I had an idea.
The bandits this time, especially the ones who attacked us, were too well coordinated. If these men were hired hands and not bandits, we could find out who was behind it.
If they had an orb – a magical device for identification – we would know where they were from and the organization they belonged to, but it is unlikely that bandits carry a legitimate orb.
Mercenaries and adventurer subjugations could request each guild to investigate from the dead bandit’s magic stone. However, it would take time to investigate a magic jewel not an orb with information written on it, because the investigation would have to start from the identification of the person who is registered in the orb in the past.
To supplement this, I thought it might be possible to get some idea of where they were based on where the weapons were manufactured.
I don’t know how skilled blacksmiths and armorers there are in Rawcliffe, a town with a population of about 3,000, but at least in Welburn–the central city of the Frontier Count Roswell–there should be excellent craftsmen. I am not sure how skilled blacksmiths and armorers there are in the city of Rawcliffe. I thought that if we brought the armor there, we might be able to get a clue to this raid.
(Not that they can do forensics, and just because there happened to be a lot of weapons from the place doesn’t mean it is evidence. …Well, we could sell them in Welburn for more money…) (Zack)
The reason I’m so hung up on the mastermind is because I can’t read the thoughts of my enemies this time.
If I were a bandit and my objective was the murder of a major member of the Lockhart family, I would have had my archers shoot the carriage horses back and forth to create chaos.
Even with excellent soldiers and powerful magicians, they would not be able to respond satisfactorily if they created a chaotic situation on the narrow streets.
This time, the enemy took complete control during the ambush. If they wanted to eliminate us, they could have done so in any number of ways.
What was suspicious about this raid was that the balance of forces was very poor. After all, there were only three archers. If I were to use them as an ambush, the archers would be a very effective force.
For the bandits who were so well prepared, the number of archers, who are an effective force, is too small. It is undeniable that they may not have had an accurate grasp of our capabilities, but if they are so few, it is normal to think that there is something going on.
Even if they did not know or underestimated the existence of magicians including me, it was too unnatural.
The most likely explanation is that he did not want to damage the chariot with a stray arrow. It is not so much that they did not want to hurt the carriage, but rather the people in it, like my mother.
However, even if the target of the attack was my mother, the question still remains.
The only thing of value that could be obtained from the Lockhart family would be distilling technology.
But even if they used my mother to blackmail my father and grandfather and obtain the distilling technology, they would only incur the wrath of their biggest customers, the dwarves. The moment it is put up for sale, it is obvious that the dwarves will retaliate.
(If they don’t understand that level of detail, fine, but if it’s for something else, it’s a pain. I can’t make a roundabout conclusion if I don’t know the enemy’s purpose first. In any case, there is no doubt that the enemy targeted my mother and siblings. If that’s the case, there’s a possibility they’ll try something further down the road…) (Zack)
This time, I received information from my brother’s fiancée, Rosalind, daughter of the Frontier Count Roswell, that there was someone who did not like the Lockhart family, and I asked Sai Furman, an informant in Doctus, to investigate the Roswell family.
As it turned out, the Count Roswell’s family was in a critical situation.
The head of the family, Hubert, a man who was my grandfather, Govan’s superior thirty years ago, is now forty-eight years old. He has been the governor of the north for a quarter of a century and is an excellent ruler. There is no problem at all about the man himself. The problem was his family.
Hubert had three sons and three daughters, including a concubine, but his second and third sons both died of accidents and illness when they were young.
Patrick, his eldest son, had died of illness five years earlier at the age of twenty-five. Furthermore, the eldest and second daughters have already married into other families and are located in the distant imperial capital of Primus, so they have little contact with each other.
Currently in Welburn, where the northern governor’s office is located, are the third daughter, Rosalind, and Patrick’s orphaned son, seven-year-old Francis.
Even more troublesome, Welburn is home to Hubert’s own brother, Viscount Constance Tysburn. Constance was thirty-five years old and had been adopted into the Tytheburn family, which had no heir, and was the heir to the viscountcy. However, his reputation was not good.
As far as Sai could gather, he was neither politically nor militarily gifted, and his image was that of an elitist with only a strong desire for power.
However, further research revealed that this reputation was not so long ago and that his current reputation in northern Caelum was different.
Indeed, until a few years ago, all of his policies were haphazard, and he had a very bad reputation both in Welburn and in his domain, Viscount Tysburn.
Unfortunately, he was often compared to his older brother, Hubert, who was a brilliant man, and this was the reason why he often forced himself to implement unreasonable policies. Although there is room for some sympathy for him, he was clearly of poor quality as a ruler.
However, at some point in time, the Viscountcy of Tysburn began to develop.
It seems that they acquired a talented person and entrusted him, Baronet Gateskell, with political affairs. Sai evaluated this and even reported to me, “He still has a strong image of an elitist, but he seems to have a certain amount of courage.”
As a result, there are some people who say that it would be acceptable to nominate his younger brother, Viscount Tysburn, a hard-working man of considerable ability, as the successor to the Count Roswell, rather than his young direct descendant.
In other words, the Roswell family is in danger of a family conflict.
However, there is too little information to link this to the recent attack.
If there was a succession struggle in the Roswell family, there is no reason to exclude the Lockhart family. If the Tysburns were behind this, it would be foolish to make enemies of the Lockhart family, i.e., the Blacksmith’s Guild.
Even if Constance Tysburn himself thought so, it is hard to believe that the brilliant Baronet Gateskell would make such a foolish move.
(I can’t seem to get my thoughts together. At times like this, it’s best to think about who will benefit…) (Zack)
Who benefits from attacking the Lockhart family and killing my parents?
As I indicated earlier, the most valuable thing that the Lockhart family owns from the outside is distilling technology.
And the public believes that it is my father, Mathias, who is refusing to let the distilling technology go out.
In fact, it is me, but common sense would not normally think that I, the second son and a student in Doctos, am in charge of it.
One might also think that my grandfather Govan, who has a strong image of integrity, is voicing his opinions, but if they knew my grandfather at all, they would immediately know that he would not meddle in detailed policies.
In other words, it is natural to assume that it is the father, the lord, who is thinking of monopolizing distilling technology.
This would lead to the conclusion that eliminating my father would equal the acquisition of the distilling technology.
However, there is another problem.
If my father is eliminated and distilling technology is spread outside of the village of Rathmore, that alone cannot be a direct benefit.
To be more precise, there would be no direct benefit to the person who thought of assassinating my father. The distillation technology must be monopolized in order to reap enormous profits. If it is only diffused, the profit will be dispersed.
(There is no doubt that they are targeting distillation technology. That leaves only one possibility. But there is far too little information to prove it. It’s hard to be sure that they are really targeting distillation technology alone. If they still have information that I don’t have, they could be caught flat-footed. …It would be useful to have Sai nearby at a time like this…) (Zack)
At any rate, after hearing the results of the bandit’s interrogation, I decided to reconsider.