Ardis folded his legs, then with his arm rested on it, he supported his head. He continued to stare into Marrieda’s eyes as he tried to digest her story.
After all, what Marrieda had just said wasn’t anything believable. But, he can’t ignore the fact that she had been taking actions as if knowing the future.
To determine if the woman’s story is believable, Ardis threw out the deciding question.
「The card in the letter that you gave to Kyrill. What is the meaning of those words? Why do you know that? 」
The words written on the card.
『Our swords are for the sake of victory, our hearts are for the sake of our comrades. Here we advance, with glory in our flags. 』
They are words that Ardis is very well familiar with.
Words that should’ve only been spoken by Ardis’s countless deceased comrades that had fought along with him. And if there are anyone who knows about it, then it means that there’s someone who pulled through the hell of death and made it here like Ardis.
It doesn’t matter who it is. No, anyone is fine. It might be Ardis just wants to know that if he’s really the only one.
「Who did you hear it from? Is that person still alive? Where is he now? 」
At Ardis’s serious question asked with a sharp gaze, Marrieda replied while seemingly a little troubled.
「Uh, ehh――……, aah――……. Those words? I saw them in my dreams. 」
「Right, in the dream. My dreams aren’t the same thing always. Although there are times when I see the same dream consecutively, they’re mostly different everyday~nii. The dream this time had already ended but, there’s Ardis-kun in other dreams too. And one of them, I heard those words from Ardis-kun yourself~nii. That’s why, sorry, but I don’t really know about it as well. 」
That was very far from an answer that Ardis was hoping to get. Without showing the disappointment in his mind, Ardis continued the questioning.
「……That’s, how far in the future? 」
「Nn―……. With Ardis-kun’s appearance there, it probably isn’t in one or two years, I guess it’s probably much longer than that? I don’t think it’s ten years but……, I guess five years? 」
「Anything else you know from that dream? The surrounding scenery, or the people around. 」
「It took place on a small hill. There were many soldiers and mercenaries, and Ardis was giving out orders? And beside you was a girl about seventeen or eighteen, she had Aliceblue hair. And opposite of you was another beauty slightly older with blonde hair? Then a swordsman with ash blonde hair, a swordswoman with her lavender hair tied in a ponytail, and another tough man that looks to be a mercenary, about that I guess? 」
「Is that, so……」
That scenery wasn’t something Ardis was familiar with. Of course, he wouldn’t know anything about it. But, it’s unlikely Marrieda is just spouting total nonsense.
The deciding factor is if Ardis can trust Marrieda. There’re possibilities that she is lying, or someone behind her commanding her to give fake information to Ardis. But, even if whatever she said based on 『I saw it in my dreams』 is fake, it’s certain that what she knows are related to Ardis somehow or another.
If so, he will just have to make the best use of it. Ardis arrived at such a conclusion.
There’s no need to trust Marrieda needlessly. Even if this woman is plotting something, it doesn’t mean anything if only Ardis himself is on the receiving end.
With many meanings in that single word, Ardis threw out the final question.
「This is the last question. You, you called me by some other name before right? 」
「『Countless Swords Sorcerer』~nii? 」
「Yeah, that. What’s the meaning behind that name? 」
「Who knows? 」
Marrieda tilted her head, and replied immediately without even thinking.
「Are you messing around? 」
「No, sorry. I really don’t know about it. That’s also what I saw in my dreams, Ardis-kun was referred as that by the other people around―. Wouldn’t Ardis-kun know more about it than myself? 」
「Don’t know. There had been no occasion someone called me by that. 」
「Fu―n. Then that name is probably given to you in the future~nii. 」
Marrieda muttered softly as if uninterested.
「That’s quite the useless ability you have. 」
In the end, the only information that Ardis had gotten was Marrieda’s ability. Certainly, with that ability, she had arranged Kyrill with Ardis, and the reason why she speaks as if knowing the future is now clear.
But in the end, Ardis couldn’t get the information he wanted about the words on the card. Although he did feel disappointed, it became words of irony from Ardis’s mouth.
「Sorry―. But I’ve said it countless times before, I have the intentions of becoming Ardis-kun’s friend~nii. If I know more from the dreams, I will tell you. 」
「Friend, right……. Trying to befriend me, what merit is there for you? Is that also a result of your dreams? 」
「Right right. At the very least, if Ardis-kun is on my side, my association would become successful, and I wouldn’t have to die―. 」
「What if you made an enemy out of me? 」
「Well, umm……. Please don’t make me recall……」
It seems that she had already experienced the fate of antagonizing Ardis in her dreams. Her ever-standing smile suddenly disappeared, replaced with a pale face. Her voice trembled along with her heart.
「At the very least, I fully know well what kind of monster are you. And I’m not suicidal enough to do that. 」
If she were to antagonize Ardis, even if she’s a merchant with no combat power, or a young woman, Ardis didn’t intend to show any mercy.
But leaving aside whether his life is targeted at, if he doesn’t have any reason to chase down his enemies to wipe them away from the face of the earth, Ardis didn’t have any bad habit to trample on weaklings.
If she’s only trying to deceive Ardis with fake information, he would only threaten her like Chezare to stop her from doing it again.
「I don’t think I have any bad habits? 」
「Nonononono. Even if you think you aren’t that bad, being on the receiving end is traumatizing! 」
With all of her composure from before now gone, she shook her head furiously as she retreated to the limits of the sofa. At the sight of her actions, Ardis unintentionally blurted out a laughter.
「Somehow that’s quite a different image than when I first met you. You were quite haughty at first. 」
Marrieda who was laughed at, made a pouting face and averted her gaze as she complained.
「That can’t be helped. If I didn’t act like that, Ardis-kun would always do something unexpected……. Know that you’ve troubled me a lot. 」
Probably reassured that the scenario is proceeding like in her dreams. Her façade as the impenetrable merchant fell, Ardis felt like it was the first time that he saw Marrieda’s true face. Seeing Marrieda who had dropped her weird speech pattern, Ardis loosened up a little.
「Well, it’s fine either way. For the time being, I will put some trust in what you said. 」
「Unn. That’s more than enough for now~nii. Either way, it isn’t possible to get full trust from someone like Ardis-kun after all. 」
Although he was complained at, it’s not like her perception of Ardis is wrong, so Ardis couldn’t say anything back to that.
「Anything else you want to know? 」
Once again, Marrieda confirmed after plastering on her merchant smile.
Rather than replying, Ardis took out the bundle of hair from Nere and placed it on the table.
「It’s the promised item. As we said just now, you will let me witness when you use it. 」
「Unn. Certainly, it’s the pretty color of Aliceblue. I like that hair color too~nii. 」
Taking the bundle of hair, Marrieda added on her personal opinion.
「But didn’t I say that I needed 『A strand』 right? No matter how I see it, this isn’t even at the level of just a strand, but about the entire shoulder-width~nii……」
「……It wasn’t me who cut it? 」
Before Ardis could even speak half of 『Just one strand is enough』, Nere had cut off her long hair without any hesitation.
「Well, there’s no problem if there’re extra―」
Marrieda seemed to have a really awkward and guilty expression.
「Since a girl is willing to go so far, wouldn’t you buy her a gift as an apology? Should we prepare some kind of accessory for you~nii? 」
「No, I don’t need it. It would be troubling if it’s some item embedded with detection magic. 」
「Uwah―. I’m really untrusted~nii. 」
While retorting 「That’s a given」 in his mind, Ardis deliberately watched the figure of Marrieda lamenting without saying anything. For the time being, Ardis judged that she wasn’t an enemy but, it’s still too early to decide whether she’s a friend or not.
「Leave that kind of small act after I leave. 」
「You’re quite bad at playing along huh―」
「So? What are you going to do with that? 」
Ignoring Marrieda’s words, Ardis pointed to the bundle of hair from Nere on the table with his gaze.
「I guess let’s move to the room with the sword. It will have to be brought to that room after all. 」
Marrieda grabbed Nere’s hair and stood up from her seat.
Just like that, Marrieda guided Ardis out of the reception room and moved to the room in the basement from before.
Where they arrived is the room that Ardis had set foot in before.
The first thing in sight after entering the room is the drawing that looked like a magic circle on the ground. The sword that’s placed right in the middle. And the threads of light extended by the magic circle holding down the sword.
It was the same as before. But Ardis felt that the threads of light seemed to be thinner than he last saw them.
「The effects would expire tomorrow or the day after tomorrow―. Well, I’m glad that we made it in time~yon. 」
「So? Where will the hair come in hand? 」
「Don’t know. 」
Marrieda once again, let out an irresponsible reply. And Ardis who had received that let out a voice that was loud enough to echo in the room several times.
「I know that we need it in my dreams but, I don’t really know where to use it~nii. If only everything was in my dreams, I wouldn’t have to go through so much pain, right? 」
「Oi. ……Then what are you going to do? 」
「I guess there’s no choice other than to try adequately? 」
Leaving behind Ardis who was shocked at her irresponsibility, Marrieda walked to the middle of the magic circle, and placed down the bundle of Aliceblue hair softly.
「Ah, hey look. There’s a reaction~yon. 」
Just like what Marrieda said, the sword in the middle of the magic circle started to let off a soft light after reacting with the bundle of hair.
A crimson light started to search the surrounding as if longing for something. Eventually, when the light found the bundle of hair, it moved across the ground as if it was a pool of liquid. The light that slowly arrived expanded slowly as if to cover the bundle of hair, as if reacting with it, it slowly moved the bundle to the sword.
「The sword……, is the hair going to cover it? 」
Just like what Ardis described, the bundle of Nere’s hair that scattered around covered the sword as if concealing it.
「It’s just like a cocoon~nii. 」
The sword that was fully covered in the hair gave off an impression of a cocoon.
「I guess that’s done―, probably. I guess what they say 『An attempt is sometimes easier than expected』 is right~nii. 」
「And so, what’s the situation now? 」
「Who knows? 」
「Who knows, you are just……」
「It’s not like I have a choice~nii. If I didn’t see it in my dreams, even I wouldn’t know. If I didn’t have this ability, I’m just a young miss of a merchant association. What isn’t known isn’t known. Even if you trouble yourself with what you don’t know, it isn’t like you can solve it? 」
Marrieda suddenly turned cheeky. There’re now wrinkles between Ardis’s eyebrows.
「Since it looks like a cocoon, will something be hatching soon, I wonder~nii? 」
「Something, what? 」
「I wonder~nii? It’ll be good if it’s not a demonic being though……」
Marrieda who seemed to have taken her façade off is now even more headache-inducing than expected. It’s much better than the irritating first impression but, Ardis only continued to massage his temple with a look of seemingly unable to speak his troubles and worrying over it.