Being invited from far away to the royal capital of Silesia, I imagined we would be received on a red carpet and have an audience with His Majesty, the King, however…
As soon as we reached the castle of Silesia, we were immediately led to a separate, small room, and held a discussion with an old man who claimed to be the Prime Minister, and one more who was the head of the Imperial Guard Cavalry.
I guess, it was to be expected. There’s no way for someone like me, with a low social position, to talk directly to a king.
Or perhaps, could it be I’m the one at fault for being delusional, even though I haven’t become this world’s hero yet?
“I’m the Prime Minister of this kingdom, Rogue Solitaire.”
The white-bearded old man, whose body was covered in a luxurious, silk-made, purple dress suit decorated with golden embroidery, gave us a bombastic welcome.
The other old man, with a pitch black, stern, unshaven face, wore a black mantle draped over the shoulders of his steel armor. I looked at this man, whose expression seemed to be nervous, as he threw a glance at us.
“I’m the head of the Imperial Guard Cavalry, and at the same time, the Commander of the Army designated for the extermination of the miasmatic mana hole, General Gail Dot Zeus.”
Sitting on his chair, it was an old man who seemed to be putting on airs as he threw out his chest.
Are? I wonder which one of these 2 is acting haughtier?
If I consider it calmly, I guess, it would be the Prime Minister.
Still, the Prime Minister, Rogue, came from a plebeian background and had a 2-character name, whereas, the General, Gail, was a noble with a 3-character name.
But, but, the Earl had said before that officials and nobles hold the same rank in this country, right?
“Sawatari Takeru-dono, the knight of the Almar household, today, we have summoned you for a special purpose…..”
As I took glimpses at both of their eminent looking faces, the old man Prime Minister spoke.
It was a Prime Minister’s duty to lead a conversation, so he was most likely doing a great job as one.
Otherwise it would cause a lot of a trouble if their partners were to misunderstand their acts as curry favoring.
That was one of the important things in hierarchy when taking on a hackneyed country.
“….I’m sure you’re probably aware that the kingdom is right now at a loss in dealing with the miasmatic mana hole. Based on secretary Laertius’s report, you led an army against the monsters that invaded the territory of Est, and eventually, managed to protect it, at the same time exterminating the enemy. Is that right?”
The Prime Minister, Rogue spoke out to me in a calm voice.
That dignified attitude of his, which made others listen to him attentively and instinctively, is what one could expect from him as this country’s Prime Minister.
“By all means, we would like to have you lend that power of yours. General Gail is currently leading his army and pressing it toward the hole from the east side of here, but, we also would wish to have Takeru-dono’s army cooperate with us in driving away the monsters to the east.”
Saying so, the Prime Minister sent another glance at General Gail.
The general made a broad grin as if enjoying something, and started to talk after wondering if it was his turn.
“Sir Takeru, it appears you’ve managed to take down the fort belonging to the bandit group, Inuwashi, which the monsters had been occupying as their base, right? Even our cavalry, which has been defending the road, couldn’t capture that troublesome base.”
Is this information the General had acquired through the Earl?
As expected of the leader of a cavalry, I didn’t know what kind of a general he was, but, he could grasp a war situation well.
“I hear that you command small fries, such as soldiers made from slaves and villagers, however, now we’re so busy, we’d even welcome the help of a cat. Therefore, it will be fine if you could lend us a reasonable amount of help.”
Honestly, why does this conversation have to start from lending one’s strength? Don’t expect people to comply after just asking them for a help.
For some reason, this General is so proud, I can’t bring myself to like him.
Even though they themselves were unable to take down the fort, I wonder if it’s rude from them to call our side small fries.
As expected, even I, who was kind, couldn’t avoid being pissed off.
“Prime Minister, your Excellency, please wait!”
Lyle-sensei, who had been silently listening, raised up a big voice.
“It should’ve been mentioned precisely in my report, but I remember telling you about Takeru-dono taking down the monsters using the great strength of guns and cannons. And also, about the kingdom considering the implementation of the new weapons for extermination purposes.”
“As far as I’m concerned, we have already rejected your proposal.”
The Prime Minister, Rogue, replied immediately.
“However, only this way we can get out from this situat-“
“You’re repeating yourself, secretary Lyle! Currently, we do not wish to hear any opinion from you. Even for a mere secretary like you, it’s quite impertinent to meddle with a Prime Minister’s decision.”
Uwaa, he’s got on his high horses.
But well, this reaction was probably fit for a Prime Minister.
Even I, felt like I would prostrate myself in front of this person.
“This is an important discussion regarding how we should deal with the miasmatic mana hole. A petty official like you with such arrogance is in no position to suggest what is the best for protecting one’s citizens or eliminating the hole!”
However, without pulling back, Lyle-sensei objected.
Despite Sensei being usually kindhearted, I guess, even he knows when to speak when it’s necessary.
“Hmph, you’re just a youngster who’s benefitted from your parent. Just because that person has done some deeds, how self-conceited can you be?!”
“Ughh…” – Sensei kept silent.
He looked incredibly vexed.
I can understand that feeling, as it’s indeed harsh when having your parent being mentioned. Certainly, that Prime Minister is cruel.
You know, it’s got nothing to do with one’s parent!
At that time, General Gail cut in.
“Secretary, I’ve also read your report about that, but, don’t the guns and cannons work the same as our bows and large-scale spells?”
“General, I’m sure you’ll become convinced of the arms’ effectiveness upon using them.”
Sensei, who was bad at giving up, depended even on the General, but….
“I’ve already tested them, but, they have way too many weaknesses. The fuse of the arms won’t light if they get soaked in the rain. And if they get drenched, even that gunpowder will become useless.”
“About that, it’s fine as long we can figure out how to carry the weapons. Luckily, there’s not that much rain in this country, so it will be even more difficult for the weather to hinder our plans.”
The General got cocky and rasped under his nose at Sensei’s appeal.
“That’s why you’re a naive official who has no knowledge regarding battles. Even if we put cannons or guns on the battlefield, we’re done if there’s a high class mage on the enemy’s side who can wash them away.”
“But the enemy are monsters. Why should a high-class mage appear?”
At Sensei who asked that question with a sharp look, the General responded with a daring smile.
“You never know what could happen on the battlefield. Like if there’s a monster capable of using water spells. I see no reason for why we should bet on and invest a huge sum of money in something that will prove lethal due to its defect. You know, I’m the kind of a person that puts things in perspective.”
“General, at least let us test the arms once or twice!”
I could understand why Sensei was that persistent, but…
Those guys, were probably just mocking him.
“Oi, Secretary, try to think harder. There’s no way proud knights like us would resort to those weapons.”
“Then, how about we let the ordinary soldiers use them first?”
“We, knights, are in charge of directing battles. Something like an explosive gunpowder is good for those engineer fellows in the mines, but not for us, you see. There’s no soldier in this country crazy enough to bet other lives over those strange weapons.”
“Fuhahaa, it looks like you’ve finally understood that it’s impossible to order us, the knights, to use those toys.”
The General sneered again at Sensei, after saying so.
For some reason, this meeting felt very unpleasant.
‘If you can’t convince us any more than this, it’s better for you to retreat.’ – Sensei was even more silenced, after the Prime Minister stated this.
Well, then for what purpose did you call us?
So as to make Sensei a laughing stock?
I don’t know if these guys are big shots, but…
As one would have expected, I couldn’t remain calm any longer.
“Prime Minister, is it fine for me to say something?!”
“Yes. After all, we are the ones who have requested cooperation from you. If there’s something on your mind, ask.”
“What will you do if, I manage to seal off that miasmatic mana hole using guns and cannons?”
General Gail bursted into an uncontrollable laughter.
“Fuhahahaaa, obviously, you’d then be considered as this country’s hero and savior!”
The General held his stomach, and looked as if being about to fall from his chair. Prime Minister Rogue rebuked him with a grave expression.
“General, we’re in the middle of a serious discussion right now.”
“Hey hey, I was joking a bit, you know? The talk was so interesting it made me laugh.”
‘Cough.’ – Once the Prime Minister glared at the General, he made a cough and carried on.
“Sir Takeru, we look forward to sealing off that miasmatic mana hole, therefore, we’d like to implore you, as well as the Asama Church who’s the only one capable of sealing off that hole, to help us. Even if you don’t succeed in sealing it, rest assured, as we shall reward you appropriately for your deeds.”
The Prime Minister was hard-headed when speaking, which made him give an impression of being easily understood.
Should I ask him something?
“Prime minister, what I want to ask is, whether or not you’d be willing to apologize to Secretary Lyle if he proves his point about the guns and cannons being effective?”
“I believe my decision, as this country’s Prime Minister, was justified. However, were that person to be able to seal off that hole and save this country…. this old aged me wouldn’t hesitate to do what he wishes, even if he was to cut me off or besmear me in the ground.”
The Prime Minister declared that clearly and loudly.
Heh? It looks like he’s well prepared. He probably doesn’t think we can do it.
I don’t know what kind of big shots those two are, but, I want them to atone for their crimes of disgracing Sensei’s good name.
Uhm, it’s not like I’m completely sure if we can manage to do it, but well.
Anyway, I decided to take up their request and joined the monster extermination force.
“Ah, wait, wait, Sir Takeru.”
“….What could it be, General?”
Just when I thought our talk had finally concluded, I was stopped by the General’s challenge.
I’m not too keen on holding a discussion with this guy, but…
Even a General sounds eminent by its name, so I guess, it couldn’t be helped for me to react.
“How’s Louise been doing?”
“Wha? Why does General Gail know about Louise?”
Could it be he has researched this side that far?
For some reason, he’s an uncanny guy.
“Gufufufuu, I know everything about that girl. It seems like she’s fallen as low as to become an adventurer, but, the person named Louise Carlson was once a considerable friend and coworker of mine who would compete with me for the seat of the leader of chivalry order, you see.”
“Heh? So there used to be times like this? Speaking of which, does that mean Louise used to serve the kingdom as a knight?”
“What? You don’t even know that….? Well, I guess, it’s not necessarily impossible for a person of doubtful origin not to know that. The household of Carlson has been considered as one of the greatest and most notable families for generations in Silesia. Their lineage is even greater than that of mine. What’s more, for her to have an impetuous dash towards acquiring new skills at such young age, it’s thanks to her deeds as a knight that she’s known as ‘Louise, the Myriad of Swords’ in the kingdom.”
“Heh? So she’s that famous?”
Louise wearing steel-made plated mail and riding on a horse, just imagining that was cool.
And then, General Gail sneered while making a broad grin, as if being extremely pleased with something.
“However, in the end, that girl was expelled from the order, for one particular mistake.”
“…..Did something happen?”
With an act-like attitude, the General stroked his beard with his fingers, and looked at me with a broad grin.
Indeed, he was an unpleasant guy.
“Fuhahahaa, that girl, Louise, brought shame upon her family, so she’s probably hiding that fact from her friends. If that’s the case, I, am willing to tell you everything about that.”
“You mean it?”
I guess, even this bearded face general has quite an unexpected side.
I felt a bit sorry for Louise, but I felt curious to learn more about her.
“That foolish girl, despite her skills and reputation, not to mention her noble background and rise to become a councilor of the chivalry, she committed a blunder for which she was disinherited and forced to leave the royal chivalry order.”
“That’s why, I’m asking you what kind of blunder did she commit?”
Just go straight to the point, you annoying general.
You’re way beating over the bush, so tell me quickly.
“Fine, I shall tell you. There can be nothing else than that huge failure in which they failed to seal off the miasmatic mana hole. The troops from the chivalric order, which she led for extermination of monsters, were completely annihilated due to that foolish girl’s foolish failure.”
“So it was because of Louise?”
As I asked so, the beard faced old man smirked at me again.
“Of course. It’s because of that girl’s failure, that we, the Chivalric Order, are still being troubled. They were annihilated, all destroyed! Still, to be able to survive alone, that girl did really well. I guess, despite being called a knight, her feminine body doesn’t necessarily know the meaning of shame.”
I didn’t know Louise’s circumstances in detail, but, it was certain her failure was considered as fact.
Is this the reason why she told us not to come close to the miasmatic mana hole?
I could now broadly grasp why she was so against coming, despite me trying to persuade her.
“Sir Takeru, you don’t look like a person that will rise into becoming an influential official. It appears that that girl, Louise, is still in charge of directing battles behind the curtain. Even though she was expelled from the chivalric order, I must admit she has some guts worthy of respect for not giving up.”
“Well, I guess it’s as you say.”
It would be unexpected for her not to be strong-willed, but, there were also some parts of her that couldn’t be helped.
Still, it was fact that Louise excelled more in fighting strength than me.
“Hmph, now that I’ve become the leader of the Royal Chivalric Order, and on top of that, a General, I can only consider that failure of a knight as a bug. Still, tell her she did a good job in crawling to some other place and doing her best. That’s because she would experience nothing but the shame of being laughed off by her old comrades, were she to return here nonchalantly. Fuhahahahahahaaa!”
Talking at his own convenience while laughing, the general left.
Uwaa, indeed, he’s a guy with a bad personality.
I guess, people like him are those stereotypical villains.
It would be nice if he could just die from being stabbed from behind.
The royal capital was royal in name only. Its castle and walls were splendid, however, as soon as you walked a bit onto side roads branching from their main one, you could witness a disastrous scenery filled with beggars and refugees.
I also saw lots of people who collapsed in the street dying, as a result of widespread crime here.
Most likely, it was due to a large number of soldiers being occupied with fighting the monsters, which is why there’s a lack in garrison responsible for protecting this city’s order.
Did everyone grow emotionless? Despite there being corpses rolling on the floor, nobody seemed to pay any notice. Has this country become a battlefield?
I want return back to the peaceful territory of Est.
I’ve already lost my interest in this city’s fashionable cafe for nobilities, of which I heard lots of good things from the Earl.
It would be strange if there was any nobility watching the city and drinking coffee buoyantly under these circumstances.
Even if I wasn’t Louise, I could understand her feelings of not wanting to visit this place.
For the time being, I checked on this city’s market and managed to sell all the soaps, loaded on my covered wagon, at the highest price possible.
Since there were no traders coming to this city at the moment, the citizens couldn’t tell what was considered a reasonable price.
Still, as expected of this royal capital, it was abundant with a variety of goods.
Having lots of money, which I had brought with me, I proceeded to buy up antidotes, recovery potions, and precious miracle drugs here.
I didn’t know what would become of this city, but I knew I could screw up its economy badly.
Did nobody expect traders coming to this city? The prices at the market were awfully high.
It was a city with a collapsed order and morality.
“Takeru-dono, I apologize for this uncouth sight. To think this city would become like this….”
Back when we were in the castle, I tried to avoid any talk regarding that topic, however…. I was interrupted by Sensei and suddenly apologized to in the middle of buying up items from the oldest and most well-known stores in this capital.
Sensei, please don’t make such a sad expression.
“You’re not the one to be at fault, Sensei. Hey look, I’ve purchased lots of magic items. In addition to that, how about we buy magic jewels and gear up for the upcoming battles?”
“Ah no, it’s fine by me. More importantly, Takeru-dono, how about you purchase those protectors? I think you have enough offensive power, but you should also consider increasing your defense.”
“Then, which one would you recommend me, Sensei?”
“They quite vary in price, but, how about you purchase this mithril cap?”
The price for the cap was in Silesian platinum coins, that’s to say 100….
Uwaaa, not 100 golden coins, but 100 platinum ones?!
It was a price which I thought to be a joke.
In Japanese currency, wouldn’t it be around 10 million yen?
The shop owner wasn’t willing to take out the cap from its glass case, but, after somehow convincing him with an earnest request, I was allowed to touch this smooth, skin and silk-like cap, which was so light it didn’t seem to be made from metal.
This is the real deal. As expected from a magic metal.
“It’s probably amazing. The cap has its price as well, but, I bet it must be hugely effective. After all, it’s made from a legendary rare metal casted with magic. It’s also said to be proof against a dragon’s breath and fangs. What’s more, you won’t find this anywhere outside the capital.”
“I guess, we’ll need at least this much equipment if we want to seal off that hole, right?”
Lyle-sensei nodded in agreement with a bit of a lonesome face.
Then, it’s decided we’ll buy this cap.
I’ve been totally encouraged by sellers who tried to make a turnover by telling me to buy anything and everything, but, when it comes to Sensei’s opinion, nothing has gone wrong till now.
If it’s about powerful armors, I’d also like to have Louise and the rest use some.
Upon seeing a youngster like me, the seller doubted if I could really afford to buy this cap. It was amusing to watch him, whose eyes changed color and expression turned stiff from astonishment, as I presented him 100 platinum coins.
Purchasing expensive items is one way of releasing your stress, you know?
“Thank you very much!”
We were suddenly seen off by a now courteous shop owner. As soon as we left the place, the shop temporarily closed, which made both me and Lyle-sensei look at each other and laugh.
Certainly, the shop owner must have brought the bag of platinum coins with him to a bank. I could somewhat understand his feelings.
Later, as we finished buying various things here, we left this disastrous city behind with a fast pace.
Apart from shopping here, we had no other business to do in this terribly detestable city.
That’s because we had already accepted a formal request from the Kingdom of Silesia.
From now on, our plan of capturing the miasmatic mana hole commenced more and more.
‘Will we manage to live through this war?’ – Pondering over that, I became anxious.