Chapter 81: Not Repeating Failures
After getting dressed, I left the inn with Zoe and Kate.
Dussel was as prosperous in the daytime as it was at night.
I didn’t notice it last night because it was nighttime but compared to the capital, the buildings, the people’s clothes, etc.
The whole city seemed to scream rich man’s style.
“It’s an easy town to understand, isn’t it?”
Zoe mutters, apparently feeling the same way.
Kate looked up at Zoe curiously.
She still doesn’t understand that kind of thing.
After walking for a while, Zoe, who had been following behind me, picked up the pace and moved in front of me.
“Master, this place.”
She pointed to a luxurious storefront.
Zoe had investigated and found it to be the place where Olcott’s poems were kept.
The store is in the center of Dussel, in the middle of a busy downtown area with many people passing by, a prime location.
The surrounding stores and passersby dressed appropriately.
As soon as a beggar came out of the alleyway, a clerk from one of the stores came out and chased him away.
“Quite a nice place to set up the store, eh.”
“To have a store in a place like this…… the deficit is going to be huge……”
Kate muttered with a troubled face.
“It’s all right to be in red.”
“The more you can create the illusion that you are such a popular poet that you can set up store in a very prestigious location, the better. The loss of a store or two is nothing compared to the bribe that was sent to Olcott for the gold he was throwing around yesterday, isn’t it?”
“T-That’s true. ……”
Kate was convinced, though she was surprised.
“No civilians are supposed to go there, am I right?”
I turned my attention to Zoe.
And she nodded quietly.
“As expected from Master. I asked around, and that’s pretty much how it went.”
In the evening we returned to the store we had just left.
We went around the town and looked at the people’s lives.
It wasn’t a deliberate stunt to say that the whole town was full of a rich man vibe, there was money and stuff everywhere.
It’s a complete lie that people don’t eat salt because of the recession, or that taxes are down because sales are down.
Once that was confirmed, I went back to the store to actually go in and beat around the bush.
Kate was the first to raise her voice.
Startled, she ran toward the store in a flurry.
Kate peeked into the store through the closed door and called me with a startled look on her face.
I furrowed my brow and approached the store.
It looked completely different from when I had come in the morning.
The sign was gone and the door was closed.
I went to Kate’s side and peeked in through the same gap in the door, but the store was empty.
Stepping back a step or two, I moved to get a better view of the entire building from a distance.
“You’re sure this is the location.”
“No doubt about it.”
“And inside? You’re inside the store, right?”
“Yes. There were framed poems by Olcott throughout the store, tables and couches for serving guests, and various furnishings.”
“Fumu. …… if you’re there.”
I stopped a passerby as I walked by.
“What is it?”
“It’s about the store here, don’t you know what happened?”
The man who was stopped looked at the closed store.
“What do you mean, what happened? This place has been vacant for over a year now?”
Kate and Zoe, who had been listening behind me, shouted together.
“I see. Sorry to hold you up.”
After the man walked away.
“Master! This is weird.”
“A year ago he says, when I came in this morning, it was there.”
“…… you two, go ask around, ask the shopkeepers.”
Zoe and Kate complied and ran out to neighborhood stores to ask around as they were told.
They asked not only people in the stores but also customers and passersby.
After a while, they returned with ghosted expressions on their faces.
“How was it?”
“It’s the same everywhere, there’s no store there.”
“They said it’s been so long since the last store was vacated that they don’t even remember what the last store was.”
“I see. ……”
“What is the meaning of this, Master? Something is obviously wrong.”
“Maybe something is haunting us.”
It’s never a misunderstanding or anything like that.
I trust Zoe’s abilities, and to begin with, all three of us, I, Zoe, and Kate, saw “the store here” in the morning.
Realistically speaking, it’s …… evidence destruction and backtracking.
Quickly and on a large scale.
To expose it, …….
“Get something to eat. Something filling. And some booze would be nice.”
“…… I understand.”
She looked like she wanted to ask me something, but Zoe, seeing that I had an idea, put off asking and went shopping first.
After a while, she returned with more food and liquor than I could hold in both hands.
“Here it is.”
I walked into the alleyway with Zoe and Kate in tow.
As soon as we entered the alleyway, which was dominated by a foul smell and stagnant air, we saw a beggar sitting on the ground.
The beggar was looking at us with lazy eyes.
“Zoe, pass me that.”
“Yes– here you go.”
” — Whoa! Bread, meat, and even booze! You giving this to me?”
I nodded then asked the beggar.
“You got kicked out of that place in the morning.”
“Yeah, it’s always been that way.”
“So if you’re back, does that mean you’re here all the time?”
“I have one question, do you know anything about that closed store just off this alleyway?”
“You mean that place that sells poems?”
Zoe and Kate gulped and looked at each other.
They finally felt relief from meeting someone they could talk to, in a situation where it was as if they were being haunted by something.
“Yeah, what’s up with that place?”
“Around noon or so, a bunch of people suddenly came in, moved stuff out, and shut it down. After that, they were threatening to tell the people around the store that there was nothing here.”
“I knew it something like that!”
Kate’s expression was laced with excitement.
“Do you have any idea who sent them to do it?”
“I don’t know that much.”
“I see. Well, thank you. Here’s my gratitude. Keep it.”
With that, I handed the beggar about 100 reens in cash.
Then I left the alleyway, taking Zoe and Kate with me.
“Why do you think the beggar would know?”
“That’s because he’s ‘the strongest person’ there is.”
“The strongest person?”
Threats and coaxing work on people who have something to protect, but they don’t work on people who have nothing to lose and have fallen as far as being a beggar. That’s why they speak honestly.
“I see! That’s great, Master.”
A scream was heard in the area.
Zoe and Kate turned around quickly.
A man’s scream came from the alleyway where we had just been.
I turned back with a faint smile on my face.
Zoe and Kate followed.
When I came back to where I had been, I found the beggar lying unconscious.
Next to him was a group of men I didn’t recognize, lying motionless, their bodies smoking from the fire.
“W-What is this?”
“Shutting his mouth.”
Zoe was astonished.
“They destroyed evidence in the store like that, it was quite conceivable that they would try to silence this beggar we came in contact with. That’s why I ordered Bahamut to stay and possess him in case of emergency.”
“I didn’t think they’d try to take care of it so quickly, but I did figure one thing out.”
“We’re being watched, or they wouldn’t be here so fast, would they?”
“Sasuga, Master!”[TN: felt tired writing Amazing all the time]
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