Yes, the ones who abducted the teachers and students are the ogres!
Although they are called ogres, the appearance of these ogres is vastly different from the ogres Raine is familiar with.
The ogres are very tall, well-built, and have horns on their foreheads. Aside from the aforementioned characteristics, and their skin color which ranges from red, grey, and black; the ogres look very similar to humans. Completely different from the ogres in books and other popular media back on Earth that looks like ugly, humanoid monsters.
Raine counted the number of ogres earlier and discovered that there were a total of twelve ogres, eleven male and one female. One of the male ogre and the only female ogre in the group are smaller in size compared to the other ogres, and they look younger too.
"Are they perhaps siblings?""
Looking at the two young looking ogres, Raine could see that they have similar facial features which point to the possibilities that these two are siblings. There's also a sense of immaturity in them so maybe they're teenagers in human and daemon standard.
"They're completely ignoring us, huh...."
Seeing that the ogres are ignoring him and the others, Raine lost interest observing the ogres, and instead he scanned the cage he is in. Spacious and made of flexible woods, the cage look rather flimsy but Raine knew that appearance could be deceiving. And it applies to the cages itself.
Despite looking flimsy, woods used to make the cages are incredibly tough.
How did he know?
He has Galeon to thanks for that. Earlier, Galeon tried to break the woods that made the cage but despite using his entire strength, the woods simply refuses to break.
Let's not forget that Galeon is from the demonic bear tribe, a beastkin tribe known for their strength. And yet, that strength was helpless against the mysterious wood.
This was most likely the reason why the ogres were ignoring them. They must be very confident of the cages strength. Of course, it might be possible to use weapons or magic to break the cages but all of the weapons that belonged to the teachers and students had been confiscated.
"...And it's not like we could use magic with this thing attached to our necks...."
Raine touched the black-colored choker on his neck and sighed. The black-colored choker is a magic tool that prevented anyone who wears it from casting spells. It's a magic tool that is usually use to prevent criminals that could use magic from escaping and causing trouble.
There's also a similar but more sinister magic tool called the "slave collar" which is used to control slaves' action and prevent them from rebelling against their masters. And it the master wishes it, the collar could instantly end a slave's life.
Compared to the slave collar, the black-colored choker that only prevents its wearers from casting spells is more humane.
Anyway, the cages and the chokers is what preventing anyone from escaping.
Not to mention the teachers has yet to act for some reason, and there's no sign that they would act any time soon....
"We sure got ourselves into quite the trouble. Didn't we?"
Raine turned his head towards the person who've just spoken. Arms behind his head, wry smile on his face; Cless look rather relax while lying on his back.
"Yeah, we sure did." Raine responded as he sits and crossed his arms.
"Aren't you two a bit too relaxed? Did you forget our situation?" A daemon girl asked in a bewildered voice.
The one who just spoke is a cute daemon girl with silvery hair that goes by the name Silvia---a rather fitting name for someone with her hair color.
Silvia is one of Raine's classmates, and is similar in appearance to one of Raine's acquaintance. To be more précised, she looks very similar to Platina, his sister Cloudia's classmate, friend, and party member.
Actually, the two girls do not only look similar, they're related by blood. The two are sisters and Silvia and Platina admitted it themselves. There's also another thing, in the kingdom of Noreen, only daemons who have the royal bloodline running in their veins have platinum or silver colored hair.
What does it mean?
It means that it's a genetic thing, and that Platina and Silvia are most likely members of the Noreen royal family. Of course it is all conjunctures on Raine's part since he never actually asked either of the girls.
"Well, it's not like worrying would get us out of this situation. Also, those ogres seem to have no interest in hurting us, at least for now...." Raine reasoned.
"...Yeah, you're right but still.... I wonder why the ogres apprehended us in the first place? Although they are a very powerful race, the ogres always keep to themselves and would rarely trouble anyone." Silvia asked in confusion.
Raine completely agreed with Silvia's sentiment. Despite their intimidating appearance, the ogre tribe is a relatively peaceful race, and would not attack anyone unless provoked.
There must be a reason why the ogres is doing what they're doing. Unfortunately, there's very little information to go on with, and Raine could not figure the reason for their actions.
"We should conserve our strength and be prepare for what's about to happen," Raine blurted out.
Cless, Silvia, and the other children inside the cage stared at Raine with surprised expressions. What did Raine meant by that? Will something dangerous about to happen?
"What do you mean by that, Raine? Did you figured something out?" Cless asked.
Shaking his head, Raine answered, "...no but just in case...."
Seeing that Raine has no interest in explaining, Cless and the other children gave up asking. But they still decided to follow Raine's suggestion of preserving their strength, and staying vigilant.
For other children to follow another child's instruction without question may look strange from other people's perspective. But for the people involved, it's very normal.
You see, Raine made quite a reputation for himself in the short time he'd stayed in the academy. During those times, Raine proved to be quite trustworthy.
Not only is he highly intelligent, he's also considered mentally mature for his age. All of his friends and classmates look up to him and would often ask the boy for advice. He is also very friendly and would treat anyone regardless of race with respect.
Even his teachers has nothing but praise for the boy and would often take what he'd say seriously.
Thanks to that, his lack of horn has never been an issue inside the academy and no one ever bully him for that.
While the children in the same cage with him are being vigilant, Raine was observing the other two cages. Both cages have a teacher and several students in them. The students looked fearful and worried. Even the always cheerful Galeon looked rather despondent most likely due to the failure of breaking the cage earlier.
Fortunately for them the two cages has a teacher each who are doing their best to calm the nervous students unlike the cage where Raine is in. But since Raine was inside the said cage, things was somewhat balanced out.
Raine was also observing the surrounding and noticed that it was getting dark. Not far from them, the ogres are preparing food for dinner. Earlier, Raine saw four of the ogres leaving the group only to return several hours later while carrying two elk-like carcasses. Most likely, the animals were hunted by them earlier.
Seeing the ogres being busy and the sky darkening more, Raine grew somewhat uneasy and frown. For some reason, he got this nagging feeling that something will happen. No, his instinct was telling him that something WILL happen tonight, and it's not the ogres making a move on them.
"I wonder if it has something to do with what happened in the guild more than a month ago?"
The incident that Raine was referring to was when he and his sister went to the Hunters' Guild for the first time for a tour. There, he was introduced to the receptionist Marin, a human woman quite close to his older sister.
After that, they witnessed several hunters (Lionis and his party) arguing with their client who seemed to be an aristocrat. The argument seemed to be about the client lying about the content of the quest. He also overheard the words ogres and bandits being tossed around.
Unfortunately, the several higher up of the guild, including the guild master himself showed up and put a stop to the altercation much to Cloudia's disappointment. He later found out from his sister that the aforementioned incident was settled privately.
"Could that arrogant looking aristocrat be involved with this incident? If so...."
Raine turned his gaze towards the dark forest. In the darkness, the forest seems really terrifying, as if a monster would suddenly appear to devour everyone present.
Seeing the darkness, Raine's unease grew but so do his determination. Whatever happens tonight, Raine won't be caught unprepared again.
Later that night....
The light from the bonfire flickers as Duncan watches. He heard footsteps approaching and spoked:
"Has the captives settled for the night?"
Four ogres approaches the bonfire and one of them replied," ...yes. They've been very cooperative. We lend them some blankets since it’s very cold in the forest at night."
"That's good. Everything would be over in a day or two so they only need to hold on until then." Duncan said as he threw a piece of wood into the fire.
"Will the king really negotiate with us? I heard that the king does not take kindly to threats...."
The youngest of the ogre, an auburn-haired young man asked worryingly. They have a valid reason for doing what they did but they're also aware that they might have crossed the line when they abducted the students from the Royal Academy.
Duncan looked at the young ogre's eyes intently, and then looked at his kin one by one. From their eyes, he could see the all kinds of emotions like doubt, fear, guilt, etc. But beneath those negative emotions, he could also see great determination.
Their operation is very risky. One wrong move and it could spell the end for their tribe. Nonetheless, Duncan and the other ogres have no choice. If they fail to the accomplish their goal, their whole tribe would still meet its doom eventually.
So rather than wait for their eventual end, they would rather take the gamble. This was the decision of the whole tribe, and Duncan, as the tribe chief would do everything in his power to make the operation a success.
Personally, Duncan dislike using such a method as well. The ogre tribe is a peaceful tribe that disliked conflict. They usually kept to themselves and avoid conflict with the other races as much as possible.
He knew that the other races were afraid of their tribe due to their intimidating appearance, and what they've just done probably worsened the other races' perception of their tribe. But as the leader of his tribe, he must do everything he could for the sake of his tribe. As such he could not let personal feelings get in the way of their goal.
"Don't worry, everything will turn out well. The daemon king loved his citizens dearly and would not do something as foolish as endanger them. I am certain he would negotiate with us their safety." Duncan assured.
"Besides, his precious daughter is among the captives. So he wouldn't do anything that'll endanger her." He added.
The other ogres nodded their heads in agreement after hearing their tribe chief's explanation. Although they've plan the abduction of the students from the Royal Academy after accidentally hearing that a school activity was going to be held in a nearby forest, the presence of the youngest princess among the students came as a great surprise even to them.
"It must be the will of our tribal gods. They must want this operation to succeed as much as us. How else would anyone explain the presence of the youngest princess?" One of the ogres said excitedly.
Duncan smiled at his tribesman after seeing their doubts vanished. He ordered them to rest while he, and the others would guard the hostages. There are only twelve of them including the two young ogres; the siblings, Tohran, and Ohran. So as to make sure that everyone could take a rest, they would take turn guarding the hostages.
The siblings, Tohran and Ohran volunteered to be the among the first six to guard the hostages. Sitting next to the bonfire, they started chatting with Duncan to kill time. They talked about many things they were concerned about while Duncan listened patiently.
"Oh yeah, chief, there's something strange about the children on one of the cages." Tohran reported.
"What do you mean by something strange?" Duncan asked with a frown.
Seeing Duncan frowning, Tohran tries explained what he noticed.
"Well, how should I say it? The children inside that cage looked considerably more vigilant compared to the other children inside the other cages. What stranger though was that despite being more vigilant, they were also a lot calmer?"
"You're referring to the cage where the youngest princess is being held, right?" Ohran interjected.
"Yup! The same one!" Ohran confirmed.
Duncan crossed his arms and looked intently at the cage holding the princess, and was taken back at what he saw.
He saw the children looking at their direction while huddled inside the blankets. Staring at their innocent eyes, Duncan could see their vigilance. But despite being vigilant, he could see no fear in their eyes.
Surprisingly, even the princess was the same. In her eyes, there is no fear. Rather, he could see the same vigilance, mixed with confidence, ...and trust?
Trust in what?
Is she that confident that they would escape their predicament unscathed? Where is she getting that confidence from?
From her father, the king? ...Or perhaps, she's getting it from somewhere else?
Duncan could not understand what he's seeing, and took his eyes away from the princess. But as he was scanning the other children, his eyes met Raine's eyes, and shivered.
"What, what's with that kid's eyes!?"
Eyes clear as a cloudless sky look straight at Duncan's eyes. Like the other children, Raine's eyes are also showing vigilance. But unlike the other children's innocent eyes, the eyes of boy staring straight at him has something that shouldn't be in the eyes of a child his age---wisdom.
Duncan felt like those eyes was peering straight into his soul, observing, calculating, as if trying to unveil all of his secrets.
"Hey... hey, chief! Are you okay!?"
Duncan woke up from his reverie after being called out by Tohran who find it strange that their tribe chief suddenly went silent.
"Are you okay, chief?" Ohran asked while looking worried.
"Yes, I'm okay. Don't worry about me." Duncan answered in a hoarse voice.
The sibling looked at Duncan worriedly. There chief's sudden and strange behavior worried them.
"Did something happen, chief?" Tohran asked.
Duncan denied that anything happened and told the two not to worry about it. He took a sip from his cup while taking a quick glance at Raine's direction, and saw the boy with his eyes close as if the incident earlier was just his imagination.
Of course, Duncan did not think that that was the case. His back wet with cold sweats proved that everything that happened was not his imagination.
There's something strange about that boy, and Duncan could not help but be wary of him....
The rest of the shift went on without much event. After the other ogres woke up, Duncan, the twins, and the rest were replaced as guards.
But few hours after sleeping, everyone was suddenly awakened by a loud sound.
It was the sound of the alarm.
Someone, or something, triggered the magical traps that were set up earlier to alert the whole camp of an intrusion.
One of the ogres yelled to warn everyone that they're being attacked. The said ogre then proceed to intercept three of the black-clothed enemies rushing towards him with his club.
Duncan and the other ogres quickly gathered up after hearing the yell of one of their comrade and proceed to face-off against the unknown assailants.
The assailants wearing black clothes have their faces covered but some of their features could not be hidden like the horns on the foreheads of some of the black-clothed assailants which informed everyone that daemons were among the assailants.
The teachers, Raine, and the other students’ watch everything that unfolds before their eyes. Many of the children thought that the assailants were there to rescue them but some, including the two teachers were skeptical.
Are these black-clothes people there to rescue them? If so, why are they covering their faces as if they didn't want their identities to be known? Is there really a need to do so?
Raine, the teachers, and some of the more clear-headed students find this situation very peculiar. The black-clothed assailants have number on their sides. Although the ogres were fighting valiantly, it's only a matter of time before some of the assailants pass their defenses. And when that happen, would they rescue the hostages, or perhaps....
Raine's tension and unease is growing by the seconds, despite that though he's still very clear-headed.
Putting his right hand on the choker on his neck, Raine started fiddling with it. Not long after, a 'click' could be heard and the choker fall to the floor.
Cless and the other children on the same cage with him were greatly surprised after seeing his choker removed. They stared at him dumbfounded as they could not process how he could remove the choker on his own.
Raine ignored the dumbfounded look of his friends, and approached Silvia who's nearest to him.
"I'll remove your choker so don't panic, okay?"
Silvia could only nod weakly as Raine proceed to fiddle with her own collar. Because the magic circle is behind the choker, Raine's fingers touched the girl's neck which made her blush a little.
Several seconds later, Silvia's choker was finally removed. Raine then proceed to removed Cless, and the other children's choker.
"Raine, how did you managed to remove the collars." Cless asked while touching his neck that has become sore due to the collar.
"I've been messing with since finding out that it's just an anti-magic choker and not a slave collar. But for how I did it, that'll have to wait until later." Raine answered.
Everyone understood that explaining the process would take time and decided that now's not the right time.
"Let's get out of the cage for now."
Raine walk towards the side of the cage that's facing the back. He then raises his left hand, and channel mana into the his fingers, and slashed several times.
His hand movement was so fast that the children could only see flashes of light.
The sturdy but flexible wood that could not be broken by physical strength alone was finally defeated. A hole big enough even for adults to go through was made and Raine and the other children could finally step outside the cage.
The whole event did not go unnoticed, the teachers and the students who saw what happened were stunned by the unexpected escape.
One of the ogres, the Tohran also witnessed the escape was also left momentarily stunned allowing one of the black-clothed assailant to get through him.
"Ah, big brother, what are you doing!?"
Seeing this happening, Ohran who just blew away the enemy she was fighting with magic, scolded her older brother for his carelessness.
Tohran quickly apologized and tries to follow the one who got through but was suddenly attacked by another black-clothed assailant preventing him from chasing from doing so.
Agitated, Tohran, yelled towards the chief direction while fending off an attacker.
"Chief, one got through! What should we do!?" He asked.
Duncan also witnessed the whole event but he is currently fighting against five black-clothed assailants and could not do anything.
"Leave it! Focus on the enemy before you!"
Despite saying so, Duncan himself is getting agitated. If the hostages were to escape or if anything were to happen to them, there plan would be ruined.
"Don't hesitate anymore; kill the bastards if you have to!" Duncan ordered.
Realizing that their hesitation to kill the enemy could cause them to fail, Duncan ordered his tribesman to stop holding back, and attacked with more ferocity, and the intent to kill.
Meanwhile, the black-clothed assailant quickly approaches Raine and the children.
"You're the princess, right? Come with me!"
The black-clothed assailant pointed at Silvia and rudely ordered her to follow him without caring that he's being rude to a royal.
Silvia was startled after being rudely ordered but did not follow the assailant's order, and instead, chooses to hide behind Raine.
Her action angered the assailant who then tries to take Silvia by force, only to be blown away when Raine punched him in the abdomen.
Raines sudden attack surprises and confuses everyone present which stopped the fight temporarily.
"Raine, why did you attack him?" Cless asked, clearly confused by his friends action.
"Isn't it obvious? They're not here to rescue us or Silvia. They're here to kill her instead!" Raine answered while watching the assailant stand slowly.
"That’s nonsense! We're here to rescue the princess!" The assailant countered.
Raine sneered at the assailant and questioned, “Really? What are you hiding on your left hand then? Why are you hiding a weapon while approaching the princess?"
The assailant was startled by the question, he didn't expect that the boy would be so sharp-eyed that to notice the small blade hidden in his hand.
Also you've been very rude to the princess since the beginning. Are perhaps unaware that you could be charged of lessee' majesty for your rudeness?"
Raine cut off what the assailant what about to say and followed with another question that left the assailant speechless.
Angered by being seen though by a brat, the assailant attacked Raine without warning.
"Brat, die for me!!!" The assailant shouted.
Raine saw the attack coming but did not cower. Instead, he stepped forward, and face the assailant head on.
Seeing Raine facing the assailant head-on, his teachers and classmates were deeply worried but could do nothing but helplessly watch.
The assailant sneered at Raine's foolish action. He strongly believed that a brat like him could not possibly best him in a head-on fight, and the only reason he was defeated earlier was because he was caught in a sneak attack.
A sharp, glinting knife quickly headed towards Raine's neck but Raine expertly dodges the attack by side-stepping. After side-stepping, Raine followed through, and took advantage of his smaller stature to deliver a powerful blow to the liver.
The assailant let out a groan of pain as he slowly fall to the ground. The liver blow was so painful that the assailant was temporarily stunned. Unfortunately for him, Raine did not let up as he quickly followed up with an axekick to the back of the assailant's head which causes the man to lose consciousness.