༺ Thieves Must Be Good at Hide and Seek (5) ༻
Cariote couldn’t understand why Brigitte was so calm.
Therefore, she decided to move on her own.
Though she didn’t particularly like the man called Judas.
His desire for Naru and the other missing children to be safe seemed genuine.
Therefore, Cariote grabbed her equipment and headed underground.
She already knew that members of the Alubaba thieves were hiding in underground sewers on the Freesia continent.
For that reason, she headed inside and was immediately greeted with a horrific sight.
The floor of the sewer was littered with mutilated corpses.
Judging from their deteriorated state, it was clear it had been some time since they had been killed.
“…They’re not dead?”
Cariote was well aware of these entities.
They were cursed beings resurrected by an evil magician known as the Wizard of Devastation, Valdes.
Those beings, neither dead nor alive, were scattered haphazardly along the floor of the sewer.
“…Someone must have severed their vertebrae in a single blow.”
The skill behind the act, illuminated by the torchlight, was terrifying to behold.
Who could be behind such a thing?
“Don’t tell me, Judas…?”
Despite considering the possibility, Cariote was in denial.
Even for her, it would be impossible to massacre all the undead in this darkness in a single blow. Especially for a gold tier like Judas, there was simply no way.
Therefore, Cariote began to re-evaluate the situation.
She heard someone counting.
That voice was very familiar to her.
As she walked along the blood-infused sewage, she could see children in the darkness who were covering their eyes and counting.
It was Naru and Cecily.
“What on earth are you guys doing…?.”
Even to Cariote, the sight of the children closing their eyes and counting in the presence of mutilated flesh and fragmented bones seemed surreal.
At that moment, an undead creature with rotting flesh lunged for the children.
Cariote drew her katana, and slashed through its throat, leaving a gaping hole behind.
“Evil has been conquered!”
The undead fell to the floor, lifeless.
It might have been a problem if there were many, but dealing with just one wasn’t challenging.
The issue was the darkness that lay ahead.
The ground continued to tremble violently.
A sinister aura was also visible.
The source was likely whoever was controlling these corpses.
Goosebumps erupted on Cariote’s skin to the point it was painful.
The trembling soon ceased.
Additionally, the horrible aura that made her tremble could no longer be felt.
At that moment, Naru completed her count to one hundred.
She then began shouting.
“Now that I’ve counted to one hundred, Naru will go find Dad!”
Naru seemed completely unfazed by the carnage surrounding her.
Naru dashed past the fallen corpses,
Cecily, drenched with water, followed after her.
“I-I’m going too…!”
Cariote too decided to follow them.
After running for a while, they arrived at a location that seemed to be the source of intense energy.
The vacant land was so vast that one might have thought someone had been gathering and storing rainwater.
“Stop, you guys wait here. There might be something dangerous inside.”
After warning Naru and Cecily, Cariote stepped into the vacant room.
When she looked up, Cariote saw a large hole in the ceiling and traces of ‘battle’ evident all around. It was as if some large creature had clawed the floor and walls of the room.
‘Could it be that a war and not a battle happened?’
She began scanning her surroundings.
Cariote found something leaning against the wall.
Cariote instinctively drew her blade, aiming it at her opponent.
“Don’t be so scared. It’s me, Judas.”
Cariote face twisted in a disbelieving glare.
She was unable to believe it.
The figure was drenched in blood to the point that their figure was unrecognizable. It could easily have passed as a demon.
‘This isn’t his blood.’
What made Cariote even more nervous was her ‘instincts’ that screamed at her to run. Taking note of the tingling sensation, Cariote cautiously asked a question.
“Are you really Judas?”
This didn’t make sense.
Even if she was being generous, the Bandit Judas she knew was someone who couldn’t even hold their own against gold-ranked individuals.
However, the Judas before her was a completely different person.
The man suddenly got up.
Instinctively, Cariote cried out.
“Don’t come any closer!”
“…Well. I knew you would say that since I’m probably not in a very good state. The issue right now is what’s happening above. The corpse dragon made a break for it.”
At that moment, a massive tremor could be felt.
Cariote’s sensitive ears quickly captured the voices of the people shouting from above.
“Dark Magician Brigitte has defeated the Corpse Dragon…!”
“As expected of a hero! The Magician Brigitte has saved our Kingdom of Freesia…!”
Their voices were quite loud.
Amidst this cacophony, Cariote regained her bearings and looked around.
The figure that had been in front of her had vanished.
At that moment, Cariote felt a presence behind her.
It was Naru, who began searching her surroundings.
“Dad…! Where’s dad…? Naru can’t find Dad…!”
Naru walked around the area, hoping to find her dad.
However, Judas was nowhere to be found.
* * *
The surface was bustling with activity.
“Is this the corpse dragon I’ve only heard of through rumors…?”
“…What if it appears in my dreams?”
“Burn it to ashes!”
The people were cleaning what remained of the Corpse Dragon.
Brigitte inserted a magic candle into a long pipe before igniting it.
“Compared to the Corpse Dragons we fought on the battlefield which were controlled by Valdez, it wasn’t a big deal. It probably went on a rampage after the necromancers controlling them died. I just took care of them before they became more of a problem.”
As Brigitte exhaled scented smoke from the pipe, Cariote approached her.
“I think the situation is resolved now, but—.”
Just as Cariote was about to say something more.
The nearby people suddenly began to approach both Brigitte and her.
“Miss Brigitte! Please give us your opinion on this incident…!”
“Miss Cariote! Is it true that you saved the children trapped in those sewers? How many children were—.”
Cariote was flustered.
She had managed to take down some of Alubaba’s undead, but the ones who had annihilated the other bandits weren’t her.
The ‘Corpse Dragon’ that Bridgitte had defeated wasn’t such a formidable foe either.
The real danger was the one who controlled the Corpse Dragon, the ‘Necromancer’.
Judas. He was a man who, with his blade, cut down over a hundred undead thieves and defeated the necromancer.
It wouldn’t be strange for his name to be engraved on a page of history.
However, those unaware of that truth believed that Brigitte and Cariote had resolved the situation.
“I didn’t really….”
Cariote wanted to explain.
But none of the people were listening.
The frenzied crowd only became silent when a man appeared.
Watching the man exude a fearsome aura, almost as if he had just returned from the battlefield, the people in the crowd became silent. Afterward, they began to whisper amongst themselves.
“That man is Judas?”
“He looks like a total villain. How scary…”
“Besides that, what on earth is he holding? Could that be…”
Judas threw something onto the ground.
That something was a person’s head.
“I’ll kill you! I’ll kill you! Bandit Judas! I curse you! I will!”
“You barbarian! To think that you would cut someone’s head off and carry it with you!”
“The head is speaking!”
The people were filled with fear.
It was similar to how Cariote had acted earlier, aiming her blade toward Judas.
In this situation, Cariote re-evaluated herself.
‘How foolish of me.’
To Cariote, Judas had already done enough today to be called a hero.
However, Judas hid himself desperately in the darkness, as if avoiding the recognition of others.
Was he hiding from the condemnation and fear aimed at him?
‘No, Judas wouldn’t care about something like that. He doesn’t care about how others look at him, or what they say. If there’s one thing he does care about….’
Cariote noticed the little child named Naru approaching her father.
Judas clicked his tongue and said “Oh, no…” as if he had been seen whilst playing hide and seek.
It wasn’t a sight meant for a child.
Judas may have been worried about his daughter.
Naru cried out in joy.
“I found Dad!”
Naru hugged her father without hesitation.
Her happiness was evident.
“Naru found Dad! Naru is good at hide and seek!”
Judas hesitated briefly while attempting to hold Naru as if noticing the blood on his hands. At that moment, Naru rubbed her face on his legs as she spoke.
“Naru worked hard today! Please praise me…!”
“Alright. Well done, Naru.”
Judas raised his hand and gently patted Naru’s head.
As Cariote silently watched on, the other people nearby began to murmur softly.
“According to some of the kids that were rescued, I heard that kid took down a few of the bandits.”
“Wasn’t it scary for her? That place was filled to the brim with corpses.”
“I wonder, is an evil bloodline inherited regardless of age…?”
The people were murmuring rudely.
This was despite the fact that they had achieved something so great, that it wouldn’t have been strange to declare them all as heroes.
To think they only judged people based on how they looked.
It bothered her.
However, because she had done something similar, she wasn’t able to object.
“…Naru saved us! I might not know how Bandit Judas acts usually, but we’re thankful that he saved us too! People shouldn’t gossip about things they don’t know about…!”
Cecily, the blonde girl, cried out in anger.
It was a shout filled with courage that silenced the murmuring crowd.
They all dispersed while awkwardly coughing.
* * *
It was Sunday morning.
The smell of fried eggs was wafting throughout the room.
Cariote read through the newspaper.
“The downfall of Alubaba’s thieves. The arrest of Lich Al Sahad. It seems as though the kidnapped children have been safely returned to their parents. Frankly, it’s difficult to believe all this happened overnight.”
Cariote’s gaze was fixed on me.
I sensed she wanted to say something to me.
I then said.
“Speak if you have anything to say.”
“To be honest, this is your achievement. But in the eyes of the public, it’s known that Brigitte and I were the ones that resolved this issue. Even the articles are written to support that view. Are you alright with that?”
So that was what she wanted to say.
I simply nodded.
It would be a disaster if the rumor that Judas, the King of Thieves, had slaughtered over one hundred undead bandits in a single night.
Wouldn’t my infamy just get worse?
Additionally, Naru had been involved this time.
It might be fine if my infamy rose, but if others labeled Naru「The Daughter of a Murderer」, it wouldn’t be good for her.
If possible, I wanted to erase the presence of both Naru and me entirely.
That was why I had given the achievement of resolving this incident to Brigitte and Cariote.
It was the best outcome already.
Additionally, I received a reward of sorts.
I gazed at the envelope made of gold foil.
「For your assistance towards our Ragdoll family─.」
It was an invitation from the Ragdoll Family.
Cecily had also been involved in the incident.
Whilst saving Naru, I had inadvertently rescued that child as well. As a result, they had invited me as an official guest to a dinner hosted within their dukedom as gratitude.
There would probably be a lot of food there.
A lot of money too.
Additionally, I could ask around more about the clover pattern and its relation to Cecily.
That should be sufficient.
There was no downside.
It was my complete victory.
As I was laughing internally, Cariote spoke.
“Judas, I’ll apologize to you. I was just like those ignorant people, insulting you without knowing anything. I thought I had a talent for evaluating people, but I guess I’m still lacking.”
Cariote bowed sincerely.
Was she more genuine than I thought?
My back was starting to itch for no reason.
“It’s alright. I heard that you rescued Naru. Since it seems I owe you something too, let’s just move on.”
I casually redirected the conversation, attempting to untangle the enmity.
When I spoke, Cariote responded in kind.
“Is that so? I thought it would even be fine if you took my virginity as compensation. What a shame. Opportunities to receive seed from a man stronger than me don’t come by often.”
“Now that I think about it, I think you should apologize.”
I am Judas.
Someone so cowardly I could take back my word for my own benefit.
However, Cariote’s expression was far more serious than I expected.
“Still, Judas, you’re far stronger than I expected. I don’t even think we’re of the same human species. Did you intentionally make yourself seem weaker in your everyday life?”
Just when I was about to respond.
Brigitte brought over a pungent-smelling medicine in a bowl.
Almost like tar, it bubbled and splattered.
“Judas, I brought medicine for you. Hurry and drink it. Since I’ve also contacted a cleric, he’ll be arriving in Freesia soon. You can receive more specialized treatment from them.”
A cleric, huh?
That meant ‘he’ was coming.
To this free state of Freesia.
Wanna read ahead? Buy coins You can unlock chapters with coins or rather “genesis orbs”
Wanna unlock all premium chapters? Check the Membership Chapters will seamlessly unlock no need to bother buying coins anymore.
You can also support us by becoming an exclusive member here
You can rate this series here
You can check our dɨşçöŕd for illustrations here