The clinic that Loren and the others ran into was in the middle of the shopping district, so there were a lot of different stores in the area .
After leaving Klaus to guard the clinic, he took Shayna and after walking around slowly for a while, he started going into the stores and examining its products .
“The vegetables are wilted, but they aren’t rotten . There’s no trace of any fighting anywhere . There’s some houses with their meals left unfinished and a bit messy, but no traces of an attack . ”
“I wonder where everyone went?”
Loren couldn’t find the words to answer Shayna’s question .
In fact, he himself wanted to ask the same question, and wished someone could pop up and explain what happened, but there was no way that things would be so convenient .
“This place looks too alive to have been abandoned by a group of people . Most of their things are still here, including their valuables . ”
In the stores and houses that they went into, all the money and valuables were left there untouched .
A mercenary would have looted them with no hesitation, but Loren didn’t touch any of the things he found .
Loren had looted enemy bodies on the battlefield before, but this wasn’t a battlefield, and the owners weren’t enemy soldiers .
In addition to that, taking things from people who disappeared for an unknown reason didn’t appeal to him at all .
“Shayna, do you know what the population of this city is?
Shayna asked him with a blank look on her face . Loren waved, telling her not to worry about it .
It looked like even though she knew about the city and the area around it by following her father around, she didn’t know about things like the population .
“Judging from the size of the city, I guess it would be around thirty to fifty thousand? No one would believe that this many people disappeared like smoke even if I reported it . ”
Whether they were able to return Shayna to her parents or not, once they returned to Kauffa, they had the responsibility to go to the adventurer’s guild and report the deaths of the others who had joined them, as well as what happened to the city of Hanza .
But Loren sighed heavily as he guessed that even if he reported exactly as what happened and what he saw, the guild wouldn’t believe him .
Loren knew for a fact that it was true because he was seeing it with his own eyes, but to someone who did not would scoff after listening to a report saying that the population of a whole city-state had disappeared .
That was how unreal the situation was .
“There’s no way a person could just disappear without a trace . If I could find traces of blood or dead bodies, then it would be a whole different story though . ”
Loren heard Shayna, who was walking beside him while holding onto the coat he was wearing, let out a worried cry, and became embarra . s . sed that he had been talking out loud the whole time .
Saying things like if he could find a dead body in front of a girl who was from this city was being very inconsiderate .
“Sorry, I was irritated . ”
“It’s okay, I’m fine . But…I really wonder where father and everyone else went?”
a . s . suming that Shayna’s parents were okay and still in the city, Loren guessed that they would be in the central area .
There were quite a few reasons to why he thought so, but the main reason was that most of the time, but those with authority usually built their mansions or castles in the center of the city .
Getting there wouldn’t be hard .
They just had to go all the way down the main street .
Although Hanza had high walls, it seemed that it wasn’t designed for street fights, as there was one large street that went straight to the center of the city .
Loren wondered if it was okay to build the capital city like that, even though it was a small city-state, but in the end it wasn’t really his problem to worry about .
“I wish I could go search the president’s home as soon as possible . ”
He wasn’t sure if there were survivors left in the city, but since it was so quiet inside, Loren guessed that it was most likely that they would be inside the president’s home in the center of the city .
That was why he wanted to check to see if there were any survivors, and if there were, take them and say goodbye to this spooky city, but four out of the seven of them were in no shape to move, and figuring everything out among the remaining three was too dangerous .
“It’s best if we wait for the four of them to recover before we start moving, but do we really have that much time on our hands?”
Whatever may be the reason for the city to become like this, if there was something or someone that willed this to happen, it was close enough to say that they did not have much time at all .
Loren’s thoughts caused him to be unfocused on his surroundings, and noticed it a heartbeat later than Shayna .
“Onii-san, someone’s there . ”
It was after they had searched inside a number of houses .
They could not find anything so they were on the way to another house when Shayna strongly tugged on his clothes .
As he came back to reality at her words, Loren saw a woman looking at them from behind the corner of a nearby building, and called out to her .
“Wait! We aren’t suspicious people . ”
The thought that he was already a pretty suspicious character due to the fact that he intruded other people’s homes and stores crossed his mind . But although the woman trembled for a moment, she didn’t run away and instead just stood there, continuing to watch them .
“I’m really not someone suspicious . I’m and adventurer that came here on a quest, but saw the state of the city and I’m trying to figure out what happened…”
“Are…you here to help?”
The woman that nervously asked him looked around twenty .
She had dark brown hair, with no other outstanding characteristic whatsoever .
“Not exactly, but are you a resident of this city?”
“Yes . My name is Shutel . ”
“What happened to this city? Where did everyone go? Why are you still here?”
Loren asked question after question to the woman named Shutel .
Her eyes widened at all the sudden questions, but after a moment quietly shook her head .
“I don’t know . A few days earlier the people around me suddenly started going crazy…I was scared so I hid in my bas . e . m . e . nt, and I just came out because I ran out of food . ”
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“Don’t you have any family?”
“How long until we can?”
“She needs to rest for the rest of the day at least . Once Roll recovers, her divine arts should be available as well, so we should be able to move her tomorrow . ”
“Accidentally killing her would leave a bad aftertaste, I guess . ”
But if they chose not to move, it meant that they would have to spend the night not knowing what exactly was out there .
At this point, there was no way to know for sure how dangerous that would be .
“There’s the option of leaving Klaus here to guard them while we go on our own . ”
“Loren, that’s a pretty cold as well as ruthless thought right there . ”
Loren let out a troubled laugh at Lapis’ calm response .
If spending the night here was indeed dangerous, Loren knew that leaving Klaus and the four injured was the same thing as leaving them to die .
Even for Loren and Lapis, it meant they had to guard Shayna and Shutel by themselves, and would increase the risk of danger for themselves as well .
“What will you do?”
“We stay here for tonight . We go after everyone recovers . ”
Right now, the only ones who could fight were Loren, Lapis, and Klaus .
Loren decided that the three of them sticking together was a lot safer than splitting up and increased their chances of survival .
“I understand . Then we’ll have to set up camp . ”
“If that’s the case I’ll help . ”
Lapis stopped Shutel with a raise of her hand .
“There’s no need for that . I’ll have you and Shayna stay put in different rooms . ”
“But…at least let me take care of Shayna . ”
Shutel tried to argue, but Lapis bluntly refused .
“If you wish to stay with us, you’ll do as we say . If you cannot, we cannot take you with us . ”
Shutel was confused at the sudden change in Lapis’ way of speaking .
Loren softly nudged Lapis’ side with his elbow, drawing her attention .
‘I’m sorry . I the way I speak norm…I mean the way I spoke during my days of training as a priest slipped out…But we’ll have you do as we say . Is that clear?”
Lapis seemed to come to her senses at Loren’s nudge, cleared her throat, and said to Shutel once more .
Shutel was still confused, but realized that Lapis wasn’t going to change her mind so she nodded her head reluctantly .
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