w0ah we in three digits era now
Ten days had passed since they went on an expedition to investigate the island, Ardis and Rona are heading towards the island once again. What differed from last time they visited the island was they had company with them.
「Ardis-san. Is it really safe? With what you said, there’re only the bare minimum number of combatants here. They’re all experienced veterans but, isn’t it still lacking to go against a demonic being? 」
The official that wore a pair of glasses that was responsible for the expedition this time asked Ardis worryingly.
「Don’t worry. It’ll be fine if we don’t provoke it. 」
It’s the same answer that Ardis had repeated countless times after departing from the capital.
Currently, Ardis is heading south on a small sailing ship towards the island. The ones that are onboard are the sailors from the Kingdom’s army. But they hadn’t come here prepared for a fight. They’re just accompanying as sailors who can operate the ship.
On top of that, there was even an officer that looked like someone that wouldn’t survive on a battlefield no matter from which angle you looked at together. It’s obvious that the expedition wasn’t prepared for a battle.
「If you’re going to be so afraid of demonic beings, just don’t come will ya. 」
Another man who was standing beside the officer said so jokingly. He’s a head higher than Ardis. With the body full of muscles standing beside the officer’s thin body, he was more than sticking out.
He’s only wearing light equipment now because they’re on a ship now but there’s a sword at his waist.
「Captain……. Do you think I had a choice? 」
Having heard that, the officer was glaring at the man. The man who was called captain had a surprised face as he stared back.
「Was I mistaken? I totally thought that you tagged along like me because there’s a rare demonic being. 」
「Of course not! Don’t think I’m like captain, I wouldn’t have come here with that kind of a vague reason! 」
The officer was yelling.
「Then why did Kyle came? 」
「You’re the one asking that!? Isn’t it because that captain threw away all his responsibilities on the approval documents and the work is on halt that I have to be here! 」
The officer whose name is Kyle had veins floating on his forehead as he howled at the captain. The captain seemed to be in thought for a moment, and asked again.
「That’s that, why is that a reason? There’s still no reason anywhere for Kyle to be following us out here though? 」
With wrinkles on his forehead, Kyle sighed loudly.
「……Haa. It can’t be helped since captain had went through the official procedures and accepted this task. Fortunately, it’s not a subjugation job this time, it wouldn’t take much time if it’s just verifying a report. But we still have work after verifying the demonic being. 」
「It’s my work to restrain captain after the work is over, and drag you back to your post. 」
Ardis who somehow became stuck in the position of having to listen to the two’s exchange. It seems like the captain person here albeit with his position, he has quite the free personality.
「Oi oi, why are you treating someone like a horse with a collar……」
「If you’re a horse, then you will come back on your own after two or three days, that would’ve been all fine but……. There’s the order from the vice-captain that I should never let my eyes off captain as well. 」
「It’s like you all are treating me like a problematic kid? 」
「Don’t tell me captain never had self-awareness? Are you serious? Don’t you know the other platoons are laughing at you from behind? Like 『Eternal Kid General』 or 『Twenty-nine years old child』? If it continues like this, even a 『Thirty years old child』 is possible at this point? Is that really fine? 」
「Kyle, it’s said that a boy only becomes a man after his thirties. Rather than that, it’s honorable that someone is calling me a thirty years-old child――」
「No way that’s the case! In the first place, why is someone with the position of a captain is going out on an investigation party! A small expedition like this can be left to anyone else! 」
「No, I mean, it might be too scary for the others. 」
「Haaaa, enough of this already. Let’s just quickly return after checking on the demonic being. I’ve said it just now but, something like 『Let’s take a break. 』 on your own accord after this is never allowed. 」
「Isn’t it fine. A soldier being able to play around is the proof of a safe era though? 」
「Please leave that after captain worked for his salary. If you tried to escape, I will have the 『Three Great Demon Subjugator』here drag you back. Please stay put if you don’t want to experience pain. 」
「What? Isn’t him here only for guiding us? I would think that he wouldn’t care less about anything troublesome that’s not in the request though. 」
「By the way, the request contents this time for Ardis-san is to escort us to the small island in question, and the period is until 『Everyone returns to the capital』. Especially captain, you’re given the highest priority in bringing back to the capital, so please rest assured. 」
Was it like that? Ardis recalled the contents of the request. Ardis finally understood the meaning behind the clause 『Securely escort the related officers back to the capital after the investigation is complete. 』.
Rather than escorting, the 『Securely』 part is more important it seems. It seems like the request had also taken account to take care of the twenty-nine years-old child to not go missing and bring him back to the capital. In front of Ardis, the two were still arguing amongst themselves.
Having sandwiched between the soldiers that had no sense of dignity, Ardis who had a weird expression was called out by Rona who was lying at the ground.
「Hey hey, Ardis. Is this really fine? 」
「It’s not going to solve everything at once but, at the very least, we should make sure Rupus is going to be safe for the time being. 」
To ensure Rupus’s livelihood, it’s not something that can be done with just brute force alone. First, he had to come up with the correct way to report to the country. If he just reported that there’s a dangerous demonic being there, of course a subjugation force would be organized.
Having said so, reporting that it’s safe would be a problem as well, since other people would start coming to the island then. After all it’s a precious fishing grounds for the fishermen here, there’re going to be treasure hunters or mercenaries who wish to explore the island since it was inaccessible due to the 『Four Winged』 before.
Rupus will be the one troubled with outsider presences. Rupus’s mild personality would mean that he might get hunted by humans after all, even if he did fight back, it will just mean that a subjugation force will be formed after that.
The best outcome is a non-interference policy.
「That’s the island? 」
「Yeah, that. 」
With the captain pointing over at the small island which is their destination, Ardis replied shortly.
「Is it really fine if we get this close? 」
「Yeah. There’s no chance for it to be hostile if we don’t engage it first. 」
Kyle seemed a little anxious, but Ardis reassured him.
(Now then, it’ll be good if Rupus moves according to plan……)
Having a slight sense of unrest, Ardis looked at the island where Rupus was supposed to be waiting. Their aim is to keep away humans from the island. And also so that Rupus wouldn’t be designated a dangerous element for the humans.
That’s why, Ardis had reported 『Discovered a large beast that is stronger than the Four Winged, however, it is very tame and will not be hostile if not provoked』. There’s no problem if they don’t go close. So, no subjugation will be needed.
But there might be danger if you messed with it. So have a warning to not let people get close to the island. Ardis had conveyed such to the request officer.
Of course, the management wouldn’t be able to judge with just a single report from a mercenary. And so, it became that an official investigation squad will be issued by the Kingdom in order to verify the truth in Ardis’s report.
Of course, the fact that Ardis was the one who’s guiding them has credibility as well. And until now, it had all been going as his expectations. And all that’s left is to show Rupus’s strength in front of the investigation party, and to make them understand that Rupus isn’t a threat.
That’s why, Ardis had given Rupus instructions beforehand.
「Oi! There! 」
「What’s that!? 」
「A wolf!? So big! 」
The sailors who were keeping a lookout for the surroundings were surprised. After all, there was a huge black beast standing on the coastline of the small island at the end of their gaze.
Rupus might be trembling inside actually but, at the very least, he seems undeniably majestic from the outside. Judging that there’s no problem at Rupus’s appearance, Ardis whispered to Rona.
「Rona. The thing I asked for? 」
「It’s there perfectly. A perfectly lively one is waiting over there. 」
「Good, let’s go. 」
Together with Rona’s reply, suddenly, there was something that came closer from the right side of the island after raising a gigantic wave in its wake.
「It’s a Pashval! Now a Pashval came out! 」
At the sudden appearing threat, the navy soldiers were at alert.
「I’m surprised you found something like that. 」
「Hehehe―. Don’t hold back on your praises. It was a huge trouble to bring it here without injuring it you know. 」
On the chaotic deck of the ship, Ardis was whispering to Rona. It’s a demonic being with the name of 『Pashval』 that’s heading here. It’s had eight legs with a mollusk upper body, with its sharp mouth, it easily preyed on other aquatic creatures around.
Although its habitat isn’t well understood, it appears without regard to freshwater or the sea, from that perspective, it might’ve been a land based demonic being after all.
For the Pashval that’s floating on the surface of the water, the humans on the boat probably seemed really tasty for a meal. The sailors can’t possibly handle it by themselves, and the passengers on the ship had sailed out with the expectation of not meeting any demonic beings after all.
The Pashval strength can’t be underestimated, it’s one rank lower if compared to the 『Grinder』that was subjugated in Thoria. However, if they would’ve to fight it on the shaky ship with limited movement, for any normal mercenaries and the sailors, the difficulty will be on par with fighting a grinder.
Of course, it is like a death god looming over the ten-man investigation squad that had no hope of winning against.
「Stop the investigation! Retreat! Quick, avoiding maneuver! 」
The captain who was taking it slow till now immediately gave his instructions. As if woken up forcibly by that call, the sailors immediately went back to their positions.
「……It’s uncertain whether we can make it in time huh. 」
The captain muttered while his gaze was fixed on the Pashval moving on the surface of the sea in a high speed. It was that time.
「Captain! The demonic being on the island before! 」
The officer Kyle pointed towards the island and yelled. Captain who was prompted moved his gaze back.
Of course he would be confused. After all, the black beast that was standing at the coastline of the island――Rupus suddenly leapt out and started running on the sea with a frightening speed. Rupus didn’t even give a single glance to Ardis and the others on the ship, but only rushed in a straight line towards the Pashval.
「What is it doing!? 」
With an expression decorated with question marks, the captain was chasing after Rupus with his gaze. Eventually, when the path of Rupus and the Pashval intersected, the moment they crashed into each other. With an intense wave produced, there was fresh blood dyeing the sea.
The Pashval had left a shrill dying cry that ringed in everyone’s ears, the one that had robbed the Pashval of its life in a single moment was unbelievably strong. Seeing the ginormous wolf that was starting to feast on the prey it had caught right on the sea, the sailors forgot to breathe.
The Pashval which are said to have a less than 10% survival rate for those who encounter it. And Rupus who managed to finish it off with a single strike had made the entire ship shrouded in silence.
「Hiii――! It’s going back! 」
Rupus who eventually finished the Pashval, had started walking on the sea back to the small island. And its course had Ardis and the others who are on the boat in the middle.
「What are you all doing! Quickly get the ship out of the way! 」
「It’s fine. It’s not going to attack us. 」
With the captain howling at the sailors, Ardis said that composedly.
「Where is the proof of that? 」
「It doesn’t think humans are its prey. It wouldn’t do anything if we don’t do anything. It was like that the last time I came also. 」
「If it does attack us, then I will take care of it. It might be stronger than the Four Winged but, I still have confidence I can win, so rest assured. 」
In the first place, Rupus wouldn’t ever dare to attack them. After all, Rupus is probably already shivering and desperately trying to hold back himself from running away by now, all while continuing with the scenario that Ardis thought up of.
「Fine, I will put some trust on the 『Three Great Demons Subjugator』. If it does come and attack us, then you will have to cooperate with us even if it doesn’t match the initial request. 」
「Yeah. No problem. 」
After staring straight into Ardis’s eyes for a moment, the captain gave out standby instructions to the sailors.
「Listen up! Definitely don’t do anything stupid! You there! Put that arrow down! 」
The captain was yelling at the sailors. Even the sailors and the officer Kyle, all of them had green faces. Of course, the captain himself should be the same but, it seems like he has the guts to suppress that to not let it show on his face.
(I see. He can deceive himself in a good way huh. As expected of someone who managed to be a captain at his age)
Recalling what he had heard from the information broker Chezare, Ardis was judging the captain in front of him. Eventually, Rupus who walked on top of the water slowly finally approached the ship.
It was the sound of one of the sailors shrieking. As if responding to the noise, Rupus turned around. It was ten meters distance apart. Seeing Rupus’s length which was more than seven meters, it’s a distance he can close in a single moment.
There was a chilling air blowing on the ship. The time that the sailors thought was long eventually had its end. Rupus turned the other way as if losing his interest, and slowly made his way back to the small island.
With that sentence, there were sighs of relief all around. Seeing Rupus’s figure that is gradually becoming smaller from the ship, Ardis was commending 「Well done」 with a smile on his face.
Showing Rupus’s overwhelming strength and the fact that it wouldn’t attack humans simply to the investigation squad from the Kingdom. For that to happen, Rupus had to show himself and hunt some scapegoat that they had prepared in advance.
In other words, it was a perfectly no compromise act that Ardis and Rona had thought up of. With Rupus’s strength and the fact that it has no interest in humans known, at the very least, there wouldn’t be any subjugation force formed for the time being.
The second day after they had arrived back in the capital.
Receiving the request completion compensation, Ardis was satisfied with the result that he had gotten from Chezare three days later.
「So? How did it go? 」
With candies stuffed in his cheeks, Rona asked. Since they are in the inn’s room with no one around to look out for, Rona spoke out loud without limiting his voice.
「Good. Just like we intended, the Kingdom had put down a noninterference policy with Rupus. They haven’t forbidden people to get close to the island but, they had already decided to notify the mercenaries, fishermen and explorers to never land on the island, and to never disturb the ginormous black wolf if they ever encounter it. 」
With that, for the time being, Rupus’s safety is guaranteed.
「But, is that much enough? Even if the country announces that, it’s not like everyone will follow it. 」
「There will probably be some people who ignores that and wish to hunt Rupus eventually. Even I won’t think that it will last like this forever. It’s just buying time to find somewhere that Rupus can settle down after all. 」
In the first place, the fear of the Four Winged still lingers in the people’s heart. And if they knew there’s something even stronger than the Four Winged there, there shouldn’t be any idiots going to head there on their own.
Of course, there wouldn’t be a subjugation force from the Kingdom as it would just be wasting military power.
「Hmm, good then……. Where Rupus can live, you have any clue? 」
「Well that, it’s to be determined now on. If it’s the Corsas Forest, then no mercenaries or explorers goes in there in the first place, so finding a spot there simply and bring Rupus there should be fine. 」
Ardis had his hand on his chin as he thought.
「Ah, that’s a good idea. We got the money in the end, but I didn’t get to have fun. Is there anyone strong in this Corsas Forest? 」
「I wonder? Stronger than Pashvals……was there? I think they just excel in their numbers though……」
「Numbers are good. Right, I will be right back――! 」
「…………Remember to not overdo it. 」
Recalling the fact that he had caused the appearance of a Grinder on the grasslands in the past, Ardis had a complicated expression as he tried to advise self-restraint to his partner.