Borrowing the Circry House’s yard, I checked over everyone’s equipment.
Generally, adventurers were lightly equipped.
With that being the case, the Second gave his impression looking over all of us.
『… Uwah, how unreliable.』
The Third laughed as he spoke.
『It’s at a level where I’d turn around and go home.』
As a gathering of adventurers, we weren’t bad.
Our equipment was well in order, and if you looked at us as mercenaries, while we had our insufficiencies, we were capable of battle.
… Besides Monica.
“Monica, that maid outfit… just take off the dress already.”
Fed up, I put one hand to my face. Monica gave an immediate reply.
“Don’t want to! Rejected! Denied!”
She made a firm stance of denial, but I did know that her attire wouldn’t be a hindrance to battle.
Its appearance was no good for the battlefield.
“Well then Monica will just be shoved into Porter, and the next problem is…”
The ones I turned my eyes to were Marcus-san and Breid-san.
Marcus-san was armed with his personal chainmail and sword.
He also had a spear on him, and that wasn’t a problem, but the issue lied with Breid-san.
“I’m sorry. I wasn’t able to borrow the armaments from my home.”
In regards to Breid-san’s apologetic manner, the Fourth spoke.
『I’ll bet. It’s unthinkable for them to lend out their precious equipment to a third son. Not even if he paid them for it.』
The Fifth spoke.
『You can find horrid treatments of seconds and thirds wherever you go.』
(No, rather than first or second son, the Fifth Generation…)
The Fifth, who had over thirty children.
He did have his reasons, but to put it bluntly, he wasn’t in a standing where he could interfere with this problem.
The Second likely thought as such as well.
『No, I doubt you’re one to speak in this matter.』
The Fifth seemed displeased.
『As I thought.』
I thought, as I looked over everyone.
(We’ll have to do something about our appearance. Since we’re in the capital, it won’t be hard to get equipment together, so perhaps we should purchase with an emphasis on appearances?)
Appearance itself was a single important factor.
Even if the contents were all the same, to one who looked the part, and one who didn’t… if one were to choose, they would overwhelmingly veer towards the former.
“Today included, there are four days until our departure. We should ready our equipment first.”
As I said that, the ones standing close and watching, Doris-san and Lucy-san spoke to their respective boyfriends.
“T-then I’ll purchase Breid’s weapons. I’ll pay any sum, be it ten or twenty gold.”
“E-even I can do at least that much…”
As Lucy-san said that, Doris-san chuckled to herself.
“It’s because you’re always wasting money that you don’t even have that much money, is it not?”
Lucy-san’s face turned red, as she raised a loud voice.
“I’ll borrow it from father! If it’s for Marcus’s sake, then whether it be fifty or one hundred gold coins, I’ll show you I can pay it!”
Listening in on that petty squabble, the individuals themselves were making doubtful expressions.
“Lucy, while I do appreciate it, if you pay out that much money, I’ve nothing to give in return. My equipment’s already in order, and I do maintain it regularly, so there’s no problem.”
Seeing Marcus-san let out a sigh, Breid-san whispered to himself.
“… Well you sure have it easy, hereditary knight.”
He did say it loud enough for all to hear, so Marcus-san clicked his tongue.
(They really don’t get along… and wait, the ancestors did stop me from putting out the money myself, but I can at least lend some out.)
My ancestors had halted me from providing the monetary support.
Don’t even think about it. If you’re going to do it, then put interest on the loans.
(I do have the financial leisure to put out fifty gold per, though.)
There’s the sum I earned from selling Porter’s info, so there was some space in my budget.
I spoke to the two of them.
“I can put some down from my side, so if there’s a need to borrow some, don’t hesitate to come to me. I’ll bet Ralph-san will be willing to act as the guarantor for the two of you.”
Hearing that, Marcus-san drew close to me.
“Really!? Then I’d like to leave a little to you! The equipment maintenance took more than I expected, and this month is looking rough.”
Breid-san was the same.
“I’ll definitely pay you back with the reward from this time’s expedition! At the very least, I have to get some chain mail and a weapon together, or…”
Both of them seemed quite desperate, and I ended up giving a wry smile.
『Listen here, Lyle. Humans can easily go amiss. When it comes to money, it become so much easier.』
Within the Jewel.
The Third explained to me.
When I was called into it, I found myself surrounded by lecturing ancestors.
Seeing my failure to comprehend, the Fifth spoke.
『Lyle, let’s say you’re left without money, and are in quite a pinch. In that case, what would you do?』
I gave an immediate response.
“Eh? Then you just have to earn some, right? In the first place, I think you should be working so that it never comes down to that. I mean, right now, I’m working as an adventurer.”
Perhaps I would have been troubled before, but right now, I have confidence I could survive in the outside world.
Even if the party broke up, if I had Novem with me… no, I even had the confidence I could support a family.
The Sixth spoke.
『You lost your money and equipment, and your stomach’s empty. What do you do?』
“Choose a request that doesn’t take too much time, and get a meal, I suppose?”
The Seventh asked.
『Then let’s say your stomach’s empty, and you have no equipment. Someone suggests to you to take up a high-paying request. Lyle, what would you do?』
That’s also an easy one.
“I wouldn’t take it. In that state, I would be scared to fail such a high paying request.”
There, the Fourth spoke.
『There’s a saying that goes, ‘poverty dulls the wit.’ Well, if it’s you, Lyle, you’d probably take action before it comes down to it, and you do have the skill to make up for it.』
The Third Spoke.
『There’s also the case where you can’t move from an injury. Losing your limbs, and not being able to work even if you want to. 』
As I stood confused, the Second reminded me of Doris-san’s, and Lucy-san’s boyfriends.
『When you said you would lend money, those two seemed all too excited, didn’t they? Even just to get equipment in order, it would be a hefty sum for the two of them. They would never be able to accomplish that so easily.』
I tilted my head.
“So why don’t they just find work?”
If you want the opinion of one who had earned a considerable amount as an adventurer, going out, and taking on some weak monsters would make much more.
In a week to a month, wouldn’t they be able to earn quite a bit? That’s what I thought.
The Seventh went on in a tired tone. He likely wasn’t addressing me, but the imperial nobles and knights.
『They have their face to keep. They can’t go out to play as adventurers, and in the first place, the area around the imperial capital is patrolled by ones officially appointed to the role. They’d be sent back for being an obstruction to those guys’ work. All that’s left is seasonal work, and true odd jobs. What’s more those pay little.』
The Third informed me.
『My era was the same, you know. The capital was a megalopolis, but it’s not like they had much money to spare. Food was the same. It’s not a given that you’ll always be able to purchase it with money.』
Bandits, monsters, poor crops, natural disaster… there are various reasons, but anyways, there were times when one couldn’t lay hands on food. At such times, the need to buy it from surrounding lords arise.
The Second spoke.
『Lyle, don’t think everyone’s the same as you. Without thinking of the consequences, there will surely be some who’ll attack you just because you look like you have money.』
The Fourth was also serious.
『Make sure you’re firm with monetary exchanges. There were lots of times when I had to give out rewards, and when you end up in that position, it’s easy to understand. If you’re not reliable in such fields, it will affect your credibility.』
Finally, the Third brought it all together.
『If you’re wondering what we’re trying to say… well, frivolous charity will never be for your sake.』
I nodded, and thought.
(Is it really something that hard? You work to get money, and you use it to live… isn’t that all?)
I thought I had understood it in my head, but it’s questionable whether I truly understood it or not.
Dropping by a store frequented by adventurers in the capital, I looked at the price tag, and was pretty sure my face was making quite a dubious expression.
I didn’t come to shop at the place I had visited before.
I thought that even if the price was high, I would be able to find a nice selection.
But when it came down to it, there were plenty of items with excess ornaments, but little with actual functionality.
The Third spoke.
『Is this place really popular among adventurers? Perhaps they usually dress themselves up in such ornate equipment, and make use of their actual weapons during work.』
It’s true that appearances are important, but there’s no meaning in owning a weapon for the sole purpose of wearing around the city.
I looked at the armors meant for men, and heard the adventurers looking over the same selection gossiping amongst themselves.
“Oy, did you hear about this time’s campaign at Johnny Village?”
“It’s going to be that decurio Norma’s squadron, right? I feel sorry for the ones selected to go.”
“If they just put up a little money, it’ll be resolved in an instant.”
“But it’s just a small village right? Even so, it just had to be Norma, didn’t it.”
Perhaps the party of two both knew the situation, as they talked as they selected out equipment.
“Female knights aren’t all too rare, but yeah, that Norma…”
(Is there a problem with the person commanding it?)
As I said that, one of the adventurers spoke.
“She must be desperate to get a promotion. They did say her rank was going to drop because her parents died or something. Well, I wonder just how long she’s going to be keeping up with that resentful means of operation.”
There’s no doubt she’s going to be a troublesome individual.
As I thought that, Novem came over to me.
“Lyle-sama, how is it going on your side?”
She seems to have purchased something, as there was a parcel in her hand.
“It really is expensive. I wasn’t thinking about it back then, but now I understand the reasons some adventurers go out to far places to buy equipment before returning to their home guilds.”
There was barely any work in the capital.
The adventurers here were all either employed en masse by some noble, or were famous enough that they didn’t have to be so troubled in finding work.
Besides that, there were only people like us, who stopped by on route elsewhere.
If a war broke out, large numbers of them gather from surrounding lands, apparently.
What Novem and Aria had bought were hoods with robes attached. They were coated in fur, so they were likely for use against the cold.
“Lyle-sama, you should also buy some cold-resistant gear.”
Novem seemed earnestly worried, so I scratched my head.
“I guess that’s what I’ll do. Even so, a campaign in winter… we’ll have to properly manage heating as well.”
From within the Jewel, the voice I heard belonged to the Second.
『… Lyle, don’t just purchase your own share. Bring along far more than you think necessary. If the leader turns out to be incompetent, you won’t even be able to laugh at it later.』
The Third was the same.
『It doesn’t really matter if they’re man or woman, if the one on top’s a failure, it sure is a pain. It’s best you assume they don’t have the necessary items prepared.』
This time’s commander was a decurio from the Imperial knight brigades.
While her standing was one suited to bring together knights with their own soldiers like Marcus-san, they generally had a higher power commanding them, so it wasn’t certain the number of troops they could lead.
There are times like this one, that volunteer forces are enlisted, but also times they’d lead soldiers of the state.
Perhaps this is to be the first time I’m to take action under another.
Up to now, as the party’s leader, I had been the one giving out various orders.
(So I’m to be ordered around this time. Normally, the ones on that side are overwhelmingly more numerous.)
The back yard of the Circry House.
Clara was moving around Monica’s new and improved Porter.
The reason work finished ahead of schedule was because Monica herself had learned to optimize the process for efficiency, or so she said.
Seeing Monica brimming with such pride, Clara had no idea what to say.
“I’ll try making it move, alright?”
Even if it was a modification, it was simply an increase in the scope of the shield’s movement for outdoor use.
The shield deployed on Porter was spread overhead to create a simple roof.
“Porter… you’re somewhat starting to resemble an RV. Even when I was aiming for an armored van.”
She seemed to be unable to accept it, but from Clara’s point of view, the ability to prepare a roof was quite a wonderful thing.
With just that, one could avoid the elements when operating outdoors.
“I do think it’s plainly amazing, though.”
There was a contraption to lock the moving shield in place.
Seeing that workmanship of hers, Clara confirmed that the automaton held skills equal to, or exceeding the average mechanic.
“Monica-san, what do you plan to do now?”
After moving it around, and finding no problems to report, Clara confirmed Monica’s later plans.
“I’ll go out shopping. The Circry house is preparing some supplies for us, but as I thought, even outside, I should be striving to make the best meals I can for that chicken dickwad of mine.”
In Arumsaas, the usage of Porter was known among the adventurers, but this would be its first application in Centralle.
Rather than that, the party had never even thought they would be getting work in the capital.
They hadn’t submitted the form to change their home guild, and as a request from an acquaintance, they were participating in a volunteer legion as Marcus’s subordinate soldiers.
“Is sure is a pain. Well, I’ll do my best so as not to get in that goddamn chicken’s way.”
“I think that’s good enough.”
Feeling relieved, Clara returned Porter’s shield to its original position.
Once they’d loaded the luggage onto it before departure, their work would be over…
Within the proceeding preparations.
I took Aria along to do some shopping.
Unlike me, with my unfamiliarity with the land, Aria was capital born and raised.
Novem and the others were taking care of various arrangements at the mansion.
Stopping by the marketplace, we began to search for food stock that would do well preserved.
“Um~, Monica’s request was…”
I looked at the menu, as I searched for the items listed on it.
Both of us were carrying bags, and we purchased whatever we thought essential for the voyage.
Aria was making a slightly tired face.
“Wait, do we really need that? Based on our schedule, they have plenty enough food secured for our movement and rest, right? Why do we have to prepare our own share of provisions?”
I took the memo back from Aria in one hand, and spoke as I looked over the goods displayed around the market.
“There’s a lot to consider when participating in a voluntary corp. what’s been ensured is the share of the knights and soldiers. The volunteers’ portion is like a side priority, I hear.”
“You hear… make sure you check properly.”
Aria criticized me, but I responded.
“Rather than possibly bearing through insufficient supplies, it’s best we gather something up ourselves. I had Ralph-san help confirm the contents, but this time’s expeditions truly is horrendous.”
The funds backing it were such as well, but there were too many volunteers.
There were other adventurers hired by low ranking knights, and other adventurers that just went in and volunteered themselves.
But a majority of them were noble second and third sons who wouldn’t be succeeding their houses.
Rack up merits, and become a knight… everyone had such dreams in mind.
(From the start, there was no problem if casualties surface… is that really alright?)
As I thought over that question, I found Aria’s eyes concentrated on the fruit section.
It was an item not on our shopping list.
I handed the lady shopkeeper a large copper coin, and bought one for her.
“You sure you don’t want change? With this, you can buy…”
The shopkeeper said as such, so I took a few more fruits in hand, and handed them over to Aria.
“Yeah, don’t worry about it… more importantly, aunty?”
I pushed Aria aside, and addressed the shopkeeper.
“What could it be? Oh my, aren’t you quite a well-bred young man. Could it be you’re a noble?”
“Nope. Anyways, I’ve stopped by the capital a few times, you see, and there’s something I want to know. I heard about it quite recently, but the knights are going on an expedition? To Johnny Village, I heard? ”
Perhaps the shopkeeper understood, as she put away the large copper coin, and started informing me with a smile.
“I heard it would be the female knight Norma leading it, but the rumors about her aren’t the best. If you’re thinking of joining in, I think it best you put a stop to it.”
Thinking of me as an adventurer seeking for information, she tried to stop me, by informing me of the bad rumors.
“Is there anyone knowledgeable on the matter?”
“Not among my acquaintances, at least. It’s just that I heard she was a knight who did quite some unreasonable things to attempt to get a promotion. It’s best you don’t get involved.”
I gave my thanks, and left the area.
Aria walked alongside me as she asked.
“Couldn’t you have just asked Miranda? Was there really a need to do something like that?”
Her right hand held the parcels we bought, and her left, the fruit I bought for her.
“I wonder!? Explain it clearly.”
Aria was surprised by my answer. I started searching for the items we had yet to buy on the list.
“No, I just thought it would be nice if he heard some different rumors as well. I mean, the more I ask, the more I get the impression she’s just a demon out for a promotion.”
I wanted to know what sort of person she was, but based on the information I had in hand, she wasn’t one all too favored around here.
A young female knight in her early twenties, and overflowing with talent.
Up to there was fine, but the problem was that she did quite a bit of unreasonable stuff to raise her rank.
It wasn’t just herself. There were numerous accounts where she brought similar trouble to her surroundings.
(Is she one that isn’t pained by loss? The Imperial Capital really is thick.)
Looking up to the sky, I held such thoughts.
“… There isn’t much time before the expedition, but is it really fine like this?”
“So there’s only two days left.”