|Author: Natsuni Kotatsu||Original Source: Syosetu||Japanese Characters: 3322 characters|
|Translator: Shurim||English Source: Re:Library||English Words: 1713 words|
I open my eyes to the sound of someone groaning. I look over to the owner of the voice, and see his expression freeze in fear. A mask covers everything but his eyes, but even that’s enough to tell that he’s afraid.
“…I didn’t think they would come on the first day,” I say.
“…You know, you could at least pretend to be afraid,” Frank responds, dryly.
In stark contrast to his usual demeanor, Frank’s malice was on full display. The gauntlet wrapped around his arms only further accentuated his warlike appearance.
The next thing I notice are the two shadows lying at his feet and that the window had been closed at some point in the night. The one who was groaning was a man, and there was a more feminine figure beside him, completely unconscious.
Both had their hands and feet restrained with ropes. It seems like everything was taken care of while I was still asleep.
I didn’t think both of them would come, much less that they would come tied up and packaged. That saves me a lot of time from having to chase after them, I guess.
“Please excuse me, guildmaster. I seemed to have caused you quite a bit of trouble.”
“S-stay away, you monster!” the tied-up man shudders as I get off the bed. That hurts. I may be a cheater, but I’m still a maiden inside, you know?
They were probably tempted by my open window and snuck in. As for what they were planning to do after—well, they probably aren’t much of a match for me. Thanks to my barrier, I can’t get hurt physically, so their words sting more.
“Please be cooperative. Ah, by the way, please don’t try biting your own tongue off or poisoning yourselves. I guarantee I will heal you back. I’ll have you know people you attacked have recovered as well, if that will help you believe me.”
The man stops struggling at my words.
“You seem unfazed. Were you planning on luring them in from the beginning?”
“Huh? Oh, yeah, I just didn’t expect them to come on the first day…”
I’m more surprised that Frank was able to figure that out… The reason why I took the dragon child around the city was to make it clear that the Dragon King’s offspring was in Luneville. Asking for LaShelle’s help in public was also to let our assailants know that the dragon child was in my room, and I left my windows open so they could enter my room from the outside.
It usually takes time to prepare for infiltration, and even among combatants, some people aren’t very good at gathering information. I thought it might even take them a while to connect the little dragon to the egg they were chasing after, so I was prepared to wait a couple of days for them to fall for the bait.
There might have been more people than we know that are aiming for the egg, so there was no way for us to chase after them. The fact that they decided to intrude on the first day was just a happy little accident.
“If I hadn’t noticed these guys crawling through the window, what were you planning to do?”
Of course, I would have restrained them myself… isn’t exactly an excuse I can make. Frank doesn’t know about my cheats, and I’m not planning to tell him about them any time soon. There just isn’t any way to explain myself out of this.
As I try to think up an excuse, Frank sighs in exasperation, changing the topic.
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“I’ll carry these two over to the private rooms. Wait for me in the reception room, Illya.” Frank says, in a forceful tone rather uncharacteristic of his usual personality.
“…Understood.” I nod.
As Frank carries the two intruders out of my room, I caress the little dragon, putting it back to sleep. We can’t have the little one seeing horrible things like this.
Once the child was sound asleep, I head over to the reception room as the guildmaster ordered and wait for him to return.
“I said that as long as you do your work, I wouldn’t pry into your abilities, but I just can’t overlook this,” Frank says in a scolding tone as he enters the reception room, “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Well, deceiving your enemy starts with deceiving your friends…”
“I understand that these kinds of plans need to be kept quiet from as many people as possible in order to work, but I am not one of those people.”
…Frank’s voice has a sharp edge to it, and it only takes me a moment to recognize it as anger. I do feel bad about making him worry, but I didn’t think he would get angry for my sake.
“I’m sorry… I’ll keep that in mind from here on.”
“…So, are you planning to lure them out in any other ways?”
Trusting that I’m being honest, the guildmaster lets out another sigh—this one larger than the last. Then, when he raised his head again, the Frank that would never hurt a fly was back.
“Those two belong to a thief guild,” Frank says, presenting me with registration cards with their names on them.
“I’m going to interrogate them in a moment. Do you have anything in particular that you want me to ask them?”
“Um… will you be going… never mind.”
I wanted to ask if he was going alone, but one look at his expression made the answer to that question clear. “Like I could show you an interrogation” was plastered all over his face.
He really doesn’t have to be that considerate…
“Okay, then just one thing. Well, it’s not really something I want you to ask them. It’s more of a request for the guildmaster.”
“Just call me Frank. It’s either that, or you’re going to continue keeping me at arm’s length, right?”
I’m not doing it on purpose, it’s just… I’m so used to working for a company that I end up treating my superiors like this. …But I doubt anything I say now can convince him that he’s wrong.
“Understood. As for what I want you to do, I’d like you to give them a request.”
“That if they spill everything about the Dragon King’s egg, we’ll claim that they were working as spies for the guild. There is an intelligence branch of the thief guild, so I think it is totally possible if we try.”
In other words, they’ll be our double agent. The thief guild’s headquarters is directly connected to numerous hideouts, guild members, as well as facilities that are separate from the other guilds. This means that although superiors are well connected with their direct subordinates, they have very little communication between their peers. In that case, as long as they cooperate themselves, it will be difficult for their betrayal to be noticed.
Apparently, the thief guild has special facilities in order to prevent things like this, but we don’t have to worry about that. An eye for an eye and mind magic for mind magic.
“So you just want to let them go…?”
“No. The best they’re getting for a reward is putting their criminal charges on hold. I’m also planning to get them to pay compensation. If the Dragon King’s anger comes raining down, they’re the first people we’re turning in.”
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The moment I said that, I noticed something else.
“Actually, those two… might not even know that it’s the Dragon King’s egg.”
“Is that… even possible?”
“I think so. If their superiors think of them as nothing more than disposable resources, then it is completely possible.”
Actually, isn’t most management like that? I mean, the president of the company I worked for in my previous life fit that mold perfectly. Much like how I feel inside, Frank’s expression twists like he tasted something bitter. Having cooperated with Ector to disband the thief guild in Luneville, I’m sure he has a few names in mind when it comes to these kinds of people.
“Which is why, depending on the situation, please inform them that it is the Dragon King’s offspring that they’re dealing with.”
Frank stands up and puts a hand on the door, then pauses.
“Go to your room and rest. Even if that little warrior of yours is able to sleep through a scuffle like that, it gets lonely without you.”
Perhaps remembering his last encounter with the little dragon, Frank rubs his stomach while he says that. I remember being at a complete loss for what to do with my little sister in my past life, but compared to that, the little dragon takes almost no maintenance. The little creature sleeps well, it doesn’t cry at night, and it doesn’t throw tantrums either. Even its headbutts are cute. …Well, maybe that’s not for me to say, seeing that I’m protecting myself with a barrier.
Noon the next day.
I’m sitting across from Frank in the reception room in order to get on the same page with the information he’s gathered. The aroma of the black tea that Frank poured spread throughout the room. Frank and I wear serious expressions on our faces, but the little dragon in my arms refuses to stop poking at me.
By the way, I raised its physical attributes (agility, leg strength, and dexterity) for breakfast using the wind-attuned spell Beryalert. Once again the additional attribute points remained a permanent addition to its status, so there’s no mistaking it.
I dodge an even faster swing of the little dragon’s tail, and much like last night, Frank opens his mouth to speak after a sip of black tea.
“Seems like they knew it was a dragon’s egg, but not that it was the Dragon King’s.”
Frank does have the Art of Conversation skill, and he probably did something quite forceful to them if he’s trying to hide the smell with the aroma of black tea. They probably weren’t lying.
“I’m sure they had a lot of thinking to do once they knew it was the Dragon King’s egg. They decided to accept your request this morning.”