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End of chapter 6.
I have changed the style slightly in this chapter, so let me know if you prefer the old one; with [name] after each dialogue, or if you’re fine with this one.– Rinkage
Chapter 06: I carried out an investigation with a friend and former subordinate (part 5)
“…Decided.” Happiness seemed to concur with Raven as well. Although, I supposed he was right. It was better than not doing anything at all.
“Then, tomorrow, let’s go investigate the cove where the mermaid was spotted. If we can’t find any clues, we’ll just do a little more legwork.”
After ending our discussion, we went to bed to prepare ourselves for tomorrow. Although, it was regrettable that the day had ended without the rom-com development that I was anticipating a little.
The next day, we made our way to the cove after we got ourselves ready.
“…Raven, you can look forward to your date if this mission goes smoothly.” I whispered to Raven so we wouldn’t be overheard by Happiness. However…
“…Youki, we’re in the middle of the mission now”, he said in a serious tone. A fair argument. That being said, his face, which was turning red, had already betrayed him. He had actually envisioned it a little. It was understandable for Raven to be in high spirits, but the problem lay with Happiness. What should I do so that the two of them could be alone together? Raven asking Happiness out on a date wouldn’t be ideal as the latter wasn’t the type who would just nod her head obediently.
As I wracked my brain to come up with a solution, we went into the cave that was supposed to lead us to the cove. When we emerged, we were greeted by a wide-open space.
“…Is this the place?”
The fact that the place really existed confirmed the validity of Raven’s lead. The cove was quite large – with beautiful water teeming with fishes that could be seen swimming peacefully from the surface.
“Even without the mermaids, this is already a beautiful place in itself… This can be part of your memorable experience, isn’t it? Good for you, Raven.” I gave Raven a light pat on the back. Happiness seemed clueless about what I just said, but Raven nodded in response to my question.
While Raven was enthralled by the thought that he had taken his first step to creating a happy memory, Happiness, on the other hand, seemed to have discovered something.
“…That.” She said as she pointed at a stack of wooden crates.
“…Youki, let’s check the contents. These may be the missing goods.”
Raven and I opened the crates, revealing the contents which included items such as ornaments, jewellery, processed food that could be kept for a long time, and more. All the items seemed to tally with the list of missing goods I was shown before.
“If these are the missing items… does that mean the mermaid is here?” I muttered.
The moment I said that, a noise, which sounded like something had jumped out of the water, could be heard from behind, prompting us to turn around.
What greeted our sight was a creature with the head and torso of a beautiful woman and the lower body of a fish. Undoubtedly, she was the very image of a mermaid I had in mind.
“All I did is look! Why did you have to slap that label on me?!”
Although the mermaid was wearing a garment resembling a bikini, it was still revealing with most of her skin exposed. That said, there was no need for her to treat me like a pervert for just looking.
“Hold on a second! Who are you reporting to, and what exactly are you reporting about?”
“…The two of you should put a stop to this.” Raven cut in while Happiness and I were having our stand-up comedy exchange.
Certainly, it was negligent of us to be behaving in such a way before the enemy. Having reflected on our actions, we turned our attention back to the mermaid, however, it seemed that while both of us were squabbling, the mermaid had already swum to the centre of the cove. While we were feeling wary of what the mermaid was about to do, the latter opened her mouth and began to sing.
“…This is bad. Cover your ears!”
Upon hearing Raven’s urgent warning, we immediately covered our ears with both hands. A mermaid’s beautiful singing has the power to cause delusions, so I was thankful to Raven for his advance notice, but…
“…Tch, I can’t fight when I am covering my ears.”
I would be left vulnerable to the mermaid’s song if I had not done so, but on the other hand, I couldn’t do anything either with both hands pressed against my ears.
“…I can hear… it.”
Unfortunately, it was impossible to block the song completely by merely covering my ears with my hands. The song gradually became clearer, and I began losing consciousness.
“…This is… bad.”
It would be dangerous if I were to fall sleep in such a manner. Desperately, I racked my brain to find a way to break through this. However, I couldn’t think of anything, and time continued ticking away.
When I was on the brink of losing consciousness, Happiness, who was standing within my sight, caught my attention. She placed her hand below her chin as if to check the condition of her throat, and, before I knew it, she started singing. Was she feeling okay? I couldn’t manage a retort, since my mind was getting hazy, but I soon realized her intent.
Happiness’s song is countering the mermaid’s song! I’ve got to hand it to her. Singing is no doubt her forte.
Probably because her song had not drowned out the mermaid’s singing entirely, I still felt unsteady. However, Raven seemed to be able to move without difficulty. Could it be that he couldn’t hear anything but Happiness’s song? Love overpowers all… His ears were attuned only to Happiness’s voice. That seemed plausible in Raven’s case, though that was naturally just my conjecture. At any rate, I couldn’t move freely yet, so I had no choice but to provide support instead. As the mermaid was in the water, it would be hard for a swordsman like Raven to fight, so I decided to make a way out for Raven with my earth magic.
“I’ll create the footholds, and leave the rest to you!”
Without waiting for Raven to reply, I began to operate my earth magic. The mermaid seemed shocked when steps started appearing one after another out of the blue. On the other hand, probably because Raven had noticed what I had done, he flashed me a quick smile before using the purchase I’d provided to lurch at the mermaid, who tried to flee when she realized that he was gradually within striking distance, though, as I had erected magical walls around, her escape route was cut off. She had no choice but to stop singing and focused on getting away from Raven instead. What I was doing could be seen as downright bullying, but all’s fair in love and war when it comes to a fight.
“Alright. Happiness, it’s fine now. Thank you for your help.”
As Raven was pursuing the mermaid, the latter could not find the opportunity to sing anymore, so I told Happiness to stop her song.
Happiness furrowed her brow as if she was discontented with something. It didn’t seem like the mermaid would be able to escape with Raven on her tail. It was just a matter of a final push from there, so I didn’t understand why she looked annoyed. However, it seemed that something had bothered her as she started running towards Raven and the mermaid.
“Wai- …that won’t do!”
I’d like to go after her, but I had to assist Raven on my end. I looked away from Happiness and focussed on the task at hand instead. The mermaid was slowly being cornered, so it was just a matter of time.
“…This is the end.”
Raven stood over the mermaid with his sword pointed at her throat. His voice aside, he looked quite cool, though, that was probably natural in his case. He has the style of a knight.
At any rate, since the mission was almost complete, I would be able to come up with a plan for their date after this. Nevertheless, while my mind was preoccupied with those thoughts, the situation suddenly changed. Before I knew it, Happiness was already standing in between Raven and the mermaid.
“What on earth has happened? I only looked away for a second!”
Since I was quite a distance away from them, I couldn’t tell what was going on, so I hurried over to their side.