After breakfast, Mary takes care of the bowls and goes out of the room. I look at the bracelet on the table beside the bed. A faint blue light flashes out every now and then. It is a signal for new message.
I stretch my hand to grab it. After putting in the password, I see that there are two messages. Both are from headquarters. I open the earlier one.
“From: Earth Expedition Force Headquarters
To: Scout team Delta 1
Report everything you know about the new world and your current circumstances.”
A flash of memories pass through my mind for a while. The past half a month have been very busy.
The start of the expedition.
Attacking bandits and killing a person for the first time.
Exploring a frontier town.
Meeting a young magician girl.
First escort mission to this village.
The past week in the village is also full of activities from calm to tense.
All in all, I feel like I have an exciting adventure. Although I might still be immature, these experiences have teach me a lot. The door is suddenly knocked when I am reminiscing. Soon after, Mary walks in.
“Hmm? Is there something that makes you so happy?”
“Nothing. I just remember the past.”
She looks at the bracelet on my hand. There is a floating window and the message on it. She walks up to me and glances at it.
“Ah. I have sent the report yesterday. However, I don’t know much detail so I only sent what I know.”
“There is another message. Have you look at it?”
Mary looks at her bracelet and notices the same faint blue light. It is hard to see it in the lit up room. I open the second message. Mary sits on the bed beside me.
“From: Earth Expedition Force Headquarters
To: Scout Team Delta 1
Proceed to Yamato Kingdom. You have two option once you are there.
First, activate the beacon in concealed location. Additional personnel will be sent in. They will handle all negotiations with the authority.
Second, establish contact with any authority and obtain permission for diplomat or ambassador to be sent. Activate the beacon and report to us. We will handle the rest.
Warning: The beacon’s signal uses magic to strengthen it thus allowing it to reach us from anywhere you are while simultaneously scanning the location of the beacon. The magicians near the area might perceive the magic and cause unnecessary trouble. We recommend the second option.
From now on, regular report has to be sent every week. We will also open the gate every noon and midnight for a few minutes for any urgent matters you need to report.
Good luck and Godspeed.”
I scroll down the message in case if there is more but didn’t find any. I reread it once again. Then I turn to look at Mary. Mary is looking at me with a slightly gloomy feeling. She asks.
“Does this mean we will have to leave the village soon?”
“Looks like it. You don’t want to?”
“Hmm.. It’s comfortable here. I am a bit reluctant.”
“Well, we can stay for a while longer. Just say that it is for my recuperation. However, we will have to leave sooner or later.”
“Yeah, I know. When shall we leave?”
“In a few days. How about three days from now?”
“We need to tell Harold first. Then we need to know if Alishia will come along or not. After that, we will say farewell to the villagers we know.”
“Hmm. Sounds good. Okay then.”
We talk over our travel plan and the things we should buy. After Mary changed the dressing on my shoulder, we go out to meet Harold.
Harold is currently at the front yard. He is watching over Jenny and Alishia while they play with the other children. He called them over to help Alishia get over her bad experience.
Harold and Nina are sitting around a round stone table. A pot with a few cups are placed on it. Looks like they are enjoying tea time. Harold turns to look at us when we are near.
“You’re up. How is your shoulder?”
“A bit stiff and that’s all.”
“I see. That’s good. Come and sit.”
Mary and I grab two chairs and sit down. We look over to the wide front yard. There are a lot of children running around. There are also some youths who have free time accompanying them. When they glance at us, we wave our hand at them.
I look back at Harold after that. Harold seems to sense that I have something to say. He sets aside his teacup and sits straight. Nina picks up two more cups and cleans it.
After Mary pours the tea to the clean cups, I start the talk.
“We will have to continue our travel soon. Will you and Alishia come along?”
“I see. Unfortunately, with the village like this, I am worried about my family. I want to keep Alishia here as well for now but the sooner she leave the country, the safer she is. I have to ask you two to bring her along.”
“I see. No problem on that. We can bring her along.”
“Good then. When will you leave?”
“We plan to leave three days from now. I still need to rest. Tomorrow we will buy food and water for our travel. Is there anywhere we can buy a wagon?”
“It’s okay. The villagers got it covered. When I told them that you will sooner or later leave the village, they unanimously agreed to provide a wagon.”
“Oh? For what?”
“They said it is to thank your help in defending the village.”
“I can’t take something for free. How much is it?”
“No need to pay anything. Without your help, who knows if the village will still be standing here. That’s why the price of a wagon is a simple problem. The wagon should be with the village chief right now.”
“I see. Then we will go greet him tomorrow.”
“Sure. I will also prepare a letter so you can pass through the checkpoint into Yamato Kingdom. There is a hidden mountain path you can take to avoid the detection of this kingdom.”
“Oh. Such a convenient pathway.”
Something doesn’t feel right. There is something that stuck in my mind but I can’t recall it. I look at Mary. She senses my stare and looks back in confusion.
‘No. It has nothing to do with her. Then with magicians?’
I close my eyes and lean my back on the chair. When I open my eyes, I see Harold grinning. I think again while staring at him.
‘A hidden pathway. Avoiding detection. Magicians. Run away. Hunter.’
“Ah!? Erwin, don’t suddenly shout like that.” (Mary)
“I remember that you’re a magician hunter. You are using that path to capture them?”
Harold grins and laughs out loud. The nearby children look over to him and tilt their heads. It’s kinda cute. I look back to Harold.
“Well. You got me right and wrong at the same time. Yes, I use that path but not to capture them. I use it to smuggle them out.”
“Smuggle? So you’re tricking people for the bounties while not killing the magicians at the same time.”
“Hmm... You can say that. Anyway, I only killed a few of the bad ones though I don’t know if they are really bad. Most of them were smuggled out, following the orders from the top of the guilds. That’s also the reason I know about that hidden pass.”
“Well... That’s fine then. Will you also prepare a letter for Alishia’s parents?”
“I will prepare two letters. One for an official who is my friend to take her in for a while and the other for her parents. So when you leave, you will have three letters in total.”
“One for the checkpoint, one for your friend, and the last one for her parents. Got it. I will guard it well.”
“Alright. Let’s enjoy the tea.”
Afterwards, we randomly talk while watching the children from the sideline. When evening arrives, more youths from the village start to come. Mary joins into the girl’s group and chats with them.
We spend the day peacefully for the first time after the bandit attack.
The bandit fort is currently filled with heavy atmosphere. The bandits are moving about with frown on their faces. On that night there have been more than twenty casualties and more than forty injured.
However those bad feeling can’t be compared to where the mansion is. The gloomy feeling is much more heavier over there. One of the young master are heavily injured with concussion. He still can’t move around freely and can only stay on the bed.
The master of the mansion is gritting his teeth in his study room. He has lost the girl who has been bought by a high rank noble. He is thinking of anything he can use to appease him. Unfortunately, for a low rank knight like him, there isn’t anything that can be used.
He also has to look for a way to appease the injured noble. However, he has also done something wrong himself so the problem can be left as it is for now. He is still unconscious too.
While he is brainstorming how to get out of the predicament, the door is knocked. He shouts angrily because he is interrupted.
“Who is it? If there is nothing important, leave it for later and get out.”
The door is opened without paying any heed to his warning. He glares at the shadow of the person who comes in. Soon after, he stiffens up and quickly stands up. Cold sweats roll down his back as he recognizes the person. A stiff smile appears on his face.
“Sire, what can I help you with?”
“Yaza, calm down. Let’s sit down first.”
“Yes. Yes. Please come this way.”
Yaza, the master of the mansion, acts meekly in front of the intruder. He quickly asks him to sit down on the most expensive and comfortable sofa. He himself stands up in front of him.
“Come. Sit down first. After that, we can talk.”
That person urges Yaza to sit in front of him. After Yaza sits down, he gazes at him.
“That little girl. I want her.”
“Yes. We will definitely capture her again and bring her to you.”
“Good. I will tell you something interesting. I can feel magic power around her. That means she is a witch as well. Be sure to deliver both of the girls.”
Yaza’s eyes bulge out until the nearly pop out of his eye sockets. It looks like he never think that the little girl is also a witch. It looks like he has struck gold.
“Ah. Certainly. We will bring them both to you. What should we do to the other boy?”
“Hmm... Bring him as well. I will check if he is also a witch or not. However, he is not a necessity. If you can’t bring him, just kill him. My master doesn’t need men.”
“Is there any other witches in the vicinity?”
“Sadly, we haven’t found any for a long time now.”
“I see. That’s fine. I will come again. Remember. If you do well, my master can bestow power to you. With that, you can go anywhere in this world without fear. I also look forward to the next shipment of witches. Ah. More materials. I should try to.....”
His voice starts to get lower and lower. Yaza can only hear the first part of his talk. However, he didn’t do anything to hear nor did he asked for him to talk louder. He knows that he has no right to hear it and he also won’t be able to understand any of it.
This person in front of him is full of mystery. He is a duke which means that he is in highest position below royalty. With such a high position, he still has a master he fully respect. Even the king doesn’t get that much respect from him.
That means the master of his has a much higher position than the king. It is so unbelievable that Yaza can’t think of who it is. Is the master a king from another bigger country? However, there is no bigger country around here. The surrounding of Zero Kingdom are small countries similar to itself.
He just gives up on thinking of it. He thinks that as long as he can get the thing he wants, he won’t hesitate to bow his head, even to a demon.
The duke slowly stands up again. Yaza quickly stands up and guides him out. The duke talks for a bit, then he leaves.
Yaza stares at the back of the duke. His eyes are filled with desire for the power, promised to him. He quickly calls his subordinate and arranges a team to scout the targets.