Chapter 1: The old man begins his departure.
After the ceremony had ended, I proceeded to the dining area as instructed by the newly crowned king Laluzulu. Due to the content of our conversation, the number of people present was kept to the bare minimum. In my case, only my party members were presented while King Laluzulu only had his second half, Leonhard and several bodyguards present.
Our meeting was being conducted over a meal as the food was delicious as usual. However the silence in the room was deafening as the knights present in the room occasionally glanced towards our two beloved duo who despite their heavy meal last night, devoured their food heartily at the table. Just as our meal was about to be done, the first person to bring up the main topic for today was King Laluzulu.
[After her recovery, Aure was arrested for her treason against the royal family. After conducting an investigation, we discovered several cases of money laundering as well as definitive proof of her betrayal. The person herself had revealed everything without any form of resistance. The monsters that she possessed were bought from an organization called Firoria Cartel. We’ve also tried to make contact with her secret contact in the organization but the person was found dead in an alley. Most likely, once Aure’s plans were foiled, the organization decided to cut their losses and destroy any traces leading to them.] (King Laluzulu)
[They moved really quickly. Even though it was to eliminate their own traces, it was far too quickly.] (Yuuya)
Speaking of which, even with the incident in Rumberg back then, the defective guild leader whom was kept under tight supervision was quickly silenced as well. An enemy who couldn’t be too careful that was quick, decisive and accurate in their actions…. But it is to be expected if our opponent was the Firoria Cartel.
[It’s an extremely tight organization. Firoria Cartel. Knowing you Yuuya-dono. Would you happen to know anything about them?] (Yuuya)
[I know them. They’re an enemy that I know all too well.] (Yuuya)
When I heard their name earlier, I was desperately trying to suppress my rage and it was the same for Phil. To the two of us, it was a name we could never forget.
[Firoria Cartel is an organization which dwelled in the underworld, dealing with dirty work behind the scenes including assassinations, drug trafficking, and trading of slaves. It mostly consisted of adventurers who were fired from society due to their unrestrained behaviors, participating in crimes and other violations. They mostly operated in the southern countries. Which is why for Prince.. Sorry, your majesty to be oblivious of them isn’t unexpected.] (Yuuya)
[It’s fine even if you call me Aleck. You can call me however you like. I see, it’s a southern organization then. But even if they belonged to the south, such a large organization wouldn’t be difficult to catch. It looks like we’ll be able to catch onto their tails far quicker than we thought.] (King Laluzulu)
I shook my head. Since the organization seemed to be planning something big, then it wouldn’t be difficult to grasp the scale of their operations. Even if their base of operations was out of the Laluzulu Kingdom’s reach, it would be easy to obtain information about them just by following their messengers.
[No, that’s impossible. The organization has already been thoroughly crushed years ago. They were once the leading figure in the underworld as the main distributor of elven goods. They had imprisoned countless elven girls to manufacture Drop of the World Trees for them to sell all around the world while training them and selling them as slaves. They’ve even destroyed numerous elven villagers just to replenish their stocks. Due to the anti-aging properties of the Drop of the World Tree, nobles and even government officials had a hand in allowing their activities effectively giving them the freedom to do whatever they damn pleased.] (Yuuya)
Treating elfs as a money-making machine was something I’m not pleased to say out loud.
[Then how was the organization enabled all around the world, destroyed by anyone?] (King Laluzulu)
[It just so happened that an elven village which they targeted had issued a subjugation quest request to the guild. The elves tried to scrounge up all the wealth they had, but it was never a large amount which never attracted any adventurers. The problem became exasperated once word that a criminal syndicate was involved in the quest spread around which was why there wasn’t any adventurers at first, however, a stroke of good luck had struck.] (Yuuya)
I closed my eyes as I recalled the memories of those days over a decade ago.
[Legendary elven adventurers and other respected figures had contributed their own wealth to the quest making the quest much more attractive than its risk. Those adventurers had made use of their own connections as well, gathering many powerful adventurers to fight for their cause. As a result, other adventurers decided to join in proclaiming to be justice by battling against the wrongdoers.] (Yuuya)
I was part of the latter who participated in the quest. My former teacher was also present as I owed him a mountain of gratitude. Even with the possibility of being targeted by a criminal syndicate, it wasn’t something I could refuse.
[I see, if the government officials were already bought over, then the only hope left was to rely on the adventurers. By gathering the top adventurers from all over the world, then it was possible.] (King Laluzulu)
[That’s right. For the bunch that targeted the elven village, they unexpectedly found themselves in a war against a large number of adventurers and as a result, found their main forces completely destroyed and their whole infrastructure collapsed. Afterwards, the syndicate decided to take revenge by retaliating against the adventurers who participated in the subjugation but the result was once again not what they expected as the adventurers’ collusion was thorough as they launched an attack against the syndicate before any assasination attempts could be performed. After the remnants of Firoria Cartel was wiped out, the organization was dissolved completely. The events of the quest is still fresh in mind as I was one of its participants.] (Yuuya)
It was one of the worst battles I’ve ever seen. Adventurers were prepared to lose their lives in battle due to their trade, however it was rare for us to have any experience in taking the lives of other humans. In so many ways, the battle against the syndicate was a much more of a nightmare than the defense of the elven village….
I never want to experience that ever again.
I’ve built too much and have too many important people to lose now.
[Yuuya-niisan, is that village…] (Til)
[That’s right, that village is both Til’s and Phil’s hometown.] (Yuuya)
[It’s understandable that you can’t remember anything. You were far too young back then. If back then, Yuuya and the other adventurers hadn’t stepped in then everyone in the village would have been captured. Til and I would still be at their mercy even until today.] (Phil)
The entire incident wasn’t completely bad though as I ended up meeting Phil thanks to it. Thanks to that one incident, Phil had left the village in adoration of adventurers and one thing led to another, resulting in her being under my tutelage.
[I see… I understand now. Thanks to Yuuya-dono I’ve gotten the full picture about Firoria Cartel. I’ll be starting the investigation from this point on. I’ll be sure to share any information we obtain with each other.] (King Laluzulu)
[Please do so. If the organization was to be revived, then it won’t be just another country’s problem.] (Yuuya)
Firoria Cartel. The person who killed the head of the organization was me. Not only that but I’ve already hindered their operations twice in Rumberg and now with Princess Aure. It wouldn’t be surprising if I was already being targeted.
…. But why would the organization go out of their way to adopt the name of a deceased syndicate? In the underworld, your name was everything. Without a respectable reputation behind your name, people would never patronage your business. By using the name of a defeated criminal syndicate, you would only be defeated once more. That was how the underworld looked at it. Even if they accepted the negative aspects of picking up the name of Firoria Cartel, they would be exposing themselves to the dangers of the organization’s past actions even if they were unrelated.
Without sufficient information, we have no choice but to just keep our guard up against them. Moving onto the next topic..
[Then what will you be doing about Princess Aure?] (Yuuya)
This was something that was also eating at my mind as she was someone Selene cared about more than I did.
[It’s regrettable for us to lose a valuable asset such as her. Which was why in exchange for her complete obedience, I decided to allow her to continue contributing to the kingdom. Under strict supervision of course. Lutra, you’re fine with that too right?] (King Laluzulu)
[Yes. It’s nice to hear that aneue would continue to live. I was saved by her once. And above all, the Laluzulu Kingdom needs her ability.] (Selene)
Both rationally and emotionally, both parties agreed that she was beneficial to the kingdom.
[However, Aure is a stubborn person. She would rather lose her life than to work under me.] (King Laluzulu)
[I’ll persuade her. If it doesn’t go well today, then she will never change her mind no matter how many times we try. That’s why we will confirm her decision today once and for all.] (Selene)
Selene had made her decision as she would be leaving the city with us tomorrow.
Today was her last chance to persuade Aure.
[I understand…. I’ve been holding off on any decisions regarding her situation but I can’t keep it that way forever. If she doesn’t relent in a week then I have no choice but to proceed with her execution. Please let her know that.] (King Laluzulu.)
[I see…] (Selene)
Although it sounded cold, I believed that his judgement was correct.
Afterwards, the conversation proceed as normal aside from King Laluzulu’s declaration towards me that he would go so far as to utilize the entire kingdom to hunt me down if I attempted anything with Lutra with half-baked feelings.
He even elaborated on it even though he mentioned something similar in his letter. I tried to reassure him that Phil was my lover and that I didn’t intend on having multiple partners but his expression seemed convinced on something.
…. He didn’t seem like it but he was really a full-fledged siscon. It feels like I’ll have to be sincere when it came to Selene just so that I wouldn’t be killed.
[Yuuya-dono, I leave my younger sister to you.] (King Laluzulu)
[Leave her to me. I made an oath earlier, that I am Lutra’s knight and I will protect her even at the cost of my life.] (Yuuya)
[Thank you.] (King Laluzulu)
King Laluzulu bowed his head towards me.
My words were from the bottom of my heart. So long as I am Lutra’s knight, then I will be sure to fulfill my role.
Since we were done with our business, we proceeded to leave the castle.
We’ve been through a lot in the capital city of Laluzulu as it has been an intense experience the past few days. After purchasing the necessities and finishing our packing, we proceeded to board the raptor carriage.
[Everyone, did you forget anything?] (Yuuya)
[Nope, Luna is ready!] (Luna)
[If there was something, then it would be Selene. She’s late.] (Til)
[It’ll take some time for her to talk to her sister… If it doesn’t go well.. Then it would be the last time they will end up speaking.. Let’s just wait patiently.] (Yuuya)
Although we were preparing for our departure, Selene was taking a different course of action from the rest of us as Selene had finally arrived along with several bodyguards thirty minutes later. This time however, she was dressed in her usual adventurer clothing rather than her royal clothing. Not only that, she had a shabby backpack as well as black hair.
Above all, her facial expression looked relaxed.
[How did your talk go?.] (Yuuya)
[It went well. It’s been decided that my elder sister will be helping my elder brother in managing the kingdom.] (Selene)
[Just how did you do it? I’m sure that having to work for King Laluzulu would be enough for her to be dissuaded.] (Yuuya)
[It’s a secret. I’m glad though. Speaking of my sister, she was afraid that she would had been abandoned by me and was anxiously waiting.] (Lutra)
Selene has really grown as she was now the one leading Princess Aure by the nose. With this, there truly isn’t anything left for us here as we can leave with a clear mind.
[Now then, let’s depart. We’ll be heading towards Grannel first. Once we arrive there, we’ll decide on our next course of action. Since there are multiple options for our next destination, I’ll list out the possible destinations and everyone will get to vote for their favourite destination.] (Yuuya)
At minimum, every single option would at least have a level 40 dungeon. There were several towns each with their own benefits and disadvantages.
[Uhn. Luna wants somewhere with delicious meat! Luna wants to eat something like the Paradise Meat!] (Luna)
[For me I want somewhere with delicious fruits and vegetables! Didn’t you mention earlier that there was a special fruit somewhere!] (Til)
[Let’s go somewhere efficient for our level. As expected, the best thing would be to raise our level quickly.] (Selene)
[I wish to defeat the three dragons to get the title! It’s about time for us to challenge the next dragon in my opinion.] (Phil)
Everyone listed their own opinions and there were several candidates that fulfilled several of their needs. However it was impossible to satisfy all of them, making it difficult for me to decide our next location.
However, our party was amazing.
I let out a laugh while signalling to raptor to leave.
I’m worried about Firoria Cartel however it was much more important for us to become stronger rather than researching and preparing ourselves for a preemptive attack. Furthermore, in order to do that we would have to do several preparations.
It’s still a long way, but our adventure continues.
We’ll continue to journey into the unknown, and enjoy ourselves doing it.