A slightly dirty area near the outer walls of the capital. Not terrible enough to call it a slum, however, it’s a place where no fortunate people will choose to live in.
The people around here divided into the exploited that has soulless eyes, exploiters that has bloodshot eyes, and intelligent ones that are between the two. During the night when it’s most active, Ardis who was in a hood hid his face and walked into a certain tavern.
Everyone in the tavern had bloodshot eyes. They are not drunkards. There are only evil doers that benefits from misfortune of others lurking in this venue.
Though benefitting from other’s misfortune might look the same to the society as what mercenaries do, at the very least, Ardis isn’t as rotten in the core that he would spread around misfortune purposely.
It is a low-end tavern that has little to no decoration. It’s a place specifically for those that are only looking to be drunk cheaply, and not to savor good quality liquor. But of course, that is all but a façade, Ardis knew.
Just as Ardis entered the tavern, he was showered with gazes from all directions without reservation. It wasn’t a gaze that regulars of a store would direct to an unfamiliar figure.
For them, this is not just a tavern.
Only the appearance of the tavern is well kept, but everyone here knew that it isn’t a place that would welcome anyone. That’s why, anyone who lives near here knew to never enter.
Though there’re some people that wonders inside by mistake, unless they’re really dense and imperceptive, they would turn around immediately at those gazes. There wasn’t many like Ardis who walked to the counter while showered with the intense gazes and atmosphere.
Eventually, a bald man, supposedly a staff came near Ardis and said.
「We do not serve unfamiliar faces here. Go home. 」
Ardis didn’t know if that was the greatest benevolence of the man, or was he trying to avoid troublesome matters. No matter how straight forward he was, it isn’t how an employee should treat a customer in a tavern. The bald man seemed irritated at Ardis who snorted.
「Oi, did you not hear? I’m telling you to get out! 」
Ardis felt few people had stood up behind him. Ardis thought they were all people with short temper, and said.
「I have something with the manager here. 」
The man who seemed surprised for a moment asked back.
「I’m saying I have some business with the manager here. 」
Ardis who repeated himself was met with an angry yell by the bald man.
「Haah, who the hell cares what matter you have! Sorry but we don’t have any business with you. Get out already! 」
「The one I’m looking for is the manager, not you. 」
「I’m the owner of this tavern! The manager of this place is me! 」
Though the man was yelling, Ardis only responded calmly. More people stood up behind him.
「I’m saying, the manager of this place, not some lackeys like you all. The one that can order you all to 『Go die』. 」
Ardis sighed purposely, and emphasized 『This place』.
Ardis already knew that this is a base used by the organization that took part in the assassination attempt of Minerva. Elmenia Empire, Coalition of City States, and Thoria, Ardis who had gone around thrashing their bases in those area finished three other bases in the capital in just under an hour, and came here lastly as the ending ceremony.
The bald man who had understood what Ardis meant by 『Manager』 became alert. At the same time, sounds of swords being unsheathed can be heard. Few people moved to the entrance to block Ardis’s escape route.
「I thought I would take a look at his face first, after all, it’ll hurt to have him escape on me. 」
Ardis who seemed to have a good graces moment took off his hood and revealed his face.
「Wha, that face……! 」
「Heeh, so I’m really known here. I guess I was right to have hidden my face. 」
The bald man’s words stopped when he saw Ardis’s face.
「Thank you for the greetings that day. But I thought it would be rude of me to not return a greeting. So today I’m here for that. 」
The man’s reaction was quick. Taking a knife painted in black from below the counter, he swung it at Ardis’s neck without any hesitation.
But the blade never reached Ardis.
It was because way before the knife were even being swung, Ardis’s 『Skies of Myriad Colors』 had already severed his head. The blood spewing out from the disconnected neck painted the counter in red.
Everyone in the tavern stood up as Ardis is clearly recognized as an enemy.
Ardis who turned around were met with bottomless hostility. Everyone stood up, and had weapons in their hands while they approached Ardis.
About thirty men. There were young people in their tens and even some that looked like middle aged men. And among them are four girls.
Since every one of them are clearly directing killing intent towards Ardis, Ardis easily knew that every member here is obviously from the organization. But that doesn’t mean Ardis is in a life-threatening situation.
In Ardis’s words, it would be 「Glad that it’s easy to differentiate. 」 No friendlies nor any civilians, there’s no need to take care who he should cut, in a sense it was refreshing.
Ardis who turned around made several enemies shake.
「That guy, he’s the Countless Swords Sorcerer! 」
「He dared to come in! 」
It seems like they had investigated possible threats, and after all, Ardis is the ultimate culprit that had foiled their assassination.
The people in the tavern had changed face colors.
「Surround him! Don’t let him chant! 」
「Just keep attacking! 」
Orders came from everywhere, and immediately there were people that came at Ardis trying to chop him.
Of course, they had misunderstood Ardis’s fighting style. If a sorcerer is advantageous in a long-distance battle, then keep pressuring in a close combat would be effective. Though, that’s if the sorcerer in question isn’t Ardis.
「Coming this close to me――」
Ardis swung Skies of Myriad Colors refreshingly, and took down two person as the opening act.
For Ardis, he would rather them come at him at once than them escaping the tavern. Having 『Springtime Mist』 and 『Moon’s Blizzard』 already deployed at the entrance and backdoor, Ardis had cut off the enemies escape route as he himself stepped into them.
Ardis slid his sword against the enemies’ and dissected them in a stroke. With a single stroke, opponents’ heads flew, and at the same time, two flying swords closed the distance.
Eventually, when more than twenty had collapsed in pool of blood, the ones remaining had realized their mistake in judgement tried to escape. But of course, the two flying swords had blocked their attempt.
The blade of Moon’s Blizzard cut off his throat as if silencing his cry for help.
The enemies fell one after another with the only route outside blocked by the two swords.
In the first place, Ardis didn’t intend even one of them to escape. Though he couldn’t do anything to those that aren’t here now, he isn’t so kind to spare his enemies in front of his eyes.
Towards Ardis himself, and above all his pupil Minerva, the moment they decided to lay a hand is the time their fate was sealed.
Just three minutes. That was the time needed for everyone in the tavern to be on the floor.
「Reinforcements……, didn’t come huh. 」
The tavern is two story. Though he couldn’t see from outside, the organization’s head is probably on the floor above.
The organization’s base whether in the Kingdom or outside had already been levelled. Since there are members that aren’t always there, Ardis thought that some will inevitably get away.
His purpose wasn’t to fully uproot every one of the organization, but to make sure they would think twice before laying a hand on Ardis and anyone near him. But of course, Ardis isn’t benevolent enough to let any enemy in front of his eyes to escape.
「They’re still well up there huh. Thirty……, about forty huh. 」
Since no one came down even though there was such a ruckus, they probably already knew they were getting attacked, and is waiting upstairs.
They must’ve known about the attack already.
Though Ardis had crushed the organization’s bases in a short time, the opponent has a wide information network. Even if the news of the bases outside of the Kingdom might’ve not reach yet, the ones in the capital that he had dealt with an hour ago might’ve reached.
They must’ve prepared for the attack on the second floor, and threw down any useless ones on the first floor. It’s evident that the head of the organization is someone shrewd enough to have planned something like this.
「Was it my mistake? 」
Ardis wondered if he should’ve hit the head and the commanding party first since he might’ve already escaped this building in advance.
「But the others will just scatter then……」
If the organization just crumbled, the members might cause him more trouble, he will have to worry about hitting the ones appearing once in a while.
Though in the first place, Ardis only wanted to crush the organization to remind them not to lay a hand on him. But of course, in a sense, it’s a warning to other similar organizations as well. From that perspective, he might’ve already accomplished his purpose already.
Crushing the important bases inside and outside of the country, the opponent will have tasted a crushing blow as an organization. Even if the head escaped, it’s hard to rebuild it.
It would be hard for them to reach anywhere near Ardis.
「Well, no need to ask for the perfect. 」
Ardis said so to himself, and climbed the stairs to the second floor.