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Kuro no Hiera Glaphicos - Volume 4 - Chapter 3


Published at 9th of May 2019 07:25:52 PM
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Chapter 3

Rübel River, which maintained the water source to Cardoso Mountain Range, was a large river that went towards the north while meandering through Amaddo’s territory, ran through Haiderota and flowed into the northern sea.



Large-scale riparian works to deeply dig up Rübel River’s riverbed and strengthen the riverbank with stone-arranged river walls were once planned in Haiderota. The plan to try to set Rübel River up as the centre of a large canal network, besides the whole country of Haiderota, should have been jointly carried out with Amaddo, but Haiderota dividing into south and north due to internal strife was the cause of it coming to a standstill at the draft stage.

「Thinking about it now, that might have been a good fortune instead. Right, Cousin-dono?」

As he held the cup of black tea, Haiderota’s king, Remi Christian, was slowly walking in the war council room that was paved with small pieces of marble. The white skin which seemed to be seldom exposed to the sun and the gentle gaze which looked to be drooping slightly didn’t seem to suit a ruler of the continent’s leading military country. If one had to say, perhaps it was more fitting to say that he was a young recluse who indulged in reading day and night inside a dim study.

Sigibert, who was five years younger than Remi Christian, knitted his eyebrows seemingly ashamed in some respects and nodded a little.

「Certainly… such a way of thinking—um, might also be possible. Yes, it might be possible」

「Right, right? That’s the case, right? Even I understand that much」

Remi Christian, who had nodded greatly with a childish action that didn’t suit his age, drank up his black tea in one breath, put the cup onto the side table and poked at a point of the floor with his toe.

Small pieces of white, black, and moreover, dark brown marble were innumerably spread on the floor of this hall, and drew a map of Haiderota and its surrounding countries by means of a mosaic picture. What Remi Christian had pointed with his toe was the spot equivalent to Luberuteiyu on that map.

「—If there was such a big canal, Yururogu’s rebel army would surely have advanced their warships to the south even more about this time. Iya, I’m glad, I’m glad」

It was a way of speaking as if he had foreseen this matter and then had the development project of the canal come to a standstill. Sigibert was overconfident despite lack of ability, but Remi Christian, rather than overconfident, was carefree; to put it badly, he was laid-back. This lack of sense of danger might be a great misfortune to the people below supporting him.

Haiderota’s senior statesmen were lining up in a row in front of a large window that reached near the ceiling from the floor. Although Dimitar was also mixed in there and standing up straight, he was desperately stifling a bitter smile that had leaked out inadvertently.

「……」

Valeria who was beside Dimitar looked up at him, seeming to want to say something.

「What?」

「…Nothing」

「Be quiet if that’s the case. If by any chance you’re asked for an opinion and have trouble doing so, you can casually throw it to me」

Amaddo’s party, which had linked up with Sigibert’s party that arrived late and entered Haiderota’s capital, Aurillac, were immediately permitted an audience with the king. The king, Remi Christian, seemed to be a generous and affable man, and even on the occasion of this country’s serious matter, he didn’t tell the Amaddo’s party to return to their country at once, but instead suggested that they stayed as much as they wanted.

The only one thing which Dimitar completely didn’t imagine was the king, Remi Christian, displaying motivation in a strange direction.

「—Hey, Cousin-dono. Faced with this national difficulty, what should we do?」

「Ha…」

Putting his hands which held the riding crop together behind his back, Sigibert stared at the enormous map at his feet with a meek expression. Today’s war council which even Valeria’s party were allowed to attend, if one had to say, should be called “the childish king playing war council.” As long as he was advancing this war council, they couldn’t have a discussion which they’d deeply delve into; to begin with, it was also impossible that they could fluently talk about things that seemed to touch on military secrets in the presence of several important people of Amaddo.

A tall old man who was standing right beside the king solemnly opened his mouth while stroking his chin where white beard had grown densely.

「With all due respect… now that things have come to this, promptly sending the whole army to Luberuteiyu and crushing the rebel army by means of a directly-head-on decisive battle is the best; that’s what I think」

This old man, who had disregarded Sigibert and stated his personal opinion, was Haiderota’s military minister, Ballesteros. His physique that was still imposing even though he was over the age of 60 and his looks—a contrast to the king’s—were the very things of a traditional Haiderota’s soldier.

「…He’s like our Military Minister somehow」

Valeria muttered in a whisper.

「Garido-kyou? He’s more troublesome than that person」

「Ballesteros-kakka is the maternal granduncle of King-heika, and seems to be an existence that can be called the “country’s elder” too」

Karin quietly cut into the pair’s secret conversation.

「…Is Sigibert-kakka perhaps not appointed vice-minister at that young age to place King-heika’s Cousin-dono as the assistant and keep that old soldier who seems obstinate from being out of control even if a little, I wonder?」

「I see…」

Of course, that didn’t seem to turn out well to Dimitar. As far as one could see how he interrupted the conversation just now, Ballesteros disdained the young Sigibert and even harboured antipathy against him. Sigibert’s expression was dark might be because, in addition to the king’s carefreeness, Ballesteros’s existence made his work difficult.

While the crowd of retainers became noisy at Ballesteros’s words, Sigibert waved his riding crop with a “pi”, calmed the place down and opened his mouth slowly.

「Ballesteros-kakka’s words are absolutely correct; I’ve no choice but to say that they’re correct. …But at the same time, I also can’t help saying that the suggestion is impossible to implement」

「Hou?」

「According to the report that arrived just now, riots due to disturbing elements and attacks due to thieves are incessantly breaking out in various places of Haiderota presently… if we don’t suppress those first, transferring of significant military force is impossible」

「Whether that’s impossible or not is inconsequential. What I’ve told His Majesty was the plan that we should concentrate our military force at Luberuteiyu at any rate and annihilate the rebel army… as for the method to specifically implement it, we shouldn’t take the trouble to have the discussion in His Majesty’s presence」

「That’s the case. That’s the case, but—」

「Maa maa, Cousin-dono」

Calming Sigibert who had begun to raise his voice down, the king requested the chamberlain for another cup of black tea.

「—Though both ministers’ opinions are like that, at this point, I also want to be honoured with the opinion of the goddess that our army is proud of. Right, Diaghilev-geika?」

「Ha」

Holding her military cap under her arm, Clotilde who was waiting behind Sigibert pointed at Luberuteiyu’s spot.

「Though this is echoing Sigibert-kakka’s words, at present where we can’t mobilise a large military force as the real problem, I think that defeating the enemy at Luberuteiyu is certainly impossible. It’s also possible that when it becomes the situation where we’ve suppressed the various places’ riots and can concentrate our military force, the rebel army has already advanced south from Luberuteiyu even more. —Like Your Majesty has aptly said, if Rübel River’s width and depth were twice its current’s, the rebel army might have advanced their warships even closer to this Aurillac」

「Right, right, that’s right. Isn’t that right, Minister?」

「Mu…」

Ballesteros showed a bitter face to the king who innocently clapped his hands.

「Therefore, until the preparation where we can concentrate our military force is made first, I think that it’s necessary to gain time while carefully observing the enemy’s movement」

「…Does Your Eminence has some plan for that?」

「As for the specific plan, we don’t have to take the trouble to discuss it in His Majesty’s presence」

「Mu…!」

Using Ballesteros’s expression from a while ago against him, Clotilde cut off his move to question her there. Although one would think that she was probably covering up for Sigibert, she was an intelligent woman who can also be quick-witted on the spot.

Dimitar asked Karin in a whisper.

「You seem to be knowledgeable about strategy too, but what do you think?」

「…I’m sorry. I don’t know the topography of that vicinity well, so I can’t answer anything」

Although Karin said so and avoided an immediate reply, looking at it from another perspective, she also seemed to want to say that she could make a strategic judgement if the information was complete.

When the place’s atmosphere was becoming oppressive because of the indignant Ballesteros, the chamberlain came to inform the king about something.

「—Oh, is that so?! I’ll meet him, I’ll meet him; show him in at once」

「Acknowledged」

The chamberlain temporarily withdrew, and before long, the thick and heavy doors slowly opened.

「—It’s a pleasure to meet you for the first time, Remi Christian-heika」

A young man in gorgeous attire, who had calmly entered the hall, held his hat with feather decorations against his chest and bowed exaggeratedly.

「I’m Jeffren Isaac Fortia who have come to visit as Jeffren Francesc’s proxy. In spite of the abrupt visit, thank you very much for permitting the audience」

Amaddo’s Crown Prince Jeffren Isaac, who had carefully delivered a verbal message, glanced at Sigibert fleetingly and smiled.

「W, why are you here—!?」

Sigibert opened his eyes wide and ground his teeth with a “giri giri”. It was surely unexpected that Isaac who should have returned to his country would appear in this Aurillac’s royal palace, and moreover, at this timing.

Dimitar’s party was also similarly surprised.

「…Though I was thinking that it was time for the envoy from Amaddo to arrive soon, I never thought that His Highness would come…」

「However, if it’s negotiating with Haiderota as His Majesty’s proxy, it isn’t strange even if His Highness comes. He’s already at the age where he can do that sort of things」

「That’s true too, huh」

Dimitar had already noticed Lucius who was waiting beside Isaac. Lucius being his attendant meant that the Seal Chivalric OrderTanpries Aigies was also most likely together with him.

「Not fated somehow until now, I wasn’t blessed with the opportunity to see Isaac-denka’s countenance; but to be able to meet you at last, I’m very happy. …However, did Your Highness perhaps come to receive both Her Eminences here? This is a rare and good opportunity, so I wanted to get both Her Eminences to stay in our country for a little while and teach us about your country’s advanced magic training though—」

The king muttered regretfully in some respects. However, Isaac looked at Valeria and Karin and then held out a letter that he had been carrying in his hand to the king.

「—No, since I also don’t have many opportunities to visit other countries like this, as long as King-heika permits, I’m thinking of staying here for a little while together with both Her Eminences. I’ve obtained the document stating that he’ll entrust everything to me from Father like this as well」

「Oh, that’s good, that’s good! I also want to hear in detail stories of Amaddo, and I also want to ask for your opinion on the matter of the rebellion elements. —Right, right, Cousin-dono?」

「That’s… if Your Majesty wishes so…」

From Sigibert’s point of view, simply meeting Isaac here again was probably the worst feeling. Furthermore, if Isaac stayed as the king’s guest of honour, that worst feeling would continue even more. To tell the truth, Sigibert must be wanting him to return to his country together with Valeria’s party immediately.

However, Isaac might also have guessed that Sigibert was thinking that way; if that was the case, Isaac would never return to his country. Even if Isaac decided to stay just to harass Sigibert, Dimitar wouldn’t think that it was strange.

As if he thought nothing of the crowd of retainers who were present—and as if he noticed it now—Isaac looked down at the map that was drawn on the entire floor.

「Oh, is this perhaps… the midst of a war council? If that’s the case, I’m sorry to have interrupted you. Everyone, please continue」

「That’s right, this is just nice; let’s be honoured with Isaac-denka’s opinion. After all, His Highness is the son of the 11th generation Jeffren who is well-known for being proficient in war and is also the leader of the Seal Chivalric Order. I want to get your advice by all means. Right, Cousin-dono?」

This young king probably knew nothing of the discord between Isaac and Sigibert. Secretly stealing a glance at Sigibert’s face that was becoming increasingly bitter, Dimitar raised his lips.

「Fumu… I’d like to know the current situation first though—」

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Isaac, who was wandering on the map with a triumphant look, suddenly pointed at Dimitar’s party.

「Here, first of all, our country’s, um…」

Dimitar, who had noticed that Isaac was trying to throw the conversation this way, stared at Lucius fixedly and then looked at Karin quickly with a sidelong glance. Although he didn’t fully understand what Isaac was aiming for, at the very least, it was vanishingly unlikely that Valeria would be useful in this situation.

「Your Highness」

Perhaps he noticed the movement of Dimitar’s gaze, Lucius spoke in a low voice.

「—Rudbeck-geika is a talented woman with encyclopedic knowledge and strong memory and is well-versed in our country’s military history and books on strategies as well. How about receiving an explanation regarding the current war situation from Her Eminence first?」

「That’s also true. …Is that fine with you, Rudbeck-geika?」

「…Hai」

When Karin stepped forwards to the centre of the map, she started whispering something into Isaac’s ear.

「—I see, I’ve understood the general situation」

「…What did you understand?」

At Sigibert’s words which could make one feel an emotion that seemed to be hatred in some respects, Isaac responded with a refreshing smile.

「That’s of course, the fact that the riots and attacks which are breaking out in the various places are probably because of the enemy’s strategy, Sigibert-kakka」

Isaac answered in an especially polite—or rather, hypocritically courteous tone.

「It’s certain that they slipped a great number of spies into Haiderota’s territory. Your Excellency should also know that well, no?」

「Nu…!」

Implicitly bringing up the matter where he was abducted by Yururogu’s subordinates, Sigibert bit his lips.

「We, we’ve also hypothesised such a thing! We’ve hypothesised that! Riots breaking out so extensively, and moreover, at the same time in various places are because the spies whom the rebel army had secretly sent in are inciting them! That sort of thing, we don’t need Isaac-denka to point it out!」

「You don’t have to be so agitated, do you, Sigibert-kakka? —Anyway, the fact that those spies chose the timing when the Gale Chivalric OrderRorudor Rafuale had left Aurillac and then simultaneously commenced their activities is almost certain」

「So, so what?」

「To the enemy, your country being unable to move its army as it wishes for the suppression of the riots should be within their expectation. That being the case, it’s unthinkable that the enemy will simply wait in Luberuteiyu like this. They’ll aim for this period when Haiderota’s army can’t move and advance their war potential south even more, or attack the surrounding towns and expand the domain under their control—」

Isaac stood at the halfway point between Aurillac and Luberuteiyu on the map.

「Delbrück… is it? Anyway, if there’s a large-scaled town here, isn’t it fine if you have your various places’ war potentials gather here as the objective for the present? At places too near to Luberuteiyu, they might be individually defeated by the enemy before their numbers are assembled」

「I understand that kind of thing. That’s why—」

Ballesteros, who had begun to raise his voice, swallowed the words which came after that and calmly spat out his irritation.

「…If the plan, which Diaghilev-geika said a while ago, to gain time really exists, then the talk of concentrating our military force in Delbrück will also have a sense of reality」

「It does exist」

「…Ha?」

「I’m saying that there’s a plan to buy time」

Everyone’s gazes concentrated on Isaac who had nonchalantly answered.

Valeria leaked a sigh of admiration and muttered in a whisper.

「Though it’s impolite if I say it like this, …His Highness might be a more amazing person than I thought…」

「What’s amazing?」

「After all, should I say that he’s completely like a professional soldier—」

「Ah… that’s probably all second-hand knowledge from Karin-sama, you know?」

「Eh? Karin’s?」

「Perhaps what His Highness is skilful at aren’t strategies that meticulously move soldiers on the battlefield, but rather, schemes that lead other countries around by the noses from a room in the royal palace, or political manoeuvres for winning over the citizens and having them move as he wishes」

At Dimitar’s words of “that’d perfectly fit his image more”, Valeria knitted her eyebrows.

「Though I feel that you’re saying much more impolite things, I certainly feel that way too—」

「Perhaps Karin-sama should have been born as a man. In that case, she won’t need to compete with you as a Dominas, and will also have the possibility of becoming a great commander who can achieve meritorious services as a soldier」

Paying no attention to the pair who were having a conversational exchange in a whisper, Isaac carefully stated his cherished opinion.

「The plan to hold back the rebel army’s invasion without even moving a single soldier of Haiderota—there’s one」

「Is there really such a splendid method, Your Highness?」

「I wouldn’t have said so if there isn’t, Your Majesty」

Facing the king who seemed dubious, Isaac answered confidently.

「—This me will act as a mediator and march into the enemy camp」

「What…!」

Indeed, if it was Isaac, he might be able to stand between Haiderota and Yururogu and act as a mediator. If Yururogu didn’t want its relation with Amaddo to deteriorate, they had no choice but to take into consideration the treatment of Isaac; naturally, the movement of Yururogu’s army should also be restricted.

However, that’d also lead to a troublesome problem at the same time.

「Why did Karin-sama even suggest such an unnecessary thing…」

Dimitar frowned and talked to himself.

「An unnecessary thing? Isn’t it good, if the war really can be avoided because of that. People won’t die pointlessly, and Amaddo… or rather, perhaps His Highness’s reputation will rise, right?」

Although it was nice to hear if she spoke optimistically, Valeria was only thinking about the plus side. If one considered the demerit in case it didn’t go smoothly, it was a plan that one couldn’t participate in at a moment’s notice.

「It’s good that Amaddo will act as a mediator between Haiderota and Yururogu. However, the Crown Prince personally going to that place is, as one would expect, dangerous. If he’s caught like that and then taken as a hostage, an enormous ransom will be demanded. …Besides, whether His Highness is really granted that much authority or not, there are still some doubtful points in that matter as well」

「Eh? But just now he himself—」

「Though he said that he was appointed ambassador plenipotentiary, it doesn’t mean that he can do anything as he pleases as the king’s representative. Only matters related to the negotiations with Haiderota; he probably should have a restriction like that. —It doesn’t seem that he has the right to even intrude into the negotiations with Yururogu」

「If, if that’s the case, is there something bad about it?」

「Who knows. I don’t know the details, but at the very least, it probably won’t end with just His Highness being scolded by His Majesty. …When Yururogu notices the inadequacy of such a matter and comes complaining about this and that, it might diplomatically become some troublesome situation」

“And what is more troublesome than that is”—Dimitar quietly continued in a whisper to the other party, Valeria. Seeing Lucius who was holding his forehead down beside Isaac, he was able to have confidence that his thought was correct.

「…His Highness is someone who is very enthusiastic about such things. He’s already brimming with the intention to go; perhaps in the mind of the person himself, it’s a matter that he has decided to do」

Like that fear of Dimitar, Isaac faced the king and,

「How is it? As long as it’s all right with Your Majesty, this me will act as a mediator with Yururogu; it’s good if it goes smoothly; even if it doesn’t go smoothly, it might buy some time until your country has make preparations」

「But… is this really fine?」

「Of course. If the cause smoulders indefinitely in the northern extremity of the continent, the barbarian believers in the south might gather strength… and I myself want to show Father my good points too, after all」

「Oh, it’ll help us if you can do so! At any rate, I hate conflicts. If the matter is resolved without seeing blood via Your Highness’s action, there’s nothing better than that!」

「Your Majesty is truly a benevolent person」

「Iya, ahaha! This troublesome war council is also settled in an instant! I’m so happy, I’m so happy♪」

When the king clapped his hands which were wrapped in gloves together and ordered to disperse, he then patted Isaac’s shoulder, seemingly relaxed.

「Saa, Your Highness. Though the sequence has become reversed, I shall have a hot bath prepared for you first. How about we continue the full story while eating our dinner after you’ve completely washed away the fatigue from your journey?」

「With pleasure」

「—Ah, Cousin-dono, prepare rooms for everyone of Crown Prince-denka’s Chivalric Order respectively as well. In that annex, the same as both Her Eminences. All right?」

「Please leave everything to me」

Perhaps he had already given up, Sigibert dropped his shoulders weakly and bowed towards the backs of the king and Isaac without even concealing a big sigh.

While the crowd of retainers were leaving the war council room as they discussed this and that, Lucius came to where Dimitar’s party was.

「Lucius-sama!」

Lucius bowed to Valeria, who had made a “kyarun♪” sound in a lively voice and whose cheeks had blushed, while smiling gently.

「Valeria-jou and Karin-jou, I’m glad that you’re safe. …Thank you for your hard work, Dii」

「Ma, various things happened」

Dimitar, who had put his hand onto the nape of his neck, glanced at Karin.

「—More importantly Karin-sama, why did you suggest such an unnecessary idea to His Highness?」

「…Allow me to clearly deny, but that isn’t my idea」

Casting her cold eyes down, Karin shook her head.



「What I had suggested was that it was better to concentrate the war potential in Delbrück and prepare to meet the enemy on this side of Aurillac only. I heard the information about Delbrück from Richternach-kyou… so in that process, I said that riots seem to be occurring frequently because of the enemy’s manoeuvring, and the time for moving of war potential can’t be guaranteed」

「Everyone」

When Dimitar’s party was lowering their voices and saying this and that, Sigibert who had brought his eyebrows tightly together came.

「…No matter what it becomes, we can’t bear the responsibility, you know?」

「His Highness has probably taken that into account as well. He won’t do an action like making complaints about this and that afterwards」

「That might be so, that might be so. If it’s him, he won’t ask me or our army for help no matter what happens」

Sigibert, who had roughly fixed his long hair by combing his hand through it and put on his cap again, took a deep breath greatly and stared at Lucius. A shadow which was mixed with irritation and self-loathing ran on that profile.

「However, he should also know that if in the unlikely event that something happens, it might affect the friendly relations between our country and your country. —To have gone so far as to do so, why does he tries to tread on thin ice? A harassment towards me at the risk of his life?」

「This isn’t something that I can answer—but if our country which is called the “leader” sits and overlooks the crisis of an ally, it’ll be bad for our reputation… is His Highness not thinking like that, I wonder?」

「Isaac-kun is?」

「He’s a person who must eventually succeed the throne of big Amaddo, after all」

「…That’s the worst day. I don’t even want to think about such a future, and I don’t want to imagine it either」

Lightly clicking his tongue, Sigibert looked downwards.

「—I, I’ve kept you waiting!」

Malena, whose figure wasn’t seen the whole time in the war council room, entered the hall such that she ran counter to the flow of the crowd of retainers and saluted Lucius’s party.

「Since the preparation for everyone’s room is finished, I’ll guide you!」

「We’ve taken up your time, Puyol-geika」

While walking in a line behind Malena, Lucius glanced over his shoulder at the back and whispered to Dimitar.

「…Though there’s no doubt that Diaghilev-geika is the preeminent talented woman of Haiderota, it seems that she’ll undergo hardships in the future」

「Yes. The other party whom she’s in love with is bad. …Or rather, her taste in men isn’t good」

Softly propping her hand against the back of Sigibert, who was firmly stepping on his marble motherland, Clotilde was talking to the young minister about something. Although the pair should certainly be of the same age, that appearance looked as if an older sister was encouraging an unreliable younger brother.

Perhaps she had overheard the conversational exchange between Dimitar and Lucius, Valeria opened her eyes wide with a “ka” and alternately looked at Lucius’s face and Sigibert’s party.

「Eh!? T, that’s, that sort of that!?」

「…I’m so amazed that even my sigh won’t come out. The ones who didn’t notice are roughly you and Gacha Pink, you know? The lowness of your mental age is sometimes a crime」

「Ehh!? Valeria-sama and I have such a common point!?」

「You be quiet」

Hitting Bettina’s head hard with a “gashan”, Dimitar sighed.

Valeria fixedly stared at her feet and, asking no one, muttered.

「…However, while it may be true that Diaghilev-geika likes him, um… will she be wedded to Sigibert-kakka?」

「Well… Sigibert-kakka is a person who has the right to succeed the throne, so thinking from his position, isn’t arbitrarily deciding a spouse by himself difficult? At the very least, it must be after consulting with the people of the royal family and the senior statesmen…」

Lucius honestly answered the inconsequential mutter of Valeria.

「Of course, I heard that Diaghilev House is also one of the distinguished families of Haiderota and has produced many excellent Dominas, so in the aspect of family status, there shouldn’t be any problem. —That’s to say, it’ll probably depend on Sigibert-kakka afterwards」

Even if the feeling of mutual love which Dimitar hated existed between that pair, so long as Clotilde was a Dominas in active service, they couldn’t get married now yet. As it had been four years since Clotilde became a Dominas, if it was the usual, she must protect her chastity for five more years—until she became 25. And then, in terms of position, whether Sigibert who was of the same age could be single until 25 or not was slightly doubtful. After all, Sigibert who was a member of royalty had the obligation to marry a wife as soon as possible and have a successor.

「Lucius-sama—」

Valeria raised her face and began to talk. Dimitar who had felt a bad premonition tried to blocked that instantly, but didn’t stop it in the end.

「Does Lucius-sama… have to think about that sort of thing?」

「……」

It was a question like Dimitar had imagined. Dimitar couldn’t quite understand why she’d ask something which, no matter how, wouldn’t end without her getting hurt, but perhaps in this girl’s case, it might be better that reality was thrust clearly before her once and then she realised it. In other words, it was because of such a slightly sadistic consideration that Dimitar didn’t stop Valeria.

「Lucius-sama is also the heir of the Richternach House. Are you in a similar situation as His Excellency?」

「No, it’s completely different. My house’s good point is being long-established only, and isn’t related to the royal family, so even if it comes to an end like this, I at least think that it doesn’t matter in particular. Maa, I’m pestered by Mother in various ways though…」

「Lucius, don’t say thoughtless things. I’ll report to Head Director, you know?」

「It’s a joke」

Lucius hit Dimitar’s chest while smiling wryly.

「—Honestly speaking, I think that it doesn’t matter even if I can’t get married in my whole life, but because the continuance of the Richternach House is Mother’s wish, a heir for that sake is indispensable. I can’t tell Mother to remarry and give birth to a younger brother or a younger sister now; as expected, I, the only son, have to do this somehow」

I’ll eventually marry a wife and have a heir—whether Valeria heard Lucius’s words, which continued so, properly or not, Dimitar didn’t know. Although he could imagine the expression of her who had looked downwards again, he couldn’t confirm it.

Dimitar thought that she reaped what she sowed. At the very least, he had no intention of sympathising with her.

Dimitar averted his gaze from the stupid girl and spoke to Lucius.

「—More importantly, there’s something that I want to tell you」

「What is it?」

「Though I think that she’s probably a spy of Yururogu or something…, I met a troublesome kid」

「A troublesome… what, child?」

「I don’t know it clearly, but she’s evidently younger than our Her Eminences. However, she’s frighteningly skilled. If I’ve to say it more accurately, she knows how to fight」

Recalling that girl whom he had met in the forest at night on the outskirts of Krutoreto, Dimitar explained.

「In addition to being able to use magic and move well, what’s the most problematic is that she’s using something that looks like a magic motion swordEspada Marefika」

「Wait… that child whom you spoke of, is she a girl with long black hair?」

「You’ve an idea?」

「If it’s her, we also encountered her on our way here」

「What?」

「In the forest where we had crossed the national border and went north a little, we came across several horsemen, but we received a dangerous magic at the moment when the two sides met. Though we repelled it somehow and there was hardly any injury, …if I remember correctly, I think that that girl had used a somewhat large knife and unleashed a “Fire BulletBlast”」

「That’s probably her. I’m sure. She’s the kid who tried to abduct His Excellency」

Encountering the Crown Prince’s party which was going towards Aurillac meant that that girl was also moving northwards together with her comrades. Judging from the situation, it might be natural to conclude that it was to link up with the friendly troops in Luberuteiyu.

「It, it’s here!」

What Malena had guided Lucius’s party to, was a detached building at the east of the royal palace. Dimitar’s party which had arrived in Aurillac earlier was also similarly staying at this building. This detached building seemed to be entirely opened just for the guests from Amaddo.

The Seal Chivalric Order’s members, with several people respectively forming one group, were already entering each room on the first floor on Arushanbor’s instruction. Incidentally, the rooms which were prepared for Isaac and Lucius were on the second floor, and the guest rooms which were allocated to Valeria’s party were on the third floor.

Ordering Arushanbor to put guards up at various places of the building, Lucius went out to the courtyard together with Dimitar.

「—That girl’s identity and strength go without saying, but not only that, the knife which that child was using also bothers me」

「Yes. It doesn’t seem to have a versatility like my sword’s, but nevertheless, it’s definitely a magic motion sword」

Propping his hand lightly against the scabbard on his waist, Dimitar looked around the courtyard. Even though he was discussing with Lucius like this, it was a habit which was indelibly ingrained to his core to somehow check whether there was danger or not at the place where he was.

「…At present, if we exclude our country, there’s no country that is known to clearly possess Magic EngineeringTekunorogia Marefika. However, like the aforementioned woman who is called “Nereida” had done so in Biranoba, the possibility of her getting Yururogu’s assistance and conducting research—」

「No, that possibility is low」

「Why do you think so?」

「Recall the number of swords and shields that were seized from the Valiente House. Though it was a noble, Nereida had created that many things with the assistance from an individual, you know?」

Nereida had the technique to develop magic motion swords. What was necessary for mass production were a certain extent of time and abundant funds, talented people who could draw magic crestsHieratika, and raw materials. If she could prepare a number of that extent with the assistance of Dante, an individual, if she had gotten the assistance of a whole country, mass production might have become possible far easier.

「If Nereida did change sides to Yururogu, let alone that one knife, an even more massive amount of weapons should have been produced. However, there’s no report of Yururogu using a new weapon like that at present. In other words, we can judge that Yururogu doesn’t have Magic Engineering of a practical-use level yet」

「……」

Lucius, who had been intently pondering about something at Dimitar’s words, suddenly raised his face as if he was enlightened.

「…Perhaps it’s because His Highness had thought that that girl might be a person of Yururogu that he suggested to personally march into Luberuteiyu as an arbitrator」

「What do you mean?」

「Doesn’t His Highness most likely want to confirm whether Yururogu has the technique to just create magic motion sword or not—whether it’s being mass-produced or not?」

「Confirm and do what then?」

「It might be bad if we don’t think of some counter-measure. If Haiderota and Yururogu have a full-scale battle like this, and if the magic motion sword falls into Haiderota’s hands in that process—」

「…Setting Yururogu aside, it being possessed by Haiderota will certainly be troublesome, but whether His Highness really did thought that far or not is dubious」

「Oi」

As one would expect, Lucius knitted his eyebrows at Dimitar’s tone that seemed to make light of the Crown Prince.



「It’s a joke」

In this garden where the characteristics of Haiderota materialised, statues of soldiers wearing armours and shrubs which were trimmed in a rectangular shape stood out even more than the flowers. In Dimitar’s eyes which had grown accustomed to the Roma Palace’s garden and the Crown Prince’s greenhouse, they were reflected as slightly tasteless things.

Looking up at the setting sun that seemed dazzling, Dimitar muttered.

「…If His Highness attends the negotiations with Yururogu, you’ll naturally go too, huh」

「Yes」

「What will our Her Eminences do? Will you leave them behind?」

「We’ve to think about that」

If Amaddo’s Crown Prince and Dominas personally made a visit, their seriousness would be conveyed to Yururogu. If it was a pusillanimous commander, he’d withdraw his army without being able to disregard Amaddo’s intention; even if he didn’t go to that extent, he might have to respect their country’s instruction. Hence, the objective of buying time for the time being could be achieved.

However, on the contrary, if the other party was a stouthearted commander who wouldn’t easily yield to the name of “Amaddo”, and if the negotiations didn’t work out, he might try to take not just Isaac, but also the Dominas as hostages. And then, the enemy commander was most likely the latter type.

「You’re going even though you’ve predicted to that extent?」

「His Highness himself had declared so in front of that many people, after all. This won’t end with us not going now」

「—Dimi-san! Lucius-sama!」

The window on the second floor opened with a “gashan”, and a pink armour, which reflected the setting sun and shone, stuck its face out.

「The tea preparation seems to be done~!」

「…Can’t you be quiet a little?」

Waving his hand with a “hira hira” with an annoyed face, Dimitar entered the building together with Lucius.

♦♦♦

Although she was extolled as “Her Eminence” for the time being, she was actually a girl whom no one even knew where she was born in and whose lineage was unclear.

Maybe it was because he had been calling her “Her Eminence, Her Eminence” and politely taking care of her due to his position, or maybe there was no reason in particular, Cyril Duevre was extremely loved by Lampito. More accurately speaking, Lampito hardly became emotionally attached to any person except Cyril.

But for Cyril, he thought that he didn’t become a soldier to take care of a young girl. Not to mention, he never even dreamt of being made to help out with the bathing of a child.

「……」

Cyril, who had rolled up the cuff of his trousers and the sleeves of his shirt and sat down on a short stool, had been continuing washing Lampito’s black hair the whole time since a while ago.

「You’re too lazy, you know…」

No matter how many times he ran the comb through her hair, light brown bubbles rose up each time. When she abducted Sigibert, although she fought against the pursuers and plunged headfirst into the mud, if she had washed her head properly afterwards, it wouldn’t have become like this. Lampito probably only washed her face perfunctorily with the river’s water and didn’t run her fingers through to the roots of her hair and washed it well.

「…In the first place, is there a need to grow your hair so long?」

「U?」

Lampito who was submerged in the hot water to her nose turned around at Cyril’s complaint. Due to the bathtub’s hot water becoming dirty already, the light brown bubbles were sticking under her nose like a moustache.

「…I’ll change the hot water」

Casually wiping the girl’s face, Cyril pulled out the bathtub’s stopper.

「Bring new water here!」

When Cyril ordered so, maids who carried buckets in their arms entered the bathroom which was full of steam and began pouring water steadily into the bathtub that had just become empty.

「C, c-c, c, cold—」

「Then heat it yourself」

Coldly thrusting Lampito who had shrank her body at the coldness of the water away, Cyril lathered the soap again.

「…Properly speaking, this is a maid’s job; why does this petty officer have to do something like this…」

If possible, he wanted to push this onto the maids who had drawn the water, but so long as Lampito hated even being touched by them, Cyril had no choice but to do so.

「You’re too lacking in various ways…」

When the maids had left the bathroom, Cyril leaked a complaint which was mixed with a sigh that had become a habit recently.

「…How on earth were you raised to have become like this?」

「A, a, alone—」

While personally warming the bathtub’s water with her magic, Lampito spoke.

「What?」

「I, grew, up, a, alone」

「Alone? You grew up alone?」

「P, probably…」

「What an unsure way of speaking even though it’s about yourself」

Perhaps Lampito was strangely shy of strangers and couldn’t speak words well was because—even if being raised by wolves was a joke—she grew up alone in the forest. When he looked at Lampito, Cyril unconsciously thought about such a matter.

「…Don’t tell me, you can’t speak any words until you met that woman called “Medou”?」

「P, probably—」

「……」

Making sure to scrape her scalp with a “gori gori” and wash the girl’s hair, Cyril sighed.

「And that “Medou”, where’s she now?」

「…U, U, Uru—」

「?」

「Uruhaimato…」

「Uruhaimato? Where’s that?」

「I, I, don’t, know…」

「Anyway, she’s there, right? Will she come to meet you from there someday?」

「I, don’t, know…」

「Nothing but things that you don’t know, huh」

Washing the girl’s head like he was massaging it with a “guri guri” with his fingertips, Cyril smiled wryly.

Certainly, in regard to Lampito, there were only things that he didn’t know.

Where was she born and where did she learn magic, and why did she come to Yururogu—what he barely understood was at least the fact that it was a woman called “Medou” who had set Lampito up as a magic warriorMarefikos.

The origin of that Medou herself was unknown. However, from the fact that she brought advantageous information to Yururogu and left Lampito behind together with the weapons by which magic became usable even to ordinary people, saying to use them as he liked, at the very least, she wasn’t an existence of the extent of an enemy now.

「…This is too laughable」

Thinking about it, Euchemard and Cyril had relied on such uncertain women who whether were worthy of trust or not was even doubtful and mobilised the army to defeat Haiderota. If he calmly thought about it, it was devoid of reason.

In short, they were being cornered to that extent. Yururogu was still weak and young as a country to fulfil their dearest wish of defeating Haiderota; on the contrary, Euchemard was getting too old. In order to leave some sort of form behind while Euchemard was alive, it was necessary to use everything that could be used and to cross a dangerous bridge (to take a risk) in full awareness of it.

For that, he had to get Lampito to be an excellent “tool”. Excess emotional attachment and sympathy, let alone being unneeded, would, on the contrary, become hindrances.

「…We’re getting out soon」

Pouring hot water over the girl’s head many times with a “zaba zaba”, Cyril stood up. Cyril, of course, and Lampito couldn’t absent themselves from the place where they’d receive the rare guests who would come soon.

Looking down at the basket that contained a brand new change of clothes and also Lampito’s knife, Cyril unintentionally talked to himself.

「…Even if I asked you, who don’t even know who your master is, how this knife is made, you probably can’t answer anything, huh」

「…U?」

「No, I asked something useless. Forget about it」

Averting his gaze from the naked body of the girl who had gotten out of the bathtub, wiped her body roughly and then changed her clothes slowly, Cyril leaked an especially big sigh.

♦♦♦

Crossing many streams and going towards the north after leaving Delbrück in the early morning, the day was already starting to get dark. Perhaps it was because the lakes and marshes area which were rich in water were nearby, the blowing evening breeze had a trace of damp moisture in some respects.

Needless to say every person of the Seal Chivalric Order that had seen the Crown Prince’s party off, movable war potentials were probably going towards Delbrück from the whole country of Haiderota around this time. However, to gather the number just to fight against Yururogu’s army directly head-on, it’d take a bit more time.

To gain that time—the party headed for Luberuteiyu under that pretext.

「I’ll say this in advance just in case」

While galloping his horse at a canter, Isaac informed his travelling companions.

「—Rather than saying that it’s for Haiderota, it’s for our country’s national interest that we’re crossing a dangerous bridge like this now. …Especially Costacurta-geika, I want you to understand such a thing」

「Hai, Your Highness」

Valeria, who was swaying on the same horse as Dimitar, nodded with a meek expression.

「Ma, the negotiations itself is my job, but I want everyone to properly watch for things that seem to be connected to our country’s national interest hereafter」

「S, specifically what?」

「Magic motion sword, is it? Weapons that are similar to what Dii-kun has」

「Ah, hai」

「And though I don’t think that they have it, things which are similar to the armour that Bettina-jou is wearing」

Pointing at the pink mass that was energetically running side-by-side with the horses with a “gashon gashon”, Isaac laughed with a “fufun”.

「—Anyway, whether there’s a country besides ours that continues to have Magic Engineering or not, that’s the problem. After all, even though we’re finally about to commence a full-scale development, elevating our country, it’ll be pointless if that technique was already leaked to another country」

「Haa…」

Valeria knitted her eyebrows and secretly asked Dimitar.

「…A magic motion sword that can be confirmed, it’s just the one knife which that strange child was carrying, right?」

「For now, that is. —However, there’s also no positive proof that that kid was a soldier of Yururogu in the first place」

「Then, isn’t it not mass-produced yet?」

「That’s exactly why we want to ascertain that. —I said this just now too, but if Yururogu had been keeping a large quantity of magic motion swords, there’s a possibility of them falling into Haiderota’s hands through the battle. That alone absolutely have to be avoided」

「…How troublesome. Even though Haiderota isn’t an enemy country, but an ally—」

「I’d rather have them be our enemy, then there’d be no problem. An opponent where it doesn’t matter that we thoroughly defeat them by force. …A half-baked ally might be the most troublesome」

Muttering like he was annoyed, Dimitar stared beyond the north. With the sky that was changing from a madder red to an ultramarine colour as the background, lights which seemed to be fires for luring fish at night lining up here and there could be seen faintly.

「Your Highness, it’s Luberuteiyu」

Lucius pointed forwards and informed Isaac so. Although it still wasn’t fully known from this distance, what were flickering with a “chira chira” might be the watch fires that were lined up on the rampart.

Isaac looked back at Dimitar and asked.

「—Dii-kun, if Yururogu had a large quantity of magic motion swords, can’t we somehow dispose of them in one breath, I wonder?」

「Unfortunately… if such a thing is possible, they’ll be unusable as weapons」

「That’s so, isn’t it?」

「According to what I heard from Chief EngineerMaestro, it seems that by heating the magic motion sword at a very high temperature for a long time, the magic crests which are drawn on its surface will melt and run off, but that takes quite a time. To dispose of them in an instant, we probably have no choice but to physically destroy them」

「That, isn’t it perhaps easier to make the peace negotiations a success?」

「That might be so」

「Yare yare… we can only pray that its mass production hasn’t make any progress then」

「……」

Even when the Crown Prince and Dimitar were having such a conversational exchange, the silhouette of Luberuteiyu was steadily growing larger. It felt as if a sound like that of a horn’s could be heard from a distance somewhere, but perhaps that might be the crew of a ship which went in and out that port city blowing it.

Realising that she had been unconsciously holding Dimitar’s hands which grasped the reins, trying to suppress her uneasiness, Valeria hurriedly retracted her hands.

♦♦♦

As they had made an express messenger go ahead of them already, Isaac’s party which had arrived at Luberuteiyu wasn’t attacked suddenly as suspicious people.

But nevertheless, it didn’t mean that they’d surely take a friendly attitude. How to treat Amaddo’s Crown Prince and his party; it might be accurate to say that at present, they simply couldn’t decide on an attitude yet.

「—Even though it’s called a port city, as one would expect, there’s no smell of seawater」

Soldiers who held spears in the arms were standing on the rampart and even in the town. Dimitar strained his eyes and observed them in the dim light of dusk, but he didn’t find any person who was equipped with a weapon that seemed like a magic motion sword.

「…I heard that it was captured in the blink of an eye, but is that true, I wonder?」

Dimitar narrowed his eyes at Valeria’s mutter.

「Why do you think so?」

「After all, the rampart is destroyed here and there, so it’s consistent with the siege was protracted」

「……」

Certainly, the rampart had collapsed in several places. Rather than the stones being piled up again for repair, it felt as if it was forcibly destroyed.

「That’s perceptive, considering that it’s you. You noticed it well」

「…If you’re going to praise me, then praise me honestly」

「If you can even explain the reason why the rampart has collapsed, I’ll praise you」

「Please dismount here」

The soldier who had guided the party from outside the town requested Isaac’s party to dismount in front of a large building. Although one might call it large, that was comparing it with the surrounding buildings; for example, it couldn’t compare with the royal palaces of Amaddo and Haiderota at all. Seeing that the warehouse was adjacent to it, it was most likely the commerce and industry meeting hall of this Luberuteiyu. As it was the tallest structure in the vicinity, it could be said that it was the ideal place to overlook the whole town.

「Uuuuu… I somehow want to pee」

「You feeling the urge to urinate is a usual thing. You don’t need to report every one of them」

「Hey, just a minute」

Valeria, who had stepped into the entrance hall that was guarded by many soldiers, looked up at Dimitar and whispered.

「…Is this place perhaps the enemy’s temporary headquarters?」

「I suppose so」

「Oi, Dii」

Dimitar, who was softly poked in the side by Lucius, looked outside through the window at the landing of the stairs that led to the second floor.

This commerce and industry meeting hall seemed to be a structure where one could go out to Rübel River from the rear as it was, and through the window, he could look down at innumerable ships that were anchored at the riverbank. Although there were several big ships, which obviously weren’t for business purpose, that had lowered their sails, there was no doubt that they were probably the warships that had carried Yururogu’s soldiers.

What bothered Dimitar was the fact that some large cargo was being transshipped from that warship to a small ship. It couldn’t be seen clearly as it was dark, but there was a considerable amount.

「…What’s that? It… doesn’t seem to be provisions」

「Huge stones are loaded on that ship」

「Perhaps destroying the rampart was for this?」

「That’s what I thought… but if possible, I want to confirm the contents in detail」

「Don’t think about strange things, all right, Dii? Your role is Valeria-jou’s guard. Until we return to Delbrück, think of it as the most important thing」

「I know」

Not allowed to stop long, Dimitar’s party ascended the stairs as it was.

「…Welcome and thank you for coming」

Dimitar’s party was led into a room with an area that was slightly questionable to be called a hall. If this building was the commerce and industry meeting hall, this place might be a room that was used for meetings or something.

The one who had occupied the chief seat of the enormous round table, which was placed in that room, was a white-haired old man with an excellent physique. With a sharp glint in his eyes and an appearance of indeed a veteran great commander, the resplendent military uniform suited him well.

The old man opened both his hands and invited the party in.

「I heard that… you’re Amaddo’s Isaac-denka and his party?」

「Indeed」

Taking off his hat and propping it against his chest, Isaac bowed calmly.

「I’m Amaddo’s Crown Prince, Jeffren Isaac Fortia. …Are you Euchemard Duevre-kakka?」

「It’s not that I aren’t called so… but in any case, please have a seat」

From the old man’s attitude, it didn’t feel like he was looking down on Isaac, but nevertheless, it also didn’t feel like he intended to abase himself. Even if it was Jeffren Francesc the person himself who had appeared here, this old man—Euchemard would most likely stick to the same attitude. He’d never flatter the other party no matter who he was; one could guess that his pride was high.

Isaac sat down directly opposite of the old man and prompted Valeria to sit next to him. Dimitar, Lucius, and Bettina too, stood at a position where they could protect the backs of these two people.

Euchemard’s eyebrows quivered with a “hiku”, and he looked at Valeria carefully.

「…That person, is she perhaps…?」

「She’s our country’s Dominas and a Senior InspectorSensor Mayor, Valeria Costacurta-jou」

「I see… the rumours of Amaddo’s Dominas are famous even in the northern extremity, but she’s more beautiful than I had imagined…」

Euchemard who had nodded with a self-satisfied look picked up a small bell and rang it lightly.

「Let me offer you tea first」

「…!」

Following Euchemard’s words, the maids came into the room. The women had expressions that were tense in some way, but still prepared the black tea with a fluent manner of using their hands. Since it didn’t seem that Euchemard’s army would go out of its way to bring any civilian woman from Yururogu along, they were most likely people of this town originally, and were simply made to work on the instruction of the occupation army.

However, it wasn’t because he had seen them that Dimitar instinctively started to reach for Jagieruka’s hilt, but because he saw with his own eyes the soldiers who had come into the room together with them—especially the young commissioned officer who seemed to be approximately in his twenties and a young girl who had appeared at the very end.

End of Chapter 3



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