Thanks to Norris, Ardis finally knew the source of his discomfort. It isn’t something he can ignore but, it’s not like he can do anything about it now.
In any case, the root of the problem lies within the unfounded belief of the forbidden children, so it isn’t an easy problem to solve. After all, it’s not like he can just settle it with strength like the Grinder subjugation since the belief of the goddess is deeply rooted in society.
The other problem is because of Nere’s actions with the army. With the Corps Commander’s eyes on her and the entire army against her, it didn’t seem like it’s possible to solve it peacefully at all. The lord seems to be on the side of the army as well.
Leaving Ted’s party, he returned home while getting the ugly gazes of the citizens. Ardis sunk into the sofa after entering the living room. While staring at the ceiling, someone approached from behind.
He would’ve liked to take a nap now peacefully if it’s possible.
「Haa……. Should I just move out of Thoria. 」
「What’s the matter, my master. 」
Behind Ardis who was sighing, Nere appeared with a tray in hand.
After serving tea for Ardis and herself, Nere sat beside Ardis and reached for the cup on the table.
Despite all that, being a servant who lives under the same roof as Ardis, she had affirmed her position in the house by displaying all kinds of skills in laundry, cleaning and brewing. Even now, she would do her job as a servant by bringing drinks for Ardis who is resting.
On the other hand, her ethics and mouth is still the same, although she would call Ardis as her master, she would sit down on her own and enjoy the tea sooner than Ardis, so it’s really suspicious whether she really has any self-awareness as a servant. But at the very least, she’s taking Ardis into consideration for her actions, and she cared for the twins.
Recently, it seems the twins had gotten used to Nere, there’s been several occasion Ardis saw the twins conversing with her. It was found out that she hid a huge bomb in her pocket but, they aren’t stranger enough for Ardis to chase her out just because of that.
「It seems that the army and the lord have eyes on us. 」
Ardis said so while wetting his mouth with the tea.
「What’s wrong about that? That kind of small fries, there’s no need to worry. If master wills it, shall I exterminate them now? 」
Ardis wasn’t hoping for something like that.
It’s not a problem that can be solved with violence. If that was the case, then there’ll be no need to ask Nere to do that, just Ardis storming the lord’s mansion by himself will be enough.
The problem is after that. The opponent is a noble, the king is behind his back. Messing with Sir Thoria would mean offering a fight to the Kingdom.
Ardis is just a mercenary. He has no intention to cause a disturbance in the country.
If the worst comes, he will just have to move to another country. Since it looked like only the lord is moving, there’s a high possibility that the Kingdom isn’t involved.
If he leaves Thoria, there’s a chance that the problem will solve itself. While thinking like that, he arrived at the words 「Should I just move out of Thoria」
「I guess we should stay put for the time being. Leaving the house empty like this is worrying after all. 」
If they let the time pass, the citizens might calm down. Even if the army and the lord have bad intentions towards them, they can’t do much if Ardis and the others are abiding the law. Of course, that is only if the opponents are loyal to the law.
「Nere met the lord before right? What kind of man is he? 」
Ardis knows what kind of person the General is. He’s a type that’s prideful and full of justice. If the lord holds his reigns firmly, then the General will not go out of control.
But he had never met with the highest figure here that is the lord of Thoria himself. From what he had heard from the citizens, it seems like he’s a good lord. If it’s Nere who’ve met him directly, then she should be able to give a better impression than Ardis.
「A greedy, underhanded and foolish pig」
Ardis’s hand which was carrying the cup of tea to his mouth stopped.
「You are asking about the lord right? He’s 『A greedy, underhanded and foolish pig』. 」
It was an evaluation filled with thorns.
「I-Is that so………. By the way, what about the General? 」
「A dog that barks well against a stray dog」
Hearing that, Ardis thought it was correct in a sense. Her evaluation of the General wasn’t that much different than what Ardis thought. If so, Nere’s opinion towards the lord should be at least half correct.
If that’s the case, then it’ll be better to judge them as 『May or may not uphold the law』. There’s a possibility they will choose an underhanded method.
「So it’s better to keep our guard huh. 」
Ardis’s concerns became reality in a few days.
It was a cloudy day from the morning that day, the sky didn’t look like it’s clearing any time soon even when the evening came. With the starlight hidden by the clouds, the house gate was shrouded in more darkness than usual. Violent noises came from the house’s front gate.
「I know. 」
Ardis had realized the big group of presences surrounding the house. Their mana wasn’t that much different than an average person, they’re probably soldiers. To surround their house like this at this time, at the very least, Ardis can tell it isn’t for something good.
「Shall I show force to them myself? 」
To chase them or defeat them away, it’s an easy feat for Ardis and Nere who have the strength. But the problem is what comes after. If they choose to chase the intruders away, it just means that more will come the next time.
「I will go confront them. Nere, you go make preparation with the children to leave the town. 」
He likes to live peacefully as much as possible, but it’s probably impossible now that it’s like this. With that much people surrounding the house, they probably expected Ardis and the others would resist and prepared suitably.
Leaving behind Nere and the twins who had started packing up their stuff, Ardis headed to the entrance.
「It’s a scrutiny! Open up! 」
While banging on the door, a soldier-sounding man voice reverberated. Their voices already seemed on the edge, it felt like they would breach the door in just a few minutes.
「What’s the matter this late? 」
As Ardis opened the door while calling out, someone’s order resounded.
Smashing the door open, the soldiers which were fully armed tried to enter the house. But that attempt failed magnificently.
「W-What the heck is this!? 」
With Ardis’s physical barrier deployed in an instant, the soldiers was blocked of their advances and crashed into the invisible barrier head first.
It is an application of physical barrier, it repels and rejects anyone or anything that has hostile intent to the caster. Of course, it’s Ardis’s original, so it wasn’t a magic known to the normal world. That’s why rather than being the usual magic spell, it’s a sorcery. Since it’s deployed throughout the house, even the other windows and entrances are fully warded against the soldiers’ attempt.
「What a barbaric way to visit. If you want to be invited inside, isn’t there something like procedure and courtesy? 」
Ardis said so rudely.
「B-Bastard! You are going against the army!? 」
「Going against? I don’t even know what’s your agenda for coming here, how can I go against that. If you tell me what you all are up to, then I might be able to help too. 」
As so, Ardis answered while playing fool.
「So? What’s the matter today? 」
Amongst the soldiers which were filled with bloodlust, an old man came to the front. It’s probably their commander.
「A detain warrant is out for the mercenary woman living here! You won’t be spared if you hide her! 」
「Hou……, detain warrant? Under what reason? 」
「Crime for harming our soldiers, and the suspicion of kidnapping young children! 」
「Well that’s……, not quite peaceful huh. 」
Ardis’s eye showed his disdain.
The crime for harming their soldiers, they’re probably referring to the incident where Nere defeated one of their Company Commander and Corps Commander.
In addition, kidnapping. They probably want to make use of the twins’ existence as an excuse as well.
From what they say, it seems like they have the intentions to not just take Nere, but even the twins with them under the pretense of victims. For that, it isn’t anything that Ardis considers acceptable.
「Do you have the detain warrant?」
「Look at this! 」
The old commander man shoved a big piece of paper in front of Ardis.
A detain warrant is a formal document issued by the government. Under Nagras Kingdom’s law, a criminal can be detained on the crime scene by the soldiers. But since it isn’t a crime scene now, to detain the suspect, they must have the warrant issued under the pretense of investigation.
Well, in actual, there are many occasions the soldiers detained people without the warrant, after detaining them, only the warrant is issued. With this kind of system in place, it doesn’t matter actually whether they have the warrant or not.
However, it is essential if the suspect is a privileged class such as a noble, and if resistance is expected like a powerful mercenary, it is often issued with the aim of psychological effects on the opponent. In this case, the latter will be the reason.
「It’s certainly an detain warrant……, but where is the official seal of the Justice Court? 」
With that fact pointed out, the commander was stuck with his words.
The court is a government agency that assures the legibility of the detain warrant.
In order to prevent the abuse of warrants by lords and nobles, the contents of each warrant are examined and checked whether there are any suspicious points on the charges or suspects.
By obtaining the court’s seal, a detain warrant can finally have the legal basis. Reversely, that just means that any warrants without the seal is fake.
(So that means that the matter this time is not known to the country. It’s the personal decision of the lord here huh)
Confirming this fact, Ardis decided how to act.
「T-The court’s examination will pass soon! We have judged that detaining the suspect shall be prioritized! 」
Receiving a painful counterattack from what he thought was an ignorant mercenary, the commander tried to use an excuse to cover it up.
「So? Who’s the one being detained? 」
「The mercenary woman! We know that she lives here! 」
「The name does not matter! The mercenary woman is the mercenary woman! 」
(These people……, did they come here without even knowing the name of the person they are trying to detain?)
Since Nere’s name wasn’t on the 『Warrant』 they provided, Ardis thought it might be the case as he confirmed it, to think that they don’t even know who they are supposed to be dealing with.
「No, if you don’t know what’s the name, I don’t even know who am I supposed to bring you……」
「I said that just get the mercenary woman here! 」
Ardis’s decision is already set in stone. What he is doing now is to buy time for Nere and the others to prepare.
「Even if you say mercenary woman, there are three here? Who should I bring? 」
Of course, it was Ardis’s big lie. But, the soldiers could never know how many people are in Ardis’s house.
It’s the same for any house in the town. How many people are living in this house, they wouldn’t know unless they had stepped into this house themselves like Ted and the others.
「T-The woman we are looking for has a long Aliceblue hair and sky colored eyes! 」
「Umm, the three of them matches that but……」
「T-There’s no way that’s the case! 」
「No well, even if you say it’s impossible, it’s like that in truth……」
Ardis purposely scratched his head and showed a troubled expression.
「So, who should I bring in the end? 」
「G-Guuu……. In any case! Just bring all the women in this house here! We will judge the rest ourselves! 」
(I guess this much is the most I can do huh)
「I understand. I will bring them here, please wait a while. 」
Saying that, Ardis stepped back into his house.
Just in case, Ardis showed a docile and obeying attitude, so it doesn’t seem like the soldiers are trying to enter forcibly.
Ardis who returned to Nere and the twins asked the obvious.
「Is the preparation finished? 」
「My master, various necessities and all the arms had been packed. Filia and Riana had finished changing as well. There’s enough food for about four days. As expected, it’s impossible to pack things like the furniture. 」
With two huge bags on her back, and another two which seemed like they can fit one adult man in each on the ground. It seems like it’s filled to the brim with items.
「There’s no helping that. Just bringing our equipment, money and food is enough. 」
It might be a little wasteful for him to dispose all the furniture that he had bought but, it’s stuff he can buy again anyways.
「With Riana, going out―? 」
「With Filia, don’t want outside……」
The twins were tugging at Ardis’s pants with an anxious expression. For the both, the outside world was probably filled with painful memories.
「But if we stay here, many sca―ry uncles will come inside. So endure for a little alright」
The twins reluctantly nodded with Ardis words.
Recently, the both’s words had increased, and they were able to express their own thoughts more freely, but it seems that they still wouldn’t try to be spoiled.
It would be seriously troublesome if they started crying but, since they listened to Ardis, it was a heavy load off of Ardis’s mind.
「Well then, let’s go」
They went up to the roof from the second floor and went through the attic.
「You both, hold onto my arm tightly. It might be better if you close your eyes. 」
While carrying each twin in each arm, Ardis dispelled the barrier surrounding his house.
With the barrier dispelled, he aimed to slip away by flying in the darkness when they are occupied in breaching the house. Ardis flew upwards to about a hundred meters in altitude, then together with Nere who carried two huge bags in her arms, they flew towards the southern sky.
The soldiers are probably searching the house desperately by now. They might even resort to destroying the walls or set the house on fire but, that house had already served its purpose.
Although it might be a huge deficit for the merchant association, Ardis didn’t have a sliver of sympathy for the people that would coldly say 「Cancel the contract and get out now」 if they come to know about the twins’ existence.
Well, that’s why he had paid hundred gold in deposit in the first place since something like this might happen. So unexpectedly, the merchant association might’ve actually earned some spare.
After Ardis and the others flew long enough that it’ll take a day by foot from Thoria, they’ve settled down for the night.