“Hmm, they sure are acting weird…”
I said so as I wracked my brain for a reason why the villagers were behaving so lately.
By acting weird, I was referring to their obviously abnormal levels of eagerness.
Sure, they had been doing whatever they could for the village even before, but this was too much…
And I wasn’t just imagining it. I confirmed it by looking at them with Villager Appraisal. Before, majority of them had a Village Bond Level of average or high, but now, more and more were having an ultra-high Village Bond Level.
What could have brought this on?
Try as I might, the best I could come up with was that they were just grateful for receiving a Gift. That couldn’t be it though, at least not entirely, because even the villagers who couldn’t receive a Gift were acting weirdly.
Wait, hasn’t Millia been holding worship gatherings lately? They’re supposed to be sermons to a group of villagers at time, but I wonder… plus, the very first group to attend was composed only of those who received Gifts.
“…more and more people are participating now, yet she still hasn’t invited me to join them.”
“You mean Millia’s worship gatherings? I haven’t been invited either.”
“Oh, you too, Selen? I wonder what it’s like…”
Well, it was in a church and it was with Millia, so there shouldn’t be anything I had to worry about. Leaving it alone for the meantime didn’t seem to be a bad idea. I wasn’t sure if it was the cause of this situation, but if it turns out that it was, well, not like raising the villagers’ enthusiasm was a bad thing.
“That aside, the improvement of the hunting team is quite remarkable. Maybe it’s because they’re really motivated, but they’ve become really strong. They might even be able to hunt down orcs soon.”
To the north, there was a forest full of monsters. A bit deeper into it, orcs could be found. Orcs were pig-like monsters whose meat were quite delicious. Moreover, because orc meat was rather rare, they would normally fetch a high price if sold.
By the way, the hunting team led by Selen was composed of ten other people. Most of them had Gifts. To name a few of the team: there was Balrath-san and Perun-san who had [Sword Techniques], Rando-kun who possessed [Spear Techniques], and Noel-kun who had [Shield Master Techniques].
In addition to the combat personnel, the ones with [Herculean Strength], [Beast’s Sense of Smell], [Danger Perception] were part of the team as well. The one with [Herculean Strength] was primarily there to carry the prey they managed to hunt back to the village.
“Chief! There seems to be another group of refugees coming to the village!”
After being informed so, I immediately came to greet the said refugees. This time, it was a small group composed of only ten people.
However, unlike the ones before, they were awfully terrified of something.
“Welcome. I’m Luke, the chief of this village. Most of the people living here are also refugees, so please just relax.”
At first, I thought they were just wary because they found a village in a place such as this, but it now seemed something else entirely.
“Ahm, did something happen?”
Their voice trembling, they recounted what happened.
Apparently, there was originally almost a hundred of them. However, that quickly changed when a group of bandits attacked them.
“A few of us got killed after resisting, but most of us were captured and brought somewhere… we’re the ones somehow lucky enough to be able to escape and reach this place…”
Being driven away from their homes was bad enough, but on top of that, they got attacked by bandits.
After all that, of course they’d be nervous wrecks.
“Bandits who attack refugees sadly aren’t rare. Aside from stealing from the refugees, the bandits also sell anyone they capture as slaves.”
Like Millia said, it was more of a stroke of good luck that our villagers up until now managed to reach the village without encountering bandits. If they had done perhaps even a single thing differently, they could have been attacked as well.
As though the villagers were aware of that, they all had solemn expressions on their faces.
“Indeed. But I guess this problem is a lot more personal for us now.”
“Right. All of the villagers were refugees, after all.”
“How I wish that’s what I meant, but no.”
While I stood there unable to understand the meaning behind Selen’s words, the refugees who just arrived bowed their heads.
“We’re truly sorry! There’s a chance that the bandit group followed us here…!”
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