We got ready to open Gallus’ letter after we settled down.
『Alrighty, let’s give it a look.』
『Wait, don’t be so rough with it. Try opening it with a bit more care.』
Fran ripped the letter open and undid the seal to reveal the piece of paper within.
It clearly had Gallus’ signature on it, but the writing seemed kinda messy. It was almost like he’d rushed to finish writing the letter.
The letter started off by describing his predicament. It said that an important noble had ordered him to complete a request with utmost secrecy, hence why he wasn’t able to contact us through any other means. It then continued on as follows.
I can’t tell you exactly where I’ve gone. All I can really say is that I’ll probably be somewhere in the capital by the time you read this letter. I won’t be able to see you for the time being, but I’d like for us to meet up once the royal auction starts. They sell all sorts of equipment there. I’m sure they’ll have something that catches your eye, so I encourage you to come. Oh, and I’m planning to make you a new sheath, one I hope will be to your liking. I’ll be waiting for you in the capital.
So he’s in the capital? That sure does sound pretty convenient seeing as how we were planning to head over eventually anyways.
『Welp, so much for finding him Barbra.』
「Nn. More reasons to go to capital now.」
『Yeah. True that.』
We headed to the Adventurers’ Guild the next day. Our goal was of course to trade notes with Regus. We’d already gained a rough understanding of where Gallus currently was, but we were still hoping he could provide a bit more info.
「Nah, I also only just got here. I’ve got a good few bits of info for you.」
Alrighty. Here’s to hoping it isn’t redundant.
「I got us a room upstairs. We should probably head over before I tell you any more.」
Regus’ proposal was promising, as it more or less implied that the info he had for us couldn’t be said within the public’s earshot. To that end, we moved upstairs and sat ourselves accross from him.
「You really live up to your reputation, Black Lightning Princess. Your wind magic seems to be top notch.」
Fran used silence to prevent any sound from leaking into our surroundings so we could speak without having to worry about being overheard.
「I’m going to be honest, I couldn’t pinpoint Gallus’ location.」
「Nn. Can’t be helped.」
He then went on to describe what we already knew. That is, he told us Gallus had accepted a request from someone associated with the government, and that he’d left Barbra in secret.
「Based on your reaction, I’d say you probably knew all that already. I guess that means I’ll have to move on to something you probably don’t know.」
「The person that contacted Gallus was apparently working under Marquis Ashtonah. I can’t say for sure whether the Ashtonah’s issued the request at the country’s request or if they just decided to issue it themselves, but I’m more inclined to say its the former.」
「Ashtonah? Heard of somewhere.」
『That’s the household Celldio was from.』
（Godblade wanting noble?）
『That’s the one.』
The Ashtonah household’s employee had attempted to act in absolute secrecy, but he wasn’t able to slip through Regus’ information network unnoticed. His identity was evidenced both by the small accessory he wore with the family’s crest embedded in it and his use of one of the Ashtonah household’s villas.
Of course, the person that’d gotten in touch with Gallus wasn’t the only individual Regus had taken note of. Many of the marquis’ retainers had entered the city immediately after the Rynford incident. They tried sneaking around, but ended up standing out as a result.
「Oh yeah, take this next bit with a grain of salt. The source I got it from isn’t too reliable, but apparently, a carriage departed from the Ashtonah villa the very same day Gallus was rumoured to have left the city.」
「Most likely, yeah.」
I couldn’t help but have a fairly bad impression of the Ashtonahs. First, they ordered their son to search for Godblades, and now, they’ve even taken Gallus.
「He should be fine from what I hear. They’re after his skills, so they’re more inclined to treat him well than the opposite.」
Regus had a pretty solid point. They couldn’t really hurt him or put him in too bad a mood unless they didn’t mind lowering the efficiency of his work. Likewise, they couldn’t brainwash him because there was a chance he’d forget a lot of the things that made him as skilled as he was.
They couldn’t really threaten him either, because that wouldn’t necessarily lead to him listening to them. The Ashtonahs needed to provide optimal conditions if they wanted him to do what they considered a perfect job.
「More importantly, Gallus is considered the Kingdom of Kranzel’s Honourary Blacksmith. That’s a title only the king can give, which means he’s been recognized by the royal family. Anyone that forces him into anything will probably be tried for treason.」
「Silencing him, possible?」
「I doubt it. Gallus is important, so important in fact that the state would probably launch an all out investigation if he goes missing for too long. You can never know whether or not you can hide something you’ve done for good, even if you think you’ve perfectly covered up all your tracks. It’s just not a risk worth the Marquis’ time, especially seeing as how he’d lose everything the moment anyone figures out what he did.」
I saw Regus’ point, but in my eyes, nobles had the tendency to be stupid enough to take risks like that.
「You don’t need to worry. Gallus is said to be the closest thing you’ll ever find to a god-tier blacksmith. His services are worth a ridiculous amount. They won’t do anything that’ll cause them to risk losing him.」
Again, Regus had a point. It seemed that we’d gotten the wrong idea, and that there’d been no reason for us to think that he’d been forcibly dragged off. Thinking about it, while Gallus’ letter had made it seem like he’d been forced into something he hadn’t wanted, it didn’t make it seem like he’d been subjected to any sort of violence.
Him telling us to meet him at the auction could’ve just been interpreted as him just not knowing where he’d actually be until then. He basically was telling us that we’d be able to get in touch with him there. That was all it was.
「That’s all I know about Gallus, but I do have a bit more information for you. Specifically, it’s about Marquis Ashtonah and his household.」
「Apparently one of his subordinates caused some sort of incident. As a result, his secondary residence, which lies here in Barbra, will soon be subject to a government inspection.」
It seemed that the whole Celldio incident really had caused the country to start suspecting the Marquis. Did that mean that the request they issued Gallus was in some way connected to the incident?
There was no way for us to discern whether or not that was actually the case because we lacked too much information to do so.
「He also dispatched a group of knights to the Marou Plains, but they weren’t able to reach it. Only a few made it back, most were wiped out in the Forest of Exhaustion.」
「Marou plains? Forest of Exhaustion? Why?」
「Sorry, but I wasn’t able to dig *that* deep. I do, however, know that he hired a group of adventurers to try investigating the exact same area after his knights failed him.」
It seemed that the Marquis was really fixated on the idea of having the Marou Plains scoped out. The plains housed B ranked magic beasts, so I had a hard time believing that he actually found anyone capable of doing the job.
「The adventurers that accepted his request were rather low ranked, so they weren’t able to bring about the results he wanted.」
Apparently the Marquis didn’t want the whole thing to blow up, so they didn’t make it out to be a big deal or ask for a designated request.
「And I think that’s everything I managed to find. Sorry, I couldn’t get you any big reveals.」
He’d not only verified that Gallus was safe, but also told us quite a bit about the Ashtonah family’s affairs. We definitely got a good bit of value out of his services.
We paid Regus the 30k Golde we owed him and bid our farewells.
『Well, so much for locating Old Man Gallus.』
『Though, he said he’d get in touch if we went to the auction, so I guess we might as well just wait till it happens.』
Alright. Time to go fulfill Gamud’s request, I guess.