Chapter 0110 Blunder
On the third day of entering the Kingdom of Knightley, His Royal Highness Willy’s entourage left the city of Bersham and headed for the Royal Capital on the Second Kingdom Highway.
“That dish last night … Did you call it a hamburger steak? That was excellent. I ate it for the first time, but I was impressed with the exquisite matching of the overflowing gravy and the sauce on top … it was truly a great country’s dish.”
“Yes, you’re absolutely right.”
In the carriage, His Highness Willy enthusiastically talked about the hamburger steak he ate at the inn’s dining room last night.
And Ryo nodded happily like he was proud of it.
“I’m glad Ryo recommended it. If I hadn’t eaten it, I would have regretted it for a long time.”
“As expected, Your Highness has a royal’s taste in food. Delicious food is justice. Please continue to eat delicious food in the Kingdom.”
Inspired by Willie, Ryo was in a good mood and nodded.
However, such a peaceful scene was suddenly shattered.
There was a reaction in Ryo’s <Passive Sonar>.
Ryo opened the window of the carriage and told Cohn, who was escorting on horseback, right next to them.
This time, all the escorts and adventurers were riding horses.
Such that they could speed up and escape in the case of an emergency.
“Cohn-san, it’s an attack from all directions.”
As if they knew that they were all on horseback, the siege net had begun to shrink, cutting off their escape route.
“Damn. How many people?”
Cohn cursed and asked for the details.
“Ten surrounding us. Besides that, five people are advancing through the forest in the back. That separate unit should either be for an ambush or a reserve force … they are not participating in the blockade.”
“A total of fifteen people … that’s many.”
Cohn pondered with a bitter face after hearing Ryo’s report.
Ryo was worried about the five in the separate unit.
They were in a place that seemed to be directing the movements of the entire siege ….
Often the commander would be positioned there.
“Ryo, I’m sorry, but can you pull the enemy away a little? You don’t have to defeat them. If you can’t rejoin us, you can just leave. Because we’ve crossed the border.”
“It’s okay. When we are attacked, I’ll watch the timing and pretend to be His Highness and escape, drawing the enemy away to me. The five people in the forest too … At that time, please give a signal. If the number of enemies decreases, speed up and escape into the city of Wingston.”
Cohn thought his proposal was too much, but Ryo’s counter-proposal was even harder.
“No, that’s too much …”
“I’ll be fine. Don’t stop and go to Wingston.”
After a while, they heard from the left side of the carriage train.
Ryo pulled up the hood of his usual robe. At first glance, no one should recognize him.
Neither His Royal Highness Willy nor Rodrigo said anything anymore.
The development following this was known to them from the conversation between Ryo and Cohn.
Ryo glanced out the window.
The ones attacking …
“The Order of Assassins?”
Yes, they seemed to be wearing the same black outfit as the Order of Assassins.
But … he didn’t think that all the assassins in the world belonged to the Order of Assassins … there were probably others whose livelihood was assassinations.
There were tears in the eyes of His Highness Willy who called.
He might have seen the situation as a repeat of the previous body double that was killed.
“Your Highness, I will be fine. Please escape to Wingston.”
And finally they heard Cohn’s signal.
“Your Highness, please escape.”
“Then, I’m off. Good luck!”
Ryo opened the carriage door and jumped out.
At that time, he closed the door behind him so that others couldn’t see inside.
Then, he ran off the road and ran toward the forest.
He checked the number of people who were chasing him with <Passive Sonar>.
Of the ten assailants, more than half separated.
His Highness Willy had four escorts and six adventurers.
With ten people against three assassins, there was a good chance of winning.
Then, what about the movements of the five people in the forest?
At that moment, Ryo made a decision …
About two kilometers away from the carriage.
The number of people chasing was twelve … the five in the forest were also led into chasing him.
It may be because Ryo choose the side with the forest with the five people as his route to escape after he confirmed it in the carriage.
So those five people were also chasing Ryo.
It seemed that they were a separate unit after all …
(It should be enough after leading them this far.)
As Ryo came to that conclusion, he stopped in a slightly open clearing in the forest, pretending to snag his feet on something and have the wind knocked out of him.
The twelve assailants caught up to him there.
A man who seems to be the commander among the five who joined the chase from the middle stood in front of Ryo.
He was probably the most skillful.
His atmosphere was a little different from the others.
Surrounding Ryo in a half-circle, they spread both wings from there and started moving to surround Ryo.
If they were trying to abduct Ryo, it was only natural that they cut off his retreat.
He equipped an ultra-thin ice armor.
Meanwhile, Ryo closely observed the assailants.
(They’re really members of the Order of Assassins …)
Most assailants would be dressed in black, but the posture of those in front of him matched the posture of the Order of Assassins Sharfi belonged to.
(Destroying the Rho Bridge, attacking the city, ambushing Gecko, and finally abducting a prince … The Order of Assassins is active on an extensive scale.)
Ryo pondered in a laid-back manner that was not suited for the situation.
In the meantime, the assailants completely surrounded him.
(All right. <Ice Wall>)
He chanted Ice Wall silently.
A transparent wall of ice was formed outside the assailants.
“You can’t escape now.”
The twelve assailants became rats in a trap.
He would be left with nothing if he pulled them this far but let them escape.
Ryo pulled out Murasame and produced an ice blade.
Ryo plunged straight to the man who seemed to be their commander in front of him.
Perhaps the man saw it dangerous to parry the ice sword with a knife, he avoided it with his body.
Ryo changed the direction of Murasame that he swung down just before hitting the ground and slashed diagonally upward to the left utilizing pretty much only his left hand.
The man was cut diagonally from below and fell to the ground without being able to defend at all.
So to speak, it was Ryo’s still inexperienced Tsubame Gaeshi.
“Not fast enough … Sasaki Kojiro, who did this with a laundry pole, is amazing.”
He slashed a person with his own hands, but there were no particular undulations in his emotions.
“Is it because he’s an assailant or assassin? In fact, I felt more emotions when I defeated that one-eyed Assassin Hawk …”
While Ryo was talking to himself, the remaining eleven assailants were rooted to the ground.
They were completely pressured.
An unforeseen and terrifying sword.
“His sword is a decoration and he can use magic but only to create water.”
That was their information on Prince Willy.
Even though that should have been the case, their associate was killed within seconds.
It was enough to pressure them into inaction.
In that situation, Ryo rushed to the next assailant and stabbed.
Triple thrust to the neck, chest, and neck once more.
In the third thrust, his blade was thrust sideways and swept horizontally in the direction that the opponent dodged.
The assailant was beheaded by sheer strength.
“It’s no good … I wonder if the Shinsengumi people were really doing this kind of thrust …”
Ryo’s swordsmanship was based on his half-baked knowledge.
Speaking of the Shinsengumi known for their Tennen Rishin-ryu style, the three-stage thrust was famous, but in reality, there were many other continuous techniques such as four-stage and five-stage techniques.
However, Ryo wouldn’t know such things …
“Hastily learned techniques are useless after all. And I was able to confirm that I won’t feel shaken even if I kill a person with my own hands.”
It could be said that voicing such thoughts out was actually meant to gloss over the psychological burden, but … it did not seem like it would turn into a serious problem.
“The rest are all prisoners of war. <Ice Coffin 10>”
With that chant, the ten surviving assailants were immediately encased in ice.
“Since you guys are still alive … if I don’t forget, I’ll thaw you guys one day … maybe about a month later.”
A month later, they would have arrived at the Royal Capital.
After defeating the assailants or freezing them in ice, Ryo decided to return to the place where the carriage was.
They were probably able to escape successfully and he imagined no one would be left, but he needed confirmation.
However, when he got closer, he noticed something unusual.
Ryo’s <Passive Sonar> does not react to things that do not move.
That was because it senses moving objects by changes in the environment over time.
According to his Passive Sonar, something was barely moving … barely, but moving.
The assailants would dispose of all corpses by incineration.
There would not be any assailants barely alive.
Then what about Willy and his party?
If they escaped safely, no one would be there, but there was the slightest possibility that His Highness Willy’s carriage would escape first, leaving the injured on the road …
Of course, it didn’t match Willie’s personality, but nothing was definite as long as it was an emergency.
In the first place, they were along the Second Highway, which was said to be the best in the eastern region of the Kingdom.
Other caravans would pass by …
But in reality, no one would want to stick their heads into such a mess.
Especially if they were merchants who place the highest priority on profits.
Ryo arrived to find Willy’s escorts and adventurers on the ground.
Looking around, he found an old man lying down on the highway and ran up to him.
“Ryo-dono … His Highness … His Highness was …”
Rodrigo repeated deliriously to Ryo’s call.
“Please hold on.”
Ryo reassured him before heading to the carriage and returning with his usual shoulder bag.
It had advanced potions that Ryo made by practicing alchemy and standard potions sold in stores that he bought in his spare time.
For the time being, Ryo had Rodrigo drink the most effective potion he had.
Although he had a hard time, Rodrigo swallowed and Ryo poured the potion directly on his sliced abdomen, and managed to save his life.
He should be able to move after a little more time.
However, that time was precious so Rodrigo requested Ryo.
“Ryo-dono … His Highness has been taken away … Ryo-dono … led many of the assailants away … for us … but after that … there were reinforcements …”
He was careless.
The unit of five in the forest was not the only separate unit.
They were also on standby in a place so far away that even Ryo’s Passive Sonar couldn’t detect them …
He should have just stayed and defeated the assailants there.
Along with Cohn and the others.
While protecting Willie.
Ryo was powerful enough to do so.
Or, even if they had to pull away from the enemy, in the worst-case scenario, they could enter the forest with the carriage surrounded by Ice Wall and that would still have worked out okay.
That way, at least His Highness Willy wouldn’t have been abducted …
He was worried about the separate unit that was in the forest and left to defeat them … and this was the result.
He couldn’t repent for his error even if he regretted it.
Ryo bit his lips for his foolishness.
It was a request to 『escort』 … It was the stupidest action to leave the 『escort target』.
But now there was something more important.
Regrets could wait for later!
First of all, he must rescue His Highness Willy!
“Ryo-dono … Please call for help and rescue His Highness …”
After squeezing those words out, Rodrigo lost consciousness.
He was still breathing. His pulse was also normal. It was okay.
After confirming that, Ryo looked around.
Four escorts, adventurers … six, all were still breathing.
Did they prioritize the abduction of His Highness Willy over killing them?
They didn’t kill everyone the previous time they abducted the body double either …
Ryo rushed to Cohn, gave him an advanced potion, and sprinkled the potion on his chest and neck wounds.
Cohn groaned slightly.
“Can you hear me, Cohn-san? It’s Ryo.”
Finally, Cohn opened his eyes slightly and recognized Ryo.
“Ryo … I’m sorry, His Highness …”
“Yes, I heard from Rodrigo-dono. Apparently, everyone is still breathing. I’ll leave the potions, so Cohn-san can give them to everyone. I’m going to rescue His Highness.”
Pressured by Ryo’s menacing aura, Cohn nodded despite having various doubts.
“Wingston can be reached by following this road as it is, right?”
“Then, I’ll set off.”
Ryo ran west on the highway.
Neither Rodrigo nor Cohn knew where His Highness Willy was taken away.
However, Ryo had an idea.
The Order of Assassins Headquarters.
『It’s a small village in the eastern part of the Kingdom. A day’s walk north of Wingston, the largest city in the east. It is on the mountain and is called the village of Avan.』
That came from Sharfi, an executive of the Order of Assassins.
Even if he was not at the cult headquarters, he could ask the people at the headquarters.
Ryo decided to tackle it that way.
In the first place, His Highness Willy, who was a prince of a small country and was the eighth son, honestly did not seem to be that valuable as a hostage but was attacked twice including this time … and this was done by that assassination cult.
Did some country ask the Order of Assassins to abduct him like Ieyasu Tokugawa, or does Willy’s body have some value and had to be kept alive?
If it was for a very special reason, it would be better to think that he would be sent to a high-ranking executive.
And around there, a place where executives gathered … Ryo could only think of the cult headquarters.
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