The two left Temple with umbrellas in hand. It was Friday, so they had the whole weekend to look for him. For that reason, Harriet took quite a bit of money with her. Of course, she could just sleep in the Saint-Owan mansion close to the Imperial Palace instead of an inn, but she didn’t know what may happen.
The two took the mana train to the Wenster district where the Bronzegate Bridge was. The train wasn’t that crowded but it wasn’t completely empty either.
-Aah, hello, dear citizens of the Empire.
-Could you please lend us your precious time for a bit, I would like to introduce to you one of our new items.
Those days, that kind of scene had become common.
Harriet sighed as she looked at the chattering vendors.
…It wasn’t because she didn’t like what they were doing.
“Huh? O-oh, it’s nothing.”
When Ellen asked her if something was amiss, Harriet just shook her head.
“It’s just… I find it strange that I’ve gotten so used to these kinds of things.”
She sighed because she had grown very used to those kinds of people, to the point where she found it absurd.
Mana trains only ran inside the Imperial Capital. Originally, Harriet mainly traveled by carriage in her daily life as the young lady of the Saint-Owan Grand Duchy.
Since she entered Temple’s high school section, she had a slightly different mindset than the nobles who had been educated there since elementary school.
How are we to be expected to use the same transportation services as the poor?
In the beginning, whenever she had gotten on the Temple intern tram, that was what had gone through her mind. After classes were over, it was virtually impossible to find a seat on the crowded tram, and it was rather annoying to just stand.
Harriet disliked riding in it. However, she had no choice but to get used to the tram because it was forbidden to use one’s carriages inside of Temple.
The same thing was true for when she went outside of Temple. Harriet was even more reluctant to use a strange, gigantic, elongated vehicle filled to the brim with the poor and commoners.
Of course, she could ride a carriage outside. There were many people who offered that service.
But very few people living in the Capital actually made use of that option.
Riding a carriage wasn’t as fast and cheap as a mana train, after all.
Riding a horse-drawn carriage inside the well-developed Capital was more of a waste of time before one even considered the costs, and time was much more precious there than money. There wasn’t anything like a nobility-only carriage in the mana train. There were many nobles who strongly requested for something like that, but the Imperial Family had no intentions of implementing it.
Riding it was uncomfortable for Harriet, but the mana train was the fastest means of transportation—second only to the Warp Gates. However, the use of ultrshort-distance Warp Gates wasn’t permitted. If Warp Gates were to be used for such trivial things, they would get overloaded with the amount of people using them.
The speed of the mana train was beyond one’s wildest imagination—it couldn’t even be compared to a mere carriage.
She really didn’t like it, but if she wanted to get from point A to B as fast as possible, she had no other choice but to take the mana train because anything else would be foolish. At first, she wondered how one could ride such a thing, but in the end, she had no choice but to succumb to its convenience.
Although Harriet was a noble supremacist, she eventually got used to talking to common people and riding the crowded mana train.
‘It’s all because of Reinhardt.’
That kind of guy that should not have even dared to make eye contact with her, far from someone she would have called her peer, actually talked carelessly to her, even going so far as teasing her. He had even touched her.
He was irritating and ridiculous, but after getting teased by him so much, she grew somewhat immune to such treatment. So, no matter what happened, and no matter what she had to endure, nothing would be worse than Reinhardt—that thought was going through her mind.
That was how Harriet, who was a noble through and through, was able to endure things she normally wouldn’t have.
‘But now I’m actually on my way to look for that bastard…’
Harriet didn’t know what the hell she was doing.
* * *
The water level of the Irene River around the Bronzegate Bridge had risen dangerously due to the continuous heavy rainfall. The riverside park had already been completely locked down for days.
The two arrived at the place Reinhardt had gone to.
“In this situation, there definitely isn’t going to be anything or anyone under that bridge.”
Ellen nodded her head at Harriet’s words. If anyone was under that bridge, they would have been washed far away to begin with.
They didn’t know much about Reinhardt, so they had to infer Reinhardt’s behavior using circumstantial information alone.
Just what happened?
“You said he rushed out after hearing that the Irene River might overflow, right?”
“Yes, I did.”
“Reinhardt must have been worried about the people living there.”
“I think so too.”
Reinhardt was part of the group of beggars living under the Bronzegate Bridge. So, after hearing that the Irene river might overflow because of the heavy rain, he must have gone there to check if his people were safe.
“But the river already overflowed, and all of them have already gone off somewhere. I think he went to find them.”
Up to that point, Ellen and Harriet could reconstruct the situation.
Reinhardt must have gone somewhere to look for the missing beggars.
“Then… Could he be late because he was helping them out? But… It’s been so long…”
Harriet said so, holding slight hope in her heart. Even as she said it, she knew that it was very unlikely.
Ellen shook her head.
“If that were the case, he could have gone back to Temple to explain the situation to the teachers, but he didn’t. Of course, there’s still a possibility that it’s like that, but… It’s very small.”
He might not have had the time to go back to Temple simply because he was so busy helping out those beggars that suffered because of the heavy rain. They both thought that there was a low possibility of that being the case, but that would be better than the other possibilities.
“Anyway, Reinhardt should have gone looking for the place the people living there went to.”
“So we should also look for them… But what if they don’t know what happened to Reinhardt, either?”
Harriet’s words, which showed her concern that something might have happened to him even before he was able to find him, were met with a shake of Ellen’s head.
“First of all, even if they don’t know where Reinhardt is, we should still let them know that Reinhardt is missing. And… they probably know more about Reinhardt than we do.”
No matter if they knew where he was or not, the conclusion they came to was still the same: they had to find them.
“Okay… so where did they go?”
Where did the beggars who lived under the bridge run off to?
They were overcome with the same worries as Reinhardt.
“Let’s ask that person.”
A guard was blocking the entrance to the riverside park.
Ellen came to the same conclusion as Reinhardt had.
* * *
Ellen and Harriet succeeded in following the same path as Reinhardt after questioning the guard.
The only place that would protect someone from the rain around there was the Wenster Market street.
The Wenster Market street. While adventurers opted to go the northern Al Ligar district to do their shopping, the Wenster Market street was the largest market visited by the general public. While they headed there, Harriet hesitated for some reason.
“…My brothers told me not to go to the Wenster Market.”
She looked a little scared.
“Ah… My brothers graduated from Temple, so they know the Imperial Capital pretty well. However, I would never go to that kind of place because it’s so dirty, but they still told me to never go to the Wenster Market.”
“Why did they do that?”
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“There are a lot of criminals there. Usually people wouldn’t hurt you as long as you’re a Temple student, but there are a lot of crazy people there who wouldn’t even consider that. They told me to stay away from the back alleys in particular. There are also some criminal organizations…”
Harriet already knew some information Reinhardt lacked. She suddenly muttered something as if she just realized something important.
“Ah… No way.”
“…I think I know what has happened.”
The Wenster Market was a place where criminals hid that would attack you whether you were a part of Temple or not. Reinhardt had gone there looking for some beggars.
If one were to combine those evil criminals with Reinhardt, who had a terrible temper…
It would have been a miracle if nothing actually happened.
* * *
When they started to combine the truth of the Wenster Market with Reinhardt’s personality, they seemed to come to a rough conclusion as to what happened. Harriet gathered her thoughts as they walked towards the Wenster Market.
“So, Reinhardt must have known that the beggars came here to hide away from the rain, and he ended up arguing with someone while he was walking through the back alleys asking where those beggars were?”
“So, in the end, he couldn’t reel in his temper, and a fight ensued, but something went wrong… That’s the rough outline of events. It’s probably something like that.”
As they spoke, their faces darkened.
It would have been better if he was just kidnapped or something like that. However, he might have already ended up getting stabbed by one of those criminals.
Reinhardt might have already died. Since that conclusion was pretty plausible, they couldn’t help but make very serious expressions.
Not only that.
“Will… will we be fine?”
They stood before the huge entrance to the Wenster Market.
Harriet was wondering whether they should really go in there or not. Although Reinhardt’s temper was terrible, he ultimately had a talent that could strengthen his body, it was comparable to a combat talent. While he wasn’t as strong as Ellen, after training for a while, he had become pretty strong for his age.
Reinhardt was beaten, so she was wondering if they’d really be fine.
“Let’s look around the market for now.”
Ellen also suggested that they should first investigate and not do anything risky.
* * *
The two entered the market and began to look around. Harriet didn’t look so good, perhaps because of the overflowing smell of food coming from the market, including the fishy smell of seafood. She had already gotten used to a lot of things, but it was the first time in her life that she ever experienced something like that.
Ellen, as always, didn’t seem fazed.
“Oh, you mean that little blonde kid?”
“Yes! Yes! Have you seen him?”
Harriet’s eyes lit up at the shopkeeper’s words, as he seemed to know something. She threw away her pride as a noble. At that moment, she felt nothing wrong with being respectful towards commoners.
“No, I haven’t seen him. But a lot of people are looking for him, so I couldn’t help but hear some gossip here and there. Not only the Guards, but also people from Temple are running around looking for him; they don’t even buy anything.”
The Guards—as well as Temple’s forces—were poking around Wenster Market.
Charlotte and Bertus had already known that Reinhardt went missing in Wenster market just by considering the outside factors as well, so they had ordered people to focus on the area.
“It must be nice being a Temple student. Just because one little kid went missing, all those people stopped whatever they were doing and searched for him in a frenzy. I sure wish I could send my kids to Temple when I have enough money.”
The shopkeeper suddenly started to ramble. Even though it was just a single Temple student, seeing so many people turning the whole market upside down just to ensure the safety of a single person made one realize how great Temple’s prestige was.
Of course, not only was Reinhardt a Temple student, he was also part of Royal Class; he was already on a completely different level than an ordinary student. Reinhardt’s classmates were the Imperial Prince and Princess, for crying out loud.
The two continued to walk around the market, asking around the shops, but they only heard that other people had already combed through the area to find Reinhardt; they didn’t find even a single eyewitness.
“This is strange.”
Both of them felt that it was strange. Harriet dragged Ellen to a place that smelled less fishy and began to describe what exactly was strange.
“I think both the Guards and Temple’s forces already knew that Reinhardt disappeared in this place.”
It wasn’t a difficult conclusion to come to, so those forces that were looking for Reinhardt already paid great attention to the Wenster Market.
“Then why couldn’t they find him?”
If they searched the market, they should have searched the back alleys as well. There was no reason for them to be afraid of the criminal gangs roaming the back alleys. Reinhardt’s disappearance was believed to have occurred last Saturday, and the search began on Monday.
However, they made no progress until Friday.
Why couldn’t the Guards and Temple’s forces find Reinhardt? If he was dead, they should have at least found his body, but they didn’t.
They could see some Guards patrolling the entire market even then.
“If they are looking for him so hard and couldn’t find him, there probably isn’t anything in the back alleys either…” Harriet mumbled sadly.
“But let’s go look anyway.”
They didn’t think they would find any clues in the back alleys, but they had no other choice but to check there as well.