293-265 Incident investigation (4)

Oh, you mean that. If that's the case, you can see it over there. It's a reward, so you don't need to do anything in particular.

 The next day, when Natsuki and his friends visited the guild, the receptionist showed them a request form posted on a corner of the bulletin board.

 On it was written the name and characteristics of the missing girl, as well as the location where she was last seen.

 The reward was 100 gold coins if she was found safely.
 It's quite a high amount for a request without rank restrictions.

Is it a reward?

Yes. It's not a 'go out there and find it' kind of request, so if one party monopolizes it, it might take too long and it might be too late. It's a kind of bounty, isn't it? Well, on the other hand, there are cases where there is no party that is eager to find the ......, but that is up to the client.

 It's up to the client to decide whether to search diligently so that other parties won't beat them to it, or whether they'll only be interested in finding it on the side of something.

 It would depend on luck and circumstances, but this request was made a few days after he went missing.

 It's already been two months, and so far, at least, it doesn't seem to have led to any good results.

Do you want to see the sketch I left for you?
"Yes, please.
Let's see, it's .......

 Then the receptionist brought out a portrait, which was a bit poor in technique, but it was an ordinary realistic one.
 It was probably a charcoal drawing. It was drawn in monochromatic colors, not quite like a photograph, but enough to grasp the features.

She's pretty, isn't she?

Yeah. She seems to have been a popular girl in the neighborhood. A lot of people know her face, so I was expecting to find her sooner. ......

 Since she often worked at her parents' store, she was known by many people, and although there were a good number of witnesses, there was no definitive information on where she disappeared.

 But even if some adventurers had good information, they wouldn't tell it to the receptionist.

 The client may want to share the information and solve the problem as soon as possible, but if he does so, other adventurers may try to sneak in.

 In a sense, it is natural for them to keep it a secret.

 If the bounty was distributed according to the usefulness of the information, like the bounty of the police in Japan, it would be a different matter, but it would be difficult unless the guild managed it very well.

Shall I copy it for now?

"Natsuki, can you do it?

I don't have the skills to draw a good portrait, but I can manage to copy one. Even if you don't have an artistic background, you can still do something if you work carefully.

I don't have any art background, but if you work carefully, you can do pretty well. Didn't you win some kind of award in junior high school?

It's not an award that I'm proud of. I learned to draw once, so I had a little more skill than other people.

 As Natsuki said, the prize she won was a simple contest for junior high school students, so she was not an outstanding artist, but her skills were definitely better than most people.

 After borrowing a portrait from the receptionist, Natsuki sat down at the table, placed it beside her, and copied it down, and the result was quite good.

 Natsuki sat down at the table and copied the portrait.

You can do this if you get used to it. You can do this if you get used to it. If you draw a border around it, you won't have to worry about the balance getting messed up.

But Natsuki, you didn't draw the border, did you?

That's something you have to get used to. I can't draw them on the original picture. I wish I had a transparent sheet, but ......

 Because the original picture was not that well drawn, Natsuki finished copying it in less than an hour, despite talking about it.

 It's a pretty good copy, and while it's a pretty accurate copy, he's made some subtle corrections, and if we're talking about the quality of the picture, Natsuki's drawing is better.

I tried to fix the unnatural parts, but ...... I'd like to show it to someone who knows him and ask his opinion.

 After returning the borrowed picture to the receptionist, Natsuki scrutinized her own drawing, but without having seen the person in question, she was unable to determine whether or not the resemblance was real.

"Why don't we go and check with someone who knows the person?
That's not a bad idea.
Hey, guys. Are you guys going to look for him?

 When Toya was about to nod at Natsuki's suggestion, a man interrupted him and called out.

 The man who looked back at them was a rather dull, middle-aged man.

 He was probably not that old in real life, but his stubble and life-weary expression made him look older.

"Yes, I am, but what about you?
"Don't do that. That's what I'm after.

 The man didn't answer Natsuki's question, but snickered, but Natsuki didn't seem to mind his reaction and said something back.

We've been commissioned by the lord. You can't just say, "Oh, I see.

"...... d*mn it. It's too late to get involved now. Don't get in the way of that.

 The man looked as if he was chewing on a bitter bug at Natsuki's words, but perhaps it was because he said he had been commissioned by the lord.

 He clucked his tongue and left the adventurer's guild building.

I wonder if he's been investigating all this time. I'm not sure. --I'm not sure about that. The receptionist.

"Well, that's fine, but he said something similar about a month ago, didn't he?

 The man's back was seen off, and Yuki said something like that to the receptionist, to which the receptionist replied with a wry smile.

I'm sure you'll be happy to hear that. It's not like we're obsessed with 100 gold coins, so if he can solve it, that's fine with us. ......

I'm pretty sure he's investigating.

Perhaps the fact that it's been going on for such a long time means that there are some clues. ....... If they couldn't find anything, they would have backed off, right?

 It's been two months since the request was made.

 At first, several parties showed interest and many people checked the sketches, but after a certain number of days, most of them received other requests and did not seem to be seriously investigating.

 On the other hand, the man in question is still interested enough in the request to advise Natsuki even after two months have passed, so Natsuki's prediction that he would have backed off if there was no progress is not that far off.

I'm not sure what to make of this. Isn't he in a party or something?

Yes. Mr. Goods is alone. In the first place, he usually works as a day laborer and only takes simple requests.

 In response to Yuki's question, the receptionist blurted out her personal information.
 There was no hesitation there at all.

 This is partly because we know from Natsuki's words that they are working on behalf of the lord, but also because of their rank.

 In pinning, Natsuki and the others are classified as high ranking.

 If you are a receptionist, you will naturally remember them because there are few adventurers with higher ranks than that, at least in terms of opportunities to visit.

 When you're a lowly adventurer and a high rank, and you're well known to the lord, it's obvious which one the organization will prioritize.

So, how about we just ask for help, and don't ask for a reward? Well, Mr. Goods? He's probably lacking in strength as well.

"Oh, that's good, right? Adventurers who don't usually fight in the first place . Even if we find the kidnappers, we'll be in trouble if it turns into a battle.

 Toya immediately agreed to Yuki's suggestion.

 He was a little disappointed that he wasn't getting paid, but that was a small thing in the face of the fact that the investigation was not progressing at all.

 From his point of view, it's much easier to hunt and sell demons in the dungeon than to go through all this trouble.

Are you sure? I'm not sure what to do with it, but I'm sure it's a good idea. I'm sure he has no intention of going against his lord.

 The receptionist said something quite harsh, but Yuki and Natsuki smiled in response and shook their heads.

I'm not sure what to say. You can't use your power to do anything about it, because we're adventurers too.

"Well, yes. Let's go peacefully. Do you visit the Adventurer's Guild often, Goods-san?

Yes. I see him almost every day, or at least once every few days. He seems to be asking around.

All right. Well, I'll come back tomorrow and we'll talk. Thank you for everything.

No problem. Good luck. We live in this town, so it's not our fault.

Yes, sir. We'll do our best.

 After leaving the guild, Natsuki and the others showed Natsuki's sketch to the family of the girl in the sketch, as well as to the people around the house, to make sure the resemblance was correct.

 I didn't show it to my family, of course, out of consideration for their feelings.

 Incidentally, the reactions of the people we showed the sketches to were all, "It's a great likeness. There was no way they could be mistaken," so Natsuki and his friends decided that there was no problem.

 The day's investigation ended there, as it was getting late, and they returned to the lord's mansion.

    I'll be back.

 The man who came out of the adventurer's guild as if he was half running away from Natsuki and the others was walking very fast through the back alleys to a certain place.

 His expression was irritated and frustrated, and his steps were not relaxed.

"d*mn it! You've come here now, and you're wielding the power of a lord!

 The man's impression was different from Natsuki's. In fact, Natsuki had just told him the truth and had no intention of wielding power.

 In fact, if he was ordered by his lord to tell him everything he knew, he would not be able to keep quiet.

 Of course, he could lie or hide the information, but if he did that, he would not be able to fulfill the request and receive the reward later.

 If he was investigating a case, it would not be convenient for the lord not to know about it, and then the discrepancy between the information the man gave and his actions would become a problem.

I'm not kidding. I've been working on this for almost two months. I don't want my reward to be wiped out now!

 He stopped in a back alley.
 He leaned his back against the wall of a building on the side of the alley and peered out into the street.

 There was a house, a little larger than the surrounding area, where he turned his gaze.

 It is surrounded by walls slightly taller than an adult and has a garden.

 From the house, there is no doubt that the owner is wealthier than the average person, but the garden that can be seen through the gate is a little unkempt, indicating that the owner does not have enough money to hire a professional craftsman.

 The man continued to watch the house, but the sun began to set without any movement, and the last bell of the day rang in the town.

"No movement today? f*ck you!

 Spitting viciously on the ground, the man puts his hand over his mouth, fingertips twitching in annoyance.

I was going to gather some more information, but I guess I'll just have to go with .......

 The man then left, and when he came back a few moments later, he had a cloth wrapped around his head to hide his face.

 He waited until it was completely dark, and made sure there was no one around.
 He carefully climbed over the fence of the house so as not to make a sound.

 Then, using some kind of tool, he pried open the back door and disappeared into the house.