༺ Victory Festival (3) ༻
Gwyn, Marian, Schultz, Saladin.
Under Instructor Eon’s command, the four students formed a group and were walking on the road.
Yes, they were just walking.
After about 5 minutes of walking in silence, Marian who couldn’t stand the silence any longer, hesitantly spoke up.
“So… what should we do now?”
Nobody answered her question.
They understood their task was to patrol the main street and maintain public order following Instructor Eon’s command.
The problem was that they were clueless about what to do next. Although they were walking along the road, they wondered if this was enough.
Marian and Schultz were nobles accustomed to the system, but they had hardly ever walked on the streets without an escort as children of high-ranking noble families. Naturally, their knowledge about the local geography was deficient.
Gwyn used to live in the system in the past, and since the Tris family were not nobles but only swordsmen, they were closer to commoners. But that was a thing of the past. Since she grew up, she lived almost exclusively in the mountains, and her memory of the system was faint. Besides, Gwyn had an extreme lack of direction.
Saladin, a foreigner, was not worth mentioning.
Of course, the uniform of the Philion Academy was quite noticeable, so just walking around in uniform had some effect on maintaining public order.
That’s why Instructor Eon advised them. He said that it would be sufficient to wander around appropriately and prevent any arising issues.
Most of these issues were minor. Disputes breaking out between pedestrians leading to fights, or someone tripping and falling in a crowd were typical small issues.
The instruction was to resolve such minor issues immediately, and if a dangerous situation arose that was hard for the students to handle, they should return to the checkpoint and report to the instructor immediately.
Marian thought that it wasn’t too difficult. In fact, compared to the system’s military police, this was a very light level of patrol. Except for the fact that it was crowded with people.
Being the granddaughter of the commander-in-chief of the Imperial Army and having a lot of acquaintances in high-ranking positions in the military police, she opened her mouth as a representative.
“Shall we try walking with our shoulders squared, like the military police do?”
Regrettably, Marian’s perception of the military police, being the granddaughter of the commander-in-chief, was limited to people walking around with their shoulders squared, that was about it.
After pondering with his chin, Schultz finally spoke.
“It’s inefficient to wander aimlessly. How about selecting areas that seem to have poor public order and repeatedly patrol those places?”
“Areas that seem to have poor public order?”
“The types of crimes that could occur in such a place would likely be pickpocketing or scams targeting tourists. If we patrol around the places where tourists gather, we can respond immediately if there’s a problem.”
“Hmm, you seem to know quite a bit?”
“I looked at some administrative documents. They said that areas with a high population density don’t stop having minor crimes targeting tourists or wealthy citizens.”
Schultz adjusted his glasses as he spoke.
“Especially around this time, such crimes are said to surge, so we need to concentrate on the surrounding areas – uh!”
Suddenly, while talking, Schultz staggered heavily on the street. Someone he was passing by had bumped into his shoulder hard.
It was a child who looked about twelve or thirteen. The child seemed in quite a hurry, bumping shoulders and disappearing into the crowd without a word.
Marian asked worriedly.
“Schultz! Are you okay?”
“Uh… I’m fine. It’s nothing major, just bumped into each other-“
Suddenly, Schultz’s expression hardened. The words he had been saying were racing through his mind.
Areas with high population density. Pickpocketing. And the surge of crime around this time.
Schultz fumbled at his waist, and soon realized that there was nothing in his pocket.
“My, my wallet!”
“What? Are you an idiot? How could you get pickpocketed after telling us to be careful?”
“Do you think I would’ve said that if I knew I’d be the victim? Tsk, my student ID was in that wallet too…!”
“You two! Is this the time to fight with each other? Hurry up and see where he went!”
Scolding the two quarreling, Marian quickly looked around.
However, it was not easy to find a pickpocket who had slipped past in such a crowd.
Just as she was thinking this, Gwyn, who was scanning the surroundings with a sharp gaze, shouted loudly.
“I found him! Over there!”
“Huh? Where- Gw, Gwyn! Wait, you can’t go alone!”
“Stop right there! Give back Schultz’s wallet!”
Gwyn ran after the pickpocket, and Marian, startled, hurriedly followed her.
“Hey! Let’s go together!”
“Marian! Gwyn! Don’t rush!”
Schultz and Saladin also tried to chase after Gwyn, but a suddenly rushing crowd swept away the spot where they were.
“Look over there! They seem to be putting on a show!”
“Let’s hurry and watch!”
“Whoa…! Ah, damn it!”
“Tsk! Excuse us! We need to get through!”
The two tried to break through the crowd and follow Gwyn and Marian. But in that short time, they had already disappeared.
Saladin and Schultz, left alone on the roadside, looked at each other and spoke.
“…Hey. Isn’t this a big problem?”
“I hate to admit it… but it seems that way.”
The two gave up searching for their party and returned to the gate.
There was no other option than to call Instructor Eon.
The young pickpocket who had taken Schultz’s wallet made his way through the crowd and slipped into a back alley.
Gwyn and Marian had no choice but to follow him into the alley.
“Stop! Stand right there!”
“Don’t follow me!”
There would be no pickpocket in this world who would stop just because he was told to.
It was difficult for a mere pickpocket to outpace a well-trained academy student in a foot race.
But this was a narrow alley, and the opponent was a small, nimble child. Moreover, he very skillfully moved here and there in this complex and winding alley, making it not easy to chase him even though he was just a kid.
Marian regretted following Gwyn into the back alley. The environment of the back alley was too dirty and gloomy.
‘So, so unclean!’
Marian would never have ventured into such a back alley normally. As a noble lady, she grew up experiencing only the glamorous and beautiful things.
Occasionally, she encountered the dirty and vulgar secrets of nobles in the social circles, but this was the first time she had encountered something physically dirty and unclean.
A while ago, Marian had stepped on something squishy. She screamed inwardly, but tried not to think about what it might have been.
A sweet taste was gradually felt in her mouth. Her heart was pounding, and each time she inhaled, she could smell a foul odor.
However, Marian was surprisingly amazed at herself for still running well.
Her stamina was usually too insufficient to keep up with Gwyn. She was quite out of breath now, but if this were usual, she would have run out of energy and fallen behind long ago.
Instructor Eon’s training hadn’t been completely useless after all!
With this thought, Marian ran fervently through the back alley.
She continued to pursue the pickpocket, running and running along the winding alleyway. There were times when she almost lost him, but at the end of a persistent chase, she was finally able to catch up with the boy.
“I caught him…!”
But the moment she nearly caught up with the boy, Marian stopped in surprise.
“Here! Here! Help me!”
At the end of the alley, men with rough appearances were gathered, surrounding Marian.
Rough skin and dirty clothes. There was a dangerous and ominous atmosphere emanating from these people who seemed to have reached the twilight of their lives.
“Bros! Mess her up!”
Whether the boy had been with these men all along, he shouted and passed through the men, leaving the alley.
However, Marian could only watch. She was sure that the men around her wouldn’t remain still if she tried to follow the boy.
“What’s this? A girl?”
“Did you mess with our kid?”
It was the first time she had been surrounded by so many men.
Marian stepped back slightly in fear, but soon composed herself.
Of course, Marian alone couldn’t knock down so many men. She wasn’t good at fighting. But she wasn’t the only one here.
The descendant of the sword saint. A standout in the realm of the sword. A genius of swordsmanship who had received teachings from two of the seven heroes of the continent was right beside her.
“Gwyn! I need your help!”
Calling the name of her reliable friend, Marian turned her head.
However, Gwyn was nowhere to be seen.
Even after looking all around – front, back, and both sides – there were no other people visible, only Marian and the men.
Marian only then realized.
Gwyn had gotten lost in the middle of the chase.
“Um… It seems I’ve taken a wrong turn. I apologize?”
She tried to turn and flee right then, but the men had already widely surrounded her.
“Where do you think you’re going? You’ve got no fear coming all the way in here.”
“You look quite pretty up close. You’d fetch a good price in the black market.”
Without saying a word, Marian was sweating bullets.
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