Investigation (18) From the Black Forest

‘Mr. Daniel, help, I’m in biig troooubblee!!’

She was so loud I took my ear from the phone. All the while, she kept up on some incomprehensible screams, but they probably had no meaning to begin with.

‘Waaah, please save me!! The monsters, the monsters are too strroonng!’

“Oy, hello, Mrs. Jessica, are you there?”

I turned down the volume, setting it at a level that didn’t damage my ears. “Can you hear me now?”

‘Wait, Mr. Daniel, why do you sound so care-free!? I’m in big trouble right now!’

Besides her voice, I could hear the heavy sound of panting, and the swift beat of footsteps. It’s quite likely that at this moment, Jessica was running for her life.

“Oy, oy, what happened? You sound as if you were attacked by a monster.”

“I don’t just sound it! What’s with this thing? It’s skin is ridiculously hard! Gyah! Fire, Mr. Daniel, it’s breathing fire!”

“Calm down, you’re not making any sense.

I lifted up my bag, and walked towards the elevator hall.

‘W-what do you mean by calm down!? In the first place, this is different from what we talked about! I never heard they’d be this strong!’

Jessica swiftly unraveled her mouth, and raised an incomprehensible scream of ‘Upyaaah!!’

“Eh? What’s that? What’s upyaah supposed to mean?”

‘Why is that the part you react to!? You’re definitely doing this on purpose, you’re evading the question on purpose!’

… Tsk. She’s surprisingly sharp.

“Hahaha, there’s no way I am. I mean look, you’re strong enough to beat a dragon, so I thought monsters of that level would be nothing. Hahaha, looks like my plans have gone awry.”

‘Terrible! You’re terrible! There was a three headed wolf just now!’

“Eh? You met Cerberus? That’s amazing, I thought he was just a monster of legend.”

‘It’s not amazing at all!’

Jessica tried to say something again, but after raising another cry of, ‘Myaaah!’ she suddenly went silent.

“Huh, oy, get a grip, hello?”

I tried calling out a few times, but there was no response. Just the cracking sound of something breaking, alongside the roar of some beast-like thing. It seems the phone survived.

Of course, I hadn’t the slightest clue towards the state of its owner.

… Did she die?

That’s bad. If that’s how it was going to be, I shouldn’t have sent her that fifty thousand, I thought, when, ‘I’m still alive!’ I heard Jessica’s voice.

‘That was dangerous. That one was really dangerous!! Mr. Daniel! This is impossible! I-I’m going home!!’

“Hey, wait a minute. Did  you take the all-important pictures?”

‘There’s no way I did!!’

It seems she was really angry.

‘When I don’t know left from right, I don’t even know where I am right now, there’s no way I could find that godforsaken house of yours!’

“Eh? Wait? Could it be you’re lost?”

‘Eh?’

“What’s that Eh mean?”

‘Wah.’

… What is it this time.

‘W-waaaaaaaaaaaaah!! I can’t go hommme!!’

“Oy, calm down. If you make too much noise, you’ll attract something,“

‘Shut your mouth, amateur! I’ve had enough’

… I can’t go on! Jessica cried out. And a cry of ‘Noooooo!’ flooded out of the speaker.

It seems Jessica was running. At full speed. Perhaps something was chasing her. At times, I could hear her cries of, ‘Don’t come this way!’

Just how much time had passed? Jessica’s incessant cries suddenly came to a complete stop, and I couldn’t hear anything anymore.

“Hello? Oy, what happened? Can you hear me?

‘Heeeh, where am I now?’

… It hurts, I could hear her displeased voice. For now, it seems she was still safe.

‘Mr. Daniel. If I recall, you said the house was next to a river, right?’

Did she hit her head? Her cluttered manner up to now had completely changed, and while choked with tears, her tone was calming down.

“Yes, the house the client lives in is apparently next to a river.”

‘But there’s no river next to this house.’

“Huh? What are you saying?”

‘I’m telling you, there’s no river anywhere near this house.’

… This house?

“Jessica, could it be that right now, there’s a house next to you?”

‘There is.’ She complained. ‘Why is there a house in a place like this? I almost ran into it.’

… There really is a house?

To be honest, I was half in doubt. If that’s how it was going to be, I should’ve given her a video phone.

For now, let’s believe Jessica.

“Can you take a photo of that house?”

‘Are you sure this house is the right one?’

I heard the rustling of her taking something out. Eventually, ‘Thank god, it didn’t break,’ I heard a cheerful voice.

‘Then I’m taking the photo.’

“Yeah, I leave it to you. While you’re at it, investigate what’s inside the house as well.”

‘Okay, got it.’

“By the way,” there was something bothering me. “Are there any monsters in the area?”

‘Eh? Oh, you’re right. There were loads of monsters trying to eat me, but what happened to them?’

… I don’t know something like that.

If there are no monsters, then all the better. “Isn’t that good? That there aren’t any monsters?”

I said, as I felt I had forgotten something.

… What is it? It’s like I’m overlooking…

Right, it was in the visiting room. Claudia asked…

‘Are you scared of them? Monsters?’

She definitely said that.

Claudia had never been attacked by monsters in the Dark Forest. That was because the monsters feared her…

Then why wasn’t anything attacking Jessica right now?

There was no reason for the monsters to fear Jessica. And in all actuality, she had been attacked all the way there. Let alone fear, they should be thinking of her as nothing but delicious.

… Then there has to be something else. Something else the monsters of the black forest fear must be right next to Jessica.

Is it the house?

“Oy, wait a second.”

‘Eh? What is it?’

“Don’t go into the house just yet.”

‘Even if you tell me that, I already went in.’

… Click. The call cut off.

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