Chapter 78 is here! It’s a little on the short side but I hope you’ll enjoy it, especially since it had been edited by Fordoom, who did an excellent ob, as usual 🙂
I was going to post this later, but I was actually not quite sure which time zone I should follow when posting my chapters, so I decided to just post it now ><
For the Patrons, chapter 79 and its preview are available over here, and they’re pretty long. I usually post them earlier than the scheduled chapters, so you guys should think of checking out the blog’s discord to keep yourselves updated.
Anyway, here is chapter 78, I hope you’ll enjoy it!
Having stolen the Griffith family’s Gram Grand treasured sword, Harold’s group directly returned to the town neighboring the village. One way or another, they were able to come back to their inn before dawn. Harold temporarily took off his robe and entered his room as if he was guilty of nothing. When he was finally alone, he sat at his bed and let out a long sigh. On top of his physical tiredness from his ten hours long round trip, he was guilty of trespassing, robbery and assault; being responsible for that triple combo of crimes, tortured his conscience and placed a massive mental burden on him. There were many bad rumors about him, but this was the first time he did something so clearly evil. It was not a pleasant feeling.
He looked at the rectangular box that was leaning against the wall. It seemed pretty neat and it didn’t look like it had been carefully stored in a versatile warehouse among other object up until a few hours prior. The night was over, and the shining light of the morning sun was starting to faintly enter through the room’s window. From here, this sword was going to be an important factor with great influence upon the fate of the story….. Or rather, of this world.
Suddenly, a certain development went through Harold’s head, what if he obediently let Liner snatch the sword back from him? The Gram Grand sword was highly efficient, fitting of being called a treasured sword. If Liner got accustomed to it from the get go, perhaps he would eventually master that sword. However, once he got back the sword, Liner would probably simply enter the knight order. In which case, he wouldn’t end up getting involved with the incident that Justus was going to trigger, nor with Justus’ plans, and the probability that Liner wouldn’t go through the process of solving the problem would therefore increase.
Although he was thinking about whether returning the sword would be wise, considering it would make him unable to guide things towards the original story’s direction, the time between when he was given the order and when he went to execute it was too short for him to devise a plan anyway. Moreover, Harold wasn’t eloquent enough to ask for Elu’s cooperation without him finding out about Harold’s knowledge concerning the game and the future, and even just influencing Elu while hiding the truth from him would be almost impossible. Besides, above all, Harold didn’t know what his standpoint would be if he were to fail his mission. So, rather than to take such a huge gamble, he decided that it was wiser to make use of his current position to get to know the whereabouts of the treasures and to control the pace at which they would be collected to some extent. Therefore, finding fault with the situation was useless. He had no other choice than to accept his fate and prepare himself to steal and maybe more. All he could do was wish that he wouldn’t be exposed as the leader of the black robed thieves.
While thinking about such things, Harold sank into a deep sleep as the sun rose, and surrendered himself to a temporary rest.
At the time when the traffic in the streets of the Bloche village became busy enough, the members of Frieri, including Elu, started taking action. They pretended to have no relation to each other, and they scattered through the village while acting as if they were simply visiting the place for some business they had. In a small village like that one, they’d probably be able to gather information with some considerable accuracy. Elu soon started interacting with the villagers while playing the part of a young peddler who just happened to come visit the village, and he caught onto the information which confirmed his assumption.
“The previous night, some thief entered into the Griffiths’ residence.”
While two women at a shop’s storefront, who were probably the shopkeeper and a client, were in the middle of some idle gossip about that, the topic of their conversation reached the ears of Elu, who was nearby. But he hadn’t gotten any contact from Harold by the morning so Elu already knew the mission was a success. For the time being, Harold had managed to clear the first step, so they were off to a superb start.
【”Say, miss, is that story true?”】
Elu tried to indirectly bring up the subject with a shopper next to him, who had probably accidentally heard the idle gossip just like he did since she was very close. The woman in her forties was very pleased by the question of Elu, who had referred to her as miss. It wasn’t clear whether it was because she was delighted to be called miss, or whether she was actually just itching to talk, but her mouth easily let louse.
【”Yes, apparently, he broke in there to rob them.”】
【”That seems quite violent for such a peaceful village. Are the people from that house all right?”】
【”The master of that house and his wife were slashed at and have been hospitalized. Fortunately, it seems like their injuries ended up being minor, but for the thief to actually wound that couple, it’s really…”】
【”Are the Griffiths skilled people?”】
【”It has been awhile since they retired but they used to be adventurers. Even now, whenever there is a monster which is dangerous to be near to, even for the village’s most skilled people, it’s always that couple that takes the lead and exterminates it.”】
【”That is to say, to surpass that Griffith couple, that burglar had to be quite talented. He must be a terrifying person.”】
【”You’re right. That’s why this is a hot topic in the village. I won’t be able to have a peaceful sleep tonight thinking that he could enter into my house.”】
Well, it was pointless to worry since the thief had already left the village. But this was a very natural reaction for the villagers who thought this incident was just a simple robbery, especially since their means of self-defense were scarce. However, leaving that aside, there was one more thing to confirm.
【”What kind of person was that burglar? If someone saw him, the good thing to do would be to let people know what the thief looked like, or what he was dressed like at least, just in case, but…”】
【”Well, though I didn’t hear it directly from them, it seems like the Griffiths said that there were actually two burglars.”】
They were two. The situation was exactly as Harold has said beforehand. In case there was a battle, Harold would disappear and he would command the two people from the Stellar tribe to stay. That was one of the many decisions he had taken. For that battle-loving Harold to withdraw furtively, he probably wanted to lower the risk of being found out by a third party as being part of the thieves’ gang as it would be very likely that they would know his face. That turn of events would certainly bring some trouble to Harold. Well, I don’t quite see the point of worrying about these things by now though, thought Elu.
For now, he had obtained the information he wanted. What he currently had to do was search for the boy named Liner and the girl named Colette as Harold had asked him to. According to Harold’s words, Liner was the only son of the Griffith family that came up earlier, and Colette was his childhood friend. For Harold to know them that much, it either meant he was acquainted with them, or that he wanted to get them involved in all this for some reason. Although Elu was worried about that, he did not ask about it as he knew that if he did, he would just be rejected and be told “It’s none of your business.”.
Harold’s name was quite well-known, in a bad way, so Elu couldn’t just bring it up with Liner. It seemed like he was going to be associating with him for a long time anyway, so he was eventually going to have an opportunity to find out what was the relationship between those two. But first, Elu needed to get acquainted with Liner. His parents were hospitalized due to their injuries so he was likely in the hospital as well.
However, Harold had suspected that Liner and that childhood friend would soon chase his group after the theft of the sword. If that prediction was right, then there was not much time for leisure. After bringing the flow of his conversation with the woman to an end in a natural way, Elu headed towards his next destination, the hospital.
The Bloche village wasn’t very big so it was easy to figure out where the Griffith couple was hospitalized. It was slightly old, yet quite cozy, however, rather than a hospital, it was more appropriate to call it a clinic. Yet, it seemed like this was the village’s sole medical institution. 【”The reserves of medicine that I keep in my journey for emergencies are almost finished, so I’d like to replenish my supplies.”】Using that pretext, Elu visited the clinic.
In the clinic, there was an examining room for the outpatients, a treatment room, and a waiting room, with only a single sofa for three people in it. Moreover, there were only a few beds for the inpatients.
Elu thought this was insufficient, considering this was the village’s sole medical institution. But according to a nurse whom he chatted with during his waiting time, recuperating at one’s own home and using home remedies was the standard in the village. It seemed like only seriously ill or seriously injured patients would come to the clinic.
【”Even so, it doesn’t seem like my turn is ever going to come.”】
Elu daringly grumbled that so as to guide the topic of the conversation, using it as an excuse despite having a rough idea about the situation.
【”Do you have something in particular to do after this?”】
【”No, nothing special. I’m planning to stay for a few days so it’s not a problem, but I thought there weren’t any other patients and that I wouldn’t even have to be called.”】
【”Yes, actually, right now, there are people here who have been hospitalized urgently.”】
【”You’re talking about the Griffiths?”】
【”Huh? How did you know?”】
【”Because everyone in the village is talking about that, it’s a hot topic.”】
Said the nurse, consenting to Elu’s words. The Griffith couple, who were skilled as former adventurers, were injured by thieves who had trespassed into their house; that’s what she was going to talk about, just like the shopper did some time earlier. That was why Elu had started off the topic as if that story had just come to his mind.
【”However, I heard the Griffiths’ injuries were minor, but still, they were hospitalized, so maybe…”】
【”Oh, it’s okay, no need to worry like that. The hospitalization was mainly for them to rest and for us to watch over the progress of their treatment, they’ll be leaving the hospital in two or three days.”】
Elu thought this would be difficult to bring up as it was related to the patients’ privacy, but the nurse easily spilled the beans about the Griffith couple’s medical condition. Turns out preparing all those coaxing techniques to draw out information was pretty useless. Well, this reduces my troubles so I guess it doesn’t matter. Thought Elu.
【”Good to hear. People have been talking about this story so much that even I came to be worried.”】
【”Well, this is a small village. The problems of others are often our problems as well.”】
【”Well, even without that, it’s only natural that you would feel worried thinking that you might be attacked by such skilled burglars.”】
【”That’s right, and why even bother to come all the way to such a remote village just to steal from people? They’re being an annoyance and wasting their time.”】
Her complaint was justifiable, but the thing was that Harrison had deemed the treasured sword as being worth that much. Well, based on Harold’s words, Justus also had something to do with that choice. The fact that Harrison felt like having Harold and the others under his command was surely a part of Justus’ plan as well; and Harold appeared to have an idea about the contents of that plan. Although Harold never spoke about said contents, they probably brought about some serious circumstances considering that Harold was obediently doing that kind of job. That was Elu’s conjecture about the overall situation, though he had no clear evidence.
In the end, the key to unraveling the truth was probably the treasured sword. Though Elu had not seen the real thing, he did acquire some information about it. Far below the earth, and deep into its crust; it was said that there was a giant, solid astral body, which was the core of the continent. That astral body was scraped and processed to produce a total of seven weapons.
Elu didn’t know if it was a true story, nor did he know how one could possibly arrive so far below the earth. Even the existence of solid astral bodies was likely a fake story that started off as a rumor, which was embellished over the years, and in the end, it gave birth to an exaggerated anecdote. Its origin was probably some kind of falsehood that the blacksmith who forged the sword came up with to raise his own fame and the sword’s value. That was the most reasonable and realistic speculation.
However, Elu couldn’t say whether Harold and Justus took that into account or not. So, Elu, having judged that it would be worth examining deeply, had already started his investigation. But it wasn’t only Elu himself, for he also made use of the Giffelt organization’s capabilities. Depending on the results, perhaps he would realize what those two were trying to do.
Although it wasn’t an act of betrayal towards Harold, Elu still thought it would be better to do it in secrecy, as Harold most likely wouldn’t appreciate Elu’s investigation. Even though they weren’t able to build trust between each other as of yet, Elu still needed to make things look good on the surface to keep a smooth progress going in their collaborative relationship.
【”Ah, looks like it’s finally over.”】
Said the nurse, who had kept the conversation going while Elu was indulging in his thoughts. Moreover, as if in response to that, the door that led to the examining room opened. The one who came out of it was a slightly plump grizzled man. He was in his fifties and had quite the friendly face.
Together with that man, appeared a red-haired boy and blond-haired girl. The expressions on their faces weren’t great but their looks matched Harold’s description. This boy and girl were very likely Liner and Colette. Harold had hypothesized that they would become key persons in “something” that was coming now or perhaps soon in the future. The role that Elu was given was to support them from the shadows. Therefore, so as to slip into Liner and the others’ hearts, Elu put on an extremely natural and refreshing smile intended for the duo’s eyes which met with his.
【”Hello. My name is Elu, I’m a traveling merchant.”】
This was the moment of the first encounter between the three people, who were one day going to share their destinies.
Translator’s note: Next time, we’ll get to see things from Colette’s point of view a little, not Liner though, I feel like there will never be a Liner pov lol
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Also, I’d like to thank DL, and Sager.A for their pledges and support! 😀