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Chapter 164 – Whereabouts of the Curse
“Captain Ivan, a fast horse from Roses.”
When I saw the official postcard brought by Sembeck, my second-in-command, I instantly wanted to go home. It had been less than three days since I had sent the “Demon King of Casemaian” off from the town of Sarz, where I was in charge of the Guard.
It had been a little more than two full days since they had left Sarz by horse-drawn sleigh. We were told that they were headed for Lafan, the fiefdom, and Roses was a stopover halfway between the two towns.
If Takifu or Mir (or both) caused a disturbance in Roses, it would take about two days for word to reach Sarz.
Just about now.
“Hey, give me a break…”
I thought of the faces of the people who had left town with them.
The ‘Battlecry’ who was one of the best adventurers in Sarz, and the veteran Calmon, whose party was full of scum but who had a good reputation as an individual. There should be nothing to worry about. They are all very smart. They are strong-willed, but they also have a certain amount of patience.
But they are not strong enough to hold the “Demon King” and the others. That’s right. No one has that kind of ability.
In fact, I heard that they were beaten to a pulp by Mir alone in a brawl at the Adventurers’ Guild. It was a story about a party that was fighting against the ‘Battlecry’ and the ‘Heroic Spirit’ Kiel and the others. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but even if I heard it half-truth, I was certain that she was no ordinary person.
The “Dusk” led by the former Imperial Army mage Maig, and the “Mole” mining fortress holed up by the female dwarf Cofina, Peyblois, and Beynan, who tried to commit a large-scale crime in cooperation with the bandit guild, and the breath of the bandit guild… And the shady characters who were working with the bandit guild.
All the people who had been involved with Takifu and Mir had vanished. No bodies, no equipment, no money, no supplies, no witnesses, nothing. It was as if they had never been there in the first place.
It is not normal for people to disappear without leaving any trace. Whether they were killed, kidnapped, or banished, they would have left behind some traces and information if you traced them back after they disappeared.
“That’s what happens when you fight with the Demon King…”
If the other members of the ‘Battlecry’ and I had made a mistake, we might have been included among them. It’s a lucky thing that we survived.
Sembeck, who had good instincts, looked at me with a strange expression on his face.
“Do you know anything about this?”
“Even if I did, I wouldn’t do anything about it. I’m busy. Just handle it properly.”
When I tossed him the mail from Roses, Sembeck made a blatantly uncomfortable face.
I’m the one who wants to look like that. What are you going to do, clean up after this?
Since the last time I spoke to Takifu, the ‘Heroic Spirit’ party of adventurers led by the red-haired Kiel has disappeared from the town. So did Helgin, the exclusive watcher for the bandit guild, who had to be let go due to a lack of evidence.
I don’t know where it all went down, but I’m sure it will never happen again. The trash of the town is gone, and the seeds of trouble have been swept away, only to be replaced by another problem.
A bigger, more mysterious problem.
Sembeck, who was opening the official mail, looked at me with a bitter expression.
“It’s a distress call from Roses.”
“Heh, don’t be ridiculous. The captain there is Edgar, a money-grubbing bastard. He’d rather die with the whole town in his arms than ask me for help.”
“Captain Edgar is missing. The only guard is Tafur there.”
Who’s that? Noticing my gaze, Sembeck shook his chin. A young messenger was standing at the entrance of the guard station.
“You’re Tafur…? Does that mean the town of Roses is currently without a guard? I don’t know what your business is, but how are the town’s defenses going?”
“The retired ex-guards are taking over on a temporary basis. The request form was written by the retired captain, Otes-san.”
“The “rock wall” Otes, huh? When I was a kid, he used to smack me around a few times.”
It is unsettling to have such old men guarding the town, but the Roses Guard was decent until the captain was replaced by the scum Edgar.
…Well, to a point, anyway.
“What happened? Was it an accident, an incident, a bunch of magical beasts running amok, or even a bandit attack?”
I snickered at last, and the new recruit Tafur’s eyes swam. The Roses Guard is rumored to be in cahoots with the bandit guild. There may or may not be guild hideouts all over town.
It’s not important, though.
“I don’t know. The church in the center of Roses was blown to pieces, and countless corpses were scattered throughout the town. The number of missing persons is estimated to be over a hundred.”
Over a hundred, that’s almost half the people in town, isn’t it? And all of them were blown away… by the accident?
That can’t be right.
“Do you need a search?”
The point is, it’s not a “missing persons” case at face value. It’s just that there are a lot of corpses, but they’re not in any condition to be identified.
The situation was probably determined by the previous captain of the guard (and current acting captain), Otes, not this incompetent greenhorn.
“The rest of you will take care of the bodies. You go report to Lafan. Even a rookie should be able to make that kind of decision. Why did you come all the way to Sarz?”
It is about fifty miles from Roses to Lafan, but it is nearly seventy miles to Sarz. In all likelihood, the first place to go would be Lafan.
The new recruit Tafur is mouthing off and looking at me as if he has made up his mind.
…Oh, I don’t want to hear it.
I don’t know why, I thought from the bottom of my heart.
What the hell did you do, Takifu?
“According to Otes-san… the survivors, including us, seem to be cursed.”
Chapter 165 – Arbitrary Demonstration
“Ivan, what’s this all about?”
“As you can see, I can only say what I see. If I could understand the situation, I wouldn’t be asking the busy Witch of Sarz to come here.”
As soon as we arrived in Roses, we climbed the ramparts from the guardroom and looked down on the town.
It had been nearly a full day since the distress call had reached Sarz. We tried to break Tafur’s curse, a new recruit messenger, who said he was cursed, and then we went on to visit the “Witch of Sarz,” put her on a horse and rode on for half a day.
It had been more than two full days since the “accident,” but the town was still covered with debris and corpses that had been blown to smithereens.
“…Hmm. So the little guy’s got something in his gut.”
I shrugged my shoulders and averted my gaze from the probing witch.
The “Witch of Salz,” Eclair, is a legendary mage who used to be the strongest adventurer in the Republic and led a party of crooks called the “Clowns.”
Now, as the guildmaster of the Adventurers’ Guild, she has become a part of the national government.
She is about 30 years old with a beautiful face, but she has been in this shape since my grandfather was a young man. If you get her in a bad mood, she’ll kill you like a ragdoll.
“What do you mean “missing?” Well, of course, you don’t know where they are, but…”
“Tafur just told me that he has identified thirteen men. Twelve of them are guards.”
“Most of them were identified by the control numbers engraved on their armor. The living ones are… gone now.”
The “witch” refers to the pieces of the carcass that are still stuck on the roof and being prodded by crows. The number of crows flying around in the air suggests that the body may disappear before it can be identified.
I turn around at the sound of a voice and see an elderly man standing there.
Like me, he was holding a command sword that indicated that he was the captain of the guard, but it was fastened to its scabbard with a leather strap so that it would not fall out. He is a very disciplined man.
When I was a kid, I was chased and beaten up a couple of times, but I guess I’ve matured, and I don’t look like I did back then.
He was taking care of the situation, and when he heard we had arrived, he came out to the ramparts to greet us.
“We are honored to have the most powerful witch of the Republic, the Witch of Sarz, here to visit us.”
“Oh, spare that, Otes. We’re both retired now. I don’t want to get involved in anything dangerous now that we’ve both survived.”
Apparently, she was acquainted with the acting captain of the guard.
Both Otes and the old guard (deputies) in the guardroom were old soldiers who had protected the town until the “missing” bum Edgar took his place as captain of the guard. They are tall and have good eyesight, but their movements are slow due to their age. To be honest, I didn’t think they could be converted into a fighting force.
Well, it depends on what you are fighting against.
“I agree, but I think it’s too late to back out.”
“I guess so. I think you and I both have a causal personality.”
Eclair also casts a spell on Otes. The old acting captain breathed out a sigh of relief and bowed his head, although the impression he saw did not change as he did not seem to be affected by the curse much.
“Well then, Otes, I wonder if you could tell me what happened. The captain of the Sarz guard has apparently decided to keep his mouth shut.”
A chill runs down my spine, but I keep my trepidation in my gut. What does this old hag know, and to what extent?
“We don’t know much, but it seems that Edgar and the others had some trouble with some strangers. They attacked some guys who were staying at an inn, and somehow they got caught in the explosion at the church.”
“Where is this church?”
Otes pointed to the explosion site. The rubble was covered with snow, and it was hard to tell, but it was the only place where there were no buildings.
“Two blocks around the church were blown apart, and a curse was spread along with the remains of the dead.”
Eclair wrinkled her brow and thought about something.
“I’ll take a look at that one later. That inn is… the place of that ugly old hag, isn’t it?”
“Yes, that’s right. She and Edgar are both money-grubbers, and they seem to have come to each other’s aid. The only person other than the guards who we could confirm the identity of was the proprietress.”
“Was the old woman caught in the explosion? Show me the body.”
“I know it’s probably badly damaged anyway. Don’t worry about it.”
We went downstairs with Otes leading the way and went around to the back of the cell. Something like a bundle of firewood lined up in a tight pile was probably the remains of the corpse. They were covered with snow and frozen in place, but they didn’t smell bad, so I didn’t feel that they were the remains of dead people.
The corpse lying on its back in a chair-like posture at the end of the room was probably the innkeeper’s lady. Unexpectedly, the body was not badly damaged, but the upper and lower halves had been severed at the waist.
The “Witch of Sarz” examined the old woman’s corpse and shook her head.
“She was not affected by the curse. The damage was done postmortem. The attack on the inn was first, the curse and the explosion later.”
“Then how did she die?”
“She suffered a horrible death.”
The look on Eclair’s face told me that she was not joking. On the contrary, she seemed to be in a very bad mood.
“Please take me to the church.”
It took a long time to go around the debris and crying victims, but the distance itself was not more than a quarter of a mile. I only faintly remember the streets of Roses, but the church I remembered had vanished without a trace.
“Here it is.”
“It’s astounding, isn’t it? It’s completely cleared out.”
Eclair’s face grew increasingly pale as she walked around and examined the snow-covered ruins of the church.
When I approached Eclair, who had stopped to look at the ground, I saw that it was a square hole four feet square. I took the torch that Otes had offered me and looked inside, but there was nothing but an empty space.
“The situation was so bad that you were relying on me. I knew it wasn’t a simple matter, but I knew it.”
I looked up at the bitter voice and saw the “witch” staring off into the distance with her darkest eyes ever.
“What’s so difficult about it?”
“The curse itself is, well, nothing. The curse is just an old magic scroll or something. It’s something that the stinky monk had unleashed at the time of his death. If you can read the cards in your hand, it’s easy to deal with. It takes time and effort, but that’s all. However, this one is troublesome. To be precise, it’s the person who did this.”
My eyes were caught as I tried to avert them. The witch looked at me with cold eyes.
“I know you’re hiding something, but you’re probably making a mistake. If you want to survive, you’d better think about what you’re going to do.”
What are you talking about?
“There’s no evidence of offensive magic in the area. The explosion and the curse have nothing to do with it. It was something other than magic that caused this catastrophe.”
One thought on “I Was Connected to Earth’s Black Market From Another World With The Skill [Market]! – Chapter 164 – 165”
“I guess so. I think you and I both have a causal personality.”
causal –> casual
Causal and casual have different meanings.