Chapter 129.2 : Battle of Outpost
… … …
「Let’s leave this place.」
Rio also turned around and went towards the inn as Christina-tachi chased after him in a hurry.
When Rio looked at the onlookers blocking his path from under his hood, they trembling in fear and opened a path for him.
「Uhm, my apologies, lord Amakawa. Because of me, you’re……….」
Christina started to apologize to him a while later.
「It’s nothing, though we’re close to the gate, we’re still on the outside of the rampart and due to the crowd of people, it is natural that the public order would be bad. I think you were just unlucky, so let’s not worry about such things.」
Rio replied in a somewhat awkward tone. He felt guilty since that was the opportunity to call those guys who were related to him.
「…………. Yes. Uhm, thank you!」
Christina expressed her gratitude in an awkward tone.
Rio smiled wryly as he shook his head denying her apology with a slightly cold tone, he suddenly started to look around his surroundings. As if to make sure that no fool will repeat the same stunt as before after looking at the previous exchange.
Christina stopped trying to talk to him again as she saw him doing that.
Thereupon, now Celia was the one who started talking to Rio.
「Hey Haruto, you didn’t need to had over that amount money to those guys right? 」
「……… Otherwise it would have become a huge uproar and we would be in a difficult situation if the officials were to come to that place. You don’t want to get involved with an influential person of this kingdom under the current situation right? 」
Rio explained the reason for his action with a troubled face.
「Muu, that’s true, but still……….」
Celia who seemingly couldn’t accept is was pouted at him.
「Eh, is that why you quickly gave the amount of money they demanded from us? 」
Kouta asked him timidly from his side.
Rio nodded at him.
Those guys are most definitely Lucci-tachi in disguise. He knew from Aisia’s report that Arein employed an adventurer called Orin.
The incident a while ago might have been to test their power.
Risking exposure was acceptable to make sure of the other party’s identity, to have a rough grasp on the people who were related to him or their party composition. Moreover, If he judged that it’s possible to win, he’ll take it even further.
He could predict his opponent—- Or so he thought, nevertheless Rio didn’t get carried by his pace as he killed the flow immediately.
In short the victor of this mental battle was Rio. If they were to come out for a second time, it would be an act bolder than this one.
At least they won’t take such actions in front of public eyes. If they were going to do something, it would be done when Rio-tachi leave the city.
「Just a bit more. As long as we can enter the territory of Galwark kingdom, the army of Bertram kingdom can’t openly invade the other kingdom’s territory, So let’s do our best till then.」
Rio said those words after they arrived at the area filled with inns. Christina-tachi braced themselves as they nodded at him.
Their journey towards the stronghold of Restoration had reached its climax.
◇ ◇ ◇
Evening of that day, Lucci taking along Orin-tachi went to a deserted inn outside of the city rampart.
Even though the old man at the counter glared at them he didn’t say anything to them. Lucci-tachi also didn’t care about him and just went toward the inner part of the inn.
After moving towards a room on the 2nd floor without any hesitation, Lucci knocked on the door. Thereupon, the old wooden door opened while making a loud creaking sound.
A man at the latter half of his twenties, Arein appeared from inside the room.
Being invited by Arein, Lucci casually entered the room. Orin-tachi followed after him. The ones inside the room apart from Arein were two youths from Orin’s party.
「SO, how was things on your end? 」
After Lucci sat on a chair with a thud, Arein asked that question.
Orin-tachi stayed away from them and standood at one corner of the room.
「No good. Though I went as far as to disguise myself as an accident faker, that guy readily paid the money on site. And here we expected them to at least hesitate a bit.」
Lucci clicked his toungue and replied with a displeased tone.
「Readily paid the money on site? Without even the slightest hesitation? 」
「Yeah, they didn’t show any gap even when when we provoked them.. They readily paid 5 gold coins from their pocket. I should have asked for 10 gold coins instead. 「You fool. The problem is not the amount of money. Rather than that, didn’t you find out anything else? 」
Arein asked while smiling happily.
「Come to think of it, their relationship was more like a master-servant relationship. The master might have been that woman.」
「I see. …….. Though you might say that they’re willing to pay 5 gold coins to avoid trouble in the middle of the city, should we assume that there’s a skilled magician or swordsman amongst them due to their amount of wealth?」
Arein had a change of heart after he heard the report from Lucci who witnessed Rio-tachi’s combat against those orcs.
「Their goal is pretty much clear already, what shall we do then? It’s just about the time for that right? 」
Lucci asked that hope-filled qustion to Arein who just showed a pensive look.
「You’re right, let’s start from tomorrow. We are pretty much at our limit and there’s still no contact from Reis-sama since then. I’ll secure the necessary manpower. Let’s see , I think we need around 30 people to match them.」
Arein was looking at Orin-tachi as he made that decision. Hearing that , Lucci suddenly clenched his fist and made a triumphant pose while saying 「YEAH!」.
「Uhm, it won’t be a dangerous job right? ………. Or something like a crime?」
Despite being hired and just listening quietly from the side, Orin-tachis party representative, Orin, timidly asked that question when he heard that dangerous conversation.
「Ah？ Well you can leave if you don’t want to. In that case, I’ll be deducting your remuneration.」
Lucci smiled as he thought―― What are you talking about at such a late hour after participating in that accident faker-like act.
「…….. D-Do you mean that we’ll get a bonus as long as we participate tomorrow ? 」
「Well, something like that. We made you move around to many places after all. If you guys help us in tomorrow’s operation, we’ll give you the 5 gold coin that we got just now.」
「R-REALLY！ ? 」
Orin-tachi’s face changed after hearing Lucci’s suggestion. Orin’s comrades pressured him with「Let’s do this, Orin」
Arein and Lucci exchanged glances with a sneer on their face. Morals can go to hell.
After that, Orin-tachi stated their intention to participate in tomorrow’s plan. Thus, Arein and Lucci made their plan to ambush Rio-tachi.
（The situation so far is according to Haruto’s prediction.）
The invisible girl in that room watched their discussion with her expressionless face.
◇ ◇ ◇
The next morning, Rio-tachi left the city and advanced towards the east highway that would lead them towards the national border of Galwark kingdom.
The weather was clear and sunny. After walking for a few hours towards the foot of the mountain from the ridge, the national border was only a little a bit away from them.
Nevertheless, they couldn’t just walk straight ahead like that. There, at a certain place at the bottom of the valley, was a checking station of Bertram kingdom who was controlling emigration and immigration.
Hills were spreading right infront of them, as long as they can successfully cross this checking station. Though the view was not that good as there were so many large rocks and small hills around the highway, it also made it easier for Rio-tachi to slip out from the highway. Though it’ll become a problem if they were found out.
They would be able to cross the national border between Galwark kingdom and Bertram kingdom as long as they manage to pass through the fort that was one hour in walking distance from them.
Rio-tachi were waiting for the highway to become deserted while pretending to have a rest along the highway and then slipped out from the highway, entering the mountain and forest area.
（Haruto. There’s a river ahead of you. It seems they’re going to set an ambush around the bridge.）
After slipping out to the mountain and forest area to make a detour due to the fort, he received a telepathic message from Aisia since they might already be within the possible range for communications.
（Roger. They moved according to yesterday’s report huh?）
He heard from Aisia the matter regarding Arein planning to ambush them by hiring mercenaries and adventurers of this area.
（What will you do? The detour will take quite some time but, I can feel it when I saw that from the sky, can you make a detour?）
（No, I’ll keep on advancing towards the bridge. They still have the griffon even if w take a detour right? In that case they just have to wait ahead of us in another place. Moreover――）
Aisia asked when Rio paused his words for a moment.
（It’ll be troublesome if they were to follow us around more than this. I’ll make them spit the information about that man in these areas. Since I’ll be the one who’ll take care of those guys, can you protect sensei and the others while still in your spirit form? Just in case you see.）
（………….. Understood. Be careful, Haruto.）
（Yeah, it’s okay.）
Rio tried to give a relaxed reply to Aisia who was worrying about him.
After walking for around ten minutes, he could see the above mentioned river. They had to get closer to the highway in order to cross the bridge.
And then, when they could see the bridge――,
「Everyone, since I’ve no time for a long explanation, please just do as I say after this.」
Rio said those words to them.
Christina-tachi listened quietly to what he had to say.
「Someone is waiting to ambush us around that bridge. They might or might not be our opponent. That’s why everyone strengthen your physical abilities and then cross the bridge on my signal. Don’t stop no matter what happens. Is that clear? Please answer with a light cough if you understood the plan」
Rio ordered them with a tone that did not permit any useless questions. Thereupon, Christina-tachi gave a light cough.
「I’m going to keep them busy in case they try to chase after us. In that case, let’s meet at our destination by today. In case of irregularities , let’s do our best to wait for each other for 3 days.」
Rio nonchalantly added that information. Though Celia looked like she was about to say something, Vanessa suddenly caught her shoulder to stop her from doing what she was about to do.
The bridge was already imminent, in front of them while they were having such a conversation.
Thus, the moment their foot stepped onto the bridge――,
Rio gave his instruction.
Thereupon, Christina-tachi started to chant the aria at the same time――,’
「《Hyper Physical Ability》」
As soon as they strengthened their physical abilities, all of them were instantly crossing that tens of metres long bridge.
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