I want to hug Harold ;__;
ED: clover, xtostos, eristol
Lord of the Margraviate of Urs which is located at the western boundary of the Lucanrant region.
A big man who looks like a wolf.
It is said that he is a merciless and ferocious man who seems to match his outer appearance.
It is said that he kidnapped people of his fief with no regards to gender and age and killed them mercilessly.
It is said that many young children, who lost their parents due to the Devil Hunting carried out in the fief, were taken into captivity and taught the arts of murder.
It is said that a maid who appeared in the mansion of the Margrave of Urs’ subordinate, was tortured for a long time under suspicion of demonic possession and her body was thrown into the sea.
A man who constantly has such bloody rumors around him, that is Harlan.
“All the advance payments paid by Earl Nibelheim have been stolen.
He planned to pay back his debts by using the silverware industry, but so long as he doesn’t have the mining rights, even that is doubtful.
If Harlan knows the status quo, I don’t know what he will do.”
Harold was at a loss after hearing Gilbert’s report.
It is understandable.
Harold probably knows the danger of the person called Harlan better that I do.
“Did Earl Nibelheim only borrow money from Harlan?”
“No, he also borrowed money from some of the Knot Reed merchants.
It wasn’t as much as the amount he borrowed from Harlan, but it was quite a reasonable amount.
They may give him some more time, but what will happen if Harlan moves as well?”
Then, the partner who Earl Nibelheim said he would meet earlier was probably a neighboring merchant.
While looking at us alternately, Gilbert told us the good news at last.
“There is only one good news.
Earl Nibelheim insured his silver vein with the Turm Insurance Company.
If we can show a proof of this fraud crime, the insurance will be issued.
My older brother is working as a higher-up in the insurance company, so if it goes well then we may be able to skip some procedures.
It might even cover the amount of money needed to contract a new mining vein, Botchan.”
Finally, colors returned to Harold’s cheeks.
By the way, Knot Reed is a city full of insurance companies for merchants and nobility, including maritime insurance.
As expected of the Trade City Knot Reed.
“Okay, let’s go to the site if you decide so.
If this is a big deal, the Sorcery Tag should remain in the mine.
If we look at it, won’t it become a clue for something?”
Sorcery Tag is a type of magic used in contracts like commercial transactions.
It does not give a magical enforcement to the contractor, as you might imagine from the name, but it will record contract information on the goods and places.
Basically, Sorcery Tag isn’t used alone, it is used in conjunction with the corresponding document.
If it is a big contract like mining rights of a mine, it is certainly possible that they used Sorcery Tag.
『Do you know the location of the mine?』
“Uh……that is, because I was preoccupied with my father……damn it, I should have realized it sooner……”
“Wait, wait, maybe there is something like that here.”
Gilbert took out several papers from his bag.
The documents spread out on the desk looked like the actual documents used by Earl Nibelheim for this contract.
Huh? Is this an information leakage then?
“Gilbert-san, why are these important documents here?”
“There is my seventh brother in the Notary Guild……well, that happened. Please keep it a secret?”
Is it okay to easily leak information just because you are a relative, I swallowed the words I wanted to say.
Now is the time of emergency, so I can’t say such a thing.
“The location information is here. Argene territory’s……that’s pretty far, Aniki.”
“No, according to this document, there is a transition magic circle that can take us directly from Argene territory to the silver vein.
It seems that the Sorcery Tag is installed in two places, inside the transition magic circle and inside the silver vein.”
“Well then, the destinations are those two places.”
“Aah, but it seems a bit strange for outsiders like us to enter the silver vein……ah, no, there is Ojou-san.”
Since I am the heiress, it would not be an illegal invasion.
I won’t hold back my cooperation after coming this far.
“Is the distance to the transition magic circle far?”
“No, because it’s just outside the Argene territory……if we use a boat or a horse-drawn carriage, it will take about one or two hours for each trip.”
“Alright! Let’s go and check it out!”
Harold stood up quickly from his chair.
Gilbert shook his head quietly.
“Wait, even if we go right now, it’s evening. The sun will set while we check it out.
That place is a dangerous place, it’s risky to head out right now.”
“There will be the launching ceremony tomorrow. Anyway, Botchan, Ojou-san came to Knot Reed for that reason.”
Then, the day after tomorrow.
As they quarrel for a moment, I felt sorry that I was holding them back at this time.
When I thought so, Tirnanog cut into their conversation.
『No, it is possible in the early morning of tomorrow.』
“Eh, is that alright with you?”
『From my conversation with the shop owner some time ago, he said that the launching ceremony will be held at noon.
A group of Ignitia has arrived, but they said they would like the dragons to rest before the ceremony.
If we go there at sunrise, won’t we be able to return by noon even if it takes time to investigate?』
“Yes, that’s right. Then I will be able to come with you.”
“Alright, it’s decided. If we can return by noon, the Notary Guild will also be able to move on the same day.
Let’s present the gathered evidence while sending Ojou-san there.”
Gilbert stood up while putting the documents into his bag.
We will leave early in the morning tomorrow and return by noon.
We will barely be in time for the launching ceremony.
In the worst case, even if we are a little late, there is Palug who can substitute for me.
“Then, I will arrange our means of transport with my older brother’s connections.”
“I will also ask my father casually about the matter of Argene territory, Harold.”
“Duke Aurelia, huh……it is also because of the compassion of Erica’s father that the matter of the fraud has not become widespread yet.
Could it be that he noticed what was wrong from speaking with my father?”
“I think my father cannot move carelessly until the circumstances are clear.”
“Aah, but thanks to that, Harlan hasn’t entered the fray yet.
It seems that Earl Nibelheim is getting a great deal of time extension by himself.”
This fraud is serious because of Harlan’s involvement.
Every time his name comes out, everyone feels unnatural fear.
“Then, early in the morning tomorrow, shall we meet in front of the pickaxe and goblin bridge of the Goblin Street?”
“Thank you very much, Aniki……!”
“Hey, hey, calm down, Botchan. Let’s do our best while there is a way to solve this.”
Gilbert beat Harold’s back and went out of the Wunderkammer.
He works fast, what a reliable person.
I sighed along with a blue-faced Harold.
I wonder if my complexion is also not very good.
While giving a sidelong glance towards my face, Harold opened his dry lips.
“I’m sorry I bothered you. Because of my father……no, it’s not just my father, but my house’s fault……”
“Even if one doesn’t make mistakes, terrible things like this do happen. The partner of this contract is simply malicious.”
People who get caught in a fraud tend to blame themselves.
But the bad one is the criminal who committed the fraud, not the victims.
As I said that, Harold made a face that looked like he was about to cry.
“It’s fine, don’t worry about it. If there is something I can do, I will cooperate as much as possible, so please tell me anything.”
“Yeah……but, why are you doing so much for me?”
I could have told him a suitable lie, but I don’t want to do that right now.
It is because I feel somewhat awkward lying to Harold who is in such a state.
I want to be trusted by him.
“If I speak honestly, it will be a very long story. So, I’ll talk after this incident has been settled.”
As expected, I couldn’t tell him about my previous life nor about the otome game.
But I will tell him about the future that might happen.
And then, if I am treated as a crazy person and exhaust his amiability, then that is that.
“What’s with that……you’re a pretty strange person. Well, that’s fine though.”
“Besides, we’re partners, aren’t we? If you are in trouble, I have to help you.”
“Hahaha, that’s true……haha……”
When I said that, Harold smiled.
A tear fell from his eye.
Harold gently wiped it away with his sleeve.
However, the tears wouldn’t stop and were dripping down his cheeks.
He wiped them once again. And again.
Before I knew it, Harold distorted his face and began to cry while restraining his voice.
Surely, he has been thinking that it is difficult and scary all this time.
Now, his tension thread has snapped.
I rubbed Harold’s back.
From sobbing, he switched to crying loudly.
Tirnanog and I listened quietly to his cries for a while.
After crying for a while, Harold regained his calm.
“I, even if there is a painful thing, the tears have run out.
It’s pathetic. I, I am a man.
But, I have decided that I will only cry this once.
I have decided my resolution. To be able to endure even the most difficult fate.”
After wiping his face with his arm, Harold faced me directly.
I couldn’t see any timidity from his expression.
“Me too……I will do what I can. That’s why, Erica, see you tomorrow.”
“Yes, Harold. See you tomorrow. Let’s settle everything tomorrow.”
Encouraging each other briefly, we left the wand store.
The City of Canals was painted with orange colors of the setting sun.
On top of the water surface which was shining in a golden color, a small boat was moving as if gliding.
As the town was soon wrapped in dusk, Tirnanog and I returned to the Water Palace.