Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
Information He Couldn’t Miss
At first, Hikaru’s emotions were in a state of frenzy after hearing the cat-eared woman’s words, but ultimately he managed to calm down when he realized she was simply poking fun at him.
「For goodness sake…」
Hikaru left his belongings in the hotel room and went back out. The woman at the front desk waved her hand at him as he left, wishing him a good day.
The sun still sat high in the sky. He was headed for the temple. The guild card’s job class field showed Assassination God, Stealth God, etcera. If they were classified so specifically, just how many gods were out there? He wanted an answer to that simple question. Roland’s memories didn’t provide much information on the matter.
Incidentally, Roland’s class was「Wide Area Noble Blood Rescue God: Noblesse」. Most young nobles had it apparently. In fact, if they didn’t have it, they get suspected of being a bastard born out of wedlock.
Located in the center of town, the place seemed to be flourishing as the streets became busier the closer Hikaru got to the temple. More shops lined the streets as well.
The temple was a dome-shaped structure that looked like a circus tent, with eight entrances all around. It was uniquely built; using steel beams for its framework, stone for its foundation, and the rest was made out of wood. It had several windows with various gods engraved on them. One could enter through any entrance, so Hikaru just followed the stream of people going inside.
As soon as he stepped in, a huge wall drew his attention. An image of a god facing sideways and donning a robe with a pen in his right hand and a crystal ball in the other was carved on it in high relief. It was a towering, five-meter tall sculpture.
『Wisdom God』was what the writing said. A preacher stood in front of it.
「It is said that the soul card was created by a researcher who was blessed by the Wisdom God. It was such a powerful blessing that even now we still don’t know how the card works. Unfortunately, the researcher passed away after he finished creating the soul card system.」
Hikaru nodded. He wondered how the cards were so futuristic. Apparently a Wisdom God class was behind its creation. It was a story from a long time ago the preacher said.
Soaring high beside the Wisdom God was the Sun God, with the War God next to it. A preacher stood in front of each, but what caught his attention were the weapons carved beside the War God: A sword, great sword, short sword, short spear, long spear, bow, throwing knife, shield, and armor. Nine kinds.
They were exactly the same weapons under the Soul Board’s Weapon Mastery Skill tree. This can’t be a coincidence. The preacher’s speech was mostly aimed towards those who studied the art of war. To put it short, his message was along the lines of “If you devote yourself, the War God will be watching you. So work hard.”
But soldiers and adventurers listened intently to his speech. Hikaru didn’t get anything he wanted to know so he waited until the preacher wasn’t too occupied before approaching him.
「Hello there, young man. Is there something you want to ask me?」
He wholeheartedly welcomed Hikaru. It was apparent that not a lot of weak-looking people asked him questions.
「I want to ask about the nine different weapons.」
「Haha. You want to know about the Nine Paths of the War God. Tell me, young man. Which path are you studying?」
「Haha. So we have to start from there. The Nine Paths refer to the nine weapons that the War God decreed after he mastered them.」
「Decreed? Decreed that these nine weapons were just and the rest were evil?」
「The other weapons weren’t exactly rejected, but it could be something like that. As you may already know, the training halls in this town specialize in any of these nine weapons.」
Hikaru simply gave a noncommittal nod.
「There’s one called Raybrig Swordsmanship Training Hall in town. It’s named after Raybrig who was also known as a Master Swordsman. Other than that, there’s also the Celestial Spearmanship Training Hall which is the best in the whole continent when it comes to studying the long spear.」
「Do other weapons receive bonuses from one’s class?」
「Haha. You’re talking about the guild card. No, they don’t. While I have only limited information, I have never heard of weapons other than those nine receiving holy blessings.」
「I see. One last question, then. What basis did the War God have in choosing those nine weapons?」
With another laugh, the preacher said…
「There’s no rhyme or reason to what a god does. There’s only the outcome.」
That was quite deep, Hikaru thought.
Hikaru went around the whole place to find only one or two-character gods being worshipped in the temple. There was a board that told how the world was created, but it contained a proviso that said there were various theories about it. As to how this world worked, there were only speculations.
But I’m pretty sure gods exist here. After all, people receive blessings from their job classes.
Apparently the class shown on a guild card was the owner’s way of saying that he worshipped that particular god. It wasn’t that the card invoked the blessing, but rather it was an instrument for the owner’s voice to reach the god. As a result, their Skills get boosted; just like how Hikaru’s Stealth becomes more potent.
Is God the one who made this system? Now that’s interesting. My curiosity has been piqued.
Hikaru was about to leave the temple when he heard two men talking.
「Are you sure? Has it been settled then?」
「So it seems. That means we’re getting dismissed, though.」
「Man, I just can’t accept this. You can barely call that an investigation」
Their voices sounded familiar to Hikaru.
The knights on patrol at Morgstad’s mansion!
He couldn’t help but follow them.
「The first to discover the body is the culprit? That’s just too simple.」
「Keep it down, you idiot. We can’t let others hear about this.」
「They’ll know soon anyway. They killed a big shot.」
What? They caught the culprit? Judging by their conversation, I think they’re talking about Count Morgstad’s murderer.
The real culprit was right here.
Wait, did he say first to discover the body?
The first person to arrive after Morgstad was killed…
The pale-skinned girl with the silver hair and blue eyes. Hikaru recalled how she looked incredibly thin. Either that or it was her pajamas that made her look slim.
She’s being pinned for the murder? No way…
Hikaru was shook. The girl basically became his scapegoat.
「In any case, she’s getting transported to the capital. Our job is done.」
「Bullshit. Is that what why you went to the temple? To repent?」
「Not at all. We only did our jobs.」
「And I’m saying that’s bullshit.」
Someone called him from behind all of a sudden, causing him to jump about five centimeters from surprise. He was walking through a crowded place so he had his Stealth turned off.
She wore a light green dress tied at the waist with a leather strap. On her collar was a gorgeous beige scarf and she was carrying a bright white bag. It was Jill with her casual attire, standing before him.
「I didn’t expect to see you here. Wait, were you actually following me? Oh, you sly little kid!」
「You’re the one who called out to me.」
「Anyway, thanks for treating me. Excuse me! I’ll have the sweet peach parfait and reishi tea. 」
「What are you—」
「What? I can order whatever I want, right?」
Hikaru ordered water which cost 10 gilans. They were in a café. He was surprised when Jill called out to him and by the time he snapped back to his senses, he’d already lost sight of the two knights. They were most likely in Morgstad’s mansion. He wanted to hear more about what they were talking about.
There was something he wanted to ask Jill. He treated her to food as payment for information. She then led him to an open terrace café that she herself recommended.
Jill was humming to herself. For some reason she was in a great mood. This whole thing was more like Hikaru making a bargain, though. A give and take, so to speak.
I suppose it’ll be easier to get answers from her if she’s in a good mood…
The parfait and tea cost 120 and 30 gilans, respectively. In order to get the information he needed, it was a small price to pay… small price… he hoped.
「All right. I have two questions.」
「What do you mean, “Really”? I told you I wanted to ask you something.」
「I thought that was only an excuse to invite me for tea.」
Hikaru closed his eyes, thumb pressing on his temples. My head’s starting to hurt.
「I see. I thought it was strange for you to ask me out for tea out of the blue. 」
「Why are you upset all of a sudden?!」
「No reason. Oh, excuse me! I’d like a green apple pie as well.」
「Why are you ordering more?!」
「Why, it’s payment for the information you want, of course.」
That was 90 more gilans out the window.
「So what did you want to ask about?」
Her mood had clearly turned sour. Hikaru could not understand how her mind worked at all. But then he remembered that Jill was the type whose mood changed too frequently.
「It’s about Unken. He’s the guildmaster, isn’t he?」
「Did he tell you that himself?」
「He insisted he was only a butcher.」
「He’s a butcher, then. He’ll get mad if I said something.」
「In other words, he has that much power over you. So he is the guildmaster.」
「Jeez. Can you stop being so crafty? I really don’t like it.」
Hikaru gave a shrug.
「So did you want to ask who the guildmaster is?」
「No, that’s not it. From what I’ve seen, he’s quite strong. What kind of a person is he?」
「Hmm… I only heard rumors.」
「That’s fine. Shoot.」
His water arrived and he gulped it down. It was warm. The man who brought the water glared at him, his eyes saying “How dare you bring a pretty girl with you, brat?!”
Apparently every man was just like the adventurers, simple-minded. Hikaru let out a small sigh.
「They say Unken-san wasn’t an adventurer.」
「Apparently he worked at a public organization.」
Hikaru didn’t expect the answer he got. He assumed that after retiring from being an adventurer, Unken then worked for the Adventurers Guild. And since he was a guildmaster, all the more reason to believe that was the case. On top of that, he knew how to dissect animals.
「But after finishing a huge job there, he retired and worked for the Adventurers Guild.」
「Whoa, whoa, whoa… Who the heck is he? What kind of job was it?」
「…I really don’t want to talk about this, but…」Jill said, pointing at the menu.
It was something called a Twin Tornado Juice that cost a whopping 150 gilans.
「Fine. Go ahead.」
Man, I shouldn’t have paid for three nights in advance. I should’ve taken that 7,500 gilans from Unken as well. There were some fine notes written on the menu but he didn’t feel like reading them. He just wanted Jill to order quick and get it done with.
「Can I?! Really?! Like really, really?!」
「A man doesn’t go back on his words.」
「Hurray! You’re a real man! I really wanted to try this one.」
Overjoyed, Jill ordered more. The man from before was staring daggers at Hikaru. What the hell is that guy’s problem? Sheesh.
「So anyway. Continue.」
「Ah, right. You can’t tell anyone about this, okay?」
「You promise? If you tell anyone, I’ll secretly place a penalty on your guild card.」
「I promise. Wait, you can do that?! You better not!」
「Unken-san was probably…」
Jill murmured in a low whisper.
「…a spy or assassin under the king’s direct control. I think.」
「I see. And?」
「…What’s with the weak reaction? I was so tense when I said it!」
「I mean, I imagined that was the case. Please continue. There’s a reason you think he was a spy or assassin, correct?」
A waiter brought the sweet peach parfait and Jill started on it. It looked like jellified peach; apparently it was all nectar. Cut into cubes and dressed in fresh cream. The reishi tea, incidentally, was light green. It looks like Japan’s green tea to me.
Too sweet… I’m surprised she can eat all that.
Hikaru felt like he was watching something incredible.
「They say Unken-san came to the guild around fifty years ago.」
「Ah, well he is old. A Man Gnome, is that right?」
「Yes. He finished this huge task at his previous job a little over fifty years ago as well.」
「That was around the time when Ponsonia’s neighboring country, the Quinbland Empire, had someone else succeed the throne. Before then the Emperor was Balzard, a tyrant. According to rumors, he was assassinated.」
「I would have thought nothing about it if that was all, but apparently Balzard declared that he was going to destroy Ponsonia. At that time the kingdom was weak from an outbreak of plague. There’s no doubt that Ponsonia wanted to assassinate Balzard the most.」
「…So all the circumstantial evidence fit the theory perfectly.」
「Yeah. Once when I delivered some documents to Unken-san’s room, I saw an old note on his desk. It was a thank-you letter from the king. He left it there as he went out for a bit and came back right as I took a quick peek at it. He was fuming and was like “Did you see?!” So I couldn’t ask any more about the letter.」
「I see. There are only a few cases where a king would personally send a thank-you letter to someone. Usually it would be the prime minister, agency heads, or an aristocrat. Generally, a king would only send a letter of appreciation signed by him personally to someone who accomplished significant feat in a war.」
「Yes, exactly! Wait, why do you even know that?」
「I had a friend who was a noble.」
He wasn’t lying, though it didn’t seem Jill was that interested.
Jill’s guess might not be that far off the mark. There’s a bit of information about the neighboring country in Roland’s memories. The current emperor is a very nice person and has built friendly relations with Ponsonia. The previous emperor, however, was a tyrant.
「So that means Unken is a national hero…」
「Yeah. Isn’t that amazing?」
After finishing the parfait, Jill dug into the green apple pie.
「Hmm! Delicious! Nothing beats stress like sweet food!」
「…I-I’m glad you’re happy.」
I don’t think I can finish all that on my own.
A national hero? With those Skill levels? Wait, fifty years ago means he would be 151 years old back then. Even amassed with knowledge and experience, could he really do it? I’ve allocated more points to my Stealth-related Skills than Unken. Does that mean I’m fit to be an assassin? Still… is it even possible to kill an emperor?
Hikaru thought that if he knew how strong Unken was, he could gauge his own strength as well. But now he was just getting more and more confused.
「All right. I have one more question.」
「Ask away. Oh, but you can’t ask about my address, okay?」
Eating seemed to have helped improve her mood as Jill was now welcoming questions.
「…I’m not gonna ask you that.」
「What? You’re not?」
「Do you want me to ask or no? Make up your mind for god’s sake! Whatever. What I wanted to ask is…」
For a moment, Hikaru hesitated, not sure how to ask the question, then decided to just get straight to the point.
「I heard the culprit behind Sir Morgstad’s murder has been captured. Is that true?」