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Vol 6: Chapter 21 (2)

** Duke Grenjido **

「An intruder?」

The guard captain trembled, ferociously glared at by Duke Grenjido.

Grenjido received the report around the time he woke up — immediately after sunrise.

「Y-Yes, it seems that Earl Sillys was targeted. But thanks to the Earl alerting the guards, we managed to avoid further problems.」

「Idiot!」

「Eekk.」

「Someone broke into the Holy Royal Palace! It’s a big damn problem!!」

「I-I-I’m sorry…」

The silver cup in Duke Grenjido’s hand was crushed. The water inside the cup leaked out. It turned pink due to the bleeding from the Duke’s hand.

「…Is Victor safe?」

「Huh?」

「I’m asking if Earl Sillys is safe.」

「B-But, of course– Ah, no, he was slightly injured because of the scuffle with the intruder.」

「…………」

「Y-Your Majesty?」

The captain looked at Grenjido with fearful eyes when he stood up without saying anything. But he left the room without saying anything.

His destination was the building where Earl Sillys was at.

「Victor.」

「!!…Your Majesty. I apologize for displaying an unseemly sight.」

Earl Sillys was naked from waist up, being healed with【Healing Magic】by a priest.

Although he had been healed with magic, the wound remained red.

In truth, this wound was self-inflicted by the Earl. Zerry’s blood stained the floor when she fought with the intruder. The soldiers arrived before the Earl could wipe it off, so he hurriedly cut his own arm with a knife.

「How can I help, Your Majesty? Regarding the progress of the plan… I apologize. I could hardly work yesterday due to the intrusion.」

「Rest.」

「……Huh?」

「Rest today. Taking care of your body is also important.」

The Earl thought he had misheard.

Grenjido’s head should be affixed to the “goddess”. He shouldn’t even be worrying about the Earl’s health.

Grenjido was not lying. The Earl confirmed it with the “Magic Eye of Inquire”.

「I will double the security in this place. Sleep with peace of mind.」

「Y-Yes… I understand.」

Blood was dripping from Grenjido’s hand.

「Your Majesty, your hand is injured.」

「Ah? …Oh, it’s not a big deal.」

「I shall heal it.」

The priest who came to treat the Earl now used【Healing Magic】on Grenjido.

「Your Majesty, have you not been sleeping well lately? Please don’t overdo it.」the priest said.

「I know.」

Grenjido replied with a bitter face. It was the first time the Earl realized that Grenjido is sleepless.

(Are you suffering, Grenjido?)

The Earl suddenly came up with a theory.

(It must have been very stressful to drive out his daughter and retake the title of Holy King. In addition, his sworn friend, Border Earl Mule, also left the Holy City.)

The Border Earl and Grenjido quarreled with each other numerous times and almost ended up fighting before the Border Earl finally returned to his territory with his daughter Mira.

The Border Earl seemed to be under the impression that Grenjido would never exile his own daughter, but he was mistaken. Grenjido went out of control with every passing day.

Under such circumstances, Earl Sillys was the only one who was by his side from the beginning.

(Just perhaps… this might be an opportunity to get back his sanity.)

Insomnia and stress was causing “blind faith” to peel off.

How can the Earl bring out Grenjido’s true character?

「Your Majesty. Your Majesty.」

A messenger rushed towards them.

「This is an urgent message! It seems that a monster outbreak has occurred in the 5th, 6th, and 7th blocks.」

「…What? The monsters from the “World Union” have already been exterminated.」

「But there seems to have been some leftovers…」

「Tsk. How are they responding?」

「The guards have moved, but their numbers are not enough to subjugate all of the monsters. If the knights are ordered to move, we can still–」

「…I will only move the knights after understanding the situation.」

「Yes, sir. It seems that the Adventurer’s Guild is moving voluntarily at the moment.」

The Earl was surprised at the word “adventurer”, but Grenjido didn’t notice it.

「Okay. Against monsters, the Adventurer’s Guild would be the best choice. Get the guild to move, even if you have to spend money.」

「Yes, sir!」

The messenger galloped away on his horse.

「Victor. I’m sorry, I know I just told you to rest, but…」

「I understand. I will make efforts to find out the cause and deal with the problem.」

「Thanks.」

When the wound on his hand closed up, Grenjido started clasping and opening his fist. The priest said, “Please wait, I shall bandage it,” but Grenjido ignored him and started walking away.

The Earl hurriedly put on his coat, and started to follow him.

The forest with fresh air was tranquil in the morning, but Earl Sillys couldn’t help but be worried about what was happening in the city—perhaps it was some kind of “strategy” Eva had set up. That was what especially worried him.

** 1st Holy District Large Conference Room **

Only 5 nobles responded to the convocation early in the morning. Only four excluding the Earl. They were the only confidants of the current Grenjido.

Even though it should be natural for all to respond immediately when the king had just changed.

「Report the circumstances of the incident.」

Grenjido said, without trying to hide his displeasure. The guard captain of the Holy City saluted and spoke.

Apparently, the monster outbreak occurred at midnight.

They seem to have appeared from an unused underground sewer.

The damage has been minor due to the Adventurer’s guild quick response, but the city is in disorder.

「Hmm… Underground sewer. What do you think, Victor?」

「Certainly, it would not be strange if the soldiers had previously overlooked that spot, but still, I did not think there would be so many monsters.」

「I have the same opinion. How about you guys?」Grenjido asked.

The remaining four nobles smiled and replied, “As you say, Your Majesty.”

「Then, I would like to investigate the area around the sewer where the monsters appeared.」the Earl said.

「Alright, do that. We didn’t even need to move the knights. This problem can be solved faster than expected, it seems.」

Contrary to Grenjido who laughed as if he was relieved, Earl Sillys had a puzzled look.

(Monsters had appeared… That’s all? What do you hope to achieve, Eva…?)

Earl Sillys suspected that this was clearly Eva’s doing, but he did not understand the intention.

A slight confusion in the city is not going to affect the Holy Royal Palace whatsoever.

「What’s wrong, Victor? You seem to be worried about something.」

「No, Your Majesty. That is not the case.」

「Hmm. Your intuition is usually correct. Shall we investigate a little more?」

When Grenjido said that, the other nobles openly frowned– “I want to go home already” was written on their faces. And the guard captain became flustered.

「Then… Can you give me some more information, Captain?」the Earl asked.

「Y-Yes. What kind of information?」

「Which are the places where the monsters appeared?」

On the map of the Holy City spread out on the table, the captain placed beast pieces made of carved wood on 5 spots. It seems that all the places where monsters appear are in the low-lying parts of the city.

(The guards will not be able to sound the alarm immediately if they appear in the middle of the night.)

「What kind of monsters?」

「There are reports of charcoal wolves, fire-breathing lizards, camouflage snakes, etc.」

「And they were subjugated by the adventurers?」

「Yes, sir.」

「I see… I understand.」

Earl Sillys said.

「What did you notice, Victor?」

「Ah no… If the monster originally lived in the sewer, they should be aquatic creatures, but since the monsters have nothing to do with water, it must be because of the “World Union”.」

「Hmm.」

Grenjido stared intently at the Earl.

「…What is it, Your Majesty?」

「What do you think about the monsters appearing simultaneously last night?」

「Honestly, I do not know. It does feel unnatural, but this scale is not enough to throw the Holy City into chaos. And it is also not very realistic to catch and release these monsters. Perhaps just capturing the monster would be viable, but it would be very difficult to bring them into the Holy City.」

「Well, you’re right.」

Grenjido did not seem to be completely convinced, but he did not pursue the matter any further.

The meeting ended after deciding to conduct a follow-up investigation on the sewerage.

「…………」

Grenjido was alone in the conference room staring at the map of the Holy City.

「…Victor was not as sharp as usual.」

Grenjido has full confidence in Earl Sillys. The sharpness of his brain has helped Grenjido and amazed him many times.

If there was something Grenjido got stuck in like today, Earl Sillys would have dug deeper into it and revealed a new side of the facts——but he didn’t produce much results today.

「Am I worrying too much? Or is Victor simply tired? …He was attacked last night, after all. No, that kind of incident is not enough to upset Victor.—Oi, is anyone there?」

As Grenjido called out of the window, a man appeared from behind a tree.

「Yes, sir.」

He wore a guard uniform, but he was part of the Holy Royal Family’s spies.

「Are you sure that Victor hasn’t made any suspicious movements?」

「Yes, sir. Last night’s attack was unexpected, but the attacker disappeared before we could track him down… I apologize.」

Grenjido keeps Earl Silly under surveillance because he puts “full confidence” in the Earl’s abilities.

However, the Holy Royal Palace was shorthanded after Grenjido took over the throne. The fact that that weakness was exploited is what caused Grenjido a headache.

「I don’t blame you. Who is the enemy? What do you think is the purpose?」

「We are not allowed to guess.」

「Just say it. I’m sure there are some things only people in your line of work can understand. It takes one to know one.」

「…In that case, I shall present my hypothesis. Those who have faintly seen him say that the enemy is quite skillful. Skilled enough to be part of the Holy Royal Family’s spy.」

「That skilled, huh…」

「The tracks have completely disappeared.」

「A person comparable to you. In other words, it could be a spy of any royal family.」

When Grenjido waved his hand, the man slipped into the shadow of a tree and disappeared.

「Why are other countries aiming for Victor? Has it been leaked that Victor is the cornerstone of the new government, and not me? Or… was Victor communicating with other countries?」

Looking at the map of the Holy City, there were only the glossy beast pieces.

「That could not be true. I’ve been scrutinizing Victor’s personality. Then again, if it’s Victor, he could have slipped through my eyes…」

Grenjido wants to be perfectly sure because the Earl’s ability is a cut above the rest.

「Damn, I can’t get it right. Why! I should be able to think a little more clearly…」

When thinking about the goddess, his mind became as clear as a calm lake, but other than that, it became hazy.

「Goddess……」

Suddenly, Grenjido noticed the map.

The beast pieces were all placed in low-lying areas, but they were all close to the big church.

It is currently undergoing renovation to be transformed into a goddess temple.

「The goal is the temple!?」

Grenjido lost his cool.

Monsters simply happened to appear nearby. There was no logical correlation between the two.

However, Grenjido instinctively realized that this was the “answer.”

「Hey, someone! Call Victor—」

He paused mid-sentence.

「Would Victor have overlooked this? Information that the incident occurred near the goddess temple?」

A chamberlain entered the conference room.

「Your Majesty, your order?」

「Wait a minute.」

Grenjido pondered.

(Don’t tell me that Victor chose not to tell me? There’s no way he didn’t notice this.)

Grenjido had almost a bizarre level of incredible trust in the Earl’s ability.

(Why didn’t he tell me? He didn’t think this mattered? Or did he intend to wait for the sewer investigation? Both are possible, but… what if he was trying to backstab me?)

Once a seed of doubt is planted in the heart, it cannot be removed.

「I’ve decided.」

Grenjido smiled widely.

「Call Earl Sillys. I will visit the place where the incident happened last night and the under-renovation temple together with the Earl!」