The Devil's Evolution Catalog Chapter 131: Hostages
“I only came to know of this by accident; the clothes we wore had wolf fur mixed into them.”
The fact that his clothes were made of a special material had escaped all of our eyes until the bandit guide pointed it out. Now that he mentioned it, everything finally clicked. No wonder the wolves didn’t attack them and even listened to their simple commands, those wolves thought that the bandits were their kin thanks to the scent of the fur.
“So that’s why the Wolf’s Fang bandits smelt like wolves, I always thought that the wolves’ scent had rubbed off on them since they spent a lot of time together.”
I had to admit, this was a pretty ingenious move on Dawson’s part.
Leaving the hidden room, we made our way to the other portions of the stronghold, slaughtering any bandit along the way who was foolish enough to attack us.
After a short and sometimes bloody tour, we heard a scuffle break out in the distance along with arguing.
“What’s going on over there?” Asked Dioh who had his curiosity piqued. Yet as he did so, he sneaked a glance at me before looking away a split second later.
What are you looking at me for? Are you sick or something?
“Over there is…” The bandit stammered, his eyes darting back and forth as he hesitated.
“Spit it out!” Yelled Dioh, startling the injured bandit. He crawled backwards reflexively and shut his eyes for a moment before stammering out an answer: “That’s the pros...prostitute camp…”
I doubt there was anyone here who didn’t know what that name meant.
Upon hearing that, Dioh gaped in shock for a moment before swiftly understanding the meaning of those two words. He sneaked another glance at me, and after seeing that I had no reaction, turned around and said with crimson red ears: “Pros...prostitute camp...alright, I got it.”
With a wave of his hand, George signalled for the group to head towards that direction. It wasn’t long before we stumbled into Io and his hunters who were currently facing off against ten bandit minions. These minions were particularly noteworthy in that they were currently surrounding several dozens of naked women, and from the looks of things, these women were their hostages.
Notably, there was a familiar face within that group; that traitorous spy who sold out Plateau Village, Gill!
At this very moment, Gill was holding the hands of one of the girls, and seemed to be protecting her as he kept her hidden behind his back. While he had a slightly guilty look in his eyes as he faced off against Io, he absolutely had no intention of backing down now as he argued loudly with the hunter.
In front of Io were several bandits of whom I wasn’t even sure if they were still alive or not. Their bodies were riddled with arrows and blade cuts which I assumed were from the hunters.
“What’s going on?” George asked as he turned towards Io, ignoring the traitor completely as he did so.
With a finger pointed at the bandits and the prostitutes, Io gave a basic rundown of the situation: “Not long ago, I heard some screaming from the prostitutes and brought some people over to investigate. As for what happened after that, the situation is as you see right now.”
If I’m not mistaken, these bandit minions were probably trying to take the women away with them, but were unfortunately interrupted by the hunters who were lured here by the din they caused. With their arch-nemesis status, the two parties naturally engaged in battle at first sight with the outcome being obvious; a complete victory for the hunters who had the three-star hunter, Io, aiding them.
Seeing the unstable look on George’s face, Gill immediately begged for mercy, fearing that the hunter would give the order to massacre them: “Big...George, you’ve already won, there’s no need to massacre everyone is there?”
“Massacre everyone?” George gave a cold laugh as he said that. “Dawson seemed to had no qualms about massacring us just recently. What’s the matter, are you all afraid now? I don’t remember you questioning Dohby when he called for the massacre of the villagers!”
“...” Gill kept silent at that. Back when the order was given, he hadn’t participated in the massacre. While he had sold out George and Plateau Village, he still had some basic humanity left in him and didn’t kill the innocent villagers. Plus, if he had stood out then, Dohby would’ve killed him on the spot to protect his reputation.”
(TL: I think the word is called hypocrisy not humanity. Potato just doesn’t want to dirty his hands for something he single handedly caused.)
However, what’s the use of saying all that now? Would saying that turn back the hands of time?
The moment Gill sold out George to the Wolf’s Fang, there was no turning back. A meeting between the two would have to end in the death of one.
It was then that a towering, middle-aged bandit with three blade scars running down the right side of his face, pushed past Gill and took the center stage. He had a burly build with the back of a tiger and the waistline of a bear while his arms were probably as thick as a normal person’s thigh. Judging from his stature, he was probably some troop leader within the Wolf’s Fang.
This troops leader clearly wasn’t afraid of these two three-star warriors as he boldly pointed his blade at George and threatened him with his own unique yelling technique: “I don’t care what you all are here to do but right now I have these hostages in hand. If you’re smart, you’ll stand aside or else I’ll murder all these women!”
That...would it kill you not to come on so strong right from the start? Such murderous intent from the get go.
Hostages huh...so the camp prostitutes ended up as a negotiation tool. These women were the poor souls who had been kidnapped by the bandits over time. They came from a variety of backgrounds: some were Plateau Villagers, some were from merchant families while a small portion were born into prostitution.
Putting aside those who couldn’t stand the humiliation or died for being too old, the hostage group did indeed contain some villagers. In fact, some of the hunters even recognized some familiar faces within the bunch.
Seeing as the enemy held someone they cared about, saving the hostages was basically a must now. With that, Io began negotiating with the troop leader.
The troop leader wasn’t a fool either and knew that having this many hostages wasn’t a viable option; so he asked to exchange the hostages for me...
By the way, why did this end up being about me again...does this world have to troll me so many times? I was just here for some soy sauce (idling)...
Well, now the question was whether or not I should give in to their demands. Truth be told, I’m not really keen on risking my life but the dead fish eyes on those girls...each of them was a young beauty in their own right with the youngest being slightly over ten. The oldest was definitely younger than thirty as normal girls who had no Fighter’s Aura like them would start to age more prominently from that point onwards. Older girls past their prime would definitely find it hard to even stay alive in the prostitute camp.
While their ages might differ, they all shared the same tragic fate. Had it not been for this twist of fate, they should have had a bright future ahead of them; with a husband that loved them and a pair of lovely children, instead of being humiliated by these beasts clad in human skin as they lived a life that was worse than death.
Besides, a number of the hunters were already giving me a torn look. I bet there was someone they cared about amongst those hostages. In their hearts they probably wished for me to step forward once more to save those girls. But no matter how you looked at it, this was an unreasonable request and they knew of this as well which was why they kept quiet.
Glancing at those dead eyes and turning back to those hunters...I’ll admit that my heart got the better of me once more. Even though they were strangers, I still wanted to try it. After all, all he asked was that I be his hostage. A life for ten was definitely a worthwhile trade, especially since it only required putting me in danger for a moment.
Without Dawson backing them up, these bandits had no three-star warriors on their side at all. As long as I unleashed my full arsenal on these small fries, none of them stood a chance at all. With my Shadow Guardian and spells such as my Bone Wall to aid me, there’s no way these two-stars stood a chance against me.
“Alright.” Under the shocked gazes of everyone present, I accepted the troop leader’s offer. “However, you must release the hostages first.”
Hearing me accept his offer, a look of elation crossed the troop leader’s face but was instantly replaced the moment he heard my conditions. “Laughable, if I was to do that, what would happen if you reneged on your word?”
“I’m not like you lot, I’m trustworthy.”
“Hah, a trustworthy devil, you must be joking.”
“...” Exactly how did my devilish identity offend you all?
With an annoyed voice, I asked: “Then what do you suggest?”
“Simple, you come over first,” replied the troop leader in a voice that brooked no further discussion.
So he meant to say that I should trust an immoral scumbag like him? If bandits could be trusted then the world ended in 2012.
Just as we entered a stalemate with neither side willing to give in, the silence was suddenly broken by a pained cry: “Damned wh*re, let go right now!”
Followed by the cry of a woman.
It turns out that a certain prostitute who couldn’t have been older than 20, suddenly bit down on a bandit who promptly sent her flying with a kick.
“Damn b*tch, do you think I don’t dare to kill you?! Today, I’ll...hmm? Aren’t you that newbie? I heard your technique is pretty sh*tty. Hmph, since I haven’t had a round with you why don’t we go for a spin right now?” The bandit raised his blade high into the air as he prepared to kill the offending girl.
Yet as he was about to kill her, his lower half suddenly interceded on her behalf. Any girl who managed to survive in the camp was young, beautiful and had a petite figure that probably couldn’t survive a round with so many bandits. Killing such a specimen was truly a waste without first trying it out.
Thus, in front of our disbelieving eyes, the bitten bandit actually undid his pants while pointing his blade at the girl...who would’ve thought that he was actually sick enough to do that. Damn, was he actually planning to clean his rifle in front of us right now?
As he did so, that girl quietly stared him down with a defiant look in her eyes. At the side, the bandit’s comrades actually cheered him on instead of stopping him.
Such depravity! I...just can’t take it anymore.
Recorded within the <<Bible>> was the lives of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Initially they spent their days naked, but after being lured by Satan into eating the forbidden apple and gaining knowledge, they found their nakedness shameful and thus put on clothes. It was this act that gave away their treacherous deed to Jehovah.
Based on this record, it’s obvious that knowing shame was one of the characteristics of humanity. These bandits were clearly no longer fit to be called humans.
Seeing this, the hunters were clearly incensed by it as well but that was the mere extent of their anger. None of them dared to speak up or save that pitiful girl out of fear of agitating the bandits further.
“Stop, don’t touch her! I’ll accept your offer but you had better hold up your own end of the bargain and release the hostages.”
There was simply no way I could watch this tragedy unfold before me without doing anything. She was already pitiful enough and shouldn’t have to suffer such inhumane treatment. Thus, I decided to acquiesce to his demands and be his hostage.
“Don’t worry, bringing along so many hostages is a pain for us as well.” The troops leader clearly had the self-consciousness to know that he wasn’t in any way a trustworthy character and thus he reassured me with a very practical reason: “These women are too weak and won’t be able to travel long distances.”
“Let’s hope you keep to your word then.” I gave a deep sigh before nodding towards George and Io after which I took my first step towards being a hostage.
Special thanks to Steve Granger, Kaung Thant Win Naing, and Antoine Thompson!!