Chapter 308: Great Storm and Monsters
Valerie Brightness, the Keeper. A storm advocate. She was born in the wrong era.
Even the ostentatious nickname given to her had now disappeared somewhere. Her chest was hanging to a single piece of paper.
While lightly shaking her hustled hair, Valerie sighed upon reading the report delivered from the royal capital. After a while, she rolled it up with her fingertips.
There were no big signs in her expression, but Valerie spoke by showing words unusually thoughtful.
「Dore. How credible is this report? Where is the source? 」
Rather than being suspicious, her voice sounded as if she was praying for the report to be a lie.
But Dore, an intelligence officer with a serious expression, responded to her master with her shoulders raised.
「It could be a lie. Until you see and confirm the information yourself, it’s all a lie, Master. However, if you’re asking what’s true and what’s suspicious, they’re all true and they’re all questionable.」
Dore’s demeanor and tone of voice did not seem very respectful toward her master, but Valerie did not blame her. Perhaps they always had that kind of relationship.
Dore opened her lips as she continued her words.
「But I’m not clumsy enough to let Master hear something like gossip. The report only contains information caught in Fomor clan’s network.」
Dore stretched out her chest as if it were only natural. Contrary to her girlish appearance, she seemed to be bursting with self-confidence and self-respect. It wasn’t like her vanity pushed her forward, but it was something she was certain of.
Valerie knew this very well and trusted Dore. So she didn’t ask any more questions.
Yes, while nodding a little, Valerie hardened her expression. Again she saw the information in the report. Several pieces of information were scattered about, but one fact caught Valerie’s eyes.
…The Old General Richard Permilles defeat at the Battle of Sanyo. That was the undeniable truth. As a result, Richard was seriously injured and withdrew from the battle. The Old Believers also confined the Autonomous City of Philos in their wombs.
The report got distorted in Valerie’s hands, and its shape changed further. The sharpness of her face increased further.
Naturally, Valerie had heard of the Great Holy Church’s army retreating from the Sanyo Plains. However, Valerie had judged that the evil had just taken the enemy with its schemes and led it to its own defeat.
Richard Permilles. Like Valerie, he was a fellow servant of Roymetz Fomor, a high-ranking aristocrat of the Gharast Kingdom, and he was one of the few people Valerie opened her heart to.
Even though Richard was old, his will was still unbroken, and his way of being revered as a flash of lightning was even respected. Though he had grown weaker, he would not fall against the Old Believers.
That was Valerie’s true belief. It should’ve been that way.
The report, which had somehow arrived in her hands, stated that Richard’s retreat was not a lie to mislead the enemy, but it was the result of being forced into a proper retreat.
Valerie swallowed cold air into her chest. The wind in the northwestern part of the Gharast Kingdom was much colder than in the royal capital. A white sigh ascended into the air, forming cloud steps.
「…What are you going to do, Master. Why don’t I run my horse to the royal capital? I can gather more information with my own eyes and ears.」
She must have sensed her master’s heart. Dore said in a voice that included some concern.
Her master was clearly a strong person, but Dore knew there were parts of her demeanor that were too strong-minded. It was her job, Dore thought, to go along with her convictions.
But Valerie shook her head, while reading the other side of Dore’s words. Then she said.
「Don’t worry, Dore. I’ll be in trouble if you’re gone. I need you by my side if we’re going to fight.」
It was a peculiar choice of words, but Dore understood that there was an unparalleled sense of urgency in them.
Despite the atmosphere surrounding the noble words, the meaning embedded in them was too strong.
After all, she seemed to be filled with a lot of frustration. Dore slightly turned away from her master, tightening her chest.
The person named Valerie Brightness was not originally a person who should be forced to guard the northernmost fort. She was given ranks and medals and could easily be in command of a much larger army. To put it more simply, she was the most glamorous person in the royal capital, and she was a person with a status that allowed her to live a life just to deepen her education.
Even though she had her own will, being pushed into a place like this meant that she was filled with resentment.
In addition to that fact, in a far-off battle, an old believer wielded a deadly blade, so Valerie’s heart was immeasurable. Dore thought as she glanced at Valerie, who was staring at the scene of dead snow falling through the window.
Valerie’s dislike of the Old Believers was well-known even in the royal capital, and in here, at Fort Suzif, which was located at the northernmost area of the Gharast Kingdom.
She would never admit to being a former Old Believer, and Dore was sure she never thought of a possible reconciliation. It was no exaggeration to say that she chose the way she lived now for that very reason.
She didn’t have the foolishness to include such personal feelings in her day-to-day business, but Dore had seen several times that Valerie seemed to have an air of skepticism when the topic of the Old Believers came up.
On several occasions in the past, Dore thought of trying to back Valerie’s anti-Heraldic hatred. For Dore, who exceled at manipulating and collecting information above all else, it would’ve been easy.
She may have had an unexpectedly silly reason. It may have had serious implications. A bit of curiosity was certainly in Dore’s mind.
But the bottom line was that Dore had not searched for that information yet. The reason was simple; Dore herself somehow took a liking to this unfriendly master.
That’s why it seemed like a betrayal for Dore to search for the background of Valerie’s past thoughts on her own, and in the end, Dore never touched that subject.
Surprisingly, if she asked her, she would’ve spoken lightly about it. It was the moment when Dore suddenly tried to tell such words that Valerie opened her mouth and said the following.
「…Dore. Call the messenger. Right now. 」
It was the usual voice that seemed to be somewhat cold-hearted. Dore raised her voice in response to those words. She already knew what Valerie intended to do.
After all, there was only one answer when Valerie called a messenger. Only when the battlefield was nearby.
「It’s rare. Magical beasts marching in groups instead of small herds. 」
Valerie spoke in a way that sounded like a soliloquy. Beyond her field of vision, on the white horizon that she could see through the window, there were many black dot-like things across the landscape.
That was the unmistakable shadow of the magical beasts. What’s more, they usually approached in small herds, but today they were coming in a quite a large group. It looked like a human army.
From a distance, it was about time for the transmission to come. If it hadn’t been a long time since the magical beasts had attacked, her face would have turned pale.
Dore said nothing when she saw Valerie wrapping herself in her magical armor. Because she understood well that she didn’t need words like “Are you okay?”.
Surely, as usual, the magical beasts would all die within a few hours. All they had to do was hold back and annihilate the demon beasts. That was the role of this fort, and it was also the work that Valerie had to do.
As she put her arm through the magical armor, Valerie said as she remembered something relevant, but in a harsh, cold tone.
「Dore. I want you to do one thing. About the Old believers…Please find out about that devilish guy named Lugis that was in this report.」
It seems that he was the one who defeated Richard. Valerie said quietly.
Have good sunday everyone! For those in the North Hemisphere, please be safe in the chilly weather!
Thank you to the Patrons for the continued support!