12-19. The Gathering of Shiga Eight Swords
Satou's here. It's quiet before a big incident happen. And I feel that often the situation has become unrepairable once you've noticed it.
Still, I think it's rare for it to really become unrepairable as long as you don't give up.
After returning from the tea party, I heard about Lady Karina's condition from Arisa.
It seems Arisa's blasting worked, and she's going to attend the dance party while still ghastly.
"What did you say to her?"
"Fufuhn, you want to hear? But, I won't tell yo~u. It's a girl's s-e-c-r-e-t."
After waving her finger, 'chichichi', in front of her face, Arisa winks.
Her attitude is slightly irritating, but since it's thanks to Arisa that Lady Karina would attend the dance party, I'll forgive her by just pulling her cheeks.
"Leave the dance to me~?"
"Pochi also wants Master to look at the result of Pochi's special training nodesu."
The youth trope are asking me to be their dance partner with sparkling faces, but I can't do that right now.
"I'm really sorry, I have to go with Liza now."
I feel slightly guilty from seeing the dejected children, but since tomorrow I'll be free until evening, I promise to accompany them as much as they like.
Since Arisa said some unnecessary remark, "That sounds like a line from a father who won't keep his promise", this time for sure, I'm pulling her cheeks as a punishment.
I'm going to keep my promise. Absolutely!
"--Master, the preparation is complete."
"Un, clothes like those also suit you well."
I praise Liza who's unusually wearing a skirt, and escort her like a lady to the carriage going to Julberg-shi's mansion.
"What the hell kind a warrior doesn't have their own weapon!"
In the meeting place at the top floor of Julberg-shi's mansion the servant had guided us to, an unfamiliar middle-aged swordsman suddenly chastised me.
--Who is this person?
"Excuse me. Nice to meet you for the first time. I'm Satou Pendragon, a retainer of Baron Muno."
"Hmph, it's impossible for an upstart worthless noble like you to become a Shiga Eight Sword, keep that in mind!"
No no, I'm aware that you're angry, but at least do the greeting.
I look at the man who's raging by himself once again.
He's a rather high level warrior at level 42. His age is also 42 matching the level, but it's probably a coincidence.
I think he's also a candidate of Shiga Eight Sword, but his affiliation is with Parion Temple, his place of origin is also written as Parion Holy Kingdom.
Apparently he's recommended by the temple, and not a holy knight or a Mithril explorer.
Matching that, his title is also [Temple Knight].... But the titles seen even just on the AR are dangerous ones like [Murderer], [Assassin].
He certainly has this somewhat edgy feeling that matches those titles.
Matching those titles, his magic sword also has [Energy Drain] and [Strength Drain] effects.
I'm slightly cautious about him due to his exceedingly suspicious origin and information, but he doesn't seem to be someone related to the demon lord believers [Light of Liberty].
Liza who's standing beside me seemed like she wanted to complain while I was checking those information, but help comes before she could snap.
"Jizon-dono, stop being impolite to the guests I've invited."
"Hmph, you were beaten by something like a demi-human cause you're saying such things."
The one who interceded is the host, Julberg-shi.
However, this middle-aged man called Juzon changed his aim from me to Julberg-shi, and provoked him.
--He's like a mad dog.
He's forties already, I wish he's a bit more composed.
I wonder if the word, 'fuwaku', does not exist in this world. <TLN: Can mean 'past forty', or 'following the right course'.>
"Are you mocking me, brat."
There's anger on Julberg-shi's words.
It seems most of the people here are hot-blooded, far from stopping the two, they look excited waiting for what'll happen next.
--These damn muscle brains.
Now then, since the mood has become threatening, I'll follow up.
If these two fight, we won't get to feast on the Oumi beef, spare me from that. The chef of this house is famous as the best in term of meat dishes in the Royal Capital, so I don't want to miss this chance.
I'll up my skill further here and treat our girls too.
"Fuhn, if you're a warrior, sooner than words--"
Using Ground Shrink, I approach the middle-aged man who's going to pull his swords together with his words, and hold down the pommel of the sword with the open palm of my hand.
These two were looking at each other, so my Ground Shrink shouldn't have been found out. They probably will interpret it as Flickering Movement or something along the line.
The middle-aged man still tries to pull the sword without minding me, but I suppress it with the overwhelming STR difference.
"This is a place for having pleasant chat you know. We can have the side show after the meal okay?"
The middle-aged man desperately tries to pull the sword, exerting his strength until his face is flushed, but the sword's pommel is unmoving.
"....That's a good idea--"
The middle-aged man looks like he's given up trying to pull the sword and then relaxes himself.
Even though Crisis Perception doesn't kick in, I stop the middle-aged man who's trying to pull a short sword behind his body by stopping his other elbow.
That's obvious indeed.
"--Have I passed the exam with this?"
I ask while smiling at the middle-aged man who's groaning gununu.
Even though I've dropped the [exam] thing as a joke with much effort, the middle-aged man kicks at my foot. There's a hidden knife on the tip of his shoe.
I kinda expected it since I often dealt against surprise attacks from monsters I had seen for the first time, I trample the middle-aged man's toes to the ground, preventing the attack.
I held back, but I felt dull sensation from the sole of my foot. The bones of his instep might have cracked.
"An explorer's body is a weapon as you see. Have you understood?"
While relaxing the power on the place where I trample his foot, I smile at him.
Of course, with the help of [Poker Face] skill, I make it so my emotion isn't reflected on my eyes.
"Hmph, I withdraw what I said earlier. I'll have you fight with me after the dinner."
"That sounds fun."
I did not make a promise.
After the dinner, I'll leave the other candidates or Julberg-shi to be this battle maniac's partner and leave.
There was a slight trouble, but this much shouldn't be enough to call off the dinner.
I'm glad that Julberg-shi is someone with a big heart.
Looks like we're the last ones who arrive at the meeting place.
In the meeting place, there are five Shiga Eight Swords, and the candidates: three holy knights, Jeril the Mithril explorer, and lastly, the middle-aged man earlier.
For some reason everyone is armed.
I tried confirming to Julberg-shi if we were really going to have a dinner, but there's no mistake about it. I'm relieved that it's not a battle tournament or something.
I'm afraid that this will become a tournament for Shiga Eight Swords selection.
We sit on our seats for the dinner, everyone besides us wears armor, subtly inviting some funny laughs.
Really, it'd have been dangerous if I didn't have [Poker Face] skill.
In addition, thanks to Julberg-shi's consideration, he made the middle-aged man from earlier sit far away from us.
I thought that there would be Hors D'oeuvre first, but the meat dishes enters the dinner from the start.
It seems each part will be cooked and taken out in turns.
"It's delicious. I feel it's a bit too soft, but this rich flavor tastes somewhat different from other meat."
Liza speaks her impression with clear voice.
I'm aware of the presence of her tail behind the chair that's swinging happily.
"Even more than the meat, this sauce is superb. Julberg-shi employs some good chef."
Jeril who's sitting in front of us expresses his impression to Sir Julberg the host.
On the other hand, other members only say "tasty", and concentrate eating the dish in silent.
Half of the people here are noble born, yet, the taste of the beef from royal farm is probably special.
I also enjoy the Oumi beef menu delightfully.
The grilling calculation is exquisite, but analyzing the pre-cooking sauce is difficult. I can't understand one of the ingredient used to bring up the subtle flavor no matter what. It's quite a difficult problem.
However, my Crisis Perception kicks in as if pouring cold water on this wonderful dinner.
I thought it was from the middle-aged man, but unexpectedly, it comes from diagonally upward. This room is on the top floor, so I wonder if it's from the rooftop?
At the same time with that, some luminous points that are quickly approaching here are reflected on the radar.
Looking at the movement speed, they're going to arrive in about 10 seconds. Judging from their trajectories and speed, they must be flying.
I choose the luminous points and open the information window.
The ones approaching are five flying monsters. All of them are Tamed monsters, but the people riding on them have the affiliation [Light of Liberty].
Judging from their movement and the Crisis Perception, this mansion seems to be the aim.
Their method is a bit forceful, but I wonder if they're coming to erase Shiga Eight Swords and the candidates who are obstacles for their plan?
Or perhaps, since [Light of Liberty]'s base of operation is in Parion Holy Kingdom, they have some grudges against the middle-aged man from earlier, and so we're getting involved in it. He seems to be the type that makes many enemies after all.
Putting that aside, the monsters coming here are upper level 20s, so even if there are five of them, it'll be over in an instant with the people here.
--Five seconds until they come.
"Something is coming!"
Before I could speak, Heim-shi of Shiga Eight Swords spoke urgently.
He probably has Crisis Perception skill too.
Hearing the warning, the warriors pick their own arms.
Liza who doesn't have a weapon holds the silver knife she was using in the dinner earlier and stands up.
However, what are the anti-air defense of Royal Capital doing.
I wonder if it can only function to stop monsters that are trying to break through the outer wall?
--Estimated time of arrival, 0 seconds.
Huh? They're not coming?
When I chase the movement of the luminous points reflected on the radar, they pass through this mansion and make a turn in the sky.
Hyuru hyuru, so the sounds of cutting wind--
Damn, bombing huh.
I never would've thought that there would be aerial bombing in a fantasy world.
"Liza, upward. Magic Edge Cannon, maximum."
Liza moves without delay from my order.
--Perhaps it's due to the rush of adrenaline, I see the surrounding in slow motion.
Julberg-shi and katana-user Bauen-shi who take their weapons on their hands and be vigilant toward the things beyond the roof.
Heim-shi who gave the warning earlier, and the scythe-user Ms Ryouna are currently kicking the door, going to the balcony.
The old holy knight who went to the Duchy Capital with the third prince is attaching a shield on his arm.
As expected of Shiga Eight Swords, they're quick to act.
It seems the three holy knights still can't follow the situation, they're currently surveying the surrounding while standing up.
On the other hand, Jeril the explorer who's used with emergency situations is calmly eating some magic medicines. Those medicines have acceleration and physical reinforcement effects. They're expensive medicines, but your life is more important really.
And the last one, the middle-aged man looks strange.
He has drawn his sword, but for some reason his line of sights wander around the inside of the room.
His behavior is like there's an assassin who's aiming for him inside the room.
That thought stops with the sounds of collisions between heavy things beyond the roof.
Liza shoots the red light spheres on her hand almost at the same time the rock balls thrown by the tamed monsters destroy the roof.
The magic edge cannon smash the rock balls together with the roof.
The convergence was slightly worse due to her using a silver knife, but the magic edge cannon scatters red light, illuminating the room red.
--Thus, the long long night of the attack on the year-end Royal Capital begins.