Suspicious Glance and Bitter Smile
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After having lunch, they started to look around the town in the afternoon. The reason was that they had come to a conclusion which they wouldn’t be able to understand even if they asked people. Thus, they decided to see the situation with their own eyes once again.
However, unlike the time when they were looking for an inn, they were doing it altogether this time. They thought that they should be wary to the maximum since they didn’t understand what was happening.
Honestly, Soma was fine by himself since he didn’t want to burden other people, but…
“…It’s because of this reason, yes?” (Felicia)
“Hmm? What do you mean?” (Soma)
“No, it’s just a monologue, don’t worry about it.” (Felicia)
It seemed that her leaked voice was heard involuntarily. So, Felicia let out a small sigh while replying to Soma who tilted his head.
She was sure she said it quietly. In fact, her voice didn’t reach Sheila and Steina. Both of them were only showing a wondering expression.
In other words, that was a proof that Soma was paying attention to her, she wasn’t mistaken about it. It would be a lie if she wasn’t happy that Soma was paying attention, but if anything, she felt sorry. That was because Felicia was probably the one who stood in the way of others. To put it simply, she wasn’t sure whether she would be useful in this situation.
If she could use Curse, she could give a hand, but after leaving the Elf Forest, she had been told by Soma not to use Curse as much as possible. He was definitely thinking about Felicia.
Of course, he did that so the fact of Felicia was a Witch wouldn’t be exposed.
Since Curse was a fairly special matter, the person who understood it could clearly grasp the trace. This was written in the Book of Witches, but Soma actually confirmed it.
As Soma knew the existence of Curse, he told her that those who had Advanced Rank of Magic skill could detect it relatively easy. If Felicia used Curse, those people might be able to trace it from here.
Of course, Felicia didn’t intend to let others know that she was a Witch. Therefore, if she did it in the first place, it would cause too much trouble to Soma and others. So, she understood that she couldn’t use Curse. In that case, she was basically an ordinary person… No, it might be less than that. In a sense, it was natural that she was getting in their way and she couldn’t assist them.
However, Felicia didn’t belittle herself there. It wasn’t just about her, but it was also an insult to Soma and others.
At least Soma didn’t help Felicia to feel that way. Hence, Felicia didn’t intend to do such a thing, but in the present time, that fact was true. It needed to be acknowledged.
As for Sheila, she didn’t want to think of such a thing, but it wasn’t easy to turn her eyes away from such a fact. Felicia admitted that she couldn’t be helpful, but if she stopped there, it was the same as before. On top of that, she needed to think about what she could do.
Well, speaking of normal things, Soma was an obvious case, but Sheila was comparatively ignorant to common sense. It wasn’t possible to boast about having broad knowledge, but she was better if compared to those two. If she thought that could make up for the disadvantages she had, it shouldn’t be a bad thing.
The problem was when something like this would happen? Or what she could do? It was necessary to think and to get to the bottom of it.
Furthermore, there were other things that bothered her as for this time. If it had to be said, it was about her…
“Yeah, I really don’t see any monsters at all. It’s not like there’s anything else strange about it……well, it’s strange enough. Besides, even if we do something… hmm? What’s wrong?” (Steina)
“…No, it’s nothing. Sorry about that.” (Felicia)
“No, you did nothing, so don’t worry.” (Steina)
Steina, who shrugged her shoulders, probably knew as she was looking at Felicia who had given a suspicious glance. There was no way she didn’t know. But Steina didn’t seem to care about it… now, what was it?
At least, she didn’t seem to be hostile towards Felicia. However, it didn’t make her became less wary.
Felicia wondered what Soma’s plan was.
Certainly, she didn’t object to the idea of Steina accompanying them, but in the end, it was just because she thought that it didn’t make sense to say anything. Felicia didn’t want to accept her, but… if she said so, it would cause some misunderstanding. In short, she still believed that Steina was suspicious.
Sheila must have already accepted that. Basically, Sheila was the type that moved by intuition, and when Felicia looked at it, she could see Sheila fully trusted Soma. It was Soma’s decision. There might be some doubts, but they probably had accepted it.
Well, the bottom line was Soma didn’t know what she was thinking. Or rather, sometimes she thought that it was better not to think of anything.
That wasn’t really the case, but still, Soma wasn’t a perfect person. There were times that he might miss something important.
So, in case of the event, Felicia turned her suspicions to the girl she should have accepted as a companion. Perhaps, that was the only thing she could do now.
“Hmm… There’s nothing particularly wrong here as well.” (Soma)
“…Yeah, except for the anomaly that there are no demons.” (Sheila)
“It feels like another anomaly in itself, but do you know that?” (Steina)
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Soma, who had finished confirming the surroundings, said so and let out a sigh.
As if that were the case, Felicia followed his gaze, but as usual, the grassland was the only place she could see. There were no shadow and no shape, such as the appearance of the monster.
This was the fourth place. The investigation that started from the east side of the city, continued to the north, west and lastly, they reached the south here.
And yet, there was no evidence that they had found anything…
“At least I thought that we might find a trace of something…it’s really not so easy.” (Soma)
“If it’s easy to find the cause, someone will already find it.” (Felicia)
“…If there is a mage, it might have been different, yes?” (Sheila)
Surely, there was one of detection systems. It was magic, and there would have been something that could only be found. She could do something similar with magic, but… when she looked at Soma, she was denied by his gaze.
Well, in a situation where they had to find something absolutely, this wasn’t a scene that should be used unnecessarily yet. Felicia understood that, but she couldn’t stop the sigh leaking involuntarily, and somehow, she turned her gaze to Steina reflexively.
She didn’t have anything to think about right now, but then, she remembered something.
“…Come to think of it, how long does this situation has started?” (Felicia)
“Hmm? What do you mean?” (Soma)
“That’s because when we met Steina, there was at least a monster, right? That means that this situation doesn’t reach until that point of time.” (Felicia)
Yes, she remembered the time when they met Steina. Soma helped Steina, who had been attacked by a monster at that time, but the main point was the monsters were there. However, the fact that there weren’t enough monsters around here remained true.
“It was like that, isn’t it? If so, does this situation not reach that far… or the monsters still existed at that time?” (Steina)
“…No, it’s definitely not the latter. We didn’t encounter any monsters before we got here.” (Soma)
“…Yes, the former would be incorrect as well. For the same reason as Soma said, we didn’t come across anything but that monster.” (Sheila)
“That means… the situation has reached that place and it has already happened at that time.
Speaking of being possible or not, it was possible. Rather, there was also a proper explanation to that situation.
“I think that’s the only exception. I think it was a normal Giant Frog. No, I mean, it’s not like I have fought any other Giant Frog to the point it’s enough to make comparison, so it’s questionable for me to say that I really fought it…” (Steina)
“Hmm, I don’t know about other instances of the same situation, but… come to think of it, the request was put out this morning.” (Soma)
“…Did you ask when the monster was found or the surrounding situation at that time?” (Sheila)
“I don’t know if there’s a record there, but… is there any loss in asking for the time being?” (Felicia)
“Well then, is that what are we going to do? We almost go around the town just a little bit more.” (Soma)
There was still a long way to go from here to the east, but he didn’t think that they would find anything. No one disagreed with Felicia’s proposal. They turned their back to the grassland to return to the town.
As they walked as it was, a chill ran through the spine for a moment.
She didn’t know what it was.
Felicia had no skills. Therefore, it wasn’t possible to have a warning detection skill. Hence, it was a warning that conveyed purely by instinct.
But because of that, Felicia was at the same time realized. It was already too late.
Before Felicia moved, Sheila caught her reaction on the edge of the field of vision, but it was still too late. She noticed it because she had touched the existence of the Forest God up close. There was nothing she could do about this warning.
“–I am the sword that cut Demons.” (Soma)
Immediately after, she heard the sound of glass breaking down from behind.
After that, she took a breath delay and turned around. There was nothing, and nothing happened. It was as if the chill was the fault of the nature. However, there were evidences that this wasn’t the case. Sheila stopped her hand on the handle of her sword, while Soma stopped with the posture of swing sword. What had happened was… well, as she could see.
A sigh of relief leaked through Steina’s mouth.
“I only saw it a little bit, but I think you were attacked by a Shadowtaker.” (Steina)
“…Shadowtaker, is it?” (Felicia)
“It’s a very bad-natured monster with a non-material system and a shadow-like shape. If it’s dealt with senior adventurers who are in perfect condition and dressed in dedicated equipment, they could manage somehow. But then, they would be wiped easily if they were attacked by surprise. It doesn’t seem to come out in such a place, but if it comes out, the adventurers usually won’t be able to do anything. However…” (Steina)
“Hmm… was it a dangerous monster? What a dangerous place, isn’t it?” (Soma)
“No, it’s not dangerous or anything, but… well, it’s fine. It seems to have been blown away without trace anyway. If I think it reacted, it has already disappeared.” (Steina)
“…Yes. I agree. You’re strange as always.” (Sheila)
“Although I should have helped Felicia, why am I being degraded?” (Soma)
“…It’s in your imagination. I’m praising you.” (Sheila)
While listening to the usual exchanged as it was, Felicia let out a big sigh with the cold sweat that flew down. She thought Soma did something about it, but it was very bad for her heart.
While exhaling one more time… her eyes met Steina suddenly. A bitter smile appeared on her face, and her shoulders were shrugged.
“Dear me… at this rate, the moment I find something suspicious, Soma will deal it somehow.” (Steina)
“…Yeah, my turn doesn’t come.” (Sheila)
“No, there’s a limit to what I can do alone. There are things that I can’t do on my own, so your turn will come.” (Soma)
“What nonsense are you talking about, goodness…” (Steina)
While looking at the appearance of letting out a sigh while saying so, a bitter smile took shape on Felicia’s mouth. The reason was that the meaning of the word that Steina said now was able to be understood.
Just as it tried to do something to her, it ended up being cut down by Soma. That was what it meant. Felicia understood what it meant.
In this regard, she shared the same feeling with Steina. Looking at the present, it didn’t look exactly how it was. This made her realize further.
However, Soma said so just now. There was a limit to what he could do alone. So, for that, Felicia was still doing the same thing now.
Steina smiled at Felicia, who looked at her with the same eyes. Felicia also had a bitter smile on her mouth.
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