Protagonist Knows Everything - Chapter 35: I'll Find Them
Sain mumbled something and dragged me to the conference room.
As soon as the door closed, Sain spoke up.
“How do you know about that?”
Her speech was jagged.
I just shrugged and answered.
“After looking at Ms. Sain’s condition lately, anyone can guess it.”
“It’s not that bad, it’s nothing…”
Sain kept refusing the claim that she looked miserable, until her eyes met the mirror mounted in the conference room.
Past few days she adorned the tired and exhausted face of an office worker who had been working overtime for far too long. Her eyes were swollen with dark circles under them and above all, she looked a bit… dull.
“I was standing in front of the staff like this…”
“You don’t have to think about that, everyone is worried about you. Who the hell is coming anyway?”
“Mr. Tay knows everything anyway, it doesn’t matter if I tell you or not. My father is coming for a visit.”
I wasn’t particularly surprised because I already expected this.
“Do you know how many years it’s been?”, she asked.
“I do not know.”
“It’s been 7 years, no, it’s been 8 years now. It can be said that this is the first time he’ll visit since I became in-charge of the Hagnut Guild.”
“What’s the purpose of his visit?”
Sain just shook her head.
“I don’t know. But I can guess.”
“Mr. Tay knew about the bet between me and Von. He’s most probably coming to check the conditions of our guilds… or maybe for the final evaluation.”
By this point, I had a rough idea of what the bet was. In other words, the more successful guild between the Hagnut and the Wyvern guild will win the bet.
That made me even more curious about the reward.
“And what if you win the bet?”
Sain lowered her head.
It seems that she couldn’t tell me about the reward.
I wanted to probe about it a little more, but my senses told me that she won’t open her mouth about the reward.
‘If that’s the case then…’
“Sain. If your father visits, will I be able to sit down with you?” I said.
‘To get a good look at his face.’
‘What the hell is he doing? Register him and monitor him slowly while sitting in my office.’
I really wanted to say that but I didn’t.
Instead I said, “As a member of the Hagnut Guild, I want to show off. A bit to our founder who rarely shows up.”
“Since Ms. Sain is a little too humble, sometimes she misses out on situations when you’re supposed to show off.”
“What? I show off once in a while as well.”
She laughed and said, “I know. I have nothing to worry about. It’s Mr. Tay.”
“The letter didn’t say when he’s going to come, but… Anyway, I’ll make a seat when the time comes. Is that ok?”
I nodded. Sain got up from her seat with a much more relaxed face.
“How amazing. Talking to Mr. Tay is always so relaxing.”
“It looks like I had the answer all along.”
Then she followed up with a gentle smile.
“I don’t have to force myself to change just because my father is coming.”
“Thank you. Mr. Tay.”
These days, I often received praise without even doing anything.
This time I just checked upon the health conditions of my coworkers. I am the HR manager after all.
When we came out of the conference room, Kasha, who was gone for the whole morning, came and greeted us.
“Where have you been? I found it.”
“What’s going on?”
“No… Nothing, why?”
“Sain, I found it.”
‘At least try to hide it.’
‘What do you mean you found it?’
Sain covered her mouth only to smile a little and then excused herself…
“Then, Mr. Tay. Excuse me for now.”
“Ah yes. Bye.”
…And left to meet Limer.
As Sain moved away, Kasha whispered to me, “Today, Ms. Sain looks good.”
“She looked really drained the past few days, did Tay do something?”
Kasha’s words were random most of the time but still her intuitions scared me.
“I just had a light interview.”
“Then it’s my turn now.”
“No. You’re getting a nice quest today.”
“The last few quests were easy, do you have something good today?”
“Don’t worry, we have a A-plus quest today.”
Kasha looked towards my table.
“We are receiving A-plus quests quite frequently now.”
“I know, you must be happy since you’re receiving so many quests nowadays right Kasha?”
“Well, thank you, but… what is it today?”
I just went to my table and handed the quest form to her. Her face oozed determination as soon as she got the form.
In the meantime, like a habit, I started checking the personnel records.
‘The Secreed stone, I wonder what it is.’
It’s a name that has some magical connotations.
‘Would Kasha know about it?’
Then I heard Kasha’s voice.
“This is a little overdue.”
“If it’s not that urgent, can I go for the quest tomorrow? Right now I’m not feeling too well.”
I finished checking my boss’s condition a little while ago, but this time, Kasha wasn’t feeling good. Well. Kasha certainly looked tired. Until yesterday, she was full of energy, looks like she didn’t sleep last night.
In any case, Kasha is an indispensable talent in our guild. She’s the only A-plus-class adventurer. She should take care of health a bit more.
“No. Rather than being sick… huh?”
“Fufu…Are you worried about me now?”
I ignored Kasha, who laughed at me, and asked again, “If you’re not sick, then what is it?”
“I’m just a little tired. It feels like my body is drooping.”
“See, I told you to go to bed early, that’s why you’re still so small.”
“It’s okay because I am still growing. And just being short doesn’t mean I am a kid.”
“Who said anything about being a kid?”
But Kasha was really tired, she was hanging on the desk as she spoke.
“And yesterday I slept early. Strangely, I was drowsy all of a sudden.”
First of all, I was relieved, because she slept early.
But, I still checked Kasha’s personnel record for her health status.
[Health condition: Secreed curse.]
‘What!? What did you catch now?’
I grabbed Kasha and dragged her into the conference room.
As soon as the door shuts with a bang, Kasha laughed bashfully and said, “I didn’t mean to have an interview so quickly.”
“Kasha. Have you ever heard of the Secreed Stone?”
At that, Kasha blinked her eyes and seemed to ponder for a few moments. It looked like she’s trying to recall some old memories.
“The Secreed Stone…Ah! Maybe that’s it. There was a named monster like that.”
“Huh. Rather, how does Tay know about it? Your knowledge of history isn’t that good.”
“Wouldn’t that be something that disappeared after the War 300 years ago?”
Those words hardened my complexion. Kasha did not notice and kept speaking in a relaxed manner.
“It is a curse stone made by the Demon King Hebrain himself. If you write the name of the person to be cursed on the stone and break it, there is a 100 percent chance that the person will be cursed.”
“It is said that a lot of skilled soldiers died 300 years ago because they had no way to stop it. Later they found a way but it was too difficult.”
My heart was beating really fast as she kept speaking. I kept asking about it while trying my hardest to keep my composure.
“It’s a stone, but it’s a named monster? How?”
“Because he’s a guy who has a big ego and names things whatever he pleases. According to the record, the stone keeps howling while it’s in use.”
Kasha, who had not yet figured out the situation, playfully imitated the cries.
I wiped my face.
“Isn’t it one of the twelve named by the Demon King himself that you talked about when we defeated Dame the other day?
“Uhh, yes that’s right.”
“If it appears right now, it will be an S-class quest.”
“Huh. Yes… Tay. Why are you scared?”
She carefully looked at my expression as if to see why I was scared.
But I continued with my inquiry.
‘A named monster. How did Von get his hands on one?’
No. That’s not important right now.
I turned back to Kasha and asked, “If it’s something that needs to be broken, you mean it’s disposable right? Right?!”
“Oh, no. I heard that the Secreed Stone would recover itself over and over again with the power of the Demon King. That’s why so many people suffered 300 years ago.”
“Probably, when the person who was cursed dies, the restoration will begin immediately.”
“300 years ago, then how did they handle it?”
Kasha replied, grabbing her forehead as if she was growing nervous.
“It was said that the heroes sealed the stone of Secreed that they obtained as a loot after defeating the Demon King Hebrain.”
“It’s a seal.”
I tapped the table with my index finger.
Kasha was just staring at my finger.
“Didn’t you say that they found it difficult to remove the curse?”
“Huh? Oh, yes.”
“Means that it wasn’t impossible. How did they lift the curse?”
“300 years ago… According to the standards these days, B-class priests should be able to lift the curse.”
‘What? Class B?’
Compared to the seriousness of the problem, the solution was so easy. So easy that it almost made me laugh.
If all we needed was a B-class healer or priest, there are many in the Hagnut Guild now.
But Kasha’s words weren’t over yet.
“But there was a side effect.”
“Huh. It’s a named monster, created by the Demon King himself, so it can’t just be solved like that. As far as I know, the moment the curse is lifted, the consciousness flies away.”
I deliberately inhaled through my nose. It’s because I knew my voice would crack if I did it through my mouth. Kasha’s words really scared me.
“Consciousness flies away? Be more specific.”
“Uh, um. Should I say that they become like a statue.”
“I heard that they couldn’t do anything by themselves and just looked at the air with their empty eyes. They couldn’t even eat or drink themselves, so someone had to take care of them forever.”
I stroked my forehead to hide my pained expression from Kasha.
In other words, she won’t be able to distinguish between her own house and the Hagnut guild? It felt like my heart was about to burst out of my chest.
However, I casually spoke, while hiding my expression.
“Is there any way to get rid of the curse without side effects?”
“It is said that Saint Peterine De Castle, who was one of the heroes 300 years ago, was able to completely remove the curse. Well now, if someone like that existed then…”
I replied even before her words were over.
“No need to worry.”
“Because I can find it. Someone like that saint.”
Kasha finally caught up to it and she asked.
“Is there any way the Secreed Stone has appeared again? Just like Dame?”
“Someone might be cursed already, can we help? Huh? Tay, please say something.”
I slowly reached out and gently stroked her hair.
“You’re not going on any quest for some time.”
Kasha realized everything with that. That she was the target of the curse.
I left the conference room with Kasha.
Sain, who came back to the table, said “Ah. Mr. Tay. Kasha…?”
She tilted her head.
“Kasha…. what happened?”
“Ahaha. No. Nothing, Tay was just trying to scare me a little.”
Sain looked at me with her eyes demanding an explanation.
I calmly opened my mouth, “Kasha is cursed by Secreed.”
At my words, Sain and Limer became even more confused. I carefully told them everything.
No matter how much I said, Sain couldn’t seem to believe all of it at once.
“Well, how can it be? Secreed’s stone is an S-class quest.”
“I guess, I didn’t know about it because it’s not a monster that stands out like Dame.”
“Yeah. Even I didn’t know about it. How does Mr. Tay know?”
I just smiled and replied, “Just here and there.”
“That’s not what’s important. I heard a little more from Kasha. Could you explain it yourself? Kasha.”
At those words, Kasha whispered and opened her mouth.
“The symptom of that curse is falling asleep.”
“The cursed person would fall asleep, with a blissful expression as if they were experiencing heaven in their dreams. After eight hours of sleeping like that, they will stop breathing.”
I stopped her from speaking any further.
“The Demon King Hebrain must’ve been a sick guy.”
“No, I didn’t say it just because he was the demon king. But why would he put a curse to sleep comfortably rather than to vomit blood or endless pain?”
Sain was confused.
“It’s a curse no matter how you see it. People wouldn’t even notice it. They won’t even know if it’s time to sleep or just the curse taking action.”
“The later you notice, the less time you’ll have to respond.”
“In addition, he made a curse that even B-class priests could solve it. The reason for that is also clear.”
“A side effect when the curse is lifted. In other words, Hebrain wanted to keep the enemies alive.”
“In war, it’s better for the enemy to have more seriously injured than dead. That will eventually lead to their resources being drained, they’d have to expend a lot of personnel to help those injured ones.”
I forcibly gulped down my saliva as I spoke.
“It is said that it was possible to curse multiple humans by setting the conditions carefully and breaking the stone as stated by Kasha.”
“According to the record, there were times when the entire unit of knights were cursed. If you put a curse on your troops, and they stayed alive then they’d have a burden on them.”
Sain and Kasha’s faces grew frustrated.
This Hebrain guy has a pretty good brain.
If I had been in the same position as him, I might have thought of the same things at least once.
Whether I implemented that plan or not is a different case.
“300 years ago, humans couldn’t have left the cursed personnel to die. And with treatment, they’d just become a burden.”
“To cut the resources of humankind. I think that was the reason for making the Secreed stone.”
I felt something pulling my clothes.
When I turned around, Kasha was holding my sleeve tightly. Her hands were shaking.
Her voice was trembling as she said, “I was cursed and was able to wake up after my first sleep.”
“But when I fall asleep the second time, I would never wake up again. And Tay. Hey. Hey…”
She looked up at me.
“I am sleepy now.”
“It hasn’t been long since I got up this morning. I’ve never been sleepy at this time, but I’m sleepy. Tay. Maybe it’s time?”
I opened my mouth.
“Don’t worry.” I said while lowering myself to her eye level.
“I told you earlier. I’m going to find someone like that saint.”
When I said that, my sleeves became loose. Kasha just believed my words without any further questions.
Then Limer interrupted with a trembling voice, “There. I… I don’t understand that, but in history, it was only Saints who could lift the Secreed’s curse without side effects…”
“Yeah I know that.”
“Well, how are you going to find someone like that?”
I wetted my lips a little and called the personnel register.
Then, I went to my screen and looked through my abilities that I unlocked when I was promoted from 2nd year to 3rd year employee.
[Trait 3: Who can do this?]
[Search for someone who can solve the problem. (No distance limit)]
[Cooldown: 14 days]
[Deduction point: 100]