Protagonist Knows Everything - Chapter 43: This is not fine
I was halfway to success just by looking at his face.
There wasn’t a speck of heroism, charisma or not even a halo that I genuinely expected after seeing how so many people believed in him. He just had deep wrinkles and gray hair, his face looked like an old war veteran who had participated in several wars.
“It’s been a long time… or not.”
I sat across from him in a calm and composed manner.
I wanted to whip out the personal records, but I somehow resisted that urge and saved the information for later, to savour it. Because I am a person who saves the best thing on their plate for the last.
Nortel looked at my face without saying anything. So I spoke first.
“I don’t like it when someone stares at me like that.”
“I don’t really understand.”
“I mean your condition right now. Even the heroes weren’t this prepared before facing the demon lord. It feels like you’ve been blessed by a god.”
‘How did you find out?’
A bit surprised, I said, “I don’t know what you mean.”
“This time, what you found in the Halo estate… something. I forgot the name, but is this her work?”
“It’s great. It’s really amazing. But it’s useless.”
He spoke with his arms folded.
“I only called you for a drink today. I have no other intentions.”
“Precautions don’t hurt. You are a very crooked person.”
“Yeah. I admit it.”
Nortel shook his head.
Then he asked, “Anyway, how have you been?”
“Not good really. I had a hard time running around.”
“I guess. Would you like to have a drink first?”
There was already a glass in front of me. I lifted the glass slightly and put it back down without drinking.
Nortel asked with a conflicted glance, “You don’t drink?”
“I don’t drink alcohol poured out in advance.”
“You’re too suspicious of others. That will be a problem in daily life.”
“No. I drink alcohol or whatever others have poured out in advance.”
Then Nortel cried out loud, “You are suspicious of me!”
“Why wouldn’t I be suspicious of the person whose son tried to kill my adventurer with the Secreed stone.”
“He did. But didn’t I help you in lifting that curse?”
“Through Ms. Lorelie?”
Nortel shut his mouth.
“Looking at that face, you seem to have heard the news. There are rumors about Ms. Lorelie’s unsightly condition.”
“I know a little more than that.”
He leaned closer and said, “The news that… you messed up Lorelie while posing as my messenger.”
“I heard that even the relic was taken away. Will you return that?”
“If I believed you back then, Kasha would have been out of the world by now. Or at least her consciousness would’ve been.”
Nortel’s face was hardened. However, he did not have any choice but to admit it. I was right at the time.
“Think of the relics as compensation for the wrong information, and pass them on. I don’t intend to return them anyway.”
Nortel tapped the table with his index finger.
After a while he said, “Strictly speaking, it wasn’t wrong information. If you hadn’t shaken her, Lorelie could’ve lifted Kasha’s curse.”
“Anyone who had enough faith could have removed the curse, but Lorelie wasn’t saint material at all.”
“Woohoo. I like it. From your point of view, it must’ve been like that.”
He just nodded while saying that.
“I want the relic.”
“Hah. I think it’s a deserving reward.”
“You’re not getting it back.”
“You’re not budging a bit. It seems like all your achievements have gotten into your head”
I leaned back on the chair. Nortel turned the topic without mentioning anything else.
“Anyway, your intelligence is amazing. I was greatly impressed.”
“But the harm you have done is too great. First Celia then Lorelie, it’s hard to expect anything from them anymore. Especially Lorelie.”
He had actually met Lorelie after that ordeal. I got to know about this two days ago while looking at Lorelie’s information.
[Recent: Encounter with Nortel Rhime. Clung onto him begging to not let her go.]
[Recent: Rejected by Nortel .]
It’s unfortunate, but in fact, what I was paying attention to was somewhere else. Lorelie’s ‘Mental State’ entry, which I checked two days ago. It was a new entry that unlocked after I recruited Jeriel.
[Mental State: Recovering from Nortel Rhime’s incitation.]
‘Because it said incitation.’
My feelings were saying that “incitement” is different from the dictionary meaning I know of. Anyway, I cleared up my thoughts and spoke cynically.
“This or you just don’t have the ability to assess people’s potential. So please refrain from using such harsh remarks.”
“I’m not saying this to help you, but Mr. Nortel.”
Looking straight into his eyes, I said word by word, “Greeting, meeting, befriending and then raising people. That’s how you use them.”
“But you don’t have aptitude for this.”
His eyebrows wriggled a bit.
“So don’t be tempted to do something that doesn’t suit your aptitude and look for another job. Or just retire.”
“I think it will be good for both of you. To you, and to your victims.”
“Are you admonishing me now?”
“Yeah.”, I said bluntly.
Nortel put down the cup he was holding.
And he said in a low, growling voice, “I didn’t know it would be this annoying to see a person act so competent in front of me.”
“I am not pretending.”
“Whew. Good. Can you get up for a while if you don’t plan on drinking anything anyway right? I want to show you something.”
He rose up without waiting for my answer. And then strode to the door.
‘What should I do? Should I follow?’
I had the goddess’s blessing, but still I was reluctant. Being troubled a little, I called out the register.
To check and assess the information available to me.
[Name: Nortel Rhime]
[Equipment: Long sword]
There is nothing admirable so far.
“Aren’t you coming?”
At the entrance, I heard Nortel’s voice.
I postponed my answer and ran through the rest of the information.
And the information was quite surprising.
[Real Name: Wales Wright]
[Human relationship: Error]
[Family relationship: Error]
Inadvertently made a sound.
Luckily Nortel was standing far away.
‘Error? This is……’
I remembered Kasha, when she was wearing the face of Eris.
The criterion for recording information in the personnel register is to look at the bare face.
However, if the person’s actual information and the donned face information are different, the overlapping information is displayed as it is, but the rest is indicated as an error.
For example, if you look at the human relations alone, you can see that the information under Wales Wright is marked as an error.
‘No. Now more than that……’
It was a name that couldn’t have existed in this world
Even I, whose common knowledge about this world was a bit in shambles, knew this.
Amidst that Nortel called me.
“Don’t worry. As I said before, I have no intention of inflicting harm. I won’t be able to do anything to you anyway.”
I slowly pushed the chair and got up. Not because I believed his words.
“I will definitely need more interviews with you.”
Nortel took me to the very end of Kelk city.
Strictly speaking, the area beyond this was also Kelk estate, but people rarely came to this street.
There he guided me under a tree. Someone stood there.
“Nortel. You’re back early. Huh?”
This was a person I knew.
“Burns? You’re Burns Iai right?”
“It’s been a long time. Taylor Mason.”
From the shadows,he stepped forward.
An adventurer on the verge of retirement who was an A-class adventurer of the Wyvern Guild and took care of the guild’s dirty work. When we were on the Frits quest, this person threatened my life. But that’s in the past now.
He appeared before my eyes.
Nortel asked, “Are you two acquainted? No, that was one useless question. Of course you know each other.”
“Your guild masters were at war. But it would be nice if you didn’t hold any hard feelings against each other.
I hurriedly summoned up Burn’s personnel records.
[Mental state: Incited by Nortel Rhime that his potential is S-class.]
After a while I opened my mouth.
“I hope it’s not what I think it is. Burns Iai.”
“What are you talking about?”
“This old man here says really absurd things. I hope you didn’t believe any of them.”
“He’s gathering young talents from all over the world to fulfil his delusion.”
Burns put his hand in his pocket and grinned. It was a positive answer.
I asked with a sigh, “Are you crazy? Are you really going to follow this guy?”
“You have children, and a wife.”
“Right. It broke my heart while leaving them.”
I can’t believe it.
I knew how much Burns cared about his family. The only reason he took care of the dirty work was so that he could take care of his family. I care about those children but i’ll give this money to children who actually struggle for it, he said.
Burns was done.
I said, staring at Nortel, “It’s the same as Celia.”
“What are you talking about? You sound tense.”
“You’re trying to take advantage of other people by giving them false hope of their potential. Just like you did with Celia.”
I was riled up and kept talking.
“Lorelie could’ve been a better person if it weren’t for you. You made a fuss and she ended up like that.”
“That’s rather unpleasant to hear. Isn’t it entirely your fault that Lorelie ended up that way?”
Well, that I admit. It was me. I had no excuses for that.
However, all of it was based on the false belief that Nortel was the goddess’s messenger. This old man in front of me instilled that false belief himself.
Lorelie certainly couldn’t become a saint, but if it weren’t for Nortel then she could’ve become a well-known priest. She had pure intentions when she healed those injured men.
Amidst that, Nortel made his way to Burns and lightly tapped his shoulder.
“This friend says that it’s almost time for his retirement. Do you know why?”
“Because he’s not developing any further than A-class. I am almost as old as it gets, I also don’t have any signs of further development, so I can get the others.”
I quietly checked Burns’s records.
[Potential: Class-A (Development 97%)]
Same as before. It’s a shame for Burns, but he’s definitely at the limit.
I asked while maintaining my calm, “So?”
“What do you think? About my friend’s potential.”
I stayed silent for a moment and replied.
“A-class? No, maybe it will go up to A plus. No further than that.”
Burns looked a bit surprised even though it was public knowledge that he was an A-class adventurer.
Nortel burst into laughter; so much so that one could see his uvula.
After a few moments, he stopped laughing and said, “I think he can go upto S-class.”
Oh, so that’s what this is about? So what course of action should I take?