Right after leaving the forest, Ardis and Kyrill were surrounded by a group of bandits.
Looking around, there’re eight people. Other than them, there’re still three hiding behind shadows of trees or inside bushes. A total of eleven people. Although it can’t be said that they’re a small group, they don’t have enough people to be considered middle sized as well.
Looking at Ardis and Kyrill, the bandits probably thought that they were tasty young mercenary preys. However, that’s a huge misunderstanding on their part.
If it’s just Kyrill, then he’s probably an easy prey for the bandits. It’s because that Kyrill indeed looks young, and doesn’t seem like he’s been in any kind of battles.
But, together with Kyrill, the other young man definitely didn’t look like he’s an easy prey. That’s why, the bandits had evidently chosen wrong targets.
「Ardis-san, what should we do? 」
Kyrill asked in a soft voice.
Kyrill had already witnessed Ardis’s abilities in the forest.
But, for Kyrill who had no prior knowledge of the strength of the demonic beings in Corsas Forest, he’s probably having a hard time realizing Ardis’s abilities is truly exceptional. Because, for him, the Whips and the Ractors, both of them aren’t much different since they are both lethal enemies for himself.
That’s why, Kyrill couldn’t judge that if Ardis truly has the abilities to break through this situation. Since the opponents have more than quadruple the numbers compared to their own.
On top of that, Kyrill don’t know how to fight at all, it’s better to consider himself as a baggage in this situation. It can’t be blamed that Kyrill couldn’t judge whether Ardis can win against the bandits which has basically more than eight times their manpower.
「Don’t worry. It’s much easier than dealing with two Ractors at once. ……No, wait. 」
After reassuring Kyrill, Ardis seemed to have thought of something as he smiled.
「It’s just the perfect timing. 」
At Ardis who muttered softly, Kyrill looked at him suspectingly.
At Kyrill’s attempt of asking Ardis, a loud voice from one of the bandits completely wiped that away.
「Oi! Where’s your response!? Strip everything you have, or become a cold corpse, decide it now! If you can’t choose, shall we do that for you!? Of course, it would be the latter for you! 」
Together with the loud voice, the other bandits grinned. Ardis took a step out, and moved the cursed sword behind him to his right.
「Please wait! I will offer this sword we found from the ruins in the forest, please spare us! 」
While saying so, Ardis swung his right hand, matching with his hand movement, Ardis moved the sword as if it was being thrown. Well, it might be a different case for Kyrill who was just beside him, but for the bandits who were at a little distance away, it probably looked like Ardis threw the sword to them.
The cursed sword landed near the feet of the bandits.
Kyrill probably thought that Ardis is handing over the sword to the bandits. His eyes turned cloudy and glared at Ardis.
On the other hand, the bandits were smiling deeply at the offering.
「Hmm, this looks like a good sword. 」
The man who said so immediately picked up the cursed sword, and examined the decorations on the sword. Those eyes were dyed in greed, since they are bandits in the first place, it might be natural to be so.
「Fumu. It seems that there’s no problem holding it, huh. 」
As if a pharmacist who is testing out a new medicine, Ardis muttered at the result he got by looking.
「Eh? Ardis-san? ………Could it be? 」
Kyrill seemed to finally notice it.
Because that they didn’t know what’s the effect if someone held the cursed sword, Ardis had to carry it by his magic for the past three days.
To find out the effects, either Ardis or Kyrill has to hold it. But having an unknown sword from an unknown ruins, and the fact that red humanoid creatures will appear in the night because of it, there’s a possibility that something bad could’ve happened if they touched it directly.
Because of that, Ardis thought that there’s probably no other way than just spending his mana carrying it to the capital, and letting a curse specialist or an appraiser to take a look at the sword.
But coincidentally, there was a group of people who are suitable to become a guinea pig appeared. Since the opponents are lawless bandits, it won’t pain Ardis’s conscience at all if something does happen.
「Ardis-san……, you’re such a……」
It can’t be blamed that there Kyrill directed a cold gaze to Ardis.
Without ever knowing what their two preys were talking under their watch, the bandits drew the cursed sword from its scabbard.
「Hnn―. The color looks nice too huh. 」
Seeing the mesmerizing blade with a reddish glow, the bandits said so satisfactorily.
「But well, didn’t I said. To leave everything you have? 」
「That’s an impossible demand for you lots. Since there’s not a single coin to be given. 」
At Ardis’s tone which had changed drastically since the last sentence he spoke, the bandits frowned.
「Ha!? Do you not understand your position! If you don’t want to die, leave everything you have and disappear! Idiot! 」
「I―said―. I’m refusing to! You bird brain! 」
Against the bandit who were trying to provoke him, Ardis responded with exactly what he’d just said, all while having an expression that seemed like a villain.
Although under the criticizing gaze of Kyrill beside him, Ardis continued to worsen the situation without paying a mind.
「Bastard! Don’t beg to spare your life after this far! You lots, do them in! 」
Together with the signal, all the bandits started to move.
「Kyrill, don’t ever move from that spot! 」
Ardis immediately took a stance with both his short swords in the air, 『Moon’s Blizzard』 protecting Kyrill, and 『Springtime Mist』 shot towards the three hidden in the shadows.
Ardis himself took a stance with 『Skies of Myriad Colors』, welcoming the frontal assault from the bandits.
At the abdomen of the first bandit who had a small stature, Ardis hit it firmly with the scabbard of his sword. Next, at the tall bandit that came near him aiming to strike him down, Ardis broke his shoulders.
That moment, at the edge of Ardis’s vision, 『Moon’s Blizzard』 which was assigned with the task of protecting Kyrill severed the tendons of the legs of the two people rushing towards Kyrill.
Ardis who decided that taking lives in front of a child is not suitable, as he continued to incapacitate the bandits. Although he’s leaving it at a degree that won’t take their lives, they are all injuries that’ll be fatal for the bandits who can’t get treatment immediately.
However, Ardis wasn’t as kind when it’s at a place that Kyrill doesn’t see. The three bandits who were hiding in the bushes, Ardis had determined their position with mana detection, sending away 『Springtime Mist』, and had severed their necks without them ever noticing.
「B-Bastard! You dare! 」
Without understanding the clear difference in strength, or could it be that blood rushed to his head, the bandit held the cursed sword and rushed at Ardis.
While Ardis dealt with the remaining two bandits with 『Moon’s Blizzard』, he slashed at the bandit which held the cursed sword.
「Well, it looks like you’re fine. 」
「What……! ――Guah! 」
After taking a look at him a few times, Ardis slammed down 『Skies of Myriad Colors』 while it’s still in its scabbard refreshingly onto the bandit’s head. Having hit directly on the temple, the bandit stumbled a few steps before falling on the ground.
A single minute hadn’t passed since the bandits started rushing at them.
Kyrill who had witnessed the fight from start to end had realized anew Ardis’s strength, also coming to know one side of Ardis that he never knew. Walking close to Ardis who was putting away the cursed sword in its scabbard, Kyrill said so with a difficult face.
「Ardis-san……. You’re quite a despicable person. 」
「That’s cruel of you to say that. I just suppressed some seeds of trouble. 」
Ardis disagreed as if he did not understand Kyrill’s words.
「No, I understand that but. I didn’t think you would use the bandits as guinea pigs……」
「Since we’re going to deal with them in the first place, might as well try it out? It’s not like there’s any troubles for them if any problem does appear. 」
If it’s just about logic, Kyrill understands too. For bandits, it’s common sense that they’re going to the execution grounds if they ever get caught. Even if one killed bandits, they wouldn’t be prosecuted but be praised. In this world, bandits don’t have any human rights after all. That’s why handing over the cursed sword as an experiment, it wasn’t going against the law at all.
But, having understood it and being convinced of it are different matter. For Kyrill, it might be that he’s hoping for the person that saved him behave like a true hero, not someone that plots evilly.
Of course, that’s just Kyrill’s selfish wish. It’s not like Ardis is looking for praises from anyone, nor does he have the desire to be a hero. It’s fine as long as his own priorities are good. His own life, his comrades, assets. It might even include the twins and the unrespectful servant that he came to know recently.
「In any case, thanks to that, we now know there’s no problem holding it by hand. Since you’re the one going to take it back, it’s something that you have to verify first, right? No problem holding it by hand, no problem drawing it, no changes even if you clash with it a few times. It might have nothing else other than the red humanoids that comes out every night. 」
While saying like that, Ardis handed over the sword in its scabbard to Kyrill. Since it’s the sword that he came for in the first place, there’s no complaining that he needs to carry it by himself.
Kyrill who received it albeit still a little afraid seemed like he wanted to say something for a little while. But, could it be that he doesn’t know how to rebuke Ardis, only a complicated expression showed on his face.
「That’s true……. It’s for my sake in the first place, I shouldn’t be complaining about it. ……Sorry. 」
「…………Well, let’s return to the capital before today quickly, I want to sleep in a bed after a long while after all! 」
Strongly hitting Kyrill’s back who seemed a little down, Ardis started walking and leaving behind the bandits who were still groaning. A beat after that, it was Kyrill who was hugging the sword that chased after Ardis panickily.