Though Harrison was exaggerating when he used words like “salvation”, the command he gave was, as expected, to collect treasures scattered all over the kingdom . Overall, those treasures, including the Griffith family’s treasured sword, were just different kinds of weapons .
Though some of them would temporarily get into Harrison’s hands, they would end up belonging to the protagonist’s party . Perhaps this made it sound as if they were going to steal them, but it couldn’t be helped as they were weapons that were supposed to be obtained in the game .
Incidentally, those treasures’ setting was that they were legendary weapons made out of materials scraped off star cores, which were ultra-gigantic solid astral bodies . But those weapons could never be produced again because, as a tradition, the method of processing solid astral bodies had been lost to time;
let alone calling them valuable national treasures, it wouldn’t be wrong to call them important international cultural properties . So the protagonist’s party had to have quite some guts to use those treasures to their hearts’ content in battle . But well, even if they were called out on that, it wouldn’t achieve much, because if they didn’t use those weapons and ended up being defeated in battle, the whole continent would fall . Therefore, when comparing between the fate of the world and the value of those weapons as cultural properties, it was pretty obvious which way the balance would tip .
However, rather than this, it was more important for the game’s story to begin at last . Harold had to start making his move .
But Harrison’s first instruction was to head to Liner’s place . Before that, the actions Harold could take were limited .
The day before the start of his task, Harold was in a certain restaurant which had the backing of the Giffelt family and that he used when exchanging information with Elu .
Though the outside of the shop had a decrepit feel to it, the inside was tidy and neat . When Harold said the numbers that he was informed about beforehand to one of the store’s people, he was led to a certain private room .
While thinking that this bar had a similar system to an Izakaya while recalling his previous world, Harold kept waiting for several minutes . Then, the door to the private room opened, and the one Harold was waiting for, Elu, entered .
Elu was now basically staying at Frieri’s base . However, he had told Harold that when he wanted to talk to him, he needed to do it at this restaurant, and as one would expect, he properly showed up at the specified time and place . But that made Harold wonder, just how elaborate and concealed was Elu’s information network?
【”Hey there, sorry to keep you waiting . ”】
【”Hurry and sit . ”】
【”As usual, getting right to it without a greeting . ”】
Elu took a seat while somewhat exasperated .
Before getting to the main topic, there was something Harold had to confirm .
【”Is it really safe to talk here?”】
【”I guarantee it . The people are all clear, and they’re being constantly monitored in case anyone suspicious shows up . If there is anything wrong, we’ll be notified immediately . ”】
If Elu said that, then it was probably all right . With that thought, Harold started talking about his plans for the next day and the days after .
【”Tomorrow, I’ll be leaving the royal capital by the orders of a man named Harrison . Do you know him?”】
【”Of course, he became the kingdom’s Minister for Defense recently . ”】
【”That’s a result of Justus pulling the strings behind him . Though I don’t know whether Harrison himself is aware of that, we’ll be leaving the royal capital as part of one of Justus’ schemes . ”】
【”That smells like trouble . What’s the goal?”】
【”It’s to go steal a treasured sword in a certain private house . ”】
【”That kind of makeshift work doesn’t seem like something you’d do, Harold . ”】
【”Don’t bother with that . We won’t show Harrison our faces or talk to him, and we’ll be executing his orders while acting as automaton dolls with no language ability . ”】
【”In other words, Harrison doesn’t know that you’re one of those dolls . Also, who’s “we” exactly?”】
【”There are two other people, and they’re actual dolls that Justus made by experimenting on the bodies of people from the Stellar tribe . As I said before, they have no language ability, and I think that their emotions have been pretty much completely removed . Therefore, they don’t feel fear, and they’ve become soldiers who just execute the orders they’re given without fearing death . ”】
Even though Harold explained that, there was no change in Elu’s complexion and facial expression . Something of this level was probably not enough to agitate him .
To Harold, that was proof that he was strong, not half-hearted in his actions and that he wouldn’t be one to hide away when a real fight would come . He was a very reliable ally . If Elu were to abandon his post, things would immediately and certainly become very difficult, so much so that Harold would even kneel down to keep him in his camp .
【”Is there anything to watch out for regarding those two people?”】
【”Justus can move them at will with his commands, and though they supposedly should obey my orders as well, his commands have a higher priority . Also, I’m not sure whether the information about them not having a speech function is true . That guy didn’t give me any more information than he needed to . ”】
【”In short, you’ll once again be moving while counter-plotting against Justus . ”】
That was right, but being told about it again made Harold feel down . Even with Harold’s knowledge about the game’s story, trying to outsmart Justus and the like was similar to walking on a tightrope .
To begin with, right now he was already anxious about whether there was really nothing that was exposed to Justus so far .
【”And so, how is this matter related to Frieri?”】
Elu approached the core of the matter . As could be understood from his word, Elu was already involved with Frieri’s operations .
Yet, even now, Harold still didn’t know how Elu came in contact with the organization . All Harold knew was that by the time he came back from the celebration in the Berlioz family, Elu already had had his first contact with Frieri .
Harold couldn’t imagine how Elu had slipped through Justus’s surveillance; though there was no doubt he had done it . Based on the time and the place’s location, Harold calculated that, to get to Frieri’s base in that time frame, Elu had to have gotten going a day or two after the three-way date he had in the royal capital .
However, Harold himself knew that Elu had done no such thing .
So Elu had probably used the power of the Giffelt organization . But still, Harold thought, that group is really out of the norm .
【”A red-haired man called Liner, and a blond woman called Colette will probably chase us after the theft . ”】
【”That’s specific . Are you acquainted with them?”】
【”… . Something like that . So, hereafter, you’ll be supporting those two people as Frieri . ”】
【”In other words, our work will be restricted to this?”】
【”Yeah . Also, all I’ll tell you is that this is related to that longstanding desire of yours . ”】
【”… . I see . If that’s how it is, I’ll completely devote myself to dealing with that matter . ”】
【”Do it . However, this time, it’s fine to just get acquainted with them . Also, if you’re ever asked, you don’t know me, and of course, you’re not acquainted with me either . Got it, bastard?”】
【”All this to come in contact with them, seems like you once again have quite a few complicated circumstances going on . May I pry?”】
【”Don’t . ”】
【”Roger that . ”】
There were some mysterious points to the story and Elu probably felt doubtful about many parts of it, but in the end, he didn’t press the issue .
Perhaps he thought that, even if he tried to ask, he wouldn’t get an answer anyway . But Harold was grateful for that response, for it wasn’t unlikely that he would let something slip by accident .
【”But, in that case, we’re going to be opposing you, aren’t we?”】
【”It’s fine . Even if you support them, they can’t be a threat to me . ”】
Of course, that was not true, but originally, Frieri was not directly involved during the fight between Harold and Liner .
Basically, the main helper was Elu, who provided appropriate information when needed . In other words, his guidance was going to become important in making Liner’s team move the way they did in the game .
As a matter of fact, there weren’t many scenes where Frieri was relied on in the game . Nevertheless, there was a possibility that Harold would end up being checkmated if there was no Frieri unlike the original story, so he had to establish the organization .
However, it had also become a trump card for him, as he had war potential that he could deploy at will when it came to the crunch .
So, even if not for Harold’s hypothesis which he based on the game’s story, establishing the group still would not have been a waste of time when considering the possibility of an emergency occurring .
Afterwards, having discussed the place where they would meet to come in contact on the appointed day and the actions that they should take, Harold and Elu left and each went their own way .
The next day, Harold left the royal capital together with the doll duo . He first rode on a boat for half a day, and from there, he went on land and spent three more days being shaken around in one public carriage after another . Then, at last, he finally arrived at a town right next to Bloche village, where Liner lived .
The first thing he did was to settle down in the town for a night with the pretext of wanting to cure the fatigue he and the dolls accumulated through their long journey, so as to gain some time until Elu and his people joined him there .
Thus, he first went to an inn . Just in case, he took three rooms, one for each .
Though Harold did want to have his private time and space, he was also thinking of the other two .
The two people were simply called dolls, they didn’t have a name, and Harold was even told that they didn’t have feelings . But still, they were living human beings, if they didn’t eat or sleep, they would be exhausted and weakened . Moreover, there was a scene in the game that made it seem as if their feelings, that were supposed to have been lost, had returned to them .
They were humans . Even Justus, who had created them himself, had said that their seemingly lost emotions were only asleep . Though it was nothing more than Harold’s wishful thinking, he believed that perhaps if they survived to the very end of the story, there was a chance that they would return back to their original selves .
So Harold did not and could not think of the two of them as dolls or tools .
Perhaps he was also feeling guilty, for they were captured as test subjects during the fight that occurred in the Beltiz forest .
Had he done things better, perhaps these two people would not have gotten dragged into this like that .
Of course, that idea was driven by his feelings, because when considering the situation logically, it was hard to say that any wrong could be attributed to Harold . The ones responsible were Harrison and Justus .
Therefore, Harold’s guilt was a misdirected feeling . But even though Harold thought that in his head, emotionally, he couldn’t convince himself .
Nonetheless, he wouldn’t be able to move about properly if he kept thinking about these things too much, so, for the time being, Harold’s stance was to tell himself to regard the two as humans as much as he could .
For that reason, Harold first pushed the two into their rooms and instructed them to take a proper rest and recover from their tiredness . If he did not do that, maybe they would just sit in the room doing nothing until the next day’s evening . Though they were obedient to orders, it was quite bothersome that they would not take any actions outside of the instructions they were given .
While thinking about it for the next time, he would order them to autonomously take any actions necessary to keep themselves alive; Harold strolled through the town which he was visiting for the first time .
He was dressed in his usual black overcoat, and if there was a difference to point out, it would be that, in place of the two swords he usually had hanging around his waist; there was now only a single simple Katana .
He did that as a prevention measure, for if he used his habitual characteristic weapons, it could expose his identity when the true colors of the black robed people would be discovered in the future .
Incidentally, he had not put on the black robe that was the trademark of the trio . He was afraid that he would be misunderstood as a suspicious person with such an outfit, and a trio of black robed individuals would easily spark people’s memories . Since it had been fixed that he would become a thief after the next day’s evening, he wanted to reduce as much as possible; the chances of his steps being tracked by people other than Liner .
Nevertheless, walking around with his head exposed made him a little anxious about being noticed due to his extremely bad reputation . But that appeared to be a needless fear given that this was just a rural town, and there didn’t seem to be any fingers being pointed at him . The further away one went from the royal capital, the less Harold’s reputation was known .
Thanks to that, Harold was able to go out on a walk . But there was nothing entertaining about his stroll, he wasn’t sightseeing or the like, he was examining places that appeared suitable to meet up with Elu and checking for escape routes in case he were to run away from the town .
Along the way, Harold hit upon an idea .
He was going to ask the two people from the Stellar tribe about their real names, and if that was no good, then he would give them names . That would be more convenient and would create a sense of affinity between them and Harold .
Even though they had lost their ability to talk, they hadn’t lost their intelligence or their ability to think . So, unless their memories were erased, they would probably be able to communicate by writing .
Though he first praised himself for having such a good idea, he felt dejected by his brain a few seconds after that as it had taken him several days to realize something so simple . If Elu or Justus were in his stead, they would have come up with the idea the moment they were introduced to the two people of the Stellar tribe .
Every time Harold thought of these kinds of things, he would realize the differences between him and the others and would get close to being discouraged . But still, he believed this idea of his would surely prove to be right .