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Please do not redistribute or re-translate without permission.
Translated by Momo. Edited by Mary.
While those four were discussing their strategies, Cecilia was moving through a hallway. Some people occasionally passed by, but since she walked silently and discreetly, they didn't notice any abnormality. The larger the organization became, the less likely they would notice every single individual in it.
(Armory or the weapon arsenal...)
She proceeded while checking her left and right sides trying to not appear suspicious.
(It looks like that could be it.)
The first floor of the old castle. The room was at the far back. It looked more like a warehouse than a room. Only that room had a more simple decoration compared to the surroundings.
Cecilia cautiously headed to the warehouse. Fortunately, the lock was open.
She slipped inside and lit up the hanging lamp, revealing the interior of the room.
There were weapons inside. Several swords were hanging on the walls and some shields underneath. There were also plenty of daggers, bow guns, and firearms.
Since armour and artillery didn't seem to be of any use for assassins, these were likely the remaining stuff of the former castle owner.
The room had a tall ceiling to the point where she couldn’t see where it ended.
Perhaps the back of the room was no longer used, and the items that could still be handy were carried to the front for easier access. Cecilia grabbed one of the daggers.
"I have never handled the real thing, I wonder if it will be okay?"
During training, she always used a mock sword. Although they were similar in size and weight, it was very different using it in a real situation. That said, it wasn't like she could fight off enemies with an imitation.
She fixed the dagger with the scabbard on her waist belt. Suddenly the door behind her opened, and a stranger looked into her face.
Cecilia, who didn't have time to hide properly, ended up meeting that person face to face.
It was Marleen who had just entered the room. As expected, it was a place that the chief would inspect. And she remembered the faces of all of her subordinates, so her eyes widened up when she glanced at Cecilia.
Cecilia had just screwed up. She had no idea what to do, but her hand slipped towards the dagger she had just placed on her waist. However, the woman simply closed the door behind her, without calling anyone else.
She said with a tired voice.
"Aaah, who would imagine that you could escape on your own from that prison cell..."
Since she didn't show any hostility at all, Cecilia took her hand away from the dagger while keeping her distance.
"Since you're the Duke's daughter, I thought you were a more innocent child."
A bunch of question marks floated on top of Cecilia's head as she watched Marleen sit on an empty wooden box nearby.
"...Erm...aren't you going to imprison me again?"
"Lock you up again? To be honest, I was thinking about letting you secretly escape tomorrow morning."
"Do I look stupid enough to get into a dispute with the Silvy Duchy? I love my life dearly, ok?"
Saying it like it was nothing, Marleen kicked her legs up jokingly.
"That was all an act. Because the organization has grown too much, there are a bunch of troublesome people now. They say things like, ‘Compensation from those to leave the organization! No matter what you do, you should make money!’... And not only that, nowadays, some people who even dare to imitate lousy bandits. Those three idiots that went after you just screwed up.”
While lowering her shoulders, Marleen gave out a wry smile.
She looked like a completely different person from before.
"We were never supposed to grow to this scale, initially we only targeted bad guys and I wanted to go after thieves and bandits, but now we will kill anyone as long as we get paid for it. We became an assassin guild instead of heroic outlaws."
Cecilia listened to Marleen's story without saying anything.
She indeed did some questionable things, but it looked like she didn't have 100% bad intentions behind it.
"That's why it was a good opportunity to get Dante out. Because he has been responsible for our main income. And if I truthfully wished for him to attain happiness, I shouldn't keep him and stop him at this place."
Her face was just like an older sister worried about her younger sibling.
That might have been the real nature of their relationship. It wasn't described in detail in the game, but it was weird if one imagined that someone as talented as Dante would just stay as a subordinate for no reason.
"So when you arrived here, it finally got to the point where I wanted to take the opportunity to dismantle the organization."
"Because of me?!"
"Yes. Some stupid executives have been saying for a long time that we should kidnap a noble and get a ransom. Besides, it would also work as retaliation against Dante in this case. There's also the fact that they might just have been trying to oppose me as I was against the whole ransom business from the beginning. ''
It seems that Heimat wasn't without dissent. From what she said now, it sounded like quite a few people were moving against her.
Marleen stood up from the empty box. She lightly patted her butt and turned to face Cecilia again.
"Hmm, I know all of this blabbering was sort of confusing, but I wanted to let you escape from the beginning. I didn't think you could do it all by yourself. I just came to the weaponry to choose something useful to hand it to you tomorrow. I thought it would be inconvenient if you were left empty-handed. "
"Well, I guess...?"
Cecilia nodded timidly. She couldn't completely trust her but at the same time, Marleen didn't seem to have any reasons to lie.
Marleen looked at the dagger on Cecilia's waist.
"Huh, if you have already chosen, then we can settle this faster...Follow me. This time, I will send you back to school."
Marleen took the lead and put her hand on the doorknob. However--
"It won't open."
She rattled the doorknob several times.
As she tried to pry it open, gray smoke slowly seeped through the door gap. The moment she put her hand on the door frame, it felt slightly warm.
"I was too careless."
Cold sweat ran down through the contours of Marleen's face while she said that with an apprehensive voice.
She bit her lower lip with a frustrated look and then shouted at Cecilia.
"Move out of the way!"
Cecilia shifted her body sideways as she was told. The next moment, Marleen’s body slammed into the door.
After a loud bang, the entire door came off along with the hinge.
"What to do… it seems we were had."
Fire and smoke filled the hallway. The brilliant flames spread around the fabric and wood furnishings.
Cecilia's whole body was paralyzed.
"It's a fire... or an arson. To think they were bold enough to try to dispose of all the hindrances at the same time."
"...What does that mean?"
Marleen pinched Cecilia's nose while she was still tilting her head sideways in confusion.
"Those idiots realized it was a mistake to pick you up, and now after getting scared, they decided to eliminate us together."
Cecilia let out an overwhelmed shout.
"If I die with you here, they can just blame it all on me and there's the possibility they can also take over the whole organization. It's something only a fool would think of."
A man who seemed to be her subordinate screamed over the flames. It seems like he wanted to reach out and help them, but he couldn't go through the fire and smoke.
Marleen pointed towards the exit.
"You guys flee first! I'll follow behind later!!"
"Just go quickly!!"
"...Understood! Please stay safe!"
"You guys too!"
It seemed like Marleen was a good leader. They all went forward with a regrettable look on their faces.
"So...how should we proceed. They made all this mess just trying to turn us into roasted potatoes. It even reached this forsaken weapon arsenal "
As expected she sounded impatient.
The stairs leading up to the second floor and the corridor in front of them were lit by raging flames. The window behind them was also surrounded by fire, it was impossible to escape from it.
If they went deep inside the room, they could still escape from the fire, but they would still run into a dead end. At best, it would earn them some time.
"Are you okay? Your face is deadly pale."
Cecilia realized that she was shaking. It should be natural to feel scared since it was a life-threatening situation, but her fear seemed to spur from elsewhere.
Her jaw was clenching and her whole body was stiff. She was so scared that sweat flowed all over her body.
Cecilia finally nodded.
"I can't agree with that but... Well, for the time being, it looks that we can still go this way so come with me."
When Cecilia finally tried to follow behind Marleen, a pillar fell on her, making a loud noise.
Ok, only 2 more chapters until the epilogue.
Thank you for reading this so far and I hope you're still enjoying it.
Let me know in the comments if there are mistakes to edit or if you have any suggestions!
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