16-40. [Judicial Nation] Sheriffald (4)
Satou here. I'm not very good with real mystery, but I'm quite fond of TV dramas about detectives. That they're easy on amateur viewers by doing stuff like suddenly divulging who the culprit is, or making an individual obviously suspicious are the nice things about them.
"Let's move on to the next one."
I'm currently doing a test in the Trial before God's room of the Main Temple after obtaining the permission through the miko.
The beastkin girls, Mia, Nana and Mito have come here from the Solitary Island to help me with it.
This time the room is closed for entry, thus no one is going to discriminate them.
"Hamburg steak is really good."
The girls answer my inquiry one after another.
"Yes nanodesu! Hamburg-sensei is the strongest nanodesuyo!"
"It's a bit soft, but it is indeed good."
"Hamburg steak's tastiness is the truth so I announce."
"It really is."
The Golden Scale tilted toward me.
"Is it my turn next? Hamburg steak isn't really good."
Mito who stood opposite to me threw an inquiry that had been prepared beforehand.
"That can't be nodesu! Hamburg-sensei is really really tasty nodesuyo!"
"There might be people who don't agree to its softness, however I think the hamburg steak itself is good."
"I cry objection to that evaluation so I protest."
We observes no change in the Golden Scale.
"True, it's not that good."
I said something that couldn't be farther from what I think, but the Golden Scale isn't moving an inch.
Looks like in cases the thing you said differ from what you have in minds, it will prioritize what you truly feel.
Suddenly I noticed something and looked below, there Pochi and Tama were looking up at me with sad faces.
"That was just a lie, you two."
"Pochi is relieved nodesu. But lying is not good nodesuyo."
While patting the relieved Tama and Pochi who struck a "Bad!" pose, I organized what we had verified so far.
"--I think I've gotten a good idea about the mechanism."
The test is completed.
"It's over nodesu?"
"Yeah, I was able to understand it thanks to everyone's help."
"I'm honored to have been of use."
"Don't worry be happy~"
"Pochi is glad to hear that nanodesu."
"Master, how should I support you next, so I ask."
"Are you sure?"
I gave my thanks to the beastkin girls, Nana, Mia and Mito who had helped with the test.
Verifying [Golden Scale] was over so quick because these girls are honest to a fault.
I sent them back to the island after thanking them for their help.
Of course I plan to treat them to a full course hamburg steak for their assistance this time.
I thank the miko for allowing me to borrow the room and go back to the airship moored at the outskirts of the city.
Not for taking off, it's cause the ship has a complete set of counterespionage facility inside.
Since it seems there's still some time until ChuuFat and the other mice, whom I have teleported below the building, to get into their positions, I'll go gather some intel with space magic.
"Usually, I'd go with the king first--"
Since this country's system closely resembles that of democratic ancient Greece's system, there's no king here.
There should be someone that rules over the City Core, but I couldn't find anyone who fit the bill with Map Search.
Perhaps the governance of City Core itself is split up.
That's interesting, maybe I should test it out with one of the City Cores when I have time later.
"Let's take a look at the Chief of Central Judicial Bureau for now."
I stopped myself right when I was going to invoke space magic at the location data I got from Map Search.
In countries with bad public orders and rampant crimes like this, there's a chance that they have sophisticated traceback magic devices installed.
Moreover, in this Judicial Nation Sheriffald, the positions of high ranking officials at Judicial Bureau are like those of nobles in other countries, so they might have access to the City Core terminal.
And if they do, that means they're capable of deploying anti-detection barriers.
Thus, I decided to use the anti-traceback space magic spell before invoking [Clairvoyance] and [Clairhearis].
The chief of the Central Judicial Bureua was a stout fat bald middle-aged man.
Oops, I got found out way quicker than expected.
There's a possibility of him simply bluffing, but 9 out of 10, it's probably for real.
Well, since I the traceback was repelled by the anti-detection space magic I prepared beforehand, he only found out that someone was trying to peek, not that I was the one doing it, surely.
"But, that's weird..."
Unless he's in danger of getting monitored daily, there's no need to deploy anti-detection barriers.
I could understand if he was in the middle of scheming something, but deploying the barrier while he's just doing paperwork feels unrealistic cost-wise.
"Fumu, it doesn't seem like the chief is going to call his subordinates..."
I checked on the Map right after canceling the space magic, but there were no movements that indicated the chief calling his subordinates.
Perhaps, this chief is being monitored daily by someone else?
Well, I've designated the chief's room as the most important place for the Sage Mice to observe, so let's just leave it to them.
There's still some time before the Sage Mice are finished with the arrangement, thus I've decided to investigate people who likely have access to the City Core terminal.
First thing first, let's take a peek at the Guard Bureau's guardroom.
『Bah, I'm beat.』
『You there, less talking more moving.』
I could see one of the guards writing something resembling records while grumbling.
Still, records huh--might be worth stealthily duplicating them and pinpoint all the corrupt people.
『Hero-sama's working his ass off out there.』
『No shit, ya think all Hero-sama are like that?』
『All Hero-sama? Ya talk like there's more than one hero-sama.』
『Previous hero was yeah, but rumor says there's four rite' now.』
Oh, quite an interesting topic.
It isn't related to the Trial, but let's lend an ear to this.
『The heck, four?』
『Yea, seems they all got summoned together.』
『Hee, so how's the other heroes like?』
『Hell if I know.』
Fumu, [Summoned together], does that mean it was a Group Summoning?
Yet, I only found Hero Meiko alone when I searched for heroes at Saga Empire, wonder why?
Maybe it was simply a false rumor, or perhaps those heroes are somewhere else--most likely they're being reared at either Saga Empire's [Hero Labyrinth] or [Bloodsucking Labyrinth].
Suddenly, a young man who seemed to be their superior came in.
『Oy! We're sortieing out! Looks like they found out about the illicit brewery at the central district this time.』
『Hero-sama works way too hard.』
I took a glance at the Map.
The ones taking actions at the central district are Arisa and the girls, not the hero.
They have left the brewery already, and are in the middle of moving to the next criminal's hideout.
『Quit your whining and get to work! If we don't control the situation while Hero Seigi-dono is out there, Hero Yuuki-dono of [Explosive Flame] would show up and turn everything into ashes!』
『What the hell.』
『You sure he's not a demon lord instead?』
I agree with these guards.
Apparently this Hero Yuuki is magician type hero.
He's probably the hero that came to Garleon Union after we left.
I've been ignoring these heroes since I'm not really interested, but once this trial is over, perhaps I'd better gather information from Echigoya Firm and Shiga Kingdom's Intelligence Department?
When no one was present inside the room, I took it upon myself to borrow the records with [<<Aport an Object>>], and copied the documents with [Recording], [Magic Hand], and [Parallel Thought].
I could have used Transcript skill too if I wanted, but it's faster this way.
After I'm done copying, I return the original records to its place.
I duplicate the copied data into blank papers using my Storage function. It's an original function of Exchange Column's Memo Note to copy text.
Afterward, I call Tifaliza at Echigoya Firm using space magic [Telephone].
『Tifaliza, sorry for bothering when you're busy, but could you analyze some documents for me.』
『As you wish, Kuro-sama.』
Tifaliza readily gave her consent with her usual flat tone even though it was a sudden request.
I send the copied records to Tifaliza's office room with Unit Arrangement.
『What kind of analysis would you like to read?』
『Please check records about crimes perpetrated by Crime Syndicate Dujii, and list all the people who declared or made verdicts that those crimes are perpetrated by Dujii.』
『Understood. Should I also list people who could be profiting from the cases?』
『If you could do that, please do.』
Got a feeling that's impossible from the records alone.
『Kuro-sama, Manager Elterina would like to ask if you want her to do something--』
Looks like the manager is still bordering on workaholic like usual.
『Nah, nothing in particular. Tell the manager to work hard at her normal duty.』
While feeling slightly puzzled by Tifaliza's ambiguous sounding answer, I ended the space magic Telephone call.
"Think it's about time?"
Once I've confirmed that the Sage Mice are in positions, I use space magic once again to investigate things.
The plan is to let the Sage Mice to record the situations there with the magic tools they carry after we shook things up.
After deploying space magic to prevent traceback, I invoke space magic [Clairvoyance] and [Clairhearis].
Before challenging the chief again, I chose between the three vice chiefs.
I saw on the Map that someone had just rushed into the Vice-chief's room, so I peeked on them.
『Vice-chief Bupa, Zou-dono's brewery has been raided.』
What a timely topic.
This Vice-chief doesn't have anti-detection barrier deployed, so he doesn't notice me looking.
I listen carefully to their conversations through the space magic.
The watching sage mice are carrying video recording magic tools with them, but just in case, I also activate video and sound recording magic to preserve the info I'm witnessing now.
『That blasted hero! What the hell is the official we stick on him doing! Didn't I give him order to lead the hero to the underground bars at the downtown!』
I see, the reason why the hero had been focusing solely at the downtown was these guys' handiwork.
『N-no, that's, it's not the hero this time.』
『What? Another straitlaced inspector? Or is it the hardheaded fools from Guard Bureau?』
Since it's from the suspect himself, I memo-ed people who sounded like they could be taken off the list.
『It's neither of them』
『Then who? Just speak!』
『It's the subordinates of Shiga Kingdom's Earl Pendragon...』
In the picture, the handsome middle-aged judicial bureau Vice-chief stamped his feet before he beat the desk hard.
『Why are those bunch acting like our country's guards! Stop their foolish actions at once!』
『What are you hesitating for? What is there to fear from a noble, no matter how high his rank, of a foreign country we have no real diplomatic relation with. Dispatch the national soldiers and knights if the guards can't handle them!』
Looks like the fact that I'm [Demon Lord Slayer] hasn't reached him, maybe because there's practically no diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Well, since the judges and guards of this country should be listening when Hero Seigi called me [Demon Lord Slayer], I'm sure the news will spread before long.
『That's not what I mean! Earl Pendragon has come here to take on that Trial at God Urion Main Temple.』
『Trial? What the heck is that?』
Guess God's Trials aren't really well known?
『Are you not familiar with it? The Trial of God Urion. Expose evils, make justice be known to the world, that trial.』
『An earl from a foreign country took that?』
The Vice-chief gnarled, "So what?", at the subordinate.
『The populace already knows about the trial. Should we stand in his way, wouldn't that be the same as declaring that there's something going on behind the scene!』
The vice-chief groaned to hear the subordinate.
This vice-chief didn't seem to be aware of it, but apparently, the God's Trial is a common knowledge amongst the populace from temple worships and folklores.
For now, these two seem to be in cahoot.
I open the Map and look for the next candidate.
I tried peeking at the Guard Bureau's director room since he was seemingly having a suspicious secret talk just like the vice-chief earlier.
『You again, Inspector Stary.』
A very obese inspector who was sweating all over pressed on a gray-haired old man, the director.
『I heard that the culprits of salt smuggling have been arrested?』
『Umu, if you mean that beastkin criminal, he had been captured by the pursuing investigator at the Corrupt City--I mean, City-state Dodobu.』
『So then, where is that criminal imprisoned at? I'm gonna find out the ringleaders this time for sure.』
The director pushed away the inspector who brought his face close.
Looks like he got his hands on the sweat as he took out a handkerchief and wipe them before replying the inspector.
『We've identified that already. After an interrogation by the investigators who caught him, he confessed that he was a member of [Crime Syndicate Dujii].』
The inspector raised his voice like he heard the name of his parent's nemesis.
『Dujii! Dujii! Dujii! Are you saying that it's Dujii again!』
『Lower your volume.』
The bureau director frowned.
『I'll get a clue on Dujii's hideout for sure this time. Where's that criminal locked up at?』
『Aah, then you'd better go to the morgue instead of the jail.』
『Did you silence them again?』
『Stop phrasing it like that. Their comrades showed up while we were taking him... We had no other choice to prevent escape.』
The inspector is right, he's silenced them no matter how you look at it.
Moreover, there's a possibility that the beastkin was caught on a false charge judging from the flow of this conversation.
『Dead men tell no tales, huh...』
『You, stop needlessly suspecting your coworkers. I don't care if you're the Chief's favorite, keep that up and I'd have to hand out punishment soon, you hear me?』
The bureau director glanced at the door like he was driving out the inspector.
『I will definitely get a lead on Dujii! Definitely!』
The director sighed while ignoring the inspector who shouted out loud outside the room.
『Good grief, this is why these self-alleged justice bunch are bothersome. If you think you can get a lead on a crime syndicate that never existed, go on and do your worst.』
I check on one target after another after recording the director's confession.
I managed to investigate around 30 people before Arisa and the girls came back, but even though there were two among those who had put up anti-detection barrier, none had prepared a way to traceback like with the Central Judicial Bureau's chief.
<TLN: If you're reading this novel at any other site than Sousetsuka .com you might be reading an unedited, uncorrected version of the novel.>
The diversion group, Arisa and the girls returned to the base after arresting criminals.
"Zena-tan and Sera were completely dominating the battlefield today, I'll have you know."
"Not at all! I-I just took us to the places where the miasma were the thickest with Wind Magic."
"No need to be so modest, Zena. Didn't you practically arrest all the bad men yourself using the combination of wind magic and self-defense art."
Zena-san is blushing to receive praises from Arisa and Sera.
"What about Sera-san?"
"I only went around telling apart people who had malice in their heart with holy magic."
Arisa could probably do the same with people whose offenses are carved on their Status, but Sera probably saw through those who didn't have them carved.
After all, you can use City Core to delete crimes carved on Status.
"What's that mountain of documents over here?"
"Those files with tags are records of this country. While these thin files are the report Tifaliza analyzed."
"In that short while? Master, you work your employees hard as always."
Arisa took the thin file and began to read on it while sighing.
"Master, this is amazing. Are these documents really created while we were away?"
"Yep, it is."
I don't know how Tifalize analyzed that bundle of records, but the report she made contains minute details in an easy to understand manner like, who laid the blame on Dujii, or who profited from those crimes.
"Really, she'd have been the most valuable player in a cyber information war."
"She really would."
I nodded together with Arisa who was done reading the file.
If I didn't make sure to keep Tifaliza's talent a secret, people at the level of Shiga Kingdom's prime minister would have tried to head hunt her.
I shared the content of the record I took with space magic earlier with the girls.
Even content that were meaningless by itself carry a different meaning after reading Tifaliza's summarized report.
This much is enough to expose them, but still impossible to apply to the whole ruling class of this country.
There's a fair amount of honest guards like the inspector earlier, however, most of the upper echelon ones are taking the wait-and-see approach, none seem capable of unmasking the ringleaders.
It's hard to solely rely on the Main Temple's authority to expose the corruption.
It could end up turning into Main Temple VS Central Judicial Bureau if I'm not careful.
The Sage Mouse ChuuFat that had come back took out many recording magic tools from his small <<Magic Mouse Pouch>> and handed them over to me.
"Good work, ChuuFat. Make sure to change shift with other mice and get some meals before continuing your surveillance okay."
I put Souffle Cakes and Cheese Cakes into ChuuFat's Mouse Pouch and teleported him back to the Judicial Nation's underground.
We check on the recording one by one.
『Hero and an Earl who took on the [Trial of God Urion] huh.... I loathe to borrow the powers of foreigners, but this country has no capability to save itself from itself anymore.』
"Master, isn't this person--"
I quietly nodded to Arisa who turned around, and made a gesture to listen quietly.
『It shouldn't surprise anyone if they came to the conclusion that I'm the head of Dujii if they were to check on the documents.』
No, unfortunately, you were only deemed gray even in Tifaliza's Report.
『Perhaps I should confess and drag along people that Inspector Stary is investigating with me, laying bare this country's abscesses in broad daylight to public....』
Quite a resolution.
He's probably been working hard to correct the corruption in this country.
I lift my eyes from the monitor and look at the girls.
"So yeah, I plan to finish everything tomorrow."
Looks like I can complete this trial quickly.
I'm gonna test a trial holding big weights on the [Golden Scale] tonight, but before that--
"I'll be going to meet the Chief."
To make the final preparations, you see.