The next day comes by fast. After playing a bit of hide-and-seek with the stalkers, I walk to the Harold’s house. Without fans, of course. The stalkers were so persistent. Even though I have repeatedly lost them, they kept coming back.
It is early in the morning. I walk in the alley since the road is still quite empty. I reach the house an hour before schedule.
When I arrive, I can see a covered wagon filled with boxes. Harold is currently loading up more. The girls aren’t around yet.
I approach Harold and he notices almost immediately. As expected of retired soldier. They have refined perception.
“Good morning, Harold.” (Erwin)
“Ah, good morning, young man.” (Harold)
“Want some help?” (Erwin)
“Sure. Help me put in all this boxes.” (Harold)
Harold points at various sizes of boxes beside the carriage. Most of them are small boxes. Harold climbs the carriage. I pick up the boxes and pass it up to Harold. They might contain clothes as they are light.
We work for a while as there are many boxes. It filled up half of the wagon. I wipe the sweat that rolled down my forehead.
“Thanks for the help. It finished early. The girls aren’t ready yet. Have you eaten breakfast?” (Harold)
“I have. I woke up quite early today.” (Erwin)
“I see. Let’s go inside. There is no use standing around here.” (Harold)
We enter the store. The empty racks already gives off an abandoned building feeling. We grab chairs and sit down near the counter. We can watch the wagon from here.
“What will you do with this store?” (Erwin)
“I have already sold them. The day after tomorrow the new occupants will arrived. I have took care of everything so we can leave now.” (Harold)
“I see. How long have you lived here?” (Erwin)
“Five years. When I retired from the army, I bought this house.” (Harold)
“I see. Does Jenny has any friends here?” (Erwin)
“I am afraid not. She is very shy and it’s dangerous around here. There are several kidnapping so parents are afraid of letting their children play freely.” (Harold)
“Ah. This is a fairly big city in the surrounding region. In big cities there are always slave market. Those kidnapped will be brought there. However, there is no way we can fight all their guards to rescue them. Even if we bought them back, they might get kidnapped again.” (Harold)
“Why not ask the city guard for help?” (Erwin)
“This city’s guards can’t be trusted. Often times they are the ones who do the kidnapping. I can’t say for other cities but this city in particular is not safe. Recently, the kidnapping happened quite often compared to before.” (Harold)
“I see. Then how will this city grow? If there are no children around, this city will slowly dies.” (Erwin)
“This city is originally a fortress that was made into a frontier city so they don’t really care about the citizens. The only children around the outer part of the city are those in the slums. Most parents with money have moved to another city or buy a house in villages nearby.” (Harold)
“What a strange policy this city has.” (Erwin)
“Don’t mind them. We are not nobles who managed cities.” (Harold)
“Well. Are those the reasons why you want to move out?” (Erwin)
“Yeah. If I kept Jenny any longer, it won’t be good for her social life. I have already been grateful that Alishia came. She is more cheerful than before.” (Harold)
“Right. She is too shy with strangers now. When I came, she directly hid behind Alishia. If someone with bad tempered saw that, I don’t want to imagine what would happen.” (Erwin)
“That’s right.” (Harold)
While we chat, there are some noises from the back of the store. Cheerful noises are heard from there. I can hear Mary’s shout in the middle of it. It feels like back at home. I feel a bit of nostalgia.
We chat for a while more as we smell an appetizing smell. It looks like they are having breakfast.
“Are you not eating?” (Erwin)
“I am. Just wait.” (Harold)
The back door opens up in a minute. Nina comes out with a tray of meals. She is surprised that I am also there. She puts down the tray before Harold.
“Have you eaten breakfast, Erwin?” (Nina)
“I have.” (Erwin)
“We have a bit more so you should join us.” (Nina)
“I see. I will accept it then.” (Erwin)
“Alright. Wait a moment.” (Nina)
Nina goes back inside. After a while, Mary comes out with a tray.
“You should have told me that you’re early.” (Mary)
“My bad. I was bored so I came early.” (Erwin)
Mary puts down the tray in front of me. The simple porridge has a nice smell. There are two bowls of them. As I wonder whose it is, Mary sits down beside me and takes one.
“You’re not eating with the girls?” (Erwin)
“I thought you will be lonely without me around.” (Mary)
How can I just honestly reply I was lonely? I will just bury myself in a hole if I really did it. It’s embarrassing.
“Oh? Are you saying I am a nuisance?” (Mary)
“That’s not it either!” (Erwin)
Guh! What should I answer then?
I give up on explaining and pick up a wooden spoon. I scoop up the porridge and eat it. Mary pouts and scoops up her porridge as well.
I can see Harold smirks. Damn it! What’s so fun about it?
I hear a sigh from the door. When I look there, the door is already closed. I tilt my head and decide to ignore it.
We eat the breakfast in silence. Halfway through my meal, Harold stands up. He takes his bowl.
“I will go prepare myself. Can you watch over the wagon?” (Harold)
“Sure. Take your time.” (Erwin)
Harold goes into the back. Mary and I are left in the store. I feel awkward when I finally realized it. We continue our breakfast in silence. It is suffocating.
In the end Mary starts to talk first.
“What did you do yesterday?” (Mary)
“Ha? Morning went to retrieve things left by HQ, afternoon with you, evening lazed around in the inn.” (Erwin)
“That’s all?” (Mary)
“What do you expect me to do?” (Erwin)
“Nothing. Don’t mind it.” (Mary)
Mary takes both of our bowls and brings them to the back. I follow her back until she gets inside. There have been times when I can’t understand her.
I look outside again. The main road is still empty. There are only very few people going back and forth. The marketplace is a bit far from here so I know it will be like this.
A minute later Mary comes out again. She sits down beside me again. This time she has a small smile on her face.
“Did something happen?” (Erwin)
“Why did you ask?” (Mary)
“You look like you’re in a good mood.” (Erwin)
“Don’t mind it.” (Mary)
I scratch my head in confusion. We talk for a while after that. This simple past time feels more precious after we started this expedition.
Left behind by others we know, the stress of being in unfamiliar environment will be too much to bear alone. Fortunately there are two of us. There is also hope that we can go back to Earth.
Ah... I wonder why so many characters in those novels were so easy going when they were summoned? Folly of the youth? Or they just don’t have any attachment to their hometown.
I don’t know if Mary feels the same but I enjoy being with her. I am glad I am not alone in this world.
“Why are you smiling at me all of sudden?” (Mary)
“Nothing. Just thought of something.” (Erwin)
Mary looks unconvinced. She ignores it afterward with a sigh. We continue to talk until Harold and family come out.
“Alright! We are ready. The city gate should have been opened as well. Let’s move!” (Harold)
Harold says in high spirit while holding Jenny in his arms. His wife, Nina, smiles a bit, looking at Harold’s expression. Alishia raises her hands and cheers like she is going on a picnic.
I take out a black cloak and put it over my conspicuous uniform. We then board the wagon. Harold and I are on the driver seat. The wagon slowly moves to the gate and goes out of the city.
“How did you always lose sight of that boy? You also can’t find the girl wherever she is. This city is so small but you can’t even find a girl so beautiful that she will certainly stand out everywhere.” (Yaza)
Yaza’s subordinates shiver at his seemingly calm voice. They can feel the seething anger in the tone. The surrounding subordinates also unconsciously straighten their backs.
“B-bo-boss. We-we have surrounded that boy in-in the al-alley. Bu-but. He always disappear!”
“Yeah. Yeah. That’s true boss.”
“We can’t find him.”
“Every-every time we cornered him. He always disappeared like a ghost!”
“Tch. I don’t believe in ghosts. Is he unexpectedly a witch as well? Is he the bodyguard for that girl? No, it can’t be since he even allowed the girl to use magic in front of me. He should have known that it is dangerous.”
Yaza ponders in his mind for a while. That few moments feel like a hours for the frightened subordinates. They lower their head as to not match the gaze of the noble in front of them.
At this moment a small man comes running in. He quickly kneels in front of the Yaza.
“Report! We found them.”
“Good! Where are they?” (Yaza)
“They left the city with a wagon. I peeked the inside of the wagon and discovered the girl there.”
“Did you restrain them?” (Yaza)
“No sir. When I saw them, they are already quite far from the gate. I was outside until just now to search for the boy. By the time I brought the others they have already gone.”
“Damn it. You didn’t feel any magic?” (Yaza)
“No sir. I only got curious of the wagon and peeked. I never imagined she was there.”
“Argh. She turns out to be a trained witch. We can’t handle her ourselves.” (Yaza)
Yaza hits the armrest of his chair. He grits his teeth and thinks.
Trained witches or magicians can conceal their mana so the others can’t feel anything near them. They will look like ordinary people without the strange feeling. They are also more proficient in controlling their magic so they are much harder to handle.
After a while, he sighs.
“We can’t get the other brothers from the fort. It will be too late by then. I have to ask that Baron. You, bring ten people and prepare for battle.” (Yaza)
Yaza stands up and walks to the front door. He is holding his chins while gritting his teeth.
“They are fast. Could it be that they already know they are in danger? No way. They can’t speak with other people. There is no way they will know.”
“No wait... The one I sent to the Warrior Guild didn’t come back. That boy is seen going there once. Maybe he knows how to speak?”
“How did he learn a language this fast? Ah right. There is that magic. Maybe they teach other witch. That means there is another witch nearby. I have to find them.”
Yaza grumbles while he walks. He instructs another subordinate to investigate if there is another witch nearby. Then, he proceeds to the outside with grim face.