Camille took Tsutomu’s notes and headed to the Security Team’s location, where she quickly spotted Bruno in the crowd thanks to the latter’s hulking figure. Leon happened to also be here, in the middle of reporting to Bruno.
Leon rushed through his explanations of the Devourer Dragon’s appearance and potential threat he had perceived, and when he turned around to leave, his eyes met with Camille’s.
Camille was automatically wary of Leon, seeing that he always would try to hit on her whenever they met. She had already turned him down dozens of times, but Leon never stopped his smooth talk, as if it had become his usual routine.
This time, however, Leon spoke to her seriously, a stark contrast to his usual informal tone,
“Hey there, Camille. Have you heard from Tsutomu yet?”
“Hmm? I did, yes.”
“That’s good, ’cause this one’s definitely no joke. Makes Fire Dragons look like nothing, honestly — we’ve got to be ready as soon as we can. The rulers didn’t listen to me, though… Look, just be on guard.”
“Right, that’s what Tsutomu said as well. I’m going to discuss it with Bruno now.”
“All right, the faster the better. I’ll go evacuate my Clan members who can’t make it. See you later,” Leon said, cutting the conversation short and immediately running off.
Camille was briefly taken aback by his seriousness, proceeded to turn to Bruno, who only shrugged back as if to try and brush the issue aside.
“I can tell that it’s serious, seeing that Leon is actually scared for once, but is this Dragon really that big of a threat?”
“He’s in so much of a hurry that he didn’t even hit on me — and you know how he does that all the time, don’t you?”
“Right, and I’ll just ignore the fact that he never hits on ME… Anyway, I assume that Tsutomu told you something?”
“He did. Also gave me some information on the monster Leon found.”
“Oh, my… that boy sure knows everything, doesn’t he?” Bruno said casually while scanning through Camille’s stack of documents, and upon seeing the section suggesting the possibility of the barrier being breached, he was taken aback. “Now this just sounds ridiculous. If it’s real, then we’ve got some real trouble on our hands.”
“I still don’t think the magical barrier will be breached, but Leon’s reaction is more than enough to tell that it’s dangerous, and Tsutomu has proven to be a credible source of information. I think it’s worth considering the information he has offered us.”
“Right… but if House Babenberg were to see this, they’d probably just laugh it off. That’s exactly what they just did to Leon…” Bruno pouted and grumbled in annoyance, having been told by Leon the reaction of the town’s rulers just now. The pouting might have looked cute if it was Amy doing it, but Bruno’s appearance was the definition of a manly man, boasting a towering height of over two meters.
And despite the casual outward behavior, Bruno’s head was already running detailed calculations. If the information was accurate, then the civilians must be evacuated immediately. Although Bruno still could not imagine a monster that might destroy the barrier, Leon’s unusual reaction and Tsutomu’s information were factors that could not just be ignored. At the very least, an immensely powerful monster was on its way to attack the city — that was for certain.
But Bruno knew that telling the nobility about this would likely not result in them permitting an evacuation order. Evacuating the people ‘just in case’ had the implication of being worried about the nobility’s defensive magic. Naturally, the Security Team would find themselves in trouble for doing that.
Even the high alert order issued during the Dragon battle had taken Bruno a great deal of effort to convince the nobility to permit. Even if the Security Team were to petition for an official evacuation order now, the process would not go smoothly, if it even went through at all.
While Bruno wondered what they should do, Camille flashed a daring grin and spoke up,
“Whatever issue they take with us, I’ll help take responsibility for it.”
Bruno, although surprised by her bold statement, firmly nodded back.
“Thank you. We’ll start evacuating the civilians right away.”
“I should be the one to thank you, having you do all the heavy lifting…”
“Oh, it’s fine. If anything, you’re helping me by pushing me to do this,” Bruno said, seeming as if ashamed of hesitating even briefly, and then immediately ordered nearby colleagues to gather up the rest of the Security Team.
Those who received the order rushed to get everyone, calling them over by blowing whistles.
Even if the nobility was to be informed, they would take too long to get anything done, so Bruno decided to carry out the evacuation without them knowing. If the Stampede was to end without incident, Bruno would surely be in for some form of punishment — not that Bruno cared at this point.
Despite possessing the power of the unique skill <<Muscle Body>>, Bruno used it only for the sake of justice, firmly believing that human life took priority above all else.
Those who heard the whistles quickly gathered around. Even those who were eating or taking a nap immediately got ready and rushed to Bruno’s location.
“We’ll be in big trouble if nothing happens,” Bruno chuckled.
“If that’s how it goes, then we’ll have Tsutomu and Leon to blame instead. Why not have them compensate by taking them on a date?”
“Oh, my, I can have my boy Leon to myself! That’d be nice!”
And so a deal was made… without the knowledge of the two men in question.
Once all of the Security Team was present, Bruno explained the situation to them, after which they commenced the evacuation procedures.
They formed a formation around the city and asked for the civilians’ evacuation, and as one would expect, the people were not pleased. Many journalists even stated that they would stay, so that they could get more news coverage.
Thankfully, the groups Amy had set up started cooperating with the Security Team, slowly but surely leading the others to do the same. Eventually, a decent percentage of the population was on their way out.
Quite a few people still insisted on staying, however. They flatly rejected the Security Team’s request, saying that the nobility’s magical barrier would always protect them.
By now, Leon had already noticed the Stampede’s numbers dwindling greatly. Since the Security Team was too understaffed to round up every single person, those who refused to evacuate were left alone for now.
“What is with this commotion!?”
“R-report, sir! It appears that the Security Team is evacuating the civilians!”
“Excuse me!? We were not informed they’d be doing that!”
The eldest son of House Babenberg, who had been lounging in his estate and conversing with his father over a glass of wine, turned a furious red and shouted back at his attendant’s report. Outside, people were beginning to evacuate, with the Security Team leading the procedures. House Babenberg itself had never been informed that this would happen.
As for the head of the house, although he did not say anything, he did look displeased to hear what was happening.
“…That Ogre freak! I want that musclehead here right now!”
“Yes, sir! Immediately, sir!”
“Now now, hold your horses.”
Melchor, who had entered the room at the same time as the attendant, objected to the latter’s reply. The eldest noble son was quite intimidated by Melchor’s reaction — by the leader of the nobility’s private military force, and multiple times the champion of the highly esteemed Martial Arts Tournament. Still, he was quick to speak back,
“But why, Melchor!?”
“The new monster that Leon reported on could be upon us any hour now. When that happens, it is you, my lord, who must take command. Bruno’s punishment can wait until the Stampede is over with, I say.”
“Nonsense! This is nothing but an insult to House Babenberg! The high alert order from before, and now this… what are they trying to achieve!?” The eldest son ranted on and slammed his hand on the table. The glass on top of it bounced lightly, rippling the red wine inside.
The eldest son had also been opposed to Bruno’s earlier safety measures, largely out of personal bias, and not without valid considerations.
The Stampede was a major but easy opportunity for the nobility to show their authority to the people — by protecting them from the waves of monster outbreaks originating from the Dungeons outside of the city.
After all, the nobility was naturally obligated to provide protection to the people of the territories they ruled over, in exchange for their taxes.
Countless monsters would approach Dungeon City, and the nobility would use their barrier magic to effortlessly repel them, and their magic tools and military forces to finish them off. If the people could actually see this in action, they were sure to be less dissatisfied with paying taxes.
Therefore, the Security Team’s request to evacuate the people in advance worked against the nobility’s advantage. The less the civilians saw the action, the less they were willing to pay up. In addition to that, the eldest son was especially conscious of his family’s duty to defend the people. Overwhelmingly confident in the barrier magic, he could not tolerate anyone who would doubt its capabilities.
Primarily for that reason, the eldest son had repeatedly brushed aside the Security Team’s petitions, and in the end, it had been Bruno’s direct intervention and connections with various organizations that had semi-forced the high alert order to be issued. Needless to say, that had dealt the eldest son quite a blow to his ego.
House Babenberg’s barrier magic was no difference in performance compared to the one protecting the Royal Capital. It was arguably the best barrier magic known to be in use, even. The eldest son, born into the noble house possessing something so important, had studied the barrier magic under the strict guidance of his father, and now he was capable enough to become the next head of the family. Although his self-esteem was a tiny bit too high, and he cared too much about others’ opinions on him, his barrier magic skills were more than sufficient.
In fact, he had performed well so far, effortlessly maintaining the defense against the Dragon’s attacks and dealing with the black flames without panic. If more people had gotten to see the action, he was sure that House Babenberg would have gained even more fame. As such, the high alert order that had limited the number of spectators was his source of frustration now.
“You are right to be angry, my lord, but you must know to restrain yourself.”
“Still, this isn’t–“
“Let’s get to work, son,” the head of House Babenberg calmly interrupted, showing not a sign of anger, in contrast to his totally furious eldest son.
The head of the house then walked away. The eldest son looked at him go for a moment, sighed a few times, finished his glass of red wine, and ran after his father. Once the two men were out of sight, Melchor shook his head.
[Quite a spectacular move, eh, Bruno? Now if only you’d be just a little less reckless…] Melchor sighed, exasperated by Bruno’s bold course of action.
Still, he did not blame Bruno for doing this, because he knew just how much the latter wanted to see justice served — even if it cost their job. Bruno had always been like that.
From eight years ago, when God’s Dungeon first appeared in Dungeon City… and all the subsequent years, many things had changed, some not for the better. The creation of Status Cards had empowered the Explorers, and among them, many had chosen to use that power for illegal gains. Crime rates had skyrocketed, while public order deteriorated.
Early on, the private military force had been policing the Explorers, but due to them not exploring God’s Dungeon as much, there was a notable difference in their status ratings before long. A martial arts master like Melchor could handle that, but ordinary soldiers were no match against those Explorers.
At one point, a certain Clan had emerged — a Clan that aimed to catch Explorer criminals — the Clan led by none other than Bruno. They had started to capture crime-committing Explorers, one after another, and handed them over to the private military.
Ever since that Clan’s emergence, Explorer-based crime rates had decreased drastically, and there was even a slight reduction in normal crime. In addition, they had even eliminated one of the largest crime-based Clans that had been running things in the shadows at the time.
The nobility, recognizing Bruno for those achievements, had placed the Clan under the framework that would be known today as the Security Team, tasking them with the maintenance of public order. It would be no exaggeration to say that much of Dungeon City’s peace had been thanks to Bruno’s actions as its foundation. As such, Melchor knew that Bruno would not be punished so harshly if at all, but still, he could not help but be worried.
With Melchor and Bruno having somewhat of a master-student relationship, he was quite fond of the latter’s personality. On the outside he may be eccentric, but on the inside, Bruno was the embodiment of honesty and justice. Melchor saw it as regrettable that such an influential individual did not get anywhere near the deserved recognition.
[Heh, how troublesome one can be…]
Melchor started thinking of ways to calm down the enraged eldest noble son… and heaved yet another heavy sigh.