Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi Chapter 372
I let out a growl in my Goldonia residence.
I poke the cheek of Celia, who is resting on my lap like a cat.
This indescribably unsatisfied feeling remains in my heart.
「We made a profit, I guess. It seems a little scary if you consider the defense though…… well, there’s a way to do it.」
Tristan comments with an inattentive face.
The way he is leaning lazily on the sofa is not an attitude one would expect of a subordinate in front of a superior.
Normally, Celia would kick him, except she is laying limply on my lap.
「The problem is their morale…… travelling alone to Goldonia to take back their land. That really makes for a great heroic story. It’s a little cheap for my taste though.」
「Heroic story? She paid money to buy it back.」
I glance over at the corner of the mansion.
There, several heavy iron boxes are lined up. Filling those boxes are a total of 250 000 gold, which Wilhelmina left me after negotiations.
「We were in the palm of their hand the moment we took it with us. No matter if they paid or not, the fact remains that their land returned. Small details can be exaggerated as much as they want.」
When our gazes gather, Nonna, who is drinking tea near the boxes, twitches.
She can take some, she just has to say so before she does it. If the numbers don’t match, Adolph will get mad.
Still, 250 000 gold will take quite an effort to bring back with us.
It would have been nice if the money was sent to my territory instead.
Maybe I’ll leave it here.
「That will be a problem. Please take it back with you somehow…… I can’t relax if such a substantial sum is left here.」
True, keeping mountains of gold in a mansion with a woman and kids isn’t the best idea.
There is no guarantee that idiots won’t barge into the mansion despite being aware of who owns it.
「Leopolt and Adolph would have something to say about that.」
Oh I know, I’ll say it was a decision Tristan made arbitrarily.
「Please don’t! Those two take jokes like that seriously…… besides, this couldn’t be avoided. With the king there, we couldn’t do anything. By the time I grasped the entire situation, we were losing.」
Tristan shrugs his shoulders and drinks the rest of his tea.
Then he places a cushion on the side of his head and lays down sideways.
I’m watching you, drinking tea and eating snacks and taking naps like that.
Celia makes a reluctant face when I release her cheek from my teasing, then light fills her eyes again.
Looking around warily, she discovers the sleeping Tristan nearby.
「Tristan! What do you think you’re doing, shamelessly taking a nap in broad daylight in front of Aegir-sama like that!」
Celia’s kick lands squarely on Tristan and makes a resounding whack like a futon being slapped.
「Oww! You’re going to break my ass, my body is delicate――」
「Silence! Wake up!」
Celia forces Tristan to stand.
「How noisy. I can’t sleep peacefully like this.」
As if changing places, Brynhildr sits in the spot next to me.
Then she takes my hand and brings it to her cheek.
She must have been watching what I was doing with Celia.
「……mu, that is good.」
I imagine poking her in the same manner would likely upset her so I brush her cheek softly instead, which she seems to be fine with and leans against me.
「Be careful on your way back.」
Brynhildr warns without turning her face to me.
「Careful? This isn’t enemy territory.」
She pinches and twists my thigh. When she does it with her strength, it really hurts even though she holds back.
「You are an excellent military man, however many military men die not in the battlefield, but the palace. Not by an arrow head, but by a poisonous blade. I have lived more than ten times longer than you, it wouldn’t hurt you to trust me.」
「Yeah, I guess.」
Brynhildr takes my other hand into her hand, grips it and continues speaking.
「Humans die really, really easily.」
Brynhildr gives me an upward look before biting my neck.
She wasn’t trying to suck my blood. It was more of a playful bite.
「I will protect you. Still, you should also do your part to be careful. Let that Tristan brat do something now. You should listen obediently.」
I get this troubling feeling when she says she will protect me.
Her strength does not match her appearance.
When Dorothea looks over at us with slight concern on her face, one stare from Brynhildr weakens her knees and drops her to the floor on her ass.
Brynhildr directs her gaze away from Dorothea and back at me.
「If you’re going to die, die by my side. Then I can make you live as my servant eternally.」
Brynhildr’s widened eyes shine brightly like a light.
Wilhelmina’s eyes were amazing yesterday, although no match for these.
Becoming her servant means becoming a vampire.
「That won’t do.」
Her shining eyes narrow in displeasure and she bops me on the head.
The ominous atmosphere vanishes.
「Hahaha, because I won’t be able to have an orgy under the blue sky.」
「Stupid! Idiot!! How dare you treat me with that attitude!? Should I kill you on the spot!?」
When I jokingly end the conversation, Brynhildr comes at me.
Her child-like pummeling is actually a flurry of heavy hits.
If I were to become a vampire for real, Lucy would definitely not welcome it, and she would not come with me. That’s what I was thinking.
Nonna and I finish socializing with Erich, Kenneth and the others, and will be heading back to our territory right away.
Our stay was planned for a longer duration, though negotiations ended in one day.
Leopolt and Adolph joint signed a message telling me to hurry back as well.
As the carriage slowly rides off in the dead of night, Brynhildr and Nonna stare at each.
「This carriage is meant for husband and wife.」
Nonna puffs her enormous chest out to threaten Brynhildr to no effect.
Brynhildr doesn’t say anything and only maintains a condescending gaze.
She doesn’t have much interest in humans as a whole, much less Nonna.
「Brynhildr, don’t be cruel to Nonna. She’s my precious wife.」
I warn her since I can’t have her ignoring me or Nonna.
Nonna is slightly happier when I stand up for her, which annoys Brynhildr who noticeably clicks her tongue and speaks out.
「I said I would protect you. I would make it in time if you were alone and a short distance away, but when fun bags like those get in my way, I can’t afford to make any mistakes. Therefore, I need to stay beside you.」
That’s all Brynhildr says before she swiftly turns her face to the side, which infuriates Nonna this time.
「F-fun bags, you said!? How dare you insult me like that as the legal wife!」
「I call it like I see it. I do have to say, you have the ability to cry out at night like a beast.」
Brynhildr retorts monotonously, to which Nonna turns red and stands up with her arm pulled back as if ready to slap the vampire.
Before I could get in between them, Brynhildr’s eyes widen.
Instantly, Nonna falls back on her ass with her hand still raised.
Her legs are trembling like a fearful rookie soldier heading out to his first battle.
「Not my fault. She was going to come at me with her udders, so I defended myself.」
Normally, such a big deal would not be made over a stare, except her stares are no joke.
In the past, a random guy tried to mess with Brynhildr and one stare made him soil his pants and pass out.
A vampire’s eyes are that much of a weapon.
I quickly sit Nonna back down.
Good, nothing leaked out. I let out a sigh of relief as I pat Nonna’s head softly.
「There, there, I’m right here for you. Calm down and take deep breaths.」
Why do Nonna and Brynhildr get along so poorly?
I look at Nonna, who is sobbing into my chest, and Brynhildr who is watching in disgust.
「Does it bother you?」
「……does what bother me? Try saying it.」
I’m not that cruel.
The body of a vampire has stopped growing.
When Brnyhildr looks to pounce on me, I hear the vigilant Celia shout out.
According to Tristan’s suggestion, the escort unit is deployed in a wide formation instead of crowding around the carriage.
「Enemy attack――! Bandits are looking to surround us!」
The carriage comes to a sudden stop and the escort unit forms a perimeter.
Their response was quick in part due to the spread-out alignment used in battle to discover the enemy.
I leave Nonna in the middle of the carriage, grab my sword and take a peek outside.
There shouldn’t be any bandits on the road from the capital to Rafen.
With that said, it’s hard to keep tabs on every small moving group of people away from a city.
「Aiming for us, how foolish!」
Nonna’s right. Small-time bandits conventionally target peddlers when security is lax and lone travelers.
Choosing to take on a party with an escort is much too reckless.
「There is a valid reason though.」
We have 250 000 gold behind us.
It is such an eye-popping amount of money that bandits flock to us regardless of how disadvantaged they may be.
Government officials in the palace are aware that I have received money from Wilhelmina, so it’s possible that they leaked information under the influence of alcohol or because they were threatened.
「Bandits…… doing it for money, huh.」
Brynhildr looks at me and smirks.
「The party of travelers to our rear have also been dragged into this mess!」
I hear a high-pitched scream as Celia gives a further report.
So the traveler is a young girl?
「Not good! A woman is going to be killed!」
「Hey y-, idiot!」
Brynhildr chases me after I dash out.
In my peripheral vision, I see Celia and the escort unit already engaging the enemy.
「I’m not going to let bandit scum get near Aegir-sama!」
Celia hits up an extended spear and stabs the enemy in the throat.
The bandit dies without saying a word.
Celia blocks the sword of another enemy coming from the side with her shield, then slices off the man’s hand at the wrist.
The sword she pulled out of the first enemy thrusts like a flash of light and buries deep into the eye of the bandit who lost his hand.
「This is no time for us to stare blankly.」
「If we can’t get rid of mere bandits, we are not worthy of being escorts!」
The bandits could not hope to overpower the other escort squad members whose statures and equipment are superior to theirs and were thus repelled to the ground.
After falling, the unsightly men were finished off either with swords or metal military boots.
Corpses of bandits started to pile up while the escort unit remained unharmed.
It was a one-sided affair. I could have taken a nap in the carriage and everything would have been alright.
The same could not be said for the group travelling behind us.
The husband of what looks to be a newly-wed couple collapses after his arm gets cut, then the wife is picked up onto a bandit’s shoulder.
A merchant is kicked in the face and the purse he clutches tightly is ripped from his hands.
Clinging to a party with an escort would ensure a safe journey.
Such thinking was a traveler’s iron rule, though not this time.
Celia and the others will prioritize protecting my carriage, abandoning those who follow us.
Sometimes fate is cruel, but only when we’re talking about men.
The newly-wed wife will likely be captured and horribly raped, plus I also see others such as a fallen mother who is bleeding and a little girl crying.
「Trash who cut defenseless girls do not deserve to live.」
I mutter as I swing my sword.
The bandit desperately puts his sword up to block, although my sword goes right through his weapon and caves in his rusted helmet.
In reaching his skull, the bandit twitches uncontrollably before collapsing.
I smile at the woman who is released from the grip of the corpse and then swiftly twist my body.
A blade from behind aimed at my neck narrowly passes by without touching me.
Stumbling forward from missing, his chest is open for me to swing my sword, except I can’t cut him in half.
Thinking it was strange, I take a look at my sword and find it was bent after the first attack.
「Mu, it was a ceremonial one?」
I instinctively grabbed the sword at my hip.
With how bulky the longsword is, it couldn’t be kept in the same carriage.
「I’ll use it as a metal club then.」
Using purely strength, I whack the enemy who charges from the side with the bent sword.
I can’t cut through leather armor with this bent thing, however I certainly felt his internal organs being crushed.
After that strike, the sword is completely bent out of shape and hard to wield.
I crouch down to pick up an enemy’s sword.
「Now, go for it!」
Two bandits run at me.
Thinking I have to use my hands to deal with them, I suddenly feel a gust of wind from my back.
A pair of glowing red eyes draw a line horizontally through the dark of night.
The speed at which those eyes moved was in a different dimension than the approaching bandits and I could hear the black figure whisper something in my ear.
「It’s dangerous, dummy.」
Brynhildr overtakes me and flies at the two bandits.
Seeing the girl only shocked the bandits briefly, not deterring them from following through with their actions, since they were individuals who could care less about cutting down a female.
Their swords were swung at Brynhildr with no hesitation whatsoever……
Then, I heard two wet impacts.
No screaming or deathroes came after.
Brynhildr mumbles miserably.
Her arms were crossed over each other after being swung.
I don’t see the two bandits anywhere. Only their remains could be found.
A few seconds later, two heads plopped to the ground.
Similarly, a right leg, a left leg, a hip bone, and guts separated from the lower halves of each of the bandits scattered about.
Everything else from the chest up was missing.
Taking a hit from her reduced their bodies into tiny pieces.
Impure dregs of blood mixed with indiscernible bits of flesh dye the grass dried up by the winter.
「Aahー!! Aegir-sama has left the carriage!! Everyone, hurry to him!」
Celia realizes I rushed out and scurries over.
Nonna is still in the carriage.
I also see Tristan crawl under the wagon.
「Escort unit, protect the carriage! I won’t be defeated by bandits.」
My command stops the escort unit from running to me and they stay put to guard the carriage, although Celia comes anyway.
It happened right when I thought everything was going to be okay now that more than half of them were wiped out.
「Don’t let your guard down.」
A beautiful voice rings and then a beautiful white hand sticks out in front of my face.
There was a thud and that beautiful hand was ruthlessly pierced with a crossbow bolt.
「It’s the second wave.」
Brynhildr emotionlessly pulls the bolt out of her hand and sticks it in front of me.
「I don’t know the specifics, but it was coated in poison. A little scratch would put your life in jeopardy.」
She snaps it in half and casually tosses it away.
「Poisons don’t work on me. The wound will heal in no time. More importantly――」
I hear a whistling in the wind. This time Brynhildr didn’t move.
「Aah, this is what they’re betting on.」
There are three distinct sounds, all aimed at me.
I know they’re coming so I won’t get hit.
Tilting my head, I dodge the first one, then I deflect the second with my bent sword, and then I knock away the third with my cloak-wrapped arm.
「Geez, don’t run out on your own!」
Celia complains as she reunites with me, only to get into a defensive stance right away.
At the same time, a group dressed entirely in black seems to ooze out from the darkness.
They don’t pay any attention to the writhing bandits or the travelers. They focus only on me.
「Heh, so the bandits are throwaways. They wanted to create chaos and kill me in the confusion.」
The gold wasn’t their goal.
They were targeting me from the beginning.
The group, covered head to toe in black robes, smoothly and silently forms a circle around us.
「I’ll call the escort unit over!」
I send a signal to Celia.
「No, they’ll come before that.」
The black-clothed individuals rush forward in unison the moment I finish speaking.
There are five attackers; Celia takes on one, while Brynhildr and I take on two each.
None of them shout or yell. In fact, even their breathing is quiet.
No more useless talk comes from my mouth either as I take my bent sword, pick up a rusted sword from a dead enemy, and fend off the two attacks simultaneously.
Metal clanging echoes in the night.
Their slashes are not particularly heavy, it’s just my weapons are so poor that they will break after a few uses.
Besides, their swords are purple-colored. Poison is without a doubt being used.
I’m worried about Celia too, so I want to finish this quickly.
I click my tongue and jump backwards.
Judging my bent sword won’t last much longer, I decided it was best to distance myself briefly.
I know those guys won’t let me.
The two enemies accelerate without a sound and give chase.
Unlike the calculated and coordinated attack earlier, there is a slight discrepancy in their sudden pursuit.
They fell for it.
The foot I took a step back with pushes hard off the ground to propel me in the opposite direction.
In addition, I throw the two swords in my hands.
I can’t clearly see their faces while they’re covered up, but I can tell my move surprised them.
It’s too late now.
They charge forward at me and I charge forward at them.
They can’t change direction and there isn’t enough time to show off their swordsmanship.
Even so, they prove to be skilled opponents as my swords get deflected by a sword or an arm guard under their robe.
However, that was the only action they could take.
My right fist collides with the face of one of the assailants before he could reach for a short sword.
I got in a blow with all my strength behind it.
The shape of my fist is imprinted in his face, his nose is caved in and an eyeball pops out of its socket.
Surely, this is the end for him.
My left hand was slightly delayed compared to my right, allowing the other enemy some time to react.
Seeing how he won’t make it in time with his sword, he crosses his arms to block my fist.
If I let my punch land, I can crush his arms, though I don’t know what kind of hidden trick he might have.
I want to finish him with certainty.
I open my fist up and grab his crossed arms, letting the momentum from my run push him to the ground.
That was the first time I heard a grunt from the enemy.
It must mean the impact wasn’t shabby, even so, he immediately reaches into his chest and tries to get up.
「I won’t let you.」
I drop down with my knee right into his solar plexus.
Bones crack and I could hear his heart bursting, which forces his arms and legs to stretch out briefly before he completely loses strength.
That does it for my side.
「Celia, are you alright!?」
Celia, who replies energetically, is fighting on equal terms with her shortsword-wielding opponent.
She is using a one-handed sword plus a shield and looks capable of pushing back the foe, but is as expected, being cautious because of poison.
I was about to help her at that point.
Celia charges at the enemy in a low stance.
The enemy quickly intercepts and the weapons of both sides create sparks in the night.
Celia’s shield knocks the enemy’s short sword away, however the enemy takes another short sword and aims to cut Celia’s wrist, so she reluctantly lets go of her sword.
Of course the enemy looks to finish her off soon, swing his sword fiercely.
Celia moves faster, evading every slash by a hair’s breadth, until she finds an opening to land a kick to the stomach.
She gets an attack in, except the kick corresponds to Celia’s weight and is equally light.
To a trained opponent, it won’t have any effect.
I’m sure the enemy anticipated that and took her attack on purpose.
A kick involves large movements and in turn creates large openings.
Surprisingly, the enemy holds his stomach and squats down in pain.
I can see blood dripping to his feet.
Daggers fly towards both of the enemy’s eyes, instantly killing him once they hit.
Celia has won.
As Celia puffs out her chest with pride, I notice something glimmer at her feet with the help of moonlight.
Her steel boot had a blade sticking out of it.
「So you fitted your boots with a sharp blade? How clever.」
Many people would not consider a kick from Celia as a threat.
If they were confident in their bodies, they could invite her attack and look to counter.
I guess that’s how she came up with the idea to add an extra element of lethality.
Celia kicked Tristan with the same boots this afternoon. They probably have some trick to them so the blade stays hidden when not needed.
It sounds like terrified-sounding complaints are coming from underneath the carriage, although now is not the time to be worrying about that.
I couldn’t help shouting when I laid eyes on Brynhildr.
A dagger was sticking into her stomach, chest, neck, and eyeball.
I mindlessly run toward the enemy, then I hear Brynhildr mumble like nothing happened, stopping me in my tracks as fast as I started moving.
Right, it takes more than that to kill her.
This is really bad for my heart though. It definitely stopped beating for a second.
「Mm, take in all the worry.」
Brynhildr completely takes her eyes off the enemies and turns to me with a smile while pulling the daggers out from her body.
The small trickles of blood from the holes stops right away and the wounds also close up in an instant.
The enemies look at each other.
They are probably wide-eyed in shock under their robes.
「It might have hurt a little if it was daytime.」
Daggers are thrown again.
Their blades are purple, indicating the liberal use of poison.
「For me at night, these toys are――」
Brynhildr brushes away a dagger with her bare hand.
A clank sound was made on contact like her hand was also a metal object.
「That won’t get through.」
She grabs the last dagger, brings it to her face, then sticks out her tiny red tongue and licks the blade in a suggestive manner.
Brynhildr, who is smiling after licking the poison capable of killing someone from a scratch, is beyond the enemy’s comprehension.
No one could have predicted a vampire protecting me and fighting for me.
「How will you entertain me next? I’ll take on whatever you have if it’s interesting. Quickly now-」
The enemy fires a small crossbow before Brynhildr finishes speaking.
「I saw that in the beginning. Are you out of options?」
Brynhildr sticks her hands out, catches the bolt in between her index and middle finger, then tosses it away.
「Boring. I guess this is it.」
As the enemy desperately draws his sword, Brynhildr runs forward.
No, I don’t know if that can be considered running.
The most I can see when straining my eyes is her after images.
To the enemy and to Celia, it must have seemed like Brynhildr disappeared.
「I have to be careful that the insides don’t spill out.」
Brynhildr’s small hands grab the enemy’s shoulder and spins him around.
It made a nasty twisting sound I’ve never heard before.
Even Celia, who is accustomed to scenes on the battlefield, couldn’t help shrieking in surprise.
It’s a natural reaction.
After all, the enemy soldier’s lower half is standing as usual while the upper half is twisted around twice.
His stomach area has the same screw-like pattern as a cloth being wrung.
I could manage twisting someone’s head around, but this is outside of a human’s realm.
Brynhildr abandons the spasming enemy who didn’t even know what was going on and then turns her attention to the other one.
She stops the downward sword swing with the palm of her hand, then she grabs the enemy by the collar and tosses him straight up into the air.
The enemy was launched up like a catapult and flies vertically like a rock, disappearing into the night sky.
1……2……3…… he’s not coming down.
「11…… 12…… 13……」
Celia counts with me and reaches 15 when the enemy comes falling down head-first into the ground.
I’m left wondering how high he flew instead of whether he’s alive or dead.
He’s probably a horrible mess so I don’t want to look under the robe.
That should take care of all the bandits and assassins.
「There are no others.」
Brynhildr mutters and returns to my side.
Since Brynhildr says so, the escort unit scanning the perimeter is a bit of a wasted effort.
Her eyes are even better than an owl’s at night.
Seeing that everything has settled down, the woman who was about to be captured, comes over.
「Are you hurt?」
「No! Thank you very much. If I was captured like that, by now……」
As the frightened woman hugs her own body in comfort, I gently put my arm around her and pull her close.
Tristan is saying something, but right now my priority is this woman. Look how scared she is.
「It’s alright now. I’m sure you were afraid…… if you want, you can ride in my carriage.」
With my arm around her waist, my hand reaches down a little to feel her ass. She doesn’t show signs that she dislikes it.
Rather, she looks up at me with moist eyes.
Oh right, didn’t she have a husband with her?
「Yes, we are on our honeymoon. But once I saw Hardlett-sama, I…… I’m sure my husband will understand if it’s just one night.」
Her husband is looking over with a strained smile as his injuries are being treated.
He looks quite miserable, however I will do my best to satisfy her for one night if her husband allows it.
Tristan’s being noisy again.
I’ll hear what you have to say later, so don’t bother me now.
It happened right when I was about to lift the woman up.
「Letting your guard down again.」
Brynhildr grabs the woman’s hair and drags her to the ground.
「What are you doing!?」
I shout on instinct, then notice later that the woman was actually holding a poison-coated knife.
Brynhildr steps on both her hands to make sure they can’t move.
「It’s a third wave!」
Celia once again draws her sword and jumps out in front.
The travelers who were dealing with injuries until now, also rush in with their swords.
That said, compared to the skillful assassins, their movements are sluggish and scattered.
Celia cuts down three in no time, then reunites with the escort unit and suppresses them in less than a minute.
From the start, they were nothing more than a group set up for me to save them so they could stab me from behind.
Being fully aware of the situation, the escort unit slaughters all the men and binds up the women.
The few crying kids mixed in probably don’t have a part in this.
I was careless.
If it wasn’t for Brynhildr, I would have gotten knifed by the woman.
I really am weak to schemes.
「I tried to warn you……」
「Not weak to schemes, you mean weak to women.」
「If you run off on your own, I can’t protect you!」
Everyone has something to complain about.
「Alright, I’m breaking this one.」
Brynhildr raises a hand, ready to hit the woman being held down.
「Wait, don’t kill her.」
「Nh? Are you going to fuck her first?」
「That’s not it. I’m just telling you not to take her life.」
Brynhildr is speaking indifferently even though her eyes are burning with anger.
While I’m pleased to know she gets upset when somebody tries to kill me, I don’t want to see a woman killed in front of me.
「I want to find out the mastermind. So don’t kill her.」
I make up a reason to keep her alive.
「Hmph. How absurd.」
Brynhildr lowers her arm.
I’m grateful that she listens to me someway or another.
「Let me take this one. You’ll be happy if you find out who’s behind this, right?」
Brynhildr grabs the woman roughly by the hair and takes her to the shadow of a building.
「She won’t become a corpse. We have reached common ground on that point.」
「Don’t tear off her arms either.」
「I can’t guarantee that if she struggles.」
Brynhildr disappears and ends the conversation.
I’m sure she won’t lie and kill her.
「So, what now?」
I tried searching for anybody else besides that woman who could speak and found only dead bodies.
「Please have a look at this」
Celia points to one of the bandits.
The cut on the dead man’s stomach wasn’t bad enough to kill him instantly.
Traces of white foam were left in and around his mouth.
「He suicided by using poison. They were very prepared for this.」
Tristan, seeing it’s his turn, speaks up.
Still, it was pretty pathetic of him to hide under the carriage.
Celia’s also looking down on him.
「Violence is outside my area of expertise.」
Furthermore, he was accidentally stepped on by Nonna when he tried to crawl out from under the wagon.
「Look at this! It’s gold unbefitting for such travelers…… and they’re freshly minted coins on top of that! This isn’t something commoners would have……」
「A black-robed assassin was holding an order! The name has been erased, but the words ‘information officer’ are visible.」
Hearing the reports from the escort unit, Nonna starts to panic.
「W-what’s going on!? Is His Majesty trying to kill Aegir-sama!!?」
Celia and the members of the escort unit also gasp.
Tristan, who has a footprint on his back, is the sole person who seems relaxed.
「I wonder about that. For a plan so scrupulously put together, doesn’t it feel suspicious that so much evidence was found? It’s a poor excuse to be defeated so easily though.」
Tristan reads the decree and then comments plainly.
「Information officer…… it certainly can be read, although if it’s this clear, I’m pretty sure it should apply to the other words.」
Then he takes a gold coin and playfully juggles it as he continues his explanation.
「New currency can be obtained through normal means by royal merchants and servants of the palace. It would be strange if they had a mountain, but this is just a few coins.」
「In other words, someone is trying to frame this as the king’s doing?」
Celia questions Tristan.
「Maybe. If the king wanted to kill the margrave, he doesn’t have to do it in the capital. I mean, he could set fire to your house, or poison the well, or use a plethora of other methods.」
Don’t say something so scary. I need to tell Dorothea to be careful later.
I see Nonna pat her chest in relief as the discussion progresses.
Enough of the idle chatter.
「There is only one thing I want to know, Tristan: who is behind this?」
Tristan sighs, takes a drink from his canteen, and then continues.
「Nothing is ever 100%. If we consider the possibilities――」
「Hurry up and say it!」
Celia gets impatient and lifts a leg.
「Wait, not that! I saw a blade come out of that!」
Tristan clears his throat and makes a serious expression.
He still looks like a half-wit.
「20% chance it’s the king, 30% chance it’s a rival noble.」
So 50% left? It’s split up fairly evenly so it’s hard to lean one way or the other.
「I’m 90% sure that the 50% chance is South Yuguria. They benefit if the assassins are successful in killing you, and if they fail, they can get you and the king to――」
Oh, so it’s pretty much a sure thing.
That was when Brynhildr came back with the woman.
「No, it’s 100%. There is no doubt about it.」
「Yes, Brynhildr-sama. I accept money for South Yuguria from traitors and arrange for mercenaries while disguising as a traveler.」
She confessed rather easily.
It’s almost too easy and makes it less credible.
「Don’t worry, she won’t lie anymore. There’s no point in doing so.」
The woman, whose eyes contain no emotion, lowers her head slightly.
「I am a covert operative of South Yuguria in charge of leading the third stage attack. Regardless of failure or success, the plan was for the order to be completed with suicide.」
Speaking in a fixed and detached tone, the woman is then shown a bottle with poison in it.
So Brynhildr didn’t tie her up and instantly force her to drink that.
Brynhildr prompts the woman.
「The primary objective of the plan is the assassination of Margrave Hardlett, and if that were to fail, the secondary objective is to create discord between the Margrave and the king of Goldonia by sowing seeds of doubt and making it seem like the king had a hand in this plan.」
If Celia got hurt from this incident, I might stop thinking rationally.
It doesn’t look like such an unlikely event will happen.
「I was about to say that myself……」
「Backbiting is unsightly, you know.」
Celia mocks Tristan as he drops his shoulders.
Tristan sighs and asks the woman a question.
「By the way, how did you come to confess? From what I heard, you’re a South Yuguria spy, and I don’t think those people just change sides from a little intimidation.」
The woman doesn’t reply nor does she even look his way.
It was when Brynhildr permitted it that she opened her mouth to speak.
「South Yuguria and being a spy are trivial things back when I was a human. All of it doesn’t relate to who I am now.」
「When you were a human?」
「Who you are now?」
Celia and Nonna hold onto my sleeve from either side of me.
「Didn’t that woman have blue eyes? Now they’re red.」
「I think I see fangs peeking out from her mouth.」
「The injuries she suffered when she was pulled down are all gone too……」
The two of them pulling on my sleeves watch as Brynhildr turns her head as if embarrassed with what she did.
「……I got emotional and sucked out all her blood. She isn’t a corpse so I didn’t break the promise.」
「Now the army is actually starting to become more like an army of a demon king. Aaah, I wanted to laze around and live peacefully. Where did I go wrong to get myself in this position?」
Guessing what happened, Tristan heaved a long, deep sigh.