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≪1-12≫ – Beast

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Author: Kisasaki Suzume Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: Mui English Source: Re:Library
Editor(s): Deximus-Maximus

The Duke Foster household ruled the region, including the northern part of the Setulev Kingdom and Mount Kuguse, which used to be a mountain pass connecting to Maltgartz.

Given the small size of Setulev itself, even though the Duke was considered a major lord within it, their influence was somewhat limited. However, whenever something happened within the country, ignoring the Foster household was out of the question. Despite the setback from a scandal fourteen years ago, the family stood out among the nobles with superior financial and military power. Their politically influential position remained intact. This made them many enemies, and King Lazarus worked tirelessly to maintain harmony within the kingdom.

In the magnificent dining hall of the Duke’s residence:

“In the midst of your busy schedule, I am truly overwhelmed by the warm welcome extended to me. I cannot thank you enough.”
“Oh, the pleasure is mine. Your support, both tangible and intangible, has been invaluable. I’ve come to view the Setulev Kingdom as a steadfast ally. Please convey my deepest gratitude to the people within your domain.”

As the summer sun still hung in the sky, the two men raised their silver cups for a toast, filled with aperitif.

On one hand, there was Scott, also known as Marquis Aldridge. He was a man in his mid-forties. As one of the nobles, he was a warrior as well. However, instead of appearing tough and resolute, Scott had a refreshing impression more than a rugged one.

Receiving him was, of course, the master of this castle, Duke Foster—Roland. Despite being over seventy years old, he maintained a sharp gaze and a vigorous stride. Though whispers that it was time for him to hand over the family legacy to his son and retire were circulating, his eyes remained sharp, his intellect keen, and he still moved with vigor.

In the recent battle to the north of Mount Kuguse, the town of Kugutfulm suffered damage. In response, offers of support poured in from all across the country.

Setulev had distanced itself from inter-human conflicts for a while, but this sudden major event brought a surge of anger against the unjust and an elevation of victorious spirits throughout the land.

Humans were social beings and found pleasure in uniting to fight for a common cause. At such times, justice and victory became the finest spices.

The cry “Let’s help Kugutfulm!” emerged naturally among the masses, but of course, the nobles couldn’t remain silent either. This was a moment when even the usual structures of rivalry were set aside, and people from all corners of the country offered their assistance.

And once the situation began to settle a bit, Roland invited the nobles who had lent their support to the castle and entertained them as a gesture of gratitude—a kind of ceremonial procedure.

Dining with Scott, his guest for the evening, they exchanged opinions about the internal and external situation while probing each other’s thoughts. The feast was in full swing.

In Setulev, renowned for its excellent water, craftsmen from various regions competed to create fine wines. Perhaps that’s why it was common to drink alcohol rather than tea after dessert. Scott had two glasses of locally-produced wine and bid his goodbye.

“It has been some time. I suppose it’s time for me to take my leave.”
“I see. In that case, as much as I regret it, I’ll bid farewell now… Oh, yes. Just one last thing.”

As Scott rose from his seat, Roland spoke to him with an entirely nonchalant expression, in a tone that seemed equally casual.

“From a small dragon on Mount Kuguse, a message for you. ‘If you want to pick a fight with the ducal house, go ahead and do it on your own terms. But if you involve innocent people, you’ll incur the wrath of a dragon.’ Ah yes, she seemed to have also mentioned something about burning down a castle if the need arose.”

Roland’s words froze time.

They had been exchanging pleasantries, being hospitable, and engaging in friendly conversation. However, politically, Roland and Scott were in opposition. The Foster Household had many enemies, and Scott was one of them.

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Scott awkwardly straightened his posture.

“…Why share this with me?”
“Why, indeed. I suppose I simply thought it was directed at you and relayed the message accordingly. If it’s bothering you, you should ask her directly.”

Roland’s intentions were evident.

He knew the mastermind behind the attack on Golden Helmet in the town of Kugutfulm—the same attack that even the actual perpetrator wouldn’t have known about.

The path Roland had taken to uncover the mastermind behind the recent events had involved some twists and a bit of bloodshed, all hidden within the darkness and unknown to the innocent people.

Of course, the information he had obtained that way wasn’t proper evidence, and it couldn’t be used as material to accuse someone publicly. But that was beside the point.

“There…seems to be some misunderstanding or miscommunication happening. It’s a matter of significance, and we should approach it rationally and calmly. I-Incurring the wrath of a dragon would be foolish, hahaha.”

Scott put on a fake smile that didn’t quite manage to hide anything. It was said that people resort to laughter when cornered, and that might have indeed been true.

“Then take care on your way back. Well, if you’re using teleportation, not much should happen.”
“Yes, indeed, I shall take my leave.”

Seemingly sobered up from the post-dinner drinks, Scott left with slightly awkward steps, as if he had injured his shin.

“If he were to stand up for himself there, there would still be some hope for him. What a coward.”

Once Scott was out of sight, Roland snorted haughtily. Then, he impaled a piece of meat from the appetizers with his fork, tore it apart roughly, and began to chew it vigorously.


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