Chapter 124:

Vol. 8 Chapter 3 Unfortunate News Part 3

Hour Empty Child


Normally, it would have been about an hour for anyone to drive from Triun all the way to Korjack, the city where the next E-Plus quest will be in.Bookmark here

But having Hikari’s specialized ame to drive in, with Chui as the driver, it made the process of going over there flash by in a blink of an eye. To be exact, it was about 20 minutes or so of driving.Bookmark here

Keeping themselves entertained by watching a movie with the big plasma TV that hung from the ceiling of the ame, the E-Plus were enjoying their comfortable ride before Chui finally chimed in.Bookmark here

“Everyone~ We have arrived at Korjack!”Bookmark here

Ringing out with her charming voice, Chui drove the car around the area, eventually coming to a stop near the sidewalk of a street. Looking out the window, Kudo notices the change in scenery comparing to Triun.Bookmark here

It was vibrant, but not as bustling as Triun. There were buildings of variable sizes, but none as big as the skyscrapers in Triun, but there were still many signs and TV’s that hung about in the air to catch the attention of would-be buyers.Bookmark here

He could see, even from a distance, a large tower that expanded above as if to pierce the sky, taller than any other building around made out of steel beams. Kudo tilted his head to see what that tower might be used for.Bookmark here

Kudo stepped out of the ame thanks to Chui’s assistance and looked around the open air. The people that walked by eyed at the expensive looking Ame that Kudo came out of along with the other members.Bookmark here

“So this is Korjack…” Kuki let out in wonder of the atmosphere.Bookmark here

It was nearly quiet, save for some people whispering and talking amongst themselves, even taking a picture or two at the expensive ame they came out of.Bookmark here

“Then, Master Kudo, I will be taking my leave then,” Chui stepped up to Kudo and gave a graceful bow to him, one that fits her status as a Valkyria maid.Bookmark here

“Thanks, Chui. I’ll call you later.”Bookmark here

“Understood, then, may the gods bless you on this quest.”Bookmark here

Chui blessed them with her words of prayer as she heads back into the ame and started the engine. After seeing the ame drive by and leaving them on the sidewalk, Kudo could faintly hear the roaring sounds of the engine slowly disappear.Bookmark here

“Alright,” Kudo turned to his party members who were craning their necks to view the sights. “First thing on the list is to meet with the client. Our quest is to find the client’s missing friend, so we need some information on the guy.”Bookmark here

Kudo relayed his plan that he talked with the others back in the ame, getting everyone’s attention as they nodded in agreement.Bookmark here

“The quest note said that we can meet the client at the plaza, in the center of the city. Let’s head there immediately.”Bookmark here

Hinota pointed at the east side of them to point at the center. Hearing her orders, everyone followed the leaders to the center.Bookmark here

They began to get a grasp on the town’s layout as they walk towards the center. It’s a necessary skill for adventurers to try to map out their area in their heads so that they won’t get lost.  
Some have it easier than others, like Hinota, who can remember the map they had on them the location of the plaza with ease.Bookmark here

With Hinota guiding them, they walked on the sidewalk of the streets where few ames drove by to provide noise for the city. Some beeping to get ahead, and of course, the usual yelling of road rage. It was nearly equal to being in Triun.Bookmark here

The people bustling about like worker bees in a hive weren’t so different either in matter of clothing. Each boasts high-end fashion, colorful and bright which was also equal to Triun’s trends. Some wore trench coats for the cold weather, and others had on hoodies that nearly covered their faces.Bookmark here

And as usual, there were some adventurers here and there scattered about, each having their weapon sheathed at their hips and backs, with their flashy armor rustling about as they walked down the lane and into the busy street to get started on their business.Bookmark here

“Figures that the city close to Triun would be the same,” Tsuchi commented at the atmosphere of the city as they waited on the side of the streetlight above to go green. “Everything here feels so nice.”Bookmark here

“This is the closest city to Triun. They’re practically reaping the benefits from the tourists that drive their way to Triun,” Mizuri added in her remark on the city.Bookmark here

“So it’s all just about corporations taking advantage of people to rake in the dough. Damn bastards…” Kuki grumbled, crossing his arms with a crease in his brows.Bookmark here

“Oh, Kui, shut up about the failing economy…” Raika nearly sighed, having no more of the nihilistic views from Kuki.Bookmark here

“What’s so special about this city, though?” Kudo asked, turning his head to them.Bookmark here

“Nothing much, really,” Mizuri answered. “It’s just a city close to Triun. I think it has nice hotels and restaurants, but there’s nothing special about this place.”Bookmark here

“You read about this city the day before while you were preparing, weren’t you?”Bookmark here

Hinota asked. Kudo noticed how Mizuri’s cheeks flushed red from that question.Bookmark here

“W-What’s wrong with that? There’s nothing wrong about studying up on the place, right?”Bookmark here

Mizuri asked as if it was something embarrassing or something that she did wrong. Hinota and Kudo chuckled from her fluster.Bookmark here

“That’s the perfect thing to do.”Bookmark here

Kudo answered to relieve Mizuri her embarrassment. Mizuri let out a short sigh to see that Kudo was on her side.Bookmark here

“We’re nearly there, so let’s keep up the pace.”Bookmark here

Hinota said which caught the attention of everyone who was drifting away to look at the city a bit more. Soon enough, they finally reached their way to the center of the city—the plaza.Bookmark here

After the streets diverged to form into a large circle, seeing the various streets that head to the different districts of the city, it wasn’t surprising to see that there were many people crowding this place.Bookmark here

At the center of the plaza, surrounded by the circled street that had many ames driving by to get to their desired district, was a resting area for everyone who parked by for some relief. In there, there was a greenish landscape filled with freshly cut grass and a few trees to provide a nature-filled feel within the bustling city. On that small park were several benches for sitting, and a statue that stood mightily on a pedestal wearing warrior’s armor with a sword aiming at the heavens above.Bookmark here

“Whoa, nice…” Kuki admitted after taking a look at the nice scenery at the center.Bookmark here

“This should be where we’ll find our client… ah.”Bookmark here

After scanning the area for a little bit, something in Hinota’s mind clicked after spotting out an interesting person sitting on one of the benches of the resting area.Bookmark here

She pointed with her finger to point at the individual, catching everyone’s attention so that they can check out the client. There was a lone girl sitting on the brown wooden bench, the wind blowing by which swayed the tree leaves and the girl’s neck-length hair that caught her face.Bookmark here

Pulling down the pink hair, the girl showed to be very young looking—having vibrant yellow eyes and a petite mouth as if to resemble a little girl. However, she appeared to be an adult as she had a tall fit body and wore a black office woman’s suit.Bookmark here

She looked around, her hair swishing left and right as she does so, trying to find the person she’s looking for. After turning forward, she let out a sigh as she lifted her hand and placed it above her chest to relieve her beating heart.Bookmark here

“Excuse me?”Bookmark here

The young woman flinched, her heart nearly came out of her mouth after hearing a sweet voice call out to her. She heard several footsteps before she looked up, seeing the six extraordinarily dressed people walking towards her.Bookmark here

“We are from Alpha Heart—the E-Plus,” Hinota introduced for everyone. “Are you the one that contacted us?”Bookmark here

The young woman looked up, her eyes widening as if she saw an amazing spectacle.Bookmark here

The E-Plus party stood around while Hinota sat down by the young woman on the bench, seating properly to show that she has nothing but professionalism in her mind. Kudo, on the other hand, stood upright beside her to let Hinota deal with talking with the client.Bookmark here

“Your name is Cirya Holsteim, correct?”Bookmark here

“Y-Yes,” the young woman, Cirya, responded.Bookmark here

“It is a pleasure to see you,” Hinota continued. “My name is Hinota. This is Kudo besides me, and our party members; Tsuchi, Mizuri, Raika, and Kuki. We’re the adventurers who have been charged with your quest.”Bookmark here

Hinota pointed to each one of her members while stating their name. Cirya nodded slowly while looking over to the party members who either waved or smiled at her.Bookmark here

After all, it is only etiquette to introduce yourself the best way possible.Bookmark here

“T-This is surprising…” Cirya lowered her head, hunching her neck down as if trying to get back into her clothes like a turtle.Bookmark here

“What is?” Hinota asked.Bookmark here

“I figured that adventurers would be more… rugged,” Cirya said with mild nerves eating her alive.Bookmark here

“Ah, I suppose that’s the general viewpoint for adventurers. But I assure you, we’re just as professional when it comes to quests. You can leave your problem to our capable hands.”Bookmark here

“Ah…” Cirya’s eyes looked up at her and sparkled over Hinota’s calm and cool explanation.Bookmark here

Kuki and Raika were both astounded and in awe over at how Hinota changes her tone when it comes to clients, but figured that since she was a noble where she came from, this was expected of her.Bookmark here

“S-So then, you are all adventurers… who is the leader?”Bookmark here

Cirya asked what sounded like a good question, though she already turned to Hinota, knowing who it might be already.Bookmark here

“We actually have two leaders—me, and Kudo here.”Bookmark here

Hinota pointed at herself then to Kudo standing behind her. Kudo responded with a wave and a smile, something that he made sure to perfect when it comes to clients.Bookmark here

However, Cirya’s expression showed as if she was surprised.Bookmark here

“Him? Really?” Cirya tilted her head, her tone showing more shock than necessary. “But he doesn’t look reliable…”Bookmark here

Kudo became aghast. He didn’t expect something like that thrown at his face so suddenly. Kuki and Raika were surprised to hear that, while Mizuri scratched her cheek and Tsuchi putting his hands behind his head with a wry smile.Bookmark here

“He may look unreliable,” Hinota followed up with a smile. “But he’s a leader for a reason. Please rest assured.”Bookmark here

“Well… alright,” Cirya gave in to Hinota’s seducing-like words, fiddling with her thumbs. Kudo, however, asked in his mind ‘How do I look unreliable?!’ without an answer.Bookmark here

“Now then, let’s not beat around the bush. We may have received your quest, but we’re still in the dark about the circumstances. We like to hear more about our missing person, the one whom you issued a quest to find.”Bookmark here

“Ah, right…”Bookmark here

Cirya realized the depth of Hinota’s professionalism in her words as she quickly got to the point. Breathing in calmly through her nose, then exhaling through her mouth, Cirya turned to the members with furrowed eyes.Bookmark here

“Yes… I’m looking for someone. My nephew—Sherald.”Bookmark here

“Your nephew…?” Hinota asked in a surprised tone. “But your quest asked that we were supposed to look for a young adult male.”Bookmark here

“My nephew is old—about 21 years old, I believe…”Bookmark here

Cirya gave the explanation, surprising the others from the age gap.Bookmark here

“I know, it’s surprising. But it’s true. My older sister had Sherald while I was about 5 years old. I arrived late in the family.”Bookmark here

“I see…” Hinota nodded.Bookmark here

“I looked out for him all my life. He’s like a little brother to me. So I’ve been taking care of him ever since.”Bookmark here

Kudo felt slightly off considering how the flow of conversation is going. She sounded as if she was the only one capable of doing such a thing.Bookmark here

“Umm… what about his parents?” Kudo asked, figuring whether or not it was the right thing to say.Bookmark here

Cirya lowered her head, biting her lip as she answered, “My sister and brother in law were… not really married, so to speak. And that made things harder for them to raise Sherald.”Bookmark here

“A-Ah…”Bookmark here

Kudo knew that he stepped on a landmine. He would kick himself for asking a question that brought up unnecessary memories from the past.Bookmark here

He looked at Hinota, wondering if she was gonna give him a bad glare, but instead, she raised her hand to him and lowered it a few times. It meant that it was okay.Bookmark here

“Because of that, things were difficult for Sherald… He’s not a bad person, but… he can be difficult to deal with.”Bookmark here

“I see…” Hearing Cirya’s words, Hinota made several theories in her mind in the next instant. “So it’s possible that his personality could have caused problems with other people?”Bookmark here

“To say the least…” Cirya let out a weary sigh that came out of her chest. “He’s an adventurer, but he can be really impatient, and sometimes rude to other people. You could say that he’s pretty ignorant too, and a bit of a bigot…”Bookmark here

“Wow…” Hinota accidentally let out, covering her mouth afterward. Though, at this rate, the other members felt the same way.Bookmark here

“I know what you’re thinking—such a person like that would be better off going missing, huh?”
“No, of course not,” Hinota outright denied such a statement. “It doesn’t matter what kind of person he is. We don’t judge like that.”Bookmark here

“Well, then you’re all the first to think like that. Everyone else I asked said stuff like ‘he’s finally out of your hands’. I knew then that nobody would really support me.”Bookmark here

Hearing her circumstances, Kudo felt awful for how she was treated. Someone from her family goes missing, and nobody would bat an eye for him. He started to wonder just how bad this Sherald might be to have people treat him like that.Bookmark here

“His party members were also saying the same thing. Though I understand that they’re taking the brunt of his insults and screaming, since they’re in a party together, but still…”Bookmark here

“We understand,” Hinota intervened. “Don’t worry. We will not go back on our word. We will accomplish this quest, no matter the cost. That’s how the Alpha Heart works.”Bookmark here

Hinota gripped her hand into a fist to show Cirya her determination. From the look of her glaring yet courageous eyes, Cirya turned stunned by her sharp beauty.Bookmark here

“We’ll find him, and we’ll complete the quest. So, Miss Cirya, please tell us about his traits and usual habits and visits in this town.”Bookmark here

“Y-Yes! I understand!”Bookmark here

Cirya responded with a peppy answer. Hinota let off a smile as the party listened to every word Cirya said.Bookmark here

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Looks like this quest won’t be as easy as they first thought. Oh well, just another quest to complete for the E-Plus!Bookmark here

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