We returned from our exploration after evening. I had Ilias and the others head to Dog’s Bone and headed to Marito’s place alone.
I have the leather bag with an alcohol drink inside that was given to me in Dog’s Bone. I bring that to a certain place before heading to the castle. The boundary between the common and wealthy sector; I advance through a back alley there. The person I came here for was there.
“Hey there, Gazen.”
“What, it is you, huh.” (Gazen)
Gazen, a person that doesn’t have a house in Taizu. Basically, a homeless person.
He is around 40 years old, but that look of his that doesn’t care about his personal appearance makes him look older than he is.
He normally loiters around the back alleys, gathering trash. He would also gather the trash thrown away unlawfully, and would get a bit of income from the country.
I might have begun my life in this world in the same position as Gazen if I hadn’t been taken under the place of Ilias. That made me think about how he must have a lot of circumstances behind him and made me pensive.
Gazen loiters around the city often, so he knows a lot about the state of the city. I tried offering him some drinks to test it out, and I got useful stories, so I would come here to get information every so often.
Gazen is a proper person and keeps the give-and-take mentality. And so, I give him the booze as advance payment.
“Have you seen someone unknown lately in this city?”
“The newest one would be the lil sis that’s together with you. Haven’t seen anyone else.” (Gazen)
“You know about Rakura? Well, that one doesn’t matter. I know about her origins clearly after all. No other noteworthy changes?”
“Got that right. It is the usual Taizu. A booze carrier like you is a big event for me though.” (Gazen)
Gazen said this laughing as he drank the booze. He is fastidious so other homeless people take distance from him, but he is not that bad of a man if you don’t mistake how to mingle with him.
But he is not a pawn I can use freely, so it is hard to utilize him.
“Gazen, there’s the possibility dangerous people are hiding in this city.”
“I haven’t seen them though.” (Gazen)
“But the nights in the city are dangerous. Can you please refrain from wandering around at night for a while?”
“Haah? Who do you think you are?” (Gazen)
“Don’t say that. You are an important information source for me, Gazen. I simply don’t want to put you in needless danger.”
“I am walking around this city seeking things at night too. I would starve to death if I didn’t.” (Gazen)
I throw a gold coin to the glaring Gazen.
“What are you trying to pull off here?” (Gazen)
“Just for a while. Please limit your actions to daylight.”
“…Tch, you are one weirdo.” (Gazen)
Gazen cursed as he pocketed the gold coin.
“I will listen to you until this money runs out.” (Gazen)
“Sorry for making you take a suffocating action. I will bring tasty booze again.”
I said this and parted with Gazen. Gazen’s existence is like air in this city.
He is not needed by anyone, and he himself doesn’t need anyone. That’s why he can obtain information one after the other with his eyes alone.
If that Gazen says he hasn’t seen someone, that must be the case for the others.
But does that mean the Yugura Church just sent Rakura and that’s it? No chance. Rakura is bait. They failed in selecting the personnel, but that must be the truth. I need to bring out a bit more information from Rakura.
It has just hit night. I was guided to a special room at the castle where Marito is in. It goes without saying what the objective is: deciphering the book.
According to Rakura’s info, the book has mana in it. If that mana gets stuck onto my body, it would react to the barrier deployed in the city. This room was set for the sake of avoiding this.
I also changed my clothes while at it, and have also equipped special gloves. I feel as if I have become a forensic examiner.
The ones in the room are Marito and Lord Ragudo.
“Now then, this is unnecessarily nerve wracking. Reading this won’t get me cursed, right?”
“I skimmed through it when I couldn’t read it. I would say I am actually more energetic lately.” (Marito)
“Speaking of which, I do feel like you have been getting more and more lively as the days pass.”
“Everyday is fun after all.” (Marito)
“Even when shouldering a problem like this?”
There’s no point in faltering the whole time. Let’s check out this book quickly.
I reread the cover that has written: Sample No. 4: Research Record of the Blue Demon Lord.
I can tell the contents of this book just from the title. Can I get even more information than that?
“By the way, should I read it aloud?”
“Right. It is not like I don’t trust you, but it is not impossible for you to get scared of the contents and back out, right?” (Marito)
“I have resolved myself thanks to you. Don’t come crying to me later.”
I opened the book. What’s written here is without doubt Japanese. However, their writing style is somewhat old.
“It is hard to read… Is it writing of around the Taisho Era?”
“An era around 100 years ago. When were the Demon Lords around?”
“500 years ago.” (Marito)
Fumu, the credibility of this book has suddenly dropped. That said, there might be a disconnect in the time flow between this world and Earth.
I will read the contents for now and will check its validity and its history.
“It is not like I can’t read it. Well, I will at least be reading what I can read.”
This is how my life’s most dangerous read aloud session began.
“Rakura told the counselor candidate about the book, huh…”
I received the report of Ukka and was on the verge of holding my head in pain.
“I-It is okay! According to Rakura’s report, they are really close and she has told him to stay silent—” (Ukka)
“If you are going to ask for the help of a government official from another country, you should explain the situation to the country at least! Do you want to exacerbate this into a national problem?!”
The books related to necromancy being sealed within Mejis is something that originally should be kept a secret. If there’s information of the forbidden, it is in the nature of people to want that.
However, the Anbu of Mejis, Dokora, managed to steal one of those books and escaped from the country. There’s no issue if it is possible to retrieve this in secret. But now that we have blundered, we obviously need to prepare ourselves to be injured to a fitting degree.
Reveal the origins of the book to Taizu and request their help in the search. It is a secret we have been keeping until now. Being criticized by other nations is something that can’t be avoided.
In the first place, there’s no way the other countries haven’t considered the possibility that the Yugura Church has obtained knowledge of the forbidden in order to learn countermeasures for it.
The current problem is whether to expose it ourselves or to have someone else expose it. It goes without saying that both will worsen our political relationship.
“It is fine already. It might be too late already, but contact the king of Taizu.”
“This problem is no longer just about clearing away our suspicions towards Maya from Taizu. Since you are the one responsible to send Rakura there, you will be the one reporting to Taizu every bit of info. Got it?!”
“Y-Yes, Your Holiness!” (Ukka)
“Contact me at once if you feel like it will get bad. When that happens, I will personally head there.”
“No way. There’s no need for you to go yourself, Pope-sam—”
“If you think so, wrap the talk properly!” (Euparo)
Ukka hurriedly ran off. Seriously, if he thinks of my well-being, I would like him to act properly.
It hasn’t been long since Taizu has changed into an era where a young and smart king has taken over. I have heard about how well he has been ruling.
If we face him with sincerity, I am sure we can maintain a good relationship.
But he is a young king. If we make him unnecessarily wary, there’s even the possibility he might begin sharpening his claws to turn them towards us.
“There might be a need for me to visit Taizu once regardless of this situation…” (Euparo)
I have heard that Taizu is abundant in herbs and has a lot of dishes with rich scents. Let’s consider this as a traveling plan.
I hurry preparations to communicate with Taizu with hurried steps and ragged breath.
I was too overtaken in one-upping Maya and ended up exposing the standing of the Yugura Church -no, the standing of the Pope-sama to danger. I must hurry and fix this!
“I will first have Rakura explain the situation to the king of Taizu and then have them help out… Right, I already sent an Anbu to Taizu!” (Ukka)
I hurry and contact him too…contact…
“Wait, now that I think about it, who did I send?” (Ukka)
“Ukka, is something the matter?”
“Oh, it is you! Actually, there’s trouble!” (Ukka)
I explain the situation.
“I see. We have to contact Rakura at once then.”
“Right? Also the Anbu—” (Ukka)
“Please wait. Rakura doesn’t know about the presence of the Anbu. I don’t think there’s any need to tell them about that.”
“Rakura is a cleric of the Yugura Church. There may be the drawback that she hid her objective, but there shouldn’t be any issues in terms of her standing. However, the Anbu would be a different story. It would be an issue even if you were to divulge the information.”
“Don’t worry. The Anbus are still in the middle of infiltration. We will be the ones contacting you. Please concentrate only on instructing Rakura only.”
“I-I see. Then, I will be counting on you!” (Ukka)
There should be no issues with this. Oh, I forgot something important.
“By the way, who was the Anbu sent to—” (Ukka)
I looked back, but there was no one there.
“…Hmm, what just happened? No, this is not the time for that! I have to hurry and tell Rakura!” (Ukka)
I was having trouble deciphering the book. It is in part because it is hard to read. But it is mostly because Marito and Lord Ragudo were stopping me often.
It is true that that’s just how riddled with problems this book is. The reality is that everyone in this room is holding their head in pain.
“Do you think Mejis knows about the contents of this book?”
“No, the chances of them only knowing that this is a record of necromancy are higher. If what’s written in this book is true and they knew about it, the Yugura Church would be doing their utmost to get this book back.” (Marito)
Yeah, it wouldn’t be the time to be sending an airhead like Rakura. They would either send someone as good as Maya-san or higher.
This book has enough worth that it should be fine to reveal the fact that they had been hiding the possession of the taboo called necromancy.
“We will continue deciphering this, but it looks like it would be better for you to think about what comes after that, Marito.”
“I plan on doing that even without you telling me. Honestly speaking, wouldn’t it make things faster to just return this while making a face as if we don’t know?” (Marito)
“What a coincidence. I was thinking the same.”
“You two, that won’t do…” (Ragudo)
The 3 of us sigh. I don’t want to read this book anymore though. It is so chock-full of information that must not be known and it is really rough.
“Just how much more life-threatening information should I expose my head to before it is over…?”
I flip through the remaining pages. The file of characters enter my vision. This is what will be entering my head in the future.
A bitter sigh leaked out. I then reached the last page of the book… What’s this?
What was written there was something similar to a simple afterword. It wasn’t anything complicated, and it was plain information that didn’t require much thought.
However, this writing that could be understood in one glance was the issue.
“It is not that the chances are high that the Yugura Church doesn’t know about this. They definitely don’t know.”
“What’s the matter? Did you find something?” (Marito)
“Yeah, if they knew about this, they would have burned this book a long time ago.”
The expression of the two I shared this information with stiffened.
“Wait a moment. I didn’t want to hear that information!” (Marito)
“I myself didn’t want to know either! What should we do about this?!”
“You two, please calm down…” (Ragudo)
“Lord Ragudo, aren’t you trembling like a newborn calf?! This is the first time I see you this flustered!” (Marito)
This hard to believe truth made the strongest knight, the wise king, and the otherworlder all flustered to an unsightly degree.
I closed the book for a moment after that and returned to the office of Marito.
“Your Majesty, I don’t want to keep this book near me.” (Ragudo)
“Endure it. I myself don’t want you close to me with that book, Lord Ragudo.” (Marito)
“That’s horrible, Your Majesty.” (Ragudo)
“But wouldn’t it really be for the best of the world if we were to return this book as if we didn’t know anything?”
“That may be true, but…if we do, the matter of the Demon Lord… Right! Let’s make it so you were the only one who deciphered it and have you consult with the Yugura Church.” (Marito)
“You are telling me to die?!”
“I have the duty to shoulder the future of Taizu’s citizens…” (Marito)
“What a wonderful resolution, Your Majesty.” (Ragudo)
“I am definitely gonna snitch!”
We were about to heat up again, so we drank tea and had a breather.
“But this isn’t an issue that we can just ignore.” (Marito)
“If the contents of the book are true, this definitely is extremely bad.”
“Alright, let’s postpone this issue for now. We should finish deciphering it first.” (Marito)
There might be a ‘The contents of this book are fiction. It has no relation with actual people or events’ written in there somewhere. If it is not written in there, it will simply be increasing the painful knowledge though.
Now then, even if we are to run away from reality from the importance of the contents, the other issues still remain.
“Does Taizu not have stuff like Anbus, Marito?”
“We do. The people investigating the origins of the book are that. I can’t tell you the information of the members for your own safety though.” (Marito)
“Please don’t. If I get tortured, I am confident I will spill it out before it even begins.”
“Well, there’s nothing we can do now that we have learned about the contents of the book though.” (Marito)
“Is there no spell that can make us forget? I would like to use it if it does.”
“So there was that option. Lord Ragudo!” (Marito)
“This is a problem that cannot be ignored. Please give up and accept it, Your Majesty. I am sure he will happily die together with you.” (Ragudo)
“That’s how it is, so…please die together with me, my friend.” (Marito)
“I would like to forfeit my friendship.”
My composure really gets taken away when it comes to talking about this book. Let’s return to the main topic at hand for now.
“What I want to know is what kind of existence are the Anbus. What can they do, on what basis do they move; I want to understand that kind of stuff.”
“I understand the reason why you want to do that. But I think it is okay to leave that stuff to Taizu though…” (Marito)
“My mental strength is not so strong that I would be able to believe in the guy that told me to die together with him just a moment ago.”
“Wumu, preparing yourself isn’t that bad of a thing, huh. Got it. Then, I will introduce you to one of the Anbus.” (Marito)
“That would be a great help. When can I meet them?”
“They are behind you.” (Marito)
A hand was placed on my shoulder behind me.
An incomprehensible sound leaked from my mouth. A leather gloved hand was placed on my shoulder.
When I hurriedly tried to look back, Marito stopped me with his hand.
“Aah, don’t look back. It would be for the best to not know of his identity as much as possible.” (Marito)
“I-I see. But at least let me prepare myself mentally first. I thought I was going to die there.”
The voice I heard from my back, I can’t tell whether it is high or low, or whether it is a man or a woman. Marito did say ‘he’, so he must be a man though…
“Apologies for the belated introduction. I guard His Majesty—or something of the sort.”
“That introduction just now increased my friendship points quite a bit.”
“Thank you very much. If you have anything you want to ask, I will do my best to answer within acceptable degrees.”
“It is weird to ask a question before a question, but are you normally guarding Marito?”
“Yes, I am normally watching over His Majesty without showing myself.”
“It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that he is the strongest in Taizu after all. It feels extremely safe with him.” (Marito)
“Yes, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration indeed, Your Majesty. I am the strongest after all.”
“That’s quite the confidence. And yet, you are a member of the Anbus and your name is unknown…? Could you be someone who was judged as outstanding and then treated as dying on duty to have you perform in the shadows?”
“As expected of the friend of His Majesty who will be spending his whole life together with him. You are a smart one.”
“I won’t do that. I won’t, I’ll have you know.”
“I have been observing you the whole time since the first time you spoke to His Majesty. You are someone who can be trusted. The first time you tried to surprise His Majesty, I wondered about whether to cut you down, but I am glad I managed to endure just barely.”
“Can you please stop saying such scary things as if nothing?”
I can’t tell at all if this Anbu-kun is saying this seriously or if he is joking.
“If you are hiding yourself with magic, does that mean you get affected by magic seal stones? There’s quite a lot of them in this castle though.”
“Yes, this body stealth spell can be undone with the magic seal stone. But I can sense the mana clad on magic seal stones, so I can in theory avoid it.”
“I see. So you won’t get caught unless it is a pretty extraneous situation, huh.”
“In the case I am seen, I would have to kill everyone in the place, so it is a lot of trouble.”
“Please do your best. Also, don’t show that face of yours to a single soul.”
“I am confident in my face, you know? I would be able to charm even men.”
“I don’t want to die for that… Wait, could it be that you were watching when we were deciphering the book too?”
“Yes, I raised my blade countless times, unable to accept the shocking reality, and was about to cut you down.”
“I praise you for enduring, but can you please stop killing people in order to escape reality?”
And so, we are entering questioning time. He tells me about the knowledge of Anbus and what they can do. Fumu fumu, this is really educational.
I have been hanging out with straightforward people like Ilias, Wolfe, and Rakura, so the nostalgic feeling I had forgotten was returning.
—Aah, the same thought process of when I cornered Dokora is coming back to me.
“It would be better for you to not return to that face.”
While I was thinking about the future, Marito spoke to me with a serious face.
“Hm, was I making a weird face?”
“Yeah, it was mostly your eyes turning muddy. Lord Ratzel and the others would get worried if they saw that, you know?” (Marito)
“That much.” (Marito)
“Want a mirror?”
“Yeah, thank y—wa, that was close!”
I was on the verge of seeing the face of Anbu-kun who was behind me through the mirror. Moreover, he said in a low voice ‘ah, shoot’!
“Please put yourself in the shoes of the person who might die from those oopsies of yours. Or more like, please disappear.”
“What a terrible way of putting it. I am going to cry.”
“Please hide with magic!”
I look in the mirror again. I feel like it hasn’t changed much though… Fumu.
“Right. I will return after having a light chat.”
“That would be a good idea. Want to hear one of my best jokes?”
“Please leave it for another time.”
“You would die laughing.”
“Do you want to kill me that much?!”
Anbu-kun is teasing me moderately, but he is the real deal. If it is just as they state, he would be even stronger than Ilias.
To think I would meet the strongest of Taizu in this manner. Such a strange development.
But I wouldn’t like to associate with a living landmine. Let’s just make this our last interaction.
“But I didn’t know at this time that I would end up having an inseparable relationship with this person.”
“Your mind reading ability is incredible!”
“It was showing in your face. It was an easy to read face.”
“I see—Wait, don’t stand in front of me without using magic!”