The Master of the Brave - Chapter 73
Chapter 73 – What lurks in the darkness of the Imperial City (I)
A ray of light shone in a back alley illuminated by the magic Bright Light.
“If you don’t want to die, you’d better give up.”
In a tone so light that it was hard to believe that Kelvin had just decapitated a person so easily, he told the men in front of him with their dead companion. He made a slight movement with his knight’s sword to clean up the blood, and then immediately rested the blade on his shoulder.
Kelvin’s eyes, so narrow that you could not tell if they were open or if he was asleep, smiled as he clearly enjoyed the situation.
“Oh, and don’t do anything crazy, for it is for your own good, so drop your weapon in silence. That man is crazy and will kill you if he has to.”
In the back alley of the one-way street behind the men, Royce, who was blocking the escape route, said those words to the men in an appropriate tone.
“Calling me crazy is a cruel thing to do, Captain. Well, I won’t deny that I will kill you if you resist.”
“Don’t say such a thing so happily. It is frightening, vice-captain.”
Lino complained. She was behind Royce, with her sword ready.
Kelvin was in front, and Royce, Locke, Lino and Wedge were blocking the way behind.
In all, there were seven men. Even if they were used to difficult situations, they were still ordinary men, and they could not compete with the knights who used magic to significantly improve their physical abilities.
The one standing in front was Kelvin alone. However, Kelvin’s murderous intent was more frightening to the men than the four other people who blocked the rear.
In front of Kelvin was the body of their fallen comrade. The head, which had rolled at their feet, was facing the men with his eyes open like a plate.
The walls were stained with a sticky layer of fresh blood.
Grunting weakly, the men dropped their crude weapons from their hands.
“I’m glad you made such a difficult decision. Wedge, Locke, tie these guys up. Lino, gather their weapons. We will hand them over to the guards later.”
“I expected a little more resistance…”
Lamenting, Kelvin walked over to Royce. The men, who were listening to Kelvin’s words, realized that he was not lying, and trembled. Even with them being almost amateurs, they could tell that Kelvin’s execution was extraordinary.
“You worked hard.”
“No, no. I haven’t cut anything lately. To tell you the truth, a little more…”
‘Who the hell put this guy on a rearguard mission?’
In Royce’s squad, that was a unanimous thought.
Royce had already known and dealt with Kelvin as a senior and junior before he became a member of the Zaunas squad, and since then he had not stopped thinking about how good it was to have him on their side. If he were set free as a criminal, no other man would be so dangerous.
“Hmm, well, we’ve already discovered that you’ve been kidnapping and selling people.”
After focusing again, Royce began questioning the kidnappers who were tied up. If they were defiant, he would not hesitate to torture them, but the men answered his questions honestly, as if Kelvin were too scary.
However, he was unable to obtain any information about the abduction of the Count Baymond’s daughter, Miss Azalea, which is what Royce wanted.
“If-if I could have kidnapped a big shot like a noble’s daughter, I would have left this place and lived a better life.”
The men were right.
In the end, they could only find out about a few other organizations that appeared to be involved in the abductions.
“Captain, what are we going to do with them?”
“As I said before, we will hand them over to the guards. Well, Kelvin, Wedge, you’ll have to take them back to the guard station.”
Kelvin responded, surprised, and Wedge nodded slightly.
“I’m not very good with officers.”
“Don’t complain. The kidnappers’ group is bigger than ours. If we were to send Wedge and Lino to the office as we usually do, there is a chance they would escape.”
“No, but even so, with two people it’s quite difficult…”
“If they show any sign of trying to run away on the road, I don’t mind you cutting off a few of their limbs.”
Kelvin smiled at those words.
“If I cut off their legs, I’ll have to carry them, so I’ll settle for their arms.”
“We won’t run away! We won’t, so stop it!”
The men in the kidnapping group trembled at the words of Kelvin, who spoke with a smile on his face. After being tied up with ropes, they were pulled by Wedge, who was holding one end, and began to walk. The steps were heavy at first, but when Kelvin sounded a metallic tap behind them, they began to walk fast, even though their legs seemed to be tangled.
“All right then, Locke and Lino.”
After watching them leave, Royce turned to his remaining subordinates.
“Let’s search the house they were using as a hideout. It seems that they have been stealing as well as kidnapping. So, Locke. You’re from a family of merchants, you’re a bit of a connoisseur, aren’t you? If you see something that smells like stolen money, you let me know. And Lino’s family was a pharmacist, right? You have some knowledge of medicine, right?”
“Captain, how do you know that? But yes, I know a little.”
“There may be some forbidden drugs. And there may still be people left inside who have been kidnapped. If the victim is a woman, it’s basically up to you. There may still be some of them inside. Be very careful.”
‘Well, I don’t think we’ll get much information if we search the house.’
With that in mind, Royce descended the stairs of the abandoned house that the kidnappers used as their hideout, and the basement that was built inside.
He became breathless on the way, and his two subordinates became concerned about him.
In the dining room of the Wandering Bird’s Nest. Recently, Locke, who often stayed in the office assigned to Royce’s squadron, had returned to his dormitory for the first time in a while, so Wynn invited him to eat at the Wandering Bird’s Nest for dinner. Along with them were Cornelia, who was attending to Knights’ school, and Leticia.
“Wynn and Leticia-sama really come here to eat often, don’t they?”
Locke said as he stabbed his fork into the chicken.
“Well, you know. I grew up eating the food that Randall-san makes. And I still think the food here is the best.”
“Yes. Also, I used to eat here often with Onii-chan, so for some reason I think I like the taste of this place better.”
Wynn and Leticia looked at each other and laughed.
“It’s true that the food here is delicious, but wasn’t the food at Leticia-sama’s parents’ house better?”
“Hmm… I don’t have very good memories of home. But I like this one that I ate with Onii-chan. Also, it’s true that the food at home is definitely delicious, but it’s not freshly made, so it’s always cold.”
“Ehh, there’s nothing like childhood meals. Cornelia-sama, does the food here suit your taste?”
“If you think it’s good, then that will be a confirmation.”
Cornelia, who was elegantly gathering the soup and drinking it, smiled.
“It’s true that food prepared by a top chef is delicious, but I don’t think Randall-san’s skills are inferior either.”
Wynn nodded at those words.
The inn was located on the main street of the imperial capital. They didn’t exactly have an elegant clientele, but workers, adventurers, mercenaries and merchants, but Randall’s culinary skills were a big reason it continued to prosper, outperforming other rivals. Randall was particularly good with stews, and some people even ordered their own to go. Now, his oldest son, Mark, had inherited that talent, and was being trained by Randall every day.
“By the way. Locke and the others are investigating the kidnappings now, right?”
“Well, there’s something I want you to hear.”
Wynn called Seri, who passed between the tables carrying a tray of food. She approached them and nodded when Wynn asked her to tell him about the recent disappearance in the slums.
“Some of the merchants from the market I go to have farms on the outskirts, and I heard that a number of children and people who have come from outside have disappeared near the slums.”
The reason Wynn originally invited Locke to come to the Wandering Bird’s Nest inn was because he wanted them to talk about this story and tell it to him.
“Actually, one of the guests at our inn who was a mercenary has also disappeared.”
“If she was a mercenary, maybe she’s doing some work?”
“No, she left behind quite a lot of luggage and money.”
“A Mercenary, uh… I think it’s possible that she died due to some sneak attack because of some grudge from one of her other jobs, but I understand. I’ll ask the guards if there were any related incidents.”
Seri bowed to Locke and went to the customer who had called her to place an order.
“But it’s too risky to kidnap someone who’s a skilled mercenary, isn’t it?”
Wynn said, following Seri with his eyes as she walked busy between the tables.
“But the kidnapped Miss Azalea, of Count Baymond’s family, also had the rank of Associate Knight. Of course, she can also do magic. I don’t know if Seri’s known mercenary was abducted, but if the other person has the ability to abduct Miss Azalea, or if it’s an organization, it doesn’t seem to matter how skilled their target is.”
“Is there any connection between the many missing persons in the slums?”
Leticia intervened between Wynn and Locke’s conversation.
“They don’t investigate missing persons from the slums or anything like that.”
Locke looked up at the ceiling with his fork in his mouth. The Knights, who received a request from the Guard to resolve the kidnapping of a noble’s daughter, initially thought it was just a kidnapping for ransom. After that, there was no request from the kidnappers, so now they were investigating whether it was a human trafficking organization that was targeting the daughters of nobles and the upper class. The demand for this was high because they were girls belonging to the nobility.
“And in the slums, there are many who would be willing to do that.
In the slums that extended outside the walls of the Imperial City, the refugees who had migrated lived in abandoned shacks, and many lived in the shadow of the outer walls of the Imperial City or in the streets. It was also a breeding ground for criminals, as it was a place where people who had no other way to earn their living went. The influx and outflow of people was so intense that it was difficult to determine whether the disappeared had gone elsewhere of their own free will or had been abducted by the traffickers.
“The slums, huh? But disappearances are so common that I’m not sure the security force knows. First of all, if it’s a refugee outside the outer wall, they are probably outside the guard’s jurisdiction as well.”
Locke nodded to Wynn’s words.
“There shouldn’t be an organization capable of kidnapping a noble’s daughter, but we don’t have any leads.”
“Have other nobles been attacked?”
“Not nobles, but there have been cases of maids and servants who have disappeared. A lot has been happening in the last month. I think it is unlikely that they have run away from home.”
“I’ll inform the captain,” said Locke and drank the soup. Then he put the spoon in the bowl.
“Speaking of which, when are you leaving the Imperial City, Wynn?”
“What? Wynn-san is leaving the Imperial City?”
Just then, Seri, who had been serving food to another table, passed by. She looked at Wynn with a surprised look on her face.
“Oh, it’s not like I’m going very far or anything. I may have to go to the Kingdom of Lyon for a while.”
Wynn said with a laugh, and Seri had a “by the way” look on his face, which seemed to recall something.
“I hear that the Crown Prince and Princess will be making a goodwill visit to the Kingdom of Lyon. By any chance, will Wynn-san be accompanying them?”
“You are well informed.”
“It’s a rumor from the city. Are you going to look after the prince and princess? Isn’t that great? The prince? And the imperial princess? Wow, amazing! Amazing!”
Seri leaned forward and shouted with enthusiasm.
“I’ve only been to the village and town of Nest before coming to the imperial capital, so I’ve never seen anyone from the royal family.”
“When you leave for Lyon, will there be a parade? I want to see it. But I have to work, right?’ Seri was in agony.
“Have you ever seen a member of the royal family up close?”
Wynn, Locke and Leticia’s eyes turned to Cornelia. The princess, Cornelia, was eating her stew with a carefree face.
“Wow, that’s amazing. I really admire princes and princesses. I used to play the princess with the village children…”
Seri smiled nostalgically.
“After all, all girls yearn for the same thing.”
With Seri’s words, Cornelia also laughed as if she were a little worried.
“They’ll probably pass by on the main street that day. I think Her Imperial Highness the Princess will probably not come out of the palanquin, but I think His Highness the Crown Prince will show his face.
“I hope to see him.”
Cornelia said, and Seri laughed and responded.
When they finished with the food, the hustle and bustle of the Wandering Bird’s Nest began to calm down.
“I’ll help you.”
Wynn offered this to Hannah and went into the kitchen.
“Wow, Wynn, are you going to help me? That would be great.”
“What are you doing?”
“Well, could you and Seri take the dishes and stuff from the empty tables to the sink?”
After the work of serving the food and tidying up in the dining area was done, Seri took the dishes from the tables that the customers had left to the wash area in the back of the kitchen one after another.
“I’ll help you.”
“No. Wynn-san is a customer.”
“I used to live and work here. This tickle isn’t going to stop until I do.”
Laughing, Wynn began to clean the empty plates one after another. Leticia, looking at Wynn and Seri carrying the dishes and clearing the tables, sighed a little.
“…Maybe I should learn to cook or do the housework too?”
Locke looked at Leticia reflexively.
“Yeah… when I see a scene like that, I’m kind of jealous.”
Cornelia, like Leticia, stared at Wynn and Seri as they washed the dishes. While Wynn was talking to Seri in a friendly way, all about the work, Leticia stood up, unable to continue, as she watched the two of them work so happily.
“Onii-chan, I’ll help you too!”
“Huh? You want to help too, Letty? But, you’ll get your clothes dirty.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll be careful.”
Leticia had rolled up her sleeves like Wynn and started washing the dishes. She was used to helping him from when she was a child.
The eyes of the customers who were still in the store were drawn to Leticia…
Leticia and Cornelia stood out with a dignity that was not commonly seen, and their appearance was also very impressive. From the moment they entered the inn, only during the meal, they attracted discreet glances from here and there.
However, as expected, when she started helping in the store, the eyes of all the customers were drawn to Leticia.
“But, as expected, there is no one who will want to make a fuss.”
There were quite a few who were drunk from alcohol, but, although there were some who threw vulgar words at Seri and tried shamelessly to touch his body, they only followed with their eyes to Leticia.
Leticia, who carried the atmosphere of a noble lady from every angle, was she that amazing?
‘Well, they probably wouldn’t even be able to touch her.’
“But Leticia-sama, she looks like a little sister who is going to have her favorite brother taken away from her…”
“I also have two older brothers, although I have never felt this way. But I think I can understand what Locke-san is trying to say.”
Cornelia said, and smiled as she looked at Leticia, who was competing with Seri and was washing the dishes next to Wynn. But that smile indicated some envy in Locke’s eyes.
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