One girl reacted to Ardis’s voice. Like Ardis, her hand was holding on a sword but, it was obvious that it was only a pose.
Two men started closing their distance sandwiching Luciel. Even they can probably tell that the preys in front of them are amateurs in fighting.
「Me first. 」
「Yeah yeah I know. 」
Not understanding what they were saying, they were cornering Luciel with a disgusting smile.
Ardis felt incomprehensible disgust at their expression, and slashed at one of the enemies from the back.
They probably didn’t notice Ardis coming behind them.
The sword he finally got familiar with in the past few days ripped apart the enemy’s defenseless back, fatal damage. The other man finally noticed Ardis but it was already too late.
Noticing Ardis’s presence and turning around costed him a short moment. A short moment is enough to warrant death depending on the situation.
Ardis is not an experienced mercenary. However, despite not taught by anyone, his instincts told him that he must take this opportunity no matter what.
With the momentum after dumping the first enemy, closing the distance while the remaining enemy was turning around, with the sword back to his waist, holding it down by the handle with one hand and the other pushing on the pommel.
Quicker than the enemy could swing his sword, Ardis’s stab ripped straight through the enemy’s throat.
Along with the sound of air getting cut, fresh blood of the enemy spewed from the enemy’s mouth, and bloody foam rose from the throat.
Seeing two people dying in front of him, Luciel gasped. Ignoring the two falling down while making a pool of blood, Ardis approached and called out to Luciel.
「Are you hurt? 」
Seemingly didn’t hear what Ardis said, Luciel was on her four throwing up into the ground.
It might be her first experience seeing someone getting killed. Then she can’t be blamed.
Ardis thought about his first time but immediately stopped. He can’t recall such events.
Even after killing someone, his emotions did not falter, all of it passed as if not concerning him.
Did it get vague, or was it an event too far in the past. He didn’t have the method to know, nor did he want to know.
Calling her name beside her, there was a weak apology.
「No need to apologize. We’re running. 」
Although it might be cruel, there’s no time to wait for her to calm down.
「We must escape now. 」
Although she knows how to protect herself to a certain degree, only non-combatants are here in the first place.
Although not knowing who is the enemy, at the very least, it is clear that the enemy has a larger force.
There’s no one more powerless than themselves that can only hide themselves in a battlefield.
Pulling Luciel up forcefully, Ardis dashed towards the woods while pulling her arm.
「The others? 」
「Don’t know. 」
Ardis answered Luciel who was concerned while running. Half was the truth, and half was lying.
A surprise attack in the night when they were sleeping. Naturally, Ardis as well hasn’t grasped the entire situation.
Not knowing how many enemies there are nor their aim, even though a battle is certainly undergoing, he can’t even tell if they are at a disadvantage or if it’s a fight they can push through.
However, the reason he chose to escape nonetheless is that he is confident that they will be annihilated if they continued to fight.
It’s not like he knows escaping will work or not. But still, their chances to survive will be higher than staying there.
Conversely, it’s not hard to imagine the fate of the people who remained there.
That’s why, Ardis escaped from Luciel’s question by feigning ignorance.
「They ran there! 」
「A woman’s there! 」
Nearby voices chasing after Ardis and Luciel. It seems like the enemies don’t intend to let them escape.
「They’re already coming after us. 」
Turning around, ascertaining the direction of the voices while they continued running.
Although not sighting the pursuers, he could tell there were four different voices at the very least.
It’s too reckless to intercept them considering they had only received introduction to sword lessons for the past few days.
Luckily, unlike when they escaped the pursuers before, there’s no worrying about food, sleep and stamina.
On top of that, thanks to the training they had, Luciel as well has better stamina now.
If they can disperse the pursuers and hide, it’s possible to wait until Greyth and the others to return.
As long as they can buy enough time, it’s their win. While running, Ardis glanced over the surroundings.
Finding an empty space around the roots of a tree big enough to hide a person, he pushed Luciel there.
「Luciel, hide there for a moment. 」
「Eh? What about Ardis? 」
Grabbing nearby leaves and branches on the ground, he quickly scattered it on top of the hole to hide her.
「I will be a decoy and lead them to another direction.」
「Why only me――!? 」
「Because there’s no way this can fit both of us. 」
It’s barely big enough to hide Luciel only. On top of that, in the limited time, it’s hard to completely conceal themselves.
However, if Ardis became a decoy and ran, they would never bother to search there.
A night forest only illuminated by the moonlight. Unless their eyes are really good, they will never find Luciel in the hole.
「If I don’t return within a day, assume I died. 」
Luciel’s eyes widened at the words as if he’s not concerned about himself.
「Greyth and the others will come back eventually. Don’t move too much until then. 」
Luciel’s voice was trembling after hearing Ardis’s calm voice.
「Ardis is always like this……」
Her eyes looked a little angry.
「Is it because I’m a girl? That’s why you’re―― 」
「Saving those that has a place to return is better. Letting those that has value to survive is better. It’s only that. Nothing to do with girl or not. 」
Ardis’s answer was unexpected, making the black pupils looking at him confused.
「Keep quiet now. 」
Not waiting a response from Luciel, saying that much, Ardis moved away from the tree.
Stepping out towards the voice of the pursuers, he started walking. After adjusting to a good angle that would not expose the hole where Luciel is hiding at, shouting voices can be heard from behind.
「There, there he is! 」
Confirming that the pursuers saw him properly, Ardis pretended to be panicking and started running.
「Don’t stop! 」
As if calling out to someone else there, Ardis shouted to a direction a little right of himself.
「There’s one there too! 」
「Split into two groups! 」
The pursuers that fell to Ardis’s bad acting split into two groups, with half of them chasing after him, and the other going deeper in the forest after no one.
There were three people chasing after Ardis. Similarly, three headed towards the forest after no one.
After judging that he had secured Luciel’s safety at the very least, Ardis started running through the forest.
Now that he’s in perfect condition, shaking off three pursuers should not be a problem.
However, Ardis will soon be forced to understand that he was arrogant.
To kite the pursuers away from Luciel, Ardis who had been purposefully keeping a set distance between himself and the pursuers suddenly found an earthen wall in front of him.
As he had no time to even slow down, Ardis slammed into the wall at full speed.
「What, is……? 」
Just as he was whipping his own painful body to get up immediately, an impact like a hammer suddenly hit at his side.
Floating up from the ground for a moment, then blown to the side. An intense sense of pain spread out through Ardis’s entire body.
Before he could catch a breath, before he could stand up, the enemies already caught up.
「Tch, it’s just a brat. 」
「The girl is on the other side huh. Unlucky. 」
「Let’s finish up quickly and go there then. 」
Enduring the pulsating pain, Ardis who looked up was greeted with men holding swords and daggers.
His arms couldn’t move. His whole body was numb to the point of unable to move as he wants.
The sword that was in his hand was nowhere to be found, and anything that can be a weapon is not within his sight.
The regret of not being able to drag even one of them down if he had a sword swelled up.
On the other hand, there was also a mysterious satisfaction. At the very least, he had dragged the pursuers along quite some distance.
Even if he meets his end here, it doesn’t change the fact that Luciel escaped the pursuers.
Either ways, when Greyth and the other returns, a small scale group like them can’t stand a chance.
If all goes well, they should be able to protect Luciel. Thinking like that, he thought even his meaningless life should have gained a little value.
Suddenly, Ardis’s expression loosened.
「The heck? Did he go crazy or something? 」
「Who cares, quickly finish it already. 」
The pain calmed down a little. Although it might only be his senses numbing, but for Ardis, it didn’t matter. As long as he can move his body even by force.
One of the pursuers raised his sword. Ardis balled up sand by the ground. Then assembling his plans in his head.
Rolling away from the sword, throwing the sand at his face, then immediately a kick to his groin.
It will be a deathmatch afterwards. If he can get a sword in the chaos, then he will kill one of them.
Although he don’t think he can win against two armed men in his state, he will be sure to at least injure one of them even by biting.
Thinking until them, Ardis glared at the enemy. It was at that time.
The sword that was about to slash at Ardis was suddenly blew away with a high-pitched ring.
It was not only Ardis that can’t follow what happened.
After all, the person holding the sword as well looked stupefied towards where the sword went.
While Ardis was still confused, blood spewed out from the neck of the man. Then it was at that time Ardis saw. There was a sword floating behind the beheaded man that had no user.
The remaining two were on alert but, there was not even a shadow.
「Look out, it’s a flying sword! There’s no knowing where it’s coming from! 」
One man intercepted the sword in the air flying towards him while warning his comrades.
The sword in his hand locked with the sword without a user. The second and the third attack, all of them similarly clashed against each other.
The sword in the man’s hand was clashing against the flying sword, Ardis was getting an illusion as if there’s someone transparent holding the sword fighting.
Just one flying sword was enough to keep the man busy. Naturally, it’s obvious what will happen if there’s another.
Not able to withstand the numbers, the pursuer were impaled by the flying swords.
The last enemy was facing another sword. The man thought to be a dagger user was grabbing on the air, and then a earthen wall appeared in the empty space ahead of him.
Then as the flying sword got stuck in the wall trying to slash him, rocks flew towards it.
Having directly hit by the mass of rock, one flying sword bent and fell on the ground.
The dagger user tried to retaliate but, there were already several more flying swords surrounding him.
As expected, facing against so many flying swords is impossible, and the dagger user fell to the ground after being sliced up quickly.
「Flying…… swords……? 」
Having escaped from the threatening situation, the energy in Ardis escaped. While gritting his teeth and enduring the pain, he was glaring at the flying swords still in the surroundings.
「You fine, Ardis? 」
When did he get so close. A person bent over beside Ardis and peeked at his face.
「You’re hit with arts huh. Oi――! Someone treat this guy! 」
Then, several people appeared beside by the time he noticed. Although not knowing their names, at the very least, they are familiar faces within the mercenary band.
The main unit probably returned.
「L-Luciel is…… at a hole…… near a tree……」
「Hole near a tree? Got it, I will get some people to look for her. Just sit tight and rest for now. 」
Ardis nodded slightly while feeling a mysterious secureness from Greyth’s words.
Greyth stood up and left Ardis’s treatment to others, and then started giving out orders to the other members.
「Darwat, head to the camp with thirty men, quickly! Joan and I will sweep the area and look for the others! There might be mages ambushing, make sure to stay in a group of three―― 」
Greyth distancing voice was heard between the boundary of reality and dream. While praying for the safety of Luciel, Ardis’s grip on his consciousness slipped.