Ardis who had left the tavern walked around to purchase necessities. Alhough he had brought as much supplies from Thoria, it’ll run out soon. Since everything is still『For the time being』, he didn’t have any intentions to buy a lot, but he’s still grabbing some cookware and towel.
Food supplies are the most important. Although there’re meat that they can procure by hunting in the forest, they can’t possibly maintain their health with just that. That’s why Ardis had always tried to make sure there is a balance in their meals but, there are limited food types that can be procured in the forest.
Next, he procured flavoring such as salt and pepper albeit Ardis himself thought that how food tastes doesn’t matter. If it doesn’t kill you and doesn’t make you throw up, then Ardis has nothing to complain about. But it’s a different story for the twins, after all, they’ve never had good meals before they met Ardis.
After going around the shops, he found everything that he was looking for, so he returned to the inn. The time is already afternoon. The busy lunchtime had passed, even Chezare’s figure wasn’t found in the quiet tavern.
(I wonder if the fish had bit the bait properly)
Ardis who confirmed that took his baggage and left the inn. After being asked by the tavern master, 「Where are you planning to head next? 」, Ardis just vaguely answered in the direction of the empire, before carrying his baggage on his back and walked to the South gate composedly.
Glancing around the stalls on the streets here and there, Ardis faked his leisure walk in the town, and exited the capital through the south gate. Ardis who walked towards south east direction was called out to right around the time when the gatekeepers are far enough that they couldn’t be seen.
「Wait up will ya, brother. 」
(They came huh)
He turned around without a shred of panic, and there was the figure of five mercenaries there.
It seems that the voice was from the mercenary in the middle who seems to be wielding an axe. There were axes in the hands of the both people beside him as well. It seems the all three of them are wearing heavy equipment and prepared for battle.
Behind them are two robed men, they looked like magicians but of course, there’s no telling unless they fought. Since Ardis and Nere didn’t look like magicians themselves after all.
「Me? Haven’t you got the wrong person? 」
「Nope, it’s certainly you. Well, I won’t say much but, can you be a good boy and get caught? 」
「At the very least, I don’t think I have any reason to be caught though. 」
「Even if brother thinks that, it’s no choice since someone wants you caught? 」
The man exposed the existence of the requestor.
The question was who is that requestor, it’s not like the man will answer straight if Ardis asked. On top of that, even if Ardis asked, it’s not like he can avoid a battle with the mercenaries.
Ardis replied not with words but chant for magic.
「The melody that severs thine mind and the beckon to Mahoroba――」
(I guess I will be satisfied with just finding their intentions of capturing me alive)
「Molte . Orne . Sheep」(Sleeping Haze)
「Wha! Fast!? 」
The silver haze encompassed the mercenaries who weren’t even ready for it.
To have taken distance while confronting an opponent who can use magic was their mistake. Of course, the fact that they have two magicians in their party, and the fact that they stood within distance to act if Ardis used magic showed they weren’t amateurs.
But, Ardis’s chants were even faster than what the mercenaries had expected. It’s because that the chant that is unavoidable for any other normal magicians is just a facade for Ardis who can use chantless magic. It was only a fake to disguise his chantless magic.
Even when the mercenaries panickily rushed at Ardis, they were already too late. The sleeping magic that was casted with Ardis’s mana reaped all the mercenaries’ consciousness in an instant. With the magic that even Norris considers 『Extraordinary』, the mercenaries were helpless against it.
After finishing his sleeping magic, he didn’t even pay attention to the mercenaries that dropped like flies, and took out sturdy ropes from his baggage that he prepared for everyone.
「It would be extra effort if they escaped like yesterday after all. 」
Binding all five of the mercenaries, after gaging them, he dragged the leader guy into the bushes.
Then Ardis removed the man’s gag and slapped him to forcibly wake him up. The man who woke up was aloof for a second but, he immediately started realizing that he was bound.
「What!? W-where……where am I!? Oi! What did you do!? 」
While standing in front of the yelling man, Ardis smiled coldly.
「What did I do huh……, you guys fell to my sleeping magic. Do you not remember? 」
The man looked around in unrest and yelled anxiously.
「Everyone……, where are my comrades!? 」
「I have finished them off first though? 」
Ardis who had a chilly expression said so. Of course, it was Ardis’s big lie.
Ardis wouldn’t show mercy to anyone who aimed for his life. But these mercenaries didn’t have killing intent in the first place. Even if Ardis is overexaggerating their actions, he knows how to deal with his opponents depending on the situation.
「Are you……killing me? 」
The man who finally grasped the situation turned green. Since the mercenary had no way to grasp Ardis’s thinking, he couldn’t help but feel his life is in danger.
「Do you intend to beg for me to spare you after what you’ve done? 」
Ardis said so as if he’s fed up.
「But well, you guys are so weak. Could it be that you are all some runaway brats who just became mercenaries? 」
Ardis taunted the mercenary man who seemed to have lost his words in frustration.
「You! That’s too much! 」
Unexpectedly, it seems that the man is the type to say anything without thinking. If so, it might be unexpectedly easy to make him spill the beans, Ardis who thought so smiled in his heart.
「Well, certainly you win in your voice. But to not know that yourself was sold out. 」
「Wha……!? Sold out!? What do you mean!? 」
Ardis who saw his response laughed hysterically and said.
「Do you still not realize? Your brain is quite the amazing one. I was just requested. He gave you false information, and my job was to lure you in his trap. 」
「False……, information? 」
Ardis continued speaking with a cynical expression.
「Yup. You guys were just baited by the false information like dogs chasing after a piece of bone. You thought you all were ambushing me, but it was the reverse. Quite some hatred that you have on you. 」
「Me…..!? Who would!? 」
Having gone this far, there’s only the last push.
「You still don’t get it huh. Try recalling who told you guys to attack me. It’s just that simple of a matter. 」
「……….I see……! It’s that bastard Chezare! 」
「Finally, after so long, quite a dull man you are. 」
Although he said so, he was smiling inwardly at the name that he expected.
「Shit! That guy! 」
The man who was furious cursed at Chezare. After hearing the man’s angry yelling, Ardis smiled like a villain.
「Well, don’t be that mad. I will properly convey your feelings to Chezare. 」
「What are you saying! That bastard set a trap on me……. Kuh! He can’t die enough for this! 」
The man wailed and screamed with his whole.
And there, Ardis had a brilliant idea.
「Well well, you don’t have to be that mad. Since everything I said just now was a big fat lie. 」
As if unable to comprehend what Ardis is saying, the man had a stunned expression looking at him.
「A lie……, you mean that bastard Chezare sold me out? 」
「Yup. The fact that I was requested by Chezare, and he provides false information to you, and he sold you out. All that is my lie. Your friends are still lively over there. 」
His mouth was half gaping, he was speechless looking like a pigeon that was hit by a bean gun.
「Well, I will be the one giving a lesson to Chezare. I will return to the capital, you lots can take it easy here for a little. Yeah that’s right. I will take this as my compensation. 」
Leaving that behind, Ardis stripped the helmet that the man was wearing. After picking up his baggage again, Ardis started moving towards the capital again, leaving behind the man and his friends.
「Eh, oi……. Wai……, wait! 」
Only the voice of the man yelling to retain Ardis reverberated in the surrounding.
Ardis paid for the entry toll in the south gate once again. And he headed straight to the entertainment district, and entered the inn he was staying in just a few hours ago.
Other than the workers who were busy preparing for the waves of customers that will come in the evening, there were only few customers seated.
And there it was, the figure of Chezare with his glass of fruit juice in his hand sitting at the counter among the customers.
Without paying attention to Ardis’s footstep until he had reached the counter, noticing the strange atmosphere, Chezare finally turned around, and his face immediately petrified.
Seeing the pale faced Chezare, Ardis paid it no mind and threw the helmet of the mercenary man, and said with a creepy smile.
「It seems to be a lost item from someone you know, can you help me return it? 」
「A-ah……, Why…… here? I thought, you left― the capital……? 」
Chezare squeezed his words out in obvious dismay.
「It was my intention but, a few bad stray dogs came at me right after I left. Well, fortunately I got rid of them but, it seems they forgotten something. 」
Ardis substituted the mercenaries who attacked him as stray dogs and explained. There’s no way a stray dog would ever wear a helmet but, Chezare didn’t even have the leeway to realize the sarcasm.
「I-is that so……. That……, it must’ve been a big trouble for you」
「Well, it isn’t that much of a big deal other than an annoyance. I was attacked by thugs in the back alley yesterday as well, and it wasn’t anything significant too. No matter how many comes, they will just get the bitter end. 」
「T-that’s some fearsome abilityーー」
Maybe recovering from the sudden shock, the instant when Chezare tried to start talking and pull through this situation somehow.
Ardis closed the distance in an instant, and whispered in Chezare’s ears expressionlessly.
「But it’s only two times that I will forgive while smiling. Think that there’s no such thing as the third. 」
It was a warning that he will not be forgiven if the next comes.
While shrinking his voice, Chezare muttered vaguely. Patting the shoulder of Chezare who seemed like a petrified frog being stared by a snake, Ardis left the tavern just like that.
It was a small trouble that happened but, Ardis’s purpose for the time being is achieved. Ardis looked up at the wide sky. The sun had already long past its nigh but, there’s still some time before evening.
Even considering the time he will use for buying food supplies and moving, Ardis can return back to the base before the night falls completely.
While thinking what kind of souvenirs he should get for the twins, Ardis walked towards the street lined with shops with such a peaceful thinking.