Inside the rattling and shaking carriage, Elu seemed to be absent-minded . However, he was actually thinking about what could be the intentions behind Harold’s actions, using the numerous information he had obtained thus far .
Perhaps Harold’s aim was to get Colette and Liner to attain back the sword that was stolen under Harrison’s orders . Moreover, guessing from Harold’s actions, it was very likely that Colette and Liner necessarily had to be together as a set . Otherwise, he probably would not have taken on so many troublesome measures .
At worst, he could have just given up on Colette, who was hesitating, and could have made someone from Frieri accompany Liner and act the part of being his comrade . However, from the beginning, Harold did not seem to have taken that option into account .
Was it necessary to have those two people together? Or was Colette, in particular, absolutely needed? Elu didn’t know the answer, but he figured that both of these answers were close to the truth .
That idea was backed up by the words that Harold had said before . He knew that Colette and Liner were in the Bloche village . Furthermore, based on Colette and Harold’s respective reactions, they definitely already knew each other .
Perhaps Harold was even acquainted with Liner .
With all that, a certain question naturally came to Elu’s mind . Did Harold get them to chase after him because he already knew them, or…
―― Did Harold get acquainted with them just so that he could get them to chase after him now?
Elu didn’t know about Liner and Colette’s circumstances, nor did he know about the relationship between them and Harold, so this was nothing more than a mere speculation .
Elu’s personal subjective opinion told him that there was nothing special at all about Liner and Colette . They seemed like just a simple boy and girl from the countryside that could be found anywhere . That was the impression they had given him .
However, in the end, that impression was overturned .
Elu didn’t know what Colette was told by Harold . But, when she decided that she was going to run after Liner, there was a great sense of determination within her eyes . Though just for a brief moment, Elu was swallowed up by the assertive atmosphere emitted by her .
Elu had seen many great and valorous people, so he understood . That kind of atmosphere was held only by people with a hero’s disposition, who had special, natural talents . There was no way something like that would come from any ordinary girl .
Therefore, Elu was thinking that there was something peculiar about Colette . Moreover, Harold likely knew that as well . Perhaps he had already known for a long time .
Elu had also been curious about Harold and Colette’s past . Yet that past came out to light much more easily than Elu had expected .
The reason for that was simple; it was because the Bloche village was adjacent to the territory occupied by the Stokes household which Harold belonged to . As soon as Elu started investigating, using the Frieri personnel that wasn’t busy and the Giffelt’s information network, the answer to his question came to light .
It was so easy that Elu wondered whether Harold really had any desire to conceal it . But anyway, the relationship between the two was clear; one had saved the other’s life, therefore making him the other’s benefactor .
Eight years prior, Harold had killed Clara and her daughter, who were his servants at the time, with his own hands…… That was what was said among the Stokes territory’s populace . However, that was naturally not the truth .
This was the case, since the mother and daughter are currently alive .
When Elu had said that the outfits of the burglars who broke into Liner’s house made them seem quite similar to Harold, a scoundrel he had heard about from rumors, Colette had strongly denied it, saying that he was not such a person . Then she tried to take back her words, claiming she didn’t know him .
Moreover, the expression she had immediately after that, showed that she had made a blunder . Thus, from all this, Elu could infer that Colette was in a position where she had to conceal the fact that Harold had saved her .
Harold had probably strictly ordered her to do so . Due to this, Harold was made to burden himself with the infamy of being a murderer . Perhaps this could be said to be the starting point of the many bad rumors concerning him .
Furthermore, there was no evidence that Harold had ever denied the false gossips . That man, with his massive pride, had probably accepted the unreasonable false charges so as to keep the survival of the mother and daughter a secret, no matter what it took . He likely did that to allow them to escape from the Stokes territory, to a place of his choosing where nobody knew them .
Elu could think of several other reasons for what Harold had done, but his attention was focused on what came afterwards, in the mother and daughter’s lives .
They were a fatherless family with only females . At that time, Clara’s life was saved but she had lost her job and Colette was still a nine-year-old child who could not work . Economically, they should have been in quite a distress .
However, currently, although they had modest lives, they were not living in poverty . Though it was just a small bungalow, they were still properly living in their own, bought, detached house . Indeed, their house was not rented, they had bought it . Moreover, it was with a single payment, immediately after they came to this village .
Had Clara been her employer’s exclusive attendant, this would be another story; however, the earnings of an underservant like her were insignificant . She could not really have been said to be scraping by, but it would have been extremely difficult for her to purchase her own detached house with a single payment by just using her personal savings .
So, where did those two get the funds to buy the house? It was pretty clear that Harold was deeply involved with the situation .
In short, Harold likely had saved Colette and Clara’s lives, and, while shouldering the false charges of murder, had given them enough capital that they would not have trouble making ends meet . Helping others by sacrificing himself, that behavior was worlds apart from his usual impudence .
No matter what Harold’s real intent was, for him, helping Colette and Clara was worth it .
If that was because Harold had already seen through Colette’s natural talents at the time, then…
As Elu’s thoughts arrived there, he felt shivers running down his spine .
When he was ten years old, Harold had estimated what was going to happen eight years later, and had therefore helped Clara and Colette in preparation for the current situation; that was the absurd supposition that crossed Elu’s mind .
No matter what, Harold could not just make people and things move as he wished . However, considering Harold’s behavior, Elu could not deny that supposition . The reason he thought that was because this was not the only time that Harold had seen too far ahead in the future when taking action .
When Elu thought back upon it, there were other suspicious parts in Harold’s history . The most conspicuous one was in the Beltiz forest’s battle .
The Sarian Empire had crossed the mountains and penetrated into the Liber kingdom’s territory, causing a tragedy that combined a total of over 100 casualties from both the knight order and the local citizens, who were the stellar tribe . In that battle, Harold was put under suspicion of being a spy and had been imprisoned .
As for why he was suspected, it was because he was dressed in the service uniform of an enemy nation, the Sarian Empire .
However, though this information was not made public, during the Beltiz forest’s battle, Harold brought down a major general of the empire’s army, Ritzert, the magician . If Harold really was a spy of the imperial army, there was no way he would have done that .
So, if for argument’s sake Harold was not a spy of the empire, then maybe he had actually disguised himself as the empire’s troops so as to make the knight order clearly aware of who their enemy was in the battle . In fact, according to Cody, who was Harold’s superior officer in the knight order, Harold’s actions had played a major role in limiting the damages on the order’s troops .
Then, what if, from the beginning, Harold’s purpose in disguising in the imperial army’s uniform was to cause a disturbance in the battlefield and to defeat Ritzert?
That would mean Harold had perceived the imperial army’s raid before it had even happened . Ordinarily, Elu would just be surprised and think “He has one great information network” . However, Harold was not ordinary . Moreover, in order to accomplish all this, he had to accomplish the precondition of belonging to the knight order .
What had to be kept in mind here was that Harold was under the established age limit for joining the knight order at the time; he was barely 13 years old, which made him the youngest person to ever come knocking on the order’s doors . This situation could not have happened unless there was a clear intention behind Harold’s actions .
If all along his purpose in joining the knight order was to participate in the battle of Beltiz forest, then just when had Harold started preparing himself?
No matter how talented he was, it would have taken him more than a year or two in order to acquire the ability to join the knight order at the age of 13 .
In other words, he might have known for years that the battle was going to happen . Furthermore, before the moment of the attack, there were absolutely no signs that the battle would occur .
【”… Yeah, as if . I guess I’m thinking too much after all . ”】
Elu unintentionally let these words come out in response to his own thoughts . If his absurd hypothesis were true, then this would no longer be on the scale of what excellent planning and a superior intelligence network could do .
“So, it’s impossible”, though the murmur with subtle meanings escaped from Elu, his tone of voice was so thin that even he was surprised .
That was because Elu’s biggest questions regarding Harold still remained .
The first question was how could Harold confidently declare that Elu was Giffelt while he had not given him any information? Elu had his doubts about this, but he could still somehow understand the situation if he had been tricked into revealing himself by some leading question .
However, thinking about it normally, it should have been impossible for Harold to hit on the truth after a day or two from the very few conversations he had with Elu .
The other question Elu had was about Harold’s knowledge concerning the star memory . While it connected the lives of many clans, those who were given the name “Giffelt” had been pursuing it for several hundreds of years; this star was “something” that contained all things of nature within . What it might look like, or even what it might be, was completely unknown . The star was the truth of this world .
It was no exaggeration to say that the Giffelt organization was formed for the sake of obtaining the star memory . Yet Harold knew of its existence all along and perhaps he even knew where it was located .
But if Harold did know, then that would mean he knew much more than he should .
About Giffelt, the star memory, the occurrence of that unpredictable battle, about how Harrison was going to order him to collect treasures, including that treasured sword; and perhaps, there were even more things that were awaiting in the future .
In view of how Colette’s actions this time had not met with Harold’s assumptions, and based on how he was struggling to deal with Justus, one could assume that that ability of his was by no means perfect .
It was likely limited . However, even if it was limited, it was still possible that Harold had it .
【”The power to see the future ―― Precognition . ”】
In his own carriage, Elu finally said the words .
If he were to say that to someone, he would likely be scornfully laughed at . If he was told that this was just a forced and distorted reasoning he made, so as to find an explanation to the situation, then Elu would not be able to show any proof of the contrary .
However, the more he knew about Harold’s actions, the more he became unable to deny this theory of his . Moreover, he just could not help himself from thinking like this .
Thus, he wondered; if his idea was correct, then how far ahead in the future could Harold see? What was he trying to accomplish with that power?