༺ No Longer a Problem ༻
5th District, Imperial Police Headquarters.
I went to the headquarters to hear the interrogation results of the ringleaders arrested in the market street.
Even though we were both part of the Imperial Army, I had no authority to give orders or request information from them due to our different affiliations. However, they respected my rank as a fellow Imperial soldier and willingly provided me with the information since I was the one who caught the ringleaders.
Of course, it was also because they didn’t obtain any significant information from the interrogation.
“Did they all die?”
“Yes. They all died from sudden seizures during the interrogation. We will provide you with the case files so you can refer to them for more details.”
“Thank you for your cooperation.”
“No problem, we are all part of the Imperial Army. By the way, you can read the case files here, but you cannot take them outside. Please read them here and then leave. I’ll leave you to it.”
The Imperial policeman who provided me with the staff break room to calmly read the case files briefly saluted and left.
Left alone, I carefully went through the case files.
The scarred man’s name was Hans. He initially committed crimes and was assigned to the penal battalion, but due to his exceptional combat abilities, he accumulated a record and was assigned to the 5th Legion. There, his unit was wiped out, and he suffered extreme mental trauma before joining the militia. His detailed profile was written in the file.
Regardless of the man’s past, I focused on the interrogation content.
At first, he refused to give any testimony. However, after the Imperial police conducted a slightly aggressive interrogation, he confessed everything.
A secret organization claiming to be the future of the Empire had approached him while he was addicted to alcohol after the war. Suddenly, an order came down to cause a disturbance in the 8th District and capture an elf. And then…
“Tell us what you know about the other members of the organization.”
“‘The Empire’s Future’ is a secret organization, so most of them don’t know each other’s faces.”
“Really? Not even one? There must be at least one member you’ve been in contact with, even if it’s a secret organization.”
“Wait, I remember one face. A blonde woman… Cough! Choke!”
Hans spoke up to that point and suddenly foamed at the mouth and collapsed. After Hans died, the other four men also had seizures one by one, and they all died eventually.
At first, it was thought that the seizures were caused by excessive interrogation, but later investigations revealed some traces of magic.
A blonde woman.
How many blonde women could there be in the Empire? At least tens of thousands, I thought. There was a reason why the Imperial police deemed this information of little value.
I put down the files and left the break room. On my way out, I encountered the Imperial policeman who had guided me earlier.
“Did you check the files thoroughly?”
“Thanks to you. How will the investigation proceed from now on?”
“Well, since all the ringleaders are dead, there’s no more information to investigate… In cases like this, the intelligence department usually takes over, so there’s nothing more the Imperial police can do.”
Although the investigation would not be concluded immediately, I learned that the Imperial police would not be involved any further.
However, once this matter is handed over to the intelligence department, they will quickly discover that Titania was targeted. Then, the case will inevitably become much larger, and Titania’s fate will likely proceed regardless of her own wishes.
But it’s okay. I know where to go.
There was no hesitation in my steps as I left the Imperial Police Headquarters.
Titania’s visit to that place was not a scheduled event. It was abruptly arranged due to Marian’s proposal, and only a few people in the Opal Black Class knew about it.
Then how did ‘The Empire’s Future’ know that Titania would go to the 8th District that day and incite the incident?
Could it be that either Marian or Oznia leaked the information? That’s unlikely.
With my keen senses, they wouldn’t be able to deceive me with a clumsy act. If either of them had shown even a slight sign of hostility towards Titania, I would have definitely noticed. However, both of them genuinely appeared to be worried about Titania as friends.
Then, could it be the work of an outsider? Was someone constantly monitoring Titania?
No. The Philion Royal Academy, as the largest educational institution on the continent, was not a place anyone can simply enter.
Even when I first entered the academy, despite having a military ID and an order, I had to go through a rather complicated inspection. It would be the same for other outsiders, if not more so.
Even if someone tried to force their way in, a dome-shaped barrier is installed around the entire academy, which defends against intruders and blocks magic. It is impossible to change one’s appearance using magic or fly into the sky to enter.
Even if they managed to bypass the academy’s barrier, they would need to deceive the tram’s recognition pass or break through Hemeim’s forest to reach the Opal Black dormitory. It’s hard to think that a mere terrorist organization would have the capability to do that.
In the first place, whether inside or outside the academy, if someone had been keeping an eye on Titania, I would have noticed it first.
So, there was only one conclusion. The information was leaked from within the academy.
Thinking for a moment about where it could have been leaked from, it was clear. There is an insider who can monitor every student leaving the academy without arousing suspicion.
The main gate of the Philion Academy.
The guards who protect that place.
All students must explain their purpose for leaving when they exit the academy. At that time, the guards would have known where we were going.
As soon as I left the Imperial Police Headquarters, I immediately returned to the Philion Academy.
When I first left the main gate with the students, it was morning. Now, as the sun was setting, it was only natural that the guards from the morning have been replaced.
I showed my instructor’s ID and asked the guard for the number of people working when I first left the academy and their names.
Although the guard looked puzzled, he could not refuse the request of a faculty member and told me the names of all the personnel. Naturally, given the scale of the academy, the number of guards at the main gate at that time easily exceeded ten.
“Can all the guards access the entry and exit records?”
“No, the internal records are very sensitive, so only our captain can access them among us, and only administrators among the faculty members can view them, as far as I know.”
In that case, the suspect is limited to the personnel who were guarding at that time.
I asked if there were any guards who had recently shown tendencies of discrimination against immigrants or who were in financial difficulty.
The guards seemed to be hesitating as they answered my question.
“Discrimination against immigrants? You mean the recent uproar in the system?”
“None of us would have done that. There were many immigrant or hybrid students to begin with. Sometimes the students bring us small gifts because they think we’re having a hard time.”
“If there had been such a person, the captain would have punished him severely. But, um…”
I saw one of the guards hesitate with a cautious expression, as if wondering whether or not to speak up.
I looked directly at the guard and asked, “But what?”
“Well… I think Leonard mentioned that he was having financial trouble, but I’m not sure if it’s true or not…”
He seemed cautious with his expression, worried that his careless words might cause his colleague to be unfairly suspected. So, he glanced around to get opinions from his fellow guards before sharing more details.
The guards discussed what they knew about Leonard, retracing their memories of him.
“Leonard? Come to think of it, he suddenly mentioned that his mother was seriously ill and needed money urgently.”
“He looked miserable all day, and when his shift ended, he spent the whole time at the bar…”
“What? That happened? Why didn’t I know?”
“But it was resolved quickly, right? A few days later, he came to work as if nothing had happened, saying everything had ended well.”
I felt an instinctive intuition in their words.
“Where is that person now?”
Academy staff dormitory.
As Philion Academy boasted a huge scale, it naturally had separate living quarters for the staff.
I took a tram to the staff living area and went to the dormitory where the guards stayed.
Leonard’s room was on the 2nd floor of the dormitory.
Without wasting time, I went straight to the 2nd floor and knocked on his door. Then, a man’s face appeared through the slightly open door.
“…Who are you?”
Leonard looked like an ordinary Imperial man at first glance. However, when he opened the door and saw my face, I noticed his pupils suddenly grew larger and he inhaled sharply.
He seemed surprised to recognize me.
This made my suspicion grow stronger.
“Leonard Bain, is that correct?”
“Yes, yes… but who are you….”
“I am Eon Graham, the instructor in charge of Opal Black Class. I’d like to check your room, so please open the door.”
Leonard’s expression turned pale. He quickly tried to close the door, and I swiftly grabbed the closing door. No matter how hard he tried, the door wouldn’t budge.
“Why, why are you doing this! Let go of the door!”
“I just want to check your room, what’s the big deal?”
“This, this is my room! Even if you’re an instructor, is this allowed? If you really want to check, bring the Imperial police or something!”
Even though I hadn’t said anything yet, Leonard defensively suggested bringing the Imperial police.
As he shouted and argued, other staff members looked over, wondering what the commotion was about.
Whatever was in that room, if I let Leonard close the door now, he would undoubtedly dispose of it immediately.
I couldn’t let that happen.
“No. I am not here as an instructor, but as a Captain of the Imperial Special Task Force. And the Special Task Force has the authority to summarily execute traitors to the empire in emergencies, and you are now a suspect in a serious terrorist case.”
“What, what…? What’s that…?”
I put more strength into the hand holding the door.
The door not only swung open but was torn off, revealing the inside of the room.
Leonard stared blankly at the torn door.
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