The reception room in Bolton’s mansion. Bolton, the owner of the mansion, was facing a single person.
Bolton himself had an arrogant smile as usual, but he still reacted every time angry voices or sounds of destruction inside the mansion were heard. Just in case, a spectacular long sword was placed within reach.
Even though he was an elderly person, Bolton didn’t cut corners with training his physical strength, it wasn’t difficult for him to swing a sword for a minute or two. No, rather, compared to G rank adventurers, he was a lot more accustomed to handling weapons. Behind Bolton, there was only a man who looked like a thief. He was standing there while ready to pull a knife at any time.
And behind the man opposite Bolton, two completely covered people with faces that couldn’t be seen were standing beside him without saying a single word.
「Oh, what’s going on? It seems to be strangely noisy today.」
The person sitting opposite Bolton spoke up and asked.
The man was in his forties. Looking slightly skinny and combining that with a stubbly beard and chubby cheeks, it gave an unhealthy impression. The words he spoke out could be said to be superficially polite. They poked fun towards Bolton, who was 20 years older than him.
「……There’s no problem. We are about to finish our matters for the day.」
On the other hand, Bolton replied without trying to change the man’s attitude.
Yes. Normally, Bolton was very aware of his own power, but he said nothing towards the attitude of the rude man.
「Heh~. In that case, why did you call me over? It’s because you need me. ……Isn’t that right?」
With a smile, he took out a small bottle the size of his fingertip from his pocket and placed it on the table.
「……I certainly called you over in case there was an emergency, but it was just because there might be an emergency, it’s only insurance, nothing more.」
That said, Bolton’s eyes were directed on the bottle placed on the table.
「Well, that’s nostalgic. It’s been more than 20 years already since the first time I made medicine for you. With the improvements upon improvements I made to it, you could say it’s already a completely different thing.」
「Hmph, medicine you say. You sure can speak eloquently.」
「Medicine is medicine right? As its name says, even poisons are medicines. However, wait a bit. Yes, it’s just that the effect is a little bit too strong.」 TLN: The characters for ‘poison’ contain the character for ‘medicine’.
「Well, that’s your idiotic nonsense as usual. So then, with this……no, what’s the effect of this medicine?」
「From the experiments, a strong male D rank adventurer suffered for about 10 days in pain and anguish after getting scratched by a knife coated with this medicine. At the end, he was crying to heaven to kill himself.」
Out of the man’s mouth came words with cruel information. However, Bolton listened to the man’s words with no change in expression.
「Hmph, that annoying fool. It’s unbelievable that he shares half a blood connection with me.」
「Oh, oh. Yet, you still used him as a chess piece for yourself?」
「……It must be caused by the blood of that bitch.」
「Is that so? Still, I think he was quite useful to raise up the name of Azoth Firm as a B rank adventurer.」
「He was only useful to that extent. Although getting some other subordinates to take his credit was somewhat useful……because he still has that shitty sense of justice in his mind, I can’t trust my back to him. Tenda has the skill as well, but he gets battle crazed when he starts to fight.」
「Kufu~, hehehehe. That’s enough to take advantage of him.」
When the man said that, the shadow of one of the cloak wearing people approached the man and quietly whispered something in his ear before immediately returning to his original location.
「Is that so……that’s a shame.」
Unexpectedly, the man changed his tone from his previously rude manner. His words contained some feelings of disappointment.
「……What’s a shame?」
「Because of this. Don’t you get it yet? It seems that the adventurers Bolton-san had been boasting of have already been annihilated.」
「What!? You’re stupid, almost all of Azoth Firm’s adventurers have been gathered here you know? It seems that brat Rei was coming as well but the difference in strength should be overwhelming. Galahat has the highest rank among them but he can’t move with his injuries. There is no way the adventurers I’ve hired could lose!」
「It’s because of that that I’m troubled. Still, Rei was it? I heard the rumors……it seems like he’s a competent adventurer. Indeed, it’s troubling to say but we can’t deal with quality with quantity. Now it’s come to this, you can only increase the quality to deal with him……no, if you use my medicine, it might be possible to some extent. Then what is important is that you gather more people with a minimum level of quality.」
The man entered his own world and started muttering stuff as he spoke to Bolton while thinking of something.
Bolton spoke up again while looking disagreeable.
「Shut up for a moment. So then, have the adventurers gathered in the mansion been defeated?」
「Do you doubt my words?」
「Naturally. You were the one who said that they had been annihilated, but I can’t confirm that. In other words, I can consider all you’re saying right now to be nonsense.」
Hearing Bolton’s words, the man’s cheeks stiffened.
「Well, I’ve only given you advice, if you don’t listen to it, I don’t mind. Minas, Cordo, let’s go. We’ll get caught up in the disturbance here. Regardless of what we have to benefit, I don’t want to get caught in this family disturbance.」
Speaking to the two robe wearing people, Minas and Cordo, the man rose up from his chair……when the next moment, the door to the reception room opened.
Not by the man’s hand but by the hands of others.
Minas and Cordo noticed that and silently stepped forward to protect the man. Their eyes reflected several figures. Leading was a man in his thirties, from the information they had heard previously, Minas judged that he was Galahat.
「……Who is it?」
But to Galahat, they were covered in robes and had he had never seen them before. He asked unintentionally before immediately realising who the people before him were.
「I see, are you my brother’s guests?」
「Yes, that’s right. I’ve been trading with Bolton for a long time. I came today with that intention, I never considered that there was currently a family feud going on. Because of that, I’m planning to go back today……is that fine with you? Galahat-san was it, even if it’s you, you won’t involve a 3rd party irresponsibly in your family trouble right?」
Towards the man, who said that somewhat teasingly, Galahat nodded while frowning slightly.
「Of course. If you’re just adventurers cooperating with my older brother, I won’t do anything to his business partners.」
Saying that, Galahat made way. The man bowed his head with a frivolous smile.
「Sorry. If Galahat-san becomes the president of Azoth Firm, I’ll come to say hello again.」
「Wait! Are you going to leave just like that!」
Seeing the man about to quickly leave the room, Bolton gave a shout.
As for Bolton, the only forces he had left was the thief int he room acting as his escort. Of course, there was also his own strength, but he knew that he couldn’t fight the adventurers before him on equal terms.
If they left him here, Bolton’s life would be over. Judging that, Bolton yelled at the man in anger.
「Have you forgotten the benefits you’ve received so far!」
「Even so, isn’t this your family feud in the end? Then, we……」
As the man was saying that, behind Galahat, Set appeared in front of Rei and gave a cry of urgency as the man tried to leave.
As usual, it wasn’t a cry he gave when he was happy. His cry felt like one of anger. Even Bolton, whom Set wasn’t looking at directly, stopped moving.
(……Not at Bolton?)
While stroking Set, Rei thought to himself. Set was not looking at Bolton, who was not visible from the door, but towards the middle-aged man with a stubbly beard who was trying to leave the room past Galahat. ……No, Set was looking towards the two people wearing robes with their faces completely obscured by their hoods on either side of the man. Set looked like he was ready to jump forward at any moment, carefully observing the three people while tilting his head.
Near Rei, Set had suddenly revealed the ferocity that could be said to be the nature of an A rank monster. Murt was almost unable to stand due to his surprise and had to lean against his halberd. Brazos and Freon managed somehow with strained expressions.
It was an explosive situation. At the potentially irreversible situation should anyone make a move, the man spoke up in interest.
「Hey, a Griffon. It’s my first time seeing the real thing. ……Hey, you’re Rei-kun from the rumors right? If you don’t mind, please give that Griffon to me……」
「……I don’t think he will hand it over, mm.」
The moment he said that, Set gave a bloodthirsty growl. Seeing that Set was upset, the man shook his head disappointingly.
(……What? Why is Set so alert against them? Have I met them before……I don’t understand why. If Set judges that he needs to be vigilant against them, there’s no way I can ignore that. Then……)
Set could understand Rei’s words but Rei couldn’t understand Set’s. Even if they were connected by the Magic Beast Art, Rei could only get a rough understanding. For example, Rei could understand『I am hungry』,『I’m sleepy』or『I want to play』but it was only a rough understanding. He still couldn’t understand the fine details. Still, because Set was alert, it meant that there was something dangerous. Taking his hand off stroking Set, Rei spoke while ready to swing his Death Scythe at any time.
「Hey, you guys……who the hell are you? It’s unusual for Set to be so wary of his opponents.」
「Well, even if you ask who we are. We aren’t anyone other than Bolton’s trading partners?」
「……Considering all that, you seem to be trying to abandon your important trading partner?」
「This matter can’t be avoided. It’s Azoth Firm that we’re trading with, not Bolton as an individual.」
(……He said『We』. In other words there’s someone behind him? Or is he referring to the people wearing the robes with him. And while they said they were Bolton’s trading partner, the next moment, they said they were trading partners with Azoth Firm.)
「Do-……Don’t be stupid-! You, are you forgetting the favours I’ve given you up until now! In fact, you’ve already started undertaking work in the city of Gilm……」
「Are you sure you want to say more?」
The man spoke to block the words that Bolton was about to say. Hearing that, Bolton heard his breath on reflex.
「Heeh~, that’s interesting. I would be happy if you could tell me more about that?」
Thinking that Bolton was about to say something he shouldn’t be speaking of, Freon asked the man in interest.
「Sorry, but as expected, this is something confidential. I can’t afford to give a 3rd party information about that. ……Now then, is that fine? Sorry, but we don’t have that much time to spare.」
「Well, in other words. Apparently, you know a lot about Bolton’s secrets. ……In particular, that small bottle on the table over there looks meaningful.」
Rei looked around the room in his line of sight. There was a small bottle on the table.
Bolton might have noticed what Rei was looking at. He hurriedly reached for the bottle.
Noticing that his behaviour only made it more suspicious, after grabbing the bottle, he glared at Rei.
「As you can see, it seems to be quite special. In addition……」
Turning towards Galahat, Rei nodded and held the Death Scythe’s handle out towards the man.
It’s speed wasn’t fast. Or rather, if the man was an adventurer, he could have avoided it without any problems. It was such an attack. Unfortunately the man wasn’t an adventurer, he couldn’t avoid it and the tip of the Death Scythe’s handle struck his body……
As the handle of the Death Scythe was about to hit his body, something flew out from the robe of the person called Minas, blocking the Death Scythe’s handle.
……Yes, a purple tentacle appeared from inside his robe.
Seeing that, Rei finally understood why Set was so wary of the people before them. It was because Rei remembered those tentacles.
Forcibly pulling the Death Scythe away from the tentacles, Rei muttered.
「……So it’s underlings from the Bestir Empire.」