Chapter 5-24 : Collecting Information Ⅰ
「So, where is the man from the private army who was watching you?」(Iris)
「Yeah. He ‘died in an accident’ when we tried to lure a Giant Snow Centipede.」(Madison)
「Hee… Died in an accident, huh?」(Iris)
「Yup. He died in an accident.」(Madison)
When Iris-san asked once again to confirm, Madison-san nodded to her still with a grin on his face.
There are two possibilities, either that person from the private army really died in an accident or someone killed him and made it look like an accident. However, I already know the answer judging from Madison-san’s expression.
「I understand it’s a selfish request, but… would you guys help us? You know how evil the feudal lord is, right? He is holding our families hostage, so we couldn’t refuse this job for the sake of our families’ safety.」(Madison)
「So, you want us to treat your men’s injuries and escort you all to the bottom of the mountain?」(Sarasa)
「Yes. Of course, we will accept any punishment for what we did, but, please help us first.」(Madison)
What they did to us was a crime but because they were just following their lord’s order, it’s hard to think of it that way.
I can understand their desire to protect their families and I can understand why they couldn’t refuse this job.
I shouldn’t blame the people who just wanted to prioritize the safety of their families, but…
It’s hard for me, as someone who was targeted, to not blame them.
Well, since we didn’t suffer any damage, I don’t mind helping them, honestly.
However, even if we help them, there are problems they cannot avoid.
When I groaned and looked at Iris-san and Kate-san, they looked back at me with troubled faces.
Seeing our troubled faces, Lorea-chan timidly talked to me.
「Umm, Sarasa-san… Can we do something for them?」(Lorea)
「Lorea-chan, you’re so kind… These people almost killed you, you know?」(Sarasa)
「I know, but… I didn’t feel that I was in danger because I believed that you would protect me. Besides, I didn’t get hurt, so… It’s hard for me to blame them.」(Lorea)
While saying that, Lorea-chan put her hands together and timidly wandered her gaze.
As a commoner, she must feel sympathy for these people who can’t disobey nobles.
I’ve been in a better position since I became an alchemist, but I was once in a position close to the bottom of society, so I can understand her feelings.
I’d be lying if I said that I don’t want to save them. However, in order to do so, there are problems that need to be resolved.
It was Iris-san who pointed it out on my behalf.
「Lorea, even though they didn’t kill us, the fact that they were trying to harm an alchemist doesn’t disappear. They have committed a pretty serious crime. In most cases, it could be punishable by death.」(Iris)
「I see… I understand that the consequence of trying to kill someone is that you might get yourself killed, but…」(Lorea)
The problem is how serious was the crime that Madison-san and his men had committed.
They were being chased by a giant centipede and bringing it to someone else. It was quite a vicious act, but it was unlikely that they would be punished by death because of that.
However, things work differently when the other party is an alchemist.
If you endanger an alchemist’s life or kill them even if it was unintentional or purely an accident, you would likely get punished by death.
It would be worse if it was planned. The probability of being punished by death would be more than 90%.
Alchemists are national assets that the country spends a lot of money on to raise. That’s the reason why you can be punished if you hurt them or try to hurt them.
「Moreover, even though she looks like a poor Collector, Iris is a daughter of a noble. The fact that they also endanger a daughter of a noble may make things worse for them.」(Kate)
「Yeah, Kate’s right. Even though I look like a poorー Hey, that’s rude!」(Iris)
Kate-san shrugged her shoulders and sighed when Iris-san pouted and glared at her.
「Iris, can you even say, “I’m a noble’s daughter! Have a good day, everyone! O~hohoho~!” while smiling proudly and behaving elegantly like a noble’s daughter normally does?」(Kate)
「Ugh… I can’t… However, no matter how far I am from the image of an ideal noble’s daughter, I’m still a noble’s daughter.」(Iris)
「Exactly. These people would be severely punished if the government knew that they tried to kill you, a noble’s daughter, and Store Owner-san, an alchemist.」(Kate)
A commoner attacking a noble can be considered a heavy crime and can be severely punished.
Madison-san didn’t seem to realize that Iris-san was a noble’s daughter. His face became even more pale.
「Kate’s right. Madison-san, was it? Normally, the one who commands the soldiers is responsible for what the soldiers did, but do you think Baronet Kirk will take the responsibility?」(Iris)
Madison-san silently looked down when Iris-san asked him that question.
He seemed to realize that there was no way Baronet Kirk would take responsibility.
「No… I don’t think so… The feudal lordー I mean, that wicked evil man would likely blame us for everything so that he could avoid being punished…」(Madison)
Madison-san gritted his teeth and clenched his fists. He looked so frustrated.
「…So from the beginning, we are just the pawns that he can throw away anytime he likes, huh? Dammit!!」(Madison)
He then frustratedly kicked the snow on the ground.
「There’s another problem. Knowing how evil Baronet Kirk is, if he knew that you and your men failed to kill us, he might use your families to force you to fight against us. He would likely say, “If you don’t kill those bitches, I will execute your families!” or something like that.」(Sarasa)
Now that their families’ lives are at stake, I don’t think Madison-san and his men can easily tell Baronet Kirk that they have failed.
Considering that possibility, Madison-san and his men had no choice but to fight us. However…
「We are soldiers, but before we were hired not long ago, we were just normal citizens who didn’t know how to fight… After watching your battle against that giant centipede and learning how strong you are, I think the chance for me and my men to win against you is very slim…」(Madison)
Most of Madison-san’s men are injured. I don’t think they have a chance to win against us.
However, if they don’t fight us, Baronet Kirk will likely execute their families.
Madison-san could only close his eyes and bite his lips. He didn’t know what to do.