“At around 1:00 today… can you accompany me for something?”
“At around 1:00…?” I reflexively repeated what he said.
Wasn’t that the time that Laura said—
Blain continued speaking, “There’s something about what happened last night that’s been weighing on my mind. Albert, it’d be reassuring if you could do me the favor of coming with me. The place is—”
Blain spoke of one of the classrooms that weren’t in use.
I didn’t mind being relied on, nor did I have any qualms against Blain; however, I already promised to meet with Laura, so I didn’t have much of a choice here.
“Sorry, I’ll have to decline. I’ve already arranged to meet with Laura at that time.”
“I see. There’s no way around it then.”
“…I could accompany you if you shifted the time, you know?”
“That doesn’t sound like a bad idea, but… I’ve already agreed upon a time, so…” Blain nodded. “It’s alright, just forget about it,” he said, walking away.
Lucard and Faltima walked down one of the streets of the capital.
Walking in front of them was a single man dressed in robes. He looked to be in his thirties, and he held a bag in his right hand.
The Kingdom Festival would begin before long, bringing droves of people to the streets.
Nevertheless, Lucard’s gaze was unmoving, fixed on the back of the man walking in front of them.
They had been shadowing the man ever since he exited a building.
The man never stopped, walking and walking…
Walking and walking…
Walking and walking…
“…Huh? Where am I…?”
The man looked around in complete disbelief.
He found himself in a back alley, and excluding Lucard and Faltima, there wasn’t a living soul in sight.
The man lost his way.
That’s because Faltima had used a spell to make him do just that. Completely unaware of what he was doing, the man deviated from his usual path, straying further and further away.
“Good work.” Faltima giggled in a low tone.
Lucard approached the man from behind, his footsteps dead silent. Then, he delivered a chop to the bewildered man’s neck.
The man let out a groan and fell unconscious.
“Sorry about this,” said Lucard, catching the man’s body.
Faltima approached. “Wouldn’t it have been easier to just break his neck and kill him or something?”
“…It doesn’t matter. We’ll be gone by the time he wakes up.”
“How oh-so kind of you. Well, do whatever you want.” Faltima began rummaging through the man’s bag. “Found it.”
What Faltima took out was a single card.
It was an ID issued by the man’s organization. On the card’s surface was the man’s name written in his handwriting.
Faltima cast a spell, tracing the man’s name with her fingertip. Immediately after, the name was rewritten.
“How is it, Mr. Salves?” Faltima handed the rewritten card over to Lucard.
Lucard gave it a glance and responded, “It’s perfect.”
Last night, Lucard decided upon an alias and wrote it in his handwriting, which was copied onto the card one-to-one.
There wasn’t anything off about it.
Now, he could show this to the academy receptionist without any worry of getting caught.
This man was one of the many traders that frequented the academy. Lucard’s plan was to use the man’s ID and infiltrate the academy.
The academy had alarms in place that would ring if anyone tried to trespass by climbing over the fence. Lucard’s plan was best for sneaking in without causing a commotion in the process.
He had already received a message from the Student: I’ve succeeded in trafficking the merchandise.
In other words, the Seal of Darkness had fallen into their hands.
All that’s left was for Lucard to head to the academy and retrieve it.
Faltima began speaking, “I’ll deploy a magic circle in our hiding spot and wait for you there. When you’re done, book it and come straight back.”
“I’ll return as fast as I can.”
“…Make sure you don’t lower your guard.”
“That goes without saying,” replied Lucard briefly.
The Student did a fantastic job of obtaining the Seal of Darkness.
Everything has been going according to plan—but they couldn’t ignore that Royal Court Magician, who was lurking in the shadows.
Have we thwarted Carlyle’s plans?
Or are we still dancing in the palm of his hand?
Nevertheless, Lucard wasn’t concerned.
He just had to keep moving forward, escalating the situation bit by bit—until everything snowballed out of Carlyle’s control.
Lucard dressed himself in the robe he stripped from the man. This robe had the logo of the man’s organization etched onto it, so wearing it was a must.
“Let’s regroup again later, Faltima.”
“Yup. May the odds be ever in your favor—or maybe I shouldn’t have said that?” Faltima frivolously laughed.
After parting ways with her, Lucard headed toward the academy.
Soldiers stood guard by the academy gate. There were numerous noble children here, so this was the least they could do. Lucard could break through their defenses with ease, but that would render his disguise meaningless.
Lucard headed toward the entrance to the side meant for traders. Traders were expected to go through entry procedures at the small room by the entrance.
Lucard placed the card he stole on the counter. “Salves of Lirin Magic Tools.”
The gatekeeper in charge picked up the card and held it over a device nearby.
A brief noise.
The gatekeeper didn’t say a word. It was unclear as to what exactly he was checking, but the card was the real thing—under no circumstances would it come up negative.
Calm and composed, Lucard wrote Salves on the entry form that was to the side.
The gatekeeper compared the name on the ID with the name on the entry form.
“Alright, everything checks out. You’re clear to proceed,” said the gatekeeper, handing Lucard the ID.
Lucard took the ID. Just as he was about to make his way into the academy—
“…Hm?” The gatekeeper raised a voice of doubt.
Lucard didn’t bat an eye-lid, completely unfazed. Acting as if nothing was the matter, he questioned the man in a quiet tone, “…Do you still need something from me?”
“No, it’s not that… you aren’t the same guy that usually drops by…”
“Yeah… he doesn’t seem to be well today.”
“That so… Then you might’ve gotten the short end of the stick.” The gatekeeper gave Lucard a sympathetic smile.
“What do you mean by that?” asked Lucard.
“I don’t know much about it myself, but I heard there was some sorta commotion last night… The whole school’s on edge, so if someone tells you off or something, just turn a deaf ear and go on your way.”
“Thank you for the advice.” Lucard gave a brief response and made his way into the academy.
What nostalgic scenery.
Nothing’s changed since I graduated 8 years ago.
But conversely, that meant that there might be someone who recognizes Lucard.
Lucard pulled the hood attached to the robe over his eyes once more. He still had the disguise ring that he got from Faltima on, but it never hurts to be extra careful.
…Come to think of it, Flin’s an academy instructor, isn’t she…?
Lucard thought back to his short-statured friend with curly hair.
—I did it! I landed a job at the academy!
Flin informed him of the news with a delighted expression way back when.
Lucard, who had been working wonders as a kingdom knight, gave Flin his heartfelt congratulations for her success.
He was cheerful and amiable—
but that was in the distant past.
…I remembered something meaningless…
Lucard shook his head, erasing the memories of his past from his mind.
Right now, I’m the leader of Darkness, Lucard—no more, no less. The memories from the past aren’t worth anything.
Lucard followed the map made by the Student as he walked.
He was walking toward the merchandise delivery place.
He arrived at a corner of the campus, where the grass had grown thick.
Lucard muttered the keywords that the Student instructed him to say.
Immediately after, a small magic circle materialized behind a knee-high thicket of grass. The Student hid it away using a concealment spell.
In the center of the magic circle was—
The Seal of Darkness.
The Student took advantage of yesterday’s chaos and stole it, hiding it here thereafter.
Lucard took out a gem, which he had received from Faltima. When she was handing it over to him, she told him the following:
“With this, you can check if there’s any tracking spell at work on the Seal of Darkness. How stupid would it be if we brought the crest back to the hideout and it announced our location to the world?”
But she also said this:
“Well, casting a spell on a Darkness ritual object is pretty much impossible, so you don’t really gotta worry about it. It’s just for caution’s sake, I guess.”
Lucard brought the gem close to the Seal of Darkness.
The gem didn’t react.
Seems like I’m in the clear. At the very least, a magic trap hasn’t been placed on the Seal of Darkness.
Lucard picked up the Seal of Darkness and shoved it into his robe.
…The Student isn’t here, I suppose…
I’m pretty sure he said he’d be waiting at the delivery place in his note, though. It’s currently class hours, so maybe he concluded that sneaking out wouldn’t be a good idea.
Right now, his top priority was taking back the Seal of Darkness.
Lucard began walking back to the gate.
Done. I’ll start on recreator now, thanks for reading.