Chapter 3 Episode 23
Day 25th, 2th Months, the Year 2813, Western Continent Calendar: (Wortenia Peninsula 2)
A woman with red hair shouted out loudly while straddling her horse at the front of the army. And she raised her spear high.
Following her voice, a group of about 300 people goes through the north gate of Epiroz city and headed toward the Wortenia Peninsula.
It was a very solemn and magnificent sight.
Merchants and commoners who walked through by the streets would stopped their feet silently as they watched the army to passed by.
No one opened their mouth.
Rather than wanted to cheer, they felt like being pressured by such sight.
The equipment of the army is very special, which give a huge impression to the people who saw them.
Under their leather armors, neither shirts nor shoes, even their swords sheaths and spears handle are pitch black.
Even the harness metal was also painted black.
Only their horse color not all black, nevertheless the sight was very unusual.
And the flag they had carried also made people unable to avert their eyes away.
A sword on a black background. And two golden snakes coiled itself around the sword.
The snakes’ eyes were sewn red, giving an intimidating aura toward the surrounding.
If it was used separately then it won’t be unusual.
However, they had used all of that element as a single coat of arms.
For all that, the figure of those people was able to bind the heart of the people who watched them.
It was as if they are people of darkness that just came out from the depths of the abyss, that was the impression the people got from such scene. –
“I see, so she is one of that man close associates huh? If I’m not wrong, her name is Lione. I heard she have a career as a mercenary… I see now. She’s a good woman… That is what I wanted to say, but… Indeed, this looks magnificent.”
From one of the Epiroz city’s watchtower, an old man with grey hair muttered those words.
He was an old man with a mild expression.
And it was also obvious that he’s a wealthy man.
On his fingers are jeweled rings, he also wore silk clothes. And the most concrete evidence was his big belly.
“Father-in-law is such worrywart, just like Yuria… I don’t think we should be worried about them too much though?”
Earl Salzberg who was looking the same scene as the elderly man said those words with a somewhat amazed voice.
In fact, he was already fed up with the old man reaction.
Even his wife Yuria, urged him to be cautious toward the man named Mikoshiba Ryouma.
It was also Yuria suggestion to hire some mercenaries and tasked them to infiltrate.
The Earl thought by doing that it was overdoing it since he could just be killed by using the army, but his wife Yuria never stop telling him to be cautious.
She was very careful as if she feared that the Earl would fought against Mikoshiba Ryouma.
However, from the point of view of the Earl, Ryouma’s power was just like an ant. After all, they don’t have even a base.
The Earl never regarded his wife’s ability lightly, but he never understood why he had to be very careful around Ryouma.
Such question begun to created some complaints in his mind, and gradually dissatisfaction begun to fill the Earl’s heart.
“Do you think so? Look at that, at first, those soldiers were mere slaves. And yet, they are able to perform such organized movement, you know? Only a few month had passed since Baron Mikoshiba buy those slaves and started to educate them. Being able to achieve this with just such a short amount of time… Earl Salzberg, to be honest, I felt fear after seeing this scene…”
The old man had a very strong confidence in his judgment.
With his ability to judge he was able to bring the Mistel firm which does not have big influence at the beginning to became the chairman of the business alliance.
Such fact gives him a very strong self-confidence.
And from the perspective of such man, the group who left via the north gate looked like a threat.
“How foolish… Certainly, the weapon they had bought from father-in-law are good ones, but their soldiers are only mere mercenaries and a bunch of slaves. I’m sure those black clothes which made them looked strong was only a bluff. Well, from the eyes of a father-in-law who had never seen battlefield, such shows might be impressive…”
After saying those words, Earl Salzberg turned his gaze toward the old man.
The old man is the father of his wife.
However, the Earl always looking down at the old man standing in front of him.
Although there’s the part where he still uses honorific to call the old man.
Of course, the old man in front of the Earl could claim his privilege as a father-in-law, but even if he did that, the Earl would disregard it lightly… That’s why it was weird for the old man to be that reserved toward his own son-in-law.
Besides, for Earl Salzberg, Ryouma’s army was not worth much consideration.
Their numbers are only around 300 people.
On top of that, it was organized by mixed mercenaries and slaves together, if another noble were to hear it, they would without a doubt giving the same opinion.
The only thing the Earl thought to be worth consideration was the all black clothes.
But even with such appearance, in his eyes, it did not mean they are a strong army.
That’s why the Earl cannot help it but directed his criticism toward the old man who cannot saw through such bluff. –
“You might say that… But do you think men without leadership would be able to move like that?”
Certainly, there was no disorder.
Of course, it was also true that their numbers are only around 300, which made their commanders’ order easier to reach.
However, the old man thinks it was impossible for amateurs to perform such orderly march.
Although the old man was thinking that, he did not insist on his opinion.
He seemed to understand the Earl obstinate nature.
And toward such Earl, the old man thought rather than directly denied the Earl, it was better for him to guide the Earl by using doubt.
Such technique was actually an advanced negotiation technique.
“Well, if they trained only to march for a few months, it is easy to make people move that organized…”
Because he was also a commander of his army, the Earl’s judgment was clouded by the thought that soldiers cannot be made within just mere a few months. –
Walked on the highway while in organized formation. Just to make amateurs to did that would be required a lot of work.
Furthermore, the one being instructed are slaves children.
Slaves children are like a living corpse, It would have been quite a laborious task to teach them.
However, the old man did not say anything since it would just be ended up displeased the Earl more.
Even if he said something, the Earl would not try to understand his words either.
“Well, it was just some words from the amateur me, please don’t mind it…”
Hearing such words from the old man, the Earl gently nodded his head and turned his body.
“Well then, I will excuse myself now… I have many works needed to be done… Oh also, please visit the mansion once in a while. It would be nice if we can eat dinner together with Yuria, don’t you think so?”
“Indeed… Then later…”
Hearing the old man’s answer, the Earl nodded his head with satisfying expression and went downstairs.
“What a hopeless guy… Although he did have the ability, he was too naive. Furthermore, he hated the commoners and slaves too much. Well, he was still a lot better compared with other nobles but… Geez, did he even understand that if he ended up getting crushed, I would be ended in trouble too…”
After the Earl left, the old man said some words in a low voice.
The expression on his face had completely changed.
His face, when he had a conversation with Earl Salzberg, was gentle and he also wore unreliable atmosphere around him.
Toward his son-in-law, he was taking one-two step back.
But now was different.
If Earl Salzberg saw the old man face now, the Earl would have revised his evaluation toward the old man.
The old man eyes glinted while looking at the distance.
“We cannot be careless against that army… To be able to make them move like that in such a short amount of time… It was the right decision Yuria, to put some surveillance earlier… If we deal with them carelessly, it would be annoying if they end up become hostile.”
The old man had begun to think some countermeasures.
While watching the black troops disappeared into the horizon.
“Father… May I enter?”
The old man who fell asleep on the desk jumped up in surprise after he heard the voice that called him.
It was unusual for him to fell asleep this early.
Before he fell asleep, it was still daytime, but now rather than candles, the moonlight illuminated his office.
He wondered why he could fell into such deep sleep.
The light on her hand illuminated her face.
She wore a black robe with hood covered her face.
Considering her usual dress. it was something unbelievable.
“Yes. I came because father called me… Did I disturb you, father?”
She sounded anxious about something.
The old man then asked Yuria with a somewhat tired voice.
“No, sorry for calling you so suddenly like this. I have something that I want to discuss with you… Did you already cleared the people around?”
Following the old man question, Yuria silently nodded her head and closed the office door behind her.
Yuria already understood why she was being called to this office.
“Why did you called for me? In order to keep my husband from being suspicious of us, I thought we supposedly contacted each other following the time we had agreed upon?”
“I’m sorry… I thought I would like to finish this matter as soon as possible…”
“Is this regarding Mikoshiba Ryouma?”
With uneasy expression, Yuria asked the old man while standing in front of the desk. And the old man responded by nodded his head slowly.
Even with that alone, Yuria was able to understand her father’s mind.
It was filled with anxiety, just like her mind.
And just like her, the man who dominated Epiroz city economy also felt the same.
“Did father also thought that man as dangerous?”
“He is dangerous… Well, I’m not quite sure about who else he is dangerous to… But at least, for Earl Salzberg, he is dangerous… I did feel that he was dangerous when we talked during the time I delivered the food supply… But today, I’ve become convinced that he is dangerous.”
Even if the two of them asked each other what part of Ryouma was dangerous, they were unable to answer.
It was simply their sense as merchants, that alerted them of something.
It told them that this man is dangerous.
“My husband had complained to me… He said that father-in-law was a coward, just like me.”
It seemed that Earl Salzberg told his wife about the conversation they had at the watchtower when he had returned to the mansion.
“Earl Salzberg is the type of person who only recognizes visible power, such as military and money…”
“Such thought can be said as a realist, but…”
“I know… It does not mean he is incompetent. If he was such incompetent man, I won’t hand you over as his bride… There’s no need for me to do that…”
Looking down, the old man said those words while he clenched his hand hard.
(Right, if Thomas Salzberg was an incompetent person, no one would be willing to present their lovely daughter to such a man)
The old man have a lot of economy influence within Epiroz city.
That was why he knew all the bad conduct of Earl Salzberg.
The Earl’s bad habit with women, the Earl’s dirty money. The Earl was hardly suitable for his daughter.
The only thing that made the Earl as his daughter’s husband was because there’s no choice…
It was a marriage that both of them never wished. That is why the two of them could never afford to go down together with the Earl. –
“Well, for now, there’s nothing we could do. The development of the peninsula would take times. That man won’t be able to move immediately. In the meantime, we can slip in some agent. Don’t you agree?”
“Yes… I’ve made the Baron took some maid from the mansion together with him. In the future, we can expect a regular report letters.”
It was the girls that they had presented to Ryouma everytime he visited.
Because the girls’ family lived in some village within the Earldom, they will never betray the Earl household.
Thus those girls was the most suitable spy for them.
“Umu, it would be bad if he ended up hostile toward us… But, it was also dangerous to leave that man alone… There was no other choice but to monitor him closely. Depending on how we handled the letters from those girls. We might be able to understand what the other side thinks…”
There was no need to sent a secret latter in particular.
Just from daily information.
Such as was there any food and water, how was the weather, who was with you, how was live there… Such information was meaningless on its own.
However, if one were managed to arrange the information properly, the people who knew its value will pay a thousand gold just to obtained it.
And if Mikoshiba Ryouma stopped the letters from being sent, that meant he was hostile.
Either way, there was no loss for the two of them to do this.
While feeling relieved toward her father calm judgment, Yuria timidly spoke a certain matter that she had hid inside her heart.
It was something she had hid in the depths of her heart ever since she became the Earl’s wife.
Looked at Yuria fumble around with her words, the old man nodded her head silently.
“I know… But, It was still unknown at this stage… I cannot move yet. I’m sorry… Yuria…”
The old man then stood from the chair he was sitting on.
And silently the old man hugged Yuria’s body.
He hugged her with full of kindness, just like a parent when they hugged their children when they cried.