How long has it been since I lost consciousness?
「Please… wake up…」
A girl’s voice, gentle but insistent, gradually rouses me from the darkness.
「Oh, thank God.」
Sitting up, I face the girl beside me, relief evident on her features.
The girl beside me is, of course, the one I had met in that alleyway where we were ambushed.
「…Where are we?」
I swiftly scan our surroundings.
Rough stone makes up the floor, walls, and ceiling, with a singular iron door as the room’s sole exit.
A cell, perhaps? The space is fairly large, with just the two of us inside.
From the ceiling’s construction, it’s likely we’re underground.
My blood pulses through the stone beneath me, helping me to sense our surroundings. If only I could extend my senses beyond these walls.
「I’m not sure exactly where we are… but I have an idea of who kidnapped us.」
「Really? Do share. Oh, and just so you know, I’m going to speak casually with you. I don’t know you, and I don’t use formalities with strangers. Besides, I have a feeling you’re the reason we’re in this mess, right?」
「Understood. Yes… I’m sorry. This is all because of me.」
「Apologies can wait. I need information. I can’t afford to die in a place like this.」
「…Okay. I believe the ones who took us are from Al-Reten.」
A notorious group made up of disowned nobles and merchants skilled in magic, and those from the upper class with magical abilities but who have fallen to crime.
They’re an underground organization formed by those who can no longer live in the light of society. They exploit their magical knowledge to lure in new members.
While they’ve never grown powerful enough to directly threaten the elite, they operate on a delicate balance. Al-Reten has connections not only within our country but with nobles and merchants across the world, often undertaking unsavory tasks that others wouldn’t dare.
This incident must be one of their schemes.
「I see… That’s all I need to know.」
I’m familiar with Al-Reten. They’ve been mentioned in games I’ve played, and from my own experience living in this world, I have a personal, albeit minor, connection with them.
「So it’s them.」
The girl in front of me is… familiar.
I rack my brain, certain that I recognize her from somewhere. Ah, yes, I know this event. There are moves to be made.
We’re probably not in Highend, but rather in the slums.
Here, I have the upper hand. I am free.