It was almost instantaneous when the problem arose. It happened two days after the event with Marty, while Luciel was washing herself alone.
When your lifestyle in a mercenary band is generally in the wild, it’s difficult to keep a nice appearance. There’s hardly even a chance to visit a town once a month.
Naturally, it’s frequent for mercenaries to bathe outside in the wild. It’s customary in Wisteria to hang a piece of cloth on a rope stretched between trees to make a small, covered bathing place.
While it’s still quite early in the morning, Luciel entered the bathing area with only a small layer of clothing.
The water is refilled by those on duty who are skilled with water arts, and the large tub in the bathing area appeared to be filled with water last night.
There were just the occasional birds chirping, but other than that, it was a quiet morning. Using a pail, Luciel poured water onto herself.
The sound of water splashing could be heard. While wetting her black hair, her thin clothes stuck to her body as they absorbed the water.
With the thin clothes sticking close to her feminine body, it emphasized her plump curved lines. The two mounds that could be seen slightly through the thin clothes are more than enough to seduce men.
Suddenly, Luciel’s hands stopped as she turned her eyes to a corner of the blinds.
Shadows were casted on the blinds by the soft morning lighting from the east. Shadows of people that is.
「Yo. Thanks for your meddling that day. 」
The person that appeared is Marty who faced off Luciel in an argument two days ago. On his both sides were two other men from the same mercenary band as him.
「Here is the bathing area for girls. 」
Luciel pointed it out with a chilling gaze, but the three of them purposefully made an ignorant expression.
「Huuuh, I didn’t know that. 」
「Yeah, I had no idea too. 」
Luciel’s expression tensed up after hearing that. Their intentions here are clear as day.
「I can’t really say that bathing on your own is commendable. 」
Marty snickered as he said that. The other two men on his sides added onto his comments with vulgar expressions.
「That’s right. It’s dangerous out here after all. 」
「Did our little miss here not know that? 」
While concealing her translucent thin clothing with her arms, Luciel replied back while maintaining a stance,「I have my defensive weapon with me. 」. She then looked at the sword that was left placed on the dry land.
「That’s not my meaning at all. 」
Marty’s smile distorted. His expression was more than enough threatening.
Luciel started moving to get her weapon. However, before Luciel could stand up, Marty reached Luciel’s weapon.
By the time she realizes she won’t make it in time, it was already too late. Luciel’s sword was kicked away by Marty.
Having lost her weapon, Luciel immediately turned around and tried to escape. However, one of the other men had circled around to stop her.
While her path was blocked and she hesitated what to do, she was suddenly pulled from behind to the ground.
No matter how she has survived so far as a mercenary, she was currently up against three other seasoned mercenaries.
Luciel who hadn’t put up a guard was put down to the ground by Marty.
「Oi, stop her arms and cover her mouth! 」
With Marty’s other two friends helping, even her attempt at resisting was futile.
「Nnnn――, nnnn――! 」
Even if she struggled, she was lacking in pure muscle strength.
「Just stay still and it will be over! Though it will take thrice the time with all of us here! 」
With a vulgar laugh, Marty reached his hands out to Luciel’s light clothing.
However, his expression suddenly froze. Twisting away his head that was originally approaching Luciel, a dagger flew right past his nose.
As the dagger that missed its target flew past them, Marty and his friends immediately jumped away from Luciel.
「Don’t touch Ruu with your dirty hands! 」
A bare sword slashed through the air with malicious purpose, passing through the spot where the three of them had recently been.
「Tch. It’s you again. 」
Even though he was almost killed, Marty didn’t seem shaken at all. Ardis wielded his sword while receiving his glare.
Naturally, the dagger was thrown by him too. Unlike Ardis who had a tense atmosphere of a swordsman, Marty seemed relaxed.
「Hmm, you want to fight me? 」
Realizing that it was Ardis that appeared, Marty pulled his own sword out with a smirk.
While glaring at Marty and his friends with a sword in his hand, Ardis raised Luciel off the ground and hugged her with one of his hands to hide her revealing skin.
「Wooah, how cool. 」
「Is he mistaking that he’s a prince from some story?」
Ardis was glaring at them unpleasantly as they made fun of him.
「Did you think you can get away with doing something like this? 」
「Ain’t it no problem if no one knows? 」
Ardis’s glare became murderous as he saw Marty still grinning.
「No one knows? Did you think I won’t say anything having seen this? 」
Marty laughed loudly when he heard what Ardis had to say.
「Hahahak. Three of us seasoned mercenaries that are precious combat force, and a little brat like you. Try thinking who is more credible. For mercenaries, strength is everything. 」
He was probably let free in his previous mercenary band because of his strength.
Mercenaries who can become enemy or friend depending on the pay have no concept of justice.
At the very least, justice without power to back it up is just a fairytale. Conversely, it just means that mercenaries can force their justice onto others with enough strength.
「A weakling shouldn’t try to act cool. Just get out of the way. 」
「Oh, but leave that girl here. We still have some business with her. 」
「How about joining us? Though you will be the last in line. 」
Their vulgar laughter was reverberating in the area, inducing even more rage in Ardis.
Certainly, Marty is strong. Even with Ardis and Luciel combined, he’s not an opponent they can take down.
However, Wisteria is not a run-of-the-mill mercenary band as well.
Wisteria is different from mercenary bands where they think they can force their ideas with their strength alone.
It can be said that these three are already disqualified as members of the band for not understanding that.
「How harsh. Alright, you guys. That girl is postponed for later. Let’s teach this brat a lesson and show him how we have fun with her. 」
「That’s a bad taste. But well…… it’s more interesting that way. 」
「That’s one great idea. Makes me a little excited. 」
Ardis’s rage only increased further with the three speaking as they wished.
「That’s never happening. 」
「Dumbass. This greenhorn is thinking that he can win against three of us again. 」
Marty smirked as he ridiculed Ardis, but that’s only for now.
「Who’s the dumbass. It’s you guys that haven’t understood. 」
「That’s right. 」
As Ardis retorted, there was another voice that interjected, changing Marty’s expression instantly.
「T-This voice……! 」
The Captain of Wisteria, Greyth arrived belatedly after the voice.
Alongside him are Sark and Elion. It’s not just them that are here either. As if to encircle Marty and his other two friends, more than ten other mercenaries appeared from behind the blinds.
Turning his head around in panic, Marty lost his words when he realized his situation.
「You were awfully confident, but it looks like your luck has ran out. Wisteria’s mercenary band is not so easy that you can do anything you want forcefully. 」
To Greyth who told them this with a chilly expression, Sark and Elion further added on their own comments.
「That’s right. Talking big when you didn’t even realize us nearby. 」
「Leave your overconfident lines for after you learn how to use mana detection. 」
Marty and his friends are not weaklings. However, their strength lies in their sword specialization, and if compared to the arts’ department, both Ardis and Luciel topple them.
The mercenary band that they used to be in were just people that had that kind of inclination, where people looked lightly upon arts.
It’s because of that, that they had no intentions at all to fill in their weak points. Naturally, their skill in the arts is very low.
Considering how they can’t even use simple mana detection, naturally, they couldn’t realize when many other mercenaries other than Ardis were hiding nearby.
In another way however, possessing this much strength with only their swordsmanship skills is an accomplishment in and of itself.
「From the beginning…… you……」
Marty finally seemed to understand after so long. That’s right. It was a hook, line, and sinker situation.
Ardis who saw Marty’s meaningful smirk that day had started drawing up a plan together with Rona.
Full of animosity towards him, Ardis comments,「Else who would let Luciel bathe alone after knowing what would happen. 」
Since Marty and his friends made it obvious that they were planning something, a plan was used against them.
Knowing that this was going to happen sooner or later, it was better to prepare for them in advance and catch them off guard while they’re in the act.
Many other mercenaries agreed, stating that allowing them to continue would be hazardous for the other female apprentices, and Greyth agreed with them as well.
If they act irrationally as a result of the trap, they will be severely punished. This time, Greyth who had promised it, was in command of the operation.
As for the bait, Luciel volunteered herself. Considering what had happened before, it was certain that Marty would bite the bait if it’s her.
Although there were voices in Wisteria saying that it’s too dangerous for her to be alone, Luciel insisted that 「They will lower their guard because I’m alone」.
「You set me up! 」
「That’s funny. You’re acting like the victim, but all you had to do was to not have attempted to assault Ruu. 」
With a tired expression, Greyth reacted to Marty’s shouting.
「So, what’s your plan? Either fight all of us here or get out of Wisteria. Choose one now. 」
Together with Greyth’s declaration, everyone started moving in on Marty and his friends.
As every one of them were silent, a period of gruesome silence passed.
「…………You will regret this. 」
After Marty murmured this like a sore loser, Greyth shouted loud enough for everyone to hear.
「Wisteria has no needs for mercenaries that are only strong in fighting. 」
「Tch, let’s go! 」
Without even trying to hide his irritation, Marty brought along both of his friends and left. While he looked at them leaving, Sark questioned Greyth.
「Isn’t it better to kill them here? 」
「Leave them. It wouldn’t be a small scuffle for us if a fight started. 」
「Won’t we meet them in another battlefield? 」
「That’s a matter for that time. We just need to beat them at that time. Oi, a few of you go monitor them. 」
Answering without hesitation to Elion’s follow-up question, he started giving out instructions to several other mercenaries.
The other two that came from the same mercenary band might have to also be expelled depending on the situation.
Seeing Ardis wrapping Luciel with his own uniform at the edge of his vision, Greyth sighed secretly. Thinking that, men are truly unsavable creatures.