Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
「Harbor City Lanbaltic」Part 1
Making full use of 【Dimensional Step】, Ariane and I left Buranbeina early the next morning and returned to the fork in the road.
Under the sunny sky, Ponta was chasing butterflies around the rocks at the center of the fork in the road.
Ariane was sitting on a boulder of to the side and drinking water from her canteen.
I was sitting on the ground waving a foxtail grass blade around, failing to catch Ponta’s attention as she wagged her tail and avoided eye contact.
Unable to heal my loneliness, I turned my eyes to the gentle hills that opened up before me.
Far west of the hilly landscape, the ridgeline of the Leving mountains continued from the northern and southern horizons.
Our next destination, Lanbaltic, was just beyond that mountain range. Based off of what we heard in Buranbeina, we’d have to travel around the southernmost tip of the mountains to reach the city. From this vantage point, I should easily be able to cover the distance with transfer magic, but the problem was that the monsters roaming the area, the high amount of pedestrian traffic, and the villages along the way made doing so rather difficult. I sighed unintentionally as I stared out at the surrounding area.
“We should set off soon.”
Ariane agreed with my opinion as she stood up. Ponta, seeming to realize what was happening and used her magic to fly from the rock she was on to the top of my head. Facing forward I put my luggage sack over my shoulder and began to walk.
I headed down the southwestern path this time. Confirming that there was no one around, I invoked 【Dimensional Step】. Occasionally we would come across some people on the highway so I had to transfer to another location. We traveled like this for quite some time and it wasn’t long before night fell.
Silence had fallen over the hilly landscape and the Leving mountains looked larger at their base than when I gazed at them from our previous vantage point. I couldn’t even see the setting sun since it was blocked by the northern region of the mountain range.
We decided to rest for the night and visited the inn of a small town that was built next to a forest.
Unfortunately, the next day the sky was full of dark clouds.
After leaving the town and following the western highway early in the morning, the hilly surroundings were eventually replaced by an ocean view. Although it had taken a rather gloomy appearance thanks to the cloudy sky, my feelings brightened up a little.
“We’ve finally reached the ocean.”
I put my hands on my waist and took a deep breath. Ponta used her magic to fly from the top of my head to a hill that overlooked the sea.
“This is the first time I’ve seen the ocean from this side.”
Ariane smiled as she removed her hood, letting her silver hair blow in the wind, and spoke in an emotional tone.
“We have to head north along the coast from here.”
I turned away from the sea to look in the northern direction.
Even though I didn’t know how much further north we had to go, at our pace we should’ve been able to reach Lanbaltic by the afternoon. The problem was that because of the people and the coastal villages and towns along the highway, I couldn’t recklessly use 【Dimensional Step】 here.
Moving away from the highway, I began to use 【Dimensional Step】, checking to make sure the coast was clear each time. Our speed fell as a result, but it was still faster than walking would have been.
Apparently by trying to avoid being seen, you increase the probability of encountering those you didn’t want to see you.
At one point the northern highway dipped into a slight incline in between a set of hills, and at the center of the incline, a group of people was gathered. Wait, it was a handful of people surrounded by another group of people and every one of them had their weapons drawn.
The ones surrounded were a group of five seemingly young adventurers, who were all wearing cheap leather armor and carrying a sword and shield.
One the other hand, the ten men that surrounded them were dressed in various garbs from leather armor and cloaks to old rags and they held their weapons as if they were waiting for the right moment to attack. They were looking like mercenaries or thieves, but it was hard to tell.
Based on their demeanor and attitude, the five adventurers were novices and the group that surrounded them were veterans. One of the bandits had a slight smile on his face as he appraised the equipment.
Ariane’s golden eyes peeked out from beneath her hood and asked me a question with her gaze.
We could completely ignore this situation or get involved.
We could transfer to the next hill from here and carry on, and I’m certain I’d feel very little about this situation as we continued on. Why is it that I leap in to help women and children who are under attack, but consider the prospect of helping shabby men a hassle? Silver:(Because you are a Japanese WN protagonist Arc.)
Thinking it over a bit, I came to the conclusion that we should avoid getting too deeply involved with the situation since we had no idea what the circumstances were. I gently grabbed Ponta be the scruff of her neck and handed her to Ariane.
When Ariane caught Ponta in her arms she twirled before happily stroking the smiling Ponta’s head and throat.
I put down my luggage and cleared my throat before speaking in a relatively calm tone.
“Harrumph, a〜〜. I’ll be back in a bit.”
After saying so I ran down the hill and lightly called out to both of the groups that had yet to notice me.
“Hey, I’m sorry but could you give me directions〜?”
My careless and inappropriate comment caused the tension to rise even further. Everyone eye focused on me before one of the members of the larger group shouted.
“Damn! Looks like these bastards got reinforcements!!”
Apparently they’ve decided to count us as one of their targets because we cut into a rather tense situation.
At the man’s shout, two people from the surrounding group brandished their weapons as they rushed me. The swords they had seemed to be mediocre and blunt versions of the those sold in a weapon shop.
To prove my assumption, I caught their attacks without drawing my sword or shield and I didn’t even feel an itch. As expected of the mythical grade 『Belen’s Saint Armor』, weapons of this level wouldn’t be able to put a scratch in it.
“What the…!? This guy is wearing full body armor!”
The men with the swords were surprised that their attacks were brushed off and one of them angrily shouted when he saw my armor peeking through my cloak.
Hearing that, the other man sneaked up to my outstretched arm in an attempt to lunge at the gap in my armor. I caught the blade of the sword with my outstretched hand and used pure strength to shatter it.
“Aaー!! My swordー!!”
The man had a grim expression on his face as he cried about his broken sword, but his eyes rolled back into his head after I hammered a punch to his jaw and he started to fall.
The other man cursed as he took a leap forward and lunged his sword towards the gap between the helmet and chest section of my armor. I simply took the attack before grabbing the man by the collar and head-butted him, helmet and all.
There was a dull sound as the man’s nose broke and started to bleed. He dropped his sword and fell to the ground groaning.
“I wanted to settle this a little bit more gently……”
I muttered that as I looked upon the two fallen men.
When I looked at the surrounded adventures, I saw that they were in a circular formation with their backs to one another as they managed to fend of their attackers, even though they were under constant assault.
Even though they were rather young, they seemed quite capable.
The men from the larger group were starting to show signs of impatience as the fight was more difficult than they anticipated. In the midst of this chicken race, I called out in an attempt to shake things up again.
“Excuse me, my opponents appear to be tired, can I have some new ones?”
Once again everyone’s attention was focused on me
My question caused the members of the bandit group to hesitate and look around. As if we were under some kind of agreement, the young adventurers used the opening to go on the offensive.
One bandit dropped his sword after his fingers were sliced off while another was rendered unconscious by a shield bash to the face. One was even forced to step back after one of his eyes was cut out.
Out of the remaining eight people, two were unable to continue and one had lost the will to fight. Once they lost their numerical advantage the bandits started to disperse.
However, the young adventures didn’t waste their chance and immediately targeted their opponents to strike them down. After the five of them were done, there was still one man who was running away with his tail between his legs. Apparently he had been lucky enough to have not been marked by anyone.
“However, someone has already snuck around.”¹
I stood in front of the man with my knees slightly bent and my arms stretched out as I repeated a certain line I’d heard somewhere before.
The man stopped in his tracks as he looked up in irritation at the two-meter tall knight, me, that had suddenly appeared in front of him.
The man didn’t give up and tried to flee in another direction, but I quickly moved in front of him again.
“However, someone has already snuck around.”
I repeated the line mechanically after blocking his path.
The man’s expression shifted from irritation to grim determination. It was understandable considering the circumstances of facing an enemy one couldn’t run away from.
When faced with a situation like this, one had to make a decision: you either resign yourself to your fate, or you choose to fight the enemy.
The man in front of me choose to fight.
He recklessly swung his weapon straight at me. It was a desperate sink or swim move. However, I simply dodged the attack and knocked the man out with a quick jab to the chin.
When I turned back to the area with the young adventurers I saw that the last bandit had already thrown down his weapon.
The young adventurers began tying up the defeated bandits with some ropes they had, while the last bandit stared at me with enmity. One of the youths approached me and knelt before me with his head down.
“Knight-sama we appreciate your help. Thanks to you, we were able to safely capture these bandits.”
The youth offered me his gratitude in that position. So the group from before really had been bandits.
“I’m just an adventurer. There’s no need to humble yourself.”
When I said that, the young man looked like he couldn’t believe it as he slid his eyes over the armor that managed to peek out from under my cloak before he looked back at Ariane standing at the top of the hill. Having gained some sort of understanding the man nodded before standing up.
“That was rude of me, I apologize. Sorry for the late introduction, but my name is Axel and I’m the leader of this party. I appreciate your help.”
He must have thought we were nobles traveling incognito or something, since he was speaking in an exaggerated tone. Nevertheless, he was still polite. He may have been young, but he was rather educated.
“Once again, we’re grateful for your help, but would you be willing to leave the ones you caught with us? I’ll properly compensate you, of course.”
The man looked back at his friends who were in the middle of tying up the other bandits after he bowed his head to me.
“We just happened to come along by chance, there’s no need to go out of your way.”
“Are you sure about that? If we take these bandits to Lanbaltic, the Nozan slave traders will pay a reasonable price for them, you know?”
Axel tilts his head in puzzlement of my answer.
It appears that apart from elves and beastmen, criminals were the next highest candidates for enslavement. Were the next ones on the block those with outstanding debts?
When we had assaulted the Etsuato company in Rhoden’s capital I had freed some human slaves to distract the guards, but there could have been brutal criminals among them.
Reflecting on my actions, I may have been a little impulsive with my actions back then.
“Hum, will this Nozan slave dealer buy all of the bandits?”
“No, Nozan is the name of the country on the other side of the Blugle gulf. Slave dealers from that country come to Lanbaltic to buy criminals by the shipload.”
Axel pointed to the sea as he explained the situation with the Nozan kingdom.
Even if criminal slaves are brought in large quantities, I doubted they would be working in the homes of people. After all, they wouldn’t hesitate baring their fangs at their owners, so they’ll most likely be put to work for the community as forced labors for a feudal lord’s land development.
“In that case, we’ll have to decline then.”
I declined Alex’s offer again and offered my goodbyes.
“Thank you very much!”
I waved my hand back at them for a while before climbing the hill back to where Ariane was playing with Ponta.
¹「しかし、回り込まれてしまった」 Based on research (aka. google) we concluded that this was a meme in Japan.