It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (29/65), enjoy~
Chapter 81 – Confusion And Search
“You still can’t find them…?”
I clenched my fist on the table and strengthened it. Forgetting the pain, a hand was gently placed on my clenched fist and stroked it.
Isla turned her large eye to me and stared at me quietly. Yes, if I don’t calm down, I may never find what I’m looking for. I take a deep breath.
It all started before noon. A strange report had come in to the command center.
“A large number of materials and supplies have been left in a vacant lot to the west. Please give us instructions on how to deal with it.”
That’s the content of the report. In fact, the number of materials was enormous, ranging from building materials to preserved food, weapons, arrows, and other unfamiliar items. Perhaps the things there made it easy for the reporter to associate them with Kosuke.
Although the existence of Kosuke and his abilities are classified, he was very conspicuous from the Elven village in the Black Forest.
It is safe to say that almost no one in the Liberation Army is unaware of his abilities. It’s an open secret, including his relationship with me, Isla, and the Harpies. So it made no sense to put a lid on it now.
Let’s get back to the story. For the time being, we were able to secure the supplies before the residents looted the place. We even had to use warehouses and empty houses that we had not originally planned to use.
The problem was the source of these supplies. Among the supplies, there were pickaxes, shovels, and logging axes made of mithril. No matter how I looked at it, it was something that Kosuke had been using. Moreover, there were many weapons that Isla and I had never seen before. They were probably prototypes that Kosuke had made and kept secret for some reason.
“I think it’s the machine gun that Kosuke was talking about for a while.”
Isla said, inspecting what looked like an unidentified weapon. Kosuke indeed talked a bit about a machine gun. He said it was a powerful weapon that could fire bullets at great speed. However, the ammunition consumption is so high that it is impossible to put it into actual use at this stage.
There are other weapons that look like guns but are very large, and others that look like guns but have no muzzle and a bulging tip. The fact that he keeps so many of them secret from everyone reaffirms that Kosuke has a strong personality despite his easygoing appearance.
Anyway, as it turned out, Kosuke had vomited out the entire contents of his inventory into the vacant lot to the west and disappeared without a trace.
The first thing that came to my mind was that Kosuke had returned to the world after doing his job. That’s what I thought. With the Liberation Army having secured all the way to Erichburg and Kosuke having obtained a large number of jewels… or the raw materials for spirit stones, the village of the elves could be said to be almost safe.
Kosuke appeared in this world at the time when the Elven village in the Black Forest was facing a crisis. The crisis that was looming over the Elven village was judged to have been prevented, and the spirit or… some other great being that summoned Kosuke to this world may have brought him back to the original world. I thought that a large number of materials might have been thrown out into the vacant lot at that time. That’s what I thought.
However, Isla immediately rejected my idea.
“It’s strange to see all that stuff placed there. Kosuke must have kept fresh food and leftover dishes in his inventory. Strangely, there are no such things in there.”
Indeed. If everything were removed from Kosuke’s inventory, it would be strange not to find such things. And there are no Harpies’ feathers that Kosuke cherished.
“I sense an act of manipulation. And he is nowhere to be found.”
That’s right. The man who was supposed to be by Kosuke’s side as an escort, Qubi, had also disappeared along with Kosuke. The control of the city of Erichburg is almost over. We are still on alert just in case, but as far as the city is concerned, safety has almost been established. It can be called a safe zone.
We have been patrolling closely to maintain security, and economic activities have resumed. Even so, I thought it would be imprudent to let him walk alone, so I assigned Qubi as his escort.
In fact, it would not be easy to harm Kosuke even if he was attacked by something while walking around alone… But Kosuke is definitely an important person.
But it is strange that even Qubi has disappeared.
“Did someone take him away along with Qubi?”
“I don’t think so. He is more sensitive to such dangers than the most elite scouts.”
Danan, who had been stern and silent until now, opened his mouth.
“So, is Qubi tracking down the missing Kosuke?”
“Without any notice? He’s a smart guy. I’m sure he wouldn’t make such a mistake. He would have contacted someone immediately.”
“So the culprit is Qubi.”
Isla suddenly started to say something outrageous. Qubi is the culprit? Did he take Kosuke away?
“I don’t think so. What would be the point of Qubi doing such a thing?”
“It means that Qubi was the enemy. He was pretending to be an ally.”
Then Isla closed her eye, crossed her arms, and thought about it. Although Isla is brilliant and a genius, she sometimes skips the process and starts saying outlandish things. However, in such cases, Isla is usually right.
Isla, who was deep in thought, would not answer me for a while.
“Qubi has been working with us since the time of the rebellion three years ago, hasn’t he?”
“…Yes, it’s precisely before the rebellion, during the preparation phase.”
“And then, after the rebellion, after surviving the forced march through the Great Omit Wilderness with almost no preparation, after a time of hiding in the Black Forest, and now betraying us… how is that possible?”
It’s been three years. It’s not just three years that were spent in idleness. It must have been three years full of hardship. He has overcome those three years by working together with us. That must be it.
He was indeed an elusive guy, but he was a man who was well-liked by children.
He was the kind of guy who could talk to anyone, who had a good eye for detail, and who could find and solve problems ahead of time. There was a lot I didn’t know about his origins, but that was true for the others who had survived the forced march into the Great Omit Wilderness.
That was why I was not wary of him.
“We can’t find the carriage…”
“All right… keep searching. But don’t go too deep into the north. I don’t want to lose any of you on top of this.”
Pirna’s voice from the golem communicator was cut off.
“It’s not right… No matter the type of carriage, it can’t be faster than Harpy’s wing.”
The search for Kosuke proceeded on the assumption that Qubi had betrayed us. I’m not sure of the reason why or how the contents of Kosuke’s inventory were thrown out, but if Qubi was the culprit, it could be predicted that he was trying to weaken Kosuke’s abilities. After spitting out the contents of his inventory, Kosuke is just a human being who can move a little weirdly.
“I can confirm that a carriage leaving from the west gate headed north…”
Danan looked at the map and snorted.
We are now almost certain that Qubi has betrayed us, and we are searching for Kosuke. This is because Qubi’s men, made up entirely of human beings, have also disappeared, as have Kosuke and Qubi.
They had departed from Erichburg in carriages with falsified transfer orders to join Leonard’s troops advancing to the southwest of Erichburg. According to the soldiers who checked the carriage, Qubi was also in the carriage. There was no sign of Kosuke, but he was said to be carrying a box of supplies for the march.
Qubi is well respected in the Liberation Army, but he doesn’t have any special position. The soldiers who checked on them at that time saw them off without any particular question.
I suppose that’s true. They were regular soldiers of the Liberation Army, and there was nothing suspicious about their orders at first glance. The letter was official and stamped with a seal. So the lack of security awareness against internal crimes was exploited.
The problem was that neither I, Danan, nor Melty had written such an order. It was my role to stamp the document, but I don’t remember putting my stamp on such a document, and I carry my seal with me.
Upon closer inspection, there were subtle differences in the stamps, but it would have been difficult to distinguish them without a great deal of suspicion.
In the first place, not all of the soldiers monitoring the comings and goings of people and carriages were properly trained as gatekeepers. The current situation is that there is not enough manpower to do so. Considering the incident that occurred this time, we have to be very careful about counterintelligence in the future.
“We’ve found the carriage! It’s in the northwest woods!”
That was when it happened. Pirna’s voice came from the golem communicator. Danan and I leaned forward, but Isla only narrowed her eye a little wider.
“Are they running through the woods?”
“No, they’ve stopped. It looks like the horses are still tied up.”
“Lead the nearest unit and keep an eye on it. Do not approach carelessly. The enemy may be armed with crossbows and rifles.”
The communication was cut off.
“What do you think?”
“Why are they stopping? It’s not very convenient to abandon the carriage, hide in the forest and flee to the sphere of influence of the Holy Kingdom’s army…”
“I suppose so.”
It’s hard to stay away from Harpy’s eyes even if you are in the forest. It may be possible for Qubi alone to do that, but it is extremely difficult for a squad of more than a dozen people to continue to evade Harpies’ search.
If that’s the case, it’s still more reliable to go north as fast as possible and aim for the sphere of influence of the Holy Kingdom army.
“Maybe it’s teleportation magic. The carriage is empty.”
When I asked Isla, she nodded her head.
“It is not impossible to teleport several people over long distances. It can be done by gathering the magic power of more than a dozen people into one spatial magician and then assisting them with magic stones. There is a possibility that they used an artifact from the gods.”
“You think such a thing was used?”
“If they knew how important Kosuke was, they could have done something like that. With Kosuke’s power, only 3000 subhumans can fight this far. We’ve proven that. With the war against the Empire dragging on, the Holy Kingdom must be desperate for power.”
There was some question about how Qubi had prepared such a thing, but… silence dominated the scene. It was the Golem communicator that broke through it.
“Report! The target carriage is completely empty!”
“…I see. Search the surroundings. But it’s close to the sphere of influence of the Holy Kingdom’s army. Keep your guard up.”
Isla’s prediction was correct, the carriage was empty, and there was no trace of foot traffic around. It was as if they had just vanished from the scene. Perhaps that’s exactly what happened.
“Don’t worry; they won’t kill him right away. If they wanted to, they wouldn’t have taken him away. They would have killed him on the spot.”
I was about to say, why are you hesitating, when I became speechless. The reason was that Isla’s eye tinged with a dim light.
“I will find out where they are, I swear it. And I’ll make sure they pay for what they’ve done.”
“Oh, yeah… There must be something I can do.”
“It will need Sylphy’s help, too. It’s because you’re the one who has the most connection with Kosuke.”
“All right, anything I can do to help, just let me know…”
With a grin, Isla turned her head towards me and directed her eye containing a dim light.
“You said you’d do anything?”
“Eeh… eh? Yeah?”
I regretted a little bit that I had said something rash. What on earth will she make me do…?