51. At Duke Abik’s residence

「Well then, I thought I told you to take good care of your life last time?」

The black-clad butler/secretary lifted his monocle with a frown. He was a busy man serving the great lord, Duke Abik. But when the leader of an S-class party follows the formal procedures, the butler can’t afford to ignore it. Even though he failed once, an S-class still holds that much authority.

And so, in the guestroom of Duke Abik’s mansion, Altora, the leader of the Divine Silver Sword, was wishing to meet Duke Abik.

「Thank you for the advice, but the adventurer trade is one where you don’t know if you will live to see tomorrow. If I do not put my life on the line, I will not be able to do anything.」

「It makes sense. However, did I not clearly state in which situation you will get to meet my lord?」

「I do remember.」

Altora wanted a chance to explain himself after the blunder at the unveiling party. However, that did not come true, and the butler issued conditions that could only be described as “practically impossible.”

『If you notice a natural disaster or a populace uprising, please come to see us. You might get a chance then to meet the one who rules the territory.』

However, there is a difference between practically impossible and impossible.

「So you have found a natural disaster or a rebellion, I see. Well, which one is it?」

「First, let’s call a witness. Come!」

「Y-Yes…」

The person who opened the door in response to Altora’s violent call was an elderly man. He was clearly exhausted and his hands were shackled.

「Altora-sama, it is unforgivable to put shackles on innocent citizens. You must have solid evidence, correct?」

「You know Kinui post town, right? This guy is the mayor there.」

「……Oh?」

The butler’s eyes lit up, and the mayor’s body trembled. Gaining confidence from the butler’s reaction, Altora gathered momentum.

「Tell him what you told me. If you try to lie or hide it, your head will roll.」

「P-Please don’t!」

「Altora-sama, please be sensible. First, tell me your name and position.」

「My name is Vintle. I’ve been the mayor of Kinui for ten years. This is my seal.」

Confirming that there were no discrepancies with Altora’s claim, the butler urged him to proceed.

「There was a werewolf living in Kinui who came from somewhere else. She seems to have recently gained the protection of a certain traveler, and…」

「Don’t delay. Spit it all out while I’m still being reasonable.」

「Eek. I thought she disappeared somewhere with the traveler, but she suddenly started buying a lot of supplies!」

The mayor of Kinui, Vintle, was profiting from Marge, and at the same time was also in debt. He sympathized with Marge and was not a loose-tongued person, but after being interrogated by an S-class adventurer and summoned to the lord’s mansion, it was impossible for him to hide it.

「What do you mean by supplies?」

「F-Food, building materials, grain seeds, agricultural tools, and recently weapons, albeit in small quantities…」

「Hmm…」

「I noticed some suspicious activity near Kinui. I’ll help if you want my cooperation. What do you think?」Altora said proudly to the butler.

「What are you trying to say?」

「”Populace uprising”. Doesn’t that smell more like a werewolf rebellion!?」

There were two conditions, the other being a natural disaster.

Ignoring Altora, who insisted that this was important information, the butler addressed the town mayor.

「Mr. Vintle.」

「Y-yes.」

「This is my first time meeting you. However, I have come across your name recently.」

「W-Well, that’s…」

「Huh?」Altora

The butler glanced at Altora, and then continued revealing more information.

「Actuall, shortly after the incident with Altora-sama, one of our house’s private soldier units died in the line of duty. Even though they were private soldiers, they were not your ordinary soldiers. They were called the Bellman unit – elite soldiers with a proven track record.」

「I wonder how that happened…」

Altora grinned at the words “died in the line of duty.” The butler frowned but still continued.

「They were investigating monsters. Unfortunately, they encountered a large herd… Three, including the captain, were reported dead, and one person was reported missing. It was signed by the mayor of Kinui, Mr. Vintle.」

「I-I was not lying! I was told so by the person who subdued the monsters around the town, along with their belongings!」

「What is that person’s name?」

「Marge Siu-san…」

「Butler, do you know who that Marge is?」

Altora started cackling at the mayor’s words.

「He’s the traitor in my party, and the traveler who picked up the werewolf. He’s the one who’s been buying up all kinds of supplies!」

「…!」

Dead soldiers, traitor, demihumans, and suspicious supplies. The butler took a small breath at the feeling of various events being connected like a piece of woodwork. Seeing this as an opportunity, Altora puffed out his chest.

「Don’t worry! Even though he was in the S-class, he’s still a small fry! He seems to have gotten a little bit stronger, but it’s no problem! With my and the duke’s combined strength we can end it!」

The butler pondered again. Deciding that this was beyond his given authority, he pointed Altora to the door behind him.

「My lord is waiting. Please go inside.」

「Kuku, hahaha! Just you wait, Marge! I’ll take back everything you took from me!!」

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