Chapter 29 is here! I was going to post in on another day but things came up and I didn’t have the time to edit it until today. Btw, for those who also read Death Flags, the raws for chapter 104 are out, we’ve only waited a month this time, which is great since it’s usually 5 months.
As usual, for the Patrons, Chapter 30, 31 and 32 (The conclusion of Volume 1) are all available on the Patreon page.
Anyway, here is Chapter 29, I hope you’ll enjoy it!
Ignoring Rosberg, who had finally quieted down, Lunaria started speaking.
【”I’ve also made some progress since you left. I’ve found out that the baron of Isengard’s nephew left the knight order after what happened to him on that day. Apparently, his injury was a minor one that didn’t need any treatment, and it’s unclear why he lost consciousness from just that.”】
【”In the first place, no member of the knight order would fall from his horse and pass out from it! Moreover, not only was he wearing a full body armor, he also did not have any external injuries. I cannot believe that this was anything other than a masquerade!”】
Rosberg was already back on his feet and spoke in a proud manner.
In the first place, a horse was not just a means of transportation to a knight, it was a friend, like a part of the family.
It was extremely shameful for a knight to fall from his own horse, but even if he did, it was unthinkable that he’d get injured from it.
Because the first lesson the knights received when learning horse riding was how to move upon falling from their horse in order to offer optimal protection to their own body.
Therefore, claiming that he was not cut out or not ready to be a horseman would not do.
【”Besides, I pursued the matter and, as I thought, it seems like his capabilities weren’t all that great. He joined the order through his connections instead. Still, Isengard’s influence should not have been sufficient to have him enroll that way…”】
The knight order was at the center of the country’s defense, it would have been a terrible sight if it became a social gathering for nobles.
Therefore, the order’s principle was to enroll people based on their merits, hence why there were many commoners among the knights.
【”That’s right, this must have been done under the instructions of someone very influential.”】
【”… I’m afraid the baron could be a subordinate of the marquis of Strasbourg, but the marquis would not make the foolish mistake of leaving any evidence of it.”】
The one thing Lunaria believed without a doubt was that the main culprit was the baron of Isengard.
However, a mere belief was not enough to get him convicted.
More evidence was needed to get a guilty verdict.
【”How about you, Kurats? How did it go on your side?”】
Pressed by a gaze that was full of expectations, Kurats could not stop his heart from throbbing.
The first time he met her, what felt truly beautiful about her was how bright, lively and dynamic she was, but now, she looked more feminine, like she was seeking his protection.
Only people who had some experience would know that this kind of aura would only come from a woman in love.
Naturally, Rosberg did not find this to be amusing in the slightest.
【”Surely, you would not dare to betray her highness’ expectations, right?”】
Rosberg glared at Kurats like a parent protecting his child from an approaching enemy.
【”What should I say? Well, for now, I guess I should tell you that I made that good-for-nothing confess and then gave him a lesson.”】
【”You had a fight? But I didn’t receive a report that the baron of Isengard was arrested.”】
【”I guess I overlooked that.”】
【”You did WHAT?!”】
Rosberg shouted with such a force that it looked like the blood vessels on his forehead were about to burst.
【”How foolish can you be? You do know that a confession is meaningless if it’s not done in front of an official, right? Did you believe your own testimony would be enough by itself? What were you thinking!”】
Even if he did confess to Kurats, there were no witnesses to prove it, and the baron was given enough extra time to erase any evidence that there could have been. No matter how stupid he was, he was not going to make the mistake of admitting his crimes under these circumstances.
If Kurats had at least restrained him on the spot while claiming it was for self-defense, the baron could have been taken to prison by force afterwards, and the results would have been much different.
But now, not only was there no chance of winning, there was even a possibility that Isengard would take Kurats to court and get a guilty verdict against him instead.
『I cannot deny that it was foolish….』
【”Still, don’t you think it will be more interesting to beat him at his own game?”】
Contrarily to Rosberg, who was holding his head, Kurats and Bernst were in pretty high spirits.
◆ ◆ ◆
It did not take long before Kurats was summoned before the king.
The hearing was taking place earlier than expected because the baron of Isengard had appealed to the court in regard to what Kurats had done.
Normally, the king would not expressly get himself involved in a quarrel between nobles, but in this case, it was said that Kurats had gone to another noble’s territory and went as far as killing one of his retainers
However, Kurats was also under investigation in regard to the assassination attempt on the princess, so this hearing had to be held in a hurry.
On the left and the right of the king, standing in a line one step lower than the throne, were the prime minister, the justice minister, the minister of finance, and other authorities of the kingdom, including the marquis of Strasbourg.
【”The reason you were called here today was none other than an accusation of a murder that allegedly occurred within the territory of sir Isengard.”】
The king spoke solemnly while Kurats deeply bowed his head.
The king’s voice sounded somewhat strange.
【”It was him, without a doubt! Killing my precious mage retainer was not enough for this man, he even used violence against my knights!”】
【”Well, if more than 60 of your knights were one-sidedly tormented, I wonder what that says about them.”】
【”Aaaaah! You bastard!”】
Disregarding Ross, whose face was boiling from rage, the marquis of Strasbourg, Albert, asked a question.
【”May I interpret from your words that you are admitting to having indeed acted violently against sir Isengard’s subordinates?”】
There wasn’t a single shred of hostility in his words, he spoke very calmly, in a manner that was fitting of the finesse that came with being the leader of a faction.
The atmosphere changed, most of the hearers were acting like they were already thinking he was guilty, but Kurats looked at them like it was somebody else’ problem.
【”If by “acted violently” you mean that I counterattacked after being attacked, then I suppose I did.”】
【”That’s a lie! They were just trying to arrest you because, like I said before, you KILLED my mage!”】
(I see, in short, the story they are going with is that Kurats had a dispute with Oliveira and ended up killing him.) Thought Bernst.
This strategy had likely been suggested by the marquis of Strasbourg.
Given that, it was possible to roughly guess where this was going.
【”Oh, that mage who was using monsters? He’s the one who suddenly sent killer apes and saber wolves to attack me…”】
【”Wait, using monsters? What do you mean?”】
Bayard Cellvis, the minister of war, interrupted Kurats like he could physically not ignore what had just been said.
There were many battles against monsters at the frontier of the kingdom. On those battlefields, the value of a man who could control monsters would be immeasurable.
【”He was able to completely control lower class monsters. I guess he was some sort of prodigy.”】
If Oliveira had heard this evaluation of his skills, he likely would not have been pleased at all. After all, his research was at a level where it could have been recognized as a groundbreaking achievement if it had ever been brought to light.
【”Yes, Oliveira was a very important asset, yet this man killed him!”】
【”I couldn’t exactly ignore a mage who was kidnapping the locals for his experiments, could I?”】
【”H-he did no such thing!”】
With his poor acting skills, Ross could not help being flustered by Kurats’ words.
That was because Ross had not concealed the talks about the disappearances that had been happening within his territory.
Kurats’ words had very accurately hit the weakness that Ross wanted to keep out of touch.
【”…Mister, why did you go to sir Isengard’s territory in the first place?”】
The one who came to change the flow of the conversation was Danton, the count of Aubert, who belonged to the marquis of Strasbourg’s faction.
From Danton’s perspective, the marquis of Strasbourg seemed to be secretly angered by Ross’ bad acting.
It seemed like he had not calculated that Ross would be this incompetent.
【”―― I was looking for the habitat of the monster that attached itself to her highness Lunaria.”】
【”You’re saying that monster came from the Isengard territory?!”】(Cellvis)
【”That’s exactly right.”】
Cellvis glared at Ross, with the eyes of a fierce eagle glaring at its prey.
That alone was enough to expose Ross’ true cowardly nature and make him shrink in fear.
【”Please wait! I recall receiving a report from my trusted aid Oliveira, who said he had suspicions that the baron of Gaura was collecting monsters in my territory. But when the baron was asked about it, he suddenly attacked!”】
Ross’ shouting was akin to a shriek.
Even Ross could very well tell that this was a critical moment.
【”And isn’t it extremely shady how my retainer was killed by a cowardly surprise attack?”】
When Ross said so, the head of the royal court’s mages, Mordred, was happy to chime in.
【”Mhm, lord of Gaura, how did you find out about the monster’s habitat in the first place? Wasn’t it because you already knew about it?”】
Mordred had no way to find out about the habitat of a monster by merely capturing it.
And he was the type of person who believed that if he could not do something, then no one else could.
【”The female of the monster secretes a special pheromone to call for the male of its species, and I used that for my search. It didn’t cross my mind that the head of the royal court’s mages would not be aware of something like this, sorry for my discourtesy. “】
Kurats shoulders slightly shook as he laughed to himself, which completely enraged Mordred.
【”Quit the nonsense! If you think you’re going to fool me then..!”】
As he felt like the room temperature went below zero, Mordred shut his mouth.
This kind of pressure was easy to pull off for a born leader like Lunaria when she was willing to expose her true nature.
【”Anything more and I’ll have to assume you want to leave your position.”】
Modred’s whole body was covered in cold sweat.
Given the fact there was no proof behind Modred’s words, it would not be strange for him to be accused of slander and defamation if he went any further with his statement.
Especially in a gathering like this one, where the king and many of the country’s figures of authority were present.
【”Be that as it may, the only proof of that claim is the testimony of the lord of Gaura, which is not enough to cancel the suspicions.”】(Albert)
Indeed, Kurats’ claim that the pheromones of the monster could be used to find its habitat was only backed by his own words, and there was no way for anyone to confirm them.
If there was no way to confirm it, the testimony was not receivable; that was one of the ironclad rules of the court.
And the marquis of Strasbourg knew that Kurats could not prove any of his words.
Because, be it Oliveira’s corpse, his laboratory, or the corpses of the people he had kidnapped, they had all been disposed of and reduced to dust.
【”…Come to think of it, sir Isengard, you have a nephew, don’t you?”】