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Vermillion - Chapter 21.3


Published at 26th of January 2018 07:37:17 AM
Chapter 21.3

They descended the stairs . Aileen carried Lily on her back since her legs were unsteady from being confined for so long . Lily gasped in surprise at the men groaning on the floor—especially Borris, who remained unconscious on his stomach . Aileen ignored it and left straight out the door .



“So, which way is home?”

Currently, they were somewhere near the middle of the old town . She believed it would be best to get to the main street, so following her memories from before the sun set, she moved toward the center of the district .

However, before they even walked for one minute, Aileen said, “What’s that…?”

Straight ahead were a large number of swaying lights . They could hear the sound of metal chaffing metal and many footsteps running toward them .

The people running were a group of guards carrying lanterns .

“Ah! Aileen!!”

And then from behind them, the face that popped out suddenly was—

“—Kei?!” Aileen shouted, almost letting Lily slip off accidentally .

He came out fully equipped with all of his quivers, giving him an appearance similar to that of a hedgehog . His face was flushed and under his leather helmet his bangs stuck to his forehead from the sweat of running around .

Having not yet grasped the situation, Kei rushed straight to her . “Are you hurt anywhere?!”

Aileen shook her head, taken aback . “I-I’m fine . ”

“It looks like it’s already over… I guess I was too slow . ”

He saw Lily on her back and breathed a sigh of relief as he exhaustedly put his hands on his knees . From behind him shouted a familiar voice, “Lily!! Lily!!”

“Dad!!” With eyes wide open Lily jumped off of Aileen’s back and ran toward the voice .

Montand staggered as he ran out from behind the guards .

“Lily!! You’re fine?!”

“Dad!! Daaad!!”

Lily dove into his arms . They sank to the ground in the middle of the street and both began to cry .

“I’m so glad! I’m so glad that you were safe! Oh… Lily!”

“Dad! I was so scared!”

Kei and Aileen watched the two with gentle expressions .

“Umm . Well, er…” A voice interjected from the side . It was one of the guards, an older man with a splendid black beard . “Ah, you’re the one from that time!” He pointed at Aileen . He was the inspection officer during the incident with her Hi-Potion back at the gate .

The man removed his helmet and scratched his head with an embarrassed expression, “Sorry, but could you explain what happened?”

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“Sure… Well, it’s exactly as it looks . ” Kei shrugged slightly and pointed at Lily and Montand . “Aileen successfully rescued that child . ”

“Uh, well, I get that much, but…” He looked even more embarrassed, but looked at Aileen suspiciously . “I heard that a skilled magic fighter was on their way for the rescue, but it was her…?”

“Yeah, that’s right . She’s the magic fighter… Aileen, where did they end up confining her?”

“Not even a minute down this road, in some warehouse thing . There were eight men inside, but I left them all alive… Borris was there too . ” She added the last part in a low voice .

“What…?” Kei knit his brow and his face turned serious .

The black bearded man looked confused, and while still somewhat doubtful, decided not to pursue it and shouted at his subordinates, “Hey, you all! The kidnappers’ den is close!”

“Wait a sec, what are you doing here, Kei?”

Kei smiled as if to mock himself, “Well… After you left I linked up with the guards and persuaded Montand to come… I thought we could back you up . Although, it looks like we were too slow…”

“Well, there’s that too . But how did you know to come here?” She tilted her head with an awkward expression .

Kei looked away .

Behind him, lanterns shone against the dark sky . Aileen thought she saw a girl in an angel’s raiment smiling bewitchingly .

“W-whaat?” Her jaw dropped . “You used an emerald…? That’s such a waste!”

“It’s fine! What’s it matter… . ” He had a sour expression, but turned serious and looked at Aileen, “We can buy a jewel or two whenever we want! But…”

But… he thought . His gaze wavered, and his mouth hung open without him saying anything . He looked away again . “Well, um, at any rate… Sorry we’re late . ” Kei lowered his head .

Aileen blinked at his unexpected action . After a short while her expression changed as if to say, there’s no helping it, and she lightly pushed his head . “Don’t worry about it… I’m just happy that you came . Also…”

She remembered that what she said to him before she left seemed to hurt him . However, would bringing it up again and apologizing cause it to be an issue again?

Right now—

She said nothing, put her hand on his shoulder, and gave him a smile . “Although it really is just that you came, heh! I appreciate the thought, but to be honest, you didn’t do jack shit!”

“Ugh… I can’t argue with the truth…!” He looked vexed as Aileen laughed .

“What’s with all this stuff anyway? Plan on waging a war? There’s no way you’d ever use this many arrows!”

“You never know what might come in handy! Leave me alone!”

“I thought you couldn’t use a bow in urban combat~ . ”

“I planned on shooting through walls if it came to it!”



With the guards in a circle around them the two pestered each other noisily . Next to them the parent and child couple cried .

The black bearded man looked up at the moon as he replaced his hat and sighed . “I want to go home soon…”

†††

Afterwards, the guards arrested Borris and the other abductors .

After they examined the inside of the building, they found various narcotics and illegal goods . It turned out to be a large-scale drug cartel’s den .

Borris seemed to be an underling in their organization .

They arrested more members of the organization after thoroughly investigating, and Borris included, were mostly sentenced to decapitation . The others were all forced into slavery, working until death in either the mines or processing waste in the northern section of Satyna .

The only useful information that they managed to get from the members was that there was a manager; a thin man named Tristan . Even if they searched within the city, it was highly likely that he had already left .

From the past events, Montand and his family were exhausted mentally and physically .

Particularly Lily, who temporarily stopped attending cram school and was recovering from the shock at home . Montand also took a short break from his work .

“We are spending time together as a family,” Montand said earnestly, forcing a smile as he returned the silver that Kei lent him . He gripped Aileen’s hand and said, “Really, thank you so much . ” The amount of times he bowed his head to her was impressive .

Kei and Aileen stayed in Satyna for another three days after the incident .

They wanted to find a job as escorts as well as wait for Connor to finish Mikazuki’s hide .

For better or worse, because of the incident they—primarily Aileen—were able to gain some fame and reputation .

The magic fighter that gallantly invaded the kidnappers’ den and admirably rescued a child . For that person to be a beautiful young girl as well, there was no way that people wouldn’t talk about it . The tales of her heroism became so popular that rather than their previous day of searching for escorting jobs, shopkeepers came to them with escort requests .

The largest one of them all was Montand’s client, the Cornwell company . Apparently, the suspected cause of the kidnapping was that Juli, Cornwell’s son, kept Lily at the mansion until late . He seemed to be tormented by his feeling of guilt . Juli was so grateful for Aileen saving Lily that he made his way to their inn to deliver a large amount of money as a reward personally .

The reward came from his own pocket money, but even then, the sum was equivalent to a few gold coins . Kei and Aileen were both surprised and wanted to accept the money, but honestly, walking around with so many coins would be a pain .

The boy was clever; he understood that magic cost a catalyst such an emerald or jewel, and so with the approximate gold coin that he had left, bought them new ones the next day . The jewels and labradorite[1] were of such a fine quality that Aileen wouldn’t have to worry about her usage, and Kei could use his 『Manifest』 again, after having run out of emeralds . Kei did suggest one or two jewels, but he got them faster than expected .

Juli also wanted to arrange for Lily to have a bodyguard to bring her to and from cram school once she returned . The idea he proposed was for Aileen to be the bodyguard . If the guard was a man, then Lily might feel scared, and on top of Aileen’s good looks and abilities, she was already close to Lily . While it was another eye-popping addition to the reward, neither Kei nor Aileen intended to stay in Satyna and regretfully turned him down .

With the prospect of Aileen being Lily’s bodyguard gone, Juli looked awfully disappointed . However, he was aware that Kei and Aileen would be heading to Urvan and began to speak of work . There was a caravan of merchants that needed escorts traveling north to Urvan via the highway . They’d received treatment that they couldn’t have imagined a few days ago on top of a great reward . Kei would never have imagined they would receive such treatment from a boy that they had no interaction with until this point .

—The good you do for others is good you do yourself, huh .

The morning of their departure . That saying was something that he couldn’t help but think of as they stood in front of the northern gates .

The merchants that they were going to guard were finishing their final check of their luggage . Kei and Aileen were all ready to go . Kei rode Sasuke while Aileen rode one of the plains people’s horses, recently named Suzuka . They sold the other two horses through the Cornwell company .

“Onee-chan… You’re leaving?”



“Yeah, sorry . I have to go to Urvan no matter what . ” Aileen looked apologetic .

Aileen and Lily said their goodbyes next to Kei . Lily hung her head . She didn’t ask Aileen not to go . She didn’t cry . She knew it would be selfish . All she did was silently hang her head .

“I know . I’ll give you this . ” Aileen nimbly jumped off of Suzuka and squatted down to Lily’s level .

“What’s this…?”

“It’s a charm . ”

The thing she put in Lily’s hand was a rose quartz gem hanging on a chain .

“I made it last night . I put a spell on it, as long as the sun is set, you can call me just once . If anything dangerous happens again and you call me, I’ll come save you right away . ”

Although, she said Lily could call her, she couldn’t teleport to her . It would use『Manifest』so that they could talk for a short time . It was believable enough for a child that the charm could send a shadow over a long distance .

Nonetheless, Aileen’s words had a magical effect on Lily . She grasped it preciously with the sparkle back in her eyes . “Thank you, onee-chan…” She did her best to put on the bravest smile she could and expressed her thanks, but tears soon welled up in her eyes and her smile crumbled . “Onee-chaaan…”

“There, there…” Aileen held the crying Lily to her chest as she softly stroked her head .

Kei watched silently from his horse .

“Kei-san…”

Kiska and Montand came up to Kei’s side, careful not to bother Aileen and Lily .

“Hey there . ”

Kei moved to dismount, as it would be rude to stay up there, but Montand stopped him . “Kei-san . I can’t thank you enough for helping us . ”

“I didn’t do anything… It was all Aileen . ” Kei smiled awkwardly as they both bowed to him . His smile wasn’t exactly forced, but you couldn’t call it natural either .

“We’ve already said our thanks to her many times . Of course, it’s not a matter of the number of times…”

Kiska held a basket out to Kei while Montand flailed his arms in a panic and tried to correct what he said .

“They’re sandwiches . I apologize that this is all it is, but I hope that you and Aileen will enjoy them for lunch today . ”

“Oh, thank you… what about the basket?”

“Keep it, of course . ”

“Thanks . ” Kei smiled with his reply as he fastened the basket to Sasuke’s saddle .

Montand recovered himself in that time and took out a medium sized quiver . “I’m sorry if this seems simple, but… I’ve made a few more long arrows . I hope you find a use for them .

“Oh, this is… I already have a bunch of arrows, but… is this okay?”

“Of course it is . ” Montand nodded deeply .

Kei seriously had a lot of arrows . He purchased most of them from Montand, but the problem was their volume . He had four quivers counting the one on his back, the ones on either side of Sasuke’s saddle, and the one on Sasuke’s back . Three of them were quite large to boot .

“I’ll gladly take them . But there’s still a lot of space in the quivers I have, could I just take the arrows?”

“Yes, certainly, certainly . ”

Kei took the arrows from him and put them into the quiver on his back . He felt that these were somehow made even more carefully than the others .

“Alright . It’s about time that we head off!” The head of the caravan shouted from the front .

The merchants boarded their wagons and the escorts straightened up in their saddles .

It was time to leave .

“It’s time . ”

“Yes… Take care . ”

“Truly, thank you so much . ”

Montand and Kiska bowed to Kei and Aileen and gave them their thanks one last time .

Kei removed his gaze from them and looked up at the sky absentmindedly .

The sound of wooden wheels turning began and the wagons slowly started to move forward .

Kei lightly kicked Sasuke’s flanks and he, too, moved forward .

“Onee-chan! See you again!!”

“Take care!! I’ll definitely come see you again!!” Aileen shouted and waved back at them from next to Kei .

It had been approximately ten days since they were brought to this world .

Just why were they brought here?

Kei and Aileen began their trip to solve that mystery .

Their destination, north . The center of the Ri’leir region .

—The fortress city, Urvan .



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