There was a Holy Church in the heart of the central province of Leiria Kingdom.
(TN: It was bothering me for a while, but the so-called central province is actually central kingdom in raws. But since central kingdom of Leiria kingdom makes me cringe, I will use something else. Hope you don’t mind)
Although Holy Church is an institution situated in the capital city Reinz, it manages the regional churches in Freestan, Windistan, and Aquaristan, and protects the Kingdom from threats.
Decades ago, at the top of the Holy Church there was a goddess Lina Maria, but she mysteriously disappeared. Then her subordinates, the seven sages, took control of church’s affairs.
The current seven sages aren’t the same as before, during the decades four of them died and church appointed four more to supplement their ranks.
And under the seven sages, there were thirteen people called apostles.
Thirteen apostles are excellent magicians, gathered from all over Leiria Kingdom. There are powerful clans behind each of them, using their influence they were able to send they outstanding young generation into the church.
Thirteen apostles are respected to the great extent.
And each of thirteen apostles had his own troops, when problems arise, they dispatch their troops to solve it. If it was impossible for troops to deal with the problem, they took the action themselves.
With such arrangement, the Holy Church had ruled this country without problems, after the disappearance of Lina Maria.
Currently, there were two men in the 8th meeting room on the third floor of the church.
One man had well-ordered face and long silver hair, he was sitting in a chair and listening to the other man.
Another man had a strong build and brown short hair, he had a sword on his waist and was telling something to the first man.
The two men were young and seemed to be in their early twenties. But you can feel a sense of urgency from their expressions.
「What is your opinion on this case, captain?」
「What do you think?」
「I think it’s unnatural」
「Heh….where exactly? 」
The silver-haired man asked the brown-haired one, and his reply was.
「Yes, first is the culprit. Although the criminal is not in a central province, he is kidnapping across the rest of Leiria Kingdom. Kidnapping in the central province is risky and it is understandable. But even if he has multiple bases, he risks too much by kidnapping from such a large territory」
The two people were talking about massive kidnapping incident that occurred recently.
People were kidnapped in various places, so the Holy Church declared an emergency and launched an investigation
「Besides, they even kidnapped a non-magician girl. You can at least use a magician as a mercenary, that I understand, but what was the meaning behind her abduction?」
「It is as you said, Gris. We do not understand his aim」
The silver-haired man replied to his subordinate Gris Gureia.
Gris is an advanced magician affiliated with the Holy Church, he is a field captain specialized in fire magic.
And silver-haired man agreed with his subordinate’s suspicions.
「Were the captain is of the same opinion? Perhaps the criminal wanted to sell her for operation funds」
「Oh, I thought about it too… but that’s impossible」
「Are you talking about the fact that he didn’t demand ransom?」
The name of the silver hair is Bagil Eight.
He is a magician affiliated with the Holy Church, ranked eight out of 13 apostles.
By the way, the name Bagil Eight is not his real name, his real name is Bagil Naveria.
Just like Gris, he is an advanced magician, and at the same time he is a direct superior of Gris.
As for why he changed it, the thirteen apostles have a custom to abandon their family names and use their number in apostles ranking instead.
So in Bagil’s case, since he was ranked eight among thirteen apostles, his surname was Eight.
He originated from Aquaristan and was a master of ice magic, he was one of thirteen apostles for 5 years already.
At that time Bagil was 18 and wasn’t eager to become an apostle. However, because his Naveria family strongly pushed him into apostle position, he ended up becoming one.
But Bagil, who became an apostle, wasn’t very motivated in his duties and just trained without rest.
The reason for his behavior were the words of seven sages.
Thirteen apostles had the right to know about the existence of Great Dakuria Empire and dark attribute.
They are also informed of the possibility that a war may occur between the Great Dakuria Empire and Leiria Kingdom. Bagil knew about it, and became even more diligent in his training.
Only seven sages, thirteen apostles, and selected few knew about the situation outside Leiria Kingdom. Therefore, Bagil wasn’t going to tell this information to Gris.
Bagil was anxious inside.
What if Dakuria was involved in this incident? As he thought about that possibility he became filled with unease.
While he was thinking such things, Gris said.
「Since there was no demands for ransom, he might have transported them somewhere else」
「It seems so」
「But in this case, he couldn’t have escaped the baggage check at checkpoints」
「That would have caused a commotion at the checkpoint」
From village to village, from town to town, from province to province, there was a need to provide your baggage for inspection. It was made to prevent the trafficking of illegal goods and the leakage of unique magic, it was nearly impossible to avoid inspection.
「Then it appears that the culprit was moving between the crime scene and his base directly」
「However, we didn’t receive a report from local churches」
「What do you mean?」
Given the boldness and scale of the crime, you can also see the approximate number of criminals. And since the number of criminals is high, their base should be particularly big.
Naturally, the bigger the scale, the easier it is to gather the information. However, in this case the criminals were like ghosts.
「I do not know, but I have a speculation」
「Captain, this is…..」
Gris denied his words with a bitter smile.
Because it was difficult for ordinary people to stay alive in the dark territory, it was impossible for a criminal organization to exist there.
Besides, the dark territory is a monster den. The criminals aren’t idiots, thought Gris.
「After kidnapping, the criminals reached the dark territory and moved to their headquarters」
「Indeed, this might work, but there are magical beasts dark territory. They will be annihilated the moment they encounter those beasts」
「What if they could defeat the beasts?」
「No way……for a magician to be a criminal…..」
「What’s more, he is probably advanced magician」(TN: And that advanced magician magnificently vanished)
Gris lost his words hearing this unbelievable speculation.
Certainly, Bagil’s theory could explain everything.
No wonder they couldn’t find their base, if it is in a dark territory. And no one would dare to inspect an advanced magician.
However, it was far from being believable.
「If he is an advanced magician, beasts won’t be able to harm him」
「Certainly, if the criminal is an advanced magician, he can freely go to the dark territory, he can defeat the magical beasts, and he can easily avoid baggage inspection. I wonder to which family he belongs to……」
「I don’t know how much I guessed right, but the possibility still exists」
「Did you report it to the higher-ups?」
「No, let’s keep it between each other for a while」
Then a man came inside the room in a hurry without even knocking. Gris instantly became angry at his conduct.
「Hey you! Who do you think you are to enter without knocking?」
The man quickly apologized, and relayed the information he recently received.
「J-just a little while ago, there was a report from the church in Windistan, they said that they caught the culprits」
「Is that true?」
Two people were surprised at the breaking news that arrived with unspeakable timing.
But they were excellent magicians. They immediately regained their bearing and asked for details.
「What’s your name?」(TN: Yeah, an important detail)
「Bin, go and make a contact with the Windistan’s church. We will follow soon after」
Receiving Bagil’s orders, Bean swiftly departed for Windistan.
Seeing him of with their eyes, two men made a serious face and continued their talk
「Gris, we should head there too」
「Understood. What about the troops?」
「The incident is still not closed. Gather only the squad captains」
「We will gather the troops on the way?」
In that way, the two men headed to Windistan.