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Pursuing the Conspiracy
“It’s too dangerous to gather any more copper coins in this town.”
“Yeah, there are way less than before. Any more than this, and we’ll gather unnecessary attention.”
“Time to transport what we have now. Make the preparations.”
Two male voices, conversing with each other.
I suddenly saw a hand waving up and down in front of me. That really scared me.
“What happened, dear customer? You were just staring at the door.”
“Ah, it’s nothing.” I quickly evaded the topic.
The voices I heard were coming from across the door, outside the store.
“Sorry, I remembered I have something urgent to do.”
“Eh? But the food still
“I’ll come again, don’t worry.” I left these words behind, and dashed out of the store.
Outside, I strained my ears. In the midst of all the people walking around talking to each other, I was searching for the two voices I’d just heard. It’s similar to focusing your attention solely on the drums when you’re listening to music.
“Hell, the profit is great and all, but the trouble of carrying them is ridiculous.”
I managed to catch one of the voices from before. Using that, I carefully followed them. The two of them were still walking together, talking about something. They made several turns and finally arrived at an open space with no other people around. And then, their voices suddenly grew weaker.
“Did they enter a building?”
I looked at my surroundings. Toward the back of the alley, I saw several buildings. I stood at the entrance of one of the buildings and listened carefully. Repeating that until the fifth building, I once again heard the voices I was looking for.
“That should be everything. Alright, tonight, we’ll transport these, group up with the guys from the other town, and send them to the melting furnace.”
“Hey, just how profitable is all of this?”
“With the current copper coin market… if we melt all of these and sell them, around twice the amount.”
“Phew, it’s gone up since last time, huh? So we’ll get double the amount.”
“That’s how it is.”
Just like I thought when I first heard them, the contents of their conversation sounded pretty dangerous.
“They melt down the copper coins… and sell the copper ingots?”
Melting a country’s currency for one’s own profit was prohibited and was treated as a severe crime. I’d thought of just going in there to beat them up, but judging from their conversation, there seems to be a client they’re in contact with, as well as another partner group. Stopping them here would only get me the tail of the snake, not the head.
I engraved the location in my memory, then departed.
“So this is the government office.”
Asking the town’s residents, the place I visited was the government office. It was something similar to a police station, and was the location where all the criminals ended up.
“Wait, who are you?!”
Just like when I’d first arrived at this town, an armed guard came to stop me. Yeah, just what I was waiting for. Good thing I prepared myself. I yet again took out the folding fan I received from Princess Helene, and showed it to said guard.
“I am a messenger from the Princess. Let me meet who’s in charge here.”
“Princess…? Hm, this is the royal family’s crest…and it’s genuine.”
Using (what looked to be) magic, the guard verified that the fan I was holding was the real deal.
“Please wait a moment, I will inform them.”
Leaving me with those words, the guard rushed inside the building, making me wait for about ten minutes until he came back.
“Thank you for waiting. Almosso-sama is awaiting you inside.”
The guard guided me into the building. Having him lead the way, we arrived at what looked to be some sort of office. Waiting there was a well-built, middle-aged man. Spotting me, he raised his bulky body from the chair and greeted me.
“I am Kefka Almosso.”
“I’ve never heard a name like that before. How should I address you?”
“Kakeru is fine.”
“Then, Kakeru-sama, you mentioned that you were the Princess’s messenger, correct?”
“Yeah, here’s the proof.”
That wasn’t quite the truth, but it’s not like I was doing anything bad here.
“This is… Yes, this truly belongs to Her Highness Helene Tericia Mercury. Excuse my rudeness. I don’t mean to doubt you, but the guard told me about this ‘Unfamiliar looking man’, so I had to make sure.”
I had prepared myself to be doubted after all. That’s why I had the folding fan with me in the first place.
“Rather than that, I have something pressing to talk about.”
“And what would that be?” Almosso asked.
“There are people in this town who are planning to melt copper coins and sell the materials.”
“…I cannot take this story as a joke, Kakeru-sama.”
Almosso’s complexion quickly worsened. Well, I expected that, since this is quite a big deal we’re talking about right now.
“It’s not a joke at all.”
I quickly began to reiterate what I had heard, adding that the store I’d eaten at was lacking copper coins to use as change, and reported about the two men I had followed. Calmly and carefully, I retold the events I’d witnessed.
“We have received reports of a decline in copper coins. Since this is a town with a lot of travelling merchants passing through, I thought it would be something that would improve over time…”
“It’s actually happening. I think if you don’t do something soon, things will go south pretty quickly.”
“Agreed. Does the Princess know about this?”
“…No, I haven’t told her yet.” I flatly announced.
You never know how Princess Helene…how the royal family would react to something like this, after all.
“I was only asked to look into what’s been going on.”
I gave a harmless and inoffensive lie.
“Is that so? Well, our first priority is to take care of this situation. Damaging the flow of currency is a harsh felony, so it’s okay for us to hand down fitting punishment ourselves.”
“Yeah, I agree.”
“Let me call my soldiers,” said Almosso, clapping his hands.
Shortly after, I could hear heavy footsteps approaching the room, then three armed soldiers entered. Three is far less than I had anticipated, but it’s better than nothing, I guess. But it didn’t work out the way I had anticipated—
“Seize this man.”
Being overwhelmed by the sudden change in the situation, I was too late to react to one of the men pushing me down to the ground, putting handcuffs around my wrists.
“My deepest apologies, but this is how things will have to end.”
“So you were an accomplice this whole time?!”
“Why would you do that?!” Still being restrained, I asked Almosso as anger boiled up inside of me.
“Because of the profit. Governing this town, we’ve had the right to perform a certain degree of casting to begin with. Collecting the damaged currency, we melt it down and cast it into proper currency. Since we can decide on the commission ourselves, it is quite favorable”—
Almosso smiled—it was the most disgusting smile I had ever seen.
“—But selling it as copper is even more lucrative. We grouped up with some people in the shady business, and tried to keep it as secretive as possible, but to think Her Highness Helene had her eyes on this.”
“However, it seems as if the situation just turned in our favor. As you have stated, Her Highness still isn’t aware of this situation, meaning that if we dispose of you and gather the copper coins to recast them into new ones, we can still cover this up.”
“Although I feel bad for you, we will have you disappear. If you want to resent us, start resenting your own carelessness and rashness.
“I’m not going to resent anybody.” I spoke up after keeping quiet.
It was a cold, harsh voice—even I was surprised that I sounded like that. In response, Almosso showed surprise and confusion with a ‘What is this guy saying’ expression.
“And what do you mean by that?”
“Just like this, see?” I quickly stood up.
I was being pushed down from behind, but I stood up with no problems whatsoever.
Putting strength into my arms, I broke the handcuffs restraining me. Almosso’s eyes opened wide in shock as though he couldn’t believe what he had just witnessed. And seeing that face, I got pissed.
“It seems like the ones who need to be arrested are all of you,” I announced, with no hesitation or uncertainty in my voice.
It was time that they received some punishment.