An extra chapter today because I managed to get some work done 🙂 Enjoy!
Chapter 0362 Tracking
Ryo delivers papers to Cardinal Graham at the Papal Palace every morning.
That was to explore the inside of the Papacy.
Of course, not by walking, but by using magic like <Passive Sonar>.
In hopes to find Neil Andersen, whom he caught sight of the other day… but unfortunately, he hadn’t seen him again since then, nor picked him up on sonar.
Instead, he’d been feeling Cesare’s gaze.
Always from the same spot… the corner room on the third floor across the courtyard.
Whether or not he could come out at will remained to be seen, but he was always in the same place.
And every time he delivered documents to Graham and left the Papal Palace… someone was always watching.
That wasn’t Cesare, of course.
Someone else entirely…
About three to four of them.
After leaving the Papal Palace, just across the large road, was the Kingdom Delegation quarters.
Therefore, being monitored was not a problem at all.
However, Ryo was not always confined in the lodge.
In the quarters, there was a group of people called the ‘Kingdom Delegation Reception Section’ who served as liaisons for the Kingdom Delegation.
They were plain watchdogs.
Their cover job was to make various arrangements for the members of the mission.
Of course, their original purpose was to monitor the mission members to prevent them from going to unnecessary places or learning unnecessary things, but since their cover was the ‘Reception Section’, they worked to fulfill many of the mission members’ requests.
For example, helping a water-attribute magician with some research in a specialized library of the Holy Capital of Marlomar.
At first, Ryo merely suggested it, but recently it seemed that Priest Etho and Zeke had also been frequenting the specialized library…
For these priests, who were also seekers of truth, the origins of the Western Church were also interesting matters.
Very unlike Ryo reading alchemy-related books…
In any case, Ryo also went to the specialized library from time to time.
It was about two blocks away from the quarters.
And Ryo, even when walking, remained under constant surveillance…
((There are three of them this time as well today. I was also being watched in the Republic, but these guys are more sophisticated than the two from back then.))
((I guess Ryo has it rough too, uh.))
His Majesty the King, connected through ‘Soul Resonance’, was showing concern for Ryo with his words, but he didn’t really think anything of it.
((Tell me about it!))
((Nah… I didn’t really mean that, my bad. But… Ryo, you actually want them to attack you, right?))
As expected, the king, who had known Ryo for a long time, knew all about what he was thinking.
((W-Why would I want that~. But, but what if? Supposing I want them to attack me~, how would you suggest I go about it?))
((…Admit it, you want them to attack you, right?))
((Hypothetically, all right!))
Abel sighed deeply.
((If they’re simply surveilling you, they won’t attack you no matter what, correct?))
Then, Ryo suddenly had a flash of inspiration.
((There is a word in the world they call, force majeure.))
((…I’ll pretend I didn’t hear anything. Just pass along the message from the royal capital to Grandmaster that, he should keep his wits about him.))
His Majesty the King seemed to be adopting a laissez-faire policy…
(He is very active today.)
That was the impression that the surveillance platoon leader had that day.
For the past ten days, three teams of three, including himself, have been monitoring the target in eight-hour shifts.
Every day at 2:00 p.m., they switch with the previous surveillance team, and at 10:00 p.m., they hand over to the next surveillance team.
It was now four o’clock in the evening.
It had been two hours since they took over, but the target’s movement was different from the usual…
The target goes back and forth between the Papal Palace and their quarters every morning at 9:00.
After that, he often reads in his quarters.
Occasionally, he goes to a specialized library.
When he returns, he usually has five or six books with him.
Naturally, specialized libraries do not lend out books, but the subject apparently negotiated with the ‘Reception Section’ to obtain permission to borrow books.
Incidentally, the ‘Reception Section’ seemed to be in charge of returning the books.
The target, who only goes to the Papal Palace, the quarter, the specialized library, and sometimes Cafe Roemer… went into a cafeteria in town today.
The cafeteria had a back entrance, so the platoon leader watched the back entrance and the other two watched the front entrance.
That was the surveillance protocol.
At the very least, the schematics of all the commercial establishments in the Holy Capital were in the heads of these observers.
Therefore, an escape was impossible.
Naturally, they knew all the roads.
They could get to their destinations at night, sometimes even with their eyes closed.
That was how well-versed they were.
The sound of the front door of the cafeteria closing.
But it was a little louder than usual.
The two subordinates began panicking.
The subject had ran out of the cafeteria.
(Ugh… what in the world is going on today?)
The platoon leader blurted out in his mind.
(And he’s so damn fast!)
The two subordinates managed to keep up, but the platoon leader was a little behind since he was watching the back door.
(Not good… the alley over there is convoluted…)
The alley where the surveillance target turned was one with a lot of obstacles.
The street was narrow and there were usually few pedestrians.
Even at that time of evening, the foot traffic was quite low…
Thinking that, the platoon leader turned down the alley.
(Hmm? Did I lose him?)
He couldn’t hear a sound at all.
Because of the many obstacles, he could not even see the end of the road.
Then again… where were his subordinates…?
It was almost a conditioned reflex.
Suddenly, he felt a sensation right behind him.
The platoon leader was tasked with ‘surveillance’, but he was naturally trained in close combat.
In some cases, he may be assigned to assassination missions.
He would do anything if his master instructed him to do so.
Therefore, when a presence suddenly appeared behind him, a presence that was clad in murderous intent, he could not help but pull out his sword and slash at it without thinking.
A moment’s hesitation can easily lead to the loss of one’s life.
That was the kind of world they lived in.
The platoon leader’s sword bounced off an invisible wall.
“You attacked, didn’t you? Now I have grounds for self-defense.”
The shadow behind him grinned as he said that.
At that moment, the platoon leader saw.
It was the surveillance target they were supposed to be chasing…
That was the last thing he remembered.
The platoon leader woke up.
First, he confirmed that he couldn’t move his limbs in the slightest.
No, on the contrary, neither his body nor his head moved at all.
Not even his mouth…
The ceiling was low and there were no windows within sight.
Perhaps a basement somewhere?
He could see two of his subordinates right in front of him.
But, both were…
They were encased in crystal-clear ice.
The platoon leader then realized that he, too, was in the same predicament.
(What the hell is this…)
“Oh, you’re up.”
A voice echoed around the room.
A familiar voice.
If memory serves, it was the newly appointed Cardinal…
Indeed, it was Cardinal Graham.
The surveillance target carried documents to Cardinal Graham every morning.
It was easy to imagine that there must be some kind of connection between the two.
The platoon leader’s mission was to find out what the connection was…
At that moment, the ice above the platoon leader’s neck vanished.
The platoon leader involuntarily coughed at the sudden change from his icy state.
In reaction, he inhaled air…
His consciousness was fading…
His willpower gone…
“Good gracious… Ryo-san, you sure are bold…. And so is your request…”
Graham chuckled as he said that.
“Sorry about that.”
Ryo scratched his head and chuckled.
“Well, I have a lot to gain from this as well, so it’s all good.”
“You’re the former head of the Inquisition, right?”
“I’m surprised you know that. I guess you must have heard what the vampire said back then.”
From the incident that took place near Kona Village.
“Basically, you’re good at getting people to talk, right?”
“Yeah, well. For now, let’s get the information out of these three men… erase their memories, and have the next team take over around the mission quarters by 10:00 pm.”
Graham said with a lovely smile.
Ryo also said with a beautiful smile.
It was the kind of sincere smile that didn’t indicate any malice.
((But it is actually very, very deceiving.))
Those words from the king in the royal capital were lost on Ryo…