The haunted mansion and the married couple

After I left the temple, I headed north.

My destination was a high ground where several mansions owned by nobles were built.
That place offered a great view of the capital that spread further below.

According to Leeza’s words, one of them was haunted. It was surrounded by high walls, but aside its old age, it wasn’t run-down.

The first floor had eight rooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom, while the second one had another twelve rooms. A noble’s household usually counted from ten to twenty people, but that mansion was outstanding even compared to those.

Its previous owner bought it for a cheap price, only a thousand gold coins, only to run away the first week. It wasn’t the first time that happened.

The estate agent collected both a percentage and the mansion’s payment, making sure to profit from the situation. The ‘bad’ part about it was that the building was sold at one-twentieth its real price, to keep catching the interest of potential buyers and gain even more money.

But even though the owners could just demolish it and build a new one from scratch, why they just gave it back and never approached it again? Might it be due to some strange appearance?

“I can’t feel any presence…”

I muttered to myself without thinking.

Ghosts don’t mind daytime, they have the same chance to appear at noon or at midnight, but I couldn’t feel any evil from the mansion.
Commoners didn’t know the difference between wraiths and spirits, so even when they were face to face with a docile one, they would probably choose to run away.
Maybe problems started to arise only at night when ghosts’ apparitions are more frequent?

In that case, I would have had to call the one who was in charge of gathering information in this area and ask if they heard something about it. I wouldn’t have minded investigating it myself, but I had to think about how to convince Yuma’s father, the archbishop, to come to our guild and make an official request.

◆◇◆

Two days later.

I ordered my guild members to let the people close to the archbishop know about the reliability of Silver Mug, all in order to make Yuma’s father come and check it himself. Things moved fast.

Soon after we opened for the night shift, a huge man and a woman entered the bar and approached the counter. Their overcoat matched the right color for the day: ocher.
I chose only plain colors because they wouldn’t attract much attention.

The man wore a hood, but looking at his face, he must have been in his fifties. He had a white beard, darkish skin and sharp eyes. Compared to his massive build, the woman next to him looked like a child. She seemed to be in her twenties and gave a delicate and gentle impression.

She emanated the same aura of Yuma… If they were blood-related, maybe she was…

“I demand some milk. Otherwise, what we can drink only here.”
“Certainly. Is the special blend of the house okay for you?”
“I asked for a drink, but in truth I cannot drink alcoholic beverages. If possible, I would like something non-alcoholic, only for me.”

When the man finished talking, I understood who they were.

“Certainly. I’ll bring it right away.”
“Miss, both me and my husband can’t drink alcohol due to the nature of our work… We apologize for the inconvenience.”

They were a married couple and she resembled Yuma, so…

“My name is Grenadine Manafroze. I came here to discuss the circumstances concerning my daughter.”
“My name is Fenna, Grenadine’s wife. We heard that we might find the solution for our daughter’s problem in this place.”

I didn’t expect both of Yuma’s parents to come. They must be quite worried about her condition.
Still, her father’s muscular build resembled more a fighter’s than a monk’s. Thank God Yuma took after her mother.

“You knew all the keywords, so we can now talk about your request. Your daughter is Lady Yuphila, one of the heroes who participated in the expedition to defeat the Demon Lord, am I right?”
“Yes. She was born with the innate power of guiding lost souls. Her purification skills are second to none in this country… nay, in the world.”
“She has always been a child who never troubled us. She even improved her management abilities greatly since she became director of the orphanage… but lately, she has no appetite and sighs frequently. When I started to grow worried about her, she passed out all of a sudden… The doctor doesn’t understand the origin of her malaise, and suggested to start some sort of medical treatment…”

Fenna brought a handkerchief to her watery eyes. Grenadine was evidently worried also about his wife and gulped down a bit of the ‘sacred pear juice blended with spring water’ that Verlaine brought him.
Like the name suggested, it was made with pears harvested from a sacred mountain, where the spring water was also collected, in the holy grounds of Albein. It was the perfect drink for religious people.

“She said that she is satisfied with her work, and her efforts to succeed me are admirable. The only cause of her malaise must be an illness that doctors cannot detect…”
“I beg you… Please… Do something for Yuphila… Save our child…”

Fenna tried to control her sobbing while pleading Verlaine.

To search a cure for their daughter, clinging to the last thread of hope, they tried to ask a shabby guild like mine for help. We couldn’t possibly disappoint them.
I wanted to make Yuma feel better without letting her guess I was involved.
A part of my goal was the same as her parents’.

“Rest assured. We will understand what is happening to your daughter and find a cure.”
“…Thank you very much. To think that God’s blessing, which granted us Healing Magic, couldn’t help our own child is… very vexing. We don’t want to lose her…”

Don’t worry, Madam, it’s not that serious. Your daughter will return in great shape soon.

I had to bring her to that haunted mansion.
To be frank, I had already bought it for a thousand gold coins. No one complained about that, and once it was purified, it would have become another of our properties.
I only had to make her parents force her to take some rest. That wasn’t a bad deal, in my opinion.

“We understand your concern for your daughter, but you don’t have to worry now. Might you ask her to take a few days of vacation?”
“Ugh… She is really diligent with her work, so I don’t know if we can convince her to stay away from the children for long…”
“I will tell her myself, dear. But where do you want to bring her…?”
“Somewhere in the capital, not far from here. If this will help you feel better, we can arrange a way for keeping in touch with her.”

It was all true, but specifying that she would have stayed at a haunted mansion wasn’t a reassuring detail. If we found some ghosts, I’m sure she would have immediately returned to her usual self.
A self more fitting to Voiceless requiem.
She could let her overpowered purification abilities explode without restraint.

As the advance payment, they only had to pay for Yuma’s lodging expenses at our mansion.
I wasn’t sure about what kind of reward we could ask for, so we decided to postpone the choice and think about it more carefully at another time.

After they left, I made Aileen and Mylarka take a seat at the counter.
I had asked them to drink on their own for the time being so that Verlaine could talk with the couple undisturbed.

“I see… Yuma’s condition is quite bad, huh. She was fine last time I saw her, even though her face did look a little thinner.”
“So… you’re going to ask for our help?”
“Yes. Our request is to spend a few days with her in a certain place.”
“Spend a few days together…? Me, Yuma and Aileen?”
“Oh, I see! Like, when I’m tired from working and need to rest, I go to some hot spring and stuff. Now she’s tired, so we should tag along and try to make her relax, right? Darn yeah, I’m in! More booze, please!”

Aileen was in high spirits and asked for a refill. Meanwhile, I was drinking ale and nibbling at some ‘roasted wisdom beans.’ I wanted to leave the girls do the rest, but…
Mylarka stood up and placed her hand on my shoulder.

“Mister Drunkard, what’s that ‘it’s none of my business’ face?”
“I-I’m not… I mean, Miss, partying with your friends seems fun. Don’t mind me and enjoy your girlish vacation…”
“Eh…? Oh, you’re pretending to be a customer now. In that case, Mister, I’d like you to remember that you can drink alone whenever you want, but sometimes it wouldn’t hurt a change of pace.”
“N-Nothing makes me feel more at ease than this place.”
“Wow, did I touch a nerve? Don’t be like that. We’d welcome you in our party with arms wide open, but I guess it’s not like you care about that. Hahaha☆”

That was more or less a normal invite, but I had to keep up my facade even with Mylarka’s hand on my shoulder.

“I think you should tell us more about that vacation when the bar closes… don’t you think, Mister Drunkard?”
“I shall explain the details later. Of course, my Master will be present, so you don’t have to worry. Enjoy your drinks.”

Verlaine placed a glass in front of Mylarka. It seemed that my blended drinks were her favorite, even though she never said that.

“Mh… This is good.”
“Mylarka, this will be the first time we’ll be on a vacation together! I’m super excited!”
“…You’re right. It would have been better if we did one right after our expedition, but this isn’t a bad moment either.”

The destination of the vacation they were talking about was a hunted mansion, but they didn’t have anything to worry about.
Or rather, I should have been the worried one if not even a ghost was to appear. Sending Yuma alone was probably a bad choice, so I asked her strongest friends to tag along, but how would that turn out?
It would have been a problem if they destroyed the mansion, so I would have to watch over them from the shadows.

A light insect would hide well in that kind of building, and I wanted to believe that they wouldn’t obliterate such a harmless creature. Still, if they found out that there was an intruder in their girl-only vacation… they would’ve killed me. If they still hadn’t learned how to control their immense power, I was the only one who could manage them.

“Wait, we won’t go to the hot springs but in a mansion on the hill north-east of here…? Oh… Does it have a big bathroom? How much booze will be in there?”
“…Something’s fishy about this, but fine. We have the responsibility to help a friend in need.”

Said Mylarka, looking at me with a suspicious look.
Instead of answering them, I gulped down some cold ale.


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One Comment

  1. gaigous 15 September 2018 at 1:29 - Reply

    That poor bastard, the demon lord is the only ship I like so far.

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