Two days had passed since the assassination attempt on Minerva in the training grounds of the duke residency.
Ardis was called by the Duke, and he was told the culprit of the attempt. It was as expected, a noble. A marquis that has a daughter similar of age with the crown prince’s first son.
Although it’s a name Ardis haven’t heard before, Ardis had made sure to remember it as an enemy that had endangered his precious pupil. From what the Duke said, since Ardis was there to foil the assassination plan, Ardis himself had garnered quite some hate.
『With your ability, I suppose you won’t be taken so easily, but be careful in any case. 』
Ardis who received the unneeded warning from the Duke cringed. He wasn’t here as an escort, but an instructor, the Duke didn’t have to tell Ardis who the culprit behind the assassination attempt was at all.
The Duke probably know that as well, but still told him anyways, it was obvious that the Duke was trying to relate Ardis in this matter as well.
Of course, Minerva is not a stranger to Ardis now. Though it’s only once every three days, she’s his student that had been training for half a year. It’s natural he feels anger at the culprit.
『Well, nobles have their ways to take revenge in this kind of situation. 』
The Duke said so with a chilly smile, it was obvious he was intending on doing something to the marquis. If so, Ardis only has to deal with the attackers.
Ardis who had left the Duke’s office got together with Rona and told him.
「Can you stay by Minerva side for now? 」
「I don’t mind. But what about Al? 」
Ardis laughed as if Rona was asking the obvious.
「It’s just that I’m doing the attacking now. 」
「It sounds like that’s more fun though? 」
「I can’t exactly be beside Minerva for the entire day right? And, isn’t there going to be sweets and food for you for the entire day if you tagged along her? 」
Rona put some thought into it, then looked like he gave up.
「Yeah, I got it. I will let Al have the fun this time. Leave Minerva to me. 」
「Yeah. I can rest easy while cleaning them up then. 」
The next day, Ardis had visited Minerva and told her the training will be on hold temporarily.
「I-I’m totally fine! I’m not injured, and we had a three-day rest already, I’m fully recovered! 」
「Uhh, it’s not like that. 」
Ardis explained to Minerva who seemed to misunderstand.
「I just couldn’t get some free time, it’s not Minerva’s fault. Since it’s my matter, I’m sorry but you will be self-studying for the time being, and also make sure you keep trying that homework as well. 」
「Shishou’s matter――? ……Then there’s no helping it. I will definitely clear the homework! 」
Seeing Minerva looking forward positively, Ardis nodded satisfactorily, 「That’s the spirit. 」
「Also, since I’m busy for the time being, I will leave Rona here, can I trouble you with him? 」
「I have gotten the permission from the Duke already, so no worries there. Just the servants might be afraid of Rona, so I have no others to ask but Minerva――」
「Yes, please leave Rona to me! I will take good care of Rona until Shishou returns! 」
Minerva had leaned out and took the job enthusiastically. It seems like she really like Rona.
「I see, thanks. And this, a thanks for it. 」
Ardis who had managed to arrange Rona beside Minerva just as planned handed over a sword about seventy centimeters to his pupil.
「What is it? A short sword……? 」
「Use it for self-defense. It has my mana in it, so it’ll be better than anything you can find on store shelves. 」
Although Ardis omitted it, the one that forged that sword is Schmerz which is known as one of the best blacksmiths in the Kingdom. On top of that, it has Ardis’s mana imbued in it, making it a magic sword. Its value would probably reach a hundred gold coins in the market.
「Thank you very much! 」
Minerva who didn’t know all about that were genuinely overjoyed with the gift from her teacher. Though Ardis thought it was a little strange to find a young lady being so happy over a sword as a gift, he decided to not think too much of it.
If Rona is around her, Ardis can rest easy even if there’re more assassination attempts. After all, there aren’t many that can best his partner.
After Ardis whispered to Rona 「I’ll leave her to you」, he left the residency.
He was troubled by the other escorts three days ago, and so some of the assassins managed to escape. During then, Ardis couldn’t had left the scene but, honestly, Ardis wanted to chase after them.
「Well then. Laying your hands on someone’s pupil, I hope you’re not thinking getting away is so easy. 」
Saying so on the street where no one is around, Ardis put the three swords on his waist while walking down the street.
Finding his way to a familiar tavern, Ardis smiled when he found the person he was looking for. Though, the person on the receiving end of that smile was having a disgusted face and desperately trying to avoid his gaze.
「Yo, Chezare. 」
Of course, he couldn’t possibly escape from Ardis. For the information broker, Chezare, Ardis is a customer both he wants and don’t want.
「……What’s your occasion here? 」
It’s likely Chezare already knew Ardis was looking for information. Chezare asked despite so.
「I need to know something. 」
「What is it? 」
Chezare gave up and started the business talk.
「Do you know about the incident in the duke residency three days ago? 」
「Well……, I’m still an information broker after all. 」
There was a gag order on the assassination attempt at the duke residency. After all, a noble of highest peerage in the capital was hit in broad daylight, it wasn’t anything pretty to hear.
Not just for the Duke himself, it’s shameful even for the royalty, the entire Kingdom and the army for having such a loose security in the capital. In any case, leaving aside if it was an attempt in the night, it was a large-scale attack with many explosions from magic stones. Even if the related parties had a gag order, the ruckus would’ve travelled earlier than that.
Any information broker would’ve known about it. As he verified so, Ardis went straight to the point.
「I want to know about the assassins. 」
「I can sell it to you if you want but……. What are you going to do hearing it? 」
Chezare felt it would be a troublesome outcome no matter what. Chezare had a really unwilling face.
Normally, an information broker wouldn’t be stepping into his customer’s matters, but it seems like it had intrigued Chezare, so he wanted to know Ardis’s reason.
「Nothing really, just that I thought their prank is too much. I think I might need to teach them to not play pranks that can be irreversible. 」
「It’s not like you were the one they targeted though. 」
「I have been going around the duke house for quite a while now. I can’t go in the details, but I have a paid job there. 」
「I know at least that much. 」
「Then I don’t have to explain right? They put a hand on my precious pupil. I have to retaliate at least this much. 」
Chezare sighed grandly. From his looks, Chezare probably knew that Ardis was teaching swordsmanship to Minerva.
Though many rough moments, Ardis and Chezare had known each other for quite some time. It might not be what Chezare wished, he had crossed enough words with Ardis to know that Ardis wouldn’t stay quiet in this kind of situation.
「I will say this much first, it’s a large organization. Even if you have the duke house behind you, they still might remain even if you touched them? It’s different from dealing with beasts or demonic beings. 」
Even though Chezare warned him, Ardis just waved it away simply.
「It’s fine, fine. 」
「What is fine……」
Chezare once again sighed and signaled the price to Ardis.
Ardis had gotten the information he wanted from Chezare along with what he heard from the duke.
Despite Chezare’s attitude, the information is coming from an information broker even Ardis recognizes. As for the organization behind the assassination, Ardis knew their bases and roughly how many people are there.
It seems like they are quite well known in the darker part of the world, having influences that stretches to the Coalition and the Empire. They accept requests like assassination, spying, sabotaging, human trafficking, contraband trading, and they even have bandits among their league it seems.
『So I don’t really have to look out who I’m hitting huh. 』
Ardis said so, and Chezare had an even more disgusted face. Since an organization that would accept assassination request wouldn’t ever be anything good, Ardis decided to just hit them really hard.
After heading out from the tavern, Ardis walked along on the main street and thought of his plans.
「I can go for their main base first but……. It’s hard to deal with them if they spread out after that. Somewhere far――, I guess the Empire will be the first huh, then the next will be the Coalition……」
Ardis confirmed the order of which base he should target first.
「Ah, there’s one at Thoria too. Troublesome. 」
Ardis face showed displeasure at the name of the place that had ill fate with him, 「Well, not like anyone can find me if I went in the night」.
Then two days after that. The organization’s base that located in a corner of the poor street of the Empire was annihilated. Few that escaped from the spot that was hit went to the headquarters that is in the capital of Nagras Kingdom, Gran.
Though of course, they had no way of knowing they would be attacked once again few days later.