There was a puddle of dark blood at the scene.
It was where the horse corpse had been.
“It must have bled quite a lot.”
“That appears to be the case.”
I could tell at a glance that this was where the horse was killed.
When I declared this, Eve asked,
“How can you tell?”
“It’s simple. There wouldn’t be so much blood if it was killed somewhere else. There is this much blood because the horse was brought here while still alive and then cut.”
“I see. Very good master. I am reminded of Sherlock Holmes.”
“You know about Sherlock Holmes?”
“Yes. It was written by the author Conan Doyle. He came from that other world, but he has also written books of the same name in this world, and they are best sellers.”
“I see. So there are times when great writers come over here and continue with the same occupation.”
Now that I think of it, Marco Polo was in this world, so I suppose people like that were also considered to be Heroes.
In that case, I would like to meet Shibasen, who wrote the Shi-ki. While thinking about such things, I returned to the subject at hand.
“While my powers of reasoning are not a match for Holmes, the fact that a live horse was brought here means that it was likely stolen from a nearby mansion or barn. Robin, can you look into it?”
Robin said, ‘certainly,’ and then left.
“We know where it was killed. Now I want to see the corpse. Do you still have it?”
And so birdman Oswalt guided us to it.
The corpse was left in a corner of the back garden. It did not look like it had been touched.
I studied the part where it was cut.
It was severed right in the center of the neck.
For some time, I inspected it in silence.
Eve asked me,
“Have you found anything, Mr. Holmes?”
“You are very impatient, Watson.”
I replied to her joke and told her my conclusion.
“At first I thought it was cut with a hatchet or axe, but apparently, that is not the case. I can see marks that are from a sharp blade other than a hatchet or axe.”
I said while cupping my chin.
“You can tell by the stump that it was something very sharp. I thought that it might be magic, but I don’t feel the remnants of magic energy. However, this sharpness could not have come from any ordinary blade.”
“Not an ordinary blade? Could it be a Japanese sword?”
“Yes. This was definitely severed by a Japanese sword.”
“Then the culprit must be Hijikata.”
“Toshizou needed money and killed a horse. Well, while it’s not too unlikely, that’s not it. While I could smell the white powder all over him this morning, there was no smell of blood at all.”
“You were close enough to smell him? You must be very close indeed…”
“I heard that certain novels depicting us in that way are popular in the castle recently. Don’t tell me you…”
“I don’t know what you could mean.”
She said, pointing her nose away.
“Still, you are awfully friendly with Hijikata, but show so very little affection towards me. It is not fair.”
“I don’t think that is true.”
“In that case, let me wash your back. I heard that you went to a hot spring with him.”
She was probably talking about the undergrounds of Ismalia castle.
The information network that women had was frightening. Still, I returned to the subject at hand.
“Well, the culprit did use a Japanese sword, but it is not Toshizou. First, it doesn’t fit his personality. If he had a problem with me, he would attack from the front. Next, it doesn’t fit his ability. While the cut was very clean, Toshizou’s ability with a sword is even more amazing. It would look like something that was cut with string instead of a blade.”
“While it’s good that we know the culprit used a Japanese sword, that is still quite vague. How many people like that are there in this city?”
“Well, we are going to narrow the suspects down from here. In fact, I already have an idea of who it might be.”
Eve was surprised.
“Yes. Before coming here.”
“That early? Very good, master. And who is it?”
“You know that it is someone who has a grudge against this postal system?”
“Yes, that is obvious.”
“Then we just have to narrow it down to an organization that would hold a grudge and also have a Japanese sword. As for the grudge part, this would obviously be the different guilds. Adventurers Guild, Sorcerers Guild, Merchant Guild. They all had their own postal networks and made a profit off of them.”
“The network between guilds is their weapon. Especially the Adventurers Guild, where they often have letters delivered as F-Rank missions.”
“Yes. In other words, they would not be happy about my postal business. I would be encroaching on their profits.”
“I see. So the union leaders who had a monopoly on the profits are now furious.”
“Aye. They would want me dead. While I think all of the guild leaders must be thinking this, if we consider the Japanese sword, we can exclude the Sorcerers Guild from the list of suspects.”
“Yes, and there was also no magic energy detected on the corpse.”
“Exactly. The most suspicious are the Adventurers Guild, who have a lot of people who can wield such a sword, and the Merchants Guild, who hire a lot of mercenaries. The Thieves Guild is also suspicious, as they often carry out assassinations.”
“I suppose those three should be investigated carefully.”
“Yes. Robin should acquire information about the horse soon. I will decide what direction to go in after that.”
After saying this, Robin returned.
He had discovered that the horse was stolen from a nearby noble’s mansion.
And so I went to the noble’s mansion in order to question the people and gather evidence.
I learned that a servant had caught a glimpse of the horse thief at dawn, and was able to tell me what they looked like.
Once I was aware of the locations of the mansion, central post office and each guild, I walked down the likely routes that the culprit would take, and collected information from beggars.
I gave one silver coin to those who knew nothing, and one gold coin to those who had information. Those who tried to hide information were easily persuaded with even more gold, and my theory was soon proven to be correct.
“So the culprit really is related to a guild.”
Eve said, as if to confirm this with me.
“Aye, it appears so. The problem is which, Adventures, Merchant, or Thieves. I suppose we’ll have to search each one.”
“Yes, we should. And I will go with you.”
Eve said with a bow. And so Eve, Robin and I headed to the Adventurers Guild.