|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu
|Original Source: Syosetu
|Word Count: 3505 characters
|English Source: Re:Library
|Word Count: 1787 words
「By the way, I understand you’ve been following the thief for a long time, but is there any other information you’ve gathered? Like the existence of a safehouse, any helpers, or where the money he steals goes?」
As she ordered her second serving of soft cream, Mira posed another question.
So far she had learned that Fuzzy Dice was someone to be wary of. Now she wanted to know anything else that could help her.
Her ultimate goal was to find the orphanage where Artesia, one of the Nine Wisemen, might be staying. Mira could even end up flipping over to Fuzzy Dice’s side to know that.
If she could learn about hideouts, helpers, or the flow of money, maybe she would be able to trace that to the orphanage. Especially the money, as that was likely going there.
「Hmm, other information? Well, let me think about this…」 The detective began thinking about that, and after a short pause he replied with delight.
First, he suspected that Fuzzy Dice’s hideout was always somewhere in the target’s city, but as each heist was carried somewhere else, the hideout’s location would also move around, making it impossible to pin down.
After looking into it for so long, he was even wondering if Fuzzy Dice did not simply use inns as his hideout instead.
「There was one time I found a young boy who told me he saw a strange figure enter an inn through the window.」
That boy’s account was all he had to work off, but the time the boy mentioned also lined up with the time at which everyone lost sight of Fuzzy Dice.
As soon as the detective heard of that, he went to that inn to investigate, but could not find anything of use. Only the innkeeper had some information to share, saying that the only person staying in that room was a young male, who looked like a rather plain adventurer.
「Oh, plain you say?」
The detective had felt the need to point that out. When Mira asked about it, the detective mentioned his reasoning at the time.
Knowing who that person was could lead to figuring out Fuzzy Dice’s identity, so the detective made sure to learn as much as he could. He asked the innkeeper everything he could imagine, the adventurer’s appearance, clothes he was wearing, and so on.
「I asked about his hair and eye color, stature, anything I could think of. The innkeeper had not paid much attention to everything so some parts were vague, but everything he did recall was all plain and average.」
All the information the detective got from the innkeeper pointed at someone who looked extremely average and could be found anywhere, so it did not help with identifying Fuzzy Dice at all.
That adventurer had dark brown hair, which was neither too long nor too short, no features that stood out, making him so average it was almost hard to remember him. His clothing was no different, all of it being the common equipment sold by the United Adventurer’s Guild. His mannerisms also did not stand out, just like his appearance, so calling him a plain looking adventurer was really the only way to describe him. That was the description the innkeeper gave of the person suspected of being Fuzzy Dice.
「That nothing stood out makes him more suspicious, I’d say.」 It was almost like he had been trying to disguise himself as a plain person. That made Mira almost convinced that the adventurer had actually been Fuzzy Dice.
「Yes, that’s what I think too.」 The detective was in agreement. That much plainness was unnatural and could only be achieved by wearing such items on purpose.
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「The best place to hide a tree is within a forest. And a person won’t stand out within the crowd of a city. On top of that, disguising as an adventurer can get someone to fit in anywhere.」
The detective was right. Adventurers would often travel from one city to another on a whim, so Fuzzy Dice could easily move around with that disguise without anyone noticing. Especially if he dressed as a man with no defining features.
「I’d wager that Fuzzy Dice has already arrived in this city as well, and he’s staying in an inn somewhere. All under the guise of a plain adventurer.」
Someone so plain also did not stay in people’s minds for long. On top of that Fuzzy Dice’s attire when carrying out a heist was so showy that no one would make the connection. Fuzzy Dice was a genius at stealing, but he was also a master of disguise.
「Finding him would make things so much easier though.」
Considering Fuzzy Dice always announced the date of his heists, he had to be in the city at least the day before. If Mira could find where, she could confront him much more easily. But that was easier said than done.
「I know what you mean, but there’s always a huge number of adventurers entering and leaving the city, and trying to find someone without even knowing his name is virtually impossible.」
The detective had tried to find Fuzzy Dice in inns many times already, but he could never determine his location. In the end he concluded it was impossible to find him like that.
Most times Fuzzy Dice’s targets lived in large cities, which also meant a bigger flow of adventurers. Even if the detective could focus only on adventurers that arrived recently, it was impossible to track all of them down, as they would all visit different places of the city and move freely, and capturing a specific one was an impossibility on top of that.
Seeing which adventurers checked in with the Union was easier, but most adventurers did not do that, and not even the Union itself knew the number of adventurers staying in a given city at a time.
The biggest hurdle was how much time one had to investigate.
On top of the high adventurer population, it was impossible to know at which time Fuzzy Dice would arrive. It was very likely that he would already be in a city stalking his prey before sending the warning notice, so examining adventurers arriving after that would just be a waste of time. But on other times he could arrive the day before the heist as well.
Trying to investigate both the adventurers entering the city and those already there was impossible in such a short timeframe. But then the detective added, 「But a single day would be more than enough to find someone who stands out as much as you do, Mira.」
「Either way, at least we can conclude that his hideout is an inn somewhere in the city.」
The detective summed up the response for one of Mira’s questions. Then their second serving of soft cream was brought, and this time each of them had ordered a different flavor.
「Moving on, you asked about any helpers, and all I can say is that I haven’t heard about or seen anyone like that, so I wouldn’t be able to point you in any direction.」
The detective said that, in an almost refreshing turn from his earlier responses.
The thief always appeared on his own, would not be caught by anyone, and would run away without making contact with anyone else. It was impossible to determine whether he had any helpers or none.
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「I actually looked into his fans to see if they were helping in any way, but that was a completely futile effort.」
Fuzzy Dice’s fans, a group mostly composed of women, would always appear right after a warning notice was delivered. They had become a quite large organization with a complicated network of information, so for a while the detective suspected them of helping Fuzzy Dice behind the scenes.
But after investigating them as much as he could, he came to the conclusion that they were simply a group of crazy fanatics, and nothing more. Or rather, they seemed averse to the idea of helping the thief, as Fuzzy Dice was too perfect to ever need any help.
「To be honest I’m almost impressed that people can actually become so passionate and attached to a single thing.」
Those women would follow Fuzzy Dice anywhere simply because they liked him. They all admired his dedication and values, as well as his strength to realize them. The detective took a spoonful of his soft serve ice cream and voiced his admiration for their passion, mentioning how there were different ways to like someone.
「Well, I guess so…」
Mira was unsure of exactly how to reply to that, seeing how her impression of those fans differed so much from how the detective saw them.
「You also mentioned the flow of money he generates, right?」
He asked just to confirm, before going silent with a really thoughtful look. Then after a short pause, he replied, 「As far as the official records go, that’s also unknown,」 his voice seeming to conceal something.
「That’s a rather odd way of putting it, isn’t it?」 Mira was curious why he felt the need to point out those were the official records, and the detective replied that it was a bit complicated.
「As far as I heard, he supposedly gives that money to orphanages? Have you heard anything about that?」
That was a rumor Mira had heard during her train rides, when she traveled alongside a lady called Theresa, who was the public relations manager of a clothing store named Magical Knights. Mira believed that could be a connection with the orphanage she was looking for, though if it turned out the rumor was false, then she would no longer have a reason to go after Fuzzy Dice. If it was true, then there would still be hope.
Rather than knowing of his hideouts or helpers, this was what Mira was most interested in.
「So you heard of that too, huh? I guess it really is impossible to seal the lips of people.」 Hearing that, the detective replied with a saddened voice, shrugging with a helpless smile. That response showed that he clearly knew something more.
「In my case I’d actually prefer if those rumors are true.」 Mira took another spoonful of her dessert and grinned. 「If you don’t mind hearing my unverified findings, then I’ll tell you what I know,」 was the detective’s reply.
Mira urged him to please continue. That prompted the detective’s lust for talking to trigger again, and so he started talking again, going into every detail he could.