169-1 in the forest

Many wagons heading for the forest.

One of them has Stein in it.
His face is stained with anger.

Impatience that they might have located his family, and anger at Patrick for still trying to harm them.

A short time later, they arrive near the entrance to the forest, and one by one, the soldiers enter the forest.
Stein has only one leg, so he has to walk with a cane.
Naturally, his speed is slow, so he is left behind.
Now, in the forest, there is no path, but that does not mean there is nothing.
The tracks of large beasts, the undergrowth that falls when adventurers enter to collect, and the steps and spacing between the trees determine the routes that creatures of a certain size can take.

The footing of the soldier walking in the lead suddenly disappeared.

There was a thud, and then,
The soldier walking behind him rushed over and found a large pit.
At the bottom was a bamboo spear.
Alas, the skewered soldier would not survive.

'It's a trap! There's a trap! Watch out!
But after that, screams and moans could be heard from everywhere.

A soldier is hung from a tree with his legs suspended by a loop of wire.
The feces of a beast at the end of an arch of woven grass where he had fallen.
A soldier's foot is caught in a jagged denture-like object, and he loses everything below the ankle.

Arrows came out of nowhere and pierced the soldiers who managed to get through the trap zone.
Seeing this, a soldier flees and is somehow decapitated.
Even though there was no enemy in sight.
The soldiers, shields at the ready, form a mass and slowly, slowly advance.
Finally, they came to an open space.
But it was already evening. It was dimly lit in the forest, and once the sun went down, nothing could be seen.

We hurriedly gathered up some dead branches and made a fire, and prepared to eat.
The soldiers ate simple portable food and kept a watchful eye on the area.
In the middle of the night, there is no sound and no moonlight.

Suddenly, there is a sound from the campfire.
With a sizzling sound, the area is bathed in darkness.
The fire is followed by the faint red glow of cinders and steam.

'Who is it! Who threw water on it? I can't see anything with this.
'Hey, what's going on? What's going on?
'Hey, what's wrong with you two⁉︎'

After that, it didn't take long for the dozens of soldiers present to turn into mute wrecks.

At that time, Stein, who was walking late, gave up walking in the dark and spent the night hiding in the roots of a large tree.

The next day, when the sun rose, he resumed his walk, but all he could see were the wreckage of soldiers.
A skewered soldier who had fallen into a pit.
There was also a corpse that had been hung up in a tree overnight and gnawed on by a beast.

Stein hurriedly changes direction to head out of the forest.
That evening, he met up with the heads of the noble families who had been waiting outside the forest.
They talked about what had happened and rethought their future strategy.

The other nobles also have a sense of honor.
It would be the end of a nobleman's life if he is lambasted by a casualty.

It took me two days to gather up the troops and weapons in a hurry and re-enter the forest.