Chapter 4. And so their story begins.
The Sword Saint seems conflicted over hitting a boy that deserves to be smacked in the face. She then looked like she was about to hit him… but then she didn’t.
I tried to slowly move backwards while closely observing the conflicted Sword Saint.
A thrown weapon?! was what I thought, but it was just an envelope. Hmm, the paper used on it looks pretty expensive.
The Sword Saint takes a look at me when I ask this question… Woah, I’m getting the chills from her eyes. She’s not looking at me with murderous intent, but my instincts are still screaming for some reason!
The first thing that came into my eyes when I opened the envelope was a needlessly fancy font that seemed somewhat familiar to me.
Now, let’s read.
Congratulations for you losing your job!
Why did you choose such an unstable job in the first place?
But don’t worry, the job Karuan is extremely stable, and is just waiting for you to take it!
So just come here quietly, yeah? Before I chain you and put you to work!
It’s from my last boss.
I thought I was being secretive enough, but looks like I got found out. She even knows that I lost my job. Oh, who is this boss, you ask? Well, if I were to describe her, she is a very powerful, and wise princess of the empire, who the emperor loves to no end.
That was actually a lie!
This damned princess is someone who possesses a disgusting personality. Her guts of steel allows her to get into an argument with the Sword Saint over there, her extreme talent allows her to process the countless tasks that the empire handles every day, and her dirty personality allows her to hand over those tasks to her subordinates to show them true hell.
Well, the job Karuan is indeed very stable. I mean, it is a job in the empire, after all. If a job in the palace wasn’t stable, where else would you work?! But that’s it. It may be stable, but it’s extremely tiresome.
Countless geniuses are produced in the lands of the empire. These geniuses all do whatever they can to work in the imperial palace. Those who landed a job in the imperial palace work frantically to advance to the top. Those that are already at the top? They work frantically do not go down.
Working frantically does indeed bring profits occasionally, but… the way these geniuses work is truly dirty.
Poison, assassination, bullying… the list just goes on and on.
To give an example of how bad things get, there was a time when the organization infiltrated the imperial palace with 120 members to attain a legendary metal known as Mistein. 4 people in total got found out, and died. 25 died in a political battle. 50 sided with the wrong political party, and died for treason.
And after counting deaths by assassination and poison and the likes, only 17 came back…
As for that legendary metal Mistein, it was said that the infamous thief known as Acleá stole it… that’s what everyone thinks, but in reality, I split it with the princess and the dwarves by 3:2:5. I was supposed to take 3, and the princess was supposed to take 4, but the dwarves took a part from each of us as a price for forging the metal.
And lo, the weapon that was forged out of my 2 and the dwarves’ 5 was the metal bat.
Well, let’s talk more about that some other time… in any case, the imperial palace is unfit for a human. Kids who are full of dreams and hopes might like the place, but for an old man like me, I cannot live in that hellish environment!
The imperial palace is the place where you can get all sorts of privileges if you become a demonic king, but it is also a place where you become the king’s slave if you fail to be king! I don’t want to be a slave, damn it! I just want to enjoy my retirement in a rural village!
But that “chain” part at the end of the letter scares me. Is she actually thinking about sticking me in a prison?
“What did your last boss say?”
The Sword Saint asked me this in a bored tone.
What shall I say…
“A congratulatory letter for me losing my job?”
When I said this with a slight frown, the Sword Saint grinned in joy for whatever reason, and went down the secret passage with the children. Mm… is she gone? She’s gone, right? She’s not gonna suddenly climb up and go chop chop, is she?
After a few seconds, I heard Rein’s scream, and nodded. Yup, I’m safe. I guess I’ll go back to opening the safe. Why am I safe, you ask? Well, you see, that scream probably resulted from one of two things. Either the Sword Saint got mad and began to beat up the kid, or one of the traps that I set up in the passage like giant boulders or arrow walls activated.
I wondered why traps were made like that when I saw them in comics a long time ago, but then I found out they were actually easy to make, and were also very reliable. It’s not like you can create a field of magma, or create a pit full of sharks. Honestly, it’s better to stick to traditional methods.
Anyway, I still activated several barricades to fully ensure my safety, and began to pour the contents of the safe into a bag I prepared beforehand.
“…So this is it.”
Let’s not forget putting in that lily heirlo… actually, I’m not that good with flowers, so let’s just use this flower heirloom. It’s probably a lily, right? It’s not a rose or anything?
Well, whatever. It’s not like I have any other flower heirlooms other than this anyway… I guess I’ll take these other heirlooms as well? And then…
-Uwah… so evil…
[I’m a villain, after all.]
What am I doing? Fabricating false evidence, of course!
Howling never stole anything like family heirlooms. Why would they, when they can always fabricate one that looks just like the real thing? And the families that get their heirlooms stolen go absolutely crazy over trying to take it back. It’s just not worth stealing it.
But it’s not like there actually isn’t any value in stealing it. Family heirlooms are made of super expensive materials, meaning they’re super expensive. But the part of the heirlooms that matter are the stamp bits that are created out of magic-refined wood. That’s why I’m making it look like the organization used the heirlooms for some strange purpose. After all, I’d be killed in an instant if people found out I was the one who stole the heirlooms.
[Is there any fake evidence we can come up with?]
-Mm… I only know what you know, so it’ll be hard to come up with something too good… mm… ah! How about money laundering? They already used fake heirlooms to do that, so it should work out just fine.
[Oh, pretty good.]
With this, Howling has one more crime in its crime list! Oh boy, they’re in big trouble now, aren’t they!
“I should run now, too.”
I stuffed the heirlooms in my pockets. The documents in this room haven’t gotten their ink dry, so I’ll just leave it here… Since I was the one who took care of them all in the first place, no one should get too suspicious. Mm… maybe it is a bit suspicious?
Whatever. If I try to escape through the path the kids went through… the imperial army would of course be waiting, so I’ll run off in a different path. I opened one of the drawers below the closet, and unlocked the secret mechanism.
This is escape route 11, my ultimate escape path! I had thought putting an escape path in a closet was far too obvious, so I thought about putting it in a drawer below the closet. After pushing my body into the tiny hole forcefully, I lit the candles, closed the drawer, and locked the secret mechanism.
[Better than dying.]
After doing that, I walked through the dark cave…
[Whoa, creepy. Feels like a ghost would pop up.]
…Don’t say something like tha…
“Oh good, you did actually come this way.”
…Oh deary me. Can I just get a ghost instead?