|Author: Hayaken||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3086 characters|
|Translator: Mab||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1147 words|
|Editor(s): Hydra, Liomad|
“They must be assassins out for you, Leone. I don’t think they’re from Arlman, though.”
“Assassins…not from Arlman…?!”
“How do you know…?”
Before Inglis could answer their questions—
“Oh, shut up. Can’t you be silent for a minute?”
Eris appeared, bringing one of the undead with her. The undead was carefully restrained with a rope, unable to move.
“Ah, good. You’re fine. Oh, this? I figured we could bring one with us to Special Envoy Theodore for identification and evidence.”
“You’re right. If it’s the Special Envoy, he might know whether it was caused by an Artifact or by a Highlander.”
“…we’ve given him so much work to do. I kind of feel bad about it.”
“Fufu, we sure do. Leone, take a look. This is an undead…it is a human being who is changed either due to an Artifact or by a Highlander. Think of them like zombies or vampires.”
“B-, but those only exist in ghost stories…!”
“Someone used a power to bring the undead into reality, and whoever they are, they made these undead to attack you…they even dressed them in knight uniforms beforehand. I mean, they wouldn’t die even after you cut them apart, and they faked their death to ambush you. If you were panicking, you might have fallen into their trap…that only proves how far this person had planned.”
Leone was shocked by the fact that she had just killed an Arlman Knight. Approaching the undead lying in wait in her distraught state would have been dangerous.
“…! That’s…! B-, but, who would…?!”
“We don’t know who, but no one in Arlman has that ability, right?”
“O-, of course…!”
“Then they can’t be someone from Arlman, right? If they could do something like this all this while, they would have done it a long time ago.”
“Besides, I’m sure these undead aren’t people from Arlman either… If this many people went missing suddenly, it would be alarming, and the people outside the gate don’t seem worried. These undead must be from somewhere else. We can investigate it, and then you’ll know for sure.”
“You’re right. We need to identify these undead too.”
Eris added, “See? That’s why I’m sure it’s not what you think it is, Leone.”
“R-, really…? I didn’t kill Arlman people…?”
“You didn’t! Come on, we can just ask the folk outside the gate!”
“Yeah. Proof of the pudding is in the eating.”
It was fortunate that those people were crowding the mansion; this way, Leone wouldn’t have to wait to get answers.
It was also a good thing that they hesitated to enter the gates and only waited outside. If they had been more proactive and entered the premises, they might have noticed something was amiss and entered the mansion. They could have fallen victim to the undead, which would have deeply traumatized Leone.
Leone was taken outside to meet the Knights and the townspeople crowding her house. When asked about the undead, they collectively shook their heads.
“There was no Knight who went missing lately…!”
“Yeah, I didn’t hear of such a thing…!”
“Does anyone recognize this man? His face might have changed a bit, but…be careful, don’t get too close.”
Eris pointed to the restrained undead.
“No, I don’t know him.”
“Not me either…!”
They all shook their heads.
“Okay then. This might sound harsh, but…does any of you know someone who would plan to assault Leone upon hearing of her return…?”
Inglis’ question was met with strong denial.
“Nonsense…! There’s no one like that! Arlman Knights as a whole are ashamed of our wrongdoings…!”
“That’s right…! We were fixated on her family and never saw her for who she was…! Even so, she put herself on the line and fought for Arlman! Many of us owe her our lives…!”
“Yeah! All we wanted to do was apologize for our behavior, and thank her for fighting for us…! We would never want to hurt her! There isn’t a single Arlman Knight who would think of that…!”
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Hearing this, Inglis directed a smile at Leone.
“You heard them, Leone. Whom will you believe, the assassins or these people…?”
Leone’s voice trembled, tears streaming down her eyes. But these weren’t tears of horror like when she was trapped in the basement. These tears were warm, reflecting her feelings.
“Forgive us, Lady Leone…!”
“We want to make amends for our actions…!”
“And thank you! We owe our lives to you…!”
Everyone lined up, bowing to Leone.
“N-, no…! Please, raise your heads…! Thank you for seeing me…! Thank you…”
She choked on her words, overcome with emotion.
“Good for you, Leone…!”
Rafinha said joyfully.
“It’s not good. She had attackers disguised as townspeople come after her.”
Inglis interjected, just before Leone picked her up in a tight hug.
“It wasn’t good, but…thank goodness…”
Leone buried her face in Inglis, treating her like a comforting plush toy. For the typically reserved Leone, this was an unusually intense display of emotion. It highlighted her relief.
However, as Inglis pointed out, not everything was rosy. Someone out there had targeted Leone.
It couldn’t have been anyone from Arlman. If an Arlman Knight could create undead, they would’ve utilized it before Leone left for the academy. And even though they had mistreated Leone, they had never harmed her directly. Suddenly taking such drastic measures would be out of character.
And if external forces were involved, Inglis couldn’t be certain if the perpetrator’s intent was connected to the Olpha family. It was highly plausible they harbored an entirely distinct agenda. Inglis personally believed this to be true. Though Leone’s reputation might have improved, she hadn’t taken any action that would incite resentment.
So, what was the true purpose of this attack? Was Leone the sole target? Could this be related to the impending transformation of Arlman into a hub for a new chivalric order? If so, a broader conspiracy could be in motion.
Regardless, someone wielded the power to create undead. Whether this stemmed from an Artifact or was a piece of Highland’s technology, the only certainty for Inglis was its striking potency. All she had to do was piece the clues together, and the truth would unveil itself.
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While Inglis wasn’t sure of the undead’s origin, the prospect of encountering an even mightier undead, or potentially the ultimate undead entity, the Lich, was tantalizing.
Legends state that Liches’ power rivals that of Dragon Gods.
For her impending clash with Jeldegrīva, the Duke of War, it was crucial for Inglis to continually refine her combat skills. Anticipating a formidable adversary’s challenge was, in her eyes, always thrilling.
“Fufu, all is indeed well. Fufufu…”
Inglis said, her face brightening into a smile as she affectionately brushed Leone’s hair.
“That smile seems rather mischievous…”
Rafinha, with her keen senses, made this astute observation.