New chapter is out! Due to certain circumstances, the manga will come out somewhere between the end of may and early June.
If you’re curious, check out the announcement.
Well, here’s the chapter, I hope you’ll enjoy it!
Warning: Please read chapter 104 again before reading this chapter. It’s been so long that you might have forgotten a few of the key points that are mentioned multiple times in this chapter.
As he walked through the deserted corridor, Elu made a conscious effort to stop himself from running ahead to arrive even a second faster.
He was not embarrassed of being seen running like a madman, this timidity was merely a manifestation of his efforts to stay calm.
The situation was critical, which made it all the more necessary to see the bigger picture and calmly work towards a solution.
(But I can’t seem to come up with anything good right now.)
Elu did not hit upon any good ideas on the way, from beginning to end.
When he arrived in front of the room he was looking for, he simply stayed on the spot and took a deep breath to calm his perturbed and impatient mind.
He tried to project the image of his usual self, to not let his emotions show. But before he could knock on the door behind him――
【”What do you think you’re doing standing in front of someone else’s room?”】
Elu shouted out in uncharacteristic yet genuine surprise, turning around in a jumping motion to look behind.
This was the person Elu wanted to talk to.
Harold just stood there, looking at Elu with a questioning gaze.
【”Y-you seem lively.”】
【”I’ve been sleeping for five days and you say I’m lively? What’s that? Sarcasm?”】
【”No way, I’m not suicidal enough to think of provoking you.”】
Elu wouldn’t go as far as to say Harold was dangerous, but he well understood how powerful he was.
Harold was a more reasonable person than his manner of speaking could suggest, but if Elu were to accidentally awaken the wrath behind that moderacy by mistake, and to end up as a target of that overwhelming power, he could probably bid his life farewell.
While Elu did have the resolve to give his life for the sake of his ultimate wish, he had no intention to meet such a meaningless end.
【”Humph, whatever. I’m assuming you came because you have something to say?”】
【”I hope you won’t mind, there is a pile of things I absolutely have to report.”】
(So many things it will make you sick.) Added Elu to himself.
The room had one bed, a table, a carpet, some chairs, and nothing more. It was almost too simple, but it was fitting for the discussion that was to come.
This talk was not going to be of the cheerful kind.
Then again, expecting cheerfulness or a smile from the man sitting across the table was not very realistic.
All Elu had ever seen from him was scorn and sneers.
【”Well then, I have to ask. I have bad news, terribly bad news, and slightly bad but not very interesting news. Which would you like to hear first?”】
【”You don’t have a single good news? Looks like you’ve lost your touch.”】
【”You don’t judge an information broker’s job by how pleasing his words are to your ears. What matters is the accuracy of the information.”】
Harold let out a long sigh.
It was clear to see that Harold actually wanted to complain, and that was understandable. He had been seriously injured, had been unconscious for 5 days, and now that he could finally move again, this conversation came to deal yet another blow to him.
Even so, these were all direct consequences of Harold’s own actions. He had no right to complain to Elu.
【”Before we start, I’d like to let you know that Liner and the others have not been arrested for the attack on Harrison’s mansion.”】
Although the team had gone on quite the rampage, they had a just cause, they wanted to get back their stolen property. Even if that wasn’t the case, if something went wrong, then the family names of Erica Sumeragi and Francis Arkwright, who was royalty, would be two big cards to play.
Well, given that the victims of the attack were from the military and not the knight order, and given that Liner and the group hadn’t really been questioned or investigated by anyone since then, then according to Harold, it was safe to assume Harrison had been discarded the second something went wrong on his end.
【”Not that I think you were worried about it, but I had to say it.”】
Harold knew the possibility that the group would break into Harrison’s mansion. Even so, he had never addressed the aftermath of it. Maybe thanks to his conjectures or to his ability to read the future, he seemed to somehow know there was nothing to worry about on that end.
The only instructions Elu had received was to stop the attack in case it happened, and to seize the weapons that Harrison had gathered.
For that purpose, Elu had been collecting as much information as he could to gain trump cards that could help everyone on site, starting from Harrison himself, during negotiations. This was a difficult task, but it had gone swimmingly.
(I wonder how much he predicted. Did he know it would turn out this way or…)
At first, Harold was not supposed to personally interfere with the fight at all. However, the group had ended up taking action faster than expected, leaving him with no other choice than to get involved.
Elu had no way of knowing how many of the events that had transpired had been part of Harold’s expectations, and how many had come as a real surprise.
【”We’ve successfully taken away the remaining weapons from the mansion. All that’s left to do is for you to hand them to them in due time… That was your plan right? How are you gonna do that now?”】
【”The plan is still on. I never said there is any need for me to personally hand them the weapons.”】
【”What a nice way to phrase it.”】
If he had built a mutual trust with the group, it would have been much easier to have Harold hand the weapons himself. But his battle with the group had destroyed that possibility.
Given that Lifa was somewhat familiar with Harold’s circumstances, the group was probably not fully hostile to him, but the leader of the party, Liner, would likely not let go of his distrust, which may give rise to some discord.
That was probably not a desirable outcome for Harold.
【”Whether I do it or you do it, the result will be the same. It doesn’t matter.”】
【”I hope you’re right… Anyway, I guess it’s time to move on to the to main subject. I’ll start with the slightly bad news. It has to do with Liner and the group.”】
Harold’s gaze was prompting Elu to speak faster.
【”You said there is a risk of a large group of monsters marching to Travis. You also said that Liner’s party and the knight order will deal with them but… there might not be enough time for that.”】
【”What ‘s that supposed to mean?”】
【”The monsters have been extremely active. I wouldn’t be surprised if they made their move right now.”】
Harold’s information had allowed Elu to roughly know which direction the monsters would come from.
Based on that tidbit of intel, Elu had mobilized Frieri and made use of the Griffert information network in order to find the monsters in advance, before the day of their attack.
This strategy met success about ten days before this.
The situation seemed to be the same as what happened in the Sumeragi territory in the past, but this time around, the monsters stayed hidden.
There was a massive ruin where the access was restrained by the kingdom itself due to the many high-leveled monsters running rampant there. A member of Frieri had slipped through the surveillance of the ever so bright royal army, and had managed to see the monsters with his own eyes. He said it was quite shocking to see the maybe ten thousand monsters gathered there.
【”This is no set back, Liner and the rest of the group should arrive in Travis in time. How are things on the knight order’s side?”】
【”They’re very serious about the situation. They even went as far as to prepare some men to evacuate the people in empty boats in case something happens.”】
【”…So they managed to confirm their suspicions in regard to Justus?”】
【”I don’t know that for a fact, but it’s very likely to be the case given that they apparently stepped into the doctor’s laboratory and found it basically empty. It’s like they found the skin shed by the snake but not the snake itself.”】
The horde of monsters started becoming active just when Justus disappeared. Though the knight order could not do much more than rely on guesswork to understand the link between the two, they were bound to become more vigilant.
【”Even if they found the lab, I doubt that man is the type to leave evidence behind.”】
【”Maybe he did something about his written documents, but there’s no way he could have erased the facility itself.”】
A special type of equipment was necessary to experiment on humans. Unless Justus had blown up the laboratory to smithereens, there would be some evidence remaining.
Moreover, the fact that Justus had allowed the knight order’s intervention to happen at all meant that his plans had advanced far enough that the their pursuit was a trivial matter to him.
【”…In any case, this is still within the range of my expectations. It’s not at the level of being considered as bad news.”】
【”Hmm, I’ll move on to the next one then. Another large horde of monsters has appeared somewhere else.”】
Even Harold could not stay indifferent upon hearing that information. His movements stiffened up like he was taken aback.
Elu had not expected him to react that bad. Apparently, Harold’s ability to predict the future was not perfect.
【”…Is this the ‘terribly bad news’ you mentioned?”】
Asked Harold, after staying silent for quite a while.
Elu’s answer came clearer and faster.
【”Unfortunately, this is just the regular bad news.”】
Harold openly clicked his tongue and started pondering. That was the kind of man he was. No matter how desperate the situation, he never stopped thinking.
Then, like he had instantly switched the gears in his mind, he began asking for the information he needed.
【”How many monsters does that horde amount to?”】
【”About 5000 judging from sight alone. That’s less than the horde that’s supposed to head towards Travis.”】
Even though these numbers were lower, they could not be disregarded either. It was going to be difficult to deal with them directly.
But difficult or not, if nothing was done about them, the consequences would likely be disastrous.
After all, there were two large hordes of monsters in two different places at the same time. There was no way these were unrelated to each other. Something was going on.
【”Although I’ve shared that information with the knight order in your name, that put them a delicate spot. They’d have to take personnel away from Travis to deal with that.”】
【”Still better than doing nothing.”】
【”You’re probably right. But that brings us to the terribly bad news.”】
As he said so, Elu pulled out two maps out of his bag. The first was a map of the whole kingdom, while the other was a map of a single town.
Elu first opened the map of the kingdom over the table.
【”The second horde was found hidden in a town called Barston, in the northwest of the kingdom.”】
Elu started explaining while tracing the map with his finger.
Barston was a town even more deeply cemented in nature than the town where Lifa and Harold had met, Athis.
According to the latest record, there were about 3000 people living in Barston, but that data was from many years ago. The numbers were probably even lower now.
【”As you can see on the map, the town is in the middle of the mountains. Preparing empty boats in case something happens is not an option there.”】
In other words, whether it was to defend the town or evacuate the residents, it would be difficult to transport people and material in and out. It was not a realistic solution.
The only way to keep the people safe would be to use a certain plain south of Athis, but that was 43 miles (70km) away from Barston in a straight line. Thouhg it wasn’t a very realistic solution either, it was the clear choice for an evacuation. 1
【”Is that why you said it’s terribly bad news?”】
【”That’s one of the reasons, but not the main one. Look at this.”】
Elu opened the second map. This was a map of Barston.
【”Barston is by no means a big city, there is nowhere for a large horde of monsters to hide there.”】
If so, then where and how were the monsters hiding?
The answer was clear to see on the map.
【”The thing is that Barston was once a mining town that flourished through the mining of rare metals like platinum. Barston’s people used to dig and dig endlessly, to the point where there have tunnels not only in their mines, but even under the town itself. But that was before a certain accident that caused a bedrock collapse.”】
After the accident, Barston started running out of resources, leading to an economic decline that went on for several years and was still taking place even now.
But of course, the tunnels they dug in the past still existed.
【”Long story short, the monsters are gathering deep in the tunnels?”】
【”Precisely. Still, you must be thinking ‘But wait, Elu, if these were mining tunnels, how could such a large horde of monsters circulate through there?’”】
【”Cut the crap. Get to the point.”】
【”There is evidence that, after the mines were closed, someone tampered with them. To be more specific, there are large holes deep under the town that do not seem like they could have been used for mining.”】
【”Are those the monsters’ lairs?”】
【”Something like that. Moreover, by comparing the current layout of the tunnels with old records, we discovered multiple tunnels that shouldn’t have been there. These tunnels were bigger than the rest, so much so that it might be more accurate to call them pathways. Most monsters should be able to circulate through those and easily come out of hiding.”】
Monsters were creatures that would not naturally gather in passageways that were made artificially. They gathered in natural places, like the pit back in the Sumeragi territory.
Their presence in Barston was obvious proof that these hordes were being controlled by human hands for some specific goal.
【”…There are still some points to be addressed.”】
【”I’ll answer what I can answer.”】
Normally, Harold would answer back with “Yeah, you better.” or some kind of sarcastic line, but not this time around.
Instead, he immediately started asking questions.
This probably went to show how pressing the situation was in his eyes.
【”You said there was evidence that someone tempered with the tunnels. When did that happen?”】
【”We didn’t look that deep into it yet, so we don’t really know the details, but judging from the level of deterioration, it was probably about 10 years ago.”】
【”Was there miasma inside? Like back in the Sumeragi territory.”】
【”There was, actually. Most of it was in those big holes, but it did travel pretty far in the tunnels before drifting away.”】
【”When the monsters do come out from underground, how will they attack? What kind of scale should we expect?”】
【”I don’t know. They’re being controlled for sure but there is no telling how far that control goes… Oh, I should mention that we’ve found three passages so far that the monsters could come in and out of, so their strategy might be to go for a three-sided attack.”】
Elu’s words carried the implicit meaning that such a turn of event would be impossible to deal with.
That was a natural conclusion given the facts.
If, for example, 500 or 1000 of the monsters were to come from the first passage, perhaps Harold would be able to deal with them by himself, but he would not be able to take care of the ones coming from the two other passageways.
The issue was that it would take at least 300 normal people, each being at a knight’s level of training, to face off against those same numbers.
And given the crisis that was soon to come in Travis, it would not be possible for the knight order to gather 600 skilled fighters, knight or otherwise, for a second mission.
【”…How long would it take to completely evacuate the town?”】
【”The current estimate is two days. It might take a little longer since a lot of them are elderly people.”】
This meant that if the monsters were to make a move in the meantime, then it would be too late to start the evacuation.
【”Since it used to to be mining town, they must have had some way to transport their resources to the base of the mountain at some point.”】
【”You’re right, there was a road that they once used to transport their goods more efficiently, but it was buried in a landslide a few years ago.”】
Barston was not positioned in a very convenient location, and yet, even after they hit an economic crisis, many people refused to leave. That was because they could easily go to nearby towns using carriages back then.
However, now that the road was gone, many people, especially among the youth, had left Barston.
On the other hand, few of the elderly people who had been living there for years were willing to go. Perhaps their attachement to the land outweighed the inconvenience of it.
【”…Harold? Is something wrong?”】
Before Elu realized it, Harold had stopped pondering and grabbed the map of the kingdom. He was gazing at it like he was about to eat it up.
Elu figured Harold had found some sort of hint in there, but he had no idea what it was.
【”Elu, how many days would it take to go from here to Barton on horseback and on carriage?”】
【”It would take 3 to 4 days by horse. By carriage, it could take around seven days, depending on the load being transported. But that’s only the time it would take to get as close as possible to Barston. It would take a whole day more to go up the mountain from there on foot.”】
【”Then, prepare as many horses as you can. Take the guys from Frieri with you.”】
【”Gather everything you might need while you still have time. But get going as soon as you’ve gathered enough people.”】
Being able to take action quickly like Harold was something worth of praise, however, it could take some effort for others to go along with that.
Then again, Elu had willingly decided to wager his fate on Harold, so he just had to deal with it.
(Besides, that’s much better than someone who just wracks his brains for hours when a problem comes up.)
Having arrived at that conclusion, Elu started running about to make the necessary arrangements.
Despite the emergency of the situation, there was a bit of newfound relief in his expression.
Translator’s note: Btw, I’ve been editing the early chapters lately (mainly chapter 49 and 50), I’ll try to do all the chapters this summer.
Also, here are the tweets, as usual. Please give the author and illustrator some love.