Thank you very much to Beau Taylor-Ladd for helping me editing this chapter while Crywolf is busy.
Chapter 3 ~ Curiosity Killed the Cat
After we left the Guild, we traversed some small alleyways until we came upon the main street. Shops full of large meat dishes came into my view, and to my satisfaction there were a few shrimp and shellfish dishes mixed in with the insects.
Although it defies Earth’s common sense, it seems that the shrimp and shellfish here are in the same category as insects. The shrimp have scissor-like claws and appear to be related to lobsters and crayfish. Just like the other animals in this world, they’re huge and look edible.
“Tilika, is this person trustable?”
I secretly asked Tilika during the gap when Martin, the Truth Official, went out to talk with a waiter.
Although I decided to go out and eat with him, Martin is a Truth Official – clearly speaking, he could be a dangerous guy to us.
Any attempt to lie and escape from him will be outright sniffed out. The problem is I haven’t eaten yet – I planned to eat and relax in the afternoon after I made the report to the Guild.
“Truth Officials will never tell lies; basically, you can trust them. Even if you did accidentally expose your secrets, it would probably be fine.”
“Martin is an easy-going guy”
Is it really okay like this?
If I suddenly tried to escape, then he would grow very suspicious towards me. Even Tilika would have a hard time keeping her mouth shut with the other Truth Officials.
If it was your average person, then we could just introduce ourselves as a high-level mage party. But him being Tilika’s acquaintance makes things troublesome.
We’ve been explaining Sati’s growth as her being a genius, and everyone has always accepted it. I even used this explanation with Ellie previously.
But this guy is a Truth Official, as well as Tilika’s acquaintance. I can’t make a careless explanation like that.
Eventually, he’ll learn the truth. I feel like it’s just a matter of us temporarily pushing back the secret.
Anyways, using 《Gate》 and the Summoning Magic is still acceptable, but I will never leak the fact that I’m an apostle of God.
How much can I talk to this person who Tilika thinks is okay?
We were guided to a private room and served some drinks. After we ordered our food and the waiters left, Martin cut the conversation to Tilika.
I wonder how long a conversation with a Truth Official is – I guess now is the best time to find out:
“You can ask me about anything, but everything I say has to not leave these walls.”
“You sure show a lot of trust. So, are you the Hero?”
Getting thrown that question right off the bat caused me to spit out the water that I drank immediately.
“As I thought, you really are the Hero!”
“Are the rest different? You also have a shrine priestess around I thought …… why did Tilika decide to become an adventurer?”
Truth Officials have a stable job with a good income. Plus, it’s a very respectable job.
In addition, their eyes are modified by a ritual. Because of this, once someone becomes a Truth Official, they will remain a Truth Official until they die.
They aren’t really able to become adventurers.
Not only is Tilika an adventurer, but she’s also in a party. There’s also a priest in our party. The battles in the Elf Country were all fought on a grand scale – perhaps it isn’t surprising that all these factors lead him to believe that I’m a Hero.
In the Elf Country, I was left with no other choice but to give it my all.
I should consider myself lucky that the story of my deeds hasn’t reached the fortress yet.
“Masaru is a Hero candidate.”
“In regard to the battlefield, I was also told that Tilika was involved……aren’t you the self-proclaimed Hero’s candidate?”
It’s been hundreds of years since the Demon Lord was killed. Since then, no true Hero has ever appeared. Despite this, it seems that there has been no shortage of people claiming to be a Hero or a candidate.
“I’m neither a self-proclaimed Hero nor a candidate.”
“That’s what Masaru said, Tilika.”
“At least it’s possible for him.”
“It was told since long ago that whenever a Hero appeared, absolute support must be provided. But Masaru doesn’t look very Heroic does he?”
“I don’t mind that.”
“Well, I was convinced that the Hero would look…better”
The waiters started serving our dishes while we were in the middle of our conversation.
It didn’t take long for them to finish as the dishes were already made at the front of the store.
My giant shrimp was properly cut. Its whole body, including the claws, reach up to one-meter in length!
The shrimp is stuffed throughout its entire body. After taking a bite, it seems that the shrimp was baked lightly with salt, and tastes just like shrimp on Earth! Delicious.
I will try to ignore the insects lining up on the rest of the table while I prepare to eat my shrimp.
Martin seems like he has decided to not pursue the matter anymore, and instead focused on enjoying the meal.
“People who don’t like insects like Masaru are rare!”
“I eat shrimp all the time when I eat at home. How is it, Ann? I think it’s delicious.”
“I’ll try a little……”
It seems like this is the first time that Ann has eaten shrimp.
If you’ve never seen shrimp before, its claws combined with its bright red color really gives off an impression that it’s a poisonous insect.
Tilika, of course, has already taken a bite and seems to really like it. She clumsily dug out the inside of the claws with her spoon and ate it. Neither Sati nor Ellie appear to dislike anything, and together are enjoying the insects laid out on the rest of the table.
“I’ve never seen shrimp in a market before, where could we get some?”
Shrimp is a huge and flashy ingredient – if anyone is selling it, then we definitely wouldn’t have missed it.
“Ah, I think it’s because that it lives in remote marshes. I heard that it rarely gets on the market either. Have you heard about the store owner?”
Martin told me many good things about the owner. If I try to make fried prawn together with the owner, I’m sure that it would end up delicious. I could season it with tartar sauce, have it be accompanied by a cup of coffee…… but sadly, there is no rice. Only tempura. I wonder if rice even grows in this world.
I haven’t explored the market around here yet. Maybe I should spend some time sightseeing. I should probably ask the elves where to visit, since they have lived here for a long time.
Tilika and Martin are exchanging information while I enjoy my shrimp in silence. They’re mainly talking about their master, as well as some other stuff I don’t know about.
Most of the time, Martin is the one doing the talking.
“So, how did you become an adventurer?”
“I got married.”
“Please stop your half-baked responses.”
“There is no other reason.”
“But he is a candidate, isn’t he?”
“……as I told you, that isn’t the reas…”
“Eh? It wasn’t because Masaru-san is a hero candidate?”
“Uh? Are you running away from getting married?”
“I married Masaru.”
“I’m surprised……the fastidious and fierce Tilika is……then, since you are married to your husband Masaru, and he turned out to be a Hero candidate, you decided to follow him, that’s the gist of it?”
“After I got married. Since Masaru is a Hero candidate, I decided to go on an adventure with him.”
“Why do you say he is a Hero candidate? I’ve heard rumours about his talent with magic, be seems weak to me, and the person himself is saying he isn’t a candidate.”
“I will protect the secret, of course.”
“Wait a moment……has the story about him becoming a Hero candidate reach the Truth Palace?”
“Good grief. Was master convinced with this as well?”
“I convinced master with the 3rd clause of special notes. A Truth Official is supposed to manipulate the information adequately.”
The 3rd clause of special notes involves information that is related to the trend of this world. Using this clause, a Truth official is able to move on his/her personal judgement.
“So that’s how you did it……. without you guys, the Elf Country surely would have fallen, and this place would have been their next target.”
“Correct. I think my judgement was correct. Even if Masaru is not the Hero, he is pretty much doing the job of one.”
“Anyways, didn’t you also have great achievements in the battle? I thought your magic should only be in the intermediate level though.”
“I heard about it before. How?”
“That is a long list of secrets you have.”
“It’s not good trying to take someone’s secrets like that.”
“I know I know. I don’t want to get in your way, so I won’t ask anymore. Is it your personal judgement that I need to keep a secret?”
“Well, if you think so, I trust you……by the way, Angela-san, have you heard any strange rumours from the Temple? Like an oracle appearing…?”
“Uhm, that is……”
When the topic suddenly shifted to her, Ann became lost for words. Her eyes started swimming around……
“Uh that is confidential information.”
“What is the content of the oracle? When and where was it received?’
“That’s it! So, this is Tilika’s secret! Huh? But since a priest is here with him, doesn’t that make him the true Hero?”
“I told you that is wrong.”
“So it isn’t related to an oracle about the Hero?”
“If you haven’t told me yet, it must be really serious. Despite this, why haven’t the Truth Officials been notified?”
“I haven’t done it yet.”
“Only the shrine side has the information then?”
“No, even the shrine side doesn’t know.”
“……then who even received the oracle??”
“I can’t say.”
“Is that so. You, Masaru-san.”
“No, no, no. Why can’t you understand?”
“What do you mean can’t understand? I’m good at uncovering other’s secrets. From what we’ve talked about so far, it seems that Masaru-san has a lot to do with the Hero. But you claim to not be the Hero, just a candidate. There’s also the mysterious oracle that you’re keeping hidden…”
What should I do now……?
“Let’s make a deal! Tell me everything, and in exchange I will keep it a secret?”
Now I know why everyone is fearful of Truth Officials.
I’m never going to eat meals with a Truth Official again…….
“──but you see, I want to live in peace. If possible, I want to become a farmer.”
I finished telling Martin all of the important things that have happened. I told him everything from the oracle, to the divine protection, but it shouldn’t pose a problem if he keeps everything secret like he said.
“That’s lame, and you even have Heroic powers! You’re wasting your potential!”
My wives chimed in:
“He is absolutely right! It’s a huge waste, Masaru.”
“As expected from someone who only wants to be a farmer……”
“You need to take things more seriously Masaru.”
“For me, farming……. I think it would be nice. I want to try it a little.”
Living a peaceful life here seems to be seen in a negative light.
It’s unlikely that this guy has a faith with people pass 50. [ED: I’m not quite sure what he means here]
“I’m counting on you to keep this secret, okay?”
“I will I will. But if I do report this to the top management, will things really get bad Tilika?”
“Masaru won’t like it.”
“The oracle is something that I personally received. You don’t need to bring it up with anyone else.”
“Is that so? An oracle about the Elf Country. I’ll be frank, I’m not sure if that fits into the category of private matters.”
“You promised to keep everything secret, did you not?”
“Yes I know. But Masaru-san, you move more to say right?”
“Don’t change the subject.”
The things that I haven’t yet told him are how I am able to return after 20 years, or about the incoming destruction of this world.
Of course I’ve tried my best to avoid it, but this guy is somehow still convinced that I have something hidden.
“I can’t do anything without hearing the rest first.”
Martin said with a happy expression.
This guy……is making me angry.
“Didn’t Tilika tell you that we would end here?”
“That’s only what Tilika said, I never actually agreed to it. Just tell me the rest, I will leave afterwards.”
How can I say that the world will be destroyed!
“Masaru-san, you like having information and comfort right? If you tell me, you will have access to all the powers of Truth Officials and the Truth Palace. Of course, I personally will give you full cooperation as well!”
Honestly, the only thing I want you to do for me right now is to drop dead.
Wait a second. Thinking about it more carefully, why am I going along with him willingly? He isn’t a muscle-man, nor does he have any weapons. His mana is only second-rate, and nothing compared to mine.
Alright, let’s blow him up.
“Is there a way I can claim self-defence here?”
“Huh? If you’re about to die, then you won’t be held guilty if you fight back.”
Once everything is exposed, I can never go back to the peaceful life.
When I secretly went to the Elf Country, I already risked dying once. If any more of my secret is exposed, the probability that I will die will increase dramatically.
I gather my mana slowly. Fire Magic is obviously a bad choice when used indoors. Hmm… This shop does have a stone floor. I wonder if I will be able to crush him if I use Earth Magic?
“It’s a legitimate self-defence. Everyone, get behind me. It’s about to get dangerous.”
Ann said in a shocked voice.
“Keep silent and watch.”
My mana has reached a point where it would be dangerous to use inside this confined room. If I invoked my magic, the building might be blown to smithereens.
Let’s stop increasing it for now. First, we’ll try to negotiate.
“In our current situation, I believe that this is legitimate self-defence. If Martin-san exposed my secret, it equates to me dying.”
“Th-that kind of logic makes no sense!!!”
“Uh oh, you probably shouldn’t move or make noise. My magic is ready to be released any moment~”
Normally, people can only delay the activation of basic magic.
If you try and delay more advanced magic, it will become too difficult to control. While remaining idle, the mana will slowly start to leak out too. I’m very familiar with Earth Magic though, so I will not run out of mana no matter how much I leak.
If I say that I’ve run rampant, then with the power of a Truth Official he would notice straight away. As long as he can sense my mana, then he will know that he is in a grave situation.
“Are you an idiot?? It’s completely stupid to raise your hand against a Truth Official!”
“What do you think, Tilika?”
“It’s not good to forcibly pursue someone else’s secrets. Martin should feel the pain for abusing the Truth Official’s power.”
I got the permission from Tilika. It would be bad if did end up killing him, but it can’t be helped if he got injured while I was in the middle of threatening him.
“I-I won’t keep silent to the other Truth Officials if you hurt me!”
“We’ll insists on legitimate self-defence.”
“There is not a chance that such stupid reasoning will go through! I’m just a civilian, if you keep threatening me you will be the bad one!”
“That’s not quite right. For example, if you forcibly made a royal member spit out their secrets, then you wouldn’t be able to complain if you got killed right? But, since I’m just an adventurer, and you’re a Truth Official, it seems like you’re above me, right?”
The Truth Palace is a big international organization. Every organization, from state-run institutions, to the private sector, are benefiting from it.
If you turn the Truth Palace into an enemy, then they would instantly be able to use their influence to crush even a small country. Even if a Truth Official is technically a civilian, they are given the same status and privilege as noblemen.
If an adventurer ever laid their hands on a Truth Official, I’m sure it would be considered a felony.
“T-that’s right. Don’t you understand…”
“But I’m the Hero who received an oracle from God. Tilika, who do you think the Truth Palace should side with?”
“The Hero, of course.”
“The crime for threatening a Hero is heavy.”
“I’m not threatening you……”
You don’t think you’re threatening me? Even if he was doing it subconsciously, I’m still feeling threatened.
“I’m not going to try and kill you, but it could happen accidentally. Haven’t I told you already how powerful I am?”
“For the Truth Palace, a sacrifice for the Hero is permissible.”
Sacrifice……of course, I’m just doing this to threaten him. I’m somewhat afraid that Tilika might actually take his head off though.
Since he is not showing any sign of actual reflection on his words, I release my mana a little. The building shook for a moment, and a creaking sound could be heard. The floor was cracked. I hope they will be able to fix it later.
“Oops, my magic went out of control for a moment.”
“Why doesn’t your apology seem like it came from the heart? Do you still believe that you’re not at fault right now?”
I crossed my legs and stared at Martin.
“I think……I am…”
“Eh~?! Even I don’t like to threaten others with magic, you know? I truly dislike this from the bottom of my heart. But, would you hesitate to murder someone if it was to protect your own life?”
Of course, I’m just threatening him, but it’s also a sincere thought from my heart. He should be able to know that.
“I-I’m reflecting on it! I will absolutely not tell anyone about this!”
Towards Tilika’s unrelenting voice, Martin got down from his chair, kneeled, and put his head on the floor in a nice Dogeza.
Although this form of a Dogeza is slightly different from the Japanese-style Dogeza, where we put our hands forward, he is definitely in some form of a Dogeza.
“I’m sorry. I’ve gone overboard. I will absolutely keep your secrets safe, so please don’t kill me……”
“What do you think, Tilika?”
“No lie is detected.”
Looks like Martin-san has properly reflected on his actions. I guess it’s time to forgive him. I’ll slowly release my mana so I won’t accidentally trigger the magic.
My mana was aimed at a wall nearby that had no people in the vicinity just in case. Luckily I did that, because I actually managed to lose control a bit.
Part of the wall was destroyed and collapsed, opening up a hole. It must have gone fragile due to the continuous amount of mana I had been pouring in since I began.
On the other side of the wall, the waiters were serving the customers, and everyone was looking through the whole in our direction. For a long time, all people saw was a Truth Official kneeling in Dogeza towards someone who looked a lot like a gangster.
I silently fixed the shop wall and reminded Martin to not let out my secrets. I also asked him to stop kneeling.
Based on what he told me next, it seems like he wanted to return to the Capital. Although he seemed like an excellent officer when he was divulging in my secrets, it turns out he’s actually an incompetent Truth Official who was sent away to the border. He planned on returning back to the Truth Palace by using me and my secrets.
If he had managed to locate the Hero, then he would have been done an amazing accomplishment. Unfortunately for him, it was Tilika who had found me first.
I wonder what he thought he would gain by picking a fight with someone who might be a Hero. I guess that’s why he decided not to confront me directly, and instead offered to eat together.
In the end, he decided to Dogeza in front of everyone inside the crowded shop. It wasn’t that bad.
It’s completely unprecedented for a Truth Official to bow towards an adventurer. If this matter becomes public, then Martin-san’s reputation will completely go down the drain. However, since I managed to quickly repair the wall, people were only able to see him Dogeza for a short while, so they were probably mostly clueless as to what is going on.
Martin’s face looks like it’s the end of the world.
“Hey, cheer up, it’s okay. You could have just said everything while you were sitting in your chair, but you went the extra mile by getting down and kneeling.”
If I continue anymore then he might hold a grudge against me.
“T-thank you so much……”
After Martin thanked me, he left the store crying.
“What an unpleasant incident.”
“What are you saying. Everything was your fault, Masaru.”
His Dogeza was made public as I thought.
Tl note: In this chapter, I learned that rice in Japanese (米) is called amerika.