Here’s a bonus chapter brought by Patreon, enjoy~
As the sun begins to rise in the sky with a slight drift of light clouds, the Berg Fortress comes to life again.
After seeing Hiro off, Tris was in the officer’s messroom. Although he was an old soldier, the heroic atmosphere radiating from his well-trained body was as strong as that of a young man.
The man who was feared as a demon instructor was now ringing off the hook and had a complicated expression on his face.
The soldiers’ gazes were focused on Tris as someone suddenly began to scream. However, Tris is so distracted by something that it doesn’t bother him. A girl is so depressed that one might think she is a ghost―the sixth princess, Liz, appears.
‘I’ve been abandoned… Hiro has dumped me.”
While mumbling, Liz sat across the long table from Tris, face to face. Liz, who was so adorable that it didn’t hurt to look into her eyes, looked like she was about to die.
As expected of Tris, he couldn’t help but call out to her.
“Mu, is there something wrong?”
“I can’t find Hiro.”
“I think he probably went to my uncle’s place. Hiro can’t ride a horse, so I think he’ll use the stagecoach.”
Horses are very good at reading human emotions. If they don’t like you, they will make fun of you, and if the rider is afraid, they will try to dissuade you from riding. But if you give them love and affection, they will do what you want to do, making them a reliable partner.
In Hiro’s case, there are no technical problems. He was able to ride with such natural movements that it is evident that he had practiced a lot. It’s just that the horse doesn’t listen to commands. If he were shaken off, the horse would run away from him.
“Oh, speaking of horses…”
Tris decided to share her worries with him just fine. It’s not only about horses; it’s also about Hiro.
“Have you ever ridden a “swift dragon,” Princess?”
“Of course not. They’re of the dragon lineage. They have a difficult personality, and I don’t think they’d be willing to let a human ride on their backs. I’ve heard that only a few of the beastmen who can talk to dragons can ride them.”
That’s right, but Hiro showed Tris that he could ride it right in front of him.
Moreover, it seems that the “swift dragon” had lowered its head from the side to make it easier to ride.
“By the way, wasn’t there one in this fortress? Like the one we captured earlier in the village that was rampaging.”
“There was, but the kid rode off with it.”
“Heh, even Tris can make a joke now.”
“This is not a joke! I saw it with my own eyes. I saw the kid leaving here, riding on the swift dragon before the sun came up. I’m not joking!”
After he said it with a snort, Tris seemed to realize that he had blundered.
“I would like to hear that story at length.”
The blood drained from Tris’s face at the sound of Liz’s voice, which was gentle in tone but filled with anger.
“Hyii… please forgive me.”
A few moments after a small scream escaped Tris’ mouth―a loud scream echoed through the officer’s messroom.
14th of July, 1023, on the imperial calendar. The light was pouring down relentlessly on the greenery from the sun floating on a cloudless, clear sky. There was a creature running, cutting through the air of the grassland filled with such plants’ scent.
Although it is smaller in stature than a horse, its speed is incomparably more incredible. The one riding on its back is a boy dressed in a black uniform―Hiro.
(Even I can ride it… and it’s so fast!)
The wind tapped against his cheeks, making the petals flutter backward. It’s as if he is one with nature.
The creature that Hiro is riding on is the “Swift Dragon” that Tris gave him. It is a non-native species that originally inhabited the Shaitan Islands located in the east of the central continent.
About three hundred years ago, adventurers captured a number of them from the Shaitan Islands, and they escaped, which led to their proliferation on the central continent.
“Let’s just charge through to Kiork-san’s mansion!”
After feeling better, Hiro ordered the swift dragon to run down the street of Lynx. The central street is lined with many people, and stalls have been lined up since early in the morning.
The war has passed, and the town seems to have regained some of its liveliness.
When Hiro arrived at the mansion, he jumped down from the swift dragon and ran to the person standing in the doorway.
“Hiro-sama, thank you for your hard work on this long journey.”
“It’s been a while. Um… you’re Kurt-san, right?”
Kurt von Termier, he’s Kiork-san aide, who was taken care of during Hiro’s last visit. He is also the steward who oversees the servants of the mansion.
“Yes. It has been a long time. Although I have a lot to talk about, please come this way. The Lord is waiting for you, earnestly.”
Kurt rushed Hiro into the mansion and led him to the guest room on the first floor.
White walls without a single stain surrounded the mansion on all sides, and the windows on the west side overlooked the northern part of the house, where the senior citizens lived. Hiro settled into the low-resilient L-shaped sofa in the room.
Kiork was sitting across the table from him on the other side of the room.
“Stagecoach to the Great Imperial City, huh…?”
Hearing Hiro’s request, he took a sip of the tea the maid brought and smiled.
“I’ll arrange it for you right away. When are you planning to leave?”
“If possible, I’d like to leave today… Would that be okay?”
“Are you in such a hurry? I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking a day off, though.”
“Even though the emperor’s letter didn’t mention a specific deadline, I thought it was best to hurry as much as possible.”
“I see, that’s certainly true.”
Kiork nodded, then smiled, and clapped his hands together in a small way.
“Kurt, get me a pen and a piece of parchment.”
After bowing, Kurt quietly closed the door and disappeared from the room. After seeing that, Kiork began rummaging through his pockets in front of Hiro.
“Now… even if you use the express carriage, it will still take five days to get to the Great Imperial Capital. I don’t think you can just go without food and drink during that time.”
One humble sack was placed on the table by Kiork.
“Here, stock up on food and water.”
“No, I can’t have you do that much…”
Before leaving, Hiro had received a little bit of money from Tris to finance the trip. A total of eight silver drats―it’s not extravagant, but it’s enough to get to the Great Imperial City. However, the small bag Kiork took out had more than that, no matter how one looked at it.
Just as Hiro was about to decline politely, Kiork held out his hand.
“No, no, there’s no need to be shy. I’m indebted to you for all your help, and most importantly, for saving my niece’s life. Well, I don’t think I can repay you for that, though. What do you think? Can you accept it?”
Kiork is smiling, but there is a firm intention not to give up. If it’s only going to be a pushover, it’s better to take advantage of the favor here.
“…Thank you very much.”
“And considering your rise in the world, it wouldn’t hurt to take care of things.”
Hiro smiles bitterly. Kiork has expressions of ulterior motives that are unbecoming of a gentleman.
“I’ll do my best to live up to your expectations.”
“Haha, I’ll be looking forward to it.”
Then Kurt came back. He placed the pen, ink, and parchment in front of Kiork. Kiork flipped the pen out in a smooth, familiar manner.
“Give this to the stagecoach attendant.”
Since the ink is not dry, the parchment is handed to Hiro without rolling it up.
“They’ll get you the fastest carriage available. Well, it may not be the most comfortable carriage, though.”
The street on which the stagecoach runs is called the imperial road because it is mainly administered by the state. In addition to regular maintenance, there are rest stops at regular intervals, where street vendors sell food and water.
Besides, the neighboring forts are always patrolling with guards to protect against bandits and monsters, which is why the people like it so much as a safe place to travel.
“Oh, and don’t worry about the swift dragon. We will take good care of it.”
Actually, he could have ridden the swift dragon to the Great Imperial City, but considering the risk of getting lost, Hiro decided it was better to use the stagecoach.
“Thank you. Well, I’ll be off then.”
After being sent off by Kiork, Hiro left the mansion and began to walk towards the station. The strong sunshine shone as if it burned his skin, but the cool breeze caressed his skin as if it was soothing. Passing through the iron gate between the white walls and down a long hill, he found himself in the northern district where the senior citizens lived.
First, he passes the inn and then turns the corner of a tavern full of citizens excited by the recent victory. Then he saw an open area―a high fence enclosing a lawn.
Inside are dozens of robust horses bred for carriages. Farther away from that, he could see a large log station with a red-painted roof.
Stepping into Lynx’s station, Hiro handed the station attendant a parchment from Kiork. Then, in not much time, a seven-horse carriage comes in front of him.
(The Great Imperial Capital, huh… thousand years ago it was called the royal capital, but I guess a lot of things have changed.)
How things were changing, Hiro got into the carriage, his heart bouncing with anticipation.