That day, Rona had different plans than Ardis. However, he’s still in the capital, and the distance between them two isn’t even more than fifty meters.
The reason why Rona is a distance away is because of Ardis.
『I want to find out who that girl actually is. 』
Because of that, Ardis asked for help from Rona to monitor the girl.
「Nfufu~. It’s like playing hide-and-seek. It feels exciting for some reason 」
While enjoying the situation, Rona was tailing the girl who was tailing Ardis. While the girl was monitoring Ardis from afar, Rona is doing the same to the girl.
Although Rona wasn’t bothered at all about the girl’s identity, he couldn’t easily refuse a request from Ardis. And of course, he’s not doing it half-heartedly.
Stalking his target from the shadows without them knowing somehow excited his instincts, as he jumped across rooftops in a good mood.
Not just the girl, Rona used arts in order to hide himself from the pedestrians as well. About the third day that Rona started tailing the girl.
Leaving the house in the forest, it was in the early morning that he split off from Ardis.
To not let the girl who had started tailing Ardis as soon as he entered the capital realize, Rona started tailing from a distance.
Ardis visited the Seseragi Inn, then the blacksmith, before stopping by in a shaman’s shop. During then, the girl had continued to monitor Ardis from the shadows.
The girl didn’t seem like she was intending harm to Ardis, but her eyes were determined to stare at Ardis’s each and every movement.
「But still, she looks really bony. 」
Rona muttered while looking at the girl from afar. Although she was wearing a common townfolk clothing, everyone would raise their eyebrows if they saw her.
It’s difficult to not see her as someone from the slums even if they aren’t being rude. Her body was slim to the point of unhealthy, the sunken cheeks, messy dark brown hair, she even looks likely to be collapsing anytime.
「And she’s stumbling again. 」
Just as he said so, the girl’s legs stumbled and almost fell, as Rona had an indescribable feeling. In a certain way of being dangerous, the girl continued monitoring Ardis.
「I don’t get it……」
Rona’s monologue question would be answered partly on the fifth day.
「Of course she’s so bony if she’s like that. 」
Although he understood now, Rona took out dried meat across the 『Gate』 with an uncomfortable feeling as he chewed on it.
The tenth day as Rona monitored the girl. During that day, Rona had been looking at the girl for six hours without returning to Ardis.
And he found out a few things thanks to that. The girl’s sleeping place, the ruins of a tavern that she occasionally visited, and her diet.
「What is up with her? Monitoring Ardis because of a personal reason―― might be possible, but that degree of devotedness is a mental sickness. 」
The girl’s abnormal behavior was apparent to Rona. The girl almost never ate. Even as Rona monitored her, he would occasionally take out food across the 『Gate』 and eat, but she would never eat anything when she’s monitoring Ardis.
From the time when Ardis left Seseragi Inn until he returned in the evening, or in worse cases, she wouldn’t eat anything for two full days while keeping watch for the entire night.
No matter what, it’s too strange of a behavior in Rona’s eyes. Even for the one hour when the girl would stop monitoring Ardis and returned to her sleeping place, he didn’t see her eating either.
Only a granny who saw her appearance would give her food occasionally, and that seemed to be her only precious nutrition source.
Of course, that’s nowhere close to be filling, Rona even saw her going through leftovers of restaurants in the streets after finishing tailing Ardis.
「What the heck? 」
Rona became more confused. As he had been together with Ardis for quite a long time already, Rona knows about the human society quite well.
Rona knows that there’re people who work in the shadows known by many names like spies or operatives.
However, for them who would often be alone in an enemy territory, damaging their own health would bring a greater risk of death.
That is why they would manage their own health carefully. However, the girl in front of his eyes who symbolizes the word, unhealthy, had never tended to her own body, only continuously monitoring Ardis.
With that, Rona thought that even mercenaries who only thinks for the day managed themselves better.
That day, the girl stopped monitoring Ardis after the night has fallen until the point even the taverns became quiet. Before the girl returned to her sleeping place, she headed towards the ruins of a former tavern that Rona saw her go a few times already.
「Is there something with that place? 」
It’s a place that the girl would especially go out to despite being like that. There’s no way she’s stopping by without a reason.
Entering the ruins, the girl would climb up the stairs into the second floor and enter a certain room.
Rona moved to a building opposite of it across the streets. Hiding in the shadows above the rooftop where the moonlight doesn’t shine, Rona looked into the second floor of the ruins.
He wouldn’t have done this normally. However, today was a little special.
After all, there was another person waiting in the room where the girl was heading towards.
「Yo, long time no see, Crimson Osprey. 」
A small man waiting for the girl said.
Exactly because that Rona has exceptional hearing than a human that he could hear them talking at this distance, a normal person wouldn’t even have noticed there’re people there.
「Carrier Pigeon……. You were still alive huh. 」
Although a little confused, the girl referred the man as such.
「I guess so. I was lucky to be sent out on a mission in Alburn. But when I returned, the organization was in shambles, all the members are dead, and I’m now nothing more than a street thug. Eventhough I was so close to be an executive……」
The little man sighed loudly.
「Making a move against the Countless Swords Sorcerer was the wrong choice. Who would’ve thought one sorcerer could bury the organization into the ground in mere days. 」
While shrugging, the man sat on a moldy office desk instead of a chair.
「Leaving that aside, you look horrible, Crimson Osprey. Have you even been eating well? 」
「……I would be dead if I wasn’t eating. 」
「Still, you don’t look like you ate anything proper. Seriously, what a waste of an expert. No matter how skillful you are, they didn’t even teach you the basics of how to earn and stay alive. Without the organization’s support, even an expert like you is nothing different from the trashes from the slums. 」
The little man put his hand into a bag on the desk, and took out a large bun.
「Here, eat. 」
While saying that, the little man threw it towards the girl, Crimson Osprey.
「What, you’re not eating? 」
The little man had a bitter smile seeing Crimson Osprey who received the bun not even making a move on it. He took out another bun from the bag, and this time bit on it himself.
「Want some wine? It’ll be drinking from the bottle though, since there’s no glass. 」
「No need. It’ll be disrupting my mission. 」
「Mission? What mission is there still. 」
「My mission is to monitor the Countless Swords Sorcerer. I have not received any change in my orders. 」
「What change, rather, those that gave you that order, all the executives including the boss are in the dirt now. The organization is already no more, what use is there to be following it like a fool. 」
The little man looked genuinely stunned.
「Even so, a mission is a mission. I cannot simply make such decisions. 」
「Really, you have no flexibility at all. Seriously, who is it that educated you……」
The little man muttered partly to himself.
「So? You’re doing that? Continuing your last orders like a brainless bird, and still monitoring the Countless Swords Sorcerer now? 」
「For the past year? 」
「With no one to report to? 」
「It is not a hindrance to my mission. 」
「Without eating and swaying like that? 」
「It doesn’t relate to my mission. 」
「Don’t tell me, you even watched the Countless Swords Sorcerer as he attacked here? 」
「Yes, that’s my mission after all. 」
「Not even the thought of helping? 」
The little man whose stunned expression worsened asked.
「My orders are only monitoring the Countless Swords Sorcerer, and not fending off an attacker. 」
「Kaa――h! Am I speaking to a golem who can only follow orders!? 」
The little man looked irritated as he massaged his temple.
「So that’s why even Dive Swallow couldn’t move this golem huh. 」
Crimson Osprey’s eyes shook a little at the little man’s murmur. Without realizing the change in Crimson Osprey, the little man folded his arm and started muttering to himself.
「What to do. Should I give up. 」
Then Crimson Osprey asked the little man next.
「Why did you return only now? With no news from you for the past year, I thought you had died like the others. 」
「Why now? Well, there’re various things. Not returning first was to ensure my safety in the beginning. Although it’s clear now that the Countless Swords Sorcerer was the one that hit the bases, back then, not just our bases in the Kingdom, the ones in other countries fell as well. It’s natural to be on alert because of that though. 」
The little man drank the wine directly from its bottle.
「In the first place, I didn’t even have plans to return here but then, I found out you’re still alive. So I’ve come here to give you an offer especially. 」
「Yeah. Actually, we’re now setting up a new organization in Alburn. And with our number of members, I would really like to have a trained assassin to reign in the organization. 」
「Alburn……? The island country? 」
「That’s right. From the Bronshell Republic in the north from here, there’s an island country across the seas in the east. It will be a rough time there soon, after all, there’s plenty of behind the scenes work for us. 」
Crimson Osprey who heard that stared at the little man in silence.
「So? How about throwing away a mission from an already destructed organization, and come with me to pioneer a new opportunity? 」
The little man hearing Crimson Osprey’s immediate answer looked like he couldn’t take it anymore.
「Oi oi, you have a brain right? What are you trying to accomplish continuing a meaningless mission? 」
「Since the orders wasn’t taken back, what I must do is still monitoring the Countless Swords Sorcerer. 」
「I don’t hate that part of you but, look at the reality. You’re not different from a stray dog or stray cat without the organization. And no way you can live on by yourself without the support from an organization. 」
The little man looked more irritated.
「A Carrier Pigeon is only a carrier pigeon. You have no rights to be ordering me. That is why I will only continue carrying out my last order. 」
「I said that the ones that can take that order back is already dead alright! 」
The little man howled at the Crimson Osprey who wouldn’t budge at all.
「This is the last chance. Come to Alburn with me. Think properly and reply. 」
Glaring at Crimson Osprey, the little man declared as the atmosphere inside the room became strained.
However, Crimson Osprey refused the offer without hesitation. Just as Crimson Osprey wanted to exit the room seeing there’s no room to talk, the little man got off of the office desk.
「Is that so, how unfortunate. 」
In the next moment, the little man took out a dagger from his pocket and attacked Crimson Osprey.
Crimson Osprey dodged the first attack by jumping sideways.
「What dull movements. You seem considerably weakened. 」
「Infighting are to be subjected to sanctions. 」
「Infighting? Are you really lacking a brain? There’s no infighting if there’s no organization. I thought I would make use of you if you’re willing but, since you’re like this, it’s better that I finish you off here. You’ll be a hindrance for our future prospects in the capital after all. 」
The little man followed up. Crimson Osprey’s legs tangled as she tried to dodge.
「Ha! A top ten assassin of the organization is only this much now? Even with my strength, I can handle the current you with leeway. 」
Although Crimson Osprey took out a stiletto from her pocket, Rona could see that she isn’t in a condition to fight.
「Farewell, my comrade. 」
The little man bid his farewell. A dagger shining in the dark stabbed towards Crimson Osprey’s vital spot.
Although Crimson Osprey tried to avoid the dagger stabbing out, her movements were lacking agility. The blade from the little man approached Crimson Osprey’s chest without hesitation.
Suddenly, a strong gust blew in the room.
But that’s the little man’s final words. Without understanding what happened, the little man’s head fell on the ground with blood spurting out like a fountain from his neck.
The dusty floor was soaked with the little man blood. Inside the room painted in red with the spraying blood, the object who was once the little man fell on the ground.
「Ah……. I did it on an impulse but, would it been better if I left them……? 」
The true identity of the wind who took the little man’s life. It is Rona’s arts.
With the words he heard and the figures he could see, Rona who judged that Crimson Osprey was in danger moved to neutralize the little man before his thoughts could catch up.
Although Crimson Osprey or the little man is not an existence worth considering for Rona, he must’ve instinctively neutralized the little man since he was trying to make a move on his surveillance target.
「Well whatever. 」
Rona who muttered as if he really meant it left Crimson Osprey there as he jumped down from the rooftop.
「Nnn――. The picture is clear thanks to that, I guess I can return to Al now huh. 」
Thanks to the little man, Rona found out the girl’s name, Crimson Osprey, and her identity and purpose. It’ll be up to Ardis to do what he wants after this.
Having enjoyed his time and feeling refreshed, Rona headed towards the Seseragi Inn where Ardis was asleep.