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Chapter 354 – Nicole’s Tracking Theory

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Author: Kaburagi Haruka Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 2579 characters
Translator: Mui English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1180 words
Editor(s): Deximus_Maximus

The room with a lamp fallen on the ground had traces of being ravaged. Moreover, although little, there were still traces of blood too.

On the other hand, there were no signs of people, Michelle’s parents were nowhere to be found.

“What’s wrong, Nico—What is this!?”

Michelle yelled in shock after seeing the room from behind me. And her reaction was natural. No one would even consider that their house would be in such a ravaged state while coming back from the academy.

“Dad, mom! Where are you!?”
“Wait, Michelle!”

As Michelle was about to rush inside, I pinned her hands from behind and stopped her. If the offender was so rough to have laid so much waste to the room, there must be some evidence left behind that would link to them.

If she went and stepped on it now, it would all come to nothing.

“Don’t stop me… My mom…! And my dad…!”
“I know. But this might be beyond what we can handle. So you go and report it to Cortina and the guards.”
“My senses are sharper than yours, Michelle. They might still be nearby, so I’ll try looking around.”
“…Okay, please do.”

Suppressing her anxiety, she squeezed out those words. She shut her mouth tight, her expression dyed in mortification.

“Don’t worry. Since they aren’t here, they must have taken them away. If they planned on killing them, they would not have done that.”
“Yeah. Moreover, your parents are under Maxwell’s patronage. No fool would try to kill them so brazenly.”
“But they have kidnapped them…”
“That’s probably because…”

Right, why would they kidnap auntie who was connected to Cortina and others? The answer was clear. There was “something” they wanted to get even if it meant taking the risk of turning the Six Heroes against them.

And what would that something be…? There was no need to even think — it was Michelle.

However, telling her that now would be too harsh. If she realizes that her parents got kidnapped because of her, she might very well hand herself over to the enemies right away.

“I don’t know. But I promise I’ll find it out no matter what.”
“Okay… I leave it to you!”

After giving me a strong response, she ran straight back towards the academy’s direction.

Cortina was currently there, after all.

After observing her disappearing back, I switched to investigating the surroundings.

“Let’s start with the orthodox footprints method.”

After investigating the house vicinity, I discovered a pair of wheel tracks.

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Michelle’s family were hunters so they owned a cart. It was to carry large amounts and big game.

“Did they use the cart to kidnap them?”

Moreover, there were traces of hobnailed boots. They were things warriors and guards preferred to wear, so it wasn’t something that uncle would have worn.

Given that he was a hunter, he wouldn’t have worn boots that would give off a noise when walking. It was the same for Adventurers, and people other than shielders that took on the enemies frontally preferred not to use them.

“There are no other traces, huh… Does that mean they broke in with just heavily-armored warriors?”

Or perhaps they were something like mountain bandits… No, that can’t be. People with such conspicuous getup would have gotten stopped at the gate.

Even if they were Adventurers, that would still leave many doubts. Them being only armored soldiers sounded too imbalanced for Adventurers.

If they were all like that, they would surely become a gossiped at the Guild. However, I haven’t heard any such rumors.

“Then, another possibility that I can think is… That knights and guards were involved.”

It was the influential bunch that wanted to have Michelle. In that case, there was a high possibility that their underlings were regular soldiers. If it’s them, it wouldn’t be strange to wear these kinds of boots.

“If it were knights, things would turn pretty troublesome.”

The reputation of the knights didn’t fall because they collaborated with Cortina. But if this matter got out, it would hit rock bottom in one go.

“At any rate, time to check the interior…”

Next, I went to inspect the room.

The place was devastated, but only locations of a certain size were damaged. The size where a child could fit.

You could see this as them searching for places where Michelle could have hidden. As expected, she was their aim.

The bloodstains were half-dried, so it probably didn’t happen just recently, but not a lot of time should have passed since.

“Could I manage to catch up if I’m lucky?”

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I was about to rush out, but I managed to hold myself back. Even if I did that, I didn’t know which direction they headed to.

There were hobnail traces on the floor too, making it apparent that they came in with their shoes on.

“It would have made things easier if they had a crest on their boots…”

When it came to famous noble’s soldiers, they often used equipment with the noble’s crest carved on it. However, they were apparently not so stupid to storm the house and kidnap people with such equipment on them.

Thus, I started thinking.

Maxwell should have been strictly monitoring what was happening inside Raum. And yet, they managed to kidnap people so brazenly. You could consider this as quite a reckless move.

Assuming that’s the case, would they risk taking uncle and auntie to their own house?

“If they did that, it would be basically advertising that they were the culprit. In that case…”

In the first place, you couldn’t get into the noble district while carrying a cart. That meant that they either took them to the commoner district… Or outside the city.

They couldn’t leave the two behind. And they also needed to keep them alive to negotiate with Michelle.

My assumption that they were taken outside was most likely correct. With that, which place would be suitable to confine and keep them alive…

“Being along the highway with lots of traffic seems unlikely. Then… There’s a high chance they headed into the forest.”

There is a possibility that they headed towards the hot spring town, but that road had just as much traffic as the main road.

If they wanted to avoid public eyes, they would have gone inside the forest, after all. There were quite a few huntsmen huts spread around Raum as emergency shelters during thunderstorms. The climate was stable around here, but it still rained. And when it rained on you inside the forest, it was easy to lose your sense of direction.

In order to avoid that danger, there were many huts set up in the forest. And Michelle’s father was one of the people that used those huts the most.

They were probably ideal places to confine such people.

Judging that to be the case, I rushed out of the place.

My destination was the gate. As long as they had Michelle’s cart with them, following their tracks shouldn’t prove to be hard.

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