Chapter 32: Is It a Farce?
The ones who rushed to the enemy’s stronghold were the soldiers of Conrad Sloane-sama and the soldiers of this territory. This place is called the Ulteus territory.
Most of those who were overwhelmed and arrested by the soldiers were young wizards. The ones who kept them quiet were practitioners of “absorption magic.” When they waved their hands and chanted a spell, everyone’s strength drained away, and they fell down. The culprits were being carried away one after another and laid out on the ground.
“Why do those people wear black masks?”
“Many practitioners of absorption magic don’t want their faces to be known.”
Conrad-san, who had somehow come outside the carriage, explained. Perhaps because they are looked down upon. Even though they are so helpful.
And now, I am wrapped in a blanket, being rocked in the carriage. I want to return to Cyril-san’s house soon. Victor is sitting next to me, and for some reason, he has been holding my shoulder the whole time. Conrad-san and Pauline-san are sitting across from me.
“What will happen to the captured people?”
“They will be sent to the capital. Since they have absorbed the magic of others but haven’t killed anyone, they won’t be sentenced to death. However…what will happen after the investigation of the magic that creates the whirlwind and absorbs magic is completed? I don’t know if the period of being imprisoned is limited or indefinite.”
The carriage moves. Victor remains silent. Pauline-san also seems to be contemplating something. Perhaps there are things they can’t talk about in front of Conrad-san. I was just tired, anyway.
There has been a constant interrogation from Conrad-san inside the moving carriage. Couldn’t it wait until we arrive at Cyril-san’s house?
“I apologize for doing this when you’re tired. However, I have an obligation to report this incident to the royal palace. To report the reason why you were abducted, I also have to mention your abilities. I have to write in the report that you can see and erase whirlwinds.”
“There is a possibility that some information will reach the royal palace before my report. Depending on the situation, investigators from the palace may come to our territory immediately. I want to finish the questioning before that happens.”
With the hand that Victor had placed on my shoulder and a nod from Pauline-san, I nodded in response.
The only things I know are the leader named Wildcat, the kidnapper named Mole, a nobleman named Frog, a caretaker woman, and a child who seems to be their companion. I don’t have much useful information.
“I see. Understood. We will enter the mountains soon.”
“Be careful in the mountains because thieves are likely to appear.”
How am I supposed to be careful? Come to think of it, I can’t see the escorts who were supposed to be in front and behind us since a while ago. Aren’t they too far away?
While pondering about it, the carriage stopped. The door was opened from the outside, and a man with half of his face covered by a scarf pulled Victor’s arm, saying, “Get off.”
“Eh? Eh? Eh?”
Victor obediently got off. Then, the man said to me, “You too.” Pauline, who was pushing me from behind, got off by herself.
“Hand over anything valuable.”
“Yes, please accept this as an apology.”
Conrad-san handed over something that seemed to be money wrapped in cloth. Both sides were speaking in a scripted manner, but what is this? Is it some kind of act? A performance?
After the three of us got off, the carriage left with Conrad-san on board.
“Well then, Haru must be tired. Take a rest for a while.”
The masked man lowered his scarf.
“Hey, Haru. It’s been a while. I was relieved when I heard that you were rescued safely.”
“Cyril-san! Why are you pretending to be a bandit?”
“Haru, let’s get on the carriage first.”
Prompted by Pauline-san, I followed Cyril-san. After walking for a while, a covered wagon was parked.
“I’ll be the coachman. Haru, you should sit in the back and have Victor and Pauline explain the situation to you. I’ve also brought some delicious food.”
The cargo bed of the covered wagon, with its canopy, was comfortable. The box-shaped chairs served as storage, and there was also a box-shaped table that could be used as storage. There were many items loaded in it.
Pauline-san took out a large cookie from a square can and scooped sour cream and strawberry jam from another can onto a wooden plate, then handed it to me.
“It’s been a while since I had something sweet.”
I ate the cookie without hesitation. In between, I drank tea from a wooden mug. The tea was poured from a container that looked like a large water bottle. It was a bit lukewarm, but I didn’t complain about luxury. Victor and Pauline looked at me with gentle eyes.
“I thought you would contact us sooner. I was worried because we didn’t receive any news for a long time.”
“Yes, that’s right. I should have let Kuro contact you sooner.”
“Well…because I had constant surveillance. I didn’t know Kuro’s abilities, and it would have been troublesome if they found out about the contact and moved to a different location.”
“I see. Haru, you were surprisingly calm.”
“Victor was a mess and had a hard time after you were abducted, you know?”
“A mess? Hard time?”
Pauline just chuckled and didn’t tell me. Victor turned his face away without responding.
“By the way, where are we going with all these belongings? Isn’t it Cyril-san’s house?”
“According to my foresight, if you stay at Cyril-san’s house, people from the palace will come in two days to pick you up. They will come to welcome you.”
“Me? The palace?”
“Yes. I don’t know the reason yet, but I think it’s probably related to the whirlwind incident. They must have found some value in you.”
It took me a little time to understand what was being said.
“Oh my… It’s really something, the palace.”
“Rather than the palace…it’s probably the Prime Minister.”
“Like a deep-sea fish. It’s possible.”
We fell into a distant gaze for a moment, but Pauline-san quickly changed the subject with a cheerful voice.
“Cyril-san suggested that we all move together. He said his family’s house is near the sea.”
“That’s not all. Conrad-san cooperated with us to let us escape. He said that we were attacked by bandits and taken away.”
Ah, I see. That earlier act was for that purpose…
“Anyway, it seems like we can all live happily together, right?”
When I said that, both Victor and Pauline-san smiled wryly and said, “You’re much more energetic than we thought.”
The carriage leisurely moved forward. We enjoyed a small journey together.