Volume 7 Chapter 3 Part 5

「This person is Lord Michio. He is the one responsible for the splendid defeat of Heinz the Bandit and his band of outlaws.」

The Duke introduced me to the Earl of Selmar proudly, shifting the topic into the heart of the matter in an instant.

「Oh, that is a fortunate thing indeed.」

「Yes, most definitely. I’ll also have you know that this person not only defeated Heinz the Bandit and his company without any trouble, but he is also currently assisting us in the operation that aims to clear the Bandits from all of the Labyrinths in our territory.」

「Well, that’s good for you. I am quite envious of that since my territory only has the Knight Order to rely on with such matters and I don’t have such capable individuals as you under my command.」

The longer I was listening to the exchange between the Duke of Hartz and the Earl of Selmar, the colder and more severe the chills running down my spine were growing. For people who were supposed to be a family, their entire conversation ever since we entered the throne room was strangely hostile, almost as if these two actually hated one another with a burning passion.
Seeing it unfold in front of me right now, I can confidently say that I am really lucky to have the Duke on my side instead of against me. If someone like him were to become my enemy, then I don’t think that I’d be able to win against him if her were to ever turn against me.

At first I thought that this was going to be a simple formality for which I won’t need any support here, but now I think that I’m going to need literally all the support that I’ll be able to get.

In the first place, can someone explain to me if this meeting that we’re having right now is the appropriate place for having such a conversation that’s starting to get deeply personal? And more importantly, is it really all right for these two people, who are the leaders of their respective territories to behave like this? By which I mean, like a bunch of kids who are arguing over some silly thing that’s not even worth arguing over? Because seriously, I thought that this was supposed to be a serious meeting, but if what I’m seeing right now is going to keep up, then this is going to not be a meeting, but a kid’s quarrel.

And who’s going to stop these brats in adult’s clothing from arguing further, or perhaps they’re going to go and one-up my expectations by breaking out into a full-on shouting match and fist fight?

Since I know what their actual physical age is I know that the se two are adults, but if I had only this conversation between them as a hint without any additional knowledge, then I would definitely say that their mental age does not match their physical one.

「Oh, of course I noticed that. But don’t you worry, you have every right to be envious, and given your situation, nobody would blame you for it. After all, the members of your Knight Order have proven to be completely useless and incompetent when it came to capturing Heinz the Bandit or even doing something so simple as clearing the Labyrinths of your territories from the Bandits that were infesting them.」

「Well, if you needed to rely on an outsider’s help, then that means that the members of your Knight Order were no better than mine, right? They were just as useless and incompetent!」

「But we did ask for help, and as result, we don’t have to worry about them anymore. So how about it, Earl of Selmar? Maybe you should consider enlisting the help of Lord Michio with clearing your Labyrinths for you as well?」

「If I had to rely on strangers to the work that my Knights are supposed to be doing, then what’s the point of me having Knights in my Knight Order at all?」

And their conversation is reaching new lows with every passing moment, which is something that I never thought was going to be possible, and yet here we are.

「Come to think of it, one of the members of Heinz’s gang was equipped with a certain ring. Isn’t that right, Lord Michio?」

「Oh, y-yes, that’s right.」

I answer the Duke while bowing my head. I wish that he didn’t talk about it at all, but there he goes doing so anyway.

「When Lord Michio handed said ring over to me and I took it to the Armor Shop to get it appraised, it turned out that it was a Ring of Determination. And you know about which Ring of Determination I am talking about, right, Earl of Selmar?」

「N-No. I’m afraid that I have no idea what you’re talking about in the slightest.」

「Oh really? Well, that’s all right since I thought as much. In that case I shall keep the Ring of Determination to myself. Unless you’re going to say that you need it after all, in which case I will be more than happy to sell it back to you. For an appropriate compensation, of course.」

I heard from the Duke that a number of years ago Heinz the Bandit has stolen the Ring of Determination from the Duke of Selmar, but if their current exchange is anything for me to go by, then I guess that the fact that the ring has been stolen has not been made public just yet. I wonder what would have happened to the Earl of Selmar if his subjects ever found out that he allowed such an important item to be stolen from him just like that?

Well, if the public ever learned of the stealing of the Ring of Determination, then I guess that would make him look like an old fool. If an item which was presented as a betrothal gift got stolen from you and then got recovered by the very same person who presented it to you as his betrothal gift in the first place, wouldn’t that make you lose face all the more in the eyes of your subjects?

That’s why the Earl of Selmar didn’t know what to do. The Duke knows that as well, and that’s why he chose the words that he did when talking about it just now.

Could it be that this is exactly the reason for why the Duke brought me along with him today because he wanted to humiliate the Earl of Selmar that much more along with the testimony that Heinz the Bandit really was in possession of his Ring of Determination?

「By the way, I heard that Heinz the Bandit was defeated by an Adventurer, but such a thing should be impossible.」

Suddenly, the direction of the conversation did an unexpected one hundred eighty turn.

「W-Well, that is…」

「Maybe it was an Adventurer, or maybe it was not. It is quite possible that there was probably some kind of mistake in the report that I have received.」

「O-Of course! That must have surely been something like that!」

The Duke began to panic. Is the Adventurer Job really that useless that it seems impossible for an Adventurer to defeat a Bandit? I mean, that would certainly explain why he ordered the Adventurer from the Knight Order of Hartz Duchy who brought us here stay in the castle’s lobby.

Since Adventurers possess the 「Field Walker」 Skill, it means that they can move pretty much anywhere they want with, provided that they have visited the place of their destination at least once, so I guess it is a preventive measure that is supposed to stop them from wondering around the castle without being supervised by anyone.

Did the Duke know about it and just chose to ignore it?

「If you brought an Adventurer to the throne room inside the castle, there would be suspicion of you harboring ill-intentions toward the territory of Selmar, possibly even planning on invading it.」

「Y-Yes, it could have definitely been seen as something like that.」

「It would have been easy to check his Intelligence Card, but I don’t want to doubt this person, since he is someone whom you have brought here with you.」

The Earl of Selmar continuous to push the Duke rather hard. Is her trying to set him up or something? I also wonder from where did he hear that I was an Adventurer.

The Earl of Selmar is Cassia’s relative, and the territory of Selmar is her home, so here is a possibility that he might have heard that from one of the maids who are attending to Cassia, though I have no way of confirming that.

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