From here on, there will be a lot of scene switching and POV switch, so beware! (Note that I will always mark it if there’s a POV or scene change).
Special thanks for every patron♥!
[Level 2: Remandred, Danmaka]
[Level 3: Alexandr Z, Christiine G, Ela V]
[Level 4: Browser, Dtb Blank, Venalitor, Patrick F]
[Level 5: Bryan N]
Trouble, Troubles Everywhere
“Bwaahahahha, bwahahhaa, Rupert, you were so close to be kissed by a man, hahahaha!” Gale’s loud laugh echoed in the room.
It’s been a few days since we first arrived in Chinosato. So far, we have seen lots of interesting attractions in Chinosato and we have eaten lots of delicious Eastern foods.
…And seems like a lot has happened to the working adults, too.
Mom said that the barrier reparation’s been taken care of, but she has other businesses to attend, along with Meredea. And that’s why, there are only me, Alt-nii, Dad, Rupert, and Gale right now.
Rupert was pissed off with Gale’s remark. As per usual, seems like their relationship is full of bickering—like a cat and a dog, perhaps?
Apparently, Rupert somehow managed to make the man invite him over to a big slave auction event last night. He managed to notify the local officers in advance, and that was how the parties involved were caught.
At that time, Gale was tailing Rupert as a back up, and he witnessed that moment where that man tried to make a move on Rupert…
“Oh, could you be quiet? At least I managed to get my hand on a big target, unlike you,” Rupert’s words have quite the thorns that could hurt the receiver of the words—but Gale… only laughed it off.
“Right, right, and that’s why you are my senior, after all! That’s a given!” Gale cheerfully said that, which caused Rupert to get even more upset.
“Well, thankfully, that hellish torture has ended,” Rupert stretched his hands up to the air.
“Are you okay, Rupert? Would it be too much if I asked you to come with me to the harbor tonight? Should you be the one to stay here instead of Gale?” Dad asked.
Yes, it seems that they finally found the right timing to ambush the ones involved in the illegal cells trafficking—or illegal human trafficking.
Since Mom and Meredea are still out for work, it’s decided that Gale would stay behind for stand-by and for taking care of us.
“It’s fine. Let’s proceed with the plan,” Rupert replied.
“Alright, Lyra, Altaire, please be careful and don’t wander off somewhere if it’s not necessary. Stay with Gale and obey his words, okay?” Dad put Alt-nii and I on the bed and knelt down, making sure that he’s speaking to us while looking at our eyes.
It’s about time for them to depart.
“Please take care.”
And so, we are left alone with just Gale.
There is a tall and modern-looking building near the border of Chinosato. Although it can be classified as tall in comparison to the other buildings nearby, it might pale in comparison to other tall buildings in Capitol. Still, the building stands out against its surroundings, and one can understand that the building is not just any ordinary house, store, or inn.
Inside the building, there is a room dedicated for inspecting materials and item testings. A few people wearing robes could be seen inside, with two women wearing different-styled robes. Besides them, there are also other people wearing white long coats. They seem to be gathering near a certain table, with their expressions all tense.
The said building is a joint base for Chinosato’s Magic Association and Border Protocol. They are working together to maintain the border of Chinosato that’s prone to danger and illegal cross-border activities. As such, there are facilities to inspect materials, and if the materials are deemed safe, they can be brought inside Riviera’s region safely.
Truthfully, they were built to protect the bordering city from the neighboring country’s attacks, but ever since the ceasefire treaty a few years ago, there doesn’t seem to be any significant attack from Naraka towards Riviera. Though it’s not the same case with Naraka and Cielle…
“…what is this?” Meredea tried to readjust her glasses while staring at the object located on top of the table.
“This is the only object left near the breached barrier… It has burnt marks, and from the looks of it, we concluded that the object suffered that damage from the barrier’s defense mechanism,” said one of the men wearing the white coat.
“As suggested, the barrier we built is incorporated with counter mechanism… so anyone who purposefully tried to breach the barrier would get electrocuted or attacked, and so they could cease their intention from proceeding,” one of Chinosato’s magicians explained further.
People who want to enter Riviera’s region from outside should enter from the designed path, going through inspections in the border. The barrier is built in order to prevent them from sneaking without being inspected. Besides, it is built so that monsters and beasts can’t enter and raid the city. No trespassers are allowed.
“The horrifying thing is that… we found the remnants inside the barrier, not outside.”
“Huh?!” Cassie was surprised by the magician’s words.
“In other words, whatever it is, it has managed to trespass the barrier, even with all of the counter system implemented?!” Meredea raised her voice reflexively.
“Yes, on the expense of this part being all left of whatever it should be… We can’t identify what it is, though…”
Their attention shifted once again towards the object on top of the table. The object is a small, mechanical part that’s severely damaged. The circuits are burnt that it can’t even function at all.
Still, the fact still remains that it actually managed to enter the barrier after breaching it!
“We are having trouble in identifying this part… we are unsure whether it is a part of a weapon, or even that of a monster’s…,” the young researcher said, dejectedly.
“…whatever it is, I don’t think it’s a living being… I mean, what kind of living being would insist on injuring themselves just to damage a barrier? With that kind of damage, there is no way one would want to proceed… Even a person on the brink of their insanity would withdraw at once after being induced with this pain…”
Nobody had any idea what it is.
A robot? No robot could withstand such magical attack and still had that kind of remnants. A monster’s part might be strong enough, but what kind of insane monster would proceed despite all the odds that are against it?
“…Anyway, I think we should apply more defensive mechanism to the barrier,” Cassie broke the silent.
There is no use thinking about what we don’t know, so we should keep aiming forward.
The analysis would still continue, but after the complete details are out, there is nothing else they could do. It’s horrifying to think that something like this might happen again, but in case it happens again, then perhaps they can further analyze what exactly has attacked the barrier.
The magicians there have properly fixed the form of the barrier with the help of Cassie’s life magic, and all of their known life magic users. All that’s left is for them to strengthen its defensive mechanism…
Cassie sighed a bit.
Seems like she would be able to return back late at night…
In the meantime, at the main harbor of Chinosato city…
[Scua rifte] (Shadow Cloak)
Rupert quickly chanted a spell that enabled himself to be camouflaged as long as he is in the darkness or shadow. That spell is one of his forte, even more so when he’s doing his spy activities at night like this. Well, most of underground activities like spying are done during the night, after all.
He managed to enter the ship just fine. Now, he has to find the cargo that contains the undeniable proof of the illegal activities they are doing. The cargo should contain either a human being—alive, or their organs and cells. Either one would be good.
Phyllo is keeping watch of Rupert from nearby area, and Cyan is on standby as his true self—the Duke of Hartmann, along with the members of the local guards.
Once Rupert gives the signal, they would raid and capture every single person involved.
Cyan focused on synchronizing with Phyllo.
A technique that a familiar owner can use. By utilizing this technique, the familiar owner can synchronize their own senses to their familiar’s. Thus, it enables Cyan to view whatever Phyllo is seeing right now.
This leaves the user vulnerable, though, as he won’t be able to see what his own body is seeing in exchange of seeing his familiar’s view.
Before long, Rupert sent out the long-awaited signal.
“Now!!” Cyan commanded, and broke his synchronization.
The guards ran along with him, raiding the ship and capturing each personnel.
Once they have finished with their inspection, turns out that the amount of illegal cargo loaded into that ship is not that significant…
Cyan felt uneasy, as this uncovering seems way too easy…
The captured personnel are tied by ropes and gathered in one room. Each of them seems to be a minor personnel among the illegal organization that leads the activities of human trafficking and inhumane organs and cells harvesting.
However, no matter how minor they might be, any information can lead them towards the root of the organization.
“Speak!” Cyan demanded.
“Speak, and your punishment will be less severe.”
Still, no important information is being leaked.
Tch, these damned persistent people!
“I… I don’t know… I don’t know anything…,” a man tied by the ropes is shivering in fear. Since his body and his other colleagues’ bodies are tied up by the ropes and are lying on the floor, Cyan’s angry expression and his low tone looks very intimidating from down there where they can see him.
Moreover, the shivering man looks to have less nerve than the rest of his friends.
He seems to be telling the truth, but who knows?
“Cyan, let me take over,” Rupert touched Cyan’s shoulder and stepped in front of him.
The man’s shivering calmed down as he observed Rupert’s calm demeanor and his soft voice, unlike that of Cyan’s. He seems to feel relieved now that the one who’s going to interrogate them has changed into someone much more calming.
The other men also thought the same, as they let their tense expression loosened.
That short moment of composure they regained will soon be overthrown by something much more frightening.
[Fyrhtnes êacnian!!] (Fear Inducement)
Rupert suddenly raised his voice, and as soon as he finished his words, all of the men trembled in fear. The most cowardly man seemed about to wet his own pants. Some even clenched their teeth. Their body shivering is very, very clear to anyone there.
“Now, you’d better tell me everything you know, or you will regret it,” Rupert said softly, but his tone contains something for those men in fear.
To be frank, the government of Riviera is against an interrogation by torture, and their crime is not enough to warrant them a death penalty. However, since those men are overcome with fear, they cannot think straight. They believed that their life would be over. In that way, they can’t defy the spell user’s demands.
Rupert gazed at their pitiful trembling bodies with a disparaging look. The fact that his magic was way too effective on them indicated what little magical defense and mental strength do these men possess.
In the end, as expected, they came to understand that the captured men were just insignificant pawns that didn’t know anything. Pawns that could be disposed of, at any time. Worthless bunch of cowards who acted tough.
Which means, the intel they received, about a major transaction happening that might involve the heads of the organization they’re pursuing, is blatantly wrong.
Could it be… a set-up?
But… what for?
What exactly do they gain by sacrificing the small pawns like them?
Why go that far to trick them?
While thinking about it, Cyan and Rupert walked back to their carriage.
Even if Cyan concluded that it was something useless, he couldn’t let go of the uneasiness he has been feeling. His mind tried to trail off from the very beginning of it all. Then, he recalled something.
We first believed that it could be a set-up to make us leave the children alone… But they can’t do anything now that the children are with us… Or… can they?
As a matter of fact, Gale is with them, and they are renting an inn with a good reputation. If something were to happen, surely the inn’s staffs along with the other travelers who spent their nights there would notice it. Gale would be able to fend any intruder off while the other people in the inn got notified of the occurence.
It’s supposed to be safe, yet…
Cyan noticed that they have arrived at the crossroad before arriving to the inn. The path they are supposed to take is straight ahead, a long path, yet the safest option. The right path leads to a dark and unsafe path, yet it’s a shortcut that will enable them to arrive faster.
“Rupert, I can’t get off this feeling of uneasiness… This might be dangerous, but…”
Rupert takes a look at Cyan’s expression, and nods as he understands his junior’s concern.
“Alright, let’s take the other way to arrive faster.”
With that said, they quickly instructed the carriage driver to change their course—and tried their best to assure the driver that should any danger happen, they would take care of it.
“Phyllo, please check the condition of the children… if there’s something wrong, please quickly notify me, okay?” Cyan summoned Phyllo and quickly commanded him to go ahead of them.
“Piii!” Phyllo jumped to the air and quickly went away, as if swimming through the air.
“And you know what? There was also this priceless expression the calm Rupert made by incident when Cynthia—ah, Cynthia is one of the spies, too, but her method’s different than us who are using magic… and she’s just a brat who’s obsessed in ‘defeating’ Rupert… but anyway, Cynthia did this…”
While Dad and Mom are both out for work, we are all alone with Gale. We asked him to tell us stories about him, Rupert, or even the royal spies.
Though he can’t disclose anything that’s related to work as it’s very confidential, he can disclose the funny moments happening and other foolish incidents. We are very entertained by his stories.
His stories made me see that the royal spies are a bunch of funny fellows. As I haven’t seen them in work mode, plus the stories he told me, I couldn’t really perceive them as spies.
Gale suddenly stopped talking, and his wide grin disappeared from his face. His body went completely stiff, too.
We are staring at him in our confusion.
“…you two, stay right here. Go and hide somewhere. I sense something wrong with the air outside. I’m going to go and check on it. Just… hide.”
Gale went down from the bed and instructed us to hide.
His tense expression indicated that he was serious. It was no joke.
The change from his friendly attitude and childish expression to his “work mode” is quite drastic, I must say.
Sensing his seriousness, we only nodded and complied. We chose to hide in the small closet. From the closet, we can take a peek at the room, but we should become unnoticeable from the outside.
Gale made sure that we hid perfectly before he then touched the handle of the door and went outside.
Upon going outside, Gale noticed the eerie air and atmosphere the hall is having right now. Sure, when night falls, the surroundings will be more serene and way quieter than it was during the day, but something was odd.
It’s as if he is isolated from the others…
Gale keenly observed his surroundings and made sure to sharpen his hearing.
“I know you’re in there. Show yourself now. It’s no use hiding from me.”
Gale threw a stern glance at the left corner of the hallway, and soon, a man clad in black showed himself. He wore a full black clothing from the tip of his head until the tip of his toes, rendering it impossible to identify him.
In the instant he showed himself, he ran full-speed towards Gale. At the same time, he swiftly took out his push dagger from his clothes and pointed it towards Gale. All of this happened very quickly, which displayed the man’s expertise in his combat skills.
Unfortunately for the man, Gale managed to grasp the situation quickly and tried to dodge him to the right—when he noticed another man appeared from the other side and pointed the same weapon to him, as well.
Gale had no choice but to retract his movement and now, he’s positioned in the middle of his two attackers. He swiftly lowered his body to avoid the first man’s slash and quickly dashed forward and jumped to avoid the second man’s attack.
As expected, the two men quickly attempted to deal another blow to Gale.
“As if I’d let you!” Gale also swiftly took out his hammer that he hid beneath his coat. The hammer’s handle is quite short, and the blunt end of the hammer is only as big as his fist, but since it’s made of a heavy metal, it can deliver fatal blows if one handles it right. Moreover, the size of the hammer seemed to be increasing from its former portable size as Gale took it out. It is a magic hammer!
As the magic hammer’s size has become big enough in a short moment’s notice, he quickly hit the first man’s head, causing him to suffer a contusion and the impact of it caused the man to fall unconscious.
To defense the second man’s upcoming push dagger, Gale threw his hammer away and grabbed the man’s hand.
[Leoht sprengan!] (Light zap)
A burst of light energy appeared from Gale’s hands, making its way to the man’s body. As the man was surprised with the sudden surge of impact his arm felt, Gale used that opportunity to do another attack. He stretched his free hand towards the man’s eyes and suddenly chanted—
[Leoht lîxan!] (Light flash)
A flash of blinding light appeared in front of the man’s eyes, causing him to temporary lose sense of his vision. Gale quickly took his hammer back and hit the man to cause him lose his consciousness.
Just as the man was collapsing and as Gale straightened his body, he suddenly felt a presence behind him, really, really close to him—and an electric shock running towards his back.
“Gotchaa~,” A woman’s voice could be heard.
“Gwah?!” He tried to turn his head behind but he couldn’t—his body was paralyzed. However, he could still stand up and slowly moved to the direction of that voice he heard just now.
From what he could comprehend, his attacker used a tool to help them conceal their presence until the very last moment. The electric shock that caused his body to be paralyzed in an instant—it would be a type of electric magical attack specialized to induce paralysis.
“Ara? How could it be? That spell should have induced a paralysis to you…,” the woman seemed to be confused.
Before Gale could finish chanting a spell for his light beam attack, two more shadows appeared and hit his head, causing him to lose his consciousness. Just how many people are tasked for this attack?
More importantly, if they went to such an extent to use a tool to hide their presence—then they are not a simple group of intruders. Gale managed to notice their presence regardless—but it was when everything was too late.
Soon, footsteps of several people echoed through the hallway, heading to the direction of the room where Altaire and Lyra are hiding.
Now that things have turned like this, the last thing that Gale thought to himself before collapsing was, ‘Ah… looks like this is their real objective… that intel about illegal activities might just be a decoy… After all, they went all out here…’
But who would have thought of it before this happened? Why would anyone specifically target the children? Only the perpetrators could answer that…
I heard some weird noises from outside, and that made me shiver in fear.
The fact that Gale’s voice couldn’t be heard anymore—and that there seems to be several people heading this way, made me sweat profusely.
“Lyra, let’s hide,” Alt-nii covered my mouth and silently cast his magic.
“With this, they shouldn’t be able to detect our presence,” Alt-nii explained.
His [Void] attribute really lives up to its name, enabling him to erase anything into a void.
“Ohh~? It’s empty?”
An unknown woman’s voice could be heard.
Wait, who are you?!
Luckily enough, the closet’s door is shuttered, so we can take a little peek outside, but since it’s dark here inside, they shouldn’t be able to see what’s inside. Not to mention, with Alt-nii’s presence erasing spell, we should be safe.
Please, just go… Go away…
I can’t figure out this woman’s intention. Did she come here to steal? Why us? Because we look like a wealthy merchant?
Or could it be that she knows who we truly are, and for some kind of reason, is targeting us?
But… what for?
No matter how hard I tried to recall everything, there is no clue on who might have a grudge or motive against Hartmann family. Dad never told me anything—but that’s to be expected. After all, I am just a four-year-old girl.
“Could you be hiding under the bed?” The woman walked closer to the beds.
I held my breath. She wasted no time and walked very quickly—seems like she’s also afraid that time is running.
“Peek-a-boo!” She exclaimed as she looked under the bed.
“Aww, wrong guess, eh?”
…We are not playing peek-a-boo or hide and seek here, but the way she said all that feels like she’s thinking that we’re playing a game…
She started to examine every nook and cranny… and lastly, she turned… this way! Yes, there is only one place left that she hasn’t checked—perhaps she put the closet down at her “to-check list” since she thought we wouldn’t be hiding in a very-easy-to-guess spot, a spot that is commonly used when one plays hide and seek.
“Ohhh, you children must be in the closet, then! Don’t worry, let’s play with big sister!”
“!!” I contained my voice—wait, it should be okay as long as Alt-nii’s spell is cast.
The closet door is opened—and I can clearly see the figure standing in front of me. She is just a few inches away from me!!
She is wearing a tight black outfit from the tip of her head to the tip of her toes. She’s wearing a black mask that only lets her eyes be seen. I can see that the other intruders are wearing the same get-ups as her. Her brown eyes are full of killing intent though—definitely not the kind of person that would ask us to play with her. But because of her mask, I can’t identify her at all—not even her approximate age.
Her eyes widened as she examined every corner in the closet, and then she turned away after she realized she couldn’t find us there.
Is it over?
Was it a success?
Just as when I was about to sigh in relief…
“…Oi, you, bring me that,” the woman dropped her ‘playful’ tone, and demanded the other two people something in a conceited manner. Seems like her position is superior from the other two.
One of her underlings quickly handed over a round object to the woman—and from her eyes, I could understand that it was exactly what she needed.
In other words… It’s something disadvantageous to us…?
The woman turned over back to us, smirked as she carried that round object with the color that reminded me of a grey cloud—just before a big rain.
Alt-nii raised his voice right when we got a better look at the object the woman is holding.
The issue right now is not about how Alt-nii carelessly raised his voice. He certainly has erased our presence, along with our voices, from the intruders. However, I am concerned by his surprised voice—just what on earth is that woman carrying?
The fact that Alt-nii seemed to be surprised and raised his voice indicated that he knows what item it is, and what it could do in this situation.
Before I can even ask Alt-nii, the woman dropped that round object with such a powerful impact—that smoke filled the room in an instant.
I reflexively closed my eyes and put my hands over my nose and mouth—as Alt-nii also has retracted his hand from my mouth and covered his own nose and mouth. Sadly, since we inhaled a bit of the smoke, we coughed. The intruders seem to be fine as they are also wearing masks that cover their noses and mouths—I believe that the masks have some kind of smoke filtering function.
When the smoke subsides, I’m looking nervously at the three black figures standing in front of us—what’s even more shocking, they seem to be making proper eye contacts with us!
That item just now, could it be that it dispelled our presence erasing magic?!
…moreover, how could they enter our room, unnoticed by the other people, despite all the noises they made?!
“Found you~!” The woman’s eerie voice echoed within the room. Her eyes which reflected our figures seem to be very ecstatic.
This woman… something is wrong with her mind. I’m sure of it—she appears to be quite psychotic for me. Or is it just because I am her prey?
Somehow, this family vacation in Chinosato city—one that I hoped to be a peaceful, normal vacation, ended up in me and my big brother in this kind of dangerous predicament.
I closed my eyes to calm myself down a little bit.
Back then, I didn’t even want to live, but that god ignorantly forced me to reincarnate. Now, I have regained back my will to live… god, you aren’t going to ignorantly force me to die with this kind of situation, right?
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And here comes some action! Hopefully the action scene is good enough ^^