In Bolton’s mansion, Rei encountered a man and two other human figures clad in robes. He then thrust the Death Scythe’s handle towards that man who seemed to be the leader among them. But the moment it was about to hit the man, the person called Minas had stopped the blow.
…With the purple tentacle protruding from his robe.
Rei had indeed seen that tentacle before. It was on the lowest floor of the dungeon he went to along with Elena’s party. It was like the one Vel – who was thought to be Elena’s guard – had used, or better said, employed when he revealed his true colours at the Altar of Inheritance. After that, Vel changed sides to Bestir Empire, and proudly declared that the tentacle was a product of Alchemy from Bestir Empire. In other words.
「…So it’s underlings from the Bestir Empire.」
As the Rei muttered those words, everyone aside from that man directed their gazes at Rei. Their expressions were filled with shock.
「It can’t be! Did you just say Bestir Empire!?」
While raising a surprised voice, Brazos brandished his Earthshaker Hammer that he shouldered.
Seeing both Freon and Murt similarly readying up their weapons, Rei directed a sharp gaze towards the three in front and muttered.
「I never thought you’d appear in such a remote region.」
「Oh? Why did you think I was related to Bestir Empire…would you mind me asking that?」
The man asked while giving a smile. He didn’t seem to be trying to hide the fact that they were from Bestir Empire anymore. And as to protect him, Minas and Cordo stepped in front of him.
Inside the reception room of Bolton’s mansion, both sides faced at each other, divided by the doorway to the room..
Minas and Cordo in front and behind the man.
Then the remaining members of Rei’s group lined up next to himself and Galahat, and surrounded the two men, readying up their weapons to attack at any time.
Even in such tense state of affairs the man didn’t erase his smile and addressed Rei in a familiar manner, as if they were old friends.
「We are indeed the Bestir Empire’s subordinates.」
「…You sure admit it quite easily.」
Galahat muttered as he took a few steps back. He made that move after thinking that if it turned into a fight he would just burden them due to the current physical condition. Murt stepped in front of him so that he could protect him.
Even as he observed that situation, the man didn’t try to do anything and just smiled as he spoke.
「After all, you pinpointed that we were from Bestir Empire. If you said a different country or thought I was some noble of this country, I would’ve still tried feigning ignorance… but since you identified us so accurately, I believe you saw something definitive that proved that we were indeed from Bestir Empire. So would you mind me asking about it?」
While saying that his gaze was directed at Minas. Or more precisely, towards the numerous tentacles extending from the robe that she wore.
Those tentacles that made one feel instinctively disgusted just by looking, were returning back into his robe as they wriggled.
Perhaps he also understood that those tentacles were the cause of it. And the reason he took his time to still ask that question was that while he predicted that Rei saw through those tentacles, he was still not fully convinced.
「Before that, I would like to hear your name by all means.」
「Oh? And what do you plan to do after knowing it?」
「Hey, it’s nothing that serious. If I don’t at least know your name, I’d be troubled on what to write on your tomb, wouldn’t I? I can’t just go and give you a random name, can I.」
「Ahahaha. I would like you to save me from that. I’d like for my tombstone to have my real name, after all.」
The conversation between Rei and that man could’ve been described as a friendly chat if observed superficially. However, the contents of their conversation were full of danger. Rei’s killing intent and the man’s maddened curiosity were hidden behind the paper-thin veneer.
While the surrounding people sensed that critical line and became very tense, the one to break the silence was the man.
「Well, fine. I don’t really mind telling you my name. My name is Postguerra. Let’s get along.」
「Absurd! Didn’t you introduce yourself to me as Riv!」
「Hm? Ah, that reminds me, I did give Bolton-san a fake name. Riv is my alias. My real name is Postguerra. Let’s get along.」
「…Why did you expressly use an alias?」
As Rei asked that, the man scratched his bearded cheek somewhat awkwardly and smiled.
「After all, there’s no need to go out of your way tell your name to a puppet just because it asks the name of its puppeteer, is there?」
「Wha, y-you bastard! Are you calling me a puppet… How dare you, how dare you, how dare youuu! I am the president of Azoth Firm, Bolton! You are calling someone like me a puppet!? The likes of an alchemist making a fool out of me, there’s a limit to everything! Get him! Kill that guy and let him receive the payback for looking down on me!」
With Bolton’s command, the thief man standing behind him took a single step forward.
While his footwork seemed to be inferior to Tenda who was in charge of the underside of Azoth Firm, his movements could nevertheless be called smooth if compared to other low ranked adventurers around.
He stepped forward with footwear that didn’t emit the sound and quickly threw the knife he pulled out from his pocket towards Postguerra.
The edge of the thrown knife was wet with what seemed to be poison; Rei and few others were the only ones to realise it. At the very least, Postguerra and Murt weren’t able to see through that. However…
「Oh? What could be the matter?」
Postguerra’s voice mixed with laughter reverberated in the surroundings.
The one to move wasn’t Minas who was blocking the way between Postguerra and Rei’s group, but instead the other person called Cordo. He extended a disgusting purple tentacle from his robe just like Minas and seized the knife heading for Postguerra’s face. Moreover, the tentacle was tightly grasping and holding the knife’s handle. It was a feat that wasn’t possible to achieve unless the person perfectly saw the movement of the quickly thrown knife. And, the next moment.
He threw the knife he was grasping with the tentacle back towards its owner with an even faster speed, slicing through the air.
Perhaps the thief was quite skilled himself, given that he was entrusted with Bolton’s protection, or perhaps Cordo didn’t really care about where he threw it. The thrown knife didn’t go for his head or throat, or even his heart that could be said to be a vital point, but instead deeply pierced into his shoulder.
The thief sank to the floor while leaking an anguished voice. After all, the knife was coated full of anaesthetic, and when the drug suddenly entered his body he became unable to move.
Properly speaking, he was supposed to follow up on his attack here, however, Cordo stood still at Postguerra’s side without any further actions.
「Right? As my guards, these two are quite skilled. That’s why I think it’s better for you not to start a fight with me and overlook me, how about it?」
As Rei muttered while looking at the fallen man, Postguerra replied to Rei.
「Brother…why did you get involved with the people of Bestir Empire. If Margrave Rowlocks learned of this matter, the Azoth Firm would be closed at the worst case, you know!?」
Bolton momentarily tensed up from Galahat’s voice, but he quickly shouted back.
「Aaagh! Shut up! Anyway, do something about this guy who insulted me! If you do that, I’ll pretend nothing happened today!」
What is this guy saying? Rei and others directed a gaze at him with such thoughts.
They saw an old man who was still thinking he would come out safely from it, after this late into the game. It wouldn’t be wrong to call this situation rather comedic.
「Galahat, Ignore that old fool for now. Securing this man comes first. I didn’t think an alchemist from Bestir Empire would come all the way to this remote region. Although the course of events brought this situation, I’d like to fulfil my duty as the resident of Mireana Empire, in my own way.」
While saying that, the face of Vel, who faced the Altar of Inheritance along with Elena’s group – who betrayed them in the middle of a ritual they held there – flashed through his mind.
(Well, judging by the fact that he didn’t know about me, I suppose he isn’t related to Vel… but even so, if I capture him it should deal a significant damage to Bestir Empire.)
「Hey, old fool. I have business with you later. Just stay trembling there for now.」
「Wha, y-you bastard! How dare you say that to me, the president of Azoth Firm!」
「Shut up. I don’t have time to deal with the likes of you now. If you keep moving around too much, you’ll get dragged into this and die, you know?」
He probably felt in Rei’s eyes that he was being serious. He glared detestably at him, but he didn’t say anything more and reseated himself on the sofa.
Perhaps his guts should’ve been commended. Despite the various problems, he was still the president of Azoth Firm so he did have some courage in him.
「…It appears you are dead set on capturing me, but let me give you a single warning. Both Minas and Cordo are far stronger than adventurers around here, you know?」
Postguerra’s words made Murt swallow his saliva. Brazos and Freon next to him stiffened from tension, and Galahat, who was the highest in rank among them, also ground his teeth in frustration from realising that he would only drag them back in his current state.
Postguerra smiled deep down that it was going as he expected, but he didn’t say it out loud, as expected.
The great swing of Rei’s Death Scythe split apart the door of the reception entrance along with the wall.
Rei who blew away all the accumulated hopelessness with that one swing, spoke while showing a smile on top of it.
「Don’t worry, those two people… no. Two beasts, I guess? Anyway, I and Set will handle those. You people keep an eye on that Alchemist so that he doesn’t escape. …Listen, that guy most probably has a Magic Item for teleportation. If he does some strange movement, you can go ahead and cut one or two of his limbs. In any case, pay attention so that he doesn’t escape.」
It was the teleportation Magic Item Vel used at the Altar of Inheritance. Because Rei had witnessed it with his own eyes before, he was well aware of how the Bestir Empire people were fast on their feet when it came to escaping.
After confirming that all of them nodded, Set appeared from behind Rei.
Then he raised a deep cry while facing Minas with a dangerous gaze.
「What’s the matter? Aren’t you going to come? If you don’t, then I and Set will both fight this Minas fellow, you know?」
Rei provoked Cordo while brandishing the Death Scythe in one hand.
Cordo looked towards Bolton seated on the sofa for a few seconds, but then as if he had lost interest, he quickly sent a questioning gaze towards Postguerra.
「Ah, go ahead. A puppet that has its strings cut wouldn’t be able to do anything. So keep him company.」
After Cordo got his master’s permission, he walked towards Rei and lined up next to Minas, appearing that he had completely lost interest in Bolton.
While looking at that situation, Bolton, being called a puppet whose strings were cut, directed a hatred-filled glare towards Postguerra and Rei.
(Shit, shit, shit! Looking down on me of me like that! I won’t forgive them. I’ll teach them a lesson one day!)
Bolton burned with rage inside, but he didn’t even consider the possibility of the Lord of Gilm, Daska, discarding him. He was convinced that if he overcame this situation, he would be able to continue to another day just as always.
「This place is quite crowded so maybe it’s better to move somewhere more spacious… actually, there’s no need for that. There’s no need to go out of my way and make it more advantageous for them.」
Postguerra cut his talk short while observing Rei’s Scythe, And his Griffon whose body exceeded 2 meters.
「I don’t really mind that, but it’s no fun to get what you want so easily…right!」
Along with those words, Rei kicked the ground and closed the distance with Cordo. Since there wasn’t much distance between them in the first place, the distance disappeared completely in truly an instant.
Rei who wielded the Death Scythe exceeding 2 meters had fully closed the distance. That meant that Rei had willingly given up on the distance where he could fully exhibit the power of his Death Scythe. As if realising that, Cordo momentarily stopped his movements due to surprise, but not minding that, Rei powerfully swung his Death Scythe.
The Death Scythe that was swung while it broke the door and wall along its way wouldn’t deal any significant blow to Cordo who was located within the inner side of the blade. …That said, the inner side of its handle was sent his way, and due to Rei’s strength combined with the Death Scythe’s weight, the attack he received blew him away without being able to endure it and crashed him through the reception wall towards the outside.
Minas’ body also got blown away by the swing of Set’s eagle claws, disregarding the existence of the wall just like Rei and was lying next to Cordo.
(Shall I secure Postguerra and fall back for the time being? Now that a Bestir Empire alchemist has appeared, I’ve no time to deal with the internal squabbles of this firm… No, I can’t exactly leave those suspicious alone here either, huh.)
He made a decision in split second and stepped towards the hole in the reception room.
「Okay, I and Set will go finish those guys off. You guys stay here and keep watch on Postguerra!」
Leaving those words behind to the remaining people, Rei jumped through the destroyed wall of the reception room and got outside.
Set, too, made a new hole through the wall and jumped outside in order to follow him.