Chapter 4 Episode 24
Editor : Starbuck11
Near the Zalda Kingdom’s border.
A group of certain people ran through the road crossing the large forested area, heading toward the northwest.
It was an area where trading was not very popular.
On top of that, thanks to ErnestGora’s uncertain movements, it was now only the commoners who used this highway.
That was why, no matter how fast they ran the horse, no traffic accidents ever happened.
Even from the distance, the noise of the horses’ hooves could be heard.
And after the people saw the dust and dirt flying about in the distance, they would immediately move to the side.
The group was dressed in poor clothes.
With the exception of the highway that was being protected by a barrier for safe travel, right now they used the side road probably to shorten the distance.
The fluttering mantles they used looked worn out, tattered in some places by beast claws, there were also bad smells drifting from their body, it made one wonder for how many days they had not taken a bath.
Probably, they also never stayed at the inn during the journey and choose to use camp.
If they didn’t bring weapons while riding horses, people who saw them would think that they were refugees who escaped the war.
On the face of the group of about twenty people, fatigue can be seen clearly.
“Leader, I can see it!’
One young knight who leads the group looked back and shouted.
He was given the duty of scout, leading the group toward the land occupied by ErnestGora.
A sense of relief that he was finally going to get released from strong pressure, can be felt from his voice.
Everyone directed their eyes toward the direction where the royal knight pointed.
“That is the northern city, Menviz.”
Looking at the direction pointed, Oosan Gurido and Ryouma gradually could see the shape of the city.
Eventually, Ryouma could see the castle walls surrounding the city clearly.
One year had passed since ErnestGora occupied Menviz which was the Zalda Kingdom’s important northern city.
The flags of the ErnestGora Kingdom were standing on the city’s walls.
“Ah, Indeed… Finally…”
Ryouma turned his line of sight toward the city walls without reducing the speed of his horse. –
“It has been four days…”
A frustrated muttering from Ryouma could be heard by the Marfisto sisters who ran their horses in parallel with him.
“I think this is considerably faster than normal… After all, we’ve been running day and night while strengthening the horses with magic arts, furthermore, we also changed horses whenever we passed some town. Thanks to that, we managed to reduce the time spent for the horses to rest…”
Confirming Laura’s remark, Sara nodded her head in silence.
They had imbued the horses’ saddle and hooves with magic arts, by granting them physical strength recovery and speed enchantment, they managed to move with great speed for a long time.
With such method, Ryouma and the others had been running nonstop, while also making use of Gurido’s position as a leader of the Royal Guard, they changed horses whenever possible.
“Well, I guess it can’t be helped…”
Ryouma muttered those words, and turn his line of sight forward again.
“Are you feeling dissatisfied?”
After he shakes his head to Sara’s worried words, Ryouma raised the speed of the horse once again.
(Dissatisfied, indeed I feel dissatisfied, but it would be no use for me to voice it either… Damn it, will I make it in time?)
Although magic arts were highly versatile and convenient, it didn’t mean that there were no disadvantages either.
Fatigue would accumulate, and the speed of the horse was limited even though its physical stamina was being strengthened by magic arts.
For that reason, they switched horses whenever possible. –
Furthermore, they had considered reducing their luggages and clothes, so as not to further exhaust the horses’ physical strength.
Many of the Zalda Kingdom’s soldiers used full body metal armors, but the knights accompanying them right now only worn light leather armors just like mercenaries.
They also didn’t bring their sword and shield that have the Zalda Kingdom crest on it. If people saw them, nobody would’ve guessed that they were knights.
Only a one-handed sword hung around their waist could be seen.
There were neither spears nor any other replacement weapons.
Other than that, only portable water bottle and a small cloth bag containing dried meat were hung on the saddle.
Looking at their light dresses and equipment, it could be described as a reckless group of people going on a journey.
Although they replenish their small supplies in the towns scattered along the way, unlike the modern Earth, in this world many unexpected things might happen during a journey.
Actually, if it was the usual Mikoshiba Ryouma, he would absolutely refuse to go on a trip with such equipment.
But because he was in a great hurry, he had no choice other than to gamble on it.
(If it’s those two then they should be able to buy us a few days, but the number of soldiers compared to the Ortomea Empire is too different. Considering the topography, we need at least ten days… Even if we manage to pull the negotiation, we might not arrive in time for the decisive battle.)
Lione and Joshua’s appearance appeared inside Ryouma’s mind.
As his close associate and trusted confidant, he had confidence in Lione’s ability to command.
In addition, although Ryouma only met him for a brief time, Ryouma felt Joshua had the same smell as him.
He was not worried about their abilities.
However, no matter how successful the surprise attack tactics they had used to disturb the advancing supplies transportation, there were still limits in everything.
(I hope, that ErnestGora’s queen is someone capable just like the rumor said…)
Of course, there was the prospect of victory, but it was not an absolute one.
Thinking like that, Ryouma bites his lips and stared at the ErnestGora’s flag.
“I see, you’re the Zalda Kingdom’s messenger, Mikoshiba-dono? Surprisingly, you’re quite young. To shoulder the fate of a country with such young age, you must be quite the caliber, eh?”
In a room where Ryouma and Osan Gurido were shown, A man in the late thirties welcomed them standing with a smile on his face.
Despite the sudden visit, he didn’t show any dissatisfied expression.
In fact, it felt like he was saying that they arrived according to their schedule.
(As expected, they managed to read our movement, huh? But well, it’s not the time to think about that.)
The moment they entered the gate, the people from ErnestGora must have gathered information in them since there was no big identity check when they passed the gate.
Since even if they sewed the crest of the Zalda royal family on their mantle, it was not a proof of their identity, because such a thing could be easily forged.
“Oh, that was rude of me. To call someone without introducing myself… My name is Arnold Grisson. I hold the position of General in the ErnestGora army. As well as the highest commanding officer of the Eastern Theatre.”
He was a skinny man with a pale-looking face.
He didn’t look so healthy.
He might be too much of a hard worker since despite being young his blonde hair was mixed with white hair here and there.
And with silver-rimmed glasses on his face, it was hard to see him as a military man.
It would’ve been more convincing if he told Ryouma and the others that he was a merchant or scholar.
“I’m very sorry for our sudden visit. Grisson-sama. Because of this matter related to Zalda Kingdom’s fate, pardon us for being a little bit hasty. My name is Mikoshiba Ryouma. And this person with me is Osan Gurido, he is one of the Royal Guard knight order’s leader.”
Toward Ryouma who carefully bowed his head, General Grisson narrowed his eyes.
After they sat down on the chairs, General Grisson once again opened his mouth while looking at Ryouma gently.
“Hou… Not just young but also courteous. I heard you’re a former commoner, but I can see from your manner that you’ve grown accustomed to your position.”
It didn’t feel like a sarcasm coming from him.
Rather, it felt like he was looking at Ryouma with a favorable impression.
(I wonder if that was true… Well, I better not think too optimistically.)
He might hide his true intention, just like the Zalda Kingdom’s nobles, there was a possibility that he just doesn’t want to show his contempt and mockery blatantly.
Either way, Ryouma could not let his guard down, since from here on out he needed to perform serious negotiations.
“I’m very sorry, but since we don’t have much time, I want us to enter the main topic immediately.”
Ryouma talked straightaway, to hold the initiative.
“Very well. Since I also have not much free time either.”
General Grisson shrugged his shoulders and urged Ryouma to begin.
“It’s simple. I would like you to provide assistance to the Zalda Kingdom.”
Hearing Ryouma’s words, General Grisson raised his eyebrows in surprise.
“Assist the Zalda Kingdom is it?”
Ryouma nodded his head to confirm General Grisson’s question.
“Well, certainly, with the current situation, there’s no other reasons for the Zalda Kingdom’s messenger to come, then let me ask you a question alright?”
“Is there something else?”
Toward Ryouma’s question, General Grisson only replied with a gentle smile.
“A year had passed since we occupied this Menviz city. Up until now, many messengers had been sent to us, but we didn’t come to help the Zalda Kingdom. I think by now our policy can be fully understood by you, is it not?”
“Of course, I realize that. For the kingdom of ErnestGora, it would have been more convenient to have the Ortomea Empire occupy the entire Zalda Kingdom at once. Am I right?”
General Grisson lifted his lips and laughed after he heard Ryouma’s reply.
It was a dark smile that was in contrast to his outward appearance.
“I see now, to think you can grasp our intention… Fumu, being a former commoner and gaining a noble position, I guess it was not just a fluke… You’ve great perception indeed. That is right. We do not want the Zalda Kingdom to survive. At this point in time, the only thing the Zalda Kingdom could do is a concession of territory, but even with such a thing, it is not profitable enough for us to exchange sword with Ortomea Empire in earnest…”
Certainly, General Grisson’s words were right.
For the ErnestGora Kingdom, they have no reasons why they must help the Zalda Kingdom fight against Ortomea Empire.
Rather than letting the Zalda Kingdom continue to half-exist with a land concession, it would’ve been easier for ErnestGora to aim for re-occupation, with the pretext of releasing it from Ortomea Empire had ErnestGora let Ortomea Empire occupy the Zalda Kingdom by now.
Of course, for such a thing to happen, the timing was important.
Before the Ortomea Empire’s administration become effective, what remained after the war would’ve been the hatred held by the Zalda Kingdom’s citizens.
They waited for that timing, and that was why ErnestGora didn’t show any movement for nearly one year while occupying the border city of Menviz.
However, that was not all that Ryouma read from General Grisson’s strategy.
“I guess that would be natural.”
When he saw Ryouma nodded his head without any hesitation, General Grisson’s expression changed.
Doubt and bewilderment can be seen in his expression.
Ryouma’s manners and words were contradicted with each other.
At least that was what General Grisson felt
“This is indeed surprising… You seem to have read our aim in advance… Since you can understand that much. Then, what did you come here for?”
it was natural for General Grisson to ask such question.
“Of course, to ask for a help.”
Listening to Ryouma’s answer that was told with no hesitation, the color of contempt appeared on General Grisson’s face.
“It seems like you’ve come here just to make fun of me… It was quite the interesting talk, but I do not wish to waste our time further.”
Just as the talk ended, General Grisson raised his back from the chair.
Gurido who was watching the talk from behind Ryouma unintentionally shouted.
He had heard what was going to be negotiated beforehand, but the negotiation itself was left completely to Ryouma.
Gurido himself understood that he was unsuitable for such negotiation.
That was why he had kept silent all this time.
However, the negotiation was about to fail.
It was natural for Gurido to raised his voice.
“What do you want to say? Isn’t it the same with the messengers you guys have sent all this time?”
General Grisson words were as if he throwed some spit.
His tone of voice was cold like a knife.
Toward such cold anger, Gurido was unable to continue his words.
However, even after he saw General Grisson’s anger, Ryouma didn’t change his expression.
“The farce is over… Go back from where you’ve come.”
General Grisson’s line of sight looked straight at Ryouma.
Not a request, but a command.
Although his appearance didn’t show him as one, he was without a doubt a General from one of the largest countries in the western continent.
If normal humans heard his words, they would follow it without a doubt.
However, Ryouma’s facial expression remained the same.
(This is where all began…)
Ryouma breathed heavily and settle down his mind, he then opened his best trump card.
“Well then, I would like to talk directly with ErnestGora Kingdom’s Queen, Queen Grindiena”