Chapter 126 : Journey Toward Restoration Part 3
… … …
Arein, a second rank adventurer was looking for someone searching for Lucius, the one who murdered Rio’s mother. He was hiring adventurers in a post town to speak to incoming travelers to identify anyone who knew a person named Lucius.
Thereupon, Arein was keeping tabs on Rio who reacted to Lucius’ name. He ordered a young adventurer named Orein and his party to chase after Rio-tachi but……..
「Your job is simple. Follow those people in front of us. Keep a reasonable distance in order to not miss them or be discovered by them. Though I don’t mind if they discover you all, do not initiate contact with them. Even if they greet you, just pretend that you are fellow travelers. That’s all.」
Arein explained the job to Orin-tachi after all of them had gathered at the post town gate.
When Orin-tachi nodded at his explanation, the tip of Arein’s lips rose slightly.
「Yosh. In that case, chase after them immediately. You should know about the road junction which leads to the east and south, located south of this town right? 」
「Of course! We are active in this area..」
「Well then, after you all arrive at that junction, take a different route from their group. After that, take a rest for few minutes. That’s your job. I have some other things to take care of in the meantime. I will meet up with you once I am done.」
Orin replied immediately. Though he had yet to understand the full objective of this request, the instructions given were simple.
「Any question? 」
Although he hesitated, Orin denied it. Deep inside he wanted to move the conversation towards remunerations but, it was hard to bring it up as the one who requested Airin for a job.
「I see. As I said before, I have some minor business to take care of. I might take a while to come back. Though I’ll be back when the sun sets, you’ll be waiting for a bit. Well, you may do as you please until then.」
After saying so, Arein went into the town for the second time.
（This…………… Which one I should follow? Should I notify Haruto about this?）
Aisia pondered while looking at the back of Orin-tachi who advanced towards the south at a fast pace.
（Uhn. It should be no problem to leave them as it is. In that case, I have to chase after that guy.）
After making that judgement, Aisia decided to follow after Arein.
◇ ◇ ◇
At that time: Earl Claire’s territory, capital Creia.
The commander of Christina search team―― Charles Arbeau was secluding himself inside the room assigned to him by Celia’s father, Roland Claire. He was listening to two pieces of information being reported by Alfred, obtained from his 400 strong troops.
「You good for nothing! Have you found the whereabouts of princess Christina yet !? 」
Charles shouted as he slammed his hand on the disordered desk.
Alfred who was standing in front of him had a frown hearing that.
「The soldiers are moving according to your instructions. They’re freezing the highways to the east and to the north. They are even searching inside the forest. But, it seems they can’t find any traces of the target.」
He said so in a matter-of-fact tone.
「Are they really searching properly? It won’t be funny if we find out later they have ignored something important you know? 」
「They’re exhausting themselves.」
「Then show me the result!! Working is meaningless without any results!」
Charles wasn’t even trying to hide his irritation.
「The soldiers are moving according to your command, they have no responsibility in this. The responsibility falls upon their superior officer commanding them」
「…………… Are you saying my orders are wrong?? 」
「I did not mean it that way. I am telling you to stop trying to find faults in someone else and forcing your responsibilities on to your subordinates.」
When Alfred objected in a roundabout way, Charles glared at him with a dangerous glint in his eyes.
「What ? 」
「Be quiet. Maybe we need to change our point of view on this matter.」
「……………….. What do you mean? 」
Charles smacked his lips and asked for an explanation from Alfred.
「The south highway. Though I’ve said this in the beginning, we have no one there to stop them from escaping in that direction. Despite how we are currently lacking personnel, it’s still not too late to close it. Now, should I send a search party towards that direction? 」
「…………. No. We do not have enough people.」
「Why?! The search range will get bigger with each passing day. We’ll still be lacking personnel by then」
Alfred had an astonished face while saying so, as if he couldn’t believe what he had just heard.
「Three days have yet to pass. We can’t neglect the possibility of them escaping towards the north or east.」
Charles was trying to object Alfred’s idea for such a reason.
「Fool!! They might be running away through the southern route due to our lack of manpower there. Charles, stop making such silly mistakes if you’re also a commander!」
「SHUT UP! I’m the commander. Stop ordering me with such a condescending attitude. You’re nothing more than my assistant in this matter right? So stop meddling with me! 」
Charles became hysteric and vented his frustration on Alfred.
His inferiority complex over Alfred could be seen from his remark.
「………………….. I gave you an advice you know? 」
「Don’t worry. I won’t force the responsibility onto you. Seeing that you’re opposing my idea, the achievement on this matter won’t be yours.」
「I see. I don’t care about such things.」
Though Alfred was almost struck with a dizzy spell, he barely managed to stand on his own by pressing his forehead.
Charles observed Alfred’s movement with a vexed expression.
In the end, Charles sent a search party towards the southern route a few days later.
◇ ◇ ◇
Going a little south from Earl Claire’s territory in capital, Creia, there was a small town with a population of around 1000 people.
A man came to such a deserted bar in that town—– His name was Arein.
After surveying the inside of the bar for a while, he chose to sit in one corner of the room where two men in their thirties wearing adventurer attire already sat.
「Yo, Ven, Lucci. For you two to be in a bar in the afternoon, did something good just happen?」
「You’re early yourself, Arein. Don’t tell me, you are already done on you end? 」
Amongst the two, the one with medium build―― Ven responded lightly to Arein’s sarcasm.
「Humph. I’m not finished yet. I have the most troublesome job. I came to ask for your help since I thought you two would most likely be ditching your work around this time while exchanging information.」
「I agree with exchanging information. But, we’re not ditching our jobs, we are on standby. So we will be ready if something were to happen.」
The man with a large build, Lucci nodded while objecting to Arein’s previous words with a grin on his face.
As they were having that conversation,
「What is your order, master? 」
The blunt barkeeper came over to take their order.
「Beer. What about you two? 」
「Seconds for us.」
Arein threw one large copper to the barkeeper while ordering the same drink as the duo.
After taking the big copper, the barkeeper returned to the counter and began pouring the liquor for them.
「Well, sit down. Let’s have a chat while we have a drink」
Arein sat on a chair after being urged by Ven.
Soon, the barkeeper brought them their drinks. Once the barkeeper left Arein-tachi started to exchange the information they had.
「As expected, the national army that is staying in Earl Creia’s territory were really searching for something. I mean several hundreds of them are spreading out everywhere to the north and east highways. They are even going as far as to searching the forest in its vicinity」
Ven said that as he drank his beer.
After downing his liquor, Lucci continued after him,
「The thing I’m worried about is the one who has bad blood with our leader. According to Reis-sama, it seems he is running towards the south but, what have you found in the south, Arein? 」
Saying so, he asked Arein.
「The southern side is completely understaffed. Though they are examining everyone at every checking station before the highway, no result so far.」
「In that case, we might as well conclude that our enemy and the search target are entirely different cases right? Well, the story about that enemy itself might be a fake but, it doesn’t mean that person doesn’t exist either」
Lucci said so while brushing his unshaven beard.
「No, the possibility of it being a fake story is low. Even if the commander of the search troop was feeding fake information to Reis-sama, it will be too unnatural for him to suddenly mention our leader’s name.」
Arein resolutely denied that.
「I’m with Arein in this case. While we were observing the search party, it was not the kind of atmosphere where they were looking for an enemy. Though that person might have assaulted the search party, I concluded that it was a completely different matter to the one the search party is looking for」
Ven cut in between Arein’s and Lucci’c conversation stating his opinion.
「Why do you think that the two are unrelated? 」
「Like hell I know about that! In the first place, I don’t even know what those soldiers are looking for.」
Ven kicked the bucket easily when Lucci asked that question.
「What shall we do then, how about we kidnap one of the national soldier? 」
「We can do that too but, let’s keep that as our last resort. It’s still too early to do that. It will still not be too late even if we gather information in secret.」
「That’s way too troublesome. Working behind-the-scene like this. I want to take action in large scale operations.」
Lucci scratched his head with a troubled expression and told his objective to Ven.
「If that was the case, come with me. Though I have already formed a network at the post town along the south highway, I still need someone else to help me. Leave investigating the search team to Ven.」
Saying so Aerin invited Lucci to go with him.
「Have you found a clue regarding the enemy? 」
Ven asked with a curious face.
「Though I’m not one hundred percent sure, I found a suspect. Well, the probability of a miss is also high.」
「was it really okay for you to come here? 」
Lucci asked Arein.
「No problem. I’m employing adventurers with money. But, I have to go back immediately. I’ve run out of time」
「Go with him, Lucci. Me alone is enough for this kind of job.」
Ven said so to Lucci asking him to help Aerin.
「Well, that’s nice. It’s someone who beat several knights. It seems he is skilled. I want to fight him if possible.」
「Well, it depends on the situation. Reis-sama’s order is for us to find the target but, contact with the target is unnecessary.」
「Ou, understood. Well, I still want to test that person’s skill. Moreover, we have no other way to confirm whether he is the one we are looking for or not without testing his skills」
After saying so, Lucci emptied the beer in his glass and showed a wide grin on his face.
Arein heaved a sigh seeing that.
Someone was eavesdropping on their conversation right by their side.
（As I thought, these people have something to do with Lucius. Moreover, Reis. He’s the one instructing these people.）
It was Aisia.
Though she eavesdropped on their conversation in her spirit form, these people could have never expected that someone would eavesdrop on their conversation in this virtually empty bar.
「Then, let’s get going. Lucci.」
「Ou. Will we reach by noon? 」
「It will take one and a half hours if we use a griffon.」
Arein left the bar along with Lucci. Just like that, they left the city and entered the nearby forest where the climbed on to the back of an enslaved griffon.
（Let’s tell Haruto about this.）
Aisia followed after them, heading towards the direction where Rio was.
◇ ◇ ◇
At a different place, A while before.
Rio-tachi who left the post town were walking along the highway that would led them to the stronghold of Restoration.
At that time, Vanessa called to Rio in a low enough voice so as to not be heard by the other members of their party.