Hour Empty Child
The E-Plus party got out of the hut, each one withholding their need to regurgitate without looking foolish. The atmosphere around the hut was nice and calm, no scent of death lingering in the air, but their moods were just as abysmal as it was inside the hut.
“…What kind of quest is this… this isn’t a C-Rank quest anymore!”
Raika whimpered, hunching her head below her shoulders as she gripped her dainty hands into fists.
“I know, Raika, but please, calm down. It’s our duty as adventurers to at least report this to the Alpha Heart guild. However, as we don’t know where Sherald is, and he did something like this, it’s only natural that our first priority is to capture him before he goes after his party members next.”
Hinota answered Raika who looked back with tears in her eyes. She then turned to Kuki.
“Kuki, sorry, but can you call the guild?”
“Y-Yeah, leave it to me.”
Kuki nodded as he quickly pulled out his phone to type out the number.
“Once he’s finished with the call, we’ll head back into town and book it into overdrive on finding him. We’ll leave no stone unturned. Understand?!”
Mizuri and Tsuchi answered clearly, but Kuki and Raika answered half-heartedly a second later.
Meanwhile, Kudo remained silent, looking away towards the barrier where there was foggy ash everywhere around them. Hinota walked towards him and put her hand on his shoulder.
“Kudo? You in?”
Kudo answered quickly without turning to her. Hinota raised her right brow at this behavior.
He answered again at a quick pace. However, he turned back around, facing Hinota’s eyes with his own. At that point, Hniota knew that something was different about him. Not his facial expression, which was his usual furrowed face, but the air around him was somehow different.
“Hinota, I’ll catch this guy, no matter what.”
Kudo answered to Hinota’s call from before looking straight to her face, all the while showing fierce furrowed eyes.
Hinota somehow felt intimidated by his own glare.
“Y-Yeah, we’ll catch him,” Hinota figured to correct him on his wording, but Kudo didn’t seem to budge.
He turned back around, and walked forward towards the end of the clean atmosphere barrier and waited for the others to come around. Hinota was the only one who lagged behind, looking at her hand that touched Kudo.
Somehow, she felt that Kudo was different. Her hand was touching the same Kudo as usual, but what she saw was a different version. She couldn’t explain it, even with her highly-developed mind.
She feared that something was happening, and she didn’t like what was going on as she moved forward to head out of the clean atmospheric barrier.
After getting out of the Ashspell Forest, which took them another struggle as they had to get rid of some Roaring monkeys on the way, they swiftly returned to Korjack to find the apparent murderer who was loose in the streets.
The E-Plus decided to at least inform the knights that there was a dangerous individual in the streets. Hinota was the one who suggested it, as she just wanted a moment to take in what was going on.
After careful consideration, Hinota told the guard that there was a dangerous individual, and a body was found in a hut within Ashspell forest. Once the knights reported to one another and set out a dispatch unit towards the forest, the knights thanked them for the information, but then told them to leave it to them and stay away from the individual.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t in the E-Plus’ plans. Once the knights sent them away, the party huddled together to form a quick plan.
“Everyone, I think we should stay together for the time being,” Hinota said, surprising the others.
“But Hinota, wouldn’t we have more ground to cover if each one of us split up to find the guy?” Kuki offered this sound plan.
“And what happens when one of us do, and Sherald decides to attack?” We don’t know his level, so he could be dangerous. And we can’t just kill him either.”
“I-I see…” Kuki understood a little with a look of unease on his face.
“I-I rather that we stay together, too… I don’t want to find him by myself!”
Raika muttered, knowing that she sounded afraid, but everyone understood the same feeling. Kudo, on the other hand, didn’t seem so pleased as he continued to furrow his eyes.
“Then, let’s go to the quickest place where we can spot him—we need to go to a higher place. So, what’s the highest place here?”
Hinota said as she looked above her along with everyone else. After a while, something sparked within Kudo’s memory, and told the others.
“What about the tower over there?”
Remembering the tall tower, Kudo pointed to where the tall tower made of beams that rose toward the sky like a spike.
“The radio tower…?” Mizuri pointed out, answering Kudo and Hinota’s questions.
“What does that do?” Hinota asked.
“It sends the signal all across town so that stuff like the radio and television can receive electronic waves,” Mizuri forgot that Hinota was still not so keen on electronics, and provided a short explanation.
“I see… then that’s where we’re heading.”
“B-But are we allowed to go up that high?” Tsuchi asked in concern.
“Probably not, but this is an emergency. If we have to, I’ll pay for the fine of getting into trouble.”
“Y-You’re really serious….” Mizuri said with a grin, slightly excited over Hinota’s bravery to go against the rules.
After breaking up the huddle, the E-Plus headed their way towards the signal tower. Since they spotted it out, it was easy to follow the directions to find the tower as quickly as possible.
Meanwhile, Hinota noticed that Kudo became strangely quiet, more quiet than usual. She didn’t know the reason why, and she usually knows this, so she grew concerned as they hurried along.
After getting to the tower, they saw that there was an entrance to it, two metal doors that barred the entrance. But it was guarded by security guards, most likely adventurers, hired to guard the entrance.
After seeing their obstacle, Hinota devised a plan.
After hiding themselves from view by using the nearby trashcans and bushes of the grassy areas of the block, Hintoa picked up a pebble on the ground. Aiming down the sight on the guard’s head, a rough-looking male with bulging muscles that was nearly tearing the white T-Shirt he was wearing, Hinota threw the pebble at such precision that it hit the guard’s head right in the forehead.
The guard winced from being hit, rubbing his forehead as he looked around. The other guard noticed what happened and also started to look around. After catching their attention, Hinota picked up another pebble, and this time, threw it on a different side.
After the pebble hits the wall of a desolate area, the other guards heard the sound and figured that something was happening over there, so the two guards ran towards the desolate area, leaving behind the doors for a few moments.
That’s when the party took charge. Hinota urged the others to follow her towards the two doors and entered inside as quickly as they could. Using their superb hiding skills, they managed to hide from every staffer that was inside and head towards the top by using the stairs.
After a while, they finally reached to the top of the staircase. Hinota opened the door and as soon as she did, the wind blew against her visage, her flowing red hair swayed in the breeze before stepping outside into the open air. They stepped onto a small stone-marble balcony made entirely of gray. It was supposed to be the place where technicians would go to begin their climb upwards to the radio towers to fix something.
Of course, they were not supposed to be there, but in this case, they had no choice.
Seeing out of the signal tower balcony, the E-Plus was astounded at how high they were.
“Whoa! Would you look at that!” Kuki pointed out to Raika who looked down, her mouth hanging open after seeing the small dots moving around the ground that were actually people walking around.
Tsuchi was also seeing this from above, then he looked back to see Mizuri standing away from the balcony’s railing, pursing her lips and her knees shaking.
“You’re still afraid of heights, huh?”
“S-So what?! Sue me!” Mizuri snapped back at Tsuchi who smiled and laughed at her displeasure.
Meanwhile, Kudo and Hinota looked around the vicinity.
“Hinota, I can’t see the guy from way up here,” Kudo said as he squinted his eyes to see further below, but not even his good eyesight can spot out Sherald from any other dot below.
“This is where our archer comes in,” Hinota smiled and turned to Raika who looked up to her.
“Raika, I’m giving you the details of his looks. You’ll need to spot him from way up here. Can you do it?”
“Y-Yeah! Leave it to me!” Raika pounded her chest as she agreed wholeheartedly.
Raika scanned the entire town with her vigilant round green eyes. Like a hawk, she scoped out to find her prey. The others waited patiently for Raika to find him, as her eyesight were even better than everyone else as part of her job description as an archer.
Her abilities are also strengthened thanks to her beastman racial attributes such as enhanced hearing, sight, and smell. So this job is perfect for Raika.
After seeing every location imaginable, Raika resolved herself to look at one place that she didn’t consider to look before—the plaza.
After seeing various people, merely dots to everyone else who was watching, walking around and minding their own business, Raika widened her eyes to see the familiar description Hinota spoke to her moments ago about Sherald.
Small build, short stature. Short blond spiky hair in the middle without any hair on his sides, and slightly tanned skin. Should be wearing thief’s garb like leather clothing and a dagger on his hip or so.
After seeing these descriptions on one person walking in the plaza with a strange gait, Raika pointed with her finger.
“He’s at the plaza… carrying a dagger!”
After she said that, a chill ran down their spines.
“H-He can’t be!” Kuki shouted. “There’s like dozens of people there! He’s gonna get caught anyways!”
Everyone figured that Kuki said was right, however, Kudo moved ahead towards the railing, putting his hands on it as he looked ahead with furrowed eyes.
“…Not unless he isn’t in his right mind.”
Kudo said grimly which caught everyone by surprise. Then, out of nowhere, Kudo jumped onto the railing.
“W-Wait a minute, Kudo?!”
Hinota was about to put her hand out to catch him, but she barely missed him as he jumped off the railing. Everyone gasped in shock as they looked over the railing to see him freefalling in the air from the signal tower’s highest place.
Hinota shouted in disbelief and panic. What was he thinking, jumping off a tower without any kind of insurance? As she was thinking that, she saw Kudo screaming out loud.
As he fell, he let out white chains that streamed out of his hand towards one of the buildings. The end of that chain caught the building, getting Kudo to swing around like a monkey on a vine around the building as he slowly extended the chain, making him come closer down towards the ground.
After seeing that Kudo was okay, Hinota turned to the others who looked too terrified to even make an expression.
“Come on, let’s go! Something’s wrong with Kudo, I can feel it!”
Hinota said those short words before she ran out towards the door to head back down. After looking at each other, the four moved forward to follow their leader.
Meanwhile, Kudo ran on the sidewalk after getting down to the ground safely to head towards the plaza as quickly as possible.
“I won’t let you get away with this… Sherald.”
Kudo said, his tone lowering to that of a chilling sound, and his eyes slowly changing shape into that of a furious look.
Things took a serious turn?! Kudo just went ahead all on his own, eyes full of blazing fury! What exactly will happen when he gets there…?!
Sorry for the short chapter. I promise, though, that the last chapter will be longer. Then, I’ll tell everyone the big news. So look forward to it!
Again, vote and like if you enjoyed it, and comment on whatever suits your fancy!