“What in the world were you thinking!?” [Man 1]
In a certain part of the city of Gimuru was a room that had been built without anyone’s knowing. Within that room resounded the angry voice of a man.
“What did you bring that brat here for!? What are you going to do if someone comes after us, haah!?” [Man 1]
“It couldn’t be helped. There were guards and adventurers everywhere, and there were familiars watching from the skies too. They would’ve caught us immediately if we just ran away.” [Man 2]
“That doesn’t make what you’ve done any better! You were spotted by some brat, and then some guy heard him, so you had to gang up on the guy, and in your panic, you ended up taking the brat with you! What was even the point of quietly stealing a carriage!?” [Man 1]
“Haah? So, what – You’re saying it would’ve been better if we got caught instead? Is that it?” [Man 2]
With no windows and little space, it was a room that made people feel trapped, and there was a grim air within too.
Inside that room were two men glaring at each other.
“Enough already.” [Boss]
“But Boss…” [Man 1]
“You’re not wrong, but think again – why are we in a cellar like this?” [Boss]
“…To hide from the townspeople and the new people those guys dispatched.” [Man 1]
“That’s right. Those people can’t be trusted. If we just say yes to everything they ask, they’ll just use us and then throw us away once we’ve served our purpose. As for the townspeople. it needn’t be said what our fate would be if we’re caught by them. But either way, if either side gets us and we leak information, it’s over for us. Am I wrong?” [Boss]
“…No.” [Man 1]
“So it’s a waste of time for us to be arguing among ourselves right now. Endure it. And you, you need to understand that you’ve made a mistake that can’t be undone. There won’t be a next time. Do I make myself clear?” [Boss]
“Usu…” [Man 2]
The bearded man they referred to as boss stepped in to calm the two men.
When their other comrades saw that, they were finally able to let out their tensed breath.
The room they were in had no windows and was vertically oriented. It was so tight that it was curious if an adult could even stretch out their arms to the sides. Yet 13 men gathered in that tight space and two of them were even arguing. It was only natural that they would find such a thing to be suffocating.
“What will we do about that kid? I left them in the toilet for now, but…” [Man 2]
“We can’t send him back, and even a kid can sell for a decent coin. When things calm down, you talk to him since you brought him here. Don’t let him get away, okay? If he tries to run away or make a commotion, then just kill him. Though we’ll be needing money to make our escape, not being found is much more important than some small change.” [Boss]
“Usu.” [Man 2]
“But more importantly are the pursuers… How is the situation outside?” [Boss]
“The familiars are alert, but there’s nothing unusual as of――” [Man 3]
A man responded to the boss, but his words suddenly cut off, causing all eyes to gather onto the man.
“What happened!?” [Boss]
“Ryouma Takebayashi is nearby. He’s
“What!?” [Man 4]
“Weren’t you keeping watch!?” [Man 5]
“Don’t panic! Hey, elaborate. How many pursuers?” [Boss]
“…Doesn’t seem like there’s any. He’s probably just passing by.” [Man 3]
“Passing by?” [Boss]
He looks like he’s sweeping the gutter. He doesn’t even have any weapons on him, just cleaning tools.” [Man 3]
When the men heard that, they looked at each other and snickered.
“Don’t scare us like that, man.” [Man 5]
“Seriously. It’s not funny right now.” [Man 6]
They even joked like that, but the boss had a stiff expression on him, and sweat could even be seen sliding down his face.
“Get your belongings, and the kid too.” [Boss]
“Boss?” [Man 7]
“W-What is it all of the sudden?” [Man 8]
“Why in the world would he be cleaning the gutter at a
“And run where?” [Man 9]
“Anywhere is fine! Anywhere is much better than being here――!?” [Boss]
But as the boss was giving orders to flee, a change suddenly occurred inside the room.
“Woah!?” [Man 10]
“It stinks!” [Man 11]
“Geh, the toilet is overflowing――” [Man 12]
The men were bewildered when the sewage at the end of the long narrow room began to overflow, but the boss paled and he ran to try and close the door, but the door just wouldn’t budge.
“Damn it! Stop dazing around, you fools! We’re under attack!” [Boss]
The boss tried to get them to move, but—
“Guwah!?” [Man 1]
“W-What is this!?” [Man 2]
“The ground is shaking!” [Man 3]
—His voice was drowned out by the sound of something being scraped and the screams of his comrades from the ground shaking. Then in the next moment, a large fissure ran through the walls, and sand began flooding in.
“GU!” [Man 4]
The sudden sandstorm forced them to close their eyes, but it didn’t take long before they could open them again, for the sensation of the sand left, and the refreshing air from outside took its place.
“B-Boss!” [Man 5]
“Yeah, I can see… It’s that magic, and it’s as ridiculous as ever.” [Boss]
When the thick sand storm cleared, what greeted them were the ruins of what was once their hideout. The walls, the buildings… everything had been destroyed. All that was left were the men themselves.
It was also then that the boy responsible for this mess, Ryouma, appeared. Behind him were many adults wielding weapons, and further behind were the boys that one of their comrades kidnapped.
The men immediately drew their knives and prepared to fight it out.