|Author: Kaburagi Haruka||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2579 characters|
|Translator: Mui||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1221 words|
Author’s note: For the next few chapters, the story would be revolving around Cortina.
Cortina had come to Lilith together with Lyell. The second city of the Qaum City-State Alliance. It was a city that had once come to ruin due to an unknown catastrophe. Later on, it had been rebuilt with Qaum’s assistance, but that also invited darkness into it. And that darkness was still standing strong even to this day.
There were rumors that Mateus’ Jend Sect was situated in this city. As such, Cortina, who was familiar with the land, and Lyell, the strongest battle power, had decided to come here. Maxwell was actually far ahead of him when it came to pure annihilation, however, he could not fully utilize his power inside the city.
“Alright, I’ll go reserve a hotel first.”
“Okay. I will go talk with the knights of this place.”
“Maxwell already issued his notice to every region, so I don’t expect any significant results, but please do. I will ask the knights to tell you the inn’s location.”
As things stood, Klein was still one step ahead with his escape. To cover that gap, Maxwell used the Adventurer’s Guild’s communications network and sent notices to every place.
However, it did not bring a favorable result, as none of the Guild branches had reported any sightings.
This city, too, should have received the notification, but there was no answer. As such, there was almost no hope that the chivalric order, being part of the regular army, had any new information to share.
Even so, reports could have a time lag, so it was better to go and directly confirm it just in case.
Cortina, who was familiar with this place, planned to find a safe inn and make it their base of operations.
“There might be Klein’s subordinates lurking here, so don’t go walking around by yourself any more than necessary, you hear? If something happened to you, Maria and Nicole would kill me.”
“I know that. There are still places I have to go no matter what… I will leave a note if that time comes, and also contact you, so don’t worry.”
“Okay, but again, let’s be extremely careful.”
With those words, Lyell headed towards the chivalric order. Cortina also proceeded to look for a safe inn on the main street. This place was infested with criminals, as such, she had to be extremely careful in her choice of an inn.
However, being a native of this place, she had a few such places in mind.
“Hmm, I wonder if that inn is still around.”
Still, her memories of the place were already outdated by over twenty years. Some of the stores that she used to see here were no longer present, now replaced by different, unfamiliar stores.
Seeing that, feelings of nostalgia that she had forgotten started to bubble up in her heart.
“Well, not that I have a place to return to. I was just an orphan.”
When Cortina’s talent had been discovered, she was moved from the orphanage straight to the military academy. That orphanage was no longer standing, so for her, there was no longer a definite “place to return to”.
From then, she passed by a few inns, but true to its reputation of a metropolis, most of the inns had rejected her due to being already full. After several trips through the streets, she had finally found an inn to settle down in and reserved a room there.
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Naturally, this place would not be used as their lodging — for Maxwell would come to take them back to Raum at night. However, having a base here would be convenient for discussions in case of an emergency.
Preparing a base regardless of the occasion was something that she had picked up during her Adventuring days.
After reserving the room, she left off some extra luggage there, then wrote a letter about the inn’s location and headed towards the service counter.
There, she got a hold of one young employee and entrusted him with the message. After that, she stayed put in her room and waited for Lyell’s return.
He had simply left to confirm the information with the chivalric order, so it should not take him long to return. In the rare case that he had been ambushed, Lyell was more than strong enough to handle it alone.
As such, Cortina was not concerned about that part. Still, merely waiting at the inn had left her with too much time on her hands.
She yawned loudly while stretching on the chair. As they were supposed to return back, she had not brought anything with her that could be used to waste time. Just as she was contemplating on what to do, there was a knock on the door.
The doors at this inn were locked from the inside, and they also had peepholes. This city had quite high public safety. It was highly unlikely for a ruffian to manage to sneak here.
Still, if this was an inn staff, they would normally call out. However, this time there were no signs of that. Instead, they slipped a single piece of paper from the door gap.
It was clearly shady conduct.
Cortina stayed alert for the windows and picked that paper up. She was alert for the windows because they could have planned to rush in and take her by surprise while her attention was directed to the door.
While keeping self-defense skills in mind, Cortina took the paper properly in her hand. There was a piece of cloth attached to that paper. Seeing that clothes stained with something dark red, Cortina felt a strange sense of deja vu.
“This cloth… Where have I seen it before?”
In addition, the paper had a single sentence written on it that read as follows:
We have caught your messenger.
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After she read that, Cortina suddenly remembered. That cloth was the same apron that the boy she had entrusted with the message had worn.
I got him involved in this—Thinking so, Cortina opened the door. But there was no one there.
Next, she rushed to the window and gave the street one sweep. She was thinking that the kidnapper might have left some kind of information behind, assuming they had come all the way here.
And then, on the other side of the street, she saw a man with strangely long hands waving back at her while holding the same colored cloth in his hand.
“That guy… Is that Mateus!?”
It was the skilled assassin tasked with Klein’s protection. She knew what he looked like from Nicole and Michelle. His characteristic long hands and twin-bladed style was something that would stand out anywhere.
After sending an inappropriately cheerful smile in her direction, Mateus went on to disappear behind the street.
Seeing that, Cortina left another letter behind, and then jumped and broke through the window as loudly as she could and landed on the street below.
By doing this, the inn’s owner would rush to check what happened. And on the way, they would discover the note that she left behind.
Trusting her judgment, Cortina then went on to chase after Mateus.