Editor: Thor’s Stone
“I’ll enter the cave with Elna.”
“Huh!? I’ll also enter!” Cleria declared.
“Since the cave is narrow, going in with many people isn’t advisable. We might even get in each other’s way. The three of you keep watch outside.”
Cleria grumbled in protest for a bit, but agreed in the end.
“Let’s go, Elna.”
Elna replied as she drew her sword. I managed to catch the location of the rest of the bandits through my magic sensor.
“The bandits are located in the deepest area. There are seven of them. I plan to take care of all of them using magic, but if something unexpected comes up, please move to assist.”
As expected of a professional knight. Elna’s response was quick and simple. It was quite dark inside the cave. It was the right call to bring some light magic tools.
When we came to the deeper levels, the surroundings gradually began to brighten up. I began hearing some vulgar-sounding laughter in the distance. The worrying thing is that they had hostages with them. I’ll need to finish them off quick.
I muffled the sound of my footsteps and finally saw the situation ahead. There were two women on the ground. Their appearance was immodest as two bandits leaned themselves on top of them. Another woman had her arms and legs tied up with ropes and placed in a corner of the cave.
Alright. I’ve managed to target all the bandits inside. I locked on to the right shoulders of every bandit present and launched Flame Arrows.
“Elna! Secure the women!”
I disarmed the bandits who have fallen miserably on the ground. I then threw the bandits to the deepest corner of the cave. It looks like Elna managed to secure the women as well.
I gathered all of the bandit’s weapons and finally managed to check the state of the three kidnapped women. Elna has already helped them to put on their clothes properly.
“A-Are you perhaps adventurers?”
The woman who had her limbs bound earlier, a young lady who looked to be eighteen, asked about us.
“That’s right. We’re the C rank party, Shining Star. My name is Alan. We managed to hear about you from the bandits we came across earlier, so we came to your rescue.”
“Thank you very much, good sir! I will definitely repay you for your help.”
“No, it’s nothing much. In any case, shall we get out of here first?”
The women who were assaulted by the bandits earlier were probably close to my age. They seemed to have not lost their composure and did not have any problems walking by themselves.
“Can I leave the rest to you, Elna?”
“Please leave it to me.”
I left the young women to Elna’s care and had her lead them out of the cave. I, on the other hand, checked the loot inside the cave.
“Hey! If you guys so much as twitch, I’m gonna burn you to death with magic. You got that?”
After the bandits realized their situation, they nodded their heads incredibly fast.
Several boxes were littered around the cave in a disorganized manner, so I proceeded to open all of them up.
This contains salt. This also contains salt. And here, we have tableware. Here are some clothes. There doesn’t seem to be anything that’s decently valuable. Oh, there’s a locked box here. This may have something valuable in it. I cut the lock open with my bladeknife and found that it contained gold. I counted all the coins and determined them to be worth about eighty thousand Guineas. I dumped all the coins inside my money bag. I proceeded to open the rest of the boxes, but found nothing else worthy of note. How unfortunate.
How about the bandit’s weapons then? I checked the assorted swords and spears piled up on one side of the cave but only found two swords that looked decent. I guess that’s about it for the loot.
“Hey, you guys. Stay put over there. Take one step out of this cave and I’ll roast you all alive.”
I casted a Fire spell to intimidate them and singed them a bit.
I put all the weapons of the bandits inside a bag and went out of the cave. I found everyone consoling the captured young women outside.
“Alan, please heal Natalie-san!” Cleria called out worriedly.
So they’ve already introduced themselves to each other huh.
When I checked the state of the woman, I confirmed that she got a bruise through being punched. I might as well heal the two of them together while I’m at it. Oops. Since we just met these people, it would be better if I didn’t cast magic like I usually did.
Elna warned me about it while we were traveling. She pointed out that my magic was quite unique and told me not to openly show it to other people if possible. She nagged at me several times during the journey.
I put my arm up toward the young woman and casted Heal after about ten seconds. The bruise disappeared without a trace. I didn’t just aim to treat the bruise, but her entire body instead, so all the other injuries she had taken should be healed up as well.
“Healing magic!? Amazing!”
The three young women seemed really surprised about my magic. Were ten seconds still too short? I proceeded to cast Heal on the other young woman as well.
“How about you? Are you okay?”
I asked the young woman who was tied up earlier.
“I’m alright. Forgive our late introduction. My name is Arista. These two are Karina and Natalie.”
“We are really grateful for your rescue. We owe all of you our lives.”
“No, we just did what should be done, so you don’t really have to mind. I’ll need to confirm though. Are the ten adventurers who served as your guards and the three of you the only members of your retinue?”
“That is correct. Um, how are the adventurers we hired as guards?”
“Unfortunately, none of them survived.”
“I see… That truly is unfortunate.”
“Now then, what do you propose we do with the bandits?”
I turned toward the rest of the party and asked for their opinions.
“Um! Would it be alright if you handed over custody of the bandits to us?”
Uh, did I hear wrong? I seemed to have heard one of the victims asking for the custody of the bandits.
“What do you mean?”
“If I left things as they are, I cannot regain the honor of these two women with me. I heard that the reward money for capturing a bandit is five thousand Guineas for each head. I am willing to pay double that and give you ten thousand Guineas for each of them.”
So this Arista-san is of a high enough social standing to be addressed with ‘sama’ huh. But what do they want to do with them anyway? Let’s say I agreed. Will they proceed to kill them here or something?
“Would that not be fine, Alan?” Cleria spoke out. We’re in front of other people, but her tone sounded a little bit more dignified than usual.
“I also think it is fine,” Elna added.
They might have noticed the hesitation on my face, so both of them spoke out in support.
“I leave the decision to Alan,” Sharon nodded.
“I’ll do so as well,” Selena agreed.
Well, since all of them don’t seem to particularly disagree with handing the bandits over, I guess I’ll make the decision then. It should be fine to hand them over.
“I understand. But you don’t need to double the price though. I’ll give them to you for the normal amount. This saves us the trouble as well anyway.”
“Thank you very much, everyone.” Arista sincerely thanked us while bowing her head.
“So what do you plan to do?”
“Will you be handing the five bandits over there to us as well?”
“Alright, I don’t mind.”
The bandits started trembling in fear.
“Well then, please bring those five bandits and take them inside the cave. Can we borrow swords as well?” Natalie-san, who kept quiet all this time, suddenly requested.
I handed over the bag with the weapons I retrieved from the bandit lair earlier.
Natalie and Karina began choosing swords for themselves.
“Hey, you lot. Get inside the cave!”
“N-Nooo, please let us go, boss! No, master! Please have some mercy!”
What the heck is the use of begging me? I’m the only guy in our group, you know. And you still expect me to utter any complaints?
I launched a Fire spell at the bandits to shut them up.
“Okay, you lot. Do you want to burn to death here, or obediently head inside the cave. Choose.”
The five bandits muttered in frustration as they walked inside the cave.
I guess the three young women planned to follow after them next.
“Please wait here with everyone else, Arista-sama,” Karina implored.
“We will not be able to vent as much as we want with you present, Arista-sama,” Karina insisted.
“…I understand. Well then, Alan-san. Please take care of the two of them.”
Hmm. I don’t know what exactly I should help them with though.
Judging from the flow of the conversation, what will take place later will most likely be the two women’s revenge. If so, I guess my job here is to ensure they’ll be able to take their revenge without any problems. It’s unfortunate for the bandits, but this is just the consequence of their actions.
When we arrived back at the cave, we found the bandits staying put quietly in the deepest corner, doing their best to obey my earlier command. There was a bundle of rope in a corner, so I cut an appropriate length with a knife. So there were twenty of them all in all.
I threw the rope I cut toward the huddled bandits.
“Hey, you lot! Bind your own feet with that rope. I’ll take it that the ones who bind their feet the tightest are the ones who are truly regretful about their actions, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll plead with the ladies on your behalf.”
The ones who were left inside the cave were still acting confused, but the five who were outside earlier scrambled to get the rope and proceeded to hurriedly tie their feet. They finished tying themselves up in a flash.
I checked the state of their bindings while going around with my sword drawn. Every one of them scrambled to show the result of their work to me and lifted their tied-up legs with their hands. It looks like all of them were properly tied up.
“Oh, right. Take out everything valuable you have on you. If I’m satisfied with the amount…”
I didn’t even manage to finish my words. All of the bandits started rummaging their pockets and took out all the spare change they had on them. I had them put all the money inside my money pouch. Hey, there’s someone who actually has some gold coins. It was worth doing something like this, even if it was a bit lowly.
I closed my money pouch with a snap after collecting the bandit’s money.
“Is this fine, you two?”
“Fufu, that was the best, Alan-sama. Thank you very much. Can you wait for us to finish?” Karina requested.
“But… Are you two really going to be okay?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. We forgot to mention this. Even if we showed you such a sorry sight earlier, we are actually assigned to serve as Arista-sama’s personal guards. Since you’ve already done this much for us, we should have no trouble with the rest.”
“I see… Understood. Just call out to us if you need something, okay?”
“No way!? Boss! What about pleading for us!?”
“W-We handed you our money, right!?”
“Just give up.”
I heard the miserable screams of the bandits as I was leaving the cave.
And after about twenty minutes, the screams of the bandits finally stopped ringing out of the cave. It definitely wasn’t something pleasant to hear. The faces of everyone else were contorted uncomfortably.
Natalie and Karina finally came out of the cave. I guess everything’s over.
“Thank you for waiting everyone. With this, my and Natalie’s honor has been regained. We are deeply thankful,” Karina spoke in gratitude.
I see. So this is how the women of this planet think about matters like these.
“Thank you very much for lending us some swords.”
Natalie and Karina then handed back the swords they borrowed earlier to me. However, they looked reluctant to part with the swords. It turns out that the two swords they took earlier were the ones I judged to be decent looking among the pile.
“By any chance, are these swords actually yours?”
“They have indeed served us well in the past, but they are yours now.”
“If that’s the case, then I’ll return these swords to you two.”
“It’s okay. I was having trouble deciding if we should take the weapons with us or not earlier anyway. Well then, do you want to come along with us on our carriage?”
“We will be in your care then. I promise to definitely repay you for your grace,” Arista said as she bowed in gratitude.
“No, you don’t have to mind, really.”
In the end, we decided to leave the rest of the weapons taken from the bandit lair behind. They don’t seem all that valuable anyway, and it’ll just be troublesome to lug them back.
We began heading back to the carriage.