425 – We Didn’t Hear Anything. Okay?
“I need to ask just in case. It doesn’t matter whether the target is dead or alive, right?”
『Of course. Did something happen?』
Hartmut’s puzzled voice rang out from Krishna’s speakers. Yeah, of course, he’d be puzzled. I mean, the guy he commissioned to chase after a target was suddenly asking such a question after all. There’s no point beating around the bush, so I’ll just give it to him straight.
“As soon as we caught up, they immediately trapped themselves in a minefield…… If they move their ship even a little, they’ll get blown up to pieces. Pretty stupid, really.”
『It would be best if you could capture them, but it should be fine as long as they are gotten rid of.』
“Gotcha. Alright then. I’ll just blow the entire minefield up.”
After saying so, I activated the ship’s weapon systems. The target ship was attempting to hail us, but I ignored it. I mercilessly fired a salvo from Krishna’s four heavy-caliber laser cannons, causing the target ship to explode along with many of the mines. Man, that sure is one filthy fireworks display. There’s no chance of anyone surviving that.
“Um…… We picked up some sort of transmission from that ship earlier. Was that really fine?”
“There’s no reason to go along with their pathetic attempt to stall for time. And even if the other party had a heartbreaking sob story that’ll tug at your heartstrings, we still need to finish them off in the end anyway, and we’ll only feel unnecessarily bad after the fact if we entertain them. Also, there’s a good chance their story’s complete BS anyway.”
“Um, err…… Shouldn’t there be some sort of leeway or consideration for this sort of thing?”
“I don’t care about whatever consideration.”
Well, hearing about the villain’s backstory was indeed common in animes and dramas. However, that’ll only lead to people hesitating after hearing their sob story, or the villain buying enough time to turn things around. I ain’t having any of that, so I finished things off right away. It’s best to kill decisively. Didn’t a certain sergeant say that licking one’s lips in front of one’s prey was third rate behavior.
“By the way, My Lord. Who exactly did we shoot down in the first place?”
“Oh–…… Not really sure. Considering the timing, I thought they were related to that criminal gang. But if that’s the case, then it’s pretty strange for them to own such a starship.”
Even if they had a connection with space pirates, it was still strange for them to own a proper high-speed recon ship, even though it wasn’t military grade. They can probably afford it considering their financial means, but ordinary citizens who weren’t mercenaries needed to go through certain procedures first before they can buy a starship. That was quite troublesome for outlaws.
Besides, that recon ship was only able to accommodate a few people at most. I believe it’s a bit too small in size to serve as a criminal organization’s means of escape.
“Did I end up killing a troublesome target……?”
“Are we going to be alright?”
“I still don’t think Hartmut would pull a fast one on us, but we’ll deal with whatever happens later.”
We had more than a couple of hands to play. Hence, there’s no point in worrying now. In any case, I don’t think Hartmut was the type of person who would do something like that.
“Let’s clear out the remaining mines first. There’s a low chance of someone getting caught in the field since this is such a desolate area, but the possibility of that happening ain’t zero. Just consider it after-sales service from us.”
“Do you know how it feels to desperately try and catch up only to find out it was all for nothing in the end?”
“Sorry about that…… But it’s not like it’s my fault, right?”
“Yeah, but it still feels bad.”
After cleaning up the scene, we returned to the Reemay Prime colony along with Elma’s Antlion who caught up partway, and Elma, who left the Antlion, immediately found me to complain as I was taking a breather in the Lotus. It wasn’t exactly my fault, but I do get where she’s coming from, so I suppose I’ll do something to make it up to her later.
“So, did you report the results of the request to the client already?”
“I was just taking a bit of a breather. I’m gonna do that now.”
Airia and the rest were still in the break area, so I closed the door of the dining hall to prevent voices from leaking out before I connected to Hartmut.
“Yo, Boss. I’ve made sure to finish the target off.”
『We’ve also confirmed it on our end using the star system radar network. As expected of a first-class mercenary. Such swift and reliable work.』
“I suppose I should say I’m honored by the praise? So, who were the guys that I turned into space debris anyway?”
『They aren’t folks someone of your standing should be concerned about, but…… simply put, they are just mice who tried to run away when the information Lord Viscount and my family’s private troops brought back from the raid put them in a bad position. They even set up things to sabotage us before escaping…… We were too busy dealing with those things, so we were unable to put up a pursuit.』
In the end, the targets were bona fide villains. Well, someone who’d be cornered by the information we got from the Bloodies hideout was more than likely a pirate anyway. Great! No problems then!
“Did you manage to locate the illegal drug manufacturing warehouse or factory?”
『Indeed, we have. Our private troops are scheduled to raid them tomorrow.』
“Need help with that?”
『It’s unnecessary. They aren’t folks worthy of your time, Lord Viscount.』
“That so……? Oh, right. The caretaker of the orphanage facility I mentioned last time just boarded my ship. Would you like to meet with her?”
『Hmm…… I suppose it’s fine. I have some free time anyway. If the other party is agreeable to it, then let us do so.』
“Got it. I’ll call her over.”
I left Elma where she stood, opened the door to the dining hall, and went to call for Airia.
“Airia. Sorry, but can you come with me for a bit?”
“Yes? What’s the matter?”
I called out to Airia who was currently chatting with Tina and the girls along with Heinz and Sieg. She tilted her head inquiringly.
“I’m currently on a call with the governor. Since you’re here, it’s a good opportunity to meet with him face to face.”
“Eeh!? U-Um, is meeting him while dressed like this really okay!?”
Airia’s hands patted down various parts of her body at an incredible speed. Was she checking her appearance with that or something?
“It’s fine. It’s not like you have to wear a formal dress…… C’mon. The governor is waiting. Hurry, hurry.”
“N-No! I can’t do this!”
I got behind the still-fidgeting Airia and started pushing her out of the dining hall.
“……Please be careful.”
“Is she going to be okay?”
“Seems like it’s no good.”
Sieg, Heinz, Tina, Wiska, and Linda didn’t show any intention to stop me. I suppose this was only natural if a commoner was suddenly told to meet with the governor. Hatmut’s a nice and handsome guy, y’know?
“Sorry for the wait.”
『I do not mind. I was having a nice chat with Miss Elma here. This is……?』
“This is Airia, the caretaker of the orphanage. Hey, Airia?”
“T-Today is such a nice day isn’t it……?”
Oh boy. She’s so nervous that she’s at her wit’s end already. If I were to liken it to a situation in a manga, her pupils were currently spinning in a spiral. It doesn’t seem like she’ll be able to hold a proper conversation from the looks of it.
“It seems like she’s quite nervous to be in front of you, my dear Lord Governor.”
『Although I am a viscount’s eldest son, I have yet to officially inherit my father’s position, so when it comes to status as a noble, Lord Hiro who is an honorary Viscount is superior to me…… So, please do not be so nervous, My Lady.』
“E-E-Even if you say so–!?”
Hartmut was trying to calm Airia down on the other side of the holo-screen, but it wasn’t going well. Was this the general response of imperial subjects towards nobles? Come to think of it, Mimi wasn’t that fazed in front of Earl Dareinwald and Chris…… Does that prove Mimi’s high pedigree?
“Calm down, Airia. Uh, this is Hartmut Magnelli. As you can see, he’s a pretty good-looking guy, and he’s also honorable and righteous. It’s not like this is an official meeting, so you won’t be criticized even if you behaved a bit rudely. He’s not the kind of person to do that in the first place.”
『Being called honorable and righteous by Lord Hiro is quite embarrassing, but just as he says, I have no intention of being particular with noble etiquette in an informal meeting, so please rest assured.』
“T-Thank you very much……”
Harmut was talking to Airia in an unusually gentle tone, perhaps in an effort to make her feel at ease. It was just an informal meeting, so after talking a bit about matters regarding the orphanage facility, they exchanged contact information and decided to end it at that.
“W-Well then, if you’ll excuse me……?”
『Ah, Miss Airia. Let us talk again sometime.』
Airia left for the dining hall while cowering like a small animal. Mm. It’s gonna be quite a tough road ahead. Well, since they ended up exchanging contact info, that meant Airia would continue to talk to Hartmut. I hope she doesn’t end up getting a stomach ulcer from all the stress.
『It appears that she’s on your ship right now, but……』
“She’s with her bodyguards, and she’s been chatting with the female crew members the entire time. It’s nothing like what you’re thinking.”
『I see…… She’s such a lovely person.』
“Is that so……? Well, I suppose……?”
She was a person who couldn’t help but stand out due to her eye-catching almost pink-colored hair, and her face was certainly charming. Instead of beautiful, it was more fitting to call her cute. She’s somewhat baby-faced after all. Or rather, what’s going on with this guy?
“Oi, Hartmut. Don’t tell me you–”
『I wonder if she is already seeing someone……? But the difference in status is…… Perhaps it will work out if she gets adopted by House Radius? They do owe us a favor……』
“Hey, the transmission’s still on. I’m gonna drop it now, okay? Okay?”
『Oh, right. I do have some other matters to take care of now. Well then, If you’ll excuse me.』
Hartmut bowed with a rather serious expression and dropped the call.
“We heard nothing. Got it?”
Elma, whose expression was akin to a Tibetan fox, nodded stiffly. She was probably imagining the mess that was about to stem from today’s meeting. Anyway, we knew nothing about it. Absolutely nothing. We ain’t aware of the troublesome mess that’ll stem from the eldest son of a prominent noble falling head-over-heels in love with a commoner woman at first sight.