36. Be Careful of the Drunkard
An unshaven man looks down at me from atop the horse.
patrolling soldiers around him, the man wears elegant armor. Hanging from their
waists is a heavy, long sword. Seeing how it’s adorned with jewels, it’s
probably a magic sword.
He has grey hair. His handsome and unshaven face give him the impression of being a playboy. Yet for some reason, he also gives off a refined feel. He also has the constitution of a giant. Well, he’s not that big, there’s a solid body underneath his armor. He’s also very tall.
“W-what might that be?”
I asked the man atop the horse in return.
The patrolling soldiers are looking around at the people passing by. In other words, they’re the ones who’ve been searching for us because of that incident earlier. But if they can recognized me this easily, there’s probably no point in running away anymore.
I’ll play dumb for as long as I can.
Fortunately, this is a highway. The inn we’re staying in is a bit far, so they probably won’t find it. I’m pretty confident I can escape if it’s like this. I’ve put in a lot of practice in my new running technique, after all. I’m certain I can get away by myself.
Ah, Nymia is still on my shoulder, but she’s so light, it’s like she’s not even there.
Nymia quietly watches over what’s happening from my shoulder. In places like this where we’re in the public eye, she must act like a cat. If she suddenly speaks now, it would cause a disaster.
The man riding that horse glances at Nymia for a moment. As he gets off, I play dumb and smile. As I thought, he’s tall. My height doesn’t even reach his chest.
That’s when the patrolling soldier casually surround me. They must’ve confirmed my identity.
People passing by on the highway notice me and gather to watch.
Well, isn’t that probably because we stand out so much?
Maybe I’d have been better off obediently staying at the inn in the first place. But, if I just stayed in the room, there’s no telling what the girls would have done after coming out of the bath…
The man with unshaven face, not knowing what I’m thinking, points at me.
“You’re that… Hm, what was it again?”
“Member of the dragon tribesman clan who caused a riot in the daytime.”
“Ah yes, that one. You’re an important suspect… Wait, that’s not right. Didn’t they say it was pretty girl?”
“Yeah, he isn’t. Near that girl was a cute boy with brown-hair.”
“Ah yes, that’s it.”
Somehow, the gray-haired man doesn’t seem very attentive. The patrolling soldier aiding him sighs. He’s completely carefree.
“I recognized you the instant I saw at you. You’re the one from earlier… What was it again?”
“Ahaha,” The stubble faced man scratches his head. The patrolling soldier around him let out a sigh again.
He doesn’t seem like a reliable superior.
Yet even though he’s unfamiliar with the details of the riot from earlier today, he was able to pick out from a crowd of people on the highway. Right after that, he came straight up to me without hesitation
At any rate, I need to come up with a way to escape this meaningless exchange. Even though I’m surrounded, I must keep calm, keep calm…
I need to make sure I’m not surrounded before I escape, or it won’t have any meaning. I need to save my energy.
While I think so, someone grabs my left arm.
“Let’s not stand and talk. For now, how about we stop by a nearby bar to get a drink and some food?”
The one grabbing me is the stubble faced man. Even though his grip is light, I get the feeling I won’t be able to shake him off.
Incidentally, I’m a minor, so I’d prefer a dining room over a bar. This is not the time to think of something useless like that though.
“Ah, I haven’t said my name, huh. I’m Ludriad, platoon leader of the patrolling soldiers.”
Ludriad-san smiles as he said so, but his eyes do not show any negligence. Looks like this guy is actually someone remarkable, huh.
“For now, let’s shake hands.”
Ludriad-san stoops over to match my gaze and stretches out his hand. He reeks of liquor.
“Ueh,” I immediately make a surprised face.
“Oh, do I reek of liquor?”
Ludriad-san gives a heartful laugh. He then forcibly takes my right hand and shakes it.
My left hand is free now, but my other right hand is firmly being held down by the handshake.
“Because my job starts after it gets dark, it won’t do without any alcohol.”
“Didn’t you drink throughout the day, though?”
Ludriad-san laughs at the patrolling soldier’s retort.
So, the platoon leader is the kind of person who drinks because it’s night despite being on duty, huh. Moreover, the surrounding soldiers don’t even blame him for it.
Somehow, the patrolling soldiers seem to have a good relationship with Ludriad-san, their platoon leader. The atmosphere is peaceful, one where everyone seems to enjoy their work.
Either way, this has nothing to do with me. I need to escape Ludriad-san’s grasp one way or another. I can get away just fine, but I’m not so sure I can escape from Ludriad-san himself.
“Oh, do you think you can escape from this situation? Or are you trying to come up with a reliable escape plan?”
Ludriad-san was laughing together with the patrol soldiers, but before I knew it, his eyes started giving a sharp light. As I thought, he isn’t an ordinary person. He acts relaxed, but he stays levelheaded on the important details.
“I don’t dislike playing tag, but I’d like to finish my tasks and have a drink.”
“Aren’t you going to go drinking now, though?”
“Yeah, looks like you got me there.”
Ludriad-san gives a wry smile to my retort.
“You’re quite good at retorts, aren’t you?”
“That’s because I’m acquainted with a silly old man.”
“Heee, you have to introduce me to him.”
“That’s impossible. That grandfather is quite shy. He lives in a quiet place all by himself.
“Ah, sounds like I will get along with him. Truth be told, I’ve always wanted to live in a quiet, rural, place. Seriously.”
“That sounds hard to believe…”
It might seem like Ludriad-san and I are having a casual conversation, but we are exchanging in offense and defense below the surface. Nothing we actually say is all that important though.
One way or another, I need break my right hand free from the handshake. Ludriad-san, however, doesn’t give me any opportunities. His grip is loose and seems to be easy to shake off, but it’s not.
What’s with this handshake expert?
“What’s this? You seem to be very troubled.”
I’m not sure why, but Ludriad-san smiled bitterly.
“I was thinking we could have a drink, but let’s talk over there. Just the two of us.”
With those words, Ludriad-san points at a deserted space between buildings. There’s no light down their either. If I7m not mistaken, other than for these buildings, wheat fields surround this area of the highway.
“All of you, wait here and disperse the curious onlookers.”
At Ludriad-san commands, the peaceful atmosphere from the patrolling soldiers before disappeared in an instant. They set upon their task with a practiced movements.
“Alright, let’s go on and settle these various problems, shall we?”
Various problem? I’m thought they were going to question me about what happened earlier. Could there be other problems?
As I tilt my head in confusion, Ludriad-san grips my hand and leads me into the dark wheat field. His grip remains light, but I still can’t break free. On the contrary, I can’t even resist being taken by Ludriad-san.
What’s with this person? His appearance, atmosphere, and behavior don’t match at all. He might have been acting at some point, but I’m still inexperienced to notice such things.
“Now, maybe around here will be alright?”
Ludriad-san stops after advancing a bit into the wheat field.
The wheat which grew until around my height hasn’t been harvested yet. It sways with the gentle breeze, making a gentle rustling sound. The sky is already filled with twinkling star, and the moonlight is somehow bright enough for me to look around.
What will be alright? I understood upon coming here. My whole body became tense towards what will happen.
“No matter how many nights has passed, it’s laughable you haven’t noticed how sloppy you are at hiding yourselves. Hurry up and come out already.”
Ludriad-san raises his voice towards the darkness.
“Kukuku. I left it obvious on purpose. If anything, you’re the fool for noticing and telling your soldiers to keep away.”
Emerging from the darkness are more than twenty people. All of them are stepping out of the wheat field. There probably isn’t anyone hiding themselves in the back. I’ve also been training to recognize the presence of others.
That’s when I realize some is glaring at us with blood thirst. It’s the same glare I felt earlier today too. Still what’s with this large number of people?
My eyes open wide in surprise.
“So, what? Are you telling us to leave by bringing us that brat?”
“Niyari,” one man gives an unpleasant laugh.
Ehh, is that so?
I look up to Ludriad-san timidly.
“No, no, no, by no means. I would never handover such a cute boy to grim bastards like you.”
Ludriad-san laughs without any nervousness. I pat my chest in relief, but this person’s lack of nervousness is something or another. Their anger explodes at Ludriad-san’s cheerful smile.
I examine them once more.
All of them look like scoundrels. There is no unity in their equipment. While some of them wear leather armor, others wear a full set body armor and a helmet. Their weapons too range from daggers to two handed axes. However, there is one thing they all share in common. Each of their weapons appears to be of high quality. The disparity between their armor and weapon is strange. On the contrary, it gives them an eerie atmosphere.
“We don’t have any business with you. We only want that brat and women who were accompanying him.”
A man with a curved sword says.
Was the reason they’ve been searching for Mistral and us……
“Hahah, are these guys your comrades?”
Ludriad-san looks down to me.
No, no, no, it’s nothing like that. I shake my head in denial.
“Tch, what a foolish fellow.”
A man holding a war hammer clicks his tongue.
“We just want revenge for what happened earlier today.”
All at once, the pluse twenty men pull out their weapons.
“Regret picking a fight with the dragon tribesmen.”
The man with the two handed ax speaks those words, making me shiver.
Looks like they’re comrades of those two men from before. More than that, they called themselves as dragon tribesmen again. Would such a large number of dragon tribesmen descend from dragon’s peak? While wonder that, I sneak a glance at Nymia who clings to my shoulder.
If these people are really the dragon tribesmen, then mew, or so I say in my heart.
Since Nymia is the same as old Sleigstar, she can read it. Nymia, however, looks up to me and shakes her head left and right.
I see, so they’re fake, like I thought.
Somehow, it seems that Nymia and Mistral could know someone’s race just by looking at them. The demons and gods also have the same ability. Still, being able to know just by looking is amazing.
Well then, now I know that they’re fake, what should I do? This time, I look up to Ludriad-san. He notices and smiles.
“Right, this is your problem. You settle it by yourself. I’ll just watch here.”
He abandons me so quickly, and I shriek.
I was actually expecting Ludriad-san to solve this with his remarkable skill. Now…
The fake dragon tribesmen are astonished by the development.
“Ha, hahah. How admirable. Since you’ll only be watching quietly from the side, we’ll overlook you.”
“I’m very grateful. Anyhow, I don’t want to work overnight. After this, I still have to go back to the headquarters and report back.”
The fake dragon tribesmen regain their confidence and harden their expressions.
This is far from what I expected. I want to retort loudly, “Why is such an unmotivated person the patrolling soldiers’ platoon leader for!?”
But now, the situation won’t allow me that.
What should I do?
Should I run and seek help from Mistral?
No, no, no, that’s no good. Relying on Ludriad-san or immediately running to Mistral for help isn’t manly at all.
I will become a man others can depend on. After that, I want Mistral and Ruiseine to be charmed by me.
With that determination, I confront the more than twenty fake dragon tribesmen.
T/N: The BL tension is so strong with this Ludriad-san!