『Go get him, Lyle!!』
As I heard the First Generation’s voice, I smiled at the approaching axe head.
Looking at my expression, the large man probably thought I had gone mad, or perhaps he just didn’t notice my face…
But with this, the match was settled.
Full Over was a skill that raised all of one’s abilities by a fixed margin, and Limit Burst was one that allowed you to surpass your body’s limit.
But because of the violent recoil of such an action, it evened it out by healing the body simultaneously.
At the same time I activated the Skill, I felt the time flowing around me pass at a different rate than usual.
It had become severely slower, and my intuition felt honed.
I used my left hand to pull out the sabre I kept as a reserve, and like that, I used the two of my swords to parry the blow.
The moment the metal clashed, sparks rose from my blades, and the impact rocked my body.
I ignored that, and moved with the force to twist my body to deliver a kick. I aimed for the skull.
He wasn’t sent airborne, but after falling back, the Large Man’s body was unsteady, having taken a hit to the head.
“That’s quite a convenient Skill you have there. I’m jealous.”
Saying that, the man took a stance with his axe.
I don’t know if it was because of the effects of another Skill, or because the man himself was strong against physical impacts. It could be either, or neither.
He continued to swing his axe left and right while attacking me. For some reason, he was raising a loud voice.
But that wasn’t a sound to threaten an enemy.
He probably understood that in that moment, my body’s movements had changed. At the same time, the strike he had been saving to finish me was ineffective.
Discovering that his trump card didn’t work, perhaps he became impatient.
While thinking of how cruel it was to call anyone you couldn’t beat a monster, I used my two sabres to parry again and drove in a kick.
One of them felt like it was going to break.
(The effect of a Skill… amazing.)
This time, the kick was sent to his stomach.
Having fallen to his knees, the man looked at me with a face as if he had seen something unbelievable.
“Why? I have enhanced speed and power. Against a delicate girly guy like you, why…”
He definitely had the Skill effects and greater power.
I’m pretty sure my speed was the higher of us, though.
Of course, as long as you could control Mana, you could raise your power as high as you wanted. Since I also had that sort of training hammered into me, I couldn’t really call him all too powerful.
He was just temporarily raising his strength.
There was an overwhelming deficiency in technique.
I identified the surrounding presences with Skills and felt the rest of the bandits had already been apprehended.
All that was left was the large man before my eyes.
As I approached, he discarded his axe and raised his hands. And to me, he petitioned.
“W-wait! I-I’ve taken a liking to you! If it’s with you, I think I’ll be able to dream big! So, so how about taking me as your subordinate? If so, I don’t care if you use my men as soldiers, or anything you like.”
He did a complete flip of personality, and he started to display a weak manner.
Looking at the axe, it wasn’t within range of his hands.
But the First spoke.
『Oy, this is a crafty one. Those guys that have a cowardly face often…』
Perhaps because he noticed me shifting my eyes for a moment, he took out a concealed knife and entered a position to use a Skill.
The Gem in his left hand let off a faint light.
He directed a vulgar smile in my direction.
『… Have a weapon or two hidden somewhere on their person.』
The Fifth Generation let out a fed up voice.
『Couldn’t you have said that a little earlier?』
『Are you a fool? This is more than enough time for Lyle.』
By the time I heard the First’s voice, I was already launching a flying kick on the enemy.
Because I hit his jaw with a rising kick, the Skill ended in a misfire.
When I looked around, I was surrounded by adventurers.
Based on their looks of relief, it looks like they thought I would fall victim to a surprise attack.
I thought I was being careful, but perhaps I wasn’t paying enough attention.
(I was saved by the First’s Skill. And wait, this Limit Burst… It’s also an extraordinary one.)
There was a limit to consecutive usage, and they all had their quirks, but they were all useful.
I released the Skill and looked at the unconscious man.
『I guess that’s about it. Lyle, before you turn him in, his left hand…』
On the Fifth’s words, I released the Skill, went up to the unconscious man, and forcefully ripped away the cloth wrapped around his left hand before retrieving the gem.
The red gem gave off a faint glitter.
(Somehow, I get the feeling this one is much more useful.)
Looking at it, I turned my head to the blue Jewel shimmering on my chest.
The Jewel that constantly complained and even put restrictions on my Skill use.
In contrast, this gem didn’t select its wielder, taught one how to use Skills, and let them use them freely.
If you asked which one I wanted to choose, I have a strong inclination to choose the latter.
『… Oy, that kinda hurts.』
Maybe the First sensed what I wanted to say with his feral instincts, as he let out a soft voice.
Novem and Lockwarde-san rushed to my side.
The bandit troupe’s boss was surrounded and tied up by the adventurers.
“Lyle-sama… splendid performance.”
Novem’s eyes were a little teary, but she still directed a smile at me.
Lockwarde-san looked over me hastily.
She probably wanted to say something, looking at the red gem in my possession, but because she didn’t really do anything herself, she couldn’t work herself up to say it.
(An awkward person she is.)
As I thought that, I heard voices from the adventurers.
“Oy, this is quite serious.”
“Blood’s coming out of his body. Is this the recoil of his Skills?”
“Well, there’s no problem long as he’s alive. Oy, we’re carrying him off.”
As I turned around, I saw blood spurting out of the bandit leader’s body. On the large man, the adventurers applied medicine to heal the wounds.
(Well, yeah, it would be troublesome if he dies.)
Overuse of Skills. It looks like his body couldn’t keep up with them
(I understand when I look at that, but there’s reasons the ancestors put usage restrictions on my Skills.)
Looking at the bleeding man, I reminded myself to be careful with that in times to come.
And this time, Lockwarde-san called out.
With an exceedingly troubled expression, She shifted her eyes to and from the gem and my face.
Looking at that, Novem spoke to me.
“Lyle-sama, it’s time for you to fulfill your objective.”
Hearing that, I handed over the gem in my hand. I wanted to toss it over, but when I thought about it, it was a precious family heirloom.
It was better to give it by hand.
Lockwarde-san received it by clenching both of her hands around mine and the gem. She looked at my face and burst into tears.
With her bright red face, she looked like she wanted to offer her thanks.
“Um, well, I didn’t really do much, but…”
As her words weren’t coming out, Novem spoke to her kindly.
“Please accept it. That was Lyle-sama’s desire. That’s right, right Lyle-sama?”
She laughed to herself as she sought confirmation from me, and I scratched my finger in embarrassment and averted my eyes.
“Well, how should I put this… I’ve accomplished my objective. So there’s no problem. More importantly…”
Lockwarde-san tried to squeeze out some thanks, but she couldn’t get it all out.
An adventurer approached us, so I turned towards him.
“I’m sorry for getting in the way. But this’s also our job.”
“No, thank you. We’re the ones who’ve been helped here.”
Saying that, he took off his hood.
He was a male with sharp eyes and an atmosphere that indicated he wasn’t one to be trifled with.
Rather than bounty hunting, this was an adventurer with a friendly attitude towards their feudal lord.
Based on ability and character, he was a dependable adventurer.
However, he wasn’t one of Dalien.
I asked Zelphy-san and received their cooperation.
For that sake, I confirmed with the Guild whether or not that would become a problem. Hawkins-san made a difficult face before saying I couldn’t do it openly.
That’s like giving tacit consent, right? More importantly, I was worried about whether or not they would really assist us.
(If Zelphy-san truly wanted to save Lockwarde-san, I thought she would assertively ask for their cooperation, and it looks like I was right.)
The adventurer made a relieved face.
“No we’ve also been helped plenty. With this, these guys will be judged on our land. The feudal lord will likely rejoice.”
Right, they were from the lands where these bandits ran rampant. Skilled adventurers from those parts took place in our bandit subjugation.
“From the treasure they’ve piled up, we’d like to look for the items we’re searching for as well. I’m sorry for a rush, but I’d like you to bear witness of that.”
Hearing that, I nodded.
『Right, right, at times like this, you have to move quickly. It’s because the job’s not over yet. Let’s explain the situation to the adventurers from Dalien as well. There may be some who go after the treasure of their own desire otherwise.』
I heard the cheerful Third Generation’s voice.
Since I was supposed to bear witness, I asked the adventurer for an explanation.
『For us to be relying on adventurers..』
It looks like the Seventh didn’t rely on them in his time.
The Third answered him in a tired tone.
『Even I had a few adventurers I was on good terms with… Well, it’s not like I don’t get where you’re coming from. They have their best and their worst.』
We weren’t lacking in skilled men for our job.
“That axe as well. It belonged to one of the Feudal Lord’s mistress’s sons. His relatives were looking for it. I know you have the right to it, so they should give out quite a price for it.”
I looked at the battle axe the large man used.
It definitely was a splendid piece.
I didn’t need it, so I left the pricing to him.
“I don’t mind. We’ll go with whatever sum they present. Now then, shall we go confirm the rest of them?”
“It’s good that you’re so understanding. But are you sure? I’m pretty sure they said it was something like a precious inherited heirloom, you know? It would be possible to inflate the price quite a bit.”
Hearing that, I turned my eyes to Lockwarde-san, startling her.
“… Well, I’m not in that sort of mood (I’ve already fulfilled what I set out to do. I don’t have a reason exhibit any more desire).”
“I see. Then this way. We haven’t touched it yet, so it’s still in the mines. Also, I’ll tell the client about the axe memento. They’ll definitely be overjoyed.”
“Even so… well, I’ll leave it to you.”
It’s best if I didn’t say anything unnecessary, right? That’s what I thought, so I just left it all to the other side’s good will.
I headed into the mines with the adventurer.
Novem followed me. Lockwarde-san saw me off.
More than that, she was probably frozen, unsure of what she wanted to say.
Perhaps she was spacing out from relief.
『Splendid. Truly splendid. To Alice-san’s descendants, I returned Alice-san’s gem… god dammit, the tears are coming out.』
It sounds like the First Generation was crying.
Looking at that, the Second fired off a line.
『Why is it that the sight of a middle aged man crying is so unsightly? Does it look like that precisely because you’re our founder?』
『You bastard! What do you think your saying when I’m over here feeling it!? Let’s take this outside!』
『And as I was saying, we’re stuck here! Why don’t you learn a bit, you barbarian!?』
It was their usual exchange, but…
(Oy, stop! I’m tired after finishing a battle… ah, the dizziness is…)
As I swayed a little, Novem immediately supported my body.
“Oy, oy, you alright? Well, you did work that hard. You could rest a little…”
“N-no… I can hang on for a little longer (You both need to learn!!)”
They didn’t shut up until the end.
This was my usual pattern, but I’m starting to hate it.
On top of a rattling cart…
Locked up in iron bars, the bandits were thrust onto three narrow-looking carts.
Leaving the territory of Dalien, they had no idea they were being sent off to the lands where they were notorious.
“Dammit all, we didn’t even do anything yet!”
“Right! We haven’t done anything in this territory!”
“We’ll get released soon enough! And steal it all back.”
The bandits let out some selfish lines, but the adventurers around them were all smiles.
It didn’t seem they were laughing at the lines the bandits were selfishly throwing out. It looked like they knew what was in store for them.
Seeing that, the large man felt a sense of discomfort.
“Oy, these guys are Dalien adventurers, right?”
He rubbed his aching chin as he asked one of his subordinates. It was one of the ones who gathered information in Dalien as an adventurer.
“Never seen him before.”
Being told that, the large man surveyed his surroundings.
“… Just where are we headed? For us to have been taken beyond Dalien’s borders, what’s the meaning of this?”
Hearing that, one of the adventurers approached the iron bars.
Atop a horse, he observed the bandits as he spoke.
“When did we ever say we were from Dalien? You guys are going to receive proper judgement in the territories you made a mess of.”
The bandit troupe’s faces suddenly went pale.
A country where the feudal lords held great power. That was the Bahnseim Kingdom.
While they all shared a connection, each land was shaped by its lord’s will.
For that reason, criminals that crossed borders were often regretfully left at large.
Though if they went too far, some famous bounty hunter or another would come for their heads.
“W-what do you mean!? We were in Dalien! There’s no reason you should be taking us!”
Looking at their confused leader, his surrounding subordinates became even more panicked.
The adventurers’ smiles widened.
“We merely happened to capture you all after you coincidentally crossed over to our territory. Because Dalien’s adventurers coincidentally drove you all the way here, we who were coincidentally in the area took the initiative, and arrested you. Good grief, this is troubling. Those guys in Dalien… we’ve gotten ourselves in quite a debt.”
The adventurers had each taken on varied requests.
I want you to return my valuables stolen by the bandit troupe.
I want you to take down my family’s enemy.
They had taken on those various requests all at once, and rushed over to Dalien to participate in the Bandit Subjugation mission.
The one who got in contact with those adventurers linked to the feudal lord was Zelphy.
“D-don’t screw with me! Why did it turn out like this!? Because we’re the villains here? Then there should be greater bastards out there for you!”
It was just as the large man said.
The bandits’ sins amounted to nothing but light crimes in the eyes of a true villain.
Of course, compared to true villains, that was.
Their sins were still quite heavy.
They assaulted villages and even burned them to the ground. They launched attacks on the mansions of the lords governing the villages. To the women, they…
They had piled up various crimes.
But the lord of the land where they did such things was unable to lay hands on them once they fled. At this rate, the lord’s honor was being crushed.
The dissatisfaction of the fief would pile up, at their unreliable lord.
“As if I know. Your luck was bad this time. Also, even if you tell me that after you’ve rampaged for so long… We even have adventurers here from the villages you guys raided, you know?”
Hearing that, the large man looked around.
Among the smiling faces, there were a few who weren’t smiling at all.
They were holding up the weapons in their hands.
“W-we’re going to be judged, right? If you kill us here…”
“Hah? The hell you talking about? … Even if there’s one or two less, if you’re tried, it’ll be group execution, right? We just have to keep a reasonable number of you alive.”
… All of the bandits’ faces went pale.
Having returned to Dalien, we released the personnel we had gathered up and returned the tools and carts we borrowed to the appropriate merchants.
Of the treasure the bandits hoarded up, we returned a majority of them, so if you discount the payments, we have what would amount to around sixty gold coins.
(Normally, we’d be deep in the red. Even if we subjugated them, if you think of all the various problems that’ll crop up, the lord here’s head must be hurting.)
In case the requested assistance fell through, we did hire some skilled adventurers from Dalien as well, just in case.
For that, we expended quite a bit of money.
It was a pain to search for the place the bandits liquidated their stolen assets, so I left most of that to the adventurers.
Everything ended, and all that was left was to report to the guild.
“With this, we can finally put a period on the matter.”
I stretched my body.
“Good job, Lyle-sama. Even so, just what was your real goal there?”
As Novem asked, I was troubled over just what it was I should respond.
Should I divulge the truth of my ancestors’ wills in the Jewel, or should I stay silent?
(No, I should take the opportunity to tell her. She already saw me use those Skills in that previous battle, so it’s not like I’m lacking in persuasive evidence…)
Then, pulling a horse, Zelphy-san appeared.
“Nice work, you two.”
“T-thank you for your work, Zelphy-san.”
As Novem said that, I also gave a light reply.
“Now let’s go hit the baths before dropping by the guild. Boss Hawkins is definitely waitin’ in worry.”
As Zelphy-san said that, an image of a worried-looking Hawkins-san floated up in my head.
We hadn’t known each other for long, but he truly was a good person.
“Yeah, let’s. Also, Zelphy-san, you have some business with us as well, right?”
On my words, Zelphy-san widened her eyes.
She scratched her hair and averted her eyes.
“… Well, well, I thought you were a weak brat, but you turned out to be quite the amazin’ kid, you know.”
Letting out a sigh, she spoke to us.
“After droppin’ by the Guild, let’s go to the lord’s manor together. There are some things you guys’re better off knowin’.”
Saying that, she corrected her position on the horse and left.
Novem directed a smile at me.
“When did you notice it? That Zelphy-san was an adventurer affiliated with Dalien’s feudal lord?”
Hearing her words, I raised both of my hands to signal my surrender.
“Probably later than you, Novem. Also, I didn’t notice it by my own ability.”
『Right, I’m the one who noticed it. No, I mean, she was skilled, and she was able to gather information in the blink of an eye. It was only around the, ‘hey, isn’t this girl just a bit suspicious?’ level, but when that Aria girl came out, it became gradually clearer…』
『That’s enough. This conversation isn’t getting anywhere.』
The Third started to brag, but the Fourth stopped him.
“I just thought she was a little suspicious. From the time that Hawkins-san recommended her as our advisor. Of course, I think we would have gotten Zelphy-san even if we paid a smaller fee.”
“You suspected her from the beginning!?”
“I mean, they recommended us an advisor when we clearly had some peculiar circumstances surrounding us. Also, while the system existed, they didn’t openly recommend it to the other applicants.”
Looking at her laughing to herself, I began to question why she paid such a high fee in that case.
Having sensed that, Novem offered an explanation.
“It’s because I thought that advisers would advise their best when money was involved. In order to achieve Lyle-sama’s ambitions, I determined it wasn’t the best place to economize.”
“Really? (My ambition? Wait, did I say anything like that to her?)”
There were a few parts I couldn’t understand, but there was a need to report to the guild, so Novem and I headed for the baths.
We had a few days’ worth of grime on us, so there was also the reason of us wanting to wash it off quickly.
(… Even so, my ambition? I don’t remember saying anything like that, and… becoming an adventurer was just kinda how it ended up, or should I say, it was just because I couldn’t think of anything else to do.)