Nick and the others kept walking until they came across a crude looking signboard.
“Is this the Bedroom?”
That place seemed like it was made by putting together construction materials to simulate an insect’s nest. There were holes in the brick walls, new walls made with wooden boards, galvanized sheet iron, and steel frames covered what seemed like pathways, and there were strange drawings and poems on the walls, floor, and ceiling. It was easy to lose track of what was up and down.
Furthermore, people used to this place would hide in unconventional places. Some were performing their duty and keeping watch, but some would forget that and indulge in sexual intercourse. The kind of slightly dirty warmth coming from them was distracting, but getting in their way would attract attention.
If it was discovered that Nick and the others were bounty hunters, Hale would surely be contacted, as a lot of people there were under his wing.
Still, there were limits to how well they could secure this place, and those limits were well surpassed by Bond, an ancient sacred sword, and his incredibly fine senses. Nick’s fighting skill also meant that he could silently take down any guard they could not avoid, and while he was a little too excited about showing his skill, he had since re-focused, leaving no room for error.
“It’s going well.”
“Yes, it certainly is.”
…Still, the atmosphere was a little awkward. In contrast to Nick, who was in good form, Sem was getting more and more irritated, until his expression was clearly filled with anger. No one was talking about it, but Karan and Tianna kept looking at Nick, as if telling him to say something.
“Hey, Sem, hum…”
“What is it?”
“Are you mad about something? Did I say something to upset you?”
“I’m sorry. I guess my bad mood is showing on my face.”
Sem embarrassingly rubbed his forehead with his fingers, almost as if he was checking his expression.
“Bad mood… Is it because of the guards?”
Nick had been knocking out guards, and they all looked as bad as the first people that attacked them. They were already showing signs of illness. It seemed that awful drug was everywhere.
“Not really them, more the environment around them. The lack of order and hygiene… The hopelessness…”
“Sometimes, order can be difficult to maintain in places where the eyes of the country or feudal lords can’t reach, but that is precisely when the temples should step in. And yet, there is no sign of that whatsoever. It’s deplorable.”
Somehow, Sem’s heavy sigh loosened the atmosphere.
Nick and the others amusingly looked at him.
“You’re more of a priest than most priests.”
“I’ve been excommunicated though.”
“It’s fine. I like people like you that barge into a place like this more than the kind of priests that you were complaining about.”
“Nick, are you flirting with me?”
Tianna burst out laughing at what Sem said.
“Hahaha! I’d love to see that!”
“Gimme a break. The looks I get in that transvestite bar are bad enough.”
“Just be nice. Aren’t you interested in anyone there?”
“I’m interested in hearing how Redd ended up there…”
“N-nick… Is that what you are….”
“That’s not it. I mean, he’s a lawyer working in a transvestite bar. He’s full of mysteries.”
“It’s nice to be able to choose what you do for a living.”
Responded Nick, and Bond put his finger in front of his mouth, signaling for them to be quiet.
“Do you not think it is about time to stop chatting and focus on your work?”
“Did you find him?”
They had been walking for a while.
“I would love to say yes, but…”
“But what? Is there a problem?”
Nick asked, but Bond was hesitant to speak.
“It makes our job simpler but…”
“Just say it.”
“They are doing it.”
Screamed Bond as his face became red, and the other four sighed, as they understood what he meant. The man they were after certainly was that kind of man, and this was that kind of place.
“If that’s the case…”
“It’s our chance.”
“Dammit! Why do you people have to come here and ruin my fun!?”
“It’s your fault for not being careful when you have a bounty on your head.”
It took less than five minutes.
Capturing Hale, and the woman he was with for good measure, who were hiding in something like a room for one, in a cheap hotel. It was very simple. Bond used Parallel to stop their path of escape, Tianna used magic, and Nick, Karan, and Sem captured them.
“Is this not unfair?”
Bond didn’t seem very satisfied, but Nick didn’t seem to care at all.
“That is true but…”
“You know, humans can be stronger and scarier than monsters. They have good footwork, intelligence, and maybe even use magic. Someone that looks weak may just be looking for an opportunity to counter-attack.”
Whispered Karan, and everyone else had the same expression as her.
Survivors knew very well how scary humans could be.
“But… This is a three hundred thousand dinar bounty uh?”
Mumbled Nick, and the woman that was with Hale opened her eyes wide.
“Hale! You never told me you had a bounty on your head! And what did you do for it to be so high!?”
“S-shut up! Having a bounty is not a big deal! Why is it three hundred thousand though!? That’s way too high!”
“For fraud, human trafficking, and murder? If anything, it’s too low.”
Nick responded to Hale’s screaming by listing off his crimes.
“M-murder!? I’ve never killed anyone!”
“Tell that to the guild.”
“I-I mean it! I’ve punched and kicked and sold, but I’ve never killed anyone!”
“…Ahh, you have a bunch of other crimes.”
Hale’s attempt at arguing for his innocence sounded more like an admission to having done everything short of murder.
Nick realized he didn’t need to go easy on him, and tied him with a rope.
“In any case, you’re coming with us.”
“Just let me walk away! Please! I can pay…”
Nick was getting annoyed and did not feel like listening to him anymore, and was considering shutting his mouth with a cloth, when the door was violently opened.
“What do you think you’re doing to my patient?”