The knight corps were gathering outside of the gates of Taizu.
The ones positioned at the center are the knights led by Lord Leano that use red as their symbol.
Leano smiled satisfied while watching the state of the formation.
He had already heard about how the other lords were having trouble with subjugating the bandits.
The Fohl knight division with yellow as its symbol.
This Lord Fohl was just watching without nominating himself until now because he was aware that all methods had been exhausted.
That’s where Lord Ragudo gave Lady Ratzel a mission in the form of a nomination.
Lord Ragudo wanted to give Lady Ratzel a chance here, but the reality is that, even though Lady Ratzel may be outstanding in her battle prowess, she is lackluster in everything else.
That’s why it was unexpected that she would bring out such results.
But she really is a woman that lacks in the finishing touches. She ended up losing her opportunity to earn achievements after all.
He was surprised when Lord Ragudo requested assistance, but what he felt the most was that this was an opportunity.
He would immediately narrow the possible members for the other divisions, and then gather an amount of knights that easily surpasses this.
And then, just as planned, he succeeded in stealing away the operation rights this time around.
They should have just gone to subjugate them with their own group without requesting for assistance if they succeeded in obtaining the information of the bandits.
Of course, it wouldn’t be possible to wipe out all the bandits even with the small number of elites in the Ragudo Division.
However, dropping a single base would have been easy for them.
They would then get new prisoners and more information.
It may take time, but they would be able to monopolize the rewards.
“She really is a woman. To think she would ask others for help the moment she judges it is too much for her. She really lacks the drive to do things herself.” (Leano)
That’s when a messenger arrived.
“What’s the matter? Have the other units finished their formation?” (Leano)
“No, but they will be soon. The Ratzel unit told me to bring these documents here to you, Lord Leano.”
Being told this, he read the documents given to him.
What was there was information even more precise about the bases and maps than the ones he was given before.
“Fumu, this is well made.” (Leano)
“They said they want you to share this information to the other units raiding the respective lairs.”
“They can’t even handle contact with other divisions because of their low numbers, huh. Or maybe they simply didn’t like the idea of using old soldiers to relay messages.” (Leano)
Leano thought about it for a bit.
“Alright, distribute these documents to my units in charge of each lair. And then, order them to use this and guide them.” (Leano)
There’s no need to share it with them directly.
If his units are aware of this information and are in a position where they can guide them, the achievements his division will get will be even clearer.
“Tell the other units to not show these documents to the other divisions.” (Leano)
However, they were not badly made.
They must have prepared someone decently attentive on their side.
Lady Ratzel and the old men of the Ragudo Division have no such delicacy.
The person that showed up in the mind of Leano was the black haired young man.
This was most likely prepared by the cooperator of Lady Ratzel, that young man.
He remembered how the young man acted in that meeting.
Within the complaints of the knights from the Ragudo Division, he acted in a manner that would elevate them instead.
That young man most likely doesn’t like the idea of that woman, Lady Ratzel, standing in the limelight.
He managed to propose moving them to support at the back and whether there were any divisions that would want to work together with them as if it were a passing thought.
He is a determined fellow.
He seemed useful, so he was thinking it would be fine to keep an eye on him.
“First, let’s check out just how useful these documents are.” (Leano)
This is how the bandit subjugation raid led by Lord Leano began their march in the middle of the night.
The ringleader of the bandit alliance, Dokora, heard about the knights heading their way to attack them and clicked his tongue.
The chances of them finding the lairs hidden in the forest and the mountains is low but isn’t nonexistent.
That’s why he has at least made patrol routes even at night.
Despite that, they were not caught by them and have already surrounded the base.
They are clearly completely aware of the routes they take.
In other words, information has been leaked.
Did the messenger caught in the base of Gidou leak the information?
He scratched his head with his remaining arm.
“I don’t think he was an idiot that didn’t understand threats though.” (Dokora)
Dokora himself is the one who understands the fearsomeness of necromancy the most.
In order to make them understand to the greatest extent, he utilized the most unruly gang.
He purposely gave them a territory that would be hard for them to act in, and decreased the sweet rewards they could obtain compared to other gangs.
He fanned the flames of rebellion by creating a difference in hierarchy.
They broke the rules soon after and began doing as they pleased.
They are outlaws to begin with, so they would explode immediately if inconvenienced.
And so, he got rid of them with the excuse that it is retribution, and made an example out of them by using necromancy on them.
The results were stellar. Even the leaders of the gangs ended up fearing Dokora.
And yet, would a mere messenger leak the information?
It is hard to believe that he has overcome the fear of his soul being shamed for eternity even after death.
He was finding it hard to believe that the subpar torture of the prim and proper knights would make him spill out the beans, but considering the current circumstances, he had no choice but to think he has indeed done so.
He had to accept that it was a mistake he thought the threat was enough and that he had shared way too much information in order to move them more efficiently.
If the information has leaked and they have encircled the place, they must have readied quite the numbers.
In that case, it would be safe to assume that the other bases are being raided too. Those guys were done for.
“Well, no point crying over spilt milk. We are escaping. Make the preparations.” (Dokora)
“B-But we are being surrounded by knights! Are we breaking through?!”
“Are you an idiot? With the strength of you guys, you would be practically wiped out.” (Dokora)
The bandits themselves have been living in a strenuous atmosphere.
Each of them probably has the strength of 10 people.
However, the knights train arduously every day and hone their arts.
Even weak knights would be worth the strength of 20 people.
If Dokora were to give a modest estimate of himself, he would be around the same as a strong knight which would be 50.
Just thinking about the knight captain level would be a pain.
However, this only applies for when they fight an upfront battle.
The outside tents are the ones dealing with them right now. Weaklings that wouldn’t bring much issue even if lost.
But weaklings will not last long, so he had to act fast.
“Each one of you should divide the treasure and carry it. If a hole opens in your bags and you end up dropping the treasure, I am killing you. I will break the encirclement of the knights while you are getting ready.” (Dokora)
The most efficient method to increase the win rate in a battle is to be stronger than the other party.
Even if you are winning individually, there’s cases where you can overturn it by attacking with numbers.
However, when you are winning in both factors, it is hard to overturn the tides of battle.
That’s the current situation.
The difference between the seasoned knights and the bandits is clear, and they are being overwhelmed by the numbers of the knights too.
No knights in sight were falling.
On the other hand, the corpses of the bandits littering the ground were increasing.
Leano was watching satisfied and continued giving out orders.
“Now, exterminate the utterly foolish bandits that looked down on us! We win in both strength and numbers. Anyone who can’t get a head should be ashamed! Compete for glory!” (Leano)
The documents were extremely useful.
When he sent a lightly geared scout beforehand, he found a patrolling bandit, and was eliminated swiftly.
They successfully managed to encircle their settlement by slipping into the darkness of the night.
They used Detection while they were encircling them, so they couldn’t do a perfect ambush, but their encirclement was completed while they were fighting.
Even the settlement of the largest scale is in this state. It should be safe to assume that the other raids are also doing well.
At this rate, the casualties will be negligible too. It might even end with just minor injuries.
That would increase the evaluation of the one in command.
“That said, their numbers are low.” (Leano)
According to the documents, they should have 50, and they simply killed a few of the patrols.
Merchants don’t move at night, so it is hard to believe they are out working.
Judging from the reaction of the bandits, it is hard to believe that they predicted this raid and escaped.
But even when he was looking at the state of the battle, there’s only around 30.
Those 30 will most likely be dealt with shortly by the knights.
“Are they hiding in the tent? Fumu, then the most suspicious one would be the one in the middle.” (Leano)
The cleaning of the bandits ended soon after.
Leano gave new orders.
“The report said there’s 50 enemies. There’s most likely close to 20 still in hiding! Check the tents and slowly advance to the middle!” (Leano)
Leano also checks the inside of the tents following the knights.
And then, he frowned.
He could see traces of bandits sleeping just recently in most tents.
Food scattered messily from eating, dirty blankets, etc.
But he would at times see some strange sights.
“Is this…a corpse?” (Leano)
There’s a mountain of rotting corpses letting out a foul stench left just like that.
Judging from the clothes, they seem to be corpses of bandits.
There seems to be herbs wrapped on top of the corpses most likely to prevent the stench from getting out, but there’s a lot of maggots crawling around in them.
Judging from the state of the knights, there’s several tents in the same state.
(Why did he go out of the way to keep the corpses of his comrades…? If I remember correctly, the ringleader should be a necromancer… Could it be…?!) (Leano)
Shivers ran down through his spine.
Even Leano is one of the knight captains.
It is not like he hasn’t gone through his fair share of life or death experiences.
And so, those experiences were ringing alarms about what will be happening, and one possibility surfaced in his mind.
“Everyone, be careful of the corpses! There’s something about them!” (Leano)
The moment he warned them, the corpses sprung out.
Leano barely avoided because his eyes were directed at the corpses, and he sent the corpse flying with his sword.
That one attack separated the top and bottom of its body, but both parts began to wriggle, creeping their way together and sticking back to its original form.
The remaining corpses also began to move, and began to attack the knights nearby with inhuman conduct.
It seems like the same thing happened in the tents around; a battle between the knights and the corpses began.
“So this is necromancy. How nasty!” (Leano)
He was cutting the corpses to pieces as he cursed at them, but they would repair themselves when left be and would resume attacking.
They are already not human corpses but undead monsters.
“Regroup and coordinate! Their movements are nothing to fear!” (Leano)
The face of Leano froze when he once again looked around.
Even the bandits they defeated before are getting up.
There were around 100 corpses already there.
And now, 30 more bandit corpses were added.
(Impossible! There should be knights that have magic seal stones equipped. They shouldn’t be able to activate magic on the corpses at this time, and shouldn’t be able to cast necromancy on the bandits that died just now!) (Leano)
A melee was beginning in the place.
The undeads seem to have more speed and power, but there wasn’t any sort of technique to them.
They were just attacking them by pure instinct.
As such, the trained knights wouldn’t get outdone by them.
However, they don’t die.
No matter how much they are cut down, stabbed, smashed, they will heal themselves and get up.
“All of you, don’t die! You would just become a part of the undead! The ones who have learned cleanse magic, test out what you can! For the ones who don’t know that spell, find a way to seal their movements!” (Leano)
Living bandits entered the vision of Leano while he was giving out orders.
It seems like they have begun escaping within the chaos.
He wanted to order a chase, but they already had their hands full.
If he were to give out a thoughtless order here, there’s no assurance there won’t be people getting caught by the undead in the confusion.
They can deal with them because they are the undead of bandits, but the threat of a knight undead would be immeasurable.
The sound of grinding teeth rang, and the encirclement that was thought to be perfect was easily broken through.
“Kahahahaha! Those guys were more useful dead!”
I was escaping through the forest while laughing, overjoyed by how perfectly the plan I set went.
“As expected of our boss! But just how did you set that up? Those guys even had weapons with magic seal stones lodged in them, ye know?”
“Magic seal stones are handy, right? They disassemble the magic that enters its field after all. However, you must not misunderstand. What it dismantles is simply the structure.” (Dokora)
The necromancy I used was simple. Have the soul of the dead take over their original body, and have them go out of control as undead. The troublesome part about it is that it releases mana with the same effect on the corpses in the area. That’s why, if you get attacked by an undead and die, that person will become an undead, and you can turn them into undead just by leaving the corpses there.
A forbidden spell that brings back the corpses in the area as undead one after the other. It is to a degree where a whole nation fell because of this.
The method to keep them sleeping is also simple. I set a barrier in the central tent that emitted mana that calmed down the undead. I simply lifted it up.
I played around with several magic seal stones in my palm as I basked in the afterglow. The barrier itself will be undone if magic seal stones get close. However, the mana created by the barrier and the mana created by necromancy are simply of that nature and are not constructed.
Magic seal stones seal magic; the meaning of that isn’t wrong, but the logic behind it is different.
The biggest merit of necromancy is the fact that the created undead are clad in special mana.
Due to this, even if magic seal stones are used, its effects won’t weaken. As long as there’s no interference when it is being used, you can do as you please afterwards.
“Even if I were to tell you the details, you wouldn’t get it anyways. Only thing you gotta worry about is that you don’t die close to those cause you will end up like them even if I don’t do anything.” (Dokora)
I drop a single magic seal stone after a certain distance traveled. With this, they won’t be able to pursue us to our current location with detection magic.
It is not impossible to chase after us by searching for traces of movement, but if they take their time chasing us like that, we can shake them off by moving around normally.
Moreover, the place we are heading to has magic seal stones scattered about beforehand. I had prepared an escape route for such occasions; a terrain that’s easy to take refuge in.
We arrived at our first destination which is an open place. The only ones who know about this place are the subordinates I have been acquainted with for a long time. It is the place I had them remodel in secret.
“Now then, let’s take a bit of a break. All the guys that ran away are here, right? We are going to be confirming the luggage we grabbed with us, okay?” (Dokora)
What lies beyond here is a hideout only my comrades know and also a lair only I know of. We can just take refuge in the former while I am accompanied by these guys.
“They must have gotten the other places too from the looks of things. Man, gotta be grateful for the knight-samas. There’s more for us now.” (Dokora)
The amount of bandits that escaped from Gahne after the new king took the throne was massive. I created the bandit alliance so that we could safely plunder, and even if knights were to move, we could disperse the risks.
The result was favorable. I had the ones I didn’t like rebel on purpose, used them as an example, had the others be indebted to me, and placed them in easier to find locations for the knights.
I thought the chances of those lairs being found out would be low too, but that’s how I readied the plan. But the number of bandits has dropped sharply with this. We should be able to lay waste to the hunting spots with a few elites. It is not all sour here.
“I see. But I am not one bit happy about being thanked by a criminal.”
A voice rang. A single knight showed up from the shrubs. And then, knights began to show up in the surroundings, matching the entrance of this knight.
“Woah, are you serious?” (Dokora)
“My name is Ilias Ratzel. Bandit Dokora, this is the dead end of your wretched path.” (Ilias)
The female knight that showed up introduced herself and unsheathed her sword.
Far away from where Ilias-san introduced herself in a cool way, there’s Cara-jiisan, and behind that back of his, sticking really close to him was the isekai traveler.
I am honestly tired. No one carried me this time around after all.
“A one-armed man. Looks like there’s no mistake here. It is exactly as you predicted, lad.” (Cara)
Now then, let me explain how things turned out like this.
The one-armed man, Dokora, escaping was within my expectations from the very beginning.
This man that has managed to deceive the knights until now with thorough information control and escaping capabilities, wouldn’t be so readily caught just because his base has been surrounded.
It would be natural for him to have one or two escape routes ready.
I could tell he was relying on necromancy from how much confidence he had with his ruling by fear.
I was curious about it, so I had one of the members of the Ragudo Division investigate the cave they attacked the other day, and the corpses there were completely gone.
They buried them in grief? No way.
In that case, they will be using them for something. Obviously for a moment like this.
We also identified the name of Dokora in the information Maya-san found.
He was an Anbu for a certain country, was said to have broken a taboo one day, and became a wanted person.
He apparently turned into a bandit-like criminal at Gahne, but feeling threatened by the new king, he escaped to Taizu, and that leads us to now.
Realizing that the know-hows of when he was an Anbu would serve him well in the bandit business was big.
In other words, Dokora is the type that, rather than taking advantage of his wit, would make use of his past experiences.
This type of people whose actions are inclined towards confidence in their experiences are easy to read once you get the pattern.
I judged that he would almost definitely use magic seal stones in his escape. Seeing how they were using the stones like water, I also assumed the possibility that he had scattered them around his escape route beforehand.
The reason why I had Ilias-san and the Ragudo Division positioned to assist in the back, which is a complete free state, was in order to forestall the area of their escape route before the attack.
We also decided on the routes in the meeting and narrowed down the possible paths they could escape in.
Coupled with that, they have also been using detection magic since before the raid as we explored.
That said, Lord Leano didn’t even spare a single member to keep tabs on the Ragudo unit.
He probably didn’t have even a sliver of desire to coordinate with us. I would have managed somehow if he did post someone though.
And so, we went around the outer circumference of the areas where detection magic was erased, in other words, the places where magic seal stones were set, and sniffed out their escape route.
One of the things we found was an unnaturally worked-on open space. They were probably using it as a rendezvous point when scattering.
It seems like they easily got through the encirclement and came with everyone though. You could say in a way this was a fine play by Lord Leano.
I was wondering what to do if he was the genius type with a clear and fast mind even without experience.
Lord Leano is most likely dealing with the undead right about now.
I have asked the skilled Maya-san to assist them, so they should be close to suppressing them by now.
I doubt he has any room to complain later. He did have the vanguard after all.
Now, it is the share of Ilias-san from here on.