The big city of Anessis, about a days travel from the Imperial Capital of the Mireana Kingdom.
It was comparable in size to the Imperial Capital, Kafiri, and was widely known as the second capital of the Mireana Kingdom.
At one end of the city was a huge mansion. The mansion, which could even be called a palace, was the the residence of a central figure of the Nobles Faction in the Mireana Kingdom, Duke Kerebel.
Its vast grounds were kept in good condition and the areas visible from the outside were famous as one of Anessis’ tourist attractions.
A large bird with four wings cut through the air as it flew towards the residence at the back of the grounds. It landed safely on the perch meant for monsters and birds that delivered messages.
As soon as the bird landed on the perch, a sound rang in the rooms of the butlers and maids. The perch was a kind of magic item.
One of the butlers heard the sound and went over to the perch before taking a letter out of a small pouch attached to the bird’s foot……as soon as he noticed that the sender was Elena Kerebel, he returned to the mansion in a hurry and went to his master’s office.
Walking quickly, he arrived before the office in a few minutes. Adjusting his breathing and taking a deep breath, he knocked on the door.
「Excuse me, master, an urgent letter has arrived from the young miss.」
「Hmm, that’s fine. Come in.」
Obtaining permission to enter, the butler stepped inside.
The furniture in the office was very luxurious, worth several platinum to light gold coins.
However, it wasn’t like the hobbies of the noveau rich. Rather, the sofas, desks, chairs, bookshelves, tables and so on were tastefully selected to produce a calm atmosphere.The paintings that hung on the walls were by renowned painters and costed an amount that ordinary civilians could live for decades with.
A man in his fifties was sitting at his office desk at the back of the room, reading documents. This was the person who held the most power in the Mireana Kingdom and was considered to be a second king. Liberty Kerebel.
Although he had a slender appearance, he didn’t look weak. No, on the contrary, the dignity of a duke could be felt exuding from him. A rich beard grew around his mouth and he had the same almond shaped eyes as his daughter Elena. From his eyes, the will of Duke Kerebel could be felt.
「Pardon me. This is the letter delivered from the young miss.」
The butler gave a bow and placed the letter on the office desk.
「I will excuse myself now, master.」
「Thanks for you hard work.」
Replying as the butler left the room, he finished reading the documents he had been partway through in a few minutes before picking up his daughter’s letter.
The letter, which he just used magic to open, had a seal on it that could only be opened by people with a specific magic power. He quickly read the contents……before reading over it again several times.
「……Viscount Sails has defected, has he.」
After leading the Nobles Faction for so many years, he frowned slightly at the betrayal of an ally he had been relying on.
At the contents of Kuust’s death, he gave an unpleasant snort.
Reading until the end, there was no mention about whether the Inheritance Ceremony had been a success or failure. Spitting out a small sigh, he rang the bell beside his office desk. In less than a few minutes, a knock sounded against the door.
「Pardon me, Duke. Did you call?」
It was the person who served as the Knight Commander of Duke Kerebel’s knights, Philma de Giel, the second son of Marquis de Giel.
He was in his late thirties, nearing the age that a knight’s strength would start to decline. However, his body was so well trained that you wouldn’t feel that would happen. He was skilled in tactics, able to look at the wider situation and above all had the bravery to stand at the vanguard of the knights to raise their morale.
Normally, it was unthinkable that the Knight Commander would stand at the vanguard. However, he had the strength to make that possible. He was also the guardian knight of Duke Kerebel.
To the person who could be considered his right arm, Duke Kerebel casually passed the letter from his daughter.
「Take a look.」
Excusing himself, Philma quickly read through the letter he was given.
After reading everything in a minute, he gave a big sigh.
「Viscount Sails has betrayed us, is it.」
「Yes. If he had just moved to the Royalist Faction or the Neutral Faction, it would have been an event within the Mireana Kingdom and there would be no problems.」
「As expected, he cannot be permitted to move to the Bestir Empire.」
「That’s right. ……Philma, can you lead the knights to defeat Viscount Sails before he decides to escape to the Bestir Empire?」
He thought about it for a couple of seconds before shaking his head.
「It will probably be difficult. No matter how fast the horses are, it will still take two days to reach Viscount Sails’ territory from here. And even if it’s Viscount Sails, if he has betrayed the Mireana Kingdom, he would be prepared for the worst. If we catch up, it will quite likely be near the Bestir Empire border. If so, there will be almost no time to fight, even if there is time, it will be very short. If it goes badly, a unit will probably come to pick them up from the Bestir Empire.」
He nodded at Philma’s words. He thought for a few seconds while tapping his desk with his finger……before giving a sharp look towards Philma.
「Philma de Giel, form a pursuit team from the Dragon Knights to defeat Viscount Sails.」
「……Is that fine? Although the Dragon Knights can certainly make more distance than a cavalry force, as I said previously, troops may come out from the Bestir Empire.」
「That’s fine. The information we have been given has provided us this opportunity. It would be foolish to not stop them from reaching the enemy.」
「In that case, the Dragon Knights may also suffer casualties……」
「……It will be unavoidable. They are necessary for such times.」
Dragon Knight. They were literally Knights who rode Dragons. Because they could fly through the air and attack using the Dragon’s Dragon Breath, their fighting strength was great. However, a Dragon Knight has to be raised from when the Dragon hatches from the egg, their training costs were also very expensive. As a result, even Duke Kerebel, who was called the second king of the Mireana Kingdom, only had 20 Dragon Knights.
「That said, tell them to beware of the Demon Soldiers written in the letter.」
「I understand. I will start preparing for the pursuit.」
Seeing Philma leave the office, Duke Kerebel placed the letter from his daughter aside and picked up another piece of paper.
Although the contents of the letter written by his daughter was very important, Duke Kerebel controlled a vast territory and there were many other important works to be done. He first reached out for a pen to write a letter to inform Marquis Brassin that Kuust, the trusted leader of Elena’s knight escort, had died.
「Hmph, foolish people.」
Finally, he murmured some short last words about Viscount Sails.
「Well then, thank you.」
Elena spoke to the man sitting in the driver’s seat of the carriage.
Normally, Vel would be sitting there, but he had already betrayed them and was no longer in the party. Speaking of people who could drive the carriage, Kuust could as well, but he was dead. Rei and Ara didn’t know how to drive a carriage and it goes without saying that Elena couldn’t be allowed to drive the carriage. As a result, it was decided to hire an adventurer from the guild who could drive a carriage. The request was to drive them to to Gimuru first and then to Duke Kerebel after that.
Rei boarded the carriage with a smile as he saw the man nodding unconsciously, overpowered by Elena’s breathtaking looks.
Ara had already prepared tea inside the carriage and placed the cups on the table.
There were three cups for Rei, Elena and herself, a sign that Ara was no longer wary of Rei.
Or maybe it was because she was given the Power Axe, which was placed inside the carriage.
As he thought about that, he sat down on a sofa. Shortly after that Elena sat next to Rei with a mischievous smile.
「Rei. The driver seemed to be scared of Set, it that okay?」
「It should be fine, Set won’t do anything by himself. Maybe he will get used to it on the way to Gimuru. What about you and Ara?」
「In my case, the number of people……it was a painful experience.」
She glanced around, probably thinking of Kuust and Vel, who had been with them when they went to the dungeon.
Ara saw that and unexpectedly turned her eyes to the window.
「Here, Elena-sama. I thought about it before I got on the carriage, but the weather is nice today isn’t it. I guess it could be called a clear autumn sky.」
「……Yeah, you’re right. The autumn harvest is almost over. When that finishes, it will winter soon.」
She nodded while smiling at Ara’s awkward topic change.
(Yes, it’s already autumn. And once autumn passes, it will be winter. As expected, even the Bestir Empire won’t move their army in winter. The the battlefield will probably open in spring I guess. The power of the Ancient Dragon I have just received, I have to master it. Vel, I will not forgive you if I meet you on the battlefield. I swear I will avenge Kuust.)
As he noticed Elena’s sharp loop, Rei brought the cup of tea to his mouth.
「Elena, after we return to the city of Gimuru, could you meet with Margrave Rowlocks to tell him the request has been completed?」
「……Eh? Ah, ahh, that’s right. Rei was only a temporary party member for this request. I’ve become accustomed to it……」
Hearing that unexpectedly, her eyes went wide before she nodded.
「That’s right. I guess that was the case.」
「Really. It was a short request but it felt so long. ……No, should I say it felt both short and long.」
Elena looked at Rei as she thought of past events and spoke up as she made a decision.
「Rei, if you don’t mind, would you like to come with us?」
「……Is it a new request? Or something else?」
「Ah. I’m asking if you would quit being an adventurer and join our knights.」
Hearing Elena’s words, Ara, who was drinking tea, nodded with a smile.
「That would be good. With Rei-dono’s abilities, he would make it to the top right away.」
As Ara smiled, Rei thought about it for a few seconds before shaking his head.
「I’m sorry, but as you know, I am ignorant of etiquette.」
「If you learned about those things then……」
「I understand what Ara is trying to say, but my affinity with nobles isn’t that good in the first place. While Elena and Ara are exceptions, you have to remember my relationship with Kuust. That is probably common.」
Kuust detested Rei and openly took the attitude disrespecting him, as if breathing the same air was hateful. However, Rei didn’t even consider him as one of those foolish nobles who only had pride and no skill.
Although their views of each other had improved near the end of the fight against Vel, Elena and Ara did not see that.
Remembering, Elena unexpectedly sighed.
「……Really. It’s a shame, but I won’t go around deciding your future by my wishes.」
Though she said that, Elena still sighed in disappointment as she didn’t expected to be refused.
Seeing that, Rei didn’t say anything more and just brought the tea to his mouth.
(In the first place, my aim is Set’s growth using the Magic Beast Art. It would be harder to collect monster magic stones once I join the knights.)
As Rei muttered in his heart, the words Grimm had said had left a strong impression.
That was, a magic beast could have the power to overwhelm the entire army of a country.
At the very least, it wasn’t a fantasy. Using the Magic Beast Art, Zepairu had reached that level.
Hearing that story, Rei had the desire to grow stronger than ever. How strong could he and Set become?
(If I believe Zepairu’s words, I should have an immense amount of magic power. That is to say, Set, who was created with my magic power, should have a greater potential than Zepairu’s magic beast from the Magic Beast Art, which was capable of wiping out a country’s army by itself. If we need to absorb more magic stones and accumulate more combat experience at the same time. I must also be able to fully utilise the magic power sleeping in my body.)
He glanced towards Elena for a moment.
(Yes, to never let my important friends face crisis a second time.)
TLN: My apologies Elena, you have just been friend-zoned ahaha.
In this way, though the atmosphere in the carriage was somewhat subdued, they proceeded straight to the city of Gimuru.