Editor: Thor’s Stone
I decided to head to the clothing store with Cleria and the others immediately. Oops. I guess it would be better if we had lunch first huh. Katolle also brought us information regarding restaurants that served the tastiest food in the capital, so we decided to dine in one of the stores he recommended. He really was a very capable guy.
The clothing boutique I was brought to seemed to be quite a luxurious store with an opulent atmosphere. The clerks were eyeing us with gazes filled with suspicion, but they instantly became a lot more amiable when they got told I was going to be appointed as a baron in five days.
Cleria and Elna were the ones who handled discussing with the clerks, with Sharon and Selena following suit.
It took more than two hours for them to coordinate an outfit for me. Afterward, somebody suggested that it would be better if we also bought a spare outfit, and the meeting continued.
However, there was actually a reason why they took so much time. It seems the girls were giving the clerks ideas to add some imperial flair to this planet’s fashion items.
In the end, we ended up buying a total of five different outfits, and the price of each individual outfit was about 12,000 Guineas. Well, they’re order-made after all. Of course, they would cost more. They were a necessary expense so it can’t be helped.
It was already getting dark outside when we finally managed to return to the inn. As expected, Cleria and the girls were already fairly tired after our trip to the boutique. But if I went to the store by myself, I would have just went along with whatever the store clerks suggested, so they really were a big help.
Soon, it was time for dinner, and after having it, I immediately retreated to my room in order to draw a copy of the imperial insignia which we’ll be using as our coat of arms.
The process of drawing the imperial insignia was very similar to how I drew magic circles back then, so it was actually pretty simple. I merely traced the lines virtually displayed in red on the piece of paper handed to me in the castle with a fountain pen.
The insignia of the Human Galactic Empire illustrated stars connected to one another by way of many small pentagrams connected by neat lines, and a large pentagram situated in the center. It was a pretty cool insignia with lots of flashy-looking embellishments all around it.
According to what Baron Volker told me, the nobles usually had coats of arms that depicted various plants and animals, so ours might stand out a bit due to how unique it was.
As I worked on the insignia, there was a call from Iris.
『I have something to report, Captain.』
『It would be faster to show you a video. This footage was taken 155 days ago.』
That’s pretty far back huh. A virtual window started playing footage taken from inside a pub. It’s probably footage taken by a drone’s bit that was installed inside the pub. The footage zoomed toward two guys who were drinking in the middle of the noisy pub.
“Those guys really are pretty stubborn huh. It would be way easier if they just spilled the beans already.”
“Yeah, that’s true. It would be a lot smarter to just talk. They’d suffer less that way.”
“I bet they’d last just another two weeks at best.”
“Do ya really wanna bet on that? I think they won’t even last a month.”
“Sure I am. How about a hundred Guineas then?”
And then, the footage was cut.
『The next video was taken 38 days ago.』
The image projected by the video recording was of a different pub, but the men shown were apparently the same as the ones who appeared in the previous recording.
“Do you think those guys are doing okay? I kinda started to get concerned about them these days y’know.”
“Oh, you too huh……? Actually, it’s the same for me. Keep this between us mate, but I actually increase their meal portions in secret before giving it to them. ……Hey! You better make sure this stays between us, okay!? If this gets out, I’d be fired straight away.”
“Hahaha, don’t worry mate. To tell ya the truth, I’m doin’ the same as you. But man, they really are somethin’, aren’t they?”
“Yeah, really. Come to think of it……”
The video was cut short once more.
『The next video was taken just four minutes ago.』
This time, it was inside the same pub as the last video, with the same two individuals. The two of them seemed pretty drunk though.
“They’re amazin’ I tell ya! I really admire guys like those y’know! Especially that Heinz guy! If I was under a guy like that, I’d surely follow him to hell and back! I’m serious!”
“So you admire Heinz huh? I’d personally follow Bruno-san though. That person’s a true man I tell ya.”
“Y’know, I’m now convinced aristocrats are really different from us lot. To think they’d be able to keep their sanity in a place as damning as that. I ain’t gonna last a day if it was me.”
“Heh. Even if they’re all nobles, those guys are a far cry from the ones in the castle.”
“That we can definitely agree on. Is it because of the difference in our countries? Those guys were members of the Starveek kingdom’s royal guards, right? Yeah, that’s gotta be it. They’re made of sterner stuff cuz they’re genuine knights.”
“No, no, that can’t be it mate. Just take a look at the knights stationed at the castle. They’re all pretty lousy in comparison.”
“Yeah. Well, that just means the caliber of the nobles and knights of this country just can’t compare.”
“Oi! Lower your voice, you idiot!”
The video was again cut off.
I see…… After catching the keywords ‘royal guards of Starveek kingdom’, Iris searched all past records, confirmed the individuals involved, compiled the data, and arranged the three relevant footages she found in chronological order huh.
(Are you tracking the position of these two individuals?)
『Yes. As of now, they are still drinking in the same pub as shown in the last two footages.』
(Tail them once they leave. I already have a rough idea about where they work though.)
There’s no way they can escape surveillance by the drone’s multi-scanners within this city or the castle.
As for the topic of their conversations, there’s a more than 90% chance they were referring to the royal guard team Elna was once a part of. They could also be knights who were captured from a different place, but the possibility of that was low.
According to Elna, they were sent somewhere in the Alois kingdom after getting captured, but she was unable to track where exactly they were brought to. It looks like they were actually sent directly to the royal capital.
『If the place the two men return to is indeed the castle barracks, then they were most likely referring to these individuals.』
A virtual window went up and displayed a transparent cross-section model of the royal castle. It then zoomed toward the dungeon area.
There were nine avatars placed in one dungeon cell, and all of them were lying down.
There were two other dungeon cells that were occupied. They each held a single prisoner inside them. This underground dungeon was probably used to imprison individuals who couldn’t be openly revealed in public.
(Let’s rescue them.)
『The space marine’s creed, correct?』
(Yeah. Us marines never leave our comrades behind.)
That’s right. In the long history of the imperial space marines, we’ve never once left a comrade behind in enemy territory.
There was an incident in the past where an entire battalion was wiped out in an operation to rescue a single company. When the held-up troops realized they wouldn’t be able to escape, they thought of those who came to rescue them, shut off their signal beacon, and charged straight into the enemy lines.
It was a stupid move, but that’s just how the marines rolled. That was our pride.
『Is that a wise decision? Rescuing those people from a tightly guarded castle will most likely prove to be quite hard.』
(Check the security level of the entire castle. Staffing, shift schedules, people’s movements, the soldier’s equipment, the room’s structures; check everything.)
(Of course, if possible, I’d like to finish things without making much of a fuss. The best time to mount a rescue operation should be on the day of my appointment ceremony. There will be a lot of people coming and going within the castle grounds, and things would be quite hectic.
Ideally, we can perform the rescue operation in the middle of the ceremony or the celebration banquet, and then hide them inside our carriage somehow before leaving. It’s a strategy that would allow them to leave together with us after the event. After all, the carriages of nobles aren’t subjected to strict inspections.
I might get suspected once their escape gets found out, but as long as we don’t leave any evidence behind, they wouldn’t be able to trouble me much in lieu of my newly acquired status as a noble.)
『Understood. I shall consider a viable operation along those lines.』
(I’ll leave it to you.)
There seems to be nothing we can do for the time being. First, we needed to confirm if those two men were really castle guards assigned to dungeon duty.
It looks like the captured royal guards need to wait for five days more huh. Well, they’ve already been able to endure being imprisoned for months, so I’m sure it’ll be okay.
『By the way Captain, you’re no longer an infantry soldier you know.』
(What did you say!?)
I hurriedly displayed my status screen and checked it out, but it was true that I was no longer registered as a part of the infantry division. I haven’t checked my status screen even once since coming to this planet, so I haven’t noticed until now.
『When you got promoted to Captain, you were automatically discharged from the infantry ranks and transferred directly to the space armada as a commanding officer.』
Damn! I didn’t think I’d get forcibly discharged. I mean, I knew I was already promoted to a fleet officer, but I thought I would just be serving as one in addition to my original role in the military.
I’ve always thought of myself as an infantry guy, and I didn’t know jack squat about being directly assigned in a fleet. I also felt my rank as Captain was something I didn’t earn myself.
If that’s the case, then I just have to become a regular old space marine again.
(Iris, I personally appoint myself as the Red Fleet Space Marine Corps 12th Expeditionary Force 52d Brigade 84th Regiment 15th Squadron 25th Company Captain.)
This was the official designation of the space infantry corps assigned to the Iris Conrad.
My new designation appeared on my status screen, and my title heading became Captain of the Iris Conrad Space Marine Corps.
Yosh, that’s more like it.
Alright then. I better check with Elna to see if she was familiar with the names of the men mentioned by the two drunks in the videos.