An Underhanded Discussion
I was led to the well-used reception room on the third floor of the estate. The room inside had a chic layout without any unnecessary decorations, but it looked well cared after. In my opinion, this was a far more livable place than the nobles’ palatial residences.
“I’m Kurama, the Revise Family’s Lieutenant and the one in charge of the young Miss. Pleased to make your acquaintance.”
The blonde girl, Aria, turned away with a sour look on her face.
“Yeah, I’m Grey. Nice to meet you.”
After our simple exchange of pleasantries, Kurama quickly dived in to the main topic.
“Let me get straight to the point, if you’re okay with it, then we’ll make the necessary preparations to accept your proposal.”
“Lieutenant, that’s—!!” said Jill from behind in a menacing voice. However, a single glare from Kurama shut him up.
“I’m glad you’re so quick on the uptake,” I said. “Could you tell me their location then.”
“Sure. I’ll lead you there,” said Kurama, after which a burly man in the back tensed up.
“Nah, it sounds like a fight will break out, so there’s no need. You can just draw me a map or something.”
“Stop, you don’t know how scary they are! You’ll die if you go!” Jill yelled. Kurama glared at him like a hawk once again, but this time Jill didn’t fall back and looked down at me.
“Hm, you’ve peaked my interest, so I’d like you to explain a little,” I said. “Of course, I want to know about your relationship with them too.”
Kurama poured some tea for Aria, who was sitting in front of me, before diving into his explanation.
“The largest underground organization, “Laguna,” and their subordinate family, Feces, huh……”
The giant criminal syndicate known as Laguna currently spreads its roots out from the center of the empire.
Their modus operandi, named “Shinogi,” involved feeding their subordinate families into each land to control the families in those lands.
Kurama’s family, the Revise Family, specialized in human trafficking. Until they came to this town, slave trading had been forbidden by the previous family, who had then lost to the Revise family.
Every month, they had to fulfill a quota and send a certain number of slaves over to the Feces family, and even just a few slaves short would mean facing severe penalties.
On the other hand, they were trafficking slaves, so they received enormous sums that left no room for dissatisfaction.
It was truly a carrot and stick situation; whoever came up with this system must have a strong grasp on how people think.
“How come this town’s government turns a blind eye?” I asked.
The slave trade was technically legal, but it came with the strict condition that non-criminals couldn’t make up more than a small percentage of slaves. It was laughable to think Shiina a heinous criminal, so no matter how you looked at it, it was definitely illegal. Which left the question, why didn’t the government speak up? And the Commerce Guild’s silence also nagged at me.
“You really don’t know a thing,” Aria said, shaking her head in disbelief.
“Well, yeah. I was raised in the countryside—I’m completely ignorant in the ways of the city. So what,” I said a bit louder as I didn’t want to continue this any longer
“Seeing that the Feces Family are backed by Laguna, the government can’t make a move without any clear evidence,” he explained.
“Although it’s hilarious that you would need clear evidence to expose an underground organization in this empire,” I added.
With all the illegal acts the government commits without a shred of guilt, it’s laughable that they would require clear evidence. In short, they’ve decided to pretend they’ve seen nothing.
On the surface, the court nobles are spread throughout the government, and the dark organization, Laguna, run rampant behind the scenes. This empire is a lot rottener than I had initially thought.
“I couldn’t agree more.”
“Is the government proactively backing Laguna or is it merely permitting them to conduct their business. Which one do you think?” I asked.
His answer could completely change my guidelines.
“If I had to pick, I’d say the latter. Those in the government release captured members of Laguna, and they ignore reports of injury from citizens, although they definitely won’t go any farther.”
Their tacit consent is certainly the best cooperation Laguna could hope for.
Basically, they’re an organization that can go a little overboard and not face any public repercussions.
How nice. Really, how nice! I can probably use this shitty organization for several experiments.
“Grey-sama, your face,” Satella warned from behind. I touched my lips and found that they were curved into a smile not unlike one an evil magistrate would have.
As Jill stared at me, he paled in the face and began to tremble, and Kurama’s face twitched.
Not good, not good. I need to stop showing my emotions so readily. I’ll try to be more careful from here on out.
I cleared my throat to try to cover it up.
“I think I’ll go and greet them. I’ll leave the map to you,” I said.
“I’m going too, so there’s no need,” said Aria, proposing something unbelievably annoying.
“Wha? Do you have a screw loose?”
I could tell how wretched the Feces family was just by looking at their faces, and I didn’t have to think very hard to imagine what kind of fate awaited a young woman who went against them.
“You’re seriously annoying!” said Aria. “You’re going there to pay her bondage, right? So I’ll come with you to bow my head.”
I heard Satella trying to hold back her laughter behind me.
You know, haven’t you been a little too wicked lately? I hope I don’t come to regret the things I’ve taught her over these past couple of years.
I expectantly looked behind Aria at Kurama, but he added, “I’m going too, so you don’t mind, right Grey-dono?”
“What are you trying to do?”
“I just want to watch. Surely the famous Baron Ines Navarro might be able to persuade them.”
Shit, the geezer’s clearly recognized me. But how did he know?
The imperial government made the official statement of awarding Baron Ines Navarro and his subordinates made the lords who knew the truth swear secrecy.
The court nobles, who didn’t wish for the lower ranked nobles to gain power in the empire, should’ve have been opposed, and like I had expected, other than the lords, mercenaries, and soldiers who participated in the battle, my involvement was wholly unknown.
I obviously couldn’t stop any rumors from spreading, but this world’s communication system was, on the whole, very meagre.
I, Judo, and Carla had acted while masked, and the average soldier and mercenary wouldn’t have even known it was me. There’s no way Kurama, who hadn’t even stepped foot on the battlefield, should know.
In fact, the blonde girl, Jill, and the other Revise Family members just stared at us with their mouths agape.
“Are you sure? You may be fine, but this conversation might be a little intense for that princess over there.”
“Yes. This shall serve as a good experience for the lady.”
“You’re quite off the hook too……” I said, standing from my seat.
“Drahachi, come here!”
The moment I thought that, a young girl with black hair suddenly appeared while rubbing her sleepy eyes.
“Is it food?”
“Ah, that’s right. Have Satella make you something.”
“Yaay! Food, food, food ♫” she gleefully sang, twirling around as if she hadn’t been lifeless a moment prior.
“Satella, if you would. If worst comes to pass, use Drahachi.”
“I understand but try not to be excessive.”
That probably wasn’t directed towards me.
“Hm, well I’ll be depending on you, Satella. Once I finish everything up, I’ll return as soon as possible.”
“Okay. I’ll be waiting.”
She gripped the ends of her skirt and elegantly bowed.
“A-are you insane!? Your master might get killed!” Jill yelled.
Satella just grinned in response and said, “I’m not worried about Grey-sama (although I am worried in another sense). Now, come help out too, Shiina-chan.”
She pulled Shiina’s small hands and exited the room.
“Now then, would you lead the way?”
“Jill, stay on standby until we return,” ordered Kurama to Jill, who looked like he wanted to say something, before heading off.
↑ Changed Fishes to Feces.