Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
The Fedor Gang
The Fedor gang was a group of bandits led by a man named Fedor, and were known for being elusive. Robbery was their main business, but they would not hesitate to resort to kidnapping, smuggling, or even jailbreaking, if it meant money. But except under extreme circumstances, they didn’t commit murder, as that would result in the authorities searching for them relentlessly, compromising their elusiveness.
They committed robberies in urban places. Normally, they’d hide in the city and gather around using secret codes. The gang had roots mostly in the major cities of Jarazack.
「Is everyone here?」Fedor asked. He was a well-dressed man about 170 centimeters tall.
「Yes, Sir!」a man dressed in a craftsman attire answered.
The other ten or so men wore normal commoner clothes, while some had hunter attires on. Their specialty was disguising and makeup. Mikhail’s men who were after the gang were skilled as well, but the bandits planned to completely transform themselves before making their next move.
「We’ve discussed the plan before, and nothing’s changed. After capturing the target, we’ll throw them into our hideout until delivery to Ludancia. They say we can kill her, but we want to avoid doing the dirty work as much as possible. Best if all the hate is directed to Ludancia.」
The fire from the hearth was the only source of light in the room. All the men nodded and were about to move when a news came.
「Boss, our scout just returned.」
「The one we sent to Scholarzard?」
「Yeah. Apparently, the target left Scholarzard and is heading here in Raidzard.」
The gang was staying in a suburban city called Raidzard, the closest city to Scholarzard. Anyone going to Jarazack from Scholarzard would pass through here.
The plan was to enter Scholarzard by the end of the day.
「Hmm. They’re heading back to Jarazack, huh? That’s perfect, then.」Fedor considered this a golden opportunity.「All right. We move at midnight.」
They paid for a large room and a single room. Needless to say, Hikaru would take the single room with Drake, and the girls—Lavia, Paula, Catherine, and Luka—would stay in the large room.
After having dinner, the girls returned to their room and were getting ready to sleep. There were four beds in the room, each one of them sitting on theirs.
「Luka… What are you planning to do once you see Claude?」Lavia asked, embracing a pillow.
Sitting at the edge of her bed, Luka cast her eyes down.
「I don’t know. I was really happy about the marriage, but now I’m starting to have doubts. Strange, isn’t it? I dragged everyone into trouble.」
「It’s not your fault.」Catherine said, sitting beside Luka, not hiding her anger towards Claude. The matter at hand seemed to have deepened their friendship.「This is all Claude’s fault for getting too cocky.」
「Was he really acting that strange?」Lavia asked.
「Yeah. I’m sure you’ll get pissed too if you saw that guy. When I arrived at the mansion, I spotted him with three women.」
Claude’s reputation was taking a nosedive.
「By the way, what is up with you?」Catherine asked Lavia this time.
「Isn’t Hikaru your boyfriend? So why—」
Catherine’s eyes darted at Paula. She was taken aback, not expecting it.
「How could he add another girl to your party?」
「H-Hikaru-sama and I don’t have that kind of relationship.」
「The way you call him! Did he tell you to so he could stroke his own ego?!」
「Th-That’s not true! I just look up to him…」
「Hikaru’s just as bad! How dare he make eyes at other girls when he already has Lavia!」
Catherine was really heating up.
「Ah, I’m sorry, Lavia. I know you’re the one suffering the most.」
「No, you’re wrong. I’m happy to have Paula by my side.」
「Lavia…」There was pity in Catherine’s voice.
「Lavia…」Paula felt glad.
「All right. I got it.」Catherine stood up.
「Where are you going?」
「Isn’t it obvious? I’ll go get Hikaru and interrogate him.」
「P-Please don’t!」Paula protested.
Lavia stayed calm.「Hikaru’s not in his room.」
「What? Why? It’s already late.」
「He said he had something to do and won’t be back until morning.」
Lavia knew that when Hikaru said he had something to do in the middle of the night, it meant taking care of any trouble that might befall them.
「Something he has to do… and he won’t be back until morning…」
Imagining nasty things, Catherine’s face turned beet reed. Needless to say, she was hugely mistaken.
The room was dark, the fire in the hearth the only source of light. As the flames were dying, Fedor tossed some more wood. Then he heard footsteps.
「That was fast. Did you finish the job?」
He glanced at the entrance, but he couldn’t see well in the dark. However, Fedor was sure of one thing. No one among his men wore a silver mask.
「Who the fuck are you?」
「No need to introduce myself. I took out all your men. Six main guys and three backups. Surprisingly few.」
Warily stepping away from the fireplace, Fedor slowly reached for the dagger in his coat.
He’s lying, the man thought. The guys moved out just half an hour ago. Taking them all out in such a short amount of time is impossible. The only one who can do that is someone who knows everything about our plan or one with detection abilities who could pinpoint the exact locations of my men. The fact that he knows their exact number means someone betrayed us.
Fedor thought one of his men turned traitor and divulged information about their operation to this stupid masked bastard.
They must’ve split up and this guy came here to stop me from escaping. Hahaha. Too bad. You got one thing wrong.
「I want to know what you’re after.」the masked person asked, seemingly unaware of the thoughts running through Fedor’s mind.「Why do you want to kidnap Luka Lordgrad Ludancia?」
「Heh. Isn’t it obvious? We’re going to sell her.」
「So she’s got quite the bounty on her head. But your men didn’t sound satisfied with just abducting her. They planned to assault her as well.」
「Damn it. I told them we have to keep her alive. I guess they thought they could do anything as long as she lives.」
「Okay, I get it.」the masked guy nodded for some reason.
「You get what?」
「So you approve of your men’s actions.」
「Hahahahaha! Do you have any idea who we are? We’re the Fedor gang! One look and we can silence crying kids!」
「More like you’re a bunch of halfwits who can only make kids cry.」
Fedor’s eyes narrowed.
「Provoking me was a bad move. You seem to be mistaken.」
「Mistaken about what?」
Did you think subduing all my men will make me surrender without a fight? Think again.
「I, Fedor, am the leader of the gang. Which means I’m the strongest of them all!」
Fedor dashed forward, quickly closing the distance between him and the masked guy. From his pocket, he drew a dagger. The masked guy leapt to the side to dodge the thrust.
A huge movement was just what Fedor was waiting for.
「Once you run, you’re a sitting duck—」
Fedor specialized in Throwing. He threw his dagger towards the direction the masked guy jumped to. He was skilled and never missed his mark.
But he stopped before he could let go of his weapon. There was no one there. He quickly surveyed his surroundings, but he couldn’t feel anyone’s presence in the room. He almost wondered if he was imagining things.
「How did I disappear?」
Fedor heard the voice come from right behind him. He quickly turned around, but found no one.
「D-Damn it! Where the hell are you?!」
「It must be magic! In that case, I have this! I implore you, Air Spirits, find the pitiful fool hiding in the shadows—」
Touching a ring on his right hand, Fedor chanted the spell. The ring flashed.
The man bought this magic item called a Detection Ring for a hefty sum. He used it to find infiltrators in their hideouts or to search for hidden rooms. It never failed him before.
「Hmm. Is that an item used to find someone hiding with Stealth?」
Fedor yelped. Once again, the voice came from directly behind him. And just like before, there was no one there.
「A-A demon! You’re a demon, aren’t you?! That explains the creepy mask!」
「I actually like this mask. Anyway, I just wanted to find out the truth. Knowing that Ludancia is involved in all this is more than enough.」
「There you are!」
Without looking, the man hurled his dagger towards the direction of the voice. But alas, it hit no one and instead stuck itself into a cupboard.
「Ha…ha… hahaha…」Beads of sweat appeared on Fedor’s forehead.「In that case—」
He reached for his ring, and screamed. A blade had pierced his hand.
「Whoa, whoa. Were you planning to use an offensive spell this time? Or perhaps a smokescreen? You were thinking of escaping while you had the chance, but you’re not going anywhere.」
「You’re aware that I can kill you if I really want to, right?」
The mask was right before him, its mouth curved into a smile. A demon. He’s a demon in a man’s clothing!
「I didn’t really plan to do more experiments, but might as well. You’ll be my test subject. If you stay put, I’ll hand you over to the authorities alive.」
Experiment. A demon’s experiment. He says he’ll keep me alive, but I’m sure he’ll make me suffer a fate worse than death!
Color left Fedor’s face and he collapsed.
「Huh? He’s out cold?」
A while later, the sound of a boy sighing in disappointment came from the room. Fedor never realized that his opponent was just a young boy.