94. Not All People with Bad Personalities are Necessarily Evil
Fran gave Serid’s back a good stomp. The sudden influx of pain caused the chamberlain to awaken. The combination of his aching back and Fran’s cold gaze left him feeling a sense of intimidation.
「W-What is it?」
「Why kill Flut and Satia?」
「I-I fail to grasp the essence of your question.」
「Pirate blabbed. Said Serid was mastermind.」
「What you mean to say is that you believe the ramblings of a mere pirate?」
He’s still saying that? My guess was that he wanted to abuse his authority and push everything under the rug or something, but that didn’t seem all that feasible given the current circumstances.
「Hired Pirates. Murder Flut and Satia.」
「I would never!」
『No, it’s nothing. Keep interrogating him.』
「Why do you want them dead?」
「I have not the slightest clue!」
Huh, wow. He isn’t lying.
「How did you make the blue cat tribe move? Slave Merchants.」
「Blue cat tribe? I understand not what you are saying…」
「Assassin at the inn. Where did you hire? When?」
「You speak but of nonsense… Wait! You said that an assassin had appeared at the inn!?」
It looked he he really didn’t know anything. Well, I mean I get the whole incident with the blue cat tribe’s slave merchants because he was literally never informed of it. But I never would’ve expected him not to know of the assassin either.
Wait, so what exactly is going on? Why do the pirates think that he was the one who hired them despite him thinking otherwise?
「Which subordinate contacted pirates?」
「I have already stated that I have not the slightest idea. Cease with this farce immediately! I know precisely your plans, you wished to accuse me of treason from the very beginning.」
He was actually being a hundred percent serious. He isn’t lying at all, which could mean that he actually didn’t have any part in this… not that I can actually believe that.
「Do not take me for a fool. I can clearly see that this is not but a scenario written by that detestable Reidosian spy.」
「I cannot believe that to be true, Serid. Salrut is one of our mother’s, the queen’s knights. He is a man that has earned her trust.」
「Her Majesty’s trust in him is based but in deception.」
Serid’s reply to the prince evidenced that he truly believed Salrut to be a spy.
Okay, this is looking bad. I seriously have no idea what’s even going on anymore.
Alright, let’s think this all over.
They slipped out, and as a result, they managed to get themselves kidnapped by the blue cat tribe’s illegal slave traders. They were about to get shipped off to Reidos so they could be sold as merchandise, but then we stepped in and saved them. That task would likely have fallen onto Salrut’s shoulders had we not shown up that night. It looked like this wasn’t the first time this’d happened. The twins seemed to have made sneaking out a sort of habit, and it’d probably be even easier for them to actually manage to escape if the guards had a hole in their security net. Serid definitely had more than enough power to arrange for such a hole.
The next thing to consider would be the assassin we handed off to Salrut. The person who hired him had tipped him off so that he’d be able to infiltrate the building with ease. The assassin probably needed a map to actually sneak in. He also would’ve needed to know where all the guards were. Again, Serid could’ve easily provided all that information.
The last thing we needed to consider was the whole pirate thing. The pirates attacked us because one of Serid’s subordinates contacted and hired them. It was really weird that the prince and princess didn’t have any sort of combat-based escort ship that went along with them on the trip either. That, like everything else thus far, was something that was within Serid’s realm of manipulation given the extent of his power.
Yeah uh… it seemed that all the evidence pointed to Serid.
「No escort ships. Why?」
「That was apparently just the type of job it was. We were told that bringing escorts along would make us stand out.」
Okay yeah, this whole thing seems super suspicious. People might start doubting us soon too, and yeah, I’d really prefer for that not to happen, so we should probably get this solved and over with soon.
「Who hired you?」
「I can’t say for sure until check out the logs we have back at HQ, but… It should’ve been Serid.」
「T-That is nothing short of impossible. I see no reason for that responsibility to have fallen on my head.」
「What are you saying Serid? We agreed that you would be responsible for arranging our boat trip.」
「Yes, I am aware of that. However, I instructed one of my men to handle the task for me.」
「Did you not find it odd that he was only able to procure a single vessel?」
「Of course I did. However, I also felt it reasonable given the season and circumstances. I was informed that we would instead be prepared a state of the art vessel equipped with the newest technology, so I had reluctantly agreed to the terms proposed.」
He wasn’t lying, which meant he actually didn’t have anything to do with prepping the ship either?
「Who got ship ready?」
「I-It should have been Naymario!」
Serid looked towards one of the men standing by the prince’s side. Serid seemed to have thought that he had asked him to hire the Luciel Conglomerate, but the man, Naymario, only shook his head in response.
「I merely followed your orders.」
「What!? Naymario, you traitor!」
Serid’s pitch rose in surprise, which made sense. Naymario was lying, after all.
In other words, Naymario was trying to frame Serid.
Salrut acted before Serid could give any further replies. He promptly gave his head an understanding nod and got his men to force Serid on his feet.
「Restrain that man immediately. He has committed treason through the act of plotting the assassination of a member of the royal family.」
Wait, hold up. I still want to keep the interrogation going for a bit longer. Serid isn’t actually guilty, so yeah.
「What is it, Fran?」
「Want to ask a bit more.」
「That should not be necessary. You have already done enough, you’ve exposed the criminal’s conspiracy. Please, leave the rest to me.」
「No proof yet. Might not be mastermind.」
「I am absolutely certain that he is, especially given all the evidence presented.」
Wait a second.
『Salrut just lied.』
『Let’s try throwing a few questions at Naymario and Salrut in turn.』
（Nn. Got it.）
This whole scenario had taken quite the interesting turn.
「What is it?」
「Really followed Serid’s instructions?」
「To the letter.」
Yup, he definitely just lied. I’m absolutely positive that he’s in on this whole thing, but I can’t yet tell if he’s the one pulling the strings or if he’s just a pawn.
「What is it?」
「Not a Reidosian spy?」
「Hah hah hah! Of course not! I’ve long cast that country aside and devoted every last fibre of my being to the Fyrias Kingdom.」
Salrut declared his allegiances in a confident, convincing voice. It’d sounded like he didn’t even need to think before answering.
His act was awfully convincing, but in the end, it was just an act. It didn’t matter how persuasive he sounded. There was simply no way for him to bypass the Principle of Falsehood.
『I hate to say it, but it looked like Serid was right. Salrut’s a Reidosian spy.』
Thinking about it from that perspective made everything click into place.
The Kingdom of Reidos had a pretty good relationship with the illegal slave merchants from which it bought its goods. He probably didn’t need to do anything beyond just saying the word to get them on board with his plans.
He was also more than just capable of producing the opportunity the assassin needed to sneak into the building. Plus, he didn’t even tell Serid that there was an assassin in the first place. He just covered it up instead. The dark knight had said he was going to hand the assassin over to the proper authorities, but thinking about it, he probably just silenced him instead.
It would’ve been pretty easy for him to hire the pirates too so long as he and Naymario were working together. Or rather, it was pretty obvious that they were working together.
I mean, Serid’s attitude hadn’t helped in the slightest, but man, Salrut had totally pulled one over our heads.
『Good question. I wish I knew the answer…』