Translated by mranon
Edited by OnionRings
Volume 2, Chapter 19 【Choose Who?】
――So, what do I do now?
I had finally arrived in Lana Village, and was looking for a clue for a while now.
I heard stories in small inns and bars, but couldn’t find any particular lead.
However, 2 minutes off the entrance to the village- rather, after walking for 2 koku, I found a girl crying in the outskirts of the village. (Translator’s note: 1 koku is approximately 2 hours)
Because the mood seemed all but normal, I heard only the bare minimum of the circumstances and rushed to the scene. Even so, the timing was the same as aimed.
Although I got carried away and blurted embarrassing words out, it was in accordance with the mood of the scene.
「How dare you… how dare you [cut] my aaaaarm」
A man who had his face concealed beneath thoroughly black attire… coming to this village didn’t seem to be for naught.
Based on his voice, he was not one of those who invaded the lord’s mansion. Another guy?
In any case, since I didn’t know the details of the situation, this guy had to first be shut up.
I began pursuit of the man, who was holding a knife in his only remaining left hand, with no mercy.
He flicked the knife. In that faltering moment, I struck the blunt side of the blade on the knee of his pivoted leg.
「Gu… a, fuck you――」
As the opponent, who was finding it difficult to stand, fell, I invoked 《Earth Bind Lock (Earth Bind)》.
Although this Earth Magic was designed for the purpose of capture, it literally bound the opponent in earthen chains.
Although it was difficult to catch a quick opponent, it would be difficult for them to slip out once caught.
What I imagined was a poor guy stuffed in a drum of concrete.
‘…It’s a bit scary, this magic…’
After silencing the man, who was still making a racket with his body, I decided to apply healing magic on the boy, who was wounded all over, and hear the circumstances.
By the way, I also stopped the bleeding in the right wrist of the captured man. Since intel had to be extracted out of him, I would be troubled if he died.
‘――Fumu… according to Roy’s account, this guy has one more companion.’
「Alright, let’s put things in order. Even if I helped… there’s no knowing what would happen to the kids if I weren’t tactful…」
‘The opponent is alone, huh?’
‘Then, even if I’m a bit careless, I’ll be able to manage, no?’
「Roy-kun, would you help me a little?」
「E, o… if it’s something I can help with.」
「Alright then, that guy lying over there… take his clothes off.」
「O-Okay, but… what would you do with it?」
「Oh well… a classic, albeit terrible, card.」
「――Really, thank you so much. How can we ever pay you back?」
The one who expressed gratitude to me with a bow was a woman named Eleanor. I heard she was the one looking after the kids at the orphanage.
As for the result of what I pulled off, it could be called a success.
Disguised in the plundered mask and black mantle, I caught him unprepared―― I thought my voice, actions and air would have me exposed right away. However, once I was within a certain distance, it was an easy victory.
After *bokkoboko* beating him black and blue, I coiled another asshole with 《Earth Bind Lock (Earth Bind)》 and had him reunite with the other one.
「Onii-chan, thank you so much. Umm… If there’s anything I can do, I will.」
「Then, Minii just has to smile. Seiji-san’s words back there were so cool. Err… the reward of the quest is priceless…? Minii’s smile――」
Noooooooo, don’t say that in front of such a beautiful, and mature, lady as Eleanor-san! This kid.
「Roy-kun, I was just going with the mood of the scene…」
「How about this?」
Minii, who didn’t get it, gave me an extraordinarily bright smile.
A… un. A splendid reward, indeed.
Oh well. Although such an exchange was fun and all, it was necessary to get down to serious business.
When I turned to Eleanor-san with a serious face, she, too, lightly nodded and urged the kids to the bedroom.
「Is it something children shouldn’t hear?」
After telling her my story, I heard from Eleanor-san about the attack.
…I see. If I got it right, these people were taken hostage in order to threaten someone.
If the guy who seemed to be the captain can be assumed to be the guy whom I encountered at the lord’s mansion, then the one threatened was…
「Erm, does Eleanor-san know about a person by the name of Logins?」
「Logins… no, I’m not acquainted with anyone of that name, but…」
Huh, I got it wrong?
「Then, is there a person with that name amongst relatives of the kids?」
「No, there’s no such relative of any of the kids…」
There has to be something. No, wait.
「Did a peddler visit this orphanage? Did you receive a flower along with money…」
「Ee, they do. A peddler delivers donations together with a flower on a set schedule.」
「Do you know who the sender is?」
「That… I have no idea, at all.」
「If you have it, can you please show it to me?」
Upon my words, Eleanor-san brought a bag that had been put away on the shelf.
As I had expected, it was a phylia flower even though it had started wilting.
「I knew it. Is this phylia flower from Logins-san――?」
Upon my soliloquy, Eleanor reacted as if she recalled something.
「That’s it. This phylia flower… was meant to be in memory of ane-san.」
「She wasn’t my real sister. We grew up together at this orphanage, so I loved her like my sister.」
「…and her name?」
「――Phylia nee-san. She was married to the lord of Merville. She has been dead for more than a decade, though. This donation must be sent by someone related to my late sister.」
‘What?! Phylia-san came from this orphanage?’
According to the story I heard from the loquacious maid at the mansion, Phylia-san was originally a maid whom her master fell in love with.
‘…Eh, but why would Logins-san send the donation to this orphanage?’
Assuming it was really Logins-san who sent the donation to this orphanage, there had to be a relation between Phylia-san and Logins-san.
Why would they threaten by taking Phylia-san’s sister-like, Eleanor-san, hostage…? What would that achieve?
Eh… wai… no, that can’t be.
A surprising, albeit not uncommon, imagination formed inside my head.
――Were they having an affair?
If that were assumed, it would all fall into place. His then incomprehensible words, ‘I didn’t have the qualification to serve,’ seemed to be making sense now.
Two people who fell in forbidden love.
The man decided to look after the daughter of the woman he loved as a butler.
And sent donations to the orphanage where the woman he loved was raised.
If it meant ‘the qualification to serve Albert-san’… he did, indeed, not have that.
――So stupid of me!
It was still too farfetched to be true. Even if it were, it didn’t explain why would Serdio, who came invading, be acquainted with Logins-san. One heck of a soap opera.
Eleanor-san, who saw me banging my head on the table, leaked a voice in surprise.
「Sorry, I have this habit of getting lost in thought. Please don’t mind me.」
I boarded my train of thoughts once again. There was no way I would get it unless I asked the person in question. There was nothing important here.
What was important was that Logins-san was possibly being threatened, and that the hostages had now been freed… just these two points.
It was better to not think over it any further for the information was inadequate.
Well―― the reason I got to hear this story from Eleanor-san was because of being here.
The next most important point was… where did they take Marita to?
Because she wasn’t here, she must be confined somewhere else.
For interrogation, I proceeded to the two who were bound in earthen chains.
To begin with, there would be no problem if these guys talked readily. Even if I were in front of Logins-san, I now had conviction.
However, if they talked like they did earlier, they wouldn’t be able to talk at all.
I would only use their right to remain silence, nothing more.
Although slitting throats would be appropriate treatment for such heinous criminals, unfortunately, I wasn’t into torturing. It was difficult to make these guys, who might be trained for these situations, speak.
Let alone letting a secret out.
Should I just drag them back to Merville then…?
「Are you going to speak whatever you know? If you do, I can reattach your wrist… it will require quite an effort, though.」
I was not sure whether I could reattach his cut off wrist. Still, it was worth a try.
「…even though you were the one who cut it in the first place.」
「If you are going to put it like that, yeah.」
…It was my first time cutting a human being. Even now, when I recalled, I felt an illusion, as if a creepy sensation were running along my arm, invading me.
However, with the situation at hand, there was no room for complaint. I had neither regret nor guilt.
Wasn’t there something else, too? I removed the masks of the two and focused on the two. Both of them had adequate Martial Art Skills. However, the man with the evil look in his eyes piqued my interest――that asshole had 《Monster Tame Lv2 (14/50)》.
Although I wanted to steal at any cost, wouldn’t it be better to save the remainder of the attempts for contingencies?
However, wouldn’t he have a monster companion? I was trembling in anticipation. Wasn’t the companion of Alba the Demon, the griffon, really cool?
In the future, when I strengthened my monster companions by making full use of thief’s godly skill, I would have the strongest army of monsters in my palm――
‘Wait… won’t I be a Demon-Lord then? Nope, not gonna happen.’
It wasn’t the right time to be having such wild ideas.
‘Ah… right. That reminds me――‘
「I heard from Roy-kun… that you gave them a false hope. You first let them run away and then tried to kill them.」
The man beside the asshole flinched.
「Well, I’m not investigating that matter in particular. I thought your captain gave you the instruction to dispose everyone off behind the doors… but it doesn’t seem to be the case. By the way, what means of communication do you use? From Eleanor-san’s account, there seemed to be a huge bird occasionally seen flying.」
「…It’s useless to seek that fellow. That fellow only listens to what I say.」
Oo, a reaction. Good going.
「I heard from Roy-kun that you said you would feed him to your pet. Is your pet that bird?」
「What if it is?」
「Would you call it here right now?」
「I won’t. You must be planning on using it to make me spit everything, but――」
「I assure you that I won’t lay a finger on Pet-san. I would, though, if it attacked me.」
Saying so, I pulled my sword from the sheath and pushed it at his throat.
「If I wanted you to spit everything—I could just torture it out of you. To be honest, I have never tortured anyone, so I may be clumsy about it. Besides, I don’t need two in the first place. It would be too much of a hassle to drag you to Merville. It would be better to just tone the number down.」
「…Fine. It would be pointless anyway.」
I tried my best to feign indifference. Although it was ungainly, I tried my best.
However, I had confidence in making the pet, that would have its ties with the opponent severed, mine.
At any rate, I was glad that the kids had withdrawn to the bedroom. I would never want an acquaintance or a child witness such a cruel scene.
Although Eleanor-san was witnessing what was transpiring, she would understand that this was all an act――
「Seiji-san… you’re so heartless.」
‘No, it’s a misunderstanding~’
I dragged the two captives outside the orphanage, and had the asshole call his pet.
After a while――a sound as if wind was getting sliced resounded in the dark of night, and a somewhat large bird alighted.
《Bradley Ben》――seemed to be a bird. However, it had feathers as dark as night, and jagged sharp teeth flickering inside its beak. Like I thought, it was a Bird-Type monster.
Although it didn’t possess any noticeable skill, it didn’t matter.
As the black swan perched onto the tied up asshole’s shoulder, I brought my hand closer.
As I did, it raised a ‘gugyaa’ cry and bit my finger. It was almost torn off.
「Kuhiyahaha. Like I said, it only listens to what I say.」
‘Oh god, Monster Tame is so amazing.’
――I got to see some good stuff.
Well, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
I picked the asshole’s right wrist up.
「What do you intend to do?」
「…Nothing. I cut it without a thought, I admit.」
With an insincere smile, I savored the sense of fulfillment transmitted to my body.
It was a success.
《Monster Tame》――It is possible to communicate intent with a specified monster… huh? *trembles in excitement* Calm down, me.
Although I was uncertain as to how this skill actually felt, it’s effect manifested immediately after.
The black swan, that was perched on the asshole’s shoulder, was suddenly bewildered—actually, it couldn’t be perceived from its appearance; its confusion only transmitted to me.
And the asshole, who could only perceive its appearance, fretted.
「Wha…t? You fool! Say something. What happened?!」
With his skill gone, the communication must have become impossible. As he couldn’t feel any response even though he frantically called out, he fell into panic.
「So much for talking so big――」
I took jerky out of the leather bag and gently beckoned toward the black swan.
――After a momentary hesitation, it fluttered its wings and calmly alighted on my shoulder.
It was all thanks to the skill, not Dario-san’s cooking, or so I wanted to think. Or was it really Dario-san’s cooking?
「――Apparently, this fellow has chosen me.」
「Fu… Fuck youuuuuuuuuu! That’s mine. How could you!」
When the asshole saw me caressing the black swan’s head, he screamed as if he had gone mad.
For a moment, I felt bad. However, thinking how he was a scoundrel who lacked humanity, I shirked the guilt.
Because he was getting loud, I reinforced 《Earth Bind Lock (Earth Bind)》 by invoking it again and quieted him.
At any rate, I would now be able to reach the place where Marita was being held captive. I was unsure whether I would succeed, but it turned out well in the end.
However… would going there by myself not be suicide?
It was necessary to hand these guys over anyway. When I returned to Merville, I would solicit cooperation from Albert-san.
――After lading the two captives on the horse, which I had borrowed from the village exclusively for carrying them, I decided to bid farewell to Eleanor-san and the kids before leaving the village.
「I will report the matter of the attack on this orphanage to Albert-san. Until this matter has been resolved, please take shelter somewhere safe. There’s a possibility that this isn’t over yet.」
「…We will. You take care, too, Seiji-san. Also, thank you once again for saving us.」
I straddled Rook’s back. With the black swan on my shoulder, I gripped the reins.
When Rook cried 「kuoo」, I lent it an ear. I knew it wanted to say something.
‘Can I really talk to a monster who wants to talk to me…?’
「――Eh? …No, it’s not what you think it is――It’s a need of the moment――I’m grateful to you as always, really――un… un.」
For a moment, I was speechless.
「Rook, you… were a female all along――…」
Author’s note: She thought she had been dumped by Seiji.
Job: Adventurer (Rank C-)
Unique: Scholar’s Knowledge
・Thief’s Godly Skill (Riot Grasper) Lv3 (27/150)
・Physical Abilities Enhancement Lv3 (14/150)
・Sword Arts Lv3 (32/150)
・Abnormal Status Resistance Lv3 (1/150)
・Vitality Enhancement Lv2 (33/50)
・Light Magic Lv3 (2/150)
・Origin Magic Lv2 (20/150)
・Monster Tame lv2 (14/50)