「Hey. Is leaving that girl alone really fine? 」
Rona asked Ardis while taking notice of the presence behind them as they returned to their home in the forest.
Finishing the escort request with Minerva, there was a person tailing them as they were returning to their house first time in the past month.
Although the person tailing them might be thinking that she wasn’t exposed yet, for Ardis and Rona who can detect presences with mana, it is as clear as day.
「I mean, she would probably turn back soon. 」
Ardis replied as a matter of fact without a shred of worry. From how Ardis replied, it didn’t seem like he was particularly seeing the tailer as a big problem.
Only those that have considerable skill can walk in the Corsas Forest that has predacious beasts like Ractor all around.
On top of that, Ardis had an idea on who was it that was tailing them. She had also been following him around for the entire month when Ardis went out on an escort request accompanying Minerva on her Cleansing Rite.
「How long is she going to continue this……」
Ardis muttered to himself.
The person that had been tailing Ardis recently is the girl that he’d met on the night of the Lotus Cup semifinals.
As they defeated the assassins sent by Marquis Holguin, catching her thinking that she was together with the assassins, they’ve let her go judging that she’s not with them.
As Ardis said that 『Do whatever you want if you’re just going to follow』 then, chasing her away now would mean going back on his words.
Since Ardis didn’t think that she would be so devoted to continue surveilling him, Ardis regretted what he had said that time.
「Well, she doesn’t seem to be of any harm currently, and we will lose her on the way anyways. 」
After the Lotus Cup, the girl had tailed Ardis on his escort request out of the capital. However, it didn’t seem like she was combative enough to follow Ardis through the forest.
After all, it’s normal to see that she would turn back every time as she stepped into the forest.
「Nn? It looks like she gave up. 」
Just as Ardis expected, a little after the girl entered the forest, her mana signature dropped in speed, then slowly distanced.
She’s probably returning to the capital like previous attempts. However, just as she was about to leave Ardis’s detection range, the girl suddenly stopped moving.
「Ah, it seems like she encountered some beasts. 」
Ardis similarly stopped in his tracks like Rona and sensed on his own. There were mana signatures like beasts drawing closer to the girl’s signature.
「This size, it must be a Ractor? And there’s two. ………Aaah, that girl’s done. 」
Not my matter. Rona’s tone indicated.
The girl is likely not a normal town girl. After all, having tasked to monitor Ardis, she must have some skills of her own.
However, Ardis thought that her skills must’ve been for against humans. Whether it would be use against wild carnivorous beasts that even experienced mercenaries has difficulties defeating is unknown.
On top of that, there were two of them. Even if she ran, it would only mean extending her life by a few seconds.
Ardis paid attention to the movements of the signatures. The girl who had encountered the Ractor immediately started running outwards of the forest.
However, where she was heading towards was another Ractor. The girl stopped moving, the other Ractor slowly closed in from behind.
Her life is like a candlelight swaying in the wind. Suddenly, her appearance stabbed at Ardis’s heart. It only happened for a moment.
Realizing something was up with his partner, Rona asked, while Ardis lowered the baggage on himself and said.
「You can return first. 」
「Hey, Al? You’re not going there right? 」
「……She’s still a kid in my eyes. 」
Ardis left those words that weren’t even an answer to Rona’s question and threaded back the path they came from.
The girl’s mana signature moved slightly even as she was sandwiched between two Ractors. She must be trying to escape somehow.
However, her movements suddenly dulled in the next moment.
「Can I make it in time? 」
Ardis asked himself as he ran between the trees. Their distance was about four hundred meters apart.
No matter how the trees are being an obstacle, it’s a distance that takes only a few moments for Ardis. However, a time that short is also enough for the two Ractors to easily kill the girl.
Eventually, the girl’s mana stopped moving at one place. Since her mana signature is still there, she must’ve not died yet but, that might change too if another ten seconds passed.
Ardis clicked his tongue unintentionally, as two swords manifested from the cracks of space he made. It is the 『Gate』 that connected between the two worlds that he had finally managed to make after experiencing travelling between the two worlds.
Although it is only about a sword’s width that Ardis’s can create, storing his flying swords would still prove to be an invaluable technique.
Summoning the two swords and suspending them in the air, Ardis released the two flying swords like arrows. Thanks to the positional data that Ardis gotten with his mana detection, the two flying swords pierced the two Ractors at the same time.
However, since it’s too vague to rely on mana detection, whether it will be fatal or not depends on luck.
But at the very least, it will keep the two Ractors busy for a few moments. That’s more than enough for Ardis.
The Ractors’ cry of pain was heard.
And a breath after that, Ardis managed to see them. He caught sight of the two Ractors first, and then the girl collapsed in the middle with blood.
One Ractor had the sword pierced in its neck, and the other had it in the torso. The Ractor that was pierced in its neck could only sporadically move at that point.
It was a critical hit. It will probably die on its own even if Ardis didn’t do anything further to it.
As for the other, although its movements was dulled by a little, its gaze finding the owner of the sword found Ardis.
The Ractor hissed threateningly at the new target. However, for Ardis, a Ractor is only a slightly larger beast. It’s not even an opponent worth considering.
Creating blades of wind, its neck fell off in the next moment. Without even time for it to cry in pain, the Ractor stopped being alive, as Ardis approached the collapsed girl.
「Oi. Still alive? 」
As he called out, he verified the severity of the wounds. It seems like the girl had already passed out, as there was no response to Ardis’s question.
Her abdomen were dyed in red with blood, and the pool of blood continued increasing. She will definitely die within five minutes if left alone.
「My goodness. What happened, Al. 」
A stunned voice came from behind. There’s no need to see who it is at this point.
As Ardis turned around, he said to himself after seeing the baggage that Rona carried.
「Nice timing. 」
From the baggage that Ardis carried just now, Ardis took out a vial of medicine and opened its seal.
「Eh, you’re using that? 」
It’s the highest ranked restorative medicine that could be bought in the capital. With its potential of healing wounds of someone on the verge of death, it is considered a super expensive item pricing at five gold coins a vial.
It’s something mercenaries and explorers carried for an unfortunate occasion.
「It’s such a waste……」
Ardis immediately poured it on the girl’s wounds without any hesitation, as Rona watched aloofly. Tossing away the empty medicine bottle, Ardis stood up while carrying the girl.
「What, you’re following? 」
「Fillia and Riana will probably be unhappy seeing me return alone anyways……」
Rona followed with a face of having no other choice. Ardis moved to about the entrance of the forest and laid the girl there in view of the highway, and put up a magical barrier in the surroundings.
Although it can only last for half a day, Ardis expected the girl to wake up before then.
The barrier can defend against beasts of Ractor’s level but, in the first place, there’s not many beasts loitering near the entrance of the forest anyways.
Although not a guarantee, her life shouldn’t be a danger here.
「Did your mind sway? 」
Rona asked from the side as they went back towards the forest after verifying the girl’s safety.
Ardis couldn’t answer his question. It’s because he couldn’t deny it fully.
No matter her intentions, Ardis certainly wasn’t keen of getting tailed constantly. If it was an adult, Ardis probably wouldn’t have spared any thoughts.
However, seeing that her age is close to the twins and Minerva, it made Ardis troubled.
「……I didn’t know. 」
「Eh? Didn’t know what? 」
「No, it’s nothing. 」
No matter if it’s Fillia or Riana, Kyrill, or even Minerva. It felt like he was soft on children, as Ardis realized for the first time.
Himself, who was robbed of his innocent childhood mercilessly. Then getting rescued by one man, protected, and given many things.
Although he didn’t know it before, it seems like that had given a large influence to his actions. Perhaps he wanted to become like his respected benefactor by doing the same things.
It’s probably also because that he had arrived in this world where he has leeway to care for others, having came from a world where it took his all just to survive.
After all, with death being so close by there, he didn’t have any time to think about that before. The unidentified girl that he had saved just now, and the young boys and girls he’d met in this world.
Questions that could not be answered manifested inside Ardis. Even though they were all born as human, why is there such a difference just because he happened to be born there?
With a mind full of questions that cannot be solved, Ardis hastened his pace towards the house where the people he should protect resided.