"Ah, ow ow. My head, the pain."
"Ah, that's better. Sorry about this, Lecan."
"Lecan. It's been made clear to me how much Shira-dono means to you. I could have worded it better."
"Shira-dono is important to me as well. She's been helping this town in so many ways since my father's days. She even made it possible for us to hold a big clean up in the town just the other day."
The other day, a good-for-nothing noble, Midosco, was executed. Even Lecan knows that Shira had hands in exposing the proof of that noble's attempt at raising a rebellion.
"Shira-dono's medicines are superb, they are the main attractions of this town's medicine stores. She has taken root as member of this town. I myself have absolutely no intentions to harm or offend Shira-dono."
"But please do understand that this is a serious affair for this town. Upsetting the envoys from Royal Capital will not result in a preferable outcome to Shira-dono either. She will have a hard time living anywhere in this country."
"And besides, Guide Skalabel appears to look up to Shira-dono, as strange as it may sound. No, the truth remains a mystery since that's but a rumor, but he is certainly coming here in order to meet Shira-dono. That is a sign of respect, he definitely is not trying to harm Shira-dono."
"That sounds about right."
"The envoys dispatched by the Prime Minister are surely bringing Guide Skalabel's messages with them. They are not Shira-dono's enemy. On the contrary, I'm sure they will respect Shira-dono's sentiments and circumstances."
"That might be so."
"Peacefully welcoming them here, and peacefully sending them home would be the best course of action. Is that much clear to you?"
"Good. So now I ask you. When did Shira-dono leave this town? Where did she go?"
"Shira was teaching me medicine making until late at night yesterday. By the time I got there this morning, I was handed those letters."
"Handed? By whom?"
"Who is this Jericho."
"A Longarm Ape. It's living with Shira."
"An ape? Ah, ow ow. My head."
"I have no idea where she went. I'm also quite surprised at Shira's sudden disappearance. To be honest with you, I'm a bit miffed myself."
"When I read your letter and got to the part where she told me to substitute for her, I thought this. 'That damn hag'."
"We're finally on the same page. But, I see. So she was still at this town last night. Then she must have gone out of the town this morning when the gates first raised. And she can't have walked on foot outside the town at her age."
The gates being shut or not probably don't matter one bit to Shira.
That she couldn't have walked is also a completely wrong guess.
"Send messengers to the west and east gates, and ask for reports of carriages that went out this morning. No, just in case, send ones to the north and south gates too. She might have hitched a ride on a cart. Check if there's a cart that had an elderly woman riding on it."
"If you find a suspicious carriage, send out a pursuit at your own discretion. Spare no expense to find out where Shira-dono is and bring her back here."
This was when the town lord glanced at Lecan inquisitively.
"You're not going to get in the way of us looking for Shira-dono, are you."
"I'm not. I'd like to know where Shira's gone off too myself. However, as long as Shira wishes to keep herself hidden, there is no way to find her unless she comes out on her own."
"Nevertheless, we have no choice but to look. At her age. I don't think she would camp out. The places where she could go should be limited. Commander Tesla, go."
"Now then, Lecan, Undersecretary-dono and First Class Priest of Elex Temple are coming to this town in order to coordinate with Shira-dono. I have been put in charge of arranging that. I absolutely do not wish to report to them how Shira-dono is nowhere to be seen and that I have no idea where she is when they have arrived here."
"Thus, we will keep searching for Shira-dono until the two arrive. But in case we couldn't find her, you would have to deal with them as her substitute."
"Were Shira-dono hiding in this town, which house would she be at?"
"Who knows. I'm mostly ignorant of Shira's connections. The only acquaintance of Shira I know would be Chaney."
"Chaney is it. I'll see to it. Also, Lecan."
"In case we couldn't find Shira-dono, please say it that she disappeared before I informed her about Undersecretary-dono's letter. I'd have no excuse if I told them she went missing after the fact."
"I can't do that."
"Those two are coming here to coordinate Skalabel's visit to meet Shira. Shira went away after she found out about that. That is her answer."
"What do you mean."
"She refused to coordinate with them for the visit. In other word, she doesn't want to meet him."
"Like they could accept that!"
"And that means, Shira really has some sort of connection with Skalabel."
"No point in hiding herself if they're strangers."
"Muu. That's yeah, it does make sense."
"So you should probably tell them honestly how Shira vanished after finding out about the envoys. How will Skalabel react after hearing that is their problem."
"And when are these envoys coming?"
"It's the day after tomorrow. Ah, ow ow."
"They left Royal Capital 20 days ago, but they had to make stops at many regions along the way. Since the itinerary was constantly changing, last minute contact was only to be expected."
"Could have just told you they were coming beforehand and messaged the schedule later."
"Oy oy. When the subordinate of the subordinate of the subordinate of Undersecretary-dono wanted to meet me, they'd order me to quickly go see them on a very tight schedule. Undersecretary-dono in person ain't gonna write two letters to some rankless rural lord out in the bondoocks."