A man and woman watched on as two people and an animal moved closer towards their hiding place.
And hearing how they had managed to track their whereabouts, the man trained as a shadow had his cheeks twitch.
Honestly, he wanted to click his tongue, but the Griffon wasn’t far away. He couldn’t click his tongue, considering the possibility that their position might be exposed by the sound.
(No, they got here with only its sense of smell. It probably already knows we’re hiding in this area. But, what do we do? It’s hard to completely hide away anywhere in the city since we’ve already been sniffed out to this place. If that’s the case……)
The man reached for the teleportation magic item in his pocket.
(Only two people can be transferred……three at most. If that happens, it would mean abandoning the others. ……However, our main purpose is to bring back information. Considering we might be annihilated here, there’s no choice but to consider it the best option.
The man looked toward the woman serving as his assistant.
Catching that look, the woman understood it and nodded. She replied by mouthing words rather than actually saying them.
「I will lead the others and draw away their intention. Captain should use that opportunity to use the transition stone.」
「……I’m sorry. I won’t tell you to come back alive. Complete the task that needs to be done.」
The man made the tough decision while frowning his eyes. It was more than just the sadness of losing his subordinates. First class shadows, spies, naturally required a large amount of money to groom. Aside from needing money to train them, only those recognised for excellence would become shadows. There were close to 20 shadows. Given the funding and effort required to train them, this could be considered a great blow to the Bestir Empire. It had to be questioned if the information they obtained after suffering that much damage was worth.
In other words, considering the actions that they had undertaken in Gilm, it clearly wasn’t a just a loss……rather, it was a very large loss.
(Damn it, all this is the fault of that adventurer called Rei. Since things have gotten to this stage, I will definitely bring back all the information that we’ve collected about him back to the Empire.)
「When you all attack him, I’ll use the transition stone to escape the city. All of my subordinates will be left here, so you will take command.」
「No. In case of emergencies, the Captain needs an escort. Please take two people with you. If you are attacked while trying to use the transition stone, you may end up taking the man called Rei to the base area.
The man understood the woman’s words and gave short instructions via hand signals to the rest of his subordinates in the neighbouring buildings. After that, it took less than 10 seconds to prepare their attack. It was no overstatement to say that their movements were those of the elite.
(To lose the best in a place like this. How will this affect the war next spring.)
Thinking in such a way, the man took out the transition stone from his chest pocket, ready to use it when their attack provided an opportunity. All he had to do was to wait for two skilled members of his team to join his as an escort.
(While the other party is dealing with the attack, others here will reveal themselves. The moment they are distracted, I’ll use that opening to activate the transition stone.)
He verified that their preparations were complete. The woman held a knife towards Rei, who was approaching from the outside……and threw it quickly. At the same time, some of the shadows who had remained at the current locations threw their knives like the woman.
However, what happened next was unbelievable for the man who was watching the action. After all, as soon as Rei pulled out a knife from his waist, he had moved with lightning speed, literally knocking away all the knives flying towards him.
「Captain, good luck!」
The woman gave a short farewell to her boss and jumped out. At the same time, his other subordinates who where watching on also appeared from the buildings they were hidden in, surrounding Rei.
The man didn’t miss the moment when Rei turned to look at his subordinates. When the eyes of their two targets moved in confusion as the woman and her subordinates, their mutual intentions were conveyed and the captain tried to smash the transition stone into the ground.
「Captain! Dodge itttttt-!」
The woman’s shout echoed into the surroundings before she was cut short by the sound of a loud crash and the man fell unconscious the next moment.
The man’s judgement was definitely correct. If his opponent had been an ordinary adventurer. Or if it had been the guards, he would have succeeded in escaping from this place using the transition stone by sacrificing his subordinates as had been the man’s plan.
However, he wasn’t facing an ordinary adventurer. It was Rei, who was rumored to have the combat strength of an A rank adventurer. And in this case, what was more deadly was Set, who as a Griffon, could sense magic power.
It was the moment after the woman and her subordinates had appeared and surrounded Rei. While surrounded, Set still detected the reaction of magic power from the hut the woman had come out from. He couldn’t tell whether it was magic or some magic item, but he judged that, if ignored, it potentially harm Rei, who he liked very much.Because of that, Set dashed forward and flapped his wings, using his 2m large body and the effect of the magic item Bracelet of Herculean Strength to plunge into the hut he had sensed magic from.
And the result was……
Rei involuntarily shouted Set’s name as the rest of the people around him looked on in shock.
However, by the time Set heard that, the effect of the transition stone had already started to show its effects and a magic formation had already spread to the ground the hut was on. The man and his subordinates, who had been holding the transition stone, had been thrown against the walls by Set’s body and had fallen to the ground unconscious. The transition stone was activated as fell to the ground.
It was already too late when Set noticed the magic formation. The magic formation grew, centered around the transition stone that had fallen to the ground. And being inside the magic circle……Set was transferred.
Seeing signs of Set suddenly disappear after rushing into the building, Rei ran over. Next to Rei, Ranga had no idea what had just happened, but understanding that something bad had occurred, he gave a sharp gaze towards those surrounding him.
However, the woman and her subordinates who had been surrounding Rei and Ranga were just as confused. The transition stone had been activated, but the Griffon had rushed in just before its activation. If the building that their captain had been completely demolished, they would have been able to see the inside. However, because Set’s force was so spectacular that he had punched a hole in the wall rather than completely destroying it, they couldn’t tell what had happened inside. It was even more unfortunate that the captain of the shadows had been knocked out by Set’s hit.
But, the worst misfortune for them was……
「Hey, you. It looks like you’re the leader of these guys right? What were you doing in that hut? ……Answer me.」
The person before them, Rei. He had noticed his own partner……or rather, signs of Set, abruptly disappear.
Fortunately or unfortunately, the person who could use magic among the shadows was unable to sense magic power. If there was someone who could sense magic power nearby, they would have been able to sense the magic power overflowing from Rei at this moment and lost the will to fight due to the vast difference in magic power.
But still……even if they couldn’t see magic power, they could still see Rei’s surroundings shimmer as snow falling from the sky disappeared and evaporated when they fell near him.
With the huge amount of magic power blowing towards her, the woman who had undergone the hard training to become a shadow had her hands and legs tremble unconsciously.
She realised that the kachi- kachi- sound she had been hearing was was the sound of her own teeth chattering from fear. Looking around, she also noticed that her subordinates, like herself were no longer capable of putting up a decent fight.
「……Answer me. Did you hear what I said?」
While watching on, Rei took the Death Scythe out from the Misty Ring and took a swing.
The sharp screech of the blade tearing through the air was enough to convince them that he could tear them apart like paper.
Step by step, Rei walked toward the shadows that surrounded him……and went toward the woman standing at the front.
The moment Rei got to her, would be when she would die. Feeling the intense bloodthirst coming from Rei and the sense of incongruity from being unable to sense magic power, not just the woman, the others with her were unable to move.
……Yes. The ones who could were.
Rei felt something flying through the air and swung his Death Scythe while clicking his tongue.
While a metallic noise, the Death Scythe, empowered with Rei’s magic, tore apart the knife that had flew out from the hut that Set had rushed into.
「Seriously, I hadn’t heard about such a monster.」
Coming out with a sigh was the man who led the shadows.
The woman tried to say something, but could speak a word after being hit by Rei’s killing intent and magic power.
However, her eyes said more than her mouth. The woman’s look indicated that the man was an important person.
「……I see. Are you the boss of these fellows. It seems you wanted to escape by yourself, but……」
He looked at the surroundings without a change in his expression at Rei’s provocative words.
His subordinates couldn’t move. Even if the man could overcome Rei’s killing intent……he realised instinctively that he couldn’t beat Rei or run away.
「If you are here, then Set interrupted you using a magic item to transfer yourself out. ……In other words. Where is the transfer destination.」
Rei turned the Death Scythe towards the man and asked. Unlike the woman and his other subordinates who were receiving Rei’s killing intent and were unable to move, the man was still able to move, as expected of the captain that led the shadows.
「……If I tell you, can you let us off……」
Not waiting for him to finish, a flying slash from the Death Scythe passed right next to the man before slicing through the building the man had come out from.
「Do you think you’re in a position to propose a deal? Do you want to answer or die. Make your choice.」
「……Are you sure? If you kill me, there’s no way to know where the Griffon was transferred to.」
Yes, but as the man said that, his back was covered in cold sweat.
He was feeling great pressure from Rei’s heavy killing intent.
「Even if you say nothing, I can still ask your subordinates? Fortunately, there are some things I can use for interrogation among my magic.」
(It’s the worst case……it seems. As things are, we will be completely destroyed, and the worst part is that we won’t be able to send back any information at all. Damn it, why are there monsters like this on the frontier. ……No. Is it because it’s the frontier?)
He couldn’t win even if he tried to fight. It was a fact that the man had already understood. If that was the case, should he give up his subordinates and run away or surrender?
(No, I won’t be able to run away. Particularly with how they can move right now……)
The man checked the appearance of his subordinates with his eyes. Because of the killing intent concentrated on the man, the woman, his assistant, was able to move a little. However, it was still not enough to escape. This extended to the rest of his subordinates.
(If so, there’s only surrender? It’s almost impossible to run away from this guy, and there is his thirst for blood. If I make a mistake, everyone will probably be killed. It would be best to surrender and then try to escape when the man isn’t around. ……But that will probably significantly delay the sending the information.)
If he still had transition stones, he would have abandoned his subordinates to bring back the information. However, transition stones required advanced alchemy to make, and catalyst aside, it also needed materials of high ranking monsters, up to rank B. Because of that, they weren’t something that could be mass produced easily, even for the Bestir Empire with its great developments in alchemy. The one the man used when he had been interrupted by Set had been his only one. As long as he didn’t have a transition stone, he realised that even if he gave up on his subordinates and tried to leave this place, it would only waste lives.
Although some shadows would not hesitate to bet their lives to accomplish their mission, it was only because they believed their lives would be for the empire. At very least, it wouldn’t be for the question which Rei, who was standing in front of them, was asking.
Even while the man was thinking, Rei started pouring magic into the Death Scythe……
「Rei-kun, that’s enough!」
Ranga, with those words, reached out to Rei’s shoulder before stopping.
Despite Rei’s killing intent, unlike the shadows, Ranga was the captain of the guards and had a high level of strength. But in the end, the biggest reason was that Rei’s killing intent wasn’t directed at him. Even so, the fact that his own movements pause from Rei’s leaking killing intent showed how truly angry Rei was.
For a moment, he turned to look and Ranga, and after a short sigh, toned down his killing intent. However, he kept his eyes on the man who led the shadows.
「Answer. Where was Set transferred to.」
「……The river near Gilm. Inside a cave upstream of it.」
After hearing the man’s words, the river where he had stripped monster materials alongside Enternal Power passed through his mind.