Satou's here. Fun chases between detectives and thieves only happens in fiction. I think in reality, several policemen form a team to track down the criminal.
I talked all night with Hikaru, and left the Heavenly Dragon Shrine as the sun rose.
The plan is for Hikaru to go to the Royal Capital after soothing Tenryu.
The shrine is treated as its own area, so I can't directly teleport to it through Unit Arrangement, I can do short-range teleport to it though.
I've put a carved seal board for Return Teleport in Hikaru's mansion, so we can meet anytime.
I wanted to reconcile with the dragons before going out of the shrine, but they were frightened more than I thought and didn't want to get close to the shrine, so I asked Hikaru for their mental care.
I'm thinking of bringing some presents for them another day.
I thought of going to Boruenan Forest but it was at the hour where only Lulu should have woken up, so I went to the Royal Capital first to eliminate the thieves.
I move to Pendragon Mansion with Unit Arrangement, quickly activate the Anti Magic Essence Camouflage skill, and then notice one thing as I open the menu.
--The opponent shouldn't be activating it permanently if it's a skill with bad fuel consumption.
So I thought and checked the map, turned out Ropo is existing normally in an area of the slump.
Looks like my expectation is right on mark.
I investigate the thief hideout where Ropo is on the map, and move to his room with Unit Arrangement.
Right before that, I changed into Kuro form like yesterday from Nanashi form.
Two half-naked women are sleeping on both sides of the bed.
They haven't noticed me yet. Probably because I'm using Magic Essence Camouflage skill and Hiding skill.
The two women seem to be thieves too, so I can apprehend them without reserve.
I slightly lift up Ropo who's still sleeping with [Magic Hand] and then tie him with a rope made of [Thorn Foot]'s ivy.
Looks like he wakes up, he raises a hoarse scream.
Hearing that scream, the women ready daggers on their hands on top of the bed.
It's troublesome, so I neutralize the women with [Remote Stun].
I tumble the neutralized women off the bed, and then lightly cut Ropo's cheek with the dagger.
Unlike with yesterday, the spilling blood didn't become smoke, it only stained the bed red.
"Who the hell are yaaa"
--He's forgotten already even though we just met yesterday?
Without answering him, I strike his stomach with [Remote Stun] like with the women.
I had thought that he would resist, but Ropo's status quickly becomes 'Fainted'.
....Strange. It's too easy.
When I see Ropo with Anti Magic Essence Camouflage skill activated, I feel something odd on his neck.
According to AR reading it's a recognition inhibition type artifact called [Thief God Harness].
I couldn't take it off, so I store it into the Storage directly.
--Who is this guy?
The person I had thought was Ropo turned into someone else.
It's a level 30 middle-aged bearded man.
Apparently, he's a body double who disguised himself by using an artifact.
I round up the other thieves beside the fake Ropo and take them to the royal capital's soldiers.
I return to the thief hideout and recover the fainted fake Ropo to question him.
"Now then, you'll be telling me your relationship with Ropo."
"Hmph, like I'd talk to you bastard--"
I can call Pochi-sensei and Tama-sensei here, but let's just threaten him normally.
I cut a steel armor that's in the room in half with a magic sword in my hand.
"I wonder if you'd still utter the same thing after losing your limbs?"
I don't actually intend to carry it out, although those can be restored with high magic potion.
"--That cold-blooded face is serious huh."
Apparently, Poker Face skill is doing a good job.
"I'd rather be killed here than selling Head."
Fake Ropo pretends to be tough with shaking voice.
"Do you have a long history with Ropo?"
"Yeah.... Since I was a petty thief in Holy Kingdom Parion, it's already more than 10 years huh--"
Despite saying that he'd rather be killed, he began to leak out information like it's normal, maybe it's due to Negotiation and Questioning skills.
Apparently, the person himself doesn't seem to notice that fact.
"--Propor-aniki was going to do something big in Shiga Kingdom, so we came here to prepare the preliminary work y'see--"
"Hou, that famous Mirage huh."
"Hehee, Aniki is awesome."
Fake Ropo smoothly told the situation surrounding him like a drunk man.
I got [Confession Inducement] skill before I knew it. I allocate points to it since it seems useful.
The item that this guy used was given to him by Mirage Propor he said.
....Wait, his story earlier was a bit strange.
The positions of Ropor and this guy should have been like the subcontractors of Mirage.
I understand if Ropor sees Shinkiro as his aniki (elder brother/senior), but shouldn't this guy refer to him as ojiki? <TLN: Sort of "uncle" version of aniki I guess.>
The custom might be different, but let's try confirming it.
"Mirage Propor isn't your ojiki but your aniki?"
"Isn't that a given? He's my aniki who took me out of the slum."
"Wasn't it Ropor?"
"But of course--Head is a benefactor."
"Benefactor of what?"
"What, you ask.... I wonder what?"
Fake Ropor falls silence with a dubious face.
He looks similar to Baron Muno and the others who were manipulated by the demon's mind magic.
--My Crisis Perception is reacting.
A silver light flies, aiming for me and Fake Ropor.
I catch that with [Magic Hand] and put it into my Storage, and counterattacked the invisible assailant without preparation.
"How did you know my location zamasu?"
Ropor who flew from my kick raises his head from the debris.
Ignoring the fake Ropor who's screaming behind, I kick Ropor who's standing up again.
Breaking the defense he had formed by crossing his arms, I kicked him again to the debris.
Looks like he's camouflaging from the magic essence, his information has disappeared from the AR reading.
Then let's bluff here.
"--What's the green demon doing in a place like this?"
Hearing my words, Ropor's face becomes like a Noh mask.
On his right left arm, I found the same bracelet that the fake Ropor was wearing.
"To be found out by a mere level 50 white haired kid like this, how pathetic zamasu."
I take out the holy sword Durandal from Storage and slash at Ropor who's cackling like a frog, or to be exact, the green demon with it.
Of course, the aim is the bracelet on its left arm.
I smash the countless ice swords that have appeared around the demon with [Break Magic] chantlessly, and cut its left arm with Durandal in my hand.
I tried to put the bracelet together with the falling left arm into the Storage, but it was repelled.
I incinerate its left arm with [Forge] magic.
The heat from the blast blows the underground thief hideout into pieces.
I don't intend to be a man-killer, so I reluctantly protect the fake Ropor with [Flexible Shield] and [Shelter] magic.
Surprisingly, the bracelet persists even while covered in flame.
I catch the bracelet inside the flame with [Magic Hand], and put it into the Storage this time.
And then, the green demon splits the smoke, attacking me.
Matching its name, it's holding a green magic sword in its hand.
I merely bend my body to evade the attacking magic sword, and then swing the holy sword while in unnatural stance, cutting its body in half.
I felt slight resistant cutting an opponent that looked exactly like a human, but since the inside was a demon, carelessly holding back would bring a chance for it, so I hardened my heart.
Just like yesterday, the blood spilling from it produce white smoke.
From between the white smoke gaps, I see the mock body that has been split standing. It feels surreal since it looks like a human.
As I stare at the crumbling mock body, its information is displayed on the AR reading like usual.
Its name has become, [Ropor(Fake)], and the race is [Human(Demon)].
Looks like it can still disguise itself even without the bracelet, but its original state can't deceive my Menu.
I record the information on the AR before it disappears along with black smoke.
It seems it has disguise, hiding, camouflage skills, along with [Mind Magic] and [Ice Magic].
"--Let's end the opening act. We will be back with the enthronement of His Highness. Enjoy your short-lived peace while you can zamasu!"
The mock body completely disappeared after leaving such parting threat.
....Apparently, it can't hide its ending word when it's worked up.
The marker of the mock body has disappeared from the map.
Looks like the mock body was treated like it had died when it disappeared, so it's gone from the marker column.
When I check on it, the [Thief God Harness] bracelet that I've collected from the green demon and the fake Ropor is a set of three items.
In addition to having the effect of inhibiting recognition and manipulating your own information, it can also let the people who equip it to exchange their locations by teleport.
Since I had nothing to lose, I tried searching for the last one, and found the owner in an orphanage in the outer circumference of the Royal Capital.
Now then, I guess I'll settle this before the breakfast--
"Boy. Is that bandana yours?"
I ask the white haired boy who's drawing water from the orphanage's water well.
The boy has the name Shin like a Japanese would, but his face looks like a Caucasian.
Shin boy hits the bandana with his hand after faltering a bit.
This bandana is the last of [Thief God Harness]. There's a closed eye picture drawn on the forehead part.
"Where did you get it?"
"I got it from a dead old beggar who was squashed under the debris during the monsters attack before."
....Fumu, so that old man was the original owner huh.
No, there's a possibility that Shin boy is in disguise.
"Let me borrow it for a bit."
I snatch Shin boy's bandana with [Magic Hand].
Shin boy leaked out voice of surprise since it seemed he never thought that I would snatch it while crossing my arms.
His name and race don't change even without the bandana. His level is still 3 too.
The places that have changed are the Skill column and Detail column. His [One-handed Sword] skill disappears and [Pain Resistance] skill appears, his detailed information changes into blank.
Oh wait, his title has increased too--this is?!
I prevent looking surprised with Poker Face skill, and ask the protesting boy.
"What did you do before coming to this orphanage?"
"There's no way you don't know right?"
"It's true. I don't have any memory before I was picked up by the director here."
Shin boy shouts on verge of becoming angry.
Judging from his appearance, he doesn't seem to be lying.
Considering his blank detail, his memory loss is probably a fact.
"Hero, demon lord, highness--Do you recognize any of those words?"
"I've heard about heroes and demon lords from aunties' stories who came to the orphanage. As for 'highness', the princess and the plump man at the academy were called that."
I ask for more details from Shin boy, it seems to be about princess Menea and Souya-kun the illegitimate child.
Come to think of it, the name Shin came out in Arisa's story too.
"Last question. What's your relationship with the dead beggar?"
"He was an old man who often talked about something I didn't understand whenever he found me."
"What kind of talk?"
Shin boy seems to dislike the old man, he looks fed up.
"'What do you think of freedom, or enthronement, or sacrifice', those complete nonsense."
Freely offering sacrifices for the enthronement huh.
That old man might have been a member of Light of Liberty.
"....He-hey, if you want that bandana, I'll sell it to you for one copp-no one silver coin."
Shin boy talked so, what a godsend.
I'd be hesitant to take away a keepsake, but if it can be solved with money, then it's a simple matter.
At any rate, leaving this item alone is too dangerous.
"Very well, I'll buy it."
I give him a silver coin together with a black bandana from my Storage.
"Wear that instead. It's a cheap item but it's better than nothing right?"
"Y-yeah....I'll take it."
Shin boy tries to behave curtly, but his mouth loosens.
Looks like he's pleased with the homemade recognition inhibition black bandana.
I turn my back from Shin Boy--Hero Shin, and leave that place.
Yes, he was concealing the title [Hero].
I gave him the recognition inhibition bandana in order to hide his title.
It might be good to give him a holy wooden sword for training the next time we meet.
I'll consult about him with a real hero, Hikaru.