Celldio’s face twisted in agony. His fingers had been burnt to point where they’d blackened, and his hand was filled with holes because I’d covered my handle in poison tipped spikes.
Despite that, my rage had yet to abate. He hadn’t suffered nearly enough to make up for the fact that he tried to make Fran one of his concubines.
They might’ve even taken her away by force if she was still as weak as when we’d only just met.
Imagining him forcing himself on her made me more than mad enough to tear him to bits.
I once again changed my form so I could better damage him.
I made the thorns coming out of my grip grow and squirm around like a living creature as they snaked up his arm. I made sure to half retract the thorns as they moved before jabbing them into him over and over again.
The pain caused him to lose control of his body as it began to spasm. His party members tried to heal him, but they weren’t actually able to help.
Much to my surprise, Celldio’s servants were actually serious about trying to save him. It went without saying that they tried to avoid touching me, but they weren’t particularly adamant about it.
Either way, I felt a sense of gratification as I watched him drip with tears, snot, and other body fluids.
I’d really wanted to figure out the exact sort of punishment the Goddess would administer, but the viscount wasn’t really showing any signs of actually wanting to equip me. I was getting a bit sick of letting him hold me, so I started contemplating whether or not I should just use my Telekinetic Catapult to finish him off.
『How about trying to equip it?』
I decided to give it one last shot and started coercing him with telepathy. I was expecting him to either go along with what I said or write the thoughts I conveyed to him off as a figment of his imagination.
Naturally, I was going to promptly cut him down if he chose to do the latter.
「Haa…Haahh… That’s right! I haven’t actually tried equipping this damned thing!」
Celldio let loose a howl of pure pain that sent shivers down the spines of the people around us the moment he tried to equip me. It was the kind that echoed through to the very depths of one’s soul.
The sight of him turning his eyes towards the heavens as he continued to scream was so odd that it caused both his servants and the adventurers around us to freeze in place.
The scene persisted for several seconds before the person that caused it finally broke the silence.
「P-Please no! Please forgive me! Argghghgahghgahh!」
Streams of blood erupted from Celldio’s eyes, ears, and mouth the moment after he let loose one last scream.
And then he fell. His knees buckled as they gave way and caused his body to collapse.
The thud of him falling flat on his face was the last sound to preceed a silence so heavy it could only be described as painful.
The only individual that remained capable of movement was Fran. She walked over to Celldio’s corpse, wiped off my handle, and picked me up.
Only then did the crowd finally come back to life. The people around us began to scream in panic. I couldn’t blame them. Celldio was someone no one liked, and he also wasn’t actually all that strong, but he’d been an A ranked adventurer nonetheless. In other words, the people around us had processed the sight as that of an A ranker meeting an instant death.
I had to say, the Goddess’ retribution differed quite a bit from what I’d been expecting. My guess had been that she’d strike him with a lightning bolt that came out of the blue seeing as how the punishment that befell people who didn’t know I was bound was supposedly something along the lines of an electric shock. The sight of Celldio’s death seemed to illustrate that the death-related punishment did something to the insides of the target’s head.
「H-H-H-How dare you!? How dare you murder Milord!?」
「Ignored advice given. Killed self.」
「W-What kind of excuse is that!? If you knew that would happen, then why didn’t you insist that he stop!?」
The man that approached Fran was the one that’d been carrying the shield. He looked like a knight, and honestly, probably was. If I had to guess, I’d say that he likely served Celldio’s parents.
「Burnt, poisoned, died. Clearly scammer, thief, villain.」
「Y-You dare!? Your words equate to you insulting his household’s, a marquis’, honour!」
「Only speaking truth.」
「You little shit!」
The shield-bearing knight lowered a hand to his sword as if to indicate that he wanted to fight us. However, he was stopped before he could draw it.
「That’s enough. Everyone here has clearly seen that it was the viscount’s fault and not the girl’s. I will have to step in and take you on if you wish to fault her any further.」
「A-Are you blind, Colbert!? Master Celldio was both an A ranked adventurer and a viscount!
Her actions clearly functioned as treason against both the state and the adventurer’s guild.」
「Well, I don’t quite know what you saw, but I only witnessed a swindler get what he deserved after attempting to extort her out of her weapon.」
「W-Whatever are yo-」
「Are you really still going to keep that facade up even after running all the way to Ulmutt with your tail between your legs? I’d even go as far as to say that it was likely you lot that egged the viscount on in the first place.」
「Enough of your preaching! You can’t deny that girl murdered Milord!」
「That simply is not true. He died because he was afflicted by the sword’s curse. She warned him of it, and he ignored it, so all the fault lies with him, and he only got what he deserved. Are you incapable of comprehending the incredible number of people that served to witness the events that just unfolded?」
All the adventurers around us immediately began glaring at Celldio’s party members. They didn’t seem to be willing to back off, so they returned it and caused the situation to devolve into a staring contest.
A heavy mood began to propagate throughout the area.
「You lot sure are kicking up a fuss. Did something happen?」
Dias spoke as he exited the guild. It seemed that the all the commotion had caused enough noise for it to reach his ears.
The first to respond to Dias’ question was the shield-bearing knight.
「G-Guildmaster! Milord was killed by their hands. Adminster capital punishment immediately!」
「Huh, quite a mouth you’ve got for a B ranker. Tell me, are you trying to give me orders?」
「W-What…!? Are you kidding me!? You want to refuse!? This is a murder case, one that involves the death of one of Marquis Ashtonah’s potential successors! Obeying my orders should be nothing short of your duty, adventurer!」
Nobles were normally considered to be of a higher class than the guild’s staff members, so it seemed the knight had expected Dias to comply.
But he didn’t. The old guildmaster instead responded with a scornful laugh.
「While I didn’t bear witness to the event, I was filled in on exactly what had happened. Let me ask you something. Who’s fault do you think all this is? I’d really like you to mull that statement over, digest it, and shut up. Did your parents not tell you that all thieves start out as liars?」
「Y-You… you’re calling me a liar?」
「Yup. Though, I guess a bit of investigation is indeed in order seeing as how I didn’t see the event first hand.」
Celldio’s followers seemed to interpret Dias’ words as a chance, as they immediately began appealing to him and attempting to convince him that Fran tricked Celldio in order to murder him.
I did trust Dias, but, I didn’t feel like I could say for sure that he wouldn’t take the marquis’ household’s side. He was a guildmaster, a member of a larger organisation that ultimately did have to make that sort of decision from time to time. To that end, I steeled myself for combat while awaiting his response.
「I’ll have to do a bit more investigating in order to figure out the truth. Colbert, Forrund, could the two of you take them down to the dungeon for the time being?」
「Consider it done.」
Forrund suddenly appeared behind Celldio’s party and caused all three remaining individuals to widen their eyes in fear. It seemed that whatever he did to them had left them with some pretty deep mental scars.
「Make sure you strip them of their equipment, handcuff them, and gag them. Be as strict as you need to, keeping in mind that they’re both witnesses and suspects for a viscount’s murder.」
「W-What!? You have to be kidding me! Stop this, stop this immediately!」
「Why’re you letting that brat free!? You should at least do the same to her!」
「Yeah, this isn’t fair!」
「Don’t worry, she’s under arrest as well. However, I’ll be taking her up to my office as opposed to the dungeon because I’ll be seeing her first.」
Dias had linked arms with Fran. She didn’t bother resisting, and instead, simply spoke a line in her usual tone of voice.
「Oh no. Getting caught.」
「See? I have her detained.」
Celldio’s party members once again began kicking up a fuss the moment they saw that happen, but they weren’t really able to influence Dias in any which way.
「T-This is unreasonable! How could you treat us like t-」
「Unreasonable? Didn’t I just tell you you’re being detained as both witnesses and suspects? Why would it be reasonable for me to let either of those two types of individuals out of my grasp?」
「Damned commoner! You dare act in this manner just because you’ve managed to get yourself a half-decent position!? You’ll regret this! I’ll make sure of it!」
「T-That’s right! The marquis will get you for this!」
「You’ll pay for this!」
Forrund took the three away as they continued to shout.
「He thinks he’s going to make me pay? Hah, funny. I don’t know why he even thinks he’ll be getting out of that dungeon alive.」
Dias muttered something incredibly sinister under his breath before turning back to Fran and smiling in his usual manner while pulling on her arm.
「Okay, how about you give me a quick rundown of everything that just happened?」
「Oh yeah, and you don’t really have to worry much about anything seeing as how everyone here happened to witness what just happened, right?」
The adventurers around us immediately responded to Dias calling out to them.
「Hell yeah. We know what’s up.」
「I dunno about you, but watching Celldio die just made my day.」
「Don’t worry, I’ll testify that it was them and not you!」
Their many responses almost seemed to resemble the cheers we’d been showered with back at the arena.
「Hahaha, it looks like you’re just popular as your nickname suggests. Though, that should come as no surprise given how people always love a strong, young, good-looking female adventurer. You know, I would probably be overthrown if I had you locked up with Celldio’s party members.」