Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
Mask of Fury
The adventurers present in the Ville Zentra guild that day might have noticed that the atmosphere was different than usual.
An odd sense of discomfort.
Those who could use magic in particular could sense dense amount of mana hanging in the air. A crushing feeling. Yet they couldn’t see from whom it was coming from; everything was the same as usual—though there were somewhat fewer adventurers today—and adventurers were searching for commissions to take.
Lavia was in a corner of the establishment, continuously emitting mana, begging for Hikaru to notice her. She had her Life Obfuscation, Mana Obfuscation, and Imperceptibility, which had two points on each, fully activated, yet her mana couldn’t be completely concealed.
Then a figure, carrying a woman of small stature under his arm, appeared at the entrance, pushing aside a Mage standing petrified in place.
Lavia quickly raised her head. The man with the silver mask marched straight towards her.
「Paula was kidnapped, wasn’t she?」
Lavia nodded weakly. The adventurers around them were taken aback. Unlike Hikaru who didn’t have his Stealth on, Lavia, wearing the same black cloak and silver mask, deactivated hers only now, making it look like she just appeared out of nowhere.
The woman Hikaru was carrying was none other than Deena, looking lifeless. He ran with all he got to get here, and the shaking made her groggy. He didn’t care the least bit, however. In fact, this was better as she wouldn’t hear what they were talking about.
「We were attacked after you left the hotel.」Lavia said.「I didn’t have time to use magic. I somehow made it out fine, and Drake managed to escape with me as well. But Paula’s gone.」
Even now, Lavia was carrying the sleeping white drakon, whose body had already returned to normal.
Hikaru analyzed the situation. The enemy had established a much broader intelligence network in Ville Zentra than he originally expected. They couldn’t have done this in just a day. It was highly likely that a team of spies had already infiltrated the city while Grucel’s army was still surrounding Dew Roke.
He told Lavia and Paula to watch for tails whenever they were out wearing their black cloaks. Unfortunately, they were amateurs when it came to proper movement.
On their way from Forestia to Pond, they did some grinding by killing monsters. Hikaru granted Paula two points each on the Stealth Skill tree as well. Still, if she walked in broad daylight, perceptive people should still notice her.
「I’m sorry… I couldn’t protect her. Even though I could use magic, I was useless! Only I managed to escape. I wanted to call for you, but—」
Lavia escaped because the enemy only wanted Paula. She wasn’t at fault. Hikaru bit his lips. It was his mistake for underestimating how desperate the enemy was.
「It’s all right. I’ll bring her back no matter what.」Hikaru said, putting his hand on Lavia’s head.
「But I think she’s on their ship already.」
「I’ll catch up. I’ll bring this one to translate for me.」he said, pointing at Deena.
「I-I’ll go with you!」
「No, you’ll have to stay behind. We can’t bring Drake with us when he’s still fast asleep.」
「O-Okay…」Lavia nodded reluctantly, frustrated.「If it’ll help our chances of saving Paula, I’ll remain here.」
「Thanks.」Hikaru smiled, but the eyes behind the mask were dead serious.「I’ll make them regret they ever laid a hand on us.」
Like Lavia said, Paula was already on the ship, her mouth gagged and both hands tied behind her back.
『What’s the meaning of this, Gorja? You told me last night that you obtained one Healer. But you seemed to have kidnapped this girl too. Also, where’s Deena?』
They were in a storage room close to the ship’s bottom. Those present were the commander Grucel, a few of his men, the messenger Gorja, Paula, and the spies who carried her. Luke and the other knights, along with the Healer they escorted were in the guest room. There were ten of them all in all.
『I met with Deena last night. I planned to take her with me when she told me about this Healer. She’s apparently really good.』
『Even better than the one this Luke fellow brought?』
『Yes. Er, to be precise, we don’t have any criteria on how to judge a Healer’s skills. So I thought the more the better. We’re running out of time, too.』
『And Deena agreed to this?』the commander asked, the true meaning behind his question being “She’s prepared to throw her life away?”
『I see…』Grucel said, deep in thought.
At his foot, Paula was moaning in protest.
『We’ll explain the situation to her and ask for her cooperation. Tell her we’ll spare her if she helps us.』
Grucel thought to use her as a bargaining chip to get Deena back. Gorja and the others were in favor of the idea as well.
『Remove her gag.』
One of Grucel’s men did as ordered.
「I have, a favor, to ask.」the commander said.
「I’ll never give in no matter what you do to me! Help will come soon for me!」
「We ask, for your cooperation. We’ll spare—」
「He’s really strong and incredible, you’ll see!」
「Listen, to me.」Grucel heaved a sigh and bowed deeply to Paula.「Please, help us.」
Paula was caught by surprise. She watched the man warily.
「If you, help us, we’ll spare you.」
「We’ll, pay you.」
「This isn’t about money. I can only use my power for one person. I vowed to myself that I will never use my powers unless it’s for him.」
Grucel and the others were stunned at the girl’s flat-out rejection. They never thought a girl, who was not even a soldier, could hold such firm conviction.
「Even if we’re at sea, he will come save me. Like he always have.」
Paula grinned. She firmly believed Hikaru would rescue her. But given that the ship already set sail, Grucel thought that was impossible. The vessel was drifting farther and farther away from land. After stopping by at Dew Roke, they would go straight for Grand Dream.
They already know the capabilities of Vireocean’s ships from the previous battle. No warship could possibly catch up to theirs.
I suppose we’ll just wait for the girl to lose all hope and finally cooperate with us, Grucel thought.
『Commander! Are you here?!』
A voice came from the corridor. Since this room didn’t have a voice pipe, someone had to come here directly.
『What’s wrong? Did something happen to the Healer?』
The door opened and a soldier appeared.
『S-Something is coming towards us at an incredible speed!』
『What do you mean by “something”? Be more specific, soldier.』
『We have no idea, Sir! All we know is that something is gliding over the sea and creating ripples as it goes.』
Grucel looked puzzled. The soldier wasn’t making any sense. Then the whole ship vibrated along with a loud thud. Alarms went off.
『Wait a minute…』
Grucel turned to look at Paula.
「I told you. He’s incredible.」she said with a smile.