Magi Craft Meister 518
15 Showdown With The Demons Arc
15-31 Gossip 28 – After Their Rescue
“…Did you say, the Magi Craft Meister?”
“That’s right. I think I’ve heard them call Mr. Jin by that title.”
The place was Loroon, a provincial city in the Frantz Kingdom. It was the city where the secondary residence of House Lafayette –also known as the House of the Northern Duke– was located.
“His sister seems to be pretty skilled… No, she seems to be a top-notch healer. I’m glad I got to meet them all.”
After Jin and his friends left, the former duchess Catherine De Lafayette looked out the window, half relieved and half regretful.
What she could see from there was a seemingly well-organized townscape. But she knew it was all a sham.
“So, has the person who attacked me been found?”
She had met Jin and his friends after the carriage on which she was riding was attacked. After the coachman was killed, the carriage’s horse began to rampage, and in the end, the carriage itself ended up toppling sideways, where Jin and his friends found her.
The one responsible for killing her coachman hadn’t been found yet, despite the local order of knight’s thorough search.
However, thanks to her position as former duchess, Catherine had access to a small private army. One of the soldiers of that private army was the one currently reporting their findings to Catherine.
“We have found a dead body which we believe could belong to our culprit.”
“I see. He must have been killed as well to prevent him from speaking.”
There were only a limited number of people who could make a profit for killing Former Duchess Catherine De Lafayette.
“The Southern Duke…”
The southern border of the Frantz Kingdom was connected to its suzerain state, the Celuroa Kingdom.
Partly because of this, House Aurange, known as the House of the Southern Duke, had a stronger bond with the Celuroa Kingdom,and was proud of being close in power to the royal family.
On the other hand, the House Lafayette, known as the House of the Northern Duke, was rather away from the rule of the Celuroa Kingdom, and many of its heads of family had secretly wanted to walk their own path.
This also applied for the former duke, who had been Catherine’s husband, as well as for their son, who was the current Duke Lafayette.
However, they could only grind their teeth as, publicly, the state of the country indicated that the house of the duke could be immediately purged at any time.
“I would like to be able to improve the people of this city’s lives, at least a bit.”
That was the best they could do. However, as soon as the city’s profits rise even a little, the government would immediately learn about it and raise their tax rates accordingly.
And knowing that the royal castle’s policy regarding how to treat the commonfolk was “to not kill them, but to not let them live either” caused Catherine to sometimes feel trapped in a deep hopelessness.
“And still… They seemed to have contacted an informant. And it seems they’ve been looking into demons? …I wonder, what are they planning to do?”
“Ma’am, what about those demons we heard that had been attacked by a group of radicals and set on fire? Do you think…”
“No, I know Jin went through the checkpoint of the Klein Kingdom. That attack couldn’t have anything to do with him.”
Jin’s alibi was completely watertight in that regard.
“…Magi Craft Meister Jin, you who has been certified by the three countries of Klein, Egelia, and Shouro… I would certainly love to see you again.”
＊ ＊ ＊
“You fools! How could you allow those prisoners to be burned to death right under your noses!?”
“P-Please forgive us…”
An even more severe rebuke flew toward the knight who bowed his head.
“It’s not a matter of apologizing! This was a good opportunity to set ourselves way ahead of House Lafayette, but now that’s all been ruined!”
The one yelling at the knight was no other than the Southern Duke himself, Rufort De Aurange. He had pale blond blonde hair, watery blue-gray eyes, and a fat and slack body.
He looked like the typical influential aristocrat of this country.
“And after the local governor Kutaga Actar went through so much trouble to capture them…”
Kutaga Actar –the mayor and deputy of the town of Enak– despite officially serving the Northern Duke, was secretly in cahoots with the Southern Duke.
“The Northern Duke had already captured demons, took them alive to the royal capital, and received praise from the king himself…!”
The Southern Duke was grinding his teeth out of anger, eager for his own time to shine to come.
He would use any means to squeeze information out of the demons, which would hopefully get him enough favor to become the commander of the punitive force. Of course, he would remain safely in the back while his soldiers did the fighting.
That was Rufort’s plan, or rather, his overly optimistic scheme.
“And high-ranking officials from the Celuroa Kingdom are going to come to Genf as well…”
The trip between the Celuroa Kingdom and the Frantz Kingdom was done not only through the secret road, but also through Lake Asur.
“My reputation is ruined!”
This had been a good opportunity for him to gain influence in the Celuroa Kingdom, but it resulted in him falling from grace instead.
Rufort was holding his head with both hands.
“I’ll have no choice but to offer even more tribute to those high-ranking officials coming from the Celuroa Kingdom…”
＊ ＊ ＊
“Hmph, so you came into contact with the Shouro Empire’s aristocrats?”
The place was a log cabin in the forest near Loroon. It looked like a regular lumberjack cabin from the outside, but it was actually one of the bases of the Partisans.
There were about 10 men inside. Some of them were dressed like soldiers, others were dressed like peasants, and of course, others were dressed like lumberjacks.
At the back was a man in a black robe, and Fernand, the informant, was talking to him.
“Yeah. I don’t know why, but he wanted to get information about the demons, so I told him. He paid well, and we had a good understanding.”
“You said his name was Jin?”
“Yeah. At least that’s how his companions called him.”
“Hmm. He was very interesting. Jin, knight of the Shouro Empire, huh?”
“Do you know him?”
“Oh, as far as I know, there’s only one person named like him: Jin Nidou. He has recently been officially recognized as the Magi Craft Meister.”
“The Magi Craft Meister?”
“That’s right. And he hasn’t been recognized as such just by the Shouro Empire. The kingdoms of Klein and Egelia, too.”
“Yeah. Aside from the Shouro Empire, the other two countries are not on good terms with the kingdoms of Celuroa and Frantz.”
“Can we capture him as well?”
“No, it’ll be safer to stay clear from him. I’ve heard that he doesn’t like conflict. He also has some super-powerful golems. Didn’t you see them?”
“Yeah, his carriage was pulled by golem horses, and even his coachman was a golem.”
“He was probably the one who’s said to have disabled most of the golems by himself during that rampaging golem incident in the Egelia Kingdom.”
“Yeah. He’s amazing, that guy.”
“Right. I don’t think even a hundred soldiers would be enough to capture him.”
“That’s amazing. With 10 of those golems, he could fight an entire country, don’t you think?”
“Yeah. But Jin doesn’t seem to want to have anything to do with any kind of power struggle.”
“…If only we could get our hands on him and have him fight for us…”
“That wouldn’t be a smart plan. He’d destroy us completely.”
“But more importantly than that, was that aristocrat named Jin’s sister. Her name was Eliza, or Elsa, or something like that.”
A different man stepped forward.
“That day… the day the carriage went out of control. She treated a commoner woman and the former duchess in the blink of an eye.”
“Hmm, so she’s a skilled healer?”
“Yeah. And she wouldn’t accept money from either of them. There were a lot of passersby there so this was easy to confirm as well.”
“I’d like to bring that Elsa girl here, but I’m sure it will be a difficult task.”
“We could try to kidnap her.”
“You idiot. Didn’t you hear me just now? If we do anything against that man, he could have us all killed in less than a day.”
Then another person stepped forward.
“I’ve come to report that we’ve gained a new ally. …Come to the front.”
The man turned around and looked at the young man who was farthest away from the rest.
The young man did as he was told and bowed at everyone.
“My name is Sholt. Nice to meet you all.”
“Hmm, where do you come from?”
“I’m from the Klein Kingdom.”
“Oh. So you know about the internal conditions of that country?”
“Yes, to some extent.”
“Hmm, you might come in handy. But you’ll be under supervision for the time being, okay?”
That was a natural safety measure.”
“Yes, of course.”
Then the man bowed at everyone again.
＊ ＊ ＊
(Hmm, it looks like Regulus 41 was able to sneak into that underground organization without a problem.)
Back in Hourai Island, Laojun was chuckling to himself.