Translator: Manga0205 Editor: JackofAllTrades
「Wait right there.」
When I took my leave from the house, I was immediately called out to once I got outside. When I looked over, the Officer-of-Arms came coming.
「I acknowledge that you are an old friend of Olivia-sama’s. But even so, you and Olivia-sama are already people of different worlds. I sincerely ask that you do not forget that fact.」
As she said that, she handed over a small cloth bag.
「……If you are a merchant, you should be able to reach a guess. This should become some immediate support. Be grateful to Olivia-sama’s kindness, got it?」
After saying only that, the Officer-of-Arms left. There was a glassy texture inside of the bag. When I looked in, there was an ornamented jewel within. Even with just a cursory glance, it probably had a value that easily surpassed 20 gold coins. Even if I estimated it cheaply, it would become a year’s worth of living expenses. This was probably supposed to be settlement money.
……Blood rushed to my head in anger, but it wouldn’t turn into anything even if I returned it now. I thought about throwing it away, but if I were to throw it away here, there was a possibility that it would cause trouble to Olivia’s side. While my shoulders trembled, I returned to the inn. I’m sorry for Astarte, but I’ll probably be rough tonight.
「This jewel, there’s some kind of trick placed on it…… Moreover, it’s obviously some kind of magic.」
After returning to the inn, entering the room after finishing a light meal, and briefly explaining the situation. I embraced Astarte in order to dispel my anger. I thought that it was a bit wrong of me, but Astarte somewhat enjoyed it. It seems that there are some emotional subtleties that I don’t understand in regards to that area. Before we went into the second round, right when I showed Astarte the jewel I received from that Officer-of-Arms, I got this response. With how things look, there is no way it was a normal jewel.
「Astarte, if you were in that Officer-of-Arms’ position, what would you do?」
「If it was to protect that noble daughter or whatever, it’s rubbish. Thugs are people that will take advantage of you if you show them weakness. Giving money, it will come back and have an opposite effect.」
That Officer-of-Arms didn’t look that stupid.
「Well then, there is probably some different intention. Just what kind of intention is that though?」
「If she wanted to make it so that an undesirable lover isn’t made, she could either warn the other knights as well, or hire some thugs to attack you. There is no reason to give you a jewel. What you gave to that Commanding Officer was, information on the geography and terrain, and short reminiscent talk……Ah.」
「Did you come up with something?」
「Elliot-sama, looking from the Officer of Arms’ point of view, how do you look to her?」
The flames of passion disappeared from Astarte’s countenance, and became a face that looked like a teacher teaching her student.
「Let’s see. Some suspicious guy, a merchant, a money-grubber, Olivia’s past friend……Ahh, could it be about that?」
There was one thing that came to mind. If I were in that position, what would I hate? It would be a different acquaintance suddenly appearing among the Commanding Officer’s allies. If I were to extort money from them with thugs, the allies would hate me. However, that didn’t happen.
<Being a friend from the past that I didn’t know, it would mean that they would lend the Commanding Officer strength. If that friend were to lend their strength from the bottom of their heart, then that would be joyous. A reason to hate this would be, in the case that my own value would lower against that ally.> ……A case of jealousy. Going from what I’ve seen, I couldn’t tell if she was that attached to Olivia. <If that friend were an enemy spy or an assassin, I would want to quickly drive them away. This time, they would be no different from a thug, but since there was the possibility that allies were being deceived, it was troublesome.> However, what about a case that didn’t seem that risky?
The other possibility is……The case where the Officer-of-Arms was a spy. An uncertain factor that might become an ally would, from the point of view of a spy, be nothing but a possibility for the enemies to increase. In that case, what would she do? She would obviously eliminate me somewhere else.
「Astarte, let’s put this jewel in a sealable container and block it off. If I remember correctly, there was a water pouch prepared, right?」
Taking out an emptied water pouch from the luggage and opening the lid, we threw the jewel into the pouch. Taking into account the possibility that gas will spew out, we poured water from a pitcher in, covered the mouth with a leather cloth, tied it with a cord, and closed it with the lid. Being thorough this time, we went further by melting the wax of a candle and sealed the gaps with it. It was just before the end of the day, but we took the water pouch with the jewel outside and hid it within the forest at the outskirts of town. With this, even if something were to happen, I probably wouldn’t get caught up in it. Finishing up the task, Astarte and I returned to the inn.
Speaking of only the conclusion, nothing happened the next day. On the early dawn of the following day, gas leaked out from the jewel. When we went to look at the water pouch in the distant location when it became morning, a hole had opened up on the leather water pouch, and several wild birds had died in the surroundings……It seemed that it was thorough and had not only spewed out a volatile gas but also spewed out a small quantity of acid or something together with it. Even with it being sealed in a water pouch, if I were inside the same room as this, I would have died. For the time being, there was something that was confirmed with this.
That Officer-of-Arms, she isn’t Olivia’s ally or anything. Most likely, the guidance of the assassin from that time was probably the Officer-of-Arms’ deed, and the objective is……to feign an accident and assassinate Olivia. There has already been one knight that has fallen victim. There is one thing that the assassins don’t know. The fact that the ruler of the Man-Eating Dungeon was unexpectedly Olivia’s friend, I don’t think that any normal human could think of that. Therefore, a chance can be born from that. I cannot allow myself to miss that opportunity. With a quick pace, Astarte and I returned to the dungeon that was our home.
The time I estimate until things commence would be two days at least. I needed to finish all of my preparations by then.