|Author: Tsunose Bun||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3024 characters|
|Translator: Jiro||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1112 words|
“… I can’t find her. Kena… Just where in the world is she?”
Merc said this as she approached Astard, who was looking for Kena in Logholt as well and had a distressed expression on his face. Astard shook his head, a grim expression on his face, which was uncharacteristic of him.
“If we knew, then we wouldn’t be searching like this… No one has seen that carriage pass by here. They must have taken another road.”
“I agree. Those guys were most likely working for the Empire. With Count Fonan gone, the Empire is the only one who is aware of Doctor Glodel’s research.”
“That’s right. I can’t imagine a normal person pulling off such a daring stunt as dressing up as one of the Duke’s soldiers. I believe we should thoroughly investigate all routes leading from Logholt to the Empire.”
“Yea. It’s getting dark… We need to find her as soon as possible.”
The men’s original motivation for masquerading the Duke’s soldiers had most likely been to recover Tetem, or rather, the Empire’s spy posing as Tetem. Merc and Astard had overlooked this and had sent them off, entrusting Tetem’s care to Kena. This was clearly a miscalculation on the part of Merc and Astard.
They’d let their guard down, assuming that now that the Count, who had attempted to steal Doctor Glodel’s study, was dead, the case would be resolved as well. First and foremost, it had never crossed their mind that the Empire would dispatch men to disguise themselves as soldiers in order to reclaim Doctor Glodel’s sole granddaughter, Tetem1. They had never seen it as a possibility.
However, those were simply excuses. In the end, Merc and Astard had been played by the Empire.
By the time they brought back the Empire’s spy, disguised as Tetem, to Astard’s house from the professor’s residence, which had been looted by the count, Merc and Astard had fallen prey to the enemy’s schemes.
It was futile to regret it now.
“Great Sage! This person claims to have seen a suspicious carriage!”
“Is that so? Please tell me. What did you see?”
One of Duke Lezau’s soldiers, who was seemingly out of breath, brought a peddler-looking man with him as Merc and Astard were ready to switch their search location.
“Tell them what you told me.”
“O-Okay. So, this morning, I came through the mountains from the direction of the Kingdom of Lambada, and along the way, I spotted a carriage making its way through the animal trails. It was just for a split second, but I believe I spotted Duke Lezau’s mark on the soldier’s armor.”
“I see. Thank you. In the direction of Lambada… Merc, what do you say?”
“From here, the Kingdom of Lambada is to the west, but halfway up the mountain, you may turn north and travel towards the Empire. They probably think that cutting through the mountains will get them to the Empire quickly.”
Of course, it’s also possible that they knew there would be witnesses and feigned to leave for the Kingdom of Lambada in order to keep their real identities hidden. Merc had a gut feeling that the peddler’s statements were credible.
Merc’s intuition was, of course, no verification of anything, but Astard nodded, agreeing with her thought process.
“Perhaps they chose the mountains for yet another reason.”
Astard mumbled, arousing Merc’s curiosity.
“That’s right. It’s something I’d like not to consider, but they may be planning to get rid of excess luggage before returning.”
“…! You don’t mean…”
“We should get to the mountain as soon as possible.”
The peddler took Merc and Astard to the spot where he’d spotted the suspicious wagon inside the mountain before it got dark.
Merc, who had excellent night vision, and Astard, who could see in the dark using magic, were unlikely to become lost in the dark. However, they were concerned about Kena’s safety and wanted to find her as quickly as possible.
Astard called out to Merc from not so far away from the sighting place after searching for clues for a bit.
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“Look at this.”
Blood was strewn over the ground next to a cliff.
The amount of blood, which suggested a severe injury, stretched all the way to the edge of the cliff. Even if the individual was still alive, a fall from the cliff would kill them due to the amount of blood loss.
“I’ll use Mana Scan.”
Astard straightened his posture and unleashed Mana from his body in a wide range, a stern expression on his face. The prestigious title of Great Sage hadn’t been bestowed to Astard for no reason. For a human, the amount of Mana discharged from his body was astounding. If Kena was within the range of Astard’s Mana Scan, he’d find her right away.
“Damn it. No luck…”
As he dropped to one knee, Astard muttered lifelessly, wiping the sweat from his brow. He was probably fatigued from using so much Mana.
Mana Scan was a skill that involved releasing a thin layer of Mana from the body in order to search for Mana reactions over large distances and on a scale that could not be perceived by the senses. As a result, the larger the search area, the more Mana was spent. That being said, if the spell was interrupted, the Mana returned to the body without being consumed. As a result, Astard’s tiredness would dissipate quickly. Regrettably, not even Astard, who possessed an enormous quantity of Mana, had been able to locate Kena.
Perhaps she was simply not there.
“Let’s go down the cliff. I’ll try once more.”
“Let me try before that. My Mana currently surpasses yours.”
“Now that I think about it, you’re right. Be my guest then.”
Astard remarked, not upset in the least by Merc’s comments. Perhaps he didn’t take pride in being known as the great sage, a title he didn’t particularly crave. Or maybe he just believed it was pointless to compete in Mana with an elf.
In any case, he didn’t seem to mind Merc attempting it as well.
Let’s see if I’m able to find her…
Merc closed her eyes and emitted a dilute form of Mana, which she used to scan the surroundings. Elves were reported to have much more Mana than human beings. And Merc’s Mana could well be regarded as exceptional even among elves.
Merc extended her search all the way down to the cliff’s bottom, where Astard had failed to reach and then extended it some more.
“… Got it. I found Kena’s Mana.”
“What did you say? Are you serious?”
While Astard yelled in surprise, Merc gently opened her eyes.
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