The Master of the Brave - Chapter 114
Chapter 114 – The enemy in sight
The person who was led into the room by Count Riselman was Mito and a knight who was approaching old age. He was probably the steward who had been guarding Conrad Heisenberg’s old fortress.
“Wynn-dono, Brave-dono. is there a chance you’ll let me hear your story? Don’t worry, though. The Sword Saint has given his consent. There are some troublesome matters that you can’t tell anyone, aren’t there? It must have been a coincidence that I found you here now. Although I am old, I am still the Sword Crafter. Maybe I can help you in some way.”
Leticia looked at Wynn for an answer.
“If you have obtained the Crown Prince’s approval, there is no reason to refuse. Besides, it is very comforting to have the cooperation of Mito-dono, who is known as the Sword Crafter. I’m looking forward to work with you.” Wynn stretched out his arm and shook Mito’s hand.
Count Riselman, who was waiting at the entrance to the room, introduced the old steward to the three of them.
“Leticia-sama, Wynn-dono. This is Mr. Gidman, steward of Conrad Heisenberg’s fortress under the jurisdiction of the Kingdom of Lyon.”
“Thank you for coming all this way. My name is Wynn, squire to the First Princess of the Lemmrousell Empire.”
“My name is Gidman, as I was introduced by the Lord Ambassador. I heard earlier they said Sword Crafter, but does he really mean this old dwarf? And I find it hard to believe that she is the princess…”
“No, yes it is true that Mito-dono is the person with the “Sword Crafter” title, but she is not Her Imperial Highness.” Count Riselman corrected Gidman’s misunderstanding with a sincere expression. “This is Leticia-sama, the third daughter of Duke Mavis of the Lemmrousell Empire. Though she is better known as Brave Mavis-sama.”
How big was the shock that hit Gidman? The old steward, who knew the true identity of the three of them, especially Leticia, kept looking at her for a while, even after Count Riselman left the room.
“…So, you are the Brave-sama and that is your master-dono. And I was also able to meet the famous Sword Crafter-dono. With this, I will be able to tell my wife, my son and my grandchildren a good story.”
“We heard it from His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, but the reason you were asked to come here is because he wants you to tell us directly what you saw.”
Seeing that Gidman had calmed down, Wynn broke the ice.
“So, can you tell us one more time?”
“Yes, sir. But I don’t know if I can tell you anything more than what I wrote in my report…” Gidman said, and began to tell them what happened.
The violent tremor that shook Conrad Heisenberg’s old fortress. How the powerful barriers put up by the Great Sage, Tiara Scyrus Velfa, were broken, and the light they saw and thought it was coming from an intruder. And that when their colleague, who tried to go to investigate and approached the main building, his flesh began to rot and he lost his life. So, abandoning their duties in the field, the stewards made a hasty evacuation.
Leticia listened with her eyes closed as Wynn interjected from time to time with questions. In Wynn’s eyes, Leticia’s expression seemed to grow stern.
“What did you do after evacuating?”
The barrier of Conrad Heisenberg’s former fortress was breached, and the stewards who ran the mountain immediately forbade the inhabitants of the towns and villages at the foot of the mountain to enter. In addition to failing to notice that someone had approached the fortress, they also lost one of their own. Worse still, the cause of the tragedy could not even be investigated. The response of the royal city of Lyon was that it was best to make a decision on the spot and forbid anyone, including the stewards, to enter the vicinity of the old fortress. The result was frustration on the part of those in charge.
Finally, Crown Prince Raul himself arrived with his army. He asked Gidman and the other stewards to show him the way, and immediately set about investigating. After the stewards evacuated the people at the foot of the mountain, it was discovered that there had been another intruder besides the demon, and when they followed in their footsteps, they discovered that some kind of organization was involved in the incident. However, that was the extent of the information that Gidman and his team were able to obtain, and the stewards, including Gidman, were returned to their duties at the fortress. They were told that punishment for the blunder of allowing the intruders into the fortress would be meted out at a later date. While clearing the rubble of the old fortress that had been produced by the earthquake, they waited for news from the royal capital, but there was none, and after two months, they finally received answers.
“Explain it in person to those deeply involved in this matter. A representative of the stewards is asked to come to the capital and explain the situation that occurred in the old fortress.”
Gidman had come at the request of the royal capital.
Even if a punishment is to be handed down, the incident at the old fortress will probably have to be fully cleared up first. In the meantime, they will check the character of the steward who has been assigned to this case, and a request will be made for him to be punished alone. With these thoughts in mind, Gidman departed with his worried colleagues in tow.
When he finished speaking, Gidman looked at Leticia.
“I heard that the crime was committed by some kind of organization. However, about that violent earthquake we experienced, our fellow mages speculate that it was caused by the aftermath of Tiara-sama’s barrier breaking. After all, it was an earth tremor that caused the roof and stone walls of the old fortress to collapse. It takes a lot of power to break those barriers. And from the miasma eating away at my colleague’s body, we guessed that demons were deeply involved in this matter.”
“Even Tiara’s barriers can be broken with careful preparation. There are few mages who can match her, but, even so, there are adventurers and mages serving the country who might have such an ability. It is possible that those mages tried to break the barrier with those of the organization that invaded them, isn’t it?” Leticia, who had remained silent until the steward finished the story, opened her mouth.
“As you may know, the reason knights like us are being sent as stewards is to prevent the looting of the fortress and destruction of Conrad Heisenberg’s legacy. In other words, it is clear that the target could be none other than the legacy.”
“It couldn’t have been the work of an adventurer or some bandit looking to steal?” Wynn asked.
This was the old fortress where a famous wizard used to stay and study before his death. If you are an adventurer specialized in searching in ruins, this must have been a coveted prey. Some of them had treasures such as magical tools, grimoires, and some other valuable and expensive objects, so it was impossible that it was not in the sights of more than one. However, Gidman shook his head at Wynn’s question.
“There’s no way that’s the case. Throughout the kingdom, the adventurers’ guild has been asked not to speak of Conrad Heisenberg’s old fortress. If its location is discovered, silence is bought at a reasonable price so that it will not leak to the outside world. Thus, it is unlikely that adventurers belonging to the guild would attempt to enter a building controlled by the kingdom. However, there are still some who try to break the ban. But most of the time, those people are inexperienced and only half competent. And that old fortress is a difficult place to try to enter for someone with ordinary skill.”
Wynn and Leticia nodded at Gidman’s words.
“It follows from the above that an adventuring mage as impressive as the one the Brave-sama mentioned would not do anything against the instructions of the kingdom or the Adventurers Guild. They would have enough fame and fortune without having to risk so much. Besides, there should be a limited number of court magicians in the service of the country who are capable of breaking through Tiara-sama’s barriers. If they were such big names, their movements would always be closely watched. Therefore, I think it is different.”
“I think we can agree with what you said.”
Gidman nodded, relieved to see that Leticia agreed.
“But, even if the Adventurers Guild forbade it, that wouldn’t stop a bandit. It was also our duty as stewards to keep those people out. But there was one more thing, did you know? In this country, there used to be a pagan organization called the Apostates.”
“I’m the one who killed Sarah Ferrule, the leader these apostates believed in.”
“That’s right, they were thought to have disbanded after Sarah’s death, but we think that there were some remnants left, albeit small ones. And in many cases, they are still looking for the legacy of Conrad Heisenberg, as if they had inherited their leader’s wishes.”
“They’re still looking for it? Was there more to Conrad Heisenberg’s legacy than what was kept in the old fortress?”
Gidman nodded at Wynn’s question.
“It seems that Conrad Heisenberg had several research bases, but we don’t know all of them. The only person who knew all of them was Sarah Ferrule, who was also his best disciple. And we have already confirmed that some magical tools and grimoires taken from research centers we don’t know about have been spread around and are in their hands.”
“So, you think they are responsible for the recent attack on the old fortress?”
“No.” However, Gidman shook his head emphatically in response to Leticia’s question. “It is true that the apostate organization, once nearly extinct, has been rebuilt and seems to be on the move again, but, even so, they are not powerful enough to fight the kingdom properly.”
They were those who had lost their loved ones, their homeland and the beings they were meant to protect, and had had enough of the world. What they wanted was to destroy the world that now existed with the power of a God and to lead a new world. Creation after destruction. Sarah wanted to take the legacy of her master, Conrad Heisenberg, and make it work. It was said that many people agreed with this idea. There were rumors that even some of the most famous knights and generals of the destroyed country were among them. However, even with their combined strength, it would be extremely difficult for them to use enough magic to break through Tiara’s barriers. They would need to prepare the right catalysts and tools. However, if there was a movement of that magnitude, it would move an inordinate amount of money and a large amount of goods. There was no way such a move would not be picked up by the kingdom’s information networks, the Adventurers Guild and the Merchants Guild.
“Later, the military discovered that it was the “apostates” who broke into the old castle after us the stewards had evacuated. The timing of the earthquake was just right for them to do so. There is no doubt that there is a connection between those who broke through the barrier and the apostates. However, I don’t think they could have done it alone. I think it was the work of the demons, as I mentioned in the report, that the barrier was broken, that earthquake happened, and the old fortress was invaded.”
“But you didn’t see the demon, did you? If it’s true that there was a demon involved, that implies that there’s a connection between apostates and demons, right?”
Gidman had no immediate answer to Leticia’s question. He closed his eyes tightly and then slowly opened them. Then he folded his hands tightly in his lap.
“I was once a member of the Continental Anti-Demon Alliance, just like you. At the time, I watched other soldiers die the same way.”
In Gidman’s eyes was a clear look of fear. He had fought in the war against the demons, and if he was alive now, it was because he was lucky.
“The air that touched my dead colleague at that moment was miasma. I’ve never seen anything else like it, that melts one’s skin, except for miasma. But when I think of the way he lost his life, and the rumors I heard on the battlefield about what happens to those exposed to strong miasma…”
“…You can’t help but think there are demons involved, is that what you think?”
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