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Chapter 134. Former Hero・Hides in the Forest
About a month after leaving the Kingdom.
We arrived at our destination.
It was the border between the kingdom and the empire, Ringlard region.
To punish the bandits who had taken control of a city named, Aria, Rithina, Mina and I, alongside 30 knights, hid ourselves in the forest outside the city.
It was quite a difficult journey.
We started the journey with 60 knights accompanying us.
I constantly used Search because we’re aware that a suspicious individual had left the village, probably to inform the enemy of our movement.
It was quite difficult since it’s hard to catch up with someone travelling on horse.
Well, it was well worth it since we managed to capture 10 bandits along the way here.
Since there are 200 bandits, that leave us with 190.
……when I think about it, it’s not that much.
The other members except the one already here were separated the other day to handle the matter regarding bandits hiding in nearby villages and caves.
According to the plan, we’ll attack the three hideouts at the same time, and the appointed time was today.
Thanks to our preventative measures and a rather small group, the bandits hadn’t seemed to notice our presence here yet.
Aside that, other than me who wore the usual light attire, Rithina and Mina wore light armor accordingly.
Different from their usual adventurer and maid attire, the current knight-like look gave a somewhat fresh feeling.
I wanted to sneak my hand through the gaps of that armor.
[Eeee. this hard to wear armor, there is something wrong inside!] [Kuu….what’s with this embarrassing feeling……!] I want to see that kind of scene.
……..nononono. I think that it’s a bad habit that I always turn something into erotic thoughts inside my head, but I guess I hadn’t changed at all.
It’s really a habit that is not easy to keep away from.
The orange sky had turned darker.
It’s less than 30 minutes until sun really goes down.
I called the two from the back to confirm the strategy.
That said, the plan for movement is actually fairly simple.
[In short, I’ll be the one taking care of all the enemies. You two should stay close to me. Rithina-sama should just keep yourself safe. As for Mina, I’ll leave Rithina-sama protection to you.]
Rithina replied to me while Mina simply nodded.
At first I thought that Rithina would show her dissatisfaction for being the only one receiving protection despite fighting at the frontline, but I guess from the standpoint of a princess, it’s nothing special.
This time, the most important thing isn’t Rithina killing the bandits herself, but Rithina leading the subjugation forces at the frontline.
After all, if a member of royal family like her helped out on the front, the commoners will be more likely to trust her.
[Everyone, we’ll rush in fifteen minutes from now. Once we enter the perimeter, wait for my signal before starting the offensive.]
Going further behind Rithina and Mina, I gave some instruction to the 30 knights that had followed us all the way from the kingdom.
Even though I said everyone, it’ll be conspicuous if 30 men gathering in the same place, so the message would be circulated from mouth to mouth to the scattered knights in hiding.
These 30 knights are responsible for guarding the perimeter, capturing the bandits I’ve disabled, and keeping the citizens away from the confusion.
According to the preliminary survey, there are about 100 bandits in Aria.
I don’t know if that’s all of them but we’re pretty sure that that’s the most of them.
We could use magic to attack them from distance, but that will just damage the city and we couldn’t afford to use methods that will risk hurting the citizens
Considering that I’ll be the lord of this region in the future, it’s preferable to keep the non-bandit casualties to zero.That’s what Rithina told me.
Of course I won’t hurt the citizens. But I can’t guarantee that there will be 0 casualties.
[What about securing the hostages?]
[Ha. W-we should worry about that only in the case that we fail. According to the plan, securing the hostages will be easy should everything went well.]
When I asked one of the knight nearby, he replied with a slightly tense face.
In one corner of the bandit’s hideout, they kept hostages so that the citizen scouldn’t go against them.
There is no meaning if the hostages were killed. Regarding this matter, separate unit of knights will infiltrate the hideout and rescue the hostages at the same time when the offense began.
Because I’m already occupied as it is, I had no choice but to believe in those who had infiltrate the hideout.
[I see. Thank you. Inform me if there is something wrong]
Seeing that knight being so nervous, I wonder if he’ll be alright.
The kingdom should’ve sent people with battle experience to some extent.
He’s just an observer, so that’s not really important.
The other knights were mostly consisted of strong looking uncles. I guess it’ll all depend on us now.
[Haruto-kun. Have you found a good way to distinguish between the bandits and the citizens, in case the citizens were threatened to fight us?]
When I was looking at the city wall, Rithina asked me.
[That’s right. I cannot say for sure, but I can tell to some extent, judging from the way they move.
I also discussed the same thing with Laurier and the others, but if they go for disabling rather than killing, nothing should go wrong…. In any case, we’ll be charging straight to the house of lord, I doubt that they’ll have time to force the citizen to stop us. I’m more worried for the knights responsible for hunting the remaining bandits instead.]
[Certainly. I’ll tell this matter to the knight order. Haruto too please do your best.]
Rithina was more worried about the damage the people will suffer more than the bandits themselves.
Seeing her like this, I guess she really is a princess.
No, I think she always acts like a proper princess everytime.
While I was mulling over that, the sun had already set and night has fallen.
I checked my wristwatch.
It’s almost six o’clock.
I wonder if the other party had properly finished their preparations.
If something unexpected were to happen, we are to shoot out a flash bullet to the sky.
However, even if we are informed that something went wrong, there is no way for us to give any aid.
……no, there is no use in worrying about [what might happen]. Everyone will be alright.
All I need to do is focus on my part.
After an additional 3 hours…
I kept using Search, keeping a look out to our surroundings while waiting.
Through my Search, I came to understand the city layout to some extent.
Even so, it was a mess on the street that I had a hard time observing the detail. Apparently, something had happened.
At that moment, Rithina and Mina who went to inform the knight order, came back and sat next to me.
Then, she silently grabbed my hand.
Oya? What’s wrong?
I thought they’re about to say something but they held back, so I grasped their hands instead.
Regardless of what they say, this would be their first time facing off against other humans. So the two might be feeling nervous.
[…..what is it?]
After holding hands for a while, Rithina finally said in a low voice.
[It may not be good for me to say this, but regardless of how impossible it is, I want Haruto to put his own safety in higher priority over the bandits or the city.]
Rithina looked at my face intently as she said so, whilst holding my hand even tighter.
Uu. So she’s worried of me. That’s sweet. It makes me want to kiss her passionately. What the hell.
[Err, of course. I won’t die and leave everyone alone so easily .]
[I beg of you.]
Even if such thing were come to pass, I couldn’t die even if I want.
I’ll just become an undead and revive on my own.
It was Mina this time.
[It may be unscrupulous of me to say this now, but should the operation go well, tonight…..I will serve you wholeheartedly.]
Mina said that embarrassing thing while blushing madly, but she said so while staring directly to my eyes.
I was speechless.
During this whole month, because we are travelling with the knights, I’ve been abstaining from erotic stuff.
That’s why today, it’ll be just fine to lift the ban should everything go well.
In addition to that, I still won’t be able to get in contact with everyone else tonight.
I used to sleep with 4, sometimes all 8 of them. And now someone actually promised to ease up the depression I’ve been piling up for these past month sincerely.
I’m willing to go to great lengths just because of those promise. Anything goes. No, as expected?
[L-leave it to me. No, I’ll be counting on you?]
The expectation for tonight rose through the roof and its bulging down there already that it got stuck.
Seeing my funny reaction, Rithina and Mina couldn’t help but to giggle.
Fuu how cute. I want to kiss them. But no, there are members of the knight order here!
After that, we talked about something other than lovey dovey stuff.
Ten minutes before the date changes. We’ll rush in 10 minutes.
There is no actual need to be very punctual like this but I just want to for no particular reason.
Rithina and I pulled out our swords, while Mina readied her small shield and dagger.
[I’ll be rushing to the house of the lord immediately. Please follow me according to our plan.]
Although I kept confirming this as much as I coud, the two didn’t complain. Two good girls. No, two good wives.
[Now then, we are going. The knight order will move out 15 minutes later.]
After relaying instructions to the knight order, the three of us wade into the dark of the night.