Ex Strongest, Encountering a Strange Occurrence
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The moment Soma saw it, he squinted his eyes reflexively. There was a clear difference compared to what he had seen in the past.
It was Arvent Barony, Yeasta. The town in front of his gaze seemed to have smoke rising from everywhere if he wasn’t mistaken.
Moreover, the smell that reached so far indicated that it wasn’t flowing from chimneys but something was burning…
Before someone said something, Sheila was moving. She ran to Yeasta in a straight line without looking at anyone else.
Soma didn’t intend to stop her, and she wouldn’t stop even if he tried.
“How should I say this… I guess I’m a bit jealous. That person, Doris-san, is more important to Sheila.” (Felicia)
“Now… it’s true that Doris is important to Sheila, but I don’t think Felicia should say that.” (Soma)
“…Is that so?” (Felicia)
Soma shrugged his shoulders as a reply to the question while tilting his head. It didn’t matter whether he knew it or not. She thought that it was normal to confront him for the sake of an older sister, but… there were various meanings to say such a thing.
So, instead of giving an answer, he said something else.
“Anyhow, will it be alright if I follow her? I know Sheila would be fine alone, but something can happen by chance.” (Soma)
“I think it’s good, but why don’t we all go together?” (Aina)
“Hmm, I’m not sure what the situation is, so I think it would be better for me to look ahead first. Since I don’t know what will happen there, it’s hard to say that we should remain here.” (Soma)
In that case, Soma could handle things easier if he was in the vicinity of the town.
“Then, shall we all go together?” (Soma)
“Well, there was a change at last, but… does this have anything to do with what you’ve been doing?” (Aina)
“We’ll know when we go there.” (Soma)
Anyhow, they were going there from now on.
Whatever it was… it seemed there was a need to be more vigilant than before. As they nodded to each other, Soma’s group followed Sheila and headed to Yeasta.
The moment they stepped into the town, the smell was getting stronger. It was a burning smell of various things.
Such as crushed ground, burning houses.
There were fire in some places. Perhaps, it hadn’t been that long since this even started. The rising smoke was blown away by the wind.
It was clear that something had happened here. As they moved further, they began to frown upon the damage that became clearer, but at the same time, Soma tilted his head because there was something unusual.
“Hmm… It looks like there’s no dead body.” (Soma)
“…? What’s wrong with that? Isn’t that better than damage done due to the weather?” (Aina)
“That’s true, but… obviously, it hasn’t been that long since something happened here, right? I honestly don’t think there’s enough time to deal with dead bodies.” (Soma)
“Then, is there a possibility that there’s no corpse at all?” (Felicia)
“It’s not impossible. If you think about the situation, some of the houses seem to be completely destroyed. The fact that there are no dead bodies means that all the residents might have known about this beforehand, and they were able to evacuate somewhere. However…” (Soma)
“That’s not it?” (Felicia)
“I can’t deny that possibility, but in the case of evacuation, it’s difficult to think where do they evacuate themselves to.” (Soma)
It should have taken a whole day from here to the nearest town. Moreover, if all inhabitants were together, it might take longer time to move.
In the meantime, even if adventurers were escorting, there would be considerable danger. Therefore, he didn’t think everyone would be accepted in the evacuation process. On the other hand, if the evacuation destinations were dispersed, the danger would increase even more.
As far as this matter was concerned, it was likely that something attacked the town, but there was also a question of how did the inhabitants foresaw it coming.
Normally, they would try to intercept first, and if they realized that it was impossible, they wouldn’t be able to evacuate in time.
If they happened to realize in advance that it was a very dangerous situation, it wasn’t impossible to decide that it was better to evacuate, but… even if Soma considered about that possibility, it was more meaningful to think of other possibilities.
“Then, Soma, what do you think happened here?” (Aina)
“Hmm… well… the only thing that comes to mind is that the corpses were eaten completely. I mean something like that can happen, right?” (Soma)
“Eaten… uh.” (Felicia)
“Hey, Soma…!” (Aina)
“Uhm, sorry I’m too inconsiderate. I’m sorry.” (Soma)
“N-no… it’s alright.” (Felicia)
Despite Felicia’s answer, her complexion was clearly bad. Why? It was that situation… She must have imagined that scene clearly.
Aina turned her gaze to blame, and he had nothing to excuse. It was obviously Soma’s blunder.
However, those words couldn’t be treated as a joke. Monsters were the ones most likely to attack this town, and such a possibility couldn’t be denied. It was harsh, but at least, if compared to the possibility that everyone had evacuated, this possibility was much higher.
However, Doris was here. She probably knew about the monsters that inhabited the surrounding area, and if such dangerous monsters existed, the town wouldn’t be too alarmed. She would have done something to prevent this situation from happening.
In the first place, this town was a town with a history of having a guild branch. It was common for villages not to have barrier walls to prevent monsters, but there must be walls here.
Anyhow, the walls to prevent monsters required money to maintain. For this reason, it was normal to assume that barrier walls were setup to prevent the surrounding monsters.
Even if the purpose was to prevent monsters, it wasn’t possible to stop all kind of monsters. It was different from the royal capital, but this town should be able to prevent a certain amount of monsters.
That was why, if dangerous monsters were within reach, there was no way that countermeasures weren’t taken. Then, it was most likely that such monsters suddenly appeared, but that kind of situation was…
“…Hmm? That reminds me, it seems there was something similar…?” (Soma)
“Soma? Do you know anything?” (Aina)
“…No, I can’t say anything just yet. I haven’t been able to grasp the situation at all. Well, for the time being, it’s time to join Sheila.” (Soma)
“You’re right… if this town was attacked by monsters, they might still be lurking.” (Felicia)
That was what Soma was concerned about. At least in this town, there was no sign of something going wild. Did they leave or hide or get killed… or perhaps, it wasn’t monsters that attacked this town in the first place?
As long as he couldn’t feel the sign of others, it was unlikely that the monsters had been defeated…
“I’m also curious if it has something to do with what we have been doing until here. What we have in common is that we don’t see people. I don’t think it’s relevant, but…” (Aina)
“Well, we will also discuss that later.” (Soma)
While saying that, they were getting closer to their destination.
Earlier, they soon lost sight of Sheila’s figure, but there was no hesitation in Soma’s group since they understood where she went immediately. Beyond their eyes were a building. Although there was some damage on the outer wall, it kept its original appearance.
It was a familiar place where Soma and Sheila met for the first time. It was the Adventurer Guild branch in this town.
“Is this where Sheila used to be…?” (Felicia)
“I know there are a lot of things to think about, but shall we go inside for now? Sheila is here, isn’t she?” (Aina)
“There’s a sign. It feels like she’s there.” (Soma)
He thought a bit about what to do if she moved, but it seemed that she remained there. Then, when they entered, the inside of the guild was devastated.
Familiar chairs and tables were scattered and thrown around. However, there was no regularity here. It was as if the sole purpose was to rampage and it left the place after destroying the place.
In such a place, Sheila was standing alone.
Felicia tried to reach Sheila’s back, but she stopped midway. Perhaps, she was thinking something unnecessary.
She sighed as if she was troubled. Then, she turned around.
“Oh my. Have you noticed me? Dear me, you haven’t changed at all.” (??)
They could see Sheila was reacting to the familiar voice. It was a familiar figure who appeared there.
The owner of the voice smiled at Sheila’s reaction. Doris approached a step each time while floating a bitter smile…
“What’s wrong, Sheila? What’s with that voice and face? Did you think that I was killed? Who do you think I am… goodness, I can’t help with this girl. You should be ready at a time like this.” (Doris)
Doris smiled and pulled out a gun from her waist.
It was too natural of a behavior. It was as if it were natural to do so… but those who saw it would think differently.
A muttering leaking from Sheila was heard a few moments later. And then…
“That’s why it’s going to be like this.” (Doris)
As Sheila became more confused, a gunshot echoed.
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