Translator: Silver Editor: Kaio
「Operation Underway」 Part 1
The red-light district stretched across the area near the eastern gate of Diento. The width of the road wasn’t very wide; each side was lined with suspicious shops.
The place was dotted with the squatting forms of people who were dead drunk, and the sight of them staggering around while supporting each other on their shoulders, humming jovial songs while red faced, could be seen.
Only at this time of night did nearly all the shops stop their operations. The sparse light that leaked from the shops along with the unreliable street light from the sporadically built lamps deepened all the more the darkness of the alleyways.
The moonlight, which was the primary light source that shone on the streets, could by no means penetrate the alleyways between the dense cluster of buildings.
It was in such an alleyway that the elven warrior Danka quietly advanced, leading the way. During the stillness in the dead of night, the rather loud sound of footsteps meeting the stone paving could be heard resounding.
In a short while, the vanguard Danka abruptly stopped, after which Ariane’s feet also stopped.
When Danka peered out of the corner of the alleyway, jerking his chin towards Ariane, she turned her eyes to the previously indicated building.
It appeared that we’ve arrived at the building of our target.
I spotted signs of two people guarding the back of the building. It was a three-storied building made of stone that, considering it was located near the eastern gate, was still wide.
The buildings surrounding it were densely packed, and the spaces in between were nearly nonexistent. In front of the building, there was an iron-barred gate, with two men who looked like guards standing watch before it. Furthermore, on the other side of the gate, inside a structure similar to a front garden, there were around four ruffians that could be seen sitting crowded around the lamp light, chattering about something, and sometimes raising their voices in coarse laughter.
Since the two lookouts were completely visible from within the bars, even if they’re taken out, the others would immediately notice, making a surprise attack difficult. The sturdy bars can also act as a shield that would slow down any frontal assaults.
Attacking the front of the building would instantly cause the surroundings to be confused as they sense an abnormal event. I think attacking alone would probably be very difficult.
Danka’s gaze at Ariane asked about what we should do. When Ariane turned her eyes, looking towards my direction, the edges of her charming lips that peeked out from below the hood raised slightly.
Seeing this, Danka glared at me with a discouraged look on his face.
“That armor isn’t suited for nighttime infiltration…the enemies will notice its sound.”
The armor I have on differ from the poor-quality armor hereabouts: it won’t make noises at random, but isn’t completely silent.
Such equipment was certainly not very fit for an infiltration mission, but for me with a skeleton interior, taking it off was impossible.
While I was considering such a thing, thinking about what to say, Ariane spoke up first.
“Since we have to get rid of all of those guys while rescuing our companions anyway, it shouldn’t matter whether we’re noticed early or not…”
Certainly, even if they see to the rescue of their brethren from the kidnapping group, leaving the organization itself alone will have a very high possibility of someone else being harmed. That being the case, cutting down the ringleader seemed to be self evident.
With that, she calmly spoke out , pointing to a small window at the roof of the building.
“Arc, can you get us to that small window over there?”
From the alleyway, a small window with a tiny triangular roof on top of the three-storied building could be seen. Since the window had no light leaking out, it could possibly be the an attic window.
“Yes, transferring over there would be easy.”
“Good, let’s move into the depths of the alleyway and transfer from there. After invoking your transfer magic, the shining magic formation would make those guys suspicious.”
“No, we’ll move using 【Dimensional Step】instead of 【Transfer Gate 】. This method’s suited for short-range movement.”
My words made Ariane’s fine eyebrows lift slightly, with her voice raised in surprise with traces of shock mixed in.
“There’s transfer magic exclusively used for short distances? Really, what kind of person are you?”
“I’m flying to the roof. Better hold onto my shoulders.”
【Dimensional Step】was a short-range magic that allowed everything in direct contact to move together with me, but it won’t bring along anything not in contact, no matter how close it might be. Ponta’s luckily always stuck on my head, so there were no issues there.
After confirming that Ariane and Danka had placed their hands on my shoulder, I turned my gaze towards the roof near the small window.
The nearby scenery changed completely in an instant; the previous sight turned into one where the moonlight spread out, shining on every roof. The previous stone paving beneath our feet disappeared, replaced by roof tiles. I had stoop down a little to maintain my balance due to the naturally inclined roof.
Going up on the roof while in a full body armour was bad for the heart. Wondering when the roof would collapse while withstanding my weight, making a hole, made my heart go pit-a-pat.
Danka’s form fell to his knee in a crouch, muttering while viewing the state of the surroundings.
Since there were few buildings over three stories tall in the city, our visibility above the roof opened up, allowing us to take an extensive view of the state of the entire city. In the southwest direction, built at the central part of a small hill, the feudal lord’s castle and the black silhouette next to it gets a perfect score for its majestic appearance under the night sky.
“Come on, let’s go.”
While restraining her voice, Ariane approached the triangular roof’s window, peering in while slightly opening the small wooden window. There weren’t anything like windowpanes, only a window that was like a wooden cover. Since glass still seemed to be considered a high-class item, using it for an attic window like this would be bizarre.
“Okay, there’s no one inside. We can enter from here.”
Saying so, she hereupon opened the window fully, but her body as she tried to slip into the room was hindered by her voluptuous chest and buttocks, making her have to squirm slightly to get through.
When I looked at it from below, it seemed fine, but seeing it from up close, it was rather small. Ariane and Danka were slender, and it was barely wide enough.
For me in my full body armour, even thinking about entering through this tiny window was impossible. There’s only one thing to do when it becomes like this…
After Ariane quietly passed through, Danka successfully entered from the window without a problem. Finally, when it became my turn, I looked through the small opened window at the appearance indoors, and while invoking 【Dimensional Step】without difficulty, completely entered the room.
(Hey! If there’s such a method, say so earlier!)
The watching Ariane raised a small voice of protest. She seemed to be embarrassed about the matter where her breasts and buttocks got stuck. Even in this dark room, it was clear that her cheeks were dyed vermillion.
It wasn’t the case that she’s grown particularly plump, so I don’t think it was necessary that she had to be so embarrassed.
“This place seems to be similar to a storeroom…”
Ignoring her voice of protest, Danka did things at his own pace, muttering in a low, carrying voice while analyzing our surroundings.
The room was converted into a storage room, with miscellaneous luggage piled up in appropriate arrangements. In spite of the space, there weren’t a lot of luggage left behind; not very many people were coming and going either judging from the dusty air.
Danka moved slowly on the wooden floor so as to not make a sound, and advanced towards the thin stairway that led to the lower floor, peering down and making a gesture that seemed to say, “Be quiet!”.
After Danka had confirmed that Ariane had nodded at him, he started to slowly descend the stairway that was connected to the lower floor.
A short time after there were signs of Danka moving around for some reason downstairs, he once more appeared in the attic with only his face showing and signaled “Come!” with his hand.
Seeing it, Ariane and I followed at the same time after Danka to the stairway leading to the lower floor, and descended.
We found ourselves in a room with four bunk beds placed within.
With the exception of Danka in the middle of the room, there weren’t any signs of life ─ only the smell of lukewarm iron rust. There were four men lying in their beds, but each person’s throat was stabbed, with all of them dead from the loss of blood.
While Danka covered the ruffians’ heads with blankets to disguise them as being asleep, Ariane approached the door in the middle of the room and peeked at the state outside.
It seemed to be safe; Ariane beckoned for us to go towards her. Once Danka had finished with his disguise and we moved together close to the door, Ariane gave directions in silence.
Danka was on right, Ariane was left, and I was inner center. Us three nodded to one another, and the door was opened.
The door opened up to a corridor ahead, with a rectangular atrium that could be seen in the interior. On both sides of the atrium were three equally spaced doors, and further inside, next to one of the doors, a stairway that led to the bottom could be seen.
Lamps were installed here and there in the passageway, illuminating in entirety the inside of the building.
This brightness in the atrium allowed for looking out over those approaching from downstairs, and given that the other party can also confirm with their sight, it’s dangerous to investigate the doors on both sides without bending over.
Ariane and Danka soundlessly approached before the doors on each side in a low stance, straining their ears to find out the circumstances inside. Before long, the doors slowly opened and the pair slipped inside their respective rooms. I was the only one left on this level’s corridor now.
Given that it was impossible not to make a sound walking on the wooden floor while fully equipped in metal armor, I used 【Dimensional Step】to move to one of the interior visible doors. While thinking useless thoughts such as whether my legs would become frail if I relied on this magic too much for various things, I approached the door.
This wooden door differed from the typical doors in its vicinity that spoke of simplicity, with the door having dignified decorations and being fitted with a handle made of metal.
I can feel the presence of a person from beyond the door, but as I investigated and noticed the presence, a vigilant atmosphere drifted over. It seemed that the person on the other side had sensed my presence.
However, the other person since becoming alert hadn’t done anything like raising their voice. I can’t stand here like this the whole time without moving, so I decided to open the the door, laying my hand on the doorknob, but, somehow or other, it appeared to be locked. I peered into the door through the doorknob’s keyhole and looked inside the room. Since the keyhole was like those old elementary school warehouse locks, I was able to see inside.
While looking at the view of the room on the other side of the keyhole, I decided on a target spot and activated 【Dimensional Step】.
I transferred into the bright room in the same posture as when I was peering into the keyhole from the corridor. The inside of the room was brighter than the corridor outside, and the room for some reason was crowded with gaudy furnishings lined up on both sides.
The middle of the room had a coffee table with a leather-covered couch, with an amber work desk further inside the room. A fat well-dressed man was sprawled with his face laying on the desk, not moving an inch.
Furthermore, illuminated by the lamps, there were three bloodstained armed ruffians collapsed around the vicinity. I could tell that all of them were already dead…
Hereupon, from the desk’s shadow, a person dressed in completely black revealed their head, examining me before stepping forward and approaching.
“The door’s lock should’ve been closed; nevertheless, how did Armor Onii-san enter just now?”
The person in black spoke in a small muffled voice, but, instead of answer the question, I unintentionally let out the first thought that came to mind.
At my unintentionally leaked words, the eyebrow of the person who was completely dressed in black from top to bottom lifted up slightly.
And simultaneously, covered by a hood, the ears attached to the area at the top of their head, with a twitch, moved in response…
The person before my eyes appeared to be a petite young girl. Her whole body was covered with clothes made of black fabric in a manner that was particularly moe, an outfit absolutely worthy of belonging to a ninja. Her legs had greave-type protectors made of metal, with gauntlets for her arms, and worn on her head was a black scorched metal-plated headband with a gold crown sewn on, with a straight-bladed dagger visible on her lower waist.
The only area with visible skin was around her lovely blue eyes that didn’t give off much emotion, while on top of the hood, black triangular-type animal ears were attached. I also noticed just now that a black tail was attached to her waist with a belt-like shape, with the tip of the tail sometimes moving in a flutter.
The ears and tail didn’t show any signs of having the atmosphere of an artificial product; no matter how you looked at it, the responses they were displaying showed them to be alive. Following the elves, I seemed to have come across another new race in this world.
The young female ninja also surveyed me with my full-length black cloak wrapped around my armored body with a green fox atop my head; I could see her gaze carefully investigating my whole body.
“You don’t seem to be a human from this place. Did you come here for some objective as well?”
The young female ninja finished her observation and threw another question at me, making me hard pressed to answer. Although she doesn’t seem to be an enemy, it would be clumsy to reveal the purpose behind coming here to an outsider so easily.
While thinking about how to reply, the young female ninja already guessed at my purpose in coming here.
“Coming here to rescue the elves or some such…? If that’s the case, they seem to be held captive in the dungeon.”
I wasn’t able to hide my surprise at the girl’s words. With me wearing this whole-body armor, there’s no way to tell whether I’m a human or an elf inside. Given that both Ariane and Danka were in the midst of searching the other rooms right now, there weren’t any elves close to me, yet she was able to correctly guess my objective without hesitation.
I sent a fleeting glance at the former guards scattered about at her feet.
These were most likely her doings. Despite her slender physique, she seemed to be quite skilled. Did she get information on the circumstances of those being kept here out of them?
Once she was convinced of my objective, her gaze lightened a little.
”Did you sneak in here for the purpose of freeing the elves as well?”
Calming myself down, I asked her, though her purpose seemed to differ. She quietly shook her head, repudiating my guess.
“The object I’m after wasn’t here. I was just considering what to do about the elves captured here…but, apparently, it seems that I can leave them to you guys.”
She pulled in the large heavy-seeming leather bag that was placed on the desk, then she shouldered it, securing it tightly with a rope. Stopping at the opened window at the wall across the room with her foot set atop it, the young female ninja turned around to bid farewell.
“I’ll leave the rest to you; since it’s you, the chance to meet again is probable. Well then, let’s meet again… Oh, about two elves are captured in the feudal lord’s castle…”
The minute that she said that, despite carrying on her back a leather bag that rang out with heavy-seeming sounds, with movements that couldn’t be sensed, she went from the window to grasping the edge of the roof, and abruptly, with a single turn, the body on top of the roof disappeared from sight.
Before long, the girl’s thin presence faded away, disappearing in the blink of an eye under the veil of darkness that descended on the whole town, leaving no traces behind.