Disguising Myself as a Man to Become a Knight! - Chapter 51
Translated by: Tori
The first time a child disappeared was in the middle of the second month of spring.
The boy had run away from home after an argument and didn’t return for a while, so his mother asked the patrol for advice.
When he first left home, the mother wasn’t particularly worried. She was sure he would come back when his head cooled down, but it was getting dark, and it was almost time for dinner, so she hoped they would find him.
The request from the family was very ordinary.
The patrol visited several of the boy’s friends’ houses and searched the plaza where he frequented.
It was about then that the search team began to realize that it wasn’t just a child’s temper tantrum.
Even after the children’s bedtime, the boy was never found. There weren’t even any eyewitness reports.
The parents, in a panic, began to look everywhere for the boy and asked everyone they knew.
In the end, no matter how hard they searched, they couldn’t find the boy. It was as if he had vanished like smoke from the city.
However, nothing happened after that, and then the second month of spring was over.
In this chaotic town where people gathered from all over the country, missing persons were, as disturbing as it sounded, an everyday occurrence.
Of course, since the disappearance of children was rare, they would continue to keep a close eye on the boy’s whereabouts, but the Patrol Corps didn’t have time to worry about a single incident. They felt bad for the boy’s parents, but as the month changed, the impact of the incident was fading. ――Until there was a second missing person.
The next missing person was a girl.
She was on her way home from shopping with her mother when she suddenly started running.
It was as if she had found something interesting, her mother later said.
It was only for a brief moment that the mother soon lost sight of the girl, who broke free from the hand that was holding hers and ran away.
When the wave of people split, the small back suddenly vanished without a trace.
She panicked and searched around, but she couldn’t find the girl―
“Currently, a total of five children have disappeared in the royal capital. The circumstances of their disappearances vary, and it’s not known whether the same person committed the crime or not. It is also unknown whether the children are alive or dead. We don’t even know if there’s a case or not.”
With Sheila unable to sort through the information because there were too many unknowns, Hyderion opened his mouth while staring at her.
“This is just a personal opinion, but by saying that the case is unclear, I assume you mean that there was no ransom-like demand made to the homes of the missing children. If you still think that the disappearance of the five people is related, I wonder what kind of incident the Patrol Corps are facing to instill this kind of fear――This is just my opinion.”
Hyderion accurately analyzed the information that was given to him and feigned it as a monologue.
Thanks to his guidance, Sheila was able to understand and made no more unnecessary questions, making it much easier to proceed with the conversation. It was an act that truly showed his talent, which was a result of his excellent classroom performance.
The two members of the corps also raised their eyebrows in admiration.
“The Corps still believes that the series of disappearances were kidnappings. It’s also unnatural that not a single person has been found dead. However, it wasn’t the kind of kidnappings that demand a ransom to make a little money, but an organized crime.”
Isaac’s fresh smile disappeared, and he answered with an expressionless face.
“Human traffickers――It’s a human trafficking organization.”
Cody’s voice, tinged with astonishment, quivered faintly. The sound of someone gulping echoed.
It was against morals for people to buy and sell people, so it was illegal in the Kingdom of Steitz. Since it wasn’t considered acceptable even by the Faril religion, many of the neighboring countries had made it illegal. However, there was one country that made it legal and even made it a national industry.
Hyderion muttered with eyes as sharp as blades.
It was the only country that was connected to the neighboring continent, making it the easiest for different cultures to flow into the area. A stateless nation with a mixed language. Even Sheila, who wasn’t familiar with the country, had the impression that it was a lawless zone.
If the country of Hypraya was involved in this disappearance….
If the boys and girls were already in that country.…
A rescue operation was almost hopeless because they had no contact with the Kingdom of Steitz―
Zola dispelled the depressing atmosphere with a powerful voice.
“We don’t know the truth behind the series of disappearances, nor do we know if there is a case or if it involves Hypraya, but there has never been a case of children disappearing so frequently in the past. Our hunch is that a human trafficking organization is definitely involved, but we have no proof.”
“Are there no traces of a kidnapping?”
“We don’t even know if the organization is hiding in this country.”
The conversation between Hyderion and the others was very heated, so Sheila was unable to interject. But there was something that had been bothering her for a long time, so she spoke timidly.
“Urm, I want to ask a question. What is the purpose of kidnapping children? Aren’t they not a good workforce?”
As soon as she said that, the place froze.
While each member of the group was keeping to themselves to avoid violating the rules of the group, Sheila’s inability to read the air and asking a question without hesitation, left all of them speechless. She was the type of person who would be the first to be killed because they couldn’t read the room.
Zola replied reluctantly to Sheila, who tilted her head, unable to comprehend their feelings.
“…. I’m sure some rich people with bad taste would――”
Sheila couldn’t hear Zola’s last words. This was because Cody’s hands were firmly covering her ears as he shouted in a panic.
All she could see was the awkward reactions of Dilliam and Hyderion.
…. The serious atmosphere had dissipated and would never return.
Sheila, on the other hand, was startled. There was no way that Cody, who had a good heart, would go against his superiors. She knew this, and yet he continued to take shots at Zola.
“Sheila is very innocent! Please don’t let him hear such vulgar words!”
“What are you, his mom?”
Isaac stepped forward in place of Zola, who closed his mouth bitterly.
“Cody, I understand how you feel, but being overprotective doesn’t help. If you’re in the business of protecting people, you’re going to have to face a terrible reality.”
“Of course, I’m not saying you’re all wrong, but you can explain without using profanity, can’t you?”
He chuckled with a strange smile. Even Dilliam and Hyderion flinched.
Sheila, who had been released from Cody’s hands when he decided it was no longer a problem, also cringed.
When the situation calmed down, Zola scratched his head in annoyance.
“So, the reason why young children are targeted… It’s because there are people who want to love them as if they were stuffed animals or pets.”
“That’s why most of the people who get kidnapped are good-looking kids.”
Sheila, who had grown up in a peaceful village, found it hard to believe that people would treat others as pets.
Cody slowly opened his mouth next to Sheila, who was frozen in shock.
“I’m not sure that’s a good explanation either?”
“Sorry, I’m not a good talker.”
“…. It can’t be helped if you’re not at speaking, but please continue your efforts to improve for the future.”
Looking at Cody, who had once again turned his smile into a weapon, Hyderion whispered.
“I’ve thought about it before, but Cody does the unthinkable sometimes. Looking at his usual appearance, it’s unbelievable that he would challenge his superior….. Is this what it looks like to be a mother protecting her child?”
At the whispered words, Cody turned around with a smile on his face. Sheila once again cowered next to him.
“Hyderion, this is just an opinion, not an argument. I would never do such a thing to the two people that I respect so much.”
“….. You’re not even using honorifics with me anymore.”
Certainly, he was polite until just a little while ago.
Not knowing what to say to Hyderion, whose mouth was twitching, Sheila gave a vague smile. She wanted to help him in his time of need because he was always supporting Cody.
“Um. Isn’t it a matter of how you feel about the other person?”
“….. Are you trying to tell me that he doesn’t have any respect for me?”
Seemingly adding oil to the fire, Sheila hurriedly apologized.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it in a bad way. I just wanted to say that I’m sure Cody thinks of you as an important friend. I also sometimes forget to use honorifics.”
Hyderion was a noble, so he certainly wasn’t someone you could talk to casually. However, since he had never flaunted his identity even once, you inadvertently let your guard down.
Hyderion, who had been staring sideways at Sheila as she attempted to cover it up with a smile, suddenly turned away.
“…. I don’t mind. From now on, even if you guys don’t use honorifics, I’ll ignore it.”
“Eh? Is that okay? Not just Cody, but me too?”
“Don’t make me say it again, you idiot.”
Sheila’s eyes blinked at Hyderion’s pompous words. He kept his face averted, but upon closer inspection, she could see that his ears were tinted red. Was he embarrassed because it seemed to be a confirmation of their friendship?
Sheila’s eyes softened and she noticed that Cody had a similar look on his face. They secretly laughed at each other so as not to ruin Hyderion’s mood.
“――Yeah. Thanks, Hyderion.”
When she smiled brightly at him, he turned his head down to hide his bright red face. She smiled at him, thinking that his embarrassment must have reached an extreme level, but for some reason, Cody’s face changed to an indescribable expression.
At the student’s heartwarming exchange, Isaac shrugged and sighed.
“…. I thought you guys would become anxious after we told you about it.”
“Well, it’s better than being nervous about something that didn’t happen.”
The two men laughed, not in dismay, but rather as if they were relaxed.
“Listen. This is just a private conversation between us, so don’t tell anyone about it.”
When Zola added a final word of advice, everyone nodded with an obedient look on their faces.
Hi, I’m Tori, the translator of this novel! ʕ￫ᴥ￩ʔ If you like the novel and would like to support me, feel free to click the button below to go to my ko-fi! (ﾉ∀`♥) Even if you don’t buy me a coffee, I really appreciate your support for rating the novels I translated or just reading them! Have a good day everyone! ❤️
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