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Volume 3: Chapter 227 – Those Defending (3/3)
A brief summer visited Germion Kingdom’s northern mountains of the Snow God (Yggdrasill). During winter, a wind would blow from the summit of the mountains, bringing with it a cold chill that spread throughout the land. It was only during this short reprieve of warmth that the wind would become a refreshing breeze instead of a chilling storm.
Lili, who has been entrusted with the management of that region since last year, has been managing it according to the footsteps of her predecessor, Gulland. The rough and fierce adventurers were all taken away by Gulland, so only the docile ones were left.
Accordingly, there were many among them who were honest, and despite being a beginner feudal lord, Lili was able to manage the fief. Despite her young age, Lili was trusted by the people. The fact that she was able to repel the barbarians greatly increased her popularity. The snow demons (yugushiva) that attacked frequently during Gulland’s term has barely made an appearance since the time Lili came to power.
To the people who knew nothing, they thought that this was because she was able to conquer the barbarians.
Within the temporary reprieve given by the brief summer, the green tips of the trees stretched themselves out and glimmered under the light of the sun. The wind caressing her face was soft. Lili tended to her office work while feeling the breeze of the wind coming from the windows.
A feudal lord had to be learned both in the sword and in government affairs. A representative government official will take care of most of the miscellaneous work, but there were still some that Lili had to take care of herself.
Puttingdown the magic sword, Sky Splitter (Vashinant), she loosened her scarlet hair that was usually bound together, put on clothes meant for men, and began signing the documents that were submitted to her.
“…No abnormalities according to the mountain patrol, huh. So, does this mean that the barbarians have really left?”
From the documents, she knew that the barbarians were most prevalent in their attacks during autumn and summer. This is probably because they needed to secure food for winter. They’re relatively peaceful during summer, but she still couldn’t afford to let her guard down.
If they manage to reach the base of the mountain, then even the villages will suffer. To avoid that, she established a platoon of guards that would patrol the mountain ranges in search of barbarians.
She appointed her former acquaintances, Bern and Neumann, and even used her connections to gather military men from the school of the Zweil Style Swordsmanship in the imperial capital. She gathered all of those into a unit and formed a new platoon of 500 soldiers. There are about 100 soldiers patrolling the mountain ranges.
That wasn’t actually enough to guard the northern part of the kingdom, but it couldn’t be helped since they were poor. Given their tax revenue, this was the most they could they do.
She also used her authority as a feudal lord to reduce taxes for peddlers and prioritize the exportation of the local meat specialty. It could be said that the only decent food industry in the north even without the attacks of the barbarians was dairy farming. The methods the dairy farmers employed varied depending on the season, but regardless of the method applied, they used the foot of the mountain all the way to the middle parts as their pasture, as these parts of the mountain were the ones that were guaranteed to be safe.
Lili toiled day and night and gained much success as a feudal lord, but even then, she couldn’t avoid catching wind of the rumors from the capital. Be it intel from the peddlers or idle talk from the nobles pining for her, as she was a young unmarried holy knight, the contents were all the same.
Crown Prince Ishtar was attacking the Western Region.
Germion Kingdom was about to send the best of its army with the soldiers from the eastern part to reclaim the Western Region. Although she herself wasn’t summoned, there was still a possibility that she could find herself caught up in the war. That was the sort of beast politics was. It could not help but involve other people.
Germion Kingdom is attacking the region ruled by that gigantic Goblin King.
“It would be good if they could stop him.”
But she thought it was reckless. Even from the little information she had, she could infer that the Goblin King has likely gotten stronger and wreaked havoc in the south. The holy knights were strong indeed. She herself has just become one, but there was still a large difference in strength between her and the other holy knights.
But even then, she still thought that the Western Region was dangerous.
She has once had the opportunity of having an audience with Crown Prince Ishtar. He was a vigorous and promising young prince. His ability to judge her abilities without any prejudice of her background as an adventurer was a rare thing among the royal family.
He was indeed a crown prince worthy of following in the footsteps of the Majestic King, King Ashtal.
But even then…
Her body shook. She recalled that moment when she crossed blazed with the Goblin King. That pressure… To this day, her body still remembers it.
As brilliant as the crown prince was, he could not defeat that Goblin King. That was a king from whose every pore poured out an aura of dignity. That was a king who possessed an aura so great it would suppress anyone who stood before him. The aura of a being that was overwhelmingly powerful.
And now that he has lost Reshia and was full of wrath, what could possibly be more terrifying?
Even with a thousand army of ten-thousand horses, it was doubtful if they would be able to reach the king. But she also understood the common opinion among the people of the imperial capital.
The goblins’ reproductive ability.
Now that they have secured a bountiful land, their numbers will exponentially increase. If they are not dealt with immediately, they will pour in from the Western Region and swarm the imperial capital. Germion Kingdom had barely any information on the Western Region. Because of that all sorts of speculations were thrown around, and in the end, it was widely believed that the goblins were a threat.
As someone who has seen the goblin villages herself, Lili knew that the goblins did in fact grow abnormally fast.
She couldn’t even imagine how many goblins they had now.
Which is why it only made sense that Germion Kingdom would want to dispose of them as quickly as possible.
In the end, the only way for Germion Kingdom to win was for them to engage in a battle where the goblin numbers are reduced significantly. The sooner they could do that, the better.
Recently, there’s also been a rumor that a noble had gone out with his army, but was beaten back.
“But if they lose…”
Germion Kingdom will instantly lose its ability to defend. Lili didn’t know how much they were investing into this battle, but whether this was the right course of action or not, Lili did not know.
At the imperial capital of Germion Kingdom, at the corner where the mansions of the nobles were lined up, at a territory that was first-rate and vast even among those affluent, was a man by the name of Bedoru, who himself was the minister of the military. Unlike the holy knights that defended the four directions of the country, Bedoru was the leader of the patrolling soldiers under the king’s direct command and the imperial guards.
When it was late in the night, someone visited his residence.
“This is the payment for this month, Lord Bedoru.”
The merchant nodded exaggeratedly as he handed money to Bedoru, who then hid that money in his bosom and happily nodded.
“Sorry to always ask this of you.”
“Not at all. You have done so much for me Lord Bedoru. This much is nothing. Yes.”
“Gulland will also be sortieing for the east soon. You must be at ease now.”
As Bedoru laughed excessively, the merchant nodded his head like a broken doll.
“Yes. What kind of fate would await us merchants because of that man? Because of some half-assed power, we could not go against him… If not for your aid, Bedoru-sama, who knows what would have happened to us?”
“Ha ha ha! It is only a given to protect the peace of the citizens.”
“Indeed. Still, the tyranny of the holy knights run deep and show no signs of stopping.”
“Word has it that One-Eyed Jize has a habit of killing people. Apparently, he killed the refugees flowing from the south to kill time.”
“That’s probably just a rumor, no?”
“Really? I’m just not good with these holy knights. They think they’re the only ones protecting this country. But the ones protecting this country are the soldiers and you, milord.”
Good grief, the merchant sighed as he turned to Bedoru as if noticing him for the first time.
“Excuse me. That was uncalled for. For some reason, whenever I’m around you, my tongue always gets flippant. Please keep this a secret.”
The merchant bowed his head and Bedoru nodded his head as if he was not at all unsatisfied.
“Indeed. To think that Lord Gowen, Gulland, and that womanizer, Sivara, lost to the goblins. Just what is going on? They are a disgrace to our country’s army.”
“Hopefully, Bedoru-dono, you’ll be able to stand at the peak of the army sooner rather than later. We won’t spare any effort to support you.”
“I’m glad to have your support, but the holy knights also have things worthy of note. You’ve heard of Valdor the Twin Swords, right?”
“Although a relative of mine, I dare say he’s the picture of honesty. I’ll introduce him to you next time. That way you’ll get better at dealing with holy knights.”
“I-I’m grateful, but… Oh, will you look at the time. It seems I’ve overstayed my welcome. If you’ll excuse me.”
“…I see. That’s unfortunate.”
The merchant left and rode his carriage back to his store in the night.
When the merchant returned to his room, he hurriedly entered his bedroom. In there was a girl sitting on a chair.
“Haa… Haa… Just as promised, I’ve given the cabinet minister the money and bad rumors of the holy knights are spreading. My daughter is safe, yes!?”
The girl with a short hair cut looked at the man like she was looking at an insect. She threw a letter at him. Under the illumination of the dazzling candles were the words his daughter had written with much difficulty, informing him of her safety.
“Let’s hear your report then.”
After hearing his report, the girl nodded and threw him a pouch full of gold coins.
“Cover the losses with this. I’ll contact you again when needed.”
“W-Wait. Please let me see my daughter. Just once will…”
The merchant clung to the girl’s legs, but the girl didn’t say anything and just kicked him away.
“So even a slave merchant has human emotions. But you have no luck. Give it up. You can see her again when everything is over.”
“Betray us, and your daughter will die.”
As the girl vanished from the window into the dark of the night, the merchant held his head.
“First, Gulland. Now, a kidnapper. Why is this happening to me? Is this really because of that mistake I committed against the saint?”
The girl that vanished in the darkness entered an alleys, passed through the poor district, and found herself in a small inn. This small inn was one of the bases the Soar to Freedom Clan (Elks Clan) created to gather information. These bases were hard to find, as they were run by people with no connection to the Elks Clan.
She quickly entered a room, wrote the earlier report on a small piece of sheepskin, hid it in a box, and fastened it to the leg of a bird.
“To the Western Region. Go.”
She kissed a curse onto the message bird once, then she released it into the yet dim sky. After doing that, she finally heaved a sigh and lied on the bed.
One of the surviving members of the Elks Clan, Sophia, was steadily expanding the intelligence network into Germion Kingdom.
Tl Note: Twice as long as usual, so this will count as two releases against the queue.