There's a forest all around us, naturally. It's the wild world once you step outside human protected area.
Of course you run the risk getting attacked by beasts. The problem here is the beasts.
Those things are no stray dogs as far as I can tell.
They're wolves. No matter how you look at them. Wolves in the flesh.
Their fur is completely black with no luster. As if it was made for hiding.
(American ninja's dog buddy... Is this really fantasy? Wait I guess it is in a way.)
In this situation where I'm about to get dragged into another mess, my face is starting cramping up from escaping reality.
There's no other foot traffic around, only us and the carriage.
The wolves have spread out to block the road, with lowered postures ready to jump anytime.
There's ten of them. The one in the center is positioned slightly in the back with a bigger build than the rest, must be the boss.
"Milord, please stand back. We shall take care of-"
"No, I mean don't you get it by now? No need to pamper me."
"We shall be milord's shields, protecting you with our bodies."
"Please don't make me repeat myself okay? I can take care of myself, you girls focus on yourselves."
Yet the elves assumed a formation to protect me. I sighed to see them.
Annoyed, I got a bit confrontational.
"Then let me ask you. Is there a way to avoid this situation?"
Now that I've witnessed the carriage getting attacked, I can't pretend I didn't see it. At the same time, I don't want to attract attention needlessly.
"Forest Seekers are shrewd, they will not withdraw if they know they have the numerical advantage."
Hearing what these wolves are called, I replied back, 'Heee'.
"Killing the pack leader may result in them scampering. However there are some exceptions."
"There have been cases where another high achieving individual in the pack succeeding the dead leader. When that happens, there is a 50:50 chance of them withdrawing or keep attacking."
(Okay, not like we're in a hurry. I'm not into animal cruelty, how do I deal with this peacefully now.)
As I stopped and wondered what to do, three armed men came out of the carriage.
"Oy oy, what the heck is this crap, we just got off the city. Gimme a break."
"Well, just another day for us mercenaries. You get it no?"
"Ain't that the truth. Let's get this over with."
I was shocked to hear them being mercenaries at first but quickly decided to observe them.
But my glance seemed to annoy them.
"Ou! This ain't no show! We ain't gonna save yer arse even if ya got attacked, ya hear."
"Our contract only covers protecting this carriage. Ya gotta pay up if ya wanna get saved too."
"This ain't no time to look away. Focus ahead, ahead."
A coachman on the carriage was staying quiet and monitoring the situation despite looking terrified.
His eyes tell the desperation to save himself even if it means leaving the mercenaries behind as decoys.
Looking at that, I pondered how to get away from this situation normally, and the answer was.
"Sir mercenaries. I will pay you. Please drive those things away and keep us safe."
The elves all turned to look at me at once. Their expressions say, 'I can't believe him.'
I winced a bit having the six of them directing such gazes at me, but focused on negotiating with the mercenaries.
"How much ya willing to cough up? We ain't got no leeway here. It'll be too late once the battle starts. Decide quick."
He's not threatening I'm sure. Talking during battle besides for coordination is a death wish.
Doing anything without focus begets failures. Which equals death when your life is on the line.
These mercenaries aren't being hasty for the sake of it. I didn't object because I understood that.
The Forest Seekers gradually drew nearer.
"One gold coin per person."
The mercenaries sounded surprised when they heard me. All while staring at the things blocking the road.
"Mighty generous of ya! Welp, let's get this show on the road boys!"
They swiftly dashed and slashed ahead. Toward the pack boss.
They must be well versed on dealing with these wolves. I could kinda tell the moment they stepped out of the carriage that they've been doing this line of work for quite some time.
Their fight was that of experienced veterans.
First two of them struck two wolves guarding the boss with small shields equipped on their arms.
The last one charged at the boss. He brilliantly lopped the boss's head off.
Meanwhile the other two dealt the finishing blows on the two guard wolves.
It was all done so swiftly, the rest of Forest Seekers couldn't even move.
Once one of the mercenaries said, 'Good work', the pack scattered away.
Then the three of them started stripping off their game's skins. After quickly finishing that, they dumped the bodies into the forest and headed our way.
Only pool of blood remained on the road to signify traces of combat.
"Yo, generous mister. Yer' keeping yer word, ain'tcha. One gold coin per person."
I winked at Serena to take the money out. I received it from her and handed it over to the three.
"Thanks for yer patronage! Gold coins for this piss easy job! I can't stop laughing."
"The fur's gonna fetch handsomely too! We're raking in the dough! Forest Seekers the best!"
"Ain't that right! Thought it was a pain at first, turned out it was big dang extra cash!"
The three got into the carriage while laughing out loud. The carriage started moving right away.
We started walking ourselves.
"Come let's go. We lost some time. I'd like to hurry a bit to offset that. You girls are in charge of showing the way, someone take the lead. Don't forget to scout ahead too."
"Yes. Then I shall-"
"Do it in turn okay. Also consider your stamina. Okay then, let's go."
Thus the mess was concluded 'normally', I sighed in relief before started walking.