So, here’s chapter 53 for you today. I was going to post it tomorrow but I changed my mind following the generous contribution of Rucckus on my Patreon, thanks man, and thanks to all my other patrons as well, for those who’d like to contribute as well, here’s the link: Patreon
One more thing, the Hydras are ice dragons, yeah, it’s weird, I don’t get it either but that’s how it is in this novel
Now, I’ll stop talking and let you guys read the chapter, edited by my and Pepto, who i’d like to thank a lot for his work, enjoy!
Two hydras were just killed in an instant. Witnessing such an unbelievable scene, Elu and Lifa could not let out a word.
However, Harold himself did not seem to feel any fear, excitement or fatigue from the combat. Wearing his usual cold expression, he asked Lifa.
【”What are you doing?”】
【”Aren’t you going to collect samples from the hydra? I think that corpse is the most suitable.”】
【”―― Oh that’s right!”】
Harold’s words startled Lifa for a moment, but the next instant she stood up energetically and turned towards the hydra’s corpse, rolling up her sleeves.
Perhaps she had a fast recovery, or perhaps this was the work of her unfaltering courage.
Not too far away from them, Elu somehow managed to stop trembling. Before he could understand what was happening, Elu had instinctively been driven into a state of fear.
He had a very hard time suppressing this.
【”I had heard the rumors but to think they were true, that strength is really something. I’m impressed.”】
Pretending to be calm, he called out to Harold.
In response, Harold’s expression turned to contempt.
【”The hell are you saying? As if the information you bastards caught would be lacking credibility.”】
【”Whatever do you mean?”】
Elu transparently feigned ignorance. He was just interested in Harold’s motives.
From the information he had shared, it was clear that he was well informed on Harold’s circumstances. He wasn’t likely to think of Elu as some poor traveler. Therefore, to probe Harold’s claim, Elu dared to evade his words.
Harold’s next words were enough to catch even Elu by surprise.
【”Cut the crap, Giffelt.”】
Harold casually revealed Elu’s true identity as if it were no big deal.
Elu had never given him that name. And he had never given Harold any information that would allow him to assert this.
Although Elu thought he was just shooting in the dark, Harold seemed to be confident.
【”…… Giffelt? How could a kid like me be such an important person?”】
【”Giffelt is the family name that you and your people use. And you’re qualified to be referred to as a member of the Giffelt family. Am I wrong?”】
An even bigger shock than the one before rocked Elu. Harold’s words had hit the bull’s-eye.
Giffelt was not an individual name but a clan name. Be it men, women, children, adults or the elderly, anyone could use the name as long as they belonged to the clan.
They all dealt in the information business and shared their intelligence within the family. By doing so, they made up the fictional but certainly real image of the information dealer, Giffelt.
The Giffelt family had handed down a law to keep their existence hidden. It could be said to be their most important secret.
Why does he know ? Even if he’s acquainted with another Giffelt, I don’t think they would disclose this information.
However, Elu knew that absolutes did not exist. It was a fact that Harold knew about this, so there had to be a leak.
【”Well, that doesn’t really matter. Rather, how much do you bastards know about me?”】(Harold)
Harold continued talking as if he considered the Giffelt family’s secret to be no more important than any other story, but Elu certainly didn’t perceive it that way. Harold had grasped the clan’s secret and could deal with it however he deemed fit.
It was an awfully vicious threat. If Elu lied in this situation, what would happen when he was found out ? Elu couldn’t help but expect the worst case scenario.
【”Would you believe it if I said I told Lifa everything?”】
Harold immediately declared it.
That was to be expected. Elu had shared suspicions of the Tribunal’s deliberation with Lifa, to tempt Harold to investigate the story, but still, the false facts she was told were based on truths. And it was still a lie in the end.
The kingdom’s Tribunal held the position of a high-order state agency. Normally, even if a prestigious noble family raised their voice, a judgement would never be overruled.
And, for one who researched what happened behind the scenes beforehand, it was clear just how strange that particular deliberation was.
However, if Elu had stopped there, perhaps Harold wouldn’t even have bothered. The words ‘test subject’ were definitely the reason for his interest.
Based on the official cover-up story, Harold was supposed to have escaped his execution by cooperating in a certain study.
He could play an important part in one of the kingdom’s projects and claim the position of ‘servant’ to atone for his crimes.
(Maybe I rushed things a little….)
Anticipating the words ‘test subject’ would shake Harold, Elu had primed Lifa to speak them instead. And that would mean Elu’s theory was not far from the truth.
As a result, a counter-attack had blindsided him.
But, Elu reconsidered, while the clan’s secret being found out was certainly threatening, Harold had given away his advantage. Elu could have been embroiled in a hopeless predicament someday without that knowledge.
Now he had a chance to avoid that future.
【”I won’t ask again. You better hurry and answer.”】
Pressed for an answer, Elu steeled himself.
How much did he know about Harold ? The question was a little vague but Elu had an idea which answer he was seeking.
Harold was likely asking him if he knew why he was called a test subject..
And indeed, Elu knew.
The information he had was unbelievable, but he was convinced it was the truth after bearing witness to Harold’s strength.
Would Harold kill Elu for knowing? It wouldn’t be strange if he did.
But he probably wouldn’t act rashly since he understood the group structure of the Giffelt clan.
Even if that information was important enough that Harold had to silence whoever had it, the one who had it was Elu, a Giffelt. Once it had spread among the clan, there was no stopping it.
They were both holding bombs. But they could finish things smoothly as long as neither one tossed them into the public.
【”……Looks like I can no longer hide it. I’m concerned because I’ve stumbled upon some quite troublesome facts concerning you and at I’m at a loss on how to handle them.”】
Come on, think about it Harold, thought Elu, carefully putting words together. Harold absolutely had to believe there would be little meaning to killing Elu. And he had to consider the risks it entailed.
【”I mean, you’ve obtained this powerful strength by cutting down your own life after all. It could be dangerous to mishandle information about such an inhumane weapon being developed.”】
In this world, Harold’s game knowledge was an overwhelming advantage. It gave him the upper hand in most situations.
Although he had met with many unexpected events, it was thanks to this gift that he had somehow managed to break his death flags.
However, there were two characters that he still feared despite having such an unfair technique.
The first was the genius mad scientist, Justus Freund, the last boss of『Brave Hearts』.
And the other was the information dealer, Giffelt, with access to the meta-knowledge of the game.
He was especially concerned about the unknown numbers of Giffelts. Was the information held by the Giffelt clan limited to the scope of this world, or were they able to overlook the world from a higher ground like in the game?
He didn’t know if they were friends or foes, but there was a risk they would expose many of his secrets.
While having them as friends would be reassuring, he still believed he should be cautious when contacting them.
The current situation was the unexpected fruit of Giffelt asking to accompany Harold for some reason while he was carrying out a mission for Justus.
And if he had to be honest, had he met Giffelt by himself, he might have refused, but Harold also had to act as a cushion for Lifa, and he wanted to know how strong she was at this point in time.
Going from there, Harold kept an eye on Giffelt with the ulterior motive of finding the right opportunity.
And just now, Giffelt spoke some decisive words.
He told Harold about his sword, the one with a crystal embedded in it and explained how it was developed by Justus, “the weapon that turns life force into mighty power.” As Harold was shocked in his mind, he admired Giffelt even more.
(The name Giffelt isn’t for show… to think they had gotten this far…)
That information could be said to be Justus’ last line of defense, “We don’t really need the weapon, but let’s do this just in case.” It was a lie Justus used to deceive the country’s higher-ups so that he could freely move Harold.
Its purpose was to make it look like Harold was just compensating the country for the withdrawal of his execution by participating in the research despite it cutting his own life.
However, Justus couldn’t officially announce a deal that allowed him to fiddle with a person’s life, even if said person was a criminal, so only a handful of people were told the truth.
But still, the Giffelts could be said to be quite the special group of information dealers, and seeing how they had the power to get information about national secrets, ones that concerned a weapon’s development at that, their organization had surely reached a worldwide peak.
And, the most frightening part of that was that Justus had managed to pass under their radar. It would be considerably difficult to prevent such a man from becoming aware of a revolt once it was put into action.
However, Harold had assumed that from the beginning. And he wasn’t over-confident enough to cross Justus alone.
As things were, it was difficult for Harold to move freely outside of Justus’ directives.
That’s where his collaborators would usually come into play. And with Giffelt’s information network, he could move them more efficiently. He wanted the clan to join his side by any means.
【”…I see. So you’re in that deep, huh.”】
Said Harold solemnly, seeming really serious. Faced with such an atmosphere, it felt like Giffelt— Elu’s face turned blue.
Though Giffelt wasn’t the expressive type in the game, this was convenient for Harold who could now read him ever so slightly.
【”You’ve obtained information that only a select few are allowed to know in this country. I can’t ignore that.”】
【”…. Then, are you going to kill me?”】
【”Well, that would be the quickest solution.”】
Elu couldn’t breathe. His face turned even bluer.
【”However, I’m not planning to do anything that foolish. It’s not even worth considering.”】
【”You have some quite convenient abilities. Why not work for me and put your talents to use?”】
【”….Could it be that you’re recruiting me?”】
【”Did you not hear what I just said? Are you deaf?”】
【”What you’re saying is, if I refuse you’ll kill me, or, or…..”】
Elu murmured a line that Harold couldn’t ignore. Even if he refused, Harold had no intention to kill him at all.
Certainly his phrasing could be interpreted that way, but he didn’t want to force Elu’s hand using such an extreme method of stress interview and make his impression even worse than it already was.
【”It doesn’t matter to me whether you live or die, bastard. If you want to refuse, suit yourself.”】
【”… Ooh. If that’s true, then does that mean there are no risks for me if I refuse?”】
【”No, that’s not it. There is indeed a risk that you can’t overlook if you decline.”】
【”I don’t understand what you’re trying to say.”】
【”Then, I’ll explain. Don’t you seek the『Star memory』?”】
Elu’s facial expression crumbled like never before.
It showed astonishment and doubt. It was hard to describe, a sort of mix between various emotions.
【”H, how would you know about that.. don’t tell me you…?”】
【”I have no obligation to tell you.”】
He couldn’t tell Elu that he had knowledge from the game. However, judging from his reaction, the Giffelts weren’t cheat beings who held information about the world’s meta.
Therefore it would be slightly easier for Harold to make contact.
【”So, what will you do? Will you take one step closer to the Giffelts’ dream? Or will you let that opportunity fly over your head?”】
【”… I don’t know, it’s way too suspicious. I can’t believe this because it’s simply impossible….. But it’s certainly true that we’re seeking that thing, no matter the cost.”】
【”Then, come confirm my words with your own eyes. There is no n o trust involved in this process.”】
In the first place, as long as he proceeded as he did in the game’s story, Elu would manage to obtain the『Star memory』for sure. Harold was just bluffing.
Elu, who did not know that, agreed to Harold’s negotiations after a short silence. He knelt on one knee and bowed his head.
【”I’ll entrust you with my… No, Giffelt’s power. Please use it as you see fit, Harold-sama.”】
【”The only thing I want from you is results, not good attitude.”】
Said Harold, with his usual arrogance, looking down on Elu kneeling respectfully before him. But in his mind, Harold was delighted.
Giffelt had joined his side. If he combined that with his game knowledge, he just might be able to outsmart Justus.
There were several months left until the game’s story began. And the foundations of his counteroffensive were steadily building.