It’s been a few days since Ardis set up a new base of operations in the forest near the capital. Although he had gone out for hunting a few times, it’s not like he had someone who would introduce jobs to him like in Thoria. Ardis continued mingling as a mercenary while carrying various necessities items back into the home in the forest.
One ordinary day like that, having paid the information brokers Chezare three copper, Ardis had gotten his hands on some news.
「Although Sir Thoria has no business with you, it seems there’s some mercenaries that think otherwise. Some are aiming for you. 」
Just at the same time when the story regarding Nere flowed to the capital, Ardis’s name had been known in the capital as well.
From the information that Ardis have gotten from Chezare, it didn’t seem like the lord or the general had made any moves targeting at Ardis himself. But mercenaries who don’t know about that, or those who knew but speculated, they seemed to have started taking actions to apprehend Ardis to offer him to Sir Thoria.
「Well, in a sense, the leaked rumor is quite effective. 」
Like what Chezare said, Ardis’s request to spread the rumor of 『The mercenary woman went to the empire』 had been caught by other information brokers in town, and the mercenaries had gotten that news.
As expected, there weren’t any mercenaries that were willing to chase them to the empire.
In the first place, there wasn’t even a single official request. Even if they manage to apprehend Nere, it’s not guaranteed that Sir Thoria would pay them, so there wasn’t anyone thinking of making an expedition to another country.
But instead of the woman, if it’s Ardis who appears time to time in the capital which is their home ground……, it’s natural for them to have that thought.
Of course, it’s not like there’s any guaranteed compensation for getting Ardis as well. But, those that don’t understand that, those who are looking for something interesting, those that can’t think properly for themselves. All of them probably thought of Ardis as an easy prey.
Back in Thoria, Ardis didn’t really stand out since he was hiding the existence of sword magic and chantless magic. Thus, there’s probably little to no information of Ardis’s strength in the capital.
「You should be careful for a while at the very least. ……Well, it’s not like you would get done in that easily. 」
「Got it. I will do just that. Thanks. 」
「……I’m taking my part of money, there’s no need for thanks. 」
Chezare said so with a complicated emotion.
「But well……. I don’t really mind getting attacked but, having them come at me so often would just be troublesome. 」
「So you are not bothered by the attacks huh……」
Even if they came with numbers, it’s not like those average mercenaries can do anything to Ardis. But it doesn’t change the fact that it’s troublesome and time-consuming if he had to deal with them every time.
「If so, wouldn’t it be fine if you just showed your strength like to the mercenaries before? Like hunting some famed demonic beings or something. 」
「Demonic being subjugation huh. 」
Till now, Ardis hadn’t been making himself known by his name. He had thought that doing so would certainly call for troubles but, Ardis already has troubles on him now. There’s no meaning pretending to be a normal person after that.
If so, showing his overwhelming strength instead might be a better hand to stop those people from messing with Ardis. If Ardis becomes known as one of the best mercenaries, then even if the information regarding the twins gets leaked, he might have a chance to protect them from malice.
「Chezare. What kind of famed demonic beings is there near this capital? 」
「One copper. 」
The information broker asked for a deal.
「Quite the cheap price huh. 」
「Well, it’s information that even ordinary citizens would know about. Even if you don’t ask me, you would find out if you asked around. 」
「Then why not just tell me without charging. 」
「Because the pride of being an information broker is on the line. 」
He’s a man who has the most consciousness about his occupation at the strangest place.
「Fine, one copper it is. 」
While smiling bitterly, Ardis took out a copper coin and put it on the counter.
「Talking about famed demonic beings here in the capital, and those that will make you famous if subjugated, there’re three. The first is in the north of the capital, having its own territory in the Canobis Valley, the『Bell Chaser』. It’s a mutation of a 『Tron』and has two streaks of mark across its head. Then the next is the 『Four Winged』 in the small island you can see from the capital, it’s a large monster that has two heads, four legs, and four wings. Then the last is the 『Crimson Eater』 that had made a nest in the ruins in the beach. It’s a humanoid monster that’s covered in blood red. 」
Chezare explained the three’s characteristic while counting with his fingers.
「They are called the 『Three Great Demons』here. All of them are monsters that had caused many challengers to lose their lives. They’re not inferior to the Grinder that you’ve fought in Thoria. If you just make your strength known by hunting any of them, then there’ll surely be no people daring to make a move on you. 」
「Is there a bounty for them? 」
「Of course. The territory of the 『Bell Chaser』 is right on a place that’s said to have a vein of Heavy Metal ore, but because it had made its nest there, the investigation to confirm that couldn’t be done. The country wants it subjugated by all means, since being able to harvest Heavy Metal near the capital is a strong advantage whether economically or strategically. 」
The only place that the kingdom can mine for Heavy Metal now is right next to the empire’s territory. With the current state of relationship with the empire, whenever a war breaks out, the mine will surely become a warzone, and mining there would be impossible.
「What about the 『Four Winged』? 」
「Since it destroys ships nearby, the sailing line of merchant ships had to take a long path. If that isn’t around, then opening the sea area there for fishing would be possible too. As for the 『Crimson Eater』, even though it’s a ruin, it’s one of the capital’s old fortress, and since it’s one of the fortresses we have, having some monster making a nest in it costs the kingdom’s face. 」
「If there’s that much reason to subjugate it, the army should’ve been sortied. 」
「With the current situation with the empire, the country can’t weaken their forces for that. There isn’t any large-scale subjugation in the past 20 years or so. 」
Certainly, that’s a reason for the army for wanting to avoid any large damage. With monsters with strength matching of a Grinder, gathering a bunch of soldiers will just increase the number of casualties.
「So you’re saying that hunting three of them will spread my name? 」
「Yup that’s right. Subjugating any one of them which had never been done before should do the trick. 」
「I see. 」
After that, Ardis added on payment for extra details of the Three Great Devils, before leaving the tavern.
Finishing the necessary preparation, Ardis headed towards the north gate of the capital and departed to the Canobis Valley with 『Floating Strides』. He flew at full speed in the air when there’re no eyes around and arrived at the destination just before noon.
Although it’s near the capital, it’s a mountain that no one steps near. The overgrown leaves swayed in the winds. With presences of moving beasts around, Ardis can tell that it’s a lively mountain.
Ardis took out the cheap bell that he bought from the capital, and rung it lightly. The crisp sound of the bell ringing reverberated between the trees.
Suddenly, the beasts’ presences that Ardis felt just a moment ago around him disappeared. From the story he heard from Chezare, 『Bell Chaser』 will appear whenever a bell ring. A normal 『Tron』 doesn’t have such a characteristic but, it seems that the sudden mutated variant has a reaction to bell ringing.
As Ardis continued to ring the bell for a while, a four-legged white creature appeared within the woods.
「It really came out for the bell. 」
The demonic being that appeared had a head like a lion but, its legs were thin as a waterfowl and its claws were webbed. It was as if severing the legs of a lion and connecting a waterfowl’s, its appearance didn’t differ much from a normal Tron.
What differed was their color. A normal Tron has a light brown colored body, but the one in front of Ardis’s eyes is completely white. There are two streaks of mark from its forehead to its chin. It was exactly what he’ve heard from Chezare. It’s definitely the 『Bell Chaser』.
「Let’s end it quick I guess. 」
Although Ardis felt a little bad for the 『Bell Chaser』 who was the apex of predators in this territory for a long time, he didn’t have the intentions of wasting his time.
Before the 『Bell Chaser』 had a chance to even cry, two short swords were already shot out, severing its front legs. For the finisher, Ardis severed its head himself after closing the distance swiftly.
Few hours later, Ardis is now at a small island near the capital. He’s now looking for the 『Four Winged』 in its nest.
It’s also a simple task to lure this one out. The 『Four Winged』 would never forgive anyone who steps in its territory. Without even hiding itself, Ardis who flew to the island above air was immediately met with the attacks of the 『Four Winged』 just as he got on land.
「It’s a little bigger than what I heard though. 」
The information that he got from Chezare was its wings was about five meters but, from what he sees, it’s closer to eight or so. The feathers covering its body were closer to black than purple, its figure was a fierce predator bird.
The heads which has a sharp beak each, and the four big feet armed with claws, and the origin of its name, two pairs of wings.
The four blades of wings headed straight to Ardis.
It was a simple attack but, with its sharp beak and momentum with its huge mass, it was a deadly weapon. Ardis took altitude in an instant to avoid that.
Having its first attack missed, the Four Winged took distance and turned around in a big radius. Suddenly, the surrounding was dyed in light, and the next moment, arrows made of light assaulted Ardis.
As expected, not even Ardis could avoid that, so Ardis deployed his magic barrier chantlessly and met the arrows head on. After making a dry crackle, the light scattered.
「Something like a thunder attack? 」
The 『Long range attack』 that he heard from Chezare is probably this.
「Well, certainly if something like that struck a ship, it definitely won’t be surviving. 」
If the beak attack doesn’t reach, it will just use the lightning attack, with that much, even strong mercenaries on the ship will be useless. With that attack, the Four Winged probably managed to fend off any humans so far.
But, that’s if it’s against people on a ship. Since Ardis has the means to fly, he has methods to close the distance with the Four Winger, if he can close the distance, then he can either use magic or throw his short swords.
Ardis threw the short swords in the sky. The two short swords drew arcs horizontally from both sides and headed for the Four Winger. Against the Four Winger which was evading the unknown attack, Ardis pursued and adjusted the trajectory with his sword magic. Without missing, the short swords that reached the Four Winged was merciless, severing its wings from the roots one after another.
The Four Winger which had lost three of its wings started to crash into the seas after losing its flight ability.
「Ah, crap. 」
If it sinks to the sea, then getting the subjugation proof which is its heads will be difficult.
That’s why, Ardis immediately froze over the area of the sea that the Four Winger will crash into, and made a giant sharp icicle while he’s at it. The Four Winger which can no longer sustain its balance in air, continued to fall while gaining speed and finally impaled by the ice, after spasming for a little while, it stopped moving.