Chapter 109: Youth 45 years ago
Two days later, late at night. Red & Lit Apothecary.
I tapped my stiff shoulders to loosen them. Staying in the same position for an extended period of time would cause the muscle to become stiff even without getting tired.
I didn’t really know the scope of my weaker ‘Complete Fatigue Immunity’ but it was certainly not equal to Ruti’s skill that constantly preserves her body in perfect condition.
“I’m tired ~”
And Lit who didn’t possess fatigue resistance was dead-tired. Lit didn’t seem adept at such literary research. I smiled wryly as Lit flopped languidly on the table.
“All right then, we’ll take a coffee break before we arrange the information that we collected.”
I headed to the kitchen to prepare coffee filled with sugar as appreciation toward Lit.
45 years ago.
The goblins in the continent suddenly staged a coordinated uprising and even though the Bahamut Knight Order slew the Great Goblin King Murgarga, the remnants of the goblin army were still laying waste to settlements all over the continent.
The goblins routed in the war against the Avalonia Kingdom army escaped to the frontier one after the other.
The once peaceful Zoltan was not spared either as the routed goblin soldiers streaming in became brigands and Zoltan faced its worst public safety crisis in history.
The young adventurers Garadin and Cien were fighting against more than ten goblins.
“Hey Cien! Are the reinforcements not here yet?!”
Garadin shouted. The goblins were equipped with spears, swords, bow, and armor and were clearly stronger than the goblins they regularly fought in Zoltan.
They have raised their divine protection levels by fighting and plundering over a number of years so even Garadin and Cien who can already be considered mid-tier among C-rank adventurers were struggling to fight them.
The goblins raised battle cries and charged. Garadin swung the warhammer in his hand and smashed the head of the goblin that jumped in first.
He punched the second goblin with his left hand protected by a gauntlet. After striking the third goblin in its jaw with his warhammer and pinning the fourth’s goblin’s spear between his left arm and body, Garadin finally stopped moving.
Six spears were thrust out toward him and Garadin froze for a moment in fear of death.
Garadin’s figure shifted and disappeared.
Then, he appeared 10 meters behind his original position.
Cien consecutively shot holy light spells. He took Garadin’s hand during the gap when the goblins flinched from the light and heat.
The goblins there were nothing more than a single squad. They didn’t know their total number but there were reports that there were more than a hundred of them. That location was not a good situation to bet their lives.
“Those goblins … plundering our country!”
Such a crisis did not suit Zoltan. Zoltan should be a more peaceful, carefree and boring place. Garadin shook with anger.
However, the situation was hopeless. Even though the opponents were remnants, they were goblins soldiers that contended with the elite drake riders. The Zoltan soldiers born in a peaceful world could not compete with them.
The moment they saw the goblins defeat Zoltan’s B-rank party at that time and raised their head as battle flags was possibly the moment Zoltan lost.
The Zoltan army did not sortie even though the settlements were being attacked. Everyone was afraid.
“Garadin. There are no reinforcements.”
“Why!? The opponents may be elite soldiers but they number only a hundred! Zoltan is going to be destroyed by just 100 enemies!?”
“They are true evils who fought through a history of battles in the central region. We, the supporting roles who don’t even exist in the corner of the history book …”
In order to save the besieged settlements, the young and passionate adventurer Garadin and church deputy deacon Cien dashed out of town and planned to gather the warriors of the villages and lead them to escape to a safe location such as the fishing villages, Zoltan’s harbor, or even another country.
The goblins did not have boats so they should have been safe once they set off to the sea. That was the thought process of Garadin and Cien.
However, in the end, they only saved two settlements. They were hindered by the goblins after that and were currently running away.
Cien screamed in despair. Garadin stood there stunned as well.
In front of them stood a burning village. A large flame consumed the villages that the two of them risked their lives to save.
Garadin roared and dashed out while grasping his warhammer.
He had to stop Garadin. Charging in now was suicide.
But, before he knew it, he was charging as well. Cien’s divine protection of 『Monk』 was shedding tears for the lives lost in vain.
And so the two of them head toward certain death …
“This is quite an emotional article.”
Lit read the article that I passed to her and commented. Zoltan’s news was more for entertainment rather than a means to obtain information. I wasn’t certain if that reporting style was well received but it was written as if the writer was present on the scene.
“After that, the story continues with ice magic blowing away the flames in the village and a beautiful magic-user appearing in front of the two of them, right? It was the same in the article I read. Multiple times in fact. After all, the newspaper recounted their history every time they performed a deed.”
Lit said with a bitter smile. I read such articles a number of times as well in the newspapers from other dates.
“Well, go on and read a little further.”
“Hn? All right.”
Lit tilted her head slightly before she glanced at the newspaper in her hands once more.
The intense ice magic blew away the flames along with the goblins.
The goblins couldn’t figure out what was happening and stood still in a daze without trying to flee.
But after the smoke from the flames subsided, the two of them finally saw her.
The girl shouted.
Twenty muscular men holding cutlasses attacked the goblins who were in a daze from the ice magic.
A sailing ship was anchored on the sandy beach and the crew on the deck were shooting down goblins one after another with their bows.
The person who stood up to save Zoltan from the goblin threat was the beautiful female pirate who leads a crew of outlaws. Her name was Mistome!
The goblins were defeated in a flash and the female pirate walked toward Garadin and Cien.
“Adventurers from this land! I can tell that you have fought bravely from the wounds on your body!”
Mistome extended her hand to the two of them.
“I have experience fighting goblins! As long as there is a military force, we will not lose to goblins.”
“Guide me to Zoltan! I will take command! I vow on my vessel Rex, I will eradicate every last goblin!”
Mistome showed off the ferocious smile of a pirate.
Although the young Garadin and Cien were baffled, they were captivated by the face of the beautiful female pirate …
“Wait a minute … Just wait a minute.”
Lit raised her voice without pausing.
“This is wrong! This is completely different from the character of Mistome-shi detailed in the other articles.”
“That is correct. In other articles, Mistome-shi was described as a thoughtful and wise woman. She suppressed Garadin who was always impulsive, she guided young Moen well, she occasionally encouraged Cien when he was troubled and was a mother-like figure in the party. Because she had that personality, she was given the title of Master (-shi) after her retirement to acknowledge her excellence as a magic-user.”
During her mayor days, Mistome-shi always emphasized on dialogue when there were problems and performed a number of arbitrations. A stark contrast from the current Mayor Tonedo who prefered to resolve problems swiftly.
“What does this mean?”
“This newspaper was published the day after Mistome-shi led the refugees from the burnt down village to Zoltan. It seemed to be an article written after interviewing the refugees. That refugee seemed to have spoken to Garadin as well. Which was why he could write about what happened to Garadin and Cien before they came to the village.”
“Is that reliable?”
“The female pirate part is probably misinformation. It’s easy to tell after speaking with Mistome-shi.”
I shrug my shoulders.
“The person probably saw Mistome-shi’s ship and her crew who came to their aid and mistook them as pirates.”
“However, in the articles I read, there was no mention that Mistome-shi came by ship, not to mention having over twenty companions.”
“That’s right. The ship and crew only appeared during the goblin subjugation. After that, there was suddenly no more articles on the crew and Mistome-shi remained in Zoltan alone to subjugate goblins with Garadin and Cien. I don’t believe the villager would imagine a ship, its crew as well as name the vessel, Rex, which translates to king.”
“Where did the crew and this sailing ship named Rex disappear to? And who were the crew that was following Mistome-shi?”
” … In other words, the person Prince Sarius is looking for is …”
“At the very least, Garadin and party believe that Prince Sarius is looking for Mistome-shi or her crew.”
They happened to anticipate being pursued by the Veronia Kingdom.
“So they instructed the newspaper to not write about Mistome-shi’s past regarding her crew and ship. The crew were heroes where it would not be strange to have all their names listed and preserved. This time, they are opposed to the submission of the church register and are taking some kind of action.”
“But people’s memories would still remain even if they try to bury such large news.”
“The confusion from the war may be a factor but it was probably because the crew took action inconspicuously. Nevertheless, this article was still published in a newspaper so it was probably impossible to completely clamp down on the information. The greatest reason would be that after over 40 years and combined with Zoltan’s nature to not touch on a migrant’s past, this information was most likely not passed on to newcomers like us.”
“But it was possible to find out this much if we really looked into it.”
Even we could arrive at Mistome-shi’s past this easily.
“I assumed that the person the Veronia Kingdom seek was somebody related to Mistome-shi but … the Veronia Kingdom should have been able to investigate Mistome-shi if they gathered information before they requested for the church register. She’s a famous person after all.”
” … In other words.”
Lit put together our findings.
“Something from Mistome-shi’s past is connected to the Veronia Kingdom and the previous generation B-rank party knows about it. In addition, there are people who know about Mistome-shi on the Veronia side and are trying to keep her away from Prince Sarius?”
“I think so.”
That was assuming our thought process was accurate up to that point.
“The client of those unaffiliated assassins. They were probably people belonging to the Veronia Kingdom.”
There was someone who wanted to silence Mistome-shi before she came into contact with Prince Sarius. Their goal directly aligned with the assassins.
And Garadin and party took custody of the assassins because they feared that the unaffiliated assassins would expose Mistome-shi to the Zoltan authorities. Only the fellow assassin, Tise would understand that the unaffiliated assassins would not reveal anything.
“If we already know this much, all that is left to do is directly meet them to speak.”
“Directly meet them?”
“Fortunately, I met Mistome-shi face-to-face once. Her footprints begin from this shop. And we have Lit here as well.”
” … I see.”
“Yup, I remember her footprints. We can set off now if we wish to follow them.”
Following the footprints of a person she met a couple of days ago. Furthermore, the footprints were located where people, although not many, have come and go.
Normally it would be impossible and we would have to give up. But Hero Lit was present. The Spirit Scout divine protection specialty was in tracking and if it was Lit, she could even clearly identify slight traces left on cobblestone from a month ago.
“Well, let’s sleep for the night. They would be on their guard if we met them uninvited late at night.”
“They would be on their guard either way but I agree with setting off tomorrow. I wish to tell Ruti and Tise what we found out too.”
“I see. Tomorrow, after we have breakfast with Ruti and Tise, we’ll set off to meet Mistome-shi.”
Lit firmly nodded in response to my suggestion.