—After passing the night of fear, we went to a certain private house.
“Thanks, Souma-san. Because you came here to visit countless times, my son Michael is feeling this good now…”
“No, it is still too soon to thank me. Your request was not to ‘make your son feel better’, but to ‘find the Blue Bird’, right?” (Souma)
“Y-Yeah, that’s right, but my son has gotten better, so…”
I stopped her from continuing the argument and said this.
“I found the blue bird.” (Souma)
The one who reacted instantly wasn’t the woman but the son, ‘Michael-kun’.
After looking at him knowingly, I said this.
“…The blue bird is among us.” (Souma)
“Among us? Meaning, in this room?”
The mother of Michael-kun showed me a shocked expression as if she didn’t understand what I was saying.
Compared to that, Michael-kun…no, the boy being called Michael-kun looked pale.
He was waiting for my words with a pale white face as if he had noticed something.
“That’s right. There’s only my comrade Ringo, you, me, and one other person in this room.” (Souma)
“Then, you should know the answer, right?” (Souma)
It seems like she noticed it too now.
“Could it be…”
Saying this, she looked at her own son…at who should be her son.
“Looks like you have realized it now.” (Souma)
While hiding my bitter memories from that appearance of his, I once again face him.
And then, proclaim this.
“How about you give it up already, Michael-kun…no, Blue Bird!!” (Souma)
At the place I was pointing straight at was the trembling Michael-kun…the Blue Bird disguised as him.
“N-No, I am not the Blue Bird! …R-Right, proof! Where’s your proof that I am the Blue Bird!”
‘Michael-kun’ makes a ruckus agitated.
But I already predicted this would happen.
“…Then, let me hear about it, Michael-kun. You said you picked up this Blue Bird Feather in the garden. Is that right?” (Souma)
“Y-Yeah! Are you telling me you are labeling me as the Blue Bird because I picked up that feather?! Anyone would be able to—”
I calmed the agitated Michael-kun and walked over to the place in the room where there’s a certain something.
I slowly pick it up.
‘Michael-kun’ saw that and raised his voice in surprise.
“Ah, that’s the bear plushie that you gave to me the 3rd time you visited me!”
“Yeah. Actually, I had a faint idea about your real identity back then. That’s why, despite knowing it was bad, I set this up.” (Souma)
When I stretched my hand there, the mouth of the cute bear placed there curved up, opened, and a small magic device was found there.
“A video recorder. As for what exactly is that, it would be better to just watch and see.” (Souma)
I answered the question of Michael-kun’s mom while I was operating the video recorder that I bought at the Item Shop from the pick-up items.
And then, the state of the room a few hours ago was projected in mid-air.
‘Michael-kun’ shouts, but the footage doesn’t stop.
That video has ‘Michael-kun’ transforming into a blue bird, and plucking off a feather.
The mom of Michael-kun groaned with a face as if she couldn’t believe this and looked at him.
Before she could say anything while enraged…
“Please wait.” (Souma)
I stepped in front of her as if covering him.
“Please listen to what he has to say.
…You can speak for yourself, right?” (Souma)
I tell the first half to the mother and the latter half to him.
The young man, the Blue Bird, began talking.
“Michael-kun was…my friend…”
He met Michael-kun at the garden, and they became good friends that surpassed the barrier of race. Eventually, the disease Michael-kun was born with worsened.
The Blue Bird desperately tried to cure him with his healing powers, but his efforts didn’t bear fruit.
“At the end, Michael-kun told me: ‘Please take care of my mom in my place’. That’s why…that’s why I…”
The Blue Bird told all this while crying and the mother of Michael-kun hugged him.
“A-Auntie…I am s-sorry. I have been deceiving you…this whole time…”
“It is okay. I actually knew it all along; that Michael had died.
…I am sorry.
Because of me, you ended up suffering so much.”
Bullets of tears began falling from the eyes of the Blue Bird at her words.
“It is okay. You did your best, for me and for Michael.
There’s no way I can fault you for that.
…Hey, what’s your real name?.”
“Blue. My name is Blue.” (Blue)
Hearing this name, Michael-kun’s mom smiled.
“I see. That’s a good name. Blue, you are my benefactor, and you are…my one other son. It is okay for me to think like that, right?”
A waterfall gushed out from the eyes of the Blue Bird, and they both hugged each other tightly.
“…Let’s go.” (Souma)
Seeing this, I said this to Ringo and we exited the house.
They must need some time alone.
The last time I looked back, they really looked like a real parent and child.
“I am truly truly grateful, Souma-san.”
“Thanks, Souma-oniichan!” (Blue)
I scratched my head at the two who lowered their heads deeply.
“No, I didn’t do much. Also, I did get my reward and everything.” (Souma)
I continue speaking after doing a light chuckle.
“More importantly, please have a good life together. That would be the best reward I could get. Ah, also…” (Souma)
I said this as if I just remembered it.
“Please treasure the bear plushie I gave you, Blue-kun. It is a one-of-a-kind valuable thing, so make sure not to let go of it.” (Souma)
I felt a little bit of guilt seeing Blue-kun nod energetically at this and was relieved by his response.
I wished them happiness and…
I pulled the hand of Ringo who was looking at the house as if with lingering regrets, and we left the house of Michael-kun.
“Haah, that was quite the hard work there, but I am glad it went well…” (Souma)
We turned at an intersection, and when we couldn’t see Blue-kun and the others, I finally relaxed.
Do you remember?
The quest, Blue Bird of Michael, is a quest where you make the Blue Bird disguised as Michael-kun feel better without being able to find the Blue Bird and fail the quest, or give bad stuff to the body of the fake Michael-kun and kill him. This is a quest that has you decide on these two unreasonable choices.
But now that the game has become somewhat realistic, I can now take choices in between.
I already went to the house of Michael-kun 13 times just today alone in order to progress the quest, but thanks to that, we managed to finish the quest while keeping the Blue Bird, Blue-kun, alive.
Or more like, don’t they think of me as weird for visiting 13 times in a single day?
This game element really is fearsome.
While I was reminiscing about the events this time around and how tiring it was…
Maybe she is trying to comfort me when I am tired. My right side of the waist was tapped as if trying to console me.
Ringo really is kind.
I tried to thank her here, but…
“Thanks, Ringo. But I am o—” (Souma)
“…Souma, I am…over here…” (Ringo)
I heard Ringo’s voice from my left.
(Eh? Then, the one who tapped my waist was…) (Souma)
Being pushed by a bad feeling, I look at my right, at the waist that was tapped.
There was a familiar yellow silhouette there.
Quest: Blue Bird of Michael…Clear!!
Ringo said this happily as she hung her bear plushie on her left side.
The plushie was swaying slowly left and right as if it were game hunted by a hunter, and it is a bit scary.
I find that way of carrying it a bit questionable, but the one being hung like that is…grinning as if having fun…so let’s just say it is fine.
And most importantly…
“…Souma…let’s do our best.” (Ringo)
Seeing Ringo in such a good mood, it made me not care about how my petty plan failed.
I shake my head and switch gears.
“Y-Yeah, let’s go on just like this.” (Souma)
It is true that we have a lot of money, but there’s also valuable items within the quests that can’t be bought with money.
I plan on getting as many of those today.
I think of all the events that happen in this city.
Considering the time since the game began, or the time it has passed since I arrived at the capital, my current level and abilities, and also the amount of events I have done, the flags that are currently up are…
“Right. Then, the next one…” (Souma)
The party venue of a certain noble.
A single well-dressed man was taking attendance, and the showy banquet was about to start.
“Now then, let’s celebrate the fortuitous 62th birthday of my brother, Richard! Chee—”
At that moment…
The banquet was suddenly grinded to a halt by an out-of-place voice.
The one who spoke was a man no one in the venue knew.
Right, the person was obviously…
“W-What’s with you, coming here all of a sudden…?”
The man that was doing the speech glares at me.
But I instead pointed at that man and denounced him.
“The incident still hasn’t happened, but I will say it here.
Today, the brother Richard-san will be poisoned; tomorrow, the eldest brother Rack-san will be killed using the contraptions of the residence; the day after tomorrow, his wife will be cornered into suicide; the night of the 3rd day, he will use a maid to kill the 3rd son, Ruck-san; at the 4th day in the morning, he will lead the eldest sister Rana-san to the balcony with silver tongue, and will have her suffer heavy injuries from leaning on a broken handrail. At evening of the same day, he will set monsters to kill the 2nd son Rick-san; in the 5th day at early dawn, he will make the 2nd daughter Rina-san and 3rd daughter Runa-san fall into fear and doubt, and make them kill each other; at the 6th day, he will spike the dinner of the 6th son Rock-san with a poison extract. The culprit of all these serial murders is…
You, Greg-san!!” (Souma)
Almost everyone in the venue looked at me with eyes of: ‘what’s this guy saying?’.
I continue without being bothered by that.
“Not only that. You are also the one who killed your father 2 years ago. The proof is below the biggest tree of this garden. At that place, you will find the true will he left behind and—” (Souma)
“Alright! Just stop!”
The one who stopped me was the brother of Greg, Richard.
“It wasn’t enough to insult my little brother by accusing him of trying to kill me, but also our father?! Nonsense!! My little brother Greg—” (Richard)
But there was someone who cut off the speech of Richard.
“I did it.”
The very person he was defending, Greg.
“Eh, wa, Greg?! Wait, what?!” (Richard)
He left behind the confused Richard and said.
“But I regret nothing! That…that man was a demon! Him…and all of his lineage must be taken out from the root! I had to! If I didn’t, how would I apologize to the now gone Matilda? How would I…uwaaah!!” (Greg)
The wailing of Greg echoed in the party venue.
Seeing Greg who was ugly crying and the party participants that were speechless, I said this out loud, unable to endure it.
“What a sad case it was…” (Souma)
And in this way, the 7 days bloodstained revenge tale of the distinguished family of the Rihiter Kingdom, Swift, closed its curtains before it started.
Quest: [Throb! Serial Murders of a Whole Bunch of Nobles]…Clear!!
—At this basement, there’s countless chemicals enough to rule the air in the place, and the ingredients for those were crudely placed here and there.
Maybe because he is in a place like this, or because of the physiology of the person himself, the alchemist there with a burned cheek and glaring eyes looked terribly dangerous.
He spoke to me with a tone of voice that didn’t betray his appearance, a voice that I could feel madness in despite him trying to act calm.
“…Yes, I needed the Resurrection Nostrum no matter what in order to cure my daughter’s disease. But the market price of that medicine is 2,000,000E. Even when I know it can be found in the Mage Guild, it wasn’t something that a commoner like me could buy. That’s why I decided to get the ingredients and make it myself.”
“I see, I see.” (Souma)
I nodded heavily at the words of the alchemist.
“I have taken several years, going through every part of the world, and I have obtained 4 of the 5 ingredients. But the last one, the ingredient from a flying dragon that is living at the northern mountain range, the Claw of the Blue Flying Dragon, I couldn’t get it at all.”
“Fumu, fumu.” (Souma)
I chimed in to the words of the alchemist by nodding deeply.
“I ask this of you seeing that you are an adventurer. Please defeat that flying dragon in my stead, and bring it to me.”
“…I have listened to your story.” (Souma)
I heard what I wanted to hear.
In that case, time is of essence.
I quickly stood up.
“T-Then, are you going to get the Claw of the Blue Flying Dragon for the sake of my daughter?”
And then, the man asked me this as if clinging onto me.
I answered with a smile.
“No, I will buy the medicine from the guild.” (Souma)
Quest: [Dearest Wish of the Alchemist]…Clear!!
“My family has been having difficulties sleeping. Just before, there was a strange—”
“Ah, the reason for that is because of this cursed antique watch, so I will take it away~.” (Souma)
Quest: [Strange Happenings at the Clock House]…Complete!!
…And so, the last quest of today.
“Aah, did Annie get home safely…?”
“Aren’t you worrying too much, Kenny? You are the big brother of Annie, right?” (Souma)
“It is because I am her brother that I know my little sister’s lack of a sense of direction!”
I see. A wise saying.
“But it is okay. I have left a whole ton of waymarks, so she won’t be getting lost.” (Souma)
“I hope that’s the case… Her bad sense of direction is on a whole other level after all.”
That’s right. The last quest I took today was The Guidepost for the Lost.
If I manage to safely get the girl Annie, who has a bad sense of direction, to come back safely to her house from her giant playground that is the hut of a certain forest, I clear the quest.
That said, this isn’t that difficult of a quest.
The hut isn’t that far from the house and I have a whole lot of Fancy Skulls that can serve as waymarks.
It is already getting dark, so there’s the chance she won’t be able to see the jet black skulls. That’s why, instead of going for 25, I went all out and lined up 250.
It went far and above being waymarks and more like a line already, so it would be weirder if she were to get lost with that.
But, at that moment…
The door of the hut opened and Annie, who was supposed to be heading to the house, jumped in.
“A-Annie, what’s the matter?! Could it be that you really did get lost again?”
The brother Kenny asked, but Annie shook her head to the sides.
“T-That’s not it! O-On my way to the house, mom told me not to enter the house.” (Annie)
“Don’t enter the house? What do you mean by that?!” (Kenny)
According to Annie, who told us all this while crying, she somehow managed to reach their house following the skulls, but what was waiting for her there was her mother standing angry with arms crossed.
According to the mother, the traffic of the road is being hampered by the lined up skulls, and a part of the city is in big chaos.
Some say that the skulls might be tools for a ritual by the cultists.
It has become pretty big.
People can’t get close to them because of how ominous they are, and because the horses get scared, wagons can’t pass either.
There were courageous people who were going to try and get them off, but in the end, they couldn’t even touch the skulls.
The skulls are drawing a line to the house of Kenny and Annie, and the other end leads to the playground of those two, so the culprit of this was already clear.
Her mother was fuming and proclaimed: “I won’t let you into the house until you clean up all the skulls!”.
Driven away, Annie tried to retrieve the skulls while crying, but they were too creepy in the end, and she ended up running back to the hut.
I wonder why this silence is so painful to my ears.
Looks sharper than spears were piercing me.
Even Ringo, who is supposed to be my ally, felt like she was looking at me with cold eyes.
Unable to endure the prickling silence, I had no choice but to speak out.
“Aah, uhm, for now…you know…” (Souma)
“‘For now’ what?” (Kenny)
Kenny throws words with zero empathy.
I was slightly scared by that threatening attitude of his as I spoke.
Quest: [Guidepost for the Lost]…Great Success!!
※The skulls were moved away by the staff after the quest was over.