“Come out. There’s apparently something the mayor wants to ask you in person.”
A few hours after being imprisoned, one of the soldiers opened the cell and told us to come out.
I was about to get up together with Ekdoik, but the soldier stopped Ekdoik.
“Only he is coming. You stay in the cell.”
It is not like the soldiers are completely incompetent.
They most likely can tell that Ekdoik is decently strong.
On the other hand, they judged that it would be easier to extract information from me as someone that only looks like a rookie, and proposed this to the mayor.
“If I am going to meet the mayor, should I leave this behind?”
When I said this and pointed at Kutou hanging at my waist, the soldier snorted.
Looks like I can do as I please. In Japan, they would obviously tell me to at least leave it behind, but…it must be pretty funny to carry around a wooden sword in this world… I have been walking around with it a whole ton in Taizu… Maybe I should consider getting a scabbard.
Ekdoik glanced at me.
This is within expectations. There’s no issue.
If I am faced with a dangerous interrogation, a strong impact can be dealt to the piece of chain given to me by Ekdoik, making him know that it is an emergency, and breaking out of prison.
Even so, it seems like he still doesn’t like the idea of being apart from me as my bodyguard.
I should give him some peace of mind. Let’s tell him that I am also motivated here.
I smacked both of my cheeks lightly with my hands and switched gears.
“Oi, come out quickly.”
“—Yeah, got it… Ekdoik, please don’t rampage while I am gone, okay?”
Ekdoik’s eyes opened wide. It seems like what happened that time really did stay in his mind.
That said, there’s no need to worry about Ekdoik right now.
Let’s think about what to do with the mayor I will be meeting.
“Lord Tokusado, I have brought the captured person in question.”
“Good work. Let him in.” (Tokusado)
I heard from the soldiers that a weird pair had appeared in Lilbe.
According to those two, they have come to Kuama under the request of the Pope-sama.
But, according to the soldiers, their appearance is clearly weird, and the only thing that can be considered proof is the request letter in my hand.
I skimmed through it, but I easily managed to tell it was fake.
Those two are most likely bandits.
What a bold bunch. It is my duty as the one who was left with the ruling of Lilbe to uncover the scheme of these people trying to pull off something in this turbulent time.
The one who showed up is a young man. Extremely rare black hair and black eyes.
I even thought he might be a demon which I have heard of in legends, but his movements are clearly untrained.
The mana inside of him is also on the level of a child… No, maybe even lower than that. It doesn’t feel like he is hiding his strength.
The young man seems somewhat nervous, but he must have some confidence in this fake request letter.
That’s the kind of face he is making.
In that case, let’s break his confidence.
“I am the mayor of Lilbe, Trafa Tokusado.” (Tokusado)
“Should I call you Lord Tokusado?”
“Go ahead and do so. Now then, let me ask this straight. What was your objective in showing up in Lilbe?” (Tokusado)
“We have explained to the soldiers though. There should be a request letter in your hands.”
“Are you referring to this?” (Tokusado)
I say this as I show the request letter that we confiscated from him.
The young man nodded.
I opened it and read the general details of it.
“‘There was a request for assistance from Archbishop Seraes of the Yugura Church’s Kuama Branch to the Yugura Church headquarters in regards to the monster invasion that is currently happening. Therefore, the headquarters of the Yugura Church have decided to officially dispatch the ones holding this letter to Kuama as a countermeasure for this’… Makes no sense.” (Tokusado)
“I think it is exactly as written though.”
“What help would there be in sending a suspicious black hair and black eyes man and a man that screams he is from the underground against a horde of monsters?” (Tokusado)
“He is a strong man, and I am the negotiator.”
The other man apparently gives off an extremely dangerous atmosphere according to the reports. He must have a decent degree of strength, but he follows the orders of this man here.
This man is most likely the brains. He certainly does look like an intelligent one.
“But I can’t believe it.” (Tokusado)
“The request letter has been signed by the Pope-sama, right?”
It is true that the signature of the Pope-sama is written in this request letter.
It is well made. That must be why he is interacting confidently with me here.
“Right. But check this here.” (Tokusado)
I say this and bring out a special parchment.
A parchment of a slightly different color from the request letter confiscated from the young man.
“I donate to the Yugura Church, you see. I get letters from Mejis every now and then. This was issued to me at the time when I did official procedures at the Yugura Church.” (Tokusado)
“So it seems. What about it?”
“This also has the signature of the Pope-sama who did the last check. If I compare the signatures, they are certainly extremely similar. But it seems like the writing of yours is a bit crooked.” (Tokusado)
That’s right. The handwriting and the characteristics of it are extremely similar, but they are crooked here and there.
They must have desperately tried to imitate it, but the crookedness must have seeped into it.
It is easy for me to see this difference as someone who has excellent eyesight.
“…Pope-sama is a person too. You can’t sign exactly the same every time, right?”
Of course, there’s an escape to that.
But that’s not all. No, there’s a difference that makes it the most fake.
“Looks like you lack knowledge. When the Yugura Church does an official procedure, they would use this Mejis-made parchment. It is a special parchment that only the Yugura Church can use.” (Tokusado)
That’s right. They use a special parchment that’s strictly supervised when produced so that it is difficult to spread fake documents of the Yugura Church.
It is something that a mere young man wouldn’t be able to obtain no matter how much he tried.
He might be able to find something similar if he searched, but as someone with excellent eyesight, I wouldn’t mistake them.
“…Pope-sama is currently in Taizu. That’s why he used Taizu-made parchment.”
“What a pathetic excuse. It doesn’t matter if the Pope-sama is in Taizu or not. Taizu also has a branch of the Yugura Church there. They should be able to prepare the exclusive parchment without issues. What are you scheming in Kuama by preparing a fake request letter like this one?” (Tokusado)
“But look closely. That signature is without doubt that of—”
The moment the young man forcefully stepped forward, a soldier smacked his leg with the handle of the spear.
The young man lost his balance and falls.
“Don’t move without permission!”
“-! That is a real request letter prepared by the Pope-sama. There’s no mistake about it!”
“Good grief. How unsightly. To think a bandit like this one would take advantage of the chaos to sneak in. Preparing such a cheap imitation to speak the name of the Pope-sama.” (Tokusado)
Truly sinful. Even with that, this young man is persisting that this fake is real.
Obviously. This fake request letter is the only thing that can allow him to break through this current situation after all.
But that won’t work on me. I tear apart that fake request letter in front of his eyes to have him understand this.
The face of the young man turned into a baffled one in an instant, but his expression was gone the next.
“If you don’t plan on speaking your objective, regret your own actions in prison.” (Tokusado)
“Is that your decision?”
He spoke with a voice I can’t feel emotion of. It must have been that shocking for him.
“That’s right. Displeased?” (Tokusado)
“…No, if that’s your decision, Mayor, I will obey.”
He suddenly turned meek. Has run out of options, I guess.
But there’s nothing for me to say if he has become obedient.
He was most likely planning to scam people or something. Even though he is still just a young man.
I hope he reflects on this and becomes a better person… Hm?
The young man gets up slowly and brushes his leg.
Something feels off…
“Is something the matter? We are done talking, right? It is okay to return to my cell?”
“You suddenly changed your attitude. Just what in the world—” (Tokusado)
“Aah, Lord Tokusado, there’s one thing I would like to ask you, but…by special parchment that the Yugura Church is using, you are referring to this, right?”
The young man put a hand in his pocket and took out a single rolled up parchment.
“Here, soldier. It seems like Lord Tokusado wants to feel up this parchment. It looks like I can’t step forward, so can you please give it to him instead?”
The soldier made a dubious face as he directed a gaze at me.
I nodded and the soldier brought the parchment to me.
…No way, this is… Could it be?!
“This parchment is without doubt that of the Yugura Church…” (Tokusado)
That’s right. This is the parchment that’s used when issuing official documents from the Yugura Church.
There’s no doubt about it when comparing it to the one other I have in my hands.
I unfold the parchment, confirmed the writing, and felt chills down my spine at the contents of it.
No, no, that’s impossible!
Is this even possible…? But this is…!
“Is something the matter? What’s written there shouldn’t be difficult to understand. It is the exact same thing that’s written in the other request letter. Aah, but the amount of signs has increased a bit, I guess?”
“It is not only the Pope-sama, but even the signature of Archbishop Ukka and Archbishop Maya…” (Tokusado)
“Yes, the credibility of it would be suspected with just the name of the Pope-sama when we are entering Kuama, so we got the signature of Archbishop Ukka who has sent a lot of letters to Kuama, and we have also readied the signature of Archbishop Maya to prove that the Pope-sama is staying in Taizu.”
Archbishop Ukka has connections with nobles of foreign countries, and gathers a great deal of donations.
I have donated to the headquarters of Mejis aside from my donations to the Kuama Branch, so I know.
This signature is without doubt that of Archbishop Ukka.
“T-Then that request letter from before…” (Tokusado)
“It was obviously real. I got that in a place that wasn’t the facilities of the Yugura Church, but that was definitely the signature of the Pope-sama.”
The inside of my head turned pure white.
That’s right, this was my aim.
I have used the fact that Lord Tokusado is a mayor with a decent intelligence.
I chose Lord Tokusado within the mayors holding territory in Kuama because the chances of this happening would be the highest. It seems like it fit right in.
Maya-san has taught me a long time ago that the Yugura Church uses special parchment in their official documents.
That’s why I had Pope Euparo write a request letter with parchment I normally use on top of the rustic table of Dog’s Bone.
Of course, Pope Euparo told me that this extempore request letter won’t have any effect, but I told him it was to show Marito and get confirmation from him.
Well, Pope Euparo must have felt that I would use it for something.
After that, I had him prepare an official request letter with the correct parchment.
I had Kutou swallow the official request letter to hide it.
I am already making use of its special trait of hiding inside my wooden sword as a hidden pocket.
I can’t hide anything too big, but I can easily hide something small and one or two parchments of this size.
“Well then, I will be taking my leave.”
“W-W-W-Wait! The story changes if you have this official request letter!” (Tokusado)
Lord Tokusado leaned forward with a pale face. He can’t hide his agitation at all.
“We are done talking here, so I will return to my cell obediently. I confirmed that that was your decision after all.”
“I take that back. Of course I would!” (Tokusado)
“Oops, looks like my ears were injured when I fell just now. Sorry, but it seems like I will need to take a break in the cell for a bit.”
“Man, it can’t be helped. The request letter made personally by the Pope-sama has been torn apart, also got injured from the smack of a soldier, tried to explain but rang on deaf ears, and was told to go back to my cell… Let’s just wait obediently until my comrades coming later can explain the situation. I am sure we will be able to contact Pope-sama immediately with that after all.”
I said this and tried to leave the room on my own. The soldiers are not so foolish as to not understand what’s happening right now.
It is currently impossible for them to stop me from leaving.
Lord Tokusado hurriedly stood up and ran to me.
“P-Please wait! I admit my mistake. You have my apologies!” (Tokusado)
“Please don’t worry, Lord Tokusado.”
I gently place a hand on the shoulder of Lord Tokusado who is grabbing my clothes.
“I am already used to spending time in prison.”
The expression of Lord Tokusado turned into a really wonderful one there.
“And so…what’s this situation?”
Ekdoik and that man said that they would go ahead and gather information. We were on our way in the carriage and a messenger on horseback showed up in a hurry.
According to what they said, Ekdoik and him are in a town close to Kuama called Lilbe.
We tilted our heads as we headed to Lilbe, and the mayor of Lilbe, Lord Tokusado, went out of his way to welcome us.
He welcomed us with an extremely complicated look, and when I asked him about where he was, he guided us to a prison cell with a face on the verge of tears.
And so, we regrouped with him and Ekdoik inside the cell, but…
“Aah, I was thinking about preparing a base of operations, you see.”
Extravagant furniture that clashes with the atmosphere inside a prison cell had been brought here, and there he was, waiting for us while checking a mountain of documents.
“Why are you in a cell…?”
“Lord Tokusado told me to go into the cell and repent for my sins, you see?”
“That’s…! That’s…!” (Tokusado)
I asked for the details of this, and he apparently got caught on purpose by the soldiers, set up Lord Tokusado, and made him tear one of the two request letters he had.
And then, after understanding the present situation, he stayed in the prison cell as if harassing him.
Lord Tokusado feared that we -as the upcoming group- would learn of this and report it to the Yugura Church, so he tried to negotiate with him to leave the prison cell, but they all fell through.
He apparently remodeled the inside of the cell into a comfortable room as a desperate measure.
His means are completely those of a villain.
Lord Tokusado made an extremely vexed expression as he left after we promised to move to a different room afterwards.
It seems like he got his heart shaken quite extensively. My condolences.
“You… Did you go ahead of us for the sake of this?”
“Archbishop Seraes is the top of the Anti-3rd Faction. If we showed up in Kuama straight away, the chances were high that they would find fault in us and we would have had our actions restricted. That’s why I thought about securing a base of operations in Lilbe which is nearby.”
“I didn’t think the day would come that I would be pleaded in tears by a mayor to come out of a prison cell.” (Ekdoik)
Ekdoik was making an extremely complicated face.
I am sure I would make that same face if a day like that were to come, umu.
“Was there any need to go that far?”
“The Kuama nobles obviously have the means to contact Archbishop Seraes. It would be pointless if we have a half-baked cooperation and they stab us in the back.”
He created the weakness of having Lord Tokusado tear apart the personal request letter of Pope Euparo. There’s no need to even mention who has more authority between Archbishop Seraes and Pope Euparo.
“If you weren’t heading directly to Kuama, we could have come together.”
“Our credibility would increase if we were bringing along Ilias who has the presence of a knight and Mix who has the family seal of the Taizu royalty, right? As for Rakura, she has her Yugura Church uniform.”
“Counselor-sama, this is actually an original of mine, you know? Thanks to the work of Saira-san, it has far better ventilation and lightness compared to the existing ones!” (Rakura)
“And what of it?”
“So cruel!” (Rakura)
His appearance is certainly suspicious for any first timers.
If the only one accompanying him is Ekdoik, it is even more suspicious.
“Shishou, Wolfe wanted to come together with you.” (Wolfe)
“For Wolfe, you are cute, so we would look suspicious on a different spectrum.”
“I see… Can Wolfe become more suspicious in the spectrum of Ekdoik-san?” (Wolfe)
“Don’t, don’t.” (Ekdoik)
Him and Ekdoik said the same thing.
I agree with that too.
“I did have insurance though. Like this.”
He said this and brought out a ring.
“C-Could that…possibly be…” (Ilias)
“Ooh, isn’t that the Ring of Deep Affection that has the royal crest of Taizu?!” (Mix)
That’s right. What he showed just now was the Ring of Deep Affection just as Mix-sama said.
The one who has had their achievements recognized by Taizu in the truest sense of the word, in other words, knights or high nobles who leave their name in history are awarded this by the current generation king of Taizu. It is one of the most treasured items.
It is an item that knights and nobles that offer their lives for the sake of Taizu yearn to obtain.
I of course also yearn for it as a knight of Taizu, but to think I would see it in a place like this.
No, more importantly…
“W-Why do you have that?!” (Ilias)
“Marito gave it to me for some reason.”
“For some reason, you say…” (Ilias)
The only one currently in active duty who has received that ring is Lord Ragudo.
Something as precious as that wrapped up as ‘for some reason’…
“It is certainly something only Ani-sama could give.” (Mix)
“I was told this would serve as proof that I am on friendly terms with the Taizu royalty if I showed it. If I were to show this to them and say I am close to Mix, and Mix were to show up afterwards, it would have plenty of effect, right?”
“M-Mister Friend, that ring isn’t given to someone just because they are on friendly terms! If you were to declare that with that ring, it would be like declaring that you are my fiancee!” (Mix)
“Seriously? That was close.”
“It is not something you would get just because you get along with the royal family. You would have to be in a relationship so close you would join the royal family, or have done work worthy of such.” (Ilias)
“If I thoughtlessly said I am close to Marito, the royal family’s lineage of Taizu could have gotten crazy.”
“Ani-sama and Mister Friend being engaged would be etched in history in a sense. Well, it is Mister Friend, so even if you were to tell them you are engaged with me, I would have matched stories!” (Mix)
“Let’s refrain from lies that might end up making me take responsibility afterwards.”
“Can’t seem to reel you in!” (Mix)
Mix smacked his back while laughing, but she most likely thinks him having the ring is a matter of course.
As for me personally, it makes me feel extremely complicated emotions.
But calmly considering his achievements…he was the main lead in the bandit subjugation that made Taizu suffer, raised the civilization level of Taizu drastically with the knowledge of Yugura’s planet, proved the resurrection of the Demon Lords that are a threat to the world, and even brought them in as allies.
On top of that, he is even the support of His Majesty’s heart.
“…It might not be that strange that you were given that ring.” (Ilias)
“I don’t really get too attached to things, so I can’t really say anything about this, but it is an important thing for you, right, Ilias?”
“Of course. If you were to use that for evil, one or two punches wouldn’t suffice.” (Ilias)
“…I will keep it in mind.”
It seems like he doesn’t feel much about the ring even after learning about its worth.
Does he not know the correct worth of that ring, or am I simply caught up by the worth of the ring as a knight?
…Anyways, it is true that I would like him to avoid using that ring for evil.
I would like to hold it, but…no, it is still too soon for me.
“But I had chills when the tone of Comrade changed.” (Ekdoik)
“Muh, I can’t ignore that statement just now.” (Ilias)
Judging from the reaction of Ekdoik, his state must have changed.
Considering the events this time around, I can tell that he moved in the standing of evil at the time when he trapped Lord Tokusado.
I am worried that he used that this time around…
“I didn’t really use Comprehension. I got the information about Lord Tokusado from Purple after all.”
“Muuh, if you say so, I will believe you…” (Ilias)
“In this case, I simply switched my way of being. I didn’t throw my self. I showed Ekdoik my changed state as a way to tell him to not worry; that I will do this properly, so just wait there patiently.”
He said this and returned to his work of reading the information of Kuama that was prepared by Lord Tokusado.
We came to Kuama to stop the invasion of the Blue Demon Lord.
But the first one he attacked was the mayor of Lilbe in the territory of Kuama.
He most likely predicted this development since he prepared several request letters. Then, the developments that will be happening from here on…
He is his usual self. But I feel like there’s something different about him.
At times like this, he is definitely scheming something evil, yup.
Let’s find the opportunity to ask him about it.