The 31st Piece Turns the Tables

REAPER SCANS

 

The 31st Piece Turns the Tables

[Translator –  goguma]

[Proofreader – Karane]

 

Chapter 207

 

A few moments later, the broker’s carriage was changed to display a soaring hawk, the symbol of Adeline.

But that wasn’t all.

They then covered the carriage with deep red, checkered cloth embroidered with high-quality, golden silk.

The carriage's appearance was completely transformed thanks to a few skilled individuals.

‘It’s pretty amazing…’

Though Seol could tell right away thanks to Intermediate Insight, it was so detailed that many people would be fooled without it.

“Now… make sure to keep yourself hidden, alright?”

“I’ll put my trust in you.”

“Of course! You’ve already paid us so much… hehehe! I’ll take care of everything so just rest easy now.”

A few moments later…

Clatter…

Clatter…

The glittering carriage slowly passed through the open road.

“Halt!”

“What is it?”

The chief of the checkpoint stepped out to stop the carriage, which was obviously involved with royalty.

However, he was still a bit intimidated by the carriage’s appearance. He spoke as respectfully and carefully as he could.

“We have not received any letters about a carriage… Are you from the royal palace?”

“I am.”

“Then… Could you perhaps tell me what sorts of items…”

“And why should I tell you that?”

The chief grimaced for a second before swiftly correcting his expression. Then, he continued.

“Because those are the rules.”

“And who set those rules?”

“Well…”

“Is it not a rule set by Holina Mekin, the stern ruler of Adeline?”

“I-It is.”

“We have been commanded by him to enter Nevenia for a reason that is difficult to disclose at this moment. Here, look at this letter from the royal palace.”

The chief then looked at the letter from the broker.

Though there were a couple of worrying features, it was undoubtedly a letter from the palace.

“Th-then I would like to at least go through the mandated procedures.”

“Mandated… procedures?”

“Yes. All I ask is to inspect the interior of your carriage and confirm your identity.”

“Hm…”

“If you refuse this, I will have no choice but to report it to my superiors.”

A few of the members began to sweat.

‘They’re checking the carriage’s interior?’

Seol quickly realized that things weren’t going to plan.

The broker, who was currently pretending to be the king’s envoy, tried to buy time.

“Hm… I guess I have no choice then. Please go through your procedures.”

“I thank you for your understanding.”

“This too, is a teaching from our even-handed ruler. Please inspect the carriage quickly, but I request that you refrain from checking the crates.”

“I-I understand.”

Rustle…

Seol then saw multiple options.

 

[[The situation is going in a strange direction. Someone will be inspecting the carriage soon. What do you do?]

1. Attack the person who enters the carriage.

2. Pretend to be a corpse.

3. Pretend to be a statue.

4. Run.

……]

 

They were all simple options, but this was within expectations.

Seol recalled the words the broker had left him before the start.

 

- I have a connection to one of the guards at the inspection checkpoint, but since I don’t have a connection to the chief, there could be issues. So, just in case, I want you to remember these provisions well.

 

Seol quickly acted as the broker taught him.

Clatter…

A few moments later, two men entered the carriage.

“Hm… There’s only a single crate in the carriage? That’s… strange…”

“So what if it is strange?”

“We should open it. Don’t you agree?”

“Hah… Haha… What are you trying to do? Did you forget what the chief told us?”

The one responding seemed to be sweating quite a bit; he was likely the person connected to the broker.

“Let me go report this to the chief. I’ll tell him that we have to check it.”

A few moments later…

The man reappeared after exiting from the carriage.

“The chief gave us permission. The envoy or whatever refused it at first but gave in when the chief said that it was the only way he would let him through.”

“R-Really? That’s a relief, then.”

“Then let’s open it. It’s a bit heavy, so lift it on that side for me, yeah?”

“Y-Yeah, okay…”

“Urgh…”

Creaaaak…

“...What is all this?”

“It looks like… a golden sculpture?”

A gold statue rested on high-quality silk.

“Is it a gift to Hain IV for ascending the throne? Hah… Why was he acting like it was special when it was just that… Let’s go.”

“Y-Yeah!”

“What’s wrong with you today?”

“Nothing, it’s just… hot today.”

The man then removed his foot from the plank sticking out below the crate before exiting the carriage.

As the two guards stepped out…

“You may pass!”

“Keep up the good work.”

“Yes, thank you!”

And like that, Seol was able to pass through the border safely.

Rumble… Rumble rumble…

After the carriage successfully passed through the border, a plank was slowly lifted.

“Fuuu…”

Seol had hidden in the carriage’s secret compartment and used Shadow Hand to replace the plank, putting it back into position.

“Hahahaha! What did I tell you? I told you we would be fine!”

Seol even thought about using the Honorary Libra Emblem to slip through the border but decided against it.

‘In the worst-case scenario, they could end up getting branded as traitors too.’

Seol even prepared a mask in case he was branded a traitor. There was no way he could make others share the blame. Everything here had to be done in complete secrecy.

‘I need to remain anonymous.’

Not only would the Honorary Libra Emblem reveal his identity, but it would also trouble Frannan.

‘And I can’t have that. I need to use Frannan for a lot more than this.’

Why else would Seol have gone all the way to Alcatron?

Seol didn’t want to ruin their relationship over something like this.

As Seol continued to think, he safely crossed the border.

“The problem is crossing back over to Adeline from Nevenia. Will you be using the same method?”

“Well… we do have a variety of methods. Let’s think about that for a second, shall we? Where did you say you were headed again?”

“Timbrian. Please go to Timbrian.”

“Timbrian, a fine place. The alcohol made from barley there is famous too. Why don’t you get some rest? We’ll keep going while you get sleep.”

Seol nodded before meticulously organizing his inventory one last time as he headed to the rendezvous point.

“Hm… As expected, this would be the best way…”

Rip…

Seol then tore the invitation to the Madness Shop.

As the last time he used it was before entering Alcatron, it had been a long, long time since he last saw Janet.

 

* * *

Reaper Scans

Translator - goguma

Proofreader - Karane

Join our Discord for updates on releases! https://dsc.gg/reapercomics

* * *

 

“Hm, hm, hm~”

“Oh? Did something good happen?” asked the maid, brushing a lady’s hair.

“I don’t know~ Would you like to guess?”

“Hm… You are only in a good mood when expecting a large trade, Ms. Janet, so… maybe something like that?”

Janet nodded in response.

“Yeah, you’re right. I’m about to have a large trade soon.”

“Then… Are you meeting him again?”

“Him?”

“You know who I’m talking about, Ms. Janet, the man famous among merchants! Didn’t you say you were exclusively trading with him?”

“Haha… You’re right.”

“Oh my… Maybe he was charmed by your elegant gestures and beautiful face?”

“...I doubt it’s that when I always wear a mask around him.”

“Ah, I apologize…”

Janet shook her head in response.

“It’s fine. More importantly… What do you think?”

“Hm? About what?”

“About him.”

“I… um… think it’s a shame.”

“...Why?”

“I’ve watched all of his streams, and I’m in awe whenever I do. I always say things like, ‘Ah! He really must have lost his mind!’ and things like that.”

“Hahaha! That is his charm, after all. He’s different from the others, isn’t he?”

“Yes, but… that’s why I think it’s a shame. Because he’s human, he’ll end up dying like the others.”

“......”

“Urm… Their gods sold two entire planets, right? In the words of their residents… It is inevitable.”

“Are you saying he’ll die in the end?”

“Yes, isn’t that obvious? How could people abandoned by the gods survive?”

“Well… you might be right.”

“Why? Do you think otherwise, Ms. Janet?”

“No, I just… just…”

Stand…

Janet then stood up.

“I have to go now. I have a trade to do.”

“Yes, ma’am! Do you like your hair?”

“Yeah, it’s amazing.”

“Hehe…”

Janet then put on a flamboyant coat before leaving her manor.

Step…

Step…

Countless gazes followed her.

“Woah… it’s Janet.”

“Hmph… it’s like she’s trying to show off how rich she is. The really rich don’t act like that.”

“But she really is beautiful…”

“Stop. You shouldn’t mess around with her.”

“I know, I know. I already know that she’s from a supernova.”

The only thing Janet could do was listen to their words.

Supernovas.

Stars abandoned by the gods.

She ignored them and continued on her way.

“Why do I get the feeling someone’s talking about me,” she smirked.

A controlled society.

She wondered if this was what it would feel like to have even the air around them controlled.

This place, where the intermediary gods existed, was dark and bleary.

It was a dystopia, like the bad ending to a movie.

A world where everyone is a god but isn’t.

A world where you control others but are controlled yourself.

“It really is a ridiculous play,” laughed Janet.

This was a junction of energies in space, a small energy hub.

Even the Madness Seol receives as donations are exchanged for a variety of energies for other places.

‘After their gods take a portion of it as well… the very same gods that abandoned them.’

Janet then noticed someone standing near her assigned dimensional door.

“Are you going, Janet?” a merchant asked.

Janet, a respected senior merchant, garnered respect from her peers through numerous successful trades.

Currently, Oria, her junior merchant, dropped by to say hello before Janet left.

"Yeah, Oria," Janet smiled. "I have to go sell things again. I’m so sick and tired of it, seriously~ I’ll have you know that it is extremely difficult to suck up to those inferior lifeforms.”

“Pfft…”

“What?”

“Ah, sorry. Normally, I would agree with you, but it just sounds like bragging today.”

“What do you mean?”

Oria then pointed at Janet’s face.

“Because… You’re smiling.”

“What?”

“Did you not notice? You’re laughing right now.”

“......”

"You were never someone who laughed, much less smiled... it’s shocking, really."

“You’re making such a fuss over nothing…”

Oria laughed, knowing the meaning behind Janet’s expressions.

“Are you going now?”

“Yeah.”

“Let’s have a drink when you come back!”

“Sounds good.”

“Then… I’ll be praying for you to make a large profit again!”

“Praying? Haha… to who?”

“I… I don’t know?”

The situation was more laughable because they were gods.

Because even though they were gods… they held no faith in them.

“I’ll be going now,” said Janet.

“Yep.”

Hum….

The dimensional door was formed, and Janet boldly walked into the red space.

Step…

She then wore a mask, hiding her expression.

Bathump…

For some unknown reason… she could feel her heart racing.

It really was strange.

Bum bum bum bum…

A carpet extended as a drumroll announced her arrival.

“It’s been a long time. More importantly, the drumroll and the carpet…”

Seol, the man whom all of the intermediary gods were interested in, welcomed her.

“Hahaha! What did you think? I was trying to show off a bit.”

“You change each time I see you.”

“Because I saw a profit!”

Janet sold items and earned a profit.

However, despite her success, she also enjoyed conversing with the man before her.

The nouveau riche only knew how to waste money, not spend it.

But this man was different.

He continued to gather Madness, almost like he knew where to spend his limited resources.

“I, Janet, sell everything and anything.”

“Yeah.”

“Today… Ah, right!” she smiled. “Did you notice anything different about me today?”

“...You look the same.”

 

* * *

 

In a town on the outskirts of Timbrian…

Even taking just a few steps into the town was enough to be greeted by the familiar rural smell of manure.

Three individuals in ragged clothes were having a conversation on the first floor of a tavern. The tavern owner seemed to be missing as well, leaving the three to their own.

One of the individuals, a woman, had beautiful eyes and a face seemingly sculpted by the gods themselves. Her beauty shone through her ragged clothes, but she wore a sad expression.

“I… am dead.”

“...You shouldn’t say something like that, Rio… Rine.”

"My older brother is so cruel. How could he just stomp on my life and dreams like this?"

Princess Riona sank deeper into her chair before leaning into the table. The other two, Earl Brispin and Cadi, her guard, tried to cheer her up.

“You will surely be able to return to the Zonia Kingdom, have hope.”

“Brispin.”

“Yes?”

“I believe in you, Brispin. You’ve been loyal to me ever since I was young, perhaps the most loyal of all. After all, you stayed by my side when everyone else left.”

“Of course, Your Royal Highness. Hain IV is a foul individual. His existence itself draws Nevenia closer toward its end.”

“Hehe… I didn’t expect you to say that about my older brother. The citizens would be upset if they heard that.”

“I apologize.”

Riona sunk her head deeper.

“I am not a fool,” said Riona.

“Of course. You are wise and generous.”

“And that’s why I know… that it’s hopeless.”

“......”

"...Do you know how far the Zonia Kingdom is from here? They're practically at the far western edge."

“But they are an incredibly strong nation! Perhaps even stronger than Nevenia as well! If we manage to get there, even Hain IV can’t threaten you. After all, Zonia’s rulers are… your mother’s relatives.”

“I wonder why my mother decided to come all the way here…”

Brispin then looked at Riona with a stern expression.

"The difficulty you face now will be a huge help to you in the future when you ascend the throne."

“What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger… that, right?”

“Precisely!”

“But what if it can kill me?”

“Huh?”

“People are saying I’ll be killed.”

“Who is—?!”

“The people who passed by us before were whispering that to each other…”

“Those bastards! Ahem… Please ignore them, your highness. Please have faith in me,” shouted Brispin. “I will make it happen.”

Despite Earl Brispin’s declarations, the princess was still sad.

“How… the Zonia Kingdom is too far.”

“There are many paths we could take, even one through the sea!”

“You’re saying we could take a boat, right?”

“Yes!”

“And where would we get the boat?”

“Zonia’s ship has already arrived at the harbor. We just have to make it there! If we could just make it there, we could seek asylum in Zonia!”

“Brispin.”

“Yes!”

“The harbor… is in Frion…”

“......”

“And to make it to Frion… we would need to cut through Adeline, and the odds of making it there while avoiding my older brother is…”

“Krgh…”

The distance was certainly a problem, but having to cut through Adeline while slipping away from their pursuers was the biggest problem.

“Hold… Hold on a second, please, Your Royal Highness.”

“...It’s not like I have anywhere to go.”

Creaaaak…

Earl Brispin gripped his head after leaving the tavern.

“Is this really the end…”

Earl Brispin had prepared many means ahead of time in case something like this would happen.

Not only had he reached out to multiple mercenary group leaders, he had also reached out to powerful transferees and free knights.

“But… no one came.”

No one had come to return the favor. Earl Brispin worried, thinking that perhaps their decision not to relay this information to Hain IV was the extent of their loyalty.

“In the end, the princess will…”

And then… a shoddy carriage arrived at the tavern.

“We’re here.”

“Wait here a second,” responded another voice.

“Yep.”

Someone then stepped out of the carriage.

Earl Brispin quickly turned to see who it was.

“......”

“It’s been a long time, Earl.”

It was a man wearing a strange crow mask.

“This voice…”

Earl Brispin quickly ran back into the tavern.

Click.

“Y-Your Highness!”

“We’ll definitely never be caught with you screaming like that…”

“I-It happened!”

“What happened? Did my older brother…”

“No, your damned older—Regardless! S-Someone came!”

“Someone came?”

A robed man entered the tavern.

Creaaaak…

The man, wearing a crow mask, then asked Brispin a question.

“Where is the statue?”

“I-I have it here. By the way, your mask…”

“There’s nothing good that would come from me revealing my face, is there? More importantly… I would like to check the statue.”

Earl Brispin then pulled out a strange statue from his belongings.

“Here.”

“...It’s the real one.”

A glance was more than enough for Seol to know what it was. There was only one statue that looked like this in Pandea, the Joy of the Fallen.

"...I will give this statue to you once the princess safely arrives at the location."

"And where is this location?"

This was the most crucial moment.

If the man gasped upon hearing 'Frion', then all hope was lost for the princess.

Princess Riona, understanding this, looked as if she was about to cry.

“F-Frion…”

The man’s golden eyes pierced through the holes in the mask. Riona flinched after making eye contact with him.

She quickly reached the conclusion that he wouldn’t help her.

“Frion, huh…”

Seol thought for a moment before saying…

“Closer than I thought.”

The South had begun to revolve around efficiency and violence.

However, a foreign element named Seol emerged to disrupt it.

____

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