Chapter 74 A Rank Promotion Exam Part 8





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TL: Yuki

 

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Back entrance in front of the ruined fort.

 

「 Hoi, *pan!, *pan! 」

 

Two dry firing noises, and without any hesitation was shot by Formas with a ball of iron right between the eyes of the two men guarding the back door. The two guards were now lying on the ground like string less puppets. Still, they reacted slightly to Formas’ surprise attack, as they had been trying to create some sort of flaming sword before they were shot.

 

This guy, Formas took away their lives easily. Even though he was dealing with a group of guilty bandits, I’ve never seen a person take another’s life so lightly.

 

Not since that scene, that person being pierced with the burning Ikana in the background: —-

 

「 What the hell is that look? You are not going to tell me that killing them is too much, are you? I’m telling you, if I had been even one second slower, I would have been in trouble. It’s just that I was faster. 」

 

Pushing Formas out of the way with one hand, I opened the aged door to the back entrance.

 

◆ First floor of the Ruined Fort ◆

 

It was the moment I opened it. The Comet Wolf Brigade of about seven people were waiting in the long stone corridor. The moment they tried to shower me with magic like a torrential downpour, I smashed their heads down with full speed. I’m not sure how much, but I’m confident that if I run as fast as I can, I’ll be undetectable to most of them. Roel says that the speed at which sound and light reach us is quite fast, but I’m not sure if my speed was that fast or not. I’m not sure how much, but I’m confident that if I run as fast as I can, I’ll be undetectable to most of them. Roel says that the speed at which sound and light reach us is quite fast, but I’m not sure if it’s that fast or not.

 

 I was quite worried about a moment because I thought I hit them quite lightly, but their faces hit the stone floor with great force.  But this time, the hostages were in danger, so there was no time to worry about that. All I could do was pray in my heart that they weren’t dead. Fortunately, they didn’t seem to be bleeding that much, so I’m sure they’ll be fine.

 

「 Seriously, this is… 」

 

Formas, who came in after me, was in raptures when he saw the unconscious brigands. It hadn’t been more than a few seconds before he walked in, so it was only natural that he was surprised. It would be troublesome if they were to regain consciousness.

 

The inside of the fort was surprisingly larger than it looked from the outside. In this corridor alone, there are several doors and three forks in the road. I wonder if there is a hostage or a leader somewhere in here.

 

Gilbert said that they should be held together in a room somewhere. But it was Balm who pointed out that there was a pattern of the leader gathering the hostages together and being watched by him.

 

「 Nah, we’ll just have one of these guys give it out. 」

 

With that, Formas kicked the unconscious man in the head with his leg, woke him up, and put his sword to his throat. I wonder why he used a sword instead of a gun. As if to see through my doubts, Balm kindly told me that with an unfamiliar weapon like a gun, there was a chance that the other guy wouldn’t recognize it. The man instantly understood the situation he was in, and didn’t scream.

 

「 Okay? You’re not allowed to say anything other than the answer to my question. If you say anything else, I’m going to rip your throat out with this thing. You have two seconds of silence, and if you go past that, I’ll rip your throat out. If I decide you’re lying, I’ll still rip your throat out. Choose your words carefully. Do you understand? 」

 

「 Yes, I understand. 」

 

「 Okay, where are the hostages and your boss? 」

 

「 Grubb-san is on the third floor. 」

 

「 How many of you are there?

 

「 There’s 32 of us, including these guys here and Grubb-san… 」

 

「 How many of your people are upstairs? 」

 

「 I don’t believe there were any… 」

 

「 You don’t think. 」

 

「 No, there weren’t. 」

 

「 Grubb’s got some kind of weird power. What’s that? 」

 

「 Well, it’s… 」

 

The man hesitated to answer, but the sword did not pierce his throat. This was because I grabbed the hand that held Formas’ sword beforehand. Perhaps because he was aware of my strength during the first test, Formas clicked his tongue and showed his resignation.

 

「 If we don’t kill this guy, he’ll definitely come at us from behind, okay? And I’m sure the others will wake up sooner or later. 」

 

「 I thought this might happen, so I prepared for it. 」

 

Bebe sneaks out, holding several silver ropes in both hands.

 

「 It’s a sturdy rope used for carrying work, and it’s so good that even a sword can’t break it. But among us merchants, it’s useful solely for self-defense.  Like this… 」

With a sound of cutting wind, Bebe slammed the rope into the stone floor like a whip. It wasn’t much force, but it scraped the floor so hard that pieces of stone floor and fragments flew off.

 

「 This won’t look like a weapon, and it won’t alert people, so it’ll be easier to catch them off guard. Hee hee hee…oh, you don’t need to pay for this. It’s about helping each other, yes, helping each other. Hee hee hee hee… 」

 

With that, Bebe quickly tied up the seven of them. The seven of them rolled around like caterpillars on the floor. I really thought that I wouldn’t be able to deal with this, but I guess that was an unnecessary worry.

 

「 They said there was no one upstairs. But it’s possible they were lying. I’ll leave it up to you, Ryua. 」

 

I didn’t need to be ordered around so bluntly. I was going to do that, and I don’t care if you have limited ammunition or not. I wanted to yell at him to fight with his sword. However, if I made any noise and the other members noticed, the hostages would be in danger. Even the time we’re spending now is too precious.

 

「 Oh, you’re really motivated, aren’t you? 」

 

Formas said lightly, teasing me as I started walking in silence. Roel follows me at a brisk trot. I want to punch Roel right now when I think of all the things I’ve done to him.

 

「 If they’re on the third floor of the fort, wouldn’t they have known we were sneaking in through the back door by now? Kukuku… 」

 

I huffed at Formas’ carefree tone. That’s the worst thing I can think of. If that’s the case, the hostages are in real danger. But Formas knew that, so he just walked in through the back door. It’s our fault for chasing after him without thinking, but this guy is even more vicious than we thought, and we can’t help him.

 

There’s no time for this, we have to hurry up and get up there. But the inside of the fort is quite complicated. As far as I could see from here, there were three forks in the path. I don’t have time to walk and explore this place.

 

「 Hmm, we don’t have much time. Well, how about we let this person show us around now? There’s a high risk of being spotted by the enemy while we’re walking around in this intricate fort. 」

 

Formas clicked his tongue at Bebe’s suggestion, fiddling with his black beard. He said something I hadn’t thought of before. I’m glad he seems like a nice guy.

 

「 Huh? What are you going to do if I untie this guy, and he starts acting up? 」

 

「 Just tie his hands and let him walk. I’m sure Ryua-san will stop him before he can resist. Didn’t you see how good she was at that? 」

 

「 That’s right. Come on, Ryua, do it. 」

 

Formas ordered me again in a strong tone of voice, as if to say that it’s my responsibility. I wanted to click my tongue. Still, I did as I was told, untied the rope and tried to tie it behind his back. But I didn’t know how to do it. I thought he might start to act up while I was doing this, but he was surprisingly quiet.

 

Then, as my hands stopped, and I was struggling, Balm came in from the side and carefully did it for me. He also showed me how to do it, which was really easy to understand. I guess I’m not very good at this kind of detailed work. Even when I was in Quimil, I left all the housework and chores to Roel, and she even complained to me with her cheeks puffed out when I didn’t do too much.

 

Now, with his hands tied behind his back, the man has been assigned to guide us. Perhaps Formas’ threat to cut him down the moment he lied was working, but the man kept quiet as he led us up the stairs to the second floor.

 

「 Ora, walk faster. 」

 

「 Heck, you guys look like you’re pretty good, but you’ll never beat Grubb-san… 」

 

「 So tell me what that guy’s strange power is. Unless you want to get killed. 」

 

「 I can’t say it  knowing I’ll be killed for doing so. If you talk about the secrets of your friends, especially the self-made custom magic of the executives, you will be executed without exception… giving away your hand is the same as giving away your weakness. 」

 

「 Hmm, so. Why are you guys doing this? I mean, even a kid can see that you guys don’t stand a chance if the kingdom makes a serious move, right? 」

 

「 This is Grubb-san’s order. He’s an extremely messy person, so he’s just waiting for the other side to come up with the bait by threatening them like this. 」

 

「 What if the kingdom abandons the hostages? 」

 

「 Even if that happens, no one can win against Grubb-san. Even against the Kingdom. The fact that he only has about thirty men with him is both a sign of trouble and a sign of his confidence. I can’t wait to see the look of despair on your faces. 」

 

As I listened to the exchange between Formas and the Comet Wolf Brigade members, there was something that I fundamentally did not understand. I couldn’t figure it out, so I decided to ask them a question.

 

「 Hey, why is the Comet Wolf Brigade doing this? 」

 

「 The overthrowing of the absolute monarchy, a revolution! This is not a nation that can be ruled by a few incompetent scum! We’re going to build a country for us, by us, with our own hands! How’s that sound, huh? This could be a declaration of war against the world! Hahahahahahaha! 」

 

His laughing voice was too loud, so I covered his mouth with my hand. Gilbert and Balm intervened to stop me when I was really struggling, as if I had clamped down too hard. Watch out, this will happen as soon as you make even the slightest mistake in the amount of pressure.

 

「 Huh…huh…you little… 」

 

「 Hey, are we there yet? 」

 

「 Here, behind this door, is Grubb-san and the hostages. I feel sorry for you, you can’t do anything if we have hostages as shields. 」

 

That’s what I’m afraid of. It’s a split second game to see how I can free the hostages without being attacked. No one complained when I put my hand on the door, and Formas was whispering to me, telling me to go ahead.

 

「 Okay, let’s do this. 」

 

I take a deep breath and look at the door. I can’t let even one person die, everyone is safe. That’s what I told myself, and I opened the door vigorously.

 

◆ Former Command Center on the third floor of the Ruined Fort ◆

 

The door itself was originally on the verge of breaking down, and as soon as I opened it, it flew apart. And then I saw more than 20 men and women who seemed to be part of Comet Wolf Brigade, and 100 hostages huddled in one place at the edge of the right side of the room.

 

Without hesitation, I was the first to grab the heads of the group of hostage guards and throw them one by one. As if I didn’t have time to draw my weapon, they were all thrown into the air and fell against the opposite wall.

 

With a dull scream, I turned my back on the hostages and faced the guy who looked like Grubb. Maybe I should have just thrown that guy away in the same manner. But Grubb had a reason not to let that happen.

 

「 Wha, what… the group member was blown away by themselves… hey, what’s this kid? 」

 

After a few seconds, the hostage people finally started to realize that something had happened. Now, for the first time, there was nothing that could be done to the hostages. The problem was that he only turned his head towards me when I broke in. It’s not that he’s surprised, it’s more like he’s having trouble moving at all.

 

The fattest person I’ve ever seen was Pablo, the owner of Quimil’s Zenbai, but he’s not that fat. The width of his body alone was three times that of mine, and his white cloth clothes were stretched to the point of bursting at the seams. His head was sunk into his round, flabby, flabby torso, and I couldn’t tell where his neck was. He was wiping the sweat from his face repeatedly with a cloth and looking at me with narrowed eyes.

 

「 Oi, what’s this? Didn’t they get all the minions on the first floor? She’s a great girl, I’m attracted to her… 」

 

There was one reason why I hesitated to throw him away. I didn’t want to touch him. I remember that my mom taught me not to judge people by their looks a long time ago. I love my mom, and I want to follow her advice, but I don’t think I can do that with him. I’m still feeling itchy all over my body.

 

Formas came in shortly afterwards, but their momentum stopped as soon as they saw Grubb. The girls, including Roel, blatantly pinched their noses. Yes, it definitely smells sour and inexplicable.

 

「 You’re Grubb? I’m Gilbert of the Royal Knights. And from the looks of it, the hostages are safe… 」

 

「 Please don’t tell me to surrender! I’m tired of hearing that, and no one is going to give up over it. And Gilbert, right? I want you to come over here and play one-on-one with me. If you win, I’ll give up. 」

 

「 Really? Well then. 」

 

「 Gilbert-san, stay away from him! 」

 

Balm shouted at Gilbert as he took a step or two closer to Grubb. Perhaps a little too late, Gilbert suddenly collapsed to his knees at the fourth step. With his hands on the stone floor, he tried desperately to get up, but something was holding him down and Gilbert couldn’t get up at all.

 

「 Guh, what… my body… is so heavy… 」

 

「 Hmph~ That was close. If I had just gotten a little closer, the armored guy would have been flattened. 」

 

Without hesitation, Formas unleashes a bullet at Grubb. The bullet went straight for Grubb’s torso, which was too big for him to dodge. But just before it touches him, a small rock instantly appears around Grubb’s chest. A series of them wrapped around Grubb’s huge body. The speed of the rocks far exceeded that of a bullet.

 

The bullet that hit the rock armor naturally ended up rolling on the floor, not even scraping the rock.  Maybe he used some kind of earth magic. I don’t know why Gilbert can’t move, though. He looks like he’s in a lot of pain, so I have to help him.

 

「 Too bad, I have an automatic armor self-earth. Did you think you could do it with that? I’m not attracted to you. 」

 

「 You fat bastard… 」

 

Grubb was one step ahead of me in swearing, it was true.

 

「 Gilbert-san, are you okay… 」

 

As I approached Gilbert, my body heaved slightly, as if I was being pulled to the floor.

 

「 Oi? How the hell are you walking around like that? I’m really attracted to you, just like earlier. 」

 

If I wanted to, I would have taken the time to analyze my opponent’s strength instead of approaching him carelessly.But I’ve fought opponents stronger than me in the Cave of the Abyss to the point of disgust. Because of that, I know exactly how strong the opponent in front of me is. It’s hard to put it into words, but strong ones have a strange kind of intimidation radiating from their whole body. You can even intuitively sense that they are dangerous.

 

I can’t feel anything from this overweight guy. The rock armor and the force of this pull are insignificant to me.

 

「 Get out of the way, you little brat, follow me Bricna and Tataka! 」

 

Maybe he was so annoyed off at being mocked that Formas took Bricna and Tataka and challenged Grubb to a fight. The three of them went around to the left, away from Grubb, and formed a sort of triangle formation with Formas in the lead. Grubb looked at the three of them as if they were a nuisance, moving his head again.

 

This is not the time to be thinking about how the crate he’s sitting on is unbreakable. My gut feeling is that this is indeed dangerous.

 

「 Ryua, Roel, and the others are all the same. Get out of the way…! We’ll take care of that pig! 」

 

I couldn’t stop them, they wouldn’t listen even if I told them they shouldn’t, and at that point they had already started to act.



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