Magi Craft Meister - Chapter 508
At the end of the meal, they were served a fragrant herbal tea-like drink.
“I take it that everything suited your taste?”
According to Elsa, table manners in the Frantz Kingdom demanded that conversations during meals be strictly prohibited, basically allowing them only during the tea time after meals.
It seemed that she was correct about that.
“Yes, everything was delicious.”
“Oh, I’m glad to hear that.”
The time for idle talk had officially started.
Catherine started by commenting on various topics…
“So you’ve come from the Shouro Empire, Sir Jin. I have never been there personally, so I’ve been wondering what kind of place it is.”
“I heard it’s being ruled by an empress, I wonder if that doesn’t arouse her subjects’ dissatisfaction?”
…Then switched to tourism…
“I hear Lake Tosmo is quite big. Our Frantz Kingdom also has a big lake called Lake Asur. It’s at the border with the Celuroa Kingdom.”
“Your attendants, Reiko and Edgar, it’s impressive how well made they are.”
The idle chat slowly began to shape itself into an actual conversation.
Then, Elsa casually started to lead the conversation in the direction that Jin wanted.
“…We’ve heard a rumor in town about some demons being captured? Is that true?”
“Oh, the rumors have really spread fast.”
The former duchess Catherine smiled awkwardly, then started to talk.
“I guess there’s no point in me hiding it. Yes, that’s right. About two or three days ago, Enak’s local governor reported that he had captured two demons.”
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They had come from the mountains up north.
There’s a mountain range 2,000 meters tall that forms a natural border in the northern part of the Frantz Kingdom. And those two had come from the other side of it.
“We are of the race you call ‘demons’.”
The town of Enak is close to a fort that had been built to keep a close watch on the Klein Kingdom, and is ruled by the deputy officer of Duke Lafayette, who has a territory in the northern part of the Frantz Kingdom.
It’s hard to believe that those two had no actual intention to fight after having arrived at a town that was constantly on edge due to it being so close to the national borders.
The deputy officer, who doubled as the mayor, Kutaga Actar, has the advantage of being a very prudent man, but is also tainted with a cunning mind. Though he has to, for he wouldn’t be able to work as a representative of a town near the border otherwise.
Pretending to be friendly towards them, he approached those two.
“I’m told you’re not here to fight. I don’t want to fight either.”
At that moment, one of the so-called “demons” started to speak.
“Fighting brings hatred to both sides, but it also hurts the land and is the bane of people’s kindness. It drains the power of a nation, and their people are suffocated by misery.”
Without the slightest consideration for their words, Kutaga kept on pretending to be friendly towards them until he eventually poisoned them.
The poison he used wasn’t lethal, as it only paralyzes the limbs, but at the same time it damages its victims’ articulations, so it’s also very effective on magic users.
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“They must have been sent to Sanjerton by now. A lot of people know about this because Enak’s mayor was personally escorting them to show his achievement off.”
That concluded Catherine’s recount.
Jin turned to his side and found that Shion was shivering.
He said that in a whisper as he tapped on her shoulder. Having come to her senses, she raised her head which she had been allowed to hang loose.
“I’m okay, Lucas.”
No one knew what she had meant by that. However, Lucas -who had known Shion for so long- understood the exact meaning of her words.
Even so, Lucas still obeyed her master Shion’s orders, and considering his short temper, this would have probably earned him Shion’s praise under other circumstances.
“Um, you mentioned Duke Lafayette…”
“Yeah, that’s my son. After my husband’s passing, I’ve decided to enjoy a comfortable retirement. So I hope you do away with titles when referring to me.”
So Elsa changed the topic again. Although she was often very taciturn, she was more reliable than Jin at it simply because she was more used to this than him.
“Ah, um… I’ve heard that there are two duchies in the Frantz Kingdom.”
“Yes, that’s right. Roughly speaking, the eastern part of the country is further divided into north and south, the Lafayette family in the north and the Orange family in the south. Everything along the highway between them belongs to the state.”
They didn’t know exactly how this last piece of information was useful. None of them knew what to do with it… but still decided to keep it in mind.
“By the way, does anything still hurt?”
“Ah, yes. I’m completely healed, thank you. Though I’ve had a slight knee pain for some time.”
“Would you like me to take a look at that?”
The former duchess thanked Elsa for her kindness.
Catherine pulled her chair away and turned her knees towards Elsa, who then started her medical examination.
Elsa’s palm gave off a faint light, which was absorbed into Catherine’s knees.
“Ah, it feels much better now! Thank you very much, Miss Elsa!”
“Don’t mention it.”
“That was a chant from the Shouro Empire, right? It works so magnificently well.”
In this world, healers would use words such as “Painkiller”, “Healing”, and so on when chanting their spells.
In reality, most of her pain was caused by the cartilage of her knee being worn down, so surgical healing magic was necessary.
Elsa used the best healing magic she could based on her knowledge of modern Earth, so the effect was immediate.
Now with an even better impression about them, the former duchess asked them to stay overnight. Jin and his friends decided to accept her kind offer.
“Thank you so much, Elsa. It was quite the handful.”
After being escorted to two extravagant adjoining guest rooms connected by a sliding door, Jin expressed his gratitude towards Elsa.
They didn’t think they were going to be eavesdropped, but still had Reiko and Edgar make sure about it, and then decided to discuss what they thought.
“I wouldn’t have been able to get any useful information by myself.”
“I’m glad to be useful.”
“The former duchess seemed to be a really nice person… Though I don’t know what she thinks of the common folk.”
Jin couldn’t help but criticize the fact that the former duchess had served them an extravagant meal while people on the streets were literally starving.
“But oh well, I did come here and had my fill of that extravagant meal without saying a word, so I can’t really complain about it now.”
“It’s not like you could have just said something about it while we were eating, so it’s no use worrying about that now.”
“Well, yeah. …I’m worried about this kingdom’s politics, but we need to worry about helping Shion for now.”
Shion quickly reacted to Jin’s words.
“…Thank you for all your help, Elsa. But that Kutaga guy is despicable!”
Jin tried to calm the enraged Shion.
“I understand why you’re angry. But please understand that humans don’t know how much they can’t trust demons.”
“…I-I know. I’ve heard that Marchosias had buttered himself up to humans in order to do all sorts of things, so I think we’re all on the same boat here.”
“Well, if you understand that, we’re good. I don’t mean to complain about the personal aspect of your anger. But just so you know, Elsa’s father was one of Marchosias’ victims.”
To be precise, Elsa’s father hadn’t been poisoned, but he was still deceived by Marchosias, so he was also considered one of his victims.
“…I-Is that so… I can’t ask you to forgive us, but… still… I’m sorry.”
Shion bowed apologetically at Elsa. But Elsa gently shook her head.
“It’s fine. It wasn’t your fault.”
“But still, I feel bad about what happened to your father. And thanks to you, I’ve learned a lot about what happened.”
“So it was some kind of anesthetic, right? If they were rendered unable to move freely, even if they had known powerful spells, they wouldn’t have been able to use them to escape.”
Shion bit at Jin’s remark.
“What are you going to do next, Jin?”
“Well, I’ll wait and see what kind of information Fernand brings us. After that, it depends, but we’ll most likely go to Sanjerton. We’ll have to come up with a rescue plan, too.”
There was no way they could make a plan without first knowing exactly where and how Shion’s sister was trapped. Shion could understand that too.
“If they have captured her but not killed her, then they most likely want to get information out of her. So we can at least rest assured that she’s still alive.”
Jin’s words managed to somewhat cheer up Shion, whose face had been clouded by anxiety.
“Yeah, you’re right. But what kind of poison was it exactly? Can you cure poisoning too, Elsa?”
“Yeah, thought only a bit.”
“Though knowing what kind of poison it was does help.”
From the symptoms, Jin could guess that it was the kind of poison that paralyzed the nerves.
That’s all he could do for now in terms of conjecturing. All that was left to do was to take some kind of action.
“It’s been a long day today, so let’s take it easy for now.”
Jin said that in the most cheerful tone of voice he could muster as he turned to Shion, who had worry written all over her face.
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“My Lord, you think so much about poison, and yet you don’t look after yourself…”
On Hourai Island, Laojun sighed. He was concerned about how Jin and his friends ate the food they were served at a stranger’s house without doubting it for a second.
“But that’s one of the good things about Master Jin. Precisely because he is who he is, he can trust others and earn their trust in return, don’t you think?”
“Yes, you might be right.”
“Aren’t we here to assist our Master, knowing how he is?”
“It is as you say, Ann. Well, I learned from the Covert Units’ report that the food they were served at the former duchess’ residence was not poisoned anyway.”
Jin was happy to have such great subordinates.