「The swordsman over there! You need some help!? 」
「Yes please! 」
With the bounty on the demonic beings in place, it would be rude if Ardis decided to barge into the fight by himself. That’s why he yelled towards the green-haired swordsman just in case, and he replied immediately without looking back.
「The tune of rupturing winds played by the pristine shrine maiden ――――Schelwi! 」(Wind Blades)
At the same time Ardis heard the reply, he used wind magic while sending 『Springtime Mist』 and 『Moon’s Blizzard』 to the demonic beings. The wind magic that imitated wind blades stopped the movements of the Despairs for a moment, to let the other wind blades sever their head.
The green-haired swordsman probably thought that wind blades could only be used to stall the demonic beings, he was so taken aback that he turned around to look at Ardis.
And during that, the two Whips came and attacked. Without losing his composure, Ardis’s 『Springtime Mist』 and 『Moon’s Blizzard』 cut off their heads.
Under the gaze of the speechless swordsman, Ardis with 『Skies of Myriad Colors』 in his hands finished off the remaining Whips.
「The Despairs over there will be for you! 」
「Eh!? Ah, ……got it! 」
Leaving the remaining Despairs to the green-haired swordsman, the moment Ardis entered the range of the Whips, he swung his sword at its torso horizontally.
The Whips let out a cry of anguish before collapsing on the ground. The last remaining Whips had probably instinctively realized that Ardis is a formidable opponent.
「Fuo―OofuoOfuoo―, FuoOofuo――Ofoo―FuoO―oo―fuoO―! 」
It was the Whips’ special ability, 『Silent Song』, trying to rob Ardis of his consciousness. However, its cry that’s dangerous for any normal mercenaries is just a normal roar to Ardis. Ardis glanced back to check on the green-haired mercenary, but it seems like it was unneeded worry.
「If you like to sing so much, then sing till you die. 」
Ardis who confirmed the safety of the swordsman mercilessly severed the neck of the Whips.
With no chance of avoiding the swift and deadly strike, the Whips let out its last verse before its breath stopped.
Looking at the swordsman, it seems that his fight with the Despairs are over too. Getting closer to the hunted preys, he stamped the subjugation mark on its head. Ardis did the same, stamping what is called the 『Subjugation Tag』 on the Whips’ heads.
The tag is a magical tool that is used to prove the belongings of mercenaries or soldiers in a fight. The one who stamped or removed it would be recorded, and their identity can be determined with some steps. It seems that anyone who tore it or burned it would be recorded by the magical tool as well.
It’s a magical tool widely used in such battlefields to reward the deserved ones and to stop people from stealing others’ work. It was only used by the mercenaries at first but, having proved its usefulness, it seems that the army uses it now too.
After stamping on the tags, the green-haired swordsman came to Ardis.
「Iyaa, thanks for the help―. I thought escaping was my only choice there……, huh? You……, didn’t we meet before at Miss’s place……? 」
The swordsman had a leisured tone that didn’t fit the fact that they were in a life-threatening place confirmed with Ardis after taking a good look at his face.
Ardis felt familiar at the swordsman’s appearance as well. He seemed to be in his twenties. Although he had a thin stature, his stance revealed his proficiency as a swordsman. Even when he’s facing Ardis, his pupils of the same color with his hair were constantly surveying the surrounding to grasp the battlefield.
It was the bodyguard that was around when Ardis met Marrieda for the first time in the Litte Merchant Association.
「You’re……, certainly Marrieda’s bodyguard? The name is……」
「It’s Nicole. Well, even as a bodyguard, I was chased out of the room quickly though. 」
Hahaha, Nicole laughed.
In a battlefield where life and death are separated by a thin line, he was acting too leisurely. Ardis was impressed than anything at his attitude.
「As thanks for helping me, let me treat you to some drinks if I make it. 」
「That’s quite cheap of a life. Wouldn’t it be more extravagant if you want to thank me for saving you? 」
Of course, Ardis didn’t have the intentions to be benefitting from him after saving him, so he wasn’t being serious, it was Ardis’s impulse to retort Nicole who seemed to take the defense battle too lightly.
「Iyaa, it would be better if my life is cheaper. After all, it will take my all just to treat someone to some cheap liquor for a night. 」
It seems like he has some kind of circumstances, as Nicole laughed seemingly self-depreciating. Ardis had unintentionally spoken too much after getting caught in Nicole’s pace of degrading his own life.
The compensation is three gold coins per demonic being subjugated. It was totally different from the soldiers who would only get salary even if they betted their lives on it. Mercenaries who only prioritize money wouldn’t live long. No matter how great of a cause money is for mercenaries, they cannot only fight because of money.
Needless to say, selling out your own comrades because of money, or betraying with bribery, mercenaries who only looks at money would be avoided by other mercenaries and discriminated against. Mercenaries are people who live on their own abilities but, they aren’t that invincible to live alone in the society.
Nicole’s words which seemed to suggest his view of money might even cause strife with other mercenaries.
But, they’re in the middle of a battlefield. There isn’t much time for them to be talking idly.
「For the time being, dealing with that bunch that comes this way is first. 」
「Unn……, that’s quite a lot. I know you’re strong but. Aren’t there too much? 」
The both had their gazes on a group of demonic beings of various sizes. It seems like there aren’t many mercenaries around here, it was a blind spot in the frontlines.
Nicole had been holding this part of the battlefield by himself somehow with his prowess of five person but, with more than five demonic beings coming, as expected, it would be hard for him to deal with them. The dark green colored pupils were gazing at the group of demonic beings approaching as he suggested retreating to Ardis.
「If it isn’t more than a hundred, I can deal with them somehow. 」
「Uwah. I knew it, you are someone that mustn’t be angered. 」
Ardis who said so blankly was replied by Nicole with a dry smile. After all, the demonic beings that was approaching were about fifteen or so. Any mercenaries would’ve run long ago without thinking twice at that number.
「Dealing with those that are faster would mean that we don’t have to fight with them all at once. You too can handle two or three of them, right? One acquittance of mine can at least do that much though? 」
「……Is it alright if I run if it looks bad? 」
「Yeah, go ahead. If it gets bad, that is. 」
Nicole drew his sword as if given up. As for Ardis, he started controlling 『Springtime Mist』 and 『Moon’s Blizzard』 once again, before running towards the demonic beings with 『Skies of Myriad Colors』 in his hands.
First, crushing the balance of the Despair that was at the forefront, then crashing ice blocks from its back with ice magic.
Beside him was Nicole who was dealing with the Hounds, the way he bisected them with a sword style that didn’t show any openings was a way of fighting that revealed his abilities.
「But, weren’t you a bodyguard? Shouldn’t you be with Marrieda now or something? 」
Ardis parried the blow from a demonic being as he asked.
「It was from the Miss. Don’t mind about guarding me and just go subjugate the demonic beings. 」
Nicole answered as he stabbed at the second Hound.
「When the situation was made clear, she didn’t seemed too bothered about the association. 『Business and profit are important too but, it wouldn’t mean anything if we died~nii! Rather than guarding me or the warehouses, Nicole should join the subjugation squad! Well, hunting demonic beings that have a high price for its material would be helpful too~nii! 』, she said. 」
Nicole reproduced Marrieda’s unique speech quirk.
「With your strength, you can even escape Reiten together with Marrieda right? 」
With 『Springtime Mist』in the air and holding 『Skies of Myriad Colors』, Ardis asked as he killed a Tron that was his next target in an instant.
「Well, of course that might be possible but……. Miss didn’t seem like she wanted that. 」
So that’s why I’m here fighting. Nicole shrugged even while fighting.
「Hmm――. That Marrieda would……」
「She’s a young lady with a weird way of speaking but, at least her heart is decent? If she’s someone who would only think about herself, even I wouldn’t be willing to be her bodyguard. 」
Even while conversing, both of them finished off demonic beings one after another.
Ardis had long forgone trying to imitate a chant for his spells, with flame magic spewing out from a single swing of his sword, Ardis dealt with the demonic beings that lost their footing with 『Skies of Myriad Colors』.
「Actually, I can’t tell if you’re a swordsman or a magician, with that kind of fighting style you have. 」
Not knowing if he’s aware of the fact that Ardis is using chantless magic or not. Nicole gave his opinion at the unfamiliar sight of a fighting style that Ardis used.
「……I didn’t really gauge myself to others. It’s not like I have to follow how a magician typically fight, right? 」
Nicole was quite a veteran himself, he would have noticed that Ardis’s swordsmanship wasn’t average.
Ardis didn’t really mind if Nicole knows that his fighting style was originally only with a sword but, it’s not like Ardis would reveal his hand to someone who he might go against in the future by himself. After all, it would be a big advantage for Ardis in a personnel fight if the opponent misunderstands him as a magician.
That’s why, even while splitting apart demonic beings, Ardis gave a vague reply.
They had more than enough leeway to be talking with each other even while fighting. Nicole who was expectedly tired after the fight looked around and muttered.
「Iyaa, that was quite the workout. Aren’t all the demonic beings around here subjugated? Did you bring enough stamps with you? I can lend you some if you don’t have enough. 」
「No problem. I have brought a hundred of them in a bundle after all. 」
「I see. If you have that much, then……nn? Oi, could it be the reason you said, 『As long as it isn’t over a hundred』 just now is because of that? 」
Having a mix of surprised, admiration and amazement, Nicole was looking at Ardis.
「Well, the three gold per demonic being is too profitable to pass on. 」
It was Ardis’s reply as he stamped the tags on the demonic beings.