“They must be bandits.” [Ryouma]
I’m not that confident in telling bandits apart from normal people, but I do have experience seeing them in the Forest of Gana. It wasn’t just once or twice too. I saw a lot of them in the past.
All the men reflected on the eyes of the rimel birds had grown out their hair and beard without regard for their appearance. They all looked dirty, and it appears as if they hadn’t washed for many days. This also isn’t the sort of place for a normal person to go to either. Even if they’re doing some kind of job like woodcutting and are merely taking a rest, they should still look more decent than they do. They’re definitely suspicious.
“They seem to be just henchmen, though…” [Ryouma]
There are 5 people reflected on the eyes of the rimel birds. And yet it feels as if they only had enough armor for 3 and had to split it among themselves.
There’s no point in weapons and armor unless you equip them, you know!
…Or so the common saying in RPGs go. But it’s not really uncommon for bandits lurking in the hills and fields to not have decent equipment. The upper brass usually treats themselves to the nice stuff, while the rest just scavenge for whatever is left. This is about par for the course when it comes to the underlings of poor bandits. But for some reason, they are all equipped with a new sword… Something is off here.
“They don’t look like experts who’d be given a good weapon either…” [Ryouma]
They’re covered in wounds and their mind seems like the type to wander a lot. They don’t pay enough attention to their surroundings either. In fact, they still haven’t noticed that the rimel birds are watching them. They’re also not talking among themselves. For some reason, they appear to be at a loss.
Shabby-looking equipment and the same type of brand new ‘swords’.
The luggage Pedro-san was carrying was supposed to be the ‘swords’ forged by the smith for his client.
“…It might be too late…” [Ryouma]
Odds are these people know something. And when I think that, I can’t help but imagine the worst case scenario.
Either way, I need information. To that end, I’ll have to catch them alive…
I should prepare for battle. I’ll prepare compensation too in the one-in-a-million-chance that they’re not bandits.
I’ll cancel my stay when everything is ready.
By using slimes and special-made ropes and relying on my stamina, I went straight through the forest in one hour. It took me a while because I had to go through a road-less path, but I was able to close in on the rimel birds watching the bandits.
I shared vision with the rimel birds again as I took a break.
“…Are they sleeping?” [Ryouma]
There were two people keeping watch, but the others were fast asleep. It doesn’t look like they’ve noticed our movements. The mountain trees nearby are too dense to use a bow. I can’t use my usual paralysis arrows here.
Can’t say my footing is all that good either.
“Looks like I’ll have to rely on you this time.” [Ryouma]
“Kukeh! Kukeh!!! Kukeh!!!” [Eins]
“What!? AaAAA!?” [Bandit 1]
“My head is—!? My head!?” [Bandit 2]
“EeEKKK!!” [Bandit 3]
“Stop—! Stop it!” [Bandit 4]
“Ah, U… a…” [Bandit 5]
“Now that I’m seeing it again, it sure is powerful.” [Ryouma]
He rarely uses it, so I’ve long forgotten it, but Eins… The nightmare rimel bird can cast a darkness-type spell that deals mental damage in an area. He was able to make the people around him panic before, so I figured he should be able to help me in suppressing the bandits.
When it actually came to it, though, not only did he help me, but he confused the bandits and even made them faint… Well, either way, with this we’ve successfully secured the bandits.
“I’ll leave it to you.” [Ryouma]
My katana and sheathe transformed into 9 iron slimes and metal slimes. The slimes split themselves into groups of three and wrapped themselves on the limbs and neck of the bandits. After gathering the men’s limbs, the slimes quickly transformed into metal handcuffs, legcuffs, and chokers.
When I’d confirmed that the men were completely bound, I had the slimes eat whatever metal was on the men to disarm them. They were basically a substitute for a metal detector.
“GUEH!?” [Bandit 1]
“…!? What!? What is going on!? Hey! …A kid?” [Bandit 2]
The impact of being carried carelessly seemed to have woken three of the bandits.
At first, they were confused, not understanding their situation, but it didn’t take long before they realized that they have been bound.
“Hey! Is this your doing!? Let us go, darn it!” [Bandit 1]
“*Wheeze. Don’t you know who we are? We’re the Poisonous Spiders!?” [Bandit 2]
“The Poisonous Spiders? …You mean the group that was subjugated just recently?” [Ryouma]
After having been tricked into revealing the truth, the bandits immediately appeared regretful. Looks like I was right.
…Good. At least, now we’re sure that they’re bandits. I won’t need to apologize then.
“By the way, the person over there… I know you’re awake, so you can stop pretending.” [Ryouma]
“…He he he.” [Bandit 3]
The five men were lined up in a row. The two people yelling at me are the two on the rightmost side. The first one I carried on the leftmost side opened his eyes when he heard the two yelling, but he closed his eyes again and acted as if he were asleep. It was poorly done, though, so I could tell immediately that he was awake. He neither yelled nor tried to run. He just smiled that frivolous and insincere smile of his.
“Hey! Say something!?” [Bandit 1]
“Were you trying to run off by yourself!?” [Bandit 2]
And just like that, our group of shabby bandits have started falling out already.