055 Portrait of Linus Oubeniel p.3

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"Ugh, gee...... ahhh! Arghhh!"

A man sat alone in the summer wilderness, screaming with tears on his cheeks.

If somebody were to look at Linus now, they would have a hard time distinguish the lunatic between him and his brother.

In fact, Linus going mad should be the expectation. He had spent his most impressionable adolescence in fear of his murderous brother, and had been unable to get rid of him. Without healing his traumas, he had fully grown to be an adult. There were those who took advantage of him like Lavallee, those who didn’t want to look at him like Simone, and the many nobles who ridiculed him, and Tullius, who continued to traumatise him. It would be cruel to expect Linus to maintain his sanity while surrounded by such people. It was a miracle that Linus had not shown his disgraceful behaviour to the public, nor had he chosen to commit suicide.

Linus continued to cry alone as his mind approached his limits.

It took near dinnertime before he came to his senses again.

※ ※ ※

Going back in time slightly.

After leaving the Count and Countess' bedroom, Elisha returned to the room she had been assigned. The room was spacious enough to accommodate the guests of a noble, but the furnishings were old. The room had been cleaned well and there was not a speck of dust on the floor, but considering the weathering of the room over the years, some people might even feel an eerie sense of discomfort.

But there was no way Elisha Balbastre was that delicate of a flower to care for such things. She only thought that it was spacious, old, and that there would be no inconvenience in sleeping here.

"Welcome back, commander. Everyone has gathered."

"Oh, Al. Thanks."

When she entered the room, she raised a small hand and answered to the voice of her subordinate who greeted her.

Gathered in the room were five subordinates. There were four captains who each led 20 guards, and Alfred Simon Prudemache, the deputy commander who could be said to be Elisha's right hand man.

Even though Volden's mansion was large, it was only a noble's mansion. There was no way that a knight's order could be stationed here as a whole like in the royal palace. This was why only the executives of the second knight of the Imperial Guards have gathered here.

The only people who were given rooms were Elisha, the commander of the order, the captains, and a few others who were in charge of guarding Linus and his wife. The rest have taken lodgings in the city.

Elisha glanced at her men and opened her mouth.

"Fine, everyone sit down."

With the permission of the chief, the people gathered in the room sat down at their respective seats. There was only one empty seat, a chair located by the window of the table. Elisha walked to her seat and sat down.

"Well, gentlemen. Let me start by saying the journey here has been long."


"I'm sure it's fine for big sis since she rode in the carriage, but we were on horseback. My thighs are sore."

The commander’s words were met with a stream of ridicule from her subordinate captains. However, there were no ill feelings. There was a sense of friendliness that belied those words, as if they were idle banter between friends.

In response, Alfred, the deputy commander, cleared his throat.

"Everyone, please don't spout rubbish. Also, this is our commander. I don't think it's appropriate to call her big sis."

"Wow, you're still as hard as ever, Al the husband."

"Of course. If I don't at least be harsh, the discipline of this knight order will slacken...... And you can also call me deputy commander."

"Well, let's just ignore Al's nitpicking as usual."

While they quickly dismissed the deputy commander, Elisha continued.

"So, let's hear your reports. After a quick inspection of the house, did you all notice anything unusual?"

"No, none at all."

The four voices replied unanimously.

A captain took initiative and explained further on behalf of all of them.

"Of course, it would be difficult to complete a thorough search of the house in a single day, so we have only investigated a limited portion of the house. Nevertheless, we are focusing on the rooms that the head of the family would use. As a result, at this stage, we can confidently say that there is no possibility of assassination, kidnapping, brainwashing, or any other unpardonable behaviour to occur."

"Same for the right area."

"Me too."

"Hmmm......? So, the viscount only came to greet his brother?"

She twirled her hair, which was tied into a ponytail, lightly like a toy. It was Elisha's habit when she was thinking. Alfred made a curious expression at the gesture and asked.

"Are you not convinced, Commander?"

"I can’t really be convinced. Tullius Oubeniel is the kind of person who picks a fight against the old man and wins. I'm sure he's more than familiar with all kinds of shady tactics. How could he have possibly come to meet his political rival so recklessly?"

"Then, Commander is suspicious of the Viscount?"

"Yeah. Don't let Madam Simone catch wind of this though...... okay? Because she seems to have a soft spot for her brother-in-law."

"In the meantime, may I ask if you have any proof?"

The beautiful female knight commander sniggered at the deputy commander's question.

"That stuff is easy. Look at his history since he became a viscount. Not a speck of dirt to be found, is there? A bad boy who used to reek of rumours of slave murders and who was once taken by his father to be exorcised. Normally, a viscount like him should have caused a public incident or two by now. But this guy has only been countering his political enemies."

"It is possible that he has repented and corrected his behavior."

"Impossible. How old is he? He was eighteen when he became a lord, and he's twenty now. He's not old enough to be able to control himself completely. No matter what kind of saint a person is, youth is the thing that would get the person in trouble. In addition, he is a heretic who has gained his notoriety as a slave murderer. If he holds the powers of a lord, he will definitely be up to no good."

Power was enticing and youthfulness made one susceptible to temptation. A young man who had been killing slaves with impunity even as a child had gained power over a region. If nothing particular happened, it would be extraordinary.

"Hahaha, it's extremely persuasive when it's said by someone who has youthful indiscretions herself, isn't it?"

One of the captains broke off the conversation by saying so. Elisha continued, unconcerned.

"That's why I can say that with conviction. The lack of anything strange is strange in itself...... though this sounds just like a conspiracy theory. Old man Lavallee is also not the kind of naive person to get his ass kicked so easily by a virtuous rural lord. Now then, I wonder what that young innocent lord has behind his mask."

"So you think that he is the main culprit behind the Great Fire of the royal capital, as the Marquis claims?"

"I have no proof, though. If you only look at the results, last year's great fire was carried out in that young master’ favour. The city was burned down in a mob uprising, and the political instability in the capital was not good for nobles from outside the capital to stay. So it was a good excuse to get out and go home. In the midst of all this, he was wounded by an assassin from who knows where. Thanks to that, the old man was suspected of assassination, which caused him major problems. Those gossiping mouths started to believe that the old man was involved in the arson. What do you think? Everything ended up working in the Viscount's favour."

"You said he was stabbed and suffered life-threatening wounds? I also heard that there was no hesitation in the wounds though?"

"That's a stupid question."

She replied snidely.

"There's somebody serving him who might be able to do that, right? A person who was formerly known as a strong adventurer, and who seemed like she took part in the ‘slave killing’."

"The 'Silver Wolf' Uni. One of the main players in the trial, right?"

The deputy commander said with a snort. The knights of the Imperial Guards, the most elite in the kingdom, were different from other knightly orders that were like lounges for nobles. They did not underestimate the monsters that were a threat to humanity and the ability of adventurers who fought against monsters. Unlike the pampered First Order, in the meritocratic Second Order, if you make a mistake, you will be given the boot on the very same day.

"She is an exception of the exceptions, as she is ranked C and yet has a nickname. Surely she has some skills to show for it."
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