Happy New Year beloved readers! Thank you for the support as always. We’ve crossed the 100 chapter mark for WM~
This extra chapter is thanks to my Patreons.
They left the City of Kyradea and didn’t encounter any problems until the morning of the second day.
Ryo spoke to Ra when they entered lunch break.
“Since some time ago, about two people have been watching at a distance, as if they are surveying the state of this caravan.”
Upon receiving Ryo’s report, Ra took Ryo to the escort captain Max.
“Max-san, there are apparently about two people monitoring this caravan. Ryo told me.”
“Maybe it’s a bandit scout. Ryo, keep your eyes on me and tell me where they are.”
“On a tree about 400 meters in front and on the ground at the same distance behind us. One person on each side.”
Ryo, with his face facing Max, conveyed the information he had.
“400 meters … I’m surprised you can tell from such a distance.”
“There is just the right spell in Water-Attribute Magic.”
Max was surprised to find that the lookout was farther away than he had imagined.
In Ryo’s case, if he used <Active Sonar>, he could even monitor close to one kilometer away.
However, active sonar could be noticed if the opponent was sensitive.
At the very least, the other person could tell that someone was searching.
In fact, when dragged into the 『Corridor』, the Akuma Leonor counterattacked from a distance he couldn’t see when he first used Active Sonar.
That’s the drawback.
However, like this time, Ryo’s conveniently named <Passive Sonar> was a passive sonar so it would not alert the other party.
By the way, the words “presence” and “I sense a presence” existed in the world.
Of course, that was not scientifically defined on Earth in the 21st century.
However, few here would doubt its existence.
It may be the odor emitted by the object, the change in the airflow, or the change in the transmission of sound caused by the presence of the object … it could be explained as a phenomenon related to that but the components were too difficult to experiment with.
In any case, the person who senses the presence does not necessarily only sense through movement.
Ryo was sure that the sensation came from feeling the changes that arise because the 『object』 moved or exist there.
For example, let’s say you stay completely still in water.
What if a stone was thrown into the flat water surface?
If you wait, the ripples created by the stone would reach you.
By capturing that, you can grasp the size of the thrown object, the distance and so on from the condition the wave collapsed.
While the thrown object remained unaware that its existence was captured.
And Ryo’s <Passive Sonar> was an extension of that.
Ryo analyzed the water molecules floating in the air and the information that traveled through them.
Changes due to the occurrence of something that did not exist there, changes due to the appearance of those who were not there, or changes due to the movement of those who were there.
The escort captain Max decided to let the escort’s scouts observe the opponent.
He told Ryo and Ra that and asked them to act as usual.
For the time being, the two played their part and returned to their friends for lunch.
“I’m glad it helped a little.”
“Oh, it’s amazing how Water-Attribute Magic can detect scouts from such a long distance away.”
Ryo was relieved to contribute while Ra honestly praised Ryo’s ability to detect.
“I’ve asked previously, but the Adventurer’s Guild doesn’t have any Water-Attribute Magician other than me, right?”
“Yeah …. Oh, by the way, there are. Water-Attribute Magicians are more in demand for jobs in the city than for dangerous jobs like adventurers, that’s why they are needed for caravans like this. This caravan must have some people who can use Water-Attribute Magic, just not the escorts but the subordinates of Gecko. “
“I see! If there’s one in a caravan, you won’t have to stock up on water!”
“That’s how it is.”
When Ryo looked around, there were Gecko’s subordinates who seemed to be using Water-Attribute Magic to replenish the water.
Of course, he had never spoken to them, but Ryo felt a one-sided sense of kinship just by watching that.
That evening, the caravan began preparing for camp.
In the center of the camp, dinner for 40 people was made together.
From Ryo’s position, he could see something soup-based was being made in a cauldron.
“When it comes to escort requests, adventurers typically make do with dried meat and bread … but this caravan is different.”
“As expected of a merchant who represents a country and its exclusive escorts. They are accustomed to traveling and also good at maintaining morale … Gecko probably understands the importance of food in a long journey.”
Compared to his past requests … that said, Ryo had only experienced the escort requests to Whitnash … Ra pointed out that the leader of this caravan, Gecko, was excellent in many ways.
“Is it usually dried meat and bread?”
“Yes, dried meat and bread.”
Ra nodded strongly to Ryo.
Then, Max, the captain of the escort, came over.
“Both of you. Regarding the daytime findings, our scouts confirmed that they were Bandit scouts. We believe they would attack sometime between tonight and tomorrow night, if they plan to do so.”
“So they would sometimes attack during the day too?”
Ryo asked involuntarily.
He thought that attacking under the veil of the night would have a greater success rate.
“If the bandits think that they have more fighting power and that we will surrender without fighting if they show up, they may come out in the daytime. The scouts were probably tasked to ascertain that.”
To win without fighting, that’s the best.
“For now, keep in mind the possibility of a night attack. Also, I heard that Ryo’s magic boasts strong defense, is that true?”
“That reminds me, Abel-san also said that if Ryo puts up an ice wall, he wouldn’t be able to do anything.”
Ra answered Max’s question.
“An Ice wall! Ryo, if we face a night raid, could you please go to Gecko-san’s location?”
“Yes. Gecko-san and his men are resting in tents gathered as closely as possible in the camp, to make it easier for the escorts to protect them in case of emergency. If possible, I would be grateful if you could protect the place they gather at by surrounding it with an Ice wall. What do you think?”
Gecko and his subordinates were the priority to be protected in this caravan.
Of course, the goods that were being carried were important, but the protection of human talents was the highest priority.
Human talent was a treasure.
It’s the essential basis of businesses … originally.
“Of course that’s okay. So, if we are attacked at night, I will go to Gecko-san and put up an Ice wall there to protect everyone.”
“Thank you. Then we can fight without worrying.”
Max smiled nicely.
“Also, the watch duty would be the same as yesterday.”
After telling them that, Max, the captain of the escort, left the two.
Twenty people were divided into four groups of five people, each for two hours.
“Is Ryo in the first shift?”
“Yes. The first shift. Ra-san is the third?”
“Yes. From 2 o’clock to 4 o’clock … the time when they are most likely to attack.”
Ra said with a bitter smile.
Men were gathering at the entrance of a cave, about four kilometers away from the Gecko’s caravan camp.
The more than twenty men could not be said to look like bandits, but they didn’t appear to hold respectable occupations either.
“20 escorts huh … It certainly is a pretty big group.”
“That’s why we can make a lot of money.”
“The information I received said that there would be 15 people …”
“Is it within the margin of error?”
The man who managed the place, who had an overwhelming presence probably because his left eye was crushed, opened his mouth.
“Well. All the items we steal are ours. He’s called Gecko, a resented merchant? A request to kill him … what a weird request.”
“That said, everything was set up, the time, information on the number of wagons and such.”
“Of course. Otherwise, why would I bother to come to this Old Highway?”
The man with a crushed left eye said and drank the alcohol in front of him.
“The night raid will be at three o’clock as usual. Get ready.”
3 o’clock midnight.
About 20 shadows swayed at a short distance to the camp.
“OK, get them!”
A man with the crushed left eye gave his command.
All at once, bandits plunged into the camp.
The bandits invaded by cutting off or pushing down the camp enclosure that surrounded the camp.
“Nobody is here!”
“But the fire is lit …”
“Hey, what is going on!?”
Arrows and magic flew from outside the camp as if to respond to the bandit voices.
“Shit, we were set up!”
“It’s a trap!”
The screams of bandits spread throughout the camp.
The bandits were reduced by half by arrows and magic.
The voice of Max, the captain of the escort, echoed and the caravan escorts and Ra and other adventurers shrank the siege at once from all directions toward the center of the camp and switched to close-quarters combat.
The fierce but almost one-sided battle ended in less than five minutes.
During that time, Ryo only had to enclose Gecko and his 20 subordinates in an Ice wall to ensure their safety, as he was told.
It was a secret that he smiled slightly as Gecko’s subordinates who used Water Magic touched the ice wall with their hands or tapped it with their armor.
(Anyway, I’m glad I completed my mission without exposing them to any danger.)
Ryo thought to himself.
Apparently recently, in the City of Rune, Ryo felt that he was considered a 『battle maniac』 by the people around him.
The reason seemed to be that he fights with a smile in simulated battles …
He was also told by Sera, his sparring partner, with a smile that ‘Ryo seems to enjoy fighting’.
Well, it was the same for Sera too …
By no means was Ryo the only battle maniac!
Ryo wanted to say that out loud … but he screamed it in his heart …
Moving back to current matters, because it was a one-sided battle, no one among the escorts and adventurers was killed or seriously injured.
In the final close-quarters combat, only two members suffered scratches.
On the other hand, on the bandit end, 18 out of 20 had already died.
The two who surrendered were not killed to dig out information.
“Normally, if you catch a bandit, you will kill them all on the spot.”
The merchant Gecko explained to Ryo, who had lifted the ice wall after the battle was over.
“It would be a different story if there was a city nearby, but bandits don’t attack near cities … usually it will be away from the city. In that case, it would be difficult and a huge risk to bring them to the city. Whereas if you release them, another caravan could be attacked … That’s why it’s an unwritten rule in the Central Nations to kill bandits on the spot.”
While explaining, Gecko’s complexion wasn’t very good.
“I guess there are no criminal slaves or anything like that.”
“Yes. Human slavery is completely banned in the Central Nations. Demi-human slavery is also banned outside the Empire. Killing is ethical, but economically wasteful. Well, that doesn’t mean they should be turned into slaves …”
Economically wasteful … as expected of a merchant …
In fact, Ryo only knew for the first time that slaves were completely banned.
And that, in the Empire, there were Demi-human slaves …
That was the first time he heard about 『Demi-humans』 … What about elves and dwarves?
“In the Empire, anything apart from humans are Demi-humans. Elves and dwarves too …”
Gecko nodded with an indescribable expression on his face.
While Ryo was talking to Gecko, Max, the captain of the escort, brought in a subordinate.
“Gecko-san, we have secured the camp. There are no more bandits around us.”
“Well, thank you for your hard work. So, did you get any information from the survivors?”
“About that … Gun, report it directly.”
Max ordered the person who seemed to be a Scout that he had brought along behind him.
“Yes. The bandits are called 『East Wolf』 who are active near the Eastern Highway. I focused on ‘asking’ what were they doing at the Old Highway at this timing and it seemed that information came to the executives. That a 10 wagon caravan would pass through the Old Highway today. And that the Eastern Highway would be closed for a while.”
Hearing that, Gecko was terribly surprised.
“Does that mean the Rho Bridge collapse was by sabotage?”
“Yes, there is a possibility.”
Max affirmed Gecko’s doubts.
“But Rho Bridge is a critical location. It must have been protected by a fairly large stationed army. It took more than five years just for the construction. If some people sneaked under the eyes of the stationed army and caused the collapse of the bridge. Then … it’s a force with considerable power. Moreover, going by the flow, there is a possibility that we are the target …?”
Gecko seemed to be organizing the various information while vocalizing it.
“Unfortunately, the two East Wolf members we caught didn’t know about who gave the information. But …”
“What’s wrong, Gun?”
Gecko urges Gun who was reluctant to continue.
“The executives ordered them to kill Gecko-san …”
Those words surprised everyone but Gecko.
And, it seemed that Gecko was not particularly perturbed …
Gecko calmly put together his words.
“Okay. Thank you for your hard work. Max, Ryo-san, I have something to discuss. Also, Gun, please call Ra-san.”
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