|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2420 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 956 words|
Kayl was not part of the church, and I did not know exactly who he was in the past either. All I knew was that he appeared in the slums one day and established some form of order out of the den of scoundrels that it used to be. The church noticed his work, so they worked directly with him to better the slums, creating a mutually beneficial relationship.
“You’re looking for someone then?”
“Yes. Can you think of anyone who moved here recently… or maybe is hiding around here?”
When he heard that, he frowned a little and began to think, then eventually replied while looking up.
“I’m sure you’re already aware, there’s always people coming here and leaving every day. I’d really need something more specific to go off of.”
“That’s true, then…”
I replayed my conversation with the pope in my mind, trying to think of a way to describe the people connected to her.
“…Can you think of anyone who refuses any contact with others, or instead tries to get extremely close to the rest? Basically, anyone who behaves differently from the pack. I’m looking for members of a group that’s attempting to stir chaos at a large scale, so either they’ll try to conceal their presence or increase their ranks. Does that help?”
“I see… under those conditions… Yes, I know who you might be looking for. Chaos at large scale doesn’t sound pretty though.”
I did not know Meria’s specific goal, and I had given a really vague explanation on top of that. It could go from anything short term like simultaneous terrorist attacks all over the city, to long-term plots like infiltrating various organizations and rotting the country inside out. But sniffing out all the members was impossible at this moment, so I had to focus on what I could actually do.
“I can think of ten people who match the description you gave. They arrived around half a year ago, and they had a few bad encounters with the younglings here, but they stayed put as long as no one approached them, so I didn’t think too deeply about them.”
“They might be the people I’m after. Could you show me where they’re staying?”
“Sure, I don’t mind. Just…”
Kayl’s voice trailed off, but I could tell what he meant from his gaze, and nodded readily.
“I’ll pay you a reward, of course. I didn’t bring any money with me, but I promise I’ll pay as soon as I can.”
“I see… Well, let’s get going then.”
I usually paid upfront whenever I made a deal with him so he felt something was off, but he trusted I would keep my word and he departed. I had spent all my money to get the staff… I had been a bit careless coming here, but I could worry about that later and I hurried after Kayl.
§ § §
Kayl took me deeper into the slums, to a place that resembled a garbage dump more than anything else. The slums were actually split into various regions, the Front being where those young and full of energy lived, the Flower where night workers gathered, the Back where criminals and more violent thugs gathered, and then the Garbage Dump where old men and debilitated children remained.
The hungry children looked at me with pleading eyes, but I pulled my hood lower, avoiding their gazes. If I gave one of them a bit of food, the other children would attempt to take it away, causing a huge fight. The best option was to always bring a large quantity of food and distribute it equally among them.
(Naive kindness will only make things worse…)
Many people called me a holy woman, but seeing the people here reminded me of just how powerless I truly was. But I guess Meria was actually trying to change things for them.
I was trapped in those dark thoughts when Kayl’s voice pulled me back to reality. He was pointing at a small house. Taking cover, I took a closer look, noticing something odd about it.
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“That’s… quite the tight security.”
“Yes, they’ve been bolstering their defenses almost as if preparing for a war.”
The house itself was similar to those in the slums, being roughly the same size, but the windows and walls were reinforced with iron bars, there was a thorny fence all around it, and two armed men kept watch over the front entrance.
“You’re right… they don’t seem to be your regular vagrants.”
“Yes, and they’re quite skilled as well. I could probably handle one of them on my own, but as for you…”
Kayl was right, the guards looked like skillful warriors. They were probably as strong as the holy knights of our country, who undergo rigorous training, or maybe even stronger. Assuming there were more of them inside the house they would also outnumber us, and I would have struggled against them… at least compared to how I was before.
“Don’t worry, even if they decide to attack I believe I can handle them. Thank you for guiding me here, Kayl, you can go back now.”
“Lady Freya… Alright, if you say so.”
Kayl stepped back, realizing he would only get in my way if he stayed. After a deep breath, I stepped out from my hiding spot. The guards obviously took notice of me, so they held their weapons ready and walked out to encircle me.
“Who are you?”
“I’m looking for someone. Does the name Meria ring any bells?”
I felt strong bloodlust from them the moment they heard that name. It seemed I would need to fight them after all.