Letina felt like she was floating. It was her long awaited entry to the Magic Academy. That was because she was able to pass the magical power measurements, which is one of the main requirements in order to enter the academy.
That’s why when she was walking around the city, she was in an elated mood―― and then she finally noticed that she was separated from her mother.
「Eh, where am I?」
By the time she noticed it, her mother was already nowhere to be found. In search for her mother, she ran around the city in order to find her until she ran into an alley without any people around.
This capital city was called the city of elves, and that is because the ratio of elves in the city is much higher than anywhere else. Other than that, it didn’t really differ from other cities.
The same could be said to alleys without any traffic.
「Mom? Where are you? 」
She went deeper inside the back alleys while calling out. She was a young lady from born in a family related to elven politics, and not only was educated but has been deemed to be gifted which made her more prideful.
It cannot be denied that because of that, her pride soared to the point that she became ignorant of everything around her. As a result of that, even if she was separated from her mother, she was confident that she would somehow find her mother immediately.
Eventually she began to cry, and because of her cries, someone noticed her presence. It was a man who smelled bad and reeked of alcohol.
「What’s wrong young lady. Why are you crying out here, it will ruin that cute face of your, you know?」
She was so overwhelmed that words couldn’t come out of her mouth. Letina wanted to ran away immediately, but her legs were shaking out fear and she was not able to even step away.
「The shipment we have should be enough, but there’s won’t be any problem having some surplus added, right?」
After saying that, the man put his hand inside a dirty leather bag and took out a dirty piece of cloth inside it.
The stimulating scent from the cloth somehow made her return to her senses and she immediately tried to escape.
But the man was one step ahead of her. The cloth that was taken out was then pressed on her nose and mouth where a very noxious odor irritated her senses. She attempted to scream, but her whole body suddenly weakened and she was not able to do anything anymore.
Immediately, Letina’s consciousness faded and her vision sank into the darkness.
「Now then, where did I put spares for those 『Caskets』?」
The man then wrapper her in a cloak and disappeared in the back alleys.
I followed the carriage that was carrying timber which came to a place close to the gates. It went into a seemingly unpopulated timber store and stopped.
Now this is definitely strange.
The timber they’ve brought in should originally be carried out of the carriage, but nobody even bother to come in contact with the carriage.
The logs they carry is also much thicker than one that was normally used. Well, that doesn’t really mean that there weren’t any use for such a thick log.
They can not only be used for making large houses, but also for making wooden statues. That’s why there’s no problem for such logs to be bought.
And yet, there’s no sign of them unloading it.
I went into the carriage while making sure that the man moving the carriage doesn’t notice me. I then took a quick look at the carriage, but I didn’t see anything suspicious about the carriage itself. However, I’m feeling a little uncomfortable about the loaded logs itself.
Looking closely, I could see that all of the timber seems have been carved and have a cut at the center, no in this case, it could be said to be two split logs placed together?
I tried my best peeking inside the timber by widening the gap, but……
Un, as I have expected. I couldn’t lift nor make a gap on the timber even if I used all of my strength. Because that couldn’t be helped, I tried tapping the surface with something hard. I should be able to tell if the inside is hollow from the reverberations.
Perhaps the cause of that sound was because of the logs colliding at each other from the vibrations of the carriage. That’s also why Finia, who is an elf and is sensitive to sound were able to notice that something is strange with it.
When it comes to hollowing the insides of a log, I could only think of two main reasons. It would be to either enclose something inside it, or plainly reduce its weight. In any, I currently have no way of verifying what is inside these logs.
It’s inevitable that I won’t be able to verify its contents. Then there’s only one other way for me to know. That is to investigate the people who were in charge of these suspicious timber…… that’s why I went towards the place where the men were stationed.
The man I tailed entered a yard in the corner of the storage area, and then closes the entrance of the station as soon as he went inside.
Because it couldn’t be helped, I turned around and made my way through an open window. Considering that it’s currently summer, it was necessary to open the windows during this season.
Though I call it a window, it’s not the type that was covered by expensive transparent glass, but was made entirely out of wood. When fall arrives, such windows are usually closed because that is the start of the cold season and would usually be left closed until late spring.
Also, if it has an opening, I would be able to slowly widen it without making any sounds that would reach inside the room.
「So, how’s the merchandize?」
「No problems with it. There were all sound asleep.」
「If we don’t transport them immediately, some of them might end up dead, you know」
「What’s wrong if they end up dead. They are only elven children anyway」
「Haah, elven children are different. There are people with some really strange hobbies out there you know」
「Well, there are many ways to use them. Like using them as sacrifice」
Hearing what the people inside were talking about made me feel as if cold water was poured on my back. I don’t know the details, but 『Luggage』and 『Sound Asleep』 clearly states that what was contained inside were living beings.
『Casket』 definitely refers to those logs that have been hollowed inside to be used as a disguise. Also, with the latter conversation, I could infer that there were elven children included.
Adding to that, the words 『Usage』 and 『Sacrifice』 also followed. With all of those information, conclusions could be drawn already.
Those people… they were human traffickers. Not to mention, they are specialized in trafficking elves」
I only speak in whispers in order for my voice to be unnoticed.
If I don’t report this immediately…… judging from the talks of the people inside, they might make their moves soon.
「It’s about time for the gate to close. After a little break, let’s move out」
「The slave merchants are probably waiting outside already」
In this world, the existence of slaves is supposedly not recognized. However, there are people who have been turned into labor force which is considered to be indispensible, and people that were turned into slaves are being handled as workforce.
Thinking about it, this side of business talks could be said to be barely gray zone and almost reaching the dark side, this includes business being held outside of the city walls. In this time’s case, it seems like they are using such measures.
One of the reasons for them leaving before the gates are closed is because at this time the security is lax and the gatekeepers don’t closely check packages that are being sent outside.
The main reason for this is because the gatekeeper were already exhausted after a whole day’s work so they couldn’t help but slack off a little. I probably won’t have enough time in this case.
「However, I surely won’t abandon this mission――」
If I let them go this time, they will be able to escape from the city and their goods will be handed over to slave merchants, I also won’t be able to track them anymore.
Elven children are about to be abducted after all, I just couldn’t abandon them nor miss this chance to help. I am aiming to be a Hero after all.