Chapter 224 Strongest Sage, Stakeout
『Okay then, let's go straight to that backdoor!』
Iris tried to get away from the town after saying that.
I halted her.
『Hang on. We're gonna look around the town first.』
『...But it's the Source we have business with isn't it? Can't we just like, march right into the bad people's place, wouldn't it be faster that way?』
『That's only possible if we know where our enemy is... As only demons would create poison that sucks up life force. I want to find out where that poison is being produced.』
Even if the demons aren't here, there will be definitely some at the place where the drug is being made.
To stop the life force absorption scheme, we have to beat the demons that are directly involved.
Otherwise, even if we beat down all of the humans in this Source, the demons would simply produce their poison elsewhere.
『By that do you mean we're going to sneak into this town's bigwigs' houses...? But I'm not good with that stuff, you know!』
『That's going to be a last resort. The risk of getting found is too high... For now we're just gonna probe things from outside.』
I put stealth magic on us four and enter the town.
It's the same stealth magic that can't be used to open doors and stuff, but in exchange, there's little risk of us being found.
There's no worry of that happening, unless we meet the demons themselves by chance.
If we did 『luckily』 meet the demons, this whole matter would end by defeating the demons. That's the quickest way this could have ended... but the demons are probably high in alert, I shouldn't get too hopeful.
We head to the center of the town.
『Umm, source of poison, source of poison...』
『Maybe it's getting secretly transported along with something else?』
『That's probably the case, but poison that absorbs life force sticks out like a sore thumb. Unlike a small dosage in the waterways, there should be traces left behind when its raw form is still being transported. However... I don't seen anything like that for now.』
There are several kinds of life force absorbing poison, but any one of those is a poison that affects surrounding mana.
Though not bad enough to kill humans transporting it, it's still enough to absolutely leave traces in the traversed path even if the poison is sealed tightly in a metallic box.
『Which means, it's being transported underground...』
『Either that, or they're transporting only the raw materials... Is creating the poison from scratch easily feasible?』
『At the very least, you can't make it just by randomly mixing stuff. The degree of difficulty is such that Ruli might be able to create it if you know how.』
It's necessary to magically augment the poison itself during its creation.
There's several kinds of magic for it, but every one of those requires specific knack to perform.
『If that's the case for Ruli, then no one in this country should be able to, isn't it?』
『Unless the person has been exclusively trained in it for years and years, yeah, it's impossible... Well, we should find out once we get near the entrance to the ruins.』
...We arrived before a building hiding the entrance to the ruins.
The building looks like a small worn-out warehouse outwardly.
But the walls are abnormally thick, and there's a rigid magic lock put on the door.
The lock is probably provided by demons.
『The ruins entrance should be inside this.』
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『Opening this lock without anyone noticing looks impossible...』
『It can be done if we spend about three days doing it, but it doesn't seem worth that much time... Looks like there's traces of the poison trailing here.』
I pointed at the warehouse's door.
These traces are undoubtedly from poison getting carried into the Sixth Source.
『Traces... Feels like there's more mana on the ground in front of the door than usual, do you mean that?』
『Yeah. Mana released from the poison in question was adsorbed by the ground. If we just trace this trail back, we'll find out where the poison is being transported from.』
I follow the poison trail.
Judging from the density of these traces, this route hasn't been used just once or twice.
As I went onward while thinking that... we arrived at another new warehouse.
It was probably built less than five years ago.
Written there, 『Imperial Waterworks Bureau - Material Warehouse』.
『...Looks like the poison is stored here.』
『Yeah. The problem now is the route that goes to this warehouse...』
I circle the warehouse's perimeter.
But I couldn't find any trace.
『There's no carry-in route... Maybe it was brought in from the sky?』
『That's one possibility... but judging from the mana reaction, the ceiling of this warehouse doesn't seem to be openable. There should have been traces in the surroundings falling above too.』
『Humm, doesn't seem like there's an underground path either, maybe they're making the poison inside this warehouse?』
Ruli is right, there's no underground pathway.
With me this close, there is no way I would overlook hidden paths created by current batch of demons.
Producing the poison inside the warehouse is not out of question, but I don't see facilities for it.
Producing the poison without those facilities raise the difficulty several notches up.
『That's plausible, but producing the poison without any equipment... is quite a bit more difficult. Storage magic is a more plausible explanation here.』
『Storage magic... Like the one Mathi-kun is using?』
『Yeah. If you transport the drug in Storage magic, there will be no traces left behind... Which means, someone who can use Storage magic will come here in person, and we might be able to catch them in the act.』
Judging from the mana reaction inside the warehouse, not much drug left is in there.
If we're lucky, they might even come here today to replenish the drug.
『A stakeout it is then...』
『Yeah. Seems like it's gonna take quite a bit of time, so you girls can withdraw for now.』
The duration of a stakeout depends entirely on luck.
Thanks to my past life experience, I know a thing or two about it, like how to minimize stamina consumption and such, but the two don't.
Iris's sense of time is that of a dragon, so even a year of stakeout probably would be nothing to her.
『...I'll stay with you as long as my stamina permits!』
『Oh oh me too! I mean, it'd be like a flash compared to lying motionlessly for thousand of years in the mountain anyway!』
...Looks like everyone is staying.
I can only hope that the transporter drops by asap.