“Lord Baltan, I believe this to be cowardly no matter how you put it!” (Mayria)
Rona desperately holds Mayria back, who is trying to draw near the other party while raising her voice.
While watching the two girls in such a state, the mounted man snorted as if making fun of them.
“Your Highness Princess Mayria, what are you calling cowardly? The other party should have already been told that they have to fight against my soldiers for the sake of showing the results of their month-long training. It’s not like I’m playing foul here or demanded it all of a sudden. Being slandered as cowardly is upsetting, you know?” (Baltan)
The one Mayria looked up to while noisily grinding her teeth is a middle-aged man.
He has a medium build and his blond hair is neatly combed and flows down towards his back. The lengthily grown beard has been cut and evened up into a beautiful shape that seems to require a considerable amount of grooming.
Soldiers, likewise mounted on horses, are surrounding him.
They have a wide variety of equipment, which hasn’t been consolidated.
However, just looking it’s apparent that all of their equipment is composed of high quality items gathered by spending quite an hefty amount of money.
“Renya-san and the soldiers are in the middle of returning from their training at the Miasma Forest! It’s impossible for you to not know how exhausted the soldiers will be, right!? To force them into battle like that without allowing them to take a rest; what do you call that if not cowardly!?” (Mayria)
The location is a plain slightly distant from the city of Kukrika and in the direction of the Miasma Forest.
A considerable number of soldiers gathered there.
They are the noble’s private army.
They roughly number 700.
It’s a battle array of 300 infantry, 200 cavalry, 100 archers and in addition a heavy cavalry unit of 100 soldiers, who had clad their bodies in thick armors while mounting strong and tough horses that were wearing barding.
There is also a cavalry among the armed forces of Kukrika, but there’s no heavy cavalry included in them.
One of their requirements is that the soldiers themselves have to bear the weight of the armor covering their bodies.
But, above that, their horses have to be capable of supporting the weight of the armor they have equipped and the weight of the rider on top.
Rather than raising a great number of horses possessing this much strength, the method of preparing normal cavalry is cheaper if you consider the costs and necessary training. That was the judgement made by the military authorities of Kukrika.
Another is the restriction that the army would have to continuously support a large number of soldiers that possessed standing above a certain level.
But, for nobles such a restriction does not exist.
Because of that one might say that these heavily armored cavalrymen are a unit that could only be raised by nobles.
Although the heavy cavalry’s speed is slightly inferior to that of common cavalry, their strength while charging greatly exceeds theirs.
That’s because, with just the horses’ speed, their weight is converted into force.
It’s something similar to a mass of steel charging at high speed.
Completely unable to be stopped with a half-hearted attack, they were opponents with an extremely bad compatibility for infantrymen.
In case of normal cavalry, it’s possible to stop their charge with long spears, but as for the heavy cavalry, it’s mostly impossible for the infantry’s weapons to penetrate their armor.
Their armors boast of a sturdiness which even repels spears.
“I’m sure I told you that I wish to be shown the results after one month. And today is the end of that one month period. You can only call it the incompetence of a commander to have imposed training which doesn’t abate the soldiers’ fatigue when nearing the appointed day, right?” (Baltan)
“But! You haven’t told us the precise date and time, have you!?” (Mayria)
“After one month, doesn’t that count as precisely appointed day, I wonder?” (Baltan)
“It does not! One month can be the number of days till the next moon, the day after that or 30 days on the dot. That is a way of phrasing that has slight different meanings depending on the view!” (Mayria)
“You make use of a difference in interpretation as shield and consider its a terribly cowardly treatment?” (Baltan)
“Lord Baltan! Pull back your soldiers! We will decide a new date and time on another day and then you will fight properly!” (Mayria)
Mayria’s voice is filled with anger, but the person in question looks down on Mayria from atop his horse without even erasing his smirk.
“My goodness, your Highness Mayria. Do you intend to give this me, Duke Mate Baltan, an order?”
Being asked with an expression full of composure, Mayria unintentionally ends up keeping her mouth shut.
This Trident Principality, which is governed by Mayria’s mother, the archduchess, is a nation that has adopted a government structure controlled by nobles without crowning a king.
Among the several dukes, the archduchess is the one with the highest ranking position, but if it comes to a duke, you can naturally say that they own a position directly following hers.
On the other hand, Mayria is, as archduchess’ daughter, a princess, however, from the government’s standpoint, she doesn’t hold anything like an official position.
In the end her position is only that of the archduchess’ daughter.
If the other party is a duke, it is a position that requires paying respect to her as archduchess’ daughter, but as for giving that duke an order, that’s something impossible in her current position.
“If that’s not the case, it would be best for you to remain silent for a bit. A girl of marriageable age is not someone that keeps yapping with a “gyan gyan”, right?” (Baltan)
Once Lord Baltan said that with a voice filled with ridicule, Mayria’s expresion went beyond anger and started to be tinged with bloodlust.
Rona binds Mayria’s arms behind her back in a hurry and tries to somehow tear her away, but the person herself doesn’t have a good impression of the person called Lord Baltan.
After all he’s the ringleader who suggested giving Shion, whom Rona serves, to the hero.
Moreover, it’s also him who told Shion to hurry to the Holy City since it’ll finish as soon she lies down on top of the bed.
Of course Rona properly noted that down on a list and gave it to Renya.
“Mayria-sama, let’s withdraw here. The situation likely won’t progress with a dispute over theories.” (Rona)
“Rona! Are you telling me to be satisfied with this!? Even more than Renya-san and the soldiers, Shion-ane-sama is in that unit as well!” (Mayria)
“I feel that Shion-sama’s personality is relatively independent. I mean, that Renya-san is close to her, isn’t he? That person is not someone you can accompany with a lax motive.” (Rona)
“There’s also the unlikely chance that something happens, isn’t there!?” (Mayria)
“I have taken the necessary measures.” (Rona)
Soldiers had been assembled by the nobles who are targeting Renya’s group, who has gone on an expedition to the Miasma Forest and were on their way back.
Rona, who obtained that information, immediately visited their neighbor Az and earnestly requested for him to warn Renya and the others.
Az responded quickly to Rona’s request and Liaris called Dra-kun right away.
Among the creatures that can be mounted by people, there’s none superior to a dragon in the speed department.
Liaris put on her dragoon uniform in a hurry and Rona saw Az off as he flew away while riding on the dragon’s back, but being informed right after that Mayria went to complain to the noble’s army lined up outside the city, she chased her by running at full power, leading to their current situation.
Once Rona told Mayria about this, Mayria left the noble’s army, while being dragged away by Rona, albeit unwillingly.
“Nevertheless, the soldiers’ fatigue should be quite heavy… and in addition to that, there’s the heavy cavalry. No matter how much Renya-san avoids injured people appearing, I think it will be impossible as long as he doesn’t handle that heavy cavalry.” (Mayria)
“No, if he isn’t fixated on a clash between fellow soldiers… I believe it will finish in an instant.” (Rona)
If Renya fires a serious spell from a distance where both sides can barely see each other, the noble’s army will probably be annihilated, unrelated to whether there might be cavalry or infantry, Rona was convinced of that.
What we have to worry about in that case is the city of Kukrika, which lays behind the noble’s army.
It’s not difficult to predict uncommon damage to appear in the city from just the destruction’s aftermath due to the spell’s wide range while also being powered by a big mana pool.
There’s even the possibility of him reducing the city to ash with a brief comment of “Sorry, I went too far.”
However, if Renya intervenes, it will end with the soldiers being unable to display the fruits of their training. While it’s also likely that they’ll be unable to avoid causing long-lasting effects from being overshadowed by Renya.
“Is he that great, Renya-san that is?” (Mayria)
“He is so great, to such a degree, that even by multiplying what you are currently imagining by 20, you are barely scratching the surface, Your Highness.” (Rona)
Rona answered with a serious look, but Mayria apparently can’t get a good grasp of it.
“Even without that taking place, I will protect Shion-sama’s safety.” (Rona)
“I appreciate that, but…” (Mayria)
“Rather than that, have you dispatched scouts, Mayria-sama?” (Rona)
Lord Baltan and his group had sent scouts to investigate Renya’s unit’s movements and deployed their soldiers.
Being able to precisely time the day when Renya’s group comes back was thanks to that.
Even Mayria can come up with an idea at the same level of what those nobles can think of.
As if natural, Mayria had also dispatched watchers to Renya’s unit.
However, since the danger increases the closer one gets to the Miasma Forest, both parties have concentrated on observation from outside the forest and don’t have a grasp on what Renya’s unit has been doing inside.
“According to the reports, they should have come pretty close to the city, but…” (Mayria)
“In that case it’s about time that we soon see Dra-kun, isn’t it?” (Rona)
“Ah, no. I’m just saying that it won’t be strange to see a dragon, Dragoon Liaris-sama’s dragon.” (Rona)
It shouldn’t be odd to see the dragon even from quite a distance away if it’s flying in the air, but such a figure couldn’t be seen in the direction from where Renya’s group was likely returning from.
“How worrisome… even if they are to return safely, to kick up this much of a fuss…” (Mayria)
“It’s an awful clamoring, isn’t it? Just what kind of festival is this supposed to be?”
“The reason is that the noble called Lord Baltan has deployed soldiers so as to target the soldiers who are on their way back from their expedition into the Miasma Forest. He’s getting worked up with the motive of trampling the tired soldiers down with his own soldiers…” (Mayria)
“He’s trash, isn’t he…? Huh? Speaking of Lord Baltan, if I remember correctly it was him who told Shion that things will finish once she lies down and spreads her legs, right?”
“Though I believe he didn’t say spread her legs and the like… ah?” (Mayria)
Mayria shifts her attention to the person talking next to them and drops her jaw.
The one folding his arms and nodding with a “yeah, yeah” was Renya with his katana hanging at his waist and in his usual completely black attire.
Behind him, Rona has frozen in place with an expression as if she had seen a ghost. Shion, who has changed out of her national army equipment and into her usual equipment, taps Rona’s shoulder without saying anything.
“Okay, stop there. Don’t raise your voice. Those guys probably don’t know my face.” (Renya)
Renya holds his index finger in front of his lips.
Leaning in close to Renya, Mayria talks to him in a whisper,
“Weren’t you in the middle of returning!?” (Mayria)
“Well I guess it’s because Liaris was ready and waiting for the nobles with bad character. We were able to return quickly by splitting the unit into several groups, having Dra-kun and the other dragons transport them and making the soldiers run at full speed.”
“I entered the city just now, but the other soldiers are different, I guess”, Renya says.
The reason for Shion properly changing her clothes seems to be owed to her having returned to the city before Renya.
“What about the scouts?” (Mayria)
“As for the ones from your side, we had them stay silent about our actions through talking it out. We have made the ones dispatched by the nobles give a false report by having them experience something slightly scary.” (Renya)
“What did you do…?” (Mayria)
Renya grinned due to Mayria asking him with a scornful look.
“It’s best for a good child to not know about it.” (Renya)
“Muu… what about the unit’s soldiers?” (Mayria)
“I’m having them enter the city in subdivisions. We had the gate sentries stay quiet about it by bribing them a bit. Mayria, pay slightly more attention, okay? Aren’t the soldiers of this city too susceptible to bribes?” (Renya)
“No, well, umm… I wonder whether it’s not because you are the other party…” (Mayria)
If it’s someone with knowledge about Renya, they should judge that there’ll be less damage by doing as he says and receiving a bribe rather than pointlessly resisting him.
As such it would be a major problem if Renya was a person that causes damage to the city or nation in any way. But if it’s someone knowing that Renya won’t do that, they likely won’t doubt him.
Even someone that doesn’t know about Renya will probably comprehend right away from his aura that Renya is a dangerous opponent.
In this case, there should be quite a few soldiers that will judge that it’s a better idea to do as told and obediently receive his money than expressly opposing a dangerous opponent.
In that case a bit of a problem remains.
I will investigate that later without fail, Mayria judged.
“So… what will you do next?” (Mayria)
“Me? I will go back home and sleep. You know, I couldn’t sleep decently due to treating the injured and cooking rice in the Miasma Forest. I’ve ordered the unit’s soldiers to return home or spend one night in the city’s inns or red-light district. There’s no problem since we are supposed to return to the soldiers’ lodging house by tomorrow, right?” (Renya)
“Yes, well. Then, what about the noble’s army over here…?” (Mayria)
Mayria points at the soldiers lining up in the distance.
Following her finger with his eyes, Renya stayed silent for a while and then answered plainly,
“Don’t care. Leave them alone.” (Renya)
“Aah… so that’s what you will do, after all.” (Mayria)
“I was told to show the results after one month, but I don’t remember there being a deadline to do so until this day, right?” (Renya)
“Well, that’s true…” (Mayria)
If there isn’t even a set time frame, the timing of after one month is no different from promised whether it might be after 31 days or 40 days.
“The nobles lying in wait for me is their own decision, but I don’t have any obligation to go along with that”, Renya declares.
“Meaning, even if they wait here, nothing will happen, correct? It would be best for them to break up.”
“Understood. But, you can depend on me to expect that you carry out a sham battle in the future, okay?” (Mayria)
“I don’t really mind. I have promised you that, haven’t I?” (Renya)
From Renya’s point of view, he simply doesn’t want his soldiers that have accumulated fatigue to clash with the nobles’ private army. The sham battle itself is no particular problem since he has been willing to do it from the beginning.
“Ro, how long are you going to stay frozen? Let’s go back home quickly. As expected, I’m worn-out as well.” (Shion)
“… Yes, Shion…” (Rona)
“Alright, then, withdraw.” (Renya)
Upon Renya’s words, Mayria went to the army’s facility.
All others decided to return to Renya’s house.
It’s a digression, but Lord Baltan’s army apparently continued waiting for Renya’s group, who cannot return somewhere they’re already at, on the spot for a whole day and night.
Of course, it resulted in the recruited soldiers getting tired out due to being unable to catch a wink of sleep as they hadn’t been informed when Renya’s group might return. Which meant that Lord Baltan himself pointlessly wasted money by deploying the army for no reason.
Due to this, Lord Baltan’s animosity towards Renya escalated even further, but something like that was, after all, of no concern to Renya.