Chapter 80. Attempted Poisoning of a Civil Servant (3)

By early evening, it was already getting dim as daylight had shortened. It seemed that winter had arrived. The good thing was that they let me go home on time.

"Come on, cheer up. I'll buy the drinks today."

"Thank you."

I sighed and thanked Flam.

Flam’s director laughed it off with a ‘hahaha’ when Flam made mistakes, but mine was like a knife. No, rather, he seemed like a man who was dissatisfied because he couldn't push me around. I wondered if I had an enemy in my previous life.

Of course, I did a lot of this and that as I lived in my previous life. Since there were so many potential candidates that I could point at, let’s just move on.

I think on the last day of training, I should have a face-to-face meeting with the overbearing director. That way, he can reflect on his past and say that he will be born as a flea in his next life.

We went into a nearby bar that seemed decent enough.

"Did the dormitory rules say that you were allowed to drink?"

As far as I knew, the dormitory housemaster was very strict.

"Hahaha, it's all right. Yesterday, he announced that we were allowed to drink, but also said we had to come back sane."

It seemed the housemaster was becoming a little more lenient because the training was reaching its end.

"That's good. Oh, two lagers and a plate of sausages, please.”

After I ordered, two frighteningly large glasses of beer were served. The snacks had yet to arrive, even so, I took a swig of the beer.

"Keeuuu!"

That director was definitely crazy. How could one give a newbie a pile of receipts, a bunch of paper, and an abacus and tell him some crap like make a year-end settlement?

I didn’t know how old the pile of receipts was, but they weren’t even organized, so I had to start by organizing them. If I hadn't made an excel sheet on the spot with magic while organizing the receipts, I would have been still touching the abacus.

But actually, I was not entirely sure if it was accurate because I had made it from just the accounting ledger books and didn’t double-check the bank records. I wasn’t even in a position to check it anyways. Still, I calculated all the receipts I was given. Just in case a different bank record showed up later, I left enough blank space so I could change it. So I was sure I would be able to work something out later.

After encountering Director Pelgrant, he seemed to want to give me a failing grade, so it looked like I had handled it as perfectly as possible. He would likely give me a mid-range score even if he didn't want to.

The glass of beer was empty before I knew it. 

"One more drink!"

"Aren’t you drinking too fast?"

Flam worried, but the Crows also had stomachs of steel!

-o-

Sitting next to Arcanta, Pelgrant sighed as he was given a glass of beer by the prime minister.

"Didn’t I request many times not to send me a trainee?"

"Haha, I send trainees to all the district department directors, so I can't just not send you one, can I?" Arcanta laughed and took a sip of his drink. 

However, Pelgrant only looked at Arcanta with a stiff face.

Arcanta wiped the smile from his face and put down his glass. "You still haven't been able to forget the old days?"

Pelgrant bowed his head as if he was ashamed.

"I'm sorry."

"It's already been four years, no, almost 5 years since the trainee under you got caught up in your work and died. I won't tell you to forget. But it's all over. If you've done that much atonement already, you should stop and be comfortable."

Pelgrant frowned and shook his head. "If I can’t forget and keep it in my mind, I don't know about anyone else, but it’s still the present for me."

Arcanta impolitely looked at Pelgrant's frown. Pelgrant's forehead had deep wrinkles that resembled a frown even though he wasn't actually frowning.

He knew Pelgrant's wrinkled forehead was a direct result of his agony and atonement.

"Is that why you still harass the trainees when they arrive? So they don't come near you?" Arcanta said.

Pelgrant smiled bitterly. Looking back on his behavior, it may have been a trauma-induced obsessive-compulsive disorder. That the trainee might have died because he had gotten close to him.

"Yes, I'm sorry about the trainee, but I unconsciously keep thinking of things to scold about.”

Arcanta smiled lightly and jested. "Yes, how many hours did this trainee last? If he managed to last for about three hours, I'll have to scout him over to the Treasury.”

Pelgrant laughed.

"The Treasury that’s being ground up by that person? Would three hours be enough? Don’t you think he would have to last at least three days?"

"Hahaha, is that so?"

"Well, in that sense, this trainee might be deserving to get scouted."

Arcanta was surprised by Pelgrant. This director was so meticulous and strict with people that it must have been a person of considerable talent for him to say so.

"Who is it for you to say that?"

"He said his name was... Den," Pelgrant said.

Arcanta thought to himself, 'No way.'

Come to think of it, he had heard a report that the student named Den living at his mother, Arscilla’s, boarding house had passed the civil service exam and was now a trainee.

"If you're interested, would you like for me to investigate and include it on the next report?"

Arcanta shook his head at Pelgrant.

"No, a personal investigation isn’t necessary. Aren't you busy too? I'll just check the training evaluation you give him later."

"Ok, I understand."

Pelgrant gulped down his drink and brought out an envelope from his bag.

"This is a document regarding the investigation of ‘Scorpio’."

"I'm forever sorry about this."

As Arcanta bowed his head, Pelgrant felt awkward and waved his hands.

"No, it’s ok. They are my enemies too."

Arcanta immediately checked the documents in the envelope. It tracked one person's past movements.

"This person," Arcanta said.

"It's an informant I barely managed to find."

"The bowl is too small for this person to be called 'Scorpio’s' informant”

The director nodded his head. He totally agreed with the prime minister.

Arcanta was lost in thought as he checked the documents. "It could be bait.” If he touched it hastily, it could become more dangerous.

Pelgrant understood Arcanta's meaning and smiled bitterly. “But it's also the only clue.” 

“You could die.” Arcanta warned

Pelgrant rose from his seat and said with a bitter smile, "Then my present will be over."

Arcanta was saddened by his words. He should have shouldered all the sins, but the fact he couldn't felt so cruel.

"Then excuse me first."

The tavern became very quiet when Pelgrant bowed out. Arcanta held his glass heavily in a space full of silence. The sound of the ice in the glass clinking sounded sad.

-o-

I woke up in the morning and grabbed my head as it felt like it was going to shatter. This hangover was no joke.

"Water."

Making water by magic, I drank the floating water from the air. Then I got out of bed, opened the window, and cast magic.

"Oxygen Agglomeration."

Oxygen gathered around me according to my mana and the other molecules were pushed out. This magic was from a magic book borrowed from Yuria and was touted as the must-have magic of the Butterfly Tribe people living in the highlands.

"Hoo-ha, hoo-ha!"

As I temporarily breathed in the high concentration of oxygen around me, I felt like my headache fading away. I didn't know if it was because alcohol interfered with oxygen going to the brain, but it worked. Considering that I drank last night, could it just be a placebo effect?

What was more shocking was that the Crows’ stomachs were not made of steel. I don’t even know if I threw up a few times on my way back to the boarding house yesterday. I only drank 30 glasses of beer half mixed with liquor, but this scene was a disgrace to the Crows!

I'm so ashamed that I don’t think I can reveal that I'm a Crow now. Oh, I never revealed it before to begin with.

Struggling with a hangover, I went down to the first floor while thinking about this and that.

"Oh, did you wake up?”

As usual, Lisbon greeted me in the morning. Considering that it was about 6:40 now, when did that pushover wake up?

Unlike his usual soft and smooth-looking self, his clothes were wet with sweat. He seemed to have exercised early in the morning.

When he came to the capital, I don’t think he woke up this early. But he seemed to be concerned about training after obtaining a goal since entering the knight school. His goal was to join the Black Water Buffalo Knight Division led by Uncle Bloody. 

I couldn’t understand him. It seems he had heard some good things during the entrance exam.

"Aren't you cold?"

It was winter now. It was still dark outside, and the coldest time of the day.

"Hmm? Ah. I’m all right. But rather, it’s a little hot?"  Lisbon shrugged. 

"Oh, come to think of it, what you said yesterday wasn’t sincere, was it?"

What did I say yesterday? Ah!

"You came, Pushover?"

"Yes, that! What do you mean by a pushover? You said that because you were drunk, right?”

Lisbon looked at me with a rare sulky face. I naturally nodded.

"There are things called drunken truths in this world.”

Lisbon looked shocked as if he had been betrayed. "So mean! How could you call me a pushover too? Since Aly heard that last night, she says that every time she sees me!"

I laughed at Lisbon who was on the verge of tears.

"Hahaha, that's understandable for Alice. It was because of you that you guys were so strapped for money when coming to the capital."

"That's true. But it’s still too much!"

Pushover ran towards the shower with a tearful look. If it were Pushover, he would forget everything after work today anyways. Would a person be called a pushover for nothing?

I went into the kitchen and tried to find something to eat.

"Oh, did you sleep well?”

There was a worker in the kitchen hired by Mrs. Arscilla.

"Is there perhaps something to eat?”

As I grabbed my stomach, she laughed and took an apple out of the refrigerator.

"Please wait a little bit. I'll cut it for you."

Mrs. Arscilla took the apple from the worker as she spoke.

"This will be fine for my breakfast. I think I'll have to go a little early today."

"You drank that much, but do you think that will be enough to handle it?” said Mrs. Arscilla as she blocked the girl trying to take something more out of the refrigerator.

"Thank you for your concern, but I have a strong body. Thank you for the apple, Miss Plina."

I think her name was Plina. Judging from her surprised reaction when I said the name, I must have been right.

I ate the apple as I got ready for work. For a fruit that was a little out of season, it was very fresh and delicious.

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