「……It got quite messy as expected.」
「That’s true. No one would think that Azoth Firm, the largest business in this city, would have half collapsed overnight while they were asleep.」
At Rei’s words, Freon gave a wry smile while dipping her firmly baked bread into a stew with plenty of meat and vegetables.
「Anyone who saw the disturbance in this inn yesterday might have been able to expect what happened to some extent. This inn serves delicious meals so some customers come just for it.」
Although it was morning, Brazos spoke while drinking the liquor in his cup with relish.
「Drinking in the morning……no, well, since we’re planning to take the entire day off today, that’s fine.」
Sunlight fell through the windows in the dinning room, though it couldn’t be called the morning light as it was already starting to get close to noon. Freon gave a sigh as she saw that.
「It’s almost noon. I’m not so irritated anymore. I’m not even yelling at that guy any more. Even though he’s drinking it more like water than wine.」
「……The liquor is good.」
Giving a sigh again, she turned towards Rei in resignation.
「So, first is this.」
Rei received a small cloth bag from Freon. Looking inside, there were six platinum coins.
「You promised Galahat, didn’t you? You didn’t kill any adventurers hired by Azoth Firm. This is the reward.」
「That should have been two platinum coins, why are there six?」
「Ah……the other four were collected by Brazos and me from the knight leaders and knights.」
「Is it to keep quiet about it?」
「I wonder. After explaining all the circumstances last night, we went home. So, a person from the knights came to this inn early this morning and left this money here. We stayed here because it was already late last night. I collected it after I woke up this morning.」
Even for Daska, it must have been surprising that Azoth Firm, which could be considered the biggest business in the city he governed, would be corrupted by the Bestir Empire. Even though Rei listened closely to the gossip in the dinning room, they were mostly about the change in the leadership of Azoth Firm. Words such as the Bestir Empire and alchemists did not appear.
「Well, the nobles have their honour. It’s probably different for Margrave Rowlocks though. Perhaps he’ll use this opportunity to clean out the spies of the Bestir Empire lurking in the city.」
「……I see. Well, here is just the frontier border and not the Imperial Capital.」
Rei nodded as he brought the stew to his mouth.
If this was the Imperial Capital, even if all the Bestir Empire spies were caught at once, there was no doubt more would be sent to collect information. But since Gilm was a frontier city, the Bestir Empire probably judged it to not be as important.
Of course, there was no doubt that spies would be sent again, but it should still be a fair amount of time before they would be sent. There would be no problem if countermeasures against spies were made during that time.
「……So, did you ask about what will happen to Azoth Firm in the future?」
While storing the cloth bag holding 6 platinum coins into the Misty Ring, Rei asked Freon.
Freon nodded while frowning slightly at Rei question.
「Ah. Although it hasn’t been officially decided yet, it will be rough.」
「……Will it be dissolved?」
The president at the top of the company was connected to alchemists from the Bestir Empire. He probably didn’t know they were from the Bestir Empire, but his crimes were still heavy. Thinking that, Rei asked Freon, but she unexpectedly shook her head.
「It seems that Azoth Firm will remain. ……However, it seems subordinates of Margrave Rowlocks will be sent over under the role of consultants.」
「So effectively, they are government inspectors. ……To put it nicely, they are supervisors.」
Brazos pointed that out as he poured more liquor into his cup. Rei looked surprised at their words.
「That’s surprising. After causing such a commotion and making such mistakes. At the very least, I thought that Azoth Firm would fall under the direct control of the Margrave at the very least……although supervisors are being dispatched, it is unexpected that they would survive as they are.」
「Rei is also involved in this you know.」
「Ahh. To state the facts, weren’t you were hired by Galahat and captured the Bestir Empire alchemist as well as those strange hybrids? In short, since the internal circumstances of Azoth Firm have been sorted out, Galahat petitioned the Margrave saying that Azoth Firm has cleaned itself and is functioning properly……that seems to be what happened.」
「Well then. The internal situation in Azoth Firm won’t thoughtlessly fall into confusion, he probably doesn’t want to stop the trade of weapons in the city of Gilm. If it fell under the direct control of the Margrave, various things naturally have to change. If you are in a city it would be relatively safe, but this is the frontier. If any disruption happened to the weapons trade, adventurers would be the ones affected. That would have the same effect as reducing Gilm’s force that is capable of fighting monsters.」
「I see. I understand. By the way, is Galahat still the representative for Azoth Firm?」
「Ahh, that seems to be the case. ……Also, there was a message from that knight. The Margrave would like you to head over to his residence as soon as possible.」
「Ah, okay, Well, there was something I wanted to talk about. Should I talk to you about it or not though.」
「What do you want to talk about?」
「Don’t worry about it. It’s better if you don’t know.」
Saying that, Rei brought the last of the stew to his mouth and finished the bread with some fresh water.
「Now then, I’ll head over to the Margrave’s residence right away……what about you two?」
「I’ll be drinking here for a while.」
「I’ll head back to the inn and enjoy a nice rest.」
「Is that so. Then, is tomorrow morning okay to strip the Harpy materials?」
「Mm. We’ll meet up here.」
Deciding on their plans, Rei headed for the Margrave’s residence as soon as he could.
「I’m Rei, a D rank adventurer. I was summoned by the Margrave.」
About 30 minutes after leaving the inn, Rei arrived at the front gate of the Margrave’s residence.
Incidentally, today was one of the rare days Rei was by himself, Set wasn’t around. Actually, Rei had gone to pick him up, but unusually, Set was still sleeping.
Although Set woke up when Rei came to find him, when asked if he wanted to come along, Set had shook his head and laid back down. Because of that, Rei had come out by himself.
And without a big identifier like Set, Rei wasn’t so conspicuous. If he had been holding the Death Scythe, it might have been different, but the scythe was currently stored inside the Misty Ring.
「Mm, give me a moment.」
The gatekeeper, who was already familiar with Rei’s face, nodded and immediately sent a person back to the mansion. In less than a few minutes, a person came to guide him to the Margrave’s office, where Rei had been several times before.
「It was hard on you yesterday. Here, take a seat.」
Daska said that to Rei as he sat down on a sofa. Giving a small bow, Rei sat down on the opposite sofa.
「Ah. So, yes. ……Wait a moment. Hey, bring some drinks and light snacks. This might be a long story.」
The butler nodded at Daska’s words and left the room.
Seeing that, Daska spoke while looking through the documents he had.
「We’ll leave the details until after the drinks arrive. Take it slow until then. I have to take a look through the papers over there as well.」
In the direction he was looking in, a 10cm thick stack of documents was on his desk.
Seeing the amount of documents, Rei spoke in surprise.
「……That’s an amazing number of documents.」
「Mm? Ah. That’s for sure. I usually don’t have half of this, but because of yesterday’s various issues. ……I am someone more suited to moving my body than paperwork.」
Daska gave a sigh, he certainly looked more like a military officer than a civil servant. A trained body and tough looking face. With his sharp eyes, he was clearly a military man. That said, he wasn’t just a military man, this could be seen from the fact that he was a central figure among the Neutral Faction and ruled the city of Gilm successfully.
「Seriously, it was more comfortable when I worked with the knights. I thought it would be comfortable after my father retired and I took over the seat Margrave Rowlocks……looking at it like this, nobles are constrained in various ways. That’s especially so as the head of a margrave household. How about it? Would you like to become a noble?」
Though he said it like a joke, Daska looked at Rei with a serious expression.
If he wanted a strong force like Rei, the easiest method was to put Rei under himself as a noble. In his position as a margrave, it wouldn’t be difficult for Daska to use his influence in the Neutral Faction to lay the groundwork in the Imperial Capital to appoint someone a baron or viscount in recognition of their services.
「You won’t be granted any land, but you would be considered one of my subordinates.」
「No, I don’t feel like becoming a noble. ……In the first place, I don’t think someone who lacks etiquette like me would be able get along with others in an aristocratic society.」
「Etiquette? You don’t need to worry about that. Look at me. I don’t want to boast about it, but I was born to the house of a margrave on the frontier. In the Imperial Capital, I was slandered by others as lacking manners.」
「……I’m sorry. I’m an adventurer myself. I would like to explore my path as a magic warrior.」
Although Rei was polite, Daska still a small sigh at Rei’s firm refusal to become a noble.
「Well, it can’t be helped. I can’t force you to say something you don’t want.」
That said, Daska was satisfied after understanding that Rei didn’t want to become a noble.
(At the very least, if he doesn’t want to become a noble, there’s no danger of getting pulled in to other factions. If he stays an adventurer, the city of Gilm should remain as his base. Although I can’t say for sure, it will be good to consider him as a fighting force in the case of an emergency. I shouldn’t try to force aggressively but rather stay content with maintaining the current situation.)
「Pardon me. I have brought tea and snacks.」
As Daska thought to himself contentedly, there was a knock on the door and the butler came in. Pushing a cart over to the table side, he placed cups of tea onto the table.
「Daska-sama, do you want anything else?」
「No, it’s fine. Thanks for you hard work. You may leave.」
「Yes, please excuse me.」
Giving a respectful bow, the butler left the room.
Seeing him off, Daska left the documents he was reading on his office desk, sat down on the sofa and turned to Rei.
After drinking some tea, he spoke with a serious expression.
「……Now then. Firstly is yesterday’s matter, it was difficult in a variety of ways. Thanks to Rei, we managed to capture an alchemist of the Bestir Empire as well as their secret weapon. Because of that, about the secret weapon. From the report, you seem to know something about them?」
「Yes. It’s convenient that you called me over today because it’s necessary to talk about it. As Daska-sama knows, I went to a dungeon a while ago. I think you also know that I headed to the alter of inheritance in it.」
Daska gave a small nod at Rei’s words and prompted him to continue.
「I heard the story from Elena-dono, does this have anything to do with that?」
「The inheritance ceremony needs to be carried out at an alter of inheritance. However, I was told that the Bestir Empire had developed a method that could be considered a simplified version of it.……」
「Wait. That means.」
Daska interrupted Rei’s words. In his mind, he thought of the people who had been carried over to the Margrave’s residence last night. The figure of Cordo, who was all covered in a shell, and Minas, who had scales growing all over her body.
「Yes. They are Demon Soldiers.」
「Demon Soldiers? Their appearances certainly aren’t human……still, even though it’s a simplified version, compared to Elena-dono whose appearance didn’t change at all, this is very different.」
「I agree. It’s probably a limitation of the simplified version. ……However, since Minas and Cordo look quite different it terms of appearance, there is a possibility that there might still be issues even though it is a simplified version of the inheritance ceremony.」
「Speaking about this, I will check up on this in the Imperial Capital. I will take that alchemist Postguerra along.」
「……You won’t investigate it here?」
「It’s a case that is too big to investigate in my territory. It’s attractive to monopolise the information, but if the country is destroyed because I prioritised the power struggle, I wouldn’t be able to bear that. To interrogate and analyse the information about the Demon Soldiers, it will be done with people from the Royal and Nobles Factions as well. ……However, it has been determined that this case will also increase the influence of the Neutral Faction. I have to thank you for this matter. Thank you very much.」
Grinning, Daska brought a sandwich to his mouth with a big smile as he said that.
Seeing that, Rei also reached for a sandwich.
「No, I also live in the city of Gilm. I would be troubled if the Mireana Kingdom was occupied by the Bestir Empire. ……That reminds me, I heard that Azoth Firm ended up surviving as it is.」
「Ahh. There are many things to consider, but I left it as it was and didn’t dissolve it, there would be no confusion in the city. I couldn’t be helped so I ended up sending people over to watch it.」
「Well, Bolton seems to have done a lot of vicious things. Still, that’s fine.」
After that, Rei provided information about the abilities of the Demon Soldiers Minas and Cordo as well as the magic items for teleportation that Postguerra had on him. Rei and Daska’s discussion finished roughly an hour later.