Thanks to the Editor for pointing out issues
Commencing the Investigation
The next day, I made for the adventurers’ guild.
My reason for doing so was simple enough; I wanted to find out as much about the evil dragon as I could. If someone wanted to know about monsters, then who was better to ask than adventurers and those employed by the guild?
That was my line of reasoning, anyway.
I wasted no time in reaching the guild, immediately set on finding anyone who looked as if they might have known something. But, perhaps because of it still being the first wee hours of the morning, there were barely any adventurers around.
I’d messed up… Only now did I recall that we farmers had a habit of waking up extremely early to take care of our cattle and to work the fields, and that it was rather unlikely that an adventurer would wake up around the same time as we did…
There were still a few scant guild workers here and there regardless, and so I tried asking them, but wound up with little useful information.
Hold on, I thought to myself. That had reminded me that Helen was nowhere to be seen, even though she’d been up and awake at the same time just yesterday.
Thinking it strange, I ventured to ask the other workers about it and found out that she had taken some time off, apparently due to some health concerns.
When I had seen her yesterday, nothing about her had indicated as much. I could only be in awe of her when I considered that she had taken such great care to not let it show, all so that others wouldn’t be able to pick up on her illness.
In the end, there hadn’t been much information I could gather. Still, I had other methods.
If I just went to the library, I was sure that I’d find a book that mentioned the dragon.
That being said, I had absolutely no idea where the library was, so I just asked anyone available, calling out to a passing trader.
“Excuse me, do you have a minute?”
“Oh, certainly. What do you need?”
“You wouldn’t happen to know where the library is, would you? If you do, would you mind giving me directions?”
“Not at all. Just take a left around that corner over there, then take a right at the fifth corner you’ll pass. If you take a left at the third corner from there, you’ll find the library.”
“Got it. Thank you so much. Now then, if you’ll excuse me.”
“Wait, the library’s–”
Once I’d given him my heartfelt thanks, I ran to where he’d pointed me. Noting that running at full speed probably wasn’t the best idea, I kept to a light jog.
I had a feeling that someone had called out to me from behind, but it was probably just my imagination.
When I finally reached the library, I spent a good chunk of time gawking at its sheer size. When I remembered that I really couldn’t afford to waste time, my hand reached out for the door.
It wouldn’t open. Why?
I looked up and saw a sheet of paper that had been stuck to the door.
‘Opening at 10’.
“Seriously, they’re not open yet?!”
I felt a little despondent when I realised that I’d rushed in vain, but nevertheless decided to wait until the library’s opening hours.
When it was finally ten in the morning and the library was open for entry, I was the first to go inside.
There were more books than I thought there would be. Looking for the right one was bound to be back-breaking work.
How lucky was I, then, when I noticed that books had all been placed in separate locations based on their contents, places such as the ‘Plant-Related Zone’ and the ‘Monster-Related Zone’. That would make the search so much easier.
When I went to the Monster Zone, I found that it was divided even further according to the specific types of monsters, and saw such sections as the Goblin Zone and the Orc Zone. I headed straight for the dragon zone, and went about searching a book about the evil dragon.
“Evil dragon, evil dragon… where…”
Several hours went by, and I found no sign of what I wanted in the dragon zone. Thinking that there may have been some kind of mix-up and that the book in question was in another zone, I searched high and low but found nothing that focused on the dragon.
Just where could it be? Was this the part where it turned out that the book never existed in the first place?
I supposed I could ask whoever was in charge. If that still didn’t work, then I had to find another way to get information.
I carried myself to the reception desk, where they also allowed for the borrowing of books, and then asked the older woman sitting there.
“Excuse me. I’m looking for a book about evil dragons. Do you know where I can find one?”
Having heard what I had to say, the older woman sighed in remorse.
“I’m so sorry, but it’s really not something we can show you. That book’s only available in the section restricted to the upper class.”
Why were they treating this book like it was some highly confidential thing?
I wasn’t sure if the lady had noticed my curious expression, but she continued as if she had.
“I don’t blame you for thinking that it’s strange. It was ready and available just a little over ten years ago, you see. But one day we got a new book on the subject and they were all locked away in that room.”
She pointed towards a rigid, sturdy-looking door.
“I can’t say I know why that happened, but I’m afraid I have to ask you not to look too much into it.”
“Huh? Al, is that you? Why are you here?”
That was when Fal called out to me.
“Y-Your Highness?! Why are you here…?”
The woman was shocked, and I couldn’t exactly say that I wasn’t surprised.
“What’re you doing here, Fal?”
“Looking up things, obviously. What about you, Al? You look a little worried. Why did you come here?”
“I was actually looking for a book with the information I wanted. Turns out it’s in that restricted area. Only the higher class can get to it, so it’s pretty much out of my hands. I was just thinking of going home, actually.”
“Hmmm, you don’t say. Sorry, do I have enough authority to let him in that room?”
Both the woman and I called out in shock.
“Whaaat?! Is that even allowed?!”
“It’s certainly possible if you both go inside, I suppose, but…”
“Well then, I’d like to be given permission to go inside together.”
“A-Alright. Please, just hang on for a moment.”
The older lady rose from her desk and went off somewhere before she came back with a written permit and a key.
“Here you go. Please, take your time…”
Though her tone was even and reserved, the look she cast my way practically screamed the question, ‘Who are you, even?!’
“Come on then, Al. Let’s go.”
Fal opened the sturdy door, stepped to the side and gestured for me to go in first. I did as she asked and went inside.
Once I was there, I realised that even the clerks here might no have been allowed inside, if the strange lack of cleanliness was any indication. It was a little dusty in there.
So this was the place… this was where I’d find a book about the evil dragon.