1

After speaking, Little Salty Cat continued on without waiting for other players to respond.

“Do you guys remember the human butler we captured before during the crocodile mercenary quest?”

Li Mu was slightly startled.

“Oh is that butler also in this town?”

Firstly, he had vivid memories of that timid butler, and it was interesting how the old man would do anything just to preserve his life, so he couldn’t help but be curious about how the elderly man’s life turned out to be after he escaped.

“Yeah, but…you might not recognize him at all with the way he currently looks now.”

Little Salty Cat said, before sending into the chat a screenshot she took earlier in secret.

A couple of seconds passed and the image she uploaded showed an image of the lanky guard speaking to the butler.

The lanky guard wore a flattering expression, while the older man’s face looked rather unpleasant. However, what caught the players’ attention the most was the butler’s current appearance.

The old butler no longer resembled the refined figure they once saw. Instead, he now looked so skinny akin to a living skeleton with a waxen complexion and dry disheveled hair, resembling a fugitive who had been through months of hardship.

His clothes were also no longer the expensive attire from before but rather an ill-fitting winter coat similarly worn by the townspeople.

“Come on now, why did this guy lost so much weight? I remember he was as round as a ball when I first saw him at the crocodile mercenary camp.”

“It’s really him…I almost didn’t recognize him.”

“How did he end up in this town?”

Hearing the surprised voices of the rest of the players, Little Salty Cat chuckled and continued talking in the voice chat:

“I inquired about it from the guards and it seems he got lost outside in the wilderness for nearly two months before finally making his way back to this town, hence the drastic change. Also, according to the guards, he arrived just a bit earlier than us.”

“He got lost after escaping? That’s quite a story.”

“Pfft, quite pitiful, isn’t it?”

Meanwhile, Li Mu raised an eyebrow:

“Did the other humans that accompanied him also returned when he came back?”

Little Salty Cat replied with a confused look.

“I probed a bit, but no one else returned. Among the dozen or so we let go that day, only he came back apparently.”

HootyBird furrowed her brow.

“Other humans? Does that mean…this town was actually the one Meryer robbed some livestocks from?”

“Cough, cough…No Sister, he didn’t robbed them per se, but bought—or rather forcefully bought those livestocks and Meryer also didn’t forcibly kidnapped the townspeople and were instead just hired to be used as temporary labor.”

“Meryer explained to me that he directly bought the livestocks from a human count’s territory nearby. Since it was more profitable dealing with nobles than with the poor folks of this town, as it was useless dealing with them.”

Little Salty Cat explained with a hint of strangeness in her tone.

HootyBird: “…”

“I was thinking, since that timid old man is, in fact, the butler of the Lord of Maple Leaf City, perhaps we could accompany him, as we are also traveling towards that city. Additionally, the guard who greeted us is apparently going to be that butler’s escort, so we might consider hiring that guard as our guide.”

“So here’s what I think… why don’t we travel together with that butler and see if we can gain his trust so that he could introduce us to the aristocrats or auction houses in Maple Leaf City? After all, he likely has numerous connections being the butler of the Lord of the city.”

Little Salty Cat suggested.

Upon hearing her words, some players began expressing interest with her idea.

“Hey that’s actually a good idea!”

“This plan seems doable! I remember that old man seemed to know quite a lot about the human society back when we interrogated him. We can definitely succeed if we tapped upon his aristocratic connections!”

However, some players also voiced their hesitations.

“But the problem is… how do we gain his trust in the first place, and…won’t he recognize our identities?”

“He still hasn’t recognized us.”

Little Salty Cat shook her head and continued:

“It looked like he was checking with the guards about who we are earlier! I just don’t get why he didn’t come over himself to ask us directly…”

“I believe it was because it was still dark when we attacked their camp, and by the time we defeated the mercenaries, everyone was already covered in blood, making it difficult to properly see our faces. Moreover, he probably hasn’t recognized us all this time since we slightly altered our appearances.”

“By the way, he also didn’t recognized any of our carriages either, indicating that our modifications are quite effective.”

Little Salty Cat expressed her judgment and the players nodded in agreement.

Well that makes sense.

However, after listening to Little Salty Cat, Boxlunch’s brows slightly furrowed. He pondered for a moment and suddenly asked, “He’s inquiring about us?”

Little Salty Cat nodded.

“Yes, I saw it with my own eyes.”

Boxlunch’s brow furrowed even deeper.

Seeing his expression, Li Mu became curious.

“What’s wrong brother Box, is there a problem?”

Boxlunch nodded slightly and said in a low voice,

“Feels like…he’s hiding something.”

The rest of the players looked puzzled.

“Hiding something?”

Li Mu was about to ask further when he noticed Boxlunch suddenly looking towards Demacia.

“That clothes, bring them out.”

Demacia was slightly puzzled.

“What clothes?”

“The one you picked up.”

Boxlunch said.

Demacia suddenly showed a look of realization.

He then quickly slapped his forehead before he stood up and eventually pulled out a shabby, bloodstained piece of clothing from the accompanying carriage next to him.

As he pulled it out, he muttered to himself, “I almost forgot about this… I thought it was some key item, but it triggered nothing even after we entered the town so I was about to throw it away…”

However, as he spoke, Demacia suddenly fell silent because he noticed Boxlunch and Li Mu’s expressions gradually turning serious.

Even Tomato narrowed his eyes slightly as they all stared at the tattered clothing in Demacia’s hand, seemingly lost in thought.

“W-What’s going on?”

Demacia suddenly felt a bit uneasy.

“I didn’t hide any treasures this time, really. If you don’t believe me then here, have a look, I still haven’t even searched through this clothing yet… and it’s not even a mercenary’s attire or anything …”

Li Mu: “…”

Little Salty Cat: “…”

HootyBird: “…”

Tomato: “…”

“What a mess,” Li Mu said as he showed a complex expression.

He then sighed slightly after scrutinizing the clothing for a while.

“Demacia, don’t you find these clothes look really familiar if you look at it more closely?”

“Familiar?”

Demacia was slightly stunned.

He carefully scrutinized the clothing, and suddenly felt a little surprised:

“Now that you guys mentioned it…this attire really resembles what those humans captured by the Black Dragon were wearing back then.”

Boxlunch’s expression was solemn as he snatched the clothing from Demacia’s hands and unfolded it.

It was a rather worn-out piece of clothing, with the chest portion showing a large black stain that appeared to be dried blood.

After unfolding the clothing, Boxlunch’s expression became even more solemn. Pointing at the dried bloodstains, he evenly said, “The entry wound is on the back.”

“Likely inflicted by a knife from behind.”

Upon hearing his words, Li Mu’s expression subtly changed.

“Are you suggesting… the butler did this?”

Boxlunch glanced at him.

“Most likely.”

HootyBird’s expression also changed. She frowned in thought and then realized, “The possibility of him doing it is really high…since the butler was the only one walking in this direction ahead us.”

“But, if it’s really him, then why would he kill those people who escaped along with him? There’s no benefit for him at all to do so…”

Demacia found it a little strange.

“It could be related to our confrontation with the crocodile mercenary group…he might be eliminating any potential witnesses and has some hidden agenda of some sort, possibly even linked to us,” Li Mu said as his eyes flickered.

“I heard from the Elves that escaped from this country that the Borderlord of the Holy Maniya Empire, just like the orcs, also relied on selling elves to make his fortunes.”

“Not only that, but rumors indicates that he is also quite powerful and more formidable than the Orcs with a high-end combat capabilities possibly just below the Legendary-rank…”

“If the orcs are not blessed by their patron deity, then maybe he alone can destroy the tens of thousands of orcs all by himself.”

“That Butler might’ve seen us either as a possible threat or prey since we defeated the crocodile mercenary group with a thousand elves alongside Meryer…”

After hearing his explanation, Demacia’s expression became somewhat peculiar.

“Brother Mu, are you saying that butler silenced them and plans to take all the credit for our information when he reports it to his master?”

“Probably.”

“But if it’s really him, then why would he even bother carrying this clothes? Isn’t he exposing himself as their murderer?”

Demacia remained puzzled.

However, both HootyBird and Li Mu rolled their eyes at him.

“What’s the current season?”

Demacia was stunned.

“Uhh…Winter?”

He then widened his eyes and slapped his thigh, before exclaiming,

“I see! His butler uniform is quite thin, offering little warmth. So to compensate, he used these clothes as additional insulation. However, upon his return to civilization, he discarded them out of guilt. Unfortunately for him, I just happened to come across them!”

Li Mu nodded slightly and added, “Those dozen or so people who escaped alongside him didn’t come back.”

Demacia frowned. “Brother Mu, are you suggesting that butler killed the others? Just him alone? How could he do it? I mean, that timid guy was so scared out of his pants by us back then!”

“He was only afraid because we had the advantage in numbers. But what if he’s only up against a dozen or so ordinary humans who aren’t even experts?”

Little Salty Cat countered.

Demacia was momentarily speechless.

Li Mu pondered for a moment and said, “That butler… is suspicious.”

“Let’s be cautious around him; we can consider traveling together with them, but we must be careful.”

“No, I think it’s better to travel alongside him. Since we can observe him more closely, and perhaps even find out what that he is up to…”

“If we don’t figure it out, worst case scenario, we might fail another potential hidden quest.”

273

【 THE SUSPICIOUS BUTLER

— —