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Raga of the Dry Branch 34: Questionable Character (10)

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    Ari
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    Arcani
    Editor

“Alkeris?”

It was Shuzlin.

I finally found them! Not all, but I at least found one. It was as if a stone lodged inside me slowly started to shatter.

He was standing there with his sword pulled out ready to attack and he wasn’t alone either. A middle-aged woman I hadn’t seen at all was crouching behind Shuzlin and trembling.

“What about the others? Ah, help me with this.”

As he came over to help me block the door, Shuzlin spoke in a gloomy tone.

“I don’t know either as I decided to protect the woman and then we ended up splitting. By any chance… Did you see ‘That’?”

I thought he was referring to the beast boy who chased me a while back, so I nodded and sighed as he began to pull his hair out.

“Which is why I said that this place is weird! We are the 2nd Division. Why are we being made to do this? Ignoring us and doing this… we wouldn’t have been here suffering like this if there was information about, ugh, this too much…!”

Shuzlin, who was pulling on his hair, took a deep breath to calm down his concerned self.

“Phew, phew, ah, sorry. Anyway, that strange one used wind to run away and then I managed to come here. We were being pursued so the two of them decided to lure it away while I protected her. By the time we split, both of them didn’t seem to be in a good shape. Will they be fine?”

He spoke silently while arranging his emotions with occasional breaths in the middle, but by the time the question was asked, his face looked desperate.

“They will be fine, right, they will be.”

It was pitiful to see him whispering to himself and holding back his tears in his slumped form. I wanted to say something comforting to him, but I couldn’t help but remain silent as I wasn’t sure what to say.

But I was definitely worried.

“They will be fine… so we need to find them soon.”

Suddenly I looked at the woman who was trembling.

She was sitting barefoot with nothing on, and the heels of her feet were strange. It looked like a part of it was cut off. Judging from the same pattern of wounds, she too seemed to be a victim in here with and in pain.

First of all, I thought that I had to treat her and then find the other two.

Everything around us had gone quiet, but my heart was shaken by the anxiety. While I treated her with my bracelet, my gaze turned to the door without realizing that I was on alert for the beast boy to attack me.

“Wah, Alkeris this is . . . ”

“It is nothing.”

After finishing the treatment, I stood up when Shuzling held out something.

“You were right. You see I found this right here.”

It was a bag of red silk, a pouch, and it was filled with powder. If something was unique about it, it was the roses and daggers embroidered on the front side and the phrase ‘Cat house in the wild forest’ written in small letters.

“This…”

It was something I had seen a few times. The store’s name belonged to, and the small phrase below was something courtesans in the entertainment side used.

Although the back alley’s people were from rough backgrounds, they had their rules and loyalty to people.

Perhaps, if this pouch were shown in the alley where this store was located, the pouch holder would have been left alone, but here…

“If the person who wrote those pictograms was a woman from the entertainment side, then she had to be a prostitute who was brought here, we can guess that much from the pouch. If will be clear once we conduct a thorough investigation but looking at what happened so far . . . Noona must be right, she ended up coming here during the trial opening and something happened between her and the Baron.”

Shuzlin gave the woman the pouch he was holding. The wound on her was healed, but she seemed too tired to move so he picked her up.

Fortunately, there was only one door on the other side of the room except for the one I entered.

According to Shuzlin, Dame Mino and Sir Hilder went there. So we quickly moved there. And when I opened the door very carefully not to make a noise, this place too seemed like the same hallway as the others. And there were three doors on each side of the narrow and short walls. I was going to ask where we should go, but I ended up seeing bloodstains I lost track of.

Drops of blood led us to a door at the end of the left wall. It was about when I was going to turn the handle and enter first. Shuzlin’s face seemed pale.

“Are you worried?”

Honestly, I was very worried. It was almost tough for me to breathe.

“Yes. I am worried since that bastard Hilder even when hurt will be able to protect himself and get out, but nuna might seem like she can conquer the entire world on her bare feet but she isn’t the strong type. That is why Nuna is usually teamed with another person like me or Ilina… ”

“You are scared of being away from her?”

“Yes.”

“… cheer up and stay strong. We will meet them soon.”

Hesitating on what to say, I said that and then went into the room. And like that we went back and forth between several rooms and hallways. Each time the drops of blood acted like our guide, but this kept happening Shuzlin and my face went stiff.

Because the amount of blood guiding us was slowly increasing.

“This is… terrible.”

And now the floor seemed to be so full of blood that puddles were seen. The sudden increase seemed to bring fear again.

“Ah, I mean it!! I might die from this worry! Please, please be here!”

“Let’s open it.”

I prayed as I opened the door, and my heart started to tremble.

The magic lamp in the corner of the room could barely light the room. The door room seemed like a torture chamber with tools that were unknown to me scattered all over.

“… not here either?”

I looked carefully at the entire room but I couldn’t find them.

“Wait… Alkeris.”

After asking me to stop, Shuzlin, who was carrying the woman for a long time, put her down and then started to move around the odor from the room. When I saw that, I realized that this felt like the basement. And I could smell what Shuzlin was trying to sniff.

Again… ah.

The formalin was barely felt and I could smell the stench of blood from somewhere. And it was pretty serious.

“Alkeris, over here!”

Shuzlin opened a door and sprinted inside. He might have found something. Took the hand of the woman who was healed and moved towards it.

“It is unusual for you to come visit me.”

As soon as I entered the door, I heard those words which made my weak legs stagger back. I could feel that imaginary stone lodged in me vanish like it never existed.

A feeling of relief filled my entire body.

Dame Mino greeted us with a tired, pale, and exhausted face along with Sir Hilder who was able to pass out from the terrible blood loss. Dame Mino seemed to be comforting him as she sat next to him.


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