Extra chapter thanks to my Patreons as usual~ Enjoy!
Chapter 54: The story begins here
Turning back time a little.
Morning. Ruti and Tise were walking in the north ward.
The cold air in the morning caused their breaths to turn white.
“If we’re going to break him out of prison, there should be magic countermeasures in place. Invisibility cloaks probably won’t work.”
Illusion Magic which would make a person invisible would be the first to have countermeasures set up for.
It would be difficult to dispel every single spell but countermeasures were possible using local budgets if they stuck to specific magic systems.
“The plan will be according to what we have discussed.”
Ruti said softly.
Tise revised her impression of the Hero.
She was certainly lacking common sense but she was by no means reckless.
Ruti investigated the prisoner’s daily schedule yesterday and gathered materials such that they could judge when was the best time to infiltrate.
The result of their discussion was to take the strategy with the highest rate of success by doing it flashily but minimizing the damage.
Unlike the stone wall that surrounded Zoltan, the outer brick wall of the prison was sufficiently tall and there were sharp spikes on top of the walls too.
Without the ‘Leap Mastery’ skill possessed by Divine Protections such as 『Roof Walker』 or 『Flying Dragon Knight』, it would probably be difficult to climb over the wall.
Ruti drew her goblin blade that had holes opened in it.
“Martial Art, Rock Slicer.”
With a swing of Ruti’s sword, the wall was shredded smoothly without any resistance.
The two of them passed through the square hole that was hollowed out.
And after passing through, they fitted the hollowed out section of the wall back into its original spot.
Due to the extreme sharpness achieved by the martial art, it fit perfectly without any gaps to the point that nobody would notice the cut without investigating it closely.
In addition, it took them less than a second from approaching the wall to slicing through it and infiltrating.
By the time the prison guard on the watchtower, who found keeping watch a troublesome task, looked over, the two of them had already slipped into the shadows.
The bell for breakfast rang inside the prison.
The inmates lined up beside the table and muttered prayers before their meal following the words of the guard.
The sound of a slam rang out.
The guard frowned but didn’t say a word.
“Geh, shitty insect.”
It was the sound of a skin-head inmate stomping on a large beetle that was crawling on the floor.
The body fluid of the insect stuck to the barefoot of the man when he raised his foot.
The inmate with a burn scar on his cheek scowled and spat on the floor.
The middle-aged official, who was sent there for corruption, standing opposite them clicked his tongue loudly as he was fed up with the unsanitary and ill-mannered actions of the inmates.
“What was that?”
The skin-head who crushed the insect threatened him.
Although the middle-aged inmate was an official, he had the Divine Protection of 『Grappler』.
He stained his hands with corruption because he had given up on his career as his Divine Protection did not match working as an official.
As he could not dispel the frustration from the impulses of his Divine Protection while doing regular work, he went on Goblin hunting on his off days so his Divine Protection level was quite high.
He was confident that he could keep pace with unlawful opponents in unarmed fights.
In comparison, the skin-head inmate’s Divine Protection was 『Bar Brawler』.
He was a regular at the prison and have been imprisoned many times for violent incidents.
His latest trial ended in a single minute and his sentence was decided without him saying a single word.
He had accepted that he was such a person and continued to pass day-by-day as a helper for fights or by shaking people down.
It was not a life that a person could be proud of but because of that, he had a personality that could not endure others looking down on his physical strength.
The man with a burn scar on his cheek standing beside the skin-head inmate was a laborer who possessed the Divine Protection of 『Warrior』.
He stabbed a person during a trivial fight and unfortunately, that man died. He had already spent a year in prison.
The incident which caused him to come here was not related to his Divine Protection at all.
However, he only felt regret whenever he saw the ridiculous behavior of the inmates.
All three of them had a completely different set of values and Divine Protections.
In the end, the skin-head inmate leaped onto the table and the middle-aged inmate raised both his hands.
Suddenly, there was a loud explosion.
The three inmates looked toward the origin of the sound with their mouths wide open.
Somebody among the three shouted. Later, when they were asked who shouted, they would all say that they don’t know.
At that moment, the three inmates with completely different values and Divine Protections had the exact same thought.
There was a large hole blown into the wall of the dining hall.
By the time the guard turned to look, the inmates were all swarming toward the hole in the wall, striving to be the first to reach it.
It was a misunderstanding by the guards and inmates who thought they heard an explosion.
It was Ruti’s fist that broke the wall.
It was just that the sound of humanity’s strongest fist hitting the wall sounded exactly like an explosion.
By the time the inmates were rushing toward the hole, Ruti was no longer anywhere to be seen.
The intruder boldly walked down the corridor of the hospital annex.
But nobody noticed them.
The intruder walked around the hospital annex without using any magic but nobody questioned them as they memorized the position of the personnel.
After roughly looking around, the intruder climb up to the window barred with iron bars and slipped between the ‘gaps’ of the iron bars.
“Welcome back, Ugeuge-san.”
Tise smiled gently after seeing her partner return.
Ugeuge-san waved one leg in response.
It hopped up onto Tise’s arm and Tise activated the ‘Spider Empathy’ skill to establish thought communication.
Spiders do not understand words and letters so all Tise could sense were vague images.
However, Tise had trained and studied on her own to understand it.
“Okay, I got it. Thank you, Ugeuge-san.”
Have a safe trip, Ugeuge-san raised both its front legs as if signifying that.
The guards came out in full force to respond to the chaos from the prison break attempt.
Only a single person remained at the entrance to the hospital annex and that person was already made unconscious by Tise’s blow to his vital point.
When Tise activated her skill, a person with the exact same appearance as the unconscious guard appeared in front of Tise’s eyes.
Decoy was a skill used to create a split body of the user’s own body or a person they touched.
The split body could not move independently nor make any sound but it could be given simple orders like to pace around a certain range or nod if something was said to it.
Split bodies were like balloons with no contents so they had no combat ability at all but it was an ability that belonged to the summoning system rather than the illusion system. Thus, it could not be detected via anti-illusion magic countermeasures.
From experience, Tise knew that the decoy could buy a lot more time than expected of its physically weak split body.
From then on, it was a race against time.
The guards only realized that the close aide of Big Hawk, the Alchemist Codwin, was missing 30 minutes after they finished suppressing the prison escape attempt.
Ruti took off the gag that was tied onto the man’s mouth.
“Wh-who are you guys?”
Dragged to a dim warehouse in the harbor district, the Alchemist Codwin held onto his wound that hurt from being moved and he asked with a terrified voice.
The man was not bound in any way apart from his mouth but he understood that the two people there were stronger than him by far. He knew that it would not be a good idea to oppose them.
After thinking a little about the question the Alchemist asked, Ruti …
“I want you to compound the Devil’s Divine Protection.”
She frankly told him her purpose.
“Devil’s Divine Protection …”
The Alchemist regained a little of his composure after knowing the goal of the two who broke him out of prison.
(I see, so they wish to make a business by selling the Devil’s Divine Protection. I thought I would not be able to avoid the death sentence but it seems like there is hope for me to live.)
The Devil’s Divine Protection was an item that denied the belief of the Holy Church.
As the Alchemist who made them, he imagined that he would be the first to be dragged to the execution ground.
He was cornered to the point where he continued to secretly rub his wound against the bed to put up a pointless struggle to delay that day as much as possible.
(However, the Devil’s Divine Protection requires demon hearts. Without Big Hawk-san, I can’t make it. If they find out, my value would be lost. I have to somehow buy time and get them to bring me to safety outside of Zoltan.)
The Alchemist desperately wrecked his brain to look for a path of survival.
(The materials can no longer be acquired within Zoltan. The remaining choices are either remote lands or criminal cities where wanted posters would not reach. Right, Muzari would be good. Runaway slaves are hired as miners there so if I can get hired as an Alchemist to compound medicine for the miners, I could spend the rest of my life there.)
The Alchemist’s behavior showed that he was at a loss to what to say to explain that but …
The Alchemist’s thoughts were all blown away when he saw the paper Ruti passed to him.
“Th-this is the compounding recipe for the Devil’s Divine Protection!?”
The Alchemist was confused.
Why did these girls have this and why did they deliberately break him out if they knew about the compounding method?
The skills needed to compound the Devil’s Divine Protection were Intermediate Alchemy Level 5 and Intermediate Compounding Level 1.
It was quite a requirement but it was not something that only Codwin was capable of.
His question was referring to why they had it or why did they break him out of prison but Ruti misunderstood him.
“So that I can use it.”
The Alchemist could not stop his body from trembling when Ruti announced her own intention and looked down on him with cold eyes.
The man who lived in the underground society was frightened like a child.
“I-I understand, I will do whatever you say! So please stop it with those eyes!!”
The Alchemist appealed to Ruti with a wail.
“The Devil’s Divine Protection is too well known in Zoltan.”
Ruti nodded to Tise’s comment.
“Even without that, we have broken that Codwin man out of prison so we should leave Zoltan as soon as possible. Let’s leave tonight.”
They had tied Codwin up with rope and hid him in a large crate located in the warehouse.
The Alchemist was obedient and didn’t show any intent to resist.
Ruti had no objection to leaving Zoltan.
The next destination would be the city where the celebration was held for their subjugation of Desmond of the Earth.
” … I will surely find you.”
Ruti muttered decisively with a soft voice but a serious expression.
Just that alone had enough intimidation to cause Tise to give a quiet shriek.
“We’re here, the people at the harbor district inn mentioned that this place has the best selection of products.”
“Can’t we heal him with Hands of Healing?”
“No, Ruru-san is the only person with the Hands of Healing skill.”
If they intend to conceal their identities, it would be better to not let the captured Alchemist know that Ruti was the Hero as well.
In addition, once they leave Zoltan, they would probably find a Healer who could use the ‘Regenerate’ spell which could heal the wound even after some time has passed.
It would cost quite a sum to have such a high-level spell cast but it was not an issue with the Hero’s financial strength.
“Let us stick to first aid measures using analgesic and cure potions until we leave Zoltan.”
Cure Potions could only stop the bleeding from an open wound but that would be enough for now.
It would be fine as long as the Alchemist did not die.
That was when the two of them arrived at the 『Red and Lit Apothecary』 to purchase medicine.
The door chimed when Tise opened it.
It was an Apothecary in Downtown so she had imagined a small dirty store but the interior of the shop was a lot cleaner than she had expected.
All kinds of medicine were on display on the shelves on the walls.
There were containers of miasma-repelling herbs placed here and there so there was also a slightly refreshing scent inside the shop.
There were a number of artistic drawings on the shop walls and there was a statue of a winged angel with compassionate eyes in the center of the room. Tise could not understand art but the paintings made using gentle colors and the angel statue caused her heart to relax.
Apparently, they had to request Magic Potions like Cure Potions from the shop attendant directly. The item list placed beside the statue was quite thick so it seemed that it was true that the place had a good assortment of items.
The shop attendant was a man. He was talking to a Half-Elf man as he arranged the medicine.
“That person is!?”
Tise felt her breath freeze as that man was the skilled adventurer she met at the oden stall.
Tise tried to warn Ruti but …
The scene Tise saw at that moment was enough to crush the figure of the Hero Ruti she had in her mind until that point to pieces.
With teary eyes but a radiant smile on her face, Ruti opened both her arms to hug that man.
The man caught the leaping Ruti even though he was surprised.
“I wanted to meet you! I missed you for a long time!!”
Standing there was not the Hero with tense aura which Tise felt until now.
In the man’s arms was a smiling and crying Ruti, just a regular young girl.