In the heavy air, Douglas Hamilton slowly steps forward with a gloomy face.
His face was hanging with shame.
It resembles a sinner walking toward a death penalty.
There was no fragment of arrogance that he usually shows.
Sounds of steps were the only thing that could be heard in the corridor.
(It should be the same as usual… But it seems something is happening…)
Lights were lit on the right and left sides.
The same was also true about the guards that stand at regular intervals.
It was the scenery he had seen every day for over a dozen years as a member of the Court of Justice, serving as a member of Earl Hamilton’s house.
However, there was a decisive difference this time…
(Is this how the prisoner I’ve transported usually saw?)
Gloomy feelings begin to tighten Doughlas’ heart.
Until now, he had been walking in this corridor in the position of transferring prisoners but, this time he was being transported as a prisoner.
Douglas was astonished at seeing that same sight but with a different impression, such a different change just by changing his position.
As a relative of Earl Hamilton who oversees the working units of the House of Lords, Douglas was a prominent presence.
At least, until an hour ago…
There was, of course, a reason for such a change.
(Why… Why this kind of thing… I just followed the lord’s order… The surroundings should also understand that. But why…)
Douglas steps forward, following a bailiff walking in front of him.
He knew, no matter what he says nothing would change.
If that were to work out, he would not be in this situation in the first place.
After all, Douglas was a relative of Earl Hamilton, who was the second most powerful man in the house of lords, after Marquis Halcyon.
Of course, Douglas was just relative of Earl Hamilton and not the head of the household.
He had the right to inherit, but the chance of succeeding the title was close to zero.
However, just because he was his kinship, Douglas Hamilton had received various consideration from many people who served the house of lords.
Of course, there was a limit to such a thing.
But, it also doesn’t mean something cannot be done.
However, unlike his colleagues, Douglas was assigned to relatively low difficulty, checking of a suspect and taking care of prisoners, who rarely saw unforeseen events, and there were also many other knights guard.
In addition, even if he sought a bribe from the accused, he would be tolerated.
Douglas himself was greedy, but he could do the job himself, and sometimes he was being frowned upon by his surroundings because he had targeted the weak only. However, that was also precisely why he was being regarded as not a problem.
It can be called as the spring of his world.
He was just someone’s relative who had power yet he was already like the winner in the world.
However, Douglas’s spring was over, its summer and autumn passed in instant.
Eventually, they arrived in front of a room in the corner of the house of lords.
“Excuse me. By the order of the director, I’ve brought the aforementioned person.”
The bailiff knocks on the door lightly and asks the room with a polite tone.
The answer came back immediately.
Perhaps, the person waiting inside had already wait for long…
“Thank you for your hard work. Please come in. ”
A girl in maid outfit with silver hair that stretched to her waist and a beautiful voice invited the bailiff in.
The moment he saw the girl’s face, Douglas realized that his prediction was the worst possible.
(As expected… but… why, why did this happens?)
No, even on the road when he was taken to this room, he was expecting this development.
After all, there was nothing he knew for sure.
Except about him going to Salzberg’s house to meet with Baron Mikoshiba.
“Alright then, I shall leave here…”
The bailiff handed over Douglas to the silver-haired maid and bows out of the room.
His attitude exuded the desire of not wanting to stay in this room much longer.
In fact, it feels like he had thrown Douglas his colleagues into a lion cage.
Given the tragedy that would unfold after this, he may be likely feeling immense guilt.
Even if Douglas was an annoying man.
Of course, there were also those who leap in joy seeing Douglas in such a position.
All that was because of Douglas’s past and nature.
Douglas who was greeted by a maid lead to meet a man sitting on the sofa.
He was now before Baron Mikoshiba, the master of this room.
“Ryouma-sama… This is the aforementioned person…”
Douglas’ eyes saw a maid with blonde hairs whispering to Ryouma.
Ryouma nodded his head after hearing her words, and slowly rose from the sofa and smiled cheerfully at Douglas. –
“I meet you once again eh? Bailiff Hamilton-san… Ops, you’re not a bailiff anymore right? If I used your last name, I might mistake you as Earl Hamilton, so, can I call you Douglas?”
Ryouma then urged Douglas to sit on the sofa.
There was no hostility, or sense of superiority despite their position being reversed.
It was just like any other ordinary greetings.
But for Douglas, it feels like he was sitting on a chair filled with needles.
Douglas then sits down on the sofa with a frightened look.
Ryouma then recommended a drink to Douglas.
“To entertain a guest, alcohol should’ve been better but, unfortunately, we can’t prepare it here…”
At the same time, glass was placed in front of Douglas.
Inside was a clear liquid.
If one were to believe Ryouma’s words, then this was just water.
Well, there was not possible for it not to be water.
This was not Baron Mikoshiba’s house or the residence of Earl Salzberg.
This was the house of lords.
It was a fortress where the aristocrats that control the Rozeria Kingdom gathers.
Mikoshiba Ryouma who had come to receive a hearing should have not the leeway to welcome a guest.
However, that was not a problem.
(Is this ice? And there’s a lot of them…)
Ice was precious in this world where there were no freezers or other electrical products.
Of course, it was not something one can’t get, but it was not something that people could easily get.
It was normal for people to make them in the ice room during the winter or to go to the depths of a mountain covered with perpetual snow.
The only way left was to ask a magic arts user to make it in exchange for money.
Not to mention, methods such as storage for the ice and taking it from snow mountain require time and labor.
In addition, there was a chance for bandits raid on the way.
Naturally, the one who takes the ice must also have the ability to fight off monsters in the mountain where ice can be collected, in such a place, usually, the transportation means were limited.
It was common to leave the wagon at the foot of the mountain, and walk up the mountain.
That was why the labor costs were extremely expensive.
And naturally, the overall cost jumps exponentially.
Some adventurers have a specialized as ice carrier. –
Still, in the summer, many wealthy people would buy them to cool themselves.
However, only those who had average wealth would do something like that.
The real rich people would use magic arts user service instead.
After all, for those class people, it was quicker to ask a magic art user than asking adventurer to take some ice from the mountain.
Above all else, magic arts user’s ice was basically free from any impurities.
Depending on the magic art user skills, one could request a block of small ice or large ice.
Moreover, the magic arts user would also execute the magic in front of the client. This could reduce the chance of poisoning, which was common among the privileged class.
Well, it was a perfect solution for assassination, after all, that was why they hired the magic art users as a form of being vigilant.
However, the problem was the fact that such a cube of ice was being offered to Douglas.
(What does this mean… Is there some meaning behind this?)
TO be honest, Douglass didn’t think Mikoshiba Ryouma would like him.
No, far from being liked, he thought he would be hated instead.
After all, far from taking care of him, he had left him overnight in a small room without any windows.
Of course, that was not something Douglas had done voluntarily.
Douglas only received the order from Earl Hamilton and obeyed it.
But Douglas also knew, he couldn’t use that as an excuse.
(First of all, is this man the one who took my family?)
Such thought continued to cast a dark shadow on Douglas’s heart.
OF course, there was no evidence of involvement by Baron Mikoshiba RYouma.
But given the situation, it was highly likely someone with a grudge against Douglas who did it.
At least, Douglas didn’t think he was not completely unrelated.
Indeed, in the letter, it was stated that if he follows the instruction, nothing would happen to his family.
But, Douglas didn’t want to feel relaxed just because a criminal says something like that.
In the first place, the instruction hasn’t come yet.
No obedience, no orders… –
However, just looking at the situation today, Douglas felt that such expectation was wrong.
“Well, then please… Take a break from the time being.”
Being told again, Douglas then naturally picked up the glass in front of him.
Then, he lightly drinks it.
However, Douglas’ expectation was being betrayed again.
Of course, this time was in a good way.
“Is this… Fruit water?”
Refreshing fruit scent coming from the glass.
The slight acidity citrus and the sweetness of the apple relaxed Douglas’ heart.
Above all, the fragrance of herbs that slips through feels pleasant.
And the taste of the drink made people want to sigh in relief.
While watching Douglas, Ryouma opened his mouth.