Ex Strongest, Investigating the Village
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Soma and others arrived at the village mayor’s house and talked about the reason why they came to this village.
However, there were many things that couldn’t be said or should not be said. Actually, it was almost as if they didn’t tell him anything about it…
“Hmm… In other words, you’re not returning to the village, but you came to work.” (Mayor)
“Aah, yes. So, that…” (Mayor)
“Aah, yes, I understand. Then, it’s certainly not possible to accept the invitation of the villagers. Don’t worry, I’ll tell them right away.” (Mayor)
“…Sorry, thank you very much.” (Ingrid)
The only thing she was about to talk about was that she came here to work. At the very least, the intention had been well received. Still, it wasn’t strange considering that this place was Ingrid’s hometown, so the mayor easily understood and accepted them.
At least Soma thought so, but it seemed that Ingrid was still confused. On the other hand, that feelings seemed to be changing into suspicion. Apparently, she tried to hide the feelings, but from Soma’s eyes that were glancing at her face, she couldn’t completely hide it.
However, he shouldn’t pursue the matter now. He decided to quietly try to observe the situation starting from this moment.
“Well then, do you mean that your companions are also Paladins?” (Mayor)
“No, we are… well, I would say the external collaborators.” (Soma)
“Yes. That’s right… so, you don’t have to hold back. Well, if possible, I would be grateful if you can lend us a bed somewhere.” (Hildegard)
“Yes, of course. That’s right… I was planning to suggest that Ingrid from the beginning. How about you all stay here?” (Mayor)
Ingrid was slightly surprised at the words. Apparently, she didn’t expect that.
“Here as in the village mayor’s house?” (Ingrid)
“You can rest properly, right? I’ve left your room as it is.” (Mayor)
“Ingrid’s room…? Speaking of that, did you live here, Ingrid?” (Soma)
“Aah, yes… Well, there’s a bit of circumstances.” (Ingrid)
“Hmm… I see.” (Soma)
From that uncomfortable appearance, certainly, there might be some circumstances. Moreover, it was even at this moment that she…
“So, how is it? Fortunately, there is a lot of room left even though there’s only one person who lives here. After all, there are many people visit this village. I can’t say that it doesn’t make you feel inconvenient, but… it shouldn’t be too shabby.” (Mayor)
“It’s not a problem for me. In fact, I’m grateful…” (Soma)
“Yeah, from a quick glance, this place seems to be the most spectacular.” (Hildegard)
“…That’s right. Mayor, please take care of us.” (Ingrid)
“alright. So, what are you going to do today? It’s already late, but what are you planning to do?” (Mayor)
“Well… I would like to do some work if possible…” (Ingrid)
The reason she turned her eyes to them was probably because she was asking what to do.
In fact, Soma and Hildegard hadn’t asked Ingrid what her plan was here. Or rather, they didn’t know her plan.
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However, the fact that she said she wanted to proceed with her work probably meant that she knew something. Apparently, the sun was going to set completely, but it could be said that there was still some time. There was no reason to oppose it.
“Well, what do we need to do?” (Soma)
“Yeah. We don’t have much time though.” (Hildegard)
Ingrid took a day off until the day after tomorrow. She couldn’t afford it because she had to leave here the morning after tomorrow or by noon at the latest.
“Then… oh yes. We will be back here by the time the sun goes down at the latest.” (Ingrid)
“I see. Well then, I’m going to prepare the meals and wait. It has been a while since I’ve had a meal with you.” (Mayor)
The village mayor laughed happily after saying that as he turned his eyes away to the extent that the reflection of Ingrid in his eyes wasn’t unnatural. Then, Ingrid stood up to gloss over it.
“…That helps. Well then, shall we?” (Ingrid)
As soon as Ingrid said that, she left the place quickly. Then, Soma and Hildegard looked at each other, shrugging their shoulders slightly. After that, they left the place.
They quickly caught up with Ingrid, but it seemed that Ingrid was quite confused about the current situation. Soma and Hildegard were told that Ingrid wanted to clear up her mind when the investigation was done, so she went off alone. Therefore, Soma and Hildegard started investigating.
However, when he asked about her simply, it seemed that she knew that something could be understood by investigating the village. So, the first thing Soma and Hildegard did was to ask the villagers. It was something basic, but… again, they were also curious about the situation.
There were two things to ask.
First, was there anything that had changed recently and the matter of Ingrid?
Second, What did Ingrid do in this village, and how was her relationship with the villagers?
Those were the questions to be asked.
They didn’t have much time, so they heard the answers roughly. The village didn’t seem to be very big, but they asked less than half of all villagers.
When the sun went down, Soma and Hildegard returned to the village mayor’s house, but Ingrid hadn’t returned yet. They were guided to the room first, that they had been told earlier.
“Hmm… we were able to hear a lot about it…” (Soma)
“The replies were mostly about Ingrid… well, it can’t be helped when everyone said that nothing had changed though.” (Hildegard)
They didn’t feel that the villagers were lying, so it seemed that there was really nothing, or that they weren’t aware of it.
However, there wasn’t enough time to investigate in detail. Therefore, they first asked about Ingrid because it could be used as a stepping stone, but… they heard stories that were more useful than expected.
After discussing such a thing, Ingrid seemed to have returned. She appeared to the room where they were having discussions.
“Sorry, I’m a bit late. Aah, and… since the mayor was waiting for my return, it will take some time before dinner.” (Ingrid)
“I see… well, I’m grateful to have dinner. So, I’m not going to complain about it. To begin with, we didn’t really tell him the specific time. Anyhow, did you get something?” (Soma)
“Well… I haven’t confirmed it yet, but at least I think this village is a bit strange compared to my memory.” (Ingrid)
“Is there any reason to think so, even if there is no confirmation?” (Hildegard)
“Yes. As I said along the way, I honestly didn’t expect to be welcomed here. On the contrary, I thought I would be shunned, and that thinking was natural. At least from my common sense, that’s natural.” (Ingrid)
She must have thought too much to think that it was natural for her to be shunned. Perhaps, that was exactly what Ingrid didn’t want to mention.
She said that her mind wasn’t ready at that time, but… had it been cleared now? With that in mind, Soma turned his gaze, and Ingrid seemed to understand. She floated a bitter smile.
“I don’t want to say it if possible, but… well, that’s not the case. Perhaps, I can’t keep quiet as long as ‘that’ may be involved.” (Ingrid)
“Hmm… you don’t have to say it, you know?” (Soma)
“No, I feel that I have to say it. I can’t run away from the crimes I’ve committed anymore.” (Ingrid)
With that said, Ingrid looked forward with determined eyes. Still, her mouth kept opening and closing several times, but… once the mouth closed, she opened it again.
“– I killed my parents. With this hand, in front of the villagers’ eyes… by using that dagger.” (Ingrid)
Ingrid said those words.
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