Ardis chased after the Hell Mantis down the hallway. Eventually, Ardis found the Hell Mantis desperately trying to squeeze itself through the staircase that led aboveground.
Although the underground hthallway was wide enough for three persons to walk together, the staircase leading aboveground is only about a meter wide. The Hell Mantis that is several times larger than a person could neither fit in width nor height.
「I see, they planned to starve it to death if this happened, huh. 」
The room where the Hell Mantis was shackled had a small hole at the ceiling. It’s likely where they fed it food and water normally.
Even if the Hell Mantis escaped its shackles, only the people that are trapped in the isolated rooms are in danger. The Hell Mantis that can never get aboveground will die by starvation.
Although it’s unknown why the Scyts Business Association reared a demonic being, it’s likely that they had planned it well and thoroughly.
「Either way, it’s none of my business. 」
For the time being, Ardis thought that it was important for the town to know that the Scyts had been rearing a demonic being. It is a prime opportunity to drive the Scyts into a corner.
「Well then, let’s try to make it flashy. 」
Confirming there’re no mana signatures directly above head, Ardis unleashed arts while pouring excessive mana.
The beam of light was similar to the offensive spell 『Teill ・ Sele ・ Kvois (Dazzling Light)』 but, any magician would see the difference. The light that Ardis unleashed was rather than a beam, it could even be called a gigantic pillar with its size.
With its size, it would be visible throughout the town, of course, Ardis was fully aware. Not just the underground ceiling, it even pierced countless floors of the building, as the blue sky appeared above Ardis.
「Gii, giii! 」
Chasing after the Hell Mantis that escaped to the sky through the hole happily, Ardis as well raised himself up. Following the Hell Mantis, Ardis heard voices from other people.
「What was that just now!? 」
「It was so loud! 」
「Look up! 」
「Eh, that’s…… a demonic being!? 」
People that froze in fear looking up, people that escaped quickly sensing danger instinctively, and people that started panicking. Sensing the people with various responses, he found a mana signature incomparably larger than the Hell Mantis.
「Rona……? What is he doing here. 」
Ardis had doubts at the mana signature that is likely his partner.
However, that’s also but a split second. The Hell Mantis assaulted Ardis who flew up in the sky.
「Would’ve been fine if you just flew away. 」
In a sense, the Hell Mantis was also a victim of the Scyts. Ardis was willing to let it escape if it flew into the mountains quietly but, it seems like the Hell Mantis didn’t do that.
It might be thinking that it has the upper hand now that they’re in its natural territory, the sky.
「If you’re coming with that intent. 」
Naturally, Ardis is not a charitable person. He has no hesitation to counterattack against anyone that attacked.
Despite probably its first ever experience flying in the sky, the Hell Mantis gauged its Maai instinctively as it swung its scythe. Ardis can easily avoid it and finish the Hell Mantis off in a few moments.
However, his aim is not to defeat it. Rather, he wanted to gather attention in the town, and present the fact that the Scyts have been rearing a dangerous demonic being within its operating grounds.
That’s why Ardis purposefully let the Hell Mantis attack, and dodged them with unnecessary movements.
Rather than counterattacking, Ardis created fireballs similar to 『Ferno ・ Resta ・ Ganov (Flames of Purgatory)』 to trap the Hell Mantis.
The gigantic red burning ball would inform everyone that it is an emergency situation. While doing that, Ardis continued to put on a show with the Hell Mantis with flashy arts to gather attention from the town for a while.
「About time. 」
Eventually, Ardis thought the show was enough as there’re soldier-like people gathering below, before switching into offense.
「I do think you’re pitiable but……」
Ardis drew the red sword from his waist. Taking a stance with the red sword reflecting the sunlight, he charged into the Hell Mantis from the front.
The Hell Mantis spat out liquid from its mouth as a retaliation. Despite it being potent enough to be fatal for any normal mercenaries, it wouldn’t work against Ardis with his magic barrier.
Ardis’s sword flash, which was free of any wasteful movement, cut off the neck of the Hell Mantis. And another swing.
Cutting its thin torso vertically in half, Ardis froze the entire Hell Mantis with arts and hit it down to the Scyts’ operational grounds.
「The rest is the feudal lord’s work. 」
He glanced over the surrounding turmoil before landing back in the building and hid himself.
Confirming that the suspected Rona signature exited the operational grounds together with many other human signatures, Ardis left the soldiers interrogating the Scyts’ people and withdrew.
「That was quite the flashy performance. 」
「It was completely impulsive. 」
Destroying the Scyts’ building, fighting the Hell Mantis in the sky, after explaining the story to Rona, Ardis concluded so.
「So it was the truth that they’re kidnapping and selling refugees huh……」
Hearing from Rona about what happened on his side, Ardis came to know that the rumor he heard was the truth.
「It’s the right choice to crush them. 」
Rona said the very exact thing Ardis thought.
「Though, it would’ve helped if you stopped Fillia. 」
「It’s not like it was dangerous. It’s just a little infiltration, a little battle with several people, then a little helping the kidnapped refugees, right? 」
「A little, right……」
Rona replied with composure against Ardis’s cold eyes.
「I allowed Fillia to do what she wanted since I thought she can handle it. In fact, I didn’t lend a hand in infiltrating and escaping. I don’t know if you’re being strict since she’s a family or maybe you don’t want to admit it but, Fillia is stronger than Al think. She wouldn’t have any troubles against any average mercenary in purely combat power. Though, it’s the truth that she severely lacks in experience. 」
If you continue to take care of her preciously, she would never grow, as Rona said the obvious truth to Ardis. Certainly, Ardis needs to change his mindset.
If he continued to protect the twins excessively, it wouldn’t be good for their sakes. The two are already not powerless children, but adult saplings of magicians.
On top of that, they aren’t just normal saplings. They’re saplings that had already reached a stage that many magicians in the Nagras army would never get to in their lifetime.
「I’m not sure what I want to do with them……」
Ardis muttered so but, Rona uninterestedly looked away. In the first place, Ardis didn’t have the intentions to teach the twins arts.
However, the twins learned how to manipulate magical power by imitating what they saw, and while Ardis was being transported to a different world with Minerva and the others, they were taught by Nere, becoming unusual magicians that can use arts without chants in this world.
Although Ardis accepted it reluctantly with the excuse for being a self-defense measure, before he knew it, the two wanted to accompany him on his journey.
If Ardis respects their will, they should certainly try gaining actual fighting experience. However, the truth is, within Ardis, there still lives a selfish side of him wanting the twins to live a peaceful and normal life.
I didn’t intend to look after them for some long, as he gave an excuse to no one but himself. After sighing deeply, Ardis regained himself and asked Rona again.
「Leaving that aside……. What is with that two there? 」
Ardis was looking at a young girl about fifteen or sixteen, and her little brother. Among all the other refugees that dispersed into the town after getting rescued, it was only the two that stayed behind with Fillia.
「They’re Haru and his sister. 」
「I heard that already. Also about the boy, Haru’s request being the reason you two charged into this. What I want to ask is why are they still with Fillia now. 」
「Didn’t Al said it. 『If you want to save them, then resolve to take responsibility till the end』, and also 『Do as you wish』. That’s why Fillia did as she wished with her resolve too, right? 」
「…………I did said that. 」
After a while of silence, Ardis had his hand on his face. They were the words he had said not even longer than a day before. Ardis is not so thick-faced to say that he had forgotten that now.
「But look. It might be an unexpected good pick? 」
「What do you mean? 」
「Unlike the sister, the little brother looks like he can see mana. 」
Rona’s unexpected words prompted Ardis to look over at the young boy again. Did he think he was glared at, the young boy twitched and clung onto his sister.
「I thought he was afraid of me because of my looks at first but, apparently it was a mistake. See. 」
Saying so, Rona gathered a clump of mana, and blew it over to the young boy. The transparent clump of pure mana that didn’t cause any effects like flames or ice are normally invisible to normal people.
However, the young boy’s eyes stared at the invisible flying mana fearfully. Controlling the mana, Rona made it flew close to the young boy’s face, and the young boy escaped from it.
On the other hand, the sister had no obvious response. That’s the norm.
Fillia who can similarly sense mana like Ardis and Rona were looking at them with an expression full of question marks.
「I think he will be a powerful asset if trained. 」
It’s as Rona said. The arts that Ardis and Rona use are different from the normal magic, it’s only possible with the big pretense of being able to sense mana.
Even Minerva who had continually received training only achieved to the point of 「Feeling something」, and Kyrill who had gotten training for a while already still couldn’t sense it.
If he can do it from the start, it means that he can learn arts very easily.
「I…… guess so」
While affirming Rona’s words, Ardis who was still somehow unconvinced dropped his shoulders.