Chapter 2 – Discovery of a Conspiracy
We returned to the city, having successfully accomplished our original goal of defeating the enemy.
The initial surprise attack had caused quite a bit of casualties, but I think we had done our job at the very least.
However, the only reason we could do so safely was that the Count came to reinforce us on the way.
So naturally, when he returned, the residents who had come to welcome us applauded him.
And as it was the very the son of the Marquis of Krall, the lord of the city, who played the most active role, the enthusiasm of the crowd was tremendous.
I would have preferred Lucy to be in the limelight, but this time I had no choice but to return to the barracks sulking.
I helped Lucy with the paperwork as usual, but this time, I also went to the command headquarters to check on the Count’s troop movements.
“There must be a reason why the Count, who doesn’t show up often, came out this time. Besides, I’m curious about that unusual strength of his.”
The Count himself said he was on patrol that time, but I’m not that kind of an idiot to believe that.
If anything, the timing of the reinforcements is just too good. I’m sure he was there for another reason.
Otherwise, the man who is considered the next lord would not have come out to the front line with only a hundred troops.
When I entered the headquarters, the first thing I did was to go to the document storage room. Anything that was not designated as classified could be viewed freely as long as you’re an adjutant. I followed the Count’s progress, carefully checking the dates and other details of his forays.
It turned out that his sorties had started to decrease drastically around a year ago.
He used to go out three or four times a week, but not so much anymore.
The rest of the time, he’s doing training, political work, or internal work.
“I don’t know if this is enough. Isn’t there more to it?”
I flipped through the pages, getting closer to the recent records, which showed that he had been absent from work a few days ago.
The Count I saw today was in good health, so it couldn’t be illness.
I cut off my probing work in the headquarters and put the documents back.
From here on, I’ll have to use my feet to investigate.
“I’ll have to do some legwork from here. If it works and we get a weakness, we’ll make a killing. Or if he is leading us to a bad situation, we’ll have preparations to withdraw immediately.” If y ou a re a ble to re ad th is mess ag e, y ou are re adi ng from an un autho riz ed agg regate site . Rea d at my Wor dPr ess at sta b bing wit h a syr inge. h ome. bl og to s upp ort me an d my tr ans lat ions.
I disguised myself lightly in my room, just in case, and headed for a tavern near the castle.
My target is any of the servants working at the castle, even though I’m not sure if any of them know the reason for the Count’s sudden absence.
“Now, it’s just a matter of luck.”
I put on my hat and walked out to the tavern I’d set my eyes on.
I have been to the other taverns several times before this, but pretty much all of them left me with no leads.
Still, even in the midst of the ongoing war with the monsters, these places are still piling up with people.
I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, though.
I immediately went to talk to the people who seemed to be servants.
The reason why I can tell them apart is because of the different atmosphere they gave and what they are ordering.
Since the monster attacks have reduced their production capacity, luxury goods have become more expensive lately.
And with good liquor being especially scarce, the first thing that comes to mind are those who have money to spend on them: soldiers or servants of high nobility who spend most of their wages on entertainment.
“Here’s the tavern. And if I’m correct, it’s around there at this time that……got them.”
I found a group of servants and naturally fell into conversation with them.
I had been left with nothing on several attempts but finally met my luck to meet a Count’s servant for the third time this day.
The Marquis of Krall and Count Luke live in the same castle, but the servants employed by the Count probably have more information about him.
The target was a man in his fifties who is drinking in a puffed-up manner.
“……certainly, being forced to retire is quite a predicament.” I started my probing.
From what I’ve found out, he said he used to be a live-in gardener working at the castle but had been recently fired.
From my perspective, that’s not unreasonable considering the man’s old age. But, on the other hand, he is an easy source of leaks now.
“This may not be much of a consolation, but……”
I put a bottle of alcohol in front of him.
“Oh, sorry about that, lad……are you a foreigner, perhaps?”
“Yes, I’ve been traveling around doing business place to place.”
“You’ve got a lot of guts doing it at these times where a monster could attack you at any moment.”
“Haha. Thank you. I know the risk, but it’s worth the high pay.”
Then I poured some liquor into his glass while we talked lightly.
While closing the distance with idle talk, I gradually brought the conversation towards Count Luke.
“I heard that the owner of the garden where mister was in charge of is the lord of this city. The lord aside, what kind of person is his son?”
“What, you want to hear about the little guy? Well, he is often compared to the great Marquis, so he was a headache back then. But, I think he has matured at some point as he’s calmed down over the past year or so.”
I returned my thoughts to what happened recently. Count Luke is indeed a skilled and powerful commander, but I could feel that his arrogance weighs more.
“As I have heard, he had another successful campaign just recently. I think the future of this city is as good as secure.”
When I said that, the former gardener snorted with a rugged look on his face.
“I’m not going to say this too loudly, but don’t trust him too much.”
“Oh? Why is that?”
“The boy has always had a bad habit of womanizing. I’m afraid he will get into trouble if he ain’t gonna fix that.”
Then he let out a sigh.
Even though he was dismissed, he is still a good servant, seeing that he still had this attachment.
But this time, I’m going to take advantage of it.
“Speaking of which, I heard the story too. He said that there were times when he acted unnaturally. Could it be related to women?”
“Unnatural behavior? That’s the first time I’m hearing this, though?”
‘It’s only recent. Just a few days ago.”
Asking this specific question normally would immediately classify me as someone suspicious. But since he’s already a man with a lot of liquor in his head, he can now afford to be a bit careless.
The ex-gardener deeply thought for a moment and then clapped his hands as if he remembered something.
“Come to think of it, he took a sudden leave of absence from work three days ago. I still remember it because it was so rare.” Th is chap ter trans lat ion is ma de poss ible by st abb ing wi h a sy ri nge tr ansl at ions. che ck on ly up- to-d ate trans latio ns on m y Wor dpr ess si te.
“Did you notice anything unusual that day?”
“Yes……I think he had a visitor. It was the middle of the night, so I didn’t know who it was.”
“Is that really it? Did you notice anything else unusual?”
The man ponders again.
Then, with a snort and a thought, he remembered one feature.
“He was wearing a military insignia, I believe. I think it was the insignia of the general advisor of the army. I remember it because some of the lord’s men had it.”
Wow, a chief advisor who isn’t even his subordinate. That’s interesting.
As I was saying this, a lone candidate emerged in my mind.
“Thank you, Uncle, that was an interesting conversation. I’ll leave this drink here.”
I left immediately, and the next day I began to investigate the area around Viscount Karl.
I looked into Viscount Karl’s affairs and obtained statements from other servants that the Viscount had indeed gone to Count Luke.
He must have cried out to the Count.
I don’t know what kind of words he used, but I’m sure he wanted to retaliate against me.
“The last time I took money from you for equipment, you gave me a huge glare when I left, even though it’s your daughter who is at fault. I should have expected it from the father of that Krone.”
I need to suss out the relationship between the Count and the Viscount and confirm the details immediately.
It’s just that I can’t do it all by myself.
Therefore, I consulted my colleagues, the vassals of Baroness Finlay, and asked them to lend a hand.
Because they are loyal to Lucy, they are more than willing to help.
Thanks to them who knew more about the aristocracy and the military than I did, the full story emerged.
In a vacant room of the noble barracks, which was secretly used as a conference room, materials were lined up for analysis.
“Apparently, Viscount Karl and Count Luke were senior and junior to each other at the military academy.”
The Viscount had relied on these contacts and had asked the Count for help.
“In addition, they marched through that narrow road on that day because the Viscount had arranged this plan in the command headquarters.”
It seems that he used his position as a chief advisor and strategist to steer us into a path that would make us vulnerable to a surprise attack.
Basically, he planned a sortie that would make us suffer. Then, the Count will use that chance to help the troops in trouble, which will increase his merits in battle.
“What a dirty man. If only he be court-martialed immediately.”
“And it’s not just milady. He even put all the troops in danger, all because he wants to gain the upper hand on us.”
After disseminating and analyzing the information I had gathered, the vassals who had cooperated with me were naturally very angry.
Now, they won’t be able to just sit back and let them do what they want.
And so, the night continued, with the vassals of Lucy and me thinking and working on how to retaliate on them.