|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3276 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1446 words|
“Who- Are you really spies?!”
The man who appeared to be their leader quickly tried to unsheathe his sword, but we were fast enough to stop him before he could do it. I rushed behind him and hit him behind his neck to knock him out, and then did the same to his confused partners.
“That was some quick thinking there.”
“Heheh, I have to dust off my brain every once in a while!”
I could not tell if Ciel was serious or sarcastic, as she sighed saying that. Everyone in the group knew and accepted that I generally was never good at thinking. But when it came to instinct and snap decisions I was even better than Ciel.
“We can’t waste any time now that things have taken this turn. We should hurry back to Lapis and the others, give them the clothes and leave the two of us, pretending to sneak around in the most conspicuous manner. If we attract all the attention, Lapis won’t have as much issue moving around.”
“Sounds good, let’s become a decoy so they can check on Maria and the others.”
“Well, let’s go. There’s already eyes focusing on us here.”
I looked around and noticed that there were a lot of people watching us through the windows and from the shadows of buildings. I also saw a group of soldiers and adventurers slowly approaching us, so we could not afford to keep wasting time. Nodding to Ciel, we rushed back to where we came from.
§ § §
Having left to buy stuff, the two returned in a hurry to where we waited, and quickly explained what happened.
“How did something like that even happen?!”
“Well, it was just a matter of time before they noticed our presence. But anyway, you three will have to continue without us.”
“I don’t really mind…but are you two going to be safe?”
I asked them, slightly worried, but they smiled confidently.
“Of course. We fought them a little, but if they’re all like that, not even a hundred of them can stop us.”
“Yup, Karin knocked them out barehanded in the blink of an eye. And even if things get nasty I can use Flight Magic so we can escape.”
That was true, they had become so strong that at least a dozen gold rank adventurers would need to band together to stand a chance. It was hard to believe they were the same girls before their training.
“Alright then…you two can be a decoy for us. Try to keep them busy for as long as you can. It would be nice if you could try finding news from the capital too, even better if you find out Prince Magna’s location.”
It seemed like they had not expected I would ask them to look for information about Prince Magna and the capital, which had essentially become the enemy’s main headquarters.
“We’ll also try to look for information, but without standing out too much. You two can use whatever means you want for it though. I doubt we’ll find Prince Magna without using some force after all.”
If he was hiding somewhere, only his most trusted men would know about it. Stied’s attack was successful in part because of his mysterious army, but it was likely there were traitors in Magna’s side too. The members of both factions were nobles who mainly followed them for their own gain, so if Stied offered a big enough reward, most of them would flip sides, betraying Magna. The only people I could imagine being loyal to him no matter what, would be those without much interest in personal gain, and more focused on a larger political goal.
So the only people Magna would rely on now were those with unwavering loyalty, who were likely to be extremely cautious too. None of them would ever admit to knowing his location, meaning we would need more forceful methods to learn anything.
“I won’t tell you to go and beat the truth out of them, but a few of them might speak after some threats. Or you could try tailing them and see if you discover anything. I’ll let you two figure out the details. As for how to keep in contact…”
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We looked at each other. Was there any safe way of communicating in such a situation?
“It would be nice if we had a long range magic communications device, but I can only think of Grom’s, and if anyone on Stied’s side took it, then it could be dangerous. We need to find another way.”
“Hmm…is there even any other option?”
Diaria cocked her head to the side, her blonde locks hanging loose. Looking at her like that reminded me of someone. My companion with almost golden silvery hair, which hung long behind her.
“…Maybe she can help.”
Everyone gasped hearing me. Sorciere, the legendary sorceress who had built a dreamy city in the middle of a forest, for me. She was one of my past companions who were regarded almost like gods nowadays. That city of hers would allow us to meet without anyone else noticing, and would be the perfect hiding place for someone like Maria.
“…Do you think she’ll agree to help?”
“I don’t know…but no harm in trying. I think it’ll be fine though.”
Ciel had a profound admiration for Sorciere, but she seemed dubious about the idea. She was probably afraid of getting on Sorciere’s bad side and making everything worse. I decided to conceal my own worries and force a reassuring smile.
“I know she said she no longer cares about conflicts in the outside world, but she’s not so heartless as to drive away someone in need. I’m sure she’ll help us if we ask politely and bow our heads.”
“…If you say so. Alright, you take care of convincing her then, and we will go to the forest once we find anything important.”
“Mhm, you were already there before, so I’m sure she’ll let you in once she notices you in the forest.”
“Okay, let’s go Karin.”
“Got it! Good luck you three!”
Shoving the clothes they just bought onto us, Karin and Ciel ran back to the main street. They really intended on catching the eyes of all those helping the nobles. Now we had to do our part as well.
“Let’s get changed then, and then go to the guild while Karin and Ciel distract them.”
I covered my blonde hair with the triangle bandage so it would not stand out anymore, and put on some country girl clothes. If I walked with a slightly lethargic pace, no one would pay me any attention. Luvias untied her hair, letting it flow freely with slight waves, and once she changed her clothes she looked just like any regular girl.
“I can’t help but feel restless, I almost never wear skirts too…”
I grimaced slightly hearing Luvias talk like a guy crossdressing for the first time. I had also felt that way when I first turned into a girl, my legs feeling exposed and cold under a skirt. Regardless, her attire was perfect to blend in with other citizens, but I felt like her gaze was still too sharp. Even men would get afraid if they looked her in the eyes.
“So…we’re supposed to look like a merchant but…what do you think?”
Diaria was wearing a robe that covered her entire body, and had a turban wrapped around her head and ears, leaving only her eyes visible. She looked more like a poor adventurer from a foreign land than a merchant. But we might run into a similar situation to Karin’s if we claim to be adventurers, so it was best to claim being merchants.
“What should we say we’re selling?”
“Maybe wood and herbs? It should be okay if I say I just came back with specialties from an elven village and want to sell them, I guess?”
…Was it really though? Probably yes.
“Alright, sounds good. I’ll head to the guild through the main street then, you two can decide where you’ll go between the castle and our house.”
“Okay, I’ll go near the castle then. Maybe I can get in contact with someone around there.”
“That leaves the house to me then. We’re all strong so I’m not too worried, but stay safe no matter what.”
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We nodded to each other one last time, and then we left the alleys, waiting a bit between each other to not raise suspicion. It was time to see how the guild was doing.