3 days before our planned departure from Realzard.
Even though we all three of us were inside the room, someone knocked on our door.
“Hm?……….Who? Chris did you call someone?”
“Ralf, be quiet.”
I quickly silenced Ralf who was talking normally, and cautiously tried to figure out who our uninvited guest was.
Since we started living here, not a single person has ever come to talk to us.
………which means, there’s a good chance its some pursuers sent by Klaus.
“Talk in a low voice. High chance the people on the other side of the door are here to hunt me. I’ll jump out of the window and come around from the back. You two act like you know nothing and buy some time.”
“Understood. I’ll try and talk to him without opening the door.”
“Alright………..but man, would actual pursuers even bother knocking on the door? Wouldn’t they just break this flimsy door open?”
“Well I’ll be glad if this is a misunderstanding but no matter who they claim to be, do not open the door. Understood?”
Put on just my steel sword, and quietly jumped out of the window.
It was pretty high but I broke my fall well and landed safely.
Moving quickly, I made my way back to the room to corner them from behind.
While praying that it wasn’t a huge group or something, I tried to confirm who the person was without revealing myself.
A person in black robes and longstaff.
I couldn’t see their face but their appearance was very reminiscent of a magician.
……..Could it be Mielle?
Using my newfound mastery in stealth so as to not get ambushed by that bear-like monster in the Peixa forest, I slowly approached closer to the person.
While being cautious of where I step considering it was old busted wooden building and any part of the floor could suddenly make a noise, I quietly made my way exactly behind the person.
In a similar fashion to how I had been put on spot a while ago, I moved right behind them to seal their movement with my sword.
Finally realizing that someone was behind them, their body flinched in surprise but realizing that any struggle would be meaningless they simply nodded once implying their acceptance of the situation at hand.
“Don’t move. Not even an inch. And don’t talk either——–Ralf, open the door.”
Giving an order to Ralf on the other side of the door, I pushed the person inside the room while holding on to their right hand.
“Ralf, take of the robe and check their face. Esta be ready to fire magic at any given moment. And you, make any weird movement and I’ll break your hand—–I’m being serious.”
“Say, just now……..”
“Check their face first, we can talk later.”
Giving another quick order, I had Ralf check their appearance.
I can’t do it from my current position so I’m having Ralf do it for me.
“Let’s see who you really are.”
“——!! Oi! Let him go right now Chris! It’s the old man from [Shichifukuya]!!”
His words made me panic a bit but don’t forget, Mielle was a master od disguise.
There’s always a chance that she could be impersonating as the owner of [shichifukuya].
She could even alter her voice.
“Ralf calm down, and first of all just do what I say. There is a chance that it’s a disguise.”
“No seriously, it’s the old man dude!”
“Enough already and follow what I’m saying. First check for a ring. Is there a ring on his index finger?”
“Is there a wound on the back of his left hand?”
“No there isn’t!”
The two aspects she could change or hide from last time.
………..well, looks like it’s the real person after all.
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Now I’ve really made a mess of things alright.
I quickly released the old man and gave an apology.
“I’m sorry for suddenly attacking you. We don’t really get visitors, like at all, and so I made a huge misunderstanding of the situation.”
“No no, I should be the one apologising. This is not exactly a time for visitors is it?”
“Please don’t apologise to the person who randomly attacked you, seriously.”
I gave a deep bow of apology to the old man.
“Chris you’re a bit too paranoid man! You almost broke the old man’s hand you know.”
“………I know but it would have been too late in the off chance I was right. I don’t plan on dying anytime soon you see.”
“Enough enough you two. It’s my fault for coming unannounced. Your vigilance is not a bad thing Chris, keep it that way.”
Thanks to old man calming the atmosphere with a smile, me and Ralf stopped our little argument.
It’s not like I don’t get what Ralf is trying to say, but Mielle’s assault hasn’t left my brain just yet, I simply can’t drop my guard any lower for now.
It’s something I simply won’t compromise on, because I don’t want to fucking die.
“…….I’m sorry for Chris’s sudden attack. So old man, what did you need from us at such time? Did something happen?”
“Actually I had something I wanted to hand over to Esta.”
“……..Eh? for me?”
Having been completely out of the conversation until now, hearing her name made Esta jump up in surprise.
A thing to give to Esta……….? I honestly have no idea either.
“This is something, my parents used to use a long time ago. I couldn’t exactly sell it but it’ll make for a great farewell gift I figured. Chris has been a huge help to me after all.”
“Are you sure I can have this?”
“of course of course. It’ll be happier to be used rather than lie sleeping in my house after all.”
The thing that the old man gave to Esta was the longstaff that he had been carrying.
At its tip was a beautiful red jewel-like thing, and just from appearance alone you could tell it was expensive.
“Thank you so much uncle! I’ll always treasure it!”
“I’m happy to hear that. And be sure to show your faces here every now and then while I’m still alive okay?”
“yeah, we’ll bring souvenirs whenever we’re back. I’ll pay you back for the staff as well.”
“Ho ho ho, well I’ll be sure to look forward to that.”
Saying that, the old man gave a bow and then left the room.
We really have been in debt to [Shichifukuya] from start till the end.
Starting from buying those stolen items, to trusting me with that life changing book for deferred payments no less.
And now, even though we almost accidentally attacked him, let alone get angry he let it all go with a smile.
He really is one of the few men I truly respect and look up to.
One day, I will definitely repay this debt once I become someone great in life.
Looking at the old man’s back, I swore that to myself.
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