Here’s the 16th (complete) chapter. Fourth for the week.
This chapter was supposed to be done in two parts, but OnionRings wanted to edit it all, so he made me work extra hard.
In short, there may not be a chapter tomorrow.
Well, enjoy the read.
Translated by mranon
Edited by OnionRings27
2nd Volume, 16th Chapter 【The Whereabouts of the Flower】
※In the 14th Chapter, it was mentioned that the woman’s mask was shattered into pieces. That part has been revised. Because I thought that her face would then surely be visible. (Author’s note)
The night receded.
I woke up inside a room at the inn. If it were any other day, I would be deluged with hunger. Today, however, I shut myself in.
「…I’m an idiot…」
The words, that welled up spontaneously out of my throat, echoed inside the room.
By the time I came to after the attack――the whole mansion was in an uproar.
I, who was lying unconscious inside Marita’s room, was obviously investigated. Even though I provided them with all the information I had, the situation didn’t take a turn for the better.
From their contemptuous tone toward Lim, the perpetrators seemed to be from Souven Empire… That information was hardly of any significance. Apparently, it was not the first time for them to commit such crimes.
Although the nature of their crimes varied, they were well known to be intrusive. The kidnappers who abducted Marita left a note behind. They threatened Lechelle Kingdom not to enter into a treaty with the Western Archipelago States. They had no intention of hiding it at all.
Upon conclusion of the treaty, the only party at a disadvantage would be Souven Empire.
In regards to Logins-san… I told them everything I knew. Even if he had his reasons, it was not something that could be concealed. The guards and the servants had clearly been drugged. The people who could possibly do that were limited.
Right after a brief investigation, the search operation commenced. 「You can go back」 I was merely told those few words.
The incident was immediately reported to Lord Albert. The action plan going forward was considered. The mansion was ordered not to speak carelessly about the incident to the outsiders.
Abduction of the lord’s daughter was a sensitive matter. It would have to be dealt with carefully.
After I healed my injuries, I carried the unconscious Lim on my back to the inn. It was too dark to pursue Marita by myself. Without even a single lead, I had no means of conducting a search.
「Lim… Have you woken up?」
Since I had not gotten much sleep, my eyes felt *gowagowa* stiff, but I shook the feeling off by rubbing my eyes forcibly.
「――Seiji? Your eyes are all red. Are you okay?」
「Yeah… It’s just that I cannot sleep.」
I spoke to the person by the side of the bed, which Lim was lying on. I had explained to Arnold-san as to why Lim was in such a state. He was not someone who would leak the information to the outsiders.
「Erm, Lim’s condition…」
「She’s fine. Although she’s asleep now, she woke up earlier. Since her consciousness is steady, there will be no problem if she rests.」
After heaving a sigh of relief, I offered him words of apology.
「I’m really sorry. I was with her, yet…」
「…Lim accepted the quest of her own accord. Seiji should not apologize…」
While Lim was exerting herself in order for Marita to escape, what was I doing? …I was pathetically groveling on the floor. There was a limit to how pathetic one could be.
What was even more pathetic was that I couldn’t bring myself to despise Logins-san after what transpired.
It wouldn’t be strange even if we, who were left unconscious, were killed. Rather, we should have been killed… Actually, the masked woman did try to kill Lim.
It was Logins-san who stopped her.
…Upon my too miserable an expression, Arnold-san loudly *bang* clapped his palm on my back. It was so sudden that I broke into a light fit of coughing.
「I’ll share a story with you.」
What Arnold-san narrated thereafter was a story of the past.
It was a story of when Lim was still a kid.
「――Such a thing happened?」
Lim did quite a rash thing. If it had gone wrong, she would have died. Her mother, Millay-san, was worried, too.
‘Before attempting, one must have enough strength to take responsibility’ …Huh? Which reminds me, when I decided not to kill Alba the demon, Lim said something similar.
Was what she said perhaps based on these words? Lim was not yet able to defeat a demon by herself. The one who did――and the one who could take responsibility was I.
「What did you tell me this story for?」
「What for, huh? When Lim received this quest, ‘I want to protect my friend Marita,’ was what she said. She has to shoulder the burden of consequences. This is the result of what she attempted. Therefore, Seiji doesn’t have to apologize again and again.」
Aah, I see… Arnold-san is trying to cheer me up…
「If… If I could capture the perpetrators――…」
「You did try to, didn’t you?」
「I did, but…」
Had I wielded the sword without any hesitation, would I have been able to prevent the abduction? I didn’t know, but what I did know was that I wouldn’t be getting tormented by this feeling.
「…Everyone makes mistakes and then regrets… However, how many times can one live?」
The expression about his face turned slightly bitter. Was he thinking of the late Millay-san?
「If you are not convinced with what you did, redo it until you are. Don’t stand still, work your limbs. Troubling over it in your mind will not solve anything.」
He caught my arm and dragged me to outside the room.
My anguishing inside the inn would not solve anything.
There must be many ways for me to conduct a search by myself.
After all… I was the one who accepted the quest of my own will. I must take responsibility…
Paying the penalty in respect of quest failure? …That wouldn’t be taking responsibility…
――If something has been taken away, take it back.
As for Logins-san, I wanted a reason that would convince me.
「Arnold-san… Thank you very much. I’ll be out for a bit…」
「Aah, but don’t try anything reckless.」
After turning around to thank him, I scooted down the stairs.
「――What happened? Why are you in such a hurry? Won’t you eat breakfast?」
The appetite, that didn’t exist until a moment ago, turned up at these words.
『You can’t fight on an empty stomach』 It was so simple that I was nearly amazed at myself.
「Dario-san, a large serving of breakfast, please.」
「Ou, leave it to me.」
If something happened to Marita――the whole nation would be ruined.
I had no intention of raising a flag. I just wanted to rescue her safely.
Aah… I’m getting back into my stride…
The current me――can do it.
――Well, now that I was feeling cheered up, I rushed out of the in cool fashion, but…
‘What do I do?’ I was about to cry.
Because I couldn’t leak that Marita had been kidnapped, the information I could get was limited.
Kidnapping for ransom――No, the guy who would come and slap fortune requirements was tentatively expected to return the hostage. They [the kidnapper] would carry them [the hostage] to a location where they [the kidnapper] could confine them [the hostage].
There really was no lead.
Have they taken her back to Souven Empire…? No, that couldn’t be. The way they declared 『We did this』 they had no intention of hiding. Besides, crossing Veronica Citadel Town wouldn’t be that easy…
Since Royal Capital Iris was situated in the north… They wouldn’t go in that direction… I think.
It comes down to west and south, huh? To travel, they would need a carriage. No, they could still be hiding in Merville.
Damn, I’m running out of time.
I asked Nicholas-san who was in charge of guarding the gate and the mount shop that was located in the vicinity of the gate about the people who recently bought the carriages. As you could guess, it didn’t bear any fruit.
When I was leaving the mount shop with my shoulders drooped, someone called out to me.
「Oh, if it isn’t Seiji-kun.」
「Your face seems void of spirit. Did something happen?」
「No, nothing in particular.」
I was hesitant of speaking about this matter to Doorey-san. Basically, those in the mansion were forbidden to speak. Still, he was a merchant. If he leaked the information, harm might come Marita’s way. The possibility couldn’t be denied.
「Is that so? By the way… I stopped by Feeder Pops’ the other day. I saw the dining area decorated with a lovely flower.」
「Err, it’s called Phylia flower.」
「Right. Did the proprietor of the inn buy that? It’s not sold much around here.」
「Ah, Lim found it at the lord’s mansion. She brought it back and decorated the dining area. Why did you ask that, though?」
I couldn’t surmise the intention behind Doorey-san’s odd question, so I tilted my head and asked him.
「That… Some time ago, a merchant I was acquainted with died. Actually, he was murdered.」
「He was a tight-lipped fellow who was enthusiastic about his work. He wasn’t the kind of human whom people would hold grudge against. Yet his corpse had the marks of violence.」
「Was it… a bandit’s doing?」
「No, it doesn’t seem to be so.」
In any case, it was scary.
「He was a peddler who traveled between villages and towns. However, he also took requests such as transporting luggage, delivering letters, etc. I saw him… carrying that…」
「――Phylia flower. Behind it was a sack full of money… I think… He never told me who requested it of him, but it was weighing on his mind.」
「So, that’s why you asked that question?」
「It’s rarely found around here. He was a merchant I was on good terms with… So, I thought I would be able to obtain some useful information, but the people from the lord’s mansion cannot be suspected. Forget I talked about this.」
Because I would be dragged into trouble…?
「It similarly had its cut end wrapped in a wet cloth, so I thought maybe…」
「…What did you say just now?」
「Aah, did I sound like suspecting someone close to Seiji-kun? I’m sorry.」
「No, before that――」
‘Phylia flower cannot be given excessive water. Wrapping it in a wet cloth will do’――Who was it… that taught me this?
「Doorey-san! What’s the name of the village that peddler traveled to?!」
「W-What happened all of a sudden? If I remember correctly… it was Lana Village.」
「You remember the candy that I gave you the other day? It’s the specialty product of that village.」
Where Doorey-san pointed to, many carts were lined up.
Merville was a commercial town. For this reason, it was teeming with all kinds of commodities. The candy mentioned just now was no exception. You didn’t have go to Lana Village to buy it.
Even so, a certain memory surfaced in my mind.
That day… Lim bumped into――twins.
The perpetrators of the attack――displayed unnaturally coordinated movements.
…It was all coming together…
‘I wish it were so’――a convenient wish.
Nevertheless… If there were a possibility, albeit small; if I were convinced, albeit only just――
――I would move.
「Doorey-san, I’ll be off to Lana Village!」
「Right now? Why all of a sudden…」
「Sorry, but can you please tell Arnold-san that I went to Lana Village?」
「I can, but…」
If this matter were in any way related to Lana Village… It would be dicey…
I had no intention of doing something rash by myself. Still, if I went to Lana Village and didn’t come back for a reason unforeseen, Arnold-san would find it suspicious and report it to the lord’s mansion.
After buying a long robe from a street stall, I ran to the mount shop where Rook was under care.
It was a precautionary measure, for they had seen my face.
Atop the back of Rook, that was charging through the South Gate, I clasped the sword on my waist.
I wanted to find out the intentions of Logins-san.
But that would only follow the order of priority.
Rescuing Marita came first.
If he obstructed me again――then…
――A sword the sharpness of which increases with each member of the same race slain… huh?
Despite that… I, who wanted to believe in him to the very end, was probably too generous…
Author’s note: Next time――『Logins』
Don’t miss it.