The 31st Piece Turns the Tables

REAPER SCANS

 

The 31st Piece Turns the Tables

[Translator –  goguma]

[Proofreader – Karane]

 

Chapter 208

Step…

Step…

With each step Seol took into the tavern, the mood grew more tense.

It was especially the case for Chadorf, Princess Riona’s guard.

T/N: He was called Cadi in the last chapter. It's unclear if that’s a first or last name, as the full name wasn’t provided. Please assume they are the same character for now.

“Don’t step any closer without Her Royal Highness’s permission!”

Chadorf, a knight with a goatee and a sharp jawline, immediately stopped Seol from approaching the princess.

Seol glanced at Earl Brispin after seeing Chadorf’s reaction, prompting the Earl to wave his hand, signaling Chadorf to stand down.

“It’s alright, I was the one who asked him to come here.”

“Who is he?”

“A transferee.”

“A transferee? Hah… Are you out of your…”

This was not a matter transferees could involve themselves in.

It needed to be carried out in absolute secrecy, and even sacrificing one life wasn't enough to guarantee success.

And though Princess Riona had no one she could rely on right now, Chadorf couldn’t believe Earl Brispin’s backup plan was just a lone transferee.

Princess Riona then placed a hand on Chadorf’s shoulder, calming him down.

“Don’t do that, Chadorf. Please.”

“But, Your Highness, the current situation is…”

“I know,” she smiled sadly. “I know the current situation isn’t good. But there is no reason to be rude to our guest who worked so hard to come all this way.”

“...You are right, Your Highness.”

Chadorf quickly stood up and bowed to the masked man.

“I apologize, transferee. I was unwittingly disrespectful to you out of disappointment. I hope you can accept my sincere apology.”

Seol shrugged.

He understood why they reacted that way, he might have done the same if he were in their position.

“Why don’t we all sit down then?” said Earl Brispin, placing a hand on Seol’s shoulders. “Let’s talk about our plans.”

“Alright.”

As Seol took a seat, Earl Brispin continued.

“Then let’s begin with introductions. As you know, she is Princess Riona.”

"Please call me Rine while we travel," Riona said with a smile.

“Understood.”

“And he is Chadorf, a knight and the princess’s personal guard.”

“Chadorf, nice to meet you.”

“It’s nice to meet you as well,” answered Seol.

Brispin then looked at Seol.

“And lastly… hm… What should I call you?”

Earl Brispin refrained from naming Snowman since he was intentionally trying to hide his appearance with a mask.

“Please call me ‘Crow’ during the mission.”

“Okay. This is Crow. He is the best chance we currently have.”

While Chadorf gave Seol incredulous eyes, Riona simply laughed.

“That mask really suits you!”

“...Thank you.”

With that, introductions were over.

They quickly moved on to the matter at hand.

“What’s the current situation?” asked Seol.

“Not good. Hain IV has issued a decree to the entirety of Nevenia.”

“What did it say?”

“Capture the traitor Riona or…”

What he would say next was obvious, so finishing the sentence was unnecessary.

“Have you finished your preparations to leave?”

“We have.”

“What about your family?”

“They are all already in the process of leaving. They are safe, we just need to focus on ourselves.”

“And how does Hain IV judge the current situation?”

“He likely... simply sees it as the princess escaping with a lone knight and an earl assisting them.”

“Hm…”

“Hain IV knows we are weak. But that's also why he's optimistic about this situation. He's using not only the country's knights to find us, but Adeline's forces are working with him as well.”

“Adeline too…”

“They're simply trying to lay the foundations for a good relationship between them. I doubt they’ll work too hard to find us, but they will keep an eye out.”

As the talk continued, the shadows on Riona’s face only grew darker.

It was almost like the situation itself was trying to warn Seol.

It was as if it questioned him whether he would still stand by her side and turn his back on the world to fight for her.

When a person is questioned with a knife to their throat, they will say whatever the person asking wants to hear every single time.

Because Riona knew that as well, she stayed silent.

But Seol’s answer was different. He was much calmer than how she imagined.

"Then... we should quickly finish our preparations and leave," Seol suggested.

“...What?”

“The road to Frion is long.”

“Ah… it is… A-Are you saying you’ll be coming with us?”

Seol, still wearing the crow mask, nodded, causing the beak to wobble up and down.

“Yes.”

Riona gave a big smile after hearing his response, and color returned to her face.

 

[You have decided to assist Princess Riona in seeking asylum.]

[There are people with conflicting Adventure Objectives.]

[This Adventure is very dangerous.]

[Because this Adventure is a Linked Adventure, you cannot choose your next Adventure.]

[You have skipped your Rest.]

[You begin your next Adventure.]

[Your 29th Adventure is starting.]

[Adventure 29. A Risky Gamble]

 

* * *

Reaper Scans

Translator - goguma

Proofreader - Karane

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* * *

 

The most dangerous secrets are always kept under the tightest covers.

The king’s room, heavily fortified by knights, could not be entered without permission.

Yet, in Hain IV’s room, Nevenia’s most secretive room, two uninvited guests had managed to gain entry.

“Hohoho… Each and every day must be so exciting for you,” said a voice, leaning closer to Hain IV’s side.

The voice belonged to a shadowy woman whom Seol had met and fought before.

Zeri might have been the mastermind behind the House Gatiff incident, but she had a separate master—a woman who was one of the four pillars of the Church of Eternal Life, where the Immortal used to reside.

Bria, the Poisonous Spider.

She was not only a master of shadows like Seol, but also one of the church’s masters.

The large, obese man beside her began to grumble and complain.

“I don’t even have the time to catch my breath. I think I preferred it back when I was a prince.”

"Oh no~ Your retainers will begin to worry if their king says things like that, you know?"

“Hmph. Like I care what those useless trash think… Bria, you didn’t forget the promise, right? That the Church of Eternal Life will help me once I make Nevenia mine?”

“Of course, Your Majesty. The Church of Eternal Life always keeps its promises. More importantly, I asked something from you before…”

“Ah, that? The hideous statue in our storage?”

He was referring to the Joy of the Fallen.

An item that Bria desperately wanted.

In fact, it was one of the most important rewards she wanted to receive for assisting Hain IV.

“It disappeared.”

“...What do you mean? Did I hear you correctly just now?”

“It was confirmed that Riona took it and other treasures with her after realizing my plot. It’s likely still with her now.”

Tremble…

Bria shook with rage. Though the Joy of the Fallen was completely useless for Hain IV, it was incredibly valuable to her.

She wanted to hit him right away after hearing his nonchalant attitude, but she held back her anger with everything she could.

“Then… I should retrieve it myself.”

“You’re going to personally go for someone like Riona?” Hain IV asked.

“Though I don’t care one bit about the life of a princess with no one supporting her… I cannot give anyone that statue.”

“Well… suit yourself.”

Grind…

Each and every one of his words only further infuriated Bria, but as there was a lot left to do, she did her best to respond with a smile.

Fwirl…

A young, child-like boy with a slender frame appeared behind her.

"You called, Miss Bria?”

“Yeah, Shuro. I want you to chase the princess in my stead. She’s currently at…”

“Understood. Would you like me to kill her?”

Bria then smiled.

“Once you find the statue, you can do whatever you want.”

"Yes, I will make sure to meet your expectations, Miss Bria! Please watch over me."

"Yes, I believe in you, Shuro. But just in case… take Viran and Vidon with you."

“Do you perhaps… not believe in…”

“Not at all, Shuro. I just don’t want you to get hurt.”

“...I understand, Miss Bria. I will do my best.”

Fwirl!

Hain IV laughed after the boy disappeared.

“How excessively loyal.”

“Shuro will do a good job.”

“Even when Riona has Chadorf?”

“Chadorf? Are you talking about that dumb-looking knight?”

“Yeah, her personal guard.”

“Hohoho… Shuro would only need a second to cut him in half.”

“And what if someone else is helping her?”

“Who would willingly step into hell? And even if someone did, they wouldn’t be able to stop Shuro.”

“Can you guarantee it?”

“Most definitely.”

“......”

Bria smiled one more time before backing away.

After she left, Hain IV muttered to himself, "She gives me the chills..."

 

* * *

 

While Bria’s loyal subordinate, Shuro, was chasing down Riona and the others, they had already arrived near the inspection point at the border.

“Oh no…”

“What’s wrong?”

The broker, unaware that the woman with them was Princess Riona, had traveled back to the border with Seol and the others to help them cross.

However, the situation was much direr than before.

“They’ve caught on. I was wondering why there hadn’t been any contact recently… Do you see that over there?”

“...I do.”

The mutilated head of the guard that helped Seol cross the border was now pierced with a spear and hanging like a decoration.

“He got caught. We won’t be able to cross back over.”

“Do you have any other methods?”

“As long as the checkpoint isn’t completely cut off, hm… Let me see… I guess it’s only that?”

“Only what…?”

“Haah… Give me a second.”

Rustle…

Scribble scribble…

The man slowly began filling a sheet of paper, adorned with a unique stamp, with letters.

A few moments later…

 

[You have acquired Monjuri’s Letter of Introduction.]

 

“I plan to be careful for a while, and I won’t be able to take you across the border. I don’t have any other methods now that my connection is dead.”

“Then what is this letter of introduction?”

“You still have to cross the border, though, no? It’s dangerous, but it’s also the only method I could think of.”

“Who am I supposed to give this to?”

“There is a smuggling route between Nevenia and Adeline. And this map… marks where it is. I've written a letter to the owner of that route for you, so go find him. However, if you’re not in a rush, I recommend waiting until the situation in Nevenia calms down first.”

“...Thank you.”

“You’re not going to ask me for a refund, are you?”

“You’ve already taken responsibility.”

“Haha… Thanks.”

“And my request from before…”

“I know. I won’t tell anyone about you, ever. We’ve only known each other for a short while, but… I’ve already grown fond of you.”

Seol then sent back the broker, who returned with four horses.

“Rine,” said Seol. “Do you know how to ride horses?”

“Of course, that’s basic! I could even sleep on one.”

She immediately readied herself and attempted to hop onto the horse.

“Urgh…”

She failed.

“Grgh…”

She failed again.

“Chadorf… Could you help me?”

“Yes, Pr—Rine!”

She barely managed to climb onto her horse after receiving Chadorf’s help. She then bashfully avoided Seol’s gaze, obviously embarrassed by the situation.

“Hrah!”

As Seol headed off, the others immediately followed him.

“Where are we going right now?” asked Riona.

“To the smugglers,” answered Seol.

“What?”

“There’s no other option,” Seol continued. “I’ve considered a few other methods, but they’ll all take too much time. We need to leave Nevenia immediately.”

“By smugglers… Do you perhaps mean Devrick?” asked Brispin.

As Devrick was also the name given by the broker, Seol asked a question in response.

“Do you know him?”

“Yes, he’s quite notorious in Nevenia. Even the royal family can’t easily interfere with him, despite knowing of his existence.”

“Why?”

"Because attempting to suppress him would cause too much damage. The royal family tried before but quickly retreated after suffering heavy losses. While Devrick's forces were hurt, they weren't completely defeated. Devrick disappeared for a while, only to reemerge as a smuggler. Even though the royal family knew of his activities and whereabouts, they chose not to intervene, almost as if they were uninterested."

Riona nodded in response before adding more details.

“The previous king felt uncomfortable sending his forces outside the castle. He didn’t think the smugglers were an issue as long as they didn’t turn into bandits.”

Rumble rumble…

The horses galloped through the plains.

A couple of days later, they arrived at the foot of the mountain.

“We’ll need to walk from here.”

“Why?”

“Apparently, if we enter the mountain on horseback, they’ll shower us with arrows.”

“Then let’s quickly get off our horses!” shouted Riona. “You too, Chadorf!”

“Yes, Your Highness.”

And like that, the four climbed the mountain on foot.

“What if they suddenly fire arrows at us?”

“Since we’re on foot, they’ll at least question us first.”

“Do you think we’d be able to have a proper conversation with them, though?”

“If we can’t… then we’ll just have to force them to have a conversation, no?”

“What do you mean by that?”

Suddenly.

Grrrrrrrr…

A beast's growl echoed through the mountains. It clearly didn't belong to something as fearsome as a wolf. At most, it sounded like a hunting dog.

However, it was followed by more voices.

“Where the hell do you think you are?” shouted one of them.

As Seol tried to step forth, Earl Brispin stopped him and stepped forward first.

“I am Earl Brispin! I have heard that Devrick is here.”

"Oh... Earl Brispin? That noble in the south who's rebelling against the king?"

“We are—”

Ffft!

One of the men threw a dagger near Earl Brispin’s left foot.

“...What are you doing?”

Step…

More people revealed themselves from the thicket.

Each of them had prepared their bows, readied to fire at any time.

Step…

After a quick second, their leader seemed to step out as well.

A large scar ran across his face, and his right eye seemed different too, almost like a glass eye.

The leader, with a large cigar in his mouth, immediately asked Earl Brispin a question.

“Fuuu… Let’s not play this little game, alright? You came here because you thought we could help you, right?”

“We…”

“Only idiots would try to smuggle something across the border at a time like this. Both Adeline and Nevenia are on more alert than usual. If you understand, fuck off.”

“We have to go to Adeline, though. No matter what.”

Devrick then laughed while looking around.

“Pf–Pfffffft… What the hell is this noble saying?”

“Smuggle us across the border. I will make sure to prepare a suitabl—”

“Shut up.”

“......”

“All of the cards are on my table, alright? All you’re allowed to do is answer yes or no.”

Earl Brispin nodded in response, causing Devrick to turn toward Riona.

“So you’re Princess Riona, right?”

“...I am.”

“I’ll take you over to Adeline.”

“Really?”

“But… We want that Earl’s head in return.”

“...Why?”

“Answer me. Yes or no?”

“Obviously, no, you damned smuggler! How dare a criminal try to threaten royalty!”

Everyone was at a loss for words after Riona’s sudden answer.

“Wh-what the… Pfffft…”

“Hehehehehehe… She’s quite a funny woman.”

After taking a few seconds to think, Devrick scowled before dismissing the situation with one word.

“Fire.”

“Princess, get behi—!”

Fwoooooosh!

Hundreds of arrows began raining from the sky.

“Hmph…”

But, as everyone was expecting Riona to be buried in a storm of arrows…

Fwiiirl!

Fwooooooosh!

The mountains became dyed in black.

“...Wh-what?”

A sinister, viscous energy sank all of the arrows into the earth.

A black knight appeared by Riona’s side, the culprit behind it.

‘Who is that?’

Devrick was shocked.

As he was preparing to make another move…

Pinch…

Seol appeared right in front of him, pinching his thumb and index finger on Devrick’s cigar, extinguishing it.

“The cards are on my table. All you’re allowed to do is answer yes or no.”

“......”

"Do you want to live, or die?"

____

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