Arriving in the capital, Ardis chose a suitable cheap inn with a tavern and entered. Of course, it wasn’t for the purpose of drinking but to gather information.
He had decided to ask the tavern’s master and an information broker as to how the information from Thoria had spread to the capital.
Of course, he couldn’t just ask it straightly, that’s why he had played the role of the『Young mercenary who wanted to challenge the rumored mercenary woman』and purposely asked for details when Nere was still challenging mercenaries on the highway.
With that, he understood a few things. First, the information that Nere had been a part of the Grinder subjugation team is known here. Next, it seems that there isn’t any detain warrant issued by the capital. And finally, any news regarding the twins didn’t spread to the capital.
As he thought that any further thoughts are unneeded, there was a piece of information that he couldn’t ignore that he got from Chezare, the information broker that has a thin figure. That information broker was a person who sat in the tavern on the first floor of the inn Ardis lived in, who always seemed to sip on his glass of fruit juice.
When Ardis entered the inn, he asked the tavern master to introduce him to an information broker and was replied with, 「He’s not around now, come back just about before lunch」. He was probably referring to Chezare.
So, he walked around the streets and visited the neighboring taverns, before returning just about before lunch as the master said and was finally introduced to the information broker.
The man called Chezare, despite being an information broker, he’s quite a formal person with his polite words. Even his appearance is well groomed, one might even feel his nobleness, his brown hair that was glossy as if wet, and the eyes that is slightly dark brown in color.
He had the looks of someone that would probably be pestered by the adolescent girls on the streets. Looking closely, he had an aura that could be comparable to a noble’s son.
The information that he’d gained from this man called Chezare, it was more accurate and latest than any other information broker. It was only Chezare who knew the news about the attempt of detaining Nere in Thoria.
In addition, it seemed that he had also heard from Thoria that they aren’t aware of where Nere went.
Furthermore, it seems that he still has some unconfirmed information in his hands. Chezare had promised to confirm and compile the information he has and deliver it tomorrow morning.
Of course, it’s not like Ardis can judge the situation with just Chezare’s information, so Ardis had also met with several other information brokers and confirmed how much of the information regarding Nere in Thoria had reached the capital.
While doing so, the sky had completely turned reddish, and Ardis walked alone in the back alley.
The back alleys have a completely different system compared to the streets outside. Just in case, Ardis had come to the underworld’s information broker as well, but doing so, he realized that he was being surrounded by people. It seems that they have waited for a chance in the empty alley.
「What’s your purpose? 」
With hostility clearly directed towards him, Ardis asked in an annoyed tone. With more than ten people in the front and back, there’s no escape path anywhere, they’ve probably planned in advance to not let Ardis get away.
The leader-like person in the front opened his mouth.
「We won’t take your life so there’s no need to worry. But it’s just if you don’t listen, it’s not our fault that if you get injured. 」
「Your aim is money? 」
「Ann……? Hmm, that’s true, let’s take that while we are here」
It seems like they weren’t looking to rob him.
Although the possibility that they are the pursuers sent by the Thoria army flashed in his mind for a moment, he immediately excluded that. After all, even if it’s the much-hated army, they wouldn’t ever hire ruffians like these to capture Ardis and Nere when they even have distrust in mercenaries.
「Either way, I’ll just have to crush you all. 」
「How much longer you can keep that composure? ーーYou all, do it! 」
The thugs attacked at once after receiving the leader’s order.
With that much people coming at once in a narrow alley, there’s no way they can move properly without blocking each other. To throw away their advantage in numbers on their own after surrounding their enemy in a narrow place is just too idiotic.
Of course, even if they are at a wide place without obstacles, the chances of Ardis getting hurt by these thugs is close to zero. Without drawing his sword, Ardis kicked the first man who rushed to him, before turning his back to the wall on his left side, and intercepting the attack from behind.
Because of the limited space, there’re only three persons able to reach Ardis at a single time. On top of that, everyone of them is an amateur. He received the attacks from the amateurs head on, and knocked out two of them in a single breath. For Ardis, they weren’t opponents that threatens him even if he was unarmed.
「Tch! You leave me no choice! Resolve to lose one or two limbs of yours! 」
The leader drew a dagger from his waist and took a stance, following that, the other thugs drew their daggers and knives as well.
Ardis used wind magic chantlessly. The blades of wind pressure that had no precursor anywhere severed the sharp blades the thugs were holding one after another.
Looking at their own weapon that is broken in half, the thugs were stunned as to what happened. Taking that chance, Ardis sunk his fist into them one after another. Some took it in the throat, some in the solar plexus, some in the chin, or some unfortunate ones collapsed after receiving a kick in their groin.
The thugs that lost half of their comrades lost their will and started fleeing in all directions including the leader.
「Well then, who hired you? 」
Ardis forcibly grabbed one of the thugs that collapsed on the ground, and asked with a cold voice.
「D-don’t know! It’s the truth! We just heard from our boss to attack you! 」
「Was it to capture me? 」
「Y-yeah! We really didn’t have the intentions to hurt you! Even boss said to capture you without injuring if possible! 」
Ardis judged that there is no use going further than this, and released the scared thug. He wasn’t an opponent even worth killing.
Ardis started thinking as he left the scene. Now, who would order for his capture in the capital. And who would benefit from it.
As expected, the most plausible one is still the Thoria army. Capturing Ardis to force him to spill where Nere is at. The army certainly had such a reason to capture him.
But if the army was behind this farce, then they would definitely be more proper and send better men than those thugs.
There’s possibility that Thoria had involved other nobles or the church but, Ardis couldn’t find it likely that they have realized Ardis and Nere had come to the capital.
The only ones who know Ardis is currently in the capital is Ardis himself and Nere, together with the twins, Filia and Riana. He hadn’t met any acquaintances in the capital either, and his face isn’t famous enough to be known by everyone.
While holding onto an indescribable feeling, Ardis returned to the inn without coming to a conclusion. And it came that the next day had completely dispelled that.
The next day, Ardis focused on information gathering during the morning just like the day before.
But, it was all information that he’d got before.
In the end, it seems that the most anyone else was able to provide was the same information that Chezare did, about how Nere participated in the grinder subjugation, and the fact that her whereabouts is currently unknown after escaping from the detain.
With Chezare’s report next on the schedule, Ardis returned back to the inn just before lunch. Ardis called out to Chezare who sipped fruit juice in front of the counter just like yesterday.
「Have I kept you long? 」
After a long pause of silence, Chezare turned around. He looked a little serious at Ardis’s face, before offering a seat to Ardis, 「Well, have a seat first. 」
「So? How about it? 」
「About the『Confront』that I talked about yesterday, it seems that the Lord of Thoria issued a warrant for the mercenary woman. The reason was harming the army soldiers, and suspicion of kidnapping young children. When the army surrounded the woman’s house and breached in, there wasn’t anyone in there, and the capture failed. Then the wherebouts of the woman is lost. 」
As expected, compared to other information broker, Chezare’s information was more accurate and detailed.
「Just that, the detain warrant seemed to be issued entirely from the Lord himself, it didn’t have the seal of the justice court. That’s why Thoria is trying to hide the existence of warrant itself, it seems like it’s still not known now. 」
This was a piece of happy news for Ardis.
He was suspicious the moment that the warrant was shown without the justice court seal but, as expected, it’s confirmed that the warrant wasn’t issued legally. If Thoria’s side is trying to hide the truth, then at the very least, they won’t be chasing after Ardis and Nere on the surface.
「That information, is it accurate? 」
「It’s what I had found out after a day of verification yesterday, I didn’t have enough time to fully confirm it. It’s about seventy percent trustable. But, I’m sure that it isn’t any clue that any other information broker had caught on to. Probably only the national intelligence agency would know about the truth now. 」
「Is that so? 」
Certainly, it isn’t guaranteed that the information is correct, but it had been the sixth day since the detain attempt. If Thoria’s side isn’t hiding the information, the other information brokers would have gotten to it long ago.
If only Chezare was the only one who gotten this piece of news, then it’s probably the truth that Thoria is trying to cover this incident.
But, Ardis still felt something was hanging onto him.
Chezare who knew so much, why had he not talked about Ardis himself at all. Before the Grinder subjugation, Ardis had paired with Nere and hunted for quite a while. Since Nere was always with him, there should’ve been witnesses of them two walking in the town together.
On top of that, it was Ardis’s house that they raided, and the one who showed up to the soldier was Ardis as well. Finally, when Nere disappeared, Ardis did so as well. Even though Ardis was more than involved in the incident, there wasn’t any case that Chezare talked about Ardis.
When his thoughts had reached that far, he suddenly had an enlightenment. He recalled the indescribable feeling that he got when he was attacked by the thugs yesterday.
The person other than Nere and the twins who knows Ardis is in the capitalーー. His conjecture soon became conclusion.
The delicate looking man in front of him, he was the one who realized that he is Ardis.
If so, Ardis tried to lay down a trapーー.
「Well, there’s no choice then. It’s enough that you looked into it for a day for me. I have my comrades who are waiting for me, so I will be leaving the capital in the afternoon. 」
ーーHe hoped that the prey would get caught in his trap.