Chapter 15 : Lord of Underground Labyrinth①
After kicking Cradle’s ass, Lambert was guided by Fiona and the others to the adventurer guild 『Spirit’s Dusk』on the 2nd floor of the building. They went to the room furthest from the stairs, the guild master’s office.
The guild master of 『Spirit’s Dusk』was a long haired man in his mid- thirties.
「This is the guild master of 『Spirit’s Dusk』, Germain-san.」
After introducing the guild master to Lambert, Fiona went ahead and reported the result of her recent commission. After she finished her quick report about the investigation on the village that was occupied by the bandits, she went on to her next report, detailing their encounter with Cradle in front of the guild’s building.
Once she finished all her reports, Germain heaved a deep sigh.
「… My apologies. I never expected that Cradle would go that far… I thought that he would stop harassing us like that as long as we left him alone.」
「Maybe we really should relocate our office to avoid causing further trouble for the bar on the first floor. But, that’s impossible since we’re making an enemy of 『Dragon’s Enchanted Metal』.」
Biting her lips, Fiona hung her head low, feeling responsible for involving her guild with 『Dragon’s Enchanted Metal』 through Cradle’s obsession with her. However, Germain merely shut his eyes as he shook his head, disagreeing with Fiona’s feelings.
「Their aim isn’t you alone, Fiona. … Rather, maybe you just got dragged along with my problem.」
Germain muttered before he continued on.
「This city is simply strange. We might have to move even if today’s matter didn’t happen. In the first place, we’re just renting a building for our guild’s office. So there should be little to no damage to our side. But… well, it’s hard to let go of the trust that we have built with the citizens up until now… anyway, that aside… Mister armor over there, I assume you’re the one who repelled Cradle. Thank you very much for driving that person away.」
「May I assume that it’s better if I didn’t repel him by force? 」
When Lambert asked that question, Germain shook his head.
「It’s not. 『Dragon’s Enchanted Metal』 is powerful indeed. Maybe I’m the only one who can fight them back amongst all of 『Spirit’s Dusk』’s members. And the truth is they are a pain in the ass what with their influences in this city and eyeing this guild. But, more than that, that guild… is even more suspicious than the dark guild that exists in this city. Honestly, I can’t even imagine what kind of suffering Fiona will face if she goes with them. Besides that, what makes them truly troublesome is actually their backing- Earl Aubock.」
Lambert was almost sure of his suspicion towards Earl Aubock doing many shady moves behind the scene. And he was glad that his visit to this guild was not in vain. He got more information than he suspected.
「I would like to hear more of the details about those guys if possible but.. Can you tell me… What is this dark guild you’re talking about? 」
Without waiting for Germain to speak, Fiona proceeded to answer Lambert’s question.
「Dark guild is a group that takes illegal jobs. They mainly act behind the scenes, rarely appearing on stage. But, they’re normally backed by a powerful figure since those guys are responsible for handling the dirty jobs of their backer.」
「It’s just as she said. They’re not an existence that you can speak about casually. I’m telling you this since you are already involved with them. 」
Germain said the last part almost as if he was whispering to Lambert.
「『Dragon’s Enchanted Metal』 usually only takes normal jobs since they are so famous that almost everyone in this city knows of them. But, that fame wouldn’t matter to the dark guild. However…there’s one thing I know when I was gathering information to build my guild in this city. 『Dragon’s Enchanted Metal』 is most likely the mediator between Earl Aubock and the dark guild. In any case, that guild itself is strange. It’s as if they knew all about the dark guild’s movement, making them able to avoid collision with the dark guild due to the contrary nature of requests that sometimes happened with other lawful guilds. It’s as if there was a prior arrangement between the two sides…」
「I see. ……」
「I think no one else was aware about what they did if they only looked at the surface. They’re experts at hiding their trail, and so far there’s no indisputable evidence of their misdeed.」
Hearing that, Lambert then contemplated the possibilities of Earl Aubock having a hand in guiding those bandits to attack that village. Perhaps, he might also use the dark guild’s hands when he did so.
「Well, rather than that matter, may I hear more about yourself. After all, I can’t make an unknown man understand the situation thoroughly with just this little time. Anyway, it looks like you have saved me and Fiona by driving Cradle away before, but…」
「This person is the one who saved us… When we were taken captive by the thieves who occupied the village. But, since he doesn’t seem to be that familiar with the situation, I invited him to stay for a while in our 『Spirit’s Dusk』 so that at least he won’t be troubled later.」
Fiona replied to Germain.
After staring into Lambert’s head (covered helmet), Germain let out a groan.
「Well, I’ve no reason to refuse Fiona and co’s benefactor to stay. But, will you allow me to at least see your face? 」
When Germain asked that, Lambert could only groan. Ever since he was revived, he knew that he’d face this kind of question every time he went into the city due to his conspicuous appearance. But, it was a risk he had to take, and yet, he hadn’t actually come up with a countermeasure.
Though he did his best to appear unperturbed, the clanking sound of his helmet crashing against armor exposed his inner turmoil. But, he decided to grit his teeth. While lying wasn’t in his nature, his real identity as an undead was something that couldn’t be divulged.
「….. What’s the matter? You don’t want to remove your helmet? 」
「I… Have an old scar on my face. Because of it, I’m rather reluctant to show my face to the others.」
Hearing Lambert’s excuse, Germain thought for a while, considering it. In the end, he merely sighed, shaking his head as he did so.
「… Fine. We’ve too much debt of gratitude toward you after all. But, I won’t be this kind to you if you bring us trouble. So, I won’t pursue you to show your face to us. It’s just that…with your conspicuous attire, I don’t think that you can live comfortably in Ainsaz.」
Germain drew a conclusion from the little information he gathered during the short talk he had with Lambert. In his perspective, Lambert either wanted to hide his face, or he was simply someone who was free from worldly desire. In any case, to him, Lambert was still suspicious. That’s why he told Lambert that he had no intention to shelter him in case he caused some sort of trouble.
Lambert, who had already planned to escape should the situation turn to worse, guessed Germain’s intention, which coincidentally matched his need, nodded his head.
「Thank you… And don’t worry. I won’t stay for too long. I plan to leave immediately as long as I find out what I want to know.」
「Anyway, let’s write the formal report for the time being. Oi Lily, go and get me one of the document from that shelf.」
Lily moved as soon as she heard Germain’s order, taking a paper from the shelf and gave it to Lambert.
My name… Is it…
Though he managed to brush that matter aside up until now, the time had come for him to say his name.
「Give him a pen and desk too. Hurry up.」
Despite being given a piece of paper, he couldn’t come up with a suitable alias. In the end, after much contemplation, Lambert finally filled the name column with his real name, 『Lambert De La Croix』.
It had been more than two hundred years since his death after all. So, there’s no way someone would realize that the Lambert they met was the real deal.
Though Lambert seemed nonchalant when he made this decision, this was also one of Undead’s nature. They’re attached to whatever they could preserve from their time as part of the living, such as their way of life, the mission they had when they’re still alive, and other things. These attachments were the very thing that bound their soul in this world after all.
Lloyd, being curious, stole a glance at the name that Lambert wrote.
「It turned out your name was Lambert. If only you told us your name faster….」
After he received the piece of paper from Lambert, Germain couldn’t help but chuckle when he saw the name written on that paper.
「Lambert De….. La Croix, is it. Such a grandiose name. Well, I’ve no intention to be angry with you for not using an alias, but I see… This makes the matter easier to understand. Well, at least you should be very careful. That way, you won’t become a laughing stock when you’re being compared to the real Lambert from the story.」
Germain compared Lambert’s appearance with the name written in the column name as he said those words.
Though Lloyd didn’t seem to realize it, Germain seemed to be familiar with the name of Lambert De La Croix. It was not only Germain, but Fiona too. Both of them were smiling wryly, looking a bit troubled after they knew Lambert’s name.
Germain and Fiona seem to be familiar with my name.
「….. What’s the matter? Is that name famous or what? 」
Lloyd knitted his eyebrows as he asked Germain about Lambert’s name.
「You should read more books. Honestly. Well, you should be familiar with the Kingdom of Regios’ Brave during the Eight Kingdom’s Unification War… Glyph Pal Kaizer, right? 」
Lambert got a bad feeling even before Germain continued his words, but he was really surprised when he heard the name of his former best friend coming out of nowhere.
Glyph Pal Kaizer. He was similar to Lambert, one of the Four Demon Generals, and the one who pushed Lambert to the bottom of the valley.
「O-Of course I know about him. Please don’t take me for an idiot.」
Lloyd spoke with a sullen voice.
「In fact, the last and greatest obstacle who stood in front of Glyph Pal Kaizer’s goal to end the Eight Kingdom’s Unification War was none other than Lambert De La Croix.」
In Germain’s version of the story, Lambert De La Croix was depicted as the strongest villain.
「During the Eight Kingdom’s Unification War, the young orphaned Lambert De La Croix was climbing through the military ranks with unprecedented speed with his herculean strength and all sorts of trickery until he became one of the Four Demon Generals. Then, he tried to assassinate Aurelia Alred, his own lord, and Glyph Pal Kaizer, his rival, to become the supreme ruler of the Western Worimia continent. But, in the end, he lost to Glyph Pal Kaizer and comitted suicide to end his life.」
「What the, he was just a traitor then. Though I felt that guy seems to be familiar… Like hell I’m going to remember that bastard. I’m an adventurer, not a scholar. Though…isn’t he kinda like Glyph Pal Kaizer’s stepping stone.」
When he heard the story, he felt that the Lambert in it was a stranger. His role depicted in the history was completely different from reality. But, he only needed to ponder for a bit before snapping to the present.
In the history of any kingdom, it was more convenient to make a story about a Brave killing a betrayer rather than making a story of a lord assassinating their own retainer because of a baseless suspicion. Besides, in order to make sure nothing went wrong with the unified government, the reigning government couldn’t expose too many of its dark secrets.
Lambert could accept that reason. However, as someone who swung his sword for Aurelia, his lord, he couldn’t easily accept the fact that he was labelled as a power hungry traitor in history.
Because the one thing he wished the most as Four Demon Generals was to die with pride.
If he still had his living body, Lambert would surely be in tears right now.
And the reason why he didn’t hold an inch of doubt about his condition was due to the innate traits of his undead body.