One week has passed since Renya and the others began to strengthen Klinge’s defense.
In Renya’s eyes, he saw it as being confined indoors for an unexpectedly long period of time, but once he started to upgrade the soldiers’ equipment and to speed up the emergency recruitment for new soldiers, quite a bit of time passed in a flash.
The urgent recruitment of new soldiers finished so fast that he wondered whether there was an excess of people somewhere, even if it were just manpower, but with most of them being adventurer dropouts and greenhorns who have never served in the army, he ended up devoting a lot of time into educating and drilling them.
Klinge is at the height of turmoil despite Renya trying to put together a rotation that consisted of having 100 soldiers on break, deploying 100 soldiers to the city’s defense and training 100 of the 200 new recruits.
The principality’s soldiers, who are stationed outside the city, were left out of the loop, but given that there was no change in the situation, their side didn’t show any movements that could be called militaristic over at their military command that had been dispatched by the principality.
It resulted in Renya leaving the principality’s army completely outside his considerations. It went so far that he hadn’t learned the names of the military commanders even after a week had passed.
“You know, those people are more or less Her Majesty the Archduchess’ proxies…” (Mayria)
“Mayria, I don’t have enough brain power to use it up on completely irrelevant information.” (Renya)
Mayria retorted in a somewhat timid manner, apparently because of the difference in their statuses, but after she was curtly cut down by Renya, she made sure to avoid that topic with a feeling that there was nothing to do about it anyway.
However, there was a problem with this situation.
“Even if Klinge itself survives, isn’t that meaningless in the large picture of the principality’s protection?” (Shion)
The moment Shion pointed that out was during the rare occurrence when everyone was present for dinner.
“Certainly, I only caught a glimpse of the military command, but they sure are creepy. However, since the circumstances are as they are, I think we have to ask for their help, even if our side has to give in…but…” (Shion)
Shion was stating her own thoughts while her hands had stopped picking up food, but her voice gradually became weaker.
That’s because all the members apart of the heroes, who are surrounding the table, stared at her wide eyed.
In front of Shion, who became flustered while wondering whether she had made some terrible mistake, Mayria muttered with her body trembling a little and her face looking a little pale,
“Ane-sama voicing a decent opinion…” (Mayria)
“Is this world…going to end tomorrow?” (Rona)
Rona is quietly moved to tears with her hands joined in front of her chest.
“Master, it looks the time for farewell is near ~no.” (Frau)
Frau, who has tears gather at the corners of her eyes while carrying a meek expression, informs Renya.
Due to the graveness of the tragic emotions expressed on her childish face, those seeing it had no choice but to harbor a feeling of anxiety.
“Rona!? Even Frau!?” (Shion)
“Hey, why is everyone reacting like this?” (Lepard)
Not understanding the reason for what’s happening, Lepard asks Renya with a whisper. Seemingly having recovered from his initial shock, Renya likewise replied with a whisper in a calm tone,
“Isn’t it common sense that the world will perish if a muscle-brained, disappointing child says something decent by chance?” (Renya)
“No way, such silly common sense doesn’t exist.” (Lepard)
“Aren’t you also saying strange stuff while pretending to be smart, Lepard? How do you intend to take responsibility if this world perishes?” (Renya)
“Shut up. Hey, just who’s a muscle-brain here? How awful, don’t get me involved in this.” (Lepard)
Lepard winces due to Renya’s discerning eye determining that he’s a pitiful person who probably has no awareness of his brain being made out of muscles, despite being aware that he himself is a battle maniac.
Lepard reflexively turned his eyes towards Kaede looking for help, but since Kaede had the same expression as Renya, Lepard tragically admits defeat.
“Come to think of it, he previously said some nonsense due to something apparently infesting his brain, didn’t he? Make sure to educate him properly, Kaede.” (Renya)
“Most certainly. I am sorry to have troubled you.” (Kaede)
“Oi, hey Kae…de?” (Lepard)
Due to Kaede apologizing with a meek expression, Lepard raised his voice to protest as one might expect, but he immediately notices Kaede looking at him with a very sad face and she then interrupts his speech.
“Lepard, I’m confident that I will keep loving you even with you being a meathead of the highest order.” (Kaede)
“Ha-Haa…i-is that so?” (Lepard)
Lepard unintentionally ends up answering with a weird tone.
While hanging her head and gently holding the inner corners of her eyes, Kaede continued,
“But the confidence to love the vane you, who’s unable to accept that you are a meathead, is…” (Kaede)
“Please…please be honest with yourself, Lepard!” (Renya)
“Don’t mess around by jumping on the bandwagon!” (Lepard)
“Having said that, let’s leave alone the lovey-dovey meathead and black heart.” (Renya)
“You insulted me without any hesitation!” (Kaede)
Kaede seemingly suffered a shock due Renya’s indifferent response.
“At present there’s no merit in getting along with the principality’s army situated outside the city. Even if the 500 turned into 1,500, it can’t be said that they’ll be able to protect the whole principality. The food expenses will simply grow by 1000. However, if it’s just the defense of Klinge, I think 500 will be plenty.” (Renya)
“So you are planning on abandoning them?”
Being asked that by Emil with a laugh, Renya frowned.
Based on his position it’s difficult to answer with “That’s right.”
Although it’s provisional, Renya is regarded as a member of Trident Principality’s nobility.
Affirming the question of whether he will abandon the principality’s soldiers is something he can’t do.
While that might be true, it’s also difficult for him to answer with a simple “No.”
This is because Renya has no interest in the principality’s troops or their military command, which clearly show no intention to cooperate, even in the case that Klinge was attacked, if he were to voice his opinion.
Although he also doesn’t want to say that he won’t care for the soldiers just because he doesn’t like their commanders.
It means, he doesn’t have any leeway that would allow him to take care of the common soldiers, despite disliking the military command.
Klinge is a new city and the villages, which were established around it, are still new as well.
The true state of the Kunugi Margraviate is that the pioneers have to abandon and vacate their villages almost without anything worthy of being called an accomplishment.
Speaking of food, materials and funds, there’s absolutely no leeway.
Distributing plenty of it to his residents and soldiers was Renya’s first priority. It’s not a situation where he can also take care of the principality’s forces.
“It’s a simple story about them having to take care of themselves.” (Renya)
Once Renya said so, while paying attention not to reveal his inner thoughts with his voice or expression, Emil started to laugh loudly.
As Renya glares at her, apparently having taken slight offense, Emil apologizes after laughing for a short while wiping away the tears at the corners of her eyes.
“No, no, sorry, sorry. It truly is as complicated as you say.” (Emil)
“Can I have you answer one thing as you’re already in the apologetic mood anyway?” (Renya)
Renya begins to ask Emil a question while still glaring at her, causing the smile on her face to disappear.
“What it is? However, I can only tell you what I know, though.” (Emil)
“I wonder, should we block the exit of the Forest Labyrinth on the human side?” (Renya)
Upon Renya’s words, Shion, Mayria, Rona, the two heroes and the priestess tilt their heads to the side in confusion.
Renya’s question is too abrupt. They don’t understand at all why he brought that topic up.
And in contrast, Croire’s face stiffened, albeit only faintly. And, Frau shifted her eyes towards Renya’s face without any change in her expression.
The difference in their reactions might be attributed to the difference in intel they each possess.
Speaking of Emil, who’s the one being asked here, her behavior makes her seem as if she is pondering the question for a bit and then she asks in return,
“I guess you are asking for my opinion as a researcher?” (Emil)
Renya doesn’t answer as he simply stares at Emil unwaveringly.
“If you say Forest Labyrinth’s exit…” (Rona)
“It’s that forest that was devastated by Renya’s sorcery, right?” (Shion)
Rona and Shion have somewhat nostalgic expressions.
While thinking, It’s not a story that should be regarded as nostalgic though, Renya nodded.
“The place where the weird monsters spawned on the human continent is the Forest Labyrinth’s exit. The place where the troops that attacked the elven country appeared was also the Forest Labyrinth if I remember correctly, wasn’t it?”
Due to the downburst triggered by Renya with sorcery, the Forest Labyrinth’s exit on the human side was completely locked up in a world of ice once.
As expected, that’s not going to last forever. The moment the ice melted to a certain extent, the Trident Principality constructed a fortress in order to monitor the exit from close-by. Currently it has soldiers monitoring it at all times.
“Which reminds me, what happened to the exit on the elven side?” (Renya)
“After Croire’s group left, a fortress that was far sturdier than the previous one was built where the former one was and the exit is currently under heavy surveillance with the number of permanently stationed soldiers having increased.”
As Croire, who had crossed over to the human continent, while sticking to Renya, right after the incident, apparently didn’t know the current situation, Grün answers in her stead.
“I see. In other words, that means the disturbances on both continents, the human and elven one, have occurred with the Forest Labyrinth as the epicenter.” (Emil)
Emil’s voice, who says so while nodding and then casting down her eyes so as to gather her thoughts, has a tone that made it clear that she had really obtained that information just this moment.
However, the way to interpret that vocal sound of hers completely differs depending on those hearing it.
“In that case a researcher’s opinion isn’t really necessary, is it? If you can block the exit, wouldn’t it be most reliable to just do that?” (Emil)
“Why do you think that we are capable of doing something like that? Although it’s just vaguely, I wonder whether something similar hasn’t happened on the dragonoid continent.” (Renya)
Upon Renya’s question, everyone besides Emil looked at Renya with puzzled expressions.
There’s no way for them to understand something like that, and even if they do, isn’t it already meaningless since we can’t go to the dragonoid continent? Renya wondered.
In regards to that, only Emil stared at Renya while donning a troubled expression.
Emil somehow grasped the meaning as to why Renya asked this question at this time.
“…Can I ask one thing before answering that question?” (Emil)
Emil exhaled once. After tapping her chest in order to calm herself down, she worded her question.
“Renya, do you intend to destroy…the demons?” (Emil)
“No, I haven’t the slightest intention of doing something like that?” (Renya)
His reply was instantaneous.
“In the first place, I hate troublesome matters. Even the demons are opponents you don’t have to pay any attention to if they don’t leave the central continent and appear on the other race’s continents, right?” (Renya)
“No, that’s also a bit…” (Emil)
“Renya…for the time being the demons are a threat to all races with large territories…” (Shion)
Emil has an expression that looks slightly pitiable.
Shion gently retorts at Renya’s overly blunt reply.
After showing a puzzled expression for a moment due to Shion’s retort, he asks Emil as if having heard that truth for the very first time,
“Wait Renya, I’d like you not to ask me.” (Emil)
Emil shakes her head in a panic while touching on the topic with a serious expression, but clearing her throat once, she shifts her mood.
“In short, is it correct to consider your aim to only be the demon king, Renya?” (Emil)
“As long as that demon king doesn’t leave his continent either, I have no intention to go out of my way to subjugate them either.” (Renya)
“How very typical of you, Renya.” (Emil)
Emil says that with a somewhat refreshed expression, probably because she understood or gave up on him, and then crosses her legs while reclining into her seat with her arms folded.
“The sole thing necessary for a transfer gate is a path. Normally the transfer gates, which are established in cities by humans and such, connect to a branch of a path, which had been set up in the distant past, simply by creating a route by force. That’s why the paths become more congested and smaller the more cities there are. Thanks to that, the number of people capable of passing through a gate at once decreases. Probably all the paths, which are currently in use, have practically reached their limit.” (Emil)
All present don’t think anything beyond that of Hee, that’s how it is?, but if there was a specialized magician present, they would have very likely become unable to stand up out of surprise.
In the first place, the transportation capacity being predetermined is something that had been decided on in the past after a considerable time had passed and it was accepted as common knowledge. The existence of a huge original path in order to operate the transfer gates, and the capacity of that path being close to its limit is something that’s usually unknown.
The number of those aware of it is limited to a very small number of magicians who participate in setting up transfer gates. Moreover they have had a contract of confidentiality imposed on them, resulting in them never having disclosed this matter.
“There are various ways to build such a path. I think the most suitable materials are those of an underground labyrinth’s exit. However, in that case it becomes necessary to completely travel to the interior by foot.” (Emil)
“Can the path be cut off if one side collapses?”
“That should probably be possible.” (Emil)
“I see…well, Emil, your opinion as a researcher was of big help. I will try getting in touch with Liaris, who’s stationed in Kukrika.” (Renya)
Renya faces Emil and thanks her by bowing his head.
Upon Renya’s demeanor, Emil completely changes from her cocky behavior in a fluster, unlinks her arms, shifts her posture by pitching forward, and vigorously shakes her head.
“Can you please stop since it’s not something that deserves something like that?” (Emil)
“Even Emil-san can become bashful, eh?” (Rona)
When Rona laughs, seemingly considering Emil’s panicked reaction funny, Emil looks away as if escaping everyone’s gazes while awkwardly scratching her cheek with a finger.
When Renya lifted his face, Emil was staring into the far distance with her cheeks and ears dyed slightly red. Following all that with somewhat lukewarm looks, it resulted in the Trident Principality’s group witnessing a spectacle they didn’t comprehend quite well.
<Master, did you test Emil ~no?>
<Yeah, well…it’s because I want to keep someone, who might swing either way depending on the situation, close-by. So, can I have you deliver a letter to Liaris in Kukrika right away?>