I let Neurath and Schunzel go home after that… and there’s a lot of noise in the Adventurers’ Guild… Or maybe not. I’ve been doing paperwork in the quiet castle so I guess my ears aren’t used to the difference when I enter the guild. It’s like walking out of an office and into a tavern.
“Oh, isn’t that the viscount? Let’s drink to your safety.
Maybe some other time. I’ll buy you a drink then.”
It’s been a long time, Viscount. I’ve heard so much about you.
Please don’t do this to me.
I’m immediately approached by a number of people. I head for the counter, avoiding the rude words of congratulations and the bending over of the revealing lady. Still, there are a lot of people talking to me.
“That’s my boy. You’re a celebrity.
“No, Finoy, that was Mazel’s war achievement.”
“Well, it’s nice to make your acquaintance.”
It’s true, but it’s hard to get people to listen to me. And I don’t care how you do it, but I don’t want to suddenly have a lot of friends. I don’t care if it’s the Iron Hammer guys… but I only know you by name.
Some of them are already ready at this hour, but I just try to ignore them and arrive at the counter.
I have a job for you.
You’re just out of the blue.
The lady at the reception laughed at me. Well, I’m pretty tired myself. And I’m a little pressed for time, considering the travel.
I want you to send a dozen scouts in pairs to investigate.
“What do you want me to do now?”
I don’t know what to tell you yet. So I’m an investigator.”
We don’t know that much about other noble houses, even if they’re our own. The relationship between the Marquis of Knaap and Zierfeldt was never good.
But the defense of King’s Landing is the defense of King’s Landing… but if the fourth general survives or resurrects we don’t know how he’ll act with the old Triots. I’m sure the Royal Family would be the ones to make the move but the Dauphin has asked me if I have any good ideas.
At the very least, I’d like to survey the geography, the population, and where the hearts and minds of the people are headed. But it’ll be politically complicated if anyone from House Zehrfeldt goes there, so I’m going to have an adventurer go there to investigate.
“Mountains and hills and hollows. I just want to know the topography. But I don’t want people to know I’m looking for Ziefeld.”
It’s a little late for that, don’t you think?
“… Is that so?”
That really hit me. Do I look like I’m planning something like that? I’m just preparing for it because I don’t want to die. I’m not very happy about it. I’m not looking for a political fight.
I’d like to talk to the Commerce Guild too, but I’ve decided not to today since I know it’s going to take too long. I’m fine with just listening to what they have to say, but I sigh inwardly as I remember the stack of papers in my office in the museum. Knowledge of my past life isn’t much use in this regard considering the distribution situation and the guild’s position. There’s no such thing as anti-monopoly laws in this world, and it’s not unusual for powerful guilds to have powerful aristocrats behind them, making commerce equal to politics. If we get involved in that kind of thing, we’ll be over our capacity.
No sign of the Hammer of Steel, I’m afraid. Oh well. I buy some more booze from the little potter’s jar, pay a quick visit to the Mercenaries’ Guild and leave the guild. I wish Mr. Goecke were here… but I guess not everything ends so conveniently all at once.
After work, I went down to the Adventurers’ Guild to have a chat, and it’s getting late. It’s getting late. I stop at a thrift shop on the way and buy some old clothes, an old cloak, and some ragged shoes on a whim. I’m given a place to change my clothes with a friendly smile, as aristocrats often do in the evenings. I have mixed feelings. Anyway, I cover my whole body including my face and head for the backstreet slums.
I had to do a little digging for paperwork, but I found the guy I was looking for. I approach a man who looks like a beggar sitting on the street. He glances at me, his eyes are hidden by his shaggy bangs, but he’s clearly on guard. I wonder if it’s my battlefield experience that’s made me sensitive to this sort of thing.
Sir, could you be a blessing?
Yeah, I don’t care.
I give him a few coppers and he sits down beside me. It smells a little, but not as bad as the blood smoke from the battlefield.
“… What is it?”
“My name is Werner van Zierfeldt. I’d like to meet your face.”
When I heard his name, I became overtly alarmed. Of course he did. These things usually have a code word or a code word. I’m surprised he didn’t get alerted.
I don’t know what you’re talking about.
“Don’t be like that. I’ve got it pretty well figured out. If you and the other redheads and all the other beggars are just sitting in the same place every day, it’s not very efficient.”
Kids are brutal. The kids from the orphanage who were in charge of picking up trash in this area wrote in their daily logs that the same dirty old man always sat there, and they weren’t afraid to mention it. And they didn’t even bother to warn the kids who were making a few coins picking up trash.
He continues speaking as he hands me my drink.
“I just want to ask you something. Just ask me that and forget about it. We won’t hurt you and we’ll pay you. I’ll even give you my sword if you want it.
“… Follow me.”
I followed the man who stood up after looking at my feet. After a short walk, I’m led into a surprisingly neat little building. Another man who was sitting at the entrance stares at me when I talk with the man who showed me the way. Oh, scary.
I’ll take your sword.
I’m not saying it’s not a spear and there’s nothing to be done with it… but it would only arouse suspicion. It looks like a tavern, but there don’t seem to be any customers. They must have been discussing something inside. A man comes out and opens the door to the kitchen with two men behind me. You’ve got to hide your anger a little.
When I went further inside, a very old man looked at me through the desk. I was expecting a big old man, so I was a little surprised. So this old man is the face of the backstreet, or one of the faces of the informers’ guild.
You’re the young Zehrfeldt.
My name is Werner. First of all, let me thank you for taking the time to see me.
How do you know us?
I’m sorry, that’s a secret.
Half of it’s from a previous life. Thieves and beggars are organized into mutual aid societies in big towns, as they are in every country. In a tabletop RPG, it’d be the Thieves’ Guild. In this world, too, their descendants might become gangsters or gangsters.
I’m surprised you agreed to see me, if I do say so myself.
Feri told me your name. And some of our young men have been under your care.”
You’ve been running jobs for refugees and backstreets for the aqueduct construction… so you’ve known my name for a while. I’m sure there are adventurers and scouts from these places, including Feri. I’ll tolerate Feri’s sugar in my tea. It wasn’t really for this, but it’s a good start.
“And you don’t seem to be an amateur.”
The old man talks to himself as he looks at his ragged shoes. The man who’s been leading us here has been recognized for disguising not only his cloak but his shoes as well. I never thought it would be useful that I’d seen a scene in a drama in my past life where I was suspected because of my shoes… You never know what might come in handy.
So, what’s your question?
I’m looking for someone.
I’ll describe Lord Pickler’s appearance in detail and say he’s the one who caused the disturbances inside the castle. If you hide a tree in the woods, you hide in the woods. If you hide a man, you hide in the back streets. Or should I say human form?
If he hasn’t been seen in the backstreets, it’s safe to assume his men have fled with the black jewels, so we’ll start by eliminating the possibilities.
“Dead or alive, there’s no need to track him. But if we leave him alive, he could affect not only King’s Landing but the whole backstreets. We just want to make sure we follow his trail.
I can’t answer that right now.
“Of course. You can tell them when you know. You’re good with the Adventurers’ Guild, aren’t you? Send word from there. I’ll pay you in advance.
I’ve prepared a large sum of money. And the old man, who’d been watching him silently, opened his mouth.
I didn’t say I would or wouldn’t.
“If you won’t take it, take it home.”
You’re a strange one, aren’t you?
“I’m often told…”
Not that I’ve ever had anyone tell me that to my face. I paid them first because they trust me more. I understand that nobles are not to be trusted in their eyes. But some of the nobility think these people are shady too, so I guess it’s both our faults.
It’s rare to find a nobleman who doesn’t look down on us. Very well. I am Veldt.
Werner van Zierfeldt. Pleased to meet you.
Both of you, take Lord Werner home. Do not try anything rash.
I’d say that’s a vote of confidence, wouldn’t you? I’ll make sure he gives me back my sword and we’ll go out. I tried to look nonchalant but my stomach hurts. Maybe it’s my time back from the battlefield that’s making this so bearable. I wouldn’t have been able to.
And after dinner that night.
Lily showed me the drawing she had made, and we discussed about adjustments and corrections of the details.
The two of us looked at each other and then left Frensen to sort out the documents and went into the reception room where the visitors were.
I’m so sorry.
“My deepest apologies to the Viscount and the Hulting family.”
Well. I’ve never met the Lord of this house before. I’m not from the same faction as my father. The knight with him and the lord are both quite handsome. He’s got a face deviation of less than a quarter of a millimeter. I couldn’t help but escape reality.
Count Bitgeft and the Knight Commander of the House of Bitgeft who seems to have accompanied him are bowing before my father and I and the Hulting family.
Uh, first of all, you need to raise your head.
Mazel’s parents and Lily are getting upset. We’re not getting anywhere.
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