Chapter 315: On the Map
The smell of sandstone and withered grass mixed with the wind hit my nostrils.
It was a nostalgic smell that I had once tasted so badly. I thought I was tired of it, but now I wondered if it was in human nature to think of nostalgia.
Those smells would soon be overwhelmed by the dead snow that poured generously. Even now, the dead snow had licked the earth and spread its body across the world in an attempt to expand its dominion.
I shook my eyes and cast my vision to the landscape from the top of a small hill.
The Augus River, that marked the boundary between the Gharast Kingdom and the eastern city-states. The great river, which originally encouraged circulation of goods, was now completely frozen and piled with dead snow. Now it would be possible to cross to the opposite bank without using a bridge.
Of course, the influence of the Gharast Kingdom extended itself to the eastern city-states, and only historians would know where the borders were clearly defined.
For the time being, it was a fact that the Gharast Kingdom had exercised its sovereignty over this great river.
Right now, Heraldic soldiers were lined up to cover the edge of the river that served as the border.
Dressed in gray uniforms for the dead snow, everyone could be seen sighing a white breath even from a distance.
The number was about to exceed 3,000 soldiers. Considering the size of the power of the Heraldic Order, it would be a scale that wasn’t menacing yet respectful. Well, it was something that had been arranged up to this point.
I certainly asked for the soldiers to be lined up along the great river of Augus, but I didn’t imagine that they would send so many soldiers in the dead snow.
It was enough in the sense that the eastern border would attract attention from the Gharast Kingdom.
When I whispered such a thing lightly, words that immediately made me sigh came flying. The cold sky was making a lot of noise.
「It really made a big fuss, Lord Lugis. To the extent that it even reached the ears of my mercenaries.」
While saying so, the Steel Princess Vestaline Geluah let a white mist form around her mouth.
According to what I wanted; Saint Matia gave a big order to dispatch the troops. With that one order, the executive of the Heraldic Order, Largud Ann, who was responsible for the adjustments that went along with it, was so busy that she could not even eat a meal.
In any case, the Army of the Heraldic Order did not even expect a fragment of an expedition to happen during the dead snow, and even the equipment was not seriously prepared. In addition, it was necessary to secure a supply route so that the expedition would not starve or freeze.
All of this must be done from scratch since there was any preparation. I see, how much precious time and effort was required there. I didn’t even want to imagine it.
Muttering Ann’s name like this would be bad. Ann could think of me as a grudge. Anyway, Vestaline spoke, leaning her head slightly.
I involuntarily twisted the corners of my lips. Perhaps, because of my thirst, I stroked my throat with a dull pain.
「I’m humbled by your thoughtfulness. I’m afraid of the next time we meet…So, Steel Princess, are you and your Belfein mercenaries ready?」
I asked while creating a white mist around my mouth. At any rate, the lack of time should be the same whether it was from a Heraldic or a Belfein mercenary.
Vestaline moved her lips, while her body was wrapped in armor and fur.
「Yes, of course. We are ready no matter what time it is. Belfein’s mercenaries, even if their bodies are lying on soft beds, in their dreams they go to the battlefield.」
Vestaline’s dignified atmosphere stuck to those words. The tone showed any fluctuation, which indicated there was nothing hidden behind her voice.
How wonderful it was, since it was a word that I could rely on. There was only one person who managed to subside the turmoil of Belfein.
Then, I shall make them work hard this time. In any case, the ones who made the dead snow shake the most were not the military or merchants, but the mercenaries who operated at the cost of their lives.
At the same time as I was chewing the tobacco in my mouth, something like cheers resounded from the area where the Belfein mercenaries had set up their camp.
It seemed that they were trying to make themselves a little more comfortable in this cold wind by drinking alcohol. Above all, it seemed to be the same as before.
All of a sudden, Bruder came to my mind. Vestaline’s older sister and my friend, who now worked with Belfein mercenaries.
She should be in the city to heal her wounds, but I was still a little concerned about her health.
Apparently, losing her once inflicted a hole in my heart.
When Vestaline received my words, she quietly strengthened her gaze.
It was like saying that my casual question touched the machine that brought out the emotions that existed in her body. No, I didn’t remember speaking such a disturbing thing in the first place.
「…Her condition has calmed down quite a bit. As expected, she gave up on accompanying me this time, but her body will be able to move pretty soon.」
Vestaline closed her lips after letting her stiff words resound. The expression on her face was also somewhat dejected.
Looking at the situation, perhaps Bruder also said that she would accompany the dispatch of troops this time around. Implied by Vestaline’s tone, the human named Bruder would be happy to boldly jump into danger on her own again.
It was a little difficult to judge whether such a tendency should be called a good or a bad habit. Judging by Vestaline and Bruder’s attitudes, there may had been some conflict between the sisters in that regard. If so, that was probably a topic that should be avoided.
I nodded lightly in response to Vestaline’s words. Well, if Bruder was safe, then it was fine. I shall visit her again and bring some good ale.
「So, please tell us what we should do, Lord Lugis. If I don’t give the mercenaries a job, I will lose my qualification to lead them.」
“Are we going to shake the cold villages nearby?” Vestaline continued to speak, since she didn’t know what they were supposed to do.
It was not that she didn’t trust them, she was just wondering what to do with them.
My chewing tobacco rose once on my lips and the unique scent rolled down through the tip of my nose. I arranged the words in my thoughts, but I stopped in a foolish way.
No matter how I tried to fix those words in a gentle manner, there was only one thing to do, therefore, only one thing to say. I threw my gaze at Vestaline and said the following.
「Vestaline, what mercenaries do have been decided since ancient times. I just want you to do it now.」
I opened my eyes and deliberately lifted the edge of my lips.
Mercenaries had changed their appearance greatly depending on the times and regions. There were times when they were treated like the private army of noble aristocrats, and there were times when they were no different from bandits.
I heard that when the concept of a national army did not exist, the mercenaries scattered throughout the country as the soldiers of the nation.
But there was a tradition within the mercenaries that had remained unchanged since that time.
…A tradition with raids and pillaging. In other words, fighting and mugging.
「There is a prison called the Burial Ground in the Gharast Kingdom. That prison has been in operation for a long time.」
I could see that Vestaline raised her eyelashes high. Did she have something on her mind? Her lips, which usually didn’t seem to be at a loss for words, swayed several times, searching for what to say.
After a few seconds of hesitation, she said to me.
「Does that mean that we’re going to rescue someone from prison?」
Vestaline’s breathing was slightly rough. A large white mist billowed and was thrown into the air.
Rather than being unable to grasp my true intentions, her question was more like a desire to confirm something.
I looked at the eyes looking straight at me and replied.
「Of course. But that’s not all. I told you, we’re going to pull the curtain.」
With my lips still rippling, I continued the words. Vestaline was probably impressed by my talkativeness. She gently squeezed her fingers.
「Beulah the Burial Prison must stop being the symbol of the persecution of the Heraldic Order. As long as it exists, the positions of the Heraldic people and the Great Holy Church will never change. The persecuted side and the persecutor side will remain unchanged.」
Even if we tried to change things a little, we wouldn’t be able to overturn what was deeply rooted in people’s heads. The relationship between the strong and the weak was often like that.
If this relationship continued forever, the Heraldic religion and the Great Holy Church would have no choice but to eat each other until one of them disappeared from the earth.
After all, people didn’t want to give up their profits and advantages once they had gained them so easily. That’s why they would always hate the Heraldic Order, persecute its people, and prove their superiority.
And prison Beulah represented that symbol.
「That’s why we have no choice but to destroy it. Only you can do it, Vestaline. It’s easy, just one prison, just erase its name from the map.」
I wonder if Vestaline will become a “fan” of Lugis like the others…
Thank you to the Patrons for the continued support!
Is he going to save the lady from the orphanage?
Thanks for the chapter.