After the feast 3
「well, that’s about it. 」
The exchange of information, which was mainly centered around the three namely Falsa, Zenobia and Palmina, went without a hitch, revealing the problems related to Viscount Fouche.
「At any rate…… I thought that the corruption by local nobles is advancing quite a bit from this journey, but this one is unusually cruel. It’s a noble’s gratification and duty to protect their people! It is outrageous to crush a company for one’s greed! 」
Zenobia seemed to be outraged, as she raised her voice and forcefully hit the marble table.
She struck the table so hard that cracks appeared on it and Julia opened her eyes wide in surprise.
Noblesse oblige……for her who had been learning the Nobles frame of mind since an early age, this is an unforgivable matter.
To start with, Falsa’s information is centered around the fact that Viscount Fouche colluded with other merchants and nobles to crush a major merchant company in his territory.
「And the reason for that is that the son of the Feudal lord wanted to violate the only daughter of the companies head! Even I am enraptured with anger at this! 」
「….. For Julia-Chan, to say that she is furious, heaven must also be angry. 」
Julia who looked equally angry, blushed at Palmina’s calm remark and jumped onto Zenobia’s lap who was sitting next to her.
Apparently, she tried to used words from the east like Falsa and made a mistake.
Viscount Fouche was not blessed with any children for ten years after his marriage and only after he passed his thirties, did he finally have his long-cherished heir.
He doted so much on his heir, that his 17 years olds son grew to be selfish and had a bad reputation in the region.
「And it seems that he has caused a great deal of trouble in the past, and Viscount Fouche had used a great amount of money and power to cover it up. 」
What Palmina gathered was mainly about the reputation of the viscount’s son.
When she pretended to show interest in the only son of Viscount Fouche to the people who asked her hand in marriage, they only spoke ill about him.
Like how he had forced the flower shop’s owner’s daughter into a relationship with him, how he had driven out the maid who became pregnant, how he violated a girl in front of the eye of her Fiancé, when telling Palmina about this, who is a girl, they went about it in a roundabout way, and his atrocities were so many that she succeeded in gathering considerable information
Although he was a noble, he could not be forgiven for his conduct like this, and for him to be left alone like this until now, it seems his father Viscount Fouche has supported him considerably.
It was said that the son did not attend the banquet because he was busy violating the daughter of the head of the business company that has been crushed in his room.
「 And it seems that he received a good deal of bribes from merchants for various reasons, and also imposed a sudden tax increase without reporting it to the government. It seems that the finances of the Viscount Fouche’s family are deteriorating because of the wasteful habits of his son. 」
Zenobia looks back on the information that she has collected while patting Julia’s head on her lap.
She gathered mainly about the Viscount himself, especially from the young male knights who sympathized with Zenobia’s integrity, and spoke with indignation.
The gossips from the Noble Ladies were also very useful, as they leaked out brief information about his family which they heard from their father and also discussed the nobles involved with him behind the scene.
「He has done so much wrong; we must punish him properly! Fal-Ani are we going to raid the Viscount’s room after this? In his mansion! 」
*rising* Julia looked up from Zenobia’s lap, faced Falsa and held her fist high, showing the influence of the book from the East that she had read recently.
While smiling bitterly at Julia’s childish appearance, Falsa began to admonish her gently.
「Although it can happen in a story…… if we arrest the Viscount and his son in this situation, there is a possibility that the other nobles involved who have noticed something unusual might lose their mind and revolt. It is said that a cornered rat bites a cat, and if they feel cornered, we don’t know what they might do. And at that time the soldiers under them, who may have nothing to do with this, would have to fight, and the innocent people might also get hurt in this. 」
「u,uuu, what Fal-ani says is right. So, what should we do in this situation? Even if we go back to the Imperial capital and report, circumstantial evidence alone is not enough. 」
「Well, we should gather evidence here. I think we should focus on all the documents related to the business transactions; we might be able to get some clue from there. After all, they will not be able to dupe the transaction of money. Also, the letter written suggesting demand for bribe and orders to increase the tax for every town and village will be effective. 」
Julia raises a question at Falsa’s words and Zenobia answers them.
This was a daughter of a great nobleman for you, her decisions were precise, Julia was impressed and looked at Zenobia with a gaze of admiration.
Rare and expensive tools, such as contact balls, are not commonly used, and the main means of communication is by letter.
Hence, he must have written a letter indirectly demanding a bribe from the people living away from the regional capital and the tax collector must have an order with the stamp of Feudal lord for collecting the increased tax from the mayors and village chief in his territory.
By understanding the movement of money in business transactions and tax affairs, one can find an unnatural part and track down irregularities from there, but there is one problem here.
「But that would take a lot of time. I don’t think nobles and merchants will give the letters and deeds of trades straightforwardly. That’s pretty much the same case with the tax collection order …」
Palmina, with her hand on her cheek, leaned her head and uttered with a somewhat troubled voice.
Of course, those who are involved in the crime will not honestly present the evidence, and the rest will not cooperate with them.
Even if they are not involved, if they are suspected by the Feudal lord, they will lose a place to live and work in Fouche region, that and also, they have an indecisive attitude because there is lack of certain level of trust between them and the head of the imperial court mage as well as the head of the Royal knights.
For them, the feudal who is living close to them is more frightening than some big shots from far away Imperial capital.
Gossip can be said to be the splendor of high society social circle, so people hear about a lot of frauds, but there are very few people who actually do something about it.
「Then we can just sneak in and steal them! We are already in the Viscount’s Mansion like this, so we won’t have to do much, what do you think? 」
「That’s almost impossible. It’s just been a day since we came inside this building, and we still haven’t figured out its structure yet. Besides it is natural to have secret rooms or safes to hide evidence of illegal things, so it will be hard to find them. Further, soldiers and mages are doing round around here and there might some detection magic placed around here. 」
「When you think about it, it’s very difficult……………..to gather evidence without causing an uproar. On the other hand, it’s not so good to take a completely aggressive stance against Viscount Fouche either. Isn’t it difficult to disempower him without injuring him? no matter what we do he will be injured. If we do that it will be like putting the cart before the horse, so we can’t use that. 」
The three of them sighed deeply at their uncertain future and each began to contemplate their best course of action.
In the midst of this, Falsa begins to speak softly with a slightly uncomfortable expression on his face.
「Um-, You three can you listen to me for a second! Honestly, it’s hard to say it in this atmosphere, but can you look at this? 」
Then Falsa took out a bundle of documents and letters from his pocket and spread them out on the table.
The other three uniformly had a suspicious look, but when they checked the contents, their expressions turned into that of surprise.
The saint Palmina’s eyes were wide opened and then she turned her face towards Falsa as if asking for an explanation, following her Zenobia and Julia did the same.
「 A–, yes, I don’t blame everybody for being surprised, but I have collected the evidence of Viscount’s crimes already. 」
Falsa had already completed, what the three of them deemed impossible just a moment ago.
Of course, there is no way to believe it even if you hear it, but there are a lot of things on the table that supports it.
The three confirmed the contents again, but no matter how one saw, these were the evidence of Viscount Fouche’s crimes, rather there were pieces of evidence of his other crimes as well, which were not known to them.
「Fal-Ani, this is not just working fast. What really happened? 」
Julia asks Falsa with a quivering voice, but it’s understandable.
Incidentally, the room in which Falsa and others are gathered is a room prepared by the Viscount for the ladies.
Actually, Julia is supposed to sleep in this room, and Zenobia and Palmina are to sleep in the next rooms, but Falsa who is of different gender was guided to a room far away.
It was a matter of course from the Viscount’s side as the host, and so, the man Falsa couldn’t go into the lady’s room proudly, as a result of which they decided to gather together in this way, at a time when there were not a lot of people around.
「Look, there was little time after the Banquet ended. It was in that gap that I was a little impolite. 」
Yes, this man here, in the time before they gathered in the room, easily went through the highly guarded areas, easily found the secret rooms and safes and thus found the evidence.
The most active magic among these series of actions was the Transfer magic, which he has hidden from Julia’s group.
Falsa’s Transfer magic can be used to move to any place with a magic mark, but at close range, it does not require a magic mark at all.
Its range is to all the places which are visible to him, and even if he wants to move inside a room from outside, he can do so just by looking inside through the gaps in the curtain.
When pushed to the limit, by continuous use of Transfer magic as long his magic power doesn’t run out, it is possible to move up in the sky at high speed and he can enter at any place with just a tiny gap through which one can peek.
If he places a magic mark at the place where he has transferred once, he can repeatedly visit that place freely.
Thus, with the help of Transfer magic combined with some other magic, he was able to examine the whole house and even sneaked into the houses of the merchants and the nobles who had colluded with the Feudal lord, collecting all kind of evidence.
「Falsa-Dono, excuse me for questioning. I have been surprised by you many times, but this right here preposterous and ……. 」
Zenobia’s meeting with Falsa has positively changed her values and ideas, but it seems that she is still astonished.
「U-m, I think this is a little……no, a very amazing thing. But……right? 」
The saint Palmina seems to be a little less impressed by Falsa’s action.
「Fal-Ani, you must never become a thief, you know that? If that ever happens then I’ll…… I’ll…… become a detective……. 」
Julia’s shoulder’s quivered and seems to have begun to enter in her wild delusions.
In her mind, it is likely that the greatest thief of the century Falsa the third and the detective Julia must be fighting.
Of course, she is influenced by a certain story she has read recently.
Julia, who hates studying, reads various books when she has time on the recommendation of the avid reader, Falsa.
「You said something terrible, but I did an amazing job, didn’t I? 」
Don’t do what you don’t have to do, and do what you have to do quickly.
Although Falsa is only following his principles, it sometimes works beyond the understanding of others.
From these repeated actions, he became one of the 4 Heavenly Kings of the Demon King’s Army and became the head of the Imperial Court Mages in the kingdom, but it will be a little later before he becomes aware of this himself.