|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2657 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1294 words|
Her Highness Luvias was shaking in anger, as if she was about to attack the restrained thieves.
“Calm down Luvias. Even if we don’t kill them now, they’ll be on death row soon enough. After all, thieves are punished by hanging in this country…as royalty you should be aware of that more than anyone.”
“That’s…true. I’m sorry, let’s move on ahead.”
According to the information Karin extracted, their base was not too far away from our current location. Though that much was to be expected, since a lookout hut far away from the base would not serve any purpose. The base was deep inside a cave between some rocks, and the cave did not branch to either side, so getting to the base was easy enough. Though it was still up to debate how trustworthy the thief’s information was.
Eventually, we found the cave, just like we were told, and two thieves posted at the entrance keeping watch while yawning. They were the most lifeless watchmen I had ever seen, but that just made things better for us.
“Now then, we still don’t know how accurate our information is, so let’s take the safest route here.”
“We’ll burn them with fire, obviously.”
Ciel was the one explaining their plans again, she wanted to burn down their base. To be more precise, their strategy consisted of her Highness Luvias and Karin splitting up and approaching the entrance from the sides. Then Ciel would take down the two watchmen with a long-range magic attack, throwing a fireball near the entrance. Though it was important for the fireball to not go inside, since any potential hostages could end up hurt as well, so they could not go wild until they had verified if there really were none. Either way, if the thieves inside saw the fire on the entrance, they would all rush out, which would leave them open for Karin and Her Highness to finish them off.
“This will be Luvias’ first time experiencing actual contact, so you support her. Once I see everyone is ready, I’ll commence the attack.”
“Understood. Let’s go, your Highness.”
She was obviously nervous. When we went to our spots, I noticed she stopped breathing while clenching and relaxing her fist. If this kept on, she would be unable to do anything once the fight broke out.
“W-what is it?”
“If you do everything exactly the same way as during training, you won’t have any problems. You’re far stronger than any of these thieves. So all I can tell you now, is to not hesitate.”
“If you hesitate, you won’t endanger only your life, but that of all your comrades. If you want to help your comrades, then kill your enemies. Simply think of it that way and you’ll be able to fight.”
“…I understand. Thank you for your advice.”
After that, she appeared slightly less nervous. When I saw she was calmer, I turned around and gave Ciel the signal that we were ready. An instant later, two ice arrows came flying from the thicket she was hiding in, striking straight into the heads of the two thieves. As they slowly collapsed on the ground, a fireball also came which exploded right in the entrance raising wild flames.
“W-what was that?! What happened!”
“Someone put the fire out!”
“This is bad! If we stay here we’ll get burned entirely! Everyone go outside!”
We could hear their hurried steps from inside. I unsheathed my sword to lunge at them as soon as they were out.
“Let’s go! Your Highness!”
When the first thief stepped outside, Karin quickly jumped forward and cut his head off. As blood spurted out from his open neck like a fountain, his comrades tottered in dismay at that sight, which was the cue for us to attack.
Her Highness charged first, swinging her sword from above in a straight line. The thief attempted to thwart that attack with his sword, but failed as the sword cut into his shoulder down to the center of his stomach.
“Who do you think you are?!”
The frenzied thieves attempted to attack Her Highness Luvias, but I cut them down in an instant before anything happened. Just moments later we had defeated half of them, the remaining ones have either completely given up on fighting back, or had turned around in an attempt to flee, only to be taken down by Ciel’s magic. A rain of ice fell on them, cutting short wounds into their bodies until they were whittled down. When everyone was taken care of, she landed down from the air, even though I had not spotted her flying up earlier, and examined the surroundings with her Detector Magic.
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“It seems these were all of them. I can’t sense anyone inside the cave.”
“Well, this means everything’s done now. Luvias, how was your first fight?”
“…I completely lost myself in it, but regrettably my hands won’t stop shaking now.”
She lifted her shaking hands to show them to the two, forgetting to even wipe off the blood from her enemy. But the two did not belittle her for it, instead placing their hands on her shoulder to reassure her.
“Everyone starts like that, you did well. You defeated your enemy and fulfilled your duty. Be proud of that.”
“Exactly. You did way better than I did when I started.”
“…thank you very much.”
Even if her opponent was a thief, taking someone’s life places a heavy burden on one’s psyche. I wanted her to take a rest now, but the situation would not allow for that. Karin and Ciel took out small daggers and approached the nearby bodies.
“…What are you two going to do now?”
It was obvious Her Highness Luvias wanted to know what they wanted with the corpses of those thieves. But I knew instantly what they were about to do. Karin tilted her head, trying to comprehend what Her Highness had just asked.
“What we’re going to do? Taking proof of course. Normally with monsters, you loot any valuable body parts, but with people, you cut off an ear and bring that back.”
“Yeah. If we go back empty-handed, there’s no way the guild would trust we finished our work after all.”
“You have a point…”
Her face was starting to take a green hue. Considering her upbringing this was probably the first time she heard of a custom like that, even though not only adventurers but any type of person involved with fighting others, myself included, took that as common knowledge. Though, on a battlefield when taking down someone like an enemy general, it would extend to taking their head or sword, anything that could identify them at first glance. But when fighting lowly bandits like these, carrying many heads or weapons would be cumbersome to continue fighting, so ears were enough. On top of that, ears already had a hole in them naturally, so it was easy to pass a string through them and carry them like that. That much was common knowledge on battlefields.
“You should try taking at least one. Though if it’s too much for you we’ll do it for you.”
“…No, I’ll do it. I wouldn’t be an adventurer like you if I didn’t.”
Kneeling down, Her Highness Luvias held a dagger in one hand as she approached one of the corpses. By experiencing that, I knew she would grow one step stronger. Though…I had gotten into a big mess. I had not anticipated getting added to the princess’ party, and now my head was hurting simply from thinking how to explain that in my report afterwards.
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