Interlude, On the way back to Rune
Chapter 0144 A Companion in Traveling
Three weeks after the chaos in the Royal Capital.
The Royal Capital had finally regained its calm and was slowly on its path to recovery.
Two adventurers were walking on the Third Highway leading from the Royal Capital to the south.
The common combination of a Swordsman and a Magician.
Sera and the other Crimson Swords apart from Abel returned to the City of Rune with the Knights of Rune material transfer team.
Sera was reluctant to return at first but in the end, was convinced by Ryo that he would return soon.
It was Priest Rihya who was not convinced … but because an urgent request from the Temple of Rune came to Rihya through the Royal Capital Sanctum, she had no choice but to return with the material transfer team in tears.
Abel was called by his brother, the Crown Prince, and had a lot of work to do so he couldn’t return …
Even if she was with the Knights of Rune, they felt uneasy letting Rihya return on her own so Rin and Warren also returned to the City of Rune as Rihya’s escort.
Rihya forced Abel to promise to 『Return with Ryo』.
She felt that most problems could be solved if Ryo was with him.
Thus, a week after the party left, Abel and Ryo were finally leaving the Royal Capital and returning to the City of Rune.
“All things considered … why didn’t it happen in the Royal Capital …”
Ryo’s mutter was heard by Abel walking next to him.
And Abel was stunned.
From Abel’s reaction, Ryo realized that his mutter was louder than he had expected.
“No, just so you don’t misunderstand, I was referring to the lack of story-like developments like Fighting Tournaments or Schooling Arc which are the trademark developments for light novels, right?”
“Yeah, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Ryo explained it clearly but Abel couldn’t understand it at all.
“You see, usually, when it comes to the Royal Capital Arc, there would be times where you can jump on the chance to participate in a fighting tournament and become successful, or when you enter a school and everyone praises you ‘Ryo-san is strong~’. But that didn’t happen this time in the Royal Capital.”
“Oh, yeah … Ryo sometimes says things that I don’t understand. No, not sometimes, all the time!”
Ryo pretended to be hurt by Abel’s rant.
“This is the scene of a hurt Ryo.”
“Somehow, I feel like I’m the bad guy here …”
“Abel, don’t mind it~”
“No, it’s your fault!”
Before he knew it, Ryo switched positions to encourage the person he falsely accused and Abel snapped back.
“Haaa … I mean, there’s never been a fighting tournament held in the Royal Capital. At least, not for the last 100 years.”
“Speaking of fighting competitions, the one in the Imperial Capital is famous.”
Abel told a terrifying fact, Ryo fell into despair, and Abel illuminated a new hope once more.
“They hold it once every four or five years. I think it is somewhat like a commemoration tournament that which adventurers from other countries can also participate.”
“I see, and it’s coming soon, right!?”
“Nope, it was just held last year, so it won’t be held for a while.”
Ryo bet on a slim hope and Abel denied him head-on.
Ryo was depressed.
“What misfortune …”
“You mentioned school but Ryo is already an adult? I don’t think you can enroll in school.”
“It doesn’t matter. It’s the default to enter school and be told that you’re strong~ or that’s impossible~!”
“Hmm, yeah, I don’t understand you after all.”
Abel shook him away with one hand.
Ryo was dejected because of his excessive response…
“By the way, Ryo, didn’t you hang out with Kenneth for the last week or so?”
Ignoring the dejected Ryo, Abel asked.
“Yes. I was taught from the basics of alchemy to the inner mysteries of it. We also made an incredible potion together. With this, I am also a full-fledged member of Alchemy!”
Ryo returned to normal in an instant and emphasized his achievements under Baron Kenneth Hayward, the genius Alchemist.
“Isn’t it impossible to reach the inner mysteries of a field in just a week?”
However, Abel denied Ryo’s achievements without hesitation.
If a third party was listening, they would fully agree with Abel’s opinion too.
“Well, maybe inner mysteries were an overstatement, but I have become an advanced user!”
“Isn’t that impossible too?”
“Impossible impossible impossible … is Abel only capable of denying? You can’t nurture a disciple that way.”
“I don’t have disciples … I don’t think Ryo does either, sheesh.”
When Abel said that, Ryo grinned.
“Abel … your information is outdated! I already have five disciples!”
Abel was stunned to hear Ryo say with pride.
Obviously. The fact that Ryo could have disciples was unbelievable.
“There were five children who were apprentice merchants in the Inbury Duchy … and His Royal Highness Prince Willy. Oops, there were six instead of five. Huhuhu.”
Abel didn’t know why but he felt very irritated when he saw Ryo looking so proud of it.
“Are they … magic disciples?”
“Of course. I’m a Magician. What were you thinking?”
“Magic … Swordsmen?”
“Magic Swordsmen!? That sounds cool! Abel has good sense! I might start calling myself Magic Swordsman Ryo from now on.”
Abel called it something suitable and Ryo got hooked.
“Haa, but there’s the saying that he who chases after two rabbits will get none. I’ll focus on just magic after all … I’ll give up on the path of the sword.”
“Yeah, I think you’re already pretty advanced on the path of the sword.”
“I won’t fall into your trap! You’ll let me do both and when I can’t master either, you would say ‘You’re in this state now because you got carried away.’ with a condescending attitude, right? Abel is so terrible.”
“Just how devilish am I in your mind …”
A travel companion.
Traveling in two was more fun than traveling alone … he would never get tired of it.
The first night’s stay was in the Town of Deopham which was a satellite city of the Royal Capital.
The Town of Deopham was the first large town to the south of the Royal Capital and served as a post town.
From that town, it splits into the 『Third Highway』 that leads to the largest city in the south, Acre, and the 『South Highway』 that leads to the City of Rune.
“This inn is wonderful! There is a large communal bath!”
“Ryo sure loves baths. That’s why I decided to stay here. It’s safe too because it’s a well-known inn in Deopham. We can sleep at night with peace of mind.”
“Abel … wonderful! I’ll treat dinner today. Please eat whatever you wish.”
“Yeah, since dinner is included in the price for this inn, which has already been paid in advance.”
“You caught me …”
The operation to earn a favor from Abel failed.
After leaving Deopham, the two were walking on the 『South Highway』 to Rune.
“Abel, have you noticed?”
“Yeah. A somewhat unpleasant gaze. It’s been around since we left the inn.”
“As expected of a B-rank adventurer. I’ve always wanted to say something like ‘I can feel a gaze’.”
Ryo admired Abel’s words a little.
“Ryo didn’t feel it through the gaze?”
“Nope, with magic …”
“Isn’t that more reliable!?”
He got angry at Ryo for some reason.
“But … why are they looking at us? If they want gold, they should definitely aim for a merchant? This South Highway is one of the roads that represent the Kingdom. There are many caravans to aim for. On the other hand, trying to commit a crime on such a crowded highway sounds like suicide.”
“That’s right. The reason to aim for two adventurers … And one who is a Swordsman who seems strong. Unless the people watching us are blind trackers …”
“There’s no way that can be true.”
“But I can’t explain why otherwise. If you exclude everything impossible, no matter how irrational the remaining possibility is, it must be true! A famous detective said so!”
“Yeah, I don’t know what a famous detective is, but the person who said it is probably correct, but I don’t think Ryo is using it correctly. First of all, you didn’t exclude everything impossible!”
Ryo had a graphic novel-like expression of shock after Abel’s declaration.
“I never expected Abel to point that out …”
“Ryo, you go around saying very rude things.”
Ryo, who muttered unintentionally, was lightly glared at by Abel.
“Well, jokes aside. Were we … mistaken for someone?”
“It’s possible. It’s possible that we’re being targeted after being mistaken for a member of royalty traveling incognito somewhere.”
Abel was the second son of the current king.
However, Ryo didn’t know that.
“Abel, you’re hiding something.”
Abel was startled by Ryo’s words that he spoke quietly.
“When I said a member of royalty, Abel reacted slightly.”
Cold sweat ran down Abel’s back.
“Abel … I don’t want to believe it, but you didn’t sneak into a member of royalty’s room and steal some treasure, right? If so, I would sorrowfully apprehend Abel, turn you in, and get the reward …”
“I DID NOT!”
Despite feeling the disturbing gaze, their journey passed peacefully.
Even today, the two of them were on the 『South Highway』 heading to Rune.
“I knew it … we are being watched today too.”
“Yeah … I can feel the gaze.”
Both Ryo and Abel feeling of being watched by someone continued today.
“Abel … did you earn the grudge of a powerful person?”
“Ryo … did you annoy a scary person?”
When they said so, they both placed their hands on their chests at the same time and thought.
And almost at the same time, they sighed.
Both of them seemed to have thought of something.
“Even so … they’re not making a move at all.”
“That’s right … I want them to just get it done with all at once.”
“Somehow, that sounds like a different meaning, so please stop that.”
Abel frowned, imagining the sight of his head being cut off by Ryo.
“It’s okay. I’ll protect Abel! So if it’s a very strong opponent, Abel should protect me. And I’ll run away!”
“Hey, that’s a terrible thing to say in a lot of ways.”
“When will they attack?”
“I wonder if they will attack. Is it possible they just want to monitor us?”
In response to Ryo’s question, Abel made wishful thinking.
“After all, there have been three people within a radius of 500 meters all this time? Just that alone would put them in a big deficit.”
“I wonder if thieves also have a sense of economics …”
“Banditry is a small-scale business after all. If they aren’t strict with money, they would quickly collapse.”
“I-is that so?”
Abel felt pressured by how passionate Ryo was about the topic.
“Aberdare, where I stayed yesterday, will be the last large city in the central region where the Royal Capital is located. Today, the city we plan to stay in until tomorrow is much smaller than Aberdare. Naturally, there would be fewer people on the highway too. Of course, it is still the South Highway, so there would still be some people who come and go …”
“In other words, they might act soon and it’s dangerous while we sleep at night!”
“Why do you look a little excited?”
Abel pointed out that Ryo’s expression was a little off.
“Well, you know, it’s better they come and we defeat them than to wait without knowing when they would act. After all, it’s no good to attack just because they are watching us and they might be thieves … right?”
“Yeah, of course.”
Day 4. On the South Highway.
“Here they come!”
Ryo whispered to Abel.
“What do we do?”
“Let’s just continue walking. It will take about five minutes before they reach. They are coming from all directions to surround us.”
“All directions … how many people are there …”
Abel said with a frown.
Ryo counted the number of people with <Passive Sonar>.
“For thieves, that’s a pretty big gang.”
“I’ll secretly put on ice armor. <Ice Armor 2>”
When Ryo chanted, invisible ice armor was created on the surface of Abel and Ryo’s clothes.
“Numbers is power. Even though they are thieves, we might be injured if they push through with numbers.”
“Ryo is properly cautious in these situations.”
Abel said impressed.
“The great assassin and alchemist was also taken by surprise with numbers. I don’t want Abel to suffer from that.”
“I’m surprised you know an assassin, and an alchemist to boot.”
“People have history. I’ll tell Abel someday.”
Ryo, of course, was thinking about Hassan, the leader of the Order of Assassins.
Five minutes later.
After surrounding Abel and Ryo, three men appeared. The rest seemed to remain surrounding them from a distance.
“You’re finally out. It’s been a long time since Deopham. Good work.”
Abel provoked them.
What did he provoke them? There was no particular reason for it.
“So you noticed it after all?”
The man in the center replied.
He looked overbearing with his skinhead, but it felt like he was the intelligent one among the people surrounding them … Ryo thought so.
“We have already surrounded you. It is useless to resist.”
The skinhead guy went on to say.
“Well, leaving aside whether it’s useless or not. What’s your purpose? I couldn’t think of a reason the entire time. Can you tell me?”
Abel replied normally.
He phrased it as though he just wanted information.
“What we want is the sword you have on your waist.”
Abel instinctively looked at the sword he had on his waist in response to the surprising answer from the skinhead man.
“Is that a magic sword?”
The skinhead guy affirmed.
“No, you’re mistaken.”
“No way in hell we are.”
When Abel denied it, the man with undercut hair next to the skinhead barked.
The man with undercut hair didn’t give off the feeling of intelligence … Ryo thought to himself.
“Well, I know it’s a magic sword, and I definitely want it. Of course, we can take it by force, but if you’re willing to negotiate, we can exchange it for gold, jewels, and more. How about it?”
A skinhead man suggested while controlling the undercut hair man with one hand.
“Not for sale.”
Abel denied it with a word.
“We’ll take out something that is not for sale too.”
The skinhead guy made further suggestions.
As expected, when he said that, they were interested.
Something not for sale?
Where were they keeping it, including the gold and gems?
Did they have a sponsor or were conducting negotiations on behalf of someone?
If so, who was backing them?
Both Ryo and Abel had such doubts.
Causing them to harbor those questions may be one of their negotiation techniques, but … they couldn’t help to feel curious about it.
“Ryo, what do you think?”
“I’m kind of curious. I think they want to take us somewhere.”
The conversation between Abel and Ryo happened as very soft whispers.
“Honestly, I still don’t intend to sell it, but it’s also true that I’m interested in the ‘not for sale’ item that you want to bring out. What’s the plan now?”
Abel told the skinhead guy.
Everything he said was true.
When telling the facts, one’s persuasive power increases.
The reason is unknown.
Probably various factors are intertwined …
If you want to persuade the other party or make the other party believe in you, it is best to tell the facts.
“Then I’ll take you to our village. There I’ll be able to answer your questions. Follow me.”
Then the skinhead guy started walking.
Ryo and Abel looked at each other, but neither thought of an option other than to follow.
Both of them followed the man.
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