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In Another World With Just Monika Chapter 91





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Ka-thoom.

Swish.

A crater about a meter wide and almost shin-deep abruptly sunk into the ground at almost the same time I slid to a stop several stride lengths away down the street. I had Yumina in my arms in a literal Princess carry. She blinked in confusion.

"Light on your feet, are you not?" Zorah whispered darkly.

I grinned. I looked at the rim of the crater around her feet. It was fascinating how smooth it was, an almost perfect circle and a shallow pit. It was like matter was erased around her feet, except that I could see fine white dust staring to fall down around her like a halo. "Respectable," I whistled.

"Be careful, Sir Zah!" Yumina whispered as I put her down and she retreated to a safe distance away. "The Zeno family are known for their strength enhancements!"

"Ours is the strength to shatter mountains! Gods shall humble themselves before a Zenovi's will would break!" Zorah declared as she strode out of the pit with all the ponderous bearing of a giant robot. I could even hear strange creaking noises. "And now I will break. Your. Face."

"Oh nooo. She has lost control," one of Zorah's guards said flatly. "Whatever shall we do?"

"Wait, hang on. I have a solution."

A slap. "This is not the time for snackings, idiots!"

"T-that's right! Should we help?"

"This is a time for our pay NOT to be cut again for excessive property damage!"

""

Zorah gave a strangely unladylike roar and shot forth, her right fist reared back to punch. I stomped down on the cobblestones with my boot and thrust my palm out in a basic horse stance. "[Earth], Pillar, [Spike!]"

A blunt stone spike shot out of the ground, and Zorah was unable to keep from ramming her chin into it. The rock spike shattered on contact like it was nothing more than crumbly bread, sapping none of her momentum. Everything that touched her body shattered into pieces and blew away like powder.

I side-stepped quickly, but she arrived fast enough that her punch clipped the edge of my [Air Shield]. I could feel the whole thing just spin around me before my feet touched the ground again.

/"Player! I just calculated the strike force of that hit it's equivalent to two tons at sixty kph!"/

Huh. Even Elze would have to multiply her [Boost] several times over to equal that. Interesting. Her power it's not changing her weight, isn't it? It had something to do with apparent mass and/or density.

/"You're smiling. I guess you're starting to like the thrill of battle now too, right? Elze will like that, at least. This is the true adventurer lifestyle."/

I swept my hand out to reverse my open palm to pointing down. "[Water!]" A strong gout of fresh water sprayed out of my hands towards Zorah's face.

Blargh?

The water struck her face and turned into mist. She held her hand up to shield her face anyway. Her makeup ran down her neck. For a moment there I could see the real shape of her mouth and chin. " N-no!" she screamed.

And then strong hands grabbed around her slim corseted waist and hoisted her straight up.

" What, no!" Zorah yelped. "Let me go!"

"That's enough of that, milady," spoke the huge adventurer woman. "The reason we were hired was so you would not have to fight at all."

"Y-yes. Please calm down, milady."

"Mylah! Do not disobey me! How dare you! Let me go!"

"Hrgh!" Mylah bent down, her arm muscles suddenly bulging and straining to keep the noblewoman aloft. Her face twisted up into a pained grimace.

And then Lydia, the swordswoman from earlier, sidled up right with her index finger held up menacingly. "No." She stabbed Zorah's side with her finger.

"Gheeek!" the noblewoman screeched and bent her waist almost to a 'U' away from the touch. Zorah was apparently extremely ticklish. The heavy feeling vanished.

"Milady, please consider the social contract," said Lydia. "Your grandfather is the one that hired us, and so if you want to sow terror at least do it outside of town."

Zorah began waving her arms and legs about but had no leverage to free herself. "No! Mylah, let me go!"

"No we will not let you go," the large woman rumbled out.

"No, no, no, no!" Zorah screamed as her hired adventurers evacuated forthwith, still holding her aloft like she was a kayak being carried over land towards the next river.

Lydia remained. "I trust your words of acceptance earlier still hold? Please head over to Fashion King Zanac to work out the details of our duel. Please do not make us return," she said, only half threateningly.

And then she ran for it, following the rest of the group as they rounded the bend out of view.

Leaving a damaged street, bruises on the Ortlinde guards, and befuddled expressions as the only evidence they had ever been there.

Slowly I relaxed out of my combat pose. "What the heck was that?" I mumbled out. Then I groaned and palmed my face. "I've been in Reflet for less than an hour!"

Yumina looked towards Elze and Linze. "Is this normal for you?" From the pinched look on her face, she was wondering if this would become normal for her too.

"Yeah sure," said Elze.

"Um, we have only known Reflet for about as long as Mister Zah does. And this sort of thing is not unusual, to our experience."

Yae looked away, unwilling to say but implying it anyway {You all Belfast peoples be crazy, hai desu}.

My head snapped towards Yumina. I slinked over and bent down to put a hand on her shoulder. She looked up nervously as I loomed over her.

And then I asked "Tell me everything you know about South Belfast's political situation."

Yumina brightened.

Belfast's intelligence gathering was shite. I refused to be blindsided again, next time it might not be mostly harmless weirdness. If we allowed ourselves to fall into a false sense of security, like the King that would open us up to poisoning and stabs in the back or all sorts of false accusations.

Man, what was it with Belfast's nobility? Was it something in the water?

/"You realize all this weirdness is just following you around, right? Being who we are, we can't escape it, Player."/

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I healed up the guards and then asked them to disperse. The Inn didn't have the capacity to just have them hanging around. Obviously they already knew this, because they had already been hanging around surreptitiously for the past two weeks. They had their own accommodations.

Maldon put a hand to his chest. "My lord, please rest easy. No harm shall come to this Inn while you are away on your mission."

You're going to need for than just force of arms for that, dude. Leaving aside how Zorah is willing to go against Ducal authority, perhaps it was time to abuse Royal favor. Or seriously just move out to our own place so that this simple Inn stops being targeted.

"I just remembered that it was ZANAC who actually referred us to this Inn." I raised my hand again as if asking for permission to speak in class. "Does this have something to do with how Micah's dad is so obviously a Belfastian spy to Mismede?"

Elze said flatly "What."

"My father is WHAT?!"

"Umm how ever did you come to that conclusion, Mister Zah?" asked Linze.

"I've been looking at the account books. Dolan works as a spice trader on the side and spends A LOT of time going between Mismede and Belfast. Somehow the Silver Moon Inn still manages to stay afloat even though it doesn't have many customers. I've been checking the trade records and there's not enough inventory to actually make up the difference.

"If it wasn't for his enthusiasm to visit the free ladies in the capital last time he guilted me into bringing along the business owners of the town in compensation for how annoying our [Boom Tubes] have been waking them up and surprising them at odd times of the day I'd have thought he had a family over at Mismede. Even now he's gone again to Mismede for business purposes well ahead of us."

"Well if I wasn't so suspicious about you before, now I am, what the heck Playa!" Elze murmured.

"No way! My dad's too dumb to oh dang it, now I won't be able to trust if he's playing dumb with me when I ask him things. I should have been suspicious when he turned out to be any good at your chess king game!" Micah groaned.

She set down a tray of sandwiches and went back to the counter. She sat there and cradled her head in her hands. "Oh gods! And visiting brothels with the money we earn I have lots to scold him about when he gets back!

"If he had family over there, I wouldn't even mind as long as he told me about it and he started it after my mother died. I'm a grown woman now, I can deal with that. But if he's just being stupid again" She shook her head. "Mister Playa, I kinda hate you now, that you put this thought into my mind."

Linze narrowed her gaze. "Has Mister Dolan been reporting about us to Miss Zorah?"

Maldon winced. "Please forgive me, but I have no idea."

I shrugged. "Nah, his tradecraft is probably about national concerns, not these little gossipmongery."

"How insightful as expected from Sir Zah," Yumina nodded.

/"We have eyes,"/ Monika said ominously.

Yumina leaned back and rubbed at her own chin. How cute. She was imitating my mannerisms now. "I wonder do you have an ulterior motive too for being so obsessed about chicken? If you want to make money, obviously there are faster ways of acquiring it. An adventurer should not need to mind inventory and trade routs.

"Instead of just a simple restaurant, this 'franchise' of yours is a unified brand that seeks to spread out across different towns and cities. It sounds the perfect cover to insert spies into the region."

"No, not at all. Franchises MUST be locally owned. If it had such obvious oversight it wouldn't be any good. Only the quality, the pricing, and the overall aesthetics need to be uniform."

"Then why? Do you just want to be underestimated?" She blinked again and peered closer. "I see. What if no matter how powerful you get, as long as people can keep thinking 'Oh. It's just the Red Chicken man', people can remain comfortable around you. They can interact freely with you."

She began nodding. "A wise strategy, very wise. The peerage can't get away with that, we have to mind the appropriate levels of prestige."

Ahahaha. "Sure why not."

Linze's gaze towards Yumina sharpened. She whispered under her breath "I see. I should have expected this."

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