Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
「A Careless Remark」
The drawing that accompanied the item description catalog was that of a rhombus-shaped jewel.
While a description of the jewel was written beside the drawing, I could tell that it was one of the Blade Heart Clan’s 『Spirit Contract Crystal』.
“Zahar-dono, is the jewel recorded here still within the treasury?”
After showing him the drawing in the book, Zahar looked it over before gently shaking his head.
“Unfortunately, this item is no longer held here, it seems to have been gifted to the Hiruku Theocracy some time ago.”
Chiome and I immediately understood what he said meant.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Sasuke had been the one to break in and escape.
After reading the treasury’s records, he left for the Hiruku Theocracy and fell into the Pope’s hands…… that was a rough estimate of what happened at least.
Chiome’s eyes had been focused on the 『Spirit Contract Crystal』’s drawing ever since I showed it to her, but she slowly closed them as thoughts of her departed brother overwhelmed her.
Nina suddenly stepped forward with a grimace on her face when she saw the somber atmosphere, her hand rested on her sword and she glared at Chiome when she opened her mouth.
“I thought it was a bit strange, but you’re searching for that beastman that broke into the treasury, aren’t you? That vagrant broke into the royal family’s treasury! What’s your relationship with that thief!?”
Faced with her threatening attitude, Lille’s face went pale as she looked between Nina and me, her eyes swimming as she tried and failed to come up with an excuse for herguard.
Nina must have realized that she was no match for Chiome, yet she confronted her anyway. You could see her trembling hands from here.
Did her serious personality allow her to ignore this difference in strength, or was her prejudice against beastmen blinding her judgment?
Zahar must have had a general idea of what we’d been looking for, but had pretended to not having noticed anything up ‘till now. He tried to reel Nina’s behavior in but Chiome shut him out before he could say anything.
“……Are you gonna do something to us, now that you know we’re looking into the thief’s actions?”
A new cold fire was ignited in Chiome’s blue eyes, the air around her literally dropping to the point where her breath became visible.
The moisture in the air started forming ice crystals that reflected the light from the treasury’s magic tools.
Nina and the others knew of Chiome’s abilities from our fight with Palermo.
While she looked like a young girl, her ability wasn’t something that could be overcome by one or two human knights.
Like frogs caught in a serpent’s glare, fear froze the people around us in place.
Nina’s presumptuous questioning had the misfortune of bringing Chiome’s sorrows and regrets over Sasuke’s death at the hands of the Hiruku to the surface.
The stone floor froze over when Chiome took a single measured step forward.
The unpleasant sound of ice breaking and reforming echoed throughout the room.
“Do you know how that jewel found its way into this treasury? Why do you think my brethren are forced to hide in the mountains, lest they be placed in chains in human towns? Do you have any idea how many of my people have been hated, chased and chaptered by humans?”
Her voice was quiet and nearly silent, yet was seeped in icy blood lust.
Nina chocked on her own word
s as cold sweat ran down her neck.
I felt an unseen blade I felt at my throat, causing my stomach drop because I knew something bad would happen if Chiome wasn’t stopped.
“That’s enough, Chiome-dono.”
The chill slightly lessened when I called out to her.
“Princess Lille told me that the King will publicly declare to free the beastmen tomorrow. Chiome-dono, it’s meaningless to take out your anger on Nina. Wouldn’t it be more productive for you to watch your freed brethren and see what kind of treatment they received?”
Not really……but there was meaning in asking questions I knew the answer to. If the justification behind her raised fist was shaken, her actions would become clouded by doubt.
“Lille-dono, it is tomorrow right?”
Lille picked up on what I was trying to accomplish and repeatedly nodded her head she affirmed my statements.
“Th-That’s right! Tomorrow, Father will gather those within the capital in the palace courtyard and grant them their freedom!”
Chiome’s eyes slowly closed as she took a deep breath.
Lille and the guards let out a relieved sigh as the frost along the floor melted and the ice particles dissipated.
“I am sorry, Arc-dono. I lost my head for a moment. I shall take my leave now.”
Chiome give me a slight bow as she spoke before she left the treasury with gusto.
I set my eyes upon the now awake Ponta that was resting within Ariane’s arms.
“Ponta, I have a job for you. Why don’t you follow Chiome-dono?”
Understanding my words, Ponta leaped from Ariane arms and begin chasing after Chiome, her tail swaying vigorously as she ran.
After seeing Chiome disappearing beyond the second door with Ponta in hand, I turned back to Lille and apologized for that outburst.
“Sorry, the jewel drawn here is a treasure that has been passed down through her family. I don’t know under what circumstances this treasure found its way here, but considering the relationship between humans and beastmen it couldn’t have been pleasant ordeal, to say the least.”
Zahar chimed in with an apology of his own.
“We didn’t know it was this kind of artifact, please excuse our rudeness. Arc-dono.”
Lille rushed forward on the heels of Zahar’s apology and tried to apologize for her guard’s behavior.
“Save your apologies. Chiome-dono was slightly in the wrong here as well.”
We couldn’t allow our compensation to be placed at risk.
Many were still left in a state of shock, so I did my best to wave the incident away while I had the chance.
Tomorrow, the beastmen would be released and it would become illegal to enslave them within this country ever again. Still, the promises of tomorrow won’t heal the rift between the races today.
Those who have been enslaved, the slavers and those who resisted slavery couldn’t simply mend their relationship with one another. The scene between Chiome and Nina will likely crop up in various places from now own.
“F-Forgive us, Arc! I’ll be sure to properly discipline Nina later!”
Despite my efforts, Lille rushed to my side and apologized for Nina’s blunder, her gray eyes stained with tears as she looked up at me.
Seeing her small master pledging on her behalf, Nina got ashamed of herself for her own shallowness. She bowed her head deeply and apologized on the spot.
Chiome, along with Ponta, was waiting for us not far from the treasury’s entrance.
Chiome’s ears and tail were downcast as she apologized to me, but I brushed it aside as if nothing had happened.
“What is there for Chiome-dono to apologize for?”
Her response was to simply shake her head and avoid eye contact.
Ponta purred and rubbed herself against Chiome’s chest in an attempt to cheer her up.
She may have been a battle-tested warrior, but she was still a young girl. It seemed that she had yet to learn how to react to subjects that struck a personal nerve.
In a way, it was rather assuring that she still had such an aspect in her personality.
“There are lots of things to take care of in the capital and the hidden villages. A lot of problems can spring up if the supplies aren’t adjusted to account for the new arrivals. It seems I’ll be rather busy.”
Chiome chuckled at my attempts to brighten the mood by bringing up tomorrow’s schedule and lamenting my workload.
“Let’s get to bed, today was rather tiring. They’ve already provided rooms for us in the castle, but how about we spend the night at the village?”
Ariane must have judged that Chiome would be uncomfortable staying in a room prepared by humans and suggested that we returned to our village with my magic.
However, Chiome embraced Ponta and rejected the proposal.
“I don’t have a problem here. I’ll be heading to bed early in preparation for tomorrow.”
Ariane looked at Chiome’s face until she was satisfied with what she saw, and grabbed her by the arm.
“Alright, Chiome-chan and I will share a bed tonight. Of course, Arc will be in another room entirely.”
Ariane laughed and talked as if everything had been decided, with Chiome nodding along instead of arguing with her.
Since she still had a tight hold on Ponta as they walked off, it appeared that I would be sleeping alone tonight. So I was left standing there in the moonlit corridor.