Chapter 145: Watershed
「…Lord Lugis was taken to this place. 」
“What should I do, Saint Matia?”
Matia narrowed her eyes when one of the Heraldic Order spies asked her a question.
In front of Matia stood a sign, which indicated that this building was a high-class tavern. The sign had shining golden decorations all over it. It was rare to find a high-class tavern with gold decorations on the signboard. Matia thought in the corner of her mind that this tavern was a social gathering place for aristocrats and the like.
According to the spy Lugis and the mercenary named Bruder were brought to this place. And the instigator who took them was Vestaline Gon, one of the guardians and rulers of this city.
The information about Lugis’ whereabouts and the existence of the instigator fell easily into the hands of Matia. At first, Matia suspected that she was getting false information since it felt too easy. However, she was in Belfein after all.
In a sense, it was natural. In the first place, it was difficult for someone like Vestaline to hide herself in this city. If she stepped into the city, all the surrounding gazes would follow her shadow immediately.
The ruler of this city was sometimes feared, respected or despised, but no one could take his or her eyes off from her.
The Iron Devotee and Steel Princess Vestaline Gon had such a strong presence in this city. No doubt about it, after all, she was a symbol of Belfein as one of the two absolute rulers.
Immediately after parting ways with Lugis, Matia began working with the Heraldic spies who infiltrated in Belfein.
Matia wanted to be ready in the unlikely event that Lugis’ life was in jeopardy. She wanted to have a task force that could save him brilliantly. However, deploying the Heraldic soldiers in Belfein as secret agents gave her, at the same time, a source of information. They were assigned to report every event that happened in Belfein.
Based on this information, Matia arrived at this high-class tavern. The truth was unknown, but it seemed that this place was also Vestaline’s favorite tavern.
Matia could understand why her chest was palpitating so painfully. If she could, she would take off all her anguish and step into the tavern. She wanted to open the door vigorously and call Lugis’ name.
However, that was no good. Matia knew that, based on her cold persona and calculations, which were still functional, her actions would widen her wound and push Lugis’ life to the tip of the enemy’s sword.
Moreover. Instead of hiring a mercenary to kill him on the spot, the guards took him, which meant that the instigator wanted something from Lugis.
If so, then it was unlikely that they would harm him immediately. Instead of stepping inside forcibly, Matia decided to lure Vestaline out by her own measures.
Matia realized in her own brain that her calculations finally reached a dangerous equilibrium. Matia knew that if she took one-step further, she would lose all her reason and calculation. Before such things corrupted her head, Matia decided to choose a different approach.
Matia took a deep breath. Slowly and calmly.
Matia decided to endure her hasty feelings in order to avoid doing something hazardous. One bad action and it would endanger Lugis’ life. Matia sighed when she noticed her foolish appearance. Endure, endure, and calm down. Matia did her best to compose herself. Yes, she told herself those words repeatedly.
Matia told the Heraldic spy what to do while slowly putting together her words with a shaking throat.
「…Let’s throw a foreign object to see the ripples in the water. If we do so, we will be able to see the current state of the water. Let’s dress as Belfein soldiers, right now.」
Under the dark light of the tavern that felt subdued. Even though there were many people there, only one voice echoed in the tavern. It was Bruder’s voice.
「…I’ll ask you again, Steel Princess. 」
As I listened to the sound of his voice, I felt that a little conviction began to sprout deep inside of Vestaline’s chest.
I noticed that this sprouting feeling made the palpitations of her heart bounce. By the look of her eyes, her blood flow ran violently throughout her body.
I finally felt a great expectation upon seeing her unstable body movements.
「Do you really remember your childhood?」
The big eyes of the Steel Princess Vestaline shook in response to Bruder’s question.
There was no doubt. Inside the iron-covered body, which was unprotected, the weak emotions swayed as if a strong wind struck by.
「…Don’t say anything. Shut up. Don’t open your mouth anymore.」
Vestaline spoke in a way that was no longer just a connection of words. It did not sound like human-speaking words. She squeezed the sound out of her throat to profess such verses.
However, why did she still bit her lips to endure this meeting? The reason was either the existence of the mercenary’s son that stood in front of her, or the dignity as a Steel Princess that did not allow her to go run amok.
Still, there was no mistaking it anymore. Such conviction breathed within her. She finally realized something important each time she took a deep breath. The truth that Vestaline held dear until now became stagnant and dull.
She still had many doubts, even now. Her belief grew into suspicion. It must have filled Vestaline’s heart in a hurtful way. Nonetheless, she still tried to take this suspicion away from her chest, as she tried to believe that her current life was the truth.
In other words, Vestaline was engaging a fierce battle within her heart. She certainly had doubts, but she tried to call herself the unmistakable child of Mordeaux Gon. She wanted to believe that what Bruder told her right now was nothing more than just a joke. I could see that she struggled to accept Bruder’s words as the sole truth.
After sorting her thoughts, Vestaline took another deep breath. I felt that the seeds of doubt were beginning to disappear. The moment she achieved some resolve in her heart, a loud sound echoed high.
The sound of knocking the door echoed in the high-class tavern.
The sound resonated even better in the dim, restricted space. Vestaline and the surrounding mercenaries. All of them raised their faces. A distorted movement showed on Bruder’s mouth. It felt as if someone prevented a blood bath by providing us salvation from the outside world.
Vestaline’s high voice, which even pierced the door, echoed aloud.
「…Who is it? No one is allowed to enter this place right now.」
The sound of knocking the door took her aback. Vestaline spoke with shaking lips.
The atmosphere got hazy. Vestaline’s throat rang and her eyebrows squeezed naturally. This visitor brought a bad flow. Vestaline’s voice and her eyes were slightly regaining light.
Because of this restricted space with a dimly light, Vestaline’s heart was shaken a lot. Vestaline’s spirit almost broke apart since it could not escape to the outside world after hearing Bruder’s words. Vestaline had to listen to every single word despite her unsettling feelings.
Nevertheless. Now, because of a sudden visitor, Vestaline grasped the outside air into her lungs for a moment. Horrible and unpleasant. With this new occurrence, Vestaline’s mind, which should have been shaken, regained tranquility once more. Vestaline decided to accept this man’s words as falsehood, rather than accepting his words as the new truth.
The voice of the visitor roared inside the tavern.
「Are you there, Lady Vestaline? Lord Mordeaux has ordered us to find you and make sure you return as soon as possible. We apologize for disturbing you, but we hope you return promptly to the Lord’s House…」
I see. The visitor was a messenger…I must confess that it was a great timing. Mordeaux, Vestaline’s beloved father. That word alone forced Vestaline’s spirit to come back into reality.
Ah, I felt glad that this messenger came at this precise moment. Vestaline was about to take a bloody action against us.
Vestaline almost suffocated, struggled and suffered during this conversation. But now, she was finally coming out of the water to breathe the air. I did feel glad, but it was not exactly a true form of salvation, since we just survived another few minutes because of luck. I tried to avoid feeling relieved, because once a relieved heart dragged into the water again; it would no longer be able to resist the pressure and sink.
Therefore, this was the moment. My lips distorted.
「Hey, listen…Does she have any seeds of doubt left? This is the moment to pull her ankles as they are and increase her suspicions.」
I asked Bruder in a whisper, and he threw his gaze. However, Bruder shook his eyes in a complicated way upon hearing my words. He looked at me with a strangely unreliable gaze.
These eyes were something I had never seen before, and I inadvertently distorted my eyelids. Hey, what was it? What happened to the dignified narrative that he had just made?
「Hey, I ask of you. Right now, you’re the only one I can count on, Bruder.」
「…You’re such an irresponsible employer, aren’t you. What do you want me to do? If I tell you that I have no other plan, what will you do? Are you willing to die together with me?」
In response to my words, Bruder’s answer almost shook my spine immediately. The words that spilled from Bruder’s mouth had a strange and frustrating tone. On the other hand, I spilled calm and natural words out of my mouth.
「There’s no way that we’re going to die. We’ll find a way to survive together. Hey, listen. Death is not waiting for us yet.」
I whispered quietly. Surprising, since I never thought I would speak in such a leisurely way.
But this soft exchange reminded me of when I used to call Bruder my best friend. I felt something tight on my heart. Bruder was the only one whom I called a friend in my past life. The only one who was on an equal footing with me. My heart shook when I realized this.
There was a silent moment after I declared such words. One could paraphrase it as blank space. This time Bruder rounded his eyes and blinked his eyelids for several times. What was the meaning of his strange reaction?
Bruder moved his shoulders lightly when he deflected his gaze from mine. After a quiet flash, he finally spoke. The way he spoke, especially his mouth, reminded me of the old Bruder.
「What great words. You are quite optimistic, employer. Of course, I don’t want to die yet… Unfortunately, you hired me. But, hey, let’s do everything we can to survive this ordeal.」
Great chapter 😉 What do you think it will happen?
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