TWEM Vol. 2 Chapter 14.5

 

Interlude – The Heroes’ Search Continues

 

Vaana, the border town of the kingdom of Glicente closest to the kingdom of Perdis.

A Hero party formed by five of Haruto’s classmates — Tendo Koji, Ichinomiya Suzuno, Asakura Natsuki, Shinonome Aoi, and Mogami Shinya — was now visiting this town.

In Glicente, the royal family told them that “Haruto was apparently dead”, but they believed he was still alive somewhere.

In a forest near the Glicente royal capital, a merchant named Gassul told them about a certain “Haruto”, so they headed to Vaana to find more clues.

The sun was already setting, but Tendo and the others went to the trading company owned by Bacchus, a merchant who apparently traveled together with Haruto for a time.

“Haruto might be here…”

Ichinomiya whispered to herself while walking on the darkening street.

Asakura and Shinonome put their hands on her shoulders to calm her down and encourage her.

“We’ll find him, you’ll see!”

“That’s right. Based on Gassul’s description, I’m sure he was talking about Yuki.”

“Yes, you’re right. Thanks, both of you.”

Thanks to her friends’ words of consolation, Ichinomiya felt reassured.

The group of five eventually arrived at Bacchus’ trading company.

The clerk quickly noticed the quality of their attire and approached them.

“How may I help you, dear guests?”

“We would like to meet Mr. Bacchus, if possible. We have a letter of introduction from Mr. Gassul…”

Tendo gave the envelope to the clerk, who checked the contents, then asked them to wait for a moment and went to the back of the store.

After a while, the group was led to a guest room, where they were told that Bacchus was not present at the moment, and the branch manager would meet them in his stead.

“I am honored to make your acquaintance, o Heroes. My name is Bang. Sir Haruto, the man mentioned in your letter, has been of invaluable assistance during our journey from Waxe to Vaana.”

Gassul’s letter apparently mentioned that Tendo and his party were Heroes and that they were looking for Haruto. Tendo, glad to know they didn’t have to explain everything from the start, went straight to the point.

“Thank you for your time, sir. Could you tell us what you know about Haruto?”

“Gladly. He has been of invaluable help since we left Waxe— ”

Bang thus narrated how Haruto escorted them from Waxe to Vaana, and all the feats he was responsible for in the process.

The fact that he allegedly defeated disaster class monsters with ease was hard to believe, but Haruto’s appearance, words and actions matched the Yuki Haruto they knew.

After hearing Bang’s story, the group was thoroughly convinced the “Haruto” they heard about was indeed the person they were looking for. Just then, however, Bang added a new piece of information, which shocked them completely.

“To think that Sir Haruto would go on to become the world’s first EX rank adventurer! I should not be surprised, considering his abilities, but still!”

“Eh?”

“Did you say…EX rank?”

Bang seemed puzzled by Tendo and Ichinomiya’s surprise.

“Oh? Did you not know? Sir Haruto has been promoted to rank EX, a position even superior to rank S of the adventurers’ guild. It happened just last week, actually.”

“What!?!?!?”

Tendo and his party couldn’t help but shout.

“As far as I have heard, Sir Haruto achieved unprecedented exploits in the capital of the Perdis kingdom. He defeated a massive horde of monsters that threatened the capital, or something…as expected of Sir Haruto, I should say. They even gave him the second name of ‘Demon King’, though he is also called ‘Annihilator’.”

“Whoa, whoa, ‘Demon King’…? That’s pretty cringeworthy for Yuki…”

“R-right…Yuki ‘Demon King’ Haruto…?”

“Annihilator is pretty intense too, though…”

Mogami, Asakura and Shinonome reacted, but Tendo and Ichinomiya were quiet, deep in thought.

They did not hear anything about a massive monster horde, not from King Glicente or his daughter, princess Mariana. Nor did they hear anything about a certain “Haruto” becoming the world’s first and only EX rank adventurer.

Both Tendo and Ichinomiya found it very suspicious not to have heard anything about it. Just then, Bang clapped his hands and changed the topic.

“In any case! Noble Heroes, it is already quite late. Please spend the night at our inn tonight, we have already prepared rooms for you. Why not rest today, and depart for the Perdis royal capital tomorrow morning?”

“…yes, I suppose you are right. We are very thankful for your hospitality.”

Tendo accepted Bang’s proposal, then looked at Ichinomiya and the others, who all nodded.

~

After arriving at the inn, the group gathered in Tendo’s room.

“Yuki’s pretty amazing…how did he get so strong?”

“I still find it hard to believe, but based on what we heard, the ‘Haruto’ everyone told us about is definitely him…”

“Yes, the “Haruto” they all talk about is definitely our classmate. Aren’t you glad, Suzuno? We finally found him.”

Mogami and Asakura were genuinely surprised; Shinonome bounced a question to Ichinomiya, but the latter replied awkwardly.

“Yes, right…”

“What’s wrong, Suzuno?”

Asakura noticed the unnatural reaction and looked at her, perplexed.

“Well…as far as we have heard, this “Haruto” person has been active since before we left the capital, right? So I was wondering why they didn’t tell us anything about it…”

Tendo nodded in agreement to Ichinomiya’s words.

“…that’s right. As Suzuno said, it’s a mystery why we haven’t been told anything about him. Princess Mariana first said that ‘Haruto left on his own’, and we didn’t doubt that was the truth. But if she didn’t tell us anything about this ‘Haruto’ on purpose, I’m not sure if we can believe that he really left the capital on his own will.”

Tendo’s expression turned grave. Mogami thought for a moment, then spoke.

“Haruto might not be a rare name here though…and there’s also the possibility that no information about him reached the royals in the first place. Anyway, we just have to find Yuki and ask him what happened.”

In order to be promoted to S rank — though the EX rank they heard about was above it — the approval of the rulers of the Three Great States was necessary, so the king of Glicente had to know about “Haruto”. Tendo did not know this, however, so he was convinced by Mogami’s words.

“…that’s true too. The only way to know for sure is to find Haruto, after all. Let’s turn in early today, and leave for the Perdis capital tomorrow morning!”

After Tendo’s words, the group split and headed to their respective rooms.

The next morning, they rode in the horse carriage Bang provided them and left for the capital of the Perdis kingdom.

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