We rode the carriage and headed for the city of Berneze.
There were three Heroes inside. Of course, they were Toshizou Hijikata, Jeanne d’Arc, and Fuma Kotaro.
It was quite the lineup. Those were Eve’s words, and she was right.
Toshizou was the swordsman who bloodied the streets during the Bakumatsu, Jeanne was the warrior maiden who saved France, and Kotaro was the greatest ninja of the Kanto region. I was very lucky to have them with me.
I said this to them, and Toshizou laughed.
“There’s no doubt about it. Though, I also have to pity you for having three willful subordinates as well.”
He added. I laughed and said that he was right.
“But I have more pity for the enemy that would try and attack us now. You three are sure to make quick work of them.”
Eve was quick object to this.
“But this is a town road known for its safety. Surely we would not be attacked by bandits here.”
She smiled and added that this carriage contained nothing of value.
Indeed, the carriage we were in looked quite poor. You would have to be quite strange to want to attack it. However, Fuma Kotaro did not agree with this.
“Bandits aren’t always after expensive goods. And sometimes a person’s head has more value.”
There was no need to ask what he meant by that. It was then that the carriage suddenly stopped and the horses began to neigh.
The Spy Slime that had been driving us suddenly raised his voice.
“Demon King. We’re being ambushed. Five, ten, no…there may be nearly twenty of them.”
“It sounds more like an army than bandits.”
Indeed, they were not starving bandits, but well-trained mercenaries. It was no wonder they were so well organized.
First, they shot our horses with arrows so that we could not escape. Once the horses stopped moving, they swung axes over their heads.
They knew that shooting down the horse was the best way to take down the general.
And once they had taken our mobility, they quickly surrounded the carriage.
After that, arrows were unleashed straight into the carriage. Had I not been inside as well, the others would have been turned into hedgehogs.
Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Even Eve, who had no training as a warrior, was unharmed. This was because I had been quick to react and raised a barrier. And with this iron wall around us, the entire carriage became like steel.
The mercenaries seemed shocked at first, but they did not slow down. If anything, they seemed to have become more aggressive, as they pulled out their swords.
“I guess negotiations are out of the question then. I will go out and kill these people for slaughtering our horses. Do you have any advice for me, Master?”
“Let them know what happens when you kill my animals.”
Toshizou replied as he jumped out of the carriage and unsheathed his sword.
The moment that the blade was out of its sheath, the first mercenary’s head rolled.
Clouds of blood rose into the air. I had to admit though, I was impressed at how the mercenaries did not lose courage. Who had hired them?
As I watched carefully, I noticed a man shouting towards the back. He appeared to be a captain.
“If you succeed in killing the Demon King, your reward will be great enough that you can buy a mansion in Berneze. Give it your all, you bastards!”
The mercenaries answered.
“I see. So that’s who they are.”
They must have been with the mercenaries that attacked us at Sabnac’s castle. Ryoma had told me the council in Berneze had sent them so that we would not meet. Perhaps they were sent again. This time so that we did not reach the city.
After coming to this conclusion, Eve asked,
“Is the city your enemy then?”
“I don’t know. But this organization they call the council is.”
Two mercenaries rushed forward with their swords.
Jeanne met one with her holy blade, while Toshizou intercepted the other.
Fuma Kotaro moved like the wind and his kunais flashed in the air. In the next instant, blood was spraying from the neck’s of the mercenaries.
It was a merciless attack, but completely deserved, since they were trying to kill us.
We had killed three of the enemy at this point, but their morale was still high.
They continued to come.
“They must really want your head, master. The reward must be incredible.”
Toshizou mused. And in that moment that he let his guard down, I knocked him off of his feet.
It wasn’t an attack. It was to save his life. An arrow landed in the spot he had been a moment ago.
He looked a little pale, but stroked his beard as he said,
“An enemy who can catch me unaware like this. Impressive.”
He tried to search for the person who had shot at him, but was unsuccessful. However, I had seen the person, and so I looked elsewhere.
The person had already changed their location and was preparing to shoot again. They were already in a tree and taking aim.
As it was clear to me that they were targeting Jeanne this time, I cast ‘Barrier’ on her. As soon as the wall went up, an arrow pierced into it.
It had been flying straight towards Jeanne’s forehead. Had the barrier not been there, a large hole would have been opened in her head.
Apparently, the enemy had an expert archer on their side. We all knew it now. After that, the three were more careful.
Instead of focusing solely on attacking, they took a more defensive approach. It was more important that they stay safe.
However, they were still some of the best fighters in the world. And the rest of the greedy mercenaries were no match for them.
And so they fell, one after another.
Jeanne used her sword expertly and avoided killing where she could. Toshizou had no mercy as heads fell to his feet. As for Kotaro, with just the minimum movements, he ensured that the mercenaries could no longer fight.
I could see their personalities shine through. Still, the fighting did not last long. The man who looked like the captain began to shout for them to retreat.
“These people are monsters. We cannot kill them. We must retreat!”
While it was the correct decision, he was a little late in calling it. However, we had a furious samurai with us. Toshizou continued to cut down the mercenaries as he made his way to the captain.
“Your head will be staying here!”
He moved at such a speed, that I suspected the captain’s head would be removed from its body within a few seconds. However, it did not end that way. Another arrow intercepted him. They came flying as they targeted his vitals. Toshizou managed to block them, but he was no longer able to advance. In the meantime, the rest of the soldiers finished their retreat.
Toshizou glared ahead, but the archer was no longer there. He had gone with the others.
“That man was like the wind.”
“A trickster. He did not show himself even once.”
Toshizou said in annoyance.
“He understands his own strengths. I’m surprised the mercenaries have someone like that.”
“I agree. We should capture him alive and make him work in the Ashtaroth army.”
Fuma Kotaro said. And then we went to work.
I helped treat the survivors and bury the dead.
While they were mercenaries, it was not my wish to leave corpses lying around.
We carefully buried the horses as well. It was without much hope that I interrogated the survivors, and they gave me nothing aside from saying that they were hired by the Berneze council.
“Well, they wouldn’t have given these lowly men much information.”
I thought. And so we continued on our way. On foot.
While I had considered catching some of the horses left by the mercenaries, it seemed wiser to disguise ourselves as travelers and enter quietly.
It was clearly a bad idea to make ourselves known as the Demon King and his entourage.