Weekly chapters (1/2)
Sorry for the delay, it seems my editors is busy with their IRL, however we will do our best to deliver chapters for everyone.
Chapter 145 – Chief Inspector Marius Bertram’s Story
My name is Marius Bertram. Marius for short. Originally born as the second son to Count Bertram. After graduating from the Imperial Academy, I worked as an imperial inspector.
The number of illegal bribery, corruption and black market transactions between the aristocrats and the merchants that I had exposed were too many to tell.
No matter how clever they tried to hide their deeds in the document, I had put many of these criminals in jail.
Many criticized my unswerving method, verbally cursing me and became hostile to me. Some even resorted to heavy-handed means to stop me. But I marched on.
Those selfish merchants and corrupt aristocrats who’re afraid of me even gave me a nickname… the [Ice Dagger].
They called me Ice Dagger due to how cold and precise my work was. Around this period a lot of people started hating me, alienating me.
It was also around this time that the aristocrats, officials and merchants who hated me started to join hands, opening the sluice gate of harassment to me.
Although the harassment sometimes interfered with my life, I still continued to work.
At some point, probably after I arrested a certain aristocrat, the hate changed into murderous intent. They started to openly aim for my life.
Later on, I heard that they also started targeting my family, the Bertram clan. These aristocrats had become desperate. In fact…their acts started to suffocate me.
[Umu. It’s an order. You can’t refuse it.]
I received that order when I was still thinking about how to get myself out from all the harassments.
[Go alone to 『Grants』and investigate the situation. We need your report on the frontier territory.]
[Hold on a second. I believe due to the low security level, reports regarding the situation in the frontier territory are supposedly handled by Redgear?]
[Fumu. Then are you not curious about the truth? I think you are the best person to do this.]
My superior grinned then laughed.
[Therefore, your mission is to go to Redgear and secretly enter Grants to investigate the situation.]
That was the beginning.
The Grants frontier was infamous for being shrouded in thick iron veil of unknown. Firstly, it was a special area with a certain degree of autonomy thanks to being a frontier territory. Secondly, it was known to be an area where magic beasts and barbarians run amok.
Many were sent to investigate the situation, but none of them returned. Not even the spy sent by the royal clan and higher ranked aristocrats were exempt from the same fate.
Therefore, the only way to gain information about Grants was from its surrounding areas: Redgear, Fran, and Brittany.
All of these areas saw an extreme growth in development during the recent years. This must’ve had something to do with the Schwarzer frontier territory was what they said.
That’s why, they’re itching to know…the true face of Grants.
There is one more reason why they specifically chose me. They wanted to get rid of me. And since it’s an order, I will have little to no way of refusing. It will also keep their hands clean.
[That is your mission. Go.]
My superior didn’t give me any chance to say anything. So I could only nod.
Entering Redgear from the direction of the Royal Capital, I rode a horse through the only road to Grants. There I found something weird.
[Strange… how come there’s no bandit nor magic beast attacking?]
While travelling along the highway, I did see some magic beasts passing by in the distance. There were also some human bones scattered away from the highway. However…
[It’s as if they’ve been instructed to stay away from the people travelling on the highway…?]
The magic beasts only took a glance at me before leaving as if uninterested. It was such a strange feeling. The doubt lingered through the whole journey, but in the end I finally succeeded in entering Heinz, the capital city of Grants frontier territory.
I unintentionally exclaimed upon seeing the magnificent gate before me.
[What is this… This city is…]
[Don’t you wanna know?]
Right after my unintentional exclamation, someone from behind me actually responded. And I was stunned upon finding out who that someone was.
[It’s been a while. Hey, Marius.]
[You… Sir George Walter.]
The man was one of my seniors back at the imperial academy, said to be the greatest talent in the history of the academy. And….
[So it’s Marius-kun. You’re that one guy who ate together with George once before, right?]
[Sir Shion Tristan too!?]
If Sir George was the greatest talent, Sir Shion was the greatest genius to ever studied in the academy.
After studying under the great military master, Kasim, I heard Sir Shion wandered around the continent, showing off his military strategy wherever he went. But he never showed his face again at the academy.
[Why…why are the both of you here?]
[Well, we can talk about that slowly. But first, you need to do something first… don’t you?]
With that, they walked me through the magnificent gate.
I was barraged by one surprise after another to even say anything.
The one place only known as the cursed land now had surpassed the Royal Capital…
Demi-humans and even demonkin all lived together with humans in peace.
After sightseeing around the city, I finally stopped by at the Schwarzer Frontier government office.
[Hi there, you must be Marius. I often heard Shion and the others mentioning your name. Nice to meet you.]
The man who stood before me and shaking my hand in a friendly manner right now was fairly young; A calm looking man in his twenties.
At glance he’s just like another young man one can see on the street. However…
(This man is…!?)
Huge. When I stood before him, his presence was overwhelmingly huge. This feelings,
(Is…is this how it feels like to stand before a Hero?)
Seeing me still stunned, the young man finally spoke.
[Alright then… I’ll get to the point. Are you intending to report everything you saw here to the capital?]
[…no, actually I will just say that everything on the already existing reports are correct.]
[…..oh? You will really do that?]
[Yes. Regarding the bad security, it’s true that magic beasts still wander around the highway, and there are indeed a lot of demi-humans and demonkins in here. The report wasn’t wrong. My lies will make no difference. As for budget and income, there is no way I could dig that up since this territory has its own autonomy. There’s nothing I can do if Your Excellency refuses.]
[…fufu. Well, that is indeed the case.]
[…pardon me for my rudeness.]
[What is it?]
[What happened to all other investigators who came here before me?]
[…..you really want to know?]
[Nobody came back after coming here. However, I noticed that safety is guaranteed as long as one stays on the highway. I just want to understand the reason behind this incongruity.]
The young man went silent for a while, before suddenly smiling.
[The magic beasts from the Land of Demons have been ordered not to attack humans on the highway. They will also not attack children, even when the child strays from the road.]
After taking a short pause, His Excellency continued.
[There are two reasons why someone got sent here. The first is to spy or investigate this land and the second is to get rid of that person. Am I correct?]
I scowled at that guess. Because it’s very much correct on my part.
[These are what I said to the latter; ‘What if I offer you to work here instead of you continuing your work in the capital?’, and also, ‘Will you be willing to give your everything to help develop this land?’. That’s how most of them ended up never returning back to the capital.]
I was once again stunned. As it turned out, those people that had been reported dead are still alive and well.
[And the spies…?]
[They would leave on their own. But travelling back through the highway is a sure way to be captured by me. Meanwhile, travelling outside the highway… I don’t think even an S-rank adventurer could survive travelling alone on the wilderness of this area.]
I see… no wonder the secret has been kept perfectly safe… I inwardly concluded.
There’s only one way from Grants to Redgear. Passing through there will make it easier to get caught. But leaving the road will make one the prey of the magic beasts. That’s how none of the spies managed to return.
[Now… it’s my turn.]
The young man in front of me… The Lord of Frontier said after chuckling.
[This territory is still in the middle of developing. But… we’re currently facing a shortage of personnel. I could really use your help now. So, do you mind staying and working here?]
And so, I’m now working as the chief inspector of the Schwarzer Frontier territory.
Of course, whatever I saw here couldn’t be known to the capital. His Excellency would secretly inform my family regarding my survival then stowed them away to Grants when things had calmed down.
The place is still developing. The population also kept rising. That’s when trouble will start brewing. Thus I need to read each document thoroughly, not allowing even the smallest fraud. This kind of thing is very important after all.
Now, not only am I proud but I also feel happy about my work.
[Ice Dagger] Marius Bertram. He was feared for his icy calm personality and sharp attitude.
As the security chief inspector, his job was to crack down on injustice and crime. Soon, he became an indispensable person of Arestia.
For his achievements, he would later be known as one of the『Arestia’s Seven Wise Men』 .