Chapter 2 Episode 8
There’s was a red-haired woman, an elderly man who had lost his left hand and a big man in at least his mid-20’s with two girls following behind him as if they were his shadow.
Mikhail’s heart beat got faster, rising to unknown heights.
After all, the girl who was his target, the girl he was sent to assassinate was right in front of him.
Three hours had passed since he was caught in the trap set by Ryouma and the others.
Among all of the attackers, who got struck by the magic that summoned the stone pillars, only a few of them came out of the attack live.
They were only given minimum care to stop their bleeding, and afterwards, they got thrown into the carriage while restricted by ropes.
And after riding the carriage for a short while, the assailants were taken out, one by one, with the final one being Mikail.
“You’re the one who commanded the surprise attack, am I right Banashu-san?”
Mikhail could only nod to answer the question from the man with a large build.
The tone of voice of the man was not coercive; instead, it was polite and calm.
However, speaking in such a calm and polite way felt ominous to Mikail as it came from one of the men they had tried to kill earlier.
It would be better if he was being interrogated by someone who would get red face and getting angry.
“I’ve roughly heard the circumstance from your subordinates. Well, I guess you guys are people who are in a bit of a disagreement…”
Mikhail just kept silent, although he felt uncomfortable from what the man had said. After all, among the chivalric code, there is a clear guide detailing how to deal with captured enemies, after all, it was an iron rule in war, not to give the enemy information.
“Ah… You don’t have to be that cautious. Because the chances are rather low, that you will end up accompanying us.”
For Mikhail, the words the man spoke, sounded like the devil’s whispers…
“You’re going to kill us?”
“Not necessarily… For the moment, I don’t really see why you need to die. “
The man declared as such and shrugged his shoulders. But Mikhail noticed the phrasing… it meant, that if he deemed it to be necessary, they would get killed.
“But that sentiment, it was mutual for the both of us no?”
Mikhail was unable to find room for argument.
Mikhail himself never liked to kill someone, in fact as long as he had a choice he would pretty much always choose not to kill anyone.
However as a commanding officer in Rozeria Kingdom’s royal guard, for the country’s sake and for the princess’ sake. If it was deemed necessary, then he had to dye his hands red with blood.
Usually, being part of an assassination attempt was something that his knightly honour was unable to bear. However, he was convinced that there was no other way to stops the other faction’s ambition.
And the man seemed like he was able to read how Mikhail felt.
“Well. I don’t know what you think but, from the start, you have never seen us as your enemies. “
A bewildered expression appeared on Mikhail’s face after hearing what the man said.
“What’s going on? Aren’t you people from the noble faction?”
‘That’s it. That is the problem. Well, for now, we will try and confirm what we think, Mikhail-san. After that, you will get your questions answered. “
After saying that, the man walked around and stood behind Mikhail’s back, and placed two fingers on his neck.
“… What are you going to do?”
“Oh, this is something like a good luck charm. Please don’t hesitate to answer the question comfortably. “
Without waiting for a reply from Mikhail, the man winked at the blond girl.
When the girl saw the sign, she nodded and stepped forward in front of Mikhail.
“Then I will ask you a couple of question. Is it true that you are part of Rozeria Kingdom royal guard?””
“Do the reason why you’ve attacked the merchants’ group, have anything to do with the conflict that’s currently happening about the inheritance of Rozeria’s throne?”
“Did you plan this surprise attack, to protect the princess?”
“You belong to the Knight faction, and your opponents are the noble faction?”
“The King died suddenly not long ago, and the first princess should have succeeded him as the successor, however, the noble group intervened and stopped her from doing that, am I right?”
“As for the noble, they support another princess, an illegitimate child, as the successor, is that not it?”
Mikhail desperately tried to ignore the question that the girl asked.
Not even once, did Mikhail’s utter a word of affirmation or denial.
“This is… what are we going to do?”
The girl asks the man.
“It seems like he’s the type of a person that will be hard to get an answer from. Well, that’s not really a surprise though… “
Looking at the man face, he didn’t seem to think of it as a problem.
“Laura… Come forward… “
A silver-haired girl came forward after being told to do so by the man, she stood in front of Mikhail, next to the other girl.
And after the girl had come forward, the first girl asked Mikhail the last question, which made Mikhail heartbeat go wild.
“Last question… Is she the one that you aimed to kill?”
When listening to Sara’s question, Ryouma’s fingertips could feel Mikhail heartbeat go rampant.
“It was right huh. “
Ryouma shows a dissatisfied expression.
And most of the people near them showed similar expressions.
The truth is something that does not necessarily have to be conveyed through one’s words.
Someone who firmly tries to stay quite like Mikhail, sometimes shows the truth more clearly, then one that wraps it up with eloquent words.
Because he was trying desperately to steel his facial expression, people around him had an easy time reading Mikhail’s heart.
Even without Ryouma’s affirmation, Lione and the other had already grasped what was inside Mikhail’s heart.
“I see.now… Damn Wallace, that bastard… we’ve been deceived huh… “
Words of resentment come out from Lione’s mouth.
Thanks to Ryouma, there had been no deaths within her mercenaries group; however, there was some who had gotten injured.
They had received those injuries from the surprise attack that Mikhail had lead.
That was the damage they received even though they knew of the possibility of an attack, due to Ryouma’s prediction. Had Ryouma not told them about it, or had Lione not taken Ryouma’s prediction seriously, the injuries might very well have changed to deaths. In fact, their group might have ceased to exist.
It was now obvious that the guild master was involved in this, which naturally caused the trust they had in Wallace the guild master, as well as the guild itself, to drop drastically, being replaced by hatred.
“Well, with this, it was clear that Wallace has deceived us. “
Toward Ryouma’s words, all the people in that place except for Mikhail nodded their head.
“Now then… the problem is the future. What are we going to do…”
“How about reporting this to one of the other guilds?”
Bolts suggested that after hearing what Ryouma had said.
“No, I think that would be bad. We’re sure that Wallace has deceived us, but, we have no proof. If you carelessly appeal to the other guild master without any evidence, we might lose everything instead. “
Toward Lione who refute Bolts suggestion, Ryouma nodded his head.
Bolts himself personally did not think that optimistic and didn’t seem to believe in his own opinion.
“Well, I’ve thought of a way. However… it would be quite a hard thing to do, see?”
“You bastard, what are you guys blabbering about!?”
Listening Ryouma and the others talking, Mikhail was left in confusion.
All should have been settled if he had been able to kill the girl with silver hair standing in front of him.
At least, all the knight who participates in this raid knows about this.
It was about three months ago, after the demise of the previous king, that a report was brought to the first princess who’s in the middle of preparing the succession to the throne.
It can be said that this was an event which causes surprise for all in the Knight faction.
Another daughter of the previous king suddenly appears in a neighbouring nation, the Mist Kingdom, with a claim to the throne.
An illegitimate child is by no means rare.
Especially in the ruling class, where successors are necessary.
In order to secure the next generation, they usually make a lot of children so that the families don’t die out.
Aside from a nobleman’s wife, there were usually also one or more mistresses.
There were also times when they played around with commoners.
And as a result of spreading out their love, illegitimate children were born.
In itself, it should not be a problem.
However this time, the king had left a child who suddenly announced their candidacy for the throne at the moment when power vacuum happens after the king’s death which made everything very chaotic.
When the report was brought to the kingdom’s royal capital, everyone didn’t believe such a stupid story, and dismissed it.
However, the rumour that they had thought would disappear in an instant, instead of spreading throughout the kingdom, gradually making the rumour true.
And for the Knights faction, an event suddenly happened that made it real.
The noble faction leader, Duke Gerhardt, declared to the public, that he would be adopting this illegitimate child, and at the same time, he raised the matters about the former king’s will.
Everyone within the Knight faction doubted this, and believed it to be some kind of fabrication.
However, the kingdom ended up divided in two.
And the authenticity of the will that the noble had raised ended up losing its value, as the nation had already been divided.
Originally Princess Lupis was the leader of the royal guard; thus she had a close relationship with them.
However, on the other hand, she didn’t have much contact with the nobles who dominated the kingdom’s domestic affairs. Due to not having much involvement in the kingdom’s internal affairs, the nobles rallied around Duke Gerhardt as the leader of their faction, and declared support for the illegitimate child.
Making the balance of power to be skewed towards the noble faction, the balance of power was roughly said to be 2 /10 in favour of the knight’s faction, 3/10 in favor of the nobles, while 5/10’s of the country’s power was neutral at the moment, and currently leading to a confrontation.
A knight faction is a group of soldiers, making them very powerful on the battlefield; however, they are entirely unsuitable for politics; thus they were struggling to win the neutral faction.
On the contrary, the nobles are far weaker in term of fighting power; however, they held more political power compared the Knight faction, leading to the present condition where the neutral faction started to move toward the nobles faction.
And in that situation, good news arrived at the Knight faction.
The information was that the illegitimate child was planning to enter Rozeria Kingdom by route of the Mist Kingdom.
It seems like the noble faction planned to raise an army as soon as she entered Gerhardt’s territory.
Knowing this information, the knight faction sneered at the nobles indiscretion.
They believed that everything would be settled if they killed the child who was important for the noble agenda during the journey toward Rozeria Kingdom.
The neutral party would once again change their stance if the illegitimate child got killed. And the nobles would lose their candidate.
Thus the assassination was to be carried out based on the information they had about her.
“Hmm? Even if you ask us that… “
Everyone except Mikhail nodded their head.
“Well, to say it plainly, you’ve been deceived, you know? By the noble faction…”
Hearing Ryouma’s words, Mikhail’s brain froze.
Originally he was not a bright man even though he had a decent position in the military.
“I-It can’t be… You can’t deceive me!”
“Even if you say that… “
Hearing Mikhail denial, Ryouma shrugged his shoulders.
“Well, first please calm down. I will try to explain it. “
When he said so, Ryouma makes Laura stand in front of Mikhail.
“Well then, I will say this clearly. She’s not the illegitimate child that you’re looking for. “
Mikhail shouting was loud enough to wake up a sleeping bear.
“Well, the reason why you thought that Laura was the illegitimate child is because of her silvery hair, right?”
“That’s right! A teenage girl with silver hair!”
Mikhail raises his voice.
As if shaking off the doubt that began to appear within his mind.
“Well, certainly Laura is a teenage girl with silver hair. … but, let me ask you. Did you determine that she was the illegitimate child based on that alone?”
Mikhail thought about Ryouma’s question.
(Silver hair should be relatively rare. And if we include the age criteria then…)
“That’s right! That alone is enough!”
Listening to Mikhail answer, Ryouma showed an amazed facial expression.
“.. You guys are very stupid, aren’t you? … If it’s a silver-haired girl, then there would be countless of them within this continent. “
“The one who’s stupid is you! The one who we’re searching for is not just a mere silver-haired teenage girl, but someone who tried to enters Rozeria Kingdom around this time via Fulzad! There won’t be many people who meet such condition!”
A smile appears on Mikhail’s face.
(That’s right… There’s no way a silver haired girl passed this place by accident. I don’t know what they are scheming for but, I’m not going to get tricked!)
“Indeed, the probability of someone like that passing this place would be dramatically low. However, it does not mean it was impossible you know?”
Toward Mikhail who feels convinced with his own belief, Ryouma looked at him amazed while also feels pity.
“What do you mean by that?”
“Well for example, what if they made someone unrelated to all of this, travel some remote path, perhaps due to a quest… and at the same time leaked false information to the Knight faction. Naturally, the knight’s attention would be drawn toward it, and meanwhile, during that period, they would move the real illegitimate child by another route… How is it? It’s not that hard to do that, don’t you agree?”
Mikhail confident face immediately froze.
“From the beginning, it was strange that the knight faction, was able to get information on the noble faction…”
All the people in that place turned their gaze toward Ryouma.
“The illegitimate child is supposedly the only trump card that the noble faction has. Honestly, to move someone like that into the country, they would, without a doubt, plan everything minutely with the collective effort of the entire noble faction. And above all, they should also pay attention to the information getting leaked. Yet, it was leaked to the Knight faction. “
Ryouma then gaze toward the surrounding.
He tries to confirm if everyone understands what he was saying.
“So, they leak it on purpose huh? boy”
Ryouma nodded toward Lione’s words.
“Well, that highly possible if you think about it, and after that, the noble faction then asks Wallace who is on their side if he had anyone that met the criteria of being a teenage girl with silver hair.”
“That was the reason we’re being chosen. “
Toward Sara’s words, Laura presented a question.
“However, Wallace is a guild master. Will someone take that kind of risk easily like that?”
Indeed, neutrality is the guild principle.
And you won’t be able to manage a guild or the like unless you have trust just like how customer trust merchants contract.
Looking from this point of view, one can say that Wallace action is remarkably inappropriate.
Because they were being used as a “bait” while doing a quest guarding the merchants.
Is there any possibility that Wallace might not have known about this?
That is what Laura wanted to ask.
“The chance for that is low. The reason for that is because we were forced to take the quest.”
Ryouma then continue explaining.
“I’ve also asked Lione-san, she said that usually compulsory quests are issued only to the high-ranking mercenaries or adventurers, and apparently, due to the urgent nature of this quest, it would usually only be given to people who was ranked B or above.”
Lione nodded her head after receiving the sisters’ gaze.
“In other words, there’s no basis for us to be given this quest. However, when it comes to a silver-haired teenage girl who works as mercenaries or adventurer, there was only the triple G ranked Laura. Additionally, by forcing us to take the quest, being so low ranked, would increase the odds of us dying due to the surprise attack. And if by any chance we survived the ordeal, the soldiers from the noble faction who disguised themselves as merchants should be able to take us out. And with that, the truth will disappear into the darkness… “
Toward Ryouma’s explanation practically all the people in that place agree with him.
The reason was that the merchant’s carriage was empty.
The rough hands and the surprisingly good physique that the merchant had could be explained by them in fact being soldiers.
Ryouma group being the only one that was given a carriage with canopy was to make the knights think that the illegitimate child was inside the carriage.
At the time they received the surprise attack, the reason why the road got blocked was to make sure that Ryouma and the girl got killed by the Knight faction.
So far, all the unnatural circumstance up until now could be explained that way.
“… If that is the truth then… That guy had deceived us?… No … But looking at this…”
Listening to Ryouma’s reasoning, Mikhail leaked words of regret and lamentation from his mouth.
The person he refers as ‘that guy’ must be the one who had delivered the information to the Knight faction.
Ryouma then proposed something toward Mikhail who was sitting crushed with grief, and regrets.
“Even if you are lamenting here, nothing will change, you know? “
Mikhail directed his gaze up and saw Ryouma’s face.
His gaze filled with questions.
“Well, we are pretty much the same as you guys who are in a dilemma due to having been deceived by the noble faction, we’re also in a troubled situation.”
By the end of the day, their quest was to guard a merchants group.
Even if all of that is just a lie, from the point of view of the guild’s record, it was the truth.
Which was why they had big problems.
Although it was for the sake to survive, Ryouma in fact attacked the merchant’s carriage.
In addition, he also escaped abandoning the merchants.
So if the guild only looked on the surface, Ryouma was someone who abandoned his escorting mission, let the merchants who he was supposed to guard die, and last of all ran away by himself.
And to make matters worse, if Wallace were to cover up the knight faction who attacked them as a mere thief, Ryouma and the others would be branded as traitors who abandoned their mission. The repercussions would at minimum be, that they had to pay huge penalty, but they might also be unable to take new quest because the guild wouldn’t trust them, meaning they wouldn’t be able to earn. And right now, Ryouma and the others didn’t have any ways to counter that. After all, everything Ryouma said was nothing more than circumstantial evidence.
Even if they asked Mikhail to be a witness, there’s the possibility of him not being honest.
After all, if what they did, it will just become a stain on the Knight faction’s honour.
Moreover, the one who will judge the situation would be the guild master, Wallace. To make a plea that they had been deceived to the person who actually deceived them, that would not make any sense.
Until here, everyone should know their present situation.
Lione and her group did not change their facial expression.
Therefore they entrust Ryouma with the decision.
Trusting Ryouma’s wit to find a solution.
“With that being the case, how about it? Mikhail-san. How about we join hands as allies ?”
Those words that Ryouma uttered would end up changing the fates of the Knight faction greatly.