Reincarnated into a Game As the Hero’s Friend MTL – Chapter 179

You quickly check out the kid who came running up to you. She has no weapon and no magic bag. Her running is amateurish, so at least this girl doesn’t look like an assassin.

While I’m making sure of that, Neurath is making who-knows-what noises.

What happened to, “I need your help.”

Your father was attacked.

Neurath and Schunzel looked at each other when they heard what was said in response to the girl who had run up to them. But it’s right for my guards not to move. I guess I can’t leave you alone.

Neurath, Schunzel, you stay here and protect Lily and the others. Where is your father?

I’ll ask the girls about the second half. Neurath and the others turned pale.

It’s dangerous. You can’t do this to yourself.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no. You stay with Lily until I get back. Which one of you is the father?

Oh, uh, that side street over there…

That’s all they’ll hear and they’ll jump off their horses and run. If this is a trap and I’m the one being targeted, I’d like to keep my distance from Lily now. I have my spear in my magic bag, but I have to admit that it’s a bit hard to fight with a spear while trying to keep Lily in her dress and the maid on foot out of the way.

And if it’s Lily they want, Neurath and Schunzel can both cover her and buy us some time while I come up from behind and pin her down. If I’m wrong about both of them and they’re in fact attacking her, then I’ll just help the man.

You look down the side street and see one of them lying in the street with the smell of blood on him. I look in the direction of Lily and the others, making sure there are no other figures in either direction, before approaching. He was middle-aged, and like the girl, this man was not well-dressed.

The wounds are not only deep, they’re many. There’s more than one of them. The blood on the road is wet, but it hasn’t dried yet, so it certainly doesn’t look like he was attacked long ago. He’s already stopped breathing. I checked his hands. There’s nothing there.

He looks around. You don’t see anything that looks like the murderer’s, and there are no footprints in the blood. You check your surroundings again to make sure there are no signs of other people, and then return to the spot where you were before.

I saw Lily get off her horse, too, with the maid’s help, but that’s not what we do first.

Are you all right?

“Yes. Schünzel, if you can get my name out there, go to any of the noble houses in the area, rent a servant, and have them contact the town guard. It’s murder.

“Immediately.”

Neurath, be on the lookout for anything that might be around.

“Ha.”

We’ll wait here until the guards arrive. I thought about sending Lily home first, but we can’t be sure she’ll be safe on the way.

I put my jacket over my shoulders because my dress stood out and I smiled a little, but then I gave him an apologetic look.

“Sir Werner, I’m so happy to see you, but he’s the one…”

Yes, of course. Neurath, I’m sorry, but you’ll have to lend him your jacket.

I understand.

Neurath lends me his jacket and the girls bow their heads. Lily gives me a small, serious earful. I nod.

I was waiting for the guards to arrive when a girl turned to me and started talking to me.

“Oh, um, Your Highness.”

“Yes.”

I’m a knight, but with Lily’s dress you’d be forgiven for imagining I was a nobleman, but a nobleman, you say? I look at her with a poker face that hides my inner feelings and she gives me a serious look.

“I’m afraid you don’t know Lord Zehrfeldt, my lord.”

Why?

Uh, well…

“No, we’ll hear about it when the Guardsman gets here.”

We’ll pull everyone to the side of the road for now. Even though it’s getting darker in the aristocratic district, I can still feel people’s eyes on us. Lily and I are both famous for what we’ve done, and it hurts to see them looking at us so strangely or curiously.

Fortunately, it doesn’t take long for a group of guards to arrive.

It’s the Guard! What’s… Is there…?

A man who looked like the leader of the group approached us. He was in his mid-twenties. He seemed to have only heard about the murder and changed his attitude when he saw Lily instead of me.

She looks like a noblewoman from somewhere, so I think it’s too obvious that she changed her attitude there, but on the other hand, I can’t help but understand her feelings.

Werner van Zierfeldt. Thank you.

“My Lord Viscount, I beg your pardon! I’m Gauter of the Guard!

“Don’t worry about decorum. We’re about to find out that the boy’s father was murdered. He’s down that side street.

“Ha. Go check on some people.”

Let’s just say it’s dark in here and you didn’t see me. I watch as Gauter orders his men to go check out the scene.

I don’t know if I’m the best person to tell you this, but forensics is still in its infancy in this world. You might be able to tell which wounds are fatal, but that’s probably it.

But it’s also true that it’s up to the people in charge to make sure that a case is properly investigated when someone less than a commoner’s been murdered. Unfortunately, that’s still the case here. A girl screamed when she heard my name… but I’ll let her pass for now.

Incidentally, in this world as in the Middle Ages before, the crime of murdering a woman of tender age is extremely serious. Since the poll tax is imposed on children as well, killing a woman who is old enough to bear a child is the same as taking two lives, including the simple need to increase the population.

One murderer of a young woman was even fined in installments for 100 years, with the family paying the fine every year until the grandchildren of the murderer. It’s not unusual for male murderers to be treated lightly. I wonder what will happen this time.

Now, tell me what’s going on.

The boy is a poor man’s boy, but I wonder if he listens politely because he’s a gutter boy or because I’m with him. I have a reputation for being nice to people.

Yes, yes. My father and I came here to take advantage of your highness’ hospitality.

If there was a party at a nobleman’s house or a big merchant’s house, the party would spread to the servants of the house and the servants of the merchant who wholesale the foodstuffs, and people would gather at the back of the house expecting the leftovers to be distributed to the poor at the back gate.

The owner of the house is also aware that it is only natural to give leftover foodstuffs and such to the poor, and as a result it is not unusual for there to be poor people who are in need of food depending on the time of day, even in the noble town.

I understand from this that the ears of the people are different from those of the aristocrats, but that is a digression.

“Well, I must have taken a wrong turn, because when I went down that side street, I heard some men with knives saying that… I heard men with knives talking about the Lord passing by or attacking.”

The men may have been calling me by my name… but they couldn’t call a nobleman by his name here. I’m sure that’s not the only reason I hesitated.

“The men attacked us with swords and your father told us to run…”

How many people were attacked?

“There were four of them.”

There were four of them with weapons. It’s hard to tell at this point if Gowther’s our man or not, or even if he’s friend or foe. We’ll have to wait and see.

The way he summed it up, he said he never saw his attacker’s face because he was masked, and that both father and daughter were refugees from the old Triots, that they had no other family. Hmm.

“Okay, okay. I’ll take you to the guardroom in case there’s anything else you want to know.”

“No, you’ve heard the name Zehrfeldt and you’re about to be attacked. Then we’ll take care of him.

No, but, sir…

Gouter yelps in surprise when I break in. That’s a rather appropriate response. Serious.

“It’s a little hard to be a girl in a guardhouse, isn’t it?”

This isn’t a lie or an excuse. I mean, it’s a bit stuffy in here. Gauter looks troubled, and he knows it. But this much opposition suggests he’s at least not the enemy.

“For now, I’ll let you stay at Zehrfeldt Manor for the night. After that we’ll discuss it tomorrow. If you have any questions, I’ll arrange for you to come to Zehrfeldt’s. It’s the time of day now.

“… All right. I’m sorry to trouble you, sir, but I’ll leave it to you.

Miss, what’s your name?

My name is Clara.

He nods lightly in response. It’s no lie that it’s time. In fact it is getting too dark to let the woman leave alone. I’ve asked Gauter to lend me one of his guards to give us a heads-up at the Zehrfeldt house.

I’ll also ask Gauter to keep the fact that you’re staying at the Zehrfeldt house a secret in case Clara is attacked.

Let’s go back. Neurath and Schünzel, watch the front and back. Clara, I’m sorry, but you’ll have to follow me on foot.

“Ha.”

Yes, sir.

Yes, yes.

I’d mount you if you were a true victim but today I’ll act the nobleman and refuse to let a commoner mount my horse. Brave man, you climb on top of Dilbert and pull Lily up. In hindsight, it’s probably a good thing we’re not riding in a carriage.

I’m a little impressed that our maid is casually following behind the girl who calls herself Clara. If there’s any suspicious activity she can immediately raise her voice to alert us. I guess you could say she’s my mother’s favorite.

As I let the horses slow to a walk, keeping Neurath and the others on their guard, Lily, sitting in front of me, turned and looked up at me.

Mr. Werner…

What’s going on?

“No, not really, but, you know, you’re smiling.”

Whoa, careful.

Watch out, watch out. I have to be careful not to show it.

They’ve gone to a lot of trouble to throw me a piece, so I have to make the most of it.