After laying everything out so neatly, it all got swept aside by someone I hadn’t expected.
Loyar strongly objected to it, saying she’d rather die, so the Thieves’ Guild executives had a rather strange expression on their faces.
They seemed conflicted about whether they should feel relieved about it or not. Although she could articulate it properly, Loyar was looking at me as if I was asking to get killed; in the end, I had no other choice but to retract that remark.
After some arguing, I eventually left the headquarters, telling the guys from the Thieves’ Guild they only managed to survive because I decided to bury the case.
‘Well, this is also fate, so let’s get to know each other well in the future.’
‘Ah, people can make mistakes. Why are you all so stiff? Let’s get along well in the future. Good, good. Let’s not fight.’
‘Understood… Thank you… Honestly, we don’t know what would have happened… Really.’
At my casual words, the Guild Master looked as if his soul had just left his body. Anyway, it was true that I had prevented the Thieves’ Guild from getting destroyed, even if I had only sat still.
I definitely felt the sincerity in the executives’ words. Although she already showed her strict ambition, it seemed like they were also rather grateful to Loyar for refusing to take the seat of the Guild Master.
Not everything went as intended, but it still ended well.
Even though I had been released from my captivity, I still felt a bit dissatisfied.
After we left the headquarters, we went to a place with no people, then I complained to Loyar.
“f*cking hell, why can’t you just eat the meal I set before you?”
“Your Highness… I’m already exhausted from controlling about 200 kids, so how could I manage to take control of a large organization like the Thieves’ Guild all on my own? I can’t even count how many members that thing has.”
“Your Highness… I’m glad you’re okay… But this is really going beyond my imagination.”
“…Eleris? You were there?”
Eleris looked a little angry, as if she was wondering why she even bothered worrying about me.
Take responsibility for making me worried!
That was what her face seemed to convey. It seemed like she had watched everything with invisibility magic cast on her.
“It’s already hard enough to keep my body hidden every full moon; being the Guild Master is just too much.”
Loyar said that things wouldn’t last long if she were to take control, which made sense.
“Tch, and here I was happy that a free meal just fell from the sky.”
No matter how much I thought about it, it was such a waste.
Still, I managed to stop the Thieves’ Guild from touching the Rotary Gang, so I couldn’t say I hadn’t gained anything.
It was also clear that I could exert some influence on the Thieves’ Guild.
“By the way, what excuse are you planning on giving Temple?”
I wouldn’t say something like the Thieves’ Guild kidnapped me, but what other excuse would I give them for my five-day absence? That I went on a long trip to find myself? Seriously, what should I tell them?
“…First you’re talking about what you should do with the Thieves’ Guild and the next moment you worry about very typical things for a student… I really don’t know anymore.”
Eleris seemed to feel confused about how I could worry about things a student would never even think about and then suddenly worry about very typical things.
Loyar and Eleris asked me to explain from the beginning what happened, so I tried my best to add more detail.
Both Eleris’ and Loyar’s faces stiffened as they listened to me.
“Your Highness, you have to keep in mind that you could get into serious trouble.”
“…Would it kill you to not act on your temper?”
Of course, both of them nagged me.
“…I know, I was really fortunate that it was the Thieves’ Guild that caught me.”
If the ones who kidnapped me weren’t from the Thieves’ Guild, things would have been a whole lot more dangerous. In the end, I managed to overcome the situation in my own way, but if I had touched some other gangsters instead, I could have really died.
The situation worked out well for me in the end, but if one looked at the whole picture, I had gotten really close to dying there.
The consequences of my carelessness weren’t bad, but that didn’t change the fact that I had been acting really carelessly.
In the end, I had no other choice but to sincerely apologize to the two of them who went all the way there because they were worried about me.
* * *
After that, I heard about what had gone on while I was stuck from Loyar and Eleris. Only then did I find out why the Rotary Gang was nowhere to be found in the Wenster Market.
It was quite unexpected.
I then entered the Guard Post in the Wenster District, identified myself, and gave my statement.
I said that I got kidnapped by an unknown group. They seemed to have kidnapped me to get a ransom for me, but they abandoned me somewhere and disappeared when the situation got more serious.
I told them I didn’t know who they were because they covered my eyes. I didn’t even know where I was held. I just ran away after I got released.
Since I was officially missing, I figured that would resolve things.
Charlotte and Bertus had confirmed that I was safe, but the Guards and Temple’s forces probably didn’t know.
I spent the rest of Saturday giving them my fabricated statement. In the end, I just repeatedly said that I didn’t know anything; the investigators didn’t know whether they should believe me or not, but they didn’t bother me anymore after that.
After checking that I was alright and securing my statement, they brought me to the front gates of Temple.
“Great job, kid. From now on, don’t go to dangerous places anymore, okay?”
“Yes, thank you.”
They held me up all day, so it was already close to the evening when I reached Temple, I would have to go inside and talk to the teachers again, which meant I would have to give out another round of fake statements.
I got on the tram and arrived in front of the Royal Class dormitory.
Wearing the clothes the guard had given me and an umbrella, I tried to enter the dormitory.
I wondered when the stupid rain would finally stop.
The Thieves’ Guild didn’t turn out to be that dangerous to me. Although making Loyar the new Guild Master eventually failed, things somehow worked out, and I managed to establish a connection to them.
That should be rather good. As Bertus said, I somehow created the starting line for something kind of cringe like becoming the “King of the Underworld”.
Still, my heart felt heavy.
I didn’t know how long I had been doing it, but I was looking directly into the eyes of Ellen Artorius, who was sitting on a bench in the rain.
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She stood up and staggered towards me.
I had heard that she got beaten up by Loyar.
I didn’t know why she was sitting in the rain.
But I thought I knew what was going on.
Ellen was about to distance herself from me, but that girl actually went out to find me when I disappeared.
I didn’t know what she was thinking specifically or for what reason she put so much effort into finding me.
However, while searching, she met Loyar and got beaten by her when trying to interfere. She even summoned the divine sword Lament but still lost.
I had no idea what Ellen was feeling at that moment.
She tried to look for me but ended up getting kicked out because she would be in the way; she had even gotten beaten up. She stood there looking at me with unfocused eyes.
I tried to find some words to tell her, but that was all I could say in the end.
Losing to Loyar must have been devastating, and she must have wondered just who on earth that person who could defeat her so easily was.
She must have realized that I had even more secrets than she thought.
Ellen interjected when I was trying to say something.
The corners of her pale blue lips trembled slightly.
“I’m not… curious about that anymore.”
What kind of emotion were those lips trying to convey? It was probably a smile.
She seemed happy.
She trembled and then suddenly hugged me tight.
“You don’t have to tell me.”
Her voice and body trembled. She felt so cold to the touch. She buried her face in the nape of my neck.
Close to her eyes, I felt something hot flowing down.
They seemed to be tears.
That sensation forced me to freeze up.
Ellen was crying…
Because of me.
“I-it’s okay… it’s enough. It’s enough that you’re… fine.”
It seemed that she had forgiven me, but my guilt only grew.
* * *
Like that, the commotion came to pass.
The news that I was found had already been reported to the teachers, and I gave my statement separately to the teachers who were looking for me even though it was the weekend.
Mr. Epinhauser seemed to be absent.
The statement I gave the teachers wasn’t much different from what I gave the Guards. Alas, it also took the same amount of time.
The news spread that I had returned, so countless people were waiting for me there when I came back to the dormitory.
“Junior! Are you alright?”
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“Yeah… I didn’t get hurt.”
“I-I was … I was so worried… Huk… Sobsob!”
Adriana hugged me and cried loudly. She wasn’t able to go looking for me personally, but she seemed to have spent some sleepless nights because of me. Not only Olivia but all the other members of Grace also flocked to me and asked how I was feeling.
“I’m so relieved, Reinhardt…”
Olivia was also tearing up. Grace’s club members wanted to go look for me on their own, but it seemed like the teachers had stopped them.
“…You’re the worst person I’ve ever known.”
“Is that a compliment?”
“Yeah, in a way, it is.”
Charlotte, who knew my circumstances, just shook her head as if she was tired of it all.
“Let’s talk more about this later.”
Bertus was smiling at me as well.
Neither of them seemed to have been worried, as they knew what I had been up to.
Those two had played a big role in my survival.
Then, Ludwig and Delphin, as well as some classmates of theirs I wasn’t familiar with, came up to me to greet me.
I thought my school life was completely ruined, but it seemed like I was actually doing better than most.
People around me kept telling me that they were worried about me and that it was good that I was safe until deep into the night.
Actually, I was never in any real danger to begin with. I wondered if they would kill me if I told them that I kept putting off my release by threatening my kidnappers.
I was very grateful for their sentiments, but my guilty conscience grew bigger and bigger.
Everyone left one by one as the night grew longer, and—after I was finally released—I let out a sigh of relief.
I had met up with Ellen first, and she had cried for some time, but it seemed that she had gone to her room.
I was able to greet everyone, but there was just one person I didn’t see anywhere.
I knocked on her door.
Was she sleeping?
I didn’t think she would be asleep yet, though.
After I waited for a little while, the door opened slowly. She didn’t show me her face; I could only hear her voice.
-Can… Can we… talk tomorrow?
Listening to her voice, I understood why she didn’t come to see me.
“…Sure, let’s do that.”
She probably cried a lot, so her voice was hoarse. The condition of her face wouldn’t be any better.
Still, she went to such lengths to find me, so I wanted to at least talk to her a bit.
Well, it couldn’t be helped; I would have to wait.
“I’ll be on my way then…”
But—in the end—she opened her door, grabbed my arm, and pulled me in.
She closed the door behind me. She had her head bowed down, not wanting to show her face to me.
“I heard that you went looking for me.”
“Thank you. I’m sorry.”
She suddenly hugged me without saying a single word.
“Sob, sob! Hick! sob! I-I… I was so worried… Hick!”
“Hick! Waah! Sob!”
Harriet cried until she couldn’t breathe anymore. I reciprocated her hug and patted her back.
‘f*cking hell,’ I thought to myself.
‘I should have come back earlier.’
Harriet cried for almost an hour, perhaps because she was just that worried.
I was about to go back to my room after comforting her, but then, with her head still bowed, Harriet asked me a question.
“Were you not scared…?”
“…I was scared.”
Before Wednesday, although I had been acting curt and casual, it was actually pretty terrifying.
I could have died at any time depending on the Guild Master’s whims. I might have landed myself in a situation in which I would have had to use the Flame of Tuesday, my supernatural power, and all my achievement points.
And I still could have died even if I had used all of that.
Of course, I would have had to kill those people.
Although my thoughts were slightly different from normal kids’, I was actually kind of scared.
“Then it’s even weirder.”
“You should be crying… You must have been really scared…”
I was the one who should cry after going through something like that. I should cry in relief and have others comfort me.
However, there I was comforting others who were crying out of relief after finding out that I had come back safely, just like how I did for Harriet.
Harriet seemed to feel that I was acting strange.
“It’s because I’m an adult.”
Harriet didn’t respond to my condescending attitude.
“Yeah… That’s right…”
I had no choice but to feel slightly embarrassed as that answer wasn’t what I had been expecting at all.