PHA - Chapter 15 - These Demons Aren't Following Routine
"Is everything okay?" Alice anxiously asked when she saw Zauna returning to the room.
"It's okay. The people downstairs are still clamoring to see the Hero. Their voices are much louder than the sound of the wall being smashed through just now, so nobody noticed the commotion on the second floor," Zauna answered, shaking her head. "Don't worry. Our current society is one of human rights. Father Kasandora and the nuns are enough to hold back those people. No matter how much those people want to get first-hand information on the Hero, they wouldn't dare take any rough actions. If they did, the King wouldn't spare them."
"Trespassing through brute force is no good, but what if someone secretly snuck into the church?" Alice asked as she turned to the bound girl behind her.
The girl in question had black hair and wore black clothing, and she was none other than the person who secretly captured photos of Alice and Zauna through the door gap. After Alice struck her in the abdomen using the Milu Rabbit, the girl had lost her mobility completely. Although the girl had recovered to a certain extent now, Alice had already tied the girl up using a rope. Meanwhile, the girl still wasn't strong enough to forcibly snap the rope binding her, so she could only sit on the floor and wait for Alice and Zauna to deal with her.
"It seems this fellow took many pictures. There's even a voice recording of our conversation," Zauna said as she looked through the phone that the black-haired girl dropped. It was fortunate that Alice had noticed the girl's peeping in time. Otherwise, Alice's identity as the Hero would've been exposed. "Although I've heard about cases of thieves switching careers to become paparazzi recently...I didn't think we would meet one so soon."
The black-clad girl revealed an embarrassed expression when she heard Zauna's words. Evidently, Zauna had hit the mark, and the black-clad girl should be a former thief turned paparazzi.
Of course, this trend of switching professions to become paparazzi had only started recently. So, it explained why a novice like Alice managed to discover the black-clad girl, who had worked as a professional thief previously. This was because the black-clad girl hadn't adapted to the work of the paparazzi yet.
Thieves typically left the crime scene after stealing the valuables there; they wouldn't remain at the crime scene for long periods to take photos and videos. Since the black-clad girl didn't have the relevant experience, even an amateur like Alice was bound to notice the reflection coming off of the camera lens after a long time.
"Out with it. Which media company sent you?"
Zauna naturally wouldn't be friendly when dealing with peeping toms. This was especially true since the black-clad girl had captured her face in the photos as well. "I'll tell you now that the person you've provoked this time isn't someone ordinary. It doesn't matter which media company is backing you. None of them will be able to protect you, so you best confess everything now. If we have to force it out of you, you'll be facing much greater consequences."
The black-clad girl's complexion instantly turned white. At this time, basically the entire human race knew who was living on the Gryffin Church's second floor. Now that Zauna had spoken in such a serious manner, how could the black-clad girl not know who she had just photographed? After hesitating for a moment, she glanced at Zauna, then turned to look at Alice, then finally turned to look at the unconscious Milu Rabbit on the floor. Then, she weakly asked, "Can you enlighten me before you kill me? Which one of you three...is the Hero?"
Zauna suddenly felt as if her IQ was insulted. Then, glaring at the black-clad girl, she said, "Are you kidding me? Why must we tell you which one of us is the Hero?!"
"No... I'm just curious..." the black-clad girl hurriedly said and put on a fawning smile.
Looking at the black-clad girl's current behavior, Alice judged that the thief profession indeed suited the other party. Not only was her acting as nimble as her movements, but she also had a slick tongue. Only, the words the black-clad girl said next didn't sound very pleasant to Alice's ears.
"Based on the mana I can feel coming off of your body, I can tell that you are only at the apprentice standard," the black-clad girl said as she looked at Zauna. Then, she turned to Alice and continued, "But this blonde young lady here doesn't have even an ounce of mana in her. She is no different than an ordinary person. Even that rabbit on the floor has more mana than her, so..."
Am I that weak?
For the first time since coming to this world, Alice realized that her strength in this world wasn't even comparable to that of a Milu Rabbit without a weapon in her right hand. This revelation dealt a huge mental blow to Alice. It was no wonder why the black-clad girl said "which one of you three" when asking them about the Hero. It turned out that she included the Milu Rabbit into her consideration as well.
"Hmph. How can the average person see through Alice's strength?"
Zauna was a little peeved. After all, she knew of Alice's "strength." Hence, when the black-clad girl spoke about Alice in such a way, she immediately refuted the girl out of anger. However, as soon as Zauna finished speaking, she immediately realized her blunder.
"I see, so she's called Alice? Does this mean she is the Hero?"
Sure enough, the black-clad girl quickly caught on to Zauna's slip-up, and she turned to look at Alice with glowing eyes.
Zauna knew that the black-clad girl had tricked her based on the other party's reaction. The black-clad girl had deliberately belittled her and Alice to incite her, causing her to reveal the Hero's identity. Now, not only did she expose Alice's identity as the Hero, but she had even revealed Alice's name.
"No wonder. Although I can't feel any mana coming from you, the strength you used to throw that rabbit indeed surpasses the level of ordinary humans," the black-clad girl said as she looked at Alice.
Alice subconsciously looked at the Milu Rabbit on the floor when she heard the black-clad girl's comment. Although the other party wasn't aware of it, Alice's strength when throwing the Milu Rabbit only exceeded ordinary humans by a small margin. After all, the Milu Rabbit only provided an effect of Strength +2. What allowed the Milu Rabbit to penetrate the wall was the additional effect "Penetration."
However, Alice naturally did not need to tell these things to the black-clad girl. Instead, she did her best to maintain a serious expression while looking at the black-clad girl. Though, due to Alice's youthful appearance, her actions ended up making her look like a child pretending to be an adult instead.
"So what if you know I am the Hero? I'm afraid you won't have the chance to spread this information," Alice said.
"Indeed. If you hand me to the guards, I'll be escorted straight to the capital since this matter concerns the Hero," the black-clad girl said, chuckling. Judging by her carefree behavior, she didn't seem afraid to be handed over to the city guards at all. Instead, she looked at Alice and said, "But I have information that could be useful to the Hero. It's about the plans the demons have for the Hero. If you let me go, I will share this information with you."
So this is why she dares to come sneak pictures of the Hero. It seems she came prepared.
Alice frowned when she heard the black-clad girl's offer. Truthfully, Alice would prefer to avoid any possibilities of her identity getting exposed. However, after putting more thought over the matter, she felt that it might be better to hear about the plans the demon race had for her.
The average Hero might not be afraid of the demon race sending pawns to deal with them, but Alice was not the average Hero. She was as weak as a baby chick without panties. So, it'd be better to take some countermeasures in advance.
"Say it, then. If your information is indeed useful, I will let you go," Alice said. Then, she added, "But you're still not allowed to reveal my information to others."
"No problem. I trust in Lord Hero's words."
Although the black-clad girl didn't seem to revere the Hero's existence, like most people in this world, she still believed in the Hero's character. After all, the Hero was someone chosen by the Gods. Hence, the black-clad girl didn't hesitate to trust in Alice's promise and revealed the information she promised to Alice.
"The demons seem to have learned from their past experiences of fighting against the Hero. The Heroes of past generations have always relied on fighting low-level demons to achieve steady and rapid growth. Hence, the demons no longer intend to send pawns to attack the Hero this time. Instead...the demons seem prepared to send their Four Heavenly Kings to assassinate the Hero."
Alice's legs trembled with fright and almost fell off her chair when she heard the black-clad girl's words.
After Being Bent By Reader (ABBR)(GL)
Reincarnation of the Strongest Sword God (Side Stories)
Miss Cousin is Always Busy (MCAB)(Yuri, Quick Transmigration)