Another chapter today, thanks to my Patrons.
Chapter 9 – The Truth
Six days have passed since I stayed in the Abbas mansion, and I already know the real culprit regarding the murder of Dolce. I also found out who was pulling the strings behind this case, but I’m still doubtful whether Rotten is truly involved.
The sixth day was almost over when Beeze appeared to hand over a letter. “Here it is, Milord.”
I couldn’t help making a grim expression after reading it over. It was a good thing Canaan was already asleep; if she was awake, she would have been worried when she saw the look on my face. However, with this evidence in hand, all the pieces were clear. The next day, I requested a meeting with Count Abbas.
The count, Allie, Rotten, Goliath, Dokum and Givan all gathered in the count’s office. The count and Allie sat on the sofa in front of me, Goliath stood behind the count on the left, and Rotten stood on the right. Dokum stood slightly away from us with Givan, who was the third-highest of the count’s knights after Goliath and Rotten.
Canaan was right behind me, by the way.
“Sumeragi-dono, did you find anything about Dolce’s death?” said the count.
“I intend to make my report on that right now.”
“Sumeragi-sama, is it true?” Allie asked, her hands fidgeting in front of her chest.
“First of all, I want you all to swear to never reveal anything you see after this.”
Goliath agreed, “If you can tell the truth, I swear.”
“I swear, too!” Said Rotten, nodding.
Dokum and Givan nodded as well, though somewhat discouraged. Well, I didn’t think a verbal promise would stop them anyway.
“Well then, take a look at this.”
I snapped my fingers.
A shadow suddenly emerged from the floor. Goliath and Rotten tried to move to protect the count and Allie, but they couldn’t move since I directed my killing intent toward them.
The count and Allie immediately stood up as soon as they identified the shadow as Dolce. It was indeed that boy, just as the count and Allie said. This was something that you’d call summoning Dolce’s soul, and this trick was made possible thanks to Beeze’s great efforts.
I also had the [Summoning Undead] skill that allowed me to summon undead monsters, but I couldn’t use it to summon Dolce’s soul. [Summoning Undead] can use a corpse as an undead, but the memory and ego from the corpse’s life will just be dispersed like a ghost.
Since the body is empty of a soul, the practitioner of the [Summoning Undead] skill can set the undead’s personality and character traits. On the other hand, the [Soul Absorption] skill Beeze has can absorb a dead human soul, and even summon it back as a ghost without substance.
Those two looked surprised as I shouted.
“This is Dolce’s summoned soul.”
“Such a thing is…”
“The boy’s memory is fine. You can ask him directly who killed him, but before that, ask him something that will prove his identity.”
It would be troublesome if they later say this is all fake, so it’s better to have them confirm it for themselves first.
“Can we… talk to him?”
“Of course, otherwise there’d be no point.”
Rotten asked me in place of the count or Allie, who both seemed frozen in a hunched posture.
“Father, sister, please forgive me for leaving you behind so early.”
Everyone was shocked to hear his voice. Dolce had a firm ego; his memory was solid, not at all vague like a vengeful spirit’s. Allie and the count calmed down, staring at him with tears in their eyes for quite a while. Eventually, Goliath broke them out of their rapture.
“Milord, Alterias-sama… please ask a question.”
They sat back down on the sofa, and asked Ghost Dolce about something only their family knew about. Then the tears began to flow as they were overcome with emotion.
“I never thought I would meet Dolce again!”
“If I could have sacrificed myself in your place… I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, Dolce!”
“Father, sister, I want you both to be strong and live on for me. Even though I’m in this form, please listen to my wishes.”
As Dolce bowed his head, the count was crying, dabbing at the corner of his eyes, with Allie drying his tears with a handkerchief.
“I’m sorry to cut into your family reunion, but can we please proceed?”
I’ve been watching the situation for a while, but the sun would go down if we didn’t keep going. Even Goliath and Rotten were shedding tears. Good grief, can you guys really call yourselves guards? Dokum and Givan’s faces looked ghastly pale, and they all but lost their composure, though I didn’t know if it was because they had seen a ghost or something else.
“My apologies, please proceed.”
The count is truly amazing to have such a firm voice despite the tears in his eyes. I nodded and turned to Dolce.
“Dolce, was it really Canaan who killed you?”
My question was about Canaan, who was turned into a criminal slave by false accusations. Dolce shook his head in the negative. Well, that much was obvious. Needless to say, if Canaan was the culprit, I wouldn’t have bothered to summon Dolce’s soul.
Then Dolce answered. “No, it was a group of three men that killed me.”
The count nodded intensely and asked Dolce, “Are you sure?”
“There’s no doubt about it. They were three unfamiliar men.”
“Where are those men now, Sumeragi-dono?”
“According to my investigations, they were from the slums.”
“Are you certain it was slum dwellers that killed Dolce?”
“How dare they! Goliath, go to the slums right now ──”
“Those men aren’t at the slums anymore, you know.”
“Guh, did they run away?”
The count’s expression was as grim as a demon, he was surely simmering with rage.
“Quell your anger first, don’t you want to listen to the rest of it?”
“Ugh, I’m sorry… please continue.”
The count still clenched his fists, but he managed to keep calm. Allie put her hands firmly on her knees, showing an attitude of complete attention. Since these two in particular had calmed down, I snapped my fingers again, and three more shadows appeared from the floor. The count, Allie, Goliath, and Rotten, didn’t know anything about these three.
However, there was one person making a pale face when he saw these three shadows. It was Givan, his forehead beaded up with sweat and he fidgeted suspiciously. Dokum should have also known who these three were, and he also couldn’t conceal his surprise.
“These three are the men who killed Dolce. As you can see, they’re already dead.”
Everyone was in shock once again, except for Dokum and Givan who seemed about to lose their composure. Even Allie’s beautiful face was staring daggers at these shadow men, as if she was trying to kill them with a glare.
The count stood up and tried to grab Goliath’s sword, but I stopped him with my killing intent.
Pinpoint use of my killing intent sure is handy.
“I know you can’t control your anger, but they’re already dead. It doesn’t make sense to cut them with a sword.”
A sword can’t hurt a soul, after all. Damaging a soul is pretty hard to begin with; you need a special weapon or holy magic to do that.
“You’re not wrong! But I can’t control my anger any longer!”
“If that’s the case, our business is done here, since I’ve found these three men who killed Dolce.”
“Sumeragi-sama… do you think anyone else was involved in Dolce’s murder, other than these three?”
Allie’s eyes were full of rage, but she calmly asked me that question. She’s a stout-hearted girl. Smart, too. Doesn’t she seem even more like a noble than her father?
“Yeah, these guys were just the executioners. Someone else gave them the order.”
“Father, please be quiet!”
Allie shut the count up before he could say anything. Scary.
The count was shocked. Not only him, but Goliath and Rotten as well. They never thought the ever-graceful Allie could shout so loudly at her father.
“Sumeragi-sama, please continue.”
“Is the one who gave you orders present in this room?”
The three ghosts nodded. The count and Goliath burned with anger, but I targeted my killing intent to keep them still.
“Who was it?”
The three ghosts simultaneously pointed at Givan, who had turned blue.
“Huh!?” The count, Allie, Goliath and Rotten were shocked by that sudden reveal.
“Wha-! I don’t know anything! This is all his scheme!”
While stepping back, Givan tried to accuse me of making up this whole thing, then sent a glance to Dokum seeking help. Goliath and Rotten approached Givan, whose panic continued to increase.
“It’s just a misunderstanding! That person is lying! I didn’t do anything!”
Goliath jumped one step closer and swung his sheath at Givan as he rushed at the door to escape. Givan screamed in pain and fell after taking a blow to his shoulder.
“Did you kill him?”
“It was only the sheath, so ──.”
Before Goliath could finish replying to Allie, Givan’s head exploded. Dokum had fired a spell at the defenseless man.
“Dokum! What are you doing!?”
“I-I just tried to capture the main culprit who murdered Dolce-sama, but it seems my aim was off.”
Dokum, who had a blue face, seemed to have thought of turning in Givan as a perpetrator to avoid his own fate. If the clear evidence had disappeared, there wouldn’t be a problem anymore, since there were no other witnesses. It seems his head functioned better than I expected. You wouldn’t be punished if you kill by mistake during this scuffle, and if you do it well, you can even get a reward.
But I’m standing right here, aren’t I? Did he forget that I (actually Beeze) can just summon Givan’s soul if he kills him?
“I’d already neutralized him, why would you ──”
Goliath tried to draw closer to Dokum, but Allie stopped him. Let’s wait for a while until everyone calms down. This is really troublesome.
Once everyone had calmed down, it seemed like a good time to continue with a question to the count. “Well, that knight is dead now, but would you like to hear more?”
The count almost shook his head, but seemed to reconsider and demanded more information.
I summoned Givan’s soul which was prepared while waiting for everyone to calm down. Beeze is seriously useful!
Everyone was calm upon seeing Givan’s ghost, except Dokum who was now surprised again. They knew I could summon souls, that’s why they weren’t surprised, but Dokum was more discouraged than I could have imagined after seeing his relieved expression earlier. He’s just a low-life who can use his head a little bit, but can’t think about the future.
“Count, if you have any questions, just ask him.”
There’s no need for me to tell the truth directly. The count should make his decision after listening to the story himself. I think this will definitely cause an uproar in the Abbas family.
After thinking for a short while, the count started to cut into the truth.
“Givan, who instructed you to kill Dolce?”
“It was Dokum who instructed me.”
Bloodlust immediately spreading in this room. Dokum, stepping back, shook his head left and right while muttering “No, no, it’s wrong!”, and tried to run away just like Givan earlier, but Rotten had already blocked his way and sank his fist into Dokum’s solar plexus.
The blow was done quite neatly, and Dokum’s body bent at a right angle before crashing face-first into the floor. Watching Dokum writhe on the floor gasping for breath, the count shouted furiously.
“You! You bastard!”
The count only saw this groaning body on the floor as filth. He kicked Dokum in the face as a final blow, knocking him out with a miserable grunt. Rotten then tied him up.
Serves you right, Dokum.
“It’s good that we were able to restrain him, but there’s a problem…”
“The trial, huh…”
There is a problem with convicting Dokum. In this world, it seems, you can’t convict someone without a trial. In Canaan’s case, she was found guilty through testimony, even though she doesn’t have a motive, but in this case, our only testimony is from the ghosts of Dolce, the executioners, and Givan. I don’t want to show the ghosts in public, and I don’t know if we could even convict Dokum on the testimony of ghosts.
“If only we had proof,” the count lamented.
“Ah, but I do have proof,” I said.
“What!? Is that true?!”
I took out the letter from my pocket, its seal already opened, and put it in front of the count. Needless to say, this was a letter from Count Hussel to Dokum. Of course, I’d confirmed the signature and emblem beforehand; it was genuine.
When the count read the letter, his face turned beet red as he crumpled it in his hands. Hey, that’s the evidence, you know?
The count shouted furiously while throwing the letter onto the desk. Allie picked up the crumpled letter. Once she read it, she put her hand on her mouth in surprise. Even Goliath looked through the letter. Rotten didn’t, because he was still tying up Dokum.
“Goliath, prepare for war!”
“Father, please stop.” Dolce suddenly spoke up.
“War only brings unhappiness! I don’t want to see people suffer because of me!”
I think Dolce is too kind to put people above himself. Well, I don’t think he can stand for people anymore since he’s already dead. As a commoner, I understand his sentiment, but I think it would be hard to implement in noble society. I don’t think the count would let himself be lulled into anger like this when he’s calm, but I also know that this matter could end in war even if he was calm.
While Dolce was desperately trying to persuade the count, Rotten finally read over the crumpled letter. He opened his eyes widely as he looked through it, then closed his eyes for a few seconds. He slowly put the letter on the desk, stepped back, let out a breath, slowly drew out his sword, and cut through his own neck.
Naturally, copious amounts of blood spurted out.
Allie noticed Rotten and shouted when his body hit the ground, but a lot of blood had already spurted from his neck. I knew he couldn’t be saved.
The count and Dolce also noticed Rotten’s condition and stopped arguing. Allie held him up and frantically tried to block the wound on his neck with her hands, and it seemed Rotten also wanted to say something.
He probably wanted to apologize, and express gratitude to the count and Allie for supporting him so far. Blood still flowed from his neck in spite of the pressure being put on it.
As I mentioned earlier, normally he couldn’t be saved. However, I’m right here. Well, I can’t do anything myself, though. I gave a signal to Canaan with my eyes, and she activated her magic. A warm light wrapped around Rotten, and soon his pale complexion was mostly back to normal.
This was a recovery magic called Extra Heal, a high-class [Light Magic] spell. This spell can cure any injury as long as the target isn’t dead. Since it’s a high-class magic that can’t be used by ordinary magicians or priests, almost no one can use it other than Canaan.
Canaan is also now able to activate her magic without chanting, as I do, so she was able to heal Rotten before he died. It actually would have been impossible yesterday, but Canaan, who survived the hellish power leveling, was finally able to use magic without chanting.
Even though it was only for my amusement, she went through with it until the end.
“It’s okay, right now he’s only fainted. His wound has healed completely.”
When I said that, Allie, who was covered in blood, bowed her head to me and Canaan.
“Sumeragi-dono, why would Rotten do something like this?”
Hearing the count’s question, I took a second letter out of my pocket. This one was addressed from the count Hussel to his niece, who was Rotten’s wife. The contents were described as saying that after Dolce’s death, his niece’s son (Rotten’s son) would be appointed as the successor to Count Abbas.
Rotten must have been smart enough to realize his wife’s involvement after reading the first letter, which said Count Hussel was the true culprit who ordered the murder of Dolce. Perhaps there had been related discussions in his own home.
No wait, I don’t want to do this. I feel like I’ve peered into the muddy depths of noble society.
In summary, the three executioners of Dolce’s murder have already died, and they also have no family, so nothing can be done about them. It was Givan who instructed them to be the executioners, and under Dokum’s instruction, Givan pinned the blame on Canaan.
This scheme wasn’t limited to Dokum and Givan. There were also quite a few people whose weaknesses were held by Dokum, or were bought by money and goods. Count Hussel was pulling the strings behind Dokum.
The maid who tried to poison me also seemed to have been threatened into attempting to kill me because I was investigating Dolce’s murder. Count Hussel captured that maid’s family and threatened her. Come to think of it, the maid may have also been a victim, but she was still imprisoned because she tried to poison me.
It’s not my fault, but I feel bad for her.
Oh yeah, Dokum pushed the blame for his crime on Canaan because he was jealous of her talent, since she began serving the Abbas family as an apprentice magician. I had no idea why he felt that way about her talent since she also couldn’t use magic without chanting at that time, but maybe only a fellow magician would understand it.
In the end, Dokum seemed to desire nobility, since his position was threatened if a talented young person such as Canaan were to grow up. That’s where Count Hussel took advantage of his situation.
Dokum had a surprising amount of power. He was followed by twenty knights and magicians, and there were at least 10 more followers under his knights, among whom were a quasi-knight who may soon become a knight, an apprentice knight who would soon become a quasi-knight, and soldiers who performs chores.
The same applies to magicians, but the number of magicians is small, so there seems to be no more than five followers under one magician. Dokum’s total power, now caught up in this whole thing, amounted to 20% of all the vassals under Count Abbas and his family.
Now, it was known that Count Hussel led the plan of Dolce’s assassination in an attempt to take over the Abbas family, with the aim of expanding his power and raising his peerage. There was actually no evidence of Dolce’s murder related to Rotten, but neither could any evidence disprove Rotten of being involved. His wife was close to the main culprit after Count Hussel, so Rotten and his child would still receive a decent punishment.
By the way, the three executioners who carried out Dolce’s murder were killed outside the town of Algria, their bodies eaten by monsters. With that being the case, we were only able to determine the corpses to be the perpetrators’ thanks to Beeze.
As previously mentioned, Beeze has the [Soul Absorption] skill. This [Soul Absorption] skill, as the name implies, is a skill that can absorb souls, regardless of whether the target is living or dead.
When it comes to the dead, there is almost certainly a soul near the corpse for about a month after death, but after that period the soul will either reincarnate and disappear or become an evil spirit (monster) depending on the elapsed time. It can be difficult to find the soul because it tends to wander.
Fortunately, less than a month had passed since Dolce’s death, and Beeze was able to find and absorb the souls of Dolce himself and the three executioners and share the testimony of those souls. I’ve learned that it wasn’t Dokum but Givan who gave the direct order to those three men.
The executioners didn’t know about Dokum, and didn’t know who was behind him, so I had no choice but to continue piling up the evidence. Of course, those three didn’t know about their other companions who were related to this.
Dokum certainly wasn’t stupid enough to contact the executioners directly. As for them, they were expecting to get money and leave town after killing Dolce, but Givan betrayed them and killed them so they could never speak of it again.
He might have been calculating that the monsters would dispose of their corpses after he killed them, since they died in an area known to be frequented by monsters. I thought he was an idiot since he tried to directly hit me before, but Dokum was surprisingly cautious. When I considered things from that perspective, Dokum also had an intuitive aspect to him, while also being an idiot who’d plan this scheme to such an extent. Either way, he’s a complete fool who killed his master’s heir.