Chapter 79 is here! And it’s slightly long, but I quite like it, though the best coming chapter is chapter 81 in my opinion, you’ll see!
You might notice that English has been treated pretty well in this chapter, well that’s thanks to my wonderful editor, Fordoom, who did an awesome job, as always! 😀
For the Patrons, Chapter 80 and its preview are available over here~!
Anyway, here is chapter 79, I hope you’ll enjoy it!
When Colette came out of the Hospital room with Liner, besides the nurse, there was someone else she had not seen before.
The androgynous person had a friendly looking smile as he introduced herself as being called Elu. Colette got the impression that the person was around the same age as her and Liner or maybe younger.
Elu said that he arrived at this village on this very day as a certain merchant’s apprentice, and the moment he said that he came from the neighboring town, Liner butted in.
【”On your way to the village, did you see a pair of people concealing themselves with black robes?!”】
With Liner’s words, Colette’s bad presentiment turned into conviction. Liner was planning to chase after the robbers who had taken away the sword and attacked his parents.
Thinking about it normally, that was going to be difficult. Usually, Liner’s parents were the ones who trained him, in other words, they were stronger than him, and yet, even they were defeated by the thieves. Therefore, challenging the robbers by himself would be akin to suicide for Liner. Moreover, if Elu were to testify that he happened to see the people who had attacked the Griffiths, Liner would likely immediately go run after them.
Which was why Colette wanted Elu to answer that he didn’t see them and didn’t know about them. However, that prayer was left unheard.
【”Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure uncle told me he saw some suspicious people walking around at night. But I don’t know about them being two.”】
【”Yeah, I’ll ask him for more details.”】
Their talk progressed swimmingly.
The uncle Elu mentioned seemed to be the merchant that he followed.
Following Elu, Colette and Liner went along with him to one of the few inns in the village.
Elu left the two of them waiting for a little while and went to the inn’s second floor.
After several minutes, he appeared again while leading the way for a certain man.
【”Sorry for the wait. Uncle, these are the two people I told you about earlier, Liner and Colette.”】
【”Hello. I’ve heard your story, looks you’ve been through some great trouble.”】
【”Yes…… Well, about that, I’ve heard you’ve seen someone suspicious yesterday, do you remember what he was like?”】
【”What he was like, huh? I was walking around at night with only one lamp to light the road, so it was pretty dark and I wasn’t seeing all that clearly, but…. That is right, I saw two persons’ silhouettes. They were wearing robes low over their eyes even though it was the middle of the night.”】
【”It also looked like they were holding a box or something, it was long and narrow.”】
【”That was them, that was definitely them!”】
Liner suddenly exclaimed, with a loud voice.
Those two people were wearing robes and holding a long and narrow box. Moreover, the direction of their escape also matched the thieves’.
With all those conditions together, it was extremely likely that the two of them were the burglars. In short, this meant that Liner’s course of action was now clearly decided, unfortunately.
【”I can’t waste any time, I’ve gotta hurry and go after them…!”】
【”C-calm down Liner.”】
【”She’s right. There are preparations to do before chasing them, because even if you go after them now in a hurry, you won’t be able to catch up with them.”】
As Colette tried to calm Liner down, she was backed up by Elu’s extremely calm comment that made perfect sense.
As a result, the blood that had risen in Liner’s head dropped down a little, and he lowered the tone of his voice.
【”B-but… no matter what, I want to get back the sword they stole. That sword is very important to me.”】(Liner)
【”Even so, fighting against the people whom even Leona and Olbel weren’t able to defeat is too dangerous.”】(Colette)
【”I know, but still, you want me to let them get away with what they did?”】(Liner)
【”That’s not what I said! You already know what they look like and you can describe them, so if you ask the guards or the knight order for help, they will surely capture them.”】(Colette)
【”If I use such a slow method, they could have time to escape!”】(Liner)
Liner was heating up once again. Moreover, as if lured by that, Colette’s tone was becoming rough as well.
No matter what they did, the two people’s opinions were like two parallel lines.
Then, a clack noise resounded as if to interrupt the two people’s quarrel. The source of the sound was Elu, who had clapped his hands together.
【”You two should calm down. Whether you chase after the thieves or contact the guards, you better hurry and do it. Your success regarding this matter will depend on how fast you’ll act.”】
【”Yes, that’s certainly true…”】
【”Or rather, I think you should have contacted the guards earlier, but still, both of your choices are not bad.”】
Colette had nothing to answer back. She was confused and therefore could not think that far, but beyond that, with Colette’s anxiousness and fear that Liner would chase after the thieves, it was hard to say that she was thinking straight at all.
With a sidelong glance at Colette, Elu took out a pen and parchment out of his big shoulder bag, and spoke with a sweet smile.
【”Drawing portraits is my specialty. If you’ve seen what they look like, then tell me. That can be kind of useful when searching for criminals.”】
Elu let out a small sigh while looking at the portrait and description he drew and wrote himself.
Harold’s actions seemed to be well-thought-out, but did his escape go all that well? He wondered.
The person Liner had informed Elu about was a young man with somewhat hollow cheeks and purple hair. The testimony said he had no life in his eyes, and that was likely because he was missing his emotions, as Harold had said.
If this were to spread, it would assuredly become difficult for Harold and the others to move. No matter what, Harold could not afford to just hide his face all the time. Someone who did that would stand out, and if he often came in contact with people’s eyes that way, it would increase the risks of him having his true identity exposed.
But it was a simple matter really.
Telling them he was going to deliver the portrait to the guards, Elu temporarily separated from Liner and Colette. Then, as soon as he came into an area with no one around, he put the portrait away inside his bag.
By chance, this time, he was able to prevent it from being reported, which was really fortunate. Although it wasn’t Harold’s own face, Elu did not believe that Harold would let his partner’s face be exposed on purpose, but this happening was a complete surprise so he wasn’t sure.
While he was adding the finishing touches to the portrait, Elu had indirectly investigated, and it turned out that Liner had yet to inform the other adults or the clinic’s doctors about the fact that he had seen the burglar’s face.
If Elu got rid of the portrait, then it would somewhat reduce Harold’s chances of falling into a troublesome situation. So, he naturally chose to conceal the truth, in case this was not part of Harold’s plans.
For now, since he was going to send a messenger on a fast horse to Harold’s place, Elu was going to have him confirm if having his partner’s face exposed was intentional or not. If it turned out to actually be intentional, Elu would just have to go back and notify the right place about said partner’s portrait and description.
The process was more troublesome than it should be, but that was because Harold would always stubbornly give as little information as possible. He was probably thinking that there was no need to give more information than he had to. In short, he did not trust Elu.
If Elu at least knew the goals behind Harold’s actions, he would be able to move somewhat more easily, but….
Well, I can lament about this all I want, but it just can’t be helped.
Elu had other things to worry about.
He thought back upon his exchange with Liner and Colette from some time ago. Although Liner wanted to promptly chase after the burglars, Colette was using the appropriate means, seeking for a solution through a third party.
It didn’t matter who was right and who was wrong. If things stayed as they were, the two people’s opinions would diverge, so there was a risk that, in the end, only Liner would start pursuing Harold.
From Harold’s words, those two were both going to chase after him. Or at least, that was certainly what he was expecting.
Then, what if Liner and Colette were to act differently from each other?
This was yet another troublesome story, but for some reason, it was going to be necessary for Elu to have Colette pursue Harold and the others. For the time being, he was going to tell Harold through the messenger on the fast horse that there was a chance Liner and Colette would take different actions from each other.
Then Elu would wait for a reply while observing the two people.
While thinking of these things, Elu returned to the two people’s location. However, Liner was nowhere to be seen.
【”Huh? What happened to Liner?”】(Elu)
【”… He’s preparing himself to go chase after those people.”】(Colette)
She was probably referring to him preparing his weapons and equipment. Liner was really thorough, perhaps he was planning to go chase after them immediately right now.
Colette, who was thinking of that, was looking gloomy, as Elu expected.
【”Are you worried about Liner?”】(Elu)
【”Yes. No matter how I think about it, this is going to be dangerous….”】(Colette)
【”True. But if that’s what you think, then why not accompany him?”】(Elu)
【”That’s impossible. I am bad at fighting….”】(Colette)
Bad at fighting, Colette had said. Perhaps that in itself was true.
However, on her legs and thighs, there were holders, made of black leather, where a round rod could fit. Though there was nothing there, the holders were likely made to put weapons inside them.
Being bad at fighting and being unable to fight were not really the same thing. Given that she had been with Liner from her childhood, it wasn’t hard at all to think that she had received some kind of initiation into martial arts from Liner’s parents.
With that in mind, was it her natural character that made her so extremely conscious of being bad at fighting? Or was there some incident in the past that planted in her the feeling of wanting to avoid fighting?
(In the past, huh? Which reminds me, Harold was talking as if he was acquainted with Colette and Liner…)
At that moment, the face of his collaborator whose past, or rather, whose entire history he couldn’t figure out at all, came to Elu’s mind.
Let’s investigate a little while including that part in the search, thought Elu.
【”Even so, I wonder, just what kind of people were the burglars who broke into Liner’s house?”】(Elu)
【”I chose my words poorly, but this is a small village far away from the royal capital, there can’t be that many valuable things here, right? Yet they went through the trouble of coming to steal here, so I think they had a precise goal.”】(Elu)
【”Was that goal the stolen sword? Wasn’t that just a coincidence?”】(Colette)
【”So the burglars who came and stole the sword just happened to be stronger than Liner’s parents, who used to be adventurers? A coincidence like that seems very unlikely to me.”】(Elu)
Such a happenstance would need a huge number of consecutive coincidences. This case was obviously all planned out.
When it came to the crunch, the duo’s actions would depend on whether they had the recognition to notice things like that or not. So, Elu wanted Liner and Colette to obtain the awareness to see things with a doubtful eye. Maybe it was because they were born in the countryside, but those two were too honest.
【”Certainly, when you put it like that…”】(Colette)
【”Is the stolen sword worth that much? I’m a little curious.”】(Elu)
No matter what, treasured swords were thought to be a thing of fantasies. That naturally tickled the interest of the lump of intellectual curiosity that was Elu.
Moreover, for Justus to go through such roundabout means to collect the sword, there was no way that it had nothing special to it.
【”Apparently, Liner’s father and mother discovered the sword in a dungeon when they were adventurers.”】(Colette)
【”A dungeon? Sounds exciting.”】(Elu)
【”I mean, that’s the classic example when you think of getting rich quick, isn’t it?”】(Elu)
So as to explore Colette’s past, Elu first made some small talk with her, in an attempt to become more friendly. He didn’t feel there was any wariness to relax her from, but still, he couldn’t suddenly rush into talking about things like this. He wasn’t going to get results on this day nor on the day after, however, he was definitely going to meet her a lot from here on. If taking that into consideration, accumulating small interactions like this would be fruitful later in the future.
Afterwards, Elu and Colette kept chit-chatting about this and that while waiting for Liner.
Then, aiming for the moment when the conversation came to a pause, Elu muttered something meaningfully.
【”Anyway, about the black robed robbers…”】
【”Do you know something?”】
【”No. Just that, when speaking of black robes or people dressed completely in black, there is someone that really comes to mind, right?”】
【”Someone that comes to mind?”】
【”Did you not hear about him, Colette? His name is Harold Stokes.”】
The moment that name came up, Colette’s complexion clearly changed. That was enough to tell without a doubt that there was some sort of connection between her and Harold.
Though she herself was trying to conceal her agitation, she seemed to be fatally bad at lying.
【”I, I haven’t heard of him.”】
【”Is that so? He’s famous in the royal capital. He’s in the same age range as you and Liner, and yet he’s called the kingdom’s number one villain.”】
Colette’s facial expression turned sad.
While observing that, Elu did not stop talking.
【”He’s a traitor who betrayed the country while being a knight and tried to cause a war. Moreover, he’s a “knight killer”, who left the knight order and then killed more than dozens of the knights that used to be his comrades. Those are the typical examples, but there is no end to the anecdotes about his heinous actions.”】
In the end, Colette kept silent. She cast her eyes down as if saying that she did not want to hear about those stories.
When they didn’t know about the rumors regarding Harold, most people were surprised upon hearing of them, saying “Is there really someone that evil out there?”. When they did know, they would agree, saying, “That guy is really one outrageous sinner.”.
So, then, what kind of person would show a reaction like Colette’s?
Perhaps, for someone who knew of Harold’s essence, so to speak, and therefore knew that he was not the villain from the rumors, Elu’s story would indeed be unbearable to hear. In other words, maybe Colette was one of the rare people who got to experience the extremely difficult to understand kindness of Harold, whose mouth only let out scorn and cynicism.
【”So, I’m thinking, maybe the criminal behind this time’s theft was that Harold guy….”】(Elu)
【”That’s not true! Harold would never….!”】(Colette)
After that, she was likely going to say【”never do that”】but in the end, she did not let those words out. However, she wasn’t refraining from talking because she had doubts about Harold, this was likely the result of her trying to stop the words that she let out of her mouth on an impulse.
But it was completely too late.
Colette’s face quickly turned pale. As if she had said something that she was not supposed to say.
【”T-that’s not it. Just now, that was not what I meant to say…”】(Colette)
She shook her head from the left to the right, desperately repeating【”That was not what I meant to say.”】. That state made her look much younger than her actual age, she also seemed frail and somewhat frightened.
For her to get this concerned about wanting to hide what she said, she was probably deeply involved with Harold’s past. Elu was convinced of this, and so he made a decision, that could be said to be quite heartless, concerning Colette.
【”I get it. I won’t ask.”】(Elu)
Elu put on a smile on his face to make Colette feel relieved. Colette innocently thought she had easily deceived Elu, and she muttered a small “thank you”.
There was no way for her to know what was really going on in the mind of Elu, whom she had just thanked.
Colette Ameller. By looking into her past, one could probably get a glimpse at a part of Harold’s secrets.
So, after that, Elu immediately started digging up Colette’s past.
Translator’s note: Not cool, Elu, not cool! Well, don’t go judging him/her/it/them too fast, I’m sure he/she/it/they has/have /his/her/its/their reasons…. probably. ><
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