For a moment, I thought that Senri and I had been discovered. However, I was mistaken.
Due to the hair-raising shriek, Senri, who had been flushed beet red, soon turned serious, quickly slipped out from underneath me, picked up her sword and tore out the tent.
I felt a little miserable, but I soon turned into a dog and trotted after her.
A tepid breeze was blowing through the prairie at night. My olfactory senses that had been heightened upon becoming a dog picked up a scent that made me choke. A strong scent of blood.
A lot of people had been injured along the journey so far, but this was on a whole other level.
I ran after Senri. The other mercenaries who heard the scream gathered as well.
And finally, we reached the origin of the scent.
The scene could only be described as appaling.
There lay scattered, were bones and sinew that came from god knows how many people. The blood splattered from their bodies had formed a pool and the breeze made ripples in them.
One of the mercenaries who witnessed the scene retreated in horror. I took care not to let any of the blood get on my white fur as I walked closer.
Gustav’s carriage was left near the scene. It was a medium sized company with around ten employees.
I suppose this was the location where Gustav and company had set up camp.
The travelling group was a large one made up of more than ten companies. Each firm had its own trade secrets, but since they cannot afford to put too much of a distance between one another, the groups generally split into ones made of individual merchants and companies while setting up camp.
The setup worked in such a way that one group could call for the other if any of them were to be attacked, but it turns out there was no point to it.
No one was left alive. There were supposed to be lookouts, guards and mercenaries with the group as well, but judging from the carnage, all of them seemed to have been wiped out.
There lay a half-eaten head of a soldier that belonged to someone I was familiar with. The horses had also been killed and a non-plundered carriage was the only thing intact.
Despite my heightened sense of smell, I still could not figure out how many people had been killed with all the bones and sinew in a complete mess.
However, since I visited all the groups during the break, there should be faces I can recognize. Should I consider myself fortunate for not being able to distinguish them?
I yelped quietly, mourning the deaths of kind merchants who gave me all sorts of things.
“Was it a beast….? If it were human, then they’d have surely plundered their belongings.”
“But for this to be the work of a mere beast… are you the one who screamed?”
One of the soldiers called out to a young girl near the scene of carnage, who had sunk to the ground.
She had proportionate features, red hair and was dressed modestly. She was ghastly pale as if she had seen a monster, and she was shaking awfully.
Perhaps she had trouble breathing, for her chest that was voluptuous in contrast with her slender body, was going up and down as she breathed heavily.
“I’ll go get the chief. The culprit may still be close by! Stay alert!”
“Are you okay? What happened here…?”
One of the mercenaries ran over to the campsites of the other groups while the rest of the people present in the scene walked closer to the witness.
I examined the corpses from a distance.
To shred humans to pieces is simply too violent… and too unnecessary. There are better, more efficient ways for humans to kill one another.
The cuts did not look to be made from a sword. But rather more like the work of fangs and claws. A beast as big as Albertus should be able to bring about such carnage.
The world outside was filled with danger. Though the guards and merchants are prepared for anything fate may throw their way, seeing such a scene reminds me of how fleeting life is.
However, this is not the time to stand around in a daze.
I tapped on Senri’s foot, who stood before me with a grim expression.
Senri looked down at me. I turned my gaze towards the witness and let out a small cry. I cannot talk in this form, but I wonder if Senri understood what I was trying to convey, for her expression changed.
The strong scent of blood.
It was natural for such a strong scent to come from the scene of carnage, but there was a similarly strong whiff of blood coming from the witness, the girl who was weeping profusely surrounded by mercenaries.
There was no blood or sinew on her clothes. The scent was not of her own blood.
It was from her mouth and nails. Humans might not be able to tell, but for the sense of smell of a dog, it was clear as day.
Most of all, the girl’s acting was so real that even the experienced mercenaries were completely taken in… but I did not smell any “fear” from her.
I can tell. The scent of fear, anger, joy, sadness, and even the scent of pleasure that can make you tremble all over.
Senri looked at the girl and unsheathed her sword.
She did not hesitate in the least. She pointed the sword towards the girl, who the mercenaries were helping get to her feet.
“Who… are you?”
“?! Wh… what are you talking about?!”
The girl quivered, her eyes wide as she stared at the holy sword fixedly.
The mercenaries helping her looked dumbfounded at Senri’s sharp tone, who was well-known as the goddess of victory among the group.
With a number of gazes fixed on her, Senri replied in a calm manner as usual.
“You don’t smell human… You can’t fool Baron’s nose.”
Senri quietly shifted the blame on me, which made me cry out sadly.
I never said that she did not smell human. I said she reeked of blood. Looks like I was wrong to think that we were communicating well without words.
I need to take my time with her later and establish a stronger bond.
The mercenaries who were lending her a shoulder shook her off and hurriedly moved away from her. Despite losing support all of a sudden, the girl did not topple over.
She looked aghast at Senri’s purple eyes.
“I’m detaining you. Should you wish to object, show us your identification papers. If you are part of Gustav’s group, then your name must be on their register. I will apologize… if I am proven to be mistaken.”
The girl gulped. She staggered heavily and retreated a few steps back.
Her expression was one of utter despair as if she could not make sense of what was being said to her.
Seeing her incredibly frail appearance, a mercenary nearby, who witnessed everything, turned to Senri, and opened his mouth.
At that moment, the girl’s arm pierced through the man’s body.
The movement was as swift as wind. A dull sound was heard.
A short muffled cry. The mercenary’s eyes grew wide, as he stared dumbfounded at the slender fingers that had pierced through his metal armor and protruded out of his own body.
It was so fast that I was not sure even I could have evaded it.
Senri took off. The girl swiftly removed her arm and roundhouse kicked at a nearby mercenary who was still slow on the uptake.
Though two times bigger, he was sent flying like a scrap of paper. His body made a sound it should not have made, as if something had popped.
She evaded Senri’s swing by retreating towards the back.
Her expression was the complete opposite from before. From the frail image she projected to a wide savage smile.
“… Demon! It’s a demon!!”
The mercenaries who had finally come to their senses screamed cries of help. However, the girl’s eyes were fixed on Senri.
Her lips twisted and her eyes narrowed as she stared at Senri. Her eyes that had been brown up until a minute ago, began to turn gold.
“Hmph. I’m surprised you noticed. But if you come after me… these people will die!”
Senri yelled out as she swung her sword. She followed up with rapid strikes that made silver lines in the air. However, the girl easily evaded them all.
Though not as agile as Albertus, her movements were certainly more than what humans are capable of.
“Albeit barely, they are still alive. They could be saved if treated right away. What will you do?”
She was telling the truth. Though the wound was fatal, both the guy, who had his body pierced and the guy, who was sent flying, were still alive.
No, that is what she probably planned. In order to stop Senri in her tracks.
The girl turned around and broke into a run. She leaped high and crossed several feet with just a single step.
Her small figure disappeared into the darkness in a flash.
There are only a few people who are capable of performing recovery magic. Even in the group, there were only one or two of them.
And their abilities were much weaker than Senri’s. Putting it off any longer would only yield more corpses. Considering Senri’s personality, there was only one choice.
Senri did not choose to give pursuit.
She sheathed her sword without further thought, helped up the mercenary lying in a pool of blood and performed recovery magic on him.
Her recovery magic is strong. By channeling her own positive energy, she can heal any fatal wound as long as the person was not dead. I am an exception to that case and theoretically, it could kill me, but that power was put to good use this time. The huge gaping hole in the man’s body closed up before our very eyes and the color returned to his face.
The merchants who had been summoned by the mercenary were beginning to gather around.
I glared at the direction the girl had taken off and quietly took a lick of the blood spattered on the ground.
The bitter taste of blood made my body tremble.
I cannot ingest blood in the dog form as I had surmised. Besides, what a shame that the blood had already been drained of all life force.
Though unsure of her identity, she is an enemy.
I have learned her scent. She killed the merchants who often fed me snacks and food.
Moreover, she interrupted my date with Senri just as it was getting to the good part… I will never forgive her.