Lecan, Nike and Eda are advancing in front of the wagon. On foot of course.
Nozz, Ritz and Numes are following behind the wagon. On foot as well.
Gido the coachman was an awfully gloomy old man, Lecan's greeting was only met with a glare from his dull eyes.
This old man is pretty skilled himself. More than Nozz, Ritz and Numes at least. Lecan surmised that his fighting style could be that of an assassin.
The group is going straight west. They'll stay the night in a plain along the way, and at an inn in Golbul on the second day. Afterward, they'll push through a mountain path off the highways, heading straight to Kogurus.
Their first night camp out was at a spot awfully far from the highway.
Normally you'd want to camp near the highway. Going out of their way to do that here means that they're more afraid of a human-led attack than magic beasts.
They can't possibly attack us tonight, can they, thought Lecan. They've gone and employed three external escorts, killing them right after the journey began would lower their manpower for the duration of the trip.
Gido fetched Magic Beasts Wards and put them on both ends of the wagons. In other words, they're using two magic tools. The wagons are solidly built as well, they must be loaded with valuable luggage.
"The heck are ya' doing. Go prepare the fire pit for us, you."
"Aren't we eating separately."
"We hired you guys to escort us. 'course making fire pits for us comes as part of the job."
"I see. Got it."
Nike, Lecan and Eda made a simple pit of stones and soil, then picked up dry wood.
Gido was tending the horses. They're managing the horses themselves. As it's not something that can be left to unfamiliar parties.
When Eda made a fire with magic, Ritz who was nearby whistled.
"Oooh. <Eda of Thousand Shots> can do magic too eh. Pretty rad."
Nozz and the gang took out some meat and barbecued it. Since fresh meat don't last long, it's pretty extravagant to have in such a trip.
"Hehe. What's up. You jealous? I dun' mind selling you some if ya want. Fer' one silver coin per slice that is."
"Nah. No need."
"Didja even got food?"
"How're ya gonna keep goin' if you don't eat."
"Look at this meat. So good."
Apparently these men are under the impression that Lecan's party is a bunch of fools who didn't prepare food because they thought the client would provide them.
The thinking is actually not outlandish.
First, containers with <Box (Luuf)> functions are extremely expensive. Thus, it's rare for a Copper Rank adventurer to carry one.
A bag with <Box> function looks deflated when there's nothing inside, and swelled when there are.
The more swelled it is, the more it's carrying inside.
Eda has a <Box> with <Bow of Isya> and her daily necessities inside. It's a pouch that's visibly a <Box>.
Yet, Lecan and Nike don't have anything that look to be a <Box> with them. Which means, they must not carry much food.
That's the common sense in this world.
Of course, Lecan is not a human of this world. Lecan's <Storage> holds enough supplies to last the three several weeks.
At a spot 20 step away, Lecan's party quickly made a firepit, gathered firewood, put out a pan with water, and poured pre-cut ingredients inside. When they saw Lecan producing one thing after another out of his Storage, they got noisy.
Right as Lecan was thinking of taking out roasted meat as well, Nozz came over.
"Oy oy. What the heck are ya doin' makin' fire here. What are ya gonna do if some seedy guys came over cuz' of that fire."
That seedy guy is right in front of me, thought Lecan.
<TLN: If you're reading this novel at any other site than Sousetsuka .com you might be reading an unedited, uncorrected version of the novel.>
Nike replied back before Lecan could.
"Really now. Sure then. <Source Water (Sogshoot)>."
Right as Nike recited the spell, a huge mass of water fell at a spot 20 steps away.
The fire disappeared with a sizzling sound, leaving so much ash flying everywhere.
Nozz who turned around at the sound of fire meeting water was at a loss for word to see the unfolding spectacle.
Dovor silently stood up, picked up a meat skewer completely covered in ash without even wiping his ash-ladden face and clothes, and then he walked toward Lecan's group.
He coughed when he was about to say something, then he wiped off the ash around his mouth before speaking in a cold voice.
"Was that your doing."
"That I did."
"Nike-san. What is the meaning of this."
"Nozz gave the order. It'd be bad if some bad guys came over because of fire here, he said. We can't expose our client to danger, you see. Hence I helped myself and put out the fire over there."
Dovor glared at Nozz. Nozz looks pale.
"But you're not going to put out the fire here?"
"I've been thinking you see. We can't exactly enjoy a nice quiet journey with such dangerous guys prowling around. So I thought might as well lure them out here and beat them to pulp."
Lecan was amazed.
Nike hasn't lived long just for show, he thought.
He doesn't have the quick wit to come up with these answers, thought himself.
Dovor stared reprehensibly at Nike for a while before turning to Nozz, displayed a furious wrath on his face and slapped the meat skewer onto Nozz's chest hard.
"I'll take back that order. Please don't put out the fire anymore."
"Is that so. I got it then."
Afterward, Nozz, Ritz and Numes ended up having to gather fresh firewood. Since it was already dark out, it couldn't have been a pleasant experience. This time, they didn't ask for Eda's help and used a magic tool to create fire instead.
Nozz, Ritz, and Numes were ordered to eat the ash-covered meat. They had tried their best to wipe the ash off, but the ash still left on the meat seemed to taste awful as they got scolded by Dovor when they complained. Dovor and Gido barbecued a new batch of meat for themselves.
The <Source Water> magic that Nike showed earlier is a very rare magic that needs a long chant and precise control to cast. Instantly producing that much of water at a place 20 step away, you won't find anyone else but Nike capable of that in this entire continent.
Moreover, water created from <Source Water> is worth one gold coin per cup. The water poured down earlier was worth several pieces of gold coins.
Despite being treated to such an extravagant show, neither Dovor nor Nozz seemed grateful in the least, truly regrettable.
Lecan grinned to himself as he thought that.
"Lecan. You've got this overlord-like evil face on ya."
"Get off my case."
Eda was going to recite <Lamplight (Parm)> magic, but Nike stopped her.
"Eda-chan. You're barred from using that magic. You can't use any other magic than <Iginition (Yutel)> during this journey. If you really have to however, consult to me and get my approval first."
"Eh? But why ssu."
"It's for your own safety. Understand."
"I understand ssu."
Nozz came over while they were enjoying the tea quietly.
"Oy. We're yer' employers. So you three gonna keep watch all night. Didja hear me."
Three people taking turn to watch the night is not much of a burden.
"It's real important luggage y'see. Just one person keepin' watch ain't gonna cut it. Make sure two of you stay awake at all time."
It's a pointlessly nasty order.
Most likely a ploy to harass Lecan's group as well as making them tired and emaciated.
Eda was going to open her mouth. Lecan stopped her in whisper.
She's probably going to say how it's unreasonable and demand them to keep watch too.
That's a complaint, a sign of weakness. It's a defiance against orders, or if taken to the extreme, an insubordination toward their client.
"We don't care about yer' campfire. But ya gotta make sure ours never goes out, ya hear me."
Nozz left after spitting out.
"Eda. You sleep first."
"Right. That's for the best."
"Eh? But I'd feel bad ssuyo."
"We'll wake you up when it's your turn."
"O-oh really. Then I guess I'll get some shut eye first."
Nike lay down next to Eda and said.
"I'll be keeping watch first, Lecan."
"I got it. Please."
Lecan closed his eyes and adjusted his breathing while still in a sitting position.
He can get some rest similar to sleeping even while sitting. Controlling the deepness of sleep is nothing impossible for adventurers at Lecan's level. Though to begin with, he's never fallen asleep defenselessly no matter the situation. It's something that's been driven down to him after numerous near-death experience in his youth. Wolves don't sleep tight.
"Lecan, take care of the fire."
Lecan woke up as told by Nike.
Afterward, he occasionally put more firewood to both campfires.
He noticed that Dovor was awake, observing his movements. Since he still had his eyes closed, Lecan inferred this not by sight but from his presence.
(This guy really is trained in the art of assassinations.)
(He's probably going to start attacking if I try to do anything suspicious.)
Gido is also awake. Leaving himself in a half-awake state while resting laying down. Can't let his guard down against this old man either.
When Lecan was still in his former world, there was this time when he found himself in a weird situation where subordinate knights of a client Lecan was escorting made an attempt for his life. He got attacked during the escorting job, but he managed to ward off his assailants without killing them.
This situation is a bit trickier than that time.
However, Lecan does not necessarily hate this unnerving sense of tension.
Amazingly enough, Eda woke up and offered to change shift.
"OK then, Eda-chan, be counting on you."
Nike quickly went to sleep.
(Does this woman even need sleep?)
Perhaps she doesn't need to as an undead.
Or perhaps, sleeping is still a necessity even for undead.
Lecan was curious but he would not ask Nike.
Adventurers don't easily reveal their abilities even between companions.
Those who demand for someone else's secret are idiots, yet those who would swallow what's told to them whole are also idiots. That's just common sense to Lecan.
Sounds of sleeper's breathing, 'Zzz, zzz', soon came from Nike. Lecan could not figure out as to whether that was real or merely a camouflage.