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Chapter 287

    Hunting Preparations

    Something a bit unexpected happened, but it looks like I'll be able to deal with them how we want.

    ... Letting the dungeon's darkness bury them sounds good.

    It's not as though I'm exposing Maidence and Shikina to danger.

    Among the things Rei enhanced herself with was the [Illusion] skill. It was an ability that allowed you to show illusions to another.

    She hadn't used it at all since enhancing herself, so I figured now was a good chance.

    "If we use your [Illusion] skill to make two body doubles, how long will they last?"

    "Err, using it to make body doubles? It would be different if it was just for the two of them to see it, but having a lot of people see it would be impossible... sorry."

    "Huh? Rei, your illusions aren't like disguises, but are more like targeted hallucinations?"

    "... Ummm, I don't get it too well myself yet, but it doesn't work if there are a lot of people there to see it-it gets undone. It's fine if it's just one person, but it gets hard with two others. I might be able to deceive maybe five people at the same time?"

    What's up with that? Is it that this world identifies phenomena by when they are observed, so that if there are a lot of observers, you need a relative increase in power to maintain the illusion? Mmm, I'm not sure. It does sound like it has some crazily annoying requirements though.

    At any rate, I guess I should just remember that she can't use it in front of a lot of people at once.

    "Oh, I can use it even if there's a lot of people if I have them disappear!"

    "I see. People wouldn't be viewing them if they'd disappeared, after all."

    Based on that, yeah, looks like I can use it.

    "So you can do it if there's two people?"

    "I can! ... Ah, but they'll be found out if they get touched, they're just air. Having something for them to cover would be good. If you could lend me a golem.... but maybe they'd be too hard?"

    "... Maybe we could trick them if we have them wear gloves wound in thin cloth? And dress them up?"

    Luring them from the guild where there's so many people looks to be impossible, so I guess we'll do it in the cave?

    I'll have to have Maidence and Shikina wait in the inn until it's safe though. Maybe I should call for them for a chat?

    "Ah, umm, Master? There's another thing that'll be a problem for using illusion..."

    "What?"

    "I can't reproduce a body with [Illusion] unless I've properly memorized the person's body, so what if I could give them a full body massage... or something? Ah, but even then I think the limit I can remember them is a day...?"

    "... So we'll need their cooperation. Got it. Well, please call for them and Meat."

    I asked her to get Maidence, Shikina, and Meat. Rei left the room, immediately returning with all three of them.

    Maidence's maid didn't come in, but she was standing outside the door.

    "Umm, Kehma-sama. You wanted to talk?"

    "I heard that it is related to me as well. Is it about Beddhism?"

    "... Pillow related?"

    Looks like Rei didn't tell them anything.

    And Meat, there's no way I'd do something as scary as ask them about anything hug pillow related, yeah?

    I should get this moving.

    "Let's see, from here on out I'll be speaking as the village chief... Violent criminals have come into the village. They are adventurers belonging to the adventurer's guild, but they are murderers who hunt rookies."

    Immediately after I spoke, Shikina's eyebrows knit together and Maidence grew serious. Meat remained as expressionless as usual.

    ... Maidence's reaction was a bit surprising. It wouldn't be surprising for young ladies like her to grow pale after hearing that, but she just held the brave gravity of a person placed above others.

    It looks like I won't have to watch my words for her in this.

    Since Shikina would follow my orders and Meat would do anything I said, I just need to focus on speaking to Maidence here.

    I faced toward her.

    "This is a horrible turn of events. Kehma-sama, what will you do with them?"

    "Capital punishment. They appear to have targeted a certain group of three individuals, so I was hoping that Shikina you, Mai-sama, could wait it out in the inn while I take care of them."

    "How could I just sit and watch, I would like to be of help! -And why is Kuro-dono alright!?"

    "Keep quiet, Shikina. I'm talking with Mai-sama right now. And Kuro is strong, that's why it is alright."

    "So I am weak...!?"

    "Shikina, you are weak against surprise attacks, exactly what these criminals specialize in. Even if you are vigilant, they could catch you off guard. If you understand me, quiet down."

    "... Ugugu, it's vexing, but you're right. As expected, Master understands me... thoroughly."

    What's with that thoroughly bit? And stop blushing. I'm ignoring you now, ignoring you!

    Shikina managed to take my attention away, so I faced Maidence again.

    "I would like to apologize for any inconvenience this gives you, but there is something I would like your cooperation in."

    "I don't mind... but how can I help?"

    "If you want to help and don't mind skipping the details, I'd like Shikina and you to receive a full body massage from Rei."

    "... Umm, I don't follow?"

    Right? I'd tilt my head and not understand how receiving a full body massage would help with catching criminals if I were in her position either. Only Maidence would have the blue curls to shake like that though.

    "Sorry, it's a requirement for a skill. Rei will be using her [Illusion] skill, so I intend to have her create body doubles. However, the skill isn't something quite so convenient as to be readily usable... she must massage someone's body and will be able to reproduce it for up to a day afterwards."

    "So that is the reason? I understand."

    "Moreover, since it can't be used in front of many people, we will have to wait to encounter them in the dungeon."

    By the way, me talking so explicitly about Rei's skill here is so that I won't use it poorly in the far future and so that I can declare that it can't be misused.

    It would've been better if it was a lie and I could abuse it though.

    "... I see, alright."

    "Ooh! Then let's-"

    "-But Kehma-sama. This means that they will be going into the dungeon?"

    "Eh? Well..."

    "Forcibly arresting them as soon as you detected then would have been fine, but I assume that you going through with this roundabout measure is to keep this from alarming the public?"

    Crap, I could've done that! ... Not, I wanted to go through the proper steps just in case. Yep.

    Another problem is my confidence in it. Unless I show that they actually hunt rookies, I might end up as being seen as offhandedly forcing punishment on innocent people.

    ... Let's just say it's my own selfishness.

    "In that case, I think it would be best for us to temporarily act as decoys to lure them into a dungeon, then seize them there."

    "... You have a point, but there is no denying the possibility of the danger that that would put you and Shikina, aristocrats, into. You may even be taken as hostages."

    "... I'd like to help Kuro-sama, my fiance."

    Maidence just stared at me fixedly.

    I guess I can put her to use if she really wants to? I can put something out through the adventurer's guild as a nominated commission.

    "In that case, please catch their attention in the guild and lure them out to the church. I will tell the church about it beforehand, so we will switch you out for your decoys ther. Sound good?"

    The criminals shouldn't want to make their move inside the village, so it should be fine. Moreover, Maidence also seemed pleased with the plan and nodded in agreement. Shikina, however, interrupted.

    "Master! Use me too, me too!"

    "... Can you do the act?"

    "... ... I-I'll do my best!"

    Well, Rei wouldn't be able to use her illusion inside the guild at all anyway, so let's have Shikina get a bit of experience in that too.

    "Alright, I'll allow it."

    "Yay! Mai-dono, I will do my best!"

    "Yes, let's give it our all, Shikina-sama!"

    The two of them shook hands. Good luck.

    Also, when I was telling them the gist of their performance-when I mentioned that Meat would be Maidence's pet, Maidence seemed overly worked up about it and blushed furiously. Well, let's not look too much into that.

    With all appearances set up, time to work on preparing what'll actually happen.

    Also also, she had to memorize the feeling of their clothes as well, so I had them lend their clothes along with the massage... but I could only see Rei as a pervert after seeing her smell their clothes and rub it against her cheeks like that. Let's keep that bit a secret.

    ... I mean, she really was being serious about it. She was smelling the clothes like a wine taster would sample wine.
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