Chapter 35:

Roasted

White Nightmare


As the duke sat down gently, he immediately made an opening statement.Bookmark here

“Gentlemen, pardon for my lateness. There are some important matters to be done first before attending here. But now, we are to begin our annual discussion.”Bookmark here

The duke’s escort was standing with his eyes closed. He stood near him. But he was strangely wearing aristocratically for a mere escort. All around dark brown robe somehow representing a city or country of some sort made him look more like a nobility rather than a bodyguard or escort.Bookmark here

“First of all, let us talk about the construction of the Golden Road—”Bookmark here

“—Sir, please, there are more important matters that needs our attention!” Carl Failentos cut short. His action was irritatingly rude. Everyone in that wide room could feel the same thing as well. Bookmark here

Orio, the Lycanthrope, was gripping his spear tightly. He wanted to pierce the man’s head right away, but he stood patiently, holding back all his fury. Count Fergus was sweating intensely. He didn’t expect the disciple of his good friend was like that.Bookmark here

The duke made an unexpected statement. He complied to his request, “Fine, then. What is it that’s more important than a construction that will affect years of economic efficiency in our kingdom, hm?”Bookmark here

“Of course, it is no other than Lord Stupeyd’s death. His death was actually a murder, yet it was spread out that it was all an accident. I know who’s the killer. His existence threatens us all!”Bookmark here

“Ho... if that’s the case, then will you tell us who’s the killer you’re trying to say?” the duke sounded insulting.Bookmark here

“Rodan Rouge...!”Bookmark here

His declaration just now made the duke flinched a bit. Even his escort twitched in surprise. “Rodan Rouge, you say?” the duke asked for confirmation.Bookmark here

“That’s right. That red-haired bastard killed my master. He used sneaky tactics to kill him and set his mansion on fire to hide the fact that he killed him!” the young man stated as he nearly shouted.Bookmark here

The meeting room was silent momentarily. Not even anyone dared to speak in that moment. Only the disciple of a dead noble was brave enough to do so.Bookmark here

“He’s smart enough to hide the truth even more by saving everyone in an incident. Because of that, absolutely no one questioned his morality. He even called as a hero by the people of Gantz. How ridiculous would that be?!”Bookmark here

The duke leaned on his elbows on the round table while listening through Carl’s words.Bookmark here

“My lord, if there’s anything dangerous, then Rodan Rouge’s the man. He must be stopped at all costs. Or else he will strike at our necks when we don’t notice it!”Bookmark here

A long silence befell in that room.Bookmark here

Soon, the duke ultimately spoke. “Judging by how you speak, I believe you adored Sir Stupeyd Dumias. You must be his disciple, or at least his loyal follower. You must’ve lost someone so precious to you that you wanted to avenge his death. Am I wrong?”Bookmark here

“...It’s because of that red-haired man... I—”Bookmark here

“—I ask you, am I wrong or not?” the duke immediately cut his words with stronger voice.Bookmark here

“W-What do you mean? I—”Bookmark here

“—Do you have a tongue or not? Are you the tongueless demon? I’m asking you once more. Am I wrong to say such a thing?”Bookmark here

The atmosphere felt intense between the two. Everyone could feel his threatening aura leaking out crazily. The duke’s words badgered Carl to answer his simple question. Yet his voice alone already made the simpleton tremoring.Bookmark here

“Y...Yes, it is all for the sake of my late master,” Carl eventually replied.Bookmark here

“Then if that’s the case, this problem requires no further actions,” the duke stated solidly.Bookmark here

“What do you mean? A baron, a member of the aristocracy, died in the hands of a scum! Are you going to let this pass by?!” Carl retorted. He felt insulted for the duke’s response to the tough situation he’s in.Bookmark here

“I already told you. There’s no need to do more things for your dead master. If you’re seeking for vengeance by speaking in here, asking for our support to you, then you are simply asking for nothing at all. Your vengeance lies deep in the trash bin.Bookmark here

Now... onto more important matters...”Bookmark here

But just before the duke continued, once again, Carl Failentos thwarted his meeting’s first line. He began to sound desperate.Bookmark here

“Don’t bluff like that, please! I beg for your kind attention, please! He has killed my lord! This man is dangerous. We must stop him, lest we will all be killed by him!”Bookmark here

The duke began to show irritation in his expression. “Then what if he has killed your lord?”Bookmark here

That question felt like a lance thrusted at the desperate man’s heart.Bookmark here

“Stupeyd Dumias was a resourceful man. He kindly gave many of his treasure to support whatever ideas I’m planning to realize. He gave many of his assets to show his loyalty to His Majesty, yet I felt something was fishy about him. So, I have many of my men traveled to Gantz to investigate this matter since long time ago.Bookmark here

I know who you are. I know what relation you have with Sir Stupeyd Dumias. You adored him. You liked him. You wanted to support him. You wanted to give everything to him. You followed in his path as if he’s your father. But let me tell you one thing...Bookmark here

Gentlemen... allow me to tell you one conclusive fact.Bookmark here

This kid in front of me... he is practically lying.”Bookmark here

Shocked by his declaration, Carl retorted, “W-Wha...?! I’m not... I’m not lying! It’s the truth! He has been killed!”Bookmark here

“Oh, right, you’re not lying, after all. The only thing you’re not lying about is the fact that Sir Stupeyd died horribly in the flames of his burnt down mansion. It was an accident, no doubt. I don’t understand what kind of hate you do have to pin someone as an evildoer.”Bookmark here

“I KNOW the truth! Sir—”Bookmark here

“—But those truth were nothing but lies. You were shown a spectacle of lies that was concealed as if they were truths.”Bookmark here

The debate was heating unendingly. After the duke’s last words, Count Fergus stood up to help Carl out. “What he said was the truth, Lord Fore—”Bookmark here

“Please be quiet, Sir Fergus,” the duke silenced while gazing at him sharply. His glare felt like as if he was staring into his soul. Count Fergus couldn’t fight against that powerful aura. He sat down immediately, and he sealed his mouth shut.Bookmark here

Orio gulped. He sensed a massive fear in the person he’s guarding.Bookmark here

“I was kind enough to stop this conversation not so long ago, Carl Failentos. But you pressed onwards, so I let myself play along your stupid charade. Your words were simply trying to pin all the tragic happening to your master to that one man.Bookmark here

I’m not someone who will act just by simple confession. I will do things based on what’s truly happening in the field. Did you not notice some Augustan officers back in Gantz? Ah, but judging by how you spoke, it appears you didn’t. Those officers were still gathering information and was yet to return. Meanwhile, you...Bookmark here

...You’ve come here, and dare say that you know the truth without showing any proofs to me.”Bookmark here

“....I... I’m...” the young man couldn’t fight his words at all. Nobody backed him up, either. He’s there simply to be roasted by his words.Bookmark here

“Not only that... you are one of the most impudent fool I’ve ever met in my life. Not giving salutations to me, cutting my speech, and claimed that your trouble was much more important than mine. You speak highly as if you’re a noble above everyone’s rank in here. You speak like you are standing in a higher position than I am. Just who do you think you are?”Bookmark here

“N-No, that’s not...”Bookmark here

“If only you took the chance to speak to me right after this discussion is over, I would’ve listened to you and think about it thoroughly. I would’ve thought the same as you and began investigating the man named Rodan Rouge that you were saying as a criminal. But you threw that chance away by hurrying yourself with your self-importance.Bookmark here

Look around you. All the nobles here did not dare speak a word until I permit them to do so. Baron Shingles, Viscount Harg, those two are the most impudent ones in here, yet they kept silent during the whole discussion to respect each other. Count Fergus might want to back you up, but I’m glad he’s still sane to keep his mouth shut. Even Orio, a member of the respected Alterion Guild could still show some respect.Bookmark here

But you... you’re nothing more than a disciple of a dead noble. Ah, right, your insolent words reflect a lot from Stupeyd Dumias. But he’s a noble, meanwhile you are his subordinate. Now that he’s dead, you are simply nobody, yet you speak like you are more than a noble. The reason I allow you to speak so brazenly is simply my way of adding salt to your already huge wound. I simply let your foul mouth dance as much as possible to the point that killing you is not even a sin anymore.Bookmark here

You are not a noble. You are not a king. You are not a member of a guild. You are not an adventurer either. And you are NOT one of the Nexuses.Bookmark here

Know your position, dumbass.”Bookmark here

“This... is an outrage...” Carl’s voice was held back. He shook his head several times in disbelief.Bookmark here

“Your arrival here sealed your fate, Mr. Carl. You see, my escort here I’m bringing along wasn’t any simple man. He was the reason behind my lateness.”Bookmark here

Soon, Carl noticed the motifs on his cloth resembling a lot like some sort of a city.Bookmark here

“You are... an Asturian Messenger?”Bookmark here

“Precisely. He bore message and told me of a trouble that ACTUALLY needed our attention. Baron of Astur, Sir John Falconet sent me a word about the trouble in his city. There was a rising danger enclosing in on his city. He summoned the man with the same name as that you’ve spoken of. Bookmark here

Rodan Rouge. He helped him save his city by eliminating the threat in the area. Beforehand, he also helped saving everyone in Gantz. But he never even once did a murder to the Baron of Gantz.Bookmark here

Your face is telling me that you’re asking about the proof I prized. So, here it is.”Bookmark here

The duke showed a translucent orb about the size of his palm where there was a floating stone in it.Bookmark here

“This is the Stone of Truth. It is a magic item that will ensure there is no false information in this message he sent to me. This one thing is enough to prove it all. At first it sounded sketchy, but with you confirming that he did save everyone in an incident in Gantz, it sealed off my belief to this Stone of Truth.”Bookmark here

Reflectively, the young men fell on his chair, powerless. He felt all his effort of going to the capital city was useless.Bookmark here

“Not only that...” the duke continued on, “Even if Baron of Gantz didn’t die. I will still kill him with my own hands. He has an unforgivable crime that only death may punish him. If this Rodan Rouge guy actually killed him, then I’m thankful for him. He did the job for me.Bookmark here

With that being said... are you, a loyalist to Stupeyd Dumias would dare claim that I’m a dangerous man and needs to be killed should I’m the one who killed your master?”Bookmark here

Carl’s vision was blurring. He felt like he’s losing his sanity and consciousness altogether.Bookmark here

“I’ll take your silence... as a no.Bookmark here

I pity you, young one. You could’ve been a good disciple. You could’ve found a better life, but you forced yourself into doing this. Normally, I would’ve employed the guillotine to execute you for your impudent act upon me.Bookmark here

...But I am not unkind. I will forgive your irrational statements and forget this day happened. But under one condition...Bookmark here

Never show your face in front of me ever again.Bookmark here

Or for short... you are banned from entering Augusta for eternity. Goodbye, Carl Failentos. You have failed your master, and everyone that believed in you.”Bookmark here

Shortly, the duke stood up. “Gentlemen, this discussion is adjourned. We will continue after lunchtime. Have a nice day.”Bookmark here

Orio, who saw the duke leaving the room could only thought of how terrifying he was.Bookmark here

“Such power he has in his hands. Even if he didn’t harbor any physical prowess, his words are already as sharp, no, perhaps sharper than the tip of my spear. But his words are true and on point. That’s the reason why many people were wary of him. What a terrifying man...Bookmark here

What kind of past did he have till he could appear as menacing like that?”Bookmark here

And so, the meeting was adjourned... without even being actually started.Bookmark here

Carl was escorted out of the castle by the guards while everyone else took a breather to relax their nerves after an intense psychological warfare. The duke literally roasted him with his purge of words. If Carl had a toxic mouth, then Duke Forenz had a purgatory mouth.Bookmark here

On the hallway, the duke was escorted by the Asturian Messenger.Bookmark here

“Sir, there are some of the Dumias family members waiting for the Baron of Gantz to arrive in the capital city. I think they heard what you said about him...” the messenger concerned.Bookmark here

“It doesn’t matter. Let them know the truth about their beloved head of family. Let them know as well that their head of family is right below the dirt of the earth,” the duke stated solidly.Bookmark here

“I see. But sir, I wonder... Are you truly going to go against Rodan Rouge, if he is in fact a criminal, sire?” the messenger asked.Bookmark here

“Hah, how am I going to? It’s merely a bluff to knock that fool out cold. There’s no way I’m going to antagonize Sir Rodan. I always believed in him, as much as how my little brother believed in him, too.”Bookmark here

“Hmph...You’re right. He is your former master, after all,” the messenger noted.Bookmark here

“Hm. Let’s get going,” the duke invited.Bookmark here

“As you command, Duke Forenz Falconet.”Bookmark here

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