|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3247 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1389 words|
The secret hideout prepared by the guild, or Krieck to be exact, was surprisingly close to the city’s center. I had expected it to be in the city’s outskirts, or somewhere in the slums. But maybe that was why the nobles and their soldiers had not found them. I went from the inn where I met with Camille to a street near the Golden Wheat Pavilion. There were many people around me, but I did not feel any gazes focused on me. I walked ahead, reaching a heavily populated residential district where I searched for the house.
“I think Karin and Ciel used to live somewhere around here too. Though it’s the best place to hide.”
Considering many adventurers lived around here, who were seldom home, a mother and child moving in would hardly be noticed. Impressed with how well Krieck thought about it, I knocked on the door. There was no reaction at first, so I wondered if they were not home, but I could feel a presence inside. They were probably just wary of me, so I knocked again. I felt movement then, either out of frustration or determination.
Sepia opened the door, and when she noticed who I was, I had to cover her mouth with my hand before she could finish. As much as I disliked attention, I had become rather famous in the city, so just hearing my name would let others know I was here.
“…You’ve returned then.”
“Yeah, earlier today. Where are Maria and Rina?”
“They’re safe, hiding inside. Please come in.”
There were no lights inside, making everything dark. They wanted to stay secret, so they refused to even use candles. I quickly cast light magic and illuminated the room, hearing some rattling from a closet.
“You two can come out, it’s me, Lapis.”
Rina hesitantly peeked out from the closet. When she saw me, she instantly jumped out.
“You came back!”
“I’m here, Rina. I heard something scary happened while I was gone, I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay. This is something like a secret base so it’s kinda fun.”
I smiled, feeling her youthful cheerfulness. I patted her head as I looked at Maria, she looked safe too.
“Welcome back, Lapis. I’m glad you’re safe. I heard you were branded a wanted criminal so I was worried.”
“Thank you, but I’m alright. I’ve been training for times like these.”
I flexed my arm as I said that, and she laughed about it.
“If you’ve come back, then is Lady Luvias also-”
“Of course, we came back together. We split up to attract less attention from the enemy though. I came to make sure you three are safe, Karin and Ciel are a decoy searching for news about the capital, and Diaria and Luvias went to observe our house and Grom’s castle.”
“Lady Luvias is…observing?”
Sepia frowned, looking unsure. Luvias had gotten somewhat used to living here, but she still had a rather stiff attitude, and I would never claim she was good at acting or blending in, not even out of flattery. Sepia was probably worried she would get in trouble if a soldier questioned her. I smiled trying to calm her down.
“It’ll be fine, I know how she used to be, but Luvias has become much more capable now. Have a little faith in her.”
“If you say so…I’ll trust you.”
I looked around the room, they only had their bare minimum belongings, ready to be gathered if they needed to escape. They all seemed to be in good health though, so at least they had enough food.
“Alright you three, it can be dangerous if you stay here too long, so I’ll escort you to a safer place. Take some clothes and a bit of food, just what’s necessary, and we’ll leave.”
“Where will we go, Lapis?”
Rina asked with a smile, clinging onto me.
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“A secret city.”
§ § §
I stayed for around one hour in the hideout with the three, waiting for the streets to be quieter before moving. Once I could not sense anyone outside, I beckoned them to come with me and we left the house. There I began tying a rope onto them, including Rina.
“I don’t think it’s necessary, but just in case.”
I explained to them how I would use Flight Magic to take them. If I had to carry multiple people in the past I would just pull them along before, but now I had a different plan. After my training, I had learned how to employ the gods’ blessings more efficiently, and now I could use two different spells at the same time. Using both Flight Magic and Gravity Magic, I could carry all three of them, even if they had no combat experience.
“I didn’t think you’d make us fly there…”
“I’m scared too. My legs won’t stop shaking…”
Sepia and Maria looked resistant to flying through the air, but Rina was fearless, excited from the moment she heard she would get to fly.
“You have everything, yeah? Hold onto me then, I’ll activate the spell.”
They nervously grabbed my body, and once I made sure they were all holding on firmly, I began focusing.
“God of Knowledge Widom, grant me strength.”
It was just a short muttering that was scarcely a chant, but the four of us began floating into the air.
“W-we’re going up…”
The three seemed confused, feeling this for the first time, and they had no room left in their minds to think about any potential watchers, making a lot of noise. But it did not matter, once we were in the sky, we could go anywhere and the soldiers could not follow on the ground. Once we gained enough height, I spotted the forest where Sorciere’s city hid, and flew there in a straight line.
“T-the wind is so strong!”
“Don’t look ahead, try to face down! It’s hard to breathe otherwise! And if it gets too scary just close your eyes!”
I was fine using both Flight Magic and Gravity Magic at the same time, but I had forgotten about the wind. I felt bad for them, but I did not want anyone noticing us, so I had no other option but to keep going.
“This is amazing! We’re moving so fast Lapis!”
“I know, right? I can do a lot of other things too!”
The two adults closed their eyes in fear and tried their best to resist the wind, but Rina had the opposite reaction. We were traveling at a dangerous speed and the scenery quickly scrolled past below us, but she was as cheerful as ever. Maybe it was just her youthful innocence, but I had a feeling she could become someone important in the future. It did not take much longer and we arrived at the forest where Sorciere’s werewolf had led us before. As soon as I landed, Sepia and Maria collapsed on the ground. I gently released their hands from me, and noticed someone approaching.
“Ah! A monster!”
“L-Lapis! There’s a monster there!”
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Even Rina was scared of the monster, quickly hiding behind me. I covered them and confronted the monster approaching us.
“Are you one of Sorciere’s servants?”
Instead of answering, the werewolf knelt onto the ground.
“A monster like that…”
Maria and Sepia were bewildered seeing that. But my assumption was proven right. A regular werewolf would never do this when facing humans, so it was clearly one Sorciere had tortured…or trained, like she preferred to call it.
“Lady So’ciere o’dered me to welcome you, follo’ me.”
He stood back up, and without waiting for an answer turned around and walked into the forest. I already knew the way forward so I could just ignore him and go ahead, but I knew he would get punished severely if I did that, so I followed after him.
“It’s fine. He’s a servant of someone I know. He won’t do anything to us, so we can follow him safely.”
That he was there waiting for us meant that Sorciere already had a grasp of the situation. And she was receiving the three of them too. I breathed in relief, and thanked my past comrade.