「Time remaining 16 : 22 : 12」
Less than a day left. If the Holy Knight Order hadn’t been able to achieve any significant results in their search, the clock was ticking. As soon as the excitement of meeting the long-awaited Garuel calmed down, anxiety about the plan bloomed.
Garuel rose from his seat as if he didn’t care what happened. Approaching the table in the corner, he took the new flask on it and opened the lid.
“I don’t know. I’m sure they’re doing fine.”
“So you didn’t get any reports?”
“Won’t they come if there’s an emergency? By the way, we don’t even know each other’s names yet. My name is Garuel Monzasi.”
“……My name is Cadel.”
Cadel didn’t feel the need to tell Garuel his full name because he knew not only his name but also his secret. Cadel, who gave his name awkwardly, tried to put strength into his drooping body.
‘I don’t think he was involved in the search from the beginning. That’s right. Even in the game, he was just a lout with a pretty face until the protagonist recruited him. ……It’s too much to hope for help, and the current Garuel won’t be able to use his power in front of others anyway. I’d better get back to my subordinates soon.’
Stretching his legs under the bed, Cadel flinched slightly. The mere touch of the floor sent a jolt of electricity through his body. It seemed that the aftereffects were greater than expected.
“You’d better not move.”
“It seems so. But the situation is urgent.”
There were only 16 hours left until all the villagers turned into monsters, and one of his subordinates was captured by the demon. There was no point in lingering if there was no information to be gained from Garuel.
Rising resolutely to his feet, Cadel paused to catch his breath. He felt dizzy with a terrible headache. Finding him staggering, Garuel quickly approached and wrapped an arm around his shoulders. His right eye, unobscured by the patch, drew a soft arc.
“You’re tougher than you look. It must be hard to even take a step, do you really have to go now?”
“If there is someone who will look for the demon for me, I won’t have to go. But the person next to me right now doesn’t seem to have any intention of doing that, so I’ll have to make the move myself.”
In his lout mode, Garuel couldn’t even be bothered to throw his finished flask straight into the trash. Cadel had no intention of dragging someone who was enjoying his deviation.
Gently shaking off Garuel’s touch, Cadel limped away. Despite the short distance from the door, his body ached, and it took him an age to get there.
Just like that, when Cadel barely put his hand on the doorknob, Garuel said abruptly.
“If I say I’m going to look for the demon, are you willing to take a break with me?”
“It’s lonely to be alone.”
With his back to him, Cadel mulled over Garuel’s words, then slowly turned his head. The look on his face was one of utter disbelief, a look that screamed ‘What the f*ck?’ so much that Garuel couldn’t help but laugh out loud.
“You said that if there was someone who would look for the demon for you, you wouldn’t move right away.”
“I didn’t mean to imply that I’m going to spend all my time sitting down and chatting with you.”
“Hmm, that’s not my cup of tea.”
Garuel rubbed his cheek in surprise at Cadel’s trepidation, then strode over to him at a leisurely pace.
Cadel, who involuntarily backed off, slammed his back against the door. Garuel, who had come very close, covered Cadel’s body.
“What are you doi…….”
Cadel’s eyes couldn’t have been wider as his head was buried in Garuel’s neck. As he reflexively inhaled, a body scent as coy as his atmosphere tickled the tip of Cadel’s nose. Around the time he was seriously thinking about whether he should scream or hit Garuel’s vital point.
The doorknob turned. Garuel cast a languid glance toward Kadell, who was leaning along the open door.
“Mr. Cadel’s face is my cup of tea. I hope we can spend some quality time together in the future.”
After the gruesome face-to-face meeting with Garuel, Cadel was able to meet Lumen, who had taken him all the way here. The two moved to find the horse tied to the town entrance to return straight to Baskin Village. As it was urgent, Cadel was going to figure out how the situation was going while moving.
……It was supposed to be like that.
“If you’re going to do this, why did you tell me to contact reinforcements?”
Lumen had a frighteningly cold demeanor as he left the inn.
“No…… I was in a hurry to find the demon…….”
“I rushed to the White Kingdom at the crack of dawn and brought in the Twilight Holy Knight Order. Leader said it was urgent, so I brought every support I could find. And you can’t wait those few hours and just jump out on your own, and then you’re lying there, unable to win?”
“I, I didn’t go alone? And hey, do you know how strong that demon was? Unless you’re a magician of my caliber, you would―”
“Would have died, and that’s the problem.”
Lumen offered his robe to Cadel, who stammered out an excuse with an awkward expression. But his gaze was still cold as he looked down at him.
Cadel was intimidated by Lumen’s stormy nagging. Even if it was an unavoidable choice for him, it was absurd from Lumen’s point of view. Cadel muttered timidly as he took Lumen’s hand and mounted the horse.
“Forget it. You don’t have to apologize to a guy who’s not even an official member. I’m the one who’s at your beck and call, working hard stupidly.”
“Yah, what are you saying…….”
“Let’s stop talking nonsense. I’m sure Leader has a lot of questions, as I also have a lot to ask.”
After mercilessly tearing down the official joining flag, Lumen never struck the subject again, so Cadel thought he could keep the relationship peaceful for a while. Apparently, he couldn’t.
Cadel knew what would immediately ease his mind, but he couldn’t bring himself to say it, so he had no choice but to start a Q&A session with Lumen in a desolate atmosphere.
“Lydon was taken by the demon? That’s a surprise. No matter how weak he was, he didn’t look like a guy who could be kidnapped so easily.”
“He used too much mana. Right before I lost consciousness, he still couldn’t move.”
“And the matter of life or death?”
Cadel lowered his gaze, his body swaying with the galloping horse.
Lydon was alive. There was no way the system wouldn’t let him know if something happened to the knight. Lumen’s departure in the past was also a nerve-wracking experience, as it was notified in detail.
‘……I’d better believe so.’
Although it was Cadel’s theory to assume the worst and plan, he didn’t want to assume the death of his subordinate.
“Van’s tracking the demon with the Twilight Knight Order?”
“I doubt he’s still doing it. I’m sure he’s been on the move while you’ve been healing, so if he’s not getting any results, he’ll eventually return to the village. And the ring?”
“The ring you gave Van. Van said it would tell you the wearer’s location and status. Any change?”
He completely forgot. Only then did Cadel look at the ring on his index finger belatedly. A faint red thread ran long across the darkness. Fortunately, he didn’t feel a tremor.
“Looks like they didn’t find the demon. If they’re still searching, let’s join them. We can follow the thread.”
“Give it here.”
Lumen reached behind his back. Cadel glanced back and forth between Lumen’s back and his outstretched hand in confusion, and then Lumen waved his empty hand lightly.
“Give me the ring.”
“The ring? Why so suddenly?”
“Isn’t the location visible only to the wearer? I’m the one who drives the horse, so I should be the one who wears it.”
“Ah, that’s right. I didn’t think of that.”
He was slow to think, having only just woken up. Cursing his own slow brain, Cadel quickly removed the ring and handed it to Lumen.
Accepting the ring, Lumen still hadn’t turned his head, so Cadel didn’t see the smile of satisfaction on his face.