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Chapter 29: The Empire’s Worst Psychopath (2)

“Wake up. How long do you plan to sleep?”

The words came suddenly. Rubia, with a blank face, rubbed her eyes and soon realized she had been unconscious all this time.

Her face went pale in an instant.

And for good reason.

It was outrageous, to have passed out in front of the leader of the empire’s worst terrorist organization.

It was an act no different from throwing her life away.

“I’m, I’m sorry.”

Moreover, Rubia was now seated in a chair. In other words, the leader had personally carried her here while she was unconscious.

Worried she might have offended him, Rubia spoke with a trembling voice.

However, the response she received was utterly unexpected.

Questions about why she was apologizing, remarks about how it was merely something said because she was sleeping too vulnerably while dangerous things were happening outside.

Those were some incredibly gentle words.

For a moment, Rubia’s mind went blank.

‘...Perhaps, he might be nicer than I thought?’

The term ‘gaslighting’ didn’t exist in this world, so Rubia had no way of knowing she was experiencing it without her realizing.

‘When I think about it, he’s always been kind to his members.’

Though he had coolly threatened to kill her before she officially joined the organization, there had been no threats after she received the black robe.

Thinking back, it seemed he had actually been looking out for her. It was just her who had been unilaterally terrified of the monstrous leader.

Being strong doesn’t mean one lacks humanity.

Reconsidering his actions from this perspective made Ian seem more reasonable and kind than she had thought.

Perhaps… there’s no need to be afraid of him.

That was what Rubia was thinking as she tried to rise from the chair.

“......?”

Rubia’s expression turned to one of confusion.

Thinking about it, it wasn’t surprising.

There were dozens of people in front of her.

“Ah, these people are slaves I’ve just rescued.”

Her mind went blank in an instant. She couldn’t make sense of what she was hearing.

Slaves?

Rescued?

But even as Rubia stood confused, Ian continued to explain.

He had rescued them after slave traders had abandoned them while fleeing.

The search was assisted by Siel, the destruction was handled by Lien, and he dispelled the slave brands himself, thereby rescuing over forty people in a blink of an eye.

Rubia simply couldn’t keep up with the situation.

Dispel slave brands? Is that even remotely possible by any standard?

But setting that aside for now.

“W-what were you thinking doing something like that…”

Stealing from the black market was an issue that couldn’t simply be overlooked.

Rubia’s panic over this black market terrorism incident wasn’t for nothing. Contrary to its name, the black market was an incredibly safe place.

After all, it’s operated by the ‘Archmage’ himself.

No one would dare dream of breaking the rules. How could anyone think of opposing the Archmage?

That’s why no one dares to steal anything from the black market.

…And yet, the leader has now blatantly stolen dozens of slaves.

And somehow, he’s even managed to cleanly erase their slave brands.

This situation.

It was obvious what the Archmage would think of this.

“I’ll go and try to explain the situation somehow!”

Rubia said as she abruptly stood up.

There might still be a chance now.

It’s too early to give up. She needs to quickly explain the situation to the Archmage and somehow apologize.

She might not be confident in changing the Archmage’s mind, but what wouldn’t she do to survive?

That was Rubia’s thought as she was about to rush off in search of the Archmage.

“…Where are you off to all of a sudden?”

Ian stops her.

His expression was incredibly calm, as if he didn’t understand the severity of the situation.

That’s why Rubia quickly continued explaining.

After all, eloquence is a skill any businessman inevitably needs to have.

Explaining the severity of the situation without upsetting the leader too much was a simple task.

And after hearing everything, Ian pondered for a moment before speaking.

“You don’t need to worry about that.”

“…Huh?”

“That person, he’s dead.”

Rubia’s mind went blank in an instant.

The meaning of his words was clear upon reflection.

True to form,

the leader spoke as if it was nothing.

“I killed him. So you don’t need to worry.”

Rubia’s face went pale.

It was, perhaps, to be expected.

The man was nonchalantly talking about how he had killed the Archmage, a figure even the empire hesitated to confront.

...It was beyond comprehension.

After all, not a single scratch could be seen on the man’s body.

The implication was clear.

An overwhelming difference.

A gap in power so vast that calling it a fight wouldn’t even make sense, indicating that there was an absolute disparity in strength between the two.

She could feel cold sweat running down her back.

She had known all along. That the leader before her eyes was an unimaginably formidable force.

Yet, knowing did not prevent her from being shocked.

What kind of monster could so dominantly overpower the Archmage?

It was impossible to understand within the realm of normal logic.

“Oh, by the way, some of the people we rescued said they want to join us. Would you be able to lend us the mansion?”

As always, he asked politely.

In this situation.

There was only one course of action she could take.

“Of, of course! I’ll even build a new building for them! Ahahaha…….”

…Rubia felt like crying right then and there.

******

I found myself reflecting on my attitude once again.

Among the slaves we rescued, not a single one was a villain.

I had complained about my lack of human fortune, but upon reflection, such deception was unparalleled.

To speak of lacking good fortune when having such comrades.

Where else in the world would such absurdity be found?

‘How magnanimous is this person?’

I couldn’t help but think.

Thinking it was already an unreasonable request to accommodate these people in the mansion, yet Miss Rubia readily agreed to construct a new building for them.

‘I had been wondering how to accommodate thirty people.’

Among the rescued slaves, thirty had decided to accompany me.

After sending off those with families or places to return to, a surprisingly large number of people remained.

Mostly, they were children with nowhere to go. Children who had no means to feed themselves or anyone to protect them, facing a bleak future.

Since it’s easier to train magic at a younger age, teaching them well could surely be of help.

However, the actual space to house and educate these children was sorely lacking.

Yet, Miss Rubia had eagerly declared she would provide that space. Even before I could offer potion recipes as compensation.

A smile naturally formed on my lips.

“Really, I’m so lucky to have met Miss Rubia.”

I said, offering my thanks to Miss Rubia, even though her face was more than half-covered by a mask.

I couldn’t see Miss Rubia’s expression, but I was certain she was wearing an incredibly kind smile.

‘I don’t know how many times I’ve received her help.’

As soon as I get back, I’ll make sure to take care of her first.

Thinking about it, being able to come to this black market was all thanks to Miss Rubia.

It was Miss Rubia who had secured the entrance tickets on time so we could enter here.

Thanks to Miss Rubia being a noble, we were able to take the train and arrive here on time.

It was Miss Rubia’s support with the elixir that laid the groundwork for defeating Asher.

Finding any part of this journey that didn’t involve Miss Rubia’s help would be more challenging.

From the holy sword to over twenty artifacts, achieving such results would have been impossible without her.

It seems I really do have good luck with companions.

With Siel, Lien, and Miss Rubia, each and every one of them feels too good to be true.

And even this time, though I didn’t find any heroes, there were many kids with potential, like the blind girl I met before.

“So, are we heading back now?”

While I was lost in these thoughts, Miss Rubia cautiously asked.

Indeed…

We had achieved all our objectives.

We had taken everything we could and gained everything available.

But……

‘There’s still one thing left to do.’

It goes without saying.

I do have a conscience, after all.

I couldn’t possibly be cold-hearted enough not to offer some form of repayment after exploiting the name of the Black Fangs so freely.

Moreover, if the revolution truly succeeds, the chances of dealing with the mastermind behind it all are high. There was plenty of reason to assist the Black Fangs.

“Siel, could you leave a message with your magic?”

It was time to lend a hand to the Black Fangs, even if just a little.

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