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Casey cried for a while, hugging Beth tightly, talking incoherently about her brother and her two sisters. Baron Hesroeder household did not have a lady, for the Baron hadn’t remarried after the death of his wife. Despite being a loving husband and a good father, his household was corrupt to the bones, but that made little difference. If it was my lady’s order, I would stop eating bread. Well, maybe not, but you got the point.

We were silent, Casey’s sobs and the sound of paper being torn open resounding in the room. Indeed, my bread lad was hungry. My lady glared at him, and Garlan blithely sealed the paper shut and turned his chair around. It was more of a stool for him, but he somehow managed to fit.

“What should I do, Beth?” Casey asked, clutching Beth’s delinquent clothes. The latter kissed her forehead and mumbled something in her ears, and Garlan’s gaze went back and forth between the two nobles and us.

I nodded at him, and he couldn’t stop himself. “The hell! Are we all getting killed here?!”

“Sit down, mutt!” my lady’s cold stare scared him more than the royal family. “Can you be honest, Casey? I want you to talk about your family.”

She hesitated for a long time, her stares pausing at Beth more than once. She probably didn’t want Beth to know about the dirty business of her estate. But that was hardly an issue now that her entire family was in the gallows waiting for execution.

“It’s all right, baby,” Beth reassured her, wiping her tears. “You remember our promise, right?”

Don’t look at me; I don’t. If you expect undead to know everything, then nobody can help you.

Casey nodded. “As you know,” she paused and wiped the snot on her sleeves.

“Yes, we know,” I said, earning a glare from Beth, while Casey chuckled. Well, I really knew that Baron Hesroeder house dealt with the merchant guild. I wasn’t trying to act obnoxious here. I would have done better if I had to.

“Mercenaries trusted by our family should know about the illicit trade we conduct with the Yevnaught Empire,” she glanced at Garlan, who looked at her in confusion. He was an honest mercenary to care. I highly doubted it, but I had to stick to that for now. After all, I couldn't blame it on the ignorance of Garlan for not knowing his take on the matter.

“We sell them our weapons and armors at high prices by commissioning missions to the mercenaries. During the last war, when the Old Marquis lost his life, Hesroeder household served as spies of the Yevnaught Empire. We sent military intelligence to them, which overturned the tide of the battle, helping them reach a standstill against the Old Marquis’s army. In turn, we gained their trust to conduct illicit trade of weapons and armors for war, thereby managed to rise to the title of Baron within a span of twenty years.

“As things stand, the empire is waiting for the peace treaty to end within the next five winters to launch an assault on the kingdom. Our household will be made their retainers once they dethrone the current emperor and kill his sons.”

Except for Garlan, we were more or less unaffected.

“Good thing you killed that old geezer and his son. Why did you leave this bastard son alive?” My lady asked, walking closer to Casey. The latter stared at her blatantly as if she couldn’t believe her words.

“Leti,” even Beth’s eyes were moist, and she almost pulled my lady in a hug.

This wasn’t something Garlan expected to hear with his bread in the same room, but well, he was our accomplice now. I felt bad for him. Really bad. This uncontrollable grin is just my way of showing him sympathy.

“Don’t you abhor me?” Casey asked, glancing at Beth and my lady. “I knew everything since I was young, but I supported my brother and father in their decisions. I am a traitor of your kingdom.”

“Their kingdom,” Beth and my lady said in unison.

“I don’t mind another war. Who cares if commoners lose lives? Or soldiers? My mongrel has taught me to be true to myself, so you can only blame him for turning me into a bitch.”

“Ruddy too?” Casey looked at me.

I shrugged. “I don’t give a damn about anything else other than my lady, lady Casey. As long as my lady favors you, consider your job done.”

“Wait!” Garlan finally snapped. “What’s going on here? Are you planning to save her family from the gallows?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” my lady raised her eyes. “That redhead needs a good spanking.”

“R-readhead?” the color drained on his face. “Why can I see my head getting chopped?”

“Because it will if you reject us now,” my lady said, and I laughed.

"The hell do you expect the five of us..." Garlan looked around the room, "just me to do?!"

True. He was the only one who had a license to walk out of the town. But, he forgot that I don’t need one as long as I kill the guards.

My lady raised her eye in my direction. “Mongrel, what’s the plan?”

“Garlan,” I glanced at him. “Can we smuggle them out?”

“People? Are you even sane, Rudolf? It’s impossible. It would get lady Letitia and lady Beth implicated. Choose a more civil method, like joining hands with the second prince or just causing a commotion in the kingdom or something along these lines.”

“But are the charges verified?” Beth got up, helping Casey stand with her. “I mean, we know for sure because we heard from Casey. I doubt Volch and his sisters will ever agree to the charges.”

“How about we strike a deal with the second prince?” Garlan pitched in. “He’s a shrewd prince, probably more than the king needs him to be, and has a terrifying thirst for power. If we sell our kingdom, we might be able to find a way out to save them. Joining hands with the Yvenaught Empire will be more beneficial to him than anyone else.”

I stared at Garlan in surprise. Was his sacredness all a pretense? I knew my choices were great, but this man never failed to surprise me. Even with all that nimble running during the hunt and his undeniable talent for choosing tasty bread. Was he another undead just like me?

“You want Casey to confront that demon?” Beth was clearly against it, but Casey’s eyes perked at the option.

“What if we fail in convincing him?” Casey asked, much to the surprise of Beth. The former squeezed her hands softly and reassured her.

“Then we dump his body in the sewers and settle down for smuggling,” my lady chimed in. “My mongrel exists for a reason.”

“K-kill a nobility?” Garlan’s fear resurfaced on his face. “And a prince at that?”

“Why are you acting like you have never killed a prince before, mutt?” my lady asked in annoyance.

“Because I haven’t, lady Letitia!”

My lady ignored his refusal completely and asked, “So, where do we meet this demon?”

“He always drinks wine at Forth tavern, down the central square. Particularly on nights with a few of his concubines. And don’t worry about meeting him alone; he collects only gorgeous women,” Garlan said, running his eyes over all of them. I moved in front of my lady, naturally.

I laughed as Casey cast [Spark] over his hair, her mood slightly better than before.

“Look who’s talking,” Beth rolled her eyes while my lady looked at me.

I shrugged. “You are beautiful, my lady.”

“That dog always li–“ Garlan paused, noticing her glare, “always tells the truth.”

“We’ll meet him tonight, then,” Casey said, wiping her eyes. She was back to her usual self, as one thing bullies had was resilience. They never stopped searching for prey.

“For now, we’ll have to look for a place to hide her,” Garlan said. “How about my place? It’s pretty clean and smells great.

Beth rolled her eyes and smacked his tummy hard. “You fucking perv! She’s staying with me, you like it or not.”

“No,” My lady said flatly. “She will stay in the mercenary’s house, and you can join her if you want. This mutt will sleep on the streets.”

Garlan was speechless. He silently settled down on the stool, and I somehow knew he would spend the night here, eating all the bread from the nearby bakehouse. If he got enough money.

“My mongrel and I will join you both,” I didn’t miss the smile on my lady’s face. She was enjoying the charade even though people’s lives were at stake. I was obviously happy about it.

“Thanks, Leti,” Beth said. “It’s much better than roaming around with this pervert in public.”

That was how we laid the crude plan for the night. Not really crude, because if anything went wrong, there would be a slaughter. So, as far as I was concerned, it was quite the infallible plan. I knew planning took a lot more than a portly man, one undead, and a few Academy girls, but we had to make do with our resources. That was the bottom line, you believe it or not.

We walked through the gates of the Academy instead of just roaming around waiting for nightfall. None would kick the sun out of the sky, but the former would help my lady get some sleep. And she did sleep all throughout the morning hours, followed by the afternoon hours even without my [Fatigue] spell.

That’s the result of the training, and I hoped the two noble ladies wouldn’t indulge in any carnage activities within my bread lad’s house and blow up his run down house.

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Semi-Analogue

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