Ex Strongest Swordsman 198 (Self Edited) – Anomaly and Incident

 

Anomaly and Incident

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If Hildegard wanted to come up with a simple conclusion, it was that she still couldn’t find a clue.

Since she couldn’t force Lars and Helen too much, she tried to explore the rest of the village by herself, but there was nothing found in particular. She went outside of the village, and she still couldn’t find anything.

She thought that the encounter rate with monsters might be a bit low, but she had known the fact from the start. To begin with, she didn’t know the connection with this matter. So, she had no choice but to consider that possibility because she hadn’t got any new information.

Anyhow, it couldn’t be helped to think so since they were checking one place at a time. But…

“Hmm… well, as we may know at the beginning, it seems that there is no mistake that a certain anomaly has occurred. And it shouldn’t happen accidentally.” (Hildegard)

“Tha-that is… perhaps… someone… do something… intentionally?” (Helen)

“Well, that’s not surprising. This is the third one, right? Do you think it’s happening accidentally?” (Lars)

“Hmm, well, that’s true.” (Hildegard)

Indeed, this was the third place. It turned out that at least three villages had become uninhabited in a similar way. It was unlikely that this was a coincidence.

Moreover, since the royal capital was near, the villages in the vicinity were quite close to each other. There was basically no reason to build another village nearby. Normally it would take two days just to move.

The villagers who were separated by such distances had suddenly disappeared in at least three places. No… it might not happen in three places only.

Or rather, they shouldn’t think so. The worst was… there seemed to be a deep connection between the declining number of monsters and the disappearance of people, and it seemed better to think that the surrounding villages were completely annihilated.

“Well, what we know now for the time being is definitely the number of monsters is decreasing.” (Hildegard)

“Even though it’s just a feeling, I don’t encounter them to the point that I feel it’s obviously less. It’s hard to think that this is also a coincidence. Seriously, no matter how I think about it, it’s too much for me, isn’t it? At times like this, it makes me think that it’s time for those guys to come out…” (Lars)

“Even if you say so, there’s no use to hope for people who aren’t here, and that doesn’t mean that you have nothing to do.” (Hildegard)

“Y-yes… we will… do our best… until they come.” (Helen)

“That’s a heavy burden, but… well, we have no choice but to do it.” (Lars)

Nevertheless, Hildegard knew that Lars was actually motivated when he said such a thing. It might be because he cared about the past.

Helen also might be in a similar state, but… Hildegard didn’t say anything. It would be a problem if they did something reckless, but that didn’t happen for now.

For starters, she brought them with such an assumption. She needed to keep an eye on them, but that didn’t mean she would say anything unless they were going to act recklessly. At the moment, he looked at the scene laid in front of her. Of course, she didn’t see anyone. What spread out there was a quiet scene, but that wasn’t the case. She squinted her eyes as if she were trying to grasp something there.

Obviously, there was no way she could tell what it was, but… it was also true that she thought there might be something there. Again, she couldn’t find anything, but there were a few things that were different.

It was something she discovered when she was checking a house. There was one of the tables. On top of that, there was a meal preparation.

There was such a sight there as if the inhabitants had suddenly disappeared as they were about to have a meal.

That was the only thing that was happening, but it could be some kind of clue. Well, as of now, they hadn’t found anything more than that, so she still didn’t know what happened after all. Anyhow, there was also another thing she noticed even though it was vague.

That was… perhaps, the person who issued that report, the king or the Adventurer Guild, were likely to have known this as well. Of course, given that the original information was a rumor, there was a possibility that they might not know it, but it was more appropriate to think that those people knew it. She noticed a sense of incongruity when she remembered that.

However, if anything, the feeling of ‘As expected, isn’t it?’ was much stronger. She had that feeling since she saw the first village.

But she wasn’t going to blame them. Rather, it would be an obvious decision, and that included the round ball thrown to Hildegard. The other reason why such an investigation could be done by her was because there were only two Seven Heavens in this country at the moment.

Was that fact written in the report in the case of unlikely event? Even if the anomaly of monsters was known, it was still possible to handle it, but this situation was indeed bad.

However, it wasn’t possible to make people talk. Perhaps, this was also said during the gag order, but it might be a matter of time before the rumor reached the people.

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“Hmm… if you think about it, that sounds reasonable.” (Hildegard)

For starters, it was too early to investigate the matter of the monsters. According to the report, the rumor first came about a week ago. If they thought about it normally, they should investigate on their own to find support information before they came to Hildegard.

However, it wasn’t written in the report that such an action was done. At a time like this, she was convinced that they wanted to investigate in secret, but… if that made them to spend time on conducting investigation, they had no choice but to depend on her. After all, this was about people suddenly disappear in villages around the royal capital. If such a rumor spread, the royal capital would be in turmoil.

Therefore, the real purpose of this investigation was to minimize the confusion.

“Dear me… this is a serious responsibility.” (Hildegard)

While muttering so, she glanced at the two people who were trying to get a clue from the surroundings, and then, she let out a sigh.

As expected, this thought couldn’t be said to them. It was too much for them to bear the idea.

If she could, she would like to return to the academy and left them there, but then… the problem was that there would be a shortage of manpower. However, it might be still better in this state.

In the middle of considering that matter seriously…

“Lars, Helen, maybe you both don’t have to look for clues anymore…” (Hildegard)

“…Eh? What do you…?” (Lars)

“…!?” (Hildegard)

“Eh, Lars-kun… aah.” (Helen)

Lars was momentarily delayed by Hildegard’s words, and a few moments later, Helen also noticed. Before anyone was aware, there was a sight of another person in the village where there should be only three people. In this situation, it was impossible to imagine a person who appeared alone in such a place.

That said, it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing given the progress of investigation. As Hildegard mentioned earlier, they might no longer need to look for clues.

That would be the matter if she could obtain a clue.

Hildegard, who was first to notice that existence and was prepared, had a cold sweat on her back. Hildegard, who wasn’t very good at fighting or had left most of it in her previous life as a price, still had the fighting ability corresponding to the Special Rank skills.

But that was why she understood it even more. Perhaps, it would become a battle, and the opponent was…

“…Hmm?” (Hildegard)

Hildegard, who had been on alert, eased her guard slightly at the moment. The other side appeared casually, and… it was someone she knew.

“Eh…? Lina-chan…?” (Helen)

Yes, it was Lina, who she hadn’t seen lately.

Helen whispered while being surprised by the appearance of an unexpected figure. Then, the strength of her body gradually escaped. Lars took his hand off the hand of his sword as he let out a breath.

“Haa… Goodness. What is this? Don’t surprise us.” (Lars)

“Y-yea… I was surprised. Uhm? But, Lina-chan, why are you here…” (Helen)

Helen words were never uttered until the end. The reason was that Hildegard went out in front of them to intercept them.

She could feel the gazes behind her back, but she couldn’t afford to answer their questioning eyes. Perhaps, there was too much difference between them to the point they couldn’t feel her presence, but… from the beginning, Lina had been suppressing her presence.

Of course, she was doing it even now.

“…Eh?” (Helen)

“Wha…” (Lars)

So, it was no surprise that Lina pulled out her sword and thrust it at them. However, Hildegard just worried about what would happen from now.

Would Lina answer if she asked? Well, she might answer her, but… whether it made sense or not, that would be another matter.

Letting out cold sweat due to violent bloodlust surrounding her body, Hildegard gulped and made a sound with her throat.

 

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