Nick grimaced as he said the name of this man, that was connected to him.
Tianna on the other hand thought it was amusing, and continued.
“Yes yes, Leon. He dug up magic items and sold them, I’m sure he’s familiar with them. He even had a sacred sword.”
“That place is depressing and the knights are all arrogant… I don’t really want to go, but I guess I will.”
“Oh my, how meek.”
“The last time I went there, I felt like we didn’t really finish our conversation. I knew I had to go there again eventually, but I’ve been putting it off.”
“I can go instead if you really don’t want to go.”
“No, it’s fine. I’m sure he’ll have an easier time talking to me too.”
“Well, you’re the only one that has any relation to him.”
Everyone else agreed with what Tianna and Nick were saying, except Olivia, who seemingly had no idea what they were talking about.
“I guess you wouldn’t know. We’re talking about a scammer we caught a while back. He’s familiar with magic items, so we might get some clues if we talk to him.
“It’s late, so I’ll go talk to him tomorrow.”
Olivia did not seem like she wanted to dig any deeper, and only nodded.
“But I don’t know how well it will go, so don’t get your hopes up. Moving on to the next subject.”
“Subject? Is there anything else?”
“Yes. His only weapons aren’t just hiding his presence and features.”
Olivia twisted her head to the side, and Sem answered her question.
“We have more or less figured out where he’s staying, but we still don’t know how to catch him. Yes, he can erase his presence, but with quick moves like those…”
Tianna and Karan let out disappointed sighs as they agreed.
“Can’t we do something about it with magic?”
Asked Nick while looking at Tianna, to which she shook her head.
“In the end, magic is like a sword or an arrow. They don’t do anything unless they hit.
He managed to get away from all five of us, so he must be really strong.”
“Isn’t there any magic that can seal his movements?”
“There’s this advanced earth magic called 《Wood Whip》 that allows the user to control branches and vines like a whip… But I’m not very good at it. And I’m pretty sure he would be able to counter it.”
“Diamond Shield has resistance against various elements and is pretty difficult to cast. It’s more advanced than Wood Whip, so I think he would have a way to escape it.”
Nick mumbled with a sour expression.
“Then… We have to do that.”
Nick and Tianna were thinking about Union.
By using Union, they would rapidly increase their physical and magic abilities, so they should not be outdone in terms of raw power, but…
“Oh? Do you have a secret weapon or something?”
Asked an interested Olivia.
Everyone started thinking about how to gloss over this.
“Ah, no, it’s simpler than that. We were just talking about getting help from other adventurers and splitting the reward.”
“”Hm… It would be nice if you knew people outside your party you can trust, otherwise, it would not be an easy thing to ask. I would be surprised if you could work well together too, and I’m sure the division of the reward would become a problem later.”
“Right? Well, let’s do our best to not have to rely on that.”
Olivia nodded, and it seemed she did not think much of it.
The other members of Survivors however, knew what Nick meant.
“For now, our talking points are ‘We still don’t know what Stepping Man looks like’, ‘Stepping Man is toying with us with his quick movements’, ‘Magic doesn’t work very well’… And that’s about it, right?”
Tianna said while using her fingers to count.
“Do you have any ideas Olivia?”
“Not really an idea… But do you want to hear it?”
“Well, there’s no point in keeping quiet now.”
“Alright. First of all, you need magic energy to use magic, so it would be good if you could drag him into a battle of attrition. No matter how strong he is, in the end he is still alone. I don’t think he has anyone with him.”
“Battle of attrition… I’m sure he wants to avoid that, and he’ll run away before it gets to that. He’s smart enough to retreat once he realizes he failed.”
“Then block off his escape routes.”
Olivia traced something on the map with her finger.
“Do you notice anything here?”
“Listen, this is not the fairy-tale Stepping Man that my readers are after. It’s not an invincible being that can do anything.”
“He’s not invincible… So he has weak points?”
“First, this is the place where he first appeared. It’s close to the wall around the place where they store stagecoaches right?”
“Next, the road behind the temple.”
“The place where you met him was… Here, close to the tavern’s storehouse right?”
“Now that you mention it, there were a lot of wooden barrels and boxes.”
Nick responded to Olivia while looking at the map closely.
“ …He doesn’t walk on fragile places like rain gutters and the ceilings of people’s homes. He doesn’t walk on top of wooden buildings.”
The line on the map passed through sturdy stone buildings like temples and assembly halls, thick brick walls, worker’s scaffolding, and other places where he would have good footing.
“There you have it.”
“…So the places where he can move are actually pretty limited?”
“Yes, Stepping Man is like a symbol of freedom itself, but this one is not as free as he seems. I think he carefully chooses specific routes. Even more so when he has to escape while carrying a child.”
“If we cram into our heads beforehand where he can move, we can somewhat predict his escape route, but…”
“Even if we get there before him, we still have to be able to move in the sort of places he can.”
“You don’t have to move exactly like him, you just have to be able to scale walls and jump.”
“Hmm… I guess it’s no good. I thought it would be interesting if there was a third Stepping Man.”
Said Olivia as she let out a disappointed sigh.
“I think I’m more agile than most, but I can’t just jump that high. And he’d escape well before I could finish scaling a wall.”
“I thought maybe there was some sort of spell.”
“It’s not like spells can solve everything…”
“…Maybe they can.”
Said Sem, who had been quiet all this time.
Everyone focused their attention on him.
“It’s not like magic that lets you fly but… I do have something in mind. Can you come with me to Sea Anemone?”
“I don’t see where you’re going with this…”
Said a confused Nick, to which Sem smiled.
“I’ll explain there. I want to see how the two we left there are doing as well.”
“Ah, I see.”
Ada, who was injured by Stepping Man, and Reina, who was almost kidnapped by him were there.
“We shouldn’t just leave them there.”
“Yes. I want to see how Ada’s recovering.”
“…Can we go inside that transvestite bar?”
Tianna asked with an unsure look on her face, but Sem responded plainly.
“There’s some female customers too.”
“People that go there out of curiosity and start making a big fuss and bothering other people get thrown out, but other than that it’s fine.”
“This world really is a big place…”
“Are we taking Karan along too?”
Asked Nick, to which Karan responded, seeming not very happy.
“I don’t want to be the only one left out.”
“That’s right Nick.”
Nick started thinking.
“…Alright. If you’re going to be an adventurer, you have to be used to vulgar places. Olivia…”
“Ah, I have work to do.”
Olivia backed away.
After saying goodbye to Olivia, who probably could not handle the nightlife of the city very well, Survivors headed towards Sea Anemone.