Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
「The Elven Bride」 Part 2
At Teresa’s words, Ariane and I glanced at each other before turning back to her.
“I know that this is an unreasonable thing to ask, but I was wondering if I could trust you two to find the person who accompanied me when I was first brought here……”
Teresa had a sullen expression when looked up to stare at Ariane. Her misty green eyes and trembling made her appear vulnerable.
“Who is this person you want us to find?”
Although Ariane seemed skeptical about this, she looked Teresa in the eyes and asked her to elaborate.
“When I was first brought here, it was a maid that informed Petros of the situation. Her name is Furani Markham, she disappeared three days ago and we’ve been unable to find her.”
Teresa replied to Ariane with an earnest expression.
“Would this Furani woman happen to be your benefactor?”
Teresa looked confused for a moment before closed her eyes and nodded in response to Ariane’s questions.
“Yes, she is certainly my benefactor, but she is also the first friend I made in this human city…… While Petros and his father battled for control of the household, she helped sheltering me. Every day she took care of my needs and talked with me.”
“Is it possible that she was captured by the bandits we were talking about?”
Ariane brought up a possibility, but Petros denied it.
“No, the probability of that is low since she never leaves the city. Currently, merchants are visiting this city to buy enslaved criminals to sell them in a neighboring country, but among them there are those that kidnap citizens and ship them away.”
The minstrel who had been whispering sweet words into Teresa’s ear had been replaced by Petros the feudal lord.
“I just can’t understand how you humans think…… You even try to enslave your own kind.”
Teresa, the only other elf in the room, seem to have agreed with Ariane’s throwaway statement.
“Lord Petros, do you believe that this maid was kidnapped by those people?”
When asked for his opinion, he looked tired as he nodded.
“Most likely. With the slave traders who controlled the underworld gone and the capital still in the midst of a power struggle, things are falling into anarchy. This is the result of my over eagerness, even with father defeated my power base has yet to stabilize. It’d be difficult and time-consuming to find Furani…… Teresa would like to search by herself, but I could never agree to that with the current level of public order.”
Petros was probably cautious of retaliation from the previous lord’s underworld contacts.
However, if the maid Furani was really kidnapped to be sold in another country, then they should be using the sea route. There should be a limited number of places we’d have to search then.
“Shouldn’t ships that are illegally transporting people to foreign countries be easy to find with harbor inspections?”
I really thought that thorough inspections would be able to catch the perpetrator so I suggested them, but things weren’t that simple.
“It might be possible if on-the-spot inspections could be conducted. If the ship has the backing of foreign nobles then I can’t carelessly interfere without decisive evidence. Not to mention that the guards conducting the inspection could be bribed for their silence…… Currently, I’m using my authority as feudal lord to restrict any ship from leaving the harbor, by that won’t last past tomorrow.”
Teresa expression became clouded at Petros words. Petros took both her hand in an attempt to cheer her up.
Even though he is a lord, if the ships were for the official use of foreign nobles then he couldn’t recklessly impose inspections. He couldn’t have the ships in the harbor monitored to prevent illegal cargo from being loaded either because he currently lacked complete control over his vassals.
Still, even though criminals are sent to neighboring countries as slaves, why are they abducting even more people? Is there a major development project or war going on?
“Why is the neighboring country so intent on gathering slaves?”
Even if the country isn’t directly involved in the kidnapping, it wouldn’t hurt to learn the details.
“Nozan is not the ones gathering the slaves. It appears that the on country gathering them is the next country over, the Hiruku Theocracy. Supposedly it to help the criminals attain atonement for their sins, but I think they’re just using them as laborers in the country’s mithril mines.
“Mithril mines, huh.”
Mithril was a familiar fantasy metal in the game. It was a material used in intermediate and advanced level items, so it should be a considerably valuable material in this world.
Even if we assume that the slaves were needed to mine the precious ore, there was still something about the situation that was hard to shallow.
It was the criminals. In order to attain them, they had to cross another country to purchase them from Rhoden. The transportation cost on the return trip should skyrocket.
I don’t know much about slave trading on earth, but it couldn’t be cheap to transport them through a country. I couldn’t see much profit on the merchant’s’ side.
When I asked Petros about this he said “Certainly.” before explaining how things were confounded by Hiruku’s masterful manipulation.
“Currently, Hiruku’s chivalrous knights can be seen throughout Nozan. Also, the amount of mithril ore exchanged for the slaves exceeds their actual value. Western Nozan territories have been heavily damaged by the recent monsters attacks, and the weapons made from the mithril ore are essential in the monster subjugations.”
I see, the merchants paid no heed to the transportation cost considering that they could obtain the highly valuable mithril. No wonder there was frenzied slave gathering going on.
However, that still left the theocracy with the majority of the costs.
“In addition, the people that have been chased out of Nozan by the monster attacks crossed the sea and flooded into the city, making it even more difficult to enforce public order.”
It seems that the refugees from Nozan were frequently the targets of the abductors and if one of them managed to escape they would be sent back to the Hiruku Theocracy as slaves.
“I’ve heard that dark elves had better sight and hearing than regular elves. Could you please help me find my friend?”
Teresa bowed to Ariane and begged her for help.
“I’ll ask you as well. I heard that elven warriors are quite powerful, if you offer us your services I’ll be willing to pay.”
Although Petros was a feudal lord he lowered his head to Ariane, a fake messenger. When we saw the appearance of the pair Ariane and I shared a look. Her golden eyes were asking me if I wanted to become involved with this.
“I will follow whatever decision you make, Ariane-dono.”
I didn’t really mind offering my assistance. Based on the determined look in her eyes it was clear what she was gonna do in regards to the request.
“…… I don’t how much of a difference it’ll make, but we’ll lend you our strength.”
Teresa and Petros had a joyous expression when they heard our answer.
They said that the maid Furani went missing three days ago, and while we don’t know how many ships had anchored in the harbor during that time period, we had to quickly find out.
We had Teresa and Petros describe Furani’s appearance to us before we tried to set off, but Petros raised his hand to stop us.
“Since you’re unfamiliar with this city I’ll assign you a guide.”
When he said that the old gentleman that had been standing in the back of the room offered a slight bow before leaving. A short time later, he returned and was accompanied by a man adorned in an impressive set of armor.
The new person took a stand right beside Petros. His eyes bulged when he saw Ariane sitting in front of him, but he managed to regain his composure immediately.
“This is Gio Clintuso. He is the vice-captain of our territory’s knights, and he shall act as your guide.”
The vice-captain that Petros introduced quickly lowered his head in a soldier-like manner and offered us a gentle smile.
He looked to be in his early thirties, but his short-cut chestnut colored hair and meek smile contradicted the image of grizzled knight captain I had in my mind if anything he looked like a civil servant. However, his body was considerably tall and toned.
“I am Gio Clintos, it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
After greeting us with the smooth tongue of a veteran office worker, he stepped behind Petros.
“With him along there shouldn’t be many places in town that you can’t enter. Thanks in advance for helping find Furani.”
Petros and Teresa offered Ariane sincere glances as they thanked her. Ariane faintly nodded upon receiving their gratitude.
Once everything was settled and we were far enough away from the castle, Ariane adjusted her paces so that she was walking beside me.
“What’s the matter, Ariane-dono.”
When I tried to look her in the eye she would turn away from me for some reason.
“I’m sorry for dragging you along because of my own selfishness……”
After a bit of reflection, Ariane looked back at me and muttered that.
Although this was a requested from the elf Teresa, it could help humans as well. Ariane might actually be thinking about the betterment of the elf and human relationship. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Of course, that was merely my own assumption. It wouldn’t take a detective to see that I was a little biased in my assessment.
“Our objective has simply changed from rescuing Teresa to finding her friend Furani.”
She didn’t say anything in response to my remark, only looking away in apparent embarrassment and the edges of her mouth slightly rose.
“……Thank you, Arc.”
Receiving her small thanks caused my heart faintly pound. I’m starting to understand the mindset of the famous third generation master thief, there must have been an animalistic instinct buried in the hearts of men, wanting to fulfill a beautiful woman’s request.