BBYW Vol. 1 Chapter 14

Chapter 14 – Fools Never Stop Sinking

【POV: Sullivan Nommes】

I followed Zaill deep into the town’s back alleys until we reached a small, isolated bar.

“The place may seem small, but they serve very fine wine. It is the sort of place only connoisseurs frequent, so we will be able to drink in peace and quiet.”

“Hmm, fine. Not bad at all.”

We entered the dimly lit bar and I noticed there weren’t any other clients. A white-haired man was wiping glasses behind the counter.

“Have a seat here, please. Boss, serve your finest wine to my honored guest.”

The wine served to me was the very same brand I used to drink often in the capital.

I took a sip and the memories of my life in the royal house came flooding back, filling me with nostalgia.

“Have one more, please.”

“Y-yes…”

Encouraged by Zaill, I drank glass after glass of that sweet nectar.

“Delicious…and so nostalgic. I could drink this every day before…why did things turn out like this…?”

As I became tipsier and tipsier, I started talking about my dissatisfaction with my present life and my hate towards Dyngir Maxwell.

Zaill listened to every word I said, without the slightest sign of annoyance.

“What a tragedy you have been through…it pains my heart to listen.”

When I eventually stopped complaining, Zaill waited for the best timing to console me.

“A tragedy, indeed, you are right….”

I could let out my frustration for the first time in a long while. It had been months since I last felt so light. I continued drinking heartily and the alcohol pleasantly took over my whole body.

“The rumors were true then…Dyngir Maxwell does not see the royal family with due respect.”

“Yes! That man is not worth his title of noble!!”

“I have heard that the most powerful nobles of the Four Houses tend to act in a hostile way towards the royal house. If such a situation is left unattended, they will look down on the royal house more and more, eventually creating a hotbed for rebellion. Something must be done to preserve the future of the kingdom…but…”

“You are perfectly right. But what could be done…?”

I held my chin, deep in thought.

The problem did not affect only me anymore.

If that treacherous country bumpkin was allowed to act freely, the kingdom’s future would be in grave danger.

(Yes! If that man isn’t eliminated, this country will fall into ruin!! This must be done now, for the sake of the Lamperouge kingdom!)

“Somehow…if we could eliminate Dyngir Maxwell…have him assassinated, maybe…”

It was only after saying those words that I realized their gravity.

I had definitely said too much. If someone heard me, I could be the one eliminated instead.

I hurriedly looked around, but luckily there were no other clients in the bar.

The owner had also disappeared in the back of the store, so my careless words were heard only by Zaill.

“I-I’m sorry, forget everything I said!”

“No, I cannot possibly do that. As I do believe that is an excellent idea.”

“D-do you think so?”

I didn’t expect him to agree.

I looked at Zaill, surprised, and found a completely serious expression on his bearded visage.

“Assassination…yes. To free these eastern lands from those imbeciles, it might be necessary to take such extreme measures.”

“Y-yes…I think so.”

The fact that Zaill agreed made me more convinced that it was really true.

I tried imagining that man collapsed on the ground, wounded and bloody. I would feel so relieved, if only…

“The death of Dyngir Maxwell would also mean that the rift between the royal family and the Maxwell house would be no more. Consequently, your path of return to the capital, Lord Sullivan, would open by itself. There might also be the possibility of you becoming the next Margrave Maxwell.”

“Me? Inherit the Maxwell house!? That cannot be!!”

Even if the next in line for the margrave title died, I couldn’t believe that the position would be turned over to me.

“No, there is a possibility, Lord Sullivan.”

There wasn’t the slightest trace of joking in Zaill’s tone. Calmly, he started explaining in detail.

“The current Margrave Maxwell does not have any children other than Dyngir. It appears that his wife lives far away and I have never heard of him entertaining any lovers. There is also no one among his close relatives of suitable age to succeed him. In other words, if Dyngir Maxwell dies the margrave will have no choice but to adopt an heir from another house.”

“Hm, hmm. I can understand that. But would the margrave ever choose me?”

I was well aware that there was no way Lord Maxwell saw me in a good light.

He did not come to my wedding ceremony with Selena, but more than that, who would ever choose the man that snatched your legitimate son’s fiancee?

“It all depends on how you choose to see things, my Lord. Among all male offsprings of the eastern province’s noble families, no one surpasses your lineage, Lord Sullivan. Not even Lord Maxwell can afford to ignore the royal family’s bloodline.”

“If you put it like that…”

“In addition, if you become the next Margrave Maxwell, the eastern provinces would fall under the influence of the central government. A development that the royal family and house Rosais would find extremely appealing. They would definitely provide support on all fronts for Lord Maxwell to adopt you as his heir.”

“I see…”

The more I heard about it, the more it seemed like a very good prospect.

They threw me in these remote provinces, so I would pay them back by becoming the ruler. I was going to gain enough power to rival both the royal family and house Rosais.

When I became the next Lord Maxwell, even house Nommes, who dared treat me like dirt, would bow their heads to me like slaves.

(But more than anything else…)

I could take away the most precious thing promised to Dyngir Maxwell, the man who stole everything from me.

It was music to my ears.

“How can we find an assassin?”

I felt more and more invested in the plan, so I started to ask about it in concrete detail.

Unlike the time I was part of the royal family, I had no connections to hire assassins at present.

Zaill then came closer and whispered something in my ears.

“Lord Sullivan, have you ever heard of those called 『Fangs of Steel』?”

When I heard the name I couldn’t help but frown.

“You can’t be serious! That’s only a legend, isn’t it?”

『Fangs of Steel』was the name of a fabled band of assassins, rumored to be in the Lamperouge kingdom for more than 50 years.

Some said they were heartless killers without a fixed leader who would kill anyone provided they were paid enough.

Some said they were behind most if not all assassinations of important figures in the kingdom and would murder even members of the royal family without hesitation.

Others said its members were not human beings, but man-eating demons alive since the age of magic civilizations.

Because of these unbelievable rumors, they were something parents used to make their children behave: “if you do bad things, the Fangs of Steel will catch you and eat you whole!”.

“Indeed, rumors are rumors. There’s a lot of nonsense flying around.”

Zaill first expressed agreement, then continued.

“However, my lord…while the rumors might be overblown, the 『Fangs of Steel』 really exist. Please keep this to yourself, but…I actually have a way to contact them.”

“What?”

“If you so wish, Lord Sullivan, I could introduce you…”

I couldn’t believe my ears.

I thought the 『Fangs of Steel』 were the stuff of legend, like dragons or the like. Even if I was told they were real, I couldn’t just accept it.

“Oh, please forgive me, my lord. I understand your feelings of doubt. Someone as wise and noble as you, Lord Sullivan, would never believe the words of a man you met today for the first time, I suppose.”

“Ah, n-no, I did not mean that…”

“My deepest apologies, truly. Please forget my drunken ramblings.”

“Hm, hmm…”

Zaill ended the conversation and took a sip from his glass.

His words, however, wouldn’t leave my thoughts.

(Unless Dyngir Maxwell is killed…I cannot escape my current situation, can I? Am I going to end my life as the heir of house Nommes…? I, the crown prince, reduced to a mere baron…?)

That cannot be allowed. Even if I had to rely on a fairytale, I had no intention of spending the rest of my days in these provinces…I might not have the chance to step foot in the capital again…

How could I ever accept such a life?

“Zaill, my good man…could you let me know about that more in detail…?”

“…Lord Sullivan?”

“I cannot possibly entrust the eastern province to a dangerous individual like Dyngir Maxwell!! This country is not for someone like that to play with!!”

The words I pronounced next sealed my fate forever.

“Dyngir Maxwell must die!! In order to do that, I will do anything I can, even rely on fairy tales!!”

At that time, I did not have the slightest idea of how that decision would affect my future…

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