I ran into the village carrying the basket of fish with me. It took a bit longer than usual because I was hauling sixty pounds of fish back with me. When the villagers saw me running they knew something was wrong. At first they saw the fish, and assumed it was for a good reason. Sadly that bubble was shattered when I broke the news.
“We have a big issue…”, I said trying to catch my breath.
“What’s wrong?”, Sebitas asked.
“I have seen slavers entering the northern part of the forest…they are coming this way.”, I said.
The mood in the village dropped like a stone. The merchants and villagers started to panic because both groups were nonhuman. As the people started panicking Sebitas asked how I came by the information.
“A spirit called the Herald of Change informed me while I was fishing. She said that the village is in dire trouble, however she didn’t tell me how long until they arrive here.”, I said with a troubled expression.
“If she said this I will believe you one hundred percent.”, he said looking me in the eyes, “She has always looked after us so for her to give us an early warning is great. Sadly we have no means of fighting them off.”
“…I may have an idea, but I don’t know how long I have to do it in.”, I said with hesitant look.
“If they are entering the forest now we have two days.”, he said with a serious expression.
“I don’t know if I can do it in that time, but I will try my best.”, I said.
“What do you need from us?”, he asked.
“Any scrap iron, copper, and lead you can spare. I will also need a black rock called carbon if you have any.”, I said, “Charcoal should work as well if you have a lot of that.”
It was too much to ask for brass so I would have to use steel in place of brass for my plan. I gave the fish to Sara as a gift before running to the blacksmith shop. With the request going out I had to come up with a cartridge fed gun preferably a machine gun. I knew the basics on how to make bullets as my father reloaded his own ammo. As he resources started pouring in I went to work making steel first before making the actual gun. I worked through the night, and after overcoming the issue of rifling I managed to complete the gun. It should be mentioned that I learned Gunsmithing and Metallurgy as I slaved away through the night.
The gun was about four feet in length to give the bullets better accuracy as well as getting more power behind the bullets. I managed to get two barrels on the gun for better speed, and the cartridge size was twenty rounds a clip. As my copper and lead supply was extremely limited I was only able to make two hundred and thirty-seven rounds. I proud of my handy work as everything after learning gunsmithing became easier as I worked. As the sun came out Sebitas came to check on me. His eyes were wide with shock as he saw the weapon I had made.
“My word!! You made managed to make a weapon of this caliber in one night!?”, he said in shock.
“Listen…I am exhausted after having to work all night on this. If I don’t get any food, and sleep soon I will pass out.”, I said with a forced smile.
He smiled nodding with understanding. I took a quick dip in the pond to wash away the sweat before going to eat my breakfast. After that I went to bed to get some sleep as things were going to get rough as early as tonight possibly. I managed to get a few hours rest before I was woken up by the little girl. She tugged on my shirt gently as tears fell down her cheeks.
“We aren’t going to become slaves are we…”, she said with her tail in between her legs.
“Not if I have anything to say about it. None of you are bad people, and thus shouldn’t have to suffer as slaves.”, I said patting her head to calm her down.
She smiled a bit as I patted her head which made me relieved. I got up at that point, and told her to join her mother for the time being. With renewed energy I started making a mini bunker to give me some protection from arrows. Assisted by some of the men we managed to get everything ready by night fall. Sebitas asked that we expand the bunker through the night to shelter the villagers from harm. We had to line the safe room with a special mineral Sebitas said prevent the use of magic on the object it was touching. This was a precaution against earth magic users.
The other men worked through the night while I rested because only I knew how to operate the machine gun. They finished sometime around midnight, and the villagers started pouring into the bunker for shelter. Since we constructed the bunker on a slope overlooking the town it was a bit difficult getting the elderly up the slope, but somehow they managed it. With everyone accounted for they seal the entrance off ready to spend the next day or so inside the bunker.
As the sun started to peak over the horizon I saw wagons approaching the village. The number of men was somewhere in the forties so we were right to make the bunker. There was no way twenty something men with no real equipment were going to fight forty trained guards. As they came into town they search each of the houses before torching the place to the ground. When no one came out of the houses a well dressed man in silken clothing appeared out of a carriage in the middle of the group. He was a fat man who had two slaves in tow. We were fortunate he was loud enough to hear us from a few hundred feet away.
“They left!?”, he shout punching one of the guards, “Do you realize the expense of this journey?! I will be broke if you don’t find where they went immediately.”
“Sir, they erased their tracks. We can’t find anything leading out of this area.”, one of the men said.
“You imbecile!! They didn’t just sprout wings, and fly away!!”, he said looking at his slaves.
Both women were barely conscious, starved, and looked like they were going to die any moment. The first woman was a cow tribe woman, and the second was a lamia. He yanked their chains forcing them to the ground with little resistance.
“I know you are here you vile beasts show yourselves!!”, he said drawing his blade to the Lamia’s neck.
I heard the noises from the villagers behind me. Quickly looking at them I shot them a look to silence them.
“It’s those two or your families!!”, I snapped in a low voice, “I can’t use the weapon yet because I will hit the two women.”
Sebitas silenced the villagers as we continued to watch everything outside.
“Sir, if you kill them we will lose more money than we already have.”, a guard pointed out.
“Hush it!”, the man said, “By the household of Chowder I will find a way to earn my money back. I would make these women bear children to replace the lack of slaves here, but they are too frail to conceive at this point. Tie them to the tree over there, and prepare to execute them. I am sure with a little black magic their heads can still be sold off as pleasure toys.”
I silently loaded the gun chambering a bullet in each barrel. I gave the villagers a thumbs up as the sign to cover their ears. Once the guards were clear of the women I lined up my shots. I put the fat man in my sights first as he told the men to ready their bows.
“Ready…aim…fi…”, he managed to said before I opened up on the machine gun.
Bullets ripped through the guards tearing them to sheds. The automatic reloading helped me tremendously as I only needed to slide the clip out so the gun could load the next one. The guards wailed in agony as the helplessly were mowed down as their armor offered them no protection from my machine gun. In fact, it made it worse because they armor was shooting bits of itself into their wounds. By the time I ran out of ammo everyone was lying on the ground dead or bleeding to death.
The villagers quickly opened the bunker entrance to run to the aid of the women. While the majority of the villagers did that a few of the men finished off the dying guards. My goal was the perverted slaver named Chowder as I wanted to ensure his death. I walked over to his body, and planted a swift kick to his stomach. A groan confirmed he was still alive on the verge of death. I picked him up by his collar after ensuring he was unarmed to look him in the eyes.
“How many people do you have captive in your carts!?”, I said glaring at him.
As he started to come around he saw my face which snapped him back to reality.
“YOU! The Empire is searching for you!! They have a bounty out on your head for a thousand gold coins to bring you in alive, and unharmed.”, he said, “What is a Hero doing among these vile beasts!?”
I punched him in the face knocking the wind out of him.
“Listen scumbag, the King threw me out because he deemed me worthless! Now you say he has a bounty out on my head to bring me in alive?!”, I said with a laugh, “I don’t give a damn about it. Now tell me what I want to know or I will show what torture in my world is like…”
“We raided three villages, and took fifty people as captives.”, he said, “The rest we executed to save room for what we hoped were higher quality slaves! I swear that is all I know.”
Grabbing him again I slammed him into his carriage.
“SWEAR TO ME DAMN IT!!”, I said snapping at him.
“I SWEAR TO YOU SO PLEASE…”, he managed to say before I ran him through with my sword.
As the life faded from his face the last thing he saw was my blade severing his head. I found the key’s to the wagons which I quickly used to free the captured people. At first they were hesitant to trust me, but that vanished when I showed them the severed head of their former slaver.
“Need I say more?”, I asked, “You are still in the forest, and the local elder will inform you of everything. If any of you are healers please tend to those in need.”
I threw them the key’s to their chains before doing the same routine to the next group. As they got out, and realized I wasn’t lying they broke down into tears. The three groups of villagers started celebrating as surveyed the damage to the village. Even with the assistance of fifty new villagers this building project to repair the burnt homes, and construct new ones was going to take at least a month to do.
“Well this sucks…”, I said shaking my head, “Looks like I am back to sleeping on the ground again…”
I felt something tug on my shirt, and when I turned around to look it was the young girl again. She was smiling brightly with happiness for some reason. When I asked why she didn’t hesitate to answer me.
“You kept your promise.”, she said reaching up to me, “You kept us safe from the slavers.”
I knelt to receive a big hug from her as a thank you. I welcomed the hug as she whispered something in my ear.
“Oh, the other villagers are looking for you.”, she said, “I wanted to let you know since you don’t like to be surprised.”
I laughed thanking her for the information. Since she didn’t seem to mind me to much I put her on my shoulder to carry her back to the group. As everyone saw the smiling fox girl on my shoulders they seemed to relax a bit more. I handed the girl back to her mother so I could speak with the group.
“Is it true what the slaver said about you? Are you really the Eighth Hero?”, an elf said stepping out of the crowd.
The elf was older than Sebitas by maybe a few hundred years as his features were more defined. He looked at me with a serious expression as I gave him the honest answer.
“This countries Heroes, and the Empires Heroes are looking all over the country side for you. When I was in town last I heard that they may start searching the border area in a week or so.”, he said, “I was captured as I warned a village of the impending danger.”
“So if I leave you are screwed, and if I don’t leave you are screwed…great.”, I said with a sigh.
“When the news that a slave trader has gone missing the crown may send out a search party.”, he said, “So you may get caught earlier than that.”
“No…if we load the wagon with their bodies we can make it look like they were attacked on their way back. If that is the case they won’t come this fair back.”, I said.
The villagers seemed to like that idea so that was the plan we went with. I checked on the two injured women, and found they had passed silently from starvation. Hanging my head low I went back to the bunker to rest. The amount of death that had happened was a little too much for me to stomach so I tried to sleep it off.