The Master of the Brave - Chapter 74
Chapter 74 – What lurks in the darkness of the Imperial City (II)
By the time they left the Wandering Bird’s Nest, it was completely dark outside. After escorting Cornelia to the palace, Wynn, Locke and Leticia, who lived in the dormitories of the Knights’ School, were walking down the main street. It was past dinner time, but you could still see people coming back from the taverns and dining areas.
“Hey, about what you said earlier. The goodwill visit of the Prince and Cornelia-sama. Was that ostensible? And is the rumor true that they will form a military alliance against Petersia?”
“Who knows, I’ve heard the rumors too. Locke, you haven’t heard anything about that from the captain?”
Royce was not a high-ranking Knight, but they both knew that Alfred had a close relationship with the Count.
“I don’t know. At this point, the captain is concerned about the kidnapping case. I haven’t heard him talk about anything else but that. Leticia-sama, are you still willing to follow Wynn?”
“I think it is more likely that I will be part of that goodwill visit.”
Leticia replied as she walked with her hands behind her back.
“Raul was my companion, and I think we’ll go in search of deepening old friendships.”
“If Cornelia-san and Letty go, that would also make a good impression on the people of the Kingdom of Lyon. They are both beautiful, and they are a princess from another country and the Brave…”
That’s when Wynn suddenly became silent. He had a serious look on his face, with both eyes glazed over somewhere in the distance. The aura around Leticia also changed suddenly.
Leticia, who let out that low rumble, immediately jumped into a side alley and started running. Wynn followed her.
“What’s going on?”
As they ran ahead of him. Locke, who had not heard the scream, rushed to follow them. Wooden barrels, boxes, trash, and all sorts of things were scattered in the narrow alleyways. It was so dark that even your feet would be hard to see. One false step and you could trip. But Leticia did not slow down at all, running towards where she heard the scream. Wynn followed behind her.
‘Damn… that’s it!
Locke felt his chest fill with admiration. Both Wynn and Leticia were used to running in the dark, as they had been running in the dark night streets since they were children. The distance between them and Locke, who didn’t know the terrain, was growing.
“Letty, let’s change! Right now, I’m more familiar with these streets than you are!”
Wynn told Leticia, who was in front of him. Wynn knew the road better than Leticia, who had been traveling for four years.
“Onii-chan, did you hear that?! It was another scream!”
“It’s this way!”
Wynn switched places with Leticia and took the lead. Behind those two, Locke followed from a distance. The first scream was inaudible to him, but that last one reached his ears as well.
…Someone was being attacked up ahead!
At the end of the alley, there was a square that seemed to have been created by demolishing an empty house. Several pieces of the collapsed stone wall were still on the lot, and some figures could be seen trying to drag a person away.
“What are you doing?”
At the sound of Wynn’s angry voice, four figures attacked, raising their white swords. The men who approached had almost all medium sized bodies, were dressed in dark clothes, and their faces were masked so that only their eyes were visible.
“Letty! Don’t kill them!”
Leticia, who had followed Wynn out of the alley, ran into the men who were trying to get to Wynn. The men, of whom there were three, also noticed Leticia’s presence.
The men’s swords glowed with a pale light.
‘These guys use magic?’
Like knight’s swords, these swords were imbued with magical power. As in the battle against other knights, Wynn realized that he was at a disadvantage in terms of power, and he diverted the sword from the man coming towards him.
He snapped his tongue, moved away from the place where the man was about to cut with his sword again, with a small gap, and struck the place where he had pushed before. When all attacks were prevented, the man held his sword after a short interval. Wynn’s sword also shone pale in the darkness with its magical power. The man knew that Wynn was a knight, at least an opponent who could use magic to magically strengthen his sword.
Locke’s cry was heard, he was late.
“Locke, I’m all right, you go after those who ran away!”
If it was face-to-face, even if it was a knight using body strengthening magic, he wouldn’t be at such a disadvantage if he took an offensive position. Locke passed by Wynn into the street where the figures dragging the other one had disappeared.
Wynn restrained the man in front of him from going after Locke, and looked sideways at Leticia, who had attracted the other three. If Leticia used her true power, whether it was three against one or three hundred against her, it was unlikely that she would lose in a decisive head-on battle, but he was still worried.
However, his fears were unfounded, and out of the corner of his eye, Wynn saw that Leticia had already brought down two of them and was about to neutralize the last one. The man who, like Wynn, had turned his attention to Leticia, looking slightly worried. Unlike Wynn, he could not expect a delicate and almost ephemeral girl to neutralize one after the other in such a short amount of time. You could see why he was worried.
Wynn took the opportunity and went on the offensive. With the aim of incapacitating the man, he tried to snatch the sword from him.
But the man came to his senses at the last moment and faced Wynn’s sword with all his might.
The strong impact made his hands numb. Due to the body-strengthening magic, the difference in strength between the man and Wynn was as wide as that of an adult and a child.
Wynn, whose sword was repelled, almost let go.
Leticia gave a powerful circular kick from behind the man’s head, tossing him aside. Her body was small, but Leticia’s strike with magical power emanated a muted golden glow.
The man, who had probably been hit so hard that he bounced a couple of times on the ground, did not understand what had happened. He was completely unconscious on the floor.
“That was close. Thank you, Letty.”
“Are you okay, Onii-chan…? Hey, wait, are you hurt?!”
Leticia’s eyes widened in surprise when she saw Wynn’s face. When Wynn wiped his cheeks with his hands, a sticky thing stuck to his fingers. He did not feel the pain immediately due to the excitement of the battle, but it seemed that the tip of the sword had brushed against him slightly when he hesitated for the second blow.
“It’s okay, it’s just a scratch. The guy is pretty good.”
“He probably won’t wake up for a while.”
It seemed that Leticia neutralized her opponent with only her strength. At that point, a couple of guards finally rushed to the scene, apparently having heard the commotion.
“You there! What the hell is going on here?”
Wynn explained the situation to the guards while sheathing his sword to show that he had no hostile intentions.
“These guys could be kidnappers.”
“So, this… was it your doing?”
The guards looked at Wynn and Leticia with suspicion. Aside from Wynn, Leticia’s appearance was that of a slender, delicate girl. She was not seen to be very skilled in martial arts.
“My partner is behind these guys’ partners. So, excuse me, but I’d like to question them.”
“Wait, wait, who are you guys?”
Wynn had no choice but to reveal his identity.
“His Imperial Highness’ subordinate? You… no, you?”
“I’m not on duty, so I’m in civilian clothes, and I don’t have any identification on me, but…”
The guards nodded to Wynn’s words.
Looking around, the four men scattered around the area were dressed in black and wore black masks. If there was any talk of who was more suspicious, it was definitely them.
When he told them that the men who had escaped were quite skilled and that his partner who had gone after them might be in danger, one of the guards offered to accompany Wynn.
“So, would you stay with me?”
Leticia was to remain there with the other guard. In fact, she was planning to go after them as well, but the guard who was worried about the safety of Leticia, who looked like the daughter of some noble house, suggested it. It was possible that the victim was just pretending to be in trouble, so going with Leticia, who seemed weak and could be quickly subdued even if she tried to escape, did not seem to be the best thing.
Leticia did not reveal her identity to avoid trouble, so she had no choice but to nod to the suggestion.
“These guys were as good as knights. Let’s hurry up.”
Wynn and the guard started running after Locke.
What jumped out at Locke when he came out of the alley was the figure of a man who was attacking Wynn with his sword lit up in a pale glow with magical power, and his body collapsing into the shape of the letter “く”. And in front of him, his companions were incapacitated in the blink of an eye, and two other men entered the scene.
Leticia was about to turn the men’s bodies over when the other two arrived.
“Leticia-sama is good…”
At first glance, she seemed weak, but actually she was the strongest girl in the world.
“Locke, I’m okay, you go after the ones who ran away!”
He called his friend, who had been a bit pressured to see if he needed help, but Wynn pointed to the end of the square with his eyes. He looked up and saw that two men were running away with a figure in tow.
He said, “Okay!”
Locke began to run. On the way, he had to pass by the man who was facing Wynn, but he could pass safely as Wynn kept him at bay.
Although they were carrying a person, the other men were moving fast.
‘Are they using body-strengthening magic?’
The distance between them and Locke was increasing. The street he was running down was now wider than the alley he was in before, wide enough for a carriage to pass.
Because of this, he could run without having to worry about tripping, but…
“This is not good. Even if I catch up with them, if I have to fight alone, I don’t know if I can win.”
Being able to use body-strengthening magic meant that the enemy had the same fighting power as a knight.
And there were two of them.
“Give me strength!”
Locke also cast the body-strengthening spell on himself.
‘It’s impossible for me to hold them off on my own. It is better to stay close and wait for Wynn or Leticia-sama to catch up with us.’
When Locke thought about it, he followed them long enough not to close the distance beyond a certain point. Even if the duo that kept running away tried to fight back, he would maintain enough distance to escape.
The sound of three people’s footsteps resounded in the air. No other figure could be seen on the streets.
Unlike the main street, which had a concentration of bars and restaurants, and the red-light district, which was open late at night, the stores that could sometimes be seen on this street probably closed early. Sometimes, although there were people, seeing a man who was obviously running suspiciously with another figure in his arms made them stop and stand and watch.
“If you can contact the guard, please do so!”
Locke would say when he passed by one.
It was not possible to confirm if the passer-by had nodded to Locke, who passed quickly thanks to the of body-strengthening magic.
Even as a knight, a guard can be difficult to defeat.
Although in Locke’s case, he was confident that he could defeat only four or five guards. For a man like Wynn, who was not at all a knight like any other, it could be a challenge.
(TN: I’m not so sure about this line).
The two men who ran in front of Locke occasionally looked back to check if he was following them.
After that, Locke continued to chase them, keeping his distance, but…
The men turned a corner.
‘What do I do?’
There was also the danger of being ambushed in that turn and taken by surprise. But, on the other hand, there was also the danger that they would go into another alley and he would lose them.
‘In the worst case, I am sure that Wynn and Leticia-sama are keeping the others alive and captive, but I cannot abandon someone who has been kidnapped.’
If he closed the distance and attacked those two people, there was a high possibility that he would not be able to escape. Although if it was the enemy’s lair, he was sure they could get that information out of the captured group. At least with Leticia’s presence, there was no way there would be any delay.
Having those thoughts slowed Locke down as he ran, but…
‘Good! I have no choice but to move on!’
He shook off his doubts, saying that as long as there was a victim, he had no choice but to pursue them. With his right hand on the sword at his waist and with the utmost caution, he turned the corner.
What suddenly appeared before Locke was a horse, the coachman’s scream trying to suppress the horse and the noise of the wheels.
“You idiot! Do you want to die!”
Locke, who somehow avoided crashing into the carriage that suddenly appeared in front of him, ignored the coachman’s screams and looked beyond the alley from which the carriage came.
‘They got away!’
“Hey! Didn’t you see some guys dressed in black pass by here?”
“No idea. I don’t remember seeing them.”
There was nowhere to hide at the end of the street, and the next corner was much further ahead.
‘If that’s the case, I have some ideas!’
Seeing that the coachman was ignoring him while trying to move the carriage forward, Locke jumped into the street in a way that blocked the carriage’s path.
“Do you really want to get run over?”
“Would you allow me to look inside?”
“What kind of authority does a knight have to do such a thing? I’m afraid I don’t see the need to comply with your request.”
‘A knight! I never said I was a knight.’
Locke’s clothes were now those of a civilian.
At first glance, it should be impossible to say that Locke was a knight. Although he had become faster by using the body-strengthening magic that knights are good at, it was only when he jumped from the corner that the carriage driver saw Locke. There should not have been any situation that determined that he was a knight.
“Anyway, show me the back!”
“Hey you, this carriage belongs to a noble. If you are going to inspect his things without permission, then show me in what order you do it.”
When Locke became silent, the coachman advanced with the carriage, blowing his nose and smiling with a triumphant look. On this street, the road to the next corner was still long. At that moment, if the two men in black had kept running, they would have been in Locke’s sights by the time he turned the corner.
‘Damn, after all, that carriage…’
Locke, feeling frustrated, moved out of the way to make way for the carriage.
‘Hmm? This crest…’’
There was a small family crest on the door of the wagon. It was deeply engraved in his memory.
‘Damn it, I can’t let this be the end!’
Locke gritted his teeth as he watched the carriage drive away, and then finally saw Wynn and the guard running towards them.
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