After eating breakfast, before cleaning up, I tell the children that I’m thinking of taking Ares in.
As expected, The details of Ares’ situation were kept from the children. Heroes, saints, churches and holy knights… There are many things I can’t talk about.
From the reactions of the kids after the whole talk, there doesn’t seem to be any particular objection… I hope this isn’t shyness towards me.
That would be a normal father’s shock.
Since the conversation is over, we decided to clean up breakfast together. I watch with excitement as the three little ones carry the plates. Iska and Fio follow the three of them, and Ariamel receives them with gentle praise.
“Hey, Oto-san! I did my best!”
“Dad, I’m done.”
Rattz comes running with a big smile on his face and his hands outstretched. And I hug and pat the three of them as they run in praise.
Frankly, I think it’s a perk.
I’m going to spend as much time with the children as I can, and then pick up Ares at the inn….but I’m going to make a little detour before I go.
The place is a deserted bar in a back alley near an inn. Even though it is still morning, the dimly lit bar is filled with ruffians and dangerous people drinking cheap drinks while mumbling something or the other.
The moment I enter the store, all eyes are on me at once. They all have eyes as murky as a ditch.
But when they realized it was me, they turned their eyes away from me at once. Well, Ganzas is the only one who gets directly involved with me.
When I sat down at the counter, I saw a tough-looking man with long hair tied back in a single strand and scars on his face… the master of this restaurant, wiping his glass.
“What’s your order?”
He asks unfriendly.
“Give me the master’s recommendation.”
I said so and threw two gold coins, and the master caught them in the air without moving his eyes.
A glass of liquor was immediately served. A note was tucked under the glass, and after reading the note, I downed the glass of liquor in one gulp and left the restaurant..
Then I went to the central square of the city.
The square is bustling with more people than usual, probably because the weather is nice today. In the midst of it all, I look around to find the person I am looking for.
…he was there.
A medium-sized, thin-eyed man sitting on a bench and feeding pigeons. Just as the note said.
When I sat down on the bench behind the man with the thin eyes, the man stopped sprinkling the food and opened his mouth.
“…Oh? A rare visitor. It’s been a while, Gray-san.”
“Greetings to a good informant. I need you to look into something for me.”
“Yes, I suppose so, since you contacted me. So, what can I do for you?”
We are talking back to back, trying as much as possible not to be heard around us. For some reason, there is no one near us.
What I would like the informant to find out is the current state of the orphanage where Ares originally lived, and if it is no longer there, and the whereabouts of the children who were there.
I hope you can find it. But if you can’t find it…
So I’m going to keep this a secret from Ares and report it only when I find it.
“Kodar and Storia…the range is quite wide, so the price is a little high, but is that okay?”
When I asked that, the informant thought a little and requested 200 gold coins as an advance payment and 200 gold coins as a success fee, totaling 400 coins. I paid the advance fee, with the “compensation fee” that I collected from the corpses of the bishop and his men, out of my pocket.
“…Certainly. Then I will need a few days to investigate. Please rest assured, I will not try to take the deposit and run away.”
“Do what you want, then I will hunt you down to the ends of the earth and kill you.”
The informant was bemused by my words.
“Ooh, scary. Then let’s get into it and investigate.”
When he said this, suddenly all the pigeons at his feet flew away at once. When all the pigeons were gone, the man who was supposed to be there disappeared as if he had never been there in the first place.
And I headed off to the inn this time.