Chapter 574 Legalizing Ill-Gotten Gains
What did they ask you
Altashia asked Eren right away when she saw him leave the army administration building located inside their camp.
Their squad was questioned one by one regarding the disappearance of Sidro Zas.
Altashia, Dianna, and the rest of the team had already been questioned.
Eren sighed before answering.
What could they ask me The usual, you know.
They asked me about my interaction with Sid.
This wasn\'t something that could be hidden in the army anyway.
So I told them the truth.
That things weren\'t all smooth between me and him.
But I also said that the signs of conflict were always raised by Sid.
And I dealt with them by not acting on them for the most part.
Altashia nodded when she heard Eren speak the truth.
She had also reported the same thing in her report so that Eren could be kept out of being blamed for Sid\'s disappearance.
Eren and Altashia started walking towards the army gates where the rest of the team was waiting for them.
This was another regular monster clean-up assignment that they had received that needed to be done within 3-4 days.
Eren pondered for a bit and looked at the sky.
He sighed once again before adding up.
I also told them about a strange encounter I had with Sid just a few hours before he\'s supposed disappearance.
He had come to meet me.
I didn\'t tell you guys because it didn\'t seem relevant to me at that time.
But I guess I failed to register the kind of hell he was suffering through at that time.
Altashia raised her eyebrows and looked at Eren as she walked beside him.
A gentle breeze caressed her bouncy blonde hair.
Her keen blue eyes stared at the butcher and registered how charming he looked in the morning light.
She didn\'t ask Eren to elaborate with words.
She just pinched his arm as they were walking side by side, letting him know that she wanted to know more.
Ouch! You know, Al, someday, I\'m gonna have to pinch you in the same way.
You won\'t be able to complain at that time.
Eren caressed the red skin that was pinched by Altashia and soothed it by gently tapping his finger over it.
As a result, Altashia pinched him again while pouting.
Eren was reminded of his aunt Nina when she did that for the second time.
She too liked to pinch him from time to time.
He wondered if all the beautiful women he liked were made from the same mold.
\'I sure know how to pick them.\'
Eren thought to himself and chuckled to himself.
He then resumed his serious stance after flirting with Altashia in his own way before continuing.
Sid had come to meet me one day, I guess just before his disappearance.
He looked upset.
I thought he was about to start another fight with me.
So I was going to leave but he started his speech with an apology.
Altashia had surprised expressions on her face when she heard Eren talking about Sid apologizing to him.
Before she could ask some more, Eren continued.
I know what you are thinking.
Why would Sid apologize when he\'s been trying to mess with me for so long, right Frankly, I don\'t know the answer to that question myself.
But I could tell at that time that the guy was hurting.
Maybe all those jeers and taunts aimed at me were just his defense mechanism trying to make sense of his situation.
He didn\'t get the position he wanted.
He didn\'t get the girl he wanted.
So all he could do at that time was channel his anger on one guy that was the reason behind both of them being taken away from him.
They all flocked to the same guy who appeared out of the blue.
Who could not get angry at such a lucky man I know I would.
Altashia listened to Eren and nodded her head as she continued walking with Eren.
Then she understood the meaning behind Eren\'s words and pushed him with both her hands.
I… I am not your girl.
Eren chuckled a bit and carried on with his explanation.
My point is….
Now that I look back, I can understand Sid a bit.
His anger was not well-placed.
But I could see why it would affect the way it had affected him.
After all, who gets a second chance at life when it **s you out of nowhere
Eren said and placed his arm across Altashia\'s shoulder in a friendly manner.
He placed a significant part of his body weight on her before continuing.
So that day, when I was out near the city of Ainari with Dianna, Sid came to me and apologized.
He admitted that all the disagreements between us were initiated by him because of his personal reasons.
Dianna and I then invited him to join us on a leisure hunt.
We talked about various things that day before our topic of discussion turned towards the element of lightning.
At that Dianna left us.
But we kept on hunting and talking.
I talked to Sid about my attainments in lightning and return, and he shared some of his gains with me.
He also told me that contracting the red lightning bull helped him greatly in understanding the nature of red lightning.
He recommended contracting the same beast to me if I ever wanted to pursue different attainments in lightning.
Eren had created his fake alibi with Dianna after he had branded her with his Sine Series ability.
He told Dianna he was with her when he last saw Sid so that the case wouldn\'t have him as a suspect from the very beginning.
She had included his version of events in her report as well.
The butcher knew how critical it was for an investigation to start in the right direction.
Because it would produce different results with each new start when things were blurry.
So it was imperative for him as well to make sure that the investigation didn\'t start in the right direction.
After all, he was already on schedule with Eliza\'s plan.
He couldn\'t afford to get entangled in any conspiracy, no matter if he was the brains behind it or not.
This time, it wasn\'t difficult for Altashia to believe Eren.
That\'s because rankers with the same element often exchange notes about their achievements in the way of the elements with each other.
It was supposed to benefit both parties involved.
So it was a common practice among all the ranker communities.
I told these things to the panel assigned to investigate Sid\'s disappearance as well.
Now that the guy is presumed to be dead, I guess I and those inspection guys are thinking the same thing.
That Sid was trying to do something extreme to himself using an unsafe cultist remedy.
That\'s why he came to meet me that day and talked about our attainments.
Maybe he was trying to break into the next rank while using my elemental attainments as the catalyst.
And maybe the sorry he said was just in case he doesn\'t survive the procedure.
Eren said while sighing.
This was a not-so-common practice among rankers who sought quick breakthroughs.
Yet, it wasn\'t that rare either.
In cultist ways, one could either reach the skies or die trying.
So Sid\'s apology to Eren could be seen as him signing his will in case things didn\'t work out for him.
Eren and Altashia walked in silence for a while.
They could see the squad members waiting for them.
Eren finally let go of Altashia\'s shoulders and started walking alongside her.
With a stoic expression on his face, he added up.
I guess it\'s safe to say that… Sid couldn\'t make it.
Maybe he felt like he was getting stagnant and got desperate.
And paid the price for it.
I couldn\'t prevent him from taking such extreme measures for his growth because I couldn\'t see his next move.
Maybe I had no right to interfere in his affairs in the first place.
Strangely, he chose me to talk with when he was at that crossroads of his life.
A ranker\'s life is fragile.
I understand this more than anything now.
To be honest, I don\'t feel sorry for his death.
But I do feel honored that he said sorry to me before his death.
The least I could do for him as a way to show my gratitude for giving me this closure is to gain attainment in red lightning.
I have made my intentions known to the Army administrative office.
And they are ready to provide me with the necessary resources in exchange for my contribution points.
The butcher explained to Altashia as he kept on walking beside her.
If Sid\'s soul was there, it would have cursed Eren for even making use of the inquiry into his disappearance to his advantage.
The butcher drained the former red-lightning ranker of his existence.
And yet it wasn\'t enough.
It didn\'t matter that the guy was no longer there.
The butcher still found some use in his post-disappearance procedure.
Eren and Altashia then joined their squad and embarked on their mission.
Everyone in the squad could see that Eren was getting close to both Altashia and Dianna.
He would often switch between talking and flirting with them occasionally whenever he had a chance to do so.
Eren had also informed his squad about his intentions to get a red lightning bull as a contract beast.
He borrowed some army points from Arjun as well to get his hands on runic steles about red lightning from the army treasury.
Eren needed to lay the foundation for his usage of red lightning and Ertaur.
After all, his duel with Altashia was drawing closer.
He needed to use all his trump cards against her if he wanted to win.
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