The Adventure of a Boy with the Mind of a Middle-aged Man

The Adventure of a Boy with the Mind of a Middle-Aged Man : Volume 3 – Chapter 42

Investigation (2) Discovery of an eyewitness

Thursday, 14th June, 905, Saint calendar.

A few days had passed since the cohabitation with Olivia and Lilinoa had begun.

Iskandar had instructed me to accompany them at all times, but there was no need to take that idiot seriously. That was why I had initially planned for them to relax on Sagami Co. until around 3:00 p.m., the time when the class was held.

However, my plan was easily overturned by Lilinoa, who announced that she would accompany me to class.

Of course, Olivia reacted with a lot of condemnation, but she too had become accustomed to it after only one day, and here we were.

The students were also greatly nervous at first, but thanks to Lilinoa’s casual, free-spirited aura, they also got used to it soon.

“This is the end of today’s class. I will teleport you to Shirohime now.”

If they continued their routine quest as usual in Straheim, the chance of them encountering us was pretty high. The explanation in that case would be a pain to deal with.

Besides, Straheim right now was considerably dangerous due to the slime incident. I had also instructed all the members of Sagami Co. not to go out alone much.

For that reason, I decided to have them take care of Shirohime until the incident was over.

The only thing they had to do was to cook and prepare medicine for her. The rest of the time they were free to go. In short, it was their first vacation in a while. They didn’t seem to be complaining, so I guessed they were practicing their magic.

Pluto approached me with a stack of papers. He probably had a question about the materials of the class. He had been asking me every day since I started this class.

“Sensei, I didn’t understand the part about immune tolerance yesterday, can you tell me again?”

A valid question indeed. Anyhow, acquired immunity was a Nobel-prize-level discovery. If it were so easy to understand, there would be nothing to worry about.

“When the body of a fetus is formed, it creates white blood cells, which are defense forces against all kinds of antigens, and it destroys only those white blood cells that attack themselves. That way, won’t it result in us attacking ourselves?”

“Hmm… Well, about that……”

While I was trying to figure out how to explain this to my students, who were all scratching their heads, Olivia casually muttered, “Isn’t it like a country organizing an army and then eliminating the spies after that? That way, your army can attack only foreign enemies without any hesitation.”

It was a very accurate analogy.

“It’s just as you said.”

“Oh! I see! That’s the case!”

It seemed like students understood from this explanation.

Indeed, even if they used the word antigens or white blood cells, there wasn’t any meaning to it if they didn’t understand it.

“It’s the end of the story, I guess. You can return to your routine quest. Don’t forget to take enough rest everyone,” I said before teleporting the students to Shirohime’s side.

“Shall we also go now?”

“Yes!”

And with her usual demeanor, Lilinoa clung to my arm, while Olivia only nodded in silence.

“……..”

She was as unfriendly as ever, but it was a lot better compared to her initial strong hostility.

I then teleported us to the first floor of Sagami Co.

◇◆◇◆◇◆

For several days, we walked around every day, asking around, but we still had no information.

Of the twenty-eight people listed in the guild, we interviewed twenty-seven, but none of them could remember who was sitting in the corner of Kumabachi. In addition, the fact that every few people were passing by in front of the pub on the day of the incident made it harder to gather information.

“Next one is the last, huh. I don’t have much expectation.”

“Yeah…..” Lilinoa nodded at my casual comment.

“What are you doing being so gloomy!? If you can’t find it, then you can’t find it. In any case, there’s not any new victims, so we can take it easy!!”

This was a very unexpected statement from Olivia. I didn’t mean to be gloomy, but I might have been thinking a little too negatively.

“If it’s useless, then we can think about the countermeasure at the company.”

“Yes!”

“Ok!”

While laughing bitterly at their energetic reply, I took off the mask and the voice changer.

I couldn’t deny that my dwarf-like appearance with a mask might have caused unnecessary vigilance to the other witnesses when we heard about the situation so far. According to the documents, the last witness was an old man. If I was in the form of a child, he might be a little more open-minded. For the last witness, I decided to take some risks.

“It’s better that way, after all!” Lilinoah hugged me happily

“Indeed. The mask and the voice are just too creepy,” Olivia.gave me such an ungratified evaluation.

Shrugging my shoulders, I knocked on the door of the store where the 28th witness was working.

“Welcome!”

It was a shoe shop. Shoes of all shapes and sizes were on the shelves.

“Woah— It’s amazing”

I gave a sidelong glance to Lilinoa, who gave a flatout shout of joy at the shoes, and approached an elderly man with gray hair, who was still making shoes in the back of the shop.

“Hmm? Are you looking for shoes, little boy and young lady?” he greeted us with a kind smile.

Similar to Leroy, he smelled like a genuine craftsman. I guess it was just my prejudice for thinking that by nature, craftsmen are hard to please. I’m sorry, shopkeeper.

Apologizing in my heart, I bowed and asked, “I’ve been asked by the Adventurer’s Guild to ask you a few questions about the human slime incident. Could you please tell me about it?”

“Ah, that incident. I would like to forget it already. Sorry, my bad, but can you go back?”

The shopkeeper, like the rest of us, suddenly became very quiet.

It’s definitely strange, after all.

The others had been wary of us from the start, so it was understandable that we were treated coldly.

However, the sudden change in the shopkeeper’s attitude was definitely suspicious. Even if it was about a horrific incident, it was still just another person’s incident that was making headlines. A sudden change like that was more of an indication that he was trying to hide something.

“………”

Olivia, who was standing next to me, tugged at my sleeve silently and nodded.

“You have seen something, right?”

The shopkeeper jerked and stiffened his whole body, then silently began to make shoes. The shopkeeper’s hand, tapping that piece of metal tool, was shaking slightly. 

It seemed like it was a hit.

“Are you okay with this? I’m sure such an incident will happen again. Who knows maybe the victim next time is someone you know.”

“…….”

He stopped his hand and looked up at us, a look of intense fear on his face.

“Our only goal is to apprehend the perpetrator. We will absolutely not tell anyone what you have told us.”

“Go back.”

The shopkeeper looked away from me and started making shoes again. At this rate, it was going to be hard to persuade him.

However, it would be sheer stupidity to put the shopkeeper in danger if we contacted him clumsily and the perpetrator found that.

What should I do now?

As I was thinking about with my hand in my chin, Olivia pulled out a necklace from her voluptuous chest, placed her left hand on her slender waist, and held it out in front of the shopkeeper with her right hand. At the end of the necklace, there was a snowflake-like decoration.

“I’m Olivia Rose Archive, the youngest daughter of the previous Emperor, Iskandar Rose Archive.”

For a short while, the shopkeeper looked at the necklace with a suspicious look, but soon beads of sweat began to spill out.

“The imperial court emblem… Is it r-real!?”

He knelt down on both knees.

Giving a sidelong glance to us, who were taken aback by her action, she continued, “This time, the former Emperor has personally commanded me and Saint Lilinoa to settle this incident! Silence will not be tolerated. However, if you tell the truth, the safety of you and your family will be guaranteed by the Imperial Government!”

“Y-yes!!”

No no, Olivia, what are you, Ko**n-sama that appears in historical dramas!? [T/N : The name is censored here. The original name is Komon, Miti Komon.]

“Please stand up, shopkeeper-san,” Lilinoa took the shopkeeper’s hands and made him stand up.

“Saint…….”

The owner finally folded his hands, tears welling up in the corners of his eyes, and his body began to shake slightly.

Fine, fine. Do whatever you want. I shrugged my shoulders and decided to just follow them.

◇◆◇◆◇◆

“So, shopkeeper-san forgot to bring the purse back on the day of the incident?”

“That’s right. In that purse, there was a gift for my grandson’s birthday. I didn’t want it to get stolen, so I rushed to get it back.”

“What did you see there?”

In response to Olivia’s question, he held his chest and looked at Lilinoa with an anxious look. 

Lilinoah gave him a big nod and gripped his hand kindly.

I’m sorry, but it was like I was witnessing a poor-quality brainwashing.

“I saw an old man exiting while carrying a young man on his shoulder.”

An old man carrying a young man? Then why didn’t he report it to the guild? Afraid of revenge? No, if we left him alone, there’s a high possibility of a second or even third crime.

And if that happened, the worst that could happen was that his own people might get involved. If it was just an old man, he would have reported it directly to the guild.

“Who was that old man?”

The old man stiffened again, as if he had been tied up.

“Don’t worry! I told you, didn’t I? You are under the protection of the royal family. And I swear to you that I will not tell anyone what I have seen or heard here.”

“Don’t worry, grandpa.” 

The shopkeeper nodded his head in response to those two passionate words.

“I’m ashamed to say I was a bit rowdy in my younger days. Going in and out of the small and medium-sized families here in Straheim until I met my wife.”

A mafia family, like Krama and Gill.

“I have only seen him once in my life.”

“Who is he?”

Looking at the old man who was looking down as his body shivered without saying anything, I decided to name the suspect I was sure of.

“It’s [Laguna], right?”

As soon as I said it out, his shivering body froze.

I knew it. It was related to that scum organization. They were idiots. They’d walked down the path of self-destruction.

The principal offender of this incident wasn’t a small fry like [Laguna], but a fiend wearing the skin of a genuine human.

Perhaps, [Laguna] was just a marionette dancing in the demon’s hands.

If that was the case, then the perpetrator this time was [Laguna], and the mastermind himself was looking from a distance, as a spectator.

“He really is looking down on us.”

“Hiiiiiiii!!”

The shopkeeper looked up at me and screamed. Really, what a rude person.

Olivia also retreated, her face drained of blood.

“Not again. Face!”

Lilinoa sighed as if she was amazed, and then pointed her finger at my face to warn me.

Ah, I have done it again.

I realized that my bad habit had come out again and hastily fixed it.

I cleared my throat and turned to the shopkeeper.

“Listen. This incident wasn’t caused by a small fry like [Laguna]. The cause was a genuine devil pulling a string from the dark. The person you saw as [Laguna] will surely be ruined in the near future. So if you’re afraid of revenge from that person, your fear is misplaced.”

This time, the blood rapidly drained from the shopkeeper’s face.

“B-but, I am—scared.”

“If you know that what you have seen is a genuine devil, no, if you still had this misunderstanding, then in the near future, you would have died for sure.”

“Then what am I to do?” the shopkeeper clung to me desperately.

“I told you. I’ll protect your family until things calm down. I’m capable of that.”

I pulled a pocket watch out of my pocket and showed him. Looking at the balance and the flame engraved on the pocket watch, he asked, “Are you from Sagami Co?”

Among the merchants and craftsmen of this city, my name was as famous as that of the royal family.

“Yes. I’m Shirabe Sagami, the president of Sagami Co.”

“You are the young master of Sagami! All right, then. I’ll tell you everything!”

The shopkeeper opened his mouth heavily.

“One of the four Cardinals of [Laguna], Poisonous Liquor. You sure you didn’t misunderstand him, right?”

“Yes! I will never forget that face!!”

I see. I could now cut down one of the four Cardinals of [Laguna]. I’d have to punish him for messing up in someone else’s territory.

“Don’t you have any idea about the man he was carrying? Even a vague description would be fine.”

“No, it was too dark.”

“Then, who sat in the far left-hand corner of the entrance to Kumabachi?”

“The seat on the far left………”

The owner folded his arms and thought for a while.

“Ah, it’s that loud fella! I remember him, he was complaining so much!”

“What did he look like?”

“A boy around 20 years old with bad eyesight and purple hair.”

I could only think of one person who fit the description perfectly. Rather, I’d just recently beaten him to a pulp.

A-rank Adventure, Munch.

But I didn’t think a hoodlum like him would have the guts to get involved in this case.

“It’s necessary to investigate it right away.”

“What are you going to do?”

“First, we’ll protect and shelter the shop owner and his family. Everything else can follow.”

“I owe you!” the shopkeeper thanked us again and again, and we headed back to the Sagami Co.


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