Chapter 8 : Hajime’s Failure
Regin Banton was a strong man, rumored to be the next Chief of the Banton tribe; one of the Bearman tribes. He idolized one of the current Elders; Jin Banton, and became his right hand.
Not only Regin, it could be said Jin was popular in the Banton tribe as a whole, especially the younger ones. The reasons for that being Jin’s character was broad minded, containing deep patriotism, and above all, his strength, which allowed him to be considered as one of the highest class among the demi-human race.
That’s why, when the Bearman tribe heard the news, they thought it was a bad joke. They couldn’t believe their beloved Elder had been incapacitated by a human. However, the merciless reality was proven. Jin, who was lying powerless in medical facility showed them the truth .
Regin was dumbfounded having seen Jin’s current appearance. Next, his anger and hatred surfaced. While bearing these feelings inside his heart, he pressed to determine the circumstances from the Elders. As the result, Regin who had learned everything, disregarded the Elders and told the Bearman tribe everything. And thus they embarked for revenge.
Because of the persuasion from the Elders and other tribes, not all of the Bearman tribe followed him, only the youngsters from Banton tribe who admired Jin had left to defeat that hated human. They numbered around 50 people. Regin and the others who knew their enemy’s objective thought it best to attack when their enemy was in front of the Great Tree as revenge. They thought, “To perish right before the goal is the best (revenge)”.
After all, their enemies only consists of humans and the RabbitMan tribe. Even though Jin was defeated, they thought it was because something cowardly, like a surprise attack. They thought there was nothing to fear of humans who would go mad without a sense of direction deep inside the Sea of Trees’ fog, even more so for the weak RabbitMan tribe. Regin was an outstanding person. Normally, he wouldn’t interpret the situation like that. However, currently his eyes were clouded by anger.
However, no matter what, even if his eyes were clouded…
“This is wrong!?”
Regin screamed in disbelief. The reason; before his very eyes an impossible spectacle was displayed. The RabbitMan tribe, which was placed at the bottom among other demi-humans, was cornering the Bearman tribe, which was known as one of the strongest in combat.
“Come on come on come on! Show your fighting spirit! Or else, I will cut you!”
“AHAHAHAHAHA, scream like the pig you are!”
“It’s time to clean this filth! HYAHAHAHAHA HA!”
While the Haulia tribe swung countless fatal, murderous attacks, their loud laughter resounded. There was no appearance of the RabbitMan tribe which was gentle, peaceful, and above all, weak in combat. Screams came from the Bearman tribe that desperately try to fight back.
“Shit! The heck is this! Just who the hell are you!!”
“They must not be the RabbitMan tribe!”
“Uwaaaa! Stay away! Stay awaaaay!”
They were ambushed by the enemies they wanted to ambush, the RabbitMan tribe that laid in ambush showed unbelievable power, even among other demi-human races. Arrows and stones that fly accurately out of nowhere, added to their excellent teamwork. The glee with which they swung their blades, wearing lunatic expressions, and laughing loudly all the while! All of it gave birth to violent commotion. In that situation, their specs even exceed the Bearman tribe.
Actually, the RabbitMan tribe wouldn’t be able to compete in a one on one fight against the Bearman tribe. However, in these past ten days, the Haulia tribe was able to make up the difference, thanks to the hell-like training.
Originally, the RabbitMan tribe’s specs were lower than the other demi-human races. However, to survive and avoid battle, they had polished their stealth ability and danger perception. After all, they could only survive that way.
As a result, they were able to promptly perceive their enemies’ presences to the point they could ambush their enemies. It could be said that they are a race with abilities suited for assassination. However, their innate nature had crushed these advantages.
It could be said, Hajime’s training woke their combat instincts. He single-handedly abused and cornered them by letting them swing weapons, cut their enemies, and letting them experience how to evade, without rest. By remembering the speech from senior sergeant Hart**n, as a result of ten days of severe training, their minds completely became combat oriented. Although he did feel like it was too much…
They, who had acquired the aggressiveness to attack without any hesitation, demonstrated promising combat prowess. Because they thought of the whole tribe as members of one family, their level of teamwork was high from the get go. With their skillful adjustment of presence, it demonstrated tremendous effect, along with their teamwork.
In addition, one of the reasons for the Haulia tribe’s high combat prowess was the weapons made by Hajime, which increased their incompetent attack power.
Each of them wielded two Kodachis, produced with a precise and practiced process, such that their ultra-thin blades were able to split a grass just by touching it. They were made of Taur ore, so they were durable. The Haulia tribe also carried disposable throwing knives.
There were also the powerful Slingshots and Crossbows that were made using string with great elasticity gathered from spider-like demonic beasts in the Abyss. They were made for the children of the Haulia tribe, since close range battles were still too hard for them. Even children are able to shoot enemies from the other side of fog, using their search ability while they instinctively looked up to Hajime.
Even Pal… … Baltoferd of Certain Death, was completely charmed when shooting his Crossbow, while showing a sniper-like nature.
“One shot of certain death! ‘DO’ your was head blown off. In the name of “Certain Death””
Pal… .. Baltoferd of Certain Death recently gained the habit of saying such things. By the way, he called himself “Certain Death”. His first habitual saying was “Aim and Shoot!” but it was stopped by Hajime. He looked so displeased.
Back on topic, the Bearman tribe who fell into a panic were easily defeated without much resistance by the current Haulia tribe and their numbers fell in no time. Currently half of them had been killed in the vicinity.
“Regin-dono! If this keeps up-”
“Let me take care of the re-KUPE!?”
Having heard his subordinate advise him to retreat, Regin was hesitating because of anger from the incapacitated Jin and his killed subordinates. That hesitation wasn’t missed by the Haulia’s sniper. To the subordinate called Tonto that tried to advise his lord to retreat once again, an arrow accurately penetrated his temple.
Because of this Regin and his subordinates were shaken and fell into disorder. Kam and the others who thought it was a chance, attacked at once.
Arrows came flying from the fog and accurately aimed at their ankles. While distracted by that, a sharp attack came to reap the head. With an exquisite timing, the person who wanted to kill the one that shot arrows from the back ran into protruding spikes.
However, perhaps it was because that was their favorite move, a presence suddenly came from behind, and brought with it a fatal blow. Haulia tribe utilized their presence and teamwork to make fun of Regin and his subordinates. Regin and his subordinates shuddered at this. They thought, “Are they really that hetare and weak RabbitMan tribe!?”
The battle dragged on for a while, Regin and his subordinates were finally able to recover from their confusion while covered in wounds. They were somehow able to stand using their weapons as support. When the waves of attacks using the exquisite covering fire and teamwork subsided, all of them were panting. Regin and his subordinates were surrounded by Kam and the others, after being cornered with a gigantic tree to their backs.
“What happened, you “bleep”?! Is that all?! Wuss!”
“I heard you were the strongest tribe! You “bleep”! Even so you were “bleep”!
“Poise your weapons quickly! Are you “bleep”‘s already weak in the knees?!”
They thought it was not the RabbitMan tribe, with how they bombarded the other tribe with insults. The Bearman tribe which trembled in fear could only think, “What had happened to these guys!?” With broken spirits, some of them trembled while holding their heads. A big hairy man said, “Can you let us go?” with teary eyes… … truly a surreal spectacle.
“KU KU KU, did you have anything else to say? O strongest tribe?”
Kam let out that sarcasm with a truly evil expression. They who had awoken to their fighting spirit seemed to have thought about their circumstances when they were looked down upon. It was a speech that couldn’t be heard from the Kam of the past.
Having heard Kam’s objection, Regin’s expression distorted in regret. He somehow recovered from the confusion and reasoning came back to his eyes. Even though he had been doused with cold water by Haulia tribe’s strong assault, because of the incapacitated Jin, the flame of anger still burnt inside of him. But, because he felt a sense of responsibility to bring his surviving subordinates back alive, he regained his mind. He consciously knew it was his fault that they fell into such a predicament because he was the one that spurred them on.
“… … you can do anything to me. Boil me or burn me, just do whatever you like. However, I was the one who forcibly brought my subordinates. I want you to let them go”
“Regin-dono! That was…”
Having heard Regin’s words, his subordinates started to make a commotion. It was because he tried to save his subordinates in exchange for his own life. To these subordinates, Regin scolded.
“Silence! … … it was my responsibility because of the blood that surged to my head clouded my eyes. RabbitMan… … no, Chief of Haulia tribe. I know it is selfish of me. However, I want to save their lives! That’s all.”
Regin released his weapon then started to kneel while bowing his head. His subordinates knew of Regin’s great pride as a warrior, so they understood how much resolution he had to bow his head to the enemy. That’s why they couldn’t obey his order to stay silent.
Kam’s answer to Regin who was still bowing was…
While throwing his knife.
Regin was able to dodge by a hairs-breadth. However, starting with Kam’s attack, Regin and his subordinates were attacked from the surrounding with arrows and stones fired at high velocity, at once. Using their big axes as shields, Regin and subordinates desperately tried to defend themselves, and then from the Haulia tribe came laughter from the bottom of their heart, completing their attacks.
Regin squeezed a voice as he groaned to ask them for the reason they attacked.
“Why? Aren’t you our enemies? Are other reasons necessary to kill you?”
Kam’s answer was a simple fact.
“Above all… .. it’s enjoyable to crush and make fun of your arrogance! HA HA HA!”
“W-Wh-!? Bastards! To these guys-!”
Just as Kam said, Haulia tribe looked like they truly enjoyed it. Using Slingshots and Crossbows, they made fun of them by shooting from a safe area. Their appearances were those of people drunk on power. It looks like their heart’s didn’t mind killing people for the first time, even if it was their demi-human brethren. In short, they’ve become completely berserk.
With increasing severity in their attacks, Regin and his subordinates who had stayed close together, and desperately tried to defend were… … finally reaching their limit. Although they avoided fatal attacks, they were covered in wounds. They won’t be able to endure the next volley.
Kam, with a warped grin, ‘sutto’ raise his hand. Haulia tribe with frenzied eyes start to aim with arrows and stones at the ready. Regin who thought this wasn’t an appropriate place to die, gathered his power, and inside his mind he apologized to his subordinates.
Kam’s hand, like a death god’s scythe that hunted the lives of Regin and his subordinates, was lowered. Arrows and stones immediately shot. In slow motion, Regin continued to watch this without looking away, until…
“Stop it already!!!”
A spectacle where a white hammer blew everything away could be seen.
Regin who was dumbfounded by it unintentionally let out that voice. However, that can’t be helped. Immediately after they accepted their death, a rabbit-eared girl with pallid hair along with a giant hammer fell from the sky, then the hammer struck the ground. It resulted in the shockwave that blew away all the incoming arrows and stones. When they saw that, the surrounding Bearman tribe could only give a blank stare.
Shaking anger! That was the feeling that could be felt, of course it came from Shia. The Sledgehammer made using the compression method had extraordinary mass. As if she didn’t feel the weight, it was brandished with a ‘Buonn’ then generated a gust. ‘Bishi’ it was pointed toward Kam.
“Aghh! Seriously arghh! Father and everyone, please come to your sense already!”
Looking at Shia, Kam and the others who were initially stunned in astonishment, with ‘ha’ regained themselves while look toward her blaming.
“Shia, though I don’t know why you did this, but please move from there. Or else we won’t be able to kill the ones behind you, you know?”
“No, I won’t move. I won’t allow anymore than this!”
Having heard Shia’s words, Kam and the others narrowed their eyes.
“Won’t allow? Shia, don’t tell me you wanted to be together with our enemy? According to your answer…”
“No, I don’t care if these guys died”
“””” Is that okay!? “”””
The Bearman tribe that thought she came to stop her tribe, unintentionally let out a remark to Shia.
“Of course. If I took it easy against enemies that came with killing intent, I wouldn’t be able to endure Yue-san’s training. Even I don’t have that naive thought anymore”
“Fumu, then why did you stop us”
Kam asked her. Haulia tribe also have inquiring expressions.
“Isn’t that obvious! Father and the others will be broken at this rate! And become more degenerated!”
Having heard Shia’s word, Kam and the others can only put ‘I don’t understand” expressions.
“That’s right! Please remember it. Hajime-san was merciless against enemies, no talking was necessary, even more merciless, he enjoyed killing demonic beasts and people (…) things like that! Even during training, if you were told to kill the enemies, you shouldn’t have enjoyed it!”
“W-well, it’s not like we enjoy…”
“Just now, did father and the others know what kind of faces you made?
“Face? Well, even if you said that…”
Having heard Shia’s words, the Haulia tribe started to look at each others faces. Shia let out a calm breath, however, her voice clearly informed them.
“… … it was just like those Empire’s Soldiers that attacked us”
It shocked them, enough to blow off their frenzy. Their mood was as if they were doused with cold water. To have the same expressions as those who scorned their family with pleasure and caught them… … having actually witnessed that they understood the ugliness of their action. To be the same as those who snacthed their family away… … was an unbearable fact.
“Sh-Shia… I was…”
“Fuu, it looks like you have calmed down. Thank god. At worst, I thought I might have to beat you all down”
With ‘furifuri’, Shia swung the Sledgehammer around. Having heard Shia point that out, immediately Haulia tribe was trembling in front of the Sledgehammer while Shia loosened her cheeks a little.
“Well, it was your first battle, if you realized that now then it’ll be okay! It was Hajime-san’s fault after all! Although I understand the importance of fighting spirit, that was too much! Rather than fighting spirit, it was more like you became berserkers!”
This time, Shia was ‘puripuri’ angry at Hajime. A small voice of Shia muttering can be heard, “Just why did I fall for that kind of person”.
And at that time, a gunshot can be heard.
From Shia’s back, “Guwa!?” a groan could be heard, along with sound of something collapsing. Now that they think about it, while in a panic Shia and the others remember the existences that they’d forgotten about, then looked behind their back, there laid Regin who writhed in pain while holding his forehead.
“Why the heck are you trying to run away while their attention was diverted? Until their talk is over sit in seiza now!”
Hajime accompanied by Yue appeared from inside the fog. It seems while Shia and the others were immersed in their talk, Regin and his subordinates tried to run away, only to get shot. However, it wasn’t known why he used the non-lethal rubber bullet.
Although they heard Hajime’s words, the Bearman tribe tried to vigilantly examine their surroundings to keep running away, but Hajime silenced them with “Pressure”. While casting glances at them, Hajime and Yue looked at Shia and the others.
When Hajime saw Kam and the others, some of them felt awkward and looked the other way. However, immediately after words of apology came to Kam and the others.
“A, well, what to say, sorry. Because I was fine with it, I’d completely forgotten the shock of murder. It was my mistake. Un, I am sorry”
Shia and the others can only ‘pokan’ blankly stare at him with opened mouths. That was because they heard an unexpected but honest apology.
“Bo-boss!? Are you okay!? Did you hit your head!?”
“Medic! Medic! There is a person with serious injury here!”
“Boss! Please steady yourself!”
That’s why it became such reactions. With veins popping on his head, his mouth twitched.
This time, Hajime himself truly thought it was his mistake. Because he didn’t feel anything when he kills, he didn’t consider the shock that was supposed to occur with it. No matter how much stronger he had become, he didn’t have any experience in teaching, as a result, he almost broke the Haulia tribe’s minds. Indeed, he thought it was dangerous, that’s why he said those words of apology… … but their reaction was to doubt his sanity. Hajime thought, “Should I be angry?”, he was hesitating while getting back into his usual attitude.
Hajime put this matter aside for now, approached Regin then put Donner’s muzzle at his forehead.
“Well then, will it be a brave death or to survive and live in shame, which will it be?”
Having heard Hajime’s words, the Bearman and Haulia tribe looked at him with surprised eyes. By his speech just now, they heard that he’d overlook the Bearman tribe depending on the situation. It was a serious proposal from Hajime who had no mercy and was unreserved against his enemies. Kam and the others looked at Hajime in sorrow while thinking, “As expected his head was…”. Even though more veins popped on Hajime’s head, but because there’d be no progress otherwise, he let it through(go) temporarily.
Regin looked at Hajime with a surprised expression. It was the man who had brought about the complete change in the Haulia tribe, he thought this man wouldn’t show any mercy.
“… what does it mean, do you want to let us go?”
“Aa, you can return if you want, you know?”
To easily say that they could return, aside from Regin, the others were in commotion. From behind it could be heard, “If I hit his head now maybe it can help…”, was what Shia said with serious expression while alternating her gaze between her Sledgehammer and Hajime’s head. Voices of agreement could be heard from Kam and the others.
It was about the time that Hajime seriously thought of punishing them while more veins popped out. However, he worked harder to let that through(go).
“Aa, condition huh. When you reached Faea Belgaen I want you to say something to the Elders”
“… … A message?”
While he nervously thought about what kind of conditions he might demand, it turned out he only needed to be a messenger, and that took him aback. However, he was frozen when the content was spoken.
“”You owe me one””
“… … Kh!? That’s!”
“Well? What will you do? Will you accept it?”
Because he knew what that meant, Regin unintentionally let out a shout. Hajime was, with wind blowing from somewhere, waiting for Regin’s choice. “You owe me one” means, by letting the attacker return alive, there will be a time they must pay back their debt.
With the loss of one of the Elders, as well as how they agonized over ignoring the decision made by the Elders Conference to not intervene with him, if this message was passed on then they must unconditionally answer Hajime’s request.
If everything were to be seen objectively, in Jin’s situation and in Regin’s situation, where he one-sidedly tried to take revenge, coupled with the fact that they were allowed to live, the Elders Conference’s prestige will surely take a fall. They were outlaws because they disregarded the Elders. And can’t be said Hajime won’t one day turn his fang towards the Elders.
In other words, for Regin and his subordinates to survive meant that they’d brought back a weakness to their home country. Even after disregarding the decision from Elders Conference, they carried back a debt on their shoulders. Moreover, to return with half of their members dead after boasting about themselves as the strongest tribe… … just as Hajime had said they’d lived in shame.
Hajime choose to further his attack against Regin who wore a distorted expression.
“Add to that, you must remember that your subordinates’ deaths were your own responsibility, along with your crushing defeat against the Haulia”
There was a reason for Hajime to make such a condition. Of course it wasn’t out of benevolence. It was because there are details of the Seven Great Dungeons that he doesn’t know yet, so even though Faea Belgaen was an isolated country, there might be something else he must do in this country. There was also the tradition inherited from its founder after all. Hajime thought there might be little failures that will come along the way, for that sake, he thought that insurance was necessary.
To the worrying Regin, Hajime was ‘Gorik’ further pressing the muzzle.
“Decide it in five seconds. Once that’s over I’ll kill you one by one. “Quick judgement”. Isn’t that the basics (of a leader)?”
After that, Hajime began to count o~ne, two~ and Regin was panicking, however nothing comes to his mind.
“I, I understand. I wish for us to return!”
“I see. Then, go quickly. Don’t forget the message. If when the time comes for me to call for that and discover that you tried to fool me…”
A strong killing intent overflowed from Hajime’s whole body, accompanied with physical pressure. ‘Gulp’ the sound of gulp-ing resounded clearly.
“That day will be the end of Faea Belgaen”
No matter who looked at him, he had the touch of a bad debt collector, no, it’s more like a terrorist in this case. From behind, he could hear, “Thank goodness. It was the usual Hajime-san” and “Boss finally regained his mind!”, that kind of strange talk mixed with a relieved tone, well for now he’ll let it through(slide). He didn’t want to break the atmosphere that he made with so much effort. However, harsh punishment will follow.
With their pride broken by Haulia tribe and having heard how Regin desperately begged for his subordinates’ lives, they didn’t have the strength to protest and started to return home dejectedly. It might be because they are centered around a young one, they obediently accepted their defeat. But, for Regin, his influence in Faea Belgaen would likely disappear. There is also the possibility of being treated as fugitive. However, it was a mild punishment, after all he’d tried to take someone else’s life unjustly.
The Bearman tribe disappeared into the other side of the fog. After confirming that, Hajime turned around toward Shia and the others. At first, they were unable to see his expression because he looked down, then somehow the atmosphere became strange. Kam and the others who felt dishonored to have fallen into such frenzy and madness, started to become engrossed in speaking to Hajime about a lot of things, while not noticing the atmosphere. Only Shia , “Huh? Isn’t this bad?”, said that while drenched in cold sweat.
Hajime started to look up while swaying. There was a big smile on his face. However, his narrowed eyes weren’t smiling at all. Finally, because he thought Hajime’s appearance was strange, Kam timidly asked him.
“Yes, isn’t it a serious thing? I thought this time, it was my fault. To say you’ve reached the standard just like this, I must have thought of it as a brake”
“N-no, even if you say that… … it was because of our own immaturity…”
“Nono, it’s okay, you know? I admit it myself after all. That’s why, that’s why I thought to honestly apologize… … but you had quite the reaction, didn’t you? Well, I understand. After all my usual attitude was like that… … however, however… … this out of place feeling I have, I must let it out… … you understand what that means, right?”
“N-no. We were a little…”
Kam also thought, “Ah, this is bad. He is angry now”, with cold sweat rapidly pouring out of him, step by step he tried to retreat. Maybe because some of the Haulia remember the training, they suddenly stood still while crying and whimpering.
And at that time, “Now is my chance!”, was what Shia thought then she instantly started to turn her feet to escape. She didn’t forget to make a man nearby as a shield.
One bullet passed through between that man’s leg, hit the ground and ricocheted when it struck a tree’s root finally hitting Shia in the butt.
It was one of Hajime’s gun skills “Polygonal Shot”. That’s how he aimed his shot at Shia’s butt. It was a useless gun skill, that could be thought as not that useless, that he’d uselessly practiced. Because of the impact from the bullet Shia raised a scream and ‘pyon’ jumped, only to collapse on the ground with her butt in the air. ‘Shuu-‘ Smoke rose from her butt. Shia was twitching in pain.
Having seen Shia convulsing and Hajime’s gun skill, Kam and the others were trembling in fear. The man who had a bullet pass between his leg covered his groin with both hands while teary eyed. He patted his groin, because when the bullet passed, it caught the shockwave from the bullet.
Without doing anything else, Hajime put back Donner into its holster, then his hanya-like smile returned. Finally, he yelled out with angry tone.
“For now, everyone will be hit once!”
All of Haulia members immediately scattered trying to escape just like newborn spiders. For a while, screams and an angry roar could be heard resounding inside the Sea of Trees.
The only one who remained in her place was Shia with smoke rising from her butt, and
“… … when will we go to the Great Tree?”
The mutters from Yue who wasn’t involved with all the commotion.