「So it’s them……」
The messenger of the opposite party, Kunogen, delivered the declaration of surrender to Pius, who had the harpies deliver it to me. As I looked at the names on it, I clicked my tongue. I never thought that they would move the army upon seeing the signs of restoration of the territory.
「It seems that we need to have a serious talk with the leaders」
「Right. Normally, they should have all come here but, as expected, it’s a bit too far. As Pius said in his letter, it seems that I have no choice but to go there myself」
I put Gon on my back and rode on Irimo towards them. I concealed our figures with a barrier and made rounds in the air to confirm the situation. The imperial knights are surrounded by Pius’ squad, the geryons, and the sea tribe from all sides. As for the knights themselves, I didn’t see much because the sky was full of the harpies. Not even an ant can slip through. I landed a slight distance away from the battlefield, canceled the barrier, and rode towards them.
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「Pius! I’ve kept you waiting! 」
「Rinos-sama, I was waiting for you. Those are the surrendered three」
The trio of Gragoleir, Oshe, and Jiono was tightly restrained in extreme dejection. Especially Oshe, who had a pale face like that of a dead man. I glanced at them from Irimo.
「We won’t be able to talk here. Move those three to the Hotel Kurumfar. Send a message to Kuena and tell her to prepare a room」
Roger! Answered one of Pius’ subordinates and rode away.
「Isn’t the hotel always completely booked?」
「No, considering the possibilities, one or two rooms are always free. If I won’t do that, the staff won’t be able to change shifts」
While I was discussing this with Gon, a man approached me.
「I’m Kunogen of the Imperial Knights’ Order. I’m deeply grateful for showing us your grace. Originally, it should have been the vice-captain Oshe instead of me but you can see the situation. Although it’s presumptuous of me, I would like to ask you for an opportunity to accompany as an adjutant」
「Ku…..noge, n, don’t…..make….arbitrary……decisions」
Muttered Oshe in uneven breath.
「It doesn’t seem like I will be able to have a proper conversation with this metal can. Fine, Kunogen. I shall permit you to accompany me」
「Thank you very much」
「Pius, bring these four with you」
Since Oshe couldn’t walk by himself, Kunogen was forced to lend him a shoulder.
It seems that this scene finally made the soldiers snap out of their dazed state and follow after him while clamoring. I stood before the soldiers.
「Silence! Assume the formation!!」
It took only a moment for them to restore the formation. They’ve been trained well.
「I’m the manager of the Kurumfar territory, Rinos. You’ve launched an attack against my mansion. With that as a reason, we made defensive preparations. I express my condolences to the dead but this is how the battlefield works. The masterminds will be questioned and trialed but I believe that the gentlemen here only followed the orders and don’t bear any hostility against me. Your return to the imperial capital shall be discussed afterwards. You are on standby until further orders」
I split the knights and instructed Marcel and Kars to watch over them. The soldiers proceeded to their respective towns without any complaints.
「Ferris, Luara, job well done」
「Ehehe. It wasn’t a big deal. That being said, Rinos-san is amazing. You were incredibly cool」
「Teacher was as dazzling as a God」
「That’s enough for the flattery. Return to the mansion and protect Rico and the rest. Geki did well too. Return and rest. The harpies are to continue watching from the sky. Please remind the knights to behave is something goes wrong. Let me know is there is something wrong. Good work, everyone! 」
Everyone energetically replied. I called Ferris as she was about to take off.
「Make some zenzai for the harpies and the geryons once you reach the mansion. Make a lot. We will have some too」
「Leave it to me! Well then! 」
「It hurts, big sister! Don’t be so rough! 」
「Noisy! You will fall if you won’t stay put! 」
The two disappeared deep into the forest as they argued. Irimo and I headed towards the Hotel Kurumfar.
「All right then, can anyone tell me how did this situation came into being?」
The meeting in the hotel started with a heavy atmosphere. All three of them stayed silent with pale faces.
Since it is rather troublesome, let’s appraise them.
「……I mostly understood. Did you guys do all of that for the sake of obtaining our harvest? Morons. Did you ever think how many people did you inconvenienced with your stupid ambitions? I don’t have any other words but morons to describe you 」
「…….Like, someone like y-you, can understand us」
Muttered Oshe as if squeezing something out.
「Hey, you over there. Should I remind you about sending your people to a certain death, people, who are either dead now or still live wishing to die?」
Oshe stared at me with killing intent.
「The reason for this battle is your desire for our harvest. Tell me if I’m wrong」
The three silently trembled.
「I shall treat your silence as an affirmation. That being said, you are truly shameless. You immediately wanted to take the harvest of the territory that you yourself abandoned. What kind of logic even led you to this conclusion? The soldiers are too pitiful. Kunogen, what is this army in the first place? You did well gathering this many」
「We are affiliated with the Northern Army, they are the soldiers under vice-captain Oshe」
「How many casualties?」
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「About a half is either dead of injured」
「Did you lose so much? You truly are a metal can」
「You better treat us well. If you put my mind into it, I can easily take away your title even with your identity」
「It’s not even a threat, Jiono. I’m not interested in obtaining status in the first. I would be glad to take it easy. Deprive me of my title? Hah, please do! 」
Jiono, turned silent as he bit his lips.
For now, we put the three under house arrest with Pius watching over them. I, on the other hand, headed to the capital to make a report. On the way, I visited Kairiku and Tohotsu to check on the captured knights. There were no particular problems except for the feeling of gloom on their faces.
I tried leaving some food behind to feed them but I was refused by the aunties. Although there are more than 200 of them, we will give them something nice to eat! They said as I headed to the capital with a gratified smile.
At dusk, I arrived at the imperial palace and asked for an audience with the prime minister. After a while, the prime minister and Prince Viras appeared before me. Then, I made a report about the events of today.
「The imperial knights? This is ridiculous」
「Is this…..really true? 」
「It’s true. First thing first, I think that we should return the knights to the capital first」
「Makes sense. Rafaiens-dono is the commander of the Northern Army. It’s better to tell him about it. Someone, summon Rafaiens-dono」
The headquarters of the Northern Army were near the palace so the commander appeared soon enough.
「What?……Oshe did?….I never expected that he was up to something like this」
The commander received quite a shock. He is a silver-haired nice guy but his face now had a shadow on it.
「Understood. Let me, Rafaiens, offer my deepest apologies about this matter. Tomorrow, I will bring Oshe and his men back」
「Even so, I ask to not punish his men in for that」
「Of course. We lost many lives because of Oshe. The soldiers might be the biggest victims here」
Gragoleir and Jiono are going to be detained and it ended up with me and Rafaiens going to the Kurumfar territory in the morning of the next day.
I left the palace, mounted Irimo, and returned to my mansion. I thought that everyone would already be there but I didn’t find anyone. I went straight to the Kurumfar mansion using the teleportation barrier. There, I found Rico, Gon, Ferris, and Luara.
「I made a zenzai. Everyone was pleased」
「Big sister Rico helped us too. Big sister is really skillful」
Only this place is truly peaceful. Then, I explained about the event of today and the plans for the future.
「Seems like a lot of trouble. We would stay overnight in this mansion. I can’t predict what may happen」
「Are going to be all right all alone, Rico?」
「Ferris and Luara are here so I would be fine. If it comes to it, Gon is here too」
「I see, then I’m counting on you」
I hugged Rico and returned to my mansion.
Peris and Mei were waiting for me in the dining room. When I looked at them, I finally remembered that I didn’t eat anything for the whole day and the hunger assaulted me in full force. Let’s make something, I heard from Peris and stood in the kitchen for the first time in a long while. Mei also joined us. As we talked about the things that happened during the day, bread, soup, salad, and karaage from the meat of a golden bird were made by us. I don’t have much of these birds’ meat left. If there would be a day when I return to the Juka Kingdom, I want to hunt them by all means.
Stuffing myself until I was full, I entered the bath together with Mei and then went with her all the way to the bed.
- He talks about the dead and the crippled. ↩