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Chapter 27 – Edim and the Fugitive Search Team
I was feeling faint and light-headed.
I rubbed my forehead as I tried to remember what happened.
What was I doing again…?
I used my ultimate technique, right?
I shot to my feet and surveyed my surroundings.
I let Sam Gordon escape me.
I had used Bloody Mary[Demonic Bloodsucker] and slew the small fry in droves, but Gordon’s corpse was nowhere to be found.
I let the ringleader go.
The mission was a failure.
And a mission that Tilea-sama had personally assigned to me.
The importance of the mission went without saying.
Oh no, oh no, oh no!
“What are you ‘oh no’-ing about?”
I turned in the direction of the beautiful voice.
What I found was a beautiful girl with silver hair and crimson eyes.
Seeing the subject of my respect and adoration caused my heart to leap into my throat.
“C-C-C-Camilla-sama! W-, Why are you in such a place?”
“Calm down, you fool! You seemed to be doing something interesting so I used tracking magic and found myself here.”
“Quite so. You have some nerve, keeping something this amusing to yourself.”
“I-I cannot apologise enough.”
“No matter. I’ll join in for a bit of fun as well.”
“Eh!? Y-, You’re going to join us, Camilla-sama?”
“Naturally. Are you planning on excluding me from something as interest as this!?”
Of course, nothing would make me happier than working together with Camilla-sama.
But Tilea-sama had ordered me to keep this a secret from her.
It was unacceptable to speak of the mission with her.
Which was tragic, because I couldn’t even explain just how much help she would be right now…
“Camilla-sama, please be advised that the identity of the Fiend was in fact Nyger. Although Gordon is the ringleader he is essentially a worthless weakling. It would be a waste of your energy, Camilla-sama.”
“Fumu. Cleaning up that waste would certainly not be amusing.”
“Are you half-asleep? Of course I knew! I watched everything through your mana!”
My body was wracked with shock.
The moment that I let Gordon escape…
No, worse yet, all of the other failures tonight…
She saw them all.
The shame of it overwhelmed me.
“T-, Then you knew everything?”
“From about midway, yes. I watched you wheeze into the building, struggle with the riff-raff, to say nothing of Nyger, and then blow yourself up to top things off. I even saw how you were lax in finishing an enemy off, and then almost got yourself killed by Nyger. Oh yes, I saw it all.”
“Like I said, naive. Nyger survived your attack. You were stupendously foolish. Were it not for my arrival you’d have been destroyed.”
“I-I had not even a clue… M-My sincere apologies.”
“Hmph. Do a little more training!”
S-So something like that had happened too…
I was fooled by Nyger.
I hadn’t even imagined that he played dead to finish me off.
Shame after shame I heaped upon Camilla-sama tonight.
It was too late for regrets, but I should have been more careful.
Not only was Camilla-sama forced to clean up after my stupidity, but she even troubled herself with healing me afterwards.
She had done leaps and bounds more than any master should have done.
And in exchange, she had a good-for-nothing like me as a servant…
It would all be over if I failed her again now.
“U-, Um, Camilla-sama. If you’re okay with it, I was thinking of continuing my search for the target.”
“Umu. I’ll leave the final scrap of garbage to you. There had better not be any more failures. Understand?”
“O-, Of course, Camilla-sama. Gordon will be a corpse by morning. S-So――”
I couldn’t disappoint her any further.
I would kill the Fiend at any cost and regain my honour.
I took a few steps towards her to tell her this when,
“You stink, Edim. As a present from Oneesama, you should be taking much better care of yourself!”
“A-, ah, n-, y-, it, it’s not――”
“Edim, killing Gordon is well and good, but do something about that stench!”
With her nose pinched between her fingers, she activated a teleportation spell and left.
I fell to the ground.
I just wanted to die already.
There was no point in living after showing my beloved lady something so disgraceful.
To be honest it felt like I was already dying from shame and embarrassment.
All of it was Ortidiot’s fault.
Oh how I had suffered because of that incompetent bastard!
The anger was starting to get to me.
Which was bad.
I didn’t have time to be angry right now.
There was a mountain of things to do.
Not least of which was finding out where Gordon had run off to.
First I had to contact my kin to find out what was going on.
Then I had some reports whatnot to make to that idiot…
And as it turned out, Gordon was still missing.
If he had managed to get past those huge numbers, he must have had a secret escape route.
I had to find out what that was.
Hm, if there was somebody familiar with the history, geography, and particulars of the Capital, perhaps they would have an idea.
For example, a history teacher at the prestigious Magic Academy, who had published several acclaimed theses on the very topic.
I looked over at the deadbeat on the ground.
It was mortifying, but there was nobody more fitting for the job than Jayjay.
“…Uu, ugo… gah…”
“Stop groaning, and get up!”
He wasn’t getting up.
The idiot was on the brink of death.
The wound he sustained from Nyger’s attack was too much for his healing to catch up with, and left alone he would die.
But as reluctant as I was to do this, right now I needed him.
I resolved myself to give him some of my blood.
Cutting my left hand, I stuffed a bloody finger into his mouth.
In no time at all, Jayjay’s injuries disappeared before my eyes.
His vampiric healing strength was working proper again.
“Uoooooooohhh! W-What an exquisite taste. I, Jayjay, have returned to the world of the living. Edim-sama! For your sake I would――”
“Enough poetry. I have a job for you.”
“Yes, milady. Anything.”
“I need you to take command of the pursuit for Gordon.”
“The Fiend managed to escape?”
“Kuh! Yes. Nyger died, but Gordon escaped by teleportation. All thanks to a certain waste of space!”
“Huhu, please be at ease. I, Jayjay, was powered up when I was reborn anew; I will not fail in such a manner again.”
“I’ve had just about enough of your overconfidence. Enough talk; can you do it or not?”
“Of course I can. I already have an idea of where he ran to.”
“What? Well, where is he?”
“Ah, please wait. I must explain in order.”
Kuh-, we were already short on time.
This idiot still couldn’t get a clue.
“Hurry up and explain then, Jayjay!”
“Understood. From your anxiety I presume that you failed to find him within the encirclement?”
“Correct. We’ve been monitoring everywhere within a few kilometres radius of this mansion, both my kin and the Second Division. It doesn’t matter how stealthy he is, if he was here then we’d know and I haven’t had a single person report his location. I hate to think it but he may have already left the city.”
“Edim-sama, did I not teach you in class? The teleportation spell can only take you a few kilometres at most. This is irrespective of how much mana you might have.”
“I know. But if he were to repeatedly use the spell, then…”
“That would be folly itself. We would have noticed the amassing of mana for one thing, and you still cannot discount the chance of death from the magic itself.”
“Then where is he!?”
“Most likely he is in the subterranean waterways.”
“Underground waterways!? We have those in this city!?”
“Edim-sama, this is what happens when you don’t listen in class. Long ago, during the reign of Arcudas the 1st, the sewerage project was――”
“Shut up. This isn’t the time for a lecture. You will send our forces into those waterways and alert Dalf’s team to the situation.”
“Your will be done.”
With that, he left the mansion to carry out my orders.
Water tunnels beneath the city.
I was starting to recall the lesson.
In the distant past there was a drainage system that criss-crossed all throughout the city. These days they were clogged up and more or less useless, but Gordon had probably escaped through some still working ones.
But then I had to wonder if we could catch him then.
Could even Jayjay pinpoint which of those tunnels he was in before sunrise?
If it wasn’t for the time limit I supposed he could, but the mission parameters were what they were.
I could fail to meet them at this rate.
Right now Bernandes-sama was leading the 4th Division in gathering intelligence in the Capital.
Perhaps it would be better to explain to the intelligence branch and enlist their help.
“Ediiiiim! I’ve been looking for you! How was it? It had better have gone perfectly!”
And here came another idiot I didn’t want to deal with.
So it had been an hour since I entered then.
To be honest I had no time to deal with him.
Unfortunately he was still, technically, my superior.
I had no choice but to report Gordon’s escape.
It was depressing.
And I could tell this dumbass was going to lose it.
If I wasn’t careful with my wording he might even kill me.
“My deepest apologies. I did not succeed, and Gordon escaped. However, a pursuit team is already――”
“W-, Whaaat!? Youuu! I’ll never forgive you! I’ll tear your head from your neck!”
In a rage, Ortidiot began to strangle me.
Kuh-, what power…
He might have been lacking in intelligence, but he lacked nothing in raw strength.
I couldn’t get him off.
O-, Oh shit.
Don’t tell me I was going to be killed by this idiot?
How could I accept dying in such a stupid way!
I mustered the last of my strength to get his hands off.
“Gaaaaaah! Haaaah! Haah, haah…”
“Edim. This is unforgivable. How are you going to take responsibility if Tilea-sama loses faith in me! I’ll kill you!”
“Haah, haah, p-please wait. This is hardly the time for that. Are you fine with just letting him go!?”
“Huh? Are you trying to pin your own failures on me!?”
“Ortissio-sama, I can accept the punishment for letting him go later. However, if we fail to catch him now, the consequences for both of us will be even dearer.”
“W-W-What do you mean ‘consequences’? You’re the one who messed up!”
What a guy.
From my point of view, he was the cause for all of this!
And although I was so desperate to spit that at him, as I mentioned, this was hardly the time for fighting.
There was no choice except for me to be the adult here and move things along.
“Ortissio-sama, please think calmly about this. This is not the time for allotting blame,” I reasoned. “No matter whose fault it was, the two of us are done for if the mission ends in failure!”
“Kuh! Because of you――”
“Please stop right there, Ortissio-sama. I’ll listen to your complaints as much as you want afterwards. But for now, we must get to work. There isn’t long until dawn,” I stressed.
“Ngnghn, fine,” he finally relented, “I’d take anybody’s help right now. I’ll put off taking your life for now.”
“Thank you very much.”
“Well? What are you doing now, Edim? Where’s Gordon?”
“According to the intelligence I’ve received, Gordon appears to be escaping from the underground waterways.”
“Underground waterways!? Are you certain?”
“Yes. Considering the level of surveillance we have above-ground, it is very strange that we’ve yet to detect him.”
“Indeed. Then we send a team into the sewerage systems at once!”
“I have of course done so. However, I’m told that usable tunnels aren’t that common. I’ve enlisted the help of somebody familiar with the history of the place, but whether or not we’ll find the right tunnel before dawn is…”
“Hah? Then what are we supposed to do!? Don’t you have any brains? Think up some kind of solution!”
Don’t I have…
Then don’t you have any brains!?
Ah, no, no.
Hold it in, Edim.
You don’t have time to squabble with him.
A solution, huh…
Before Ortidiot interrupted my train of thought I was thinking of asking the 4th Division for help.
The 4th was the division directly commanded by Dryas-sama.
Although it was a top secret mission, I didn’t think it would be too much of a problem to reveal it to our strategist and chief of staff.
“Shouldn’t we ask for Dryas-sama’s help?”
“Haah? Wh-, Why do we have to ask him for help? Piss off! To begin with, don’t you have any idea what ‘top secret’ means!?”
“I do. However, this is an emergency. At this rate, the mission itself might end in failure. Besides, Dryas-sama is our Chief of Staff. Ordinarily he would be privy to this information anyway. If I had to choose between this and failing, I think asking for his help would be much preferred.”
“N-No. No! I won’t accept it! Why do we have to share the merits with him!?” he clamoured.
I knew this idiot would make a fuss.
The reality was that the underground waterways were too much for just my unit and the 2nd Division.
We really wouldn’t make it without the information from the 4th.
I just had to find a way to convince this dimwit.
“Please, Ortissio-sama. We have no choice but to rely the Evil God Army’s prided intelligence branch if we want to get anywhere with the waterways.”
“Don’t want to. No way am I lowering my head to that―― Oh, I know. Why don’t we just ask Bernandes directly!”
“Ortissio-sama, it isn’t good to go over one’s superior like that. Either way, Bernandes-sama would ask Dryas-sama for permission.”
“Besides, it would not be good to leak details of the top secret mission to anyone but the Chief of Staff. Tilea-sama mentioned that even Camilla-sama was not to know of it. However, Dryas-sama seemed to know a little.”
“Ortissio-sama, I still think the worst outcome would be failing to complete the mission that Tilea-sama gave us.”
“I-, I get it. But could you go ask the Chief of Staff?”
J-, Just how much trouble did he have to make until he was satisfied?
I didn’t want to give such a shameful report either.
“Ortissio-sama, I still need to give orders to my kin. Besides, it should be the superior officer that reports to the top in these instances, no?”
“Ugugu, f-fine. I’ll do it, fine!”
Ortidiot left for the underground empire, radiating displeasure.
I thought back to all of those taunts he threw at Dryas-sama.
Who knew what was going to happen to him now.
Truly reaping what you sow.