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Chapter 18

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Minister’s point of view.
After submitting a letter to His Majesty, explaining the events of yesterday and requesting that Louis be sent to the mines, His Majesty gave orders to have Louis temporarily sent to the dungeon once.
The reason for this was because we still need to identify the exact amount of money he embezzled and the extra crimes that have yet to be uncovered, and also because the achievements he has gotten so far might make Louis’ crime lighter.
But there’s no way His Majesty is going to give a light punishment or probation to someone who has committed so many crimes. Louis’ sentence should be equivalent to death, if not to be sent to the mines.
If His Majesty made a wrong decision here, I’d better do what I have to do and leave this country as soon as possible.

The sun had set, and I was sipping my tea as I looked out the window at the darkened town, when there was a knock on the door of my room.
I thought for sure that the person working on Louis’ investigation had come to report back to me, but… I wonder if she came to confess her crimes?
I told her to take a seat opposite of me, and when the girl sat down, I started.

“Let’s start with your name.”

“I’m Royal Magician, Elina Barshmiede. I came here to tell you about what really occurred among us.”

When I asked the serious-looking girl to speak, she leaned forward slightly.

“It’s normal for the Royal Magicians, or rather, it’s the same in the Knights Order and elsewhere, to work people of common birth hard for fun. There are many commoners working among us, so it’s not that noticeable when the nobles force their work onto them as the work gets divided, but when it comes to the Royal Magicians, the story is different.”

“… Hoh.”

I felt almost dizzy from Elina’s outrageous statement, but I didn’t stop listening.
Elina looked a little frustrated, but she quickly returned to her original expression.

“Nowadays, commoners are more capable of doing the job better than the nobility. And now that they’re gone, we are already incredibly behind in our work. The military parade planning is so far behind schedule, and yet only 20% of it was completed.”

“Let me ask you a question: in all the many times I have run the audit, I have never heard anything like that at all. More than half of the staff is supposed to be formed by commoners, what do you know about that?”

I used Royal Guards and Knights since they could move quickly during Emiel’s case, but in normal times, it would have been investigated by the auditors. They had never once brought such reports to me, so I had never heard of something like that happening.
When Elina heard my frank question, she looked at me as if trying to say, “What is this guy saying?”

“They were bribed. You know that the only thing nobles have in surplus is money, don’t you? In fact, Heinz paid for all of us at the Royal Magicians, and as a result we were in a situation where we had to go along with his whims.”

“… And you are not part of the problem because?”

Elina shook her head from side to side when I asked her that question, most likely feeling sorry for herself for not having come up with something as blissfully simple as bribing others.

“I am prepared not to complain even if I get dismissed. However, I hoped that all the funds that are to be confiscated from me would be given to Emiel.”

“I cannot promise you that. Once money gets confiscated, it all goes to the country coffers.”

I felt a pang of guilt as Elina looked down sadly, I picked up my teacup, wondering if I can do something about it.
Then the door was opened vigorously without a knock, and the Royal Guard, who was pierced by the gazes of me and Elina, didn’t seem to care.

“We have received a report forwarded from Henschel that a man calling himself a ‘Royal Magician who came by order of the Sage’ has destroyed the town with magic. I hastened to check with the former Sage, and he confessed that he had ordered Emiel to be brought back at all costs.”

Being continuously slapped with one piece of reality after another, it didn’t take long for the teacup in my hand to drop.

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