Chapter 1-18 : Raid (part 1)
「I’m sorry, Store Owner-dono. The situation got worse…」(Iris)
On the second day of preparing for the battle against Hellfire Grizzlies, Iris-san returned home and brought bad news.
「Most of the Collectors have left this village…」(Iris)
Iris-san said that most of the Collectors, even the ones who have lived in this village for a long time, had left this village as if they tried to escape.
No, they definitely ran away because they didn’t want to fight the pack of Hellfire Grizzlies.
「It seems the two men who went with us to the forest that day told the other Collectors how scary the bear was.」(Iris)
Yesterday, the village mayor told the Collectors about the Hellfire Grizzlies and asked for their cooperation.
It seems that in the dining hall last night, the two men told the other Collectors exaggerated stories about what they had experienced in the forest.
Therefore, many Collectors who heard their story became scared and left the village this morning.
The Collectors who didn’t believe their story came to Iris-san and asked her if it was true.
Because Iris-san couldn’t lie, she told them that it was true, and she also told them that she had lost her arm.
「I don’t blame them for running away but… this has become harder for us…」(Sarasa)
「I’m sorry… If only I didn’t get injured so badly!」(Iris)
Iris-san frowned and clenched her fists.
「Iris-san, it’s not your fault. Rather, if you hadn’t encountered that bear, we definitely wouldn’t have known that a pack of Hellfire Grizzlies will attack this village. Thanks to you, we can now prepare for the battle.」(Sarasa)
「Sarasa-san’s right! And even though you’re not a villager, you’re planning to stay and fight for this village’s sake. You should be proud of yourself.」(Lorea)
「I, Is that so…? Thank you.」(Iris)
Iris-san’s tense expression loosened up a little.
「Store Owner-san, can we make it with only a few Collectors?」(Kate)
「Umm… Honestly, I don’t know… I’d say it will be hard, but I hope we can make it somehow…」(Sarasa)
Everyone looked even more worried after listening to my discouraged words.
However, this is not something I can handle alone.
Besides, I don’t have enough stamina to fight for a long time.
Hmm… maybe I should make a lot of potions for stamina recovery.
-The fourth day since the preparations began-
I heard the whistling sound indicating that the Hellfire Grizzlies were coming.
Immediately, I grabbed my sword and ran outside my store.
「Sarasa-san, please be careful!」(Lorea)
「Un! Lorea-chan, you go upstairs! If there are Hellfire Grizzlies approaching this store, please blow the whistle loudly!」(Sarasa)
Because the number of Collectors was insufficient, I had no choice but to think of another plan.
I distributed whistles to the villagers, and they would blow the whistles if they saw Hellfire Grizzlies escaping the battle area we had prepared to let us know.
There’s a possibility that the Hellfire Grizzlies will aim for the whistle sound, but there’s no other way, so it can’t be helped.
I’m a little worried about leaving Lorea-chan alone, but Geberg-san has reinforced my store’s walls, so I believe it will protect Lorea-chan.
When I rushed to the battle area, I saw the volunteer Collectors and the villagers who had confidence in their physical strength had already gathered there.
Iris-san and Kate-san who helped build the fences were ready in their respective positions.
Kate-san was holding a bow on the top of a building, and Iris-san was joining the other Collectors in the front line.
When I was about to join the frontliners, I saw some familiar faces.
「Andre-san? Gil-san and Gray-san, too. So you guys are staying?」(Sarasa)
「Of course! There’s no way we’ll leave this village. We’ve been in this village for a long, long time, you know?」(Andre)
「Besides, we can’t run away leaving our acquaintance in danger.」(Gil)
「Even a child like Sarasa-chan is fighting for this village. It would be a shame for us adults if we ran away.」(Gray)
「Umm, I’m not a child anymore, though… But thank you for staying!」(Sarasa)
They smiled shyly when I thanked them.
「You don’t need to thank us. It’s our responsibility. We should be the ones who thank you instead because you have prepared a large amount of potions for us.」(Andre)
「Making so many potions in a short amount of time was tough, but if we make it, I can get my money back from selling Hellfire Grizzly materials.」(Sarasa)
Not only did I make potions for wounds, but I also made antidotes because I thought we would need that.
Thanks to the large alchemy pot in my workshop, making potions itself wasn’t that hard.
The hardest part was making the bottles after all.
After this battle is over, and after I collect all the empty bottles, I don’t think I’ll have to make any more bottles for quite a while.
Making bottles is really tough…
However, I managed to make enough potions for all of us.
The fences were not completely finished, but the battle area was good enough.
We had filled a lot of water containers such as buckets, barrels, basins, ect. with water and gathered them here to take measures against fire.
Children, women, and the elderly were evacuating into buildings, so even if there were Hellfire Grizzlies that managed to enter the village, they should be safe for a while.
「Yo, Sarasa-chan, don’t forget about us!」
「We’re different from the newcomers who just came recently!」
「Honestly, I don’t know if we will be useful, though! Gahaha!」(veterans)
「Everyone… Thank you!」(Sasrasa)
Most of the Collectors who stayed are the veterans who often come to my store.
Some of them are not strong fighters, but because they have experience, they are more reliable than rookies.
「Don’t worry, everyone! If we can make good use of the fences and fight them in multiple groups, I’m sure we can make it! Let’s do our best!」(Sarasa)
When I encouraged the people around me, they shouted in high spirits.
…Wait a minute.
Why do I feel like I’m the commander here?
Since when did I become the commander?
I’m just a little girl in their eyes, right?
Is it because I’m an alchemist?
Uhh… so much pressure…
But, I can’t leave this role to the village mayor.
He’s too old for this.
Someone like Jasper-san or Andre-san should be the commander, but I think it’s too late to ask them.
I used detection magic to check the situation, and I could see Hellfire Grizzlies approaching the place where we sowed the shards of magic stone I had prepared to lure them.
ーーWait… There are 20 of them!? That’s too many!
But we have no choice but to fight them!
「Everyone, they are about to come! Brace yourself!」(Sarasa)