Striving For The Luxury Liner – Vol 2 Chapter 12

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Chapter 12 – Trial And Verdict

 

Morning. I prepare breakfast for everyone, clean the bath, and put the giant deer in the adjacent tent onto the Japanese-style boat and cover it with a cloth. If I cover it with a cloth, there should be no commotion this time when we arrive at the port. Well, it may be a little late for that, but it’s better than not doing anything at all.

“Ah, good morning, everyone.”

“Good morning.”

I greeted Alessia-san and the others as they came out of their tents.

“It’s just a simple one, but breakfast is ready.”

“Wataru-san, thank you so much for your hospitality.”

Alessia-san thanked me with a happy smile. Basically, my job is to take them to and from the ship, so this kind of service has never been offered to them before, and they are very appreciative of it.

“No, no, don’t worry about it. Let’s eat.”

But I would feel bad if I didn’t at least prepare a meal for them when I was being paid 15 gold coins. Since this is like getting rich quickly, I should at least give a little back to them.

After breakfast, we depart for the southern city.

 

***

 

“Phew, we arrived safe and sound. Thank you all for your hard work.”

We arrived at the southern city smoothly, and I called out to Alessia-san and the others.

“Thank you for your hard work, Wataru-san. I’ll escort you back to the merchant guild.”

“Thank you very much. Sorry for the trouble, but I appreciate your help.”

I know it’s a lot of work every time, but my life is on the line, so I’ll take their word for it and have them escort me back to the guild. Well, it should be a pleasure to walk with Girasole, a group of beautiful women, but the men’s murderous stares at me are not the stares of trying to get my Japanese-style boat, but the stares of not liking the men walking with Girasole… I think the number of enemies is increasing. I can’t wait to join my two escorts.

“Thank you for the escort, everyone.”

“Fufu, that’s okay Wataru-san. We’ll probably ask you for another island request, so I look forward to working with you again.”

“Yes.”

After parting with Alessia-san and the others, I went into the merchant guild and went through the formalities.

“I would like you to call my escorts and confirm the completion of my request.”

“Understood. …The request has been completed. The reward is 15 gold coins.”

“Please give me three gold coins in cash and the rest to my account.”

As I was reporting the completion of the request, Camille-san approached me. She has a kind of troubled expression on her face. Is it a troublesome matter? I have a bit of a bad feeling about this.

“Wataru-san, the guildmaster is waiting for you. Could you please come this way?”

“The guildmaster? …I don’t mind… but two of my escorts will be coming here.”

“When they arrive, I’ll arrange for them to take them to your room.”

“Alright.”

The guild master’s room, huh…? This pattern is either complimentary or troublesome, according to the template. From the expression on Camille-san’s face, I think it’s definite trouble. I headed to the guildmaster’s room, guided by Camille-san.

“You’re here, Wataru. This is something troublesome, so listen to me carefully.”

As soon as I entered the room, I knew it would be a problem before I even had time to get nervous. The guildmaster was emotionless, though.

“Can I proceed?”

There’s already been a lot of trouble with the requests and the attacks. And this again? I know it’s expected, but I don’t like it. I really want to go home.

“Listen to me. Do you know a merchant named Zabo?”

“Zabo? Hmm, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of him or not… I don’t know.”

I’ve met so many merchants in a row that I don’t remember any of them.

“Well, you don’t know, huh? But Zabo said that Wataru’s magic boat was a stolen heirloom from his family. So he is demanding Wataru’s arrest and the return of the magic boat.”

“Huh? It doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t remember anything about it, and I think he must be mistaken.”

“As I thought, you have no recollection of this. I knew it was a false accusation because Zabo is a small scoundrel with a bad reputation.”

Well, you mean that an infamous scoundrel has been targeting my Japanese-style boat?

“If you know it’s a false accusation, then why don’t we just leave it alone?”

“That’s not the way it works. The fact is, Zabo has a nobleman behind him. The nobleman said that the magic boat belonged to Zabo’s family and that the nobleman had ridden on it before. It would be troublesome if the nobleman were to appear, and we need to get the results of the trial properly.”

“What’s that? Can a nobleman seize a magic boat just because he says he’s been on one too? Is this country safe?”

It’s not funny that the noble is a bully.

“There is no such thing. There are stupid nobles, but there are also decent nobles. However, as long as nobles are out there, we have to investigate and deal with them properly. We can’t just ignore it and be done with it.”

“Hah, it’s really troublesome… I want to go home.”

I fell into another world and had to go through a trial. I’m going to cry.

“I’ve brought two of your escorts here.”

As I was lamenting the unreasonableness of the world, Camille-san came into the room with two of my escorts.

“Um, Dino-san and Enrico-san, it looks like I’ve gotten myself into trouble again, so please take care of me.”

Dino-san smiled bitterly, and Enrico-san nodded with a smiling face. I explained what had happened so far, and it turned out that I had met Zabo.

“Ah, that first person who barged into the inn and was so noisy about the contract that he wouldn’t leave, that was Zabo. Eh? He came to me and asked me to sign a contract, and then he said that the magic boat was a stolen family heirloom? Does that go through?”

“Well, the nobleman came out and testified. Wataru must also respond and convince the other party. If you lose, you’ll be caught.”

The guildmaster said something unpleasant. Does that mean I’m one step away from being a criminal?

“But the other party is trying to take my magic boat with the nobles behind it, right? Won’t they admit it no matter what I say?”

“Yes, there is a good chance of that. That’s why I’m going to have a higher-ranked nobleman attend the trial this time.”

“A higher-ranked nobleman is going to attend to a mere low-ranked adventurer and merchant?”

“Normally, that would not have happened. But Zabo’s backer was a baron, and with his help, he was able to do as he pleased. But when it came to this southern city, there were nobles above the baron, so he couldn’t use his power, and his store would not do well. Therefore, I have asked Southern Count-sama to clean up Zabo and the baron together since they seem to have been too hasty and involved in shady business.”

He wants to take this opportunity to clean up the trash of society.

“I see, so I am the bait. What should I do?”

“What you want to do is up to you, Wataru.”

“Eh? Should there be something I can do about it?”

What is that kind of behavior where you just stir things up and then back off when the big fire breaks out? Merchants put trust first, right?

“It’s obvious. Since it was Wataru who was sued, there was no reason for the merchant guild to join in.”

“I have a guild card from the merchant guild. You should at least protect me.”

“It’s the same with Zabo, too. He’s a B-rank. Wataru is F-rank, so by that logic, I have to protect Zabo.”

“Hah, that’s troublesome. If I expose the contradictions of the opponent, will Southern Count-sama be able to judge them properly?”

If he says I have to bribe him, I have to prepare a golden manjuu. [T/n: Golden Manjuu = money given in a box disguised as candy = bribe.]

“Umu, he is the one who rules the trade city. You can never be sure, but I think there’s no way he’s going to take the side of the stupid scoundrels.”

It seems I don’t have to bribe him. It seems that Southern Count-sama wants to get rid of the baron, and all I have to do is prove that the Japanese-style boat is my ship. Then I guess I can manage.

“Hmm… I understand. So when and where do I have to prove it?”

“Umu, as soon as Southern Count-sama has some free time, we’ll go to the castle. That said, I don’t know when it will start, but I’ve reported Wataru’s return, and we’ll hear back from him soon enough.”

“Huh? Why is it so random? This is a trial in the presence of Southern Count-sama, isn’t it?”

“Zabo and the baron demanded that Wataru be detained immediately because they feared that you might escape. If you are detained, you will be quickly killed in jail, so I asked Southern Count-sama to spare you some time.”

What a scary system. If I go to jail, I will be killed in an instant, huh?

“This would never happen under normal circumstances. This time, he asked for my help to punish the incompetent baron, so he agreed to my request.”

I see. In short, I have to bear Southern Count-sama’s expectations as well. That’s an annoying story.

“Hah, I understand. I will do something about it.”

“Both Zabo and the baron seem to be in a hurry now that they know that Southern Count-sama will be attending the trial. The shadow I had attached to you also reported that there was a gang of thieves who were after you. But, it seems that they gave up the attack because of Girasole’s presence.”

It seems that Southern Count-sama’s unscheduled action has made them want to kill me.

“Guildmaster. Southern Count-sama has asked you to come to the castle in two hours.”

Someone who looked like a secretary came to deliver the message from Southern Count-sama. We’ve only got two hours left, and there’s hardly any time to prepare. It’s like leaving a matter to chance.

“I understand. That’s what he said, Wataru. Prepare as much as you can.”

“Understood.”

Hah, I never thought I’d have to go through a trial… It’s really not a good thing to be conspicuous. If push comes to shove, I’ll summon a ship and hole up on the ship. In the meantime, the best way to prove my innocence would be to rely on the ship summoning ability. I’ll talk to the guildmaster first.

 

***

 

When I said I needed my magic boat to prove my innocence, the guildmaster told his subordinates, and they agreed to carry it for me. Without permission to board the ship, they can’t touch it, so I have to give them an excuse for bringing it. We unloaded the luggage on the boat and headed for the castle.

I arrived at the castle with the guildmaster a little before the appointed time and was shown to a large room. The soldiers at the castle were checking out the Japanese-style boat, so I secretly gave them permission to board the boat again. Boarding permission is a hassle at a time like this, isn’t it? Well, it’s a good thing that the security is so thorough, so I’ll allow a little hassle.

We were taken to a place surrounded by a fence and told to kneel down and wait. The Japanese-style boat is placed in the middle of the room. I wondered if the judge would sit at the big desk on the other side of the fence. The guildmaster sits in a distant place in the rear. The atmosphere seems similar to that of a Japanese court. Well, I have only seen a courtroom in a TV drama or something, though.

After kneeling and waiting for a while, more than ten knights entered and lined up by the wall. After them, Zabo and a fat old man come in. I wonder if that old man is the baron?

Next, the back door opened, and three men in fine-looking clothes entered. Zabo and the baron kneeled down, so I guessed that Southern Count-sama was among the three men.

As I knelt down and looked around, I saw that only one man was sitting on a chair, and the other two were standing on either side of him. The one in the middle must be Southern Count-sama. He seems to be a serious-looking man whose expression never changes. The man to the left of Southern Count-sama began to speak.

“We will now discuss the theft of the magic boat that the merchant Zabo has filed a lawsuit against. Furthermore, since Southern Count-sama is in attendance, disrespect will not be tolerated.”

The trial was about to begin.

“Wataru. Do you have any objection to Zabo’s complaint?”

“Yes, I did not steal this magic boat. I paid the proper price for it.”

“That is a lie, Your Honor. That magic boat is my family’s heirloom. Baron Benvenuto here has been on board this boat, and it is a very important magic boat for us.”

With a sad expression on his face, Zabo appealed to the judge. Should I also show my emotions like that?

“Baron Benvenuto. Are you sure what Zabo said is correct?”

“Yes, it must be the magic boat I boarded.”

“Wataru, do you have any objections?”

“Yes. Even if I explain it in words, it would be a dead-end argument, so I would like him to be deliberate using the magic boat. Is that acceptable?”

“Umu, no problem.”

Oh, for the first time, Southern Count-sama spoke. It’s already a hassle, so I can just put it in the climax, can’t I?

“Thank you very much. Then, Zabo-san, please activate that magic boat.”

“Huh? What are you asking suddenly?”

Zabo gave me a hateful look. This attitude after getting me into trouble. I was really pissed off.

“You know, if that magic boat was your family heirloom, then, of course, you know how to activate it, don’t you? So, please activate it and prove it to all of us.”

“It’s a simple matter.”

Zabo approached the Japanese-style boat with full confidence. The guildmaster told me that there are several patterns of magic boats, but the ones that do not have the owner’s authority can be activated to some extent easily. The Japanese-style boat is not actually a magic boat, though.

Hah, I want to go home now; I’m embarrassed to be a part of such a silly farce. If it were a thrilling development with deductions and evidence, there would still be some tension, but just activating a magic boat, how is that a trial?

Furthermore, this is a trial in the presence of the very important Southern Count-sama. And since the key is pulled out of the lock, the Japanese-style boat will never move. It even makes me feel empty.

…Zabo, do your best. But how long do we have to wait?

“Enough. I find that Zabo’s claim is false.”

“W-wait a minute, Your Honor. This is something he must have done. I am certain that this magic boat belongs to me.”

Zabo did not give up. Now he said that I had sabotaged it.

“Can a magic boat be so easily made?”

I asked the judge.

“A magic ship is a piece of technology that has not yet been fully understood. If you could craft one, you would be paid a high salary.”

The judge replies somewhat dismissively. He probably wants to get out of here as soon as possible.

“T-then, that man must have destroyed the magic boat.”

“Do you want me to activate the magic boat?”

“Umu, go ahead and activate the magic boat.”

“I understand.”

Zabo looked at me with a pleading expression. No, indeed, it’s impossible not to activate it out of pity in this situation. The proof ended with the engine running smoothly in front of everyone’s eyes.

“It is decided that Zabo’s claim is false. Zabo, Baron Benvenuto, you will not get off lightly if you try to take away the magic boat from the people with a false accusation, so be prepared for that.”

“N-no, I was only deceived by Zabo.”

Baron Benvenuto wiped the sweat off his face and began to make excuses.  

“Before this trial, we have already checked the previous accusations made by Zabo and Baron Benvenuto. We will review them at a later date, so don’t make any unsightly excuses.”

The judge silenced the baron’s excuses with an all-clear blow. Finally, the farce is over.

 

***

 

It is already dark when we leave the castle. The guildmaster said he would accompany us to the docking station, so let’s put the Japanese-style boat back and get some sleep.

“Guildmaster, how can Zabo and the baron get by with a trial like that?”

On the way to the docking station, I asked him what was bothering me.

“This trial alone exposed so much hideous behavior in front of Southern Count-sama. Besides, Zabo will be charged of using the trial for personal use, and the baron will probably experience embarrassment in the noble society. On top of that, there is the re-investigation of all the previous appeals. I don’t think there’s much we can do about that now.”

He had done so many things that even the nobility had caught up with him to the point where he couldn’t escape anymore.

“I see. Well, I don’t want to get involved again, so that helps. But they won all this time with such a random claim, didn’t they? How did they keep winning?”

“Normally, a trial of that magnitude would be tried in a simple trial court. They are all below the rank of barons. He may have been using his status as a shield to do whatever he wanted, but now that Southern Count-sama is in attendance. The court’s status has been raised, and the judges are no lower than the baron. I guess fabrications, threats, bribes, and everything else didn’t work, and that’s why they’re in that mess.”

For Zabo and his colleagues, it seems it means that the unplanned has piled up, and they can no longer cope. Well, it’s a nice feeling. I hope this makes things a little more peaceful.

 

Balance: 3 gold coins, 21 silver coins, 70 copper coins.
Guild Account Balance: 24 gold coins, 40 silver coins.

 

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