V2 Chapter 51: Why

“――Where did you get this?”

The identification badge of the “Silver Star”, which the White Knight Arrow was supposed to wear until his dying moment. How should I interpret the fact that it is in the hands of the leader of the “Desert Hawk”?

As I pondered such things, I naturally asked a question.

Then, the Black Knight Joel shrugged his shoulders lightly and replied.

“This is not something I stole or picked up. It’s a forgotten item.”

“A forgotten item?”

“Yes. It was when I last drank with Arrow. He forgot this and went home.”

I frowned at the unexpected answer. It seemed unnatural to me that a leader of a group, even if it was temporary, would forget their own identification badge and go home. And before that, it was also suspicious that the leaders of the opposing “Silver Star” and “Desert Hawk” were drinking together.

As if anticipating my doubts, Joel explained his relationship with Arrow while moistening his mouth with fire liquor.

Joel joined the Berka Adventurer Guild as soon as he became an adult at thirteen. He had no parents, no money, and no education. If a person like him wanted to aim for the top, there was no other way than to become an adventurer. At least, that’s what Joel thought at the time.

For Joel, who was like that, the existence of Arrow, who joined the guild three years later, was annoying and unbearable. He was in a similar situation without parents or money, but Arrow had education given to him by Cardinal Sylara――he was not a cardinal at that time.

He could read and write. He had learned manners. He had a core that had been instilled with proper etiquette in every movement, and he was clearly different from the many uneducated roughnecks in the Berka Adventurer Guild. He was like a crane in a garbage dump.

If Arrow had no ability, he would have been kicked out of the guild soon. But Arrow showed his talent in terms of achievements as well, and became one of the cornerstones of the Berka Guild.

“He was an unpleasant brat, really. Well, I guess people thought the same about me.”

Joel said so and drank up the remaining fire liquor.

“We hated each other. He didn’t like my way of doing things either, and he always picked a fight with me. We competed with each other and did stupid things. As we did so, both the “Desert Hawk” and the “Silver Star” became more valuable, and it became more common for us to fight with each other’s subordinates. For me, it was a relief not to see Arrow’s smug face anymore… But sometimes there were things we had to talk about as leaders.”

At such times, Joel said he would go out to a backstreet tavern with Arrow by mutual agreement. Just like we are doing now.

Just. Like. That. Time.

“When I got a message from Arrow, I thought it was strange. I hadn’t heard of any trouble going on down there. But I thought he wouldn’t call me out for no reason, so I went out. And then he said he wanted to talk to me for a long time.”

I told him to say his nonsense in his sleep and got up from my seat, but Arrow smiled and showed me a bottle of fire liquor made by dwarves.

It is a well-known fact that dwarves are good at making liquor. Just as Joel knew Arrow, Arrow also understood Joel. Listening to their story, it seemed like they had a pretty good relationship.

“The content of the conversation was mostly old stories. It was like this at that time, it was like that at this time, that’s all he said. Even now that I think back on it, I can’t think of any hidden intentions.”

And after emptying the bottle of dwarf fire liquor, Arrow left another bottle as a thank you for keeping him company and left before Joel.

When Joel noticed the emblem left behind in the shadow of the second bottle of fire liquor, Arrow’s figure was already gone.

“I didn’t feel obliged to chase after him. But if I left it there and it was found by the owner or something, it would be revealed that the White Knight was in the shop. Then someone would notice me too. It would be a hassle if it got out that the leaders of the “Silver Star” and the “Desert Hawk” were having a secret meeting at a tavern. So I took care of it for him. It was a thank you for the dwarf liquor.”

He thought he would hear something from him tomorrow or something, but contrary to his expectations, Arrow didn’t say anything and went on an expedition to the unexplored area.

――And then, Arrow never came back.

“It’s not uncommon for unexpected things to happen when you’re adventuring in the desert. It’s not unusual to be treated as dead if you’re late coming back. So when I heard the story, I just thought, ‘Again’. There’s no way Arrow and the guys from the ‘Silver Star’ would be killed by some desert monsters.”

Joel’s face was filled with anger and irritation as he said that. I couldn’t tell what his emotions were directed at as he continued his story.

After the disappearance of the “Silver Star”, Cardinal Sylara, who had a close relationship with Arrow, took the lead and conducted a large-scale search. The “Desert Hawk” also cooperated with this, but they couldn’t find the “Silver Star” either.

I’ve heard about what happened after that from Katia before. The “Silver Star”, which had lost its main force, was forced to disband, and instead the “Desert Hawk” gained a lot of influence. Many people suspected that the “Desert Hawk” had murdered the “Silver Star” because of this fact.

Joel laughed scornfully.

“Sure, I hated that guy Arrow. I thought how refreshing it would be if he was gone. Especially when I was young and free. But try me doing something like framing and killing Arrow now. The guys down there wouldn’t let it go either. Do you think I could do such a stupid thing?”

Joel said so and mocked those who looked at him with suspicion. Maybe his situation was more serious than I thought.

Anyway, Joel doubted Arrow’s death.

There was no way that Arrow and the main force of the “Silver Star” would be killed by some desert monsters. It was also unlikely that they had an accident in the unexplored area. The Catalan Desert was a hellish place where a moment’s carelessness could cost you your life, but if you say that, Arrow and his men were veterans among veterans who had been active in that hellish place for over a decade.

Joel, who had been competing with the “Silver Star” for years, knew their abilities better than any ally. That’s why he was more suspicious.

But nothing came out to back up his suspicion.

“There was no mechanical or magical device on that emblem. I also checked with the “Desert Hawk”’s information network to see if there was anyone who had a grudge against the “Silver Star”, but no one like that came up. Now, after hearing this story, what do you think, dragon slayer?”

I was suddenly asked this question and answered honestly what I thought.

“I would judge that I’m overthinking things, wouldn’t I?”

All of Arrow’s actions before he went missing were products of his whim, and the “Silver Star” had run out of luck and were killed by monsters this time. In other words, there was no hidden agenda behind this incident.

If I thought so, it would make sense that nothing came out no matter how much I searched.

“Haha, well, that’s what it would be.”

Joel shrugged his shoulders and drank up the fire liquor.

I wondered how many glasses he had drunk while continuing my words.

“Otherwise, I would recognize the enormity of the enemy and act cautiously.”


Joel stared at me with a glare. As I looked back at his eyes, I organized my thoughts in my mind.

If there was an intention behind Arrow’s actions, it was nothing but entrusting his successor to Joel. He asked him to take care of the “Silver Star” if something happened to him――that’s what he meant by leaving his emblem behind.

But if this conjecture was correct, there was one question that arose. The question was why Arrow didn’t try to deal with the danger he sensed himself.

Arrow, the White Knight who was known to everyone in Berka. He had popularity, fame, and military strength. He should have been able to handle most enemies by himself. Even if he faced an enemy that was too much for him, he could have asked for help from those around him.

――But Arrow didn’t do that. He didn’t even hint at the existence of the enemy to Joel, whom he entrusted his successor to. Why was that?

――Because if he knew the identity of the enemy, it would endanger the lives of those who cooperated with him.

In other words, Arrow judged that even if the “Silver Star” and the “Desert Hawk” cooperated, they couldn’t stand up to this enemy.

In Berka, there are very few organizations that have more influence than these two combined.

What came to mind here was the words Joel had said before starting this conversation. Joel said――it’s not something I can talk to easily with someone who’s close to the Temple of Law.

It goes without saying that the influence of the Temple of Law is immense. The hawk and the star, even if they were combined, they couldn’t compete with it.

And to add to that, this idea also answers another question.

Another question――why did Arrow choose Joel as the person to entrust the “Silver Star” to?

Sure, there seemed to be a mutual understanding between them that no one else knew, but even so, externally, the “Silver Star” and the “Desert Hawk” were in opposition. He wasn’t a suitable person to entrust his successor to.

In fact, many problems have arisen in Berka as a result of the “Silver Star” being absorbed by the “Desert Hawk”. I can’t imagine that Arrow didn’t notice that.

If I were Arrow, I would entrust my successor to Cardinal Sylara, who had been associated with me for two generations.

Of course, I don’t mean to make him an adventurer. I would choose a young person who would take over the next generation and ask the Temple of Law to be his or her backer. That way, even if the scale was reduced a bit, the “Silver Star” could have survived.

But Arrow didn’t do that. He entrusted his successor to Joel. Why was that?

――All of the ‘whys’ point to the Temple of Law. I couldn’t help but feel that way.

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