|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3950 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1783 words|
The mansion was on the smaller side, but compared to the other run down houses surrounding it, it looked like a magnificent building. In comparison, my own house would look like a palace. Near the mansion I saw many men sitting in random places, and while their clothes were tattered and old, their eyes were sharp and full of life. Those were the lookouts Bacchus had mentioned. They nodded to him when they saw us approach, and Bacchus returned the greeting before talking to them.
“How are things looking?”
“He hasn’t left the mansion. We’ve already been hearing weird voices though, guess he’s wilding first thing in the morning. Also…”
At the end he turned towards me. I had put on my helmet again since leaving the inn, so I probably looked like a heavily armed knight. The lookout was wondering why someone like that was accompanying Bacchus.
“Don’t worry, it’s a friend. We finally found someone who will help us rescue the children and women.”
“Really?! I bet they’re really strong seeing all that armor.”
“Yeah, really strong, maybe even stronger than that b̲a̲s̲t̲a̲r̲d̲.”
That made the lookout’s eyes change, looking at me full of expectation. He was probably imagining I would unsheathe my sword and charge into the mansion right away…
“We’re just scouting the place today. Maybe we can find a blind spot to sneak in through.”
Hearing things would not be so easy, the man looked clearly displeased, but Bacchus quickly took care of it.
“Look, we found someone willing to help us, don’t look so pissed all of a sudden.”
“…Alright, I’m sorry. I’ll show you around then, let’s go.”
The man stood up and guided us along the fence surrounding the mansion. Getting closer I could hear multiple cries and shouts inside. Those were the captured children and women, and there were way more of them than I had expected.
“From what we’ve been able to tell, there’s at least five women and eight kids inside.”
“Has anyone tried to escape?”
The moment I asked that I noticed the man’s shoulder twitched.
“…One woman and a kid tried, they died the moment they stepped outside the mansion and only their bodies got out…”
That was a miss on my part, I should have been able to guess that much, so it was an insensible question. I have to be more careful…
It felt a bit awkward, but we kept walking to the backside of the mansion, checking if there were any entry points or places of interest. Apparently the man spent most of his time on the second floor, the largest room of the mansion was there. Next to it was a slightly smaller room, where the hostages were held.
“From what we’ve seen, he only lets them out of that room whenever he wants to mess around. And he’s so ******* full of himself that he leaves the curtains open all the time. But thanks to that we were able to see his movements.”
It was annoying how he taunted them, but the fact he was so overconfident was good for us. It was hard to see anything inside while standing out here, but I had seen plenty for my first visit.
“So? Think you can cook up something?”
“I can’t say for sure, but I think there’s a chance.”
It was easy to figure out which part of the house he was in, and I could always just break through one of the windows. On top of that, I was not able to feel anyone with considerable power inside. Usually there was something in the air around anyone powerful enough, but since I did not feel it, I could assume the demon was not very powerful. In other words, he had no chance fighting me head on. If I was fast enough, I would also be able to get rid of him before he can do anything to the hostages. If I was honest about all that, Bacchus and his people would want me to kill him right now, so I had to play it off for a bit longer.
“I still have to get ready myself, I’ll come back in around three days. I’ll gather all the weapons I need in the meantime.”
“Okay, but just in case…you ain’t just gonna ditch us, right?”
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I stood up and headed to the inn’s exit when I heard those unexpected words behind me. Looking back, I saw Bacchus and his group looking at me like lambs abandoned by their shepherd. I smiled trying to comfort them.
“Don’t worry, I wouldn’t do that after everything I already did. If I wanted to leave I would’ve done so before scouting the place. I promise I’ll help you.”
“…Okay, I’ll trust you. Also, I forgot to ask before, but what’s your name?”
With everything going on I had forgotten to introduce myself, and I almost blurted my actual name out but managed to stop myself. Exposing who I really was could be a bad idea now, my name and face had become widely known, so I could not freely throw my name around like before. I decided it was best to come up with a fake name.
“I’m Lazuli. See you in three days.”
Baffled at my lack of a naming sense, I left the inn.
§ § §
Entering the capital of Strom went the same as whenever we visited any city, we instantly became the center of attention. This happened all the time, so by now I was used to it and thought nothing of it. Before looking for an inn to stay in, we headed to the adventurer’s guild. The other members of our mission could not gather information publicly, so we were in charge of that.
Being the capital, the guild was brimming with adventurers. Both beginner and veteran adventurers stood in front of the bulletin board with requests, debating on what to work on. The front desk was busy sorting gathered items and receiving reports from requests, a long line of people waiting their turn. We walked to the end of the line and waited too, and for some reason many of the adventurers in front of us stepped aside to let us pass through.
“I’m not in a hurry, you can go first.”
“Are you sure? Thanks then.”
I could tell they were forcing a smile as they spoke, trying to look normal. Maybe they were afraid of seeing us reptids, a stronger race than humans, not to mention we were part of the Golden Scale Tribe which were known to be even fiercer. In the end that saved us a lot of time waiting in line and we reached the front desk, where the receptionist also seemed to be intimidated.
“Welcome. What brings you to the guild today?”
“Hello, is the guild master available? I’m Annero, the hero of Versis. I heard about the demon attack, so I want to ask if I can be of any assistance.”
The moment I mentioned being a hero I heard a lot of noise in the guild. There was only one hero in most countries, so this was probably their first time seeing one. On top of that, Strom had no hero of their own, and they had just suffered a heavy loss at the hands of demons, so I could not imagine how they saw someone like me.
“Ah…sorry, I’ll go check right away!”
For a second she stared vacantly with her mouth agape, but she quickly composed herself and darted off. She ran up a set of stairs and soon vanished on the second floor. With the receptionist gone we had nothing to do but wait, luckily she returned almost instantly.
“Sorry for the wait! The guild master will meet you, please go upstairs.”
A portion of the front desk moved over and we had a way to get through. We followed her upstairs, and after knocking on a half opened door we met a man that seemed to just have entered his elderly years, a few specks of white hair starting to show in his head.
“Master, this is Versis’ hero.”
“Thank you, you can go back to work now.”
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The receptionist left and the room was filled with silence. I had never been good at talking to others, so I was unsure of what to say now. At least I knew it was rude to start talking without introducing myself, so I thought about how to do that.
“Hmm…seems you’re the silent type of hero.”
While I was still looking for the right words, he seemed to get fed up with the silence and spoke first. Though at least that helped me feel a bit more at ease, so after clearing my throat I bowed to him.
“I’m sorry to intrude knowing you’re busy. I’m Annero, there were a few things I wanted to ask, if I may.”
“A hero wants something from a mere guild master like me? There are things I’m not allowed to share, but I’ll tell you as much as I can.”
“That’s good to hear. First…have you noticed anything change in the city after the demon attack? I don’t care if it’s something insignificant, I’d like to know if you noticed anything.”
He seemed to not understand what I was getting at, looking at me with a slightly puzzled look. Maybe I had been too vague with my question? But I could not really be specific or it could harm the mission… I crossed my arms trying to figure out a better way to ask, my brain working at full capacity, but I must have looked so weird that the guild master just started laughing all of a sudden.
“Ahahahah…Sorry, sorry. You’re more interesting than I imagined, and I can tell you’re a straightforward and honest man. I’m curious why you want to know that, but I think it’s best if I don’t unless I want you to go silent again. Anyway, here’s what you asked for…”
He went to a file next to his desk, which he rummaged through before taking out a bundle of papers.
“What are these?”
“These are reports of things happening in the city. I don’t know how other guilds operate, but here we always share a lot of information with the guards. That way we can know what’s going on without much hassle.”
If everything was documented properly, then we should be able to easily find if any demons made a mess. Hoping for the best, I leaned over and looked through the papers he showed me.