|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2764 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1242 words|
Having found what looked like traces of Johann’s blood in the mansion’s basement, the group decided to collectively gather all the scattered papers. Once they checked all of them, they reached the conclusion that all the documents tying Melville to Chimera Clauzen had been taken.
「I guess this really means they knew what we wanted to do.」
「But how? We were able to evade even state-of-the-art magic detection alarms, so any other tool would have been unable to see us either, and we concealed all our conversations as well.」
While Mira looked discouraged at the pile of papers in front of them, Sasori’s eyes were on Worthramble as she tried to figure out where they had slipped.
Worthramble’s powers as a spirit of stillness were incredible. When talking and negotiating with Johann they had been very careful as well, being sure he was inside of Complete Suppression’s area of effect first before making contact. It was hard to believe that conversation had been heard by others.
It was possible Johann had chosen to betray them, reporting their plan to Chimera, but Angelique and Anne were being held like he had said, giving credibility to his word and making such a possibility unlikely. Even then, Johann and the documents were gone now.
「Let’s check the rest of the mansion first. We might find more clues.」
「Yeah, I guess that’s a good starting place.」
It was hard to imagine they would find much, but it was better than standing there doing nothing, so the group went back up to the mansion.
Johann and the guards were all gone, so there was nothing stopping them from using Concept Magic to conjure a light and search the place more easily. Yet they found nothing, while Angelique looked at some of the furnishings with a nostalgic look.
They went to the second floor next, heading towards the research room where they first met Johann. At first glance everything looked the same as when they left earlier. He had probably headed straight to the basement after their conversation, where he had so mysteriously vanished.
Closer inspection of the room was fruitless as well. The search concluded, only Angelique looked at the shelves, full of familiar memories, while tearing up. Next to her Mira took the sheep plush toy and began squeezing it in her hands. Items like that were a prime target to conceal some sort of spying item. In the end, even that produced nothing and the toy was untampered.
Mira and Sasori left the research room and headed to search the other room on the mansion’s second floor. But they both froze up in the corridor before they could enter it.
The first time they were there, they had seen a complete suit of armor standing eerily under the moonlight at the end of the corridor, but for whatever reason it was gone now.
「What happened to the…armor? Do you think that maybe the armor…came alive and took…Johann…」
Sasori’s cheek seemed to cramp as she forced a smile, turning towards Mira with a staggered motion like broken clockwork. Seeing the armor was a somewhat scary memory engraved in her mind, and now her tail stood upright from fear as she perked her senses, ready to react to anything that happened around her.
「Well, that’s hard to say… All we really know is that it must have gone somewhere.」
Mira leaned down as she spoke, closely examining the place where the armor stood before. There was some dust that had collected over time there, except for two spots shaped like the soles of shoes.
「Did you say there was a suit of armor placed here?」
Angelique also stooped over Mira as she asked that question. Apparently there had never been a suit of armor in the mansion while Angelique and Anne lived there. In other words, Johann had only obtained it after his family had been taken hostage.
「Maybe there was something inside the armor then.」
「Yeah, probably. They already have masks that can track someone, so some spell or device to spy on others would also be possible.」
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There was plenty of space inside a suit of armor to stuff something like that in. If done properly, something like that could give anyone access to direct surveillance at all times. In hindsight, Mira and Sasori needed to be more careful of its interior than its outward appearance.
Mira and Sasori frowned, realizing the existence of an unexpected watcher, and quickly finished searching the remaining places.
While Johann’s disappearance was unexpected, their next priority was to keep Angelique and Anne safe, so they used their remaining time of Complete Suppression to go to the King’s Hidden Palace.
Not seen by anyone or tailed, Mira and her group reached the main offices of the Eabates Trading Corporation. A magnificent four storey building made of stone and wood.
It was located next to the commercial district so the streets were still full of life, but the store itself had already closed so the only people standing near it were drunk and unconscious. From what they could see, the same applied to most other stores except for those selling drinks.
The plot of land owned by Eabates was rather large, with red brick walls extending for about three hundred meters on each side of the main building and surrounding it. Sasori led them around those walls, entering a small alley behind the building and the walls. There were tall walls on both sides of the alleys, and hidden under their shadows they found a small rear entrance.
「We don’t know where there are eyes looking for you, so I hope you two don’t mind hiding for now.」
「And they shouldn’t know what we’ve done with you either, so there’ll be little chance a pursuer will find you.」
The less people knew where Angelique and Anne had been taken, the easier it was to stop information from leaking. So if they remained hidden without anyone seeing them on the way there, they should be safe. Once Angelique agreed, Mira and Sasori stepped out of Complete Suppression’s effect.
Sasori then knocked on the door, keeping something resembling a medal visible as she greeted the watchman who opened the door. That medal seemed to be some kind of pass, since the watchman held the door open for the girls to pass while greeting them politely.
They waited a bit to let Worthramble and the refugees go in first, then Mira and Sasori entered through the door. The watchman stared dumbfounded at Mira’s sleek silver hair flowing behind her, but no one noticed his gaze.
There were lights at even spaces inside the premises, illuminating the stone floor and surroundings. It looked like there was a small city inside the walls, streets wide enough for people and carriages to pass through, with small and simple houses on each side which looked lived in even hidden under the veil of night. According to Sasori, the company’s workers lived in most of them, so it was something akin to a dormitory for them.
There was even a building resembling a restaurant inside there. Its prices were really cheap, but the food was of high quality. It was only open to employees though, so again, it was something like a staff cafeteria.