Mazel’s question seems to have failed not only me but everyone else. Everyone looks at each other for a moment and the High Priestess speaks up.
“What does that mean?”
The black gem on the right is the one we found when we killed the demon general the other day.
They call them right and left, but I honestly don’t understand them. If you put them side by side like this, you can see that the shapes of the two stones are slightly different, but you can’t tell which is which. If you look closely, you can see that there is a cloth of a different color under the two stones, perhaps to distinguish them.
I was listening to Mazel’s story from a third person’s point of view, but the next line made me turn my head.
“And the stone on the left is from when I killed the demon general at Fort Velisa.”
A moment of silence. After a moment, the Duke of Gründing opens his mouth.
Are you sure?
I’m sure. It’s the same one.”
I remember that Mazel’s memory is so good that he never forgets a thing he’s heard once. I wonder if it’s like a game where the player’s on the other side of the screen taking notes. I don’t know about that.
“Sir Werner, I’m sure you got this near the village of Aarea.”
Yes. As I reported the other day.
I will answer General Seyffert’s question without hesitation. But this can only mean one thing. This black jewel came from the castle. You don’t look well, Mage-Captain. I understand the responsibility.
The duke, the generals, the knights, they all look confused. The High Septon advised them to close the box at once because they might be attracted to it if they stared too closely.
But I don’t understand. I feel like I’m missing something. I was feeling a little hazy, and then Laura spoke up.
“High Priest, I’d like to take a moment to organize the information.”
“Well, I must be missing something.”
The Duke is the first to respond and the High Septon nods as he picks up his pen. The first thing we know for sure is that the black gem we got when we killed Dreax at Fort Velisa is here and that it was recovered in the village of Aarea.
The Duke knows that the Sorcerer Corps has been ordered by His Majesty to investigate the Black Jewel of Fort Velisa and that the Captain of the Sorcerer Corps has confirmed once that it is in the Sorcerer Corps’ laboratory.
The one who had been chosen to be in charge of the laboratory was the captain of the sorcerer corps… a man of talent and character… I had been thinking that there was nothing unusual so far, but then Mazel, who was standing beside me, spoke up.
“I’d like to confirm, is the stuff you got during the Demon Runaway Stampede also under investigation by the Sorcerer Corps?”
“Of course, but…”
Is it still there?
That’s an outrageous thing to ask. It’s the sort of thing that would raise questions about the royal court magician corps. But at this stage, it’s a fair question. It’s rather unnatural that only Dreyerx’s things are brought up. The sorcerer captain opens his heavy mouth.
“It may be difficult to say with certainty. Lord Pickler is a credible researcher, but…”
It just came out of my mouth. That’s the name I remember. He wasn’t very sociable the one time we met… Once?
Wait. Remember how strange it felt. What did Lord Pickler say to you then? I think he said, “It’s a pleasure to meet you. It was the first time we’d spoken, but it was the second time we’d met.
And Mr. Vogt, I think he said something about ‘he used to not be so gruff’. Not usually… but before. And there were rumors that the lords who switched with the demons in the game changed.
If Lord Pickler was replaced by a demon… he might be able to smuggle this black gem out of here. I’d say he’s a prime suspect based on circumstantial evidence alone.
Sir Werner, what is it?
“… I don’t have any proof.”
I can’t not say anything now that the duke’s questioning me. He’d probably change his color. I’m aware I’m not putting on a poker face. I’m only being suspicious, but I think it’s best if I tell you everything.
Besides, it’s partly because I’m the one who needs the publicity. So far, Mazel’s is a vague suspicion, but my statement is slander or libel in the absence of evidence. It’s a problematic statement, to say the least.
But if the investigation shows that the sorcerer corps or Lord Pickler is not in trouble… the blame will fall on me, not on Mazel who only suspected. I’d rather that than anything that might go wrong between the sorcerer corps and Mazel. I should be able to recover as much as I want.
There’s something a little fishy about Lord Pickler. I’m afraid…”
I’m sure Laura understood what I meant when I started explaining the names of the people I was talking about, and she looked at me for a moment as if she wanted to say something, but this time she put on a poker face and pretended not to know.
“I hope I’m imagining things, but I’d appreciate it if you’d investigate just to be sure.”
I can’t tell others about my knowledge of the game that switching with demons changes your personality, but it’s true that I felt some discomfort in some of the things he said. I can’t speak for my knowledge of the game, but it’s true that some of the things he said didn’t seem right. I’m sure they’ll investigate, as long as there are no other suspects. Maybe.
I myself can’t decide whether it’s better to be right or wrong. If I’m right, it would mean that the wizards have infiltrated the sorcerer corps… and if I’m wrong, it would mean that I’ve slandered you and your relationship with Lord Pickler will be a lasting tragedy.
I’m sad to say that I can only see a stomachache either way. If I’m right, it may be more than just a stomachache.
Some of them have difficult looks on their faces as expected but the captain of the mage corps nodded.
“All right. Under the circumstances, we can’t afford not to find out. I’ll look into it privately.
I bowed once more. Well, actually, if nothing else, it’s defamation. Well, we’ll figure it out. Yeah.
I’ll have to contact my father and have him keep an eye out for me. I’ll send a letter to my father asking him to send all the Mangold files he’s had Frensen look into.
I wonder if it’s lucky or unlucky that my father is a civilian. Most of our troops are here and our current situation is not worth being attacked by a demon tribe where strength is everything. I don’t know what’s in store for us.
After this, the dukes were busy writing their reports and discussing the best course of action. Laura still has something to say to the High Priest and the Duke.
Well, the investigation’s gonna start sooner than I get back, so I guess that’s a good thing.
I suddenly realized that I was the only one who wasn’t in the group of heroes, princesses, dukes, and commanders… I had to writhe in agony all night alone… but I’ll have to make sure I don’t carry this over to tomorrow. Huh…