[Vol 4] Chapter 1 – Empire’s Soldiers
Hajime, Yue, and the Haulia tribe advanced within the [Raisen Great Canyon].
Several demonic beasts tried to attack them but to no avail. Those that tried to assault the Rabbitman tribe had their heads blown off with a flash without exception.
Every flash was accompanied by a gunshot. The Rabbitman tribe looked around dumbfoundedly, as the demonic beasts’ corpses littered the ground like flowers in a flower field. Awestruck by his power, the Rabbitman turned their gazes upon Hajime.
Especially one child in particular. They were looking at Hajime as though he was a hero from legend.
“Fufufu~, Hajime-san. The little ones are watching, you know~? Why don’t you wave at them?” (Shia)
Shia immediately tried to tease Hajime, who was already in a bad mood due to that child’s innocent gaze.
A vein popped out of his head, and Hajime silently fired his gun.
DOPANn! DOPANn! DOPANn!
With Hajime aiming at her feet, Shia frantically jumped around to evade them, making it look like she was tap dancing. Shia’s father, Kam, revealed a wry smile at this spectacle while Yue looked at her with expressionless marvel.
“Haha, so Shia and Hajime-dono are already that close. It looks like Shia has already hit that age, huh? Father will feel a bit lonely, but if it is Hajime-dono, then I can be relieved.” (Kam)
Even though his daughter was still being shot at, Kam celebrated this occasion as though it was Shia’s marriage day, a tear forming in the corner of his eye. The other tribe members also looked at her with a warm gaze, although she was screaming “Help me~!” all the while.
“Wait, all of you. How did you come to that conclusion looking at this situation?” (Hajime)
“…. Unbelievable.” (Yue)
It was as Yue said. It seemed that the Haulia tribe was rather lacking in the common sense department. However, who was to say it didn’t apply to all the Rabbitman tribes…
After walking for a long time, their group finally arrived at the entrance of the [Raisen Great Canyon]. There was a finely built staircase for as far as Hajime could see, even with [Far Sight]. The stairs were built by cutting alongside the cliff face, zigzagging every 50 meters. The [Haltina Sea of Trees] was around half a day’s walk after exiting the [Raisen Great Canyon].
When Hajime gazed up towards the rim of the canyon, Shia uneasily asked.
“Do you see any of the empire’s soldiers?” (Shia)
“Hm? What can I say… there’s the possibility that they’ve been annihilated already…” (Hajime)
“Th-that is… suppose that the empire’s soldiers are around, Hajime-san…, what will you do then?” (Shia)
“…? What do you mean by that?” (Hajime)
Hajime tilted his head because he couldn’t understand what Shia was trying to ask. The ears of the Haulia tribe here perked up because of her question.
“Unlike demonic beasts, the enemy this time will be the empire’s soldiers, the human race, you know? A human like Hajime-san…… are you sure you will be able to fight them?” (Shia)
“Failure rabbit, haven’t you already seen the future?” (Hajime)
“Yes, I have. Hajime-san was confronting the empire’s soldiers…” (Shia)
“Then what’s the problem?” (Shia)
“I wanted to confirm your resolve. In order to protect us, the Haulia tribe, from the empire’s soldiers, you have to confront other humans. Are you truly okay with that, with fighting against other humans…?” (Shia)
Having heard Shia’s words, the surrounding Rabbitmen nervously looked at Hajime. The children couldn’t understand the significance of what was happening, but they could guess from the serious atmosphere something drastic could happen.
However, despite such a serious atmosphere, Hajime casually replied.
“What’s wrong with that?” (Hajime)
Hajime continued to talk, ignoring Shia’s confusion.
“Like I just said. I have no problem with fighting other humans.” (Hajime)
“Th-that…! You’re from the same race, you know?!” (Shia)
“Didn’t your tribe also get chased out by the same race?” (Hajime)
“That is… well if you put it that way…” (Shia)
“… You’re wrong about my intentions, however.” (Hajime)
Shia tilted her head while the surrounding Rabbitmen looked confused.
“Listen, I am employing your tribe to be my guide through the [Haltina Sea of Trees], so I’ll be troubled if any of you die. It’s not like I sympathize with any of you, or have the kindness to do that. Moreover, I won’t be protecting you guys forever. Did you forget that?” (Hajime)
“Ugh… I remember…” (Shia)
“That so? I’ll protect you until my business in the [Haltina Sea of Trees] is over. I only act in my self-interest. It doesn’t matter if it’s demonic beasts or humans, if they try to obstruct my path, they will be eliminated. Simple as that.” (Hajime)
“I- I see…” (Shia)
Shia could only reply in a disappointed fashion towards Hajime’s remark. Even if she saw Hajime confronting the empire with [Clairvoyance], that future wasn’t absolute. Other futures seemed more probable to her, one of them where they became slaves under the empire, living a life worse than death. Shia blamed herself for the possibility of those futures, even if she knew everyone else wouldn’t blame her for not preventing them. Thus, she had resolved to ascertain the most likely future that would take place.
“Haha, it is good to clear any misconceptions. Please leave it to us to guide you through the [Haltina Sea of Trees].” (Kam)
Kam laughed cheerfully. Rather than acting under a naive sense of justice, Hajime treated this as a give and take situation, giving him a renewed sense of security. His face said it all.
Their party had gradually reached the stairs. Hajime went ahead of them to scout the situation. When they had escaped from the empire’s soldiers before, the Haulia tribe hadn’t gotten the chance to eat or drink anything. Unexpectedly though, the Haulia tribe remained on their toes, as though they were still in pristine condition. The rumor that demi-humans, who were unable to use magic, had higher physical strength and endurance seemed true.
At long last, Hajime’s group had escaped from the execution ground, the [Raisen Great Canyon].
When they peered over the cliff-
“Oi, oi, seriously? There are survivors! Even though I was reluctant to stay here on the commander’s orders, it turns out I can bring back a good souvenir~.” (Random Soldier)
There were around 30 imperial soldiers. Behind them, there were many carriages and tents set up. All of the soldiers were dressed in Khaki-like uniforms and equipped with either a sword and shield or with a spear. They turned towards Hajime’s group in surprise.
However, that only lasted for an instant. Their eyes immediately shone with delight when they saw the Rabbitman tribe.
“Platoon leader! The pale-haired Rabbitman is also there! Isn’t she the one that the commander wanted?” (Random Soldier)
“Oh ho! It looks like we hit the jackpot. Your orders are to kill everyone but the pale-haired Rabbitman!” (Platoon Leader)
“Platoon leader~, there are some women in that group. Can’t we have a taste of them? We’ve waited here for 3 days! Please overlook it~…” (Random Soldier)
“Geez. Just don’t keep all of them. If it’s only two or three, then it’s okay.” (Platoon Leader)
“As expected of platoon leader! You really do look out for us!” (Random Soldier)
For the empire’s soldiers, the Rabbitman tribe wasn’t a threat in their eyes, they only focused on which of the women in the group they wanted to toy with later while they advanced. Seeing those soldiers, the Rabbitman tribe could do nothing but tremble in fright.
Among those clamoring soldiers, the man called the platoon leader finally notice Hajime’s presence.
“Ah? Who are you? It looks like… you’re not a Rabbitman.” (Platoon Leader)
Hajime, deeming it impossible to just avoid this confrontation altogether, simply responded-
“Aa. I’m human alright.” (Hajime)
“Haa~? Why is a human together with Rabbitmen? You even came from the canyon. Oh, are you a slave merchant? How did you hear about these Rabbitmen? What a great business spirit you have to even come out here yourself. However, these Rabbitman belong to the empire, so please move aside.” (Platoon Leader)
The platoon leader made the most obvious assumption about Hajime’s circumstances, thus believing that he had the authority to order Hajime around.
Of course, there was no need for Hajime to listen to him, as that platoon leader’s assumption was way off the mark.
“I refuse.” (Hajime)
“… Did you just say something?” (Platoon Leader)
“Are you deaf? I said I refuse. These guys are mine now. I won’t give you even one. I recommend you to pack up and go back home now.”(Hajime)
He thought what he heard was a mistake, but that man was defying an imperial order. The platoon leader grimaced in fury.
“… boy, mind your words now. Is there something wrong with your head to not recognize who we are?” (Platoon Leader)
“I know who you are. Is YOUR head on right?” (Hajime)
The platoon leader glared at Hajime. The other Soldiers also glared at Hajime, creating a tense atmosphere. As the platoon leader scorned Hajime, he suddenly noticed a petite figure behind Hajime’s back. Even inside that tense atmosphere, Yue’s beauty shone just as brightly, immediately enchanting the platoon leader. He smirked lustfully.
“Ah~, I see. I finally understand now. You’re nothing but a naive, ******, little boy! Let me teach you the horrors of this world. That young miss over there, now isn’t she a little beauty? After I chop your limbs off, I’ll play with her in front of your eyes until I’m satisfied, then sell her over to the slave merchants after I finish you off!”
Hajime creased his brows in utter wrath. Even the expressionless Yue couldn’t help but express extreme disgust that anyone could tell. Yue extended her right hand, prepared to eliminate the trash that dared violate her presence.
However, she was stopped by Hajime. Dumbfounded, Yue could only hear Hajime say-
“In conclusion, you are my enemy, right?” (Hajime)
“Ah?! Do you still not understand your situation! You ******* should be trembling on the ground seeking forgive-!?” (Platoon Leader)
The irritated platoon leader was unable to finish his sentence. Reason being that his brain was no longer operational. With a big hole in the middle of his forehead, his brain leaked out from behind his head, and he collapsed just like that.
The other soldiers could only stare dumbfoundedly at the platoon leader’s corpse.
One gunshot was heard, but six of the empire’s soldiers collapsed. In actuality, Hajime had shot at six soldiers scattered across the field, but due to his insane stats, abilities, and weapons, the six gunshots resounded as one.
Naturally, after seeing their leader and comrades collapse, the soldiers panicked and turned their weapons towards Hajime. Even though they didn’t understand how they died, they understood who had killed them. Their personality aside, as expected of the empire’s soldiers, their capabilities on the battlefield was the real deal.
The soldiers immediately charged forward while the mages in the rear started to chant. However, something had rolled into the backline while they charged. It was a black, cylindrical object. What could it be? Though they were puzzled, they never stopped chanting, when suddenly-
The “grenade” had exploded. Moreover, shrapnel had consumed the backline. Compared to the ones on Earth, it’s power was undoubtedly far stronger. It was only able to be created due to this world’s unique ores.
In one move, 10 soldiers had died. Their hands and feet had been blown off their bodies, their organs splattered everywhere. Seven audible voices could be heard screaming in pain.
Hearing the explosion behind them, the seven soldiers who had acted as the vanguard immediately stopped their charge. While turning back in confusion, the vanguard was suddenly left with one man. Blood sprayed all around him. In shock, he fell to his knees. He looked to the sky in disbelief. It was no wonder. In only an instant, his companions were annihilated. These were elite warriors. Elite warriors who had complained about being stationed in the middle of nowhere. He looked around only to find himself feeling alone in a living nightmare of disassembled bodies.
He suddenly heard an aloof voice coming from behind him.
“… As expected, there’s no need to use [Lightning Clad]. The usual bullet and firing mechanism was enough. The [Combustion Stone] is REALLY convenient though.”
That soldier turned towards Hajime in fright. Hajime tapped Donner on his shoulder as he slowly approached the lone vanguard. His figure with his fluttering black coat made him look like a grim reaper.
“Hiii! Do-don’t come any closer! I don’t want to die! So-someone, help me!” (Random Soldier)
That soldier pleaded for his life. His face distorted in fear and piss leaked from his crotch. Hajime looked at him coldly, then slowly open fired in succession.
“Hii!” (Random Soldier)
That soldier prepared for a death that had yet to come. Hajime had shot the soldiers who had been severely injured by the grenades. When he noticed he had yet to die, the last surviving soldier timidly surveyed the battlefield, only to find he was truly alone in this disastrous scene of annihilation.
The gun’s muzzle finally aimed at the stiffened soldier. His body shook, and with an unbecoming expression, he once again begged for salvation.
“I-I implore you! Please don’t kill me! I-I’ll do anything! Anything!” (Soldier)
“Is that so? Then, please, tell me what happened to the other Rabbitmen. Even though there should be a lot of them here… have they been transported to the empire?” (Hajime)
Hajime, as self-centered as always, only asked about the circumstances of the other Rabbitmen because it would be bothersome to go out of his way to rescue them.
“Wi-will you spare me if I tell you?” (Soldier)
“You, do you think you are in any position to demand anything of me? It’s not like I need this information. Would you like to die this instant?” (Hajime)
“Ple-please wait! I’ll tell you! I’ll tell you! They’ve probably been transported because we already reached the quota…” (Soldier)
A quota was fulfilled. In other words, after having captured enough able-bodied Rabbitmen, the others must have been killed. After hearing that, bitterness painted the Rabbitmen’s faces. Hajime took a peek at their expression. He immediately looked back at the soldier, killing intent manifesting in his eyes.
“Wait! Please wait! I’ll tell you anything! The empire’s secrets, anything you want! So please!” (Soldier)
Having noticed Hajime’s killing intent, the soldier desperately pleaded for his life. The answer to his desperate plea was…
The Rabbitmen all sucked in a breath. Due to Hajime’s completely unforgiving behavior, fear of Hajime had awoken in them. Who knew if Shia also felt the same, but she timidly asked Hajime all the same.
“Wo-wouldn’t it have been okay to just overlook that one person…?” (Shia)
Hajime glanced at her with such astonishment that Shia could only feel as though she had said something inappropriate. It looked like the Rabbitman tribe could even forgive the people responsible for the enslavement and genocide of their tribe. When Hajime was about to speak, Yue immediately said-
“… Once they’ve drawn their weapons, even if the opponent wasn’t strong, they’ll become an inconvenience sooner or later…” (Yue)
“Th-that is…” (Shia)
“… How dare you shame Hajime when he protected you and your tribe…” (Yue)
Yue was furious. Even though they were currently protecting them, she wouldn’t forgive anyone who harbored negative feelings towards Hajime. Even though they hadn’t intended to disgrace their savior, the Haulia tribe felt ashamed.
“Fumu, Hajime-dono, I sincerely apologize on behalf of my tribe. We do not blame you for your actions, it is just that we are not accustomed to such a sight…” (Kam)
“Hajime-san, I am sorry.” (Shia)
Having heard Shia and Kam apologize to him on behalf of their tribe, Hajime could only wave his hands to tell them he paid it no attention.
After that, Hajime went to where the empire’s horses and carriages were and told the Haulia tribe to hop on. Even though it would only take them half a day to walk to the [Haltina Sea of Trees], since they could use horses and carriages, they should use them. He took out the Magic Powered 2-Wheeled Drive from his [Treasure Warehouse] and linked it to the line of carriages. And so, the party continued their trek towards the [Haltina Sea of Trees].
Yue had used wind magic to drop the empire’s soldiers’ corpses into the canyon before they left. What remained of the battlefield was nothing but a field stained with blood.