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Volume 3: Intermission – Idling One’s Life Away (3/4)
Lili Aureya narrowed her eyes at the bustling city of Facing East as she walked through town. It was already supper time, and the billowing smoke from the rows of houses and the aroma of grilled meat reminded her that she’d yet to eat.
She was the lord of the northern territory, so naturally, there was a reason that necessitated her visit to Garm Su.
“It was the Winter Heron Pavilion, right?”
That reason was a direct invitation from the Governor-General of the Western Capital, Yoshu, to have a meal together.
Of course, that was just pretense. Lili was the representative of the northern autonomous cities, formerly, the Germion State, and had a responsibility.
A responsibility to lead the northern autonomous cities as their representative. The late Germion Kingdom developed its territories by giving land to its skilled warriors, and expanded by attacking the territories outside its borders.
The people were expected to be subservient to their feudal lords, while the feudal lords were expected to develop the lands and guarantee their safety. The holy knight, Gowen Ranid, who was in charge of the western region, was exactly that sort of man. Although strict, it was necessary to have someone who could firmly lead the people.
Of course, people such as Gowen, who were skilled in both literary and military arts, were rare. Holy Knights may be skilled in the sword, but when it came to the pen, there was often a world of difference. This was often dealt with by giving them skilled officials to assist in their ruling.
But the Kingdom of the Black Sun that the Goblin King currently ruled had a severe deficit of civil officials. On top of the development of the western region, the borderlands that have been ignored until now have started to develop, and now, even the Holy Shushunu Kingdom had been annexed into the kingdom, heralding the birth of a great kingdom.
The amount of tax being collected has greatly grown, and so did the number of tax collectors.
Given such circumstances, they naturally couldn’t afford to dispatch any civil officials to the autonomous cities. Lili was a feudal lord herself, so she has also been sufficiently educated in such matters, but even then, the number of civil officials was just barely enough to maintain the status quo.
Lili opened the door to the bar, and what greeted her was that nostalgic sight of noisy adventurers huddled around a table. There were a lot of demihumans and elves, but that was because they were in Garm Su. The sight of all the powerful warriors struck her with a sense of nostalgia for a moment, but she quickly shook it off and searched for the person she came here for.
She had become a feudal lord before she knew it, but she was originally an adventurer.
A man from the group with the biggest table raised his hand.
When she got a better look at him, she noticed he was quite handsome. With his gentle eyes and smile, he was surely popular among the women.
“It’s good to finally meet you. My name is Yoshu.”
Yoshu offered her a seat, and she was happy to take it. There were already other people seated in the table.
A slender man with one-eyed wrapped in bandage seemed irritated, but that was probably because she was late. There was also a boy with blond hair. He looked at her and smiled amiably. His blue eyes seemed to draw her in.
The last person was a girl she had been acquainted with before, though her hair was much longer than she last remembered.
“. So it’s you.”
She was as unsociable as ever. She glanced at Lili just once before turning to glare sharply at Yoshu. Lili was surprised to see this girl who had been part of the saint, Reshia Fel Zeal’s, escort here.
“Now that everyone is here, we can finally get this discussion going. Over meal, of course.”
Yoshu called the waitress and ordered some food.
“Would ale be fine?”
“…Sorry, but I’d like some milk instead.”
It was the slender man who curtly refused Yoshu’s suggestion. Yoshu shrugged his shoulders, and followed suit with a wry smile.
“Yoshu-dono, I was under the impression that…”
“Yes, of course, we’ll be discussing, but I’ve heard that it’s adventurer etiquette to celebrate first.”
Yoshu glanced at Mill, and she reluctantly nodded.
Yoshu offered a toast, and after knocking their mugs, they emptied the contents into their bellies.
“Let’s start with the introductions. I am the Governor-General of the Western Capital and the general manager of the guild, Yoshu,” Yoshu said. “This person here is…”
“Mill Dora, a former member of the Blood Oath of the Flying Swallow (Swallow Clan),” Mill said.
After that she went quiet, as though she had no intentions of saying anything more. Yoshu shrugged his shoulders and turned to the slender man.
The slender man briefly introduced himself before bitterly emptying his milk mug.
“Fick the Hawk-Eye is a rather famous adventurer in the south, right?”
Lili thought that the man would be much crueler, but after meeting him, apparently that wasn’t the case. If anything, the man even seemed afraid, what with his eyes constantly darting around.
“Fick, stop being so scared, it’s unsightly,” Mick said coldly.
“…Tch! You basically kidnapped me!” Fick snapped back.
From the way he glanced at Yoshu, he was probably the main culprit. Lili was surprised to see him turn to him with so much vigor.
“The Governor-General of the Western Capital and the Governor-General of the Northern Autonomous Cities! Just what are you scheming, Mill!?”
“…As if I’d know. Stop making a commotion, it’s unsightly.”
There was a hint of annoyance in Mill’s voice, but Yoshu interjected and spoke in a low tone.
“Well, if that’s what you think, then please exercise prudence.”
Seemingly overpowered by the pressure emanating from the smiling Yoshu, Fick sat back down.
“…Sorry. Please continue.”
It was an offhand comment, but Yoshu nodded with a smile all the same, and then turned to Lili.
“We didn’t have much time, so please excuse me for being a bit unreasonable with this invitation.”
Lili realized that he was beckoning her with his eyes to introduce herself, so she spoke.
“I’m Lili Aureya. I’m currently serving as the Governor-General of the Northern Autonomous Cities. I don’t really think I suit the position, but regardless, I’m here today because of Yoshu-dono’s invitation. It’s a pleasure to meet everyone.”
Lili nodded politely, and Yoshu nodded back firmly. He was smiling the same as ever as he turned to the last boy.
“Leonis Verdio! I’m an adventurer. It’s a pleasure to meet everyone!”
The cheerful and energetic response of the boy made Lili’s cheeks relax a little.
Leonis took the hand with a smile. He seemed pure and innocent.
“Sorry to keep you waiting~”
The waitress came back with the food they’d ordered and served their table.
“Looks like all our orders are here. I’ll begin then. Feel free to eat while I talk.”