Chapter 126.2 : Journey Toward Restoration Part 3
… … …
「Is it about the adventurers who are following us? 」
Rio asked that question with an understanding face.
「That’s right. They were already there when I noticed. Though they might overtake us from behind, for some reason they are keeping a reasonable distance from us. Don’t you think that their action is strange? 」
「Naturally but, we’re lacking the evidence to judge that they’re following after us. They’re way too careless in their attempt at trailing us. There is also the possibility that they keep a reasonable distance with other travelers on a highway for self-defense.」
「Uhm, that’s for sure……. But, I have a hunch.」
Vanessa nodded with a pensive look on her face.
「What’s matter? 」
Christina-tachi joined their conversation.
「No matter what don’t look back and please just hear our conversation. The truth is, we found an adventurer party following after us.」
Vanessa replied while being alert.
Christina-tachi’s eyes opened wide as they didn’t notice it at all.
「Around 30 minutes I guess. One hour after we left the post town.」
「Are they tailing us? 」
When Rio explained to her, Christina asked that looking alert.
「Though the possibility of that is low, it’s not zero either. Nevertheless, even if it’s true that they’re tailing us, the reason for that is unknown…」
「So, are you trying to say that they’re not chasing after me? 」
「Though I won’t say impossible, they’re basically exposing themselves in broad daylight. It doesn’t feel like they are trying to hide themselves at all. It’s too unnatural and they are just way too poor at it for a tailing job.」
Rio replied to Christina’s question with a wry smile.
「If that’s the case, Does it mean they’re most likely a traveler too?」
Celia muttered in a low voice.
「Probably. After walking for a while, we’ll arrive at the junction that splits to the south and east. We’re going to go east but, in the event that they’re still following us, let’s just somehow deal with them then.」
Christina-tachi nodded in agreement when Rio proposed his plan to deal with them.
Later, after Rio-tachi had been walking along the highway for almost 30 minutes they arrived at the junction. There, they took the path going east as planned first and decided to take a brief rest a while later. By doing this, it won’t feel unnatural even if they looked at the adventurers who were tailing them from behind.
As they sat down on the rocky area along the highway, the adventurers they were waiting for went past them.
「… They’re gone.」
Celia said so with a disappointed tone as soon as those adventurers took the highway heading south.
「It’s still too early to let our guard down. Let observe the situation for a while longer, then continue our journey. It’s not like they’re not going to take a detour.」
Rio cautioned Celia to keep her vigilant.
But, the adventurers didn’t come back even after they waited for them.
◇ ◇ ◇
After Rio-tachi arrived at the next post town. As usual dinner and inn was arranged by Rio.
Then, at that time――,
（I’m back, Haruto.）
Aisia’s telepathic message resounded in his mind.
（That was fast. Are you alright? ）
Rio was slightly surprised, and then asked her.
（Yeah. There’s something that I want to tell you.）
（………….. Understood. We are practically meeting and speaking to each other right? Will you wait me at an inconspicuous place near the south gate? I’ll go there immediately.）
After pondering for a while, Rio decided to meet Aisia outside of the inn.
Rio started speaking at the same time as Aisia’s clear and simple reply.
「 I’ll leave for a while for information gathering. Please take a rest in the inn during that time.」
Rio said those words as he left the inn.
When he arrived at the south gate, Aisia who wore a hood to cover her face suddenly appeared before him.
「Shall we go to a deserted place?」
Rio followed after Aisia towards a dead-end alley, desolate of human presence. Then they flew through the sky out of the post town under the cover of dark night.
After arriving at a nearby plateau, Rio took out his rock house from his 『Item Box』 and decided to have the talk inside.
「This way, no one will hear our conversation. Will you tell me? About the information that you got.」
Rio who sat on the sofa after placing chilled tea on the desk asked that question.
「After that I followed those adventurers. I mean those adventurers who greeted you in the previous post town. The one who employed them is a man aged around thirty. They called him Arein.」
「Arein……… I have never heard about that name」
「Maybe that Arein and Lucius are different people. Moreover, Arein is employed by someone else. His name is Reis」
「Reis…………. Yeah, never heard about that name too」
Rio had a pensive look on his face. Two names he had never heard before showed up.
「Arein and Reis aside, there’s another two called Ven and Lucci.」
「Sorry. Sorry, I have never heard those two as well.」
「The real issue is from this point. My conclusion is that, the possibility of Arein-tachi having some sort of connection to Lucius is extremely high」
When Aisia told that fact with her monotonous voice, Rio’s expression stiffened.
「………. Let me hear the reason.」
「Arein-tachi is looking for someone. But, they don’t know who they’re looking for. But, I have this feeling that the person they’re looking for might be Haruto.」
「Why do you think so?」
Rio asked with a puzzled face.
「They have received an order from Reis to chase after the man who escaped after attacking the knights in Creia. He has told them that, the escaped man spoke the leader’s name. So I thought that the so called leader might be Lucius.」
Aisia explained her reasoning as a matter of fact.
「Certainly, assuming that the leader is Lucius, then they are most likely referring to me. Or rather, no one but me who extremely fits their description.」
Rio agreed to her reasoning while showing a wry smile. He was not that surprised by that revelation. He was rather surprised in how calm his emotions were when learning about this information.
After a short nod, Aisia drank the cold tea in the metal glass placed on the table. The sound of the ice moving inside the metal glass resounded in the room.
「For them to look for people who react to the name of Lucius, huh. That method is too wasteful and inefficient.」
「But it probably felt like a good bargain as long as they found the person they’re looking for, since they were even willing to bet on the slightest possibility. Haruto, you’re included amongst their list. They’re not sure about it yet though.」
「I see……………… Did you feel something during the exchange in the previous post town? 」|
Since he never expected that by looking for Lucius he would summon the people who know about Lucius——–
Rio let out a bone chilling smile hearing such a wonderful information.
「But, those guys are also ordered to gather the information from the search party. Moreover, from commander class people.」
The face of Charles Arbeau, former fiancé of Celia, floated in Rio’s mind.
「I think Arein-tachi have no direct relationship with the search party. It seems the connection is through Reis who seems to be making moves at a different place at the moment.」
Thus, Aisia reminded Rio of the existence Reis.
「Reis huh. Let’s remember that name. …….. By the way, since Arein-tachi’s attention is on me, can I assume that they’re going to chase after me? 」
「Yeah. He hired adventurers who will pretend as travelers to chase after you. They were instructed by him to head toward a different direction to your group」
「………. So it’s the guys who were following after us today huh. Certainly it’s easier for them to know which road we took from that point. Which means――」
「Yeah. I’m going ahead of Arein-tachi just to be safe since I don’t know when they will overtake us. Those guys have greater mobility since they’re using a griffon」
「I see. Thank you, that’s an extremely valuable information. Thank you very much, Aisia.」
Rio stood up after saying his gratitude with a sincere smile on his face.
「What will you do to Arein-tachi? 」
「………… Let them go for now. Currently I can’t leave Celia-sensei’s side and I have also got the information about that person.」
Rio paused for a while hearing Aisia’s question.
「In that case, should I tail Arein-tachi from now on? 」
「Please, that’ll save me from a lot of trouble.」
「Then leave it to me.」
「……Thank you. By the way, are you going to resupply your odo in your spirit form inside my body tonight? You can start tailing them from tomorrow after all.」
After nodding, Aisia left her seat and went towards Rio. And then, she suddenly grasped Rio’s hands tightly.
「Good night, Haruto.」
「Good night, Aisia.」
Rio showed a troubled smile seeing Aisia drowsy face.
In the next moment, Aisia suddenly vanished as she entered Rio’s body in her spirit form.
（…………… Maybe I should go to a bar. I need to gather accurate information in this post town.）
After stretching lightly, Rio then left the rock house.