either.」
「Not that aristocrat? You know, they say he have been moving up in the world lately.」
「Ahh, you mean the one who became assistant to the prime minister in the last two years or so? But why would we be nice to that idiot prince when we’ve risen that high again?」
「I don’t know.
But he’s nice to everybody, not just to that asshole.
He’s often approached by people who want to talk to him, as well.
He’s a nice, unpretentious guy.」
「That’s unusual for an aristocrat.」
A group of soldiers are moving through the forest of Dulcass, chatting noisily with each other.
There must be about 50 soldiers in all.
After raiding the forest of Seekers, they are proceeding with the surviving Seekers toward the indicated location.
The elves are all tied behind their backs and gagged.
Even the best Seekers cannot do anything when their hands are blocked from chanting magic and making seals.
Their arm strength is not much stronger than a human’s to began with, and a well trained human soldier would probably be considerably stronger.
Each of them was being taken away by the soldiers, their faces contorted with regret.
「We’re not there yet!」
「No, the cord is already short… wait!」
The cord was untied easily, even though the lead soldier, who was checking the cord, did nothing.
The movement of the soldiers who had been watching it momentarily stood still.
Then, unexpectedly, they were approached.
「…They’ve finally come…」
The soldiers turn toward the voice.
There stood a child about 10 years old.
He had dark hair and was quite a well-rounded, beautiful boy.
However, he lacked facial expression and seemed very cold.「When did he appear here?」But despite the soldier’s doubts, the child slowly walks up to them.
What are you doing here?」
「Don’t tell me, he’s going to take the elves in?」
However, the child made no sign of responding to the soldiers’ questions and began to evaluate the enslaved Seekers.
The soldiers could do nothing but watch.
「…They’re definitely Seekers… good quality… this will do…」
「Hey, brat! Answer our questions!」
One of the soldiers grabs the child by the shoulder, but—
The soldier could not comprehend the scene before him.
It seemed as if his hand was passing through the child’s body, or rather, buried in it.
The soldier felt no pain, but he tried to pull it out anyway, but it didn’t budge.
Instead, his own hand sinks deeper towards the child.
「H–Hey! What the hell, is this!?」
Pull on Zam’s body!」
「Here it goes!」
Several soldiers pulled on the body of the soldier named Zam, but they could not pull him back at all.
On the contrary, it was sinking more and more.
「W-what the hell is this?」
「Hey, brat! Stop this!」
One of the soldiers, unable to resist, finally stabbed the child with his spear.
The boy did not seem to move at all, even though the spear had pierced through his chest.
And strangely enough, not even blood flowed from the wound.
Moreover, he continues to ransack the Seekers with the soldiers in tow.
「…Yes, this one passed… you think so too, don’t you?…」
「It’s good, isn’t it? There are so many beautiful women here, it’s going to be fun~!」
「…You’re always talking about women…」
Out of nowhere, another child appeared.
By the looks of it, they must be in the same age.
This time, too, the hair is black, but this one is a boy with much more expressive face.
This one has a vivacious appearance.
One is a silent child and the other was someone with very light tone of voice.
The two are acting as if the soldiers around them are not there.
「You’re going to give me one of those, aren’t you?」
「…You’ll have to try to get one…」
「Ehh, what if I don’t work hard enough?」
「…You’ll do your best to avoid that…」
「What if none of them really come around?」
「…Then I’ll help you with your next job…」
「Oh, that’s great then.
So, what about all these extras?」
You’ve already got one, and I have filled most of it.」
「…I don’t mind…」
Apparently, the quiet child was completely blind to the presence of the soldiers.
Meanwhile, the soldier named Zam was getting more and more buried.
Some pulled back to help Zam, others thrust their spears into the boy, but the boy did not seem as if he cared when he was stabbed in the head.
Finally, Zam’s head was buried.
Zam struggled desperately, but the situation did not improve at all, as if he was struggling in a bottomless swamp.
Once his head was buried, they didn’t hear his voice, but they could see that he was struggling desperately until his entire body was submerged.
The soldiers around him were aghast at the sight and could do nothing but watch.
The Seekers, too, were too wide-eyed at the unrealistic scene.
The Seekers, who were the first to sense the danger, tried their best to appeal to the soldiers to release them, but the soldiers were too stunned to listen their appeals.
While all these people are speechless and quiet, the cheery boy is happily talking to the quieter boy.
「Can I have these humans if you don’t mind?」
「…As you see fit…」
「Yay—! Now what do we do… what do you guys want to do?」
The child turns and look around as if peering into the soldiers’ faces.
The situation was so unreal that not everyone nhas caught up with the situation, but one of them came to its senses and opened its mouth to refute the situation.
「Don’t give me that…」
But the soldier did not argue with him any longer.
Because when the child held his hand up, with a dull gurgling sound, his head suddenly 180 degrees the other way in mid sentence.
「Ahh, that’s bad! I will not allow any questions to be asked!」
It was an absurd response to a request for an opinion of one’s own.
However, the boy is still cheerful and light-hearted.
Then, after a few moments of thinking, with the soldiers turning blue, he clapped his hands together as if he had come up with something.
「Nhn, I’m not interested in killing everyone, so I’m going to let you guys kill each other until there’s one left, okay? However, I will let the last one live.
How’s that to give you guys hope?」
All of them gasp.
The child in front of them siad the most outrageous thing:「Can we play tag?」The soldier could not even speak.
But some of them began to back away slowly, and finally someone,「Uwaahh!」That person tried to get away from that place.
However, with a gurgling sound, the soldier also met the same end as the previous one.
「Nhn, not that one either! I don’t approve of running away at all~!」
The child makes a bat with his hands and shakes his head.
Finally, some of the soldiers sat down on the spots, as if their spirits were no longer able to keep up with the abnormal situation.
Seeing this, the child was really smiling happily.
「Well, I think it’s time to get started… is everyone ready? If anyone has an opinion on this game, I’m taking questions right now! Ten, nine— so annoying, zero! …But no one seems to have any questions.
Okay, the next time I clapped my hands, we’ll start the game, but the game is too boring if you don’t take this seriously, so I’ll ask those who don’t want to play to leave the room without asking any questions.
For example, like this!」
Then the limb of one of the slumped soldiers began to twist.
Soldiers die with a scream and a sickening bone-crunching sound.
Seeing this, the soldiers began to scream.
They were in a state of panic.
「Ahh, shut up! Quiet down!」
Several more twist and die.
Perhaps realizing that they are not even allowed to make a noise, the soldiers fall silent and wait for the child’s next statement.
The child’s voice, which was released in the midst of all this, produced a rhyme that seemed to resonate directly to the solder’s heads.
It was innocent yet dark, bright yet deep, or should they describe it as such? There is a strange compulsion and seduction in that tone of voice.
If you kill your friends standing next to you, you’ll be saved.
It’s easy, isn’t it.
Okay, everyone ready?」
As if on cue, the eyes of the soldiers, clouded by fear, began to bleed.
They no longer have a choice.
Soon, one of them draws its sword, and they all began to draw their swords, turning to face their fellow imperial guards who had just been complaining to each other.
「No way, I’m so impressed that all of you joined! Well, let’s… start!」
As soon as the child clapped his hands, the forest was enveloped in a whirlpool of anguish.
The Seekers watched helplessly as the soldiers engaged in a serious killing spree, blood splatting everywhere, a scene more gruesome than war.
No, they were helpless.
Rather, for some reason, they could not look away from the scene.
In fact, they could not even close their eyes.
It was also a technique of the boy, but even if they understood that, it would not change the situation.
And after a while.
In the forest, where everything painted red, a soldier survived.
He stabbed his sword to the ground, propped it up, and breathed on his shoulders without a word.
A child cracks up and claps at the sight of him.
「No way, congratulations.
You are the wimner! Do you have any thoughts?」
But the soldier was all wobbly and shaky, in no condition to speak.
In fact, it can be assumed that he is not going insane.
He may not understand what he has done.
But his nightmares were just beginning to really get to him.
「I see, you’re happy beyond words, aren’t you? I’m glad I let you live after all… Oh, that’s right! You deserve a treat!」
The child snapped.
And snapping his fingers, he begins to hear what sounds like whisper from all around him.
It seems that the voices are gradually getting louder.
「I think friends to be together, don’t they? I’ll be nice, and arrange it so that you can be all together forever.」
At first, everyone present failed to grasp the meaning of the words, but when they began to hear the whispers around them clearly, they understood the meaning.
Or, as it turned out, perhaps it was better that they did mot understand.
And the murmuring gradually made clearer and clearer sense.
(Why did you kill me…)
(I’ve been taking care of you since you were a rookie.)
(We’re in the same class… we went through such hard training together…)
(Why did you cut me down? Senpai…)
(Where am I? What happened to me…?)
「How is it, I let you hear the voices of your dead friends? They’ll be with you for the rest of your life, and you won’t be lonely anymore, are you?」
(I was going to get married when I get back home…)
(Sorry, Daddy can’t go back home…)
(How did this happen?)
(You! How dare you? I’ll kill you, I KILL YOU!!)
(I don’t want to be alone…)
(YOU, COME HERE…!)
Finally, the surviving soldier also gave up its own sanity.
And when the pool of blood around him seemed to move, it slowly engulfed the soldier.
The soldier sank into the ground, leaving not even a trace of blood behind.
The boy who had set up such a terrifying moment and seemed to be truly enjoying himself.
The quiet boy, on the other hand, looked on in amazement.
「…Is it interesting…?」
「No way, it totally is! Because, no matter how where I do it, the human reactions is the same, and it breaks down fast! They are an utterly fragile species.」
「… Then you’ll get bored afterwards, won’t you?」
They may be the same, but they are minutely different.
It’s fun to examine why those differences occur!」
「…And you’re not even considering it anyway…」
「Ahha?! Did I leave you there?」
The other boy also seemed sincerely uninterested.
The Seekers who were watching the scene and the exchange were so disgusted and horrified that they could no longer do anything but shiver and shake.
Many of them had already fainted.
Looking back at the Seekers, the boy began to speak cheerfully.
You were all surprised, weren’t you? But don’t worry, you guys are next.
After all, it’s your turn right?」
Hearing that line no longer gives the Seekers even the energy to run away.
With tears in their eyes, they just shake their heads and beg for help.
Ignoring the Seekers, however, the boy continues.
「It’s not like I don’t have to pity with you all, do we? … Between me and him, I can’t keep up with that quiet guy’s sense of style.
I think what is about to happen to you guys is so amazing that it makes like this look like it’s child’s play, don’t you? Well, because I’m actually a kid!! Anyway, he doesn’t recognize any of you as being alive or having emotions.
Expect it the next time you all wake up.
Have a great nightmare then.
The Seekers all fell asleep when the child held up his hand, not seeming to care about the Seeker’s attempts to speak unvoiced.
No one saw them after that.
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