Isekai For My Ex Chapter 18: DEMOLITION AND RESCUE
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The merchant's horse-drawn carriages have arrived at the settlement at night, they stayed at an inn as merchants and their servant common folk.
Claire and Andrei wore a merchant's business attire that suits their facial features. Andrei has been exhausted of the day trip.
"To think that it would take a whole day to reach here, guhhh… I don't want to see horses anymore"
"You're weird, a whole day is the standard speed of travel from our kingdom to this settlement, do you want to rest?"
"No, we're gonna be making the bombs afterall, still Claire, your attire suits you very much hahaha"
"Well, I've heard you call me bland many times before, but I don't know what to do with such a comment, should I pierce your eyes with this hidden dagger in my wrist?"\\
"No, sorry. Anyway have you finished checking in?"
"Alright then let's start the operation"
Andrei went to one of the rooms they rented, inside he could see the ten servants together with the stack of empty bottles and ingredients. He looked at the passageway to make sure that no one was passing by, and then went inside, Claire followed shortly.
"Okay, first, per person grab two bottles and two bombs worth of ingredients, make sure you do not interfere with others work"
They all nodded and made a line to the bottle stack and the ingredients sack, forming a queue. After a few minutes they all got their bottles and ingredients.
"Alright, as you can see making the process organized will make it faster. Next I'm sure Percy and Eve have already taught you how to make the bombs, you have to be careful not to make a mistake, or we will all catch fire in this room, got it?"
They all then nodded in response.
"You have been chosen because you volunteered and passed all requirements that are needed, that includes being careful with your hands, so I'm confident that no one would make a mistake, but just to be sure, please raise your hand if you want me to help you with the process"
No one raised their hands.
"Operation start! Finish making your own bombs in an hour!"
The servants immediately placed one bottle and dipped the cloth in oil, they did just as they were taught.
Andrei supervised the whole process to make sure there was no mistake, while Claire, sits near the door as the lookout.
"Andrei, why did you put in the last ingredient without testing it? What if it doesn't work because of that?"
"Ahh it was just on a whim, but rest assured that it will work. My first idea was to escape after rescuing the hostages, however what if we were pushed to be on the offensive? Then we need to make this smoke more harmful that it could be."
"Yes, if the bell peppers burn together with the ingredients of the smoke grenade then what do you think will happen?"
Claire pondered for a bit and then her eyes widened when the answer appeared on her mind.
"Then… it could be mixed with the smoke and it will smell spicy? And spicy hurts the nose, ahhh you were aiming for that huh? What a good invention!"
"It doesn't only hurt the nose Claire, it also hurts the eyes"
"That effect is useful, but what if the smoke reaches our troops too?"
"As planned, after the first squad finishes throwing the bottles to the target houses, they will flee and act like victims, this will be our plan to alert the real bronze plated knights to take action, they will act according to the script I made so there's nothing to worry about that.
The fire will start on the houses and they will regroup with us on the location we've decided on, they will be the ones to deliver the cloth dipped in water to us, these are our protection against the smoke, and then we will execute the rest of the plan"
"Doesn't it hurt the eyes?"
"If we cover our noses it wouldn't be that much of a problem"
"What if they also know about that and covers their noses with cloth dipped in water too?"
"When it comes to that I also have a plan to counter that so don't worry"
"Then why are you shaking?"
Claire could notice that Andrei's hand was shaking, he's standing against the wall on where Claire was sitting at.
"Of course I'm shaking, I told you didn't I? I don't have much killing experience, I don't also want anyone to die on this operation"
"You coward, what did you think I came here for?"
"To make sure I don't run right?" Andrei almost laughed.
"That's part of it, but that's only one-third of the reason"
"Then what about the two-thirds?"
"Well, It's because I want to carry this load with you, so don't be scared that much.
No matter what happens tonight, you will have me to carry the burden and the sins together with you"
She looked at Andrei with her gentle and lenient eyes, as if they weren't on the enemy's territory.
And Andrei himself could feel the comfort behind her words, it's been so long for him to hear such kind, straight and sincere words. He felt crying but he decided to endure it, he doesn't want to show Claire and everyone in the room how nervous he felt, he wants to keep the morale as it is, so he smiled at Claire and forced a few words out of his mouth.
"Alright, then… Thank you"
Claire then diverted her attention from Andrei to the servants meticulously making the bombs.
Andrei couldn't see her face, but he saw her mouth move a bit but he couldn't hear her words, so he was curious if she said something.
"Did you say something Claire?"
"...N-No, why do you ask? Do you want me to poke you in the eyes or something?"
"No! And why did it come to that?!"
Within an hour everyone was finished in making two bottles of Molotov and two bottles of smoke bombs with the additional ingredient Andrei requested.
"How about you Andrei? Did you make yours already?" Claire asked.
"Ahhh I made them ahead of time"
Andrei faced the servants and looked at the time.
"Alright, squad A will be moving with me, and squad B with Claire"
Andrei feared that the enemy might be well versed with strategy and combat, so he prepared plan A to plan D, thinking that he has to be always one step ahead of the enemy or it would be a disaster for him and his squad.
They moved in the night with their drawstring bags containing the bottles, they saw the taverns lit with lamps and candles. They walked in groups of three and two, however Andrei walked solo.
"Why did no one pair up with me?" he asked within his mind while being disappointed.
According to his instructions everyone was perfectly blending in with the crowd of people walking in the road while pretending to be normal citizens.
For a settlement the roads were lively with stalls offering strange food stood up side by side. However the further they walked at the road the less livelier it became, until they came to a part where there were no stalls and people walking but them.
This time they cut out their act and hid behind some houses. They could see people in bronze-plate armor walking around with their swords and shields a few meters from where they were hiding.
"This must be the place indicated in the letter, then the houses around those parts must be…"
"Yeah, Lord Andrei, as indicated in the letter they were to meet in the pub around that area" Percy was behind Andrei this time.
"Take out the map, check the pubs that are around the area where those knights are guarding"
Percy took out a map and started scribbling, when she finished she showed it to Andrei.
"Ummm… can you read it for me? And can you explain? I really don't know how to read haha" the characters were different from the world he came from.
"Is that so my Lord? Then if we exclude the places where the guards aren't guarding, then there are about three pubs left, but how do we infiltrate that place? I can't see any other civilians going at that area?"
"I expected this, then execute plan A"
They all nodded, and three maids ran to the side, lit the bottles and threw it on the nearby houses. On Andrei's plan the spy told them that in their position the houses are mostly empty due to the decreasing population in the area.
Andrei had to gamble that no one would be in those houses if they were to make a commotion.
Fire immediately spread out, and when he could hear that no one was screaming he was relieved.
The guards saw the smoke and the flame burning down the house, they went immediately to check it.
"Now is our chance, percy throw out a smoke bomb, the one without peppers"
"Yes my Lord!'
Percy opened her string bag and threw a bottle of smoke.
"Move out!" Andrei instructed in silence.
They sneaked using the cover of the smoke and some buildings, they could see the backs of the guards who's checking the source of the flame.
"That was very easy Percy, now the next steps"
However they were suddenly hit by a strong gust of wind, and when they looked up the roof of their cover and they saw a man with long white beard and a scarred forehead, he wielded a wooden staff.
"Ohhhhh I thought what was the cause of the flame, to think that it was a diversion? I'm impressed rats! To think that our scouts didn't even see torches? And I didn't detect any magic? What trick did you use? Either Way I'm gonna make you spit it out when I've captured you" the man said while stroking his beard.
But this was also in Andrei's plan, he assumed that archers or any long range attackers would be lurking over the roofs of the houses, he came with this countermeasure due to learning from Erneis explanation.
"Eve! Do it!"
Eve nodded, lit the bottle and threw it on the roof.
"You're throwing a bottle over here? Did you forget that I'm a wind user?"
The bottle flew through the air and broke into pieces when it reached the ground. The caster attempted to cast wind magic at the same time in order to throw the bottle pieces back at them, however he was taken aback when fire began to spread.
"W-w-what fire? From a bottle? But… it's futile!" The caster tried to cast a gust of wind again towards the flame, however it only got stronger and wrapped his worn down robe.
Andrei signaled the men with him who were combat butlers, they had a mini-crossbow attached at their wrists, they move a few meters from the bases of the house and aimed at the caster who was busy taking off his robe.
The little arrows flew and hit the casters heart and stomach which made him fall from the house.
Andrei was used to seeing dead bodies being a part of the emergency rescue team at his original world, seeing an old man dead didn't make him throw up or faint.
The fire spread to the house's roof.
"Okay now, as we instructed, divide into group and burn the houses around the three houses indicated in this map, after that act like the victims, after you're done throwing, just run towards the rendezvous location while acting victims, do not look back or wait for the fire to spread"
They all nodded, took out the molotovs out of their bags and went to their respective targets.
They are five plus Andrei, they went in couples, Andrei was paired with Percy.
With the sound of bottles breaking fire broke out from the houses near the pubs and screams could be heard , however this wasn't from its residents but from the people who made the fire themselves.
Andrei went to their target location, he could see that there were guards walking on the road.
"Bingo, it seems we've found the hideout, Percy let's go"
They they threw smoke bombs from opposite side of where they were hiding, which attracted the guards attention, while they went to the other side.
"There's smoke over there! Let's check it out!"
Ten guards went to the smoke only to find out that the smoke made them tear out.
"What's with this smoke! Water… Water!! My eyes! They're burning fuck!"
Ten guards suffered from the smoke while bottles could be heard breaking from the houses near the pub they're guarding.
Fire started on the houses, Andrei and Percy hid behind one of the burning houses, he could see several knights wrapped in flames coming out of the houses.
He then saw a thin man with armor hurriedly ran to the pub.
"Percy is that road heading to Claire's position?"
"Yes my Lord"
Andrei knew that this was their target location. He took bottles from his own string bag and threw it on their side and one smoke bomb to the roof of the pub.
"Lord did you just miss throwing the bottles?" Percy asked.
"No, it's to cut off their escape route and to give the signal to Claire, with this they could only escape towards Claire's position, anyway, we're done here, let's head out to the rendezvous point, guide me."
They went to the rendezvous point where the other four servants were waiting, Eve noticed that her Lord was carrying someone.
"Lord who is that old man?" she pointed at the man Andrei was dragging with him.
"Ahhh I think he would be good for provocation, my shoulders are hurting, someone carry him for me please"
One of the men took the old man from Andrei.
"Okay, now did you do what I told you according to plan?"
"Yes my lord"
Eve showed the wet towel and covered her mouth with it, the others did the same, one of them held a bucket full of water with cloth dipped into it.
"Okay, ready your smoke bombs, we will be moving at the side of the road"
They all swiftly ran into the side of the road and threw smoke bombs towards the road from there. The road was the only exit point from the inn.
Andrei could see that the houses were burning from the other side, but his squad didnt' do it.
"That Claire, she really did it haha"
The pub wasn't burning but the houses beside and in front of it, the only way that the soldiers could escape was to Claire's position as the road from the opposite side was cut off with Andrei's squad, the road was also thrown with tear gas smoke bombs.
Andrei saw Claire's squad and some bandits being carried by her squad in pile.
"Claire!" Andrei shouted towards the girl fighting off another soldier who've just come out from the smoke, he went to her direction.
"Your plan worked! They are coming out one by one with the hostages!" she finished off the last one, and her subordinates carried the dead soldier to the pile and the hostage he carried to a carriage.
"That's great, do you have some more smoke bombs with you?"
"Yes we have four left"
Andrei and his squad finally rendezvoused with Claire's squad, Andrei received two bags of unused smoke bombs, he hurriedly put the two from the other bag to the other.
He took his taser from his pocket, and hid behind a building.
"Help Claire with the attackers"
More enemies poured out from the smoke with the hostages but their eyes closed, so Claire herself and Andrei's squad finished them off easily one by one.
Then Andrei from his side saw a shadow of a big man within the shadow holding a shadow of a girl with him at his waist.
"The last boss huh?" Andrei thought to himself while hiding behind the building.
"WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?? MY EYES! ARE BURNING! FUCK! I CAN'T SEE ANYTHING!" he could hear the man screaming behind the smoke.
He swung his sword while carrying the unconscious person on his waist, trying to keep away the smoke from him while covering his face.
"Fred you useless caster! Can't you use your magic to create a breeze or something, do something about this smoke!"
"Fred? Ahhh that old man huh?" Andrei thought. "Anyway the smoke bomb is gonna run out at that area anytime soon, I have to provoke him to go further to Claire's position.
"Heyyyyyyyy!" he shouted to the man towards the smoke in a friendly manner.
"Who are you? Are you with us? Come here and help me! I'm gonna give you a big reward for coming over to me HAHA!" the man responded.
"No, I'm sorry I'm not one of you, but does your caster have long beard and a scarred forehead? He's here with me you know?"
"Then wake him up and tell him to cast a breeze or something"
"Huh? What did you say! I'm gonna beat you hard if I found you young man!"
"Ohhhh you've figured out my gender huh?"
"Of course, you are talking to a captain of the bronze knights! HAHA"
"Calling him captain of those knights? Sorry but I'm not an idiot" Andrei thought, but he was surprised when Claire's voice suddenly echoed through the smoke.
"You really have some nerves to call yourself a captain don't you? You lowly bandit!"
"Damn it! I don't know who you are but if you move closer to me I will slit the neck of this woman over here!" Andrei noticed that he put the woman in front of him and put the large sword to her neck.
"This is bad, I have to do something" Andrei thought as he readied his taser.
"Taking hostages to the bitter end huh? Do you know how disappointed I am right now?" he spoke through the smoke in a haughty manner.
"Disappointed? What the fuck are you talking about you little bastard, come over here so I can severe your head from your body!" the man got angered.
"Good I have to continue this" he checked his taser and the two bags he's carrying.
"Yeah, I went through all the trouble of think of plans A to Z just in case you were smarter than I assumed, who'd think that you were as easy to lure out as a mouse? I feel bad for not getting any sleep for making those plans" Andrei spoke again with a tone full of mockery.
"W-w-what did you say!" the bandit leader was provoked, through his rage, Andrei saw him charge through the smoke. Andrei at the same time secretly followed to his position in the cover of the buildings.
Andrei could see the big man is now out of the smoke, and he could see his back open to him.
The big man is facing Claire who's standing up in the pile of corpses.
"This Claire… " Andrei thought with a complicated expression on his face.
"You cocky little girl, How dare you!"
He took his sword and and transferred the unconscious maid from his waist to his shoulder.
"You must be skilled enough to kill these weak subordinates of mine while having that attitude haha, but I'm in a different level! You will die in my hands! Don't worry I'll make sure not to give you visible scars, I'll play over your little body after I make you unconscious"
The leader said with wide and crazed eyes, like an animal driven to a corner, his large body combined with his armor made him seem like a wild bear driven by killing intent.
Andrei was angered with the statement, in his world, women are respected, and seeing that the other maids had no clothes to cover the whole body, he could assume what had happened.
Even though he was angry, he kept his cool, and slowly lurked behind the man's back.
The man was sizing Claire's strength, that he gave off an ominous aura.
"What is this? Killing intent?" Andrei thought, he is now at the back of the man.
Andrei remembered the fundamentals of his martial art, that is to be aware of the surroundings all the time, keep cool and try to suppress killing intent as it gets in the way of the fight.
He inhaled silently and focus at the back of the man, "This is an opening I must take advantage of"
He went into a running starting position, and immediately set off with the taser in his hand.
With a click of the button and the timing of the dive, he was able to aim taser the man on the spine, a crackling sound of electricity could be heard, and the killing intent disappeared together with the man falling to the ground with a thud.
"Do you know Claire, when a man is driven by that immense killing intent, he could only notice his killing target, making opening from his back. This is one of the fundamentals of our martial arts, to be aware of your surroundings and not to lose your cool"
Andrei stood up, that his shadow covered the mans face.
"Hidden attacks? How cowardly can you get you fools!" He said in panic when the Claire stood up and walk towards him.
"That should be our line you lowly bandit, plotting the assassination of our queen, moreover keeping her subjects as hostages, who ordered you to do this? And where is the butler? One of the maids was awake and told me that you tortured him. You make me sick" Claire simply said in her flat tone.
"Claire, can you do something about your tone? If you're pissed at least make it sound like that" Andrei thought his nervousness started to fade out, although his heartbeat was still fast as it was.
The man didn't answer Claire and tried to get up while twitching due to the voltage transferred to his body, but this only made Claire's expression turned dark and he cut the man's right hand, blood gushed and the man screamed in pain.
"Will you confess? Or should I cut your other hand?"
"N-n-n-n-no please, not my other hand ahhhh" the man turned pale as he pleaded the woman in front of him, "Th-th-the prime minister ordered it!"
"The prime minister?"
"Yes, that's how we are able to perfectly execute the operation, because of the details he gave us, please don't kill me!" he pleaded while reaching out to Claire in front of him.
Andrei got pissed at the begging of the man, he took out his taser and tazed the man at his balls. The man made a pathetic scream as he held his crotch while his mouth started foaming.
"Oh, so you raped these girls tortured the poor butler and now you are asking not to be killed? Tch, Claire kill him!", in his rage, it was a first time for Andrei to want to kill someone for real.
"I was going to, don't interrupt with my interrogation"
"Please anything but death, please" the man still pleaded even when his body was still shaking from the shock Andrei gave him.
"Well if you tell everything about this in sixty seconds, I might reconsider my decision" Claire said while looking at the man with disgust.
"Alright, alright! When we attacked a certain carriage, we were captured by the guards of the prime minister! After that we were told that we could be freed and get five thousand gold coins for a reward, so I went outside to gather some forces and when we came back, the prime ministers men gave us these armor! The plan was to capture or kill the queen who's visiting the prince. That's all I know, so please!"
"What about the queen suddenly falling asleep?"
"That was a special potion given to us, I don't know the details and how it was made, but one of us infiltrated the kitchen, and put the potion on her food, it would take effect after a certain time, it was made so that not anyone wouldn't detect anything. Now let me go!"
Claire could only look at him with disgust. She raised her sword and slashed the mans back, blood sprayed from the wound.
"That hurts! That hurts! That hurts! Ahhhh! You said you were going to consider!"
"Yeah, and I've considered to kill you instead of letting you live, pests like you shouldn't have existed in this world"
The woman raised her sword, this time she was aiming for the neck.
However the Andrei himself stood in front of her, making her put down her sword.
"What are you doing? You're the one who told me to kill him right?"
"I changed my mind, I can't let you kill such a scum like him, it's not worth it"
"Isn't it a bit too late? I already killed his kind" she points at the corpses on her back.
"This girl really…" Andrei could only sigh at the calmness of the girl in front of him.
Before Andrei could finish, the man tried to grab for his sword, but Claire immediately summoned a pretty silver magic circle at her hand and a piece of steel appeared piercing the mans left hand.
"So this is her magic huh? Maybe I could create something from her power , I should ask more about this when we get home" Andrei thought amazed by the Claires power instead of getting scared when the man was able to almost slash his back.
"What was that? Do you know magic? Ohhh thanks by the way"
"That's because you are too vulnerable, we have to deal with him immediately or the knights would really notice, so what should we do? I can't kill him with my sword right?"
"Yeah, don't stain your hands with that filth" Andrei grabbed a molotov from his other bag.
"Anyway just to be sure he doesn't live for tomorrow" he aimed the taser at the mans head and pressed the button.
He pressed the button once, then twice, then thrice in intervals, Andrei felt no mercy at all tazing him endlessly.
"That should do it" Andrei's hand was shaking, but he picked up the molotov and stuck it on his underarm, he took his flint but his hand was shaking too much that it fell to the ground. As he was going to pick it up, Claire already picked up the flint, took the metal rod and started the flame.
"Hold it properly"
"Oh okay, thanks"
Andrei grabbed the bottle and stretched it to Claire, who then lit the tip of the cloth.
Andrei was reluctant to drop the bottle at the man, this was the first time he was gonna take a life. In order to overcome the feeling, he looked at the girls inside the carriage, and the maid that the man brought along with him, with their bruises and wounds and their eyes with no shine in it.
He felt the rage again that made him throw the bottle at the man.
The bottle quickly broke to pieces and the flame quickly spread to the man's body.
"This… isn't… supposed… to… happen", it was faint but Andrei could hear the mans voice.
"Think of it as punishment for your deeds" Andrei looked at him.
"Let's go Claire"
Claire just nodded in responded and they both went inside the other carriage.
"Now it's just how we escape without attracting the attention of the real knights"
"About that I have an idea"
The maid with violet her who was unconscious a moment ago woke up.
"Celeste?!" Claire immediately went to attend to the maid who was coughing.
"That must be from the smoke please take us immediately out of here" Andrei commanded the butler in disguise of a coachman who nodded in response. "Hyaahh!" the man whipped the horses.
"Are you okay Celeste?" Claire asked while patting the back of the maid.
"First things…. First, in order to escape, tell them… (cough) that we are slaves (cough) you purchased from the Empire"
"It's alright, this gentleman with me is the betrothed of the queen, he'll make sure that we get out of this place safely, so for now, rest, thank you for the suggestion though, but our mission will be in vain if you don't rest and recover okay?"
"Okay" the maid answered in response. Claire and Andrei could notice that the maid had a painful experience based on her appearance, that tears flowed from her eyes.
A butler in the guise of common folk from Andrei's squad rendezvous with them at the location where Andrei got their cloth dipped in water. He was tasked by Andrei to take a look at the pub to find out any left hostages.
However from his face, Andrei could find out what happened. However he still asked.
"What happened? Did you find any?"
The man looked at the his rescued comrades and tears flowed from his eyes, he wiped it, rode the carriage and went to Andrei to whisper.
"There was someone… left, it was the butler Olin, he's already dead, he was tortured, without fingers, teeth and… "
"Enough don't say anything more" Andrei couldn't hide his frustration. His face showed an expression of regret and rage.
"You can't save everyone Andrei, at least in this country where wars and skirmishes like these happen all the time" Claire was sitting beside him wiping off the blood off her face.
"I know that… but still"
"Save the frustration for later we have company"
Andrei saw the soldiers that has been inspecting the fire that his squad made, they were approaching the carriage with horses, they were numbered to twenty a number they couldn't take on.
"Coachman, just as planned, I will throw some smoke bombs, change your direction immediately"
The man nodded, and Andrei lit the smoke bombs and threw it on the ground, when the smoke got larger, the carriage changed its direction losing the pursuers.
The carriage immediately headed to the gate.
"Will there be another inspection?" Andrei asked Claire.
"No, don't worry about that"
The mission was successful without casualties. It took them another day to reach the kingdom, however the news had already spread across the borders, about how that there were bandits apprehended for wearing the armor of the Bronze Order of the Kydus Empire and were severely punished, some were left dead at the road in a pile and the leader has been burned dead.
Rumors about an unknown magic caster that burned the houses using bottles have also spread.
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