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178 Drama in Codo Bosra

 Clocks have to be wound back a day as to why the Lancaster Mayor Reputation System was added in the update.

Under Mufasa's instructions, Simba was escorting the Lancaster Mayor's daughter-in-law and his apparent heir Gwendolyn to Codo Bosra, the county near the hunting grounds.

The noblewoman had tried to get information from Simba and the other two children since she had recognized Mufasa as Baron Nigelania's murderer, but she did not know who the children were.

Still, from how they were acting like superior and subordinate, perhaps that murderer might be supported by some unknown group in Lancaster.

Nonetheless, she couldn't find a chance to do so over the journey at all.

Aside from the young girl who was rather quiet, the two brats were chattering away noisily, talking about some unusual things like 'Thunder', 'high score', 'why no booster... tsk... I'm dead again'.

Sometimes, the boy named Simba would even stare out into thin air thoughtfully, mumbling 'Map is looking weird. Could we have taken the wrong direction?'.

Then, the other two children would quickly snuggle up to Simba and debate hotly away, pointing left and right respectively while insisting that their directions were the right one, and as if a map really was there.

The noblewoman felt a chilling fear, just as she wondered if the children were wrong in the head...

Naturally, she wondered if her eyes had problems too. But after checking with her two handmaidens and Gwendolyn that they saw nothing either, she became positive that the three weird kids had issues.

***

"By the way, this is my first time visiting Codo Bosra," Simba said cheerfully during the journey.

"Is there anything fun over there?" Zazu asked curiously.

Nana did not join the conversation, but her eyes were widened in adorable curiosity and fixed on Simba.

"You have to mention the Blunt Rhino when you talk about Codo Bosra, of course!" Simba answered smugly. "It is said that everyone there loves it, and the merchants there wouldn't sell you anything if you don't have your own!"

"What's a Blunt Rhino?" Zazu became even more curious.

"Hmm, it's a rhino that's about this size." Simba spread his hands to show the size of a Shiba Inu. "I saw one in the menagerie on the trade district. It was about five hundred Rions!"

""Oh!"" Zazu and his sister looked very interested.

The noblewoman who was born in Codo Bosra could not resist speaking out then. "I'm sorry, but you have been fooled... The people of Codo Bosra aren't that crazy about Blunt Rhinos."

It was true that most of the Blunt Rhinos in the Eastern Continent could be found in Codo Bosra and the people there loved those clumsily charming creatures. However, claiming that everyone was crazy about the Blunt Rhinos to the point that they wouldn't trade with those who did not rear one would be nothing less than a false rumor.

Given that news traveled slowly in this era and only by word of mouth, the snowball effect of tall tales becoming rumors was common.

In fact, it was the same back on Earth.

Examples include people from a certain state wouldn't court people of a certain state, or that people from certain locations had no flair for comedy although everyone in one particular district could, or that all Hollanders steal well lids.

That is probably how entire zones get a bad name.

"What? Really?!"

At the noblewoman's words, Simba appeared to have a rug pulled out from under his feet, sprawling over the ground in a disappointed (OTZ) pose.

"That's a little over the top." Zazu could not help rebuking him. "You didn't react that much when you received the believer blessing, or are the people of Codo Bosra not being crazy about Blunt Rhinos that important to you?"

Beside them, the noblewoman sharply caught the keywords.

Believer? Blessing?

Could the murderer be supported by a church?

She felt a chill, realizing things weren't as simple as it looked.

***

Nonetheless, the noblewoman was slightly relieved when Codo Bosra was in view.

Although the Morrisons-her maiden family-wasn't as influential as Mayor Corinth in Lancaster, their business in cloth and spices elevated them from the range of minor nobles to gain considerable power.

As such, the noblewoman did not have much to fear after returning to the city.

And since those brats didn't really incur her displeasure on the journey, she wouldn't overstep boundaries either-she would probably just restrain them and have them drink an alchemist's truth elixir to get the information she wanted.

However, a weak stuttering voice called out even before they reached the city gates from a roadside bush.

"Y-y-young lady?"

Most would have ignored that frail voice if not for the children's sharper hearing.

As one of the noblewoman's maids used her scabbard to push off the withered bush that was piling with snow, they found a skinny old man who was thoroughly scarred and basically a bag of bones.

The noblewoman stared at him in confusion, and only recognized his face after some time.

"Butler Volks? Why are you here?!" She asked in disbelief, holding a hand over her mouth.

"Master and Mistress had been framed as traitors... they were publicly beheaded by Codo Bosra's mayor two days ago... it's over for the Morrison family." The old man was choking in tears even as he tugged at the noblewoman's sleeve.

"What..." The noblewoman stumbled and almost fell, but her two maids caught her in time while she gritted her teeth and sobbed. "Why would the mayor do that?! Every other noble in Codo Bosra could be a traitor except them!"

"Mommy, is Grandpa and Grandma alright?" Gwendolyn asked softly.

The noblewoman did not answer, and merely continued patting her head while sobbing silently.

"But your parents' death is actually the mayor's gesture of fealty towards the emperor... the emperor seems intent on ending the war a year earlier, and then personally see to getting rid of Mayor Corinth..." The old butler stuttered. "The city watch is on the search for any remaining rebels... please run, young lady..."

When he finished, the shadows of city watch soldiers had already appeared over the snow-laden path.