PHA - Chapter 24 - Change of Clothes
Originally, Alice was scheduled to meet the human kings before she went to the demon realm. However, that plan suddenly got pushed back.
The reason for the delay was simple—the king of the Ymir Kingdom, which was the Gryffin Kingdom's neighbor, had suddenly died from a heart attack. As a result, the Ymir Kingdom had fallen into chaos. Meanwhile, after discussing it among themselves, the kings of the four other kingdoms decided to postpone the meeting until the Ymir Kingdom crowned its new king and stabilized its internal affairs.
However, even though the meeting got postponed, Father Kasandora had still sent a photo of Alice to the four kings. As for the Ymir Kingdom's share, it would have to wait until the kingdom crowned its new king. After all, now that the Ymir Kingdom was in chaos, there was a high chance that Alice's photo would get leaked to the public. This was a risk Father Kasandora couldn't take.
Since her meeting with the human kings got postponed, Alice ended up wasting away on the church's second floor for a few days. During this time, she browsed the internet to enhance her knowledge of this world. She also spent some time looking at this world's novels and movies.
Based on her findings, Alice found that the culture of this world was a little old-fashioned compared to the level of technology available. If it wasn't because of the Hero and Demon King problem bugging her, Alice might've taken on the job of a plagiarist instead. She could probably live a relatively wealthy life here by copying Earth's literary works.
Apart from research, Alice had used her "New Generation's Hero" to post her made-up training log on LINK daily. After doing so, she would then take a screenshot of her LINK and post it on her LINKS using her "Hero BOT" account. And because of her speedy information transfer, she had quickly gained a huge following on LINKS. She had also received a verification mark on LINKS that labeled her account as a "Famous Hero Media" plus many private messages from demons.
Of course, as more than 90% of the private messages Alice received were requests for her bypass software, she ended up blocking all private messages. In any case, all she needed was for the demons to trust that the information Hero BOT provided was true. Though, that was indeed the case in a certain sense. After all, Hero BOT was merely relaying the information the Hero personally provided. The only problem was that the information the Hero provided might not be true.
This was the nature of the internet. So long as a piece of information had a verified source, its credibility would increase substantially in the eyes of netizens. As for whether the information itself was true or false, not many people cared about that.
Three days later, Rosa messaged Alice mentioning the smuggling team's meeting point and that she had completed all of the necessary arrangements for Alice. The smuggling team would be sending Alice to the demon realm's Windy Kingdom, which was also the kingdom that housed the Demon King City that Rosa previously mentioned.
Alice was delighted with Rosa's arrangement. Not only did the thief girl help restock her arsenal of weapons, but the other party had also provided her a means of traveling to the demon realm. For these reasons, Alice decided to stop fussing over the matter of Rosa secretly photographing her before. Not to mention, Rosa had indeed adhered to their agreement and kept her mouth shut on Alice's identity.
The smuggling team's meeting point was an ordinary shop in Mana City. Following the GPS coordinates Rosa sent her, Alice quickly located the shop and saw that several small trucks were already parked in front of the establishment.
Looking up, Alice found that the trucks were loaded with raw materials needed for certain magical creations. Based on Rosa's information, Alice also knew that these materials were unique to the human realm and could fetch an exorbitant price if sold in the demon realm. It was also because of the potential profits that people were willing to take the risk to smuggle these things to the demon realm.
"Are you the person Rosa mentioned?"
The shopkeeper was a tall and burly middle-aged man who had a simple and honest appearance. However, when the shopkeeper heard Alice mentioning Rosa's name, the simple smile on his face disappeared, and he began scrutinizing Alice with a sharp look. Then, after failing to find anything out of the ordinary about Alice, the man frowned and said, "Why is it an ordinary little girl... Are you sure you want to go to the demon realm? I'm sure Rosa already told you, right? We won't be taking the normal route. The trip is going to be dangerous."
The shopkeeper's reaction was well within reason. After all, Alice's young appearance and attire made it difficult for anyone to take her seriously. While the girl's blue-white dress wouldn't pose much of a problem since the people of this era had already transitioned from using horses to using cars for transportation, the unconscious Milu Rabbit tied to the girl's waist was simply strange. If it wasn't for the faint trace of mana he sensed coming from the rabbit, he would've thought that it was a doll instead of a living creature. Most importantly, anyone who had experienced even a little bit of combat training could tell that Alice's limbs were weak and flimsy and that her body held almost no mana.
Is Rosa alright? Why does she want to smuggle such a weak young lady to the demon realm? Does she have some kind of grudge against the girl?
The burly shopkeeper couldn't help but frown. Smuggling was already illegal, to begin with. If he caused the death of someone as well, he would be in serious trouble. Not to mention, Alice looked very much like the young lady of a wealthy or noble family. If she died during the journey, both he and his teammates would probably have their faces stuck to a wanted poster the next day.
However, as the shopkeeper owed Rosa a favor, he couldn't go back on his word now. After all, credibility was vital for smugglers. Hence, even though he felt that Rosa's job was risky, he still chose to bite the bullet. "Since I already promised Rosa, I won't drive you away just because you are a little girl. However, you must be mentally prepared."
Then, after taking a moment to compose himself, the shopkeeper looked at Alice and sternly said, "We will be checking your luggage before we leave to prevent anything that might expose our tracks... Don't worry; I won't be doing the inspection. A woman will be doing it instead, so you don't have to worry about any personal items being seen."
After saying so, the shopkeeper took a look at the backpack Alice carried. Then, he looked at the Milu Rabbit and the pouch Alice carried around her waist and skeptically asked, "Why don't you put your pouch into your backpack? What are you keeping inside?"
The pouch carried Alice's Artifacts, and Alice had tied it around her waist to allow her easy access to the weapons. For the sake of her dignity, there was no way Alice could reveal the pouch's contents to the shopkeeper. However, considering that someone would be checking the pouch later anyway, Alice hesitated for a moment before truthfully saying, "It's my change of clothes."
After saying so, Alice felt that her words didn't sound sufficiently stern, so she repeated, "It's a change of clothes."
The shopkeeper failed to understand why Alice needed to repeat her words in a different manner.
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