Chapter 214: Bribe
Anfey paced around in the room, trying to decide what he should do. He knew that there were things he should not get involved in, but he was left with very few choices. "Urter, can you promise that no one else knows about this?"
"Yes," Urter said. "I can promise that."
"Did you take care of all the slaves?"
"Yes," Urter said. He could tell Anfey was still worried, and added, "At least the only thing they found was a stone tablet. My men noticed before they could remove it, and relayed the news to me."
"Are your men trustworthy?"
"I cannot promise that, but they do not know what was going on. I was the only one who knows there is an entrance under the stone tablet. I was the only one that went inside." Urter reached into his pocket and wished out a gold coin and handed it to Anfey. "I found this down there."
"Don’t you have a dimensional ring?" Anfey asked. He did not know what the rings were at first, but after he learned what one was, everyone around him had one. Seeing Urter searching through his pocket was something unfamiliar.
"Are you mocking me, my lord?" Urter asked. "I am only a sheriff."
"This is a big city," Anfey said, taking the gold coin into his hand. "Your salary shouldn’t be too bad." He looked down at the gold coin. On one side was the image of a man with a large beard, and the other side was covered in runes he could not read.
"My salary was less than a single gold coin," Urter said. "And living in such a city comes with a high cost."
"Really," Anfey said and glanced at Urter. Doris was from a poorer family, but she still had a dimensional ring. Urter was a sheriff, but still could not afford one. Which meant that he was a honest man who did not try to steal. In comparison, the wages of the dwarves were several times more than Urter’s. No wonder the dwarves worked so hard. Anfey was amused, as well. Urter earned one gold coin a month. How expensive could his cost of living be?
"Do you recognize it, my lord?" Urter asked. He had a sense that Anfey was lacking in common sense, and he wanted to be clear.
"No," Anfey said, shaking his head. "What is this?"
"This is made by King Brunswick, the last king of the Brunswick Dynasty. He had no children with his wife, Marisa, who did not have any interest in power. After she defeated the magic beasts, she disappeared, leaving the court to their own devices. The nobilities warred against each other for power." Urter sighed and shook his head. "There were a lot of powerful men in that civil war. They were loyal to Brunswick Dynasty and were willing follow Marisa’s lead, but that does not mean they were willing to follow other people’s lead. That was the end of Brunswick Dynasty."
"Were there coins like this in the other fake mazes?"
"Yes," Urter said gloomily. "We do not know whether those mazes were fake or not. This proved that the maze has something to do with Marisa."
"At least halt the construction on the mansion," Anfey said quietly.
"You cannot do that, my lord!" Urter said hurriedly.
"Why is that?"
"There are already people who are curious about what had happened. If we stop the construction, it will be a confirmation," Urter said. "We cannot stop the construction. What we can do, however, is change the place where we found the tablet into a garden. That should solve our dilemma."
"You’re right," Anfey said with a nod.
Urter grinned and said, "Well, allow me to congratulate you now, my lord."
"For what?" Anfey asked, tossing the coin up and down. "I don't see any joyous occasions."
"According to the empire’s laws, everything that is found within the land of a nobleman belongs to him. Which means now you are the legal owner of the underground maze."
"Even if the empire has laws like this, do you think they will let me keep it if it really is the tomb of Queen Marisa?"
"That I do not know," Urter said. "I am a sheriff.
My only job is to assist you, my lord."
"You said earlier that you went into the maze alone," Anfey said. "Were you not scared?"
"I've been hearing adventurous stories for years now. My teacher once said that there is no profit without danger. I am not afraid of it."
"Have you forgotten, my lord? I once trained with Apa."
"Why didn’t you join a mercenary band, then?"
"I do not have combat power, nor can I use magic. No one would take someone like me," Urter said, shaking his head.
"There are people with those things who are still idiots," Anfey said. "Intelligence is much more important than power in my mind. Come on, let’s go. They may think you are trying to kill me."
"Me?" Urter asked, almost amused.
"Where did all your money go?" Anfey said as the two left the room.
"I don't have a family to take care of, but my men do. Their lives are much more difficult than mine."
Anfey nodded, but did not say anything more. He walked out of the inn and towards where Suzanna, Apa, and Black Eleven were standing. He had spent too much time speaking with Urter, and the three of them were all curious about their conversation.
Anfey walked over to his carriage and jumped in. "Suzanna," he called, "come in. Urter, you come in as well."
Urter blinked, then hurried over to the carriage. He held out a hand out of courtesy and wanted to help Suzanna up. Suzanna, however, did not need his help. Urter's hand fell back to his side awkwardly, and he climbed into the carriage after her.
"How many coins do you have right now?" Anfey asked Suzanna.
"How many do you need?"
Suzanna pulled out her money pouch and began counting the coins. A few minutes later, ten columns of gold coins were laid out on the ground neatly.
"Urter, take these."
Urter’s expression paled. "What do you mean, my lord? It is my job to assist you. You don't need to…"
"Don’t," Anfey said, interrupting Urter’s protest. "It’s not just for you. You need a dimensional ring. Some things are only safe when you put it in a ring, do you understand?"
"You can twist my intention however you want, but you will keep the money," Anfey said. "Go and arrange my meeting with Aroben tonight."
"Yes, my lord," Urter said. "I will get on that."
"Alright," Anfey nodded. "Go. People will grow suspicious at the length of our conversation."
"Yes, my lord," Urter said. He looked at Anfey, then began to collect the coins slowly. If Anfey appeared too proud, Urter would have left immediately. However, Anfey had appeared very sincere. In the end, Urter had to break his own rule.
A hundred gold coins, however, were much heavier than Urter had expected. As he stood, the coins fell out of his pocket and onto the floor.
Suzanna grinned at the sight. Urter tried to pick up the coins quickly while hiding his embarrassment, but the coins were scattered all over the floor.
Technically, this was the first time Urter accepted a bribe, and he had learned his lesson. Anfey tried to hide his smile, and did not say anything. After a few moments, Suzanna stood up, and helped Urter gather all the coins.
"Armin, coming in," Anfey called, suppressing his laughter.
Black Eleven appeared, and frowned when he saw the coins on the floor.
"Take these to Urter’s," Anfey ordered.
Black Eleven nodded. He waved his hand, and gathered all the coins into his dimensional ring.
"You know the convenience of a ring now, Urter?" Anfey asked with a smile.
Urter nodded hurriedly and looked at neither Anfey nor Suzanna.
"Armin, be careful. Don’t let Apa know what’s going on."
"Why?" Black Eleven asked, frowning. He had already told Apa about some of Anfey’s deeds. If there was something wrong with Apa, the warning was clearly too late.
"No," Anfey said, "but still, don’t tell him."
"Alright," Black Eleven said, nodding. "I understand."