The carriage stopped before the residence of Margrave Rowlocks and its door opened, revealing Rei, Ara and Elena.
After that, from the shadow of the carriage, Set moved next to Rei.
The three of them, and Set. No, including the adventurer they had hired as a driver, the four people and one animal were greeted by Margrave Daska Rowlocks when they stepped forward.
「Elena-dono, you’ve come back safely. Rei as well, you’ve protected Elena well.」
「……No, if I were stronger, I could have reduced the number of people who died.」
At Rei’s words, Daska looked to see who else had stepped down from the carriage.
Certainly, compared to when they left the city of Gilm, Vel and Kuust were missing. Instead, another adventurer had joined them.
「No, in the end, I had only requested Rei to escort Elena-dono. I have no complaints as the person you were meant to escort, Elena-dono, has come back safely. ……Elena-dono, I would like to hear the story, but if you don’t mind, would you like to go in first?」
Elena nodded at Daska’s words and turned to look at the adventurer.
「Sorry, but please leave the carriage with Margrave Rowlocks. We plan to leave before the 9am bell tomorrow morning, so please be ready for that. Here is another reward separate from the request remuneration. Take a break for today.」
After Elena said that, Ara handed several silver coins to the man.
「I-Is that okay? In addition to the normal remuneration……」
「It’s okay. I’ve had to force various things on you. Go restore your energy.」
「Thank you very much. Then, I will accept your offer!」
Bowing his head, the adventurer drove the carriage in the direction guided by the mansion staff. Set had already become accustomed to what he had to do and followed after the carriage.
Seeing them off, Daska guided Elena into the residence.
They then arrived at Daska’s office, where he had previously discussed the request.
(……That reminds me, I was attacked by Kuust as soon as I entered last time.)
As Rei remembered some unpleasant but vivid memories, he stood with Ara behind Elena, who sat on the sofa opposite Daska.
Since Rei had been escorting Elena due to Daska’s nominated request, normally, he should have been standing behind Daska. However, because Daska hadn’t announced the completion of the request, he took his position as Elena’s escort.
Smiling wryly at Rei’s dutifulness, Daska immediately started to talk after a maid brought in some tea.
「Now then. May I congratulate you on your safe return?」
「Yes……that’s right. Although our task was only half finished in various ways, we have achieved our goal to some extent. I could that say an unfortunate problem occurred.」
「……That’s a strange way of saying things. Could you explain in more detail.」
Elena thought for a moment if she should tell Daska about it, but in the end, it was an event inside Margrave Rowlock’s territory.
Elena turned to look at Rei, who was standing behind her. Rei was an adventurer in this city, and since he had refused her offer to join the Knights, he would remain in the city of Gilm without a doubt. In that situation, she judged that Daska would probably find out about what happened in the dungeon in the end.
A temporary cover up story wouldn’t cut it, and since he did rule this territory, Elena decided on the proper method and spoke up without anymore hesitation.
「First of all, our main purpose for this trip was the Inheritance Ceremony. In this regard, it was about 70% completed. Although it was only 70%, because the magic stone used was my family’s heirloom, a magic stone of an Ancient Dragon, it was still completed successfully even with the unexpected events.」
Saying that, Elena released the magic power that she had suppressed for a moment.
In that moment, a torrent of magic power gushed out, centered around Elena, causing the tea cups on the table to rattle. Daska felt daunted by the intense pressure being released by the Duke’s daughter before him.
「……I can’t fully control it right now, so that’s how it is.」
「No, that’s great. It seems you have acquired quite a bit of power.」
Daska replied as such. However, his back was covered in cold sweat.
Among the Knights at Margrave Rowlock’s frontier territory, he had the highest sensitivity to magic power. For anyone who understood magic power, this would have caused a huge commotion……but right now, Daska was the only one nearby.
「However, it’s only 70%. ……You said that there were issues that lead to it being only 70%.」
「……Ah. Does Daska-dono remember the subordinates I had brought along?」
「Mm. There was Kuust, who came ahead of you, and another one called Vel. Both were your subordinates and looked to be quite skillful.」
「About them, Vel……actually turned out to have links to the Bestir Empire.」
He had links to the Bestir Empire. Hearing her explanation, Daska’s expression became grim.
「Is that confirmed?」
「There’s no doubt. He seems to have proclaimed it proudly himself.」
「……Wait. Then Elena-dono didn’t hear it yourself?」
「That’s right. Anyhow, I fainted from the resulting shock after Vel destroyed the magic stone half way through the ceremory. Originally, it seems that he wanted to assassinate me as well but Rei helped me out. For that, I am grateful that Daska-dono chose Rei to be my escort.」
Daska looked past Elena, who had bowed her head, to Rei, who was standing behind her.
「Rei, is what Elena-dono said true?」
「Yes. Vel had defected to the Bestir Empire.」
「……Elena-dono, Duke Kerebel?」
At Daska’s question, Elena nodded naturally.
「I have already informed him by letter. If we are lucky, I think it will be possible to pursue Viscout Sails, Vel’s family, before they escape the Mireana Kingdom……this depends on the speed of my father’s actions.」
「Is that so. Then I have nothing to say. But from the Nobles Faction……moreover, since it was Viscount Sails, who was close to Duke Kerebel, who defected to the Empire, it will be a very awkward situation……」
「I think my father will lose some cohesion in the faction, that can’t be avoided. However, should I say that there is a bright side to this unfortunate case, it is already autumn. Even if the Bestir Empire decides to go to war, it will probably be next spring. I would like to believe there is time to reconsider our situation.」
「……Isn’t there a possibility that they will move quickly for a decisive battle between autumn and winter?」
「I considered that possibility as well. However, so far, the Bestir Empire has never fought a war in winter and above all, their soldiers wouldn’t be able to keep advancing through the snow. If they did, it would be a small number specialising in sabotage……even if it’s the best of the Bestir Empire, in small numbers, we can deal with them.」
After listening to Elena’s story, Daska considered something in his mind before giving a small nod.
「I understand. I’ll make some preparations to be able to respond immediately if anything happens.」
「……Is that alright? This is a fight that has come about due to my Nobles Faction. For Daska-dono who is in the Neutral Faction……」
At Elena’s words, Daska shook his head.
「Certainly, there’s a power struggle occurring between the Royalists, Nobles and Neutral Factions. However, even if there is a power struggle, we have to consider the Mireana Kingdom. At the very least, I don’t intend to go over to the Bestir Empire.」
「What, don’t mind it. ……However, if the situation was as you said, it was good that the adventurer I sent this time was Rei. If it were an ordinary rank B or rank C adventurer, the would have been taken out by Vel.」
「Ah. In that respect, I am thankful to Daska-dono for sending Rei.」
As he nodded at Elena’s words, there was a knock on the door and the butler came in.
「Master, the rooms have been prepared.」
「Thanks for your hard work. Elena-dono, you must be tired from your travels today. There is a bath available.」
「I will accept Daska-dono’s kind offer then. Ara, let’s go.」
As Elena and Ara left the room, Rei was going to follow, but a voice called out to stop him.
「Rei, please stay. There’s some things I want to talk about.」
「……I understand. Then, Elena-sama, I will stay here.」
As expected, it wasn’t possible for him to talk with her casually before Daska. Rei spoke to Elena in polite language, as he had used when they first met.
Although Elena seemed to have a lonely expression for a moment as she looked at Rei, it was only for a moment. She immediately nodded and spoke up.
「Umu~. Rei, thank you for your help this time. If you weren’t there, I probably would have been killed by Vel in the dungeon and wouldn’t have come back. I am proud to have worked with an adventurer like you.」
「……Although various things happened, I thank Rei-dono from the bottom of my heart. Also, suddenly attacking you when we first met……I’m sorry for that.」
Following after Elena, Ara said that before bowing her head and walking out the room.
As Rei saw them leave, he finally realised that the request had been completed.
「Rei, I would also like to thank you. You have protected Elena well.」
「No. If I had seen through Vel’s identity earlier……」
「Don’t worry about it. A person’s true character isn’t something you can easily see through. Ah, here. No need to stand there, take a seat. It’s hard to talk if you’re standing.」
「Then, I’ll accept your offer.」
Rei gave a small bow to Daska and sat down on the sofa.
「So, onto the main subject……」
Daska had a somewhat guilty look as he started to speak.
「Considering the importance of this request, normally, I could list this as a reasonable achievement for you to rank up to rank C. That is no mistake. But……」
「This request can’t be made public, is it.」
「……Frankly speaking, yes. Although I’m sorry, I’ll have to ask you to keep the contents of the request a secret for some time.」
「To be more specific, is it about Vel’s betrayal?」
When Rei asked bluntly, Daska nodded with a bitter expression.
「That’s right. A viscount isn’t a particularly high ranking noble, but a noble is still a noble. To make matters worse, Viscount Sails was well known as one of Duke Kerebel’s aides. If such a person betrayed the country, intense unrest would spread.」
「But, wouldn’t the Bestir Empire announce that extensively?」
「They certainly will. However, it won’t be such a problem if steps have been taken to reduce the unrest from the other nobles. It’s just a problem of a matter of time.」
「I understand. I will not speak about the matters of this request until Margrave Rowlocks gives me permission.」
「……Sorry about this. Because of that, I have to freeze the achievements of the request for a while so you don’t attract too much attention. However, I promise to repay that as soon as I can. ……As for what I can do now, I can add a little something to the reward.」
Reward, Rei recalled that it had been two platinum coins.
「I agree. If the compensation is increased, there won’t be any problems. I will accept that.」
After that, Rei reported about the dungeon, the level of alchemy in the Bestir Empire and other things as he spoke for about 30 minutes.
「Then, I apologise but it’s about time I have to leave.」
As he said that, he turned to look out the windows, which had already dimmed. It would usually still be bright in summer, a sign that autumn was coming.
「That’s right. I seem to have said this many times, but you’ve truly saved me this time with this request. Rei, I wonder what would have happened if you weren’t at rank D.」
「That’s true, should I say.」
「Haha, you’re quite confident. Well, that is good for an adventurer. ……Ahh, you should come out tomorrow when Elena leaves to send her off properly.」
「I understand, 9am tomorrow morning was it?」
「It seems to be so. ……Well, thank you for your hard work.」
Hearing those words, Rei left the office and returned with Set to the inn to relieve their fatigue from the trip and fell asleep in the bed earlier than usual.