A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special - Chapter 137

 

A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special Novel


Chapter 137. Tracing the Attack (1)



They had been traveling smoothly for six days now.




The airship had arrived in the city of Grinpell, close to the border between the Magical Kingdom and the Hebrion Empire. The layover was mandatory as they were required to clear the screening  process  of  Grinpell,  since  they  passed  through  the Empire.




The airship gently descended. Grinpell was a fairly busy city, thanks to it being somewhat of a trading hub between the two countries.




When  Adjest  went  out  to  the  deck,  she  saw  Pram  already peering down while leaning on the railing of the airship.




His reaction was unusual.  Normally he would be amazed by the scenery of a new city and bounce around everywhere.  But today he showed such a subdued reaction.




“If I could have seen this with Master Desir, it would have been great… ”





Pram had been extremely loyal to Desir for such a long time. Ever since they had enrolled in the academy, they had never left each other’s side. Rather, it was almost surprising for him to not show any change of expression until now.




Adjest spoke to Pram.




“Do you miss Desir?”




Pram flinched and looked back.




“… Um, how long have you been there?”




“For some time.”




Pram buried his face into the railing and every part of his face not covered, including his earlobes, turned crimson.




“I feel a little-A little embarrassed.”



Adjest walked towards the railing and stood next to Pram.




“Once we finish clearing this Shadow World, everyone who participated  will  return  to  the  original  world.  If  we  clear  the Shadow World quickly, you’ll see him soon.”




“That’s true.”




Adjest continued.




“So what I mean is, you don’t need to be so gloomy.”




“What?”




Pram stared at Adjest in shock.




After taking a moment to recollect himself, he smiled.




“Of course, Master Adjest.”


The  airship  started  to  shake  and  rattle  as  it  landed  on  the airfield after receiving clearance from the control tower.




There  were  many  other  airships  on  the  airfield,  so  theirs didn’t stand out at all.




Here in the border town, there were a lot of merchants who interacted  with  the  Magical  Kingdom.  There  was  a  gigantic river  dividing  the  two  countries  and  they  often  crossed  the border with airships to prevent getting attacked by monsters. It was mostly merchant ships on the airfield, but there were also a few military ships from the Hebrion Empire too.




In   the   modern   age,   such   a   sight   was   rare   to   behold. Teleportation  gates  had  been  widely  deployed  and  usage  of airships had been completely phased out.




Kei   went   through   the   required   formalities   and   paid   the docking fee for landing at the airfield.  Afterward, he gathered all  of his men and ordered them to go have fun while staying within the city; it would take about three days to get through the screening procedure.




After such a long time sailing, a three-day break was truly a


breath of fresh air.  The sailors disembarked, their excitement was palpable.




“Okay, it’s our turn to disembark.”




Kei  assisted  Aldin,  who  was  mumbling  incoherently.  Adjest and Pram took their time climbing down. They expected all the sailors,   who   departed   the   ship   well   before   them,   to   have disappeared by now. Instead, they were all just standing there.




Their  eyes  were  fixed  on  the  same  place,  eyes  bulging  as  if they had just seen a ghost.




“What’s wrong?”




Adjest and Pram turned their gaze upon what the sailors were looking at.




“… Do you have any idea how tedious it was for me to wait for you to catch up?”




And there were the two people they thought they would not


see before clearing the Shadow World.




* * *




“… So I did the Lord a little favour, and was able to use the teleport gate.”




Desir   and   his   party,   along   with   Kei   and   Aldin,   booked themselves into a cozy inn.




At  the  inn,  Desir  described  their  journey  to  Kei,  Pram  and Adjest; filling them in on how exactly they had arrived via the teleportation gate. Of course, he omitted a few key parts of the story.




In his version of events, they killed an evil  alchemist at the Lord’s request. They made sure to tweak anything related to the Shadow Worlds in particular.




Nobody noticed how they slyly tangled the truth with lies.




After listening to the story, Kei spoke up.





“That must have been a challenging journey.  I shouldn’t say this as your employer, but wouldn’t it have been easier for you if  you  didn’t  come  back?  It’d  still  be  considered  a  successful mission  complete,  even  if  you  hadn’t  come  back,  since  that unsavoury incident took place while you were on duty.”




“Well, our peers are all here, and we thought we’d do as much as we can, as we had already been paid. I believe that’s the right attitude for a mercenary.”




Kei did a double-take as he re-evaluated Desir.




“… Admirable.”




“I don’t think I deserve a compliment; that’s simply what is expected of us.”




“You’d be surprised.  Many mercenaries think it’s over once they get paid.”




“Our mercenaries also despise those people very much.”




“You’re  very  different  from  the  mercenaries  that  I  know.  I hope we meet again after this.”




“We look forward to it.  Having more clients is never a bad thing.”




The   notification   sound   appeared   in   the   middle   of   the conversation between Desir and Kei.




[Kei Hazumaryun thinks you are useful.]




[Kei’s likeability for you has increased to “Trust on condition”]




That was an unexpected earning.




The  trust  with  condition  meant  his  likeability  rating  had increased  to  a  point  where  he  could  be  trusted  to  a  certain extent.


Obtaining Kei’s favour could be helpful in the future.




After recounting their journeys, they split up and started to head  back  to  their  respective  rooms.  Kei  and  Aldin  shared  a room, while Desir and his party would stay in a different room.




“Ah,  I’m  going  to  be  away  for  three  days.  I’d  like  you  to protect Aldin properly during that time.”




Before retiring for the night, Desir’s party was given the order to guard Aldin.




[Main Quest, 'Guard in Grinpell' has started.]




[Kei  Hazumaryun will  be doing an important task for three days. His guarding range has been greatly weakened.]




[-A strong enemy is seeking Aldin Cepheus. Protect him at all cost.]




[-You fail this quest if Aldin dies.]



Desir  gathered  his  party  and  briefly  told  them  what  truly happened instead of the fake story that he shared while Kei was present.  He  filled  Adjest  and  Pram  in  on  the  detail  of  their second main quest.




“So  this  means  we  must  get  rid  of  the  power  behind  the Homunculus.”




“Yes.  We need to stop the research involving the creation of Homunculus.”




“It  feels  like  this  is  a  lot  tougher  than  our  previous  main quest.”




It was just a plain guarding quest and it had now expanded into foiling some group’s plot.




Adjest spoke up.




“But  it’s  simply  too  broad  of  a  scope  to  find  this  unknown group. Do we have any clues to go off, Desir?”


“We only have one, but it’s a good start. It’s the mana circuit I took from the lab.”




He  took  out  and  held  the  mana  circuit  he  had  stowed  in  a pocket near his chest. This was a piece of old technology used to store mana.  The kind used before mana stone technology was developed.




“Aren’t  those  supposed  to  be  made  in  the  Magic  Kingdom? What is it doing way out in the middle of the desert?”




“Exactly.   Someone  in  the  Magical   Kingdom  provided  him with a mana circuit for his illegal research.”




“mana circuits were made using a highly developed manufactory  system.  Every  mana  circuit  has  a  unique  serial number.  We  can  trace  this  mana  circuit  back  to  the  factory which manufactured it based on this.”




“And the factory must have the record of who bought it.”




Romantica said.



“Correct. We will track down the unknown backer with this.”




“In that case, we’d better get to the Magical Kingdom first.”




Adjest concluded.




“In order to do that, we need to guard Aldin well for the next three days.”




* * *




Their quest ‘Guard in Grinpell’ ended three days later.




“That was so hard.”




These  were  Desir’s  first  words  after  they  re-boarded  the airship on the completion of the inspection.




“I agree.”


“I’ve never seen anyone more unlucky than him.”




Adjest and Romantica strongly supported his complaint.




It was like three days in hell.




Even though the quest only involved protecting a crazy old man for three days, it ended up being a very challenging ordeal.




The crux of the main quest in progress was protecting him.




Protecting him up until  that point had been a breeze.  After first  finding  themselves  on  an  airship  in  the  Shadow  World, they hadn’t had to do much directly with him. They were just passengers, like he was, on the airship. However, for the three days  that  they  were  protecting  Aldin,  there  were  numerous misfortunes. It was as if all the misfortunes for the journey had all come together.




A street light falling out of the blue, a beast that escaped the circus,   a   signboard   falling   onto   his   head,   the   number   of incidents was truly too many to count.



It seemed as though every element in the world was trying to eliminate  him.  Even  Desir,  who  had  vast  experience  dealing with Shadow Worlds, did a double-take.




“Come  to  think  of  it,  I  almost  got  sucked  into  one  of  the engines that was acting up on the airship.”




Pram’s eyes were sunken.




“Oddly   enough,   we   were   attacked   too   many   times   by monsters.”




Romantica rubbed her sleepy eyes, yawning.




They ended up focusing all of their effort on protecting Aldin, leaving no extra time for sleep.




They ended up not leaving the inn at all after the first day.




Usually,  a  trading  city  had  a  lot  to  see  and  enjoy,  but  they couldn’t even afford to dream of such a luxury.




Desir’s party worked hard, so Aldin was kept safe and sound as a result of their diligence.




On the airship, there was Kei. They wouldn’t need to struggle like they just had.




Meanwhile, the final quest in the first main quest line started.




[Quest ‘Last Hurrah’ has commenced]




[You have excellently protected Aldin Sepius from unfortunate disasters. Please do your best to guard him until the end.]




[-You are in the middle of a hidden quest at present. His life or death affects that quest greatly.]






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