In the room that had been temporarily set up as a store.
“Brother. I’m back.”
“…!? Do you always have to try and give a heart attack?”
Christan was surprised.
It might have had something to do with appearing right behind his back out of nowhere.
“I don’t like being seen when I appear. Uh, I guess I could do it a little farther away next time?”
There was a plate of food to his side.
He must have saved some for me. However, the report came first.
“I found two guards in the grove up ahead. They seem to be watching the entrance. The tent was exactly where the report said it would be. There were also two people guarding that area. And then there were six inside of the tent. I think that’s all of them.”
“Hmm…So, ten assassins in all. I don’t think they are taking us very seriously.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure. They would have been able to get in pretty easily had we not known anything. Who knows how much damage they could have done. Besides, I didn’t get the impression that the people in the tent were being careless.”
They seemed used to this kind of thing. They were likely very strong.
“Makoku doesn’t have an organization of Shadows, but there are many mercenary groups that accept such missions. Perhaps that’s what they did.”
“They were all wearing the same gray robes. So you might be right. However, do you think they would really accept such a mission?”
“What do you mean?”
“This is near the Shadow Moon Road, and there are Dragon Masters. If they attack here, letting just one Dragon Master escape means that we can call in reinforcements immediately.”
“And even if they retreated, they’d be wiped out eventually.”
There was no running away from a Dragon Master.
“I somehow doubt any mercenary group would take such a risk.”
“That’s true. Targetting Dragon Masters in a different country would be a mission with incredibly high difficulty. And if they don’t succeed completely, they will be annihilated…yes, that is not very tempting at all.”
“Well, we could capture them alive and ask them?”
“Yes. Those guards near the grove will be a nuisance. Can you do it?”
“I can do one. I’m fifty-fifty on the other.”
I could use the same trick I just used to surprise Christan. That way, I could take someone down without being noticed.
“You just need to slow the second person down. We’ll deal with him.”
“Got it. Then I shouldn’t have any problem.”
“Alright, let’s launch an ambush before the enemy starts to move.”
“Yeah. But let me eat first.”
My hand stretched out to the cold food.
While I ate my late dinner, I noticed that there were fewer people walking outside, and it was much quieter.
You were allowed to do whatever you wanted after dinner, but the students would be very tired.
“I asked a few people, and it seems like most of the First-Years are going straight to bed.”
Some still had energy to spare.
They had gone exploring the grounds, as this was all very unusual for them. But even they eventually succumbed to their tiredness and went off to collapse into their beds.
By the time that everyone was asleep, it was just Guini Sarain and Zazanda Rowen, two veteran Dragon Masters, who patrolled the area around the dragon stables and the lodging facility.
“Hey, there sure is a lot of hired help this year.”
“And many soldiers from the nearby town as well.”
“They’ve never done this before. Is it really wise? Having so many civilian workers here…”
“The soldiers were brought in to protect them. They must have thought this through.”
“I was surprised. They could have warned us.”
“Me too. I didn’t expect to find so many people waiting here.”
While they were on patrol, they were allowed to talk to each other.
Guini and Zazanda talked casually, but their eyes were sharp as they scanned their surroundings.
“What is it?”
“I think something moved over there?”
“No, I didn’t see anything.”
“Really? Maybe it was just me.”
“I’m sure it was. Or it was a ghost.”
“Ghosts? Hey, don’t joke about that.”
“Hahaha… There’s no way it would be a ghost.”
Both of them had stayed at this lodging facility a number of times.
And they had comrades who had been carried here while wounded, and who later died.
And so when they talked of ghosts, they couldn’t help but remember those dead Dragon Masters.
“Shouldn’t our shift be ending soon?”
“That’s true. This is no time to be telling jokes.”
“We’ll make one more round and then return.”
They started to walk again.
That’s when people in black moved behind them.
It was the hired help they had been talking about earlier—the Shadows.