Chapter 1: Searching for the False Book-Seller – Part 2

Eventually, Haiza simply forgot the story and dismissed it as the nonsense of a drunkard.

However, Mirepoc who was reading his Book didn’t share this notion. Parney had clearly stated that she met Lascall Othello. Mirepoc, who never drank didn’t really understand it, but she probably wouldn’t repeat again and again that she met someone if she didn’t actually know him.

Eventually, the investigation on Lascall Othello continued without bearing any fruit. Even after Haiza’s death, several Armed Librarians and trainees took over it, but they were no longer investigating seriously. Three years into the investigation and Hamyuts aborted it.

However, Mirepoc was thinking – if she were to investigate Parney right now, won’t she find a different result?

Also, if Lascall Othello had anything to do with the Indulging God Cult, wouldn’t it mean that Parney knew some tremendous secret?

 

Mirepoc was pacing along the road, hearing the never-ceasing sounds of car engines and horns. A little sick of it all, she walked through Fulbeck’s city center.

She found a signboard in front of a stone-made five-story building. She set her foot inside this building that was designated as “Fulbeck Central Security”.

“An Armed Librarian? Why so suddenly?”

The answering sheriff made no effort to hide his surprise at her visit.

“It’s an unofficial visit.”

“On what business?”

“I came here to check documents pertaining to the Parney Parlmanta murder case.”

“Why only now?”

“I’m sorry, but this is a confidential matter.”

Mirepoc was brought to the reference room by the confused sheriff.

Materials about Parney Parlmanta were buried in one shelf of that room. In addition to the dossier, there were also newspaper clippings and other papers such as articles from gossip magazines stored there.

Mirepoc thanked the sheriff and began reading the material.

Parney was murdered one year after meeting with Haiza. The shocking killing method of decapitation and the mysterious criminal all drew the attention of the world.

The culprit was as of yet uncaught. Even the most important clue, Parney’s Book, had not been stored in Bantorra Library. Although the Armed Librarians have embarked on the search of the Book, it was obviously not yet found.

“Are these the only investigation documents?”

Mirepoc muttered and closed the notebook she was holding. There wasn’t anything important there.

She scanned through the newspaper clippings and gossip magazines just in case. Sensational amounts of theories and evidence decorated the pages. There was an amazing amount of articles. And yet, none of them had any credibility.

Was the crime made by a fanatical fan? An assassin hired by a movie company? A resentful actress who did not receive any roles? Was she killed by a Book-stealing organization for her Book? Theories of a criminal from the government, theories of a criminal from the Armed Librarians, and even theories of it being punishment from the Gods were floating around.

Mirepoc’s head hurt. It was impossible finding the truth in the vast amount of information. Closing the scrap notebook, she returned it to the shelf.

“Lies are the best way to conceal the truth, aren’t they…”

She tried recalling who once said these words.

At that moment, she heard a knock and a man came inside the room. He was a firm-built man that could already be called old.

“I am sheriff Moodly. Is there any way I can help you?”

The man introduced himself with a small bow. The name Moodly sounded familiar. She often saw it in the investigation material. He was the person at the center of the investigation.

“That is generous of you to offer. However, since this is an unofficial visit, I did not request for any help.”

“Is that so.”

Moodly readily withdrew. Mirepoc was thankful for that. She didn’t want a sheriff that had no combat abilities hanging around.

“Why are you checking that incident now?”

Mirepoc answered,

“That incident is not my goal. I am investigating a different case, but I suspect this one to have some connection to it.”

“…I see.”

Moodly thought for a while. She noticed a tinge of fear in his facial expression.

“Is something the matter?”

“No, it is nothing.”

Moodly shook his head to the side. And then he began grumbling while recalling the old days.

“We really don’t know anything about the Parney murder. It’s as if all evidence was gone without a trace. If, at that time, we had an Armed Librarian with us we might have solved it.”

Mirepoc denied it.

“That’s unreasonable. You can’t just leave anything and everything for us Armed Librarians.”

The job of the Armed Librarians was to protect the peaceful death of people. For that, they protected the mines, the Books, the Library, and fought against those who disturbed the order of the world.

No matter how much of a famous actress she was, if it was a mere murder case it wasn’t a job for the Armed Librarians.

“More importantly, Parney’s Book is said to be somewhere in this city.”

“Indeed. There is some information that a Book-stealing organization possesses it, but we couldn’t find any evidence of that.”

“We have also been trying to look for it, but regrettably we cannot do anything about it.”

There were countless criminal organizations that were involved in the buying and selling of Books around the world. Since Fulbeck was such a large city, none of the sheriffs could easily lay their hands on them.

“It was a horrible incident.”

The two of them sighed at the same time.

 

Mirepoc left Central Security and started walking around the city again.

As she walked she started thinking. Were there really any clues about Lascall Othello in this city?

It was possible. On top of Lascall Othello and the Indulging God Cult having a connection with one another, did Parney Parlmanta also have something to do with the Cult?

Thinking this far, she smiled wryly at the low possibility. It seemed almost impossible. But while impossible, the probability was not zero. As long as it wasn’t zero, she couldn’t just leave it alone.

Mirepoc felt as if she was trying to find a needle in a haystack. The needle was Lascall Othello and the haystack was the vast sea of information.

She didn’t know if there was an actual needle inside the haystack. And was the thing inside even a needle? It could also have been a harmless wire. However, if she just leaves it there, it might prick someone one day. She wasn’t able to find it, but she couldn’t stop looking for it.

She was looking for a mysterious man in this vast city. It was extremely exhausting.

“…Good grief.”

Mirepoc flew from the Library full of energy, but the road ahead seemed more difficult than she anticipated.

Thinking about it, her ability was used by transferring her thoughts to other people. That meant it was useless if she was by herself. She was powerless while having no allies. She once again fully realized this.

 

“Oh, I was looking for you.”

A person came to speak with Mirepoc. It was a woman clothed in a blue evening dress who seemed to be in her thirties. She was quite different from the woman she met before.

“Excuse me, but who might you be?”

Mirepoc gently reached for the gun in her clothes. However, she immediately ceased. No matter how she looked at it, the woman didn’t appear likely to do her any harm.

“I’m from Falluin Women’s Department Store. We have been told to assist your work today and come to pick you up, Mirepoc-sama. You talked with that lady earlier, right? We have heard about you from her.”

“I didn’t hear anything about this.”

Mirepoc instantly answered. In the first place, can the owner of a clothing store even help her?

“Yes yes. Don’t be concerned about that and follow me.”

A car already appeared next to them. The woman guided Mirepoc into the car without waiting for her answer.

The car parked in front of the department store. Mirepoc was dragged inside.

“What are you trying to do?”

“Isn’t it obvious? You’re going to choose clothes. What you’re wearing is also lovely, but when in Fulbeck you have to dress like Fulbeckers do.”

That didn’t have anything to do with her.

“Everyone, Mirepoc Finedell-sama is here as per her reservation.”

She tried breaking off. However, before she could run away, she was surrounded by the female clerks gushing all around her. Flustered, she was pushed into the dressing room.

 

An hour passed since then.

“How is it now?”

One after the other, the clerks came inside carrying dresses. Mirepoc did as she told, took off her clothes to try new ones, and then took off those as well. How much clothes had she tried on by now? They were all far from Mirepoc’s tastes.

“It fits you.”

The female clerk put a mirror in front of the dress-up doll named Mirepoc.

“How is it? How is it?”

“…”

This time she wore a walking dress. Having gotten used to military uniforms, Mirepoc felt the soft fabric was terribly unreliable. The area around her neck was wide open, and the gathered skirt would probably be easily lifted by any gust of wind.

“It’s this year’s latest fashion. You wouldn’t be able to walk around the city without wearing at least something of this level.”

What does she mean by that, wasn’t I walking around just fine before? But Mirepoc already lacked the energy to make any rebuttal. She never knew changing clothes was so tiring. She truly underestimated the normal women of the world.

“How is it? How is it?”

Frankly, she didn’t care at all. But, if she were to say this, the next clerk would bring her more clothes. Mirepoc was already fed up with this.

“This is fine.”

She said and left the fitting room.

“So you’re buying this…”

The face of the clerk was stuck with a smile as she said this.

Mirepoc wore a thick gun belt on top of the white dress. She put her rapier on the left side and on her right side a gun and a spare magazine. She fastened the boorish emblem of an Armed Librarian on her chest in place of a pendant.

“Umm, it would be more elegant if you wouldn’t do that.”

The clerk tried stopping her.

“I know.”

In place of the sandals prepared for her, she wore thick, sturdy boots. Then, she looked at her appearance in the mirror once again.

No matter how she looked it all seemed wrong. She never thought a dress and a gun belt would be so unfitting for each other.

“…Are you about to walk the city like this?”

“Clothes are good enough as long as I’m not cold.”

Mirepoc answered, half desperate.

“By the way, how much is this?”

“We have already received payment.”

The clerk said. Mirepoc was surprised. This is just like some man buying a gift for his mistress. Who told them to take me here in the first place?

“Excuse me, but why did you bring me here?”

“We have been told that if we were to find a military uniform-wearing woman walking around the city, we need to bring her here and find her a decent-looking outfit.

Since you were walking around in that military uniform you were far too conspicuous.”

“And who told you that?”

“I did.”

A man’s voice came from behind. Mirepoc turned around, startled.

“Mattalast-san!”

Mattalast approached. He then closely looked at Mirepoc’s getup.

“You look weird.”

Mirepoc once again confirmed the strength of her patience.

 

She placed her fingers between her eyebrows and took two deep breaths. He did something kind for her. There was no point in being angry.

“What’s wrong?”

“It’s nothing.”

The two of them walked out of the department store and down the road. Mattalast walked several paces ahead and Mirepoc tried keeping up with him.

“Mattalast-san, why are you here?”

“I’m also on vacation.”

“To pursue Lascall Othello?”

“Of course not. I’m on vacation.”

Mirepoc thought it was a lie.

Mattalast lowered the trombone case from his back. This was the case of his rifle known as the Tenor. That gun wasn’t used even in the Monster incident or during Mokkania’s revolt. Having to use it meant Mattalast was serious.

He had the habit of behaving as if he wasn’t going to cooperate. He was a person whose thoughts couldn’t be understood.

“Where are we headed?”

“There’s a place I want to show you.”

“Okay.”

No matter what she thought, he was a most reassuring ally. Mirepoc boarded the tram together with Mattalast.

 

The tram ran through Fulbeck in a web-like pattern. The complex twisting railway tracks slipped through the gaps of cars and pedestrians. A single woman was sitting in the very back.

She was perhaps in her twenties. She had rust-like red hair and greenish-blue eyes.

Although it was already warm, she wore a men’s black frock-coat. Below it were a tight red dress and black leather shoes. That black and red attire should have stood out, yet inconspicuously blended into the scenery. This was because of the dark atmosphere surrounding her and her natural ability to erase her presence.

The woman pretended to be looking at the scenery outside her window.

Wondering if her disarrayed breathing and throbbing heart could be heard, the woman noticed she was nervous. Although her line of sight was outside the window, her attention was directed towards the seats in front of her. Mattalast Ballory and Mirepoc Finedell were seating there.

The woman’s name was Alme Norton.

Alme was thoroughly analyzing the two people in front of her. If they were to have a fight with her she would have no chance of victory. When push comes to shove, she would have to make her escape through the window.

However, they didn’t act like they noticed her at all.

They probably only boarded the same train by mere coincidence.

She thought that they would suspect her since she instinctively stared at them, but it seemed she had no reason to worry. Due to Mirepoc Finedell wearing a strange attire, most passengers were looking at them. It seemed that Alme’s peek fell into the same category in their minds.

“…”

She could faintly hear sounds of conversation from ahead. Alme invoked her Magic Right. She emitted invisible and intangible threads from her body. Several threads stretched forward, attaching themselves to the two people’s bodies.

Her ability was named Sensory Threads. Alme possessed the same ability as that of the Indulging God Cult’s mortal enemy, Hamyuts Meseta.

Their conversation was transmitted through the threads.

“…Thinking about it, have you seen Parney Parlmanta’s movies?”

“No, not at all.”

“Have you ever been to a movie?”

“No.”

Mattalast shrugged.

“How harsh. From now on is the era of cinema instead of the opera or stage. I think of movies as the art of the new age.”

“I have no interest in art in the first place.”

“Is that so…”

What a boring conversation, Alme thought.

“Do you know anything about the cinema?”

“Somewhat.”

“And about Parney Parlmanta?”

“I’ve seen her enough to get sick of it.”

“So what do you think about her?”

“I don’t really like her. ‘The Duel at Tanieze Plains’ was good, but it was probably because of Louise’s dazzling performance as Shiron.”

“I wasn’t asking about that.”

“Louise’s acting was really good. Seeing how she devoted herself to evil with all of her heart was part of her charm. Well, after knowing the real Shiron I have some mixed feelings, though.”

“Like I said, I wasn’t asking about that.”

Boring indeed. Alme retracted her Sensory Threads.

But, as could be inferred from their conversation, they probably came looking for Parney Parlmanta’s Book. So they could pursue Lascall.

Alme ridiculed them in her mind.

These bastards are looking for Lascall, huh. Thinking this, she got off the tram. The two people didn’t even look at her as she passed next to them.

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Chapter 1: Searching for the False Book-Seller – Part 2

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