5th day, 8th month, the year 2812. Western Continent Calendar: (Towards the Peninsula 2)
Fort city Epiroz.
The city is located northwest of the Rozeria Kingdom, and it is a key border point.
The city was protected from invaders by a 10 meter high wall.
The city itself has 3 entrance points. They are positioneds at the east, west and the north side of the city. The lords castle is located in the south.
Everyone within the kingdom knows that the city is a defense facility, a protective wall between the Rozeria and Zalda Kingdoms. The result, the citizens know the city as a city that was able to prevent multiple invasions by the neighboring country. However, those who live in the city know that living in this city feels like a kettle lid holding down what’s inside…
Currently, Ryouma’s group is inside a room they rented in an inn within the city.
After finishing all the procedures they reached the fortified city, the gateway toward Wortenia peninsula.
Currently, Ryouma’s core member up to Bolts is inside the room while relaxing.
They are discussing their future plans.
“Because this was a border town, it is no wonder being a defense specialized, but it seems like it was not built just for preventing invasions.”
Bolts said those words while shrugging his shoulders.
There is something that someone who has been working as a mercenary for years always does first before doing other things.
And that is purchasing and gathering information the moment they arrived at the inn.
“Rather than invasion, they built the city like this to prevent monsters entering the Rozeria Kingdom, am I right?”
Bolts nodded his head.
“It seems like the place we’re heading is more severe than we had initially thought…”
Everyone nodded their head agreeing with Bolts’ words. They all know that it was a harsh land since they were at the royal capital. However…
“For now our first priority is prepare everything we need in this city…”
What they need now is detailed information regarding the fort city and the Wortenia peninsula. If they entered the peninsula just like this, they would undoubtedly end up dead. Geographical information, necessary equipment, Ryouma does not have all of these aspects in his possession.
Not only that, pirates and demi-human villages seems to have existed within the peninsula. Next, there’s also a problem of food and water.
There’s no doubt that they can’t buy them from the pirates and demi-humans. Which means, until Ryouma and the others can establish a town, they would have to buy their necessity from this fortified city. Considering that, one has to also carefully choose a trading partner properly.
They need to know all the circumstances within this neighborhood.
Because they have to do their best to survive.
“We sisters will be the ones who are going around for negotiation with the various companies…”
“Fumu, I leave it to you both then…”
Laura has picked up both sisters role.
Ryouma also understand that she has a clear understanding of what to do for the present situation.
Even Sara also understands that which she, in turn, nodded agreeing with her sister suggestion.
“Then Bolts-san should go to the guild. Gather information about the peninsula as much as possible. Especially the locations of rivers and lakes. And don’t forget all the information regarding the monsters inhabiting the peninsula.”
“Understood, young master! Please leave it to me!”
Bolts tap his chest with his right arm.
After nodded Ryouma turned his eyes toward Genou.
For him, there are no qualified people other than Genou and Sakuya when it comes to gathering information at any place.
Noticing Ryouma’s gaze, Genou’s eyes shine sharply.
“Genou investigate the influential people in this town… Family composition, character, weakness, strength… I want all of that information since we’re going to make our base here for a while…”
“I see… Indeed, it is best for us to make sure the influential people in this town are on our side…”
Ryouma nodded his head, satisfied with Genou’s answer.
“However, don’t do anything noticeable alright? It would be troublesome if they turn hostile toward us right now…”
“Please rest assured… I will answer my lord’s expectations without fail…”
Genou gently lowered his head.
“Boy… Then should I get some mercenaries?”
While Sakuya joined Genou in gathering information regarding the influential people, only Ryouma and Lione left.
But, it seems like Lione already understand what her role was.
“Indeed… Only Lione-san is capable of doing this job, please select capable people with good skills… I would like to increase our numbers as much as possible, but since we don’t yet have clear revenue, we need to keep it reasonable…”
“Should we offer them knight job?”
“No… In the future, I will employ all of you as knights under me, but for now, I want to hire people as mercenaries employed by me…”
Of course, he wants to hire people as knights under him, but it would be too dangerous to hire people in a situation where everything is not yet clear. Anyways, it was not even clear if Ryouma can secure the salaries if he wants to hire them as knights.
“I see, I guess that makes sense… It may be better for us to keep the knight’s employment away until the territory development has gone on track…”
Lione who has the experience of leading a mercenary group understands how big military expenditure can get.
“Well if that the case please leave it to me! How many people are you going to hire? It will cost money if you want skilled people, you understand that, yes?”
Naturally, good mercenary comes with high price. If Ryouma did not say how much budget he has, Lione won’t be able to begin the negotiation.
In respondse to her question, Ryouma’s eyes turned to Laura. All of his money is in the hands of the Marfisto sisters.
“We have 35 million baht in funds. This all is Ryouma-sama’s personal assets.”
Lione opened her eyes wide hearing Laura’s words.
“Eh?! You’re actually quite rich aren’t you?!”
Her reaction was natural.
Because Ryouma’s assets are comparable to that of intermediate nobles.
It was the money they got after taking the slave trader’s gold and selling all the jewels.
“However, we will need some funds when we begin creating a village. Developing the land, and we also need some helping hands…”
“In other words, we can only use a small part of that budget?”
Answering Lione’s question, Ryouma nodded his head.
This money will become his and the others lifeline. He has to spend it carefully if he wants to survive.
“How about 5 million baht? Hiring them for one year, including their food and water, we should get around 200 people, I think?”
Toward Lione’s suggestion, Laura nodded her head in agreement.
“Sure, if it was that much we can prepare it…”
“Alright then! I leave the rest to you Lione-san…”
In respond to Ryouma’s words Lione nodded with great power. For her who has the experience of leading a mercenary group, hiring someone with good ability is as easy as eating breakfast. It was a perfect role for her.
Now, Ryouma is the only one who has not yet discussed his schedule.
“Then, what Ryouma-sama planning to do?”
“Me huh? I think I should meet with Earl Salzberg.”
Answering Sara’s question, Ryouma told everyone what he was planning to do since a while ago.
“Isn’t that person the Epiroz city lord? Why do you want to meet that person? He might involve you with something unpleasant you know? Besides, the nobles here despise commoner rising in status, won’t they harass you?”
Everyone nodded their head agreeing with Lione’s words.
Her anxiety can be said as something understandable.
Because of Lupis’ betrayal, a ruler of this very country. They had become distrustful toward the royalty and nobility of this country.
However, Genou seems to agree with Ryouma.
“I see… I think that was not a bad idea though?”
“What do you mean? Genou.”
Lione can’t comprehend why Genou agreed with Ryouma.
She turned her questioning gaze toward Genou.
This is where she can be said as a good leader. She has her own opinion yet still willing to understand others. This quality is the one which the nobility within the Rozeria Kingdom is lacking.
“Certainly, not many people within nobility is good… However, we should not isolate ourselves either just because we have misgiving feelings toward them… Looking at the reality, Epiroz city is next to Wortenia peninsula, it is not a bad thing to meet the lord of the city… In fact, it might end up troublesome if we don’t visit them immediately and they took it as an insult.”
Hearing Genou’s words, Lione can imagine that they will take it as an insult.
In any case, right now, for Ryouma and the others to be able to survive within Wortenia peninsula, they need some supply from the city. If Ryouma makes a mistake and the Earl’s mood turn bad and then ends up putting some pressure so that Ryouma was unable to do any business in the city, Ryouma would end up dried up alone.
“… Certainly… That’s highly possible…”
“See… Noble people have a high pride after all…”
Everyone is convinced by Genou’s words.
“Well, for now, I would like to see what kind of person he is and if he would become our friend or enemy.
Everyone nodded after listening Ryouma’s words.
It is true that they have been betrayed by the royalty and the nobles. However, it does not mean they have to stop trusting all nobles.
In the end, whether or not someone deserves the trust, one should judge someone else individually not based on the group they are born or belong to…
“My lord… Do you need something from me?”
Genou who should’ve left the room after the discussion has come back inside the room.
Ryouma turned his gaze.
“Indeed. I have something to ask…”
Ryouma’s face does not show any surprise when Genou opened the door without any sound.
(Fuh, did he notice my presence beforehand? Has my skill become dull or something? No, I guess it was his ability…)
At a young age, Genou had seen much bloodshed. As a member of the elders within his clan, he rarely did field work, but even with that, his skill can be regarded as one of the best.
(As expected… This man is the same with the first generation…)
Genou’s line of sight examines Ryouma.
“What’s wrong, Genou?”
Ryouma who feels Genou hot gaze asked him a question. His gaze is looking at Genou with suspicion.
“No, please forgive me… So, my lord, what do you need from me?”
Genou lowered his head respectfully and begin sitting down facing Ryouma.
“Well… I have something that I want you to do… But before that, there’s something I want to hear, is that alright?”
“Understood… Please ask anything…”
It is unlikely for Ryouma to dismiss him this late in the game. Which means Ryouma wants to ask something that he doesn’t want Bolts and Lione heard.
(Probably, it’s about Sakuya and me… Even if I’ve pledged my allegiance I can’t buy his trust that easy huh?)
Genou understood Ryouma mind quickly. Their first encounter was when he and Sakuya perform their mission to assassinate Ryouma.
But Ryouma ended up employing the assassin that came to assassinate him instead. Which in turn shows the magnitude the human being called Mikoshiba Ryouma. However, at the same time, Ryouma took one step back when it comes to trusting Genou and Sakuya.
He does not yet trust Genou and Sakuya completely.
(Well I guess that is natural… After all, I also have not yet told everything to him either…)
Genou muttered those words inside his heart.
It was a relationship where they both can’t trust each other yet. But it does not mean they have a dubious relationship. It would be more accurate that they are waiting for the right times.
And their relationship might change according to how Ryouma makes their move from now on.
(Should I talk about everything? No… It’s still too early… I can’t entrust my family future to him yet…)
His decision would decide the future of his entire clan.
It would be natural for Genou being cautious.
“Relax, I just want to ask you something simple… Why do you want to serve me?”
Genou wondered if Ryouma actually able to read minds. Ryouma’s question was the things he was contemplating about.
The question which Genou did not want to answer yet.
However, Ryouma took Genou’s silence as an answer.
“You can’t tell me anything yet huh?”
They both gaze at each other straight.
<TLN to Editor: If this was a boy meets girl scene, it would be romantic, but…> <EN: Agreed, fujo’s and yaoi writers can burn>
(I don’t want to lie…)
He thought that, but Genou mouth feels heavy.
If it was about lies, then Genou is confident that he can say as many as he wanted. But if he does that, he won’t get any trust.
He can only keep silent, which does not deny nor affirms Ryouma’s question.
After a long silence, RYouma shrugged his shoulders as if given up.
“Fine… I guess you have your own reason. I will not ask any further…”
Hearing Ryouma’s words, Genou showed a surprised looks.
“Are you really okay with that?”
“Of course not… But I don’t think you keep silence out of malice… I do feel like you have some secret that you keep from me, but let’s just wait until you want to say it then…”
Ryouma felt strongly that Genou served him for some kind of purpose.
However, since he does not feel any malice from it, he let it pass.
In fact, if he felt some malice from it even if it was just a little, Ryouma would mercilessly get rid Genou and Sakuya. Even if they both share the same Japanese blood just like him.
(I guess, this much is fine for now… If the time comes, the other side will come to me… For now, let’s fix the problem we have on hand first…) That is what Ryouma thinks.
Besides, he needs as many helping hands as possible right now.
“By the way, Genou… I’d like to employ your clan for some work, can I?”
“That is… Of course.”
Hearing Ryouma’s question, Genou regained his calmness. At the same time, his calm brain immediately tried to find out what Ryouma wants him to do.
(He wants to hire my clan… Which means he does not want to move Sakuya or me away, that means the job won’t be around Epiroz… It can’t be, did he want to assassinate Lupis?)
Considering Ryouma’s personality, that is very likely to happen. He’s someone who never forgets someones gratitude, but also never forgives someone who does harm to him.
Despite their short relationship, Genou was able to understand Ryouma that much.
Considering how Lupis forcibly threw him into the frontier territory, it is no wonder for Ryouma to retaliate with assassination.
However, Genou dismisses such thought by his own.
(No… For him to ask that… It would be very unlikely…)
When they are at the royal capital, there’s that choice. But since they are already in front of the peninsula. There would be no point for him to kill Lupis after coming this far.
(If he killed Lupis, he might get caught in something troublesome again… It is too reckless to do that when he still does not have his own base yet… which means…)
It would take several years to develop the peninsula as a territory. If Ryouma screwed the country now, he won’t have the time to develop the territory instead.
There’s no way Ryouma would choose such option with little profit.
“The person I want you to deal with is… Wallace Heinkell. The guild master of port town Fulzad.”
Hearing the name that came out from Ryouma, Genou tilt his head.
Of course, Genou had heard of someone with that name. It was the name of the person who has trapped Ryouma. It was the name that came out several times when they are discussing their plan.
But, all of their problems with him should have been settled.
“What’s with that strange look? Was it that surprising? Do you want to know why?”
Toward Ryouma’s question, Genou nods his head obediently.
“Yes… My lord’s and everyone’s innocence should have been proven… Why did you want to get rid of that person now?”
Is it just simple revenge? If so, then Genou have misjudged Ryouma.
Right now, Ryouma and the others need money no matter how much it is… There’s no future for a human who gives out their money to satisfy their individual revenge when they are in such dire situation.
Which means, there’s no future if he entrusts his family to Ryouma.
However, Genou’s uneasiness is a mere imaginary fear.
“Indeed, with Lupis power, we were able to prove our innocence. However, with the same power, Lupis can make us guilty again, no?… Wallace had his way once, putting us in predicament. It is natural for us to hate him… But for him, we who survive has become a nuisance… At the time when he thought we’ve become too much of nuisance, won’t he form an alliance with Lupis then?”
Listening to Ryouma’s explanation, Genou immediately aware of such possibility.
The ruler of the Rozeria Kingdom and Guild Master. Certainly, that would be troublesome to handle if they join hands.
“Crush the seed before it can even bloom, is it?”
Ryouma nodded his head.
“Understood… I will dispatch someone with the best skills among my clan’s members to perform the task…”
“That would be a great help… I can’t have you or Sakuya go after all, since it would be too far.”
It would take two months for the trip between Epiroz and Fulzad, another half month to prepare for the assassination.
There’s no time to do all that, when there’s a much more important problem on Ryouma’s hand.
“About the reward… How much?”
“No, there’s no need for such thing.”
“… Are you sure? … No, I guess you have some condition?”
Speaking about the Guild master, it is a big deal to assassinate such person. It would be no surprise if Genou demands reward around 100,000 or 200,000. Yet he asks none… That means there’s a condition attached.
“Yes… There’s one thing…”
“Fine, go ahead and talk…”
In this day, what kind secret agreement Ryouma and Genou made, no one knows.
Only the heaven and the moon that shine brightly in the sky know.