Chapter 81: Almond Disturbance
Time goes back a moment after Almond was struck by a raid of monsters coming from the west gate.
The chaos that occurred after this is just like a lie, the inside of the city is prospered with bustling people.
Many stalls lining up along the city.
Rio occasionally stops at the stalls and pretended to enjoy the goods.
There’s one reason he’s pretending to act this way.
It was after he sensed someone was quietly tailing him.
By Rio’s estimation, it might be Liselotte’s subordinate.
From Liselotte’s standpoint, she just wants to know the background of the other party in the contract.
And then, as it’s not like there’s something like identification paper as a proof for Rio’s background, there’s no other choice but to gather information with her own resources.
Therefore, after leaving the mansion, Rio raised his vigilance knowing he will be followed.
It’s as he expected, as soon as he left the mansion, he noticed that someone started to track him.
Though the tracker’s skill to blend in the surroundings and erase her presence is quite something, the miscalculation of the other party is the fact that the range of Rio’s vigilance way surpassed normal people.
It was also their mistake for starting to tail him from the high-end residential area with so few people in it.
If they start to tail him by slipping into the crowd, even Rio will have a hard time to find them.
Though he’s looking around the market and wandering aimlessly since sometime ago, from the fact that the person keeps following him at a fixed distance there’s no way that person’s destination is just coincidentally the same as him.
Rio came to the conclusion that the person is tailing him.
Though there’s even more possibility that they went with double-layered tailing, for the other party to over fixate with one person is just too rash.
When push comes to shove, he’ll just rush to a place without anyone, though he can slip out the city and disappear with spirit arts, he doesn’t want to do something that will leave behind too many mysteries.
After a while, a human will soon lose concentration and will be easier for him to scatter his tracks and elude the other party.
Thinking so, he decided to stroll in the city for a bit more, the toll of bells then reverberated in the city.
Maybe because they know the meaning of that tolls of bell, the people amongst the ones in Rio’s vicinity, they’re looking at each other faces as if it’s already planned beforehand.
Along with angry roars, screams, and jeers resounding from the distance.
「I-Is it dangerous？ 」
Though the people who was staying temporarily in the city don’t understand the meaning of that tolls of bell, they started to sense the danger due to the hustle bustle in their vicinity.
A short time later, they can see the scenery of a great number of humans coming from the west part of the city like a wave, in the blink of an eye the whole place became noisy.
「NO IT’S SCARY」
As if being pushed by the wave, the citizens started to run in succession.
Due to the mass mentality*, even the people who pretended to be calm up till now was fallen into a panic. [TL* : 群集心理-Mob mentality]
The trading city Almond is a place where hordes of people come and go, with booths standing along the lane and plaza.
The shop is calling to people, Rio’s strolling with purpose for shopping in the lane where there’s many people.
If so many people are starting to run all at once, the result is to be expected
Inside the lane is jammed with people in the blink of an eye, the crowd is hurriedly going toward the east.
Everyone rushed to escape, pushing other people aside and competing to be the first to escape while Rio’s approaching the end of the passage calmly.
The bell of warning is resounding, which means that they’re finding a shelter, it seems that some sort of invader is invading from the west gate of the city.
If that’s the case, it seems the soldiers of the city and the adventurers are already heading out to intercept them, he expected that till the monster’s arrive at this place, there won’t be any monster’s coming.
Rio decided to see the situation judging that disappearing into the crowd will be difficult with the human wave.
So he’s widening his line of sight while confirming the identity of the person who who’s tailing him.
Thereupon, he caught the figure of a woman who’s seemingly the chamberlain of Liselotte’s mansion ahead of his line of sight.
Though there’s no proof of her tailing him with just her her wearing chamberlain uniform, he could remember her face.
The woman is feeling panicked by what just suddenly happened, and slightly conflicted whether she should continue to tail him or not.
She soon comes to a decision and looks for a shelter towards the end of the passage escaping the crowd..
She might be thinking similarly as Rio.
In addition, the people who found shelter at the end of passage were thinking the same thing, all of them were armed men.
Though there’s the soldiers of the city, there’s also the people who seem to be adventurers.
Almost several minutes elapsed, the flow of people finally started to settle down.
「YOSH, ALMOND SOLDIER BRIGADE ASSEMBLE！」
Suddenly, a male soldier with a graceful appearance and wearing a high-quality equipment is speaking in a lively voice to call upon the soldiers in his vicinity.
Thereupon, around 50 soldiers of the city that was in the vicinity started to quickly assemble their rank.
Even Natalie, the chamberlain who was tailing Rio together―― Assembled to that place.
「THE ADVENTURERS TOO, PLEASE ASSEMBLE！ 」
Following that, even the scattering adventurers are being called upon.
Around 10 adventurers in the vicinity started to move.
Rio tried to leave before being swallowed into troublesome things but,
「O~i, the lad over there！ You’re an adventurer too right. Won’t you come here quickly？ 」
The male soldier with a graceful appearance called out to Rio’s back.
Though he’s not even an adventurer nor a soldier, something like a human carrying a weapon in the city is a rare existence, from that prejudice, even the male knight seemingly concluded Rio as an adventurer.
Against his own will, Rio’s turning his face toward their place.
Thereupon, he sees the male knight’s appearance waving his arms while smiling a friendly smile, Rio stepped out while sighing a little.
In regard to Rio who’s falling behind in assembling, the line of sight that is seemingly displeased coming from the adventurers or soldiers is gathering at him.
「Are you new here, Lad？ The adventurer’s staying during emergency time will be temporarily employed as the soldiers of the city. Such time as this will trouble the vicinity if we don’t move quickly」
Not that of blaming, the male soldier said those words with a tone as if persuading him.
The adventurer guild exists in case there was the invasion of a foreign force in the city, the prefectural governor could invoke an emergency request to the adventurers who’s staying in this city.
The content of that request is simple―― Defense of the city.
A punishment is imposed if one refuses the emergency request without any reason, though one will be punished by being exiled from the city in the worst case, Rio who’s not an adventurer didn’t know about such rules.
「I’m not an adventurer though」
Rio frankly told his own status.
Though the impression toward him might be the worst, saying this will make things quickly settled rather than explaining in detail.
Thereupon, the male knight’s showing an expression as if being troubled.
「EH-AAH, so that’s the reason？ Adventurer tag is…….. You don’t have it. I see. I see……」
When he’s looking casually at the neck of Rio, the male knight timidly said those words.
The adventurer’s are obligated to wear their own tag on their neck to show that they belong to the adventurer guild.
The personal information of the adventurer is recorded on the tag, from the fact that a heavy punishment is inflicted when one thinks of unfastening their tag to falsify their own status, no one will easily say such a lie.
In this case, even if Rio’s lying, if he’s going to be active in this city after this, it’ll be identified immediately when being inquired by the guild later on.
Since it seems he has no acquaintance amongst the adventurers in this city, the commander man decided to trust in Rio’s story.
「I see. Sorry for stopping you. Run from this place as fast as you can. If possible, please save the attacked citizens who’s falling behind」
The male knight shrugs his shoulder and conveyed his will to Rio.
Rio nodded as he let out a short sigh.
Just like that, he turned his heel and left that place.
「KEH, cowardly bastard……」
「Well it’s fine right. Since that guy will feel even more nervous to this unpaid job」
「That kind of bean sprout brat will just become a hindrance」
Several ridiculing voice from the adventurers is turned to Rio’s back.
Of course even for them, it doesn’t mean that they’re fond of wanting to fight.
But, if they do from them who’s being employed for this battle have a weapon, there’s a common sense about the thing of running away in the first chance with the scene where they should fight is shameful behaviour and will be talked from behind his back by the surroundings.
Though he’s not an adventurer, looking at his figure who’s trying to leave even when he’s armed, it’s not unreasonable for them to scorn and despise Rio due to their jealousy.
Though it’s not leaving their lips, it’s not just for the adventurers, the soldiers and Natalie also somehow showed dissatisfied expressions.
Though he could hear the voice of the adventurers, Rio didn’t even care for it and immediately walked forward.
For Rio, how the people view him is just a trivial matter.
Because he’s more worried about the situation of Miharu and co than something like that.
Though Miharu and co is in a completely separate place from Almond, it’s not a guarantee that it’s free of danger.
Though it seems the worst case situation won’t occur from the fact that they have Aisia as their guardian, even so he didn’t feel like wasting more of his time.
「Seeing that he’s neither adventurer nor soldier, we can’t coerce him to fight. Though it’s not like I don’t understand your feelings, release that emotion to your enemy」
The male soldier who acts as a peacemaker is smiling wryly as if being troubled by Rio, and soothing the people who feel discontent.
Just like that, to the chamberlain that waiting on the side―― He sent a glance to Natalie.
「Well then, Natalie-chan. Though there’s an extremely shortage of information, for the time being, I’ll command these guys to head toward the center of the city from the west gate. You must report this to Liselotte-sama」
He stopped talking after saying that.
「Yes. Understood. That’s my intention from the very beginning, Matthias-san, may the fortune of war be with you」
After giving a salute and nodding her head, Natalie showed a smile as she tried to steeled her heart.
「Oo, that sounds good right. If it comes to us aiding the cute Natalie-chan, my motivation is suddenly gushing out」
The man called Matthias shrugged his shoulder as if making joke of it.
Though that face that is smiling brightly can be seen as frivolous, it didn’t cause discomfort to humans or is strange.
「Yeah yeah. Please say such stupid things after you repel the invaders. Since I’m in a hurry, I’ll gladly receive the chance to leave for a short time. 『Body Reinforcement Magic Hyper Physical Ability』」
After she recited the aria, the light of the magic square enveloped her body, Natalie left that place with a speed that should be called a gale.
「As expected, only the child of chamberlain corps who have those. Even us can’t hold out against them」
After whistling softly with “hyu~t”, Matthias showed a wide grin.
「YOSH, NOW YOU BASTARD！ FIRST, WE’RE HEADING TOWARD THE CENTRAL PLAZA. LET’S GO！FOLLOW ME！ 」
Matthias calling them with loud voice.
Thereupon, the soldiers and the adventurers reply with their overlapping loud voice「OU！」.
After separating and walking along the street approaching the west side of the city till sometime ago, Rio arrived at the central plaza.
Though there’s battle with monsters unfolding in various places of the city, the line of defence is spreading in the main street before the central plaza that’s stretching directly from the west gate, the adventurers and close to 200 soldier which is almost all their man power is in the midst of battle.
「ORAORA, LET’S KILL THEM QUICKLY！ COORDINATE WITH EACH OTHER SO THE FORMATION WILL BECOME TWO FOR ONE OGRE, THREE FOR ONE ORC！ THE ONE WITHOUT PAIR AND THE ONE WITHOUT SELF-CONFIDENCE IS TO GO AGAINST THE GOBLIN! THE COLLECTION OF THE MAGIC STONE OF THE KILLED MONSTER IS POSTPONED！ THE EXCEPTION OF HUMAN SHAPED MONSTERS IS TO BE LEFT TO THE ADVENTURER PARTY ！ 」
The commander shouts his order, turning it into an angry roar for the adventurers and soldiers to hear.
The male soldier of his prime of life with masculine body is drifting with a style of long military service.
Though there’s a large number of monsters, they can’t perform a skillful command, they can use the narrow passage to hold back the influx.
But as expected, controlling everything is impossible, the monsters who escaped from the siege is going into the city little by little.
Even Rio reluctantly slayed the monsters rushing in his way during his movement.
Though he almost couldn’t see anyone except for combatants, the monsters are invading so deep into Almond beyond Rio’s expectation.
Even Rio had beaten several monsters since sometime ago, though he killed every one of them under a single slash, the number of monsters that evaded the line of defence didn’t seem to be lessened.
Since several green colored goblins came to attack, Rio swung his sword and killed them while clicking his tongue.
He will move to a place completely lacking of human presence if possible, though he wanted to leave by flying in the air with spirit arts, it’ll stand out if he’s flying in the middle of the city.
He has no choice but to keep going forward by strengthening his body and physical ability with spirit arts.
Maybe from the fact that the east gate is jammed with people, the thing of leaving by jumping off the fence surrounding the city is the best choice.
And just like that he keeps on killing them one after another as he feels bored to the monsters that show up, finally the number of monsters that came decreased.
「YAA-G-GO AWAY！ GO TO THAT PLACE！ 」
Rio met with the situation in which a girl around 10 years old is facing against a orc and goblin.
She’s standing as if protecting the women who somehow had fallen on the ground.
The wooden arrow fired by the goblin is sticking out on both legs of the woman, it seems she couldn’t move.
「I-I WON’T！ IF MOTHER’S NOT RUNNING, THEN ME TOO！
Mirey’s confirming the figure of her fallen mother over her shoulder.
Even for extracting the arrow that pierced into her thigh, The acute pain is seemingly a hindrance and made her unable to muster her power.
「I can’t walk anymore. So, please. Run. Mother is okay」
「NO！ I DEFINIELY WON’T RUN AWAY！ 」
To her mother who is desperately urging her to run away, Mirey’s objecting with a voice as if she’s crying.
The goblins and orcs who’re approaching showing their warped face as if feeling pleasant with her in this kind of situation.
This distance is become just several steps, Mirey face is cramped in fear to the large build of the orc who stands before her.
Jamming into the space between them in one step from behind, Rio drived a sweeping kick to the neck of the orc.
Due to the strength behind that kick, the large but stout and stacked build of the orc which exceeded 2 metres is easily blown away like a cannonball.
Mirey let out an idiotic voice when the large build in front of her disappeared in an instant.
Following that, Rio drived the heel of his palm into the body of the remaining orc.
The large build of the orc flew several metres behind and then fell on the ground.
Now he’s seizing the arm of the goblin who in an disordered state and then tossed them high into the air.
The goblins are fainting in agony due to pain with the impact of them thrown on the ground from a high place.
Maybe because each hit place is in a dangerous place, it dies right away and it’s body reduced to ashes leaving nothing in this world but just it’s magic stone.
After Rio confirmed that.
「Are you alright？」
While saying so he’s confirming whether there’s any injury on Mirey’s body.
Mirey stared at Rio’s face with a dumbfounded expression.
To the sidelong glance of her, Rio’s stepping up to the fallen woman.
「……I’m going to extract the arrow for treatment. It’ll be a bit painful, please endure it」
Though Rio felt some sort of deja vu in seeing that womans face, he immediately abandoned such thought and conveyed that to her.
After hearing her reply, Rio extracted the wooden arrow that was pierced into her thigh and calf.
The face of the woman is frowned in pain.
「『Recovery Magic Heal』」
When Rio placed his hand on top of the leg of the woman which was drilled into a small hole, he recited the camouflage aria-like chant and started to quickly treat the wound with spirit arts.
Except for the fact that the magic square isn’t generated, if the woman has a little knowledge about magic, it won’t be strange for her to feel the strange phenomenon.
Fortunately, the woman shut her eyes due to the pain, with Mirey looking at that situation from the back due to curiousity, it seems she didn’t notice the fact that there’s no magic square floating in the air.
And then, the healing is completed after around 20 seconds,
「It should be fine with this. The truth is, it’s better if you refrained from running but, I won’t stop it since it’s an emergency. For the time being, can you stand」
So he talked to her.
「Ye-Yeah. Thank you very much！ How should I say my gratitude to you……」
The woman is bowing to Rio as if expressing her gratitude.
Thereupon, arriving at their place,
「Rebecca-san What happened to you？ 」
Natalie who’s on the way of returning toward the Liselotte mansion just happened to pass by.
She then looks at Rio with slightly vigilance eyes in seeing the woman called Rebecca bowing to Rio.
「This onii-chan just saved us from the monster！ And healed mother’s wound too！ 」
Therefore, Mirey happily explained the situation from their side.
To her figure that is hopping in excitement, Natalie showed an expression as if being dumbfounded.
Natalie’s looking doubtfully at Rio but, several wooden arrows rolling on the ground, trace of bleeding, and then looking at the appearance of Mirey doesn’t feel like she’s lying.
Her gaze wandering around for a short while arranging the situation and then,
「S-So that was the case. My apologies！ Ah, no, I mean thank you very much！ 」
Natalie is somehow apologizing and then following that is saying her gratitude.
Rio head is tilting slightly while saying 「N？」, for he don’t know what she’s apologizing for.
Though Rio knows that Natalie is the one who was tailing him, Natalie never expected that Rio knew about her tailing him.
Though whether it’s for tailing him or not, its seemingly for a different matter.
To tell the truth, Natalie misunderstood about Rio.
Though the exchange between Matts and Rio from a while ago is seen by Natalie right from the side, even while he carrying an armament, she feels that his will for saving the city which is in a dangerous situation is nothing but zero, an insensitive person who left this place as if running away―― That was Natalie’s impression toward Rio.
Of course, though dissatisfied at the situation to the point close to enraged, Natalie as an individual that almost never showed any discontent under such situation, the thing of Rio who easily left this place didn’t have that much of a good impression in her.
But, as long as she hears Mirey’s story just now, Rio’s doing a totally opposite action of an insensitive person.
Looking at Rebecca who’s bowing to Rio in panic, she feels ashamed for doubting that he might be planning to do something bad, Natalie’s apologizing for that misunderstanding, rather, it was to tell her gratitude for protecting the citizens of the city.
「No, I just happened to pass by this place」
Though by no means she never thinks that misunderstanding is exposed, Rio shakes his head while showing a slightly wry smile.
「Well, I’ll go first then. Both of you too, if you’re going to take a shelter at the east gate, will you come along？ 」
For some reason, feeling that a delicate atmosphere is drifting in the air, Rio’s promptly leavng that place dismissing Natalie.
And inviting Mirey and Rebecca at the same time.
Though he wants to move alone if possible, as expected, even Rio can’t do such a inhuman act such as going ahead by himself and leaving this pair of mother and daughter alone.
「Ah, wait a minute please！」
In that moment, Natalie called Rio――
Rio sensed presences that quickly approached from behind.
When He’s turning around, in that moment what he saw in that place was the figure of the grey colored ghoul rushing at Natalie.
Rio’s rushing at the same time as shouting and diving into the gap between Natalie and the ghoul.
Natalie who’s unable to responding to Rio muttering「EH？」with a dumbfounded face.
Seizing the ghouls hand that was trying to use it’s hand to pierce Natalie’s heart with it’s sharp nail, twisting it’s hand with every bit of his power and hurling the ghoul to destroy its posture with that power.
When he jumps to the side and landing on the ground, a slight groan is leaking out from the ghouls mouth.
Though the arms that was twisted by Rio was bent in a way that’s impossible from the standpoint of human structure, the ghoul is gripping that arm and forcefully corrected it.
And then, the damage in that area is restored in the blink of an eye.
「W-What kind of creature is that. That twisted creature……」
Natalie’s muttering with dumbfounded tone looking at that scene.
Rio keeps staring at the ghoul.
「Well, though I also have no knowledge of it, it might be a monster right. Apparently it seems that it’s still quite lively in such a troublesome thing」
He grumbled as if being annoyed by it.
When confirming behind with a fleeting glance over his shoulder, he sees the figure of Rebecca and Mirey cuddling closely with a anxious face.
Rio’s grieving slightly.
「You must protect the two behind me. I’ll be the opponent of THAT thing. In this case you have your dagger, so you should be able to struggle a bit right？ 」
He said that to Natalie with an expression as if decided on something.
「B-But, that monster is clearly different from the others. It seems that it unexpectedly has healing magic and physical ability, though if we’re coope-…..」
Natalie’s knitting her eyebrows and rejected that idea right away.
Though she’s a chamberlain, from the fact that she also received combat practice, she has her confidence of not losing against the knights who’s bragging their skill.
But, though she could catch the speed of the ghoul just for a moment before, they’re a creature that have strengthened their physical ability till the limit of their flesh with magic.
To add up is their regeneration ability.
Though she doesn’t think that she can’t win, since it’s an opponent she met for the first time, it’s not limiting them from not having another troublesome ability.
Therefore, she picked the safe plan, she judged that it should be better to fight it with utmost care though.
「Well, I should be okay if it’s just that level. We shouldn’t even cooperate under the condition that we’ve no knowledge of each other’s battle style. If the situation seemingly turns to a dangerous situation, please protect them」
Rio’s facing Natalie as he gave a light hearted answer to her as if everything is under control.
Natalie’s flabbergasted to Rio who’s showing a carefree attitude and telling her that fact as if he’s telling her that he’s going for a light stroll.
A conflicting expression is floating on her face, and when she’s being troubled inside,
「……Understood. Well then, I’ll leave it to you」
Natalie decided to entrust the task of becoming the opponent of the ghoul with a heart full of guilt.
One of the reasons was in Rio’s statement, since protection of Rebecca and Mirey is also a must.
「Yeah, you must not let the two behind you be in danger, I’m looking forward to your cooperation then. Since there’s no reason for the other monster to not come rushing to attack us」
Answering him, Natalie was looking at Mirey and Rebecca behind her.
The two of them are low rank nobles, it doesn’t mean that they’ve no personal connection to Natalie.
Nevertheless, they’re the cherished citizens of Liselotte who’s her master.
If she can’t protect them――
The too serious Natalie is so thoroughly following her words, she swore in her heart that she will definitely protect them.
「Go for it, Onii-chan！」
Rio’s waving his hand as he replied to Mirey.
Maybe because the ghoul had already completely restored it’s arm, it’s intimidated by Rio as if being on guard against him.
But, Rio’s calmly approaching the ghoul.
Natalie was looking firmly at Rios’ back.
It might be okay if it’s him――
Though his body is a bit slender compared to the trained body of the adventurers and the soldiers, she’s wondering why she feels that.
That back that was reflected in Natalie’s eyes as if giving her an absolute sense of security.
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