Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
「Browsing the Treasury」
Leaving the bread aside, we ate the majority of the meal.
It was a rarity for Chiome and Ariane to enjoy meals that were usually reserved for royalty, so they tried a variety of new things.
Ponta was already sleeping at the end of the table with a full stomach.
The one who ate the most must’ve been me.
While my skeletal body lacked any flesh, it conveniently allowed me to enjoy the sensation of eating with my fourth-dimensional stomach.
After an hour or so, once I finished enjoying the after-meal tea, the soldier who would lead us to the treasury arrived.
“I will lead you.”
The soldier’s movements were rather jerky as he saluted us.
Ariane released the kind of satisfied yawn that accompanied a full stomach.
She carried a sleeping Ponta in her arms, whose belly steadily rose and fell as her paws occasionally twitched.
Chiome had her usual blank face, but she rubbed her stomach as if she had eaten a little too much.
The soldiers lead us through a complex maze of passageways and corridors within the palace.
At the beginning, I had assumed that with every turn to the left or right we would be going towards the higher parts of the palace, but halfway through we began descending a flight of stairs and Ariane began to question our guide.
Apparently, for security’s sake, a complex network of passageways had been built into the castle. Since we were talking about the national treasury here, I guess it would be inconvenient if invaders could find it easily.
Moreover, our guide had been replaced at certain sections of the trip, so not even the guards were fully aware of the entire castle’s layout.
It was a simple but effective security measure.
(Sasuke-dono was able to find the treasury in this place……)
Chiome puffed out her chest beside me when I whispered in amazement at the fact that Sasuke had managed to break into this place.
In fact, I was starting to doubt it was even possible to traverse this labyrinthine maze, avoid being detected by the various guards that filled said maze and escape undetected.
Had it been me, I would’ve definitely been detected by the guards and only manage to gain access to the treasury after being forced to deal with every single one of them.
Spying and sneaking around were completely uncharacteristic for me after all….
When we arrived at the door leading to the treasury, I remembered that it hadn’t been that long ago that I’d been pursuing a thief.
We were probably in the palace’s basement.
The echoes of our footsteps created by the thick stone walls and pavement meant that the guards stationed at the treasury’s doors knew we were coming before we arrived.
The passage must have been designed this way to act as an early warning system.
After being urged by our guide, the door guards opened the and we were lead into a slightly wider passage than the one we’d just been in.
At the center of the passage was a person I was becoming very familiar with.
One was Princess Lille.
Instead of the simple dress she wore when we first met, she was now wearing an extravagant sky-blue outfit one would expect a princess to wear.
Her golden curls were held up by jewel-encrusted clips, exposing more of her neck as a result.
Her two guards, Zahar and Nina, stood behind her.
Unlike the basic military uniforms they had worn throughout our journey, the two now wore decorative sashes adorned with medals and badges over more pristine uniforms.
It appeared that they were to be our supervisors while we were in th
However, I still had to ask Lille why someone important like her was here.
“Lille-dono, whatever are you doing here?”
“I was the one who hired Arc-dono and the others. Thus, it is my responsibility to see that you receive the compensation promised! Father has already approved of this!”
She puffed out her chest and spiritedly answered my question.
When I looked at her two guards, Zahar had a slightly frustrated expression. I could tell that she must have stubbornly worn down the King until he allowed her to come.
“Besides, there has never been a situation where guests were allowed into the treasury, therefore father determined that having a member of the royal family accompanying you will set precedent for future occasions.”
I found myself nodding along to her words.
After all, there were various origins for royal customs.
Although this situation was a part of the reward the princess had promised us, wouldn’t it be rather troublesome if they needed a precedent to allow outsiders into the treasury in the future?
A commoner like myself couldn’t comprehend that logic, but Ariane on the other hand, who had been raised in an elven village, showed them a degree of understanding.
“So, we will promptly show you the treasury. I doubt any of you will steal anything, but we’d appreciate it if you remain within our sight as much as possible.”
The three of us nodded along with what Zahar had said.
I had no desire to steal anything, besides nether Ariane, Chiome or I were armed at the moment, while Zahar and Nina were armed and probably had the means to deal with anything that came up.
Normally, one wouldn’t think of stealing in this situation.
After nodding, it seemed that we were finally able to enter the place where the country’s treasure was held.
While our main goal was to retrace Sasuke’s footsteps, for some unknown reason I found the prospect of venturing into a treasury executing.
The treasury’s actual door was located at the back of the passage.
With all its metallic reinforcements, the gate-like door looked more like something you would expect to find in a fortress instead of on a treasury.
Six guards stood in front of the gate, the narrowness of the passing causing them to stand side by side, with no gaps between them.
The guards bowed their heads to Lille before she handed them two keys, which they proceeded to insert into lumps of metal on the door.
Two shutters snapping open echoed through area before guards started prying the large gate open.
I was truly impressed by both such an airtight security systems and Sasuke’s ability to get past all of it. However, Zahar and I shared a look and he seemed to pick up on my trail of thoughts.
“The security has been improved since the incident with the intruder.”
It was an understandable situation.
They hadn’t been as thorough with their security before.
Probably due to a history of no issues, they had assumed that no thief would ever be able to break in, but one ninja had forced them to reevaluate their entire system.
…… It must have been a terrible time for the guards that had been on duty then.
One of the guards entered the dim treasury and probably used a magic tool of some kind to illuminate the room.
Upon Zahar’s request, Lille was the first to enter the treasury.
Gorgeous pieces of artwork and luxurious sets of jewelry lining the walls of the room…… wasn’t what we found.
Instead, there was a sculpture, probably chiseled by some famous sculptor, whose only visible part was the base because the rest of it was covered by a large cloth.
The paintings had all been packaged and arranged side to side, so there was no way to see the paintings themselves.
Jewels and coins weren’t simply left out in the open since the shelves that lined the walls were filled with wooden chest of various shapes and sizes.
The room itself was built out of beautiful and sturdy stone, crude light-emitting magic tools were wrapped around pillars across the room, and there was a distinct lack of decorations.
It looked more like a large warehouse instead of a treasury.
The hidden room of Diento’s lord had felt more like a treasury than this place.
After gaining permission, I began looking through the chests and confirmed that they were indeed treasure chests.
The contents of the chests were quite varied, some were filled with gold and silver coins, others had jewelry and decorative items wrapped in cushioning material, one had a twisted root whose value I couldn’t begin to guess, and some even had black coconut-like fruit.
I went around the warehouse trying to trance Sasuke’s steps, but I haven’t come across any clues yet.
I couldn’t expect an on-the-spot inspection in this world, and it wasn’t like I could find some trivial item and start making wild but somehow accurate inferences as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
In that regard, it was a stroke of luck that I came to this city and crossed paths with Palermo.
When I took a quick break, I noticed that Lille had been staring at me with a strange look on her face, as she watched me wandering through the treasury.
The act of merely browsing a treasury must have been incredibly strange to her, and I had no idea what I was doing myself, so I didn’t know what to tell her.
Halfway through the search I checked in with Ariane and Chiome, but they hadn’t found anything either.
The treasury was filled to the brim with items, but since no dust had built up there were no footprints to follow.
Even when I ran my finger along a shelf it came away clean.
“Quite clean, isn’t it……”
Zahar had been watching my behaviors before he provided an explanation for the question that had been forming in my mind.
“After the break-in had been discovered, inventory was taken to determine what had been stolen, and it appears that the treasury was cleaned at the same time.”
I stared back at him for his casual answer.
“Do you have the list of the treasury’s contents?”
While a bit confused by my question, Zahar nodded his head and led us to a bookshelf in the corner of the treasury.
I thought they were prohibited spell books at first, but most of the books were item catalogs and entry logs.
They were quite a lot of documents and there wasn’t enough time to go through them all. As I flipped through one of the book’s pages, Lille shared something really interesting with me.
“I heard nothing was taken from the treasury, but that some of the inventory records had been meddled with. Now, which one was it again……?”
One of the guards stepped forward and hand me the book that Lille had started searching for on the shelf.
“If I’m not mistaken, the beginning of this book was damaged because of improper handling.”
I scrolled through the book I received until I came upon a familiar image.
Chiome stopped what she’d been doing when I called for her, and her blue eyes bulged when she saw the image.