|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu
|Original Source: Syosetu
|Word Count: 3329 characters
|English Source: Re:Library
|Word Count: 1508 words
Mira’s shoulder twitched in shock, trying to process what she was seeing. But she was not the only one shocked there.
「Wait, what does this mean?」
「Why did a cute girl just come out?」
The soldiers and adventurers surrounding the spirit mansion were confused, not having thought a cute girl would come out of the mysterious building, which was certainly not the person they were expecting.
「What should we do? She looks kinda scared.」
One of the adventurers spoke to the soldier next to him, who wore more elegant armor than the other soldiers around, making him the likely leader of the entire crowd.
Everyone could see how the girl froze in place and twitched a little after stepping out of the building.
The leader seemed slightly pained by that revelation, but his gaze remained stern, declaring that whether she was a young girl or not, there was still a high chance it was the elusive thief or someone related to them. Anything could still happen, so they had to keep their eyes peeled.
After announcing that, the leader slowly walked forward, trying to determine the identity of the young girl.
Meanwhile Mira was trying to process everything that had happened, and why she was surrounded by armed people. As she listened to what they said, she began to understand what had led to this situation.
(I think I just heard someone mention a thief… Do they actually think I might be…)
Just as she was starting to figure things out, the soldier with elegant armor who seemed to be the crowd’s leader began approaching Mira.
(If this is what I think it is…)
As the soldier moved closer, an Ashen Knight responded by trying to block his way, but Mira told the Ashen Knight 「It’s fine, stand back.」 She actually spoke the words too, just so those in the crowd knew she meant no ill will.
The Ashen Knight stepped back as told, going back to stand next to Mira.
Seeing that, the soldier realized Mira did not want to fight, so he also replied by sheathing his sword, and then continued walking toward her.
「Does this mean you’re willing to talk things out?」
The soldier had walked around five meters away from the crowd, and was a similar distance away from Mira. There he stopped and spoke to her. His gaze was no longer sharp, overtaken by a more inquisitive look.
「Yes, I’d actually prefer it that way.」
Mira nodded while looking straight at the soldier, because she also felt like it was possible to solve this amicably. Everything was likely just a misunderstanding.
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「I see, I appreciate that then.」
Hearing Mira’s response, the soldier seemed to relax even more, feeling relieved. That was only for a moment though, as he soon spoke with a stern voice again.
「Then tell me this first. Are you related to Fuzzy Dice?」
That was a question Mira had anticipated already. She had figured out that her spirit mansion had been surrounded like that because they suspected its sudden apparition was somehow related to Fuzzy Dice.
「No, I’m just an adventurer. I heard that the Phantom Thief was going to appear in this city, so I came to see if I could catch him somehow.」
As she said that, she held her adventurer card up as a form of identification, though it was still inside that cutesy card case. The soldier moved closer until he was just around two meters away from her to take a better look at her card.
「I see…oh, wait, you’re a rank A adventurer!」
The soldier saw that it was a genuine card, but then was shocked to see she was actually rank A as well. That also prompted the rest of the crowd to start muttering amongst themselves even more.
Such a reaction was to be expected though, as rank A was an exceedingly high rank, and many adventurers could only dream of reaching it.
「And you said you’ll help with capturing the Phantom Thief? I can’t believe it, having the help of a rank A adventurer is all I could wish for! It’s been a while since we saw someone like you around here, so we really appreciate your assistance.」
Mira’s adventurer card and her rank seemed to have a big impact on improving her trustworthiness. The soldier leader seemed to no longer suspect her of anything, and actually welcomed her.
「Oh, is that so? I was under the impression that this was the kind of event where many rank A adventurers would’ve gathered…」
Mira was a little puzzled by the comment the soldier made though. Fuzzy Dice’s letter had been impactful enough that the news spread to other cities, and Fuzzy Dice had become a priority target of the Adventurers’ Union as well.
There was a hefty bounty on whoever captured him, which had gathered many eyes, as capturing someone like that was an easy way to gain a lot of fame. It was the perfect opportunity for rank A adventurers to duke it out and see who was the best.
Or at least that was how Mira looked at it, some sort of high profile event. But it seemed like reality was slightly different.
「From what I’ve heard, it used to be that way in the start. Even if just one rank A adventurer spotted the phantom thief, many other adventurers would come in droves, leading to what seemed like an annual festival. Or at least that’s what I heard from someone who was present back then.」
The soldier recounted that, which was a story he had heard from an acquaintance in a different city where Fuzzy Dice had been sighted.
It had been a lively and overwhelming event.
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Back then there had been just shy of a dozen rank A adventurers, who either arrived hearing rumors or after being sent by the Adventurers’ Union. Such a group would be more than enough to defend a city from a major threat like a brutal monster with a higher rank than A.
So everyone believed those adventurers would succeed, and were expecting great things from them.
But once things happened in earnest, they were utterly defeated. All those rank A adventurers faced off together against Fuzzy Dice alone, but were defeated, tied up, and then rolled off the roof of a Union building.
「Around ten rank A adventurers failed like that… He sounds like a mighty opponent.」
Mira had met various rank A adventurers in the past, and they were all proper champions in their own way.
Attaining rank A required completing a multitude of tasks of various types and difficulties for the Union, making it a good way to measure someone’s worth. And yet nearly a dozen of them had been beaten by Fuzzy Dice alone, showing he might be even stronger than Mira had anticipated.
「Yes, I heard Fuzzy Dice is ridiculously powerful. On top of that, those adventurers who were defeated ended up losing a lot of credibility after that incident. And that kept happening everywhere that the Phantom Thief appeared…」
Then the soldier sighed, adding with frustration 「And now we’re pretty much the bad guys in the eyes of the public too.」
「Ah, is that because of the chivalrous thief thing?」
At the start Fuzzy Dice had been regarded as one more thief, but after a few heists a common trend was noticed in his targets, and now he was like a hero of the masses.
That common trend was related to his targets. Everyone who Fuzzy Dice targeted was a terrible person, and if there were only rumors about their evil nature, Fuzzy dice would provide proof after the heist as well. Because of that many people began to believe that Fuzzy Dice was actually righteous.
In return, that meant that anyone opposing him was a bad person. That would also include rank A adventurers trying to capture him, and that was a hit to their reputation that they really would rather not take.
Now there were almost no rank A adventurers left who still felt like risking their name to capture Fuzzy Dice. The only ones that appeared nowadays always did it under the guise of trying to learn from Fuzzy Dice, or simply to test their abilities. None claimed they wanted to imprison him.
(In that case I doubt they’ll be very fond of me either then.)
Mira’s actual objective was to question Fuzzy Dice about the location of that orphanage that seemed to have been founded by Artesia. As long as she could learn that, Mira had no interest in actually capturing Fuzzy Dice or not. Or rather, she would have no qualms in letting him go as soon as she learned what she wanted to know.
There was no need to explain all that though, so Mira simply stated that she was looking to capture the thief instead.