Chapter 26: Pauline-san’s foresight never fails
The three of us were preparing for gelato sales in the square.
Victor infused magic into an empty stone tablet, while Pauline-san used gentle wind magic to quietly remove fallen leaves and dust around the carriage. I was setting up signs and chairs around the carriage.
“Haru, the stone tablet is fully charged. Gelato will be safe even without me watching over it all morning.”
“Haru, I’m done cleaning.”
“Thank you, both of you. Now we just have to wait for customers. . .”
My voice trailed off, and both of them turned to me with puzzled expressions. They noticed that I was fixated on something, and tension ran through Victor’s body.
“Just listen to me, both of you. It’s coming.”
“A whirlwind? Where?”
“Right now, at the entrance to the square behind you. It’s slowly heading this way.”
Pauline-san started to panic.
Oh no! She doesn’t know about whirlwinds!
“Pauline, calm down and listen to me. Head towards the entrance, making a wide right turn. Don’t run straight. I’ll go to the left. There’s probably someone using magic near the entrance. Let’s catch them together.”
“I don’t really understand, but I just need to catch them, right?”
“What should I do?”
“Haru, keep an eye on the whirlwind’s movement. If the course changes, shout so we can hear.”
“Pauline, let’s go!”
The two of them started running vigorously. Victor with incredible speed, and, well. . . Pauline-san, who seemed to be running at a jog even though she was giving it her all. Uh-oh. She’s slow. What if she gets caught?
My worries came true.
The whirlwind changed direction and started heading towards Pauline-san.
“Pauline! You’re being targeted! Run away!”
“Come back towards me!”
Pauline-san quickly changed direction.
Victor continued to sprint towards the entrance.
No good. Pauline-san is being caught up. I dashed towards the whirlwind. I can dispel the whirlwind. I lifted the skirt of my dress, which reached below my knees, and ran with my legs exposed. It’s been a while since I ran with all my might, not since college, no, high school physical education class.
“Damn it! Disappear!”
I rammed into the whirlwind, which was about to catch up to Pauline-san, and swung my arms. The swirling whirlwind had almost absorbed Pauline-san’s magic, but it scattered and disappeared.
“Haru, are you okay?”
“Haa, haa, haa. . . I’m. . . haa, okay. . . haa.”
I was out of breath and ended up squatting on the ground.
“What about Victor?”
“Oh, he’s back. It seems like it didn’t work.”
Victor returned, looking frustrated, and said, “They got away.”
“Did you see them?”
“Pauline, I’m glad you’re safe. I saw them. It was a pair of boys. If I had attacked, I could have defeated them, but I hesitated, and they managed to escape.”
We returned to the gelato cart and listened to Victor’s report.
It seems that the culprit behind the tornado was indeed a wizard. While Victor was using detection magic and running, he encountered two individuals who were releasing magical energy. However, upon seeing Victor, they fled.
“I’m sorry. I let them escape because I hesitated.”
“No, it’s okay. If you had immediately used ice lances or fireballs, they would have been scared off instead.”
“Hey, can you tell me more about the tornado?”
So Victor and I explained to Pauline-san about the tornado that steals magical power.
“I see. Unforgivable. Wizards should know how difficult it is to run out of magical power. Why would they do such a thing?”
“One of them is undoubtedly a practitioner of absorption and depletion magic.”
“That’s right. And the other one knows a special way of using wind magic.”
Pauline-san had a complex expression as she explained.
“Absorption and depletion magic, you know, it’s considered a despicable art by some people. In the past, it was commonly used as a treatment for magical energy overload, but then bracelets and pendants for treating overload were developed. After that, it became exclusively used against imprisoned wizards. That’s when they started being called impure wizards. Wizards who can only use that kind of magic feel ashamed.”
“Even though you’re just doing your job? It’s not like you’re doing something bad.”
“Logic and emotions are different.”
“I’m the same way. I’m called a ‘visionary’ due to ancient customs, but among offensive magic users, I’m mocked as someone who ‘just watches’ or ‘uses only observation magic.'”
It seems that there is discrimination and prejudice among wizards based on their specialties.
“For now, we know that the whirlwind is artificial, and the culprit is a boy. We should report to Conrad-san as soon as possible. We need to discuss and come up with a plan.”
We closed the gelato stand and headed towards Lord Conrad’s mansion. Pauline-san’s prediction from yesterday, “We won’t be doing business tomorrow,” had become a reality.
Pauline-san’s predictions are always accurate. Amazing.