Rebuild World - Chapter 267: Chloe’s interpretation

If audo player doesn't work, press Reset or reload the page.

Chapter 267: Chloe’s interpretation


Chloe’s statement sent ripples through the meeting. Beltrame stared at her with ferocious intensity.


“What do you mean by that? If that statement is false, exiling you out from the inner wall will not be enough, you know?”


As someone from the Lion Steel company, crime done using the name of its highest authority was severe. Those who did not believe her words already looked at her with hostile eyes.


However, Chloe did not waver at all, instead, she smiled and explained.


“I believe that it’s already pretty clear. It is exactly as I said. I am just doing my best to obey representative Alice’s order. As such, I don’t see any need to explain my actions.”


Chloe’s straightforward declaration, stating that she was completely innocent, caused them to be confused. Beltram’s gaze changed from a hostile one to a questioning one.


“I see. In that case, instead of an excuse, we demand an explanation. Why do you think it is the will of representative Alice? I bet you did not receive such an order straight from her, right?”


“Of course, that is indeed the case. After all, I am in no position to receive such a thing. I simply received the same order as everyone here has received. As a matter of fact, I don’t understand why no one here has taken any action regarding said order. Well, I guess it’s because of my lack of competence. I do not understand everyone’s stance.”


“What do you mean?”


“If that question is nothing more than your main question and not a leading question, for the sake of the Lion Steel’s future, I recommend you relinquish your seat, Branch Manager.”


The mood in the room suddenly turned cold. It was obvious, rude intimidation from Chloe to someone of a higher position. The other officers started to doubt her sanity. Otherwise, she might have really done everything under Alice’s order, which would explain her courage.


The silence continued. Chloe and Beltram were looking straight at each other without looking away. The mood started to get tense. As the other officers started to get anxious, Beltram suddenly loosened up and said.


“Very well. In that case, as the representative of everyone here, I shall ask for your guidance. After all, that’s just how important representative Alice’s will is. If there’s a chance that the situation is due to our ignorance, even if slim, there’s still a need to completely eliminate such a possibility. As such, I ask for you to explain it in detail, for someone as clueless as me… I won’t let you wiggle your way out of this one.”


Beltram said the last part, dead-serious. As the others were waiting anxiously, Chloe smiled and replied.


“Of course!”


Chloe then told the participants of the meeting her thoughts. As the meeting progressed, the participants had troubled and shocked expressions on their faces. It seems like half of them believed her while the other half did not. In other words, Chloe’s explanation did make sense. It was something they could not laugh off. One of the officers then interjected.


“Isn’t this nothing more than your personal wish? You have made so many blunders. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to state that due to your desire, you’re currently trying to find a way to make up for your mistakes.”


“I don’t deny that some of it are my subjective interpretation. After all, I do want to find enough leverage to raise my rank in this company. But that’s the same for all of us. Either way, you are denying my explanation by stating it to be out of my personal interest. You have no other reason nor evidence to state that my opinion is incorrect, right?”


“W-well, but still…”


“If I might add something else, I’m sure that everyone already knows that representative Alice told us to take care of this matter until she arrives.”


Chloe then continued to explain her interpretation of Alice’s order. The officers who heard her interpretation started to get agitated.


“After that, I managed to contact Olivia-sama. I’m sure that everyone has been well informed about this. And at that time, Olivia-sama said that there won’t be a next time.”


From there, Chloe explained how she interpreted that warning. This time, it caused confusion between the officers. Thus, one of them questioned Chloe with a stern expression.


“…I understand your reasoning. But in the end, it’s nothing more than your interpretation, no? You can’t just say that it is the representative Alice’s will.”


Chloe looked pitifully and slightly mockingly at the officer.


“Even if you say so, in the end, I am not representative Alice. So, I can’t really say that it’s indeed her will. But if you need confirmation no matter what, you might as well ask the branch manager for help to contact representative Alice. It is impossible to ask for an audience with representative Alice with my position. But it might be possible if it’s with the branch manager’s authority.”


Everyone turned toward Beltram. After that, Chloe continued.


“Well, even if I could, I still won’t do it though. After all, I don’t want representative Alice to think that I’m incompetent. Asking her for such a simple thing.”


Hesitation and confusion caused the officers to lose words. They frowned with a stern expression without saying anything.


Alice was going to come to Kugamayama city soon to deal with the matter regarding Olivia. Because of that, this meeting, which was originally meant to question Chloe’s action, was now in an uproar. It had already lost sight of its original goal and leaned toward whether to believe Chloe’s words or not.


Whether it was to go against Alice’s will or to obey it. This affected not only the fate of the Lion Steel Eastern District Third Ward Branch, but it might also affect the other branches as well. For the better or for the worse. Whether to proceed carefully or boldly. Either way, they would have to make a decision, one that they would never be able to take back.


Beltram eventually made the decision.


“I will end this meeting here today. Let’s resume this tomorrow. I will contact the rest of you later.”


With that closing remark, everyone seemed to calm down. They were delaying making the conclusive decision. It was true that they did not have all the necessary information to make such a crucial decision. It was obvious that everyone would do their best to gather as much information as they could after this. Therefore, delaying it was preferred for the rest of the officers.


Beltram’s gaze then shifted to Udajima.


“Udajima-san, was it?”


Udajima flinched back from that gaze, one cast by someone of a high position from a large corporation.


“Y-yes!”


“I’m sorry that you didn’t get to say anything during this meeting. Although you’ve managed to join in for a while. But if I may, I hope you will also join the next meeting. If it’s about how you treat her, I’m thinking of leaving that to you for the time being. It’s not like I’m doing this to compensate for your efforts. I will give you my contact number and contact line. If there’s anything you want to report to me, you can do so straight through that line. You will not need to go through her.”


After Beltram said so, the other officers also proceeded to give their contact to Udajima. It was their covert way of hinting Udajima to send them information without going through Chloe. Nonetheless, it did not change the fact that it gave Udajima a direct connection to Lion Steel’s officers, which would strengthen his position as a city officer.


“Now then, please let me excuse myself.”


Beltram turned off the connection and disappeared from the meeting. The other officers also followed suit, leaving Chloe and Udajima alone.


Chloe smiled at Udajima and said.


“Once we leave, City Management would take notice that the meeting has ended. At that time, I bet there will be men stationed outside the room waiting to get in. So, let’s talk for a bit first. With this, I hope that you will believe me when I declared I would help you if you help me.”


“…Alright, I’ll believe you for now. So then, what do you want?”


“Well, there are a lot of things that I want. But first of all, I want to be able to contact Latis and my other servants. I actually tried to make tea by myself, but it just won’t come out right. I’m just not used to it.”


Seeing her smile, as if it was a joke, Udajima replied with a stern expression.


“…Very well.”


“Thank you very much. Now then, do you need anything from me? Let’s discuss about everything we need to keep confidential while we’re still here.”


“You have a point… Well, first thing first…”


Chloe and Udajima continued their meeting inside that virtual space for some time after that.


Outside the room, where Chloe was detained, those from the city public safety department were waiting for the meeting to end. They were preparing themselves. The moment they received the notice that it had ended, they would first send another warning. If Udajima continues to not comply, they would arrest him.


The door opened and Udajima stepped out. He then lightly smiled at the surprised city public safety department and said to them.


“Well, sorry to make you wait. The meeting took longer than I expected.”


One of the shocked men replied.


“Well, that is… completely fine. Udajima-sama, we hope you will cooperate and let us take you to Inabe-sama. We apologize but we’re allowed to arrest you if necessary.”


“Yeah, I know. Don’t worry, I won’t run away. I will come with you. Or if you prefer, you can arrest me, just to be safe.”


Udajima smiled and offered both of his arms, but the guy just shook his head and said.


“N-no, that won’t be necessary if you obediently come with us.”


“I see. Let’s go then.”


Udajima then went with them while showing no remorse. Although those from the public safety department were confused, they still followed through with their duty.


—*—*—*—


After listening to the explanation about his monster designation from Kibayashi, Akira pouted and said.


“What do you mean? Infighting within City Management has disallowed the decision to be revoked?”


Unlike Akira, who was even showing slight exasperation, Kibayashi laughed and replied.


“It’s not like City Management is ruled by a single person after all. There are times when a conflict of interest prevents them from taking quick action. Though, I bet it’s a huge inconvenience for you.”


Kugamayama city itself had no wish to be hostile to him. Moreover, Inabe was something akin to his ally. However, from that point of view, it is not completely unthinkable that the anti-Inabe faction would retaliate. They would preserve the decision in order to sabotage Inabe.


Furthermore, considering the power relationship between Kugamayama city and the Lion Steel company, it was not easy for the Hunter Office to revoke an application it had already approved. At the very least, that was what Kibayashi had guessed.


Somewhere away from him, where he had nothing to do with, there was trouble brewing. Trouble, which directly impedes him. However, Akira understood that he could not do anything about it. Thus, he could only sigh as he said.


“Either way, I can’t return back to the city for the time being and things will get even more troublesome if I force my way in, right?”


“Yep, exactly. I bet you’re displeased about this, But let’s just leave that matter for now. Now, we should get to the main topic. Let’s start talking about how you can fight against the Lion Steel company with the best firepower that you can get.”


Since it was an important subject for Akira, he changed gears and became solemn. However, seeing how Kibayashi was grinning like a Cheshire cat, he could not help but frown.


“Even if I say the best firepower, in the end, it depends on whether you would do this alone or in a team. Either way, it’s important to increase your own firepower. That’s why I recommend you hold back from attacking Lion Steel for the time being. Wait for the equipment from Sakashita Heavy Industry.”


“…Is that route still viable? I have become a bounty target, you know?”


Akira was already half-certain that was out of the question. Thus, he did not expect to still receive his equipment. However, Kibayashi replied with such firmness that it completely eliminated his worries.


“Of course. There’s no way Sakashita Heavy Industry would retract their reward. Not just because the Hunter had received a monster designation in one particular place. Furthermore, that bounty designation only came from the Lion Steel company’s branch. If they did that, it would affect their reputation. In the worst-case scenario, some of the Hunters who are contracted with Sakashita Heavy Industry might even cancel their contract. They might instead form a contract with the other 5 biggest companies. This would endanger Sakashita Heavy Industry’s position as one of the big 5.”


“I-I see.”


“That’s just how powerful the binding power of a contract is. Well, although, it wouldn’t go that well had you picked a fight against the Corporate Government. Just because you got into a fight against a company because of a single relic, that won’t make Sakashita waver. That’s why there’s nothing for you to worry about. Especially if it is related to Sakashita.”


“But if I’m not mistaken, they still don’t know when that powerful equipment will arrive, right?”


“You don’t need to worry about that as well. Although it’s just my prediction, at most, it will take about a month. If you’re really lucky, they’ll be here in about a week. In the worst-case scenario, 3 months.”


Akira raised his eyebrows in shock.


“I’m pretty sure you said that it might even come next year though? Are you sure they can even arrive in a week?”


“The reason for the delayed transport was because of the limited transport routes that Sakashita had decided on. Recently, they’ve been lifting up most of those limitations. Without those limitations, I can give you a good approximation as to when they would arrive. And as expected, even I don’t have enough information about Sakashita Heavy Industry’s transportation routes to be able to make a more precise prediction. So, my guess is between 1 week to 3 months. If they are already somewhere nearby, it’ll only take about a week to transfer ownership to you. If they have to withdraw enroute before trying another route, at most, it will take 3 months to get here.”


Akira lightly nodded to his explanation, so Kibayashi smiled and leaned forward.


“That’s why just wait and don’t do anything stupid. Chloe is inside Kugamayama at the moment. So, I recommend you force your way into the city once you have your front-line equipment. You just need to wait for a bit before receiving equipment far better than what you had before. So, until then, although it sounds awful, I hope you can just keep avoiding trouble for now.”


Kibayashi then leaned further. He was so close that Akira pulled himself away from him.


“Well, it’s you that we’re talking about here. I bet you don’t like the idea of just running away, but deal with it for now. If you can hold back, you can vent your rage later. Using your new front-line equipment, you can blow open a hole into the inner wall, and get even the middle and the upper district involved in your quest for vengeance. At that point, you would be able to make those who look down on you regret their actions. That’s why, for now, just wait patiently, okay? You understand, right?”


“O-okay.”


Kibayashi, who kept leaning forward while whispering his devilish plan to Akira, made the latter feel weirded out by it. Therefore, Akira tried to change the subject.


“By the way, Kibayashi, you are a Kugamayama city officer, no? Is it really okay for someone in your position to suggest a bounty target use front-line weapon to blow the city’s wall open?”


Kibayashi, who already had both of his hands on the table, supporting most of his weight while he leaned toward Akira, returned back to his seat and calmed down for a bit.


“Well, if you ask me whether it’s okay or not, I bet it’s not. It’s something that a city officer definitely can’t do. I bet the punishment would be more than just a written formal warning.”


Seeing Akira looking at him with confused eyes, Kibayashi then pointed at the Hunter Office mark on his vehicle.


“But right now, I am here as a Hunter Office’s staff member. That’s why it won’t be trouble at all.”


Although Kibayashi was a Kugamayama city officer, at the same time, he was also a Hunter Office staff member. He was well accustomed to partitioning his two positions, as well as using them when necessary. Thanks to that, he was able to avoid having to face repercussions, which might have led to his bad reputation.


“I know you are a bounty target, but there are many types of people who become bounty targets. If it’s just a 1 million bounty, the Hunter Office would not even bother to deal with it. But if it’s for 50 billion Aurum, not to mention it also includes monster designation from a medium-sized corporation… the Hunter Office would have to at least do something to prevent damage from spreading. Things like trying to calm the situation and get both sides to peacefully find a solution to whatever the problem they have between them. At the moment, I’m actually using that as an excuse to meet up with you. That’s why you’re safe while you’re in the middle of a conversation with me. Well, at least, those who want your bounty would not attack you in this situation. Even if there is someone nearby waiting to kill you, they can only observe from a distance right now. They will not dare snipe you. So, there’s no need to worry about that.”


Akira was a bit surprised by Kibayashi’s explanation.


“Is that so? Are you sure? It’s 50 billion Aurum, you know?”


“It has nothing to do with the amount. Trying to attack someone who is in the middle of negotiations with the Hunter Office is the same as picking a fight with the Hunter Office. This also means picking a fight with the Corporate Government too. Even if they manage to kill you, they won’t be able to claim the bounty. To top it off, their Hunter data will get expunged. Their account would be frozen and the whole eastern district will recognize them as monsters.”


Akira lightly nodded again, Kibayashi then continued.


Attacking someone in the middle of negotiating means antagonizing everyone included in that negotiation. The reason why Kibayashi told Akira to just think of Goutol and the others as escorts while they were surrounding him was because it signified Akira being in the middle of negotiations with Kugamayama city. To be more precise, they were recognised to be negotiating regarding Akira, who had been designated as a monster, to not approach Kugamayama city.


Naturally, there was no guarantee that no one would attack them considering that the bounty was 50 billion Aurum. Furthermore, they could gain a connection with the Lion Steel company. That was why Goutol and his men were vigilantly watching the surroundings.


Kibayashi told Akira to think of Goutol and his men as his bodyguards since, in reality, they were indeed protecting him.


The city defence squad’s duty was to protect the city, not to hunt a bounty target. So, as long as Akira kept away from the city, even if he was a bounty target recognized as a monster, they would not attack him. Moreover, Kibayashi had already informed Goutol, using his position as staff from the Hunter Office.


Akira was closely listening to Kibayashi’s explanation, full of interest. However, he also started to worry about the time as he said.


“Now then, let’s get back to the main subject. It’s not like I can keep this up for long as well. I guess I’ll convey the things that I need to convey to you here. Although you will be just running around until your new equipment arrives, if possible, don’t go too far from Kugamayama city. We will hand over your equipment once they arrive in Kugamayama city. However, there will certainly be information leaks somewhere. That’s why, if it’s possible, I want to give them to you as soon as possible once they arrive. It would be easier and faster if you were nearby. It’s also safer since it’ll reduce the chance of you getting attacked on your way back to collect it.”


“Even if you say so, I’m sure there will be more people coming after me if I roam around Kugamayama city. As long as I can’t get into Kugamayama city, I would have to find another city to get my food and ammo…”


“If you’re staying somewhere close, I will help you with that as well.”


“Hah? Are you sure you’re okay doing that?”


Toward Akira, who was obviously surprised by his offer, Kibayashi’s smile widened as he explained.


“Well, about that, I can put up an excuse. I can state having no other choice but to supply you with food and ammo. Otherwise, you would be cornered and have no other choice but to raid the city. So, I will be doing that per my duty as a city officer. After all, as a staff member from the Hunter Office, it might be best for me to take a neutral stance.”


It was a good excuse for Kibayashi. Even if it meant making Akira stronger in exchange for buying more time for peaceful negotiations. Even if negotiations fail and Akira ends up attacking the city with his greater firepower, Kibayashi could simply claim that he did all he could. Though, in reality, Kibayashi was hoping that would happen. Akira understood that very well as he looked at Kibayashi’s wide unsettling smile.


Afterwards, Kibayashi told Akira all kinds of things until their time was up. He then returned back to his vehicle and lightly warned Akira, who was already back on his bike.


“The moment I turn on this vehicle, you will lose safety insurance from the Hunter Office. Well, you are a bounty target with 50 billion Aurum on your head. There will no doubt be Hunters who will come after you. They will do so with proper preparation first. So, I bet no one will attack you for the time being. But still, be careful out there.”


“Sure. I’ll be counting on you for the ammo.”


“Yeah. Don’t worry about that. You can count on me. Do tell me if something happens. I will contact you if something comes up. Make sure to answer calls coming from the secret line that I just told you about. Well then, until next time, Akira. Good luck!”


Kibayashi smiled as he said so and headed back to Kugamayama city.


Meanwhile, Akira accelerated his bike in the opposite direction. It was his first day being a bounty target, one who could not return back to his home in Kugamayama city.


—*—*—*—


Inside a personal room located in the inner wall of Kugamayama city, Reina seemed calm. Though, she hardly appeared to be friendly. In front of her was a large display with Beltram in it.


That image of Beltram heaved a sigh.


“That’s not how you address a branch head, you know?”


But Reina still offered her apology after she was told.


“My apology. I’ve been living outside the wall for so long that it seems like I’ve forgotten some of my manners without realizing it. For that, I am really sorry.”


Beltram’s gaze shifted toward Kanae and Shiori, who were standing behind her. Reina was at least showing a respectful attitude toward him, someone who held a higher position. However, Shiori was not even trying to hide her stern gaze and Kanae was even displaying hostility in her smile.


“Those maids too. That’s not how you address an officer from the same company, you know? Where is your loyalty toward the company you belong to?”


“My master is Milady after all. Milady is already showing her loyalty to the company. Of course, that includes Milady’s attitude toward you, you know?”


“Beltram-sama is taking a neutral stance as the head manager of Lion Steel Eastern District Third Ward Branch, regarding the infighting between the factions. Moreover, Beltram-sama is also taking a neutral stance regarding the attack on Milady, which might also be interpreted as abandoning Milady. As such, the barest of respect would be enough.”


After Beltram confirmed the maids’ stance, his gaze returned back to Reina. There was a slight change in his expression. It was indicating how impressed he was with Reina. Not only was she able to hold onto Shiori’s loyalty, but she could also tame a problematic maid like Kanae.


[So, both Reina and Chloe changed this much outside the wall, huh? I once heard the reason why they drive out family members deemed incompetent outside the wall. It is because the conditions out there are much harsher than inside the wall. It was done in hopes of fostering their growth. I guess that’s not all nonsense…]


Although they were driven outside the wall for different reasons, both Chloe and Reina were the source of the ongoing incident. Beltram could not help but feel impressed as well as cautious toward these two, who were both, from his point of view, still lacking.


“I’m glad to see that both you and Lady Chloe had grown so much outside the wall.”


Beltram then looked at Shiori.


“By the way, it seems like you are blaming me. Despite the fact that you have received an order directly from the representative. It does not change the fact that your actions have aided or even caused this incident to spread. I don’t see your handling as something wise for a maid affiliated with the Lion Steel company.”


“Representative Alice’s order was for those at the scene to handle the situation until she arrives. And the one who manages those people should be you, no?”


Shiori replied with obvious sarcasm. It was clear that she was indicating that the source of this incident, including Reina and Chloe’s actions, was all due to the incompetent control the head of the Lion Steel Eastern District Third Ward branch had over his people. Shiori understood that it was a rude remark toward Beltram, who was her superior. However, Beltram’s decision to not punish Chloe, even after robbing that card from Reina, could be interpreted as approval of her actions. Therefore, Shiori could not possibly hide her anger.


As Shiori prepared herself, expecting reproach from Beltram, he replied with something unexpected. Beltram made a troubled expression as he mumbled.


“…As I thought, that’s what it means, huh?”


Reina and the others frowned. They did not understand the meaning behind those words. However, the fact that Beltram did not reproach Shiori, caused Reina to feel like something bad was going on. Thus, her expression turned stern as she asked.


“Branch manager. I believe that you are busy as well, so can we please get onto the main subject?”


“…You’re right, let’s get into the main subject. But before that, let me inform you of this. As the branch manager, I’m taking a neutral stance regarding the factions. With that in mind, there might be times when it seems like I’m siding with a certain faction. However, I will only do so for the sake of the company in mind. I am not doing so because I’m siding with any particular faction. That’s why it’s not like I’m abandoning your side or siding on Lady Chloe’s side. I’m just dealing with matters with my position and ability in mind.”


“Are you saying that the fact Chloe took Olivia-sama’s card from me by force is all for the sake of the company? And you, as the branch manager, don’t see any problem with it?”


This time it was not from Shiori but from Reina. After all, it was safer for her to speak up instead of a maid from the company. She did not want Shiori to worsen her standing. Furthermore, it was her covert way of hinting Shiori to keep her mouth shut.


Shiori, who understood Reina’s intentions, relaxed her stern expression. In turn, Kanae, who noticed, smiled bitterly.


Although Reina noticed the two’s reaction behind her, she was being careful so as to not smile. Up until now, Reina had been leaving the negotiations to Shiori. However, from now on, she made her resolve to act as Shiori’s master and waited for Beltram’s reply.


However, Beltram once again reacted with something that they did not expect. He knitted his eyebrows, which made him look like someone with a lot of power and responsibility. Someone fitting for his position as the branch manager.


“That is exactly the crucial part. We, officers from the third ward branch, are debating whether to see Lady Chloe’s action as problematic or not.”


“…What do you mean?”


“Actually, we originally saw Lady Chloe’s action as problematic. We had a meeting just now to discuss how to deal with the aftermath. Although I can’t really say what went on during the meeting, I will at least inform you of Lady Chloe’s current situation.”


Chloe attacked Akira and failed. She then placed a 50 billion bounty on his head. Furthermore, she had Kugamayama city designate Akira as a monster. And for the crime of endangering the city, she got detained. After hearing all of that, Reina could not hold back her surprise as to how the situation had greatly escalated in just one day.


“Lady Chloe’s action had caused tremendous problems. As officers of the third ward branch, we can’t ignore her actions. We only have two options: approve or reproach her action. However, we don’t have enough information to decide at the moment. Because of that, I would hope you will share your side of the story with us, including the matter of Olivia-sama’s card as well. This is an order from the branch manager of Lion Steel Eastern District Third Ward branch. You will tell me everything in detail.”


When Beltram said so, he was exuding an extraordinary amount of pressure. This allowed Reina and the others to grasp just how important this matter was.


User rating: 4.5

5