Interlude – The Stronghold


<– Previous Chapter | Table of Content | Next Chapter –>


 

Announcement (READ):

 

Hey, hey, Shasu here.

 

Some of you may know me. The guy translating the other 10 series on this blog. But, this time I’m calling out to you as the Owner of this Blog.

 

How come?

Well, I like Vermillion, but I don’t have any free capacities to translate this series. I already got 10 series and all, you see?

 

So, why are you releasing this one anyway?

I kinda hired an external translator. Tehe.

 

What does that mean for me as reader?

First off: A weekly release of chapters, in parts. Every Friday.

 

Parts? Why?

Cuz the chapters are so bloody long!

 

But the releases will keep going infinitely, right?

No, as I said, I hired a translator. In short, all the chapters are commissioned translations. Translated by Mui, and edited by me.

 

So?

You want to continue reading this translation? Then support it as a Patron. As a little bonus you get to read ahead.

 

What happens if no one supports this series?

It gets cut, or, depending on the number of supporters, becomes P2R.  Sorry, but I’m no rich guy capable of infinitely paying professional TLs. 🙂

 

By the way, Mui said he got some capacities to translate even more than four parts per month.

 

In other words, the ball is in court. You want this to be translated at a guaranteed quality, every week or more often until the counterstop? Support the translation as a backer to keep it going. Click the banners or follow this link!


 

 

 

—The story goes back by a few days.

The southern parts of Ri’leir.

Deep into the thick forest, located even further south than the remote Laneza Village, a place where ferocious beasts roamed.

Referred to as the “Abyss” by the villagers, a place where no one dared to venture.

In that place, it towered in silence.

…..

The river flowed as it zigzagged through the sea of trees. On its surface, one boat gliding.

It was shrouded in heavy silence, disturbed only by the periodic sound of the ripples clashing against wood.

Riding the boat were five men. Each of them clad in a dark overcoat.

One was at the stern, silently rowing the oars.

One stood in attention, crossbow in hand.

One watched over the fire of the censer that was hung on the bow, making sure it did not go out.

The remaining two sat at the center in a huddle.

But there was no conversation going. Rather, they could not afford to have one now. They had lowered their heads, not even making the slightest motion, while the others focused on their respective duties. One could perhaps say that this place did not allow them to ease on their guards. Even with the monster-warding censer burning, they were not able to guarantee absolute safety.

No one knew how long they had traveled.

They kept advancing through the unending, unchanging scenery, such that it would make one wonder whether they were looping instead, but eventually, that scenery started to gradually show hints of change.

The trees grew less dense, and in exchange, stones could now be spotted here and there. A toppled pillar covered with moss. A giant wall that had crumbled and cracked. Historic ruins, or perhaps town remains. Such were the terms coming to mind when looking at them. They were traces of something that had once prospered here and then went to ruin.

Suddenly, they heard the flapping of wings from overhead.

At the same time, a giant shadow, big enough to cover the entire boat, was cast on them. As they instinctively faced upwards, they saw three black birds circling above the boat. One of the birds broke the ring, approaching.

The wind started to rage with thuds. The wind pressure tore the previously serene river surface apart. Now that it closed in, the bird appeared to be gigantic. The talons on its legs were sharp like daggers, a dreadful beak lined with jagged teeth, and its body length was perhaps over twenty meters long. Calling it a monster bird fit to a tee.

【—Ni honoras la nigra dentego!】

The man in charge of the censer hoisted up a metallic medal, yelling at full strength.

The monster bird that had landed on the nearby stone wall with a thud folded its wings and gazed at him as it inclined its head. Its big eyes, the size of clenched fists, pinned on the medal.

Gulp…, was the sound from one of the men sitting in the center.

“…Gaw.”

Before long, the bird averted its eyes, seemingly having lost interest, and after a single cry, it once again spread its wings. The sound of its wings reverberated throughout the place, just as it did during its landing, and once it joined with the other two birds, they all flew away towards the horizon.

“…That was scary.” The man who swallowed his saliva earlier commented and sighed in relief while gazing at the disappearing birds.

The wind flapped his hood, exposing his features. He had short, brown hair and scrawny cheeks, his expression filled with dejection and fatigue. He looked quite young still, perhaps in his mid-twenties.

The young man’s name was Pavel.

He was one of the few survivors of Morissette’s annihilated unit. The wound on his right shoulder had yet to heal, and the bleeding had robbed his body of all its strength. In spite of his weak condition, he had been taken out of his bed, and as if that wasn’t enough, he was struck with terror after coming face to face with that monster-like bird, so you could not call his current expression good, even if you tried to flatter him.

“Aueeeeoagh.”

Next to him, Rat, with a cloth covering his mouth, spoke something with a vacant expression. Did those sounds hold any meaning, or was he merely leaking cries akin to a baby? Now that the person himself had gone mad, there was no way to tell.

Once again, the boat started to move, ignorant of the two men’s state. The man at the bow calmly put the medal away in his chest pocket. The censer had been extinguished by the blast of wind, but they no longer needed the monster-warding incense beyond this point.

This place was their territory.

Their field of view began to open up. Gazing ahead, on a small hill upstream, a single structure lonely towered. It had solid, stone walls and several layers of moats surrounding it, at the center of which stood moderately tall spires. Though it was covered in moss and looked quite aged, it was still a solid stronghold that clearly had been maintained.

That had no name. However, those in the know simply referred to it as The Castle.

It was an old castle that silently towered over the surroundings from the center of an ancient, ruined city, protected by forests filled with beats and those black-winged monsters.

Ignaz Thieves.

This was their hidden stronghold.

 

†††

 

Once they passed through the watergate and arrived inside the castle, Pavel and Rat were guided by silent men in black, as they climbed one of the spires.

Supported by the men, the two managed to arrive at the spire’s top with unsteady steps. Before them stood a thick wooden door decorated with intricate ornaments. On either side of that door, two fully-armored guards stood unmoving like boulders.

If we consider this a castle, then the one beyond this door would perhaps be the king, huh…

As that thought flashed through Pavel’s mind, his complexion grew even worse. Being an underling, this was his first time being invited to this castle, or rather, he had not even been aware of its location until just yesterday. And it goes without saying that he had never laid his eyes on the boss of their band of thieves.

Cold sweat covered his forehead and his throat became parched. Pavel could not even describe how envious he felt towards Rat in this situation, who stood there with an idiotic expression.

“…Boss, we’ve brought them.”

One of the black-clad men gave a respectful knock on the door. “Let them in,” came a muffled reply from the other side. And at that moment, Pavel’s mental strain reached unprecedented levels.

The door opened with a creak. The only option left to them was to walk in.

Argh, whatever happens, happens, decided Pavel in half-desperation and followed the men in black inside.

The room wasn’t that big. The soft carpet underneath absorbed the sound of their footsteps. The place turned out to be so snugly that it was actually a let-down. Still, as it was at the spire-top, it offered a wonderful sense of liberation. The first thing that entered his sight was glass in a wooden frame. It was a directly molded, transparent article with no mixtures. It boasted a quality that Pavel had not even seen in noble’s mansions.

“Well done coming here.”

A man sitting at the work desk before the window raised his face while not stopping his quill. The power of that gaze petrified Pavel on the spot like a doll.

A giant.

Could there be a word more appropriate to describe this man?

He was covered in bulging muscles, giving off a mountain-like presence. His arms were so big that the quill in his hand seemed like a toy. His finely chiseled features that reminded one of a bear, exuded such dignity that one would believe it if they were told he was a duchy general.

Are the guards outside even needed? Such a thought popped up in Pavel’s mind. The man was merely sitting on his chair, and yet, Pavel could keenly feel the strength that almost distorted the air around him. It was the aura of a monstrous being, a different kind compared to the mysterious archer that annihilated Morissette’s squad.

“—Caw!”

A crow perched in the corner cawed once, bringing the overawed Pavel back to his senses.

“T-Thank you!”

He straightened his back and responded in a hurry, making the giant man reveal a faint smile.

“You are Pavel and that one is Rat from Morissette’s squad, right? I would like to hear the detailed report right away… but let me finish this here first. Would you mind waiting for a bit?”

“N-Not at all.”

Seeing Pavel nod over and over, the man responded with a wide, unpolished smile and moved his gaze back to the documents at hand.

For some time, only the sound of his quill scratching across the papers filled the room. Stiff with tension, Pavel decided to steal some glances around the room. A luxurious red carpet, a table with a board game on it, refined wooden chairs, and a bookshelf packed with books and scrolls.

And in the corner, a giant armor that matched the man’s build on display. It was made simple and strong, thicker than a normal plate mail. It had traces of repairs and scratches here and there, perhaps proof that it had witnessed many battles.

Next to it, a battle hammer casually leaning against the wall. It was perhaps just as battle-worn as the armor, since, despite the proper maintenance, it still gleamed in a dark, dull light.

“…Coo!”

Then, his eyes suddenly met with those of the crow that rested on the perch. It cocked its head and leaned forward, taking in Pavel with its red eyes. Suddenly, Pavel felt a mysterious light of intelligence in those eyes, as if they were seeing through his heart, and looked away in discomfort.

“—Alright, this should do.”

Giving it a quick, final sign, the man returned the quill to the inkwell, then bundled up the documents and thrust them out to one of the men clad in black.

“Handle it as usual, please. The rest of you may leave us.”

“Understood.”

Urged by the man, the men in black respectfully excused themselves from the room. The door closed with a click. Remaining in the room were just the big man, Pavel, and Rat.

“Phew, oh man, my shoulders hurt…” He snapped his neck while rotating his shoulders and continued, “Now then, sorry for making you wait. We can take our time and talk at length now.”

He joined his hands on top of the desk and faced Pavel and Rat once again. Being on the receiving side of his gaze, one filled with intelligence — which made him even harder to read and drew a stark contrast with his appearance — a chill ran down Pavel’s spine.

“…Ah.”

But then, the man’s expression turned stern, seemingly having remembered something as he observed the pale-faced Pavel.

“Now that I think about it, you two were injured, weren’t you?”

“…”

“Y-Yes…”

Next to Rat, who merely stared back at the man blankly, Pavel assented while trembling in fear, thinking that he had made some blunder.

Hearing his reply, the man’s expression turned bitter and continued, “Oh, that was quite thoughtless of me. It must be hard to keep standing like that. Give me a moment.” Then, he suddenly stood up, headed to the corner where the table was, grabbed two chairs, and returned.

“Here, you can use these for the time being.”

“N-No need, we are fine as is!”

“Oh, don’t be so modest, it’s not a big deal.”

The man nonchalantly urged them to take a seat. Pavel was feeling obliged that the boss went out of his way to bring chairs for them. Rat, on the other hand, quickly sat down while raising incoherent groans, oblivious to Pavel’s distress, so he timidly followed suit and took a seat.

“Good good, that’s better.”

After giving a satisfied nod, he threw his giant body on his own chair, and inclined his head.

“Now then, I welcome you once again. I am the head of the Ignaz Thieves, 『Denner』.

He gave a dignified introduction.

Denner.

Hearing that name, Pavel froze.

Then, his gaze, as if lured, shifted towards the battle hammer in the corner.

“Denner… 『Denner』the Giant?”

Those words leaked from his mouth, seemingly without intention. The giant — Denner, merely responded with a profound smile to those words.

“…M-My apologies, I am Pavel.”

Realizing his blunder of blanking out in front of his superior, Pavel quickly pulled himself together and straightened himself.

“…Oh, this guy is Ratrand. His mouth has been injured, making it impossible for him to talk. Also, he’s gotten a bit crazy in the head.”

“Yes, the report I received mentioned that.”

Denner pulled out some documents from the drawer and went over them as he rubbed his beard.

“It happened near Tahfu, right? One archer commenced a surprise attack on Morissette’s squad, annihilating it, as well as killing Morissette himself…”

“Indeed.”

“Tell me the details of how it happened.

Urged by Denner’s serious face, Pavel moistened his lips and started to explain from the beginning. About how they attacked two travelers, and how they ended up letting them escape, and finally, how they received a surprise attack while camping…

Denner listened with a serious face, asking some questions and jotting things down on a paper.

“I see… Hey, how were Morissette’s final moments?”

“I’m sorry, I was out black at that time.”

“…I see. It’s fine then, don’t worry about it.”

Pavel responded apologetically but Denner waved it off.

“…And, we also have this…”

As if to drive away the awkward atmosphere, Pavel pulled that from his chest pocket. It was an object wrapped up in a black cloth. He put it on the desk with a clank.

Denner slowly reached out to it, removing the cloth. Within, a dull silver blade.

It was a dagger smeared with the blood of the Hound Wolves.

“We found it stabbed in a Hound Wolf, so it most likely belonged to the assailant… I found it while fleeing and recovered it.”

“…I see. Well done.”

Picking up the dagger, he raised it at eye level, letting the sunlight shine on it. As he flicked the blade with his finger, it gave off a clear ring.

After fiddling with the dagger for some time, Denner raised his face and stared directly at Pavel.

“Pavel. Are you familiar with magic?”

“Huh? …No, not really. You make a request towards the Spirits in spirit language and they create miracles… That’s the extent of my knowledge…”

“I see. So then, did Morissette teach you to find the enemy’s possessions during such situations?”

“Yes. Captain always told us we could use them as a lead.”

“I see, I see. That was good thinking from him.”

Nodding several times, Denner’s expression looked strangely pleased yet somehow lonely.

“…I understand. Good work on the report, you two.”

Denner stood up and clapped his hands. Immediately, the door opened and two maids dressed in black quietly entered the room.

“Guide them to their rooms. And give them some proper food. Oh, right, one of them has a broken mouth, so be thoughtful of that.”

“As you wish, Lord Denner.”

After a respectful bow, the maids asked Pavel and Rat to follow them out of the room.

“Huh, um, I…”

The sudden guest treatment made Pavel dart his eyes in confusion. He glanced at Denner as if seeking for help, but only received a grin in response and the added comment of, “Oh, just think of it as a holiday. This is a pretty remote place, but you can take it easy here. Once your wounds have healed, I’m going to put you to good work.”

And then, he followed it up with a hearty laugh.

With a bewildered expression, Pavel bowed with words of thanks, and was ultimately taken out of the room by the maids along with Rat who hadn’t spoken a word.

The door closed shut, leaving only Denner, and the red-eyed crow in the room.

Denner flopped down on the chair, and vulgarly put his legs on the desk.

“…What do you think, pops?”

He muttered as if speaking to himself while playing with the dagger.

“Caaw~”

The crow gave a single cry, and started preening itself with a composed expression.

“Pops. I wish you’d stop messing around with me.”

“Caw~caw~…caw~ka-ka-ka-kah!”

Midway, its cawing turned into the hoarse voice of an old man.

“…Indeed. Ka-ka, it would seem that he’s no ordinary man.”

The crow flapped its wings and flew to the desk from its perch. Its wriggling red eyes fixed their gaze on Denner.

Black crow.

Setting aside its eyes that were of burning red color, it otherwise looked like an ordinary bird.

But now, the crow started talking clearly, as if it was completely natural.

“Were they an average man, being targeted by that lad Morissette would have already spelled checkmate. And yet, not only has he managed to come out alive, but he even planned a counterattack and succeeded in annihilating a squad of ten men… Considering all this, we hardly have a basis to doubt his ability. The problem instead would be…”

“‘Why was someone so skilled in a place like that?'”

“Precisely.”

As the crow nodded profoundly, Denner moved his eyes towards the documents at hand. And then sighed while scratching his head.

“It sure is weird, huh. A blonde, blue-eyed young girl dressed in black, and an archer wearing the Grassland people’s attire would be too conspicuous.”

“It would be one thing if they were in the seaside town, but Tahfu is an inland area. Before coming into contact with Morissette’s unit, they should have been a hot topic in the nearby towns and villages.”

“Yeah. And yet, nothing is showing up no matter how much we look into it. I just don’t get it.”

Denner threw the documents on the desk with a thud. The papers had detailed reports from their members that slipped into nearby towns and villages.

“Indeed. I sense that someone is pulling the strings. The unnaturalness of it could only mean that. Having said that, I am merely basing this on my intuition as a magician…”

“Your intuition is usually on point, pops. What are you suspecting though?”

“Tahfu is part of the Balquet domain, is it not? In that case, I can only suspect Satyna.”

“Well, if we were to think of a big town that isn’t our customer, it really narrows down to that one, huh…”

One man and one bird pondered silently for a moment.

“…Oh well, we can find it out right away. Pops, the usual, please.”

“Very well, I shall have the birds look into it…”

The black crow spread its wings wide before the dagger.

【Barono de nigregaj, Stina】

Then, its eyes lit up…

【Vi sercas la mastro… ekzercu!】

The blade sitting on the desk rumbled as if in response to the crow’s call.

“Hmm…”

The crow’s eyes started wriggling hectically like that of a chameleon. But that didn’t last very long either, and they quickly fixed at one spot. It faced directly towards the east and tilted its head.

“…Found him. He is in Satyna.”

“Oho, so you were right. In that case, that Archer is probably their spy, huh? Where in Satyna is he? If he’s in a high-class district, then there would be no doubt that he’s a mercenary hired by the lord.”

“Now this is… strange. He is in a completely ordinary inn in what looks like a business district. Hmm, there is a blonde girl with him, too, albeit not dressed in black. I can not see his face as he is facing away from me, however—”

Staring at an empty space, the crow tried to continue its words as if doing a live coverage. But then, the dagger on the desk started to rattle, and the atmosphere inside the room turned bizarre.

“Mgh, this is bad!”

The crow’s voice held impatience. It suddenly flapped its wings and flew away from the dagger.

—— Sinjoro ——

Within the room…

—— Kion vi volas, huh? ——

Reverberated an innocent yet bewitching voice.

The winds started raging outside of the window, its frame being furiously rocked. Having an ominous premonition, Denner quickly got down on the floor.

Then came the blast of wind.

And with a piercing sound, the window shattered to pieces. The glass fragments scattered everywhere and the documents fluttered down, the wind flooding in, whirling and raging like the bellow of a beast.

“I-It can’t be!”

As the crow clung to the desk for its dear life, it happened.

In the blink of an eye, the dagger that had been left alone started developing cracks and started to crumble apart.

“No, stop!”

It hurriedly rushed to the dagger, but suddenly, it got blasted all the way to the end of the room, as if swatted away by an invisible hand.

“Pops!”

“I am fine! But—!”

As Denner got up, the dagger crumbled like sand before his eyes. Those tiny grains got picked up by the wind, and melted into the empty sky as if being guided towards it.

—— Gis la revido ——

The voice was bell-like, containing a laugh, like that of a mischievous child. Within the whirling wind, Denner visualized a single girl clad in a robe of feathers.

Then suddenly, the winds ceased.

“…”

A moment later, the only ones left at the scene were the dumbfounded Denner, and the crow, shaking its head to clear the headache, its feathers scattered everywhere.

“…Pops, what the hell happened just now?”

Seeing the devastated room, Denner asked while glancing reproachfully at the crow. But the crow opened its mouth in a daze…

“…Ka.”

Letting out the voice it had been holding back…

“Ka… ka-ka… ka-ka-kahh, kahahahahahah!!”

And started to laugh uncontrollably as it flapped its wings in excitement.

“Ka-ka-ka, that lad, he noticed me! He noticed my eyes! Kakaka, oh what a find!! What a find he is!”

“I don’t see what’s so funny about this… care to explain?”

Denna asked disheartened while picking up the documents. The crow flew and sat on his shoulder, then peered into his face from the side.

“A magician,” he whispered. “The archer in question is a magician. He has the protection of a Great Spirit.”

“A Great Spirit?”

“Indeed. Not a mere Fairy or Ignis Fatuus, but a mighty Elemental Spirit. In this case, I daresay it was the Wind Spirit.”

Finding the situation amusing for some reason, the crow started cracking up once again.

“Give me a break, pops. This room has turned into a mess because of your blunder…”

Denner sighed while holding his forehead. The window’s glass had been pulverized, the furniture and furnishings had toppled over, and things like papers were scattered all around; it was as if the room had been visited by a tornado.

“Khah-ka-ka. My bad, my bad. But that youth has caught my interest.”

The crow jumped down on the desk. In its shining eyes, there was a repulsive light, one different from that of intelligence.

“I desire it. I desire to obtain the power of that Spirit by any means necessary. I wish to make it mine. In addition… Tiuj kiuj insidas en la sablo… alie gi estus unu el la vizitantoj…”

Seeing the crow mumbling something with its eyes darting, Denner gave another small sigh.

“…Well, whatever. Anyway, we can assume that the archer in question is related to Satyna, right?”

“Indeed. Brilliant archers like him, on top of magicians, do not lie around like apples. He is either a mercenary hired to deal with us, or perhaps… Either way, it can not be a mere coincidence.”

Nodding in response, Denner clapped his hands.

Immediately, the door opened and maids in black entered the room. They had composed expressions like dolls, but even they couldn’t maintain those when they saw the disastrous state of the room.

“Lord Denner, what is…”

“Well, I made a little blunder and a mischievous child managed to slip in… I will leave the cleanup to you.”

“O-Of course…”

Denner responded and shrugged jokingly, making it hard to discern whether he was joking or telling the truth, but the maids still nodded despite their bewilderment.

“Then I’ll return to the attic. Call me if I’m needed.”

“Understood.”

Denner gave the bowing maids a sidelong glance and left the room.

“…Still, that door can be quite inconvenient at times, huh?”

“Caw.”

The wooden door, adorned with intricate ornaments. Denner glanced at it as he reached the spiral staircase and muttered to himself. Although it looked like an ordinary door, it had a spell cast on it that only allowed limited sounds to escape. It was ideal for private talks, but on the other hand, whatever occurred inside, those on the other side had no way of knowing.

He headed up the staircase.

Only the clanking sound of his heels hitting the stone steps could be heard. Pavel thought the office was the top-most floor, but there was actually a small attic just above it. It was an entirely private room where Denner banned all but himself from entering.

Reaching the top, he unlocked a small wooden door and entered the attic. In that small room that was in quite an imbalance with his giant build, there was only a largish bed, a snuggly bookshelf, a perch, and a small side table.

“Now, what shall we do, pops?”

To Denner’s question, the crow who had moved on to the perch asked while tilting its head.

“…Are you talking about the countermeasures towards Satyna?”

“That too, but I’m talking about Ignaz Thieves… Don’t you think it’s about time we ended this whole thieving act?”

Denner sat down on the bed and joined his hands together on the table, peering into the crow’s red eyes.

“We have spent enough time on it. And we have sowed enough seeds. Be it slave trading, poor drug trading, or acting like spies, I’m sick of it all.

Lately, Satyna has strengthened its management, too. We even decided to withdraw from it just recently, because it just wasn’t worth it anymore. And now that the other side has even shown hostility as if they are conspiring something, I feel like this is a sign for us.”

“…So the time has come, is it?”

“Yeah.”

Denner nodded to the crow’s mutter. It then continued with a hoarse voice.

“…Truth to be told, I am also fed up with acting like a carrier pigeon.”

“You can’t stop doing that even if we call it quits with playing house. Rather, you’ll become even more busy.”

Denner responded with a mean smile.

“Well, there is that archer to consider too. We have to make appropriate preparations.”

“Yeah… But we should get down to work already.”

“Very well. In that case, Denner, I will return as well. Take care of 『this one』for me.”

“Got it.”

As Denner nodded, the red color faded from the perched crow’s eyes.

“…Caaaw! Caaaw!”

It cried once, and again. Then it started restlessly looking around the room, as a normal bird would.

While observing it, Denner muttered to himself.

“Good grief, that Morissette. He just had to kick the bucket when he still had so much life left…”

Ignaz Thieves had countless members, but Morissette was one of the oldest comrades that Denner had known for a decade.

Denner recalled the last time he saw Morissette’s face during the top brass gathering a few weeks back.

Boss, is there any point in continuing thieving any longer?

Morissette had said those words to him.

Ignaz Thieves, as their name suggested, were a band of thieves.

But it has been a bit over a decade since they had formed. They had resorted to kidnapping women and children as one would expect from thieves, and using them, established connections with slave merchants. And with that, they managed to establish a front for the surface society, albeit themselves being barely in the grey area, just one step away from black.

Making use of that opportunity, Denner and the rest got involved in all kinds of matters. From cunning covert operations, to smuggling and contraband, even dealing with drugs both legal and illegal, and on top of that they conducted proper trade to camouflage all that.

Nowadays, there were many people working for them without even realizing that they were doing Ignaz’s work.

And the telepathic communication through magic coupled with their wide sphere of action helped gather intel, allowing the organization to grow even more. Recently, Ignaz Thieves had even started to conduct backroom deals with some towns as an intelligence organization.

A giant, yet organized existence that dominated the underground society of the dukedom.

That was Ignaz Thieves’ current standing.

There were extremely few who had a proper grasp of the complete picture of the organization. Morissette used to be one of those few. The reason he posed Denner that question was due to the fact that the percentage of their vast income that actually came from thieving was so small it hardly counted as profit.

In other words, he wondered whether there really was any point for them to keep thieving at this stage.

“…It was necessary for us to act as thieves.”

Such was Denner’s answer.

“We were just thieves, but we had to act as spies too. We had to keep playing that role, hold on to that status, no matter what.”

Ignaz was a giant, powerful organization. However, if their actions made the surface society needlessly wary and turned everyone into their enemy, their organization still was not strong enough to manage to fight them off.

As such, they had to lower their guards. Stressing the fact that they were but ordinary thieves.

In addition, as their transactions with each town included self-restraint within the partnered territory as a clause, thieving was still necessary as a deterrent.

If you are thieving, make it profitable.

On the other hand, don’t suffer any damages.

Instead of making a profit by sacrificing and making up for it, don’t attack if you know it will come at a sacrifice. That was Denner’s instructions for Morissette.

Morissette wasn’t particularly strong, however, he was a cautious, crafty man. He neither got greedy nor overconfident, and merely continued doing his job indifferently until just now.

“Damn it, you just had to go and die,” He murmured, seemingly lonely. “…Well, we have reached an end too now.”

Raising his face, Denner gently brushed the bedside table.

Soundly, a map appeared on its surface like an illusion. It had all major metropolises on it, with the particulars of Ri’leir’s terrain, too. It was a map so detailed it would normally be considered a top-secret item by kingdoms.

On top of it, flags rose up in a similar fashion, filling the surface to the brim. Port City Kitene, Fortified City Satyna, Mining City Garon, Stronghold City Urvan — the flags of different colors and shapes stood on each of those cities. They were proof of the seeds that Denne’s group had devised and spread…

He then casually stood up and looked outside of the window.

The green scenery spread out all the way to the ends of the horizon.

There was also the forest, and the ruins buried in it.

“We have obtained many things until now…”

As the leader of a giant organization, Denner was able to acquire almost anything this world had to offer. They looted all kinds of gold and silver treasures, women, money — he had even become the lord of a castle now.

But even so…

There was still something that he hadn’t managed to take hold of.

He turned around, towards the floating, illusionary map.

—The United Duchy of Acland.

“Now then,” he grinned ferociously like a beast, “let’s steal this kingdom, shall we?”

And the gears of fate were set in motion.

 


 

A picture of Denner-sama that I received from Naka-sama. I can’t get enough of that callous gaze… Thank you very much!

 

 

 


<– Previous Chapter | Table of Content | Next Chapter –>

 


2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Vermillion – Interlude 3: The Stronghold – Part 1

  2. Pingback: Vermillion – Interlude 3: The Stronghold – Part 2

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.