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Kuro no Hiera Glaphicos - Volume 4 - Chapter 1


Published at 28th of January 2019 05:55:23 PM
Chapter 1

The dazzling morning sun was shining above the ridge of the mountain beyond the east. The sunlight which had somewhat lost its sharpness due to the morning fog that still weakly remained was dimly extending Valeria Costacurta’s shadow on the muddy road.



Walking up to Dimitar Richternach who was standing still on the bridge that was about to collapse, Valeria spoke.

「…Is it really fine with this?」

「This will also become a large favour. It isn’t bad if you think that way」

The members of the Gale Chivalric OrderRorudor Rafuale who had fallen down into the rising river when the bridge was destroyed and unfortunately lost their lives were six people, and the wounded had rose to 17 people. Although there was no missing person, it was said that 30 and more horses had been washed away. Setting “were they alive as they were or in the state where they had become carcasses” aside, it might take a few days to recover all those.

Therefore, Sigibert selected 60 people from among the uninjured members and departed again. The number “60” seemed to be the minimum number, which was calculated backwards from the number of remaining horses and then yielded, to be able to run through to Aurillac at full speed. The other members were left here to protect the casualties and the corpses.

And then, Valeria’s party also remained here for the treatment of the members. For Valeria, although she wanted to go to Aurillac, she was requested to remain here without fail by Sigibert and Clotilde, and above all, she couldn’t endure the guilt of forsaking people who had sustained serious injuries and were on the verge of death.

Fixedly gazing at the collapsed bridge and the opposite bank, Dimitar asked.

「The treatment of the casualties?」

「It has mostly finished」

「Is that so? —Oi, Gacha Pink!」

Dimitar turned back and summoned Bettina who was running around between the casualties who had been laid down on the roadside.

「W, what is it, Dimi-san?」

「What on earth are you doing?」

「Eh? Iya, I’m carrying water and moving the wounded… after all, hora, I can only do things of that extent, isn’t it?」

「There’s no need to do helpful things to that extent. As long as the treatment is completed, they’ll do the rest by themselves. It’s not that only the wounded and the dead were left behind in particular, after all」

「But…」

「I’ll be troubled if you do unnecessary things, and your cartridge becomes empty at the critical moment」

「Eh? Does that mean that I have some special mission!?」

「It isn’t just you in particular though」

Dimitar beckoned to Karin and Petra, gathered everyone in the surroundings of the carriage that had lost its horses and informed them suddenly.

「Our obligation has already been fulfilled. We’ll be going soon」

「“Going” you say… to where? Does that mean leaving the people here behind, and only us will return to Klutoreto first?」

「Word has travelled to Klutoreto already. Carts which are pulled by cows or donkeys will probably arrive shortly in succession and collect the wounded. We’ve done the minimum treatment for them already, don’t worry about it. —In the first place, it has been decided that it isn’t Klutoreto that we’re going to, but Aurillac though, right?」

「That was so a few hours ago~, but the situation has changed greatly, hasn’t it? All the horses have been taken; how will we go to Aurillac~?」

While playing around with the tips of her hair with a “kuru kuru (coiling around)”, Petra raised a doubtful voice. Certainly, they didn’t know how many days it would take to go to Aurillac if there were no horses.

「—If I remember correctly, they said that they’ll move northwards along the river, cross a different bridge and go towards Aurillac?」

「Yes…」

Karin took out the map and opened it. As one would expect, small roads weren’t thoroughly drawn, but the distance to Aurillac was well understood.

「Is it here… if not, can they cross over by using the bridge around here, I wonder? In any case, they’ll make a considerable detour」

「Ma, if they’re thinking of crossing this rising river with 60 men and horses, they’ll have to search for a place that has a bridge spanning it」

「It’s the same for us as well, isn’t it? At any rate, we can’t go to Aurillac unless we cross this river, right?」

「It isn’t so difficult to go across in particular, right? If it’s me, it’ll take an instant」

Stifling a yawn, Dimitar spoke.

「As long as we cross this river, we might be able to procure either horses or a carriage at the village ahead. If we obtain horses within today, we’ll most likely arrive earlier than those people of that Chivalric Order. After all, we are going the shortest distance」

「That’s, you might be able to cross, but—」

「You also can, right?」

「Eh? …Maa, un」

Needless to say of Dimitar, if Valeria and Karin also used magic, jumping over the section where the bridge had fallen and crossing over to the opposite side wasn’t difficult.

However, Petra then sweetly raised a voice of dissatisfaction.

「Eh~? It’s a little impossible for me though~?」

「Ah, but if that’s the case, if Dimitar carries Petra in his arms and go across… you can jump, right, if it’s a distance of this extent?」

「No problem. I can even throw her if you like though」

「Well then—」

Valeria then stopped her words midway. Even though they didn’t arrange beforehand, everyone’s gazes concentrated on Bettina.

「Ehhh!? D, does that possibly mean that only I will remain here!?」

「No one said anything like that」

「B, but… but! The gazes of everyone just now were looks as if you’re looking at a slightly pitiful thing, weren’t they?!」

「Maa, it’s a fact that leaving you behind here will take the least time and effort though. I can also entrust the lookout of this long chest to you」

The contents of the long chest were the luxurious clothing that Valeria’s party had worn on yesterday’s journey. They were also adorned with big and small jewels, and one could say that they were quite a fortune. They were things that they had to bring back to Amaddo safely.

「H, how cruel! Even though I didn’t get you to let me eat delicious cuisine adequately, to be left behind for the sake of keeping an eye on our belongings is too much!」

「I feel that treating you is also another question, but… hey Dimitar, can’t you do something somehow?」

It was too pitiful to come here and then leave only Bettina behind. However, Dimitar, with an unconcerned expression,

「There’s the way of thinking that not going to Aurillac is safer too, you know?」

「However… Bettina also wants to go together with us this much—」

「That’s right! We’re comrade-in-arms who have been sharing joys and sorrows up to this point, so it’s natural to go together! Aren’t we in the same boat?!」

「I don’t want to be in the same boat with you who immediately behaves as if you have incontinence, but …ma, fine, I guess. Your great physical power should also serve some kind of use」

Sighing greatly, Dimitar pointed at the long chest that was loaded on the carriage and spoke to Petra and Bettina.

「—For the time being, seal this thing and request someone among the people around there to take responsibility of it and deliver it to Klutoreto’s inn. As long as it’s delivered to the inn, the maids who had been left behind will probably keep it for us afterwards」

「Understood~♪」

「We’ll be going off for a while」

While Bettina, who had carried the long chest in her arms, and Petra were moving towards the spot where all the Gale Chivalric Order was, Dimitar undid the bunch of ropes that was tied to the carriage’s rear.

「…I’m slightly afraid that the bridge will begin to collapse」

「What do you mean?」

「Though I think that there isn’t a problem if it’s us, the moment when Gacha Pink jumps greatly and lands on the bridge of the opposite side, the remaining section might collapse in one breath because of that impact」

「Eh, hey, don’t say unlucky things!」

「It’s a possible story」

「N, no no! Such a thing absolutely isn’t allowed!」

Perhaps with Bachururus’s weight, she wouldn’t be able to rise to the surface if she fell down into the river. She’d probably sink with a “buku buku (bubbling)” as it was. It was too much to see Bettina’s real face after she became a drowned body.

「We’ve entrusted the matter of the luggage to someone~」

「Huh? What’s wrong, Valeria-sama? Your complexion is somewhat pale?」

「It, it’s nothing in particular」

Holding down her cheeks that had turned slightly pale, Valeria spoke to Dimitar in a whisper.

「—R, really, what should we do!? As one would expect, even you can’t carry Bettina in your arms and jump to the opposite side, right!?」

「That’s obvious」

While stroking his neck, Dimitar asked Bettina.

「—Oi, Gacha Pink. Can you jump to the opposite bank with the power of your Bachu-something?」

「Rather than to the opposite bank, if it’s to that side of the bridge, I think that I can jump though」

「That’s no good. That bridge is about to break, you know? There’s a possibility that it’ll completely crumble down without being able to withstand the impact of your fall. We can’t feel at ease if your landing spot isn’t the opposite bank」

「…If it’s that, then it’s doubtful. I won’t know unless I try though—」

「Challenging the limits of its performance isn’t bad too, on this occasion」



「Dimitar!」

Valeria put her hands on her waist and glared at her subordinate who was grinning broadly.

「—The truth is that you’ve thought of a different method, right!?」

「Don’t get angry at everything. It’s a harmless joke」

「I’d like you not to joke about that sort of thing!」

「Good grief, you’re so attentive to every single thing…. Well then, I’ll explain. First of all, I’ll carry Glasses in the arms and cross over to the opposite side first」

When Dimitar who had explained so activated the “Double PowerForce” magic, he carried Bachururus’s cartridge case in his right hand and the bunch of ropes in his left hand, and made Petra cling onto his back.

「Both my hands are full. Hold on tightly, all right?」

「Ha~i♪」

Carrying the carefree Petra on his back, Dimitar lightly executed an approach run and jumped.

「Oh—!」

At the rear, the Gale Chivalric Order’s members could be heard raising voices of astonishment. Perhaps they noticed that Valeria’s party had started something. Nevertheless, it must be because not even a single person who was in the position to be able to voice his opinion to the Dominas of a foreign country—in other words, Clotilde’s party—had remained here that no one was trying to restrain them.

When Dimitar, who had safely crossed over the river and landed on the opposite bank, tied the end of the rope onto the trunk of a nearby tree of some kind, he held the other end and immediately came back towards this side again.

「—Next is you」

Dimitar went around to Bettina’s back and detached a cylindrical object that was equipped on her waist. Usually, an axe of the expansion-and-contraction type should be attached there for sure, but something like a slightly largish umbrella was installed today.

「…What’s that?」

「If a member of the diplomatic corps carries a brutal battle-axe and goes in and out the royal court of a foreign country, our country’s image will deteriorate. This time, I had her carry the Chief Engineer’s new product」

「New product?」

「Yo…!」

Dimitar extended its handle with both hands and opened the steel umbrella.

「Both of you, get on Gacha Pink」

Carrying the umbrella that was oversized for people to use on his shoulder, Dimitar pointed at Gacha Pink.

「Eh? G, get on where?」

「Our Eminence will get onto the top of the head. Karin-sama will… that’s right, sit on the left arm so that you’re leaning against the shoulder」

「Why do I have to get onto the top of the head—」

「Don’t say every single trivial thing. There’s no time. —Gacha Pink, hold up this umbrella with your right hand. Fix it firmly so that it doesn’t move, all right?」

「Haai」

「I don’t understand though—」

Putting her feet on the cartridge case at Bettina’s back, Valeria smoothly climbed onto the spherical head of Bachururus.

「Nee… Valeria」

「N?」

Karin, who had gotten onto Bettina’s left arm with a “chokon”, was lightly tilting her head in contemplation and staring at the umbrella that the girl in armour held up. On the inside of the umbrella that was made linking many long and narrow isosceles triangles vertically, complex patterns had been drawn faintly.

「These are, magic crestsHieratika…?」

「There’s no way that that eccentric will make things like an ordinary iron umbrella, right?」

「Oji-sama isn’t an eccentric!」

「Then, he’s an odd person」

Dimitar wrapped the rope around Bettina’s pink body.

「—I think that you’ve understood already, but this Choruruka is an irregular “magic motion swordEspada Marefika”. Though ordinary people can’t wield it as its weight is too much, it’ll tentatively become a contrivance where “WhirlwindCyclone” and “Iron WallRampart” can be used」

「By the way, the one who named Choruruka is me! How’s it? It’s cute that it’s like a match with Bachururus—」

「Setting the name aside」

Dimitar, who had mercilessly interrupted the statement of a delighted Bettina, traced the magic crests on Choruruka’s surface with his finger and,

「If you circulate magic power into this thing with the two of you, a magic of considerable power can be fired」

「In other words, what do you mean?」

Valeria asked with irritation and a sigh mixed in.

「Gacha Pink will execute an approach run and jump in order to gain as much height as possible. Jump not to the front, but upwards. And then, you’ll push that with magic. Have you understood the reason?」

「Ah… it’s like that, huh」

With that, they finally understood the reason why they got onto Bettina. It was probably to fire their magic towards the rear when Bettina jumped to gain her jump distance.

「I think that it’ll most likely be sufficient in terms of distance, but if by any chance, in case you fall without reaching the opposite bank, Gacha Pink shall pull in this rope with desperation. Though you might be soaked in water a little, it’ll end without you sinking as it is and going to the other world」

「Understood」

「If you understand, then go quickly. It doesn’t end with us crossing the river」

Dimitar, who had hit Bettina’s helmet with a “pachin”, executed an approach run again and jumped over the river.

「Well then, I’m going, Valeria-sama, Karin-sama! I’ll point the umbrella right behind at the same time as the jump, so please circulate your magic then」

Amply taking an approach run distance, Bettina started stamping. As Valeria was sitting exactly on the back of her head facing the rear, her eyes met with those of all the Gale Chivalric Order who were looking this way with flabbergasted expressions.

「Ahahaha…」

When Valeria was floating a forced smile and waving her hand, Bettina began to run. Although she knew that the “gasha gasha” footsteps sound would be noisy, she was swaying unexpectedly. Looking like she’d smoothly slide off from the top of the helmet, Valeria hurriedly grasped the feather decoration and supported her body.

「Abu, ah, wa—」

「…I’m sorry, the place to hold on to isn’t there, but the umbrella’s handle, you know? Otherwise, you can’t circulate your magic power, can you?」

「I-I-I, I, I know!」

Despite Valeria’s voice quivering like this, Karin was talking in a tone that was the same as usual. She surely knew a special vocalization.

「I’m sorry, I thought that maybe you haven’t realise」

Karin nonchalantly extended her hand and touched the handle of the umbrella that was called “Choruruka”.

「E, empty apologies are forbidden—」

The moment when Valeria shouted, a weightless floating sensation assaulted her. It was because Bettina had jumped with a “gashan!” without hesitation. Her horizontal field of vision until then completely changed to one that looked down from a high place, as if like that of a bird.

「We’re going, Valeria」

「I, I know! That’s why I said “I know” just now too!」

Valeria and Karin let their magic powers concentrate in the hands that had touched Choruruka’s handle. Brilliant light ran on their white skins, and it caused the magic crests that were drawn on the inside of the umbrella to shine vividly via Choruruka’s handle.

Simultaneously, a strong wind was generated, and it pushed Valeria’s party.

「Kya—aaa!」

It wasn’t clear whether it was because of fear or excitement, but at any rate, Bettina who had never jump this high flapped both her feet and raised a shrill voice.

「A, acting wildly is fine, but j, j, just the landing, do it properly, all right!?」

「Ha, haai!」

Valeria twisted her neck and confirmed the front and slightly below. Although it was an eye measurement, the jump distance was sufficient, and they probably wouldn’t fall into the river or onto the bridge. What she was literally uneasy about was the landing only.

「—Bettina, point the umbrella downwards」

Karin hit the helmet with a “pechin”.

「Ha, haii!?」

「It’s fine, so point it downwards」

「L, like this!?」

「Valeria!」

「Understood!」

Valeria, who had instantly understood what Karin wanted to do, matched Bettina pointing the umbrella, which had been pointing right behind, downwards and circulated her magic power into Choruruka again.

「!?」



The fierce wind which had started overflowing from Choruruka killed the downward acceleration on the girls in a skilful manner.

「Ototototo…!」

Bettina held Valeria and Karin down tightly with both arms, having thrown the umbrella out just before this, and landed via both feet somehow.

「—Fuu」

Jumping down from Bachururus that had dug up the ground full of holes and whose movement had finally stopped, Valeria took a deep breath.

「Are all the three of you all right~?」

「…Probably」

Petra, who had been watching in the shade of a tree the whole time, held her glasses down and came running. Valeria looked back at Bettina and Karin, confirmed that the two people had no abnormality and then nodded.

「Leave being delighted until later. I said that it doesn’t end with us crossing the river just now too, didn’t I?」

Dimitar, who had picked up Choruruka and closed it, equipped it on Bettina’s waist and looked back at the opposite side of the bridge once.

「…First of all, it’s the securing of horses. A two-horse carriage is also necessary」

Hanging the cartridge on Bettina’s back, Dimitar spoke.

「Oi Glasses」

「I’d like you to at least attach a “chan” though~」

「Then Glasses-chan, you’ll get onto the right arm of Gacha Pink. Karin-sama will stay like that; I’ll carry Our Eminence on my back」

「Aah, I wanted to be carried on the back by Richternach-kyou~」

Leaning coquettishly against Bettina’s smooth helmet, Petra raised a nasal voice, but Dimitar indifferently cut her down in his usual tone.

「That’s if you don’t mind being thrown out at the critical moment. My top priority job is Our Eminence’s guard, not to carry you on my back」

「Ara, how mean~」

「There’s no spare time to be chattering pointlessly」

Turning his neck with a “kokiri”, Dimitar nimbly carried Valeria on his shoulder. Carving new footprints on the highway that was muddy due to the rain, they started running in the morning sun.

「W, will, you be all right?」

「What?」

「Um… you intend to run to the next village, right?」

「I’m not carrying Gacha Pink on my shoulder. It’s light if it’s you alone」

「I, it’s not a topic about light or heavy—」

She heard the talk that there was a village when they crossed the river and went further. For the time being, it had been decided that procuring horses there was their objective, but how long it’d take until they arrived there was unclear. Setting Bettina who ran with Bachururus’s power aside, since Dimitar was flesh and blood, it didn’t seem that he could keep running like that for hours. Above all, Dimitar had continued to run for the rescue of Sigibert last night as well.

「If you’re thinking about my stamina, your worry is unnecessary」

As if he had seen through Valeria’s mind, Dimitar declared without disturbing his breathing much.

「—I’ve confirmed with the map a little while ago, but it isn’t so far to the next village. If horses are obtained, I intend to relax moderately」

「I, I’m not worrying about that sort of thing in particular though…」

「If it’s a trivial talk, then take a nap. Resting during the time to rest is also within your job」

To the blunt Dimitar, Valeria became unable to say anything further.

「—」

The sunlight that ran up the eastern sky shone into Valeria’s eyes dazzlingly. Although she ended up practically staying up all night, today would probably become a long day too.

Valeria, who had held down her hair that was fluttering in the wind, drew back her neck to the steady oscillations and closed her eyes.

♦♦♦

The Yururogu’s king of the previous generation had three children.

They were Arthur, the eldest son who was the current king, Euchemard, the second son who was supporting his older brother and controlling Yururogu’s army, and Rhea, the eldest daughter who had long become the deceased already.

Cyril Duevre was the only son whom that Rhea had given birth to, and was equivalent to a nephew for Arthur and Euchemard. However, in addition to there being an age difference close to that of a parent and child between Rhea and her two older brothers, because of Rhea giving birth to Cyril was quite late too, in terms of generation, Cyril was closer to being Euchemard’s grandchild rather than a nephew.

On the other hand, the Royal Prince Euchemard was an old man who was already over 50, but to show that he had no ambition for the throne, he maintained his bachelorhood until this age, and had neither a wife nor a child. Perhaps there was such a matter, Cyril had been especially loved by Euchemard.

That Cyril, who was no more than a staff officer of Euchemard, was paid respect to by the surrounding soldiers might be because, while being the Royal Prince Euchemard’s favourite, Cyril himself possessed an inheritance right to the throne.

However, even that was a matter which seemed depressing to Cyril sometimes. After all, Cyril’s own wish was, to the end, to assist Euchemard as a soldier and serve the country.

「—」

In front of the map that was spread on the table, Cyril narrowed his eyes.

「…Is that information certain?」

「Hai. It’s a report that a group of about 50, 60 horsemen were passing through the detour like we had imagined. As the aforementioned Dominas are mixed in, it’s almost certain—」

「That’s to say, Sigibert didn’t fall down into the river, huh. Well, well, what providential protection…」

Quietly continuing those words, Cyril narrowed his eyes at the sunlight that shone in through the window.

The mission of Cyril, who was participating in this time’s military operation as Euchemard’s confidant, was to confine the Gale Chivalric Order that had left Aurillac, and if possible, to capture Sigibert Duevre. Everything was for protecting Euchemard’s main force that had used the sea route and landed.

Although they failed in the capture of Sigibert, one could probably say that they succeeded in the confinement of the Gale Chivalric Order. At the least, their arrival to the capital, Aurillac, should be delayed by a few days.

「If it’s as planned, His Highness’s main force should finish the preparation for the march to Delbryuk and depart from Luberuteiyu before the Chivalric Order’s return to the capital, but—」

The special task force of Cyril’s party was at the south of Haiderota, a long distance from Euchemard’s main force. It was originally a selected few of about 20 people, but at that time when they failed in Sigibert kidnapping drama last night, it lost about two thirds of them. Although they were hiding themselves in a deserted house like this now, they’d probably fall into a predicament if they were discovered by Haiderota’s army. They must move northwards without being discovered by the enemy and link up with friendly troops immediately.

「Cyril-sama, if we don’t depart quickly…」

「Not yet. Her Eminence still hasn’t return」

「However, if she did make the bridge fall just as planned, she should have returned here already. She didn’t come means that somewhere—」

「Iya」

Feeling that the sunlight shining through the window was blocked by something, Cyril raised his face again.

「…Start the preparation for departure. It seems that she has returned already」

A girl with black hair was sticking her face out through the window that was no more than just a square hole.

「Y, Your Eminence—!」

「Prepare for departure」

Cyril, who had repeated so to his dumbfounded subordinate, noticed that the girl who had slowly, slowly entered through the window was covered with wounds and immediately added on.

「And call the medic. We must examine Her Eminence’s injuries at once」

「U, understood!」

When his older subordinate hurriedly ran out from the room, Cyril quietly beckoned to the girl.

「…You did well to return safely. It seems like you’ve succeeded in the confinement」

「Oh, o, o…」

When the girl—Lampito sat down in the corner of the room while letting out a voice that didn’t become words, she started licking her injured arm with a “pero pero”. Tattered bandages were wrapped around her right arm in very little amount, but honestly speaking, they weren’t of any use.

「…Even though you aren’t a beast, you’re too slovenly. Cease that kind of behaviour already. The current you have a position, you know?」

「…U?」

Lampito tilted her head to the side and stared at Cyril.

Properly using several magics, suggesting doing tricks to the bridge to hinder the enemy’s movement; her intelligence should be very high, and yet in regard to this girl, one would have the impression which was the exact opposite of that degree of intelligence. She looked like a baby who still didn’t know right and left—or rather, she seemed just like a girl who was raised by a wolf and wasn’t well versed in words.

There, the subordinate from just now came back accompanied by the medic.

「…!」

It might be because she had smelled the scent of the medicine box which the medic was carrying that her small nose moved with a “hikun”. Lampito’s small body quivered, and she suddenly jumped up onto a beam.

「Lampito! …Your Eminence」

Cyril looked up at the girl and sighed greatly.

「…If we don’t treat you quickly, it’ll affect you in the distant future. These people won’t harm Your Eminence in particular. Please come down and receive the treatment—」

Ignoring that sort of persuasion of Cyril, Lampito went round to the back of the exposed pillar, fleetingly stuck just her face out and peeked at the situation below. Cyril shook his head like he was sick of this and received the medicine box from the medic.

「…Her Eminence’s feelings are highly strung right after the mission. Entrust the treatment to this petty official; you people shall leave this room」

「But…」

「That’s enough, so hasten the preparation for departure. We’ll leave here as soon as Her Eminence’s treatment is completed」

「Acknowledged」

When his subordinates had left the room obediently, Cyril then opened the medicine box.

「—There’s no time. I’ll do the treatment for you, so come down quickly」

「S, s, s, smelly, smelly, smelly!」

「Of course. This is medicine, after all」

「U—…」

「That’s enough, so come down quickly」

「……」

Perhaps she had finally resigned herself to it; when Lampito smoothly descended along the pillar, she came to the table with a timid look.

「Good grief—」

Making the girl sit on the chair, Cyril sighed again. He felt that the number of times when he sighed had increased recently somehow.

「These probably aren’t wounds that would somehow be treated by people without knowledge…」

Cuts, scratches, and bruises; Lampito’s small body was literally covered with wounds, but what was especially terrible was the burn on her right arm where a bandage had been wrapped around perfunctorily. The bandage was partway clinging to the half-dried wound that seemed to be only washed with water and wasn’t even applied with medicine.

「Though this is an emergency treatment…, it might hurt with this」

「U, uu…」

Perhaps pain ran when he peeled off the bandage with a “peri peri (light tearing sound)”; Lampito drew back her neck and trembled a little. Cyril took out a small bottle from inside the medicine box and started applying ointment onto the girl’s arm.

「That woman who brought you along to His Highness—」

Cyril spoke without resting his hands that were doing the treatment.

「—Despite teaching you offensive magics of that degree, she didn’t teach you healing magic at all? She seems to be a very heartless master. She’s too irresponsible」

「T, t, t-t, ta, lent is—」

「Talent? Is it about magic talent?」

「N, not, not enough, after all…」

Lampito stared at Cyril with upturned eyes and nodded many times as though observing his mood.

While snugly wrapping a brand new bandage from her upper arm, Cyril leaked a sigh once again.

「Are you humbly or seriously saying that? If you don’t have magic talent, then all members of our army’s magic warriorsMarefikos ought to feel ashamed of their inexperience and hang themselves. That includes this petty official too」

Yururogu, which was greatly opened up a big lead in resources and population by Haiderota, had been focusing its attention on the expansion of its magic war potential for many years. A capable magic warrior could, on one hand, shoot projectiles that rivalled a skilled archer’s, and could also hold back the charge of a heavy cavalry. If it was a one-on-one battle, there was almost no branch of the army that could win against a magic warrior.

Thus, Yururogu had been putting effort into the training of magic warriors for many years. In this field—even if they weren’t a match for Amaddo—there was the pride of being ahead of Haiderota.

However, looking from the viewpoint of Cyril who was such a soldier of Yururogu, Lampito’s magic talent was something unsurpassed. A magic warrior who could fight with this girl head-on and win was probably non-existent in Yururogu’s army.

Cyril, who had quickly finished Lampito’s treatment, put the rolled-up sleeves of his military uniform back to their previous state and put a mantle on the girl’s shoulders. The shoulder that he touched over the cloth was too thin; it was a great surprise when he thought that a fighting strength of that degree was hidden in this small body, but if he changed his point of view, then there was no existence which personified the rightness of the guideline that the completion of a magic war potential was the only means to win against Haiderota as splendidly as her.

「When we link up with the main force, I’ll get you healed by an expert magic warrior, and then you’ll receive the restoration of magic crests. …Even if you’re scared of other people forever, it can’t be helped? You’re a person who must eventually stand in front of the people, you know?」

「…Nu」

Leaking a murmur that could be interpreted both like she understood and didn’t understand, Lampito scratched her head with a “pori pori (scratching)”.

Seeing half-dried fragments of mud falling with a “goso” to that rhythm, Cyril sighed again.

♦♦♦

In the northern extremity of Amaddo, there was a town called “Harun” at a place that was one day even by walking to the border of Haiderota.

Besides 15,000 residents, a standing army of 5,000 was stationed in this fortress city that had preeminent high ramparts even in Amaddo. Similar to Haiderota placing a fortress city called “Krutoreto” near its national border, Harun was also a town which carried out developments as preparation against the ally that they (Amaddo) couldn’t let their guard down of.

The Seal Chivalric OrderTanpries Aigies, which had escorted the two Dominas to Haiderota’s territory, had been continuing its sojourn in that Harun since yesterday.

He shouldn’t have things to do in this town in particular, and yet while it might be true that Crown Prince Jeffren Isaac didn’t order the Chivalric Order to depart, he didn’t tell them to have a good time and rest either; ordering the members to look after the horses and maintain their weapons, he himself had been reading books in a carefree manner in a room of the tabard inn. A great majority of the members seemed to be unable to read the real intention of such a Crown Prince and were perplexed.

「Vice-Leader」

Lindegoa began to talk to Lucius who was looking around at the work of the members at the stable behind the inn.

「— By any chance, does His Highness think that some kind of trouble will occur?」

「Trouble… is it?」

Lucius narrowed his eyes and ruminated on the words of his adjutant.

Dusk was already approaching. Brushing the horses and giving them fodder; although they were working like they were ordered to, it was perfectly clear that the members were becoming restless. For them who couldn’t throng to bars and make merry as they were strictly ordered to stand by in the inn until there was another order, only dinner was probably something to look forward to now.

As if avoiding the other members, Lindegoa lowered his voice and continued.

「…If an incident of some kind happens in Haiderota, the express messenger to our country must always pass through here and go towards Roma. Is it not because His Highness foresees that we can act immediately in case something happens to both Her Eminences that he’s making us rest here without returning to Roma at once? If it’s here, the military force is sufficient as well…」

「I’m unable to comprehend His Highness’s thoughts, but even if it becomes such a situation, as one would expect, he can’t mobilise the standing army here by his own judgement」

No matter who Isaac was, he didn’t have the authority to mobilise an army without the king’s permission. If Isaac seriously tried to mobilise the military force of Harun of his own accord, it was the duty of Lucius and others to advise him not to do that.

「…However, I also think “Is His Highness not waiting for something?”」

「That “something” is?」

「A messenger from Haiderota, or—」

Lucius stopping his voice then was because a voice calling him could be heard.

「Let’s go, Vice-Leader」

「Yes」

Nodding together with his older subordinate, Lucius hurried into the inn.

Although one might simply call it an inn, this place was a guest house that was built taking into consideration the matter of warmly receiving special envoys from Haiderota too. Needless to say its appearance, even its entrance hall had been built to extremes of luxury to boast about Amaddo’s power.

Seeing a small youth who wore a uniform that was identical to theirs kneeling in that wide hall, Lucius tilted his head to the side.

「You’re the one who want to meet me?」

「Hai. I’ve come from Roma in order to convey the words of King-heika. Please deliver this to Crown Prince-denka by all means」

When the youth deftly handled his mantle and stood up, he presented a long and narrow paulownia box and a traffic certificate.

Judging from that attire, he was probably a member of the Seal Chivalric Order. However, it was a face that Lucius saw for the first time. Seeming extremely young and having features like a girl’s, his physique was slender and his height was also short. He was about 14, 15 years old no matter how one looked at it. Although he didn’t personally meet face to face with all the members, as far as Lucius understood, there wasn’t a member who was young to that extent. It was because the matter of Lucius and Dimitar joining at 15 itself was quite irregular.

「Your name is?」

「I’m Angel Saforcada」

「…It’s you, huh」

Recalling the youth who came out in the conversation with Isaac a few days ago, Lucius nodded slightly.

Angel Saforcada, receiving the recommendation from Berumdes-kou who was the biological father of Queen Almudena and also the grandfather of Isaac, was the youth who had newly become a formal member of the Seal Chivalric Order. There were many children of great nobles in the Chivalric Order, but since Angel’s patron was an important person who surpassed the rest, was there not some kind of complicated reason regarding Angel’s enrolment? Lucius was thinking so.

However, in any case, now wasn’t the time to be prying into this or that. Lucius, who had confirmed that Angel’s traffic certificate was of the king’s own handwriting, extended his hand to the boy knight who had freckles and cheeks like apples.

「You should probably give that handwritten letter to His Highness directly yourself. —I’ll guide you. Please follow me」

Lucius took Angel along and headed for Isaac’s room together with Lindegoa.

「Your Highness—」

「What’s the matter? It’s still early for dinner, right?」

Isaac, who was lying sprawled on the bed and reading, didn’t even raise his face from the book despite his subordinates entering in succession. Lucius lightly cleared his throat and told him about the matter of an express messenger arriving from Roma.

「An express messenger? Is it perchance from Chichi-ue?」

「It seems like that’s the case」

Isaac, who had finally raised his body, stretched himself greatly and looked at Angel while scratching his head.

「E—to… you there, who are you?」

「I’m Angel Saforcada, Your Highness」

「Ah, it’s you, huh. The newcomer-kun who has the recommendation from Ojii-sama… right?」

Tossing the book and getting off the bed, Isaac turned his neck lightly.

「—So? You who should be waiting in the capital for our return have come to me to convey a verbal message from Chichi-ue?」

「His Majesty has left a command to proceed towards Aurillac immediately together with the Chivalric Order and enter into negotiations with Haiderota as an ambassador plenipotentiary」

「Negotiations?」

「Hai. —It seems like Yururogu is planning an invasion of Haiderota…」

「Yururogu!?」

Lindegoa-kyou unintentionally made his voice sound shrill and nervous.

「That’s terrible. I’m concerned about both Her Eminences」

In contrast to Lindegoa, Isaac’s tone was even cheerful in some respects instead. Angel presented the paulownia box to Isaac and,

「To Crown Prince-denka, King-heika’s command is to negotiate with Haiderota taking into account the safety of both Her Eminences and the national interest of our country… here’s a personal letter to Haiderota’s king」

「Hai, thanks for your hard work」

While tapping his shoulder with a “pon pon” with the box that he had received, Isaac approached near the window.

「—By the way, about that, can our Chivalric Order depart if I’m thinking of departing immediately?」

「Hai. As we’ve given the horses plenty of water and fodder, we can depart at any time as long as we’ve Your Highness’s order」

「Though you say that, we humans haven’t have our meals yet, right? It can’t be that everyone has finished their meal already even though I haven’t eaten, can it?」

Isaac, who had turned around, stroked the vicinity of his navel and smiled a little.

「—Hence, first is dinner. We’ll depart towards Aurillac when our meals have finished. Lindegoa-kyou, though I’m sorry that you won’t have your dinner, can you go to Krutoreto first as a messenger, I wonder? I want to slightly rest in that area, so explain the situation to the mayor in advance」

「At your will」

Bowing to Isaac, Lindegoa left the room at a quick pace.

「With all due respect, Your Highness」

Angel nervously opened his mouth.

「In, in such a case, isn’t it a common custom that we wait here for Lindegoa-kyou to return? If we let the Chivalric Order transgress the border without the permission of Haiderota, I think that it might become a troublesome matter in various ways—」

「Isn’t it fine? After all, hora, it’s a state of emergency. I think that just sending Lindegoa-kyou ahead is fair though」

「Is, is it like that?」

「Or rather, if Haiderota confine us, and if something happens to both Her Eminences of ours in the meantime, Haiderota will be burdened with a liability that they can’t recompense our country, right? Since we’ll go to meet them, I’d like them to express their gratitude instead」

Angel still didn’t seem to be convinced by Isaac who was boasting calmly. Somehow, he seemed to have quite a serious character.

「Well then, I’ll call you as soon as the preparation for the meals is completed, so please dress yourself too, Your Highness」

「Un♪」

「Saa, shall we go?」

Lucius tapped Angel’s shoulder, took the newcomer and went out to the corridor. Enduring the bitter smile that had inadvertently escaped, he spoke to Angel.

「…If you live in this Chivalric Order, it’s better that you get used to this as soon as possible」

「Ha, hai?」

「Despite appearances, His Highness is thinking about it in various ways. He’s a little lazy though. —Even if I’m told that His Highness didn’t return to Roma immediately and was passing time here because he had foreseen that this sort of thing would happen, I won’t be surprised」

「Is His Highness such a person…?」

「He’s such a person」

「As I’m not very well-informed about the worldly affairs—I didn’t know that His Highness is that kind of person」

「Maa, you’ll gradually understand. —By the way, what were you told by His Majesty to do after this?」

「I’m ordered to obey His Highness’s instruction…」

「If that’s the case, closely look at His Highness’s method of doing things right beside him. His Highness seems to evaluate you highly」

「…I’m grateful」

Bowing his head quickly, Angel went downstairs together with Lucius while trotting with small, quick steps.

♦♦♦

「—Fun」

Hitting the surface of a simple, circular shield lightly with the head of the khsier, Quique Albiol talked to himself.

「Its weight balance isn’t bad…, but not only is it too simple and uninteresting in terms of design, it’s also uninteresting in terms of function. That Nereida fellow, she really cut corners」

「Hee. Look who’s talking. If that’s the case, how will you complete it, eh?」

「I wasn’t saying that with the intention to speak ill of her in particular though」

In the workshop tonight, besides Quique who was the master of this place, a small old man who had put an eye-patch on his right eye appeared. A number of wrinkles that were carved on his face and his head that had completely become bald from the forehead indicated that he was of considerable age, but in contrast, his arms which stuck out from the shirt that was stained with burn marks here and there had tight muscles. Perhaps if they arm wrestled, he might certainly be stronger than Quique.

While scrutinising the shield that he held with those thin arms, Quique curved his lips like he was ridiculing it.

「…If it was Nereida, she’d make something more efficient. It’s precisely because I believe so that I think that this thing is like a failure」

「I don’t understand where is exactly bad at all though…」

The one-eyed old man—Master Krutowa was a swordsmith who had been helping Quique’s research together with Dimitar and Bettina. Although he understood Quique who was called “an eccentric”, it didn’t mean that he understood the theoretical part of his research.

「Let’s see… if it’s me, first of all, I won’t put magic crests on the centre of a shield like this」

While casually cutting salami and cheese on the table, Quique spoke.

「—A shield is a shield. In other words, it’s a tool to block enemies’ attacks. If you put magic crests on a centre like this, there’s a possibility that the magic crests will get blurred at the instance when you blocked enemies’ attacks and become useless」

「Maa… it might be so」

「If it’s me, I’ll make it into a bit more complex shape and stop at just fitting magic crests on its edge. It can’t completely prevent the magic crests from getting damaged with that, but accidents should decrease」

「…I see」

Quique stabbed the salami which he had cut onto the tip of a knife and carried it to his mouth, and old man Krutowa nodded with a self-satisfied look.

「That nee-chan looked more like a genius to me, but you’re still one step higher, huh」

「Rather than skill, it’s the difference in our ways of thinking. —That’s why this shield is uninteresting from my point of view, but having said that, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be used. In the sense of preparing many identical things, such a simple thing is surely better」

Snatching the bottle of wine from the old man’s hand and pouring it into his beer mug, Quique spoke.

「—More importantly Jii-san, the stone that your merchant acquaintance had brought in, won’t you show it quickly?」

「Ou, that’s right, that’s right」

Wiping his fingertips which were smeared with the fat of the salami on the shirttail of his shirt, old man Krutowa took out a mass of unshapely metal from the pocket of his trousers.

「This this, it’s this thing… in my opinion, there’s no mistake that it’s the aforementioned metal. How do you see it?」

「Wait a minute…」

Quique put on his monocle and stared at the metal that he had received from the old man.

The metal, which was of a size that was slightly smaller than a baby’s fist, matched the swaying of the light of the lamp and changed its radiance, as if it was emitting a brilliance like that of a rainbow. There was no coldness that was characteristic of a metal; on the contrary, when he was grasping it like this, he even felt the hallucination that his body temperature was rising little by little, centring on his hand.

「…Speaking of alike, it’s alike…, but in reality, it’s the first time that I’m seeing a mass which is big to this point. Its purity seems to be high too」

「Is that so, is that so?」

「Where did he obtain this?」

「It seems to be the vicinity of Romarikku」

「Romarikku? Though it’s indeed a place like that, there might be a large ore deposit or something in that vicinity. When Dimitar comes back, shall I get him to investigate a little?」

When Quique removed his monocle and put the mass of metal onto the table with a “kotori”, Krutowa surveyed the inside of the workshop now after such a long time.

「…Come to think of it, I thought that it was surprisingly quiet, but that slack young girl from your house and that brat with an unpleasant look aren’t here. Where did they go?」

「Since both of them are Her Eminence’s attendants, they’ve gone to Haiderota」

「That’s really something troublesome」

Biting the goat cheese, Krutowa laughed scornfully.

For this old man who originally wasn’t devout much, let alone Dominas, even Reduntra might not become an object to revere.

End of Chapter 1



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