「Rei, are you here!?」
Looking at the man who had jumped inside with a shout, Rei thought for a moment, trying to recall……before realising who was in front of him.
He had been wondering how to deal with Azoth Firm and Bolton just earlier. Murt was one of the adventurers who worked for them.
「Ahh, I’m here. What is with this disturbance?」
He was bleeding from several places around his body. An arrow was stuck in his back shoulder. Rei didn’t think that Murt would have come through downtown peacefully and asked as he quickly threw a knife with his right hand.
A knife flew towards him. Murt gave a cry at the attack that flew faster than the arrows that had been shot at him. However, the knife Rei threw passed by Murt’s face……
It pierced the right should of a man who was about to stab Murt in the back of the head, knocking him away.
「It seems we have a lot of noisy guests.」
「Eh? Ah, Ahh. No……」
Understanding how close a call it was, Murt took a deep breath and went further into the smithy in a hurry.
「Seriously, I didn’t think we would get caught up in troubles as soon as we came back from a request. Hey, kid. Come over here!」
Freon pulled Murt over and shoved a piece of cloth into his mouth.
Murt gave a groan at the sudden action but Freon ignored him and forcibly removed his leather armour, tearing off his clothes and reaching for the arrow in his left shoulder.
「It can’t be helped, you can’t leave that arrow in your shoulder. It might be a bit painful, but endure it……!」
Murt could hardly speak with a cloth shoved in his mouth as she reached for the arrow stuck in his shoulder……and pulled it out in one go!
In response to that, Murt gave a muffled cry due to the cloth in his mouth as Freon looked at the arrow head in a familiar manner.
「Hmm, first of all, it’s not a poisoned arrow. Should I say your luck was good or that the other party didn’t really want to kill you. Well, this is good. Pamidor, this is a smithy, so there should be some potions around in case of injuries. Lend me a few.」
「……Well, we have to ask this guy about the circumstances. It can’t be helped. ……However, since you’re borrowing it, you have to return it. These potions are expensive.」
「Charge the kid, not me.」
Tilting the bottle containing the potion, she looked at Murt, who was groaning in pain due to the arrow being pulled out roughly, and poured the liquid into the wound on his left shoulder.
「Kuh……fuu~, fuu~,fuu~, fuu~……」
The pain from the wound was subsiding somewhat after pouring some of the potion into it, most of the pain coming from Freon forcibly pulling the arrow out, and his breathing gradually stabilised. Seeing the situation, Rei walked out the smithy and took a look around.
The first thing he saw was the figure of two thieves crumpled on the ground. The second one was the thief with the short spear, who had been smashed against a wall by Set’s claws, falling unconscious.
The only person left was the man with the bow and arrow, who was far away from Set……
「Come out, it’s obvious where you’re hiding.」
Rei glanced towards the shadows near the smithy.
However, there was no indication that anyone would step out.
Rei waited for a while after he looked towards the shadows of the building. After waiting about 30 seconds and seeing no one come out, with a sigh, he went to the man who had fallen unconscious after Rei had stabbed him in the shoulder with a knife and the man who had been smashed against the wall.
「Sorry, if you must hold it against someone, hold it against your associates who abandoned you.」
Speaking to the unconscious man, he pulled out the knife in his shoulder that had buried itself all the way to the hilt.
Even though he had fainted, the man probably still felt the pain as he convulsed.
Looking at the knife……next, he turned to the long sword that the other man had held.
It was an ordinary cheap iron sword. Still, it probably was quite expensive due to the rising price in iron ore due to the issue of the Harpies. Rei picked it up without caring too much about it……
Holding the handle of the sword, he threw it towards the shadow of the building.
Originally, unlike a spear, a sword was a weapon that had to be held. In other words, even if you threw it, it’s center of gravity would cause it to rotate while flying in the air……but in Rei’s case, the sword blade flew in a straight line without rotating after he threw it.
A man with a spear and a man with a cudgel appeared as one of them click his tongue. Because they lurked in the darkness of night, they had an emphasis on lightness. They weren’t wearing metal armour but thick cloth that would dampen sounds. And just in case, all their clothes were also dyed black.
「……Heeh~, from your clothes, do you specialise in night combat? Something like Azoth Firm’s assassination unit? Well, with your skill, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that.」
Rei said that with a sneer to provoke them……but as expected of the people hired by Azoth Firm, the both of them held their weapons as they looked for weaknesses around Rei.
「What’s wrong? Your target is inside the smithy. And to get inside, you have to defeat me. ……Are you coming?」
Rei gestured towards them with a finger to provoke them but the other two just held their weaposn without saying anything. And……
With a short sentence, the two of them slipped back into the shadows of the building and disappeared.
Perhaps they knew their way around the back streets. They faded into the darkness of the night without slowing down.
Until now, the man with bow hadn’t been able to move due to Set glaring at him. The moment Set turned to look at Rei, he bolted away like a rabbit.
Rei stroked Set’s head as Set gave a cry, shaking his head to tell him nothing could be done.
(Well, they should tell Bolton that Murt has contacted me. He shouldn’t make any stupid moves now. In addition……)
His conversation with Daska at the Margrave’s residence passed through his mind. This was a good opportunity, Daska wanted to remove Bolton, who was like a cancer to the city of Gilm. It was a prompt decision. It could be said this judgment was a unique part of Daska’s character due to his military background.
Of course, he did assume that if Bolton died, there wouldn’t be too much disorder as there would be a successor to Azoth Firm. If there was some form of confusion or disorder in the city of Gilm, adventurers would inevitably get caught up in it, which would eventually involve the innocent inhabitants of the city.
Although it might have been okay for that to happen if it wasn’t a frontier city, Gilm was a frontier city. It was a place where the threat of monsters was always present.
「Well, that’s isn’t something for an adventurer like me to think about but for the nobles to deal with.」
Gently stroking Set’s head, he returned to the smithy.
Set watched Rei go back inside before lying down somewhere out of the way.
「What happened to our guests?」
After reentering the smithy, Rei shook his head at Freon’s question.
「They felt the difference in strength and retreated without saying anything. They weren’t that strong but they could tell the difference in strength between themselves and others.」
「I see. So, in the end, we have to ask this guy for the details.……」
He had run all the way here while wounded and with an arrow in his left shoulder. The arrow had been pulled out and a potion poured into the wound, the rest of his wounds had also been treated with the potion but he probably felt very tired now. He had fallen asleep as if fainting.
「Seems like it. What will you do? Do you want to wake him up?」
「Ahh……that’s right, what should I do.」
Murt had been unable to stand against him during his meeting with Bolton and yet he had still come looking for Rei. He didn’t understand the small details, but his relation to Bolton was quite clear. Normally, he would have woken him up to ask about the situation. But……
Rei glanced towards the back of the smithy. Kumito had currently taken shelter near the forge. If he heard Murt’s story hear, he would get Pamidor and Kumito involved without a doubt. Considering that, he couldn’t hear out the circumstances from Murt so easily here.
Perhaps he felt Rei’s inner conflict. Brazos lifted up the unconscious Murt with a small sigh.
Having the strength to lift up a big, unconscious person, as expected of the Dwarves, Rei felt some admiration.
「Now then. First of all, we would annoy Pamidor if we stayed so it would be better to hear the circumstances somewhere else.」
「That’s true……wait a minute. There’s no doubt I’m involved in this dispute, but you don’t need to bother about it. Won’t it become very troublesome for you?」
However, at Rei’s words, Brazos shook his head as he held Murt and Freon shrugged her shoulders.
「It certainly doesn’t concern us. However, I heard most of the background at the Margrave’s residence and above all wouldn’t it be bad to abandon a comrade who has gone through life and death experiences with us?」
「That’s right. Of course there’s also some self interest. For example, it’s not so difficult for people to find out from the guild that we worked together for the Harpy subjugation request. Azoth Firm has closed off weapons trading with you, but they can easily find that we were in the same party even if it was only temporary.」
Do you understand? Brazos looked at Rei as if asking him.
(I see. So there might be a possibility they will be taken as hostages. ……Well, considering the skills of the enemy, I don’t feel these two are much behind them, but there still might be a chance. In that case, it would be safer to act together.)
「I understand. Then do you want to come with me?」
Brazos pointed to the Flame Crystal placed on the work bench.
「What would happen if Azoth Firm finds out about this……you can guess.」
Rei gave a sigh as he touched the Flame Crystal and stored it into the Misty Ring.
Bolton was someone who had simply and unreasonably tried to obtain Set and Rei’s magic items. If he found out Rei had produced Flame Crystals, he would probably go to whatever means to obtain this money tree.
「Sorry Pamidor. It’s been quite noisy.」
「Keh-, I don’t mind. Come again after this mess is settled. I’ll take care of your sword for you then.」
Pamidor replied simply. Pamidor as a person wanted to help Brazos and Freon, as he was close to them, but he had to consider his family.
Glancing further back to where his forge was for a moment, he thought of his son, who had such a lovely face he couldn’t imagine they were blood related. Back at home, he also had a wife who loved him. He couldn’t drag the two of them into this mess involving the major powers in Gilm.
(I feel sad. 5 years……no, if it was 10 years ago, I would have rampaged along with those fellows.)
He gave a sigh in his mind, feeling irritated at himself for thinking of self protection first.
Maybe he noticed Pamidor’s thoughts. Brazos shook his head with a smile as he carried Murt.
「Don’t worry about it. Anyhow, you have to protect your family. It’s natural that they should come first.」
「Yes, yes, anyway, you have a wife that would marry such a tough looking guy as you. Women with such tastes are rare.」
Freon also nodded in agreement with Brazos’ words.
Pamidor must have realised what the two of them were trying to say. After looking apologetic for a moment, he immediately smiled. ……Unfortunately, his smile looked more like the heinous grin for a carnivore laughing at its prey.
However, Brazos and Freon were used to it, giving a calm smile and nod while Rei just nodded without saying anything in particular.
「Well then, we’ll get going soon. We’ll come back after this is all settled so we’ll ask you to take care of our weapons then.」
「Leave it to me. Hope you finish up your troublesome matters soon.」
「……Say bye to Kumito for me.」
「Tell him nee-chan says to be careful.」
「Thank you for sharpening my knife.」
「Oh, I’ll clean it up for you at any time.」
Like that, the three of them, and one unconscious person, left the smithy.