「……Say that one more time.」
「Y, yes! Nino-sama has gone missing in the Great Jiol Forest!」
Hearing that report, Vermudol pondered.
The Great Jiol Forest is vast, and is also a mysterious space that can make people lose their way.
When entering it, it probably wasn’t strange to be unable to contact anyone for about two or three days.
Moreover, Nino possessed an ability called 【Magic Eyes of Greenery】 which made it possible to manipulate plants.
It was hard to imagine that that Nino would go missing even if it was the Great Jiol Forest.
「……You said she had gone missing, correct? Did Nanalus determine that?」
In response to Vermudol who asked that with a quiet tone, the intelligence operative nodded while shedding sweat.
The intelligence operative had nothing to feel guilty about, but being in front of the Demon King, they felt like they would be crushed by nervousness.
「On what basis is she considered to have gone missing?」
「The movement of magical power characteristic of large-scale magic was sensed in the Great Jiol Forest. However, no remnants of the magical power was found, and the specific location of it has not been identified. With Nanalus-sama’s diagnosis, he thinks that it may have been Transfer Magic.」
「Transfer Magic……you say?」
In Vermudol’s head, the mysterious Mazoku known as Alva had come to mind.
The Alva had an unknown ecology, and despite being Mazoku, they were not under Vermudol’s control.
When Vermudol and Nino were in mankind’s territory, they had fought against the Alva several times, but would Nino allow mere Alva to invoke Transfer Magic so easily?
Thinking that far, Vermudol then remembered reports that were sent up from the intelligence operatives that were dispatched to the St. Altlis Kingdom.
The appearance of special Alva that were different from the normal Alva.
That’s right, by no means were the Alva limited to the form that Vermudol knew of.
For example, what if a powerful Alva that they did not know of had appeared.
And then, there was the possibility that it wasn’t an Alva, but some other……for example, something related to the Gods.
The Gods worshiped in the Jiol Forest Kingdom were the God of Water Aklia and the God of Wind Wyrm.
It was possible that Nino had discovered something related to either one of them, and was dragged into something troublesome.
「And so, how is the search going?」
「Yes. The intelligence operatives have been temporarily distributed to the vicinity of the Great Jiol Forest and have commenced searching……」
Nanalus’s response to the situation was correct.
And then, having received the report here, it is probably correct that Vermudol gives out the instructions on how to deal with this from here on out.
「……What are the movements on the Jiol Forest Kingdom side?」
「Yes, they are the same as usual. They show no signs of having noticed anything in particular.」
「What is the possibility of it being the friendship opposition faction running wild.」
「Yes, at the very least, limiting it to before and after the incident, they have made no suspicious movements.」
In other words, it seems that this was not the work of mankind within the Jiol Forest Kingdom.
In that case, as he thought, the possibility that something possessing power large enough to delay even Nino taking part in this was high.
If they knew the location that Nino’s whereabouts had been cut off, they should be able to handle it somehow……but there was no use in criticizing the intelligence operatives in regards to this.
If the intelligence operatives were to get close carelessly, Nino would have counter attacked them without confirming who they were and with no questions asked, and there was already a shortage of intelligence operatives as it was now.
「……Dammit, what should we do……」
Unintentionally, those words leaked out from Vermudol’s mouth.
It was simple to add more personnel into the search.
However, if he were to move too many people, as expected, the Jiol Forest Kingdom would also notice that something had happened.
Naturally, that would invite distrust towards the Zadark Kingdom.
That being said, it wasn’t like he could make a request to the Jiol Forest Kingdom side saying that a young Mazoku girl had gone missing and that he wanted to allow him to search for her.
To begin with, he would end up having to explain what that young girl was doing, and if that were to happen, they might end up learning that they were searching for clues about the Gods.
Having that known would be the most inconvenient thing to happen.
That would be the same as giving the faction opposing friendship with the Zadark Kingdom and the faction opposing Sarigan’s monarchy, which were lurking within the Jiol Forest Kingdom, the materials needed to form a coup d’etat.
「I will go. I leave the rest to you.」
After a bit of silence, Ichika quietly nodded.
That’s right, that’s all that could be done.
Even if alone, if it was the almighty Demon King Vermudol going, he would be able to cope with things no matter what happens.
「……Let’s see. Tell this to Nanalus. Tell the other party that I will be heading to the Jiol Forest Kingdom with the aim of incognito sightseeing……have him do that.」
「Yessir, right away.」
After confirming that the intelligence operative had vanished with Transfer Magic, Vermudol took up the Vale Blade that he had placed in a corner of the rear garden.
「……Gordy. I have something I would like to ask of you.」
「As you command.」
「For a while, I would like for you to perform the duties of the Western General in place of Sancreed.」
「This might be a case that concerns a God. That is why I will bring Sancreed with me.」
Gordy nodded, then turned her gaze to Ichika.
「As you command. Well then, during that time, I shall entrust the authority as Central General that I possess to Ichika.」
「I have received them.」
「Yosh, we’ll be jumping to the Western Army Headquarters, Gordy.」
Vermudol and Gordy were enveloped in the light of Transfer.
While seeing off their figures, Ichika made a bow.
「Take care. The coordination for your departure to the Jiol Forest Kingdom shall be done for tomorrow morning.」
And then, Vermudol and Gordy were transferred to the Western Army Headquarters.
「……The King huh. Do you need something?」
Seeing Vermudol appear in his Western Army Headquarters office, Sancreed calmly asked that question.
「Nino has gone missing in the Great Jiol Forest. There is the possibility that some sort of large power is taking part in it. It is purely at the stage of being a possibility but……a God might be involved.」
Hearing the word “God”, Sancreed reacted with a twitch.
Sancreed also knew of the fact that Nino was performing intelligence gathering in regards to the Gods in the Jiol Forest Kingdom.
The objective of that was to meet with a God.
However, the method of meeting with the Gods was ingeniously obscured even in the Hero legends.
「What about the possibility of the Alva?」
「I naturally thought of that, but I can only say that I do not know. There is too much of a lack of information.」
「……That’s true too.」
After nodding, Sancreed turned his gaze to Gordy.
「In regards to the details of the performance of my official duties, you can ask my adjutant for them. While I am away, I entrust my authority as Western General to Gordy.」
After Gordy answered, a female Mazoku adjutant that was in a corner of the room made a bow.
「……So, when will we be departing.」
「Tomorrow morning. Right now, Nanalus is making the necessary diplomatic coordinations.」
He greatly wanted to fly over there even now, but after thinking about the relationship between two fellow countries, he couldn’t do that.
As long as he had chosen not to be an invader, but the path of friendship as a nation, at the very least, he couldn’t be an outlaw on the surface.
That is why, right now, he could do nothing but believe that Nino was safe, and follow the necessary procedures.
「Has the location been identified?」
Sancreed continued asking questions to Vermudol.
「It hasn’t been narrowed down completely. It’s better than starting from zero……I suppose that’s the level it’s at.」
「How about Magical Power Perception?」
「It isn’t impossible, but magical power is thrown out of order in the Great Jiol Forest, so the accuracy drops. That is the reason why much of that area is not traversed even now.」
Within the Great Jiol Forest, it is filled with magical power, so Magical Power Perception gets hindered by that thick magical power.
Furthermore, it’s even said that the magical power of the Great Jiol Forest bewilders people themselves, makes them lose their sense of direction, and if they untactfully go in too deep, they will never come back out from it again.
The story that the Great Jiol Forest research group organized for the sake of unraveling the mysteries of the Great Jiol Forest in the past was dissolved due to a large quantity of missing persons occuring was famous within the Jiol Forest Kingdom.
It seems that even the Hero Ryuuya’s party had wasted quite a long amount of time for the sake of exploring the Great Jiol Forest.
That was also a reason why Vermudol himself was going there.
For the average Mazoku, it was practically impossible to do Magical Power Perception within the Great Jiol Forest.
However, Vermudol was different.
With that powerful magical power of his, it was possible for him to forcibly perform Magical Power Perception.
Of course, the accuracy would fall quite a bit due to the forest’s magical power……but it was a lot better than not having it at all.
「Is there anything from the Great Jiol Forest research group that you mentioned before……or maybe something from the Hero legend that could be used as a reference?」
「If there were, I would have handed it to Nino. In regards to the Great Jiol Forest research group, since it was a disgrace of the nation, it seems that all of the relevant documents disposed of. Well, it seems that there weren’t any significant results to begin with though……Even in regards to the Hero legend, as expected, the important parts were obscured.」
There must have been some sort of dealings between the Hero’s group and the Jiol Forest Kingdom for this to have happened, but that was nothing but a guess.
In conclusion, there wasn’t a single sort of map of the interior of the Great Jiol Forest, and the location of the Great Jiol Forest was only displayed on continental maps.
This was the reason why the Jiol Forest Kingdom was said to be a natural fortress.
「Be prepared for this to become a considerably tough search.」
「I know. Let’s think about what we can do until our departure.」
Sancreed unfolded a map of the Jiol Forest Kingdom on top of the desk.
And then, the two’s discussion ended up continuing on until dawn broke.