Vi and I had infiltrated Marquis Fedorov’s residence. The Marquis was the one believed to have hired the Dark Guild to kill Laptiricia-sama. As of now, we’ve found the mage masher, an air mask, and an encrypted message within his magical safe. I’d asked Vi to show me the message out of curiosity, but the VMB’s auto-translation function activated, and the deciphered text was displayed above the paper.
No way… The system could actually decipher the secret message…? No, now that I thought about it, even ciphers were considered another language. Just like how the system could translate this world’s language – it might’ve been a simple task for it to decipher the message’s code.
I read the message displayed on the kevlar mask’s lenses, and it appeared to be a sort of reply from the guild regarding the kill request. It stated the payment amount they wanted, along with the additional resources they’d need to ensure the success of the request. This last part probably pertained to the mage masher and the masks. The deadline had also been noted here… Yesterday, which meant that the guild had failed their assignment.
Failure meant… Purging the clan involved… So I guess the Dark Guild itself was not directly responsible for the attempt? They probably worked like the General Guild by delegating missions to their member clans. Now I hesitated on whether to tell Vi or not, since the ability to decode messages would be quite important. After I finished this escort request, I intended to make Shaft disappear. But if the news went out that I had the ability to decode messages… New requests might come in…
“How about it, ‘Black Mask Shaft?”
“I couldn’t understand it. Should we deliver this directly to the Duke, or should we just ask the Marquis before we hit him?”
“Truly a useless man. If it’s Frank-sama, he would’ve decoded this message like reading a child’s picture book. It will require more than one, two, three, no, four Marquis Fedorovs to match him. Compared to that, yo —”
“What is it?”
“Are we going to waste time here? Don’t we have more things to look through?”
“Mu, you’re right. This is everything in the safe. Let’s head to his private room.”
“You go ahead. I need to do some more preparations.”
The private room is just ahead.
I watched Vi disappear and leave the officer. Then, I prepared to plant C4 charge in here as well. Now that she’s gone, I could freely use my inventory and take out the charges. With that done, I looked around again just in case there was something I missed. I took a gander at the books on the shelf. They all looked bland, but…
As I flipped through one of the books, a single letter fell from between it’s pages. It was already open, and when I looked at its content, it was yet another encrypted message. Like before, the auto-translation function decoded the message. Apparently, it was a response from the Dark Guild per Marquis Fedorov’s request, that they would dispatch an assassin from the guild… huh…?
Unlike the previous message, this one actually had the name of the guild written. I did know that one of the guilds was known as ‘Cactus, so I previously thought it would’ve been written as (仙人掌 ) ‘Thousand Palm’ in japanese Kanji. However, this message, it was written as (覇王樹)‘Supreme King Tree’
“You’re taking too long, ‘Black Mask Shaft’.”
“Ha? Ah, I found another encrypted message.”
After I set all the charges in the office, I headed to the private room to place a charge there as well. I made sure to place some in the hallway as I passed through. It seemed that Vi had ransacked the room like a burglar.
“Oi, Vi, can you at least look more carefully? This looks like a thief broke in instead.”
Hearing me, Vi stopped and turned to me. Her body language felt like she was saying ‘What’s with this guy’. But I couldn’t be so sure since I couldn’t see her expression.
“Why do you, of all people, care about that? Ransacking the room like a thief, or searching carefully doesn’t really matter. Ah!? Don’t tell me that the infamous ‘Slaughter Shaft’, who don’t hesitate to create body piles out of anyone, actually still has some common sense? Are you trying to catch my interest by saying that? But too bad. I’m only interested in Frank–”
“… Found something in here?”
“Alright, then deliver this to the Duke as well.”
I handed over the letter I found in the office over to Vi, then observed the room. This room didn’t seem to have a safe or something of the like. I also looked in the drawers and closet with Vi. We still found nothing.
“There really isn’t anything here. Shall we wrap this up?”
“Let’s. I’m itching to be reunited with Frank-sama again. I’ll leave the rest to you, ‘Black Mask Shaft’.”
Without waiting for a response, Vi had already climbed onto the windowsill and jumped, along with those words, she disappeared. As I watched her leave, I felt a hint of admiration for this straight forward woman. Living life as she liked was something I longed for. But first, I needed to bring down the mansion. Charges had mainly been planted on the second floor, but it should’ve been enough to take out the rest. I actually wanted to plate some on the first floor, but I didn’t want to risk being seen.
Once I finished all my preparations, I threw an incendiary grenade into an empty room. As the room started to burn, I observed movement on my map before I triggered a fake alarm.
“Fire! Fire! Please get out!”
After the fire spread more, I raised my voice to alert the others. I then threw another incendiary into another room. Screams and yells started to echo from the first floor, and due to the size of the fire, they actually abandoned what they were doing to choose to leave. This was different from when I attacked Yagoche’s mansion. I couldn’t let anyone know I was here. I had no intention to involve the servants, who had no relation with the assassination attempts.
I checked my map once more. I needed to get out as well, or I’d be stuck. Once I got to the first floor, and confirmed no was inside, I escaped via the back door. Escaping the premises, my hand floated above the detonator’s lever. When I was about to pull, I saw a dot on my map. Probably a horse drawn carriage judging by its speed, entering the courtyard. Apparently Marquis Fedorov himself had returned home.
Perfect timing, let’s show him how his home gets blown to smithereens.
Following the screams of a middle aged man, and the cry of a hysterical woman, I pulled the lever.
At the same time, a huge explosion followed by a ball of fire erupted from the mansion. The second floor was obliterated, and fire now engulfed the first floor. I moved through the trees and I found a spot where I could spy on the courtyard. There, I saw a middle aged man in front of a carriage – shell shocked and on his knees. The man must’ve been the Marquis, was that his wife who was fainted by his side? She was supported by several servants.
Okay, what’ll happen next? I waited a little longer before I heard the sound of a bell from outside the gates. Along with the rattle of many horses of carriages. Apparently, the Capital Guards had arrived. They rushed to the burning building with several mages in robes holding canes. They lined before the building and began to chant.
As it turned out, they were firefighters in this world. Except, they were using water magic to douse the raging flames. So even this was done with magic.
Could it be that Duke Barga had arranged for these guards to appear now? Telling me to demolish the residence so he could be brought to the guard station. We didn’t miss out on anything since all the evidence in regards to the connection to the Guild had been collected. Duke Barga could now expose the whole picture behind the assassination attempt on his daughter. In other words, after that…
Nevermind. Even if I knew where this was going, nothing would change the job. Rather, I was more concerned about the true identity of ‘Cactus’.
Let’s just keep at it for now.