Several tens of days later after Ardis’s contact with the girl from the ruined organization. Under Ardis’s eyes, the girl had at the very least taken two meals a day.
Thanks to that, she’s not as thin as she used to be, and can now fit in without any abnormality wearing normal townfolk clothing. With the strange daily life going, one day of a new month.
For the sake of buying information from the information broker, Chezare, Ardis headed towards the tavern where he’s always in.
「A good subjugation request? Didn’t I told you to not look for an information broker for something like that, but a job introducer? Wasn’t Jeanne-san taking care of you? 」
The gentle looking man that would have girls flocking over to him looked at Ardis with a surprised face.
「It’s exactly because that Jeanne wasn’t being helpful that I came here to ask you. 」
「Even if I’m an information broker, a job introducer would know more about subjugation requests. If not, the occupation of a job introducer wouldn’t be there in the first place. Did Jeanne-san say something? 」
「『Rest for a bit』 he said. 」
「Rest? Why? 」
「『You cleaned up all the demonic beings all around the capital, and all the other mercenaries has nothing to live on』. 」
Just as he heard, a muffed 「Puh」 sound came from Chezare, as his hand covered his mouth while his shoulders was trembling.
「Well well, sorry. Even I didn’t think a job introducer can say such thing. I see I see, certainly, thanks to you, demonic beings is rare around the capital recently. After all, we’re talking about someone who can subjugate the 『Three Great Demons』 in just a day. Surely the other mercenaries would have troubles to get by. 」
「I didn’t have that intention though……」
「Regardless, with your pace of subjugating them, I don’t think it’s impossible for the demonic beings to go extinct around here. Since you’re probably not troubled with money, why not use this chance to take a break? It might be a good idea to visit various countries. ……Ah, but not Alburn if you’re going to do that. 」
「What? Did something happen in Alburn? 」
「I don’t know the details yet but, it seems like the Alburn government was overturned. Apparently a Lord Corpse rebelled and labelled himself as the new king. The details have to wait though. 」
But actually, Chezare who said so looked at Ardis with an appraising smile.
「Alburn would be in a state of chaos soon, so it might be good chance to find some quick buck there. 」
「No, not feeling like it now. 」
Since Chezare was the one to say it, Alburn must be really undergoing a change in governance. Just killing the king wouldn’t end the matter that easily.
There’s a high chance that the entire country will be thrown into a civil war. If so, it would be a good chance to earn money for mercenaries like Ardis.
And if such information were to spread, there’s no mistake that many mercenaries in the capital would move to Alburn. However, it wasn’t a choice for Ardis who has the two twins behind him.
There’re also the lessons with Minerva, maybe a month or two might be fine, but he wouldn’t leave the capital for a year.
Ardis was thinking so, but he refused the idea vaguely as a problem of his feeling. However, Chezare probably knew what Ardis was thinking.
「Leaving that aside. I have some breaking news, interested? 」
Even Chezare wasn’t really suggesting Ardis to head over to Alburn too as he easily changed the topic.
「Breaking news? How much? 」
「Ten gold. 」
It’s very expensive considering it’s for a piece of information. However, Ardis also knew that Chezare isn’t a man who would randomly put ludicrous price on his information.
At the very least, he has pride in his occupation as an information broker, so he would do his part of the job befitting the price.
Although not someone to believe in as a person, he’s the most believable as an information broker. It’s an information priced at ten gold by someone like that.
It’s likely that it does has that price. After some hesitation, Ardis put ten gold coins on the table.
「There’s some unsettling rumors about you. Rather, the rumors are set to be spread soon. 」
In a soft voice, Chezare with a serious face started talking.
「Unsettling rumors? 」
「It’s the rumors about you’re hiding twins. And also, a heretic that goes against the Goddess, or rather, an apostle of the Evil God. 」
「……That’s troubling to hear. 」
「Well, leaving aside the matter about the twins, the other part of the story is hard to ignore. 」
Leaving aside he’s a heretic or not, it’s true that he’s going against the Goddess. In the first place, Ardis didn’t believe in the Goddess at all.
Rather, it’s not a matter of believing or not. Ardis only has hatred towards that woman, a nemesis that he must exact his revenge on.
「Apparently it will be spread by the church. To be exact, their gofers will do it. On top of tht, there’re also some nobles’ gofers helping. So it’ll probably spread in no time. 」
「The church huh……」
It wasn’t anything strange in Ardis’s eyes. Certainly, Ardis had already some bad experiences with the church in Thoria.
Although he’s in good terms with Solte from the church in the capital, that’s largely thanks to her personality. Ardis knew in advance as well all this trouble could be avoided if he acted even a little more accordingly and hid his hostility better.
However, the truth is that the existence of the Goddess is something that Ardis couldn’t accept to that degree. Unable to hide his hostility during a conversation with the plump eared priest during the Cleansing Rite is inevitable.
「So what’s the truth actually? 」
「Even if I denied it, the rumors wouldn’t stop but get worse right? 」
「So you won’t deny it, yes? 」
「If me denying it would be believed, then I would. 」
If such rumors had already arrived at an information broker like Chezare, what Ardis does now is futile.
It goes without saying that even if he lied about it, no one would believe that he worships the Goddess, and the matter about him raising twins and going against the Goddess is the truth after all.
However, unlike those two points, being a heretic wasn’t something he had done.
「I see. I understand now. 」
Probably realizing something from Ardis’s expression, or judging that getting information from Ardis is impossible, Chezare stopped pursuing about it.
「So? Are you selling my information to the church too? 」
「No way. If I was planning to do that, I wouldn’t have told you this. It’s a piece of information that would’ve fetched hundreds of gold coin and I’ve sold it to you at ten. Won’t you feel more gratitude? 」
「Look at whose saying. Even though someone tried to do something to me when we first met. What kind of change in wind did you have? 」
Chezare had a past record of endorsing dumb mercenaries to attack Ardis when he first arrived to the capital.
「Ah, let’s leave that matter behind already. I’m not a fool as well. I’ve decided it’s better to have you as a precious customer rather than turning you into an enemy. Although it might be skeptical hearing this from an information broker, but my intuition is also saying that it’s better to not break ties with you. 」
「Well, then so be it. 」
Ardis backed off seeing Chezare’s panic face.
「In any case, you have my thanks. I will probably stay hidden for the time being. 」
「Yeah, oh right. Please don’t come here in broad daylight anymore. Even I wouldn’t want to have the church or nobles’ eyes on me. 」
「I know. I will pretend not to know you when there’re people around. 」
Deciding that they would use a note to for further contact, Ardis stood up from his seat. Chezare added on as he suddenly recalled while Ardis was leaving.
「The investigation for that matter is still undergoing. 」
「I’m not expecting too much, so you can take it easy. 」
「That’s not something I can do. Once I’ve accepted it, I’ll make sure to investigate it properly. 」
Impressed by the fact that he’s a man dedicated in weird places, Ardis left the inn wordlessly with a bitter smile.
A room inside the church of the capital. One young nun was arguing with a middle-aged priest.
「Ardis-san saved me two times already! There’s no way he’s an apostle of the Evil God! 」
「Sister Solte. No matter how much you stand up for that man, the fact wouldn’t change. 」
The priest with his special characteristics of plump ears was trying to explain it patiently like towards a child, but the nun, Solte didn’t have the slightest intention of hearing,
「I’ve met Ardis-san five years already. I know Ardis-san more than you. It’s true that he’s disrespectful towards Goddess-sama sometimes but, there’s no way he’s a bad person! 」
「I as well knew him four years already. Recalling back, his action and behavior was strange. Rather than disrespecting Goddess-sama, he had obvious hostility. I thought it was my mistake back then, but thinking about it now, it’s natural for the Evil God’s apostle to be looking at Goddess-sama like that. Seeing that he had refused to pray during the Cleansing Rite and now raising twins, there’s no answer other than he is the Evil God’s apostle. 」
「It’s because Ardis-san had to prioritize escorting the young lady during the Cleansing Rite. Isn’t him hiding twins is also just a rumor! 」
「Of course, I’m not believing in any rumors either. 」
It’s not good for all things but the church which is the symbol of the Goddess to be judging someone just based on rumors.
However, the plump-eared priest explained in a calm voice despite Solte’s increasing volume.
「From the church in Thoria, we’ve gotten witnesses from mercenaries seeing twins in the inn where the man used to stay. 」
「Saying that Ardis is an evil apostle just going by that is too uncertain. Couldn’t it be that it’s just a coincidence that he’s living there! 」
「It’s not just that. There’re also more evidences from other sources. When that man was still in Thoria, there were rumors of him hiding a pair of twins. 」
「Isn’t it just rumors! 」
「Lord Thoria had also provided information about that man. Just as he had sent his subordinates to that man’s house hearing the rumors, that man had escaped. 」
「Eh, Lord Thoria is……? 」
Solte looked surprised.
「The territorial lord, church, mercenary, and even the citizens. All of them had testified to it. In other words, it’s undeniable that man is the Evil God’s apostle and also hiding a pair of twins. 」
Just rumors couldn’t be any proof. Mercenaries’ credibility are also very vague. However, it’s different if a territorial lord that has political power is testifying to it.
Although having less power than the king, it is also only second to the king and the church. A territorial lord, on top of that, a Marquis had testified it, there’s probably not many who would be willing to go against that.
「Sister Solte. Many people know that you are close with that man as well. If you continue stand up for him, then there will be doubts on you too. Please be mindful of your own standing as well. 」
Solte becoming quiet wasn’t because of that. However, it was because that she understood that she couldn’t change what is going to happen with just her power.
「I’m sure Goddess-sama will soon brand that man as a heretic. 」
Solte became speechless. If so, then there would be nowhere in the entire continent where Ardis could belong.
Leaving aside cities such as the capital, even small villages believes in the Goddess. A place where there’re no believers of the Goddess meant that it is either somewhere remote, or somewhere living in is impossible.
Being branded as a heretic has the same meaning as being exiled from the human society. Solte firmly believes that Ardis isn’t an apostle of the Evil God.
There’re probably many on Ardis’s side in the capital as well. Known as the Three Great Demons Subjugator, the hero in the war with the Empire, there’re many who knows of his name.
However, how many are there who actually knows about the real Ardis.
The fame that was arisen from rumors can easily be erased other rumors. Even if the truth is different and it’s all made up, majority would probably believe it.
On top of that, it is the heretic branding from the church versus rumors, it’s easily to imagine what would happen.
Imagining what Ardis would have to face in the future, Solte felt her vision became dark.