LTBE - Chapter 279: Blood Envelope

Roel wouldn’t have been too surprised if he had received a blood-red envelope in his previous life. Many love letters took on such a color, and it represented feelings of affection and fondness. However, on the Sia Continent, this color had a more ominous connotation to it.

Those living in the modern era were accustomed to peace so they weren’t too sensitive to the color of blood, but in the much more dangerous Sia Continent, the color of blood was bound to provoke one’s cautiousness, especially if one was a transcendent. An envelope dyed in such a color could be viewed as a warning.

Geralt’s first thought upon seeing this envelope early in the morning was that it was a prank letter. It wasn’t uncommon for cowardly mice who dared not show themselves to send in all sorts of insulting letters to the Request Club to put Paul down. Such ridiculous behavior infuriated him, but there was nothing much he could do about it.

However, being brought up in a military household had taught him to be meticulous in whatever he did. No matter how irksome Geralt thought those insulting letters were, he would still make sure to take a look at their contents.

Unexpectedly, his meticulousness paid off today.

This blood envelope contained a long request letter that spanned three sheets of papers, and the tone looked earnest despite its bizarre content. The handwriting appeared to belong to a woman, though the letter wasn’t signed off by anyone.

“The sender likely chose to use a blood envelope to catch our attention. If what’s written inside is true, the implications are truly massive…”

Geralt solemnly explained the reason why he specially took an hour’s ride from the central district back to the Azure Manor early in the morning. Roel took the envelope, but he didn’t take out the letter and read it right away. Instead, he gestured to the servants and told them to bring an additional chair over.

“Have a seat. You should eat something first.”

“Ah! Thanks, chief.”

Roel’s meticulousness brought a smile to Geralt’s face.

The operations of the Request Club wouldn’t start so early in the morning. It just so happened that Geralt had yet to move into the Azure Manor and he had a habit of running in the morning, so he would usually check out the request letters whenever he ran past the Request Club’s building in the central district. That led to him noticing this peculiar letter, and he immediately rushed over to the Azure Manor on the first available carriage.

Needless to say, he hadn’t had breakfast yet.

Geralt was already starving by this point, so he didn’t hesitate to stuff food into his mouth. Paul told the servants to prepare some more food to accommodate the additional guest. Meanwhile, Roel finally opened up the blood envelope and began reading its content.

The content of the letter was rather complicated, but it was indeed a request for help. The sender hoped that the Request Club could look for an already graduated senior named Cheryl Lawrence, who was believed to be currently on campus.

After looking through the letter, Roel handed it over to Paul before he leaned back on the chair and closed his eyes contemplatively.

I didn’t think that this would be the first major incident we would encounter, Roel thought as his expression turned a little grim.

This was the incident in the Eyes of the Chronicler that really changed the way the player looked at the beautiful Saint Freya Academy and the Sia Continent as a whole.

According to the game’s plotline, this incident should have occurred only after a few minor ones, but those minor incidents didn’t occur at all possibly due to some changes brought about by Roel’s intervention, resulting in the Request Club slacking off for the past half a month. That being said, he didn’t expect the first proper job to actually be the sickening ‘Bloody Envelope Incident’.

The incident started with the disappearance of Cheryl Lawrence. Saint Freya Academy’s graduation season was in spring as well, just a little ahead of their matriculation season, and Cheryl was a student who graduated in the recent graduation season just three months ago.

She was born to a merchant house in a small country named Llorente Kingdom, which was located near the Austine Empire. She was the second child in the family, having an older brother and several younger sisters. Naturally, she wasn’t next in the line of succession.

For graduates of Saint Freya Academy who didn’t have any family business to inherit, their number one option was usually to continue staying in Leinster and find a job here. There were plenty of opportunities available in Leinster, and the qualification as a graduate from Saint Freya Academy had a high level of recognition here. There was a good chance of achieving success here.

As the second child in the family, Cheryl harbored such thoughts too. Instead of returning home after graduation, she began looking for a job in Leinster.

But a mishap suddenly occurred. Her older brother and younger sisters met with an avalanche during a trip and lost their lives, and Cheryl’s grieving parents wrote a letter to her to inform her of this matter and urge her to quickly return home.

The incident made Cheryl the only child left in the Lawrence House, so they had to have a son-in-law marry into the house in order to continue the family lineage. It might be heartless to say this, but Cheryl’s life seemed to be turning for the better after the tragedy.

Things took a sinister turn from this point onward.

Cheryl’s parents didn’t get to meet their daughter. Instead, they received a letter from her, saying that she had found a job and a boyfriend in Leinster, so she wanted to start a new life there. She thanked her parents for raising her and expressed her unwillingness to return home for the time being.

Cheryl’s parents didn’t pay it much heed at first, thinking that the letter was sent out before she received news of her siblings’ death. However, when Cheryl failed to return home even after some time, they were forced to conclude that she didn’t want to leave her boyfriend’s side and return home. So, they took the long journey to Leinster to bring her back home personally, only to be horrified to find that their daughter had long gone missing.

What was the most eerie of all was that the records of Leinster’s post office showed that Cheryl had received her parents’ letter, which meant that she was aware of her siblings’ death. The letter her parents had received from her a few days later also wasn’t sent by Cheryl herself but via one of the post boxes placed around town.

Would a person whose siblings had died due to an accident possibly write back home about her new boyfriend and refuse to return home? Even if she had no feelings for her siblings at all, would she really choose her new job over the massive inheritance she had back home?

Cheryl’s parents thought that it was implausible too, which was why they believed that her daughter had been kidnapped and reported the case to the constables. However, Cheryl had lived on her own after graduation, and she hardly had any friends around either. The constables weren't able to find any leads after looking around a bit, so the case was eventually left hanging.

Even though the constables had already given up on the case, Cheryl’s parents couldn’t accept that their daughter had disappeared just like this. They were determined to get to the bottom of things and find Cheryl. They conducted their own private investigation and caught wind of rumors that Cheryl was spotted in Saint Freya Academy a few days ago, so they approached the academy in hopes of engaging their help on this matter.

Unfortunately, the staff members of Saint Freya Academy weren't keen on getting involved. Cheryl had already graduated and was no longer affiliated with the academy. Furthermore, there was no clear evidence that she had been on campus.

From the staff members’ point of view, Cheryl’s parents were causing a ruckus after failing to find their daughter, so they placated them by agreeing to put up missing person posters on the campus notice boards before sending them off.

The Lawrences were just a merchant house in a minor country, so they weren’t able to exert pressure on the powerful Saint Freya Academy. However, what they didn’t know was that a Third Grade student who was once under Cheryl’s care had found out about the matter through the posters and started looking into the matter too. She was the one who sent the request letter to the Request Club.

“This is complicated,” remarked Paul with a frown after reading the letter.

The usual requests received by the Request Club involved just day-to-day troubles faced by the students, but this request clearly wasn’t anything minor.

If the content of the letter was true, there was a good chance that this was a criminal case. Things could be far more complicated than it currently seemed on the surface, and they might just end up digging up more than what they were looking for. It could potentially bring danger upon them.

That was also the reason why Geralt quickly brought the letter to Roel upon seeing it.

The wise thing to do here would be to turn down the request, but it would pang at their conscience if Cheryl was really still on campus and something happened to her.

“The sender must have been desperate since even the academy has chosen not to interfere in this matter. This is likely her last resort.”

Geralt and Paul began analyzing the case and weighing the pros and cons of taking it on. However, their eyes couldn’t stop drifting toward Roel, who had been lying on his chair with his eyes closed all this while, not speaking a word.

While they were the vice leaders of the Request Club, as well as team leaders in the Bluerose Faction, they dared not to make the call on something as important as this. After all, this case looked far too much like a coordinated crime based on the information provided thus far.

Under their occasional glances, Roel finally opened his eyes. His expression looked far more severe than usual.

There was definitely significant danger involved since this case involved evil cultists, but this wasn’t something that could be avoided. Both Roel and Paul were already mired in all sorts of schemes going on in the shadows of the academy, so trouble would still come knocking on their doors no matter how hard they tried to avoid it. Since that was the case, it would be wiser to face them straight on.

“We’ll be taking on this request,” declared Roel.

The other two young men sitting on the dining table exhaled in relief before nodding understandingly.

Geralt was brought up in a knight house and was instilled with the code of chivalry from a young age. It was difficult for him to turn a blind eye to injustice happening in the world, so he fully approved of Roel’s decision.

As for Paul, the two of them came to know one another due to Roel’s ‘meddlesome’ personality, so he was well aware of Roel’s strong sense of justice.

“Big brother Roel, what do we do next?”

The two motivated young men looked at Roel intently, awaiting his instruction. Roel pondered deeply for a moment, but recalling the tragic conclusion to this incident left him at a loss for words for a moment.

“We’ll begin investigation, but we’ll start not from Cheryl Lawrence but someone else who is even more important.”

Under Paul and Geralt’s astonished gazes, Roel picked up the blood envelope as his eyes turned sharp.

“We’ll be looking into the sender of this letter.”

StarveCleric's Notes:

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Written by Bells on Cat Ears (猫耳铃铛). Translated by StarveCleric. Edited by Welmar.