PMZ 114 – Dark Blessing

As I approached the crowd of people around the piano, my heart thumped louder and louder.

 –I wonder why. I feel like I’ve been chasing after you, but I can’t think of anything to say when I about to see you.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you, no, that’s wrong…

We have been apart for a short time, only about half a day. It’s not like he clearly says goodbye either, but I’m afraid that we will never meet again.

I was scared.

I stood and peered through the gap in the crowd into the center. Then I saw the back of a person wearing a traveler’s head-covering cloak, playing an old upright piano.

I couldn’t tell who it was just from this.

But the shape of his hands and the tone of the piano were unmistakably his. There was no way I could be wrong.

 –Let’s wait until the song is over.

There’s no need to panic now that we’re here; instead, I need to prepare my heart before I talk to him.

With that in mind, I listened to the piece that was called “Hero” in my previous world with the customers who were present at the store.

He had practiced it a lot, and right now, it was the most perfect play I had ever heard. However, there was something a little strange about it.

As I listened to it, I felt my anxiety and fear mysteriously disappear.

“Hey, Alice, Isn’t there something wrong with the… sound?”

George also seemed to notice the oddity.

“…Yes. rather than wrong, I would say that it’s a bit out of the ordinary.”

Weird as it is, it’s not a bad thing.

The sound gives me courage.

It inspires the heart.

It gives you strength.

And It’s not a metaphor. The sound did have that effect as if the magic was enchanted in every note it produced.

Is he casting a body enhancement with sound? But normally, you cannot affect the mind even with magic.

 –When the song, which lasted over six minutes, ended with a gorgeous coda, the audience erupted in applause.

The people near the piano went to talk to him one after another.

“Hey, you’re great! I thought this kind of elegant music would be out of place in a tavern, but I could care less now!”

“I’ve never heard this kind of piano play in a bar before; what this song called?”

“It’s called ‘Hero Polonaise’.”

His voice echoed.

“Oh? Really? I knew this song, but wasn’t it something like “Fifty-three Six” or something like that?”

Yes. Indeed, in this world, this song is called by a number.

But for me, it’s the Hero Polonaise.

“That’s what my girl told me. The one who taught me this.”

When he said this, the audience whistled and cheered in unison.

“His girl, he said! That’s nice! I’ve been listening to some really good stuff. … So this is a hero song. It’s perfect for the current situation. I feel like I can defeat a demon king right now.”

One of the guests reacted to his words.

“Demon King?”

“What, you don’t know? There’s a rumor that a Demon King has appeared near the Royal Capital. It is said that he has remade the monsters around here, and the entire sky of the royal capital is covered with black clouds.”

“What is that, seriously? And just right before I was about to go peddling. …This is serious, and this is no time to be drinking. We need to gather supplies while we can.”

As if triggered by that words, some people who looked like merchants rushed out of the store.

The remainder were strong-looking adventurers. They all looked somewhat excited, and their eyes were shining.

“I feel really empowered now. We’ve been struggling with those black guys for a while, but we can definitely beat them now. Come on, let’s go for a hunt.”

“Yeah. We’ll see if it’s true about the rumor that if you defeat the black ones, even the ones whose ranks are stuck will start to rise again. If it’s true, we might be able to defeat Demon King one day.”

“… I wish you Good luck.”

He seemed to smile a little as he said this.

The guests gradually dispersed until we were the only ones left.

The hood of his cloak hid his vision, and he didn’t seem to know we were there.

He quickly rises from his chair, accepts a glass of wine from the tavern master, and turns his body toward us.

It was then that I finally saw some agitation in his movements.

“………. Huh?”

He whispered and gradually raised his gaze from our feet upwards. Then, with a clatter, he stepped back. George quickly closed in on him.

“Oi, what’s the big deal? You’re acting like a runaway, and you’re making the little lady nervous. It was a lot of work to bring her here. Anyway, buy me a drink.”

Then Betty whispered beside me.

“It wasn’t that hard, though…”

“Don’t say that Betty … That’s his way of negotiating.”

“Negotiation? Isn’t it just his way of harassing him?”

“Don’t say that.”

They were retorting to themselves, and at one point, George grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and thrust him in front of me.

“Okay, Alice. You wanted to talk to him, didn’t you? Just go ahead and talk here. In the meantime, we’ll be drinking over there. With Hayato’s money.”

“…………”

With his hood pulled up tightly over his eyes, he looked down at me in silence.

I couldn’t look him in the eye for some reason, so I turned my head down a little and asked him a simple question first.

“… Why are you in a bar?”

After a pause, the answer came back.

“… I thought a drink might make me feel a little better.”

“After you’ve had a drink? But… that thing you’re holding in your hand is a …”

It’s a white drink, I’m not sure, but it looks like milk.

“Yeah… It’s just milk. I don’t like alcohol, After all.”

I knew it…!

 People who come to a bar and order milk do exist!

Following the event template will lead you to get teased by drunkards…

“And some drunk people started to tease me.”

“You managed to finish the template event with flying colors.”

“Is that so? Well, after that, I was upset and took it out on the piano, but as I played, more and more, people started to listen to me.

I started to have fun, and then I remembered the time I spent with Alice. I knew this wasn’t the kind of song I wanted to play in a bar, but I gave it(hero) a chance. It sounded pretty good, didn’t it?”

He speaks surprisingly normally.

Feeling a bit relieved, I pulled his arm and leading him to the counter.

“That was your best performance to date, and I felt some magical effect from it since when you been able to do that?”

I sat down next to him and ordered a glass of milk.

“I wonder? It just happens, I guess? And it won’t have that effect if I don’t play the piano well.

Anyway, why are you here? I’ve seen you took George’s party with you.”

Oh, he goes right to the point. Well, it will make this easier.

“It’s because I had decided to follow you. George and his party were here because that was the condition my father imposed on me.”

“The Duke allows it? I thought you go out in secret.”

“If I did that, you would ask me to leave, so I came properly prepared. I even managed to defeat the black one on the way here. I’m sure I can help you. Let’s go together, okay?”

“………… No.”

Stubborn. Moreover, he hasn’t made eye contact with me yet.

“Why? That’s a strong opponent that made you think that your life is on the line, right? It’s better to have allies. We can at least provide rear support.”

“That’s not the point. I’m happy with your feeling, but you can’t go with me. I’ll be back when it’s over, so go home.”

“You know it’s not going to end well.”

He didn’t say anything and folded his hands on the counter. Then I noticed he still wears our engagement ring, but he took off the ring with his coat of arms.

It’s not a good idea to push him too much. Let’s finish this for today.

“… In any case, it is late today, I will spend the night in this town; you should come with us, that way, at least we can spend the night at the same place. In Olivia’s inn.”

“Oh, that inn? How’s Olivia doing?”

“Yup, and Olivia, she is so cute, meowing and purring…. I mean, you haven’t decided on an inn yet, have you? What were you planning to do tonight?”

“I was thinking of going to make a night camp.”

“Why …?”

“I’m scared.”

Scared ……?

I’ve never heard this man speak so clearly and weakly, and I’m a little confused.

But if he also sensed the enormous magical power I saw through the goggles, it might be understandable that he would think that way.

“Well… It’s true that this town is within the range of the Demon King influence, so I can’t say that I don’t understand how you feel.”

Then he turned his face to look at me.

Our eyes met for the first time since we came here. His shining crimson eyes peeked out from behind his hood.

Oh, they’re that color today, aren’t they?

“Alice…, how much did you hear from the Duke?”

“Huh? From father? Let’s see… He just told me that there was some kind of monster out there and that you had to go to defeat.”

“…I see.”

“And he also said that maybe you should have believed more in the power of love that has protected you until now.”

It was a very memorable word from my conversation with father, though I don’t really understand what he meant by that.

In my own way, I interpreted it as a kind of special blessing that was given to this man who had many peculiarities, including his physical condition, the source of his strength.

Perhaps it was my imagination, but his red eyes seemed to have moistened a little.

He stood up and put a gold coin on the counter.

“… what’s wrong?”

“I’m sorry, but I have to go. I can’t go to Olivia’s inn. Alice, go rest for the night with the others and return to Capital city at dawn.”

He then turned his back and stepped towards the exit of the store.

“…Wait, please!”

I grabbed his arm as quickly as I could, but he laid his hand on top of mine and gently removed my fingers. He walked out of the store without looking back. As I was stunned by my helpless condition, I heard a voice from my friends who were drinking at the table beside me.

“Alisha…”

“What are you doing? Go after him.”

“but…”

“What the hell is the matter with you? You got us into this mess, and now you’re letting him go off that easy? Don’t piss me off. Just go after him.”

“Was it right for me to chase him…?”

This is the second time I’ve been rejected, and even though I’m here well prepared, I’m starting to wonder if I’m really bothering him.

Then George pushed me to the open door while saying.

“Listen, be it men or women, they can push you away, and said they don’t like you, three times before you need to decide to give up, in fact, there’s not a man alive who won’t be happy to be chased by the woman he loves.”

But I couldn’t find him in the night crowd.

Should I turn right or left?

When I was lost, Betty put her hand on my shoulder and said from behind.

“We’ll help you.”

“Betty…”

Ted slipped through the side and went out the door first.

He looked around a bit, then stared at a point.

“Oh, ……. It looks good. But it’s a little difficult to see from your perspective, Alice.”

“My perspective?”

I wondered what he was talking about.

When I was puzzled, George also came out, put his hands on the big Ted’s shoulders, groaned, and climbed up.

“Oh! I can see better than I thought I could, even with the lantern light.”

“What are you talking about?”

George grinned as he stepped down from Ted’s shoulders and put his hand on his waist, where it rested on a new interdimensional bag that had just been sold by our family.

He pulled out a transparent slime-like object in a glass bottle. In the dim light, it appeared to glow vaguely green.

“It’s a drop item,” he said. “It glows like this at night. Originally, it was used to mark people so they wouldn’t get lost in the mountains or forests, but I put it on him when I grabbed him by the neck of his cloak earlier.”

“Oh, my God! George! GOOD JOB!”

It’s like a colored ball used to shot at a convenience store robber!

When I was impressed with George’s handiwork, he laughed with a proud look on his face.

“Hehehe, right? When I first heard about it from Alice, I had a feeling things were going to get ugly, so I prepared a lot of ideas. This is one of them.

So let’s get him before he leaves town. Fortunately, there are a lot of people here, so he shouldn’t be able to walk as fast as anyone else.”

“Yes!”

“I’ll follow him casually first. I’m sure he’ll notice and run away, so Betty and Ted can go around from both sides. Alice, use body enhancements, okay? And then move from that tree to the roof of the building and chase from above. You can see his whereabouts from above without being obstructed by the crowd.”

“That means we’ll all be separated. Now, please wait a moment. I’ll give you all your communicators.”

“Oh! Oh, that’s really handy!”

I crouched down in the shadows and covered my hands with my cloak. From inside the cloak, I took out a pen, an inkpot, and four large earrings of the appropriate size.

I wrote the formula on the jeweled surface and set the four as a group. Now, four people can talk at the same time. I’m glad I’m a noble child that can freely throw out precious metals and jewels with high magic resistance like this.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is our communication device. As long as you are passing magic power through it, you can assume that you are connected. If you want to stop it, just stop the magic flow, and the link will be cut off.”

“Oh… wait, This is a woman’s accessory. I’m going to wear this?”

“It might look good on you.”

George put it on one of his ears and gave me a look of satisfaction.

“Do I look good?”

“Yes, surprisingly.”

George, whose second name is “sheep,” is a gentle herbivore with creamy hair and droopy eyes.

I didn’t dare look at Ted, so I quickly climb on a large olive tree growing nearby.

“Well, everyone, I look forward to working with you!”

“”OOH!””

We all gave a thumbs up and scattered to the four directions at once. I jumped from the tree to a white stone building and looked down on the city from the roof.

As George had said, I could see everyone’s movements from here.

What a dependable group of people.

I quickly use my communicator to speak to everyone.

My first words were.

“Thank you, everyone.”

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