Hey everyone! Chapter 92 is here!
I haven’t been updating the discord in a while, sorry about that. I’ll be doing it more from now on.
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Anyway, here’s the chapter, I hope you’ll enjoy it!…
This chapter was supposed to come out yesterday but I was a bit out of it and the editing made 0 sense. But it’s here now, so there is that.
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Anyway, here’s the chapter, I hope you’ll enjoy it!…
【”What’s a holy sword exactly?”】
I asked Natasha.
【”Holy swords are swords that have been blessed by scared beings such as gods, spirits, or saints. They have special abilities that regular swords don’t possess, and can cut through some things that other swords can’t cut through.”】
【”Special abilities… Can you think of any example?”】
【”Let me see… There is one well-known anecdote about a sword stuck in its sheath. The story goes that whoever can pull the sword out becomes king.”】
【”What happens if nobody pulls it out?”】
【”How would I know? Whoever is older in that place would become king instead, I guess?”】
Sounds about right.
【”Holy swords can have many other abilities. Heal wounds, cut through anything in one slash, stay in a perfect state without any maintenance; these sorts of things.”】
【”Does that Blutgang sword have a special ability, too?”】
【”It does. First, if you don’t have the spirits’ devin protection, you won’t be able to pull it out of its scabbard.”】
【”Ohh, really? So whoever managed to pull out that sword is the culprit?”】
【”That’s right. The police arrested the suspect on those grounds.”】
Sounds a little odd.
I’ll ask more questions.
【”In that case, is there any proof that only the person who received the divine protection can pull out the sword?”】
【”Some experiments have been done to verify it. The police’s Magic and Psychological Research Institute gathered people of different genders, races, and nationalities, to see if any of them could draw out the sword but none succeeded. Save for one person.”】
【”I’m guessing that person was this girl?”】
I pointed at the girl’s photo with my finger.
【”Yes. She’s the suspect, Claudia Rheinland. It seems she managed to successfully pull the sword out of its scabbard in the presence of a public prosecutor, a detective, and a researcher of the Magic and Psychological Research Institute. There was a brawny man there who tried to do the same but did not succeed, and yet the girl did it very easily.”】
So the only one who was able tu pull out the sword is the actual suspect, huh. There is one other thing I’m curious about.
【”What about afterwards? What if she pulled out the sword but someone else used it to commit the crime?”】
【”That’s very unlikely, for two reasons. The first being that the sword might have a special curse on it.”】
A curse. A method to harm someone else through spiritual means.
【”How can a holy sword be cursed?”】
【”Holy or not, it’s still a sword. But that’s only a possibility, I don’t have any confirmation of it yet. I’m awaiting on the research institute’s investigation for that.”】
【”What makes you think it’s cursed then?”】
【”Hm? Well, it’s because the suspect wouldn’t let go of the sword.”】
She wouldn’t let go of the sword? So what?
【”Isn’t that normal? If I had a dangerous weapon, I don’t think I’d want to give it to others either…”】
【”That didn’t seem to be the reason. When the police went to take her sword, she showed some serious resistance. “】
【”Resistance? Was she violent?”】
【”Well, violent is definitely the word. She injured three policemen upon arrest.”】
This is stating to sound really bad. She got arrested for murder and she went on a rampage upon arrest? Man, I don’t want to defend someone like that.
【”That still doesn’t explain why you’re assuming that her sword is cursed. I don’t see what’s strange on an emotional level about a criminal going wild when getting arrested.”】
【”But you see, that wasn’t the only time she went on a rampage, Daniel.”】
Natasha suddenly poked my nose with her index finger.
【”Can you please not do that?”】
When I brushed away her finger with my hand, she added some nonsense along the lines of “Fufu, I’m about to say it, don’t be impatient”, before carrying on.
【”Like I said earlier, the institute tried handing the sword to the suspect as part of their investigation. And do you remember what happened then? The suspect easily pulled out the sword.”】
【”Yeah, you did mention that.”】
As I recalled Natasha’s words, a question popped in my mind.
【”Now that I think about it, that was a very dangerous experiment. How could they hand a sword to a murderer?”】
【”Some policemen came along for the experiment. There were 10 of them, all from the riot squad, and every single one of them was a well-trained elite. They were ready to immediately subdue the suspect in case she went on another rampage. However, nothing in particular happened… When she pulled out the sword, that is.”】
Natasha’s tone seemed to be implying more than what she was saying.
【”So what happened?”】
【”After she put the sword back in its sheath, they tried to take it back from her, but she went wild again. All of that was recorded, I saw the video. One second the girl was docile and quiet, yet the next she snapped out of nowhere and became violent.”】
Out of nowhere, huh.
I followed up with another question.
【”So there is some sort of trigger to it?”】
【”Seems so. When I watched the video, I felt like she looked very scared of letting someone else take the sword.”】
【”I don’t know. But I happen to know the head of the MRI, and when I asked him, he told me it’s probably due to a curse.”】
The MRI is an abbreviation of the Magic and psychological Research Institute. There is also another institute called the Forensic Research Institute.
【”There are two types of curses, effective curses and non-effective curses. The curse on this sword might be of the second type. “】
【”Let me think… Well, for example, let’s say you want to take a peek at me in the shower.”】
【”Why not? You’re really missing something.”】
Great confidence etched itself on Natasha’s face for some reason.
Natasha kept going without taking my retort into account.
【”I’m going to put a curse on you now. Let’s say, if you peep at me, I’ll kill you.”】
【”Sure, go ahead.”】
【”Why so indifferent?”】
【”I’m not going to look, so I’m not going to get killed. Why would I care?”】
After pouting a bit, Natasha carried on talking.
【”Humph! You devil! Anyway, here you are, under a curse, but you lose to your male instincts and to my womanly charm, and can’t control yourself! You end up taking a peek anyway!”】
I said I won’t, damn it! Is what I wanted to retort, but I kept it to myself so as not to interrupt her story.
【”Unfortunately for you, I caught you in the act when I stepped out of the shower. Oh no, what to do? You broke the agreement, and now you’re going to be killed! There is a terrifying development going on here!”】
【”But I am a dignified adult with a kind heart. Yet I can’t let this go either! So, take that!”】
Natasha swung her fist at my forehead, but I avoided it.
【”Of course I dodged, you tried to hit me.”】
【”Humph, you’re the one who peeked at me.”】
【”I did no such thing.”】
【”I know, you were supposed to play along… Humph. Anyway, that was good enough for me, your curse is settled.”】
I rearranged the chain of events in mind.
The director established that peeping is a taboo. I broke that taboo. But I still didn’t get killed.
【”So the curse is there but breaking its rules won’t have any particular effect?”】
【”Exactly! You don’t necessarily need some special magic to make a curse. So this has nothing to do with the sword being holy or magic. Well, there are some curses in the world that have actual effects when you break their rules, but that’s not the case here. I’m guessing the curse put on the Holy sword Blutgang makes it so the wielder can’t hand it to others, or something like that. That must be why she was terrified of the idea of having her sword be taken away from her.”】
That would certainly make sense of everything.
It would explain why she went on a rampage when they tried to take her sword upon arrest.
It would also explain why she did not go wild during the examination when she pulled out the sword, and yet she went on a rampage when they tried to take the sword from her, even though it would have been much more logical to attack with her unsheathed weapon in hand.
【”Who put the curse on it then?”】
【”I don’t know that much. Not all curses are intentionally put on by others. Some curses just come on their own.”】
【”That’s right. I mean, you’ve already quit this office and yet you still call me director, don’t you?”】
【”What’s wrong with that?”】
【”It’s not like I’m making you do it. You’ve already resigned from the office, you could easily call me Tacha if you wanted. And yet, you don’t. Why is that?”】
Now that she mentions it, why do I still call her director?
It’s not like she’d ever get angry if I stopped calling her that, or even if I dropped all honorifics. There would be no consequence if I stopped doing it, and yet I just don’t feel like it.
【”Many actions that come to you naturally, that you wouldn’t even think of questioning, are actually caused by curses. You see, Dan, you’ve taken on the curse of always being polite. You always use titles and honorifics when talking to someone who’s your senior at work, or higher in the hierarchy, or just older than you, even if you don’t feel any respect towards them. That’s your curse.”】
【”So, if I start being more familiar with you and calling you Tacha instead of director, that would mean I got rid of the curse?”】
【”You want to try?”】
Natasha looked at me with a charming smile and her finger still on her lip.
Translator’s note: You may read the rest on Yoraikun’s website. Here.
【”Here is what happened…”】
After moving the documents from her desk to the table between the sofas, Natasha started explaining the case.
【”Have you ever heard of the Westminster resort hotel? It’s a hotel in the snow mountains.”】
【”Well, yes, it’s pretty famous. I’ve thought about going there one day but it’s a bit…”】
【”I’ve actually been there for a stay once when I was 5 years old. I remember it was built on the front-side of a cliff, so there were two entrances; one from the rooftop, the other from the first floor.”】
【”From the rooftop? Where does that door lead to?”】
【”It leads to a viewing platform. I recall the view was great, and they had binoculars that you could use for a fee. There was also a path from the rooftop to the top of the cliff. It led to a forest that makes for a nice picnic spot.”】
A resort hotel, a forest on the cliff, and a viewing platform.
Worried that I wouldn’t remember all this, I borrowed a notebook from Natasha.
【”The incident was discovered in the early morning of November 12th. One of the hotel’s security guards found the body while patrolling the ground floor’s garden.”】
【”A garden? How big is it?”】
【”Hmm, I don’t have all the details, but I recall it was really big when I went there. It had a wide pond, fruit trees, a hedge and…for some reason, they had weird bronze statues all over the place. They looked a bit eerie.”】
Bronze statues? What?
【”The body was apparently found near one of those statues, close to the hotel.”】
Natasha turned the page of a document and pulled out a cross-sectional view from above of the crime scene.
There was a long line on the left end of the sketch with the word ‘Hotel’ written horizontally on it. I’m guessing this means everything behind that line is the hotel, and the right side is the garden.
Mid-way through the garden, there was one circle that stood out.
【”What’s that circle in the middle supposed to represent?”】
【”It’s a bronze statue.”】
【”What kind of statue?”】
【”Hold on, it should be somewhere in the documents.”】
Natasha checked the photos scattered on the table one by one, and then suddenly shouted “Here it is!”.
I took the photo Natasha presented to me.
A picture of a soldier riding a white horse. Probably taken from a low angle.
Both the horse and the soldiers were simple statues, but the sword that the soldier was pointing towards the clear sky was reflecting the sunlight.
It was clearly a real sword.
Moreover, there was a red liquid on it.
【”Is that a bloodstain?”】
【”Yes, it matched the victim’s blood, without a doubt.”】
A bronze statue, a sword, and a bloodstain.
In the soldier’s grasp, the sword was at least 2 meters (6’6″ ft) high in the sky.
As for the the statue itself, it was fixed to ground and didn’t seem light enough that a single person could hope to lift it.
【”Hold on, are you going to tell me that’s the murder weapon?”】
【”Of course not. Here’s the murder weapon.”】
Natasha took out another photo.
【”It’s the holy sword, Blutgang.”】
I gave the picture a good long look, but there wasn’t much to see save for a neat scabbard and a simple sword that looked like it came from another era.
Honesty, it looked dull.
【”What am I looking at?”】
【”Like I said, it’s a holy sword. A holy weapon with the divine protection of spirits.”】
This is giving me a headache. What’s with this case?
While drying her hair with a towel, the director sat on her chair.
I couldn’t quite see the expression she was making because the window’s sunlight was coming from behind her.
After returning the documents on the desk, I sat back on the sofa facing it.
【”What can I do for you?”】
By now, the bad smell from earlier had already vanished and made way for a sugary fragrance.
【”I’ll be straight with you, please give me some work.”】
【”Work? But I specialize in criminal cases. Don’t you hate those kinds of jobs?”】
Natasha spoke with a finger on her lip, and her usual frown. This made her seem like she was angry, but again, I knew that wasn’t it.
When she makes this face, that usually means she’s in a good mood.
―― When she really is in a bad mood, her face becomes straight up expressionless… which is much more scary.
【”That doesn’t matter, I’ll take anything. I’ve got a bit of a money situation right now, so if you can, please find me a simple job that anyone could make money from.”】
【”Why are you presenting that like a shut-in trying to finance his noodles? But well, a simple job, huh…”】
Natasha’s gaze moved to the side.
―― What is she looking at?
Following her line of sight, I found that she was looking at the documents on her desk.
【”Actually, right now, I have two jobs to offer.”】
【”The first one is a bit long but it will bring you quite a bit of money. As for the other, you’ll quickly be done with it, but there isn’t much money to be made from it. I’d personally rather take on the latter and leave the former to you.”】
In short, one of the jobs will make me money, and the other won’t?
I’m betting one of those jobs has to do with the bum I saw on that picture.
What should I do?
Frankly, I do not like working on criminal cases. They don’t pay all that well, and they can really drag on over time.
Besides, this country’s police is excellent.
Most of the people prosecuted end up with a guilty verdict. There hardly ever are innocent verdicts on such cases.
On top of that, the clients are an issue, too. Clients with money will naturally look for the finest attorneys.
For new lawyers like me, who have no connections, no contacts and no money, most of the criminal cases we’re offered are from poor clients, with little capital to their name.
Back when I worked for Natasha’s firm, all I did was defend those kind of penniless criminals.
That’s when I learned that the weak don’t need to be helped.
They’re all the same.
They’ve all had plenty of chances to better themselves. And it’s not like they have to commit crimes in the first place.
They don’t commit crimes out of necessity but for the sake of fulfilling their desires, even though there are plenty of proper ways for them to go about it.
Why give them justice? Why save them? They aren’t worth helping, let alone saving.
If they want someone to save them, they can do it themselves.
I’m guessing the girl on that picture who comes from who knows where won’t be much different from the others.
If possible, I do not want to take on her case.
Based on her file and appearance, she doesn’t seem rich enough to throw big amounts at a lawyer.
Besides ―― I looked towards Natasha who was sitting on her big director’s chair.
This goody two shoes lives for helping this sort of people.
Surely, the job she wants to take on is the one related to the girl in the picture.
That will definitely be a short job that won’t bring much profit.
If so, then I’ll just have to take on the longer but more lucrative job.
I’ve made my decision.
【”I understand. Well, I know you have your own worries as a director, so I’ll pick the job you suggested, the longer one.”】
【”Really? Thank goodness. Now I can fully focus on my brother’s case.”】
As in, her older brother? The guy who owns the county’s most successful business?
【”What was the other job?”】
【”Hmm, well, the law prohibits me from disclosing the information of a client but… Whatever, I’ll tell you. To be honest, it’s very embarrassing, but my brother is being sued.”】
【”I mean, remember what I told you about my brother being an odd-ball?”】
【”Well, one of his hobbies is to wear women’s underwear. It calms him down.”】
【”Dan, do you any actual words to contribute to the conversation?”】
【”How else do you expect me to react? You’re expecting me to believe the president of such a massive company is a complete deviant?”】
【”Ah, I think there is a misunderstanding.”】
【”So do I.”】
【”Most presidents of the country’s top companies are deviants.”】
【”THAT’s the misunderstanding?!”】
My head hurts. This country is done for.
【”What? You don’t believe me? I’m not making this up!”】
While pouting a bit, Natasha carried on talking.
【”Anyway, he’s now being sued for sexual harassement.”】
【”Just what did he do?”】
【”He stole a maid’s underwear.”】
【”Your brother is a moron.”】
【”I’m aware of that. And now I have to defend that moron.”】
【”And you said he stole them? Why? Isn’t he rich? Can’t he pay for them?”】
Well, that wouldn’t make things much better, but it would at least be smarter.
【”He says it’s more thrilling to steal them.”】
【”So he’s a natural at it, too?”】
【”There is no such thing as a deviant who’s not a natural at it. They’re all naturals.”】
【”And now I have deal with the aftermath. Just to start, I’ll have to ask Sachi about her view on the situation.”】
【”Our maid. She’s been working at our home for 5 years now. A very cute girl.”】
【”What happened to her?”】
【”She’s the one suing my brother.”】
【”Why did she take so long to take him to court… The poor girl closed her eyes and let things go for years… I wonder if a settlement will be possible…”】
【”So it’s not even the first time it happened.”】
【”Obviously, my brother’s been like this from way back. He used to steal my clothes pretty often when we were kids. I think of it as a fun childhood memory now.”】
―― Maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t take on that case.
【”Alright, I get the picture. Anyway, can you tell me about the case that I’ll be in charge of now?”】
I picked up the photo to take a good look at it.
At first glance, this looked like a picture of a pretty girl, but upon closer inspection, she had an angry look in her eyes, rough skin, and messy black hair. That rugged appearance gave her the presence of a wild beast rather than a normal girl.
―― Who is she?
Her name was on the documents that were joined to the photo.
Defendant: Claudia Rheinland, 18 years old(?), Occupation: unknown, Address: unknown,
【”Murder? She killed someone?”】
I looked at the picture again. The girl’s piercing glare seemed to be saying she’d be ready to take on the whole world as her enemy.
―― Yeah, I wouldn’t want to be the target of her grudge.
However, I thought.
Judging by her wild looks and the fact her address is listed as unknown, she’s most definitely a bum.
Grimberd is a sort of solitary island surrounded by steep mountains.
Thanks to those strong natural frontiers, this land has known no conflict over the last few hundred years.
But tracing back the country’s history, it’s been the target of many wars between the powerful countries surrounding it and the fuel of great bloodshed.
To avoid those sorts of altercations, Grimberd does not partake in war nowadays.
Some call it a peaceful nation, but in truth it’s a cowardly nation that stays away from war by never backing anyone.
However, this cowardliness does keep the peace and it’s what allows the nation’s economy to keep growing.
In the last decade’s war, every country, powerful or not, played at least some part. Even some peacekeeping independent organizations intervened.
The only country that did not participate is Grimberd, the neutral nation that stands for nothing outside its borders.
This neutrality comes at a price.
With time, Grimberd has become a very convenient environment for criminals and outcasts.
Refusing to take part in anything also means putting a cross on any potential cooperators who would intervene in case something happened to Grimberd.
When criminals come to Grimberd from other countries, those countries’ governments have no reason to bother cooperating with investigations or providing any information.
Therefore, criminals can take refuge here to avoid interference from other countries. Moreover, they will not be arrested nor punished by Grimberd unless they commit a crime in the country itself.
Though Grimberd is surprisingly active when it comes to cultural exchanges and trade, the nation is also very consistent about keeping the neutrality of the law and politics; they categorically refuse any interference from overseas.
A country that has chosen to isolate itself for the sake of peace.
And that’s why people like this girl show up now and then.
Bums with no known address or occupation.
No matter how many crimes they’ve committed in the past, whether they’re the worst criminals, the most heinous people, or even the demon king, they could get a clean slate here and have hope for a new life.
Not every foreigner who comes to this country has that in the mind, but you’d almost be tempted to assume that that’s the case since about 50% of our criminals come from overseas.
Even after everything they go through to come to another country, they just fall into a life of crime again.
After all, they won’t find their happiness unless they put in some effort and work on their personalities. The change of environment doesn’t matter.
Or at least, that’s what I believe. I’ve always thought and lived that way, and that’s why I never stop moving forward, no matter how bad my environment or circumstances.
【”Phew! Feels good to take a shower after so long!”】
Natasha, the director, opened the door to the bathroom and came out humming to herself.
Her blond hair was still wet and a bit covered by steam.
【”Director, what’s with the getup?”】
【”Hmm? Does it look weird?”】
I couldn’t help but stare.
Save for a white towel covering her from over her shoulders, she left her upper-body mostly exposed.
The rest wasn’t covered much better either.
Droplets of water dripped on her waist and fell on her pink short and the red ribbon on its front.
I don’t know if it was because of her proportions being too good or the fabric being too small, but the short was way too close of a fit.
【”You do realize this is a workplace, right?”】
【”So what? There is no one here.”】
【”I’m right here, aren’t I? Here, please hurry and go change yourself.”】
I threw a change of clothes, which I’d prepared beforehand, towards the director.
From way back, she always had the habit of coming out of the shower almost wearing nothing, so I have to prepare clothes for her every time.
I was surprised at first, but I’m already used to it.
【”Seriously? But that’s such a drag. Dan, how about you take care of…”】
【”Just hurry and change already.”】
I pushed the director again, to the dressing room this time, and closed the door on her.
I heard her say something like “Uh, I think I’m going to turn into an M if I keep being treated like this.” from the other side of the door, but I ignored it.
Seeing her like this, anyone would think she’s an idiot with a few screws loose.
But appearances aside, she’s a lawyer who has never known how to abandon those types of people when they need her.
I looked back at the picture on the desk.
How many times have I seen the very same lawyer who makes all those twisted jokes pull out people like that wild girl from the worst of situations?
【”But really, it’s been so long since the last time we met.”】
Natasha sat down on a sofa and urged me to sit on another leather-sofa facing her.
Once I took a seat, her face came closer across the table separating us, like she was worried that something was bothering me.
Natasha’s only dangerous feature is her face. Anyone who looked at a picture of her would think she’s beautiful.
But no one’s heart would flutter with that smell around.
I bent myself back while trying my best not to groan.
【”Oh? Dan, why are you pinching your nose?”】
【”…It smells a bit, I must have eaten something bad.”】
【”Not very classy of you.”】
Despite appearances, I know how to be courteous. There is no way I could tell my former boss that she smells, no matter how bad it gets.
But courteous or not, when she started pinching her nose along with me with a troubled and judgmental look, I really wanted to punch her.
【”Why is there an insect cage here?”】
I pointed at the insect cage below the sofa. Something was moving inside.
【”Well, my uncle sent me some insects just the other day. Did I ever tell you what’s my uncle’s job?”】
【”Ah yes, trade, was it?”】
This woman has more than just her looks and education going for her. Even though her law firm is running a deficit, her family is extremely wealthy.
She owns some real estate of her own, and her brother is a businessman who owns the country’s most successful company.
She has everything to make others envious. Looking at her status alone, many would be jealous of her.
That is, if she didn’t neglect herself so much. How did a lady from such a well-off family not learn to take care of herself?
【”It’s a cockroach from the country my uncle is currently staying at. He found it in the jungle.”】
【”Please throw that away.”】
【”N-no way. This might be a rare species that hasn’t been discovered yet, you never know.”】
【”What’s there to worry about? I’m sure it will do just fine living in the city. Let me throw it away.”】
【”Uhh, you’re as clod-blooded as ever… You’d be such a cutie if not for that.”】
――Damn it, are there no insecticides around here? This is disgusting.
I tried looking around the room, though I knew painfully well from my time here that I would find no such weapon in the office of this insect lover.
But I digress.
I realized talking to the director wasn’t gonna get me anywhere, so I moved the cockroach’s cage to another room for now.
Once I did that, I suddenly remembered that time when I melted her slugs with salt and she burst into tears.
Maybe I won’t throw that thing away after all; she’s a real pain when she starts crying.
While I was at it, I pushed the director to the bathroom and demanded that she takes a shower.
This should take care of the smell.
When I opened the window and turned on the room’s ventilation fan, a terrible sound came from the ceiling, like I was waking up a dormant beast.
In the otherwise silent office, I could also hear the sound of running water coming from the bathroom along with the director’s shrill singing voice.
【”Guess I’ll clean up…”】
I already knew where the brooms and rags were. I wasn’t tasked with chores when I worked here, but the office was so hopelessly dirty that I had to thoroughly clean it myself.
I polished and washed every bookshelf, every window frame, every corner of the room. Then, I took a dust-cloth and went to the director’s desk. The documents she was reading when I came in were still stacked on it.
As I picked up that pile to move it away, a photograph fell to the ground.
It was a picture of an innocent-looking girl.