… In a tent nearby the fortress, Shannon had been called out once more.
Her guard Valkyries stood armored and armed on both sides as she confronted her father Ralph.
“Do you get it, Shannon? This is an important matter. It seems you don’t fully understand it, but our power will definitely–”
Listening to the same contents from yesterday, Shannon cut off Ralph’s explanation part-way.
“… I already told you I don’t get it so I’m passing on it.”
The reason Shannon even kept him company to begin with was because if she refused, her father would try to make contact with Lyle. At present, Lyle was busy as could be with meetings and taking opinions into consideration to fine-tune his strategy, so Shannon thought she would lighten his load a bit.
At the same time, if her elder sister Miranda had already refused, she thought it would all work out if she refused as well.
“You have a large handicap. I’m telling you I’ll do something about it. You are to follow my lead.”
Shannon didn’t really like her father. Her treatment in the house was one thing, but she could tell he was always looking at her as if eyeing something pitiful.
Shannon’s eyes could see Mana. While they couldn’t perceive light, she could get a general idea of things through Mana’s flow. No, she could see even better than the average-sighted human.
Her father’s Mana flow showed a terrible impatience.
Just as Miranda said, the nobles he’d gather together were likely telling him to hurry up with it. In order to keep his standing as their superior, Ralph was desperate. While he was thinking of his daughter, that looked to be quite low on his priority list.
“Even if the leader gets a country in his hands, what will you do if he faces a lack of officials? It isn’t only knowledge. Experience will be necessary. Whether you understand it or not, the ability to do paperwork isn’t everything. The accumulated knowledge and experience one simply can’t pass down is–”
To summarize, it’s impossible for you guys, so appoint us already.
From Shannon’s point of view, wasn’t it a bit late for that? They should have tried to join our side earlier. If Adele or Lianne raising screams of anguish in Beim and Rhuvenns heard his words, they’d click their tongues.
“And I’m telling you, even if you tell me something like that, I don’t get it!”
When Shannon interrupted Ralph with an oblivious act, he slammed his fist onto the table between them.
While Shannon cowered, it seemed he had decided to go on a strong offense. He would continue in his strong tone until she nodded yes.
“You’re no longer in a position where that spoiled attitude will pass! Despite the responsibility you hold, you won’t even attempt to hear me out. That’s why I’m telling you we’ll carry out your support. We’ll compensate for your insufficiencies. And by doing that, you can finally–”
But Shannon didn’t keep quiet either.
“But you’re only coming over to me because my sister ref… eek!”
As Shannon spoke, Ralph slammed his fist again. He really was desperate. To Shannon, it looked as if he was trying to keep the Circry House alive as he regained its former glory.
But Shannon wasn’t the only one in the tent.
“… It looks like that is as far as we can go today. Shannon-san, let us return. We will be using this place for our next meeting, so I shall have to put in a reservation.”
As a Valkyrie said that, Ralph stopped her.
“I’m not done talking. And this is a problem of parent and child!”
There, the two Valkyries spread out the binders on their backs to intimidate him. From them, their weapons came out.
“We have already permitted too many of these meetings under your reason of parent and child. And since it seems you have come under the impression it will prove effective, I will warn you. If you carry on with these threats disguised as negotiations, we shall respond with an adequate attitude.”
Hearing that, Ralph made a face as if chewing on something bitter as he left the tent.
Shannon hung her head.
The Valkyries looked at her.
“At the point he came out with that attitude, you should have ordered us to evict him. At the very least, Miranda-san would never have permitted it.”
“Because he will misunderstand that it will be accepted if he uses that strong attitude on another. Well, I’m sure that is just how desperate he is, but… he is not a man suited to negotiations. He is exposing his lack of ability.”
Shannon recalled what Miranda had told her.
“According to my sister, he acts tough because he was a retainer to the Bahnseim royal line. Even if it’s uncalled for at this point, he already can’t think of his prideful attitude as anything but the norm, and when the situation changes he can’t keep up… so we don’t need him, she said.”
The words of her sister who’d even cut off her own family.
There, the Valkyries folded up their binders as they spoke.
“I have heard the circumstance. But in this case… the first to be abandoned were you sisters. Trying to pick you up again because he realized there was use in you yet is mistaken.”
“He has exposed his shortness in ability and various other things, so his inclusion as a retainer will be rejected. In the worst case, as long as the two of you remain, the Circry House will live on. Its name will still remain in the end. There is no problem at all.”
“… You guys aren’t saints either.”
Looking at the Valkyries, Shannon felt her own load lighten a bit…
“Even Fidel-san is starting to look like an honest man.”
From a window in a room of the moving fortress, I watched Ralph-san leave the tent as I thought.
Monica was in the room, reporting the situation inside the tent. Similarly, Miranda who’d been curious about that tent situation was here as well.
“I’ve got my doubts about Fidel, but he really is a kind father to his daughters. Though he’s a bit too harsh on others. Regardless, he’s definitely losing here.”
Miranda compared Fidel-san to her own father and shrugged her shoulders.
“… I can at least prepare a side stage for him. You don’t have to hold back, why don’t you help them out?”
When I said that, Miranda shook her head to the side.
“Rejected. If he sees the slightest gap, he’s the type that would even suck out the marrow of the bone. He lived through the muddled affairs of the royal court. It would be troublesome if he brought that knowhow in with him. And we can’t go about carrying on Bahnseim’s ways, can we?”
I had no mind to carry down Bahnseim’s way of rule. Rather, it wasn’t happening. End of story.
“I’ll have to have Adele-san do her best for the time being. She’s doing various things in Beim, and she’s getting in the experience. I’m sure it’ll work out one way or another.”
Monica seemed delighted as she heard that.
“If the individual herself hear that, she’d be so delighted she’s burst into tears and protest. Well, she swore to assist you. It’s only natural she do that much.”
There a knock came at the door. When I granted entry, I found Gracia standing at the doorway.
“The letter from Dalien came in. It seems they’ve turned coat to our side.”
“I see. Well that sounds about right. I was worried because they were so close. And what about that other matter?”
Gracia handed the letter from Rauno to me. Taking it and confirming its contents, it did seem he had succeeded.
“Alright, with this one of our worries has been resolved.”
The story backtracks a few days.
A town close to Centralle where Lyle had first become an adventurer.
While it was close, perhaps it didn’t stand out much, as it had failed to interest Celes. While it wasn’t too big, it was a relatively important town to Centralle.
Having come to such a town, Rauno paid a visit to the one in charge of governing Dalien, a certain Ventra Rodornia.
A large man of tan skin and close-cut red hair had been called there as well.
“When I thought I’d been called forth by the feudal lord…”
The one making a troubled expression was the one who’d once manned the adventurers’ guild receptions desk, Hawkins. At this point, he was an executive of the guild.
He had the aptitude from the start, and coming from an adventurer background, he was knowledgeable on adventurers’ situations. In Dalien, he had gained enough trust to even serve as the Guild Master’s aide.
Rauno laughed at Ventra’s side.
“Sorry about that. Well all it means is that our leader’s taken a liking to you, does it not? Our leader has evaluated your abilities quite highly.”
Hawkins confirmed the contents of the letter before closing his eyes.
“It’s quite moving. The boy who became an adventurer in Dalien, Lyle-kun has… no, now he’s the leader of the alliance, is he? But out of everyone, does it really have to be me?”
The letter detailed that the adventurers’ guild would be placed under state management. At the same time, it stated that Hawkins had been chosen as an executive of that organization.
It was a choice from evaluating ability and character, but Lyle’s own personal evaluation played a large part as well.
Lord Rodornia was making a conflicted expression as well. While he looked like a good-natured lord of small build, one would do best not to be fooled by appearances.
As he was, he was a splendid feudal lord.
“You do have my support for putting the adventurers’ guild under management. But pulling away our valuable personnel will be a painful blow to Dalien.”
Said he as he looked at Rauno. Rauno reached a hand towards a cup of tea withholding an answer.
Hawkins rubbed the corners of his eyes with his fingertips.
“Is it possible for me to reply, I’d like some time to think?”
“Of course it’s possible. Let me just call it a large opportunity. And I’ll also put in a request to the guild. For securing magic stones; we’ll also buy off the materials we need. Sorry, but our funding has its limits, so I don’t think we’ll be able to pay for it all satisfactorily.”
Lord Rodornia, upon hearing his proposal.
“Accept his request. By our information, the alliance’s army exceeds five hundred thousand troops in scale. We should cooperate with them even if we come out at a loss.”
Rauno covered his face with his right hand.
“You’re not wrong, but you sure are blunt about it.”
Lord Rodornia laughed.
“Well I’ve got to at least say that much. Because the adventurers’ guild is an independent organization… we can’t quite have them glaring at your leader.”
The adventurers’ guild wasn’t all one organization. It was a system of cooperation to manage the resource of Magic Stones. As it was merely the cooperation of separate organizations, based on the case, it was possible for them to move on their own judgements.
For Dalien’s adventurers’ guild to go against Lord Rodornia’s will and oppose Lyle was by no means an impossible tale.
Of course, there was an executive who understood the situation.
“Of course, we will go into the preparations to cooperate at once. There’s no way we could help out Centralle at this point…”
Rauno looked at Hawkins.
“If you’re capable of making such a decision, that’s a valuable skill. In truth, in a number of territories, the adventurers’ guild gathered up mercenaries, and sent them to Centralle as reinforcements. Who knows what they were thinking.”
As it was an independent organization, it wasn’t as if all Guild’s had a capable top. There were many guild who couldn’t read the times.
Hawkins seemed knowledgeable about that area.
“… From the point of view of the mercenaries in Bahnseim, there’s no profit to be had in joining the allied armies at this point in time. And there’s never been a war of this scale ever to this point. They probably think that the Bahnseim side facing a numerical inferiority would pay much better.”
If it seems they were to lose, they need only run away.
They just had to get out before the battle even began. There were many untrustworthy bandits among them, said Hawkins.
Hearing of bandits, Lord Rodornia folded his arms.
“… Bandit subjugation. To think that leader who played the idiot noble son would return leading such an army under his belt.”
Rauno touched a hand to his chin, scrubbing it against his unshaven stubble with an amused face.
“Right, he did a bandit subjugation in Dalien. Would you tell me the specifics of the time? While I know he eliminated the bandits, there are quite a few off points in the specifics.”
To an interested Rauno, Lord Rodornia and Hawkins exchanged looks. And they told him the specifics of how Lyle played the fool…
In a tent nearby the moving fortress, I found myself surprised.
I never thought I’d meet them here.
“It’s been a while. Clark-san… and Norma-san.”
Captain of the Gryphon subjugation force, Norma-san. And her vice-captain Clark-san dropped in for a visit. Normally, they wouldn’t have gotten a meeting through, but hearing their names I had made the decision to arrange one.
At this point, Clark-san was of a knight house, and had passed the role of head to his son. But this time his son had led the village youths to join the allied army, it seems.
“It’s been a while. Belated as it is, I have come to declare our will to participate in this war.”
Unlike Bahnseim’s east, even if they didn’t make their stance clear in the Centralle area, we would consider taking them in. With the capital of Bahnseim right behind them, they couldn’t quite say they’d betray.
It’s not like we could come to their rescue, and sending in a request for it would just be unreasonable.
“So for you, Norma-san, it will just be you and a few more taking part?”
While holding a settlement larger than Clark-san’s, Norma-san had far fewer participants.
She looked more worn-out than before.
“… If I let my younger brother take part, there’s the chance danger would befall him. But even when I voiced my participation, the village heads were reluctant.”
Clark-san averted his eyes from Norma-san and spoke to me.
“I did pass what you advised me on to her, but as it was after she entered the territory, there were many things she couldn’t do. It seems her rule isn’t going so well.”
In the past I had conveyed the ancestors’… the Third’s advice to Clark-san. While it seems that was going well, Norma-san was a different story.
She was moved to tears.
“Even the ones I’ve brought along barely have any motivation. Their equipment’s no more than cudgels and sham shields of wood. I have no choice but to ask for help, do I not?”
She seemed to have her troubles.
“Well, we have some equipment we’ve confiscated, so we can hand over a few from that stock. Thinking to your numbers, the front lines will be a bit too harsh.”
“T-that’s a saving grace. Um, if possible, once this battle is over, you think you could make me an imperial noble…”
On Norma-san’s request, I smiled.
“We’ll have to see. Well, I won’t push you too hard.”
There, Clark-san seemed relieved.
“Thank you. We’ve barely any who’ve experienced true war with us, and they’ve pretty much just tagged along.”
There were many small-scale feudal lords hesitant to participate. Even if they came over I was troubled with their deployment, but I would be troubled if I didn’t let them show the color of their flags.
If it spread that I took these two in, I’m sure a different reaction would come out. Norma-san lowered her shoulders.
“If I knew you’d rise this high, I’d have flattered you more.”
“I’m honestly impressed by that side of you, former captain. But for now, I think it best you keep quiet.”
Thinking of how they hadn’t changed, I gave a bitter smile.