Chapter 0195 Acre
It was the tenth day since the diplomatic mission left the royal capital.
Traveling south along the Kingdom’s Third Highway, they entered Acre, the largest city in the south.
Acre is the capital city of Marquis Heinlein’s domain and, along with the Rune city, is the largest city in the Kingdom.
The lord, Marquis Heinlein, was the former Knight-Captain of the Kingdom and Phelps’, a B-rank adventurer from Rune city, father.
There, in Acre city, civil servants, knights, and squires were to stay at the lord’s mansion, while adventurers were to stay at a luxury inn adjacent to the mansion.
Ostensibly, a welcoming ceremony was being held for the civil servants and knights, and since adventurers wouldn’t feel comfortable participating in such a ceremony, they were to stay outside the mansion so that they could freely go wild and have a good time as well.
In reality, this was for the benefit of Abel, who was the second prince and at the same time an A-rank adventurer.
It was a common understanding among those privy to the situation that Abel would not be drawn into ceremonial relations within the Kingdom as much as possible.
Marquis Alexis Heinlein, who is also Phelps’s father, naturally knew Abel’s status and therefore one of those ‘privy to the situation’.
The inn where the 22 adventurers, including Abel and Ryo, were staying was deluxe, as it was adjacent to the lord’s mansion.
Normally, the inn would be reserved for a wealthy merchant working with Marquis Heinlein’s family or the attendants of a noble visiting the Marquis family.
To begin with, the lobby is a cut above.
The vast marble-floored lobby…wasn’t only spacious, but vast, with a perfect balance of opulence and sophistication, creating a vast yet very comfortable space.
“Abel…this inn is awesome…”
“Yeah… It is, of course, the best inn in the south, but it is also one of the most exclusive inns in the entire Kingdom.”
The attitude of the staff was professional, and even though they were dealing with adventurers, many of whom were rather gruff, they always served their guests with smiles on their faces, and even the tough-looking adventurers were blushing like flowers in full bloom.
Two employees came to Ryo and Abel, who were watching them.
“Master Abel and Master Ryo, I presume. The formalities have been taken care of, so I will show you to your rooms.”
“Let me take your luggages.”
The two employees led them to the rooms at the far end of the second floor both facing each other.
And the room Ryo entered…
The spacious living room had a luxurious-looking sofa and stylish rocking chairs.
There was a bedroom separate from the living room, with a soft king-size bed.
What’s more, it even had an adjacent room open-air bath!
The employee who showed him around smiled at the words of admiration that unintentionally escaped Ryo’s mouth, and bowed in response.
It was the first time Ryo recognized the awesomeness of an inn…that’s seriously operated by a great noble house.
After taking a leisurely bath in the open-air bath, Ryo put on the loungewear provided and went down to the dining room on the first floor.
There, he found a group of adventurers who were about wasted.
Among them, Ryo spotted a fiendish A-rank swordsman, so he moved to the corner to avoid detection…well, he tried to….
“Hey, Ryo, don’t you run away by yourself! ”
“You’ve got the wrong person, buddy.”
“Like hell I do.”
Ryo was caught by a drunken Abel and put into a group of drunken adventurers.
A forced spiral of drinking and eating ensued.
And, for some reason, he was flanked on both sides by female adventurers who were chorusing “so cute~” all around.
Ryo seemed to be adored by female adventurers….
He wondered if most Easterners, regardless of the world, appeared baby-faced.
Basically, since he only tangled with certain adventurers back in Rune, he had never experienced such a situation before….
As Ryo was beginning to feel pretty drunk, eating his meat dish almost unconsciously while his surroundings were drowning in a sea of alcohol.
Outside the window, he spotted a person who should not have been there.
Moreover, that person was looking at Ryo and beckoning him over.
Ryo looked around, and after confirming that everyone was asleep except himself, he went out of the inn.
It was Phelps, the leader of ‘White Brigade’, a B-rank party in Rune city.
“Why are you here…?”
“Hmm? It’s my parents’ house…”
Phelps A. Heinlein was the heir to the Marquis Heinlein house.
And this is Acre, the capital of Marquis Heinlein’s domain.
“By the way, Abel is inside, if you’re wondering?”
“Nah, I just thought to inform you this time, Ryo.”
Phelps sat in a chair on the open terrace, and Ryo sat across from him.
“Let me get straight to the point, you know about the ‘Order of Assassins’ don’t you?”
Of course he knew about them, just…he wasn’t sure if he should answer honestly or not.
In the end.
“W-What are you talking about…”
“Yep, you really should work on your lying skill.”
Phelps pointed out with a chuckle.
“I know you destroyed the village of the Order of Assassins.”
“T-That was just a coincidence…”
Ryo, who had not expected that the information was so widely known, was flustered as he tried to explain.
“Listen, I’m not accusing you of anything.”
“Oh, is that so?”
Ryo was overtly relieved.
“Just that, the Order of Assassins is on the move again.”
“What…. But the chief is already…”
Exactly, the chief ‘Hassan’, died in front of Ryo.
And Ryo took over his alchemy materials.
“Yes, apparently someone else has become the new chief. And there is a very strong possibility that this mission is among their targets.”
“What… why the diplomatic mission?”
“I am not sure. But for some time now, some people in this city have been gathering information about the mission. I caught them and asked them about it, and that’s what they told me.”
Phelps’ expression did not change.
Ryo thought that the method employed when he ‘caught them and asked them’ must have been horrifying.
Phelps is the heir to a great noble house and takes great pride in being a ‘knight’, but may also be good at this kind of stuff~, Ryo thought.
He also thought that Abel might have mentioned it at some point?
“Maybe Abel is the target?”
Hearing those words, Phelps stared into Ryo’s eyes.
“From the way you sound, you’re asking about Abel’s status, aren’t you, Ryo?”
Phelps asked, smiling slightly. It’s in the form of a question, but he already got his answer.
“He calls himself the second prince.”
Sure enough, Phelps laughed out loud at this.
“Yes, well, he is, as a matter of fact.”
“Oh…well, I’ve suspected as much for some time now.”
Yes, he had thought so.
No jokes, okay? For real.
“I am not sure if Abel is the target this time… I mean if they wanted to go after Abel, why bother risking it at this time and raising the bar unnecessarily, when there were plenty of chances where he was isolated and with no one around? That said, we can’t write it off completely though…”
“Okay, I’ll keep an eye out.”
Ryo nodded emphatically.
Ryo interpreted that Phelps had come all the way to see him to ask for Abel’s protection, along with the matter of the Order of Assassins being on the move.
“If you can keep an eye out, that would be very reassuring, Ryo.”
Phelps smiled after saying that, and then stood up.
“Oh, and Twilight Land itself is getting a little seedy. Just keep that in mind.”
With that, Phelps walked toward the adjacent pavilion.
Ryo watched as he walked away.
“Hmmm, I guess that’s the kind of person they call a young lord, huh~. Not that Abel is…lacking class, but just not quite.”
“You knew I was here, that’s why you’re saying that on purpose, aren’t you.”
The swordsman in question, Abel, came out of the shadows.
Ryo knew he was there with his <Passive Sonar>.
However, he was not there from the beginning, but came just before the end of the conversation.
“No way, of course not~”
“You really suck at lying! ”
Ryo sighed and said to Abel.
“It looks like I misunderstood you, Abel.”
“Whoa, what’s up with you all of a sudden?”
Abel asked, tilting his head.
“I admit that you’re the second prince, Abel.”
“So Ryo…doesn’t believe what I say, but you believe without a second thought when it comes from Phelps uh?”
“Hey, you can’t blame me. I’m sure you also won’t believe it if an impostor says to you, “I’m a prince~”, would you? But if the heir to the Marquis house says, “He is a prince”, then you would believe him, wouldn’t you?”
“…Can you…even apply that analogy in this instance?”
Abel did not seem at all convinced, but he had no choice but to accept it.
“Fine, okay. What’s Phelps doing here anyway?”
“Remember the Order of Assassins right, apparently they’re on the move again and are targeting the diplomatic mission.”
“How can you say something that serious so lightly…”
Abel sighed at Ryo’s lightly-spoken explanation, which was in the same sense as nonchalantly saying, hey if there is no curry soup, why not just have hamburger steak.
It certainly was a serious subject, but….
“Well, I mean, there are knights, and other adventurers other than us around this time. So, we can just totally sit back and leave it to them to…I mean, to have our backs all the way! ”
“Oh okay, wait, I thought I heard you say we should sit back or something.”
“You heard wrong.”