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Chapter 0105 Ryo driven into a corner
The next morning after extracting the tattoo from Sharfi’s chest.
Max and his group extracted information from the assailant who was trapped in the <Ice Coffin> while retaining consciousness.
Even though the assassins so far wouldn’t break their silence no matter what, perhaps the overnight ice treatment was effective as this assassin honestly answered whatever he was asked.
However, they didn’t obtain much information.
In summary …
They were a unit based at Red Post.
The main purpose of their invasion last night was to confirm that the person was killed by the tattoo after receiving notice that the tattoo had been activated.
However, because Gecko, who was currently the highest priority target, was there, they carried out an attack on him at the same time.
The reason for Gecko’s assassination was unknown.
As part of the plans for the Eastern part of the Kingdom, the assassination of Gecko had become a top priority after the collapse of the Rho Bridge and the attack on Slanzewi.
Only three of them were currently at Red Post.
He didn’t know where and how many people were in other cities.
That was all.
As they were attacked in the city, after extracting the information, he was handed over to the garrison that managed security.
“It is pretty much as we suspected.”
“Gecko’s life is the highest priority …”
“The tattoos have various mechanisms built-in.”
Gecko’s thoughts, Max’s determination, and Ryo’s impression of the tattoos … and alchemy.
For the time being, the three of them stared at Sharfi, who was having a large breakfast as though nothing had happened.
Gecko’s caravan ate breakfast at the inn and left the border town of Red Post.
Red Post was the easternmost city of the Kingdom of Knightley, with a border with the Inbury Duchy to the southeast.
From the time they left Red Post, there was a slight change in the formation.
Ryo and Sharfi had been relocated to the side of the leading wagon.
Gecko was seated at the coachman’s stand on the first wagon and Max was escorting it on foot.
In short, they were relocated so that Gecko could get information from Sharfi after he saved his life as promised.
Ryo was there to keep watch on Sharfi.
“Ryo … as the watcher … is somewhat …”
Sharfi grumbled while looking at Ryo walk beside him.
“Sharfi seems to have something to complain about.”
Ryo walked without any worries.
“My heart probably still has an ice film around it, right? So if Ryo … -san wants to, you can crush my heart right away, right?”
“Who knows? I don’t know because I haven’t tried it. Would you like to give it a try?”
“No, please spare me from that.”
Sharfi asked as confirmation and Ryo also suggested giving it a try … but the negotiations did not go well.
“Sharfi, more than 60% of the human body is water. That water permeates every corner of the body. Therefore, as a Water-Attribute Magician, I don’t need to go through the trouble of crushing your heart. I can just freeze your tendons and easily stop your movements?”
“M-my finger can’t move …”
The moment Ryo said that, Sharfi felt that he couldn’t move his finger.
“This way, if Sharfi suddenly returns to being an assassin, it’s possible to control you before you can harm others.”
Ryo nodded many times as if he was satisfied.
Sharfi looked Ryo as if he was looking at something inhuman.
Gecko, who was listening from the coachman seat, threw out a rescue boat.
“If Sharfi doesn’t do anything bad, Ryo won’t do anything. Right, Ryo?”
“Aren’t you glad, Sharfi.”
“Remember to thank Gecko, Sharfi.”
Gecko’s smile and Ryo’s smile.
Both smiles looked eerie to Sharfi.
While traveling, they were constantly questioning Sharfi, or rather it was an information-sharing session.
Of course, Sharfi was also actively cooperating in sharing information as the reward for removing his tattoo and saving his life.
He didn’t appear to be a bad guy in that aspect.
Despite being a former assassin.
In the first place, the main purpose given to Sharfi by the Cult headquarters was the sabotage of Slanzewi, the second-largest city in the eastern part of the Kingdom.
Therefore, it was his first time attacking Gecko’s caravan in Slanzewi and he had not heard that there was a unit that attacked before that.
“I think there is a connection between the sabotage of Slanzewi and the collapse of Rho Bridge, but I wonder what the purpose is?”
“Oh, even I don’t know the details … No, Ryo-san, wait, I really don’t know. That, squeezing of your hand, is literally bad for my heart, so please stop it … But including those two incidents, there will be an increase in terrorist activities in the eastern part of the Kingdom.”
Sharfi answered Gecko’s questions obediently.
“Is that a request from somewhere?”
“Yeah, of course. Well, as you can see from the content, it is a fairly large request and the amount paid was huge. There are not so many organizations that can do that, right?”
“The Union or the Empire …”
Gecko gave possible realistic candidates for Sharfi’s explanation.
And Ryo reacted excessively to certain words.
“There is also a Cult base in the Inbury Duchy, right?”
Sharfi looked reluctant to answer that question from Gecko.
Even though it wasn’t quite the same as selling out his friends, he still felt ashamed doing that.
He was driving those who were his allies just days before to danger with his own hands.
“Is it hard to answer?”
“No! No problem.”
Gecko gently asked, but Sharfi’s reaction to it was decisive.
He accepted that he was in a position to be called a traitor by his former colleagues.
“There are bases in every city in the Duchy. Usually, there are three people stationed in each base. However, the Capital Aberdeen is reasonably large so there should be two units, about 20 people, stationed. Regarding the location, I will say it after we arrive at the capital.”
Hearing that answer, Gecko nodded deeply.
One of the pieces of information he wanted the most by pulling Sharfi to his side was the hideout locations in the capital.
“By the way, where is the headquarters of the Cult?”
“The headquarters is in the Kingdom of Knightley.”
Sharfi replied to Gecko’s question as if it was nothing important.
However, that answer was also an answer that Ryo, who lived in the Kingdom, could not let by.
“Where in the kingdom!?”
“Hey, I’ll answer, Ryo-san, so stop clenching that hand …”
Sharfi was in tears with Ryo’s intense questioning and the actions that accompany them.
“It’s a small village in the eastern part of the Kingdom. It’s a day’s walk north of Wingston, the largest city in the east. It’s on a mountain and is called the village of Avan. All the people in that village belong to the cult.”
“Eastern part of the Kingdom … I never thought it was so close …”
Ryo was stunned by Sharfi’s answer.
The eastern part of the Kingdom was the place he has been moving around to this day.
The Order of Assassins fought against Niels, Etho, and Amon of Room 10 in Whitnash and attacked them many times during this escort.
Shouldn’t he hit them before they attack again?
“If I wasn’t in the middle of a request, I’d go and crush them now! You’re in luck, Order of Assassins!”
Seeing Ryo’s look of frustration, Sharfi muttered.
“It’s scary because he looks like he is actually planning to do it.”
Then, Sharfi suddenly recalled and said to Ryo.
“Ryo-san, your Water-Attribute Magic is certainly ridiculous, but the leader of the Cult is also extraordinary. Be careful if you face each other.”
“Sharfi, I’d like to confirm something. You mentioned that the tattoo carved on your chest was by alchemy, didn’t you?”
“Is that alchemist, the leader of the Cult?”
“That’s right. He excels in alchemy and Earth-Attribute Magic.”
“Those are both affinities that I want!”
Of course, he couldn’t get the skills just by defeating him.
There was no such setting on 『Phi』.
Although he couldn’t get it even if he defeat him, there would still be the materials related to alchemy … At the very least, the alchemy used for that tattoo didn’t exist in Ryo’s library search.
By the way, the extracted tattoo was encased in an Ice Coffin and stored in his usual shoulder bag.
Ryo requested Gecko for it as research material.
It was a special reward for the 『surgery』.
Sharfi muttered again, looking sideways at Ryo, who was grinning as his imaginations ran wild.
“Even if you defeat him … you can’t acquire his magic, right? Ryo-san, isn’t an exception to that, right?”
One former assassin fell into a spiral of suspicion …
Gecko’s Caravan completed immigration procedures for the Inbury Duchy without any problems.
Gecko himself was the most famous merchant in the Duchy and was even unofficially referred to as the Duke’s trade adviser.
They almost had a free pass because it was his caravan.
“Former assassin getting a free pass …”
“It’s 『former』, 『former』. Now I’m a legitimate caravan escort.”
Sharfi argued violently against Ryo’s monologue that was too loud to be called a monologue.
Gecko watched with a smile from the coachman seat while Max, the captain of the escort, kept walking while shaking his head with a grimace.
“Oh yeah, I had something I wanted to ask Sharfi … Gecko-san, can I ask now?”
“It’s okay. I’ve received answers for what I wanted to ask for the time being.”
Ryo understood that Gecko’s questions were still the highest priority.
The employer’s wishes were still the most important.
“I only feel fear toward questions coming from Ryo-san …”
Ryo showed an exaggerated look of shock after hearing such words from Sharfi.
“Even though I’ve been doing my best for Sharfi until now … what a thing to say. I guess it’s better to crush your heart once …”
“Hey, that’s the thing! That’s what’s scary! In the first place, why do you still have an ice film around my heart after we have already extracted my tattoo?”
“So that I can respond immediately when you betray us.”
“Oh, yes … I knew you didn’t have faith in me but … it is clear as day to me that Ryo-san does not trust me at all.”
Sharfi drooped his head.
“So, about my question?”
“Oh, yes, yes, I’m feeling dejected but you don’t need to mind me, ask your question!”
Ryo asked and Sharfi answered half-given in to despair.
“Why did the Order of Assassins attempt such an assassination in Whitnash?”
In response to Ryo’s question, Sharfi’s facial expression crumbled and he was clearly not acting.
The change was amazing for both Max and Gecko.
“R-Ryo-san … Why do you know that Whitnash’s incident was done by the Cult?”
“Huh? Did I ask something strange?”
“Even in the Cult, apart from those who were involved, only executives like us knew about it. Why does Ryo-san know that?”
Sharfi’s expression changed to a mixture of fear and anger.
Fear was because he knew what he shouldn’t know.
Anger was because someone leaked it … was it anger toward the person who leaked it?
“The reason I know is because I was at the scene. They were aiming for the princess of the Empire. Thanks to that, my roommates got involved … Well, the assassin was defeated in the end.”
Ryo revealed the answer without feeling it was anything special.
“You even know that they aimed for the princess? But I’m sorry, I don’t know the details. That was a strategy centered on the close aide 『Black』 … it was quite a large scale but even we weren’t informed how successful it was …”
Sharfi replied apologetically. He didn’t appear to be lying …
(Sabotage in the eastern part of the Kingdom, attacks on the dignitaries, including the princess of the Empire, in Whitnash … it just looks like they’re making wanton destruction …)
After the next ten days, the party arrived at Aberdeen, the capital of Inbury Duchy.
Strangely, they were not attacked since they entered the Inbury Duchy.
It was as if another goal had a higher priority.
However, for Ryo and Ra, the 22-day escort request was about to end.
In front of the main building of Gecko’s firm, in the Capital Aberdeen.
“We were able to arrive safely. Thank you very much, Ryo-san and everyone from 『Switchback』.”
Gecko politely bowed his head.
If the employer bowed so much, Ryo and Ra were a little troubled too.
“We will now deliver the parcel to the castle. Therefore, we can’t show much hospitality, but I have asked the firm to prepare a little something, so please receive it.”
Then, Gecko led Max and Sharfi, who somehow managed to become his subordinate, to the castle.
By the way, it should be noted here that the ice film around Sharfi’s heart was properly erased.
It went without saying that Sharfi was pleased when it was erased.
Ryo and the members of 『Switchback』 were enthusiastic with the tip from Gecko’s firm, that is, they received a small extra reward and had happy faces.
“I’m glad, Ra. Even though you’re the leader, you were about to leave the country without withdrawing money from the guild account. That was dangerous. Because if you did, we would have had to travel all the way back to the Kingdom relying on just this gratuity tip. That’s absolutely impossible.”
“My bad. I totally forgot … that you can only withdraw money from the guild account while in your respective country.”
The voices of Sue and Ra entered Ryo’s ears, and when Ryo understood the contents, he turned his head mechanically to look at them.
His eyes were wide open.
“Ryo … no way, that expression … Did you forget to withdraw?”
Ryo’s face was expressionless …
“Ryo, how much money do you have?”
“One gold coin and two large bronze coins …”
“10,020 Florin … You can’t cross the border.”
Ra asked, Ryo answered, and Sue concluded.
However, Ra remembered and asked.
“Huh? Ryo, didn’t you say that Gecko-san gave you a special reward after praising you 『well done』?”
Ra recalled the time where Ryo first captured the assassin in an Ice Coffin, and Max extracted the tattoo on his chest.
“Yes … one big gold coin …”
“Oh, 100,000 Florin! So that …?”
Ryo answered and Sue was impressed and asked further.
“… I immediately deposited it into my account in the next city.”
Ryo’s shoulders slumped as he answered.
The Switchback members unanimously responded with words of comfort.
It would be too scary to escort while holding a large sum of 100,000 Florin!
Ryo’s feelings could be understood by all adventurers …
So no one blamed him.
“L-lend me a little …”
“No! That’s no good! Lending and borrowing money is a poison that breaks good relationships!”
Ryo stopped trying to lend from Ra.
Ra also backed down after seeing his intensity.
“Well, the most realistic way to cross the border without borrowing is to get an escort request to the Kingdom.”
Sue gave Ryo the answer he was looking for.
“The Duchy has a good relationship with the Kingdom, and the two countries have a lot of trade, so I think there will be requests for escort. However, the destination …”
“Don’t tell me it’s the Debuhi Empire?”
“There’s no way that will be the case. I’ve been thinking, Ryo really hates the Empire. Well, the destination is probably Wingston, the largest city in the eastern part of the Kingdom. It’s a little further north from the Eastern Highway that we took to get here. So returning to the city of Rune to the south from there would also be a bit tricky …”
“Certain sacrifices are needed when in a pinch. There’s no problem as long as I’m in the Kingdom!”
Sue looked a little apologetic, but a slight geographical distance was not an issue for Ryo.
Since he could settle anything that crops up with money as long as he enters the Kingdom!
“But there is one major problem.”
“What is it?”
“Would they accept D-rank adventurers for cross-border escort requests?”
Ryo was at a complete loss at Sue’s words.
“We, in the city of Rune, know Ryo’s ability … well, I don’t know exactly, but I know that you are above C-rank, so your word is good in various ways. Like this time. But I don’t think that’s the case in the Inbury Duchy, an entirely different country.”
Sue didn’t want to say that.
But facts were facts.
“Thanks Sue-san. Well, I’ll go to the guild for the time being. To look for a cross-border escort request that can be accepted at D-rank.”
Ryo said and tried to start walking … but … he couldn’t start walking.
“… Right, I don’t know the location of the guild.”
“We don’t know either.”
Yes, no one there knew the location of the Adventurer’s Guild in the Capital Aberdeen.
After that, Ryo and the members of 『Switchback』 went to Gecko’s firm to ask for the location of the guild before they set off.
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