PMZ 113 – Guidance.

Dealing with locusts has taken quite a bit of our time.

The sun was already leaning far to the west, so we cannot relax too much anymore.

“Let’s hurry up.”

“Yeah. But we know where we are going, so there’s no need to be in such a hurry.”

“Yes, But… The destination surprisingly to be closer than we think, we’ll be in trouble if we can’t catch up.”

“It’s okay. No matter how confident he is, he will not go to challenge a strong enemy to the point of risking his life when it’s almost night. When we get a little further, there will be a town. Maybe he’ll be there.”

Ted cut into the conversation between George and me.

“I’m pretty sure he will stop at next town, unlike us, who traveling while rode [Alice], he was walking on foot and had to face monster attacks. He should be looking for a place to spend the night.”

“anyhow, Hayato is amazing. He’s going through these mutants alone, right? we’re on monster-free road while riding on [Alice] but we haven’t catch up with him. Why is that? How can he move that fast…”

George replied with a distant look in his eyes.

“Well, that’s just how he is… Back then, I thought we are moving at the same speed, but before I knew it, he was already leaving me far behind, it always is like that… every time. That is why I’m sure this time it will also be the same. It doesn’t matter if we ride the [Alice] or not.”

“You’re not only talking about physical distance, aren’t you? anyway, can we stop calling this [Alice]?”

We are casually calling out someone’s dark history, don’t you think it’s terrible?

“Nope, Alice is Alice. And by the way, everyone knows this(*), this is not some secret or anything, Alice may not realize it because Hayato spoiled you so much.” {he is talking about how Hayato always move too fast}

“…is that so?”

I also want them to stop because “Alice” is my nickname…Oh Well, whatever, they will get tired of it soon enough.

“Anyway, let’s stop at the next town, the one that was known for its olive tree.”

“Yeah. If we continue along the road, we will reach Europaea. That’s the first stop for most travelers leaving Capital City, so I’m sure he’ll stop there too.”

Ted said that.

“Let’s go there then.”

Our first destination was Europaea. It’s an inn town for travelers, lined with olive trees.

A car would have been a hindrance in the town, so we decided to get off a short distance away and enter the town on foot.

The [Alice] has a protection mechanism so that no one but us can operate it, so there was no need to worry about theft. However, I was worried about mischief, so I chose a place as inconspicuous as possible to hide it.

We arrived before dusk at Europaea, a town filled with white stone buildings along with olive trees.

The white buildings looked beautiful against the blue sky, almost like a painting.

This town, which is close to the royal capital but has a rather exotic atmosphere, is one that I have dropped by several times when traveling between my territory and the royal capital.

However, I was here on Duke family member back then, this was my first time to enter the town on foot.

Many of the people on the street were dressed in traveling clothes, giving off a somewhat rough and wild atmosphere.

“somehow… the people here look different from the people from Capital city.”

“Of course. It is natural for people who travel to look rough, and the residents who doing business with them naturally will not be that elegant. But this still on the mild side. The farther you get from the capital city, the farther we will get from the scenery we used to see. Be prepared for that.”

“… understood.”

It’s true, I’ve never known a true wilderness.

In any town or village, the only people who would deal with me were those in at least some kind of position. Even when I’m in commoner district, I never had to deal with strange people, it’s probably because Hayato was always there with me.

But now it’s a time for me to be resolute.

“So what do we do now? I think we’d better get a place to stay before we start looking for him.”

“Yes, we should. A room in good quality inn tends to be full quickly, so it will be too late if we tried to book it when it’s get dark. So, I think it’s better for me to secure an inn first. Alice, you’ll be okay sharing room with Betty, right?”

“Yes. I’ll leave it to you.”

“Good… I also want to take a shower, you know. I just came back from the expedition and didn’t have time to do it when I got home.”

“Ah… I’m sorry for that. Sorry for asking you all to do something so unreasonable…”

“No! That’s okay! We also get an amazing magic tools in exchange. Still I want to wash my body.”

“That’s right.”

“Hey, let’s go. If you’re lucky, you might run into him at the inn. First we will check the inn he used to stay.”

“Yes!”

I’m truly glad that I had not come alone to this town.

It was reassuring to be accompanied by people who knew how to walk around outside the capital and who knew Hayato’s habit well.

“By the way, what kind of place is the inn that he might go to?”

“Hmm… To tell you the truth… there was a place that he really liked. I’m not sure about now, but the mascot of that particular inn was cute.”

“inn’s mascot?”

“Oy, hey George… Don’t say that in a misleading way.”

“Let’s go there right now!”

I can’t leave it alone after I heard about his favorite inn’s mascot. Naturally, I’m curious, okay?

I was then taken to a small, rustic inn.

When Ted opened the door, which had a cute bell attached to it, a boy of about ten years old wearing an apron and a triangular hood stopped cleaning and greeted us with a tinkling sound.

“Welcome! Oh, George and Ted! Long time no see!”

“Hi. Rigel. You have grown up. Where are Mom and Dad?”

“They’re preparing dinner. I’m working as a receptionist now. Just the two of you today?”

“No, there are four of us.”

Then Ted shifted his large body to show Rigel me and Betty, who were in his shadows. Rigel then opened his mouth wide and dyed his young, round cheeks a red.

“Wow… two beautiful sisters!”

“Oh, what a good boy. Isn’t that right Alisha? I was wondering what kind of cat burglars would show up, but if was someone like him, it might not be so bad at all.” {cat buglar = japanese terms for women who steal other’s mate}

“I wonder about that…”

What if the mascot is his sister or some other employee?

Rigel then twitch his shoulder awkwardly; he clearly was nervous.

“Cat burglar? I’m sorry, did Olivia do something to you?”

“Olivia? Is that the name of the girl who work on this store?”

“Yes, …she often gets gifts from customers and other houses, but she never stolen anything, so I was careless. … Aren’t you mistake it with someone else?”

Olivia. You are naughtier than I thought.

Betty started to pull away after seeing my evil face, at that moment, something small and soft brushed my leg.

“Nyaan.”

“What? A Cat! So cute!”

I love cats.

Rigel grabbed the black cat, picked her up and start scolding it with scary look on his face.

“Hey, Olivia! Did you take something from these sisters?”

The black cat meowed.

The Mascot, Olivia.

She’s a (literal) little naughty female cat.

“…uh Rigel? I’m sorry, it was a misunderstanding, Olivia haven’t took anything from us, forgive me.”

“Eh? Is that so? I’m glad… Then I’ll show you to the room! Is two rooms enough?”

“Yes, please.”

After giving George a chop, I followed Rigel up the stairs. I feel like the timing is just right, so I asked him an important question as we walked up the stairs.

“Say, do you know about Hayato?”

“Yes, I do. He does not come here these days, but he used to come once in a while. He seems to be very fond of Olivia, and whenever he comes to this town, he always uses our place.”

“I see. …So he’s not here today?”

“Yeah.”

I see… When I was about to disheartened, Betty gave me a comforting pat on my shoulder.

“It’s okay, Alisha. We got in early, and you never know what might come. Let us go to our room and take a shower, and then we’ll go into town. I’ll accompany you on your search.”

“Thank you.”

I felt like crying from her kindness.

I went into the room and took out a tea set from inside my cloak while I waited for Betty to go to the shower room.

Why did I bring this, you ask?

I just put it in there because it can hold anything. I’m glad to see it’s coming in handy.

I feel like a cat robot from the 22nd century, but when Betty gets out of the shower, I’ll treat her to a cup of tea and thank her for her help.

I finished preparing the tea and gazed out the window in a daze.

The town is full of people coming and going.

I suddenly thought of using my goggles to take a second look at the town.

Perhaps I could catch a glimpse of Hayato’s magic, even if he a little bit further away.

With such a light thought, I put on the goggles and let the magic flow through them.

It was then…

……!

 It’s too bright!

I immediately took off my goggles because the light was so strong that it filled my entire field of vision.

My eyes were flickering.

I wonder what is going on.

It’s seems that this town is already in the middle of the huge magic power I saw from the outskirts of Capital city.

If that’s true… This is dangerous.

But there is nothing strange about the town as seen from here.

There is a lot of noise here and there, but it’s all caused by human activity, and it’s all relatively peaceful.

We should be cautious, but it does not seem to be a situation where we should make a fuss yet. If we did, we’ll cause a panic. We have to avoid that.

  –I really have to find that person soon.

Hey, I want to see you. Where did you go? I’m already suffering from a mixture of frustration and loneliness.

But I resolve myself, Even if Hayato can’t be found, and should this town were attacked by a monster with the power of a demon king, I will be the one who go and fight it.

I don’t think I can win.

But I want to thank Betty, Ted, and George for sticking with me this far. I want them all to return to capital city safely, no matter what.

Before we left home, my father told me not to die in vain.

I don’t think it’s a vain if I could sacrifice my life to let everyone go safely. Father will forgive me.

Just as I made up my mind and pulled myself together, the door to the shower room opened and Betty came out in a bath towel.

“I feel so refreshed! Do you want to take a bath too, Alisha?”

“No, I’ll do it before I go to bed. I’ve made you some tea. Would you like some?”

“Oh, thank you! I’m so thirsty! …wait… isn’t this a silver tea set! Don’t tell me that this belongs to duke’s family…”

“Yes, I brought it from home, but it’s my personal item, so don’t worry about it.”

“A silver tea set is a personal item? I’m impressed. I’ve never had tea in a cup like this before. Are you sure I can use it?”

“Yes, you can. and…… Um… thank you so much for today.”

“What are you talking about? You have given me many experiences that I would not have had if I had lived a normal life. Thank you, too.”

Betty tipped her silver teacup and sipped her tea.

I too, moisten my throat with some tea.

“I-It’s unbelievably delicious … I’m in bliss…”

“Oh. I did say that I would hold a tea party to thank you for the engagement party. I’m sorry I didn’t do it sooner…”

“No problem. You’re busy, aren’t you? Invite me when you are ready”

“Yes. Sure. For the tea party, I’m thinking of having a chocolate fountain in our garden. Will you come?”

“Chocolate fountain? …But, if it in Alisha’s house… I wonder if it’s okay for someone like me to go there?”

“I’ll be looking forward to it.”

She laughed and finished her tea.

If I make it home safely, I’ll make it my top priority to fulfill this promise.

Afterwards, I waited for Betty to change her clothes and get ready, and then I called out to the boys in the other room, force them out, and immediately started searching.

It was already dusk outside, and the white stone buildings were tinged with red.

“Well, we’ ve come to the busiest part of the city for now. Where should we start looking?

“First of all, we should ask around. He strangely stands out, so if he’s in town, there’s bound to be some info around.”

Ted’s opinion was sound.

“I’ll ask the street vendor there…. Excuse me, I’m looking for someone. Have you seen a guy around this height with a very handsome face?”

George’s way of asking was too crude. The street vendor seemed to be troubled.

“What? Other features? Hmm… The moon is out today, so I think his hair is silver.”

“No, I think it’s black.”

“Wait a minute, it’s still dusk. It could be brown.”

What a surprise. We cannot even figure out what our friends will look like.

There was no way the street vendor would recognize it.

As expected, he shook his head, and we realized that we had unexpectedly run into an impasse.

We all looked at each other, stunned.

At this precise moment, a sound was heard.

My ears picked up familiar music mixed in with town’s noise, and my heart raced reflexively.

This was the piano score that I had said I liked.

It is a piece that clearly shows the characteristics of the player.

No doubt about it. The tone of his play is echoing from somewhere.

“Hmm? What’s wrong, Alice?”

Ted asks me, noticing the change in my expression.

But my heart is too full to speak.

…He is here!

His shadow was nowhere to be seen. But I’m sure that sound belongs to him!

My throat feels like it’s choking, but I finally manage to speak.

“It’s the Hero retur…!”

“What? What? What do you mean?”

Resisting the urge to run, I carefully traced the source of the sound.

It was leaking from a tavern on one of the busiest streets in town.

“Did you trace him with only piano sound? …I guess the noble lady did has such a special skill.”

“Class has nothing to do with it. It’s just that I’ve seen a lot of him practicing this song.”

“I see. We used to learn from the sisters, but we soon got bored and ended up playing with the metronome. It’s a world I don’t understand…. But he didn’t drink, why would he be there? Are you sure it’s him?”

“I’m sure.”

With trembling hands, I open the door.

The sound floods out.

There was a crowd of people around the piano, obstructing my view so I cannot see him.

But I found Hayato.

TL notes:

ch 114, c115 can be found on patreon, for all of you free user, worry not.

anyway, the site next and previous button is still broke, I don’t know what causing it, I will probably overhaul it at this point… wasted too much time on that, it will be easier to make a new one.


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