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“Now is finally the time to come out from under the lycanthropes’ rule!”
The chief had gathered all the village people and is delivering an impassioned speech.
“Raising us like livestock and using us as feed, how long will we live, bowing our heads!”
That shouldn’t be what he says, as the one who was the first to bow his head.
The village people are obviously flustered by their chief suddenly turned fighter.
“Um, chief, what is the reason you are suddenly saying these things?”
“It’s not like we live in submission because we like them. With what will we fight them?”
The men raise a good question.
The chief pointed towards us and spoke.
“It is because these people are here!”
Everyone’s attention turned towards us.
With an uncomfortable expression, Hye-su bent her neck down. Joon-ho looked like his conscience had been stabbed too.
After hearing my true plan, the two keep looking that way.
Gather the village people and make them fight the lycanthropes, we pretend to fight with them, and flee. It’s a cruel plan that uses the village citizens as a mere sacrifice to give ourselves more time.
I know it too.
That this is worse than what the chief has done all this time.
At least the chief had the excuse that what he did was for the survival of the village.
On the other hand, I have given them the hope of freedom and instead lead them into death. For the survival of the four of us.
‘Regardless, the village people can’t be much help.’
They are people that have, so far, just been helplessly controlled. Joining forces with these people won’t give us a chance at winning against 100 lycanthropes. Also, the silver clan’s leader is very smart and strong.
‘In that case…!’
In that case, sacrificing these people so we can escape is better.
A village like this should disappear anyway.
… Is how I try to make sense of it.
Where is there a person in this village who is without sin?
This village isn’t full of weak people without guilt. They offered fellow humans up to monsters to live themselves. Being weak and good are not synonymous.
So even if we flip it and push these people to their deaths, its self-defense!
“These travelers have said that they will rid us of them! I have seen it. The four lycanthropes that came to our village were dealt with in the blink of an eye, a splendor difficult to believe!”
Whether he knows my intentions or not, the chief convinces the village with his strong tone.
Unbelievably, the villagers that said how are we to fight, gradually become convinced by the chief.
They eventually had a hopeful look in their eyes as they looked at us. Their gaze, as if we are the deliverers of their liberation and freedom.
Amongst the citizens, one man suddenly asks us a question.
“Are you really going to fight for us?”
At that question, Hye-su and Joon-ho flinch.
I step up.
“Fighting for you all? That expression sounds a bit weird.”
“You speak as if we will fight for free instead of you guys to get you your freedom. We are not fighting for you, we will fight together.”
At the mention of fighting, the citizens’ expressions grow dark again. They are fearful.
“If you do not all raise your weapons and fight the lycanthropes, we for sure do not have a reason to fight. If not, we will just leave. You all will probably suffer the retaliation of the dead lycanthropes. The bastards probably already believe that you have sided with us against them.”
“We aren’t the ones that killed the lycanthropes!”
“You guys killed them! This situation is all your fault!”
“That’s right, we’re without fault here!”
They try to pass on the blame and their behavior makes me scoff.
“Did you just say you are without fault? Is it not wrong that you put sleeping agents in our food? Even though the ones who tried to offer us up as wolf food are all gathered here? If I wanted I could retaliate for that and just kill you all right now and leave.”
Mixing in threats and speaking forcefully, the citizens flinch.
Stricken with fear, the only way to work with these people is through fear.
“Decide if you will fight or not. If you do not wish to fight, we will just depart now.”
The citizens stare at each other.
“Of course we’ll fight! These people say they will fight with us. We will not get another opportunity like this!”
Said the chief.
The women are overcome with anxiety, and the men approve one by one.
“I, I will fight.”
“Now that this is the situation, there’s no choice but to fight.”
“Even if we continue living like this, I won’t last long and become food anyway.”
The chief rejoices and talks to me.
“Did you see? We are resolved to fight.”
“Then prepare to fight. We don’t have much time. Do you have weapons?”
“We have some bows we use for hunting and some axes we use for cutting wood. Any other weapons we had were confiscated…”
There’s no way they would let slaves keep weapons.
“Prepare as many bows and arrows as you can, and according to the number of people, sharpen some wood and make spears.”
“Understood. Did everyone hear that?”
The men get busy moving.
I make more requests to the chief.
“Take all the able bodied men into groups of four, and have them take turns scouting the fence. When the bastards appear, have the men shout out the alarm.”
“Okay, got it. And what about you guys…?”
“First, we will patrol around this area and return. And dispose of these corpses.”
I point to the three dead lycanthrope corpses.
The chief believes my words without any suspicion.
I gesture to my teammates.
“Let’s go. Joon-ho and Kang Chun-seong, lift a corpse each.”
Joon-ho, Kang Chun-seong, and I each take a corpse onto our shoulders. Hye-su follows, and together we head out the village.
“Hyung, why did we bring the corpses out with us?”
“First, we have to harvest the majeong.”
“We have another use for the corpses but first, let’s get the majeong.”
I have Sylph get the majeong from inside the corpses. Hye-su puts the three majeong into the item bag.
I look around our surroundings and cut down some vines.
I wrap the vines around the lycanthropes’ necks and hang them from a tree. Three lycanthrope corpses hanging from a tree.
This is an adequate set up for provoking the silver clan guys.
“Is a provocation. When they see this they will be enraged. How do you think they will react when they see the villagers holding weapons, prepared to fight?”
“Yep, we have to eliminate the chance for dialogue. We have to make sure both sides fight.”
To the lycanthropes, this village was an important food supply source. If the lycanthropes kill all the villagers, it’s a big loss for them too.
They will decide there is no point to dialogue. They will mount an attack quickly, and at that, the villagers will resist.
While they are fighting, we have to make our escape as and run as far as possible.
‘Then it will be okay.’
There is nothing more important than clearing the test.
“Let’s go now. We don’t have much time.”
Hye-su’s reply is quite weak. I see her feeling guilty and it makes my heart uncomfortable.
But I am convinced I am right. This is the only way to clearing this exam.
We head west.
“So, you are the only one to survive and return?”
“Yes, father! That old chief tricked us!”
The brothers that were sent to the village have all died and only one has returned, limping his leg.
As the news that the village people have dared to rebel has gotten the silver clan furious.
“We must kill all of them!”
“How dare they kill our brothers! The humans have all gone crazy!”
“We have to kill them brutally!”
The lycanthropes growled as they condemned the humans. It seems their wild nature that enjoys slaughter has been awakened.
But the father remains cool-headed.
He stays deep in thought, then asks his surviving and returned son.
“And you survived?”
“Yes, thankfully, I was hit in the leg and able to escape.”
“What about the humans’ weapon?”
“Like Helgi said, with a loud ‘tang’ sound, something so fast that it could not be seen flew by quickly and burrowed into flesh. Together with the sound, my brothers died.”
“But you successfully survived?”
“I was lucky.”
The father looks at his son coldly. Then he breaks into a smile.
“I don’t think so?”
“The way I see it, I think the bastards let you survive and return.”
Ignoring his son who can’t understand the reason, the father gets up from his seat.
He speaks to all the lycanthropes that have gathered on the hill.
“Everyone prepare to fight. Before the day brightens, we will end this fight.”
The lycanthropes feel joy and excitement. The word fight always gets their bloods to go.!!
Deep in the night, the cry of the lycanthropes from atop the hill spreads drearily throughout the night sky.
The father gestures to Helgi.
Helgi promptly approaches.
“Take everyone and attack the village.”
“Me? Then father…”
“I have something else I need to check.”
That is all he says as father just smiles.
The village men hold their cut spears and prepared to fight.
Everyone is grimly determined.
They are people that escaped from a murderous tax. But after fleeing from the lord’s tyranny and hiding in the forest, a more fearful ruler was waiting for them.
The lycanthropes collected not money, nor grain, but human life.
Everyone lived, suffering under the pressure that their fates would be that one day, they would be wolf food. It was a life so pitiful that they might long for the tyranny of the lord.
Unable to stand it any longer, there were those that tried to escape this forest but eventually, their heads would appear the next day in the village.
Living wasn’t living.
But even that living is over with today.
After deciding they would fight, the villagers who suffered in terror explode into a rage. Rather than return to how it was before, they decide whether they live or die, they will see an end.
The howl of the lycanthropes resonates out everywhere. The village citizens are scared out of their wits.
“It’s, it’s them!”
“They’re already here!”
“Everyone work together! We have to fight!”
The villagers have lived a long while having seen lycanthropes and know. That these howls now are full of extreme rage.
“But what happened to those people?”
Someone asks the question.
The men look at each other and wonder, then look to their chief.
“Those, those people, they said they were leaving to go scout…”
The chief’s face is frozen in confusion.
Why have the people who said they are scouting not appeared even when the lycanthropes have drawn so close?
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