The party had quite an awkward atmosphere as they walked to somewhere with lesser foot traffic from the slave market.
「I’m going away for a while. Rona, stay with Fillia for the time being please. 」
Saying that, Ardis left while Fillia looked at his back anxiously.
「Nee, Rona. Ardis…… he’s angry? 」
「Why think so? 」
Fillia muttered in a soft voice as if she did something bad.
「Al is certainly strong, but he’s not omnipotent as well. If being strong means everything, then we wouldn’t need to move out of Corsas Forest. Well, though the reason was not that simple. 」
The golden beast that strangely had rich expression seemed to smile bitterly.
「I think Al just doesn’t want Fillia to be involved. If it’s just me and Al, I think we would’ve pushed through in any case. 」
「……Is it my fault? 」
「That’s not it. It’s for your sake. 」
Rona answered Fillia’s question, not knowing entirely what is different between those two terms, despite so, feeling something heavy was lifted off herself, Fillia unintentionally hugged Rona.
Rona’s tail, that was like a brush tip brushed over Fillia’s head.
「Here, since Ardis will probably take some time before he’s back anyways, shall we go over to the stalls and buy something? 」
Fillia who regained her bright expression answered energetically as she stood back up.
That time, suddenly, Fillia heard some noise.
「Nee, Rona. 」
「Unn, I heard it too. 」
It seems like Rona understood just by calling him, his ears shook, collecting the sounds nearby.
「It’s the alley that way. A brawl…… no, it’s one-sided. Three people are surrounding one……. The one getting surrounded is a kid, I suppose? 」
Following Rona’s gaze, Fillia as well searched with mana. Although her radius is not as wide as Ardis’s or as accurate as Nere’s, at the very least, Fillia had become capable to detect the presence of a creature based on their mana.
Ahead in the dimly lit alley, about twenty meters away, there’re four signatures.
It seems like the sound came from there. It’s the sound of someone getting hit and kicked. It would’ve been fine to leave them alone if it’s only a brawl.
However, if what Rona said is true, it is three people surrounding a child. It’s easy to imagine that the three of them are hitting the child one-sidedly.
「There’s no need to stick your head in danger especially. Al said so just now right. 『It’s impossible to save everything』. 」
It’s as Rona said. Even that powerful Ardis isn’t capable of saving everyone. Saving someone while being powerless, it’s arrogance beyond words.
As Fillia muttered 「But……」, she seemed to hear a soft fleeting voice.
「……Someone, ……save me」
It might’ve been an auditory hallucination. However, it was a cry for help that Fillia could never ignore.
Memories of calling out like that for hundreds of times, and thousands of times so in her heart.
If it wasn’t for the encounter with Ardis――, the nightmares that she had experienced resurfaced. Suddenly, Fillia started running.
「Sorry, Rona! 」
Leaving that behind, she ran into the back alley, and immediately found the source of the sound.
Three males of mediocre physique that has nothing much to compliment on were surrounding another boy and kicking him.
The child was groveling on the ground, showing no signs of resisting. Remembering her own past, Fillia rushed forward while holding back her resurrected fear.
The sufficient density of mana in the surroundings could be felt instinctively. The men didn’t notice the approaching Fillia, but were kicking at the child with despicable smiles.
Three enemies. The first move is to destroy their teamwork. Fillia immediately recognized the situation and made a decision, creating wind blades from the mana within the air.
Three invisible blades were created, manifesting above her head and both her sides.
「Wha, what’s with you! 」
At that timing, the men realized Fillia. The men that were confused were immediately hit by the wind blades from Fillia in the foot.
「It hurts! 」
The blades that grazed two out of three men started bleeding at their feet.
Beside the two that crouched in pain, the last man, revealing his hostility, kicked at Fillia.
「This brat! 」
It’s unknown whether Fillia’s aim missed, or the opponents managed to dodge the invisible magical blades.
However, Fillia immediately moved onto her next attack. Immediately creating water near the man’s anchoring feet, and freezing it.
Without able to kick properly, the man slipped on the ice.
「Now, quick! 」
Fillia reached her hands out to the little boy. The little boy looked at Fillia’s face without comprehending what happened but, it seems like he understood after getting shouted at, 「Run now! 」
Standing up with his face distorting in pain, Fillia held onto his hand tightly. To not get separated, Fillia ran while pulling along his hand.
However, the little boy who was in tatters getting violently kicked by the three adults was not in a state capable of running.
Although he’s desperately moving his legs, his speed is not much better than an adult walking quickly.
「As if I’ll let you! 」
The time when the man who fell down stood back up and almost grabbed her, mana condensed quickly at his feet.
「M-My legs! 」
Suddenly, Fillia saw the man’s legs encased in ice.
Forcefully pulling the boy up seeing the man’s legs frozen in place, Fillia ran further in the alley to get away.
After getting through several streets, they finally stopped after judging that it’s safe.
「Haa, haaa, haa……」
Only Fillia and the boy’s ragged breathing is in the quiet alley.
「Are you alright? 」
Fillia asked the boy after regaining her breath. He’s still a young boy. Most likely between six and eight years old.
With several bruise on himself from the kicking, even his nose was bleeding.
His clothes were in tatters, and he was covered in the color of dirt, seemingly unknown when it was last washed.
The intense odor that goes beyond sweaty odor assaulted Fillia’s nose.
「Seriously, why did you go like that suddenly. 」
With an amazed voice, Rona appeared.
「Sorry. Also, thanks for just now. 」
Fillia thanked the beast acting as her guardian that froze the man’s legs when they were trying to escape.
「I didn’t want to make a move truthfully. But you would’ve been captured at that rate, and Ardis would’ve been a trouble to handle if something happened to Fillia. 」
「I couldn’t do it as skillfully as Ardis……」
Rona sighed, and pointed out mistakes at the depressed Fillia.
「Your aim was too naive. Maybe you could’ve hit them if you stood still, but if your arts miss while you’re running, they’re practically unusable. 」
「But well, it was a good decision to aim for their legs and destroy their teamwork. Hitting them with a surprise attack, causing them confusion with one hit and escape. Well, facing them frontally is a bad idea, so your idea was right. 」
「But it’s bad to be rash. It was fine since the opponents this time were only small fries, but a child’s play like that wouldn’t work against an experienced swordsman or magician. 」
「Unn, I know. 」
Moving his gaze from Fillia who listened to the advice, Rona changed the topic with, 「So」.
「What about that child? 」
Rona was looking at the little boy still holding Fillia’s hands. The little boy that was stared by a speaking beast shook and hid behind Fillia.
「It’s alright. Although Rona might be a little noisy, he’s kind and strong. 」
Although it was words to ease the little boy, Rona showed discontent at Fillia’s words.
「Whose fault is it that I’m noisy? 」
「Isn’t it Ardis? 」
「……I won’t deny that but, recently, it’s not just Ardis, you see. 」
「Really――. Do you understand? A certain someone somewhere. 」
Fillia tilted at Rona’s deliberate tone, and replied with a slightly off-topic answer.
「Alright. Let me tell Riana when we get back. 」
「It’s not like that though――」
Seeing Fillia conversing and Rona’s expressive appearance, it seems like the boy let his guard down as his grip loosened.
「Leaving that aside, what to do with this child? 」
Rona asked once again, and Fillia showed a troubled face.
「Should we bring him to his family? 」
「Well, that’s true. 」
Gaining Rona’s affirmative, Fillia crouched down a little, and smiled at the little boy.
「Say, what’s your name? 」
「Where’s Haru-kun’s house? We will bring you there. 」
At Fillia’s words, the little boy, Haru seemed starting to cry.
「It’s alright. We won’t meet scary people like just now. 」
Fillia thought he recalled the fear from just now but, what Haru said the next moment was unexpected.
「……Please, help. 」
「Eh? What? 」
「Onee-chan, please help……. Please, please help my Onee-chan! 」