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Chapter 07: I listened to the mermaid’s story (part 2)
“What is it?”
“… You believe in that mermaid’s story?”
I wanted to listen to their opinions first, so I didn’t expect him to throw it back at me. However, seeing as I remained silent, he ended up voicing his thoughts instead.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t bring myself to trust that demon. I’ve encountered this kind of demon many times before during my journey with Yuuga.”
“I suspected as much.”
It seemed that Raven’s intention was the same as before. Cecilia’s opinion of demons has changed due to my influence, but could Raven’s prejudice against demons be erased that easily? What should I do? While I was agonizing over this, Happiness walked over to us. It would appear that Raven’s effort to keep this conversation on the hush was futile.
“…Trust, impossible?” Happiness looked straight into Raven’s eyes as she asked causing the latter to look away as if he was overwhelmed by her intense gaze.
“…I’m sorry, but for me to believe in a demon’s story is…”
“…If so, I hope… you can believe in me… as I believe in her,” she said as she held Raven’s hands, looking at him pleadingly.
I was at a loss for words when such a scene unfolded before me. Happiness was not someone who would display a mannerism like this. Not to mention, from the tone of her voice, it was clear as day that she was forcing herself to speak. The issue wasn’t that she couldn’t speak long sentences but that her current state of mind was quite worrisome. That said, the ambience they were in made me feel like a third wheel, but I was, nevertheless, curious about his answer.
His clenched fist seemed to be trembling, so it was a matter of just a final push. Although, it wasn’t a situation in which I could intervene. I decided to leave it to Happiness to deliver the final blow.
“…Agreed?” Happiness asked as she titled her head to the side, looking expressionless as usual now.
So she couldn’t endure the tension? Or did she have another idea in mind? At the end, she was back to her usual self.
“…I understand. It might be too hasty to deem that mermaid guilty that fast… We’ll decide once we find out more about this case.”
It seemed that Raven had finally given in, while Happiness, on the other hand, appeared slightly happier as well… I think? At any rate, this should mend the cracks in their relationship, and we would be able to carry on with the investigation.
“Hm? Why are you two looking at me?”
“…I have told Happiness that we will continue investigating this, but I have realized that I haven’t seek your opinion yet.”
“…What do you think?”
Seeing as they had already made that decision, there was no way I could object to it.
“Of course, I’m of the same opinion, too. We’ll trust Shike-chan’s story for the time being and look into this matter.”
“…Impressive, as always.”
Happiness gave me a thumbs up.
Where did her earlier self go to? She was tensed earlier, but she was now back to herself.
“Now, let’s begin. Happiness will enquire more information from Shike-chan. You might be able to get more clues about the criminal. Raven and I will look through all the stolen goods here.”
“Alright, let’s get to it.”
After distributing our roles, we got to work instantly; Happiness went over to Shike-chan while Raven and I headed towards the wooden crates.
“What is it? Could it be that you prefer to be assigned the same task as Happiness?”
There was quite a high number of wooden crates, so I made the decision to split the workload. But I was also unsure if I had made the right decision at the time. Since they have already reconciled in a way, wouldn’t it be better to have the two of them work together instead? I should have been more tactful and gave them some time together. At the end of the day, this might be one of my flaws.
“No, it’s not that… I am just wondering if I am doing the right thing now.”
“…Is that what’s troubling you? That’s an easy answer.”
I slapped Raven on the back to lift his spirit before running towards where the piles of wooden crates were.
“You’ve decided to believe in Happiness, didn’t you? So you should believe in yourself!”
When I turned around, I noticed that Raven had stopped dead in his tracks, seemingly to be thinking about something, although, it was only for several seconds. He immediately ran towards me, his expression brightened up now as though all his doubts were cleared away.
Those words weren’t something that I would usually say out loud, but seeing as Happiness had already done her best, I had to do my part to assist her as well, not only for her sake, but for Raven’s sake, too. I already had a plan for their date drawn up in my mind, so I had to get this mission over and done with for the good of that mermaid as well. Let’s do our best to finish this.
Several minutes had passed since Raven and I started rummaging through the stolen goods. I had wanted to open all the boxes to go through the contents, but it didn’t seem necessary anymore.
“…You’ve got to be kidding me.”
Raven looked annoyed, as though he had been made a fool of, but I felt the same about this perpetrator. The stacked wooden creates did indeed contain the stolen goods, however, they were only in the outer crates. The crates that were stacked underneath and behind were all empty.
“This is just a set-up to frame Shike-chan since people would normally inspect the crates closest to them first.”
“…That mermaid’s timely appearance might have been planned by them as well.”
There was a slight scowl on Raven’s face as he seemingly pondered over something.
I wasn’t sure if this was the appropriate time for her to make her appearance, but Happiness seemed to have finished her part as well. Upon seeing Raven’s expression, she tilted her head in confusion, however, when I gave her the signal with my hand, she nodded in understanding. It’s best to leave Raven alone now.
After Happiness relayed everything she learnt, I tried to piece together all the information. That said, while we were in the middle of conversation, I could sense strong killing intent exuding from Raven, who was standing near me. It would seem that he was feeling quite pissed off since a while ago. I had hoped that there wouldn’t be any more information that would further aggravate him, causing him to snap, but it seemed impossible.
“…I see. Whenever an adventurer from the guild goes to the town to investigate, the perpetrator deliberately spreads fake information to lure that person here. So, once the mermaid puts the victim to sleep, they would kidnap him… Or, perhaps incapacitate and kill the person to silence him, or maybe sell the victim to slave traders in another country.”
“When we first came, did you tell them that we are adventurers?”
“I see. Then it’s good.
If other adventurers had accepted this mission rather than us, they might have ended up in the situation described by Raven. If Happiness were not with us, Raven and I would’ve been killed due to Shike-chan’s song. Had a normal adventurer come to this place, they would’ve been caught by the perpetrator.