We returned back to Eihab and the others, and discussed our plans for the future.
「I think we should find the culprit first. 」
Hearing my declaration, Eihab made a surprised face.
「It’s rare to hear Douglas saying something like this. 」
Certainly, if it was my own problem, I probably wouldn’t have chased after and stopped the harasser. I have lived like this until now. I thought that it wouldn’t do anything even if I faced them.
But I’ve learnt that there are matters that can be brushed off and those that can’t be. This is the latter situation.
「It’s not for the sake of catching the culprit in the first place. We’re hunting them down to stop them from doing it again. If we do nothing, won’t they never learn their lesson? 」
Despite the hard to speak atmosphere, Catlie raised her hand a little.
「Nn? What’s the matter, Catlie. Have you noticed anything? 」
「I’m not completely sure……. I think it’s the doing of another craftsman……」
「Why do you think so? 」
「The rain last night was quite intense. The wind was strong too. To climb up to the roof under such a condition, I think it’ll be difficult for normal people. 」
Certainly, it’s as Catlie said.
「And also this timing……. Before we put on the roof, if they did the harassment during the sunny day, then it wouldn’t have caused this much damage. 」
So that’s it. Knowing how and when to do the most damage, the probability of the culprit being a craftsman is quite high.
「Then let’s gather some information in the craftsman guild. Can the others proceed with the dismantling? 」
「Alright. We need to fix the roof after all. 」
「Will it be alright. If anything happens with the guild……」
「Well, we don’t really have a choice but to believe that the other side will listen huh. 」
「U-Understood……. If Douglas-san says so……! 」
Catlie looked at me with trusting eyes. I thought I must live up to her feelings somehow. Finding my resolve, I headed for the craftsman guild together with Ravi and Catlie.
As we waited for lunchtime, slowly, tough men started appearing like the last time we came here. I sought out the familiar carpenters that I saw before, and explained the situation, and asked if they knew anything.
Naturally, they were blatantly unhappy, and grabbed my collar. The carpenters surrounded us.
「Ravi, it’s fine. Don’t worry. 」
I expected they’d do something like this, so I didn’t mind their unfriendliness.
「Hey, Douglas-san. You’re saying some unforgivable things even if you are a hero. ……So, you’re saying that we are the ones who harassed you? 」
「No. I’m just asking for cooperation to gather information. 」
「You were suspecting us, otherwise you wouldn’t have come here.」
「Like I said just now, I don’t have any evidence. I’m not suspecting anyone. But I just thought that the possibility of it being a craftsman is high. 」
Of course, I’ve explained the reason behind the conjecture. The men who were glaring at me didn’t change their sharp gaze. Thankfully, they released my collar.
「What are you planning to do after finding the culprit? Are you handing him over to the military? 」
「No, that’s not it. I just want to talk to them so that they wouldn’t do it a second time. I don’t want something like this to happen again. It’s a building everyone put their hearts into building. 」
I looked around the carpenters, and desperately tried to convince them.
「You would understand since you all are craftsmen right? Her feelings when all that much work was ruined just in a night. 」
「The gender doesn’t matter. As a single craftsman, her hard work was mercilessly trampled on. But she still managed to stand up and recover and look forward. I don’t want her to be hurt more than this. 」
「Also, since the inn is my important friend’s, I can’t just let this incident go. 」
The carpenters became silent. It was awkwardly silent. However, the attitude is clearly different from the previous one where the hostility was obvious. Did I convey my message properly? I want to believe that.
「……We don’t know anything. The break time is over too. There’s nothing for us to say any more than this. 」
They kept their silence and scattered as if escaping.
……It was a failure huh. As expected, I don’t think more effort would do anything. It couldn’t be helped. I headed towards the timber shop, but I didn’t get any results there either.
I returned to the planned reconstruction site of 『Hog’s Cry』, after letting Ravi and the others go to the second floor, I talked with Eihab alone near where the dining hall is supposed to be.
「Eihab. Please, let me help in the funding this time. 」
Eihab had probably expected it, as he silently listened.
「Catlie felt responsible for this, and it’s physically impossible to build it with the remaining funds. Let me at least pay for the remaining portion this time. 」
「Well, if you say it’s for Catlie-chan’s sake……But……」
The time when Eihab had a tired expression as he said so――
「Is Douglas-san here? 」
A few men drew closer.
「You guys, you’re from the guild……」
「Is he the inn owner? Nice timing. Come with us for a little. 」
It was a strange request, but I didn’t feel any hostility. Eihab and I nodded at each other before following behind them. And then, for some reason there was a carriage loaded with wood materials.
「Hey, you explain! 」
With a thud on his shoulder, a young man was pushed out.
「What is it? 」
「He came here to apologize. Hey, explain yourself properly. 」
And so, the young man spoke with a rebellious tone.
「……I was the one who did it」
「I mean the roof! 」
And the young man became silent thereafter. Like it couldn’t be helped, the middle-aged man who stood beside him took over and explained.
「I heard there was this guy who was boasting after getting drunk. After asking him, he spilled the beans. He didn’t like the woman who dared to accept the hero’s request, and he said that he’ll make them regret it. 」
Facing us who were stunned, the young man snorted.
「It’s because that you relied on a woman carpenter. Learn your lesson, idiot! 」
「You are the idiot! 」
The man who seemed to be the leader shouted at him.
「Sorry, Douglas-san. This guy has been removed from the craftsman’s guild today, let’s just leave it at that. 」
「As you see, he isn’t reflecting at all. Correcting him is not possible, since he doesn’t want to change……」
「As if I’ll work with craftsmen who will side with a woman! 」
The young man shook away the hand from the leader on his neck and yelled.
「I’ll just move to another town! Who would even get close to something constructed by a woman! 」
The young man spat those words at us before vanishing into the dark streets.
「I will have one of my men follow him. I will make sure that he leaves the town. 」
「W-Well……Somehow, sorry. 」
「It’s our side that should apologize. 」
The craftsmen lowered their heads towards Douglas and Eihab.
「After hearing you, I realized. We are people who work together with pride. That’s the same for the woman bunny, but we didn’t understand that. 」
「I just didn’t like the fact that such an out of place existence is in this group of men. There’s no other reason than that. Just that I somehow felt that something I was protecting was breaking. 」
「Hey, bunny little miss. I’m really sorry! 」
Eh? Tracing where the carpenter man looked at, the figure of Catlie was there before I realized. It seems that she had heard the commotion and came to take a look.
Catlie raised her face with resolve, and stepped out with courage.
「I wasn’t trying to break anything. I just wanted to realize my dream, becoming a great carpenter. You all are the same right? Then where is the difference between us? 」
Catlie’s voice was trembling. This is her scream from her heart. The craftsmen as well, they had properly listened to her real thoughts this time.
「……There’s no different. That’s right. There’s no difference. ……That’s why, I’m really sorry. 」
「That man was in the wrong. But we are also responsible for perpetuating that kind of culture. 」
Probably, everyone’s beliefs and their irritation made them think they were 「Protecting」 their group from invaders. But they had realized their misdoings.
「Regarding the matter this time, we really do feel responsible. So could you let us help out in the restoring work. The materials are, as you see, already prepared. 」
That’s why the carriage with so much wood was here huh…….
「Inn owner. Can you accept it? Bunny little miss. We want you to instruct us. 」
Catlie and Eihab looked at each other.
Naturally, they tried to be reserved, and said that they wouldn’t take the materials, but the leader of the craftsman group laughed refreshingly while saying, 「The materials are already bought and delivered here, there’s no refusing now」. The stressed atmosphere finally softened for a little.
「Eihab, Catlie, how about accepting their offer gratefully? 」
With my words as the final push, both of them nodded.
「Now, let’s hurry since it’s decided. Let’s start rebuilding the inn! 」
The carpenters raised their fists all at once. They’re really a reliable workforce.
The flooded building had to be taken down once first, but with dozens of craftsmen working together, the building was restored back to the way it was in just a day.