Chapter 260 – Northern City, Mesotherium
“We’ve arrived, huh…?”
“It takes about half a day. If I fly, it won’t take more than half an hour. Even if I carried you, it would take me half an hour, too.”
“If we were on foot, it would take more than a week. Air boards are amazing, aren’t they?”
“Shouldn’t you be more amazed at how fast dragons fly than air boards?”
Tozume shoves Bella, who is still wearing thin clothes and doing some kind of stretching, probably because she was stiff here and there after being in the driver’s seat for so long.
“Putting that aside, what about our lodging for the day?”
Shumel cut through the banter and raised a practical question.
“Well, if it were only a matter of building a dormitory, I could do it in no time at all…”
I look at my surroundings as I say this. The northern city of Mesotherium is surrounded by vast meadows of grassland, or rather pastures. Cattle, horses, sheep, and goats grazed, roamed, and lounged in the meadows. Of course, not all of them were on the same fence, but each animal was enclosed in a different fence.
“If we were to set up in this pasture without permission, the ranchers would charge at us with pitchforks and everything they had, wouldn’t they?”
“Well, I guess that’s true… No, you’re a big shot in the country, so why don’t you just go out and talk to the bigwigs in the city?”
She had a good point.
“Well then… I’ll be going for a while.”
“What are you talking about, Kosuke? We’re your escorts, you know? Bella, Tozume, get your ass together.”
“Yes. But first, we have to put on something that looks like it, don’t we?”
“I guess so.”
Bella tilted her head, and Tozume turned her large eye toward me. Yes, I’m going to take out their armor and weapons and make a room for them to change into.
After that, I made room for the fifty elite gunners and their commanders to get equipped―the male-to-female ratio in the Liberation Army, or Royal Army of Merinard, is currently 3:7―Once we were all prepared and ready, we formed up in ranks and entered Mesotherium.
We―that is, me, Grande, and the three oni girls―were positioned in the middle of the line, in what seemed to be the safest place, surrounded on all sides by a physical barrier of elite magic gunners.
“If a mage of Isla’s caliber were to throw high-powered magic at us, it would be the most dangerous place to be.”
“In that case, I would use the ground escape method.”
Ground escape means building a wall of stone or digging through the ground to escape underground.
“I won’t let anyone do that in the first place.”
A large wolf man who was walking next to me carrying a magic rifle said so with a snort.
His name is Worg. He is a wolf-type beastman working as Danan’s right-hand man. Like Qubi, he is a full-body furry type of beastman, and we sometimes have dinner and drinks together.
However, since the beginning of autumn, I have not been able to spend time with him because I have not had time to do many things. Because even if I tried to go out alone normally, I was caught and taken into the bedroom…
“Is there some progress regarding the building of the dormitories?”
“I’ve heard so. I heard they have a golem communicator here, too, so they must be getting orders directly from Merinesburg.”
“If there is a golem communicator here, then there must be an inspector from Merinesburg, right?”
“That’s right. Since we are the first Royal Army of Merinard to enter Mesutherium.”
Since the golem communicator is a top military secret, the only place it is installed is basically at the military facilities of the Royal Army of Merinard. The only other people who carry them around are the inspectors of the Merinard Kingdom.
The inspectors are officials dispatched directly from the Kingdom to cities like Mesutherium that have offered their reverence to the newly born Merinard Kingdom.
As the simplistic name “inspector” suggests, their job is to inspect and supervise whether the city in their charge is in compliance with law and order of the new Merinard Kingdom.
When I first heard of their existence, I thought, “What a scary secret police organization!” But Melty said that the local lords are opportunistic and can change their masters at a moment’s notice. We never know what they might do in the countryside without such people.
“But we are very conspicuous.”
“Well, we do stand out, don’t we?”
A group of fifty soldiers carrying weapons unknown to them would be extremely conspicuous. While we were on our way to the lord’s mansion, we were the center of attention from the residents of Mesutherium. The stares we received varied, with most of them simply looking curious or worried about what was going on. As far as I could see, there seemed to be almost no one who was showing any kind of hostility toward us.
“What kind of person is the lord here?”
“I don’t know. Do you know?”
“How would an adventurer like us know who the lord is?”
“That’s right. I’ve never met him.”
“I’ve never met him either, so I don’t know. I think he came to Merinesburg a few weeks ago, right?”
So he must be a genuine nobleman or a person of power. Hmm, I wonder if it will be alright? I haven’t seen him face to face, but Sylphy and Melty weren’t in a good mood during that whole greeting period.
They were drinking more and complaining a lot. I thought to myself, how many people there are who say they will obey on the surface but clearly have something in mind.
I don’t know if the lords here are like that, but if he is, that would be a pain in the ass.
“I can see it now.”
Tozume put her hand over her eye and looked into the distance. I can’t see anything because of the wall of soldiers, but she, who is taller and has better eyesight than most of the soldiers, can already see the lord’s mansion.
“Is he an oni or a snake…?”
“If it is onis, there are here, aren’t there? Oh, there’s a delicious-looking skewer stall! Can I go there?”
“Of course not!”
“Nee-san, that hurts!”
I let out a sigh as I looked sideways at Bella, who was in tears after Shumel dropped her fist on her head. I have a feeling it’s going to get messy. My hunch is often right.
“We have been waiting for you. Please come this way. We have prepared rooms for the soldiers as well.”
We were greeted at the governor’s mansion, or rather at the castle, by a large number of servants and their master, Heinrich Le Mesutherium, the governor of the northern city of Mesutherium.
He was an elderly man with a friendly smile and a generally happy appearance. He had white mixed with gray hair and a fashionable mustache. As far as I could see, his race seemed to be human.
“No, we only need you to guide us to the site…”
“No, it would be against the pride of the Mesutherium family to leave our guests who have come a long way out of their way into the wilderness without providing them with a proper welcome. Please, by all means, take your time…”
As the leader of fifty elite riflemen, Worg is responding to Heinrich, but that’s no good. If things continue as they are, we’re all going to be pushed aside, and we’re all going to stay at the governor’s mansion.
I wonder if there is a problem with that. Well, it doesn’t seem like there is, but somehow I don’t think it’s a good idea. It’s not like he’s going to suddenly poison us or send assassins into our bedrooms, but it’s not like he’s not going to use some means to expose our military secrets. I don’t have a choice.
“I’m sorry, but we’re running out of time. I need you to take us to the site as soon as possible.”
“Excuse me, you are…?”
Standing right next to the commander, Worg, a dull-looking human man with the appearance of an adventurer accompanied by three female warriors of the oni tribe… there is certainly no way to get a quick look at what kind of guy this is.
When he visited Merinesburg, I was either locked up in my room or in the Research and Development Office, so I didn’t see him at all.
“Nice to meet you. I’m Kosuke, the visitor who is the consort of Sylphielle Danal Merinard, the queen of the new Merinard. A pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
Upon hearing my self-introduction, Heinrich shudders and turns his gaze to Worg. Worg nodded and opened his mouth.
“It’s true. I have been fighting alongside him since the Black Forest. By the way, Sylphiel-sama is deeply in love with Kosuke-dono. If anything happens to him, you better be very careful because you might lose your head, and I don’t mean that figuratively.”
Heinrich’s complexion deteriorates rapidly. He must have thought that he would be able to take on the fifty or so soldiers in any way he wanted to with his skilled hands. With that in mind, he decided to throw a wrench into his original plan and give them a grand reception as a light jab, only to discover the shocking fact that the country’s top spouse, the royal consort, was accompanying them.
“As for me, well, I thought that you must be tired from your long journey, and I was hoping that you could relieve some of your fatigue…”
“I appreciate your thoughtfulness, but we have our own arrangements to make. I wonder how Sylphy would feel if she knew that my return was delayed by a day or two because I accepted the offer today…”
“I will arrange for a guide to come with you right away. Would you give me just a few minutes of your time?”
He said this with a very serious face, and I nodded silently.
I really can’t understand this person. I don’t sense any malice in him… but for the time being, he seems content to guide us to the garrison’s site today. That’s a relief for now.