Right away, Volgen drew the sword from his waist.
When his sword was unsheathed, everyone around was shocked but soon realized something was wrong.
"My lord, I'll bring some troops over to have a check," Volgen said to Kieran.
"Sure. Meanwhile, I'll go to the Edi Merchant Group's room." Kieran allowed the request with a nod.
Kieran's senses told him although the mayor office's building was dark, it wasn't dangerous nor did it have any malicious gazes coming from it, let alone any powerful presences.
Quite the contrary, inside Dwarf Wind and Rice Basin, a faint bloody stench lingered; not the pig or lamb from the kitchen but from a human!
"Understand. You two, follow the sheriff!"
"My lord, I'll be back soon!"
Volgen arranged and dispatched his men properly before leading some away.
When the young captain and many more of the civilian troops left for the mayor's office, the hotel owner, Old Peeker finally let out a sigh of relief.
"Volgen is all good and nice but he is too serious and stubborn. I've known him since he was a kid and watched him grow up yet he didn't spare any face for the sake of our relationship."
Old Peeker said while he shrugged and mocked himself.
"A serious young man is not that hateful, am I right?" Kieran smiled.
"Of course, of course. My lord, please follow me, I'll bring you to the rooms where those fellas stayed," Old Peeker nodded and led Kieran inside in a slick yet respectful way.
As they traveled to the hotel room, Kieran didn't even have to ask and Old Peeker was already telling him everything about the Edi Merchant Group.
"The Edi Merchant Group is just a small group and the core is no doubt Edi's family. There are around a dozen of them but a small merchant group has their own way of surviving. Most of the members will band up together and it is actually Edi's family member who really deals in everything most of the time."
"So, people thought the Edi Merchant Group was just Edi's family but instead, it was formed by many smaller merchant groups and the core family group will only acquire part of the profits."
"Oh, I see. So the Edi Merchant Group is actually a group name?" Kieran asked.
"Yes, it's their group name alright and all of them are actually real family members and relatives."
"It's weird, right? It's not weird for a family to command a merchant group but for all the family members and relatives to be within the same group? That is the point that intrigues most people. Still, despite how curious I am at heart, I dared not ask them," Old Peeker laughed as he spoke.
"Why? Are they fierce?" Kieran asked as the origin of the bloody stench was getting closer.
"Which of the merchant groups that dare to travel around the Supreme Road aren't fierce? The robbers, bandits that lurk around the Supreme Road are not a joke. Even with the Burning Dawn stationed there, assaults on merchant convoys always happen. Besides, now that Burning Dawn has…"
Old Peeker suddenly stopped when he mentioned Burning Dawn.
"What about Burning Dawn?" Kieran asked, pretending to be curious.
"Nothing much, but Burning Dawn was assaulted! The grand duke is still missing…"
"My lord, with your identity, the official letters that you receive should be more specific than stories I hear. You can also ask Mayor Holler, try not to put a small citizen like me in a difficult position. I'm just trying to make my living here."
Old Peeker was begging ceaselessly and at the same time, a coin sack appeared in his hand and was quietly passed to Kieran.
Kieran took the coin sack without expressing anything.
When Old Peeker saw Kieran take the coin sack, his face was overjoyed and he walked even faster in leading Kieran to the room.
Old Peeker stopped at the end of the hotel corridor where there was only a single door around that spot.
"This is the room of the Edis and also my biggest room in the hotel. They stayed here every time they dropped by." Old Peeker opened the door before stepping aside.
One of the civilian soldiers walked in first with an oil lamp before lighting the candles in the room.
Light filled the room in an instant; it shed light over a row of neatly tidied beds with luggage underneath each bed.
The sheets were tidy and folded; the luggage was also tidy and didn't seem to have moved at all.
Kieran glanced over the beds and luggage. Ultimately he landed his attention at the big long table in the middle of the room.
The bloody stench came from the table, or more precisely the wooden flooring underneath the table.
Everything was clear under Kieran's [Tracking] vision.
Countless drag marks led towards below the table.
"You two, move the table."
Kieran ordered the soldiers and at the same time looked at Old Peeker.
The hotel owner looked normal and didn't seem to behave differently.
Of course, it was that particular moment.
After the table was moved away, Kieran pried open a seemingly sturdy piece of the plank but it was actually a hollow cover-up; a heavy bloody stench burst out from the opening and assaulted everyone's face.
The candlelight revealed the overlapping bodies before everyone's eyes.
"OH MY GOD!" Old Peeker staggered backward as his face looked shocked while crying out in surprise.
The other two civilian soldiers were horrified as well. One of them completely lost it, while the other who still remained calm drew the sword on his waist and pointed it at Old Peeker.
"Stop right there!" The soldier said.
"M-My lord, I-I didn't kill all these people!" Old Peeker raised his hands up while he spoke in a stutter.
"Mm." Kieran nodded without really agreeing. He then scanned the secret room that was hiding in the hotel room.
When he saw an L shaped latched inside the secret room, Kieran squinted his eyes.
"A secret room that is opened from the inside?"
Kieran had speculation in his heart; he then gave an order to the soldier, "Get all the bodies out."
The two civilian soldiers exchanged gaze before nodding at the same time.
The one who was at lost looked unwilling to follow orders as he slowly and hesitantly walked closer to the secret room. The other who drew his sword was unwilling as well but he didn't slack off in carrying out his orders.
The thing that surprised Kieran the most was Old Peeker.
"My lord, let me help as well! I am willing to prove my own innocence! I am willing to help you in your investigation as well and I only hope that you can give me fair treatment!" Old Peeker took the initiative and said first.
"Sure," Kieran promised.
Old Peeker was obviously not the killer. He had no bloody smell or wash marks on his body.
Besides, an old man without any kind of training that was as short as a real dwarf couldn't really kill everyone in a short time without setting off an alarm other than poisoning them.
Quite the opposite, the bodies didn't die of poison but their throats were perforated and the murder was committed within a short amount of time.
"The killer is not only fast in his movement but caught them off guard as well…"
Kieran stood above the secret room as he watched the bodies being carried out one by one. His mind automatically painted the scene that might have happened during the murder.
The Edis must have been discussing something with the killer in this secret room. Then, the killer suddenly made his move and the Edis were caught off guard, thus falling into the underground secret room one after another.
Perhaps there might be some screaming but because of the secret room's hatch and the hotel room door, no one on the outside heard it.
Or, the killer purposely arranged some other of his accomplices to create a diversion.
Just as Kieran was pondering upon the scene, the cry of shock from Old Peeker and the two soldiers came from beneath his feet.
"M-My lord, the m-mayor is dead!"
The soldier reported in before Kieran even asked.