The walking speed of a person is 4 km per hour, and the running speed is 12 km per hour.
I remember having taken 4-5 hours going down the mountain, walking in the forest, finding the road, and reaching the place of Ilias-san.
Meaning that I moved around 16-20 kilometers from the place where I playfully marked.
It took around 1 hour after departing the castle at night and arriving at that place.
Yeah, humans can run at 20 km per hour, huh.
The knights are wearing full armor and have their own weapons.
Swords, axes, hammers, spears; they are all heavy weapons. What’s with these people?
I am extremely curious about the average specs of the residents in this world. Moreover, Ilias-san is carrying an adult male on her shoulder.
Ah, she took me out from the bag.
“It is a relief that we managed to get here before the sun went down completely. If I remember correctly, it was around here… Found it.”
The field of vision will change once it is night. I was internally worried about whether I could find it, but I managed to find them thanks to the trees being somewhat peculiar.
“It is in this direction, but won’t we encounter the bandits if we climb straight there with these numbers? They seemed to be moving around frequently, you know.”
“That’s true. It would be troubling if they were to get away.” (Ilias)
Ilias-san went ‘fumu’ and made a pondering face. She looks like a gallant knight at times like this.
“What should we do?” (Ilias)
She asked with a serious face while sweating. Looks like she is a muscle-head.
“What should we do, indeed.”
The old men knights were also making pondering faces. I have no choice but to throw them a lifeboat here.
“First, let’s climb up from a slightly further location and head to the river. It is a bit deviated to the side from our destination. I found the path towards the cave at that place, so let’s head there.”
I remember the shape of the river to a certain degree. It seems to be a river that bandits use every so often, so there was a path with traces of human travel.
Speaking of which, I thought I would find a human settlement if I followed the river, but maybe because the river diverged to the side in the middle of it or its end point was in a lake, there was no settlement.
“I see. That would make it harder to find us with detection magic.” (Ilias)
An unfamiliar term came out. Eh, bandits can use something like that? Magic bandits?
And then, I understood why everyone was troubled here.
I thought it was because it would be hard to progress while hiding and not being noticed by the bandits, but they were thinking about how to avoid their radar.
It is not an issue of hiding even if you make noise. If something sets them off, they can use detection magic to check the surroundings.
In stealth games, the field of vision of an enemy is 90°, but the bandits here have a 360° antenna, and they can see through even obstructions.
Isn’t the difficulty a bit too high?
“Won’t we get discovered with detection magic in the vicinity of the cave?”
“If they utilize it on the regular, we will be discovered without doubt. But we will also be able to notice that they have used it. If it were on the route, they could divide and escape on the way, but if they are in their den, they would have to take their treasures and their escape routes would shorten. We can just wipe them out in one go.” (Ilias)
Quite the confidence. I thought they were muscle-heads, but there’s a lot of cases where that’s enough.
It was a march of 20 km per hour, but they are probably even faster when it is a short distance.
It is true that if we were to encounter them unluckily on the way and they were to relay the information with some sort of method, even if we captured the people there, their comrades further away might end up escaping.
But if it is in a case where we have cornered them, they say they have the strength to wipe them out in one go.
“Alright, let’s go.” (Ilias)
Ilias-san and her unit advanced through the savage forest. Through the forest, and entering the mountain.
I was shocked by their speed too.
When I was descending, I was having a fierce battle clearing away the cobwebs and was wary about not getting my body tangled up on the vegetation, and yet, they were advancing unflinching as if there was a path here.
I also looked at the girl, carrying me on her own while going up the mountain without running out of breath at all, with a hard to describe face.
“We have found the river.”
The sun has already sunk completely. The only thing we can rely on is the moonlight peeking through the openings of the trees.
But they are going on without using a torch.
If I were put down and followed behind them, I am sure I would fall.
Do they have night vision magic or something? -that’s just how smooth they were progressing.
“Can we go a bit further up? This feels a bit more spacious than the one I remember.”
After a while of going up the river, the river began to resemble the thinness of the river in my memories.
What’s left is to check the riverside and find the place I was before, but finding something in this darkness is pretty rough.
“I think it is around here…hm?”
I was finally let down and, while I was observing my feet carefully, I kicked something.
I reacted to the uncomfortable sensation while I confirmed what it was.
I thought my breath would stop there. What was lying there was the arm of a person.
The memory of when I saw the bandits replayed in my mind.
Right, the bandits at the cave were holding the arm of a person.
That arm had shining accessories, but the arm here doesn’t have any of those.
They most likely took those off in this river, and threw away the cumbersome arm only.
“This is…most likely the arm of the attacked merchant.”
“How cruel. Here, let’s bring it back. It would be too pitiful to leave it as feed for the beasts.”
After one of the knights offered a light prayer, he picked up the arm, washed the dirt off in the river, and placed the arm gently in a bag he had.
The expression of the knights turned serious.
There was a path around the place where the arm was.
The cave lies beyond here.
When I pointed to the path without a word, the knights readied their weapons, and began to walk silently.
A group of bandits had a lair in a certain cave within the mountains.
There’s one watch at the entrance of the cave and he was standing there as if bored.
Having a lookout in the middle of the mountain like this is only when a wild animal has sniffed out the place and approaches.
But the animals living in this mountain are nothing to be worried about.
Even if it is a more than 4 meter bear, they can deal with it as long as they don’t get ambushed.
There’s not a single daredevil who would go even further to the Black Demon Lord Killer Mountain though.
“Kuaah…hm? Shift already?”
A different bandit came out from inside while he was yawning.
“Wrong, I am taking a piss. It is still too soon to shift.”
“Please do it out of my sight.”
Saying this, one of his comrades entered a shade nearby.
The lookout sighed and took out a cigar from his pocket.
It is something that he stole from the merchant before.
He snapped his fingers and a flame appeared at the tip of his finger.
“Aah, I would like to indulge in a glamorous woman every now and then. There’s no fun in just killing fat merchants.”
He puffed out smoke while looking at the moon, and then, by the time he was around halfway done, he dropped it on the ground and stepped on it.
“He is taking long. Is he taking a shit too?”
He looked at the direction where his comrade disappeared in and mumbled complaints.
But the lookout felt something strange at that moment.
In the darkness, deep within the shrubs, he felt as if something was watching him.
The lookout tried to use detection magic.
‘When in doubt, check thoroughly’ -is the iron rule.
When using detection magic, you can detect the mana in a 50 meter radius.
If it is a person, it will take the shape of a person, and you can pinpoint their location.
You can also gauge the strength of the other party from their amount of mana.
However, if it is an animal that doesn’t have much mana, you would only see it as a faint haze.
The lookout thought he was only going to be seeing the silhouette of his comrade with his pants down anyways.
By the time he noticed several humanoid figures with mana of dense color encircling the entrance, his head was blown up by a thrown spear.
Tension spread on the bandits inside the cave.
The lookout tried to use detection magic.
If that’s all there was to it, it would be fine. It is the rule within their group to use detection magic immediately once you feel the presence of something.
But the detection magic disappeared all of a sudden. The thing that naturally disappears 10 seconds after using it has been forcefully erased after only a few seconds of having been used.
There’s two possibilities here.
The first one is that it was undone by a magic seal stone.
And the one other is the death of the user.
It is unthinkable that someone within their group would get in the way of the detection magic of an ally.
This means that whichever the reason is…
The bandits that were sleeping jumped up and grabbed their respective weapons.
The curtains of battle have been raised.
One of the knights choked a bandit that came into the shrubs to do their business from behind, and was swiftly dealt with.
And then, while they were strengthening the perimeter, one of them suddenly threw a spear and murdered the lookout.
“Detection magic was used. I got rid of the user before they shouted, but it won’t be long before they notice!”
The knight that threw the spear raised his voice.
The other knights jumped out to match this and rushed into the cave.
That speed of theirs was reminiscent of a running leopard.
Screams began to echo from inside the cave soon after.
They are not the voices of the knights no matter how I listen to it.
“We are going too. Don’t move too far away from me.” (Ilias)
I enter the cave following behind Ilias-san.
Even though her companions rushed in before her and battle has unfolded, she didn’t seem to be in a hurry.
The passage was only big enough for a few people to walk side by side at first, but we soon reached a big cavity.
There’s torches set here and there, making the inside comparatively bright.
Due to this, I managed to see the state of the inside clearly.
A battle between the bandits and knights was unfolding there.
No, it is way too one-sided to be called a battle.
The movements of the bandits are faster than wild animals, and their numbers are 3 times that of ours. It seems like they have coordination too, they didn’t fight a single knight one against one, but attacked while measuring the timing.
Despite all that, the knights were too strong.
A single swing of their spear was enough to blow away the approaching axe along with their arm.
An axe waved bravely slammed a bandit onto the wall from the sheer wind pressure it created.
No wonder the bandits didn’t fight them face on… I wouldn’t even want to face a single knight.
I was being shown a gore scene here and I could feel myself vomiting at any moment now.
But I managed to endure it.
The sight of the knights fighting was eye-catching to a moving extent.
I was more inspired than scared.
“Don’t finish off the ones that have been immobilized and are still alive. But don’t show mercy towards the ones who have the energy to run away!” (Ilias)
The knights roared at the order of Ilias.
The bandits were fighting back desperately at first, but the victor was already decided.
There were those who were curled up with a severe wound that won’t ever heal, and those who have been turned into eternal silent pieces of meat.
Bandits who still have the will to fight are already—
“It is so noisy.”
The cave shook and the knights stopped moving.
There were a number of cavities deeper in the cave, but a brawny man appeared from one of them.
Big…way too big.
The man was so big I thought for a second my sense of distance had been messed up with.
It is even bigger than the bear I saw before after all. Isn’t he 5 meters tall?
He is holding a stone hammer that has a giant rock the size of an adult man bound by several chains.
“What, you damn knights are making a mess of my lair…”
That’s the boss of the bandits. I personally picture a really brawny dude, but isn’t this guy like a whole different race? Are there giants in this world?
The knights stand back. They would obviously be wary of how abnormal this guy is—wait, what?!
Ilias-san was walking briskly towards the boss of the bandits.
“You bastard are the boss of the bandits, huh. It wasn’t in the reports, but with that build of yours, you certainly wouldn’t be able to descend quietly.” (Ilias)
The man swung down the stone hammer with his strong arm.
It is the end. No, Ilias-san is a knight too! She will avoid it deftly and—
A strong earthquake happened inside the cave.
I was dumbstruck at the same time.
Ilias-san grabbed the stone hammer with one hand.
“What’s the matter? Is that big body just for decoration?” (Ilias)
Cracking rang, and then, the stone hammer crumbled with an explosive sound.
This gorilla straight up crushed it in her hand.
Even the boss bandit was shocked by this inhuman strength.
“It would be too much trouble to apprehend you and bring you back with that body of yours. You will be atoning for all your sins right here and now.” (Ilias)
Ilias-san grabs hold of her sword.
Is she going to leave it sheathed? -the very next moment I thought this, his giant body was bursted open.
All that remained of him was from the chest up and from his waist down; in other words, his abdomen had been blown out of existence, making the boss bandit’s body follow gravity and fall on the ground.
Cheers of delight were raised from the knights at that same moment.
“Do not forget to confirm with detection magic whether there’s any escapees. Capture all survivors.” (Ilias)
Ilias-san returned as if nothing happened.
“Looks like we will be able to finish this safely.” (Ilias)
“I might get traumatized from this though.”
“Muh, you are witnessing the stellar performance of knights, you know? I would like you to be moved here.” (Ilias)
Ilias-san protested with a slightly displeased face.
“Why didn’t you unsheath your sword at the end?”
“…I didn’t want to dirty this blade with the blood of someone of that level.” (Ilias)
“I see. I thought it was because you tried to unsheath it, but it got stuck on the scabbard and couldn’t get it out, so you hit him just like that, but maybe that was just my imagination.”
“…Against someone of that level…” (Ilias)
“Yeah yeah, I get it. I get it, so cool it down with that sword.”
No bandits escaped.
Among the 34 bandits including the boss, 7 were apprehended and the others were all killed.
They have also safely recovered the stolen money and goods.
Of course, the civilian was still being carried by the shoulder. It goes without saying that I was even more scared of her inhuman strength than when we just departed.
Deep within the forest of the Taizu region, there was a bandit hideout.
Amongst the simple tents set in a lumbered open space, there was one especially big tent at the center that stood out.
The one-armed man that was sitting on the most extravagant chair there was listening to what his subordinate was telling him.
“The den of Gidou was done in?”
“Yes, when the scout went to check their state, there were only corpses inside, and even the corpse of Gidou was lying there.”
“What about the treasure?”
“Unfortunately, it seems like the knights of Taizu retrieved it after the attack.”
“That place is located pretty deep in the mountains. It would take several months to find unless you know the location. The chances are low that the knights managed to search for it without being discovered until then.”
“Were they tailed?”
“No, Gidou is an idiot, but I hammered the methods into his subordinates. Their tailing countermeasures should have been sufficient.”
The name of the one armed man is Dokora.
He was a famous bandit in the neighboring country of Gahne, but feeling threatened by the increased national power of Gahne since the new king took the throne, he moved his control sphere to Taizu.
He then wrapped the bandits that escaped from the territory of Gahne under his mantle and formed a bandit alliance.
Contrary to Gahne which had a lot of open fields and was hard to run and hide in, Taizu had many mountains and forests unclaimed by human hands, making it the perfect hunting spot.
Dokora was living as an Anbu from a certain nation, but his life was targeted after learning something he shouldn’t.
He lost an arm in that instance. He changed his lifestyle after feeling the limits of his career as an assassin.
Because of these experiences, Dokora had the know-hows of pursuit techniques and a variety of stealth skills.
By sharing a part of those techniques to the bandits, the chances of the members in the alliance being captured fell, and improved theiru efficiency in plundering through information exchange; all of these compounded into the reason why the knights of Taizu were having so much trouble with them.
“How did they do it? What method did they use?” (Dokora)
A child with no mana coincidentally entered the mountain and found the cave? -What are the chances?
“Tell the other dens to refrain from any flashy actions for now. We will observe their movements and gauge the situation.” (Dokora)
“Understood. What bothers me is that, after counting the corpses in Gidou’s place, there seems to be some who were captured… The messenger was within those…”
“You are worried they will be tortured and be made to spill out information about us? No need to worry about that. They are not idiots. They are fully aware that our retribution would be multiple times worse than any torture the knights can concoct. They would rather choose death through torture than confessing and living in fear for the rest of their lives.” (Dokora)
Dokora has shown to every member of each crew what happens to turncoats.
What Dokora displayed were his torture skills he gained as an Anbu.
He made them realize that the clean and straightforward torture of knights would just be a favor to kill them faster.
“Increase the use of magic seal stones. Increase the traps.” (Dokora)
“Now then, let’s see what Taizu has to offer.” (Dokora)