“Hahahaha! I’ve never seen pops so happy before!” The guard guiding us laughs as we continue
“Hah… Hopefully, I will be able to repay his kindness.” I say exasperated
“I won’t lose next time though! I’m always up for a rematch!” The guard says with a newfound determination
I decide to ignore him and look around the city some more. I never seem to get tired of sightseeing here. It has such a different environment from anywhere else I’ve ever been, feeling more like a fantasy than the monsters or magic in that respect. I wonder how Mana is-
“Guys?” I ask looking around
“Yes?” Kiel answers with a confused look
“Where is Mana?” I ask looking around more frantically
They all look around for a few moments before everybody’s faces turn blue.
“You weren’t watching her?!” I ask in disbelief
“Well excuse us, princess! We were a bit busy with a certain inhumanly strong glutton!” Kera argues back defensively
I can’t really argue with her there. I was supposed to be the one to keep an eye on her in the first place.
“We need to find her before she gets into any kind of danger,” I say as I think up a plan
“What kind of danger could she really get into? The city isn’t that dangerous.” Kera asks shrugging her shoulders
“She is a morally ambiguous little girl that hasn’t seen anything this world has to offer, and she is wandering around in wonder about everything she sees. Even if someone didn’t puzzle out her origin, they would still think she was a noble of some sort.” I explain as I continue to think through a plan
“…” Everybody stops for a moment and stares at me
“The pot and the kettle,” Kera says with a shrug
“Alright, I think I’ve decided what we are going to do. She couldn’t have gone far so we should split up and search the area surrounding the ramen shop. Kera and Kiel will search by themselves since they know their way around the city somewhat. The rest of us will need to stick together I suppose so we don’t get lost ourselves.” I say lost at how to make full use of everybody else
We have a large group but most of us have just as little experience in this city as Mana. If I’m not careful I’m going to make the situation much worse than it already is.
“Why not send the Imps out to search as well? If they make good use of their natural maneuverability they should be able to search the area very quickly? Plus you can summon each of them back regularly to report.” Kera explained
Oh yeah, I completely forgot that I could summon them at will. I suppose it would be worth it to send them out as well.
“What about me Mano-sama?” Gero ask with a bow
It’s unusual for him to speak up on his own, it almost caught me off guard.
“You tend to stick out, and I’m not confident that you wouldn’t get lost as well,” I explain
He seems to get disheartened somewhat, but he gives up quickly.
“Would you mind waiting here for us to find our friend… um?…” I ask turning to the guard
I’m embarrassed when I realize I don’t know his name yet.
“Jorge, and feel free. This seems like a big deal, so of course, I wouldn’t mind.” He explains putting his fist to his chest
“Alright then, that’s the plan. Kurobe and Gero will stay with me, and everybody else will split up and search. Any objections?” I ask as I decide on a path
“Nope” Kiel answers
“I’m good” Kera answers lazily
I’m not super happy about the enthusiasm, but for now, it will have to do.
“Let’s go!” I say and I begin swiftly moving down the main road
“If I may add, I should be able to narrow down the search.” Kurobe chimes as we move swiftly along
“The girl smells slightly of that retched flower from the dungeon. It has a very distinct smell so I should be able to narrow down her general direction.” He says sniffing around
I suppose that is one major benefit to this world’s typical beast of burden. Dogs are quite useful in situations like these.
“Follow!” Kurobe says dashing ahead with a determined look
I think his pride might be getting ahead of him! He is moving so quickly through the crowd that he is drawing a fair amount of attention.
“Kurobe stop!” I yell as I attempt to run after him
He doesn’t seem to hear me as he continues forward at a high speed. Running as quickly as I can manage, I’m still lagging behind a bit.
Should I use “Haste” and narrow the gap? No, that would only serve to attract even more attention. I need to do something quick though, the crowd ahead is getting even thicker. I might even lose track of him soon.
“Waaaaah!” I hear a man yell loudly
I don’t recognize the voice, but he seems to be within the thickened crowd. My attention wavers for a moment and I look away.
“Oumph!” I let out as I plow directly into Kurobe quickly
He was somehow at a complete standstill and is now looking towards the yell.
“Ouch! You have to calm down, what are you going to do if we draw too much attention!” I begin to lecture, but my words seem to fall unto deaf ears
He continues to look ahead through a gap in the crowd at the incident in front of us.
When I raise my head to see the source I realize why. In the center of the gathered crowd stood 3 people. An average looking if not slightly haggard man is on the ground cowering, a large muscle-bound man with an imposing aura is looking down on him, and between the two of them is… Mana. She is looking up at the large man with a confused look on her face and a finger on her lips.
“Hey mister, are you a bad guy?” She asks the now very angry large man