“Good morning, Onii-san.”
“Nii-chan, good morning-na no da!”
“…Y-Yeah, good morning.”
I thought about having breakfast at Dog’s Bone with Ilias, so I opened the door of the house and was about to leave while yawning, but Ruko and Nora were there.
“What’s the matter…? Wait, isn’t that Ruko and Nora? Why are you two here…?” (Ilias)
“Lady Ratzel, good morning. I slept the whole time yesterday, so I woke up super early today… That’s why I thought I would talk to Onii-san while he is still in Taizu.” (Ruko)
“Nora went to Ruko-sama’s place first thing in the morning-no da. Then she said she would be going to Nii-chan’s place, so I tagged along-no da.” (Nora)
Even if Marito followed up, she came the very next day. What kind of mental strength is that?
Ruko is acting as if everything is as usual, but a heart doesn’t heal so fast.
I can tell she is pushing herself here, but it is hard for me to tell her to go back and sleep when she has come this far.
“I don’t mind listening to what you have to say, but…Nora, is the inside of your mouth fine already?”
“I think the aftertaste still remains-no da. But it is okay-na no da.” (Nora)
“Alright, then let’s talk while eating breakfast.”
I head to Dog’s Bone with both of them at a time just before it opens.
I greeted Gozu lightly and had him prepare breakfast.
“The food here really is tasty-no da!” (Nora)
“Speaking of which, you did say that Mix brought you here. You should be fine now if you can find things tasty.”
“I didn’t eat anything yesterday, so I was hungry-no da!” (Nora)
“Then, let’s order some extra.”
“Please-na no da!” (Nora)
The sensation of my tongue is strangely numb, but it is not to a degree where I can’t taste things.
Well, let’s just think positively here. I can concentrate more on talking if I can’t enjoy the taste.
I will properly taste the food of Gozu next time.
As for Ruko…it doesn’t seem like she is concentrating on her food. Is she nervous about breaching the main topic here?
“Ruko, if you have something you want to say, please say so without reservations.”
“…Okay. About the magic research matter…can I please continue as it is?” (Ruko)
So she really did choose that. The reason must be Nora.
Nora has shown the resolve to continue the magic research. Ruko plans on looking after Nora all the way in her stay in Taizu.
Not for the sake of protecting her own life, but for the sake of Nora.
“You have heard from Marito about my origins, right?”
“…Yes. He told me this morning when I met him.” (Ruko)
It seems like there’s a slight discrepancy in my distance with Ruko. This is the pattern where I get scolded for information someone got outside my sphere of knowledge.
Ruko went immediately to the place of Marito once she woke up to show herself.
Since she said she wanted to talk to me while I am still in Taizu, that must mean she has been told pretty much everything.
“We acted while hiding as much information as possible for the sake of you two’s safety. But that in the end came back to bite us and ended up causing this situation. The fault of this is all on us, sorry.”
I stand up and lower my head deeply to the two.
Marito’s share too while at it… No, he might have lowered his head already.
Let’s sit and continue the conversation.
“And so…” (Ruko)
“I talked with Marito about the same thing yesterday. Our opinions align in that we don’t want to put you in a dangerous position any further than this, Ruko. Me and Marito are currently occupied with a different matter, so we don’t have the leeway to protect you the whole time. Even so, we can’t just abandon you like that. We don’t want to repeat the same mistake.”
“I…understand that, but…” (Ruko)
“The only thing I can do is prepare the bare minimum protection. It will be pretty tough to convince Marito with just that. Can you do it?”
“…Uuh, that’s…” (Ruko)
“My policy is to have no words to stop people who seriously want to do something. You just have to convince Marito with that seriousness.”
If she is serious enough to be able to convince Marito, even if I were to try and stop Ruko, she wouldn’t give up.
Words that could stop someone like that would be akin to breaking their heart. There’s no way I can do something like that to Ruko.
And so, I have decided to leave it to Marito.
“Ruko-sama can continue-no da?” (Ruko)
“There’s still this guy called Marito after all. I would say the hopes are around half.”
“Actually…Marito-sama said something similar.” (Ruko)
“He said he would give permission if Onii-san accepted it…” (Ruko)
That bastard, he threw it all onto me first.
Marito is most likely grinning at the castle right about now.
I can easily imagine his look.
“His Majesty one-upped you there.” (Ilias)
“Wait for a bit. I will think of words to convince you.”
“Didn’t you say you didn’t have words to stop her?” (Ilias)
“That’s right. You won’t go back on your words, right?!” (Ruko)
“Hngh… Can’t be helped.”
Ruko purposely didn’t tell me the details when she brought this up, huh.
She was cautious despite feeling bad about it. She got me… Oof.
But now that it has come to this, there’s the need to prepare safety nets.
“Yay-na no da!” (Nora)
“But Ruko, you should rest for one more day.”
“I am fine already!” (Ruko)
“The way you walk, the way you eat, your intonation, the way you avert your gaze; comparing each one of them to your usual state, I can tell there’s anxiety. If you don’t treasure your own body, I will try to stop you even if I have to pull underhanded means.”
“Casually speaking a scary analysis-na no da.” (Nora)
“U-Underhanded means…? For example?” (Ruko)
“I will report to Marito with perfect acting that you collapsed. You will end up having him watch you for 3 days and 3 nights.”
“There’s a limit to being underhanded!” (Ruko)
“Also, I have to make arrangements for my safety measures today, so it is not possible to resume the research immediately. That’s why, just rest obediently. I am not telling you to sleep. Go for your hobbies or pastimes to switch your mood. Refreshing yourself is also part of your job.”
“Ahaha… Understood. I will indulge in your offer.” (Ruko)
Nora is fine, but I should do some small attempts at psychiatric care with Ruko. Let’s keep an eye on her more than usual for a while.
After that, more people, who know about the situation and are more knowledgeable about magic, have joined the research together with Nora and the others.
To be more specific, I am talking about Blue and Purple.
Both of them have their greatly differing specialties in magic, but their knowledge is without doubt top tier. They will most definitely be a great help.
Also, there’s no safety greater than being protected by Demon Lords.
The first Demon Lord Nora and Ruko encountered was Gold, not the Colorless Demon Lord, so their fear towards Demon Lords wasn’t that high. They can separate their fear to just being the Colorless Demon Lord himself.
I should be grateful to the friendliness of Gold in that front. I will give her my gratitude only in the corner of my heart.
But Blue normally shouts and Dyuvuleori is near Purple, so them getting along is a different story.
Of course, Gold said she was going to join in too. If you have the time, look after Gahne too -is what I told her, and she answered by saying she doesn’t want to be left out.
But Marito did a fineplay by not giving her permission with pinpoint accuracy, and the demand of Gold was splendidly rejected.
Well, in the end, she went ‘Then I will just go hang out!’, so she will be showing herself which isn’t that different though.
When I heard about the information of the adventurers making contact with a person, I thought the ones that would serve as the key would be the adventurers or the ones who made contact.
But if you take one step back, there’s a different person involved.
That’s right. The one that witnessed this and provided the information.
Everyone is leaking the same witness information. There must be some sort of underlying scheme with this…is what I thought.
“That was an empty shot despite leaving with such confidence~. If you suspect the one providing the information, you won’t get any clues, you know~?” (Girista)
“Shut up.” (Ekdoik)
Girista investigated the people that obtained the information, but there wasn’t anything strange.
Most people simply witnessed it at bars or on the streets.
There’s even cases where several people witnessed a single adventurer meeting up with someone, so there wasn’t the possibility of them circulating false information.
“But I think that way of thinking is important, Ekdoik-san!” (Wolfe)
“Don’t comfort me…” (Ekdoik)
I thought I had grasped something here, but…it seems like I am still lacking experience.
I am glad we finished eating first. I would have most likely felt more pathetic if this sense of defeat were to be overlapped with hunger.
I turned at the person that called me and there was Rakura and Mix standing there.
It seems like the two were walking the streets while eating a light meal that they must have bought from food stalls.
“Mix and Rakura, huh… How’s the progress?” (Ekdoik)
“None at all. I tried asking the Morgana adventurers in the list of Girista-dono, but they were all the same. I can’t see signs of being brainwashed either.” (Mix)
“So pretty much the same as us…” (Ekdoik)
“How did you guys draw the information from the adventurers?” (Wolfe)
“We had King Zenotta give out a request to ‘Investigate the movements of the adventurers affiliated to Morgana’ with the specified names. After that, we had Rakura-dono ask questions to those adventurers with the pretext that it was on behalf of Morgana.” (Mix)
“I see. Morgana is strict when it comes to order after all. So you utilized the advantage that they can’t refuse orders from headquarters unless there’s a plausible reason to.” (Ekdoik)
That said, with a request from King Zenotta, they would be given time to make countermeasures if they are allies of Raheight.
No, your average adventurer wouldn’t be able to prepare satisfactory countermeasures against Rakura, who can see through lies, and the smart Mix,.
“Even if there’s still time, it is pretty rough when there’s not much harvest to this degree.” (Mix)
“Yeah, should we try consulting Comrade?” (Ekdoik)
“Mister Friend said he will be coming here tomorrow-desu zo.” (Mix)
“So Shishou is coming back!” (Wolfe)
“Even though I told him to leave Kuama to me… This won’t be a good look.” (Mix)
“It is good news, but it does feel like we hit the time limit. It would be nice if we were to make some sort of breakthrough before Counselor-sama arrives…” (Rakura)
Everyone sighed heavily. It can’t be helped.
If this were combat, all the people here would be able to compensate for what Comrade lacks.
Relying on Comrade for everything is not good as allies acting together.
Comrade said ‘Please arrange as much of the details as possible’.
If he is going to return to Kuama, we should use the remaining time to organize the information we have gathered.
But there’s way too little information. Should I leave it to Wolfe and use my legs to investigate a bit more?
No, Wolfe and the others must want to do the same. I shouldn’t try to steal the march here when I am not even sure.
“Let’s switch up if Comrade is going to be returning. Even if there is not much information to go on, let’s concentrate on making documents to show Comrade and prepare for tomorrow.” (Ekdoik)
“Right. If we were to run around all night and exhaust ourselves, it would hinder our actions when Mister Friend shows us a compass after all!” (Mix)
For now, let’s rely on the power of Comrade to see through the depths of the enemies’ hearts.
But will a day come when I will be able to see even the intentions of enemies I can’t see…?
I finished discussing the research details of the near future with Ruko and the others, and I finished doing the things I could as a member of Shunait in Taizu.
And so, I am flying with Kutou again, and land close to the entrance of Kuama’s capital.
I return my thick attire to how it originally was.
“Fuuuh, that was cold. But it seems like it will be possible to fly alone if I make a bit more preparations.”
“Master, try not catching cold!” (Kutou)
“Even if you can fly now, my worries would be gone if you were to refrain from flying in itself though. Trying to manage something about that cold with just clothes and your body is just pushing it.” (Ilias)
Ilias also takes off her Ragudo Division supplied coat.
This normally can be staved off with cold resistance magic, but after explaining to them that I wanted to do trial and error here, she said ‘Then I will also try flying without using cold resistance magic’ and matched me.
It was pretty rough with the two of us trembling as we flew.
That said, we are not doing something like putting our bodies together like the scenes where people get stranded in a snowy mountain.
If we lower the altitude, the issue of the temperature will be solved to a certain degree, but if humans were to see a devil flying in the sky, there’s no doubt there would be misunderstandings.
Even if we were to land, if there’s no people who can use farsight magic to confirm whether there’s people in the surroundings, there’s a high chance we will be seen.
“I had full body armor prepared for Kutou in order to not get hit with wind directly, but what’s cold is still cold. It could get somewhat better if we were to cut off all the air, but I could die from lack of oxygen.”
The fastest way would be for Kutou to use magic, but what Kutou can do is shapeshift, melt into the shadows, and do the motions of a regular animal.
There’s the law of mass preservation, so it can’t carry a lot of luggage, but being able to hide the bulky stuff inside the stomach of Kutou is pretty beneficial.
For shapeshifting…I didn’t really major in dynamics, so it will be trial and error for the near future.
When we arrived at the inn where Mix and the others are, the Ekdoik team was already present.
“You are one busy guy going here and there, Boss. Having high traveling speed has its grievances~.” (Girista)
“The more convenient it gets, the more workload you have after all.”
That’s one of the things I have to be careful about when increasing the civilization level of this world.
Excessive progress can also cause heavy effects on the people working.
The amount of work for each person will increase, but I would like to avoid increasing unemployment.
I read the files pertaining to the investigations of Ekdoik and Mix in Riodo and Morgana.
“Sorry, Comrade. There were no issues in joining the guild, but…we couldn’t get fruitful information.” (Ekdoik)
“Don’t worry. It took me a lot of work just trying to join the guild.”
“You joined a guild too, Mister Friend?! Must have been Morgana, right?!” (Mix)
“Ooh… Shunait…” (Mix)
“It seems like Raheight has stretched his hand to Shunait too. That’s why I will act together with Ilias most of the time when in Kuama.”
Ilias nodded proudly. There’s no need to compete with Ekdoik that much.
“I am banned from Riodo on the surface, so I can accompany you too, Boss~.” (Girista)
“If your infamy hasn’t spread all the way to Shunait, I would like you to accompany me, yeah.”
“Hmm, probably not possible then.” (Girista)
Figures. I am actually surprised she can act normally in Kuama’s capital.
Now then, let’s read the files… Fumu fumu.
“What, you have gathered pretty fruitful information though.”
“What?! I thought the only information we had was what we heard from the adventurers in the list though.” (Mix)
Mix is showing a surprised expression here, so…aah, I see.
“You guys didn’t share information properly, didn’t you?”
“We did talk yesterday though… What do you mean by that?” (Ekdoik)
“Try comparing each other’s files. You should be able to notice.”
I say this and give Ekdoik the files of Mix and Mix the files of Ekdoik.
The two of them read that seriously.
“…Ah, so that’s what it was?! This is…” (Mix)
“Wait, Mix, I would like to notice it by myself too… This is slightly different? But…” (Ekdoik)
“Can Wolfe read it too?” (Wolfe)
“Yeah, but please wait even if you notice it.” (Ekdoik)
Girista managed to discover the people that made contact with the adventurers by asking around.
There’s a good amount of adventurers that made contact, and Girista listed them up.
Ekdoik’s team used that list as reference to check the adventurers of Riodo, and Mix’s team investigated the adventurers of Morgana.
It looked like there were a lot of unclear points about the ones making contact, but they have judged there’s a high chance they are all people possessed by Raheight from their way of acting.
The results of their investigation were the same, and the adventurers were consulted about the same thing.
But I managed to notice the difference immediately when checking each other’s files.
It seems like Mix managed to immediately notice the meaning of that difference and even the method Raheight used.
It is only a matter of time before Ekdoik notices it by his own power. Let’s think up a plan while he is at it.