While it was good that I had now marked the culprit, it would be bad if I turned out to be wrong.
Besides, there could be more than one culprit.
And so I asked Robin to investigate the Thieves Guild. But the report that resulted suggested that they were innocent.
According to Robin, they did not have a motive.
“While the Thieves Guild also has a postal system, it’s not as important to them as the Adventurers Guild and Merchants Guild. It’s just to contact each other, and is not comparable to a service for the public.”
That’s what he said.
And they prefered our postal system to that of the Adventurers Guild.
Furthermore, Miki, who was one of the suspects, was a traditional kind of Horai citizen, and did not like assassins. Robin had declared this after spending the entire night in a tavern.
And his eye for seeing people was first rate, and I trusted him more than any other crime investigator. And so I removed Miki from the list of suspects.
And I would also believe his lord, the master of the guild. That might sound strange, given that they were a crime organization, but the thieves guild in this town was known for their strict rules concerning the theft of livestock.
They didn’t kill, violate, or steal more than they had to. And their leader, the guild master, was known to be a chivalrous thief. I hadn’t met this guild master yet, but I believed that he could be trusted like Miki.
In that case, the culprit had to be Rukaku.
After that, Robin continued to bring in evidence that pointed to him. The information that was the most important was that the nobleman he had stolen the horse from was his enemy.
Furthermore, Rukaku seemed to grow bolder after I had done nothing during our meeting. Two more horse corpses were thrown into other post offices. As I like horses, I became furious.
But he didn’t stop there. He must have assumed that I wouldn’t act. And so he began to plot my assassination.
And so I could not leave him alone any longer.
If I did, Eve would go berserk, and probably burn the whole guild to the ground. And so I decided to make Rukaku write a letter of resignation.
I summoned Robin and made a request.
“Robin, you are the best archer in England.”
“There are others who are just as good.”
“You’re very modest. But even in this world, there are none who match you.”
After being impressed by his fine character, I asked him,
“There is a vast garden in Rukaku’s villa on the outskirts of the town. And the nobleman who lives next door was very obliging. He said that you can stay there for a week.”
Due to this roundabout way of saying it, Jeanne looked very confused as she listened next to me.
But Robin knew exactly what I was talking about. He was perceptive and wise.
I ignored Jeanne and continued.
“In fact, you will be staying during the same time that Rukaku returns to his villa. And he will be very visible to you from a certain large elm tree in the nobleman’s garden.”
I took a deep breath and got to the important part.
“There are about three hundred meters between the elm tree and Rukaku’s sun terrace. But I know that England’s best archer can shoot a deer between the eyes at that distance. Understand?”
Robin nodded. But Jeanne still looked puzzled.
Rukaku, the leader of the Merchants Guild, was in a good mood.
He was happy to have been able to harass Demon King Ashtaroth, who governed this town, and who he hated. But more than anything, he was amused by the fact that the Demon King did nothing in return.
Demon King Ashtaroth was the king of strategy, and known to be cowardly and treacherous. But it seemed like only the cowardly part was true.
At least, he was the kind of person who would not act without a good enough reason and evidence.
It was easy, and he was someone worth toying with.
And so he intended to continue digging in and rob him of everything he had.
“…No, I should assassinate him and rule this town in his place.”
Such were his thoughts.
This Ashtaroth town had developed quite a lot now, and would continue to grow. If he took over the town, he would be able to hold sumptuous feasts every night.
Besides, that demon girl known as Eve would become his as well.
Her beauty was like that of a great jewel. And so he wanted to have her.
Rukaku’s cheeks flushed at the thought.
His jaw sagged slackly, and he resembled a bulldog.
While he had nothing to make him popular with women, he had about a dozen lovers at his villa.
They had all been bought with money, but he would make Eve his with authority and violence.
“She looked at me as if I was filth. And so she will eat filth.”
He imagined putting a collar around her beautiful neck as she ate like a dog. Now that he was thoroughly excited, he ordered for his butler to bring him a new girl.
Not any of the girls he had, but he wanted a new demon girl.
“One with short hair and a fiery personality.”
In spite of this demand, the butler answered pleasantly. One could not say no to this master.
And so he bowed his head and left the room. Rukaku decided to drink as he waited.
He mixed water with a strong spirit that was said to be loved by the dwarf king, and took a sip. It was very hot. It felt like it was burning his insides, which was a rather comfortable sensation.
“Amazing drink, amazing women. How could life be any better…”
Rukaku muttered. But just as he raised his glass, an arrow came shooting towards it.
And then the glass shattered in his hand.
The shards of glass and ice scattered around him.
Rukaku frantically looked around, but there was no one there.
There was a tall tree in the neighboring house’s garden, but surely it was not possible to shoot that far.
He had bought this villa because it was safe. His security was tight, so how had the arrow reached him!?
As Rukaku started to sweat, a light flashed from the tree. Robin had used a mirror to reflect the sunlight. He was making his presence known on purpose.
“Wh-what!? He really shot at me from that distance?”
It was unbelievable. But the Rukaku noticed that there was a letter attached to the arrow.
He removed it and read what was written on it.
‘This is a warning. If you want to live, submit a letter of resignation at the Merchants Guild within a week and leave the town. Or the next arrow will go through your head.’
He read the letter in shock.
“That assassin shot the glass from that distance…”
He was a monster.
As he muttered this, the guard who had noticed the change entered the room.
But it wasn’t the usual guard.
“Wh-where is Mifune?”
Ye-yes. It would be fine if Mifune was there. As long as he had that swordsman, he had no reason to fear this assassin.
And so he desperately asked about Mifune’s whereabouts, but the guard replied without mercy.
“Sir Mifune left this morning. He said that he was too afraid to stay any longer. He had encountered a samurai who was much stronger than him.”
This was Toshizou Hijikata. He had challenged Mifune and split his sword in two. But Rukaku didn’t know about that.
However, now that he realized that he was abandoned by Mifune, Rukaku was ready to give up.
“…It’s no wonder that he was called the god of strategy. In the end, I have been in that man’s palm all along. I cannot stay here. I will get rid of my fortune and hide in the countryside.”
Rukaku declared. And so resigned from his post at the Merchants Guild within a week and returned to his homeland, just as he had promised.
After that, Rukaku never stepped foot in the Ashtaroth territories again.
And so the case came to a close. It was then that Jeanne came to me happily.
“That was amazing, Demon King!”
Apparently, she finally understood what I had been talking about.
“You solved it peacefully without killing Rukaku. You just had to show him your power.”
“Well, while he was a terrible person, it didn’t feel right to kill him.”
“Still, I am impressed that you thought of such a way.”
“You should be impressed by Robin. He is the greatest bowman in the world.”
“That is true. Maybe I should have him teach me.”
“But you fight with a sword.”
“A sword is not enough if I want to improve. I want a bow as my secondary weapon.”
“Well, I think a bow and a Saint are a good match. You should ask Robin then.”
“Yes. But first, I want you to teach me the basics, Demon King.”
“Robin is a master with the bow. It would be embarrassing to have him teach me to hold a bow. I want him to tutor me after I’ve learned the basics.”
“Well, I don’t mind.”
After that, I spent a few hours teaching her to hold a bow.
As I was a poor nobleman in my past life, I sometimes hunted birds and beasts on my own. It wasn’t a hobby, but for survival.
And so I knew how to use a bow.
I taught Jeanne what I knew, and she continued to learn from me for a week. However, she would not improve.
Perhaps being a genius with a sword meant being a poor student with a bow.
One day, I muttered this to Eve in my office, and she replied with a laugh.
“Master, that is clearly one of her techniques.”
“Yes. By not improving, she has a reason to meet you every day. Furthermore, you have to get very close to each other when teaching someone to use a bow. Does she not press her chest and rear into you?”
I thought back and realized that she was right.
After that, I stopped giving her lessons and left the rest to Robin.
However, Jeanne stopped training with the bow after that. She intended to continue with the sword alone.
So Eve had been completely right.
Damn it. Perhaps she was the smartest one in the Ashtaroth army. I thought as she shared her wisdom and poured me a cup of tea.