Chapter 52 – Retribution!
While looking at Villian and the others flee in the corner of my eye, I rode on a horse and rushed to the confused Tengu.
“Do not worry! I will make you new wings! Now, please head to the eastern forest!”
While they hesitated at first, they eventually started to run to the forest.
Next, I headed towards the Grank Mercenaries that were coming our way.
They were going to charge into the Knights Order while riding their camels.
However, the Knights Order had tied up one of their own and left him in their wake.
It was Villian. He had been a disposable pawn by his own subordinates.
When they saw me, the leader of the Grank Mercenaries raised a hand, and they slowed their advance.
The tall and thin man… Bayron, leader of the Grank Mercenaries.
And Neia, his daughter, was right next to him.
Once Bayron made his army stop, he and Neia rode their camels until they were in front of me.
“Ah, so we meet again, Joshua.”
“Bayron. I am thankful for your help.”
“Help? I do not know what you think this is, but we just came here to fight some humans.”
“You are not fighting here in order to help the demihumans?”
“Hardly. We are not saints who can fight on the behalf of others. Right now, we are hired swords for the Demon King.”
I muttered, and then Bayron laughed confidently.
“Now that I think about it, was it yesterday or the day before? There was some talk of an orc general not returning. Only the wyvern of one of his men returned. Investigating the disappearance is part of the reason we headed north. You wouldn’t happen to know about that, would you?”
There was no doubt that he was talking about the orcs that we fought near the hot spring.
So it was going to cause trouble after all.
Not only that, but the Grank Mercenaries had been ordered to investigate…
I answered curtly.
“I didn’t think you would. Well, I’m more suspicious about things in the west… I suppose we’ll have to go there directly now.”
“I’m sorry, but that is our land. We cannot allow you to enter.”
“That’s too bad. But this is a job for us.”
He said, as if understanding perfectly.
I didn’t say anything.
There was silence for a while.
However, Neia could stand it no longer, and said gruffly,
“You people did it, didn’t you? I doubt it could have been those cowards who just fled! Answer me!”
And then Bayron patted Neia on the shoulder.
“Neia, keep your voice down. Or you’ll lose your head.”
Neia looked around, and then her eyes widened when she saw that a woman with platinum hair was standing right next to her.
I had also not noticed that she was there.
Iria seemed to have appeared out of thin air and had unsheathed her sword.
“Just you try laying a single finger on Sir Joshua. I will cut you.”
“Yo-you! But when!?”
Hell, that was what I wanted to know…
But from behind, I could hear Mette approaching as she said, ‘Joshua, are you alright?’ So it was probably just now.
And then Bayron muttered.
“Well…it was surely the humans. It must be. Definitely. Yes.”
“Fa-father! It has to be them! Even earlier, you were blaming it on the demihumans!”
“Did I really say that?”
“Father! You are acting like a fool!”
“Now, Neia. The truth is of no consequence to us. In fact, I am tired and want to sleep.”
Neia looked exasperated at first, but quickly became serious.
“The-there you go again! What will you do when your lie is exposed!”
“Neia. The banners and weapons of the humans are right there. Wouldn’t it be the easiest and most lucrative option to report that we defeated the humans who killed the orcs? Am I wrong?”
“Th-that is… But if that is the case, why did you try and interfere earlier, when you saw this man and the demihumans!? You never joined a fight without being paid before.”
“…Nevermind that. We’re leaving. Joshua, we will be taking the human armor and weapons. Also, that man…”
Said Bayron as he looked at the weretigers capture the naked Villian.
Villian was then dragged towards Bayron.
“He-help me, Joshua! I was only listening to orders of that fool, Royg! I always knew that you were a great person, and I repeatedly pleaded with him to raise your salary!”
“What? Is he an acquaintance, Joshua?”
I nodded reluctantly.
“Aye, we were comrades once… Though, it grieves me to think about it, now that he is a slave hunter.”
Upon hearing this, Bayron’s expression became serious.
“Hmm. I see. So that’s why they were trying to capture the Tengu earlier.”
“Yes. This one is a nobleman from the Bersos Kingdom. You should be able to ask for decent ransom from him.”
“I see. Well, we’ll probably just sell him to someone in the Demon King Army.”
Upon hearing this, Villian went pale.
“Wait! Wait-wait! Did you not hear what he said!? I am a nobleman! The eldest son of Count Ernten, a vassel of the Bersos Kingdom!! The ransom money will be great!”
“That doesn’t interest me. Besides, there is a troll in the camp that is fond of human males. One silver for a pet. I’m sure you’ll be taken care of very well.”
“A tr-troll!? Are you talking about those filthy, hairy, stinking creatures!?”
“Don’t worry, you’ll get used to the sight and smell in a month. Though, I am not sure the same can be said for your backside…but one must persevere.”
“Backside? In other words… No! No-no-no!! I am a nobleman! Demand the ransom!”
But Bayron coldly replied that he was now a slave, and Villian’s face turned to despair.
“A troll’s pet… Me. This is not right! Joshua, help me! Aren’t you against slave hunters? Yes, you are, aren’t you!? You must save me!”
If he were a normal human, I would never have allowed it.
However, Villian was the one ordered that Gaius become a slave hunter.
And countless demihumans were sacrificed because of that.
Perhaps he will repent once he experienced it himself.
And so I did not answer, but just looked at Villian with a serious expression.
He had begun to cry and wail as he thrashed about on the ground.
“Gaaaaghhh!! No! Someone…someone help me! I will pay you anything! Not a pet…no-no-no-no!! Father! Haa…!?”
A gag was placed over Villian’s mouth and he was put on top of one of the camels.
Upon seeing this, Bayron said, ‘We’re leaving.’ So they were not going to pursue the Knights Order then.
“Aye…farewell, Bayron. I understand your position, but would prefer it if we didn’t fight.”
“Don’t worry. I feel the same way.”
Bayron chuckled, and then he and his men headed to the south.