Chapter 125.1 : Journey Toward Restoration Part 2
… … …
That day, Rio-tachi is taking a detour around the checking station and then successfully slipped through it by using the mountain and forest area barely arriving in the next post town before evening.
「W-We finally arrived」
Murakumo Kouta muttered those words with a exhausted voice while looking at the entrance of the post town.
「Could it be that I’m completely wasted because we traveled through the forest. Just how long we walked through that forest? 」
Saiki Rei, the senpai of Kouta who walked by his side is responded with faint breath.
It’s been two days since they left the capital of earl Claire territory, Creia. They keep moving around during that time, so it’s natural for those two who come from the peaceful Japan to be this exhausted.
Nevertheless, it’s become more obvious in Christina and Celia’s side who basically lived a sheltered live to have far less stamina than Kouta-tachi.
Nevertheless, Christina and Celia kept moving gallantly without saying any complaints. Those two are currently rehydrating themself with water from their flask.
「The average distance a human can move around in one day is around 30~40 kilometres. But, we were barely covering half of those distances since we traveled via the forest」
Rio is replying to Rei’s question with a nonchalant face.
「In short it was around 20 kilometres…………..」
Kouta’s face became stiff in hearing the fact that those distances can be traversed in tens of minutes by car.
「It might take around 2-3 weeks till we arrived at the stronghold of Restoration. The way ahead is still long you know. We will be moving tomorrow too」
Vanessa, the escort knight of Christina interposing from the side.
Kouta couldn’t do anything but to nod in hearing that.
「By the way, let’s enter the city immediately so that we can secure our inn today. Since I’ll make a lighter dinner, please sleep earlier than usual」
After Rio said those words with a wry smile, all of them then went to continue their short journey toward the inn.
And then, as soon as Rio entered the post town, he was hit by a faint sense of discomfort. He felt someone gaze at him.
When he looked at the origin of those gazes, he saw several adventurers gathering together near the entrance of the post town as if they were looking at Rio-tachi who somehow appeared outside of the post town.
Adventurers were spreading everywhere, it’s not a rare sight of finding an adventurer who just finished their job at such place. Native adventurers might be quite curious about the outsiders.
There’s a possibility that they might be doing a vigilante job of protecting the post town which is left without a guard.
「What are they looking at? 」
Christina whispered to him. Vanessa who walked by her side also kept her vigilance. It seems that both of them noticed too.
「Please keep your gaze away from their eyes. Since it’ll be troublesome if we suddenly get involved in a brawl. Don’t let them find any abnormality, basically let’s just act as if nothing happened. Now please follow me」
Rio muttered those words in order to be heard by all members. And just like that with him walking quickly in the front, they went into the post town.
Since the post town is established along the highway, it only has one and straight main road. After entering the post town while strengthening his vigilance to their back, he felt the gaze of those adventurers dispersed.
「I’ll look for an inn. Please wait in this place, everyone」
Rio entered a quite normal inn while saying so.
Later, after bribing the innkeeper in the same way as yesterday, he decided to rent a private room.
◇ ◇ ◇
A certain bar in the post town where Rio-tachi arrived.
Though the adventurers who made this post town as their base usually hang around in this place, this bar is rather deserted today.
Two men was drinking liquor at one corner of this bar.
The first one is an adventurer in the midst of his thirties―― Who became the mediator of the adventurers who made this post town as their base ―― and the last one is an adventurer in his second half of his twenties.
「Then, how was the result? Any result today? 」
The younger adventurer asked the older adventurer who sat in front of him.
「We were keeping a tight watch as you said since the inspection at northern checking station became even stricker, the traffic has decreased for the time being. There are only a total of 4 group of traveller that entering this post town today. We were calling to the guys who seems like resembling your description. Now is dinner time. We might get proper information in the nearby bar or dining hall of an inn. The report should come soon」
So the older adventurer is telling that as a matter of fact.
The younger adventurer’s throwing a short reply while eating the dish on the table.
「……….. Hey. Is it really okay for us to receive such a large amount of money for this kind of job, Arein-san? 」
The older adventurer suddenly asked that question.
「You’re still impatient despite not finishing your job yet aren’t you?」
The younger adventurer called Arein is smiling wryly at him.
「Well, it’s just as you say. I mean isn’t this the kind of job that even a few novice adventurers are able to complete it?」
The older adventurer is replying awkwardly while scratching his head.
「Did you think so? 」
Arein sneered in hearing that.
「Hah, please stop with a way of talking as if you’re trying to test me. I’m unfortunate enough to end as fourth rank adventurer in this town. I can’t follow what you, a second rank adventurer-sama is thinking about」
The older adventurer is frowning in displeasure.
「That guy is bad news. I’m younger than you after all There’s no need to show such humility right? 」
Arein was replying so while shrugging his shoulder.
「Huhm, it has nothing to do with age. Moreover, an adventurer has to show minimum respect to their client right」
After saying so, the door of the bar suddenly flung open along with a influx of many adventurers.
「Oh, guys. How was the result? 」
The older adventurer is greeting the other adventurers who just entered the bar.
「No result. I think that’s all save for the last group which is on hold」
「Last group on hold? 」
The older adventurer asked with a puzzled voice.
「It’s Orin’s group. Eh? 」
The questioned adventurer then looked at the young adventurer in his later half of teens that is standing in the front, Orin.
「Yeah, we couldn’t make contact. Though they were inside of the inn, for some reason they’re reserving a private room and cooking their own dishes by borrowing the kitchen」
「Hou. In short, they’re avoiding public gaze is it? 」
Arein asked that question with interested tone in hearing the information from Orin.
「No, I don’t know till that far………..」
「Ahn, didn’t you try to probe the innkeeper? 」
「I did. But, it seems the innkeeper also doesn’t know much about them…….」
Orin is replying with a sullen face as if displeased by the question of the old adventurer.
「Ceh, useless chap. In the end you bastards are doing a half assed job」
「S-Such things! Ah, come to think of it. All of them were using a hood to hide their face. How’s that? 」
Orin suddenly objected, desperately trying to find shelter from such harsh rebuke.
「”How’s that” my ass. You should know that much as long as you look at the way they were walking in the city. What’s with that triumphant look of yours」
And then, when the older adventurer is rebuking Orin,
「Well it’s okay. We will get our second chance when they leave the city by tomorrow. You may try to have contact with them by that time. Let me to go with you at that time」
Arein is saying those words from the side and then drunk the beer with a unconcerned look on his face.
◇ ◇ ◇
The next morning, after leaving the inn, Rio-tachi went toward outside of the town.
By the way, they are slightly behind the schedule since everyone overslept due to their accumulation of fatigue save for Rio and Vanessa.
When they arrived around the gate of the town and facing toward the direction of their destination,
「Oi, the guys over there. Judging from your appearance, you guys are travelers right」
Several adventurers suddenly appeared and called to Rio-tachi.
「………… That’s right, and you guys? 」
Rio who is standing at the vanguard is replying as the representative of the party.
On the other hand, Vanessa who is standing at the end of the formation raised her vigilance.
「Oops, we were not trying to pick a fight. We just wanted to ask something」
The middle aged adventurer is raising both of his hands as a sign of non resistance.
「We are in a hurry. Please hold back if you want to ask something that will take some time to answer」
Rio’s keeping his vigilance while looking at the adventurer.
「No, it’ll only take a while. You. No, is there someone amongst you guys who know about a man called Lucius? 」
「……….. I know a man who has the same name as him but I don’t know whether they are the same person」
Rio is replying after pausing for a moment. Her train of thought suspended for a moment since an unexpected name suddenly came out of nowhere.
Though he considered to reply that he doesn’t know about that name, he can’t curb his curiosity when he hears Lucious’ name and then trying to asking them in a indirect way.
「Oh, that’s right. The Lucius who I know is the leader of 『Heavenly Lion mercenary』. And a first rank adventurer. How about that information? 」
The middle aged adventurer asked that question with a curious tone.
「………. Yeah, it’s a famous name. He is the one who I know」
Rio is agreeing after a slight pause.
He tried to look for the information regarding Lucius in the vicinity of Almond by himself when he was still living with Miharu-tachi.
Though they’re inactive during the recent years, his name is famous in the vicinity along with the name of 『Heavenly Lion Mercenary』.
Therefore he is sure that it’s not an artificial rumor.
「I see. Sorry for stopping you in the middle of your travel. It’s already okay」
「……… Already okay? 」
Rio was disappointed at the event that ended up in a unexpected way.
「Yeah, we confirmed that you guys aren’t our target」
「What do you mean？ 」
Rio’s looking at the man with suspicious gaze.
「W-We can’t say the details but we were looking for someone. We were just acting as the messenger. We were calling to someone who looks like the one that our client is looking for. As for you guys, I can’t see you guys as the one he is looking for since you look so natural. Well, that’s the gist of it」
The middle aged adventurer told them with suggestive answer.
「…………… In short, is your client someone called Lucius? 」
「Sorry, I can’t answer your question. I have to keep my client secret」
The middle aged adventurer is giving a clear refusal.
（What shall I do then?）
Rio became extremely impatient inside.
Asking forcibly will seem unnatural and he doesn’t think that he’ll get the answer even if he asks the middle aged adventurer. Causing commotion in this kind of open space in the middle of the road is also out of the question.
In the first place, he has no time for that. Since he is currently escorting a group of fugitives.
（Shall I remain alone in this place to investigate it? I can do that later as long as I left the job of escorting them to Aisia in her spirit form……… No, I can’t do that. The finer detail about the route to take already decided. There’s a forest route too, so it’ll be unnatural for us to merge without prior arrangement. In the first place, what kind of explanation do I have to tell to sensei-tachi?）
Rio’s looking at the adventurers while being troubled by such things for a few seconds.
「What’s the matter, Haruto? 」
Celia’s calling his name from behind.
「No, it’s nothing. Shall we go then」
Rio’s shaking his head and then turned around to look behind. It feels like he’s doing something that he is reluctant to do but, he is cleverly hiding it so that no one will know any unusual change about him.
「See ya, Lads. Sorry for calling you when you’re in a hurry」
The adventurers then left after saying those words.
Rio’s looking at their backs with a impatient gaze.
「Lucius huh. To think that I’ll hear that name in this kind of place」
Vanessa muttered those words.
「You know about him? 」
Christina who is standing beside her is asking with a slightly surprised face.
Rio’s listening to their conversation with a nonchalant face.
「Yeah, well. He’s a fallen noble of our kingdom after all」
Vanessa replied with a slurry voice.
「Is that so？ I don’t know about him though」
「It was when I was still a rookie. It’s already a decade old story. Though it was quite a famous story at that time……….. So it’s only natural that Christina-sama didn’t know about it」
「He……….. Well, it’s okay. We’ll talk about it again later. Let’s go」
Christina urged them to depart immediately since she might feel that they can’t continue this conversation more than this in this place. Thus, all of them is leaving the town.
Thereupon, at that time――,
（I’ll be staying in this town, Haruto. I should be able to dig up some information right? About the clue to find Lucius）
And then, Aisia voice resounded in his head.
Rio halted in his place and then showed a bewildered face.
In fact, he really wanted to ask her to do that.
Though it’s obvious that she’s not cut out for this kind of activity due to her extremely attractive appearance and taciturn personality, she can move around those adventurers to gather the information in her spirit form.
But, he’s wondering whether it’s okay to leave such a job to Aisia.
This is his own problem and by doing so he’ll involve AIsia in no small way as his accomplice.