Chapter 17 – Strategy Meeting
「Father, are you all right?」 (Regis)
「Oo, Regis. As you can see….I’m feeling all right somehow. 」 (Shadiverga)
「That condition doesn’t look fine at all! 」 (Regis)
The next day.
Walkins and I assembled in Shadiverga’s bedroom.
He ran a high fever last night.
However, the severity of his fever has come down after drinking the medicine compounded by Walkins.
I heaved a huge sigh, feeling relieved for the time being.
Although, it doesn’t seem like he will be able to move around for a while due to the severe numbness in his body.
「The enemy has done a pretty elaborated thing too, hasn’t he? 」
「Do you happen to know that assassin? 」
「He’s one of the Stalin brothers, isn’t he? I have heard of them before. Their existences have been exposed to the public numerous times but, they possess abilities that made them invincible. 」
「I see. So they are celebrities in that world. 」
Edgar seemed to know them too.
Speaking of which, I wonder if she has returned to the inn safely.
She might be currently sleeping in that area unexpectedly.
Since I wouldn’t know what she would end up doing once she got drunk.
「….Sorry. 」 (Shadiverga)
Shadiverga murmured while I was being immersed in my thoughts.
He clasped his hands together and forced the words out of his mouth.
「This is all my fault. I was the one who got carried away by the provocation. We wouldn’t have come to the Imperial City in the first place if it weren’t for me. It would be fine if I were the only one who ended up in this predicament but, I have caused so much trouble for Regis and Walkins too. 」 (Shadiverga)
「Now, now, father. Cheer up. It’s good enough that we’re still alive now. 」 (Regis)
「That’s right. We don’t really mind it. 」 (Walkins)
Walkins and I followed up immediately.
However, Shadiverga’s face was full of regrets and his shoulders could be seen trembling.
Tears welled up in his eyes.
「……Moreover, the knife I received from Sefina was also stolen. I don’t have the courage to face her anymore after this. 」 (Shadiverga)
「So long as Shadiverga-sama is safe, madam will be pleased. 」 (Walkins)
「Exactly. It’s too late to regret it now. 」 (Regis)
It’s important to look back to the past but, if you don’t look at the things before your eyes now, you’ll never be able to advance.
We should devise a strategy now so we could get back at them.
Although, we were stumped now because we still couldn’t figure out that specific method to do so.
It couldn’t be helped that Shadiverga was overwhelmed with a sense of helplessness.
I should be the one to make a move here.
Just as I was thinking so, Walkins tapped my shoulder.
「Regis-sama, just a moment–」 (Walkins)
It seems that Walkins wanted me to go outside the room.
As soon as I left the room, Walkins followed along.
Would it be bad if Shadiverga happened to overhear this conversation?
「What’s wrong? 」 (Regis)
「Yes. I think we can consider infiltrating Horgos’ house as a last resort. 」 (Walkins)
「…..What do you mean by that? 」 (Regis)
「It’s exactly what it means. I will penetrate the enemy’s territory to retrieve the knife and eliminate the enemy’s important people. 」 [Walkins]
「Rejected. 」 (Regis)
I shook my head instantaneously.
My immediate reply was probably unexpected to her. Her hair swayed as she asked.
「Why is that? 」 (Walkins)
「I do not want Walkins to kill people」. (Regis)
「You’re too soft. 」 (Walkins)
「Yes I’m soft. If a soft person can end a conflict without killing people, then I’m fine with being a softie.」 (Regis)
But, that was nothing more than just a disagreement swayed by my emotions.
Walkins wouldn’t be convinced by this, would she?
That was the reason why I should reveal my trump card here.
I gazed into Walkins’ eyes.
「Besides, I will be troubled if you were to do so. I was planning to crush that house fair and square. 」 (Regis)
「What do you mean by that? 」 (Walkins)
「What I meant was that we will be participating in the duel as planned and obtain victory. 」 (Regis)
「…….But Shadiverga-sama is currently—」 (Walkins)
「I would like to enquire more deeply into something with regard to that so let’s get back to where father is. 」 (Regis)
I ended the conversation and made my way back to Shadiverga’s room.
However, Walkins grabbed my shoulder to restrain me.
「What is it? 」 (Regis)
「It’s about what I suggested earlier—-If I were to just retrieve the knife without killing the enemy, would you be fine with it? 」 (Walkins)
「…..Why is that? 」 (Walkins)
「I don’t want Walkins to go to a dangerous place. That’s all. 」 (Regis)
I gave just a brief reply to Walkins who persisted in it.
「It’s an employer’s duty to make use of his servant. 」 (Walkins)
「That might be so. However, I do not want to think that it’s an employer’s duty to send someone to a place that they know is dangerous. Especially when that person is someone whom I am close to.」 (Regis)
「Are you convinced now? Then let’s go. 」 (Regis)
I placed my hand on the door this time to open it.
The door creaked open.
At that moment, a resigned voice could be heard from behind.
「………..Regis-sama, you’re kind, aren’t you? 」 (Walkins)
「That’s only because of Walkins. 」 (Regis)
I answered instantly.
The inside felt warmer than the hallway. As I thought, it was more comfortable in here.
Shadiverga was drinking the tea that I brewed.
I don’t drink much tea myself but, this person and Walkins appeared to enjoy it quite a bit.
Well, I do know of a big alcoholic idiot though.
So if I have to compare between the two of them, I’d say that drinking tea is a much cuter pastime.
「What were you two talking about?」 (Shadiverga)
「Iya, it’s just a discussion about father’s precious books. We’re debating if the books are on ‘animal’ training or hermaphroditic. 」 (Regis)
「What were you guys talking about!? 」 (Shadiverga)
Shadiverga demanded for the answer this time in a tearful voice.
It was unexpected for him to take me so seriously.
「I’m just kidding. 」 (Regis)
「R-Right. 」 (Shadiverga)
「Yeah. The type that father likes is the one with sisters isn’t it? 」 (Regis)
「Am I still in my nightmare!? 」 (Shadiverga)
I cut to the chase while Shediverga was on the verge of fainting in agony.
I explained it one by one by indicating it with my fingers.
「Father, the situation has become really bad. First of all, we should confirm the current state. 」 (Regis)
「T-That’s true. 」 (Shadiverga)
「Firstly, the condition of father, the person who was supposed to take part in the duel. There’s no doubt that you will not be able to defeat the enemy. 」 (Regis)
Shadiverga’s voice appeared choked.
I felt bad for doing this when he was in a depressed state but, there are more bad news to come.
「Next would be about the stolen family heirloom that you have been treasuring more than your life. It is evident that they are planning to use it to threaten us, doubling our disadvantageous at this point. 」 (Regis)
「…….This is hopeless. 」 (Shadiverga)
Oh, the light gradually faded from his eyes.
This is bad. If the light in his eyes goes out, there is a high chance that he might end up being mentally crippled.
Walkins was listening to my speech in silence.
「Moreover, considering that Walkins is not allowed to make her appearance in the duel, there are no other candidates with fighting capabilities. Even if you were to consider bringing in a private soldier from home, we wouldn’t be able to make it since the duel will be held tomorrow. 」 (Regis)
「……Haa, all our routes are sealed, aren’t they? 」 (Shadiverga)
「So then father, I have a request. Could you lend me your ear? 」 (Regis)
「What is it? 」 (Shadiverga)
Shadiverga leaned closer to listen to what I have to say.
The damage would be huge if I were to say it out pompously now.
Let’s just say it lightly. Lightly.
When I whispered it to him, Shadiverga’s eyes widened in shock.
His mouth opened and closed repeatedly like a goldfish for a brief moment before he raised a hysteric cry.
「Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhh!!! T-That’s not allowed! 」 (Shadiverga)
「Isn’t it fine? It would be accomplished once I return it back to its original sheath.」 (Regis)
「We’ll end up being laughed at and criticized by the other nobles! 」 (Shadiverga)
「We have been fallen nobles for a long time now so what have we got to lose?」 (Regis)
I questioned him seriously without a hint of joke in my words.
Shadiverga looked baffled due to my sudden change of attitude.
「…..T-That is. 」 (Shadiverga)
「Our connections with the other nobles from our surrounding were already broken off so they wouldn’t be lending their assistance too. Do you still need to hold yourself back for anyone’s sake? 」 (Regis)
「T-That’s is certainly true but…. 」 (Shadiverga)
Shadiverga seemed to be at his wit’s end on what he should do.
He must have understood the reason but he was probably hesitant due to the huge risk.
However, there will be no meaning to it if I don’t urge him here.
「Regis-sama. Please explain it to Walkins too. 」 (Walkins)
Oh, will she be lending the help here?
You’ve done well Walkins. I’ll have to convey my gratitude politely later.
「It’s this kind of strategy—-」 (Regis)
「Oh, so there was a trick like that? As expected of Regis-sama. It’s the weak point that the nobles would never be able to think of. 」 (Walkins)
「Hahaha, praise me more. 」 (Regis)
Nobles are people who take importance of trust and pride more than anything else?
Then the house of Din has nothing to do with them.
Since we were originally fallen nobles who were already disliked by the neighbouring places.
I would make use of any tricks in hand to win by all means.
「I highly propose going through with this plan. 」 (Regis)
「I agree too. 」 (Walkins)
「Father, it’s two against one now. 」 (Regis)
「……..Uuu, I got it all right! I don’t care what happens after this. 」 (Shadiverga)
「The responsibility will be divided equally. 」 (Regis)
「A sudden joint responsibility!? 」 (Shadiverga)
「Now, now. Just believe in me. I will make sure that it’ll be successful. 」 (Regis)
We held back Shadiverga who was still against it and gained the approval to the opinion.
It was due to my dictatorship.
All right! Maybe I should build a bronze statue in the garden the next time.
As I was pondering, Walkins flashed me a smile that could give one a sense of security.
「If you need any help in this, just let me know.」 (Walkins)
「Aa, then Walkins, could you meet that person once this duel is over?」 (Regis)
「That person? 」 (Walkins)
Walkins tilted her head.
She didn’t get the hint?
「That ex-mercenary. Haven’t we talk about this before? 」 (Regis)
「Aa yes. She must be around 20 years old by now. 」 (Walkins)
「Yeah. She really wants to meet you so just have a tea with her or something. 」 (Regis)
「I understand. 」 (Walkins)
All right. Let’s summon Edgar using this as bait.
Although, that person might make a move even without this condition attached.
It’s my personal thanks to her then.
「Then Walkins, we shall complete the usual magic practice by tonight. 」 (Regis)
「Yes. I think you should probably be able to achieve it by tonight. 」 (Walkins)
With this, all the preparations would be complete.
The plan will be initiated once I succeeded in mastering that magic.
I would be using an underhanded method this time but I was already well-prepared for the consequences.
Let’s see, probably not to the extent of getting executed I guess…….
Maybe just in the range of massive bleeding or being burnt to death.
My whole body was moving like a wild beast.
The increasing desire to pin down the woman in front of me went ablaze.
「Damn, you’re just running around! 」 (Regis)
This is the basement of the mansion.
Even if I reached my right hand out, she managed to evade it smoothly.
Even though she was just toying around with me, it was still fine.
It would double my excitement once I catch her.
At the moment, I was just chasing after her back.
I was breathing heavily and my body was drenched in sweat.
However, the tingling sensation all over my body was caused by just an intense exercise.
That was the reason why I was wielding my knife like this but—–
「I missssseeedddddd!!!! 」 (Regis)
「Are? Are you done already? I have not even broken a sweat yet. 」 (Walkins)
Walkins was just evading me.
I have been trying to catch her for more than an hour now.
Even when I was attacking her with a knife used for training, she has parried all the attacks.
「Your swing is too wide. Your ability to grasp the movements is better than last year but your stance is still rigid. 」 (Walkins)
I fixed my posture as soon as she pointed it out.
However, it was just one problem after another.
Fighting with a knife has a considerably high level difficulty.
「Your movements are rough. Let’s pause for a short while so you can catch your breath. 」 (Walkins)
I took a deep breath obediently.
I have already mastered that specific magic a few hours ago.
In order to utilize that magic to the best of my ability, I was training my knife skill.
「Walkins’ movements were just way too fast. 」 (Regis)
「No, it’s not. A movement of this degree is considered to be normal for a skilled assassin. I was just matching my speed to that level.」 (Walkins)
「…..I know that.」 (Regis)
The training itself has actually started several years ago.
For the sake of using the magic effectively, the skill in using knife in combat is required.
How are those two related?
The reason is obvious.
You need to protect yourself during your incantation.
In addition, mastering this skill would enable me to take on a group of people with just a knife.
At first, I had thought of experimenting with a straight sword.
But, it didn’t work out since the sword was too big for my build.
Rapier on the other hand, didn’t suit my nature at all.
As a result, I ended up with an easy to handle knife.
Walkins took her stance without any weapon in her hands as she breathed out.
「Then, I will be attacking too from now. Please strike back accordingly as you defend against my attack. 」 (Walkins)
At that very moment, Walkins’ body disappeared from my sight.
She drew closer to me at the same astonishing speed until now.
I thrust the knife.
However, Walkins who has grasped my movement raised her arm.
A sharp sound resounded and before I knew it, the knife flew up into the air.
Walkins has repelled the knife with her bare hands.
「What the heck, that’s absurd…..tte, uwaa–!!」 (Regis)
Walkins decided to aim for my vital point.
I was able to hold out somehow, but she went for a leg sweep following that.
I wasn’t able to endure that attack so I ended up slipping and fell right on my back on the ground.
It hurts. The back of my body received the full impact of that fall.
Hasn’t the speed increased a little too much?
She was much faster than just a while ago.
I tried forcing myself to get to my feet one way or another but, she pinned me down, sealing my movements.
Walkins looked at my face and laughed teasingly.
「Gotcha. 」 (Walkins)
When I raised both my hands up to surrender, a gentle smile bloomed across her lips.
She pulled my hand towards her face.
Her sleek silver hair ended up touching my hand lightly.
The moment my hand came in contact with her silky smooth hair, my heart pounded rapidly.
「Your hair, it’s beautiful. 」 (Regis)
「Thank you. I have been doing my best to maintain my hair. 」 (Walkins)
I guess that’s a given.
On seeing the wry smile on my face, she ruffled my hair.
Running her fingers through the hair on my head, she combed them back slowly.
「Regis-sama, please be careful, okay? 」 (Walkins)
「Eh? 」 (Regis)
「I’m talking about tomorrow. I have not expected you to come up with something reckless like that. 」 (Walkins)
「I guess so. 」 (Regis)
Even Shadiverga was paralysed with fear upon hearing that plan.
Walkins has not expected it herself too.
She peered at me with her clear eyes.
「I am blessed to be able to serve Regis-sama. 」 (Walkins)
She guided my hand to her chest and hugged me.
The beating of her heart was transmitted to me.
She must have been seeing things in a different perspective.
However, the anxiety that one feels is a common and a natural thing.
I responded to it and was only feeling worried about her in the same way.
And, I will show it by protecting her.
「I’m blessed to have Walkins as a servant too. 」 (Regis)
I caressed Walkins’ cheek with my other free hand.
Thank you. You have always been teaching me various things.
I am really glad to have you by my side.
「I should go to sleep soon. 」 (Regis)
「True. Otherwise it might affect the outcome tomorrow. 」 (Walkins)
「What about father? 」 (Regis)
「He is taking a rest already. It appears that he will be going to the arena tomorrow regardless of the circumstances. 」 (Walkins)
「I see. That guy can be quite obstinate too. 」 (Regis)
I have to respect his spirit.
Besides, I could start my strategy only after Shadiverga goes to that place.
「Just watch me, Walkins. 」 (Regis)
I stood up and said it proudly.
Thereupon, Walkins smiled as well and nodded deeply.
「Yes. Walkins here will do her best to watch over Regis-sama. 」 (Walkins)
Walkins and I got out of the basement and returned to our own respective bedroom after that.
Since she might be using the bathroom on the first floor, I went to the one on the second floor.
I relieved my fatigue in the bathroom then stretched out on the bed.
The duel will be taking place tomorrow.
I will settle it with that Durf tomorrow in front of all the assembled nobles who have too much free time in their hands.
You’re making a huge mistake if you think this will end after attempting that assassination.
I’ll show you that I can definitely protect them.
And I will be repaying the favour.
I reminded myself of the counterattack tomorrow as I closed my eyelids.
A wave of drowsiness swept over me as soon as I turned off the light.
The desire to sleep lingered on as is until I fell into a deep slumber, allowing my body to get its much needed rest—-