…The soldier I can understand, but is a kid who lived in the forest for three years really that suspicious? I mean wasn’t the crystal blue?
Just when is this going to end? …Hmm?
Suddenly, I heard approaching footsteps stop just before the door.
“Hey, I’m going in. Oh!” [Hyuzu]
The person who entered was Hyuzu-san.
One of the guards of the duke’s family. He is part of the reason why I left the forest.
“Ryouma! It’s been a while!” [Hyuzu]
“Long time no see!” [Ryouma]
“Glad you didn’t forget and called me. Just leave everything to me now.” [Hyuzu]
When we parted, he told me that if I just mentioned his name at the office of the guards that he’d come. Looks like that was true.
I sure wasn’t expecting him to just barge in during questioning, though…
While I was thinking that, the man questioning us spoke.
“Hyuzu, what are you doing?” [Guard]
“Yo, Swanson! I see you’re the same as ever.” [Hyuzu]
“If you know, then get out! I’m in the middle of work right now! Hey! Give that back!” [Swanson]
Hyuzu-san took the paper the man was filling out and glanced through it.
“Ah, Swanson… So this is what you were worried about. Don’t worry. He’s not lying. I can guarantee for him. Remember that time during spring when I almost died?” [Hyuzu]
“I heard you were done in while escorting the duke.” [Swanson]
“The one who saved me then was this guy.” [Hyuzu]
“Still… Three years in the forest…” [Swanson]
“His situation is a bit complicated, but it’s not like he’s working for some bandit or something. Besides, the master himself can vouch for him. For now, just let him through. He really did come here to greet the duke. Although it’s more like he was invited as a guest.” [Hyuzu]
“…Alright. Don’t forget his bounty for the bandits.” [Swanson]
…That felt kind of forceful, but at least we’re free now.
“Thank you very much, Hyuzu-san.” [Ryouma]
“Leave the talk for later. Hurry up and go before that guy changes his mind. Don’t forget your bounty reward.” [Hyuzu]
“Ah, yes. …This bag of coins is yours, Fei-san.” [Ryouma]
“Can you store it in your dimension magic, Boss? It’s extra luggage and I have enough coin on me for the time being.” [Fei]
“Alright. I’ll store it in my dimension magic for now.” [Ryouma]
Without time to spare for courtesies, we quickly left the office of the guards.
When we got out, the sun had already set and stars were twinkling in the night sky.
“You sure found yourself in a mess.” [Hyuzu]
Hyuzu-san laughed as if he were just holding himself back earlier.
“Indeed… But he was just doing his job too, so…” [Ryouma]
“Well, it helps a lot if you see it that way. He’s not a bad guy. Although he has a tendency to pry at the slightest hint of suspicion and is really persistent… He’s also caught a lot of criminals that couldn’t be found out with just the use of the crystals.” [Hyuzu]
Hyuzu-san praised the man who took us in for questioning, but I was more interested in the ‘criminals that can’t be found with just the use of the crystals’. You could actually fool those things?
“It’s not really fooling them as much as those crystal balls weren’t originally made to identify criminals. They can’t actually reveal all the crimes a person has committed.” [Hyuzu]
Apparently, the church made those crystal. They were originally made to find out if a believer has violated a precept.
“Murder, rape, kidnapping, theft, injury… Actions like those go against the teaching of the gods, and those crystal balls can tell if you’ve committed them. But from the perspective of the law, there are crimes outside of the teachings of the gods too. For example, smuggling. Carrying goods that are forbidden from being traded is a crime. But prohibiting dangerous stuff like that is a rule that humans came up with later. The crystals don’t respond to them.” [Hyuzu]
So it had that sort of weakness.
Still, just being able to identify a portion of the heavy crimes is plenty helpful. It’s also a deterrent.
By the way, we’ve been walking for a while now, but where exactly are we headed?
When I asked him, he suddenly stopped.
“Sorry, sorry. I was in such a hurry to get out that I wasn’t really thinking. Where do you want to go?” [Hyuzu]
Oh, yeah. This guy has always been a little clumsy, hasn’t he? Well, he’s a good person, anyhow.
Seeing as didn’t have any particular destination in mind…
“Would you happen to know an inn with the odd name of ‘I Love Horses’? I’m supposed to meet up with a person from the Morgan Company there. We plan to visit the duke’s family afterwards.” [Ryouma]
“Oh! I know that place! That’s the inn of the old man fond of horse racing… He loves them so much he named his inn after his love for them. You better not say anything about horses to him or you’ll never hear the end of it.” [Hyuzu]
Looks like he knows him well. He looks happy.
He knew the path like the back of his hand. In fact, he knew the way so well that he moved quickly even in the narrow alleys.
Along the way…
“Oh! Hyuzu!” [Man 1]
“What are you doing at a time like this~?” [Man 3]
“Work! I’m in the middle of one right now!” [Hyuzu]
“Work? So what are you doing walking at a place like this?” [Man 1]
“Aren’t you free? Let’s drink!” [Man 2]
“Hyuzu-san, won’t you have a drink with us~?” [Man 3]
“We’ll give you some service.” [Woman]
“Ah… I’m happy you invited me, but I have to send this guy off. I’ll drop by later.” [Hyuzu]
“Could it be? Is that your illegitimate son!?” [Man 1]
“What was that!? Who’s the mother!?” [Man 2]
“He’s not mine!” [Hyuzu]
“Ha ha ha ha!! Of course not! He doesn’t look like you at all!” [Man 1]
“He looks too smart to be your own!” [Man 2]
“He looks too good to be yours!” [Man 3]
“No way Hyuzu can father a kid like that!” [Man 4]
“What did you say, you drunks!?” [Hyuzu]
“Oh, if it isn’t Hyuzu-san. Please drop by our store again next time. I’ll serve you some tea.” [Old Woman]
“Oh, it’s the old woman from the general store. I’ll go next time, so make sure to serve some cake too.” [Hyuzu]
“Ok. But the cake will cost you.” [Old Woman]
As we went on our way, a lot of people called out to Hyuzu-san. He seemed to be on good terms with every one of them.