Disarming the bandits proved to be no challenge. We collected their swords, spears, and bows and gathered them in one spot. I kicked the annoying bandits to another spot. Even a grown man would fly off for about five meters if I kicked them seriously. I felt some of my annoyance fade away after kicking them.
“Looks like it went pretty well.”
I called out to the rest of the group.
“You’re amazing Alan-san! That was way too cool!”
Beck and Thor, who just stared at the commotion blankly on the carriage earlier, made a racket again.
“Beck, Thor. You can pick any sword you like from that pile over there.”
I pointed at the weapons we confiscated from the bandits.
“Yeah! We got us some swords! Hurry up Thor!”
The two of them jumped off the carriage excitedly. It’s fine even if you don’t hurry guys. Those swords aren’t going anywhere.
“Alan, that weapon… To think it can accurately intercept a flying arrow! It’s a really amazing weapon!”
“Well, yeah. It’s my trump card after all.”
“Your magic was also amazing. Teach me next time, kay.”
Un, will Cleria even be able to master it? Oops. Don’t get caught up by common sense. If there’s a will, there’s a way.
“Alright. I’ll teach it to you next time.”
There are no more detection responses in the area. Beck and Thor were swinging the swords around and looked busy choosing ones that they like.
I approached the captured bandits. Some of them were already recovering from the pain caused by my spell and were sitting on the ground in stunned silence. Since they were hit by arrows of flame, they didn’t actually bleed all that much.
“Yo! How’s it going guys? How do you feel?”
“Damn you! You won’t get away with this bastard!”
A bearded guy who seemed to be the leader of the group, threatened me.
“And just what do you mean by that?”
I asked out of pure curiosity. It looks like the guy had something more to say.
“A- Anyway, if you let us free now, we won’t mind letting you guys off! You can have our weapons as well!”
What, so he’s just an idiot huh.
“How about you guys give me some money then. I can think about releasing you guys depending on the amount. Of course, I’ll just free the guys who forked out money.”
I wasn’t serious though.
The grunts riffled through their pockets in search of cash.
“I- I left all my money back in the hideout so I ain’t got any right now!”
One of the grunts suddenly confessed. Hou, so these guys have a base huh. Interesting.
The other grunts brought out all the money they had on their pockets and handed them over. It was all just bronze and silver coins.
“Oi, oi. The reward money for turning you guys in is a lot more convincing than this paltry sum. I definitely can’t let you off with just this much. You get me?”
I didn’t really know how much reward money we’ll get in exchange for these guys and just tried to bluff. But it seems they were actually convinced in the end.
“Well, I’m quite the understanding guy anyway. I’ll take a look at your hideout and decide if it’s worth letting you guys off then. Depending on how much is in there, I might even consider letting go of all of you.”
I was just playing with them though.
“Hey! You guys! Oof!”
The leader was about to object so I kicked him to shut him up. It seems he fainted. He’s not dead, is he? Well, it’s not like I care anyway.
“Well then, where’s that base you told me about?”
When I pointed out to the grunts, all of them made quite a ruckus and jostled with each other to answer my question.
I held up my hand to shut them up.
“You there. You represent them and tell me.”
I pointed at the weakest looking grunt of the group.
“The base is that way. About five kilometers from here. It’s an abandoned goblin burrow!”
U~hee, it’s that kind of place huh. It’s a place where I normally wouldn’t want to go.
“How many of you are left in the hideout?”
“There are two others in the hideout. We also have a merchant captive in there.”
I turned towards the other grunts. All of them nodded obediently.
“I see, I’ll also add that merchant as part of the assessment, so don’t you guys worry.
I’ll bait them with hope-filled words first. They’ll be more cooperative that way.
“Alright! That merchant seems to be the owner of a large shop in the city. We were originally planning to hold him for ransom.”
One grunt revealed something interesting. It’s another piece of good info.
“I see. That’s something to look forward to then.”
I wonder what these guys see me as? Maybe they’re thinking of me as someone from the same trade.
“Ria, I’ll go pay a visit to these guys’ base for a bit.”
Cleria looked at me with a concerned expression. Oi, oi. Don’t tell me even you got fooled by my acting?
“It’s alright. I’ll be back right away.”
“Beck, Thor. Take up your swords and keep an eye on these guys. If they so much as move a muscle, slash em right away. It’ll serve great as slashing practice. You don’t get opportunities like this often.”
Well, these two sure look eager. They might really slash at them y’know.
“Ria, if they make any suspicious moves, feel free to roast them with magic. Don’t show mercy. I’ll leave them to you.”
I bet these bandits will stay put obediently after hearing all that. Let’s get going then.
(Long Distance Sprint Mode)
I entered deep into the mountains in a run.
I soon found the goblin burrow the bandits mentioned earlier. I got three human signatures after activating scanning magic. Looks like this really is the place. I approached cautiously.
I found two men standing guard at the entrance of the cave, talking animatedly with each other. This looks like a great opportunity. Man, all that planning about how to rescue the captive just got wasted. It’s kinda silly.
I just approached them openly. Looks like they still haven’t noticed me.
“Yo! You guys bandits?”
I called out to them as I approached. It seems I finally got all their attention after I called out to them.
“Oh c’mon. I asked first. Are you guys bandits?”
“Stop right there!”
Man, this sure is troublesome. Screw it then.
I simply released flame arrows and hit the bandits’ right shoulders with them. They fell over from the intense pain. I kicked the back of their heads like what I did to their leader earlier and made them pass out. That’s takes care of that.
When I entered the burrow, I noticed that it wasn’t as filthy as I first thought. It didn’t smell particularly bad either. I proceeded towards the location of the response I got earlier.
There were some holes in the wall in some places which allowed sunlight to pour into the cave. Looks like they made it with proper lighting in mind. There were a lot of rooms, but most of them were empty. Some of them only had junk inside.
I finally found the merchant in question. He was placed in the room furthest back with his arms and legs bound. It was a middle-aged man. He looks about 50 years in age. He also seems to be the well-educated sort. Let’s try talking with him.
“This may sound unbelievable, but I’m no bandit. I heard about you from the bandits and have come to rescue you.”
“Oh, I’m finally saved! …I managed to remember the faces of each of those bandits so I can tell you’re not one of them. Are you perhaps an adventurer?”
“No, I’m not an adventurer. But I was tasked to guard a merchant carriage. We were attacked by those bandits along the way. After we repelled and captured them, I came to learn of you being kept in their hideout so I came to save you.”
I cut the ropes binding the man with my knife.
“I am truly grateful for your timely help then! I will return this favor without fail.”
The merchant declared as he rubbed the places where the ropes stuck to his skin.
“No, it’s true that I came here partly in order to rescue you, but my main goal was to secure the loot gathered by those bandits. That’s really what I came here for in the first place.”
“Ahaha, you’re one honest lad. I suppose you’d be interested in that after all. Even I would do so if I was in your shoes, young man. Oh, do forgive me for the late introduction. I am Tarus, a merchant and owner of a general store in the city.”
“My name’s Alan. Nice to meet you.”