Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
To the Tower Once More
As restless as Hikaru was, they couldn’t move at night. He was painfully aware how inconvenient it was. Try as he might, sleep wouldn’t come. Rather, he was getting more and more irritated.
Why am I getting impatient? Is her resembling Hazuki really that important? I already have Lavia. Ah, darn it. I’ll get there and settle things once and for all.
The inexplicable feeling of meeting someone who somehow resembled a person he knew overwhelmed him.
I’ll make this the last time I go to the Tower.
By daybreak the next morning, Hikaru was already up—although he didn’t get much sleep. He headed straight for the well to wash his face and gave his cheeks a good slapping. He then got on a carriage that took him to Agiapole where he arrived just past noon. However, there was a long line in front of the gate, the entrance to the city.
「Well, this is unfortunate.」the coachman said.「It’s unusual for this place to be so crowded. Did something happen?」
The passengers voiced their frustrations, while Hikaru quickly got off, activated his Stealth, and proceeded onward. There were still shadows he could use with the sun still shining bright. With his Skills and the power of his job class, no one should be able to spot him, except those with Instincts.
As he got closer to the gate, Hikaru noticed something off. Not only were there soldiers around, even temple knights were present. He listened closely to their conversation.
「I doubt a careful inspection will help us find their helpers.」
「Probably just making doubly sure. The Red Priests sure are distrustful.」
「Are you sure you should be complaining? The Blue Knights now have vacant spots. If we discovered a friend of theirs, one of us might get promoted.」
There was no doubt in Hikaru’s mind that a Blue Knight was arrested. After some sort of mutiny, they were immediately subdued. The temple knights’ carefree attitude suggested that the authorities had everything under control now.
Hikaru wanted to gather more info, but he was also in a hurry. With his Stealth on, he slipped through the gate and made his way to the Tower as quick as possible. As usual, the streets had a well-organized bustle to them. The difference this time was the number of patrolling soldiers had increased. Nothing had changed with the people which suggested that the uproar had no effect on ordinary citizens.
There’s the Tower…
Although he took a carriage inside Agiapole, traveling for three hours still left him exhausted. But complaining right now would do him no good. He needed to find out what was going on. Since the Foreign Minister had gone home, the Tower had returned to its normal operations.
Not a lot of people… The temple knights are out patrolling, but I don’t see any Blue Knights or Red Priests.
Hikaru recalled what was happening in the tower. Unfortunately he hadn’t seen a jail here, but he had an idea where it was.
What I need to do right now is secure the Blade of Severance… I can look into this mutiny thing later…
After a moment of pondering, Hikaru headed to where he thought the jail would be. If someone found out the blade was stolen, it would cause an uproar. If that happened, prison security would tighten as well.
At the very edge of the Tower grounds where the light of the sun barely shone was a square building with only a few windows. Hikaru guessed it to be the prison.
He arrived at just the right time. A servant was pushing a cart that carried food, its rather poor quality suggesting it was for the prisoners.
The servants entered through the front entrance. A guard simply nodded at them and let them in. The sun was setting, and under the cover of dusk, Hikaru followed them inside. They didn’t have points on Instincts, but that didn’t stop Hikaru from getting scared of getting busted. He was even surprised at himself for being this daring.
Relax. Calm down, now.
He passed through the soldiers’ office and found a door made of iron bars. After asking for it to be opened, the servants proceeded inside. The magic lamp provided plenty of light.
Should I go? No… I have to be careful.
Hikaru turned around to check if there were other routes he could take. While the ceiling was high, the corridor was extremely narrow.
The soldier near the door has the key, and he’s not moving from his spot. What now…?
The guards had an unobstructed view. Hikaru felt the urge to bet on his Stealth, but only because he wanted to move fast. His calm self managed to suppress the urge. Based on what he saw outside, the windows were three meters high and fitted with iron bars. It didn’t seem like humans would fit through there.
No other choice but go through the iron bar door.
After checking around, Hikaru returned to the door.
I’ll make my move once the servants return.
The servants finished serving the food as usual. They had brought the prisoners a pot that contained soup—a bland mix of meat scraps and leftover vegetables, plus some bread. For commoners, this would be decent food.
Prisoners kept inside the Tower were people of status. Until they were deemed guilty, this was the kind of treatment they received.
「All right. Let’s head back. There’s still quite a lot left.」one man muttered.
Most of the time, this prison was empty, and having two cells occupied was rare. The food prepared was a little bit too much.
As they returned, pushing the cart along, the soldier standing by the door stood up.
「Are you done?」
A simple, meaningless exchange. Like always, the servants only had to step out once the door was opened. But something else happened.
The cart suddenly turned to one side, causing the pot to fall of, spilling its contents on the floor.
「What are you doing?!」
「S-Sorry. The wheel seems to be broken.」
「Wait here. I think there’s a rag here somewhere…」
The soldier left in a trot.
Needless to say, the wheel breaking wasn’t a coincidence. Making full use of his maxed out Throwing, Hikaru hurled a pebble at the wheel. He then quickly turned a corner, climbed the narrow walls with his arms and legs and stuck to the ceiling. He watched as the soldier ran past below him.
Time to move.
Hikaru jumped down and broke into a run. The servants crouching down on the floor, wondering what to do with the spilled soup, raised their heads and looked at the corridor, but found no one.
Hikaru had already leapt over them and into the other side. Not only did he have his Stealth on, he barely made a sound when he landed. Professor’s Mille’s short sword lessons were paying off. It was a good thing too that he practiced by himself even outside of classes.
He headed into the deepest part of the prison, crouched down, and held his breath. I think I’m far enough. They shouldn’t see me even with the light.
After cleaning up, the servants bowed and left.
The door to the prison was firmly locked, but the soldier on watch was sitting with his back towards Hikaru.
All right. Let’s do this.
He already knew that two cells facing each other across the corridor were occupied thanks to his Mana Detection.
I knew it.
Hikaru heaved a sigh after seeing the two. He expected this to happen, but this was too soon. The first one was Conia Mercury, as he guessed. The other was Gilbert Gabranth, the unshaven Blue Knight he saw in the underground research facility.